Monday, February 8, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, February 8, 1943


Site Ed. Note: "The lightning…finally threw the axis of one of the clock hammers out of the bouches or virtivals, by which it was supported." --Ann. Reg., Chron. 32, 1794.

Retreating for a moment to one of our topics of Saturday, Citizens United v. FEC, we were perusing our initial sentence on the subject, and, so doing, stopped ourselves a bit to ponder whether it was entirely correct English to state the phrase, "fascist as it always is in practice when money and group anonymity combines to dilute any form of individual responsibility". For, technically, read one way, "money and group anonymity" should "combine", not "combines". But, read another, as if one in Unity, then it makes perfectly good sense to say "combines", in perfect runity.

Or, read another way, yet again, one could see it, being "combines" as a noun rather than a verb, as out on the farm, you know, the harvesters of the wheat, and then "combines" again makes perfectly appropriate English sense, thus to sit you back down in your seat. Except that, if it were that notion prepensed, then shouldn't "to dilute" be instead partially deleted to be simply "dilute"? Maybe, we meant "too" or "tu", as in "tu su madre". Well, that all gets a bit tutti con frutti and the point is, in any event, moot. For, according to the Constitution, for the Supreme Court's majority, there is no substitute, nor absolution.

Wait, do we hear the people, marching to their drum?

Down Constitution Avenue, come, they told her and him, a-rum, a-pum, a-pum.

Well, we simply leave it as it was and you can make of it as you will. Our meaning, we opine, is quite ever clear whatever other depth-find you might attach, which is probably something meant to kill; we think another bill ought to hatch.

Actually, we've decided that the spare majority could use an Exorcist, finding it as we do, in its peachy-squeezing circumstances.

The front page reports of the 65th raid the night before by RAF bombers on the Nazi submarine base at Lorient, France, the largest sortie accomplished thus far against that base.

An American bombing raid hit Naples for the 40th time, and also struck at Cagliari in Sardinia, 300 miles away.

The Russians had begun hurling shells into Rostov across the Don River after having recaptured Azov from the Nazis to the south of the city. Two more important rail lines, one between Rostov and Kharkov and the other between Belgorod and Kursk, were cut by General Vatutin's forces seeking to surround Rostov and Kharkov from the northern approach.

With the return to Britain of Prime Minister Churchill, the London newspapers were calling for an immediate offensive into Europe to take advantage of the Russian success, while Hitler was on the ropes, warning that failure to do so with promptness would likely extend the war by another year.

But, of course, doing so too soon, before the North African situation was settled and Rommel's forces driven out, might also have caused the Allies to fall into the very trap which befell Hitler, scattering too many troops across too wide a front in too many theaters, winding up thus being routed in each, extending the war another five years or more. A primary part of the reason for the great Russian success of the 1942-43 winter campaign was that Hitler had been forced to remove some of his best, most seasoned troops and reposition a large part of the Luftwaffe from Russia, moving them to the southern European front and into Tunisia. To have launched an attack on Europe prematurely before the Battle for Tunisia was won would have been a dismal mistake with consequences likely every bit the equivalent of Dunkerque.

Churchill was not going to be goaded into such error any more than Roosevelt was. The strategy had already been fixed: first, win in North Africa; then invade Sicily.

The News also presents the first brief installment of a series of abstracts from Richard Tregaskis's Guadalcanal Diary. We have not yet gathered the remainder for inclusion here, but we shall, in due course, endeavor to do so.

The Brookfield Zoo of Chicago indicated that the prospect of meat rationing had resulted in inquiries and offers from some area butchers to purchase bears. The zoo's officials, however, allayed all fears by assuring that they would not cooperate with any such bear cuisine. Perhaps, horses, cats, and dogs could satisfy the carnivorous appetite more readily, as among the Nazis on the Russian front. Or, everyone could just be as Der Fuehrer: become a vegetarian.

--Oh, come off that wimpy animal preservation hooey, you puling zookeeper. There's nothing wrong with a little bear. It was quite good 'nough for Dan'l Boone, quite so good, then, for you and me. Besides, I love the flavor of bear meat in the morning, scrambled in with the eggs, poured over with a dash of cream and honey. It tastes like Victory. The fur, however, does get sometimes stuck in your teeth. 'Tis a bit gristly. Also, watch that you don't clench down too suddenly, for you might catch in an incisor some of the buckshot. Then you've a huge dentist bill. The claws make excellent appetizers, incidentally, sort of akin, once boiled and fried, then refried, to pork rinds. Dab them in a little finger bowl full of hot sauce and go to town.

And, shoe rationing was announced to go along with all the rest of it, gasoline, rubber, meat, canned goods, sugar, life itself. The run on shoes on Sunday became so furious in many major cities that the gendarmes had to wade into the shoe stores and extract customers with a horn to protect the shoes from the hoarders.

--Hey, you, you've only two feet. What you need sixteen pairs for? And those dainty little pink pumps. What you gonna do with those, Mack? … Put those back. You ought be ashamed…What? That’s ridiculous. You're no belly dancer… Swan Lake? Really? You were in that? Went with the missus, meself, you know, just last Sunday. Which performance was you in, the matinee or the evening? …No kidding, no kidding. Same one. Yes. You wasn’t the one in the yellow tutu with the hairy legs, was you?… Get away. Really? Oh, it was brilliant. I and the missus simply adored your arabesques, chasses with the jetes, and your coupes… Oh? Barber of Seville? …Yes, one of my personal favorites. You do that, too? … Oh great balls of goodness, much obliged. Upper loge, no less. That's very kind of you… Oh yes, of course, the silly war can't desist the performance of fine ballet and opera, for heaven's sakes, old bloak. Take the lot of them. I thought you had said you had to have a pair o' belly-dance shoes. By the way, you wouldn't happen to have an extra Playbill for Arsenic and Old Lace, would you? That'd be worth your taking ten extra pairs of shoes should you do... Sure, take your pick.

As to provision of the children's shoes, cut off by the page-cutter…

--Oh, bloody hell. Three pairs a year. That's not so bad I guess. I’ll be feeling the number nines of the Sergeant on me backside soon enough anyway. At least, they give you boots to wear most of the time. That is, if you don't leave them down by the lake while bathing and then forget when the enemy starts to attack.

Ah well, Frances Perkins had once said, according to popular legend, even if a misquoted lie, something to the effect that Southerners didn’t wear shoes anyway. Thus, that left probably five pairs per year to go around for the rest of the country, quite adequate.

Shoes and ships. Where's the ceiling wax?

On the editorial page, Samuel Grafton takes sharp aim again at the situation among the French governing North Africa, pointing at the absurdity of maintaining fascists in leadership roles while democrats were still in jail as political prisoners, all as a means of mollifying the fascists of France. It was to say, he contends, that for the French to get along within all of their divided factions, fascists must not only be accorded rights as Frenchmen but provided the right of leadership.

It would be akin to saying--as we have a tendency to do in this country--that fascists ought have their equal way in our government, ought control one branch--the courts, for instance--in order properly to balance the wheel of the democracy.

Give Nazis a chance! Vive la Fasci! Let the corporate heads and moneyed interests determine who those leaders are.

Dorothy Thompson warns of Goebbels's latest propaganda campaign, to cuittle to his devise the Western Allies, by attempting to conquer through division, atomistically, from Russia on the old dog-eared argument that prevailed to obtain for the Nazis their place in the Winged-Sun out of a compromise to act as bulwark to the Social Democrats, promising to Hindenburg and the Junker class an easy manipulandum, to begin their dictatorial reign over Germany in January, 1933, then to prevail upon Chamberlain and Daladier in Munich in September, 1938 to get their slice of the Czech pie with the Sudetenland, promising in the meantime no further designs on Czech territory or any other portion of Europe, which then, worn to a frazzle in welcome, finally was rejected by the British in April, 1941 when Hess, half or wholly insane, ostensibly hijacked a German plane into Scotland claiming to defect, actually on some speculated mission bearing negotiated peace tenders on behalf of the Reich. The old standard was that the Nazi could act as bulwark to the Soviet Communist. And now, Goebbels sought the same end again by suggesting that victory by the Russians in the Caucasus and Ukraine would spoil the interposed balance in favor of the Soviet such that, in case of a full German rout, Russia would usurp territory throughout Europe, even to the Channel.

Herr Doktor Goebbels still smoked his hookah too much.

The argument propounded by Goebbels of course had bred the Cliveden Set in England, the America Firsters in America.

General Eisenhower was largely responsible for the fascists being left in prominent positions in North Africa and the De Gaullists for the most part left either in jail or on the sidelines. It was therefore probably no accident that the likes of John Foster Dulles, once a prominent isolationist who had spoken out across the country in a lecture tour of 1939 in favor of having the Nazis as a bulwark to Soviet Communism, became Secretary of State under President Eisenhower while his brother Allen was made head of the C.I.A.

If you don't believe John Foster Dulles was, more or less, a fascist, read what Harry Truman said of him. Become enlightened rather than persisting as a limbeck.

We do not accommodate fascists in a republican democracy. We make them democratic republicans, failing which, we fire them, lest we be made to march to their martial beat.

We said that.

"A New Deal" explains how Charlotte was finally to obtain a separate but equal park for African-Americans.

It brings to mind the notions on which a precedent ought be overturned implicit, though not expressed, in Brown v. Board of Education. The precedent, after longstanding adherence to it, and in light of further knowledge garnered through experience, as to the continued wisdom of its originally reasoned basis, no longer serves the salutary purpose for which it was adopted, but instead disserves the people--not corporations but the people. It is the only plausible theory on which stare decisis might be excepted, in order to provide stability and predictability to the laws of the land and insure respect for the courts--something sorely lacking in the country, and for good reason.

Pray tell, how does giving a corporation the right to make unlimited campaign contributions and overbalance media exposure for all kinds of notions which are to the liking of the corporation's principal stockholders of wealth, a corporation which made its money making or selling a widget, not informing a philosophy, and thus in no wise a viewpoint voted on by the public, especially in an age such as ours where, better or worse, media image and exposure determine the outcome of most, even local, elections, serve the democratic interests of the people?

The answer, from long experience in the age of mass communication by passive receipt of auditory and visual signals after the invention of radio and television, however subliminally and manipulatively communicated, requiring no conceptualization, reading or thinking skills, advanced to the conscious and subconscious through the illusion of familiarity of voice, of name, of endorsement, is plain that it does not.

The law is not a word game or debating society for gentlemen and ladies of the King's and Queen's Benches--as if still Colonies, as some lawyers and jurists are obviously disposed to think. People's rights are abused daily in this country, always have been. The courts are typically the last resort. A lawyer's first duty is to the client as an advocate, within ethical boundaries. Should one fail in duty as a judge to apply the law as it is written, assuring fairness of application to both sides, not just lip-service but fairness, in adherence to longstanding institutions within the law, making allowance always for the party relatively without funds to be accorded special protection against a moneyed interest breathing on the party's neck, as historically, in modern times, has been the case, but rather make exceptions for this party or that party because this or that party, or their lawyers, made a contribution to the jurist's party, then that judge makes of the law a mockery, and invites revolution in the streets, the last and final resort, as surely as in the time of King George III, or invites impeachment, or, as the case may be in state courts, removal from office by the voters.

But always, there is, once again, should they fail to hear, and to heed, as in the 1960's, the streets. Use them. The country is ours, not theirs, not the corporations', not the special interests'. Take it back, fully. Tell these locomocoes who is Boss. It is not them. We hold their pursestrings, in the final analysis. And it is our right to fire them, and it should be exercised when it is plain that they only do the bidding of the wealthy and the corporate few and the well-heeled, and to the rest of us, tip their hats politely and say "good luck", as they shred our rights the same way they shred the evidence of the corporate pay-offs which bought them.

Thus came the jocund Spring in Killingworth,
In fabulous day; some hundred years ago;
And thrifty farmers, as they tilled the earth,
Heard with alarm the cawing of the crow,
That mingled with the universal mirth,
Cassandra-like, prognosticating woe;
They shook their heads, and doomed with dreadful words
To swift destruction the whole race of birds.

And a town-meeting was convened straightway
To set a price upon the guilty heads
Of these marauders, who, in lieu of pay,
Levied black-mail upon the garden beds
And cornfields, and beheld without dismay
The awful scarecrow, with his fluttering shreds;
The skeleton that waited at their feast,
Whereby their sinful pleasure was increased.


"Plato, anticipating the Reviewers,
From his Republic banished without pity
The Poets; in this little town of yours,
You put to death, by means of a Committee,
The ballad-singers and the Troubadours,
The street-musicians of the heavenly city,
The birds, who make sweet music for us all
In our dark hours, as David did for Saul.

"The thrush that carols at the dawn of day
From the green steeples of the piny wood;
The oriole in the elm; the noisy jay,
Jargoning like a foreigner at his food;
The bluebird balanced on some topmost spray,
Flooding with melody the neighborhood;
Linnet and meadow-lark, and all the throng
That dwell in nests, and have the gift of song.

"You slay them all! and wherefore! for the gain
Of a scant handful more or less of wheat,
Or rye, or barley, or some other grain,
Scratched up at random by industrious feet,
Searching for worm or weevil after rain!
Or a few cherries, that are not so sweet
As are the songs these uninvited guests,
Sing at their feast with comfortable breasts.

"Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne'er think who made them and who taught
The dialect they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!
Whose habitations in the tree-tops even
Are half-way houses on the road to heaven!"

--from "The Poet's Tale, The Birds of Killingworth", Tales of a Wayside Inn, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

--Yeah. Yeah. Milk's a good sedative though.

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