The Charlotte News

Friday, November 11, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Both Mr. Taft and Mr. Wallace proved prescient as to what 1938 would portend for the 1940 election. The view expressed below that the Republicans were only voicing vaguely a policy of "turning to the Right" sounds all too familiar, and for the last 41 redundant years to the point where one wants to scream the next time some blockhead Republican speaks of wanting to turn to the right or to return to "family values", whatever those are. We have a suggestion: Drive to the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge and turn to the right.

We hate to be a harper but the country was founded not on Rightist principles, i.e. fascism, but rather on liberal ideas framed within a representative democracy. We have the most liberal framework for government ever created on earth. But as with all such systems, it is only as viable and responsive in that manner as we as individuals insist that it be.

It is quite arguable, and forcefully so, though dark it be, that on November 22, 1963 our government was hijacked by a bunch of Nazi-Fascists who had failed to do that in 1863--yes, those same sort of people, not the South per se, but the Confederates, the slavers and slaveowners, in the modern form of corporatistas, both national and international, those who seek to own people's souls for the sake of their own lavish bounty and excessive comfort, heads on the walls from the Hunt. Sickness. It wasn't some group of four or five men in a board room somewhere or some supra-government somewhere else, but rather a kind of slow process of twisting people's minds to accept certain things first on a small, localized level, say within the confines of a job, economic coercion to nonsensical rules or else be fired, then gradually going up the ladder of resulting discontent, laterally and vertically, as with any neophyte to the initiated--thou must suffer as we have suffered and thus, until the course becomes one of endenization, required tacitly for one to participate in the system economically and socially to any degree beyond that of vassal, without considerable discomfort in the offing.

It is quite arguable, too, that a parallel exists between that which happened subsequently in the 1960's, the riots and disorder, calling for the "necessity" of law and order in the form of the Nixon Administration's policies, and that which occurred on November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht, as set forth below in "Their Master's Voice". Stimulate the manipulanda by means of those old tricks, forgiveness of sin for helping thy master, the promise of reward ensuing, once those old liberal Democrats are out of office; that is, pushing, shoving to misbehave if misbehave they at first refuse to do; billy-stick 'em, dog 'em, get 'em to do your bidding, all in black dress, hidden from the mighty white master's voice in the room way up on the hill of Oz.

To counteract that turning to the Right, we need always bear in mind that hard sharp turn to the left which that blue Lincoln made that fateful afternoon. That hard sharp left turn will always tend to counteract those Rightists, and hopefully without the untoward, horrible results of that Friday, such that we may reach some form of reasonable stasis and moderation in the various turns. Of course, the danger in that stasis, if achieved through too much dissension only, is that it may will a dysfunctional government in times of the need for greatest foresight and action; as now, when our very world is threatened, not by terrorism, but by our own lack of preparedness for the greatest "war" ever to be fought by mankind during the few years to come, the war to save the planet from annihilation by itself, a planet seemingly desperate to try to commit suicide, warring on itself. A planet in need of a good counselor.

Mercurians provide the best counsel always, even if mercury itself is a deadly poison and should never be consumed, only examined for indication of temperature changes; Mercurians ride closest to the sun and can thus best provide us advance warning of where the difficulties arise on that great ball of fire.

Martians only know war and division of mankind from itself as a source of cure for our difficulties. Advance the economy with the war machine, the military-industrial complex of which President Eisenhower warned in his latter days in office, kill off the groups hurting us, divide the rest in fear and achieve subjugation of the species to the benign will of the dictatorial few--not a dictator, but a mass of inexorable dictatorial flow from a dictatorial system, as taking orders from a machine, a computer spewing out data mindlessly, wedded to the premise that the rules come from above and thus are immutable and resistless, as with pre-etched "Rules of Engagement" in warfare. Dictatorial time-clock latches, deadbear tripwires to the mind, grown overly enamored of that effervescent tension, that adrenaline pumping excitement engendered by that scary, hairy thriller query each night around: Will the world end before tomorrow morning? A generation born into it has had trouble in the past 16 years getting over it.

This time around, however, we cannot point over there to someone else as being dictator and subjugator, manipulator, as we prepare to fight this new, more subtly creeping tension-builder. It is as much the United States, more so probably, than any of the other civilized nations of the earth at fault in this new war, the stealth of hotter days, of staggering nature out of balance, more in the form of the scarcely seen Harry Lime than the plainly visible Norman Bates of the Cold War or the truistically self-evident Frankenstein and Dracula of the World Wars era.

Tonight, we heard on the Fox that they were going to present a program on global warming. That is good. And the program was informational and appropriate, though we may find fault with some of the views indicated, such as that the primary fault is with industry. We agree that a large share of the fault belongs there, but the primary fault is ultimately with the individual consumer, for without each of us, no industry on earth may subsist for long. The fault is each of us who consume fossil fuels. But that on which we wish to make comment is the commentary in advance of this program during an interview on the Fox. It tended toward the conclusion that the United States is not the worst offender, that those other nations must take the lead also in thwarting global warming. That is fool's logic, we posit, a convenient escape clause for those unaware of the danger and ever-increasing danger of this problem. It affords the convenient excuse: Let us not do anything until they do something. We don't need to feel guilty about that big stupid, unnecesary S.U.V. (Sporocarp Utricular Vacivity) in the driveway, (prompted by the stupid, idiotic excuse that we've got to feel safe whilst cartin' the kiddies to soccer practice: hint, better exercise to have them bike or walk to soccer practice or stay home and play soccer with the neighborhood kids in the backyard, safer too) or two or three or four of them, because after all those people across the street have six. To that form of irrationality and rationalization, all we can say for sure is that we hope the things are amphibious. Judging by pictures from New Orleans in September, 2005, they aren't.

Every time anyone drives such a vehicle, powered by fossil fuels (and it is all well and good for the administration to give lip service to alternative fuels but where are the incentive programs, where are the examples in the government motor pool from the top down?) they ought to give pause and consider the bloated and drowned bodies of the victims of Katrina in Missisippi and Louisiana; those S.U.V's of the past couple of decades helped mightily to kill them.

The fact is, as we have pointed out previously, the United States is the worst offender by far in promoting global warming, and the automobile as driven by the individual motorist, not industry per se, is the worst culprit contributing to this status. It starts here, not over there. The United States consistently consumes fully a fourth of the world annual consumption of petroleum. The Central European countries, leaving aside Russia, the Ukraine, the Baltic States, and the Balkans, consume yet another three-quarters of that which the United States consumes, combining with the U.S. to form about 44% of world consumption of petroleum. When U. S. Territories, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia are added to the consuming nations, this Great Consuming Combine comprises fully 62% of petroleum consumption.

Over there? Where? Mars?

Perhaps, there ought to be a new Arlington formed somewhere, with a Tomb of the Unknown, also there, with the victims of Katrina and Rita, those of the typhoon in Thailand and the recent Pakistani earthquake commemorated therein, as a reminder that this war is on and one which everyone in the world now will have to fight. Compromises and treaties will inevitably be made. The stupid and shortsighted who refuse to recognize this urgency now, in the face of the plain facts before us, will be finally turned right alright--right out of office to the pavement by all but the most stupid and suicidal of constituencies.

Otherwise, by the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice, November 11, 2018, like as not you will need scuba gear to visit the extant Tomb. As the Tomb itself is on relatively high ground, you might yet see it from across the way still by then, but to get there, you might need that rowboat to cross the great District of Columbia reflecting pool.

Two In Sober Mood

The two most sensible remarks which have been made about the election results are those of Henry Wallace and Robert Taft. Thus:

1. Mr. Wallace

Mr. Wallace said yesterday that the people were voting against a business depression and low farm prices far more than they were voting for the Republicans. It is obviously so. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, New England, Ohio, Indiana, Oregon, Kansas, and Wisconsin--these are precisely the areas in which the business and farm depression which began last Fall hit hardest.

2. Mr. Taft

While most to the Republican brethren were tiptoeing on the clouds, taking the wish as father to the thought and confidently assuming that they are bound to win in 1940, even announcing that they intend hereafter to dictate to the President, Mr. Taft was pretty glum. He said that he felt no triumph, and that he thought the Republicans should feel none: for they were faced now, he said, with a tremendous and somewhat appalling responsibility. And certainly, if the Republicans are so sure they are going to win in 1940, it was high time they began to turn their eyes on the task before them and to frame a program to meet it.

The task is an appalling one--the task of destroying the unemployment which has been a canker in the heart of the nation for ten years now, the task of establishing general prosperity, and the task of bringing enough equity into the distribution of that prosperity to restore the threatened national unity so that the country can confront growing foreign perils with a solid and determined front. Mr. Roosevelt has a program. It has not worked nearly so well as it might have. It is nonsense, indeed, to say that it has not worked at all--as anybody who has any memory can see by turning back and setting present conditions against those of 1932 and 1933. But it has largely failed so car as employment goes. And the cost has been all out of proportion to the results gained along the line.

Nevertheless, the President and his New Dealers do have a program. And at this moment the Republicans have no vestige of one. They had none in 1936. All they had was the claim that they could carry out the New Deal better than the Democrats. In view of their record from 1920 to 1932, there was no reason to believe it. There is none today. And, indeed, they no longer claim that they intend to go the way of the New Deal. They simply talk vaguely these days about "turning to the Right."

But what on earth does that mean? That they intend to try to return to the laissez-faire of 1929? It seems incredible that the good heads among them can actually propose it, for in view of the Hoover record, it is as nearly certain as anything can be that that way lies chaos. But if they don't mean that, what do they mean? It is high time we began to have some diagrams precisely of what "turning to the Right" implies, so that we may have time thoroughly to study and test its probabilities before 1940.

They Are Four

He is survived, this Confederate veteran Alex Beaty, 93, who died yesterday, by three children, eleven grandchildren, twenty-six great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. And isn't that, in outline, the story of the South--that the men who rose up to fight the South's battle, and lost, have left nevertheless a growing race behind them to people a new country of new opportunities?

Of those Confederate men, only four out of all the host remain in Mecklenburg. They are: Thomas N. Alexander, C. W. Benson, D. W. Mayes and J. R. Paul. While they live we will cherish, protect and defend them.

Twenty Years After

The twentienth anniversary of the Armistice finds the work of the World War totally undone.

On the nineteenth anniversary it was not so. Germany had indeed scrapped the portions of the Versailles Treaty which forbade her to re-arm and which demilitarized the Rhineland. England had lost some prestige in the Ethiopian affair and was rapidly losing more as Germany and Italy ignored her protests about Spain and openly practiced piracy against her ships in the Mediterranean. But England and France still stood as decisively the greatest European powers. And the Versailles treaties still held so far as the demarcation of national boundaries went.

But in one short year, it has all been changed. The Versailles treaties are in the ash-can. Germany has snatched back not only the position of power she had in 1914, but more--today she is actually larger than in 1914, and is actually carrying out the dream the Kaiser failed to realize, the domination of Central Europe. As against her France, with only half of her present population, is definitely a second-rate power, even though her army probably remains the finest fighting force of equal size on earth. It is very doubtful that England, beaten and humbled at Munich and beset not only in Europe but in Asia, can any longer be considered a dominant power. Even over here, the effect of the World War is wiped out. So long as the Versailles settlement held, we had no need to fear trouble from Europe. But the new German State shows every sign of meaning to give us no end of trouble in South America.

An astonishing year, certainly--this one since November 11, 1937.

Their Master's Voice

It is useless for the German Government to attempt to save its face by reporting that police were powerless to halt the mobs which yesterday destroyed the synagogues in Vienna and Berlin, looted Jewish shops, and caused the death of many Jews--useless for Goebbels to attempt to do the same thing by "requesting" the mobs "to desist from further (after twelve hours of brutality) anti-Jewish demonstrations."

The world knows precisely where the blame lies in this case, and it knows that it does not lie with the unhappy boy who killed the Nazi Secretary in Paris. For five solid years the twisted little demagogue who sits on the throne of Frederick the Great and his psychopathic minions has steadily whipped up the streak of brutality which lies in the German character--has steadily fed the German people on lies and drilled them in hate and sadism. For 75 minutes on Tuesday Adolf Hitler screeched lies and hate it Munich--lies and hate directed at the Jew. And what happened yesterday was simply a natural issue of it all. As a matter of fact, it is almost certain that the German Government actually planned and stirred up the whole business, for it was Storm Troopers who led the assault on synagogues at Vienna, and mobs do not form in Germany without permission.

Site Ed. Note: The case to which the editorial refers is Polk Co. v. Glover, 305 US 5 (1938); as previously indicated, however, Hugo Black would become one of the most liberal justices in the Court's history, preliminary indicators perhaps to the contrary notwithstanding. Often justices take their seat on the bench giving indicators one way and gradually or suddenly appear to shift in another direction. It is the nature of the Court and its process, more than any ideological considerations.

Jurists, we posit, should not be ideologues, but should approach each and every case on the law and facts of that case before it. Testing to see whether the result thus reached might violate some tenaciously held philosophical principle of a particular jurist and skewing a position to so accommodate a religious or philosophical view might very well compromise justice, not only for the individual case, but for the jurisprudential system generally.

That said, a reading of Justice Black's dissent in Glover does not confirm the criticism laid to it by the editorial. Rather than making the broad-sweeping pronouncement suggested by the editorial, that citizens with constitutional complaints about the validity of state laws need not apply to the courts, Black, who would become a staunch defender of the concept of such appeal, especially as concerned civil rights abuses by the states, appears to be simply saying that in this case the petitioners, canners alleging harm by the Florida truth-in-labeling law, had not properly demonstrated any basis whatsoever for a potential constitutional violation by the law in question, only that the law was premised on false claims before the legislature when the law was passed. Black says the remedy therefore is to go back to the legislature with the proper facts and seek to have it amended or repealed, rather than to bring it before the courts alleging violation of Due Process.

One might analogize to the difference between a claim that a witness lied in testimony before a court and where a court has improperly refused a party the right to confront and cross-examine the witness. The former instance requires active cross-examination and marshalling of inconsistencies sufficient to convince the trier of fact of the lack of truth of the witness, while the latter only, not the former, would constitute a Due Process violation.

The other two cases decided November 7, 1938 in which Black dissented were Colorado Nat. Bank of Denver v. Comm. Of Internal Revenue, 305 US 23 (1938), an estate tax case, and General Talking Pictures Corp. v. Western Electric Co., Inc., 305 US 124 (1938), a patent case.

As an aside, among the other seven decisions, not ten, as the editorial states, handed down this date, Justice Black authored the majority opinion in Helvering v. Winmill, 305 US 79 (1938), a tax case on allowable business expense deductions, and Hines v. Lowrey, 305 US 85 (1938), reversing an award of $3,000 as an attorney fee for work done on behalf of an insane veteran, deemed in contravention to the World War Veterans' Act limiting attorney fees to $10.

But Not Hugo

All unnoticed in the excitement of the election, Justice Black has dissented again. Thirteen decisions were handed down by the Supreme Court Monday, to two of which and partly to a third Black alone dissented.

One of the cases, of no more than local importance, concerned a Florida law requiring that canned citrus fruits be labeled with the name of the state in which they were grown. Producers asked for an injunction. A lower court dismissed this suit, but the Supreme Court held that the allegations of the plaintiffs entitled them to an opportunity to prove their case.

But not Hugo.

Hugo said that the complaint against the law was only that it was unwise and necessarily unprecedented, that the way of appeal led not to the courts but to the Florida Legislature, which had passed the law. Hugo said further:

"State laws are continually subjected to constitutional attacks by those who do not wish to obey them."

In other words, said Hugo, stop pestering the courts with all these constitutional questions. If legislatures pass laws which are unconstitutional, it is not the business of the courts to grant relief. And what shall the citizens do then, poor things? Why, appeal to the better natures of the law-making bodies.

Hugo's philosophy becomes clearer and clearer.


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