JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER:
THE AIRMAIL SCANDAL AND THE CONSTITUTION
PART 1 of 2
by Steven Neill
June 26, 2013
Of the twenty-six rights declared in the first eight amendments to the US Constitution, fifteen, or more than half of them concern criminal court procedure. Obviously, this topic was important to the Founding Fathers. They were very familiar with the long list of government abuses from history in which people were falsely accused and punished unfairly.
Thus they included these seven specific protections for people accused of crimes in the 6th Amendment which expressly mandates:
The right to a speedy trial
2. The right to a public trial
3. The right to be judged by an impartial jury
4. The right to be notified of the nature and circumstances of the alleged crime
5. The right to confront witnesses testifying against the accused
6. The right to find witnesses who will speak in favor of the accused
7. The right for a lawyer 
The rights guaranteed under the 6th Amendment separate those who are subject to the rule of law from those who are subject to the rule of a tyrant. Few people in history have had this right, but as with any freedom, there are always those looking to take it away, even if it costs a few innocent lives.
You Are Going to Lose Some Fine Boys Will Rogers
The history of the US Postal Airmail program is the stuff of legends. Started in 1918 using surplus WWI planes and pilots, the first route was between Washington DC and New York City. Even as this route expanded into a nationwide network, the mortality rate for pilots was staggering. Of the original 40 pilots, three died in 1919 and nine more in 1920. This was an incredibly dangerous job as the pilots had no radios, no navigation aids, and no instruments but instead, pilots flew by dead reckoning.
With time, the safety record improved with the advancement of technology, and regular transcontinental service was established in 1924. In a move to encourage commercial aviation growth, Congress passed laws removing the airmail operations from the Post Office and turned it over to private carriers by 1927.
Though a few of the private carriers called themselves Airlines, passenger airmail service was almost nonexistent as Airmail contracts provided the bulk of the support for commercial aviation. The U.S. Congress passed the Air Mail Act of 1930 (also known as the McNary Watres Act) to further promote commercial aviation growth. This bill gave President Herbert Hoover’s postmaster general, Walter Brown, the authority to extend or consolidate airmail routes as he felt it would best serve the public interest. Brown used his authority to limit the Airmail contracts to larger carriers using bigger, safer and newer airplanes in what has been called the “Spoils Conference.” This conference effectively awarded the bulk of the nation’s airmail contracts to just three companies and squeezed out their competitors.
Brown’s plan succeeded splendidly. The big airlines grew and prospered. Unstable, small operations were swallowed up or went out of business. The cost per mile for air mail decreased from $1.10 in 1929 to 54 cents in 1933 and more people than ever before were using airplanes to travel across the US.
Following his lopsided election in 1932, FDR sought out opportunities to replace private enterprise with government bureaucracy. He had his chance when some of the smaller airlines began to complain to reporters and politicians that the airmail contracts were rigged in favor of Hoover supporters. Future Supreme Court Justice, Senator Hugo Black of Alabama, went on to claim "The whole system of airmail contracts ... was fraudulent and completely illegal."
On February 7, 1934, acting over the objections of his own Post Master General James Farley, Roosevelt precipitously cancelled all domestic airmail contracts and ordered the US Army Air Corps to take over the routes in ten days.
Two days after the cancellation order, Charles A. Lindbergh, aviation hero and with the possible exception of FDR himself, the most popular man in America, sent the following telegraph to FDR:
Your action of yesterday affects fundamentally the industry to which I have devoted the last twelve years of my life. Therefore, I respectfully present to you the following consid¬erations. The personal and business lives of American citizens have been built up around the right to just trial before convic¬tion. Your order of cancellation of all air mail contracts con¬demns the largest portion of our commercial aviation without just trial. The officers of a number of the organizations affected have not been given the opportunity of a hearing and improper acts by many companies affected have not been established. No one can rightfully object to drastic action being taken provided the guilt implied is first established but it is the right of any American individual or organization to receive fair trial. Your present action does not discriminate between innocence and guilt and places no premium on hon¬est business. Americans have spent their lives in building in this country the finest commercial air lines in the world. The United States today is far in the lead in almost every branch of commercial aviation.
In America, we have commercial aircraft, engines, equipment and air lines superior to those of any other country. The greatest part of this progress has been brought about through the air mail. Certainly most individuals in the industry believe that this development has been carried on in cooperation with existing government and according to law, if this is not the case it seems the right of the industry and in keeping with American tradition that facts to the contrary be definitely established. Unless these facts leave no alternative, the condemnation of commercial aviation by cancellation of all air mail contracts and the use of the army on commercial air lines will unnecessarily and greatly damage all American aviation.
Lindbergh’s argument strikes at the heart of the 6th Amendment and can be summarized by the following question: Are Americans innocent until proven guilty or can the court of public opinion override that presumption? Apparently to FDR and his stooges, it did.
Lindbergh's protest received front page coverage in major American city newspapers across the country. An attempt by the Republicans to have the telegram included in the Congressional Record disrupted the House of Representatives when two members almost came to blows.
Despite the uproar that Lindbergh’s telegraph created, the Air Corp pilots began training to operate a reduced system of routes. Within the first week, the Army was to prove just how disastrous this undertaking was to be. Unfamiliar with flying at night in massive blizzards, three air mail pilots were killed during two training flight crashes in Utah and Idaho. The next day, while ferrying mail pilots, an aircraft went down off the New York coast in which a passenger drowned.
“The Army has lost the art of flying” Billy Mitchell
It was if Mother Nature herself was against the enterprise as immense blizzards smothered large sections of the US creating dangerous conditions that were beyond the capabilities of both the pilots and aircraft. After two more pilots were killed and six injured the Air Corps suspended the flights for a week. When they resumed service, it was with aircraft better suited to airmail flights. But crashes and deaths continued to plague the Corps.
By March 10, 1939, the Army Air Corps Mail Operation had endured sixty-six crashes or forced landings, killing twelve army pilots and wounding many more. World War I aviation legend (and then-current head of Eastern Air Transport) Eddie Rickenbacker publically referred to this switch as "legalized murder." By this time, the scandal was on every front page in the country and the public outcry to stop the deaths was deafening. In FDR’s first major setback as President, he was forced to return the service to private airmail contracts, resulting in the Airmail Act of June 12, 1934.
In a petty attempt to score political points, FDR was able to include a provision that no company that had won a contract under the Brown “Spoils Conference” would be permitted to bid on the new contracts. Those companies merely changed their names and entered new bids.
In his anger over his defeat, he pledged to press spokesman Stephen Early and Budget Director Lewis Douglas: "Don't worry about Lindbergh. We will get that fair-haired boy." By the time FDR was done with Lindbergh, whose heroic flight and unwavering dedication to the advancement of aviation made him one of the most famous and well respected men in the world, Lindbergh would be labeled a Nazi, un-American and anti-semitic. Working through his henchmen and an accommodating press, FDR was able to destroy the reputation of a true American patriot.
When the dust settled, the routes more or less returned to the same companies that had them before. In 1941, as part of a decision resulting from airlines’ suits against the government for missed revenues during the six months of Army Air Corps flights, the U.S. Court of Claims determined that there had not been any fraud or collusion by Brown’s contract awards of 1930.
If this were the only time an acting President or administration became judge, jury and executioner, what a wonderful world this would be. But it’s not. There was the Alien and Sedition Act; the Trail of Tears; Lincoln’s treatment of the “Copperheads” and the subsequent arrest of over 14,400 Northern civilians during the Civil War; FDR’s Executive Order 9066 which interned thousands of Japanese American’s during WWII; David Koresh and the Branch Davidians as well as many more examples of the US government gone rogue.
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Weak leaders are always searching for convenient scapegoats to divert attention from past misdeeds and/or ways to skirt around legal protections. Peering beneath rocks and cracking open manhole covers, the Obama administration has unearthed two outstanding allies in its war on Christianity and the Constitution; Morris Dees from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Mikey Weinstein from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Both have an almost demonic hatred of all things Christian and both have become valuable partners to a White House long known for its disdain for the Bible. Together, they are influencing government policy in a way that more resembles a totalitarian regime than a Constitutional Republic. For part two click below.
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2. The Airmail Fiasco
3. 1934 Airmail Scandal
4. Lindbergh: U.S. Air Mail Service Pioneer
5. "Fiasco" revisited: the Air Corps & the 1934 air mail episode.
6. Lindbergh Vs. Roosevelt: The Rivalry That Divided America
7. Air Mail scandal
8. Lindbergh was an American patriot
9. Arbitrary Exercise of Power
10. Andrew Jackson, Obama, Banks, and the Trail of Tears
11. Lincoln’s Critics: The Copperheads
12. The Lincoln Administration and Arbitrary Arrests: A Reconsideration
13. FDR’s Solicitor General Withheld Evidence in Japanese Internment Cases
14. We’re All Branch Davidians Now
15. King of Fearmongers
16. Who is Mikey Weinstein?
17. America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President
18. All Over America Evangelical Christians Are Being Labeled As “Extremists” And “Hate Groups”
19. Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism Labeled 'Extremist' in Army Presentation
20. Gay terrorist who attacked Family Research Council to be sentenced on July 15
21. JW Obtains Emails Exposing Connections between DOJ and Controversial SPLC
22. U.S. military should put religious freedom at the front
23. Fundamentalist Christian Monsters: Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
24. There is No Right to Religious Proselytizing in U.S. Military
25, Pentagon Confirms That Soldiers Could Be Court-Martialed for Sharing Faith
26, Pentagon Hires Anti-Conservative Activist Who Branded Fundamentalists as 'Christian Monsters'
27, Freedom of religion vs. freedom from religion.
28, President Barack Obama’s Commencement Address to Ohio State University’s Class of 2013.
29, Monsanto threatens to sue State o
© 2013 - Steven Neill - All Rights Reserve