The Charlotte News
Saturday, September 7, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "The Test", indeed. On October 30, 2004, as we approach election day, we offer some predictions.
First, Halloween will occur this year on the eve of All Saints Day.
Second,--unless the little local-yokle dictators, princes and princesses without the sense to get out of the proverbial shower of rain but who nevertheless abound, as they always have, in this country, have their way, as all too often they do, with their crooked little games to keep people away from the polls, or to challenge legitimate voters--turn-out at the polls on November 2 will be at least 56%, the highest since the last most recent record turnout in 1960 at 60%. (Isn't that a thing to which to aspire in the freest and most modern democracy in the world? Sixty percent turnout at the polls on election day for the president and vice-president of the United States. Ah well...)
Third, the bums will go. That is, the Senate will pass to the Democrats by one seat. The House will pass to the Democrats by three seats. There, we said it.
Fourth, the challenger shall win the presidential contest--whether next week or in mid-December--by 3.4%. Mark it. (The electoral college may well be determined by legislatures contesting electors by changing the rules post-election in Republican-held states, but that's another story. (See Bush v. Gore)) The polls do not tell us that. The most reliable polls, basing their sampling data on recent turnout models, stuck in recent elections at around 50% of the eligible voters, have it tied as of today. But, if voter turn-out approaches even as much as 54%, the challenger will win and relatively handily. Higher turn-out always favors Democrats, as there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, and, historically, also more would-be registered Democrats among the disaffected than would-be registered Republicans. Many of those formerly disaffected have found something to affect them in this democracy since 2000, and for that we may always find the silver lining in the cloudy results of 2000.
We also rely on the good, collective common wisdom of the American people in this, our fourth prediction. Acting in concert with that, we assume no one in their collective right mind will re-elect an Administration which has the singularly unimpressive record this one does and which has done the damage to this country, especially to its psyche, that it has.
Everyone who follows events and the news at all, and can see a little bit beyond the end of their own noses, understands that--unless, of course, they persist in getting all of their "news" from the Fox and never read anything other than "books" written by the foggy minds of the Foxes, Mr. O'Silly, his pols and polettes, they regularly view on the Fox.
We have heard the stark facts, but we recapitulate them, anyway. This is the first Administration to lose jobs since that of Herbert Hoover, who most of us alive today do not recall except from a few fast-playing silent newsreels with him bearing a doleful grin as he presided over the Great Depression and ignored the obvious, continuing in the Great Denial that there is more than a pinhead's worth of self-interested scrap of wisdom in Trickle-Down economics. It took a long struggling decade and more, and ultimately our involvement in the Second World War to get out of that depression. (War and depression often hang together, as we know, the latter necessitating the former to relieve the population of numbers and to alleviate unemployment and obtain growth through defense industries. Woe and weeping follow with them, too, usually among the poorest who send their young to the killing fields.) Anyone who tells you today that the economy is okay, is lying through their pearly whites. Look around you. Are you better off than four years ago and for the six or seven years before that? North Carolina, for instance, has lost 115,000 jobs, Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan, a lot more. Good news to you? If so, you probably are earning one whale of a lot of money, probably because of the sound economic policies of the previous administration, not the Trickle Down twelve years before that and the four years since. And, even that won't last for long with oil prices, which resound correlatively in every sector of the economy, skyrocketing to record levels with no end in sight. (Go ahead, Mr. Oil Prince, Laff. You're wealthy.) For no matter what any dissembling little economist may tell you, the foundation of a sound economy in this country, as with any other, is always, first and foremost, good jobs with good wages in this country. And to produce those jobs, there has to be sound and reasonable leadership from the top, hands-on understanding, not some fellow running around leading cheering exercises at high school pep rallies, making everything seem rosy which is in fact quite dismal. (It runs in the family...)
Furthermore, anyone who really doubts that it was the intelligence breakdown at the top of this Administration which ultimately enabled some thugs to topple the World Trade Center and crash an airplane into the Pentagon has to be in the grip of the Great Denial. It was not the Director of the CIA or the then newly appointed FBI Director or the previous one who was to blame. They tried. It was where the Buck always is supposed to stop--except, of course, in Administrations locked in the Great Denial--the place where this Administration seems to refuse to acknowledge any there being present, on the desk, under it, in it, or anywhere on the White House grounds, in fact, maybe not even in the entire District. The intelligence agency heads could not get an appointment with the man with the Buck-stop to discuss the intelligence they had, maybe because he was too busy out cheerleading for his oil prices to come--the Great Future (in Denial) he promises us.
Any Administration which has in its possession a memo that says that an attack is nigh a month before it occurs and that the attack is to be performed by a group of known madmen with the means and will to do it, who have previously been responsible for an attack on the World Trade Center and some of whose members are afoot taking flying lessons without the necessity to land, the intelligence for which was available but not being read by the fellow with the Buck-stop, and then proceeds to sit around yawning, after eight months in office, doing precisely nothing about it, is at best negligent to its task of governing, preserving and protecting this country. It does not deserve a second chance at on-the-job training.
In fact the whole tenor of the incumbent's campaign seems to have been, sub silentio, "Give us a chance, we'll do better," quite as if they haven't even been in office the last four years. Who knows? Maybe, they haven't. Maybe, they were too busy with more pressing matters, seeing to it that those oil prices rose, for instance.
Of course, at the end of the Day, an Administration couldn't do much worse and have us still exist at all as a country.
By the way, this was not Pearl Harbor on September 11, 2001. We are truly sick and tired of the emotive, irrational, uninformed comparison. Then, in 1941, there was good reason why a fleet of ships could traverse the ocean undetected. Radar was in fledgling status, with a small detecting radius. Satellites with one-meter photographing resolution from outer space did not exist. Infrared radar detection, able to "see" under ground, was not even yet conceptualized. (Where is Osama on election eve? Why, inside your tv, Pilgrim. Where else? Go on, turn him in. Collect that 10 million or whatever it was for the "Wanted: Dead or Alive" bounty--another brilliant piece of stage-, that is, statecraft.) Even had radar been developed to the degree it was by 1945, Pearl Harbor would have been averted. There was no CIA or even OSS on December 7, 1941, just a loose network of journalists and other intelligent beings, together with a freshly born Coordinator of Information and a few Office of Naval Intelligence code breakers in play to gather and decipher intelligence. Today, and in 2001, there was quite a lot more. There was no excuse in 2001, and none should be given.
A real leader would have stood and told us that and taken the blame, not seek to blame it all on others, even the previous administration, as a prominent member of his Party did at the most recent Republican convention--unless of course the previous administration was supposed to realize the incompetence of the present one and thus should have recognized its role as lord protector of the infirm of mind and experience and stood by in a shadow role continuing to collect and transmit intelligence to them, intelligence from the intelligent enough to read and comprehend it, that is--but, unfortunately, the Constitution does not so allow after January 20 each year following a presidential election.
Then, to take the country, in an unprecedented type of warfare, pre-emptive, unprovoked, hurriedly heading along the road to Eden, without heeding the advice of weapons inspectors with no self-interest than to tell the truth, without any apparent plan to secure that country after invading it, without any simple intelligence, obtainable from any good encyclopedia on the country's history, even in play which would have predicted the fractionated, fundamentalist nature of the aftermath which would naturally portend guerilla insurgency, borders on, if not amounts to, dereliction of duty in office, if not worse.
What is most disturbing about this Administration is that there simply seems to be something fundamentally missing. It is that immanent sense which most leaders in our history have had--a connection with history, a view of it which is more than merely passing images in a shop window, but rather a sense of its presence, a sense of the poetic nature of life, a sense that we belong to something grander than our selves, a sense that we are not alone on this whirling planet, that we belong to a rich past brought to these shores at various times, in 1587, in 1607, in 1620, in 1776, in 1789 and thereafter. A sense that life did not begin in this country at Spindletop--or even at Teapot Dome. A sense that government is not an autocratic business between oil merchants, but rather carries with it noblesse oblige, the public trust, and all its portents and manifold Ghosts from the past which inhabit it regularly and instruct us if only we listen to them, those of our forefathers and foremothers. The immanent spirit which is America. Not a mere flag, not a mere pledge, not a mere song, but pre-eminently and always a Constitution with a Spirit attached to it--a Constitution which has been torn up and largely forgotten in the Archives these last four years, replaced by hollow words and hollow ceremony, signifying precisely nothing.
The only surprising thing--which, after 2000, and in light of the considerable confusion abounding in our Southern states over the idea that totalitarian states had and, in some cases still have, flags and salutes and pledges and songs, too, is really not that unpredictable, we suppose--is that this election is at all even close at this point. But, lest we forget, the polls had the matter close at this point in 1980, also.
Whatever happens on election day, may the Chimes of Freedom and all their immanent spirits ringing them, ring them yet again loudly to us and teach us of the unseen, that which we need to understand for the first time and yet again--as they were most certainly in play, to those who could hear and see them, that is, on November 7-8, 2000.
At least learn from that this: In the name of one, you got the other.
In so doing, remember these words from a country trial lawyer from Springfield, Illinois, stated in 1838: "At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth... could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years... If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."
Opinion or Prejudice Have No Place in Littlejohn Case
These are extremely grave charges that Chief Nolan has brought against Frank Littlejohn. They accuse him of high crimes and malfeasance in office, of a direct interest in sordid and illicit activities which he and his department were primarily responsible for preventing.
Whether or not the charges are an outgrowth of accumulated bad feeling between the Chief of Police and the Chief of the Detective Division is of no consequence at this juncture, any more than their run-in over the Wishart case should be permitted to have a bearing on the hearing before the Civil Service Commission.
The sole question involved is the truth or falsity of the itemized allegations, not the motive which led to their being made. Littlejohn would emphasize as much. They specifically charge him with wrongdoing. They must be specifically be proved or disproved.
Pending judgment, it would be wise for newspaper editors and the public generally to adopt an attitude that is consistent with American jurisprudence. That is, a man accused is held to be innocent until he be proved guilty.
This case, regardless of its background, is now out of the realm of rumor, whisper and personalities. It is headed, in all likelihood, for the courts where resides ultimate justice.
The Italians Hear News Which Bodes Them Ill
The announcement of Winston Churchill that the power of the British Navy in the Mediterranean has been doubled by the addition of heavy units from the home fleet is grim news for Italy. And grimmer still is the intimation that they have been put there to allow the British to take the offensive.
Mussolini has been busily preparing for the shove-off against Egypt and the Suez Canal. But to carry out such a campaign he has to be sure of being able to transport not only men, not only equipment, ammunition, and food, but also even water, from Italy to Libya. He can no longer be sure of that. Indeed, the odds are sadly against his being able to do it. The only reasonable prospect he can look to is large contingents of bombers from Germany, and it is doubtful that the latter will be able to furnish such aid. If he steams his fleet to sea to attempt to cover such movements, all the evidence today suggests pointedly that it will be destroyed--a disaster which would take him out of the war at once.
Yet, if he does not carry the war to Africa, he may expect to have it brought to Italy. For the logical step for England is to take Italy out of the contest as quickly as possible--this Winter, to be specific. That would leave her to deal with only the one sea next Spring, and might open the way for land operations of her own on the Continent. It is continually forgotten that England already has a continental land-base in Gibraltar and then an English blitzkrieg through Spain would have as good a chance of success as a German one. Spain has certainly forfeited any title to consideration in the matter.
The new naval power will enable England to draw her blockade far tighter around Italy, with the prospect that the latter may reach starvation by the first of the year. To break that blockade Mussolini would have to send his fleet to sea--with the same chances as in the case of the route to Libya.
Thomas Charges, If Over Excited, Contain Truth
Rep. Parnell Thomas, Republican of New Jersey, is anything else but a hero of ours. He is one of the most blatant members of the blatant Dies Committee, and he indulges freely in calling everybody he doesn't like a Communist or fellow-traveler, including the President and Mrs. Roosevelt.
Nevertheless, it would not be wise to lay aside his warning of the activities of Spain's dictator in Puerto Rico by means of an organization called the Spanish Falange.
Certainly, Franco has explicitly announced, through his stooge newspapers and spokesmen, his ambition to recover all the old Spanish Empire, not only in the Caribbean, Central and South America, but also even in the Philippines, which we bought and paid for. Puerto Rico has often been explicitly mentioned. And Franco is already a Fascist-Nazi puppet.
Moreover many of the great Spanish landowners and merchants of the island are known to be disaffected to the United States and look toward Spain.
The island is an important naval base and, in case of war, Fifth Column activities there would be exceedingly dangerous.
That is not to suggest the need for hysteria. Thomas, as usual, is betting for publicity. And the existence of the peril he names is known to naval intelligence men. Nonetheless, it will not hurt the public also to know that it exists.
Dictatorship Is Impossible When People Vote Freely
Some of the arguments offered against the draft bill in the Senate were strange stuff. But the House is, as usual, producing even more weird exhibits.
Consider, for example, the argument of the Hon. Frank Bateman Keefe of the Sixth Wisconsin district--one heavily populated by Germans and people of recent German extraction, incidentally. Tuesday he made a speech in the House which filled up four pages in the Congressional record, at a cost to the taxpayers of $85 a page. And the crux of this masterpiece? Why that the language of the draft bill makes it possible to hold men in the army indefinitely, and that this is exactly what is secretly planned by the War Department and Mr. Roosevelt.
That is to say, the Congress, having passed the draft bill, is suddenly going to lose its power to make and unmake legislation. The only possible way men can be kept in the army indefinitely under any possible reading of any law is for Congress to acquiesce in it. Indeed, the people themselves would have to acquiesce in the end, else the Congress which refused to repeal the law that allowed anything of that kind to go on would be turned out of office at the polls.
The core of democracy resides precisely in the fact that the people can vote freely, can reject men who displease them. And so long as that right is preserved intact all the talk about dictators and dictatorial plots is mere nonsense, designed to mean political ends.
Words Are Used There Only To Confuse People
In the mouths of the servile power politicians of continental Europe words have ceased to be anything but opiates offered to their bewildered peoples.
In France the so-called Petain regime acts and talks as though it confidently believed that it was a sovereign government. Actually, of course, France is a corpse, and will remain a corpse until Adolf Hitler mounts the gallows. If Hitler wins, France is probably done for forever, will exist hereafter as simply a slave province of Germany. Yet to save their own hides, the Lavals and Flandins and Petains deliberately do their best to blind the French people to the fact, and some of them are actively plotting to aid Germany in their war on Britain.
In Hungary, Admiral Horthy leads an army into Transylvania, mouthing about recovering the "heritage of a thousand years." Actually, Hungary is not recovering anything but losing all. Like Rumania she is now simply another satrapy of Nazi Germany's. And Transylvania will not be run for the benefit of Hungarians or Rumanians but the great Herrenvolk, who look down upon proud Hungarian princes with the same contempt that they look on the wild Rumanian peasant.
And in Rumania Antonescu talks nonsense about a new and strong Rumanian state which will some day get justice from Hungary quite as though he didn't know that there is no longer a Rumania or a Hungary--quite as though he had just come from receiving his instructions from the Nazi ligation.
Altogether about as offensive and as poisonous a gang of reptiles as has disgraced the name of humanity.
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