Saturday, February 20, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 20, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports most notably that Rommel had launched a concerted attack at Kasserine Pass on Thursday morning but, after small gains, had been repulsed by American units on both sides of the pass, causing him to fall back. The "tide had turned", said an Army spokesman, and subsequent activity would probably be limited to panzer probes of the lines in hunt of weak spots.

It was again stressed by the Army, as during the week, that the loss of central Tunisia was considered only incidental to the Tunisian campaign as a whole.

On this date, however, as subsequently reported in The London Gazette in 1946 by Lt.-General K.A.N. Anderson, commanding the British First Army in Tunisia, Rommel's panzer forces broke through at Kasserine and hurled northward through the U.S. Army Second Corps toward Thala and westward toward Tebessa. General Anderson dispatched American reinforcements to counter each thrust, as well at Kesra. "Nickforce", under the command of Brigadier Claude G. G. Nicholson, was dispatched to Thala.

The Army's lighter M-3 Lee and Stuart tanks had proved no match for the heavier, more powerful Mark IVís of the panzer korps. Two hundred and forty heavier Sherman tanks had arrived on the front a month earlier, but crews had not yet completed their preparatory training when the Kasserine drive began; the Shermans would not therefore see use for yet another month and a half, in early April.

From the Russian front, the reports were that, while the Russian armies continued to plow through toward Orel, westward in the Dneiper industrial valley, and in the lower Kuban River Valley in the western Caucasus, the first signs of spring began appearing already at Rostov, as streams were said to be running freely.

And from Chicago came the rumor that Al Capone's old gang was up to their old tricks, this time bootlegging meat in the Black Market. Regardless of who was behind it, there was a problem, and the gendarmes were fast on the trail of the meat bandits.

Another narration gig for deactivated Naval Reserve officer Walter Winchell was now plainly in the offing.

On the editorial page, "It's Mutiny" provides the paradoxical setting, not without precedent, which had found President Roosevelt: historical presence and respect on the world stage while at home his omnipresent vampyric enemies in Congress were seeking to draw blood from the vitality of the New Deal. It opines that in 1944, the growing grassroots movement among the people to take back their government from increasing bureaucracy and regimentation would explode at the ballot box in the form of a populist revolt. It finds that prospect, in the face of the military successes of the previous three months, at Guadalcanal, on the Papuan Peninsula of New Guinea, in North Africa, to be "more than passing strange", echoing Wilson's days of Congressional tension posthaste the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

It suggests that if the President could not win his little battles in Congress, as with the $25,000 limit on salaries, the proposed one hundred million dollar infusion of subsidies to the farmer, the forced withdrawal of Ed Flynn as nominee to become Minister to Australia, beset sporadically by the Truman Committee's investigations on bureaucratic mismanagement, among other thorns, then how could he be expected to win his post-war peace battles, to effect a broader reaching rationale among the Allies and former Axis nations to achieve a lasting peace, one free of world war. The target, the piece continues, was, as it had been all along, to dismantle the New Dealís progressive programs.

It asks, rhetorically, "Is it of lesser importance that the world peace be endangered by the fight at home than that the national well-being was safeguarded by appeasement in 1933-39?"

The piece obviously finds the former comparative clause of greater importance than the latter effort to get even politically.

Solution, of course, was the continued winning of the war, D-Day led by DDE, and the reshaping of the ticket in 1944 to include Harry Truman in the stead of Henry Wallace. It's a little more complex than that, but that is the superficially basic idea.

The shape-shifting in the Congress and at the grassroots would remind how things would be by November, 1963, the intransigently atavistic Southern Democrats and isolationist Republicans in Congress threatening to hold up President Kennedy's budget and to filibuster, all of a piece, the proposed civil rights legislation to require private facilities operating in interstate commerce not to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or sex in offering accommodations to the public they openly served, fostering a general climate of social equality among all citizens--a climate required by the Fourteenth Amendment, passed and ratified in the wake of the Civil War, only nearly a hundred years earlier, yet never implemented to its full and intended extent abroad the land, instead falling into the absurd traps of springed tension between States' Rights and the centrality of Federal government.

Again, we point out that it is a simple concept: lots of little circles, each group embraced by a bigger one, comprising fifty such bigger circles, all ultimately surrounded by one big, big circle, the Supremacy of which is established in the Supremacy Clause, the Federal Government. And the Clause is not White. It is actually black written on parchment, the skin of animals. (Don't get upset and suggest a boycott of constitutions while shredding the old one in protest, li'l sweety.) It is really very simple. If you think otherwise, draw it on the blackboard or something.

"The Muzzle", offering that the Navy should have acted sooner in decommissioning Walter Winchell after he suggested that the voters electing to office some Congressmen, such as Clare Hoffman, the reactionary nut, were "damn fools", turns right around, however, and makes the mistake of trying to place limits on individual freedom of speech because of presence of the speaker in the armed services. Limits on diclosure of military secrets, yes, but not of opinion.

That is a fool's errand to try to limit and carve ad hoc exceptions into the First Amendment. Read it. It says nothing of exceptions. "Congress shall make no lawÖ" That includes the states, the cities, the local gendarmerie, the Navy, etc., as all fall under the rubric of government.

It also includes therefore state bars which operate under the aegis of state supreme courts and thus the states.

We'll damn well say whatever we damned well please. There is an oath which every lawyer takes to uphold the Constitution and the laws duly passed under it. It says nothing about limitations on speech.

If you don't like it, ladies and gentlemen of the Stars-'n-Bars, study the picture below. We really don't care what you subjectively like or dislike or your very absurd lack of taste in destroying the lives of others over exercise of free speech. You are as nuts as Clare Hoffman and Clare Boothe Luce and the Blonde on Reds, probably nuttier.

You cannot even read the English language.

We reiterate: these nuts need to be forced to take a reading test. We believe, quite seriously at this point, that some of them "passed" the bar exam by proxy or through the practice of stealing birth certificates and adopting false names. We call for a Federal investigation of these idiots, on the basis of systematic denial of civil rights, to see who they are, really. Too many of them these days demonstrate insufficient understanding of the Constitution to have ever gone to law school and understood anything in the curriculum, other than corporate law and how to take bribes legally, hedging toward legalized murder.

Anyway, they gave the Knife in the Water to Mr. Winchell. But it didn't change anything or add luster to the Navy's reputation.

So, why bother?

Get lost, on your little merry-go-round.

Our reading of the piece from The Greensboro Daily News, offering up some of the justifiable attributes of Czar Petrillo's efforts to establish royalties to be paid the American Federation of Musicians union for each jukebox or record sold, leaves us cold. It compares the proposed fostering of the musicians' survival to the benefits to the cotton industry from the Rust brothers' cotton-picking machine.

If that was somehow forecasting the day of Tennessee Ernie Ford and forcing everyone to pay for that, equally with the rhythms of Elvis, well, you can have it.

Just another way of saying that the plantation system also had its benefits to the cotton-pickers in Happy-Happy Land.

Czar Petrillo was a Caesar, a little middle-man with no talent save slick salesmanship and a crooked jib to go with it, cutting himself in for the booty-prize, all in the name of guarding creative enterprise, as his name implies.

Classic quote of the day: "People abhor a vacuum, even in the heads of statesmen." --Clare Boothe Luce.

She might also have added that the statement would necessarily include, to run with logical consistency, vacuous little congress-people and their vacuous little, gnarl-faced Magazine Husbands trying to get back at the world with their money by bringing Chinese culture to the United States.

--Yin-Yang! No ochlocracy; oligarchy forever! Four Freedom!

--No no. Not here, li'l sweety. Wait 'til we get home.

Kilroy was here.

She should have read a little more of that which President Roosevelt stated.

Samuel Grafton writes eloquently of the confrontation between Soviet determination and wits versus the hare-brained Nazi brawn: the horse-drawn carts, the foot soldiers in the snow, the Cossacks on horseback, in the Currier & Ives, with their flying swords, the confinement in Stalingrad and virtual uselessness therefore of German tanks, the firing of artillery at such close range that the longer-ranged German guns could not reach them, while preserving Russian armor in the rear at the Volga, the use finally of sweat in the long walk to conquer the mechanized Ride of the Valkyries.

Dick Young regales his readers with stories of humor and pathos from the files of the Charlotte Police Department's emergency dispatchers. The lady who called Mr. Honeycutt over the airplane buzzing over her house, lower and lower, and wanted him to make it stop somehow, at last report, was still sitting, waiting, waiting for the buzzing to stop.

The little girl gave up her doll to the good doctor, as well returned her overdue library books to the teacher.

He does not report, however, on how the house of Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel in the tree outside the window was coming along since the previous month.

Herblock must have been reading of The Voice and The Man of Tomorrow out of January editions of the prints.

Sub-lines, in invisible ink: "I'm looking through you, what did I know? I see through your lies, I see through your grains, like I see though the fodder that slips down, refrained."

Raymond Clapper discusses the grit of China, of Russia, of Great Britain in 1940-41, in staring the enemy in the face and, with raw determination, beating it rather than surrendering.

One is tempted to find counter-examples on the Continent, but, each of the cited examples had either superior manpower at their command, as in China and Russia, even if dependent on American industrial might and aid to win their wars, while Great Britain had a moat around it to offer protection, as with Japan. Nevertheless, those natural advantages of demography and geography, as well as the decided climatological resource of Russia's tundral steppes, take nothing away from either the tenacious, steadfast leadership of those countries at the time or the ratiocination of their people. Plenty of leaders in Great Britain would have given up. No doubt the same was true of Russia and China, had there been any democracy evident in either to give any opposition the chance to surrender.

And, just so you won't think that the First Lady's pose captured by the Associated Press on the White House Lawn with Madame Chiang, as presented yesterday, was perhaps a momentary accident, today, we offer yet another similar pose.

Hi Ho Hum is said to have interpreted it in his second sequel, his chef d'oeuvre, also published in 1951, to capitalize hurriedly in the foreign market on vast sales of his first two works, albeit this one under the pseudonym Harry Ho, as meaning, "Little Byrd, one foot in nest, one foot out, one foot in space." He added as a postscript to his work--titled, How About Them Hors Douvers, Ain't They Slick, A Little Piece of Advened Ice--, "If you do not like my interpretation, then Soong Mei-ling."

To back up his subjective inferences, he quoted with proper provenance from Mrs. Roosevelt that Madame Chiang could "talk beautifully about democracy, but did not know how to live democracy." Her lifestyle in New York City in her latter years after the death of Chiang Kai-shek in 1975, with servants aplenty, 24 in all, until her death at age 105 in 2003, just another old bag of bones by then like everyone else, would seem to corroborate the quote.

How many servants does one old bag of bones need?

Anyway, in 1958, General Twining, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, recommended, in the first test of John Foster Dulles's brinksmanship, that the United States deploy nuclear weapons, if necessary, to defend Quemoy and Matsu, outlying bulwark islands of Formosa, thought at the time to be necessary for its defense from Mainland Red China. The issue was injected, and became a central focus, in the first 1960 presidential debate, the first such series since 1860, between Senator Kennedy and Vice-President Nixon. The general opinion afterward, however, was that no one in the country much knew of Quemoy or Matsu or gave a hang one way or the other about the future of the islands or whether nuclear weapons ought be used to defend them in case of other Joint Chiefs deciding in an emergency to provoke similar circumstances in an effort to make Mr. Nixon look every bit as good as they had President Eisenhower as a foreign policy chieftain in coordination with fascists abroad, to appease fascists at home, especially in the South.

Regardless, the voters made the right choice, in our estimate, came that November. Too bad some of them didn't pay attention and instead Went Flying With Her.

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