The Charlotte News
Wednesday, September 11, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Now, look here. Here's some logical positivistic intuition.
That last night, the wind was whisperin', but we just couldn't make out what it was.
And now, now we are trying to figure out what rhymes with "boat".
Let's see now. There's "vote", "moat", "coat", "rote", "goat"--and, ahhh, "Note".
Then we were thinking of "fire".
Then "war" and war and war some more.
Then we were thinking of "raft" and "draft".
Then we were thinking of killing ground.
And we shouted something. "God said to..."
Sometime ago, November-December, 2000, we set forth in the spaces fronting this site some thoughts, which for economy of space we then moved off the frontis page to a page inside. We read the little Note again recently. There was something in there, eleventh and ninth paragraphs from the end, about "Aaron's goats" and how these were not people but goats, that being the point, we thought, of the little parable about goats. But that some had failed to understand that because they had not learned how to read or even to count.
And there was some more there.
(Incidentally, if you fail to accept that these lines, if you care to read them, were all written and placed there in the time frame which we claim, then go here for a second and you will see something over which we have no control, near the bottom of the column, under the moniker "wjcash2.htm". Click on the link and you will see the Note. (We changed servers, incidentally, our British server not serving us too well, between late December, 2000 when we finished the thing and when we last uploaded it on June 27, 2001, unchanged from its original words, hence the later date. But this later date, being soon enough to prove the point, is of no moment for our purposes here.))
And we thought about all of that some.
We know what is happening around us in the last three years or so.
But do we? Do we see?
Let us suppose something, for the sake of supposition.
After all, a whole country has gone to war in Iraq over supposition. Supposition which never was true, at least not in the present. And had anyone listened to Mr. Blix a bit, they might have known that way back in January-February, 2003. But, that's not the point right here either.
We do know certain facts from good sources now. We know that in early 2001, someone in a high position said something like, "Find a way to get us into Iraq."
And then there were several noteworthy events in the public eye, things we have covered before. There was a "defensive missile strategy" launched. (Whatever happened to that?) There was talk of junking of supposedly outmoded S.A.L.T. (Whatever happened to that?)
Out of the public eye, there were some intelligence reports which, for some reason, the intelligence gatherers couldn't seem to bring to the attention of the Administration.
Much too busy with other imminent concerns, you know, of great import, like that outmoded S.A.L.T. and the defensive missiles. And some other things.
Perhaps, the worst thing was avoided by the lesser thing. We couldn't say. But the lesser thing was quite bad enough.
What we are concerned about now, however, is what happened leading to that thing.
Once, about a year and a half ago, on a Sunday evening it was, there surfaced a report from a reliable source, replete with pictures and interviews and a lot of evidence, about a certain tobacco company, located in a hyphenated city, which, (or, at least, claimed its spokesman, its d.b.a. international counterpart), had violated federal trade laws by smuggling at least 250 million dollars worth of cigarettes to Iraq. (Some claim the numbers go as high as 8 billion cigarettes in just one two-year period. That's 40 million cartons at 200 per. Cheap retail prices are about $13.50 per carton in the U.S. What do black market ciggies go for wholesale? Who knows? You do the astronomical math. Some say the smuggling has occurred since 1992.) This company had even brought some Iraqis to the hyphenated town and wined them and dined them ostensibly to accomplish the little deal--or perhaps they were just trying some new diplomacy. We don't know. That had occurred, we recall from the report, somewhere back in the late nineties.
We thought about all of that some, too.
Strangely, nobody was prosecuted for it though the company was funneling a ready means of barter for a notorious regime inimical to the United States, (at least so we hear of late), to enable perhaps billions of dollars worth of trade on the black market for other things which we were trying to prevent that country from having until they got rid of their dictator.
Was the tobacco company paid in money, as you would pay over the counter in a store? Likely not, since the whole thing was illegal. Presumably, they were paid in some other fungible item, probably something rather oily.
Well, let us assume this item was then stored somewhere, not immediately cashed in, somewhere in some country friendlier to the United States, and comingled there with other oily items, not hard to do since a good deal of it travels underground anyhow.
That item--worth probably $10 per barrel in the late nineties when all of this occurred, and until recently--would today be worth a record $50 per barrel and climbing. That would make the little cancer sticks sold for 250 million bucks now worth 1.25 billion, you see, and that doesn't even include black market kickbacks on the profits from the barterers (or the higher estimates of numbers of the dripping-in-blood coffin nails)--that is, if the barterers back in the hyphenated city and their new pals had a plan to get all that going that way, the higher price that is, and kept their title on the oily item, like a stock certificate.
You understand how that works. Buy it at one price which is low and then, hopefully, sell that sucker as high as high can be. (Helps to have a plan to make sure it goes the way you want it, of course. But that violates, last we heard, Securities and Exchange laws. They call it "insider trading" most of the time, at least for those subject to the law. You know about all that from the news out of the kitchen.) But this form of it, of which we speak, has some old, old twists and turns in new packaging, which career and track and turn and burn with Hell attached to it, billowing smoke to the skies after corrupting your lungs below--sort of like a cigarette.
So, let us suppose further that a small bit of that oily item was traded off somewhere else, another country entirely, some place that manufactures and sells a whole lot of tobacco these days, and in some complex maneuvering, designed to tax even the clever little brain of someone such as, say, William Rhodes Davis, moving the pieces around a bit so anyone sniffing their smoky trail couldn't easily follow the cash.
And then, alas and alack, some people down in Florida and round about go out and take some flying lessons.
Daft, you say? Maybe. But it was daft to go to Iraq, too, and sell cigarettes.
When a group such as this goes down a winding little country bumpkin road obviously to recoup lost profits under the previous Administration it hated for having taken its cancer stick profits from it--as we have seen before--it might be willing to do just about anything to get even, being mad as a hatter to begin with and unable to see any other way--always has. Got to insure those nice fine houses and nice big cars and plush offices remain as they have been and aren't shipped overseas or turned into some other less profitable enterprise. After all, tradition is tradition, and when some half-educated fellow, lit up and half-stoned from the hilly moonshine, rides into town on a horse, envisions going out to the country club and the golf course, in the late 1800's and decides he's going to start him a little tobacco enterprise in the great American tradition, that wonderful tradition has to go on forever... Come Hell or High Water. Let the big birds fly.
Oh, throw that sand across the floor... Do that double-shuffle.
And, incidentally, of course, the someone who wanted to go to Iraq is served nicely in the bargain, the fatcat company formerly chaired by his buddy, you know, gets to rebuild Iraq after the fact, after the load of goods is sold to his followers, plus, to top it all, all the billions in payout to all those terrible trial lawyers who fought them to stop the cancer are recouped, and they and all their fat big buddies sit back in their offices nicely marbled, fit for a tombstone, laughing on that Laffer Curve.
Meanwhile, the skunk who we are told ordered the deed be done somehow vanishes into thin air, a wily fellow though he is.
But--we even caught the other wily one somehow in Iraq, though he too was hiding out under ground, away from view.
So it all is very, shall we say, curious--curiously symbiotic.
Must be God on their side for sure--all the beneficiaries, that is.
Now, don't jump down a rabbit hole, but we think you can probably figure out the rest. Just read and count. We think there is a clear solution to the dilemma into which we have collectively allowed ourselves to get these last strange few years, whether this, our supposition, is correct or no.
It rhymes with "boat" and "Note" and, most assuredly, "Goat".
You can do it for free and quite in private on your own, independent of anyone else, after some careful quiet, sober thought and consideration, on November 2, 2004, probably right around the corner from where you live or near enough by.
Unless that is, you are curious as to how the tale ends and would prefer, instead, to take a ride on an unsinkable ship. Have a grand old time, like the simpler good old days, you know. There have a chat, they say, with the wealthy aboard, even a young book collector who is going to have a nice library on Harvard Yard named for him. Have a smoke and relax in the cool spring air. Nice and lavish, full of deck chairs and plentiful good sights and sounds all the way across the wide Atlantic to Britain she will sail next April. Not enough lifeboats someone said. But don't let that bother your head. She's unsinkable, that one is. Ah, and along the way, as you pass by some giant chunks of ice which need not bother your crystal clear eyes, listen instead to the pleasant strings of the little band playing, say, "Songe d'Automne", and for the last sad time.
What a sentimental journey it shall be. All aboard. Right this way. Last tickets going fast.
Your call, mate.
And, as to "With Laughter", search the site for Claude Pepper, a friendly acquaintance and admirer of Cash by spring, 1941.
In "Bold Man", we find a phrase, that they have no more use for an object "than a hog has for a morning coat". Do you know perchance where Cash used that little metaphor one other time? Hint: Had to do with "goods-box..."
As to "Traditions", see "Kept Promise", re the changing back of Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November, to prove ominous in years subsequent. (And, though we had no idea of the juxtaposition of these editorials when we wrote the note thereon last year as we had not yet read this day's editorials, we note that we have discovered further that the man therein referenced once attended kindergarten there on Summit Street at a church named St. Paul's in a hyphenated city--for what it's worth.)
"True to Form" tells us of a legacy--a sad legacy, one now called "plausible denial". It was largely broken apart finally in the mid-sixties, with Lyndon Johnson's courageous guiding hand at the helm to insure that it was so broken asunder, at least as to this particular form of it. The precipitant event which grabbed the attention of the nation finally came after the release from jail of three civil rights workers, two white, one black, held there on a speeding charge for a few hours, one warm June Sunday night in Neshoba County, Mississippi in 1964, their bodies discovered in August beneath an earthen dam on the Old Jolly Farm. 1
Have you ever heard someone proclaim it "Christmas"--or Pearl Harbor Day--in September and wondered what in hell they were talking about and why?
Rocket 88--like an olde mobile.
The Rovin' Gambler, ah yes, "the rovin' gambler"--out to start a world war... Can be done. Just it take on down to Highway...
"Fooled me once. Shame on, shame on you. Fooled me..." Cu-cu-cu-sheeeew.
But Crowd Might Not Always Remain Good-Natured
What Claude Pepper had to say at the American Legion patriotic rally last night was familiar enough. He had said most of it before--and often--though that does not vitiate the truth it contains.
The thing really worth noting about the rally was the way the crowd cheered and howled when he sailed into Congress for dodging defense issues because an election is near at hand.
"Congress wouldn't have sent a rowboat or a box of matches to Europe. Hidden behind their immunity, they debate and argue and leave it to the President to do something, knowing that if after he does it the public approves it they can holler 'Me too,' and if the public disapproves it they can say, 'It was him that done it; I had nothing to do with it.' "
The cheers which greeted that were accompanied by laughter which indicates that the impatience and contempt the public feels for the shameless politics Congress has been playing is still relatively good-natured. The American people are apparently resigned to the idea that the boys are going to consider their own fortunes before everything else.
Nevertheless, impatience and contempt are plainly in the public mind. And Congress would do well to remind itself that once amusement gives way to indignation there is usually the devil to pay.
The Church the Nazis Put In Danger of Destruction
In danger yesterday was St. Paul's--by the ferocity and brutal rage of the same barbarian horde which destroyed most of the monuments of the Roman world and which has destroyed or spoiled nearly all the monuments of the once lovely old towns of northern France. But the great ghosts under the dome did not stir.
On Ludgate Hill the church stands. The pagan Celts performed their rights on that spot before the Romans came. The Romans had a temple there. So did the Saxons. And there arose the first church of The Fortress in the Marshes when the Saxons were made Christian by Augustine.
Old Saint Paul's, a mighty and beautiful Gothic building, stood on the spot until it was burned in the great fire of 1666, with Samuel Pepys and a little boy named Daniel De Foe looking on.
The present church was built by the celebrated Christopher Wren. It was begun in 1675 and completed in 1710--cost nearly four-million dollars, which was raised by a tax on coal. It is 510 feet long, 180 feet wide at the west front, 250 feet to the transept. Its walls are 110 feet high. The church is surmounted by a great dome, which rises more than 400 feet above the street.
Under the dome, close together, lie buried Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, the two men who once led England to victory over an earlier and more civilized Hitler--one who made war on neither babies nor monuments.
The church has many defects and there are those who think it is not beautiful but only impressive. None the less, its memories and splendor make it one of the great monuments of the world, and there is no church in Germany which may be spoken of in the same breath with it, save only the Cathedral of Cologne.
True To Form
Georgia Lynching Follows Well-Established Pattern
To LaGrange, Ga. goes the loathsome distinction of having spoiled the South's good record for lynching in 1940. In 1939 the number of those who were dispatched by mobs reached the all-time low of only three. But down until Sunday there had not been a lynching this year.
But Sunday at LaGrange it happened, and strictly according to standard pattern.
There was a Negro locked up in the hoosegow. He was charged with an attempted attack on a white woman--dynamite in Georgia. But the LaGrange police chief hadn't even dreamed a mob might want a prisoner. Neither had the jailer. The jailer didn't hear them coming, the six white men who marched upon him. And of course he was sure they would shoot him and to put their necks in the hangman's noose, if he didn't obey their orders to the letter. So he dutifully unlocked the cell and handed over the black man. Then the six men got in an automobile and rode.
And then, of course, the jailer notified the police chief and the police chief notified the sheriff and the sheriff started in hot pursuit of the criminals? It does not appear. Apparently the sheriff spent the rest of the night trying to decide which way they had gone. Anyhow, the next morning the Negro was found, lying beside a country road, full of bullets.
And--you guessed it--the jailer hasn't the faintest notion as to who the criminals were. In towns like LaGrange it is usual for sheriffs, police chiefs, and jailers, as political jobholders, to know virtually every white man in the county. But somehow they are often curiously unable to recognize the members of a lynching party. It is in towns where the cops and jailers are dumb like that that you have lynchings.
1See all of the FBI files on the 1964 case, code named "Miburn" or "Mississippi Burning", which began to break the back of such small town hoodlums masquerading as law enforcement. Hear also a conversation between President Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover, June 23, 1964, at 5:25 p.m., some 41 hours after the civil rights workers were actually murdered, after Hoover had 90 minutes earlier informed Johnson of the finding of the burned car of the civil rights workers and the probability of their deaths. There are also several other tapes available on this incident at c-span.org.
Governor Hoey Clings To A Minor, Discards a Major
In spite of the President's proclamation and resolutions by the merchants calling for the observance of Thanksgiving on the third Thursday in November, Governor Hoey has settled upon the last Thursday.
"I feel very strongly about Thanksgiving Day," he said. "For 75 years... the last Thursday... traditional day..."
Here, mates, is a funny thing. Thanksgiving came to be celebrated on the last Thursday without any particular reason. There was no significance about the day of the month as long as it fell after the harvest was cut away and somewhere near the finale of the football season.
But opposition to a third term for presidents of the United States, another tradition, has been based on the most cogent of reasons and a considerably longer recognition. Yet Governor Hoey, in common with most professing Democrats, not only condoned the flouting of that tradition by helping to nominate Mr. Roosevelt for another term but urges the people generally to disregard it.
Without being at all angry about either the third term or the third Thursday, we are bound to state that we don't get this distinction between traditions.
Mr. Petrillo Goes Out Hunting for Grief
If we have the slightest understanding of the nature of opera and concerts stars, Mr. James Caesar Petrillo is in for a beating.
Mr. Petrillo is the highest-paid union labor leader in the United States. For years he headed the Chicago branch of the American Federation of Musicians--at $26,000 a year, a thousand a year more than John Lewis makes as head of CIO.
Mr. Petrillo earned his pay there, as he earns in his present position as president of the whole union--by hi-jacking employers into giving jobs to thousands of musicians for whom they had no use, and by making it impossible for musicians in union territory to appear in public without having a union card.
Musicians, did we say? Well, yes, if you grant the highly expanded definition of that term Mr. Petrillo has brought into use. Under his ruling, according to an article in the current issue of the American Magazine, even men, who turn over records in record-playing establishments are "musicians" and must be paid as such.
And now Mr. Petrillo has decreed that all the opera and concerts stars, including Kirsten Flagstad, Jascha Heifetz, Laurence Tibbett, etc., must join his union or be barred from appearances in the opera or on the concert platform.
This, of course, simply a piece of brazen hi-jacking. These people, who earn thousands weekly, have no more use for a union card than a hog has for a morning coat. More than that, they are notoriously a stubborn and temperamental crew. Mr. Petrillo's venture is likely to net him nothing but a bad headache and a great deal of publicity for its hi-jacking methods which is not going to do him or his union any good with the public.
(Not by Cash--but we add this one anyway, a little filler often in the lower right of the News editorial column, as on this date): Always an edifying picture is Congress resolving to lead a better life. When last seen it was holding the Hatch Act up to the light for holes.
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