The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 2, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Judith Coplon's passport was lifted by the State Department as a matter of routine following her felony convictions two days earlier in Washington of two counts related to the unauthorized taking of secret Justice Department documents and sentence the previous day to ten years in prison. All airlines and travel agencies were notified of the ban of her travel abroad. Her second trial on conspiracy to commit espionage, arising from the same conduct but with emphasis on the intended result of giving the documents to a Russian, was scheduled to begin July 11 in New York. Valentin Gubitchev, arrested with Ms. Coplon and alleged to be her Russian accomplice in the conspiracy, would be a co-defendant in that case. Ms. Coplon was released on an appellate bond of $20,000.

As indicated, her conviction would be reversed on appeal based on subsequently revealed pre-arrest and post-arrest wiretaps by the Government which may have intercepted attorney-client conversations, brought as a motion for new trial on newly discovered evidence, and the Government would never retry the case.

The same result would occur in the New York prosecution following her conviction on that charge, the reversal in that case being based on both the wiretap evidence tainting the conviction and the finding that the arrest should not have been conducted without a warrant absent a showing that there was reasonable likelihood at the time of her escape, based on a Federal statute on the books at the time. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals thus found that the search of her purse incident to the arrest, pursuant to which was found the evidentiary foundation for the case, excerpts from the secret FBI documents, as well as an incriminating, self-typed statement of frustration at being unable to see a secret report regarding Russian agents, of which she stated that she had managed to acquire a glimpse and then briefly summarized, had to be excluded as tainted by the illegal arrest. The D. C. Circuit on appeal of the convictions in the first trial subsequently decided that the search was not illegal, interpreting the statute in question, insofar as its condition requiring the reasonable likelihood of escape before an arrest could be effected without warrant, to apply only to felony conduct committed outside the presence of the arresting FBI agents.

Such apparently contrary results by courts of equal standing regarding the search issue, regardless of outcome of the case for the competing rooting sections on each side of the Roman stadium, is why we sometimes say, with Mr. Bumble, that if the law supposes that, "it is a ass, a idiot". And that rule also applies to this day to Draconian interpretations of statutes, such as the Federal Espionage Act, to try to fit them, for purely political reasons, into scenarios where they do not belong, as in a current investigation, ad nauseam, regarding e-mails sent, in every case, four to eight years ago, at least insofar as the right wing conspiracists of the country, who appear never satisfied unless on a witch-hunt, the old red-herring routine of 1947-54—all while they appear to ignore completely the obvious, substantial fraud of the Republican presidential nominee and his "university" made of cardboard, bilking thousands of individuals out of substantial "tuition" costs. That, apparently, according to these right-wingers, is hunky-dory, while sending Government communications via e-mails from a dedicated and secure home server computer for convenience, as predecessor Secretaries of State had, is worthy of jail, presumably under a statute, by its own title, which is meant to relate only to "espionage".

Notwithstanding misinformed comments abounding in the talky-talk "press", there is no criminal statute relating to negligence in this area. Negligence, per executive order, only relates to potential grounds for being fired from the Government job or having a security clearance revoked, moot at this point for all of the former Secretaries of State in question.

Or do you wish to press the point, lunatic, and indict all three, including two Republicans? No, not just one, stupid. No preferences for party affiliation, just to throw a plumber's wrench into the election.

The actual statute in question today in 2016, 18 USC 1924, a misdemeanor, with emphasis on "without authority and with intent to retain", is not related, incidentally, to the statutes in the Coplon case, 18 USC 793 and 18 USC 2071, strictly applying to acts intended to injure the United States and benefit a foreign government, "espionage". And titles to statutes do count in reaching Congressional intent, except in the minds of the right-wingers, who incessantly, for their lack of balance and fairness, not to mention worthwhile law degrees, or, in some cases even college degrees, fly in circles round and round and round. It's bound to get old.

Of course, we realize that in the mind of the boxed-in Blonde, "misdemeanor", or, in that boxy world, hanky-panky, constitutes grounds for impeachment, which is why, presumably, we never allow the President to drive anywhere on his or her own hook, for fear that a traffic ticket might lead to impeachment, as, in many jurisdictions, such offenses are considered, technically, a misdemeanor, though doubtful that Messrs. Madison, Jay, Hamilton, et al., had such in mind when they coined the phrase, "conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors", that latter part of the phrase, "other high crimes and misdemeanors", being quite different from the disjunctive form, there being a rule of statutory interpretation, applicable also to the Constitution, referenced by the term ejusdem generis, meaning literally, "of the same kind", applicable to a generic series of objects stated in statutory language, as the above, such that the specific parts of the associated class signify the typology to be applied in divining the intended set of objects to be included within the more general class.

We have to wonder, in fact, whether, applying modern standards of talky-talk divination to the Constitutional convention, such as when we hear from the talky-talkers such chicane nonsense as the notion that "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution, anything would have ever come of it beyond utter resignation and confusion, resulting in a determination thus to stick with the Crown after all, nullify the Revolution completely, disavow the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, and go on home, treating it all as a hopelessly lost cause to the idiots.

But we digress. We have already been through all of that, anyway. Yet, the right-wingers seem to forget things very quickly in just a few years, indicative of substance abuse.

In New York, John Gates, the editor of the Daily Worker, was released early from his 30-day jail sentence for contempt during the trial of the eleven top Communists, including Mr. Gates, for violation of the Smith Act. He complained that the early hour of his release was a dirty trick to avoid demonstrations on his behalf. He returned to the jail therefore for the sake of the demonstrators who gathered to celebrate his release.

The Premier of Bulgaria, Georgi Dimitrov, 67, died this date in Moscow. He had been a principal defendant in the trial regarding the Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933 but was acquitted. Considered the most important Communist outside Russia, he reportedly died of diabetes, having been under treatment for the disease for three months in Moscow. After 22 years in exile for his youthful revolutionary activities, he returned in 1946 to Bulgaria with the blessing of the Soviets to become Premier. His enemies called his regime the "iron broom". He sought to isolate Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia for his independence from Moscow, and opposed the Marshall Plan.

In Rome, the student who had attempted the previous July 14 to assassinate Italian Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti was sentenced to 13 years, 8 months in prison. Mr. Togliatti had recovered from his gunshot wound inflicted at close range.

A Government revenue shortfall left the deficit three times larger, at 1.8 billion dollars, than the 600 million predicted by the President for fiscal year 1949. He had overestimated by only 3.5 percent Government income, but spending was up 6.2 billion over 1947-48, to 40 billion dollars. Tax receipts had been reduced by the 1948 income tax reduction and the economic downturn since the previous fall. The estimated deficit for the coming fiscal year, according to Senator Harry F. Byrd and Government fiscal experts, was at between three and five billion dollars.

In New York, streetside civilian hecklers knocked a National Guard warrant officer out of ranks and to the curb where he fatally hit his head as he marched with 900 other Guardsmen to board a train. The assailants fled.

In Los Angeles, a man with a handkerchief over his face approached a young teenage couple planning to be married this date and demanded at gunpoint their money while they sat in a car. The boy of the couple then jumped the man as he turned around and the boy was shot, but nevertheless wrestled the gun away and shot the robber fatally through the head. The girl, who could not drive, was able to guide the car down the hill to a service station where she got help.

In San Francisco, the treason trial of "Tokyo Rose" was scheduled to start in Federal Court on the following Tuesday.

In Roanoke, Va., instructions to the jury and final summation took place in the trial of the 16-year old Eagle Scout accused of murdering his 16-year old classmate at church. He had admitted killing her but claimed that he had strangled her accidentally after hitting her on the head with a pop bottle when she insulted his friend, suffering a mental blackout as he did so. The prosecutor characterized the defense as preposterous and argued that the boy premeditatedly murdered her in an effort to protect his reputation as a youth leader after the girl spurned his sexual advances. He sought the death penalty. The possible range of penalties extended to death or twenty years to life for first degree murder or five to twenty years for second degree murder, all within the province of the jury to determine. The defense had argued that the defendant was guilty of at most manslaughter for engaging in a "pitiful and unfortunate" fight with the girl. But the judge omitted any instructions on manslaughter—grounds for reversible error in most jurisdictions if the instructions were requested by the defense and the evidence as presented at all supported such a theory, which, based on the boy's story, however lacking in credibility, appeared to be the case insofar as voluntary manslaughter based on a killing in the heat of passion.

In Lock Haven, Pa., two youths, one of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the other of Gastonia, N.C., told FBI agents of having kidnaped and then shot to death a Myrtle Beach cab driver in Matthews, N.C., and after stealing his taxi, eventually dumping the body in Princeton, W. Va., and driving to Pennsylvania where they were arrested at a roadblock after a nearby service station holdup.

The holiday weekend death toll had reached 47, 32 having died in traffic accidents and eleven having drowned. The National Safety Council estimated that 290 persons would die in highway accidents during the three-day period.

Have a safe Fourth, so that you can live through the fifth.

In Charlotte, a man who had agreed to help health officials locate a woman suffering from venereal disease suddenly stabbed the public health investigator in the right chest. The man was upset over the Health Department sending people to the hospital. The wound was shallow and the health officer returned to duty this date after stitches.

In Fayetteville, N.C., a seven year old girl came to town from nearby Stedman with instructions on how to return by bus. When she did not return, her parents alerted the police who found her asleep in a theater.

She may have attended the wrong movie.

In Nags Head, N.C., the North Carolina Press Association determined to raise $100,000 as a fund for education in journalism after it found crowded conditions at the UNC school of journalism and that laboratory instruction at the school was needed. It indicated that more attention ought be given to rural journalism.

Emery Wister of The News tells of the sun and clouds engaged in a hot fight above the city, as Charlotte and the Carolinas were off to a cool start of the holiday weekend while most of the rest of the nation sweltered. It was predicted that local temperatures would again rise into the eighties during the afternoon, better, however, than the nineties which had typified the previous two weeks.

On the editorial page, "Justified Use of Authority" finds that the people had not been informed of the authority provided to the State Board of Education to determine the standards under which the 25-million dollar school construction bond money was to be allocated when they voted for the bond issue on June 4.

The poor design and location of many schools in the state made it impossible to provide the children with all the facilities and instruction they needed, and the black school facilities were inadequate compared to those of the white schools. The scattered schools resulted from pressure by parents on local school boards to construct them. But now the trend was toward consolidation.

In Mecklenburg County, all of the money from the recent local bond issue was being used on three large white high schools. While some progress had been made in eliminating small schools, 14 black schools still existed in the county with four or fewer teachers.

While the newspaper supported local determination of school buildings, the people had voted for the 25 million dollar bond issue to go along with the 25 million approved by the General Assembly for school construction, and the people should therefore not be heard to complain if now the State wanted to tell the localities how to spend the money.

"Flame of Liberalism?" tells of Hodding Carter, editor and publisher of the Greenville, Mississippi, Delta-Democrat Times, writing in Collier's that "the flame of purposeful liberalism" was not dead in the South but just disorganized. It was, he had said, lighting up "dark and tragic corners" of the region.

The piece finds the claim misleading because not all of the self-proclaimed progressives and liberals were truly liberal but rather conservatives who could not tolerate the reactionary Rankins and Talmadges. Nevertheless, they feared the clear-cut decisions of a liberal mind.

To be a liberal in the South remained dangerous to making a living. It resulted in being labeled a "red" and a "nigger lover", considered perverse, an enemy and traitor, to be shunned and ostracized.

It would be a good thing, it suggests, if the liberal flame burned as brightly as proclaimed by Mr. Carter. While some Southerners had definitely emerged from racial hatred and atavistic ways, it was a slow process.

The article, it concludes, was good press agentry for the South but claimed more for the region than it deserved, making a small band of liberals appear as a crusading army approved by a vast, admiring audience.

"Carter should take another look over his shoulder. That is no searchlight of truth gleaming there; it's a flaming cross."

Parenthetically, the article by Mr. Carter mentions as one of the prominent liberals of the South Harry Ashmore, editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, who had been, between October, 1945 and July, 1947, associate editor and editor of The News before moving on to the Gazette, where, in 1958, he would win a Pulitzer Prize for his equanimous editorials, calming of the racially-charged community, in the midst of the 1957-58 Little Rock school integration crisis.

Also mentioned, as a liberal organization working to achieve civil rights in the South, is the Southern Regional Council.

Another of the Southern liberals mentioned in the article, Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas, would, as President, 15 years from this date, sign into law the most comprehensive Civil Rights Act passed in the nation's history, providing for equal access, without discrimination based on race, religion, sex, ethnicity or national origin, to all public facilities transacting business within interstate commerce, including inns, theaters, restaurants and the like, legislation which had been promulgated by President Kennedy and sent to Congress in mid-June, 1963, along with the Voting Rights bill, passed and signed into law in 1965. Both bills, at the time of the President's assassination in November, were stymied by Southern resistance, as usual, threatened with filibuster and held hostage by delay in approval of the budget.

"But westward, look, the land is bright!"

"An Admission of Failure?" suggests that the State revenue policy of collecting taxes on illegally sold liquor in dry counties, amounting to $900,000, showed that the prohibition laws were ineffective in those counties.

A piece from the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont, titled "Substandard Schools", tells of the N.C. Board of Education seeking to consolidate 24 high schools with attendance below 60 pupils.

South Carolina, with 1.5 million fewer people than North Carolina, had 100 high schools with such substandard attendance. And so it urges the State to undertake to do as North Carolina had done for its relatively few such understaffed and underattended schools. It adds that South Carolina's substandard elementary schools were even more numerous.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson having convinced the military and the Senate Armed Services Committee to accept reduction of the Air Force from the 70 groups approved the previous year to 48 groups based on using the new B-36 as its basis rather than the outmoded B-29 and B-50. The B-36 was more expensive and would have ballooned the defense budget from 14.78 billion to 17 billion if 70 groups were built. Moreover, he explained, the planes would be out of date in two or three years and so it would be a mistake to order too many. Additionally, more planes could be built in short order in the event of war. Whereas a year earlier, the concept would have met with great resistance, it was now accepted without dispute.

Depression bred discouragement in the early 1930's and so it was that many college graduates of that period turned to Communism. It was therefore important to provide openings in the job market for the high school and college graduates, 70 percent of the latter being veterans. William Fulton Kurtz of the Pennsylvania Co. had written to every firm doing business with his bank urging them to employ those graduates.

The FBI had sent to General Hap Arnold, two years before the scandal erupted over the airplane procurement practices of Maj. General Benny Meyers, a report that General Meyers was engaged in irregularities. General Arnold had discarded the information because it was unsigned, even though the FBI could not investigate the matter directly, as that authority fell to the inspector general of the Army. General Arnold was criticized for not following up on the matter.

Mr. Pearson suggests that the possible solution to the problem of having hearsay in the FBI files was to have two sets of files, one for background investigations, involving unchecked information, and the other having only checked information, usable in court.

J. Edgar Hoover had said that he did not want the FBI separated from the Justice Department as it was designed as an investigative wing of it only, not intended as a prosecuting agency. He said that the two had to work together and could not be separated.

Secretary of Defense Johnson had given his private number to a reporter for the Seattle Times after she had performed a skit about him at the women's press party. He did so in furtherance of the joke. But when she called him directly a few weeks later, he was outraged, wondered how she got the number. When she explained, he recalled and laughed, told her to call him anytime.

The British were upset at Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal for refusing to share with them the latest developments on the atomic bomb. He had maintained the secrets for fear that they might fall into the hands of the Russians, despite the British being entitled to share in the information.

Overseas travel would be the cheapest it had ever been in the fall, as Pan American Airways was cutting its price for a flight to London from $750 to $440, following merger with American Overseas Airlines.

Robert C. Ruark, in Evansville, Ind., tells of the American Heritage Foundation which sponsored the Freedom Train, carrying copies of prominent historical documents across the country, now teaching 35 American cities how to celebrate the holidays, starting with the Fourth of July. If it proved a success, they would implement the program for the next secular holidays.

The Foundation proposed to send kits to communications organs in the randomly chosen communities, with 90 pages of instructions stating the origins of the holiday and suggested events, speeches and editorials to go with it.

Mr. Ruark, however, finds it patronizing to be educated on the meaning of "tolerance", "obligation", and the other cliches of modern usage. He believed that most Americans could understand the significance of Independence Day without an educational kit for guidance. He was going fishing and shoot off firecrackers.

He finds in any event tolerance to connote merely indulgence rather than true acceptance of one's fellows.

He had become upset with FDR when he had moved Thanksgiving from November's fourth to third Thursday, thought it arrogant, and viewed the American Heritage Foundation effort similarly.

He concludes by advising them not to beat him over the head with the Golden Rule. "It raises just as big a bump as any other club."

Stewart Alsop, in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, tells of a new independent state of Indonesia to be born almost certainly before the end of the year. It would have 70 million people and the richest resources of any nation in the world except the United States and the Soviet Union. Its independence would rank in importance with the freeing of India and the Communist victory in China.

President Soekarno was a magnetic orator, an authentic leader, and a symbol of Indonesian unity. Vice-President and Premier Mohammed Hatta was less colorful but probably more capable. The chief diplomat, negotiating successfully with the Dutch, was Mohammed Rum.

The most formidable political opposition to Soekarno was Sutan Sjahrir, a former President, who led the left-wing, non-Communist socialists.

All of the leaders were intellectuals in the European sense, but were not necessarily well-equipped to run the country. It had plenty of lawyers, professors, and doctors but only eight engineers and only a small number with business experience. Ninety-two percent of the population were illiterate. Thus, it was not expected that a model democracy would immediately emerge after independence. Rather, it would be more akin to a "shambles", as one observer described it. And it would be subjected to determined attack by the local Communists, operating on direct orders from Moscow. Such an attempted coup had occurred the previous fall and the three principal leaders had been caught and executed.

Indonesia was considered the richest country in Southeast Asia and so Russia would likely try again to gain control of it.

The primary reason the U.S. was supportive of the Republicans was that there was no other alternative. Another reason was that it would deprive the Communists of forging their own nationalist movement.

The Indonesian leaders were smart enough to understand their own weaknesses and were expected to ask the Dutch technicians and civil servants to stay. The combination should assure the ability to forge a new nation even if in the initial stages there would be disorganization. The U.S. would need to continue to provide aid and support, as part of a new, broad policy in Asia, reliant on a prosperous, anti-Communist, free Indonesia as a primary barrier to Russian designs in the region.

A letter writer responds to another writer of June 28 who had commented on the editorial of June 21, "Separation of Church and State". He believes that the letter writer employed economic sophistry in making the argument that because Catholics were one-third of the taxpayers, they deserved to have Catholic schools receive public funds. He believes that adherence to separation of church and state, as mandated by the First Amendment Establishment Clause, would not impair the Catholic Church.

A letter writer responds to the same letter writer responding to the same piece. He also disagrees with her stance. As Catholics were free to send their children to public schools, they were equally free to receive the benefits conferred by public money on the public schools. It was a matter of freedom of choice, as embodied in the First Amendment prohibition against interference by the government with freedom of religious belief.

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.