The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 26, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Senator Bob yet again demonstrates his wisdom, as set forth in "None of Our Business". None over there, but let's build some over here. Bob would have fit right in, however, with a certain crowd in Washington today. In fact, perhaps they should rename Guantanamo "Bob".

Also a poem from the page of this date:


By Maude Waddell

Ghouls and demons (I'm told) when they dance,
By the light of the cold pale moon,
Glimmer and glitter with gore as they prance
To the strains of a battle-field's tune;
For it's greed and hate they celebrate,
And wars that have long been fought,
And rarely they stop to ever debate
The right of these things as they ought.

So like are these ghouls to mortal men,
With eyes that fail to perceive
Matters so clearly within their own ken,
'Tis scarcely a thing to believe.
But fairies (they say) have a far better way,
When they dance like mortals or ghouls,
For it is long they fete when they celebrate,
Since war is the passion of fools.

Then there was this point of view, short-sighted as it was, which nevertheless spoke for the majority of Americans of the time probably, a mere 20 years after World War I:

U.S. Should Not Stir Up Row With Nazis

Dear Sir:

Perhaps it is the carping spirit, or something, but it seems to me that we in the United States are going out of our way to develop hatreds in Europe which are not necessary. I do not condone a great many things which have happened in Europe, particularly in Germany and Italy--also in Japan and Spain and Palestine. I mean, I do not like a great many things which have taken place. It so happens, however, that they are not my definite business. What mite of weight my dislike for them may have I would like to be registered, but I do not want to blow and rant unless it is to the interest of the United States that I should and unless the people of the United States feel that they want to accept the responsibility for intervening in shaping Europe to their desires. They do not, of course. They will, as in the past, deplore inhuman treatment to the minorities, but they are not going to war about it. Inasmuch as we're not, then let's not make faces at Germany or Russia or Italy or Japan. My point is, let's not be greater aggressors with our talk than we are willing to be with our guns, all the while holding ready to larrup any of those crazy nations which attempt to cut in on us.



One might be tempted to rejoinder that such is little different from those today who oppose our presence in Iraq. But again we remark that the analogy is broken by numerous distinctions, not the least of which is the difference in preparedness between the United States of early 1939 and that of today and since World War II. There is also the remarkable difference that Iraq was, before our invasion in 2003, under economic siege, reduced to a third world slum for the most part, that is when our tobacco companies weren't illegally smuggling to it cigarettes to be sold on the black market for weaponry. They were not stalking all over the Middle East as were Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, and Japan in China and Southeast Asia. The two times and the two scenarios are simply not comparable in the least, and we do get tired of hearing the comparison. Nor was Iraq possessed of a navy and air force which could conceivably threaten the United States and its protectorates and possessions or South and Central America and Mexico.

Give It a Chance

Chairman Henry Harkey of the County Commissioners heartily opposes the State's new system of taxing intangible property, such as money in bank and in hand, stocks and bonds, and accounts receivable. And no wonder. In the first year of the new method, Mecklenburg County got $43,000 less than in the last year of the old. [The City of Charlotte got $56,000 less.] This meant that the County tax rate had to be raised 3.12 cents.

Mecklenburg County's experience is not unique. All over North Carolina, local tax revenue from intangibles was less. One explanation of this, however, is that the State Government got half the proceeds, or $434,000, and tax revenue is tax revenue, no matter who gets it. And this was the first year of the new system. A prime argument for its adoption was that in time the State would unearth much intangible property evading taxation under the old method, so that receipts would increase.

Before, much of it was in hiding or went tax-free by tacit consent. The combined City and County rate on intangibles in 1937 was $2.27 per $100. Obviously, in the case of savings accounts, or A-grade bonds, say, the tax began to approach, if not to exceed, the return on the investment. Whereas the State's rate on savings accounts was 10 cents per $100, on bonds, 40 cents. And that, Mr. Harkey must concede, was a break for these taxpayers.

The Holdup Proceeds

First you find yourself a likely navigation project, a stream or a succession of streams down which, with a little imagination and unlimited funds, you can see steamboats chuffing. [Hoo-o hoo-oo!] Then you get yourself an appropriation from accommodating Mr. Ickes' PWA, said appropriation being eleven parts outright gift and nine parts loan to be secured only by the project itself. Then you commence to dig and dredge and channel and dam and--what's this?--you discover that at this point on your navigation project and at that point it is practically impossible to keep the fall of water from making hydroelectric power. And, by George, it turns out that instead of a navigation project, to which power production is incidental, you have a series of power plants for which navigation is but a remote excuse.

Then you look about the territory and you spot the private companies which have been furnishing it with power and you say to them, "Boys, we seem to have turned up with a lot of potential electricity on our hands, and of course we've got to sell it for otherwise it would go to waste. We can build our distribution system and go into competition with you, but that would ruin you. We pay no taxes, and besides, half our investment has already been written off as a gift. Mr. Ickes suggests that you sell out your distribution systems to us. The price will be fair, you may be sure. Mr. Ickes will fix it--and pay it."

That, almost but not quite literally, is what has taken place in South Carolina, from the creation of the Santee-Cooper Authority to undertake a navigation flood control work relief power project, to the discovery that it was going to be almost entirely a power project, to negotiations for the purchase of competing distribution systems. It seems a little hard on private initiative.

The Candor of M. C.'s

A number of Senators and Representatives, according to the cautious AP, are in a singularly candid mood. So overcome are they with frankness, indeed, that they are actually confessing that Senator Norris was right when he came right out in public and said that a great deal of the blame for "politics" which is being heaped on the relief administration in Washington really belongs to Congressmen themselves.

The boys, says the AP, aren't publicly admitting that it is entire true. They are as yet too afraid of their unregenerate colleagues. But in private, over the communal jug, they break down and allow that in fact these things are so: (1) that most of the men with jobs in relief, national, state local, got them through their Senator or Representative; (2) that the Senator and Representative got the jobs for them because they had already proved themselves useful; (3) that in office they keep right on following the habit of serving the Senator or Representative and trying to build up votes for the time when he next comes up for election; and (4) that if they didn't they might somehow happen to get fired and replaced by somebody more devoted to the Senator or Representative.

Most wonderful candor, eh? But there is really little mystery about its sudden development. The boys who exhibit it have simply observed that, after all, there are at least fifteen candidates for every job--and that while they make a friend of the man who gets the job and of all his family they are apt to make the other fourteen and their families mad. The boys, that is, are beginning to suspect that pap doesn't pay...

None of Our Business?

Robert Rice Reynolds yesterday illustrated his professed dislike for Mr. Hitler by saying, among other things, that he saw no concentration camps in Germany and that the United States should establish some concentration camps of its own. The first, by implication, denies that the concentration camps exist, and brands the whole body of the testimony we have had from every competent observer as simple invention. In the same breath, the second meant that they do exist and cooly proposes that the United States abolish the Bill of Rights and, with it, the whole democratic system, and imitate them!

That's a fair example of the logic and coherence of the whole speech. What on earth are you going to do with a man who goes on repeating the old hokum that the dictators have solved unemployment, though everybody knows now that they have done no such thing--that they have merely turned their countries into huge cantonments in which every man is busy, perforce, and preparing for wars of conquest! Or with a man who in one and the same moment tells you that what Germany and Italy are doing is none of our business, warns that if Franco wins in Spain, we are in for trouble in South and Central America!

Not that there wasn't a grain of sense in some of the things Robert argued. We are in danger of war hysteria. And it is quite true that the internal affairs of Germany and Italy are none of our business. But unfortunately, it is not a question of internal affairs, as Robert himself really confesses when he makes that crack about Franco. Our quarrel with the dictators is, in part, precisely that they are making trouble for us and for the world at large. They are making it by dumping their Jews penniless on the world, and facing us with the choice of callously leaving them to starve or adding to the number of our own aliens whom Robert himself is already yelling to deport! And they are making it by their conquest of Spain and their plainly confessed efforts to turn South and Central America into a vast Nazi-Fascist dependency, controlled from Berlin and Rome, in flat defiance of the Monroe Doctrine.

That is one reason for our quarrel with them. Another is that in pursuit of their calculated policy of military conquest abroad they have cooly repudiated all the obligations and standards of civilization, and brazenly made the lie and bad faith instruments of their aims, and above all have calmly adopted horror as their prime stock in trade--have deliberately murdered many thousands of women and babies with bombs from the sky by way of terrifying the Spanish people into submission to their yoke, and are threatening to extend their process on a wholesale scale if they are not given their whole way in the world. And if we can really view that as none of our business, without indignation and fury--then, God help us!


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