The Charlotte News

Monday, August 22, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, in Miami for the 50th anniversary of the VFW, declared that peace could not be "bought cheaply", criticizing the House for cutting in half the foreign military aid appropriation for the NATO nations of Western Europe, making the other half contingent on a showing of cooperation by the end of the fiscal year. He urged expenditures for peace rather than having to spend on war. He stressed that arming Western Europe was to prevent war, not to start one. He also urged military assistance for Korea and the Philippines, as well as continuing military aid to Turkey and Greece.

General Carl Spaatz, former chief of staff of the Air Force, told the House Armed Services Committee that there was no pressure from the outside in late 1946 and early 1947 which had influenced the decision at that time to continue development of the B-36 long-range strategic bomber. General Spaatz said that the B-36 and the atom bomb counterbalanced the superiority of Russia's capability to marshal land forces in Europe and Asia, which otherwise could overrun the regions in short order. His testimony was confirmed by members of the senior officers board which made the decision.

A new Russian note to the Tito Government in Yugoslavia warned of "effective measures to protect Soviet citizens in Yugoslavia." The Yugoslav Communist newspaper responded that the Kremlin was using those citizens as spies. The London Daily Mail viewed the note as a threat of war, while British diplomatic sources downplayed it, said that it would not lead to a shooting war.

A new organization formed in Germany called the "Free Communist Party" denounced the Kremlin's version of "imperialist Bolshevism" and issued a statement supportive of Tito's independence from Russia.

In Shelby, N.C., Senator Clyde Hoey, in his hometown for the weekend, said that he would introduce a bill to regulate influence peddling by five-percenters, just as lobbyists were regulated, requiring them to provide public notice that they were being paid by business clients, and every company seeking a Government contract to register the names of persons hired to assist in dealing with the Government. He said that there was nothing per se legally wrong with the practice as long as no improper influence was exerted. Senator Hoey was scheduled to return to Washington this night by train, to resume the hearings before his subcommittee investigating the five percenters' practices, which he hoped would be completed by the end of the week.

Or, put another way: "The fact that speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt... The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy. By definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate... Ingratiation and access, in any event, are not corruption." Citizens United v. FEC 558 U.S. 310, at __ (2010)

Sooner or later, the far right in this country, including "Judicial Watch", is going to have to come to grips with their sui generis, case by case, approach to assessment of political reality and try hard to integrate their views such that they become, more or less, consonant with the objective ideas which are within the mainstream of our democratic society, and have been for 227 years. One cannot, on the one hand, support, for instance, Citizens United, while on the other condemning Secretary Clinton or others for supposedly affording favored access, not favorable treatment, to campaign or foundation donors, stated with acceptance as a principal rationale underlying the decision in Citizens United. And, naturally, if one does not like Citizens United and its abrogation, as unconstitutional vitiation of free speech, of the campaign finance limits on indirect corporate donors imposed by McCain-Feingold, then one would have to favor Secretary Clinton in the race for the presidency, as the next Supreme Court judicial appointment to the open seat may provide a swing vote which could conceivably overturn or alter that 5 to 4 decision, leveling thereby, once again, the political playing field.

You cannot fault someone for playing within the rules imposed on everyone, while also seeking to make the rules fairer when she becomes President. Perhaps, you ought ask her opponent, supposedly "self-funded", at least until June—though not actually so at all if you penetrate his superficial, self-serving statements and realize from whence the bulk of his general election campaign money is coming—, where he sits on Citizens United and, if against it, what justice he would appoint who might do something about it. As a businessman, he admittedy uses it now for all it is worth to gain access. Would he appoint a justice to fill the current vacancy who would likely overturn the decision? Would anyone on his list of prospective Supreme Court justices likely join the dissent in Citizens United?

Do you see, far rightists, including "Judicial Watch", how utterly stupid, picayunish, uninformed, unrealistic, unidealistic, selective in your choice of "uncovering" corruption or various peccadilloes, and, ultimately, therefore, corrupt you appear to the objective observer, whether identifying with the right, left or center of the political spectrum? Sometimes, it all winds up as a conundrum when reasoning is twisted out of shape to fit a predetermined view of "free-market", laissez-faire economics, including approbation of free-market purchase of "access" to politicians. But you cannot blame someone who, not a billionaire and not thus in a position to self-fund, has to swim, to stay afloat, in the same muddied waters with other politicians playing the game allowed again by Citizens United. You cannot have it both ways, yelling and screaming billingsgate when a Democrat does it and sitting on your hands, even applauding, when a Republican does it. Or, do you want only people in high office who have the money, personally, to buy the office? But, then, you must ask yourself how they made their money and thus to whom they might be beholden, while telling you that they are for you, the person with the cute little cap which says, "Make America Great Again".

In Frankfurt, Germany, the U.S. Army reported that two American youths, ages 18 and 20, who had disappeared during a bicycle tour of Germany had been arrested on August 4 or 5 by Soviet zone police. A German informant supplied the information.

The president of the WCTU called upon blood banks to stop taking the blood of vagrants who were "peddling the red", as they called it, to buy liquor. Blood banks and clinics were able to get the blood, she claimed, for $3 to $8 per pint, whereas hospitals paid normally $25 to $50 for a pint of "quality blood". She said that the WCTU had investigated the claims of an article in Collier's by William J. Slocum and found them to be true. She claimed that drinking was widespread at Pearl Harbor on the eve of the attack and implied that it played a role in the lack of readiness—a claim nowhere officially made in any of the investigations, though there was the usual Saturday night socializing on the base at the time. She also claimed that General Eisenhower had dismissed a major general who had been drinking and leaked the invasion date for Normandy.

She may have been drinking.

A severe earthquake was recorded at the seismographic laboratory in West Bromwich, England, with its probable origin in the Himalayas.

Seven Civil Air Patrol planes in Honolulu were put on alert for the approach of a tidal wave following earthquakes in Alaska and Canada.

They were probably drinking on the job and let those earthquakes happen.

Hundreds of firefighters battled 300 forest fires caused by lightning across six Western states, impacting 33,000 acres. At least six remained out of control, three in Payette National Forest in central Idaho. Several firefighters had been injured in the Payette fires. Timber and grass fires were reported in Yellowstone National Park, the largest of which extended over 1,000 acres.

A hurricane with 90 to 100 mph winds had been spotted Sunday, 350 miles north of Puerto Rico and expected to pass north of the Bahamas and Miami within a few days. Weather trackers dubbed it "Harry's Hurricane" in honor of the President's visit to Miami. Weather, however, during his visit had been good.

In Connelsville, Pa., a fire took the life of a young woman, 30, and the infant son she had entered the blazing house to rescue. An explosion of kerosene used for the kitchen stove had apparently caused the fire. The husband had suffered severe burns rescuing the other five children.

The will of the late W.C. Dowd, Jr., former publisher of The News, who had died of a heart attack at age 55 a week earlier on Saturday, bequeathed half of his estate to his widow and the other half to a trust fund for the benefit of five religious and educational institutions, as well his wife and children. Davidson, Queens College, Wake Forest, and the UNC School of Journalism Foundation were the educational beneficiaries. Mr. Dowd had attended both Wake Forest and UNC. The trust also benefited Myers Park Baptist Church of Charlotte, of which Mr. Dowd had been an active member.

In Philadelphia, the second computer, Binac, had been developed by University of Pennsylvania physicists J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly. It could perform 500,000 additions and 200,000 multiplications in two hours. The predecessor machine was known as Eniac, was 30 times larger, weighed 30 tons, and not as fast at computations as Binac, weighing less than a ton. The two physicists were working on their third computer, Univac, to be vastly superior to the first two. Whereas the first two were limited to binary numbers, the Univac would also use decimal numbers and letters, small and capital, and would be used to record the 1950 census. The first two Univacs to be produced would play each other at chess and might even be able to write music. They suggested that the day might come when each person would have a robot at his or her beck and call. Eniac had cost $500,000 and Binac, built by Northrop Aircraft, Inc., of Hawthorne, California, $250,000.

That is something. This is quite a world we are living in, isn't it? They might get those someday down to the size of a car so that you could drive it around and sell time to people to use it. Maybe one day, no one will have to think anymore, just have the computer solve all the world's problems.

In five articles beginning this date, Robert E. Geiger of the Associated Press tells of the discovery that vitamin B12 cured acute anemia, as tiny doses in chicken and hog feed had produced remarkable spurts in growth, developed from the "Clue of the Scratching Chickens".

On the editorial page, "Take the Stench Out of Sugaw Creek" finds wise the City Council's decision to hire for $5,000 a Chicago firm specializing in determining the cause of stream pollution, to analyze the problem causing the noxious odor emanating from Sugaw Creek, especially troubling to nearby residents during the heat of summer. Utilizing the City engineers would have been much cheaper but also would have caused speculation by the industries discharging waste into the creek regarding potential bias if they were ultimately blamed for the pollution. With an outside, impartial firm, there would be no question of bias and it was to be hoped that the industries, in all probability to be found as the principal cause for the pollution, would then undertake to clean up the problem voluntarily.

"A Costly Battle" tells of foreign aid, both loans and gifts, costing during the previous decade nearly as much as the cost to run the U.S. Government for two years, a total of 72 billion dollars since July 1, 1939, according to Congressional Quarterly, nine billion less than the entire budget for fiscal years 1949-50 and 1950-51.

But the cost of World War II had been 265 billion dollars in overseas expenditures and so the proponents of the spending argued that if it prevented another major war, 72 billion was nothing by comparison.

Of the 72 billion, 49 billion had gone to Lend-Lease during the war, the remaining 23 billion for relief and rehabilitation. Great Britain took the lion's share at 36 billion, with Russia getting 11 billion, France, six billion, and China, three billion. Part of the money was in grants, totaling 60 billion, with 11 billion in credits. About seven billion had been returned in repayments or sale of goods and property overseas.

Two billion was proposed for 1949-50, of which 1.45 billion would be military aid, plus 100 million for technical and scientific aid to underdeveloped countries, 175 million for China, 150 million for Korea, and 50 million for Spain. It was unlikely that the full program would be implemented, especially that for China and Spain. (The amounts do not include the roughly 5.25 billion for ERP aid.)

ERP aid had been whittled down and the military aid appeared to be headed for only partial payment in the first year.

It cautions that while the battle for democracy had to be won, there was no need to throw money down rat holes.

A piece from the Manteo Coastal Times, titled "A Worthy Task for Gov. Scott", favors building a road to Hatteras Island for its 2,500 residents so that they could get their fish to market. The 90 percent of the residents reliant on the fishing trade received five cents per pound less for the fact that fish got to market in poor condition because of the delayed route along the sands.

As long as Governor Kerr Scott was improving rural roads, it urges, some money should be devoted to this worthy cause.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of GOP members of the Senate Investigating Committee looking into five percenters considering a demand that military charges be brought against Maj. General Harry Vaughan based on his admitted acceptance of gratuities and gifts in direct violation of Army regulations. He could also be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. But no one in the Army would consider court martial of General Vaughan without the President's approval. The Senators were aware of the fact but wanted to put the President on the spot.

Other Republican Senators were less enthusiastic, one—Senator Joseph McCarthy, as reported on the previous Thursday's front page—, proposing that General Vaughan be removed as coordinator of veterans' affairs, putting the President on the spot with millions of veterans. Another Republican favored no action unless the Democrats initiated it, as it would be better to have General Vaughan continue in full view as a target of criticism against the Administration in the 1950 election cycle, enabling the GOP to exploit the freezer controversy.

Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had chided her colleagues for leaking matter from the Committee's investigations.

Rhode Island Democrats had determined that Congressman John Fogarty would succeed J. Howard McGrath as Senator as the latter became Attorney General, and that Mr. Fogarty would not run in 1950 for the seat, saving it for Governor John Pastore, the Democratic boss of the state. As Senator, Mr. Pastore would serve four full terms, through 1976.

The political and economic situation in France was quiet, with both the Gaullist and Communist threats quelled and inflation stopped. But behind the facade was a wide disparity between prices and wages and the expectation of a new round of wage demands by the unions, all of which was causing uneasiness for ERP officials.

At the National Housing Conference, New York lawyer Charles Abrams sang a parody version of the lyric by the late Gallagher and Shean:

Oh, Mr. Bricker—Oh, Mr. Cain—
How can we kill off housing without pain?
With Sparkman, Taft, and Douglas
Our slums may soon be bugless,
And liberals like Morse will never wane.

Senators Robert Taft, Wayne Morse, John Sparkman, and Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas of California were present and found the song quite humorous, at the expense of Senators Harry Cain and John Bricker.

Marquis Childs finds the testimony of the former Agriculture Department employee, Henry Hathorn, that Maj. General Harry Vaughan had coerced him to set aside a restriction on grain for production of alcoholic beverages, to elucidate the intolerable arrogance in high places in Government.

Another sort of the same arrogance was exhibited by the Senate in setting aside legislation which had been sidetracked for months so that the confirmation to the Supreme Court of Attorney General Tom Clark could be sped through the body despite the fact that the Court was out of session until October. And the speedy confirmation occurred as there were rumors that the Justice Department, which Mr. Clark headed, might have had a role in the five percenter cases being examined by the Senate Investigating subcommittee.

Meanwhile, the Marshall Plan administration was desperately trying to stay afloat for lack of funding because of delayed appropriations in the Senate.

He asserts that such arrogance by the party in power may have had something to do with the defeat of the Democrats in 1946.

There was much talk of the danger of a welfare state. It seemed beside the point, for to run such a state required competence, responsibility, and honesty at every level.

The greater danger, he asserts, was the handout state, that is the passing out of personal favors to the favored by politicians entrenched in power.

Joseph and Stewart Alsop find "small nastiness" being unearthed in the investigation of the five percenter scheme, which appeared to have been based on personal vanity by the actors involved, doing "little favors for little men".

Even where there was evidence of real corruption, as in the settlement of war contracts, it had been on a petty scale. Comptroller General Lindsay Warren and his staff had uncovered such things as the entries on the books of a company, awarded three Government contracts, for indebtedness in the amount of a total of $3,000 to two Government employees. In another case, a firm paid an official $500 to increase its price on a Government contract. Two Army officers received $2,000 worth of stock to provide a firm a Government contract.

The General Accounting Office found that such overt palm-greasing was rare. The more typical transaction involved favors of subsequent private sector jobs with large salaries to officials who provided contracts to firms.

Though petty in each separate case, the total sums of the graft reached at least 6.25 million dollars. And the GAO was now investigating a case involving fraud of twenty million dollars by a single company. Moreover, the GAO only had the resources to spot check Government contracts and so the actual graft was likely far greater.

It could be argued that GAO had an axe to grind as Congress had relieved the Office of oversight of Government contracts on the rationale that its ponderous procedures would take too long, a move resented by GAO. Thus, the Office had a reason to prove that the absence of oversight had led to such fraud. It could also be argued to the contrary that, in light of the millions of people and billions of dollars involved in Government contracts, the Government was on the whole honest.

But there were increasing symptoms of graft as exhibited in the five percenter investigation, potentially becoming more serious as the private sector and the Government became more involved with one another.

A letter writer complains of the rubber-impregnated telephone cord which caused it to become devilishly entangled while in use, causing him to lose his former confidence in the ingenuity of Bell Laboratories.

Don't worry. They will be bringing you the coily cord within a few years and then color for your telephone, a sleek Princess model for your wife and daughter, and, a little later, push buttons. That's right, no more dialing. And it won't be long until you will have the luxury of a television screen hooked to your phone. Have patience. Maybe one day, they can hook your phone to the Univac in your community and you can call up to have your math problems solved or play chess by phone against the computer.

A letter writer finds ministers who sought to tell their congregations how to vote on such issues as local option on ABC-controlled liquor sales to cross the line of separation of church and state, especially when they said to vote the way they urged or leave the church, as a minister was quoted as preachifying in Gastonia a year earlier.

He thinks churches ought not become sounding boards for political issues as it defiled the house of God and made of the minister a Judas.

A Pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, "In Which a Solid Suggestion Is Made Concerning the Current Torrid Temperatures:

"Make it a rule,
Always to keep cule."

And don't be foolish,
Or a sciolist;
Remain always schoolish,
Thus, a realist.

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