Monday, January 10, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, January 10, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army in Italy had advanced two of the six miles of heavily fortified territory between captured San Vittore and Cassino. One advance unit of Americans moved two miles northeast of Cassino, while a British unit forded the Peccia River to establish a bridgehead to the southwest of the town, near the western end of the ten-mile front established the prior Tuesday.

Another American unit captured a 3,500-foot peak, Catena Vecchio, overlooking the road to Cassino. Other forces completed the capture of Mt. Porchia and took the 1,500-foot peak at Mt. Chiaia, both of which overlooked the village of Cervaro, toward which the Allies steadily pressed, four miles east of Cassino.

Snows, as the day before, continued to limit Eighth Army operations to patrols.

A literal doughboy from Peoria, Illinois, 21-year old Private Billy Miller, after being taken prisoner by the Nazis in the fighting on a hill overlooking San Vittore, had counseled his captors that they were surrounded and should surrender. The Nazis, short of edible food, decided to accept the invitation to dinner and allowed Private Miller to escort them, all nineteen, at gunpoint into the American lines. The feat had reminded of the lone wolf derring-do of Sergeant York during World War I.

The RAF and Eighth Air Force operated little over the weekend, with RAF Mosquitos attacking Western Germany yet again, apparently, according to German reports, at Aachen. The Americans were idle.

A heavy force of Flying Fortresses of the Fifteenth Air Force, however, struck at Sofia at noon this day, the fifth such raid on the Bulgarian capital during the previous two months.

Russian forces of the First Ukrainian Army captured Zhornische, fifteen miles from the 1939 Polish border at the Bug River. Advance units had reached Sarny, 35 miles inside old Poland. Another unit sought joinder with the Second Ukrainian Army, under the command of General Ivan Konev, by pressing southward toward the Smela Gap, seeking to entrap Nazis holed up in the area west of the Dneiper.

It was rumored that Field Marshal Fritz von Mannstein had been relieved of command of German forces in the Ukraine and replaced by Field Marshal Karl von Runstedt, heretofore commanding forces on the French coast. The latter position, however, was steadily being assumed by Erwin Rommel.

In the Pacific, after a lull in the ground fighting, the Marines moved a mile and three-quarters to take Hill 660 in the area of Borgen Bay on Cape Gloucester, New Britain. The hill was south of the point of initial landing December 26 on Cape Gloucester.

The President issued an order barring service by members of Congress in the armed forces, declaring it to be unconstitutional for members to serve both in government and in the military simultaneously. They were elected as public servants, said the President, and were thus deemed by the electorate of best use in that position.

Only two Congressmen were immediately affected, Albert Gore of Tennessee, who had recently reported for duty at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington State.

Representative Jackson would go on to become a prominent Senator from Washington in 1953, subsequently running twice unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president, in 1972 and 1976. He had also flirted with a run in 1960, being touted by the time of the Los Angeles convention as a vice-presidential prospect for John F. Kennedy.

Still trying to shake the grippe, President Roosevelt would nevertheless deliver his speech at noon the next day to the Congress, his first full report, following up on the Christmas Eve fireside chat to the nation, since his return from Tehran and Cairo. He would also provide a separate speech to the country via radio the following evening.

The Office of Price Administration approved the sending of shoes to men stationed overseas without thereby delimiting rationing points. Proof, however, had to be provided that the shoes were sent and not worn stateside on the little piggies of the sender or those of members of his or family.

In the Bronx, a two and a half year old boy, fascinated by his new cellophane pinwheel, had sought to get it going faster in the wind off the roof of a building adjoining his parents' apartment. Someone inadvertently locked the door accessing the roof and the boy slowly froze to death, found with his little pinwheel in his frozen hand.

Whether the parents had been consciously or subconsciously motivated to purchase the toy by the Associated Press report appearing December 28 in which a soldier had delivered the vivid account of aerial fighting over Cape Gloucester on New Britain by describing Japanese being shot down in the "damnedest dog fight" he had ever seen as "burning Nips…falling out of that squirrel cage like sparks from a flaming pinwheel", was not told. If so, it is the law of unintended consequences at work.

One cannot be faulted for providing vivid accounts of warfare, or the parents for buying their young son a pinwheel, no matter the reason. It may have been a toy purchased prior to the report and the report simply appeared coincidentally. It is not so unusual obviously to purchase such a toy for a small child.

In this instance, it was ultimately a series of unfortunate accidents which trapped the boy on the roof, even if some degree of carelessness ensued from neighbors who heard his cries and did not take enough time to locate the source before abandoning the search.

Hal Boyle reports of the most efficient, but also least informative, method of sending and receiving mail on the Italian front, that being V-Mail. Its short forms, insuring celeritous delivery, had, however, its drawbacks, exampled by a staff sergeant whose wife sent him V-Mails daily, each one continuing the saga from the previous day. He had received one recently, however, out of order, in which his wife informed him that she had insured her left arm, despite not being a southpaw, for $720, the reason for which she had explained in a preceding V-Mail not yet received. The sergeant was left to wonder of the reason for his wife insuring the arm she scarcely used.

So much did he wonder that he finally fainted, apparently coming to grips with an unpleasant possibility.

After relating a few other vignettes, Mr. Boyle tells of a major from Milwaukee who found it odd that all the Italians were walking around on New Year's Day saying "banana". He was informed, upon inquiry, that they were saying instead, "Quon anno." Which meant, "Yes, we have none."

On the editorial page, "That Hat" discusses the broad-brimmed western hat just thrown in the Republican presidential ring by Governor Earl Warren of California, finds it small, unlikely of success, and full of double-talk for the Governor having insisted for a year that he was not intending to run for the office in 1944.

"New Draft" praises the streamlining of induction procedures for the armed forces, enabling especially fathers subject to the draft to have more certainty and more time within which to wind up business before induction.

"What's This?" finds contradiction within organized labor by the order of a national shipbuilders union of its 17,000 members back to work in Philadelphia for the reason that to do otherwise would compromise the war effort. For all the flak provided General Marshall by Bill Green and Phil Murray for his similar statements regarding the threatened rail strike and the steel strike, at least one union appeared responsibly in agreement with the General.

"Two Enemies" again recommends the threat of harsh sanctions to be leveled at Bolivia and Argentina for their continued favor of the Axis. The State Department's decision not to recognize either government, says the piece, did not adequately deter the continuation of the policies inimical to the United States and disruptive of Latin American relations after the war.

Samuel Grafton opines that General George C. Marshall was appropriately outraged regarding the prospect of a rail strike and laid to on the rail and steel workers with just opprobrium. Had he not, he would not have been a fit Army Chief of Staff, to coordinate the coming offensive to be launched in Europe.

There was, continues Mr. Grafton, a je nais se quois aspect to the matter, in which glee appeared to be taken by commentators at the irritation caused soldiers by Labor creating a breakdown in unity in the country. Congress appeared playing its hand by thwarting the President's advocated policy of keeping wages down, of freezing prices, of raising taxes, of engaging in renegotiation of contracts to chop off excess war profits, all to avert inflation. In doing so, Congress encouraged not only inflation, but strikes for higher wages to keep pace with increased costs of living, in turn beginning the ever increscent spiral.

Raymond Clapper tells of his arrival in Australia after flying 9,500 miles from Washington in three days, with short layovers in San Francisco and Honolulu along the way. He reports that the transport lines on which he flew were far removed from the capable reach of the Japanese and thus no losses of these planes had occurred. But life was also therefore boring and many wished to be closer to the fight.

Mr. Clapper relates of life on board an air transport, filling time with cribbage and poker. He quotes one soldier as saying, in response to a query about attitude toward strikers, that they should be sent to the war front, to allow the soldiers who had been doing the fighting to go home.

Drew Pearson comments first on the Republicans meeting to begin preparation for their convention and planned takeover of Congress in 1944. But meanwhile there was resistance by Republicans to regulation of fire insurance companies, prompting Representative Charles La Follette of Indiana to condemn members of his own party, asking how they could expect to be chosen to lead the country if they were going to be chary of using the power provided them to regulate.

Mr. Pearson next turns to the topic of the likely results in Congress during the ensuing year. He predicts that the debate regarding the President's issuance of executive orders with respect to foreign nations, that such was usurping the exclusive constitutional power of Congress to make treaties, would nevertheless ultimately be resolved in favor of the President, that he would obtain permission to authorize 500 million dollars for foreign relief and rehabilitation. Mr. Pearson further predicts that the anti-subsidy bill before Congress, already approved in the House, would pass the Senate, then be vetoed and the veto sustained. Out of it would come a compromise measure under which some limited subsidies amounting to 750 million dollars would be authorized by the Congress. A compromise bill on the vote by absentee ballot by soldiers would pass, without the offending language providing police power to Congress over the provision of absentee ballots by the states. The Congress would support renegotiation of contracts to remove excess war profits. The full Senate likely would nix permanent promotion of General Patton to major-general. Fire insurance companies would not be exempted from antitrust legislation. The move for universal draft of labor would fail in Congress. Oil companies would be denied their requested 35-cents per barrel increase in price.

He concludes by telling of a young female typist who worked for the War Production Board, typed flawlessly with appropriate speed, and made all of the appropriately colored carbon copies of each document. She was blind and, applying the wisdom of King Lear, looked at her text via dictaphone.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh returns to the page after Christmas leave. He writes of the process of devolution in the country during the period since the end of World War I such that freedom had come to be that which, rather than liberating, too often devoured one another.

So, still, it might be said--even if, again, we disagree with the notion espoused by the Reverend that the country was intended to be Christian, in the doctrinaire sense of the term. The basic notions, however, especially the Golden Rule, as defined by sensitive and sane actions not bent on self-destruction, and proscriptions against the sins born of the worst instruments of corruption, guns and other primitive hunter-gatherer implements, now only useful for bullies to promote their own paranoid delusion and lack of reasoned perspective, have a centrality of purpose in the country's history and tradition, which, if allowed to deteriorate too much, become the foundation pins on which is built, in reaction to isolated incidents, an armed fascist camp, bearing no resemblance to a democracy, save in the mere skeletal appearance of civil rights, eroded and delimited by the chilling effects of over-reaction by the public and by official organs of government to isolated instances of conduct by deranged persons. Such reaction provides to the deranged person the stage on which he or she may act out the age-old violent drama individually and transmit an enormous impact on society in ways they could not enjoy by remaining law-abiding and peaceful.

Do you not think it better to afford everyone their Hyde Park soapbox, no matter how absurd the sermonette, and ban the guns--the way the Founders intended it to be?

Why maintain the guns? What purpose, other than to kill another human being? A gun never stops these episodes; it only fosters them.

Grow up, gun-toting, gun-promoting imbeciles, bullies who wish to lord over the rest of us with their big, big guns and lack of brains and ingenuity, each of whom, one by one, ought be taken out and shot in the public square at high noon, every goddamned one of you.

In any event, watch closely starting at the 3:10 to Yuma mark, and again at 7:55, of this disjointed YouTube presentation and see whether you do not agree that there appears either Mr. Loughner, Saturday's man-child in the promised land, himself, or his look-alike and think-alike, sporting a mask of some description on the back of his head, flirting with none other than the Phoenix public gun-toter of August, 2009 and his co-host of the reality dumb-show.

Freedom, Pat, is just another word for nothin' left to lose. Down on your knees, boy.

"Blood libel"? Whose blood, ding-a-ling? Go home to your baked Alaska, bitch-witch, and take your pal, Jared, with you. Maybe he can rock your box with his big, big Gun.

Ah, so pure.

Anyway, Amway Sarah and Michele, we would like a refund. Because, ye know, the show was so used cars.

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