The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 20, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The major fresh news on the front page--aside from the continuing advance toward Tripoli of both the British Eighth Army under Bernard Montgomery and the Fighting French forces commanded by General Leclerc, the unremitting slash of the Russian army toward both Leningrad in the north through the opened siege line from Schlusselburg 22 miles away, toward Kharkov in the Ukraine, Rostov in the northern Caucasus, as mopping up operations proceeded apace on Guadalcanal and in New Guinea--, the Luftwaffe, in retaliation for the first bombing of Berlin since November, 1941 during the weekend, sent across the Channel the largest daylight raid since the London Blitz two years earlier.

Some twenty-five to thirty bombers, supported by fifty to a hundred fighters, seeking to pierce the heavy RAF curtain of pursuits, while avoiding the prickly barbs of the barrage balloons, and net of anti-aircraft fire, participated in the thirty minute raid. They struck primarily civilian targets, the Nazi way from the inception of the war. Their objective was terror, hitting schools, restaurants, stores, and houses during the lunch hour when civilians were most apt to be out strolling in the streets and thus to suffer death more certainly from above, resultant not only of bombs but of the biting staccato strafes from machine-guns, drilling the pavement and sidewalks as with an air hammer, till the emitted missile found its desired fleshy target to penetrate and divest of life--a Briton's breath in compensation for that of a Berliner's, even if the latter was collateral and not intended as with this characteristically arrogant Nazi attack.

On the editorial page, Samuel Grafton tells of the report by CBS war correspondent and future ABC news anchor Howard K. Smith, explaining that Germany's kulturbild had become rife with several influences at which Herr Doktor Goebbels looked askance, German citizens riding trains for pleasure, violating the ban on dance, uttering complaints of want and rumors of war, leering at magazines containing lurid pictures of ladies neither in dress nor pants, circulation of drugs stimulative of wolving rants, the supposed cure for ejaculatio praecox, and profiteering from the battle cry, snatching from the peasants' mouths their ordinary allotment of sausage and butter, undoubtedly also stealing their rye, as did the henhouse-guarding Mercutio, the hund-freed pox, while the dotard with the clubbed putter banned spawning of bagels with lox.

The Ride of the Valkyries had turned, during the previous several months, instead to a funereal dirge from Mahler's "Titan".

Indeed, even Voelkischer Beobachter, Hitler's stooge press organ in Berlin, was quoted on the front page as reminding Germans of the tough fight on the Eastern Front and that the Soviet, unlike the determined German, had the ability to bring up fresh troops. The Basler Nachrichten, the German-language newspaper of Switzerland, had labeled the drive to the Volga "the tragedy of Stalingrad" and predicted that only few scenes remained in this, the final act of the play in that theater.

Only an idiot or a madman struggling against the persistently oppressive labors consequent of his own rabidity, of course, could have observed otherwise. But, unfortunately, Germany's leadership was infected with both maladies and usually embraced within the same heedless body.

"Fifth Freedom" in the column indicates that the students of Appalachian State Teachers College had struck, in part, for the ability to have dances on campus, a missing rite of collegial vitality, remindful, as no doubt the astute prospective teachers taught their masters, of the like proscription repressing the spirit of the Volksgeist dependent for enforced inspiration on Herr Doktor Goebbels' kulturgut.

Whether some of these college students, as their German counterparts, had been indulging their eyes with magazines filled with naughty exposés au naturel, as vicarious substitute for verboten dancing, was not reported.

Whatever the case, undoubtedly reminded, as were the still striking coal miners by the President, of their duty to whip General Tojo, as the country needed the steel produced with the coke formed by the fires of the coal, the students, unlike the intractable blackguard pickmen who had ejaculated in retort to the President, "Let the troops come!" ended their strike after less than 24 hours and returned to their dutiful studies in pursuit of the teaching arts.

The Christian Science Monitor piece reports on the struggle of cotton to keep its downy head above the fray rung in by the advent of rayon fibers, driven especially in aid of the war effort, the Government having determined to use rayon instead of cotton to stitch the underwebbing of tires. So far behind had the Southern staple slipped that a South Carolina Congressman had introduced a bill to make it mandatory that rayon producers utilize 5 to 15 percent cotton fiber in their product. The price was down to twenty cents per pound and frozen.

The pre-eminence of the South's longstanding king was increasingly suspect in the face of progress, as for some time it had been; but with a system now entranced by the basilisk of war demanding quickly manufactured ersatz material to replace the deliberate seasonal cycles governing the labor-intensive occupation of sharecroppers, quit and joined the Army or moved to the city for the higher paying jobs anyway, the soil which the king had so long leeched was lying less tilled, despite efforts ongoing to find for it new uses and expanded markets. The uniforms and blankets to supply warfare, normally serving to absorb excess production, were now capable of being woven from dissolved wood pulp.

"Groundwork" suggests that the Supreme Court decision in American Medical Association v. U.S., 317 US 519, had ushered in the era of socialized medicine. The case held that the Sherman Antitrust Act was properly applied to indict and convict representatives of the A.M.A. on criminal charges of conspiracy to restrain the trade of a government-formed employees' group health plan, Group Health, Inc., which used funds paid to a common prepaid health plan to salary doctors and staff at participating hospitals in the District of Columbia.

Specifically, the holding provided: that, because the Sherman Act proscribed "persons" from conspiring to restrain trade, it did not matter whether the AMA was a business entity; that, further, Group Health was a business engaged in trade and thus within the range of entities protected by the act; and, finally, (aside from procedural considerations regarding the sufficiency of the indictment), that the Clayton Act and Norris-LaGuardia Act, exempting from application of the Sherman Act union activities, that is efforts by organizations to regulate the terms and conditions of disputed employment, did not prevent the operation of the Sherman Act to proscribe the conduct of petitioners AMA, for the reason that the AMA had sought to prevent all its member doctors from participating in the Group Health plan, even declaring it unethical to participate in it, and sought to discourage hospitals in the District from affording facilities to doctors and patients so participating. Since there was no dispute over the terms and conditions of employment between Group Health and the doctors to whom it provided payment, there was no employment relation at stake covered by the Clayton and Norris-LaGuardia Acts.

The case was decided 7 to 0, with Justices Robert Jackson and Frank Murphy not participating, presumably recusing themselves as each had been, in turn, Attorney General during the pendency of the criminal case, brought by the Justice Department.

Contrary to the editorial's broad assumption that the case lent approbation to socialized medicine, the Court merely held that the Sherman Act applied to prohibit any person from engaging in conspiracy to restrain trade by any entity engaged in business, including one formed for achieving cooperative health care. It would have been nothing short of bizarre to have carved an exception for the medical profession, either holding that Group Health was not an organization entitled to protection or that the AMA was exempt by virtue of its merely seeking to engage in union type activity on behalf of its members. The affected members, as the decision properly held, were not engaged in dispute with the employer on terms and conditions of employment. Nor was the AMA formed, as for instance AFL and CIO unions, for the purpose of collective bargaining on behalf of doctors.

That which ushered in cooperative health care plans were simply the otherwise unaffordable health care costs available, especially within large urban areas of the time. It was not accomplished by this case, even if group health plans have become a norm of American life since that time, albeit with results, as often as not, completely opposite the intended benefit to patients and their health care coverage.

In any event, we hope that the election yesterday in Massachusetts, taking one seat away from the former 60-member, filibuster-proof majority of the Democrats in the Senate, will not work to defeat the final merged health care bill, as separately passed by the House and Senate in December. It would be a shame and, no doubt, an albatross to be worn by the new Senator from Massachusetts for the remainder of his then probably very short career in the chamber, come 2012. The new Senator is not constrained to vote either way, but we hope that he shows the independent spirit which has always characterized Massachusetts and votes his conscience, not his party line.

There are certain commandments in political life and one is: Thou shalt not abuse one's new power by singly seeking, through providing the necessary vote for filibuster, to defeat a measure overwhelmingly favored by a majority of the country.

And that is especially applicable after bills have passed both bodies previously.

It was so during the civil rights era and it is so still in the country.

Woe be unto the Republican who defeats this legislation thusly. Defeat it if you will by an up or down majority vote, but not by filibuster.

Chapter 15 of They Were Expendable begins with the ongoing consideration by the generals and Admiral Rockwell--en route to their ultimate destination in Australia via Lieutenant John Bulkeley's PT-boat squadron, now entering the second night of their war hounded voyage, March 12, 1942--as to whether they would continue amid rough and likely soon to be rougher seas or would opt for the more comfortable completion of the journey aboard a submarine.

Admiral Rockwell wished to continue on PT-34 with his by now trusted, if nearly insane, skipper, Lieutenant Kelly. The generals, including General MacArthur, all seasick and gasping for air, were less decisive. Finally, having been swayed by Admiral Rockwell to the belief that Lieutenant Bulkeley's prediction of foul weather was amiss and that fair skies would instead bless their second night's journey into the midst of the Sulu Sea, the bumptious MacArthur determined to continue his ride on the unsteady seas. It would be so, despite the dratted prospect of further disorientation, lethargy, and retching discomfort accompanying seasickness.

To minimize the effects of the malady on General MacArthur and his family, it was decided that PT-41 would trail PT-34, so that Bulkeley's boat could follow in the wake created by Kelly's, enabling a gentler ride than that produced in the untrammeled surface of the sea.

It was also determined that PT-32, skippered by Lieutenant Schumacher, would need to put into port on Panay at Iloilo to obtain repairs to its rudder shafts and thereby restore full steam, as well to replenish its 600-gallon supplemental fuel supply tossed overboard to enable haste from what Schumacher had believed erroneously the previous morning was an approaching enemy ship, turning out only to be PT-41.

Lieutenant Kelly relates as an aside that, instead of obtaining the repairs and replenishment, PT-32, for unknown reasons, had to be destroyed to avoid its being captured by the Japanese, and that Lieutenant Schumacher caught a ride aboard a plane, sending his crew back to Corregidor.

This night's leg of the journey would take them slightly southeast into the Mindanao Sea, between Mindanao and the Visayan Islands, which included the Negros and Cebu. It was to be on Mindanao that MacArthur and his entourage were to catch an airplane to Australia, after which the PT-boat crews would stay in the southern Philippines.

Once underway at dusk, Lieutenant Kelly's lookout quickly caught sight of an enemy ship off the port bow, about five miles distant and gradually gaining. They accelerated to their cruising speed of 18 knots, maximum of the moment for the rough sea and carbon in the engines, against the probable 27 knots of the Japanese ship, hoping for the sun to set before being spotted. Finally, the earth rotated sufficiently to extinguish the light and they saw no more of the enemy ship that night.

The prediction of Lieutenant Bulkeley had, unfortunately, notwithstanding the admiral's contrary forecast of fair skies, been correct and the seas were rougher than the first night, causing worse sickness among the generals, now aboard PT-34 as overflow from PT-32.

Kelly was consistently accompanied on the bridge during this leg by Admiral Rockwell who insisted that he had never ridden in such a naval craft in all his days and never wished to do so again, though he had experience aboard every naval vessel afloat otherwise.

Smacked in the face relentlessly by the wind-whipped sea, the salt blinded their eyes as Lieutenant Kelly navigated by dead reckoning. He had to maintain their speed, without heed of the tossing of the boats and spray of the salt, to reach their designated port before dawn to avoid enemy air patrols, lest they wind up in a run for their lives.

Admiral Rockwell, teeth chattering, now seemed more accustomed to the unruly existence aboard these strangely quirky plywood MTB's and no longer exclaimed to the deity anent the unaccustomed eccentricities; or perhaps by now was simply too weakened physically any longer to care, as were the generals, retching, heads bowed between knees, immovable for the lack of will to but scarcely exist, spread as they were along various points above and below deck.

Seeing the admiral shivering, even if absent a protestant whimper, Kelly determined to obtain for him a sweater, however useless he knew the accommodation, for the whipping seas surely bound to soak it within short order. Using his flashlight for navigation in the officers' quarters, he inadvertently found his foot parked on the belly of one of the generals as he fumbled for his locker, and then another, who proved too weak even to groan in contempt of the rude intrusion.

Only the air corps captain aboard, said Kelly, was sleeping as a babe in a cradle, inured well to rolling and tumbling, as surely as any sailor.

Whether General Tojo was ill on board General MacArthur's boat or gently rested, oblivious to the pounding, quite as accustomed to the swelling heaves as the air corps captain and the salted seamen, is not reported in this segment.

Nor had the albatross yet appeared. Coca-Cola, tender ham, and cigars had been provisioned in plenty by General MacArthur. And so the gliding, tranquil bird could follow, foreshadowing good fortune without hazard.

The Man of Tomorrow, meanwhile, having escaped without notice the elevator shaft, and yet conveniently leaving off explanation why the sudden disappearance of Clark Kent would not have been readily noticed by Lois and the young elevator operator, had entered the Fifth Dimension, seeking to let the sun shine in on the age of Aquarius by streaking, dauntless, to intercept The Voice before he could propagate any more of his Big Lie to the gullible masses populating Silver City.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.