The Charlotte News
Monday, August 5, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Whose Ox" reminds us that North Carolina congressmen playing politics with tobacco is nothing new. Presently in 2004, for instance, the Republican candidate for United States Senator claims he is all for the tobacco farmer. Indeed, since he receives his primary contributions from a large tobacco company and its law firm, both located in the District he has served for ten years as Congressman, one would think he ought to be solidly for the people who produce the stuff.
But his positions on the primary issue presently at stake for tobacco farmers, the ten billion dollar tobacco buyout, a third of which is earmarked for his home state, indicates he isn't much on their side, at least no more than was Willie Stark on the side of the common man of Louisiana, while he sang, "I said, 'Oh no, they gotta go' ", shining like a putrescent mackerel in the moonlight of the good view, while preaching pious rhetoric to Lord Chamberlain's crew on the stage. And the farmers appear to understand this fact, waging a strong campaign against him.
As a Congressman, this gent has stalled passage of the tobacco buyout. His reasoning is that, while he says that he favors the buyout, he believes the amendments to it, giving FDA oversight to tobacco products, will harm the tobacco industry--and thus the tobacco farmer. The circularity of the reasoning is obvious, unless of course his real concern is that of tobacco farmers in other countries he regularly visits on his active travel itinerary.
He believes the role of the FDA is limited to providing "life-saving drugs and devices" to the people, playing yet to another major interest group within his congressional district, large drug companies who supply the largest employer in his district these days, the healthcare industry. So he helped stall the passage of the tobacco buyout as long as FDA oversight was coupled to it. We sure don't want to regulate the nicotine in cigarettes for that would mean fewer patients for the health care industry, you see.
Recently, the bill did pass the House without the FDA approval attachment, but will likely not pass the Senate in its present form. As a practical matter, without FDA oversight, the Senators of the 42 non-tobacco states are not likely to approve the large appropriation for the buyout. Why should they when there is nothing in it for their constituents except taxes? Thus, without FDA approval of tobacco products included in the bill, a matter which has received support from both parties, there will likely be no buyout. And, without the FDA oversight of tobacco, there should not be a buyout. Whose interests are being protected, those of farmers in Yadkin County or those of China, India, Brazil, Turkey and Zimbabwe? The U.S. imports more tobacco than it exports, consumes less than a third of that of China. Oh, we get it. Fight Communism by insuring more cancer abroad. But what of the imports? The U.S. leads the world still in imported tobacco. And China produces the bulk of that import. There seems to be a flaw in the anti-Communist thing. But, the Congressman has our interests at heart. We know that. He just wants to see a strong, thriving community of rich tobacco manufacturers and healthcare providers, providing for the cancer the tobacco brings. Good for business, good for the people who work in the business. Happy-happy. But what of the rest of the state he would serve as Senator? The rest of the nation?
Meanwhile, tobacco farmers in North Carolina and the other seven tobacco producing states lose their farms and go into bankruptcy because they cannot hold on long enough to receive the buyout, the bulk of the market having flooded overseas for the usual reasons, cheaper labor, cheaper marketing from producer to consumer locally, in China.
Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
But the fellow in Congress whose district has many tobacco farmers, but not nearly enough to be a substantial voting force, assures us that he is for the farmer.
In fact, of course, he is for the tobacco companies who he represents, who paid him some $200,000 in the last ten years to represent them.
If he were candid, he would state honestly that he doesn't give a fig for the farmers who produce the tobacco which, until most of it started coming from overseas markets, bought all those fancy cars and fancy houses and fancy buildings for the tobacco magnates and their corporatista lawyers for the last 100 years or so--and which even helped pay for the brand new campus for Wake Forest College back in the early 1950's from which the Senatorial candidate graduated in the 1970's. He would tell them straight up that, even though the former, through their hard work in the fields and curing barns and auction houses helped to send him to a nice university, the latter pay his bills currently and insure him a nice job in Congress so that he doesn't have to acquit himself by selling lawnmowers anymore, as he did until ten years ago--and that therefore he will do whatever they wish him to do. Heck, the sheepskin only afforded him that job selling lawnmowers; the corporatistas give more, all expense paid trips overseas to shore up his and their real constituency to whom Mr. Nixon "opened the door", after all.
The truth is, of course, that the man has done absolutely nothing for the average constituent of the District which he has represented for a decade. So, why not make him a U.S. Senator?
Incidentally, the man who is vacating the Senate seat in question, criticized by Republicans for being a "trial lawyer"--whatever that is, (more on that some other day)--took no money at all from big tobacco. But beware, he likes "trial lawyers". The corporatista lawyers are your real friends, Pilgrim. Go ahead, call one up sometime and try to get an appointment on your case. And if by some stroke they happen to take it, be sure to get a quote on the hourly rate before signing the contract. But, not to worry. Those shyster "trial lawyers" will just try to take a part of your winnings after you've won--after all. Stick with the corporatistas. They will only charge you by the hour, win or lose.
And while we are briefly on the subject of "trial lawyers", why is it that every time anything happens now, someone is apt to blame trial lawyers? We are left to believe that hurricanes now probably try to re-route themselves to avoid places where there are too many trial lawyers, but are nevertheless routinely inveigled by the TLC, (Trial Lawyer Conspiracy), to spread their destruction indiscriminately anyway. Recently, during commentary of the 2004 Republican National Convention, we heard a Republican pollster, who we call Lumpy, not only because of his uncanny resemblance to Lumpy but because of his somewhat skew-ed focus groups he often presents on a major network, actually say casually and without any apparent hint of irony that the margin of error associated with polling data is to prevent some "trial lawyer from suing the polls". Of course, margins of error have only to do with statistical probabilities and are purely mathematical assessments of how far off the result is likely to be one way or the other based on the size of the sample versus the population sampled. Has nothing to do with trial lawyers or preventing anyone from suing someone--that is unless the whole art of polling is designed to prevent anyone from suing someone.
Lumpy, no doubt, knows that. Like the Congressman aforementioned, Lumpy was just trying to stir his sampling base again so that his next focus group will raise their hands wholeheartedly when he asks the question: "Okay, who thinks that trial lawyers who sue innocent working taxpayers with strong family values, people like yourselves--who, like me, are from the Heartland of America--and who sue these good, moral people over things they can't control, just because they happen to service a contract for a public entity--who thinks these, these, these trial lawyers are bad, bad, bad, morally reprobate people? Now, before you raise your hands, as I know most of you will do, let's first be fair and take an example, such as, let's take this case: A food service company, responsible for feeding the mouths of all the hungry schoolchildren of people like yourselves, happens to deliver boxes of food items which were damaged by Hurricane Betsy and drops out the bottom, quite inadvertently, four dozen burritos in an unlighted stairwell of a local high school, where the bulbs in the stairwell hadn't been changed in four years, causing a 17 year old student--who is also captain of the football team, scored 1440 on the SAT, refuses on religious grounds to say "God" during the Pledge of Allegiance, was once caught wearing a T-shirt with an upside down flag which said, "Death to all those who would whimper and cry", listens regularly to heavy metal music and rap, and had a scholarship forthcoming to go to Yale where he wanted to study to become a trial lawyer himself--to slip and fall down ten flights of stairs into the basement where he was burned by the school boiler with its doors left open by the custodian who is down on his luck because he can't pay his high taxes made that way by Democratic Congresses, causing the student to wind up in a coma for six months, lose his scholarship, never play football again, leading him to hire a trial lawyer who sues the school district and the food service company and wins for him three million dollars in damages. Who thinks such morally reprobate trial lawyers, as well as their clients, for whom we feel, being good moral Christians, sad--but three million , c'mon, can't buy your way to heaven, pal--should be denied their franchise, while the school and the food service franchisee should be allowed to pay the unfortunate student only voluntarily what they in good conscience feel they should in utilizing your tax dollars to recompense this spastic fool who couldn't watch where he was going? Show of hands? Good, just as I thought, unanimity on the subject."
Ah well, Lumpy, judging by his appearance and approximate age, was in college in a time when we had a Vice-President, himself a lawyer, who blamed not only "trial lawyers" for all the ills of the country including the corruption of the spelling of "potatoes"--which should have followed common etymological progression and been spelled instead "potentatos"--, but also a single television sitcom for the corruption of "family values". Funny, when he himself resembled Charlie McCarthy, that he should blame the daughter of Edgar Bergen for such ills. But, that was yesterday, and yesterday 's...--wait a minute, maybe not.
Concerning the Economy Stand of a Tar Heel Senator
Senator Josiah William Bailey's scheme for the Federal Government to buy up the tobacco surplus in Eastern North Carolina and use WPA funds to build warehouses to hold it, ought to be a little startling, but isn't--not much.
The tobacco farmers, admittedly, are in a bad way. But the Senator has set up to be a conservative in agricultural affairs. He has indeed voted to raise agricultural appropriations almost every time that has been proposed. But in theory he has been in favor of paying subsidies only on the part of any crop used domestically, and dead against restrictions on how much the farmers should grow.
Now he proposes to spend staggering sums to buy outright the part of the tobacco crop which would normally go abroad and which he presumes will someday go abroad--apparently at the prevailing price. And if any set-up ever called for drastic restrictions on how much tobacco the farmers may grow, that one plainly does. Else in a few years the national wealth will be tied up in tobacco warehouses.
As nearly as we can make it out, the Senator is strongly in favor of economy, in WPA at least, provided of course it isn't achieved at the expense of the people in his Eastern North Carolina home country who vote for him.
Elder Brewster, We See, Is Going To Sleep Poorly
The Daily Worker, Communist organ published in New York, is taking no chances. It has got itself three angels, and has announced that it is no longer the official organ of the Communist Party of America. Most of the same editorial staff remains, however, and the Commies announced that the party will continue to work "loyally" with the sheet.
The three angels are:
Mrs. Ferdinand Reed, 63, well-heeled grand-daughter of the founder of the celebrated Brattleboro Sanatorium, at Brattleboro, Vt.
Mrs. Caro Lloyd Strobel, 81, of Pekin, Ill., well-heeled graduate of Vassar, a descendant of French Huguenots and New England Puritans.
Mrs. Susan H. Woodruff, 71, of Tenafly, N. J., well-heeled Smith College graduate and a descendant of Elder Brewster, the first Governor of Plymouth Colony. The lady, that is, is straight out of the Mayflower.
The Communists obviously felt that the wind was up and that it might be just as well to put their sheet outside possible bans on Communists by getting it respectable American connections. That is easy to understand. What is harder to grasp is what actuated the three old ladies.
They explain themselves that they want to preserve the right of free speech "for the working people of America." But even old ladies should know that the Communists in this country aren't remotely interested in the working people of America but only in blind subservience to a foreign conspiracy against the United States carried on in Moscow for the benefit of Berlin. And that this foreign conspiracy is both anti-property and anti-God.
That old New England stock, to which all the ladies belong, used to be mightily devoted to both God and property.
Who Knows Best--General Pershing or Lindbergh?
There were two speeches on foreign affairs made in the United States yesterday.
One of them was by an old gentleman who has qualified to pass opinion on such matters by commanding the greatest armies the United States ever put in the field--the greatest expeditionary force in all history. If anybody on earth is fitted to pass opinion on our military relation to the "War in Europe," General Pershing is the man.
General Pershing made perfectly clear the imperative necessity of seeing that England survives. He proposed coolly that we at once let England have 50 of our old World War destroyers, apparently as a loan to be repaid in time by other destroyers which England now has on the ways but which will not be finished for some months to come.
The destroyer is immensely important in this war. She is the deadly little watchdog which almost alone is fitted to cope with the submarine and the swift torpedo boats. By a hair, the destroyer saved England from starvation in the submarine campaign of 1916-17. And Germany has now launched a campaign many times as ferocious as that last one to starve England.
Already Britain has lost many destroyers. Officially, she admits 29. Actually the number is probably twice that. And the convoy losses, minimized in official reports, are said to be staggering in reality.
The United States has altogether 238 destroyers, with many more building. That is overwhelmingly more than any other two navies in the world possess. Fifty destroyers will in no wise cripple our own defense if worse comes to worst. They have a very good chance of insuring that England will stand and that Adolf Hitler and his gang will be sent on their way.
The other speech was made by a man who qualified as an expert on foreign affairs (1) by flunking out of school, (2) by serving some years as a mechanic, (3) by flying the Atlantic Ocean and later flying around the world, (4) by living some years with Dr. Alexis Carrel, official philosopher to the French Fascist parties.
Charles A. Lindbergh assured us that it did not matter to us if England falls. He intimated, indeed, that it would be a very good thing. He assured us that all we had to do was to get ready to "co-operate" with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi world to come. He neglected to explain clearly what "co-operate" means. But the record shows plainly enough.
"Co-operation" with Adolf Hitler's philosophy, the slow or rapid Nazification of the economy and then of the government of the nation which "cooperates." And Nazification not on any equal basis but on the basis of recognition of the Germans as the Master Race, all other races as inferior races.
The man who proposed "co-operation" either did not understand the words he used, or he was proposing in cold blood the ultimate submission of this land to Berlin.
Such were the two speeches. The citizen may take his choice.
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