The Charlotte News
Friday, January 24, 1941
Site Ed. Note: We have to wonder, three days in, whether the country is compos mentis.
We heard that on March 21, 2003, some 70 per cent of the "American people" believe that going to war now was correct. A few days earlier, the same polls showed an even split between those favoring war and favoring more time for weapons inspectors to work. But we also see, upon further inquiry into the polls, that when the pollsters ask respondents whether the United States should have provided weapons inspectors more time, about half still say that they should have. In other words, about 20% of the people interviewed feel we should have given the weapons inspectors more time but nevertheless going to war at the present time is appropriate.
We wonder where they find these people, the usual 900 or so "average Americans". Maybe there is a top secret list somewhere with an asterisk by about a third of the names: *Gullible, uninformed, irrational, mistakes emotion for reason, gets information solely from television and talk radio, some of them love to profess freedom and open dissent but in ordinary conversation shill, lie and propagandize, while labeling any opponent "unpatriotic" or worse. Or, maybe they are the Nielsen families, the same ones who guide the nation in most things having to do with subjective opinion--which likely accounts for the last 40 years.
Obviously, though, either they are not sane or the pollsters and their methods are dishonest--maybe both. Perhaps, the pollsters have figured out that about a third of the respondents answer "yes" to everything, and phrase the questions accordingly.
It's all in the question anyway, of course, and the programmer-rammers rarely give the question, just the answers--all the answers--in their best staccato, melodrama.
The other day we saw some of these Fat Faces, formerly of the Shrill Impeachment Choir who once liked to talk incessantly of wagging the dog during bombing raids, talking about how the Senate Minority Leader has the right to criticize the Administration, but really should not do so on the eve of war as that is unpatriotic. No matter that this "eve of war" is something brought on unilaterally by this Administration, which is so busy out in the park on squirrel duty it has apparently yet to notice that the rest of the world thinks we've either gone nuts or have just been taken down roundly with a bad case of the stupids.
They are doing this bit of propagandizing and war mongering, of course, those many who do, both pols and broadcasters, for obvious commercial gain in a failing economy, for they are commercialists at base and sales-pitch artists in the passing carnival-- though they do more hiding behind the flag than anyone else in the country, just as they did in November-December, 2000. Just as scoundrels always do.
They believe that a government is run like a business, autocratically. And that news departments are at base a part of that same Business.
It hasn't always been this way. We remember when the broadcasters actually provided news and analysis, argumentative analysis, which was largely dispassionate and balanced. But today, with the exception of the lone non-commercial network, the Fox rules. The emotional, lightweight Fox. And all the chickens therefore hide in their houses so the Fox won't eat them. A sad state of affairs. And one which is going to cost us dearly because of one Big Fat Greasy, Sleazy, Rich, Greedy, Nationalistic Pig who ails us everyday.
So, considering all of this sad state of affairs, we decided at great expense of time and money, to take an elaborately conducted poll. Here, the results:
"Who is more of a threat to freedom, the Fox or Saddam Hussein?" The results were: 45% Republican, 45.1% Democrat, and 9.9% don't know who the Fox is.
"Who will win this war?" Custer, 45%; the Indians, 45.1%; the American people, assuming you include the French, 9.9%.
"Is there a reverse Trojan horse up the road?" Huh? 45%; Could be, 45.1%; Les Troyens! 4.9%; Depends on whether you mean in Samarra or Baghdad, 5%.
"Does taking down a poster mean victory?" Obviously, 45%; Huh? 45.1%; It's been awhile since we read Macbeth, 9.9%.
"Can we take any more 'friendly fire' incidents or accidents?" As long as the troops hold out, 45%; There will be more but we hope they don't mistake the big red crosses for targets like in the last one, 45.1%; Getting killed is not very friendly, 9.9%.
"Who do you trust to cover the war honestly?" Any of the networks, but mostly the Conversationally Cool Network, the one which replaced most of the familiar faces with ones we've never seen and remind us increasingly of our local newscasters, (liked the comment made about how this scene of a three-hour standoff, reminiscent of moonshot footage, with soldiers facing a line of trees, is packed with "tension" and that the announcer felt the tension and "I'm in Atlanta, Georgia"--woh), though we like most to watch the one which leads the chickens, they're cool, 45%; We try to separate the good reportage from the obviously embedded papa-ROTC garbage, takes about five minutes per day, then more basketball, 45.1%; We like to read, 4.9%; We like to read, then watch more basketball, 4%; Do you mean I should answer honestly or they should cover it honestly? 1%.
"Is it him or his double?" Oday's double thinks it's a double and that's double trouble enough for me, 45%; It's him, not Memorex, 45.1%; Could be or maybe a triple. I like smiley faces, do you? Huh., 9.9%.
"Why didn't they protest the war in Kosovo like this?" Where? 22.5%; Yeah, right on, exactly, too busy protecting him from impeachment which should have happened, you know. I could write a book on that, you know, probably will. I mean it's really awful, worse than you realize, and the third rate burglary, they got Nixon for that little thing, and then they let him get away with this immoral stuff and all that and all and I'm disgusted and I know that the liberal conspiracy is out to get us and, you know, it is responsible for everything bad that happens, they did that 9-11 thing, too, but it's all okay now, yeah, as long as none of those liberals get back in power. And let's talk about what he did to my constitutional right to smoke cigarettes. The Iraqis even can smoke cigarettes in public. And I couldn’t read the Bible then either. My child couldn’t even pray. Hey, where are you going? I'm just getting started here. 22.5%; Because there was ongoing genocide, lots of actual proof of it presented to the people by an articulate President who could effectively argue his points with foreign leaders, present them in an unstructured press conference before the American people, and the U. N. backed it solidly, 45.1%; That was where it all started in 1914, silly, not Eden, as these crackers in the 22.5% think, 9.9%.
"Is this war about freedom?" Of course, why question that? 45%; Freedom? Do you feel more free than you were four years ago? 45.1%; Well, the five dancing drunk Iraqis and the four teenagers panning for the camera, which the networks presented as the French on Liberation Day, don't yet make the case for me, 9.9%.
"Is Hitler alive?" Hitler? What does he have to do with it? 45%; Maybe, 23.1%; No, but the Wave of the Future may be, 22%; Doubtful, but if he is, hard to say which side he's on these days, 5.9%; Catch a new wave, dude. You've been working too hard taking this poll, 4%.
"What causes war?" Evil. "Whose evil?" Theirs. 45%; Greed, imperialism, territorial disputes, refusal to recognize treaties from the past, refusal to recognize the basic human rights of others, 45.1%; Memory, just memory, my friend, a la recherche du temps perdu, 4%; It's the you know what, testosterone stuff, towers, tanks, gun barrels and all that--don't embarrass me, 4%; Open the closet, go to the top shelf, the box in the left corner, the black one--therein lies about half the answer, .95%; Open the cupboard, go to the top shelf, look in the right corner, the box with the frills and tears, that's the other half, .95%.
"Have you heard any humor about this war?" How dare you. Joke about war? 45%; No, the 45% won't let us, and they're our employers and supervisors, 45.1%; Do you remember Jett Rink? He's behind this war. Think about it. 9.9%.
(The 3,043 respondents were scientifically chosen from every state in the Union and virtually every community within those states, based on data which we retain as secret within our organization for the sanctity of future polling data, were aged 7 - 98, all of voting age, none at home, most in the parks, most employed, and as few living in trailers as possible (as those are comprehensively covered in the other polls), though the homeless and cell phone users were included since all the other polls require a listed phone number. In the Foxyhawk year marking the hundredth year of the flight at Kittyhawk, the Lindberghs among us were deliberately excluded, because they are of ill humours. To avoid the yes-person factor interfering with statistical accuracy, we asked the following control question of all respondents: "Is there a Sanity Clause?" The responses to that question and our use of them are confidential. The sampling error is + or - 50%.)
The Star Witness
A Man Who Knows How To Fly an Airplane Is Chosen by A Committee as Authority on All Matters.
Before the committee sat a man whose face had once been that of a young and somewhat shy mechanic. It was another face now, streamlined and hard like the machine--curiously like other faces which have become all too familiar in the last eight years.
He was famous. Justly, for an airplane flight. Dubiously, for having accepted a Nazi medal, which the machine-gunning of babies upon the roads of France had not moved him to turn back. And he was famous, finally, for having married a very rich young woman, whose books showed unfading worship for him.
For a time this man had lived and worked with one Dr. Alexis Carrel, one of the most famous Fascist "intellectuals" in the world. Afterward the man had carried such stories of Nazi air power to Britain's timorous rulers that Neville had hurried to Munich in a funk. And his wife had published a beautifully written little book, "The Wave of the Future." What the book said was (1) democracy is washed up all over the earth, (2) the necessary shape of things to come is the Nazi-Fascist shape, (3) some of the things going on in Germany are regrettable but they are only incidental, (4) if we are wise we will accept the essential Nazi-Fascist idea quietly.
The man was an expert on the flying of the airplane. He was not an expert on naval, military, or foreign affairs, on economics or history. He had not been in Europe since the war had begun.
Now he sat before the committee and used it as a sounding board to tell the nation that its Government had lied to it, that it was absolutely impossible to invade America, that America could maintain itself economically in any world Hitler made.
The record of history said America had been invaded--across 3,000 miles of water. John J. Pershing thought it could be invaded, so did most of the highest ranking army and navy officers, as had the late great Captain Mahan. The overwhelming majority of the leading economists and foreign experts in the nation disagreed with the witness.
The man went on. Nazi might was irresistible. In 1938, to his personal knowledge they had 20,000 planes, undoubtedly had two to three times as many now.
It contradicted every known estimate of men on the ground. It was irreconcilable with the fact that the Nazis had not already overwhelmed England. But there the story was, racing beyond all recall through the nation to confuse the simple, to fill them with the same terror and defeatism which had carried Neville Chamberlain to Munich in 1938.
The man continued. Here was a point-blank question. Did he sympathize with England or Hitler? Had he ever criticized Hitler? He slithered out of that one. He sympathized with the English people, not with their aims, he said. He did not say what their aims were. Winston Churchill often had. They were: (1) to keep their own land from the Nazi tyranny, (2) to destroy the Nazi tyranny as something which could not be dealt with by agreement. The man said that there were some things going on in Germany he did not approve of. Anne Morrow Lindbergh had said that, too. He never said that he did not approve of the Nazi-Fascist system as such.
He did say that, in long view, there was little real difference between English and German ideals. Most American and European historians did not agree. Neither did Hegel, Nietzsche, Adolf Hitler, the greatest spokesman of the modern German spirit. Had the man not read these?
He said curtly, positively, that a negotiated peace was quite possible. Joseph P. Kennedy, lately Ambassador to England, who wanted peace too, had just told the committee reluctantly that a DECENT negotiated peace was impossible. Virtually all the competent observers agree. The record of Adolf Hitler agreed with terrible evidence. What did he mean, this man, by a negotiated peace? The surrender of England? The handing over of the command of the Atlantic to Hitler? He did not specify.
Then he said a curious thing. Reason he wanted to cut off aid to England, to force her to accept peace, was to save democracy. Anne Morrow Lindbergh had not said that.
After that he said a more curious thing. He said that the United States had encouraged the war, was encouraging it to continue, was therefore to blame for the dead in Europe. Not Hitler, not the Nazis, you understand, but just the United States--for all those dead bodies and dead women and dead children in Poland and Norway and Belgium and Holland and France and England and Greece and Africa. That was what the man who had a Nazi medal, and whose wife had written a book in which Nazism was the necessary shape of the future, said.
And the committee not only let him use it for a sounding board to send these notions flying on the wings of his once heroic name to confuse and dismay the American people. Many of its members, headed by Hamilton Fish, nearly led him on to say these things. And when he was done the (hand-picked?) audience rose and cheered.
There was once a country named Norway. There were others named Poland, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, France. They are all dead. It is perhaps instructive to remember how they died.
A Fine Piece of Patronage Recedes From Mr. McKellar
Senator McKellar still insists elegantly that "before we get through we are going to build up the case against Eakin that is horse high, bull strong and pig tight." But it begins to look as though one of the most desired and most persistently pursued pieces of patronage is going to escape him.
McKellar represents Tennessee in the Senate, and in that body he has acquired eminence for only one thing. He is the greatest shark for patronage who has appeared in Washington since the Grant era.
J. Ross Eakin is superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He was appointed before McKellar's elevation to the Senate, and ever since the latter came to power he has been trying to get him out of the post.
In the attempt to get Eakin's scalp, McKellar has finally called him before the Hatch Committee on various charges of irregularity and political corruption. Most important of the charges was one to the effect that $114,000 of park administration funds were not accounted for in Eakin's records. Yesterday he was pounding away on that charge when Chairman Hatch interrupted him.
Auditors, said Senator Hatch, had been sent to look into Eakin's accounts, and the evidence showed clearly that there was no shortage as charged.
McKellar neither blushed nor stuttered. He isn't made that way. He went right back to his charges, a politician denied his share of the boodle.
In the Attitude of Four Men Toward the Draft
At Fort Dix, N.J., three very rich young men, including a Rockefeller and a Bonaparte, are inducted into the army as privates.
At Pontiac, Ill., a young man of 22 years, Ernest Raymond Eisele, his father and two deputy U.S. marshals lie seriously wounded. The young man may die.
"When the war breaks out, " he had told investigators who tried to urge him to go ahead and register for the draft rather than face inevitable arrest, "I'll enlist, but until that time what I do is my own business and they can't make me register."
The case seems to be one of misguided individualism, for it nowhere appears that the youth was under the influence of the Communists, the Bundists or other pro-Nazi Fifth Columnists in the country. He apparently even granted his moral obligation to the community to fight in case of actual war. But short of that--he insisted on the absolute right to judging for himself.
The rich young men were wiser. It is not likely that any of them particularly relished a year in the army at the hard life of a private. It may be argued, indeed, that they have the satisfaction of doing something spectacular with the eyes of the nation on them. Nevertheless, the essential merit of their action in recognizing the claim of the nation on them, under exactly the terms offered others, remains--in contrast with that of the unhappy and misled young man in Illinois.
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