The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 7, 1939


Site Ed. Note: We include the following piece from this date's page, mainly because of its state of origin, demonstrating some significant level of distaste in parts of the heartland for the New Deal by 1939.

It presents, however, in the alternative, a rhetorical question familiar to this day: What will the Republicans and conservative Democrats do any differently from liberals to cut government spending and waste if they achieve power? The answer is tautological and has always been the same, keep spending. That is, except during the Clinton years when things actually did change and government spending was dramatically reduced, along with its inherent concomitant, bureaucratic waste, bringing about by 2000 a substantial government surplus in the annual budget. Then, "honesty and character" and "restoration of the rule of law" in government, and the whopping tax rebate check from the tax cut, (sufficient, if saved on a 3-year T-bill, to fund about six months worth of the hike in fuel prices resulting from the Iraq war exacerbated by the 2005 spike from the hurricanes-cut refinery capacity, the latter resultant ultimately from lack of any coherent plan to curtail global warming), formed "compassionate conservatism". We have to ask, however, after five years of it, compassion toward whom? Whoever he is, it seems to have worked for awhile to divert attention in many from the pick-pocket politics satiate of Big Business to the costermongered Evil and Terror. That preoccupation, however, we note, appears to be fading even with the most diehard of the chicken flews.

In 1939, for all its faults, the New Deal had dramatically improved society. Nevertheless, it took the war and its resulting military industry finally to extricate the country from the excesses handed it by twelve years of Republican laissez-faire economy during the twenties.

The editorial below, for all its complaint, offered no solution to the incompletely stated dilemma posed; how would any administration have been able to increase world markets for farm products, especially cotton, except by trading with combatants of the time, Nazis and Fascists?

As to the conservative Republicans, it's an old story: feed the corporatistas to fuel the economy through trickle down; feign to govern by letting things alone domestically; go after some common enemy abroad, invent him if he doesn't exist. The recurrent theme, after a period of redundant incumbency and accumulation of too much porky-power on the roundabout, then causes the people finally to begin to ask the same old question as that which they had posed before the hustings-hosts lords had their way with them:

Isn't It About Time The GOP Got A Plan?

From The Texas Weekly

What's the Republican plan for bringing about recovery and the resumption of orderly progress? What is the plan, we mean, aside from stopping Government interference with business and assuming a friendly attitude toward private investments?

Something happened in 1929, after ten years of Republican rule, and by 1933 the whole country was prostrated. The superstitions of the economic soothsayers about the "business cycle" and that sort of twaddle do not stand up as satisfactory explanations of what happened. And the country is not going to recover and resume orderly progress merely by kicking out the New Dealers and letting the "business leaders" alone to reconstruct prosperity in their own way. No thoroughly-equipped, well-informed, and sound economist believes any such buncombe as that.

We think the New Deal is cockeyed, and we have not hesitated to say so during the past six years. But we haven't seen any proposed Republican program to date that impresses us as calculated to meet the situation. It's all right to criticize the New Deal and to express opposition to New Deal measures. Sure. We're against 'em, too. But this mess we are in was up to our necks before the New Deal was ever heard of. The New Deal didn't get us into it, and getting rid of the New Deal is not going to get us out of it.

Just now, public opinion is running strong against huge Government spending and the conservative Democrats are against Government spending. But what does this public opinion favor? What are the conservative Democrats for? And what, affirmatively and constructively, do the Republicans propose? We all know what they are against. They are against most of the policies of the Roosevelt Administration. And so are we. But we don't believe mere opposition will ever get us anywhere. And, frankly, the Republicans have not given us any sound reason to expect any better "deal" from them. Or the "conservative" Democrats either, for that matter. Not those in Congress, in any event.

What would the Republicans do to restore adequate markets for farm products, for example? Never mind the sophistry about restoring property to industry first, which in turn will provide increased markets for farm products. Even if by some "let alone" policy the fullest prosperity could be restored to industry, it wouldn't provide adequate markets for farm products. Adequate markets for American farm products are not to be had within the borders of the United States. We didn't have such adequate markets within the United States during the "new era" from 1924 to 1929. It was the other way around: we had adequate markets for the products of American industry in the United States so long as we had adequate markets for American farm products in the world. Yes, just so long as we had that, and--no longer.

The point is that unless the Republicans have an effective plan to restore the world markets for American farm products, if they propose to deal with the problem of recovery on a domestic basis only, they are going to end up, if they regain power, by giving us more of the same kind of medicine that the New Dealers have been dishing out for six years. And we're pretty tired of that already.

The Hague's Heir

Boss Hague's latest move has so outraged one of his unlucky subjects, wealthy Mr. Samuel Rushmore, that he has begun to cut down the fine trees on his $320,000 Plains, N. J., estate, and threatens to make a desert of the whole place.

It is a strange and spectacular mode of protest, but it seems about time. For the Boss's latest is certainly the final knob on a career built out of solid brass. The Boss has had his stooge Governor, Harry Moore, to appoint a new judge in New Jersey. That in itself is no innovation. The Boss has had judges appointed before, and very obedient they have proved themselves when the test came. Moreover, the Boss and the Governor-stooge had the excuse that other Governors and bosses in other states have often played politics with the judiciary, and that the man they appointed had at least some nominal claim to being qualified for the job.

But under the latest appointment, the Boss's own son and heir, the Hon. Frank Hague Jr., is the man named to the highest court in the state. And Junior's sole qualifications for the post are: (1) that he spent eight years at Princeton and the University of Virginia Law School--without ever graduating from either; and (2) that he thinks Papa Hague is always right.

Always A Best Man...

The quaint custom of binding the feet of Japanese girl babies, as a sign of their uselessness, no longer is practiced in that Westernizing land. Nevertheless, the Japanese papa remains inordinately proud of male progeny almost to the exclusion of any delight in the female, and so it was probably with poor joy indeed that the Sun of Heaven, Papa Hirohito, learned last week that the seventh child born to the Emperor was another girl, the fifth.

In the great schemes of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo powers, girls play only the part of potential producers of little Storm Troopers, Balilii and Japanese troopers clothed in sheep skins against the bitter cold of North China and Russia. Girls, that is, are tolerable only because the dictator states have discovered no Ersatz for the time-consuming breeding processes, and because they add to the total of the population and therefore to the plea of pressure of population which the dictatorships put forward publicly along with their private exhortations to fecundity. And so, we say, the Little Princess born to Papa Hirohito may not have been so welcome as would have been another brother to all the little Princesses.

Still and all, Papa Hirohito has his consolation. A great many little planets are scuttling about the Sun throne, and one of these days, unless the solar system is deranged, will sit upon that throne. But away in Germany, the Leader who himself, without delegating the business to subordinates, orders his people to be fruitful and multiply that they may gain the earth--this Leader dandles no heir upon his knee nor apparently deigns to practice what he preaches. Verily, it is sad, which is all the less a reason why we should find ourselves chuckling over it.

A Startling Figure

At Atlanta yesterday Dr. Mont R. Reed of Cincinnati told the Southern Surgical Congress that the United States has the highest appendicitis death rate in the world, and that it has doubled itself in the last 30 years. Along toward the beginning of the century it was eight per hundred thousand of population. Now it is sixteen--as compared to three for Sweden.

That is astonishing. The symptoms of appendicitis are well known. If the offending organ is removed before it bursts, the operation nowadays is a minor one, attended by only slight and brief inconvenience to the patient. What is more, a doctor can always be found who'll perform the operation whether or not the patient has the money to pay for it. Hence, one would expect that, instead of increasing, deaths from this cause would have long ago almost ceased.

But the case is not inexplicable. The very fact that it is no longer ordinarily a menace to the life of the patient has caused it to be regarded as less dangerous than it really is. And, in contrast with the Swedes, whose environment has made them a careful and thoughtful lot, we are essentially a careless and headstrong people, giving lip admiration to science but inclined to trust in "common sense" when it is idiotic. And so we go right on taking castor oil for the bellyache, in spite of everlasting medical warning that it is an excellent method of acquiring a halo and a harp in short order.

A State Responsibility*

J-P, as everybody knows, stands for Justice of the Peace and facetiously for Judgment for the Plaintiff. But there is more than a grim grain of truth in the latter appellation, as the records of these basement courts will show. For instance, the ten jaypees in Mecklenburg County in 1937 rendered not-guilty verdicts in only 23 cases out of 785. (Fines, which go to the school fund, came to $69.15 in that year. Costs, which go to the magistrate and his retinue, came to $2,996.05.)

Yet for all the whimsical nature of the justice they dispense, jaypees are officers of the court system of the State. To many ignorant people, they are the first and last point of contact with the Law, which may explain their low opinion of it.

Two things, principally, are wrong with the State's jaypee system. The main thing is the utter lack of supervision over jaypee courts. Annual reports are required, to be sure, but nobody looks at them except occasionally some enterprising newspaper reporter. The other thing is the anything-to-oblige, two-for-a-nickel manner of their ordainment to magistracy. Governors appoint them willy-nilly. So do Legislatures. Others are elected simply by the formality of getting on some township ticket.

All the same, these courts are an integral part of the State's system of justice, the first and last contact which many people, most of them ignorant and without influence, ever have with the Law. And so the reform of these courts is a State, and not a local, responsibility, and when the Legislature sets out to limit the number of jaypees which may be ordained, that is State business and not local business, and the exemption of the 22 counties which have asked to be excluded from the purview of the act should not be allowed.

Site Ed. Note: This voyage of the damned was just the beginning; the tragic story of the St. Louis, as told in "Without a Port", June 3, 1939, seeking port in Cuba but turned away by Franco-simpaticoes, illustrates the terrible shock wave sent through the world by the Nazi-Fascist Pogrom against Jews.

From the Frying Pan

Shanghai, which went through hell and high water during its siege by the Japs, remains a spot to stay 'way from until the danger of pestilence abates and the will of its uniformed Japanese masters is fully and unquestionably imposed upon some 3,500,000 uneasy subjects.

Nevertheless, it was at Shanghai that some 400 German Jew refugees landed last week, bringing the number of these distressed fugitives in that distressed city to more than 3,000. This is the perfect illustration of the pillar-to-post movement. For Shanghai, of course, is destined to come under the orbit of Berlin-Rome-Tokyo influence, and in fleeing from one to the other end of the axis these Jews still remain in enemy territory, exposed to whatever indignities may be determined for them.

But they can't help themselves, and there is nowhere else to go, and they will have gained a little time to look about for some other place to flee.

Site Ed. Note: For more on the topic of the President's requested airplanes being questioned by the isolationist bloc in Congress, see "No Place for Politics", February 3, 1939.

The Clark Bogey Man

There is no reason, so far as we know, to doubt the good faith of Bennett Champ Clark. He comes from a section of the country which is practically immune to any imaginable attack, and which has always resisted every effort to increase the military and naval establishments. Moreover, ever since Woodrow Wilson snatched the Democratic nomination right out of the first Clark's hands in 1912, all the Clarks have been in opposition--have quite naturally and no doubt quite honestly seen everything which a Democratic President proposed as being, in the nature of the case, secretly designed to wreck the nation.

Still, if we are to take the things Bennett Champ was talking in the Senate yesterday as a fair sample, he does seem to set great store by the doctrine that eternal vigilance is the price of the preservation of democracy. What he said was (1) that the program for 6,000 planes had nothing to do with national defense but merely represented the anxiety of army officers to get a great deal of money to spend on their toys, and (2) that there is nothing in the bill to keep these officers from spending two billion smackers on the planes if they like.

The first statement denies the army officers, the President, Mr. Hull and a lot of other people any measure of honest patriotism--or suggests pointedly that they are a gang of hysterical zanies. And as for the second: to imagine the thing he suggests, you have to imagine the army cynically conspiring with airplane manufacturers to make planes cost four or five times what they need cost. And, in addition, you have to imagine Congress somehow shorn of its power to grant or withhold appropriations. Isn't Mr. Clark a little hysterical himself?


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