The Charlotte News

Friday, April 7, 1939


Site Ed. Note: The Big Lie theory has a corollary, as Cash would point out, that being that the Lie told will often take the form of accusing an innocent other of that of which the accuser is quite guilty. But, as history has demonstrated time and again, there is a catch to the Big Lie theory: after a time, it finds the tale of the Big Liar.

Speaking of brass, we understand today from a press conference at the White House that the Administration contends that leaking classified intelligence information is alright when the President authorizes it. For the President has the authority instantly to declassify information, and when that information is necessary to educate the American people as to the motivations for going to war in Iraq, it was perfectly alright to do that, to leak, that is to adduce through selected avenues of the press, the formerly classified, mutatis mutandis declassified National Intelligence Estimate, (as opposed to the unsavory acronym produced, albeit one more accurate, were it called, say, the Best Incredulity Going for Legitimately Implausible Explanation, (or, Latest Inferential Ephemera, or simply a combination thereof, such as N.I.E. on a L.I.E., as you please)), regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as pretext, that is reason for embarking on preemptive warfare, unprecedented in the nation's history.

This explanation, we take it, is corollary to that enunciated a few weeks ago to justify warrantless domestic surveillance authorized in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that it was necessary in "moderation" to get the terrorists, quite as if the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 which forbids such activity was passed in some atmosphere which had never contemplated the presence of organized and determinedly surreptitious terrorists on these shores or any other. The legal rationale offered there was that the President has some sort of inherent Executive authority under Article II of the Constitution which trumps Federal law, never minding that silly, antiquated oath he takes once every four years about swearing to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States, as well as that clause of Section 8 of Article I giving Congress, and only Congress, the authority to make all laws which are necessary and proper to carry on governmental powers and functions authorized by the Constitution.

We think we understand this principle as now promulgated by the White House. It is called--POMDADWHIPWITHWINDY: the President Only May Do Any Damned Way He's Inclined or Pleases Within Imagination Thus Hung Without, Including Nugatory Double-Yammering.

We've heard it before--in 1973-74.

A Study In Solid Brass

Concerning The Coolness With Which Two Noble Lords Tell Us Plainly Preposterous Yarns

It is at once amusing and exasperating to observe the brassy insolence with which the German and Italian authorities keep on drumming out obvious lies as to their motives and purposes.

The rape of Albania, like the rape of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, is a plain case of naked conquest, undertaken for no other reason than the greed of a dictator for power for himself and his people, and having as its ultimate end the destruction of the British and French power in Europe and the world.

But Mr. Mussolini began it by attempting to tell us that it was all being done at the invitation of King Zog and his people, just as Mr. Hitler told us that the rape of the Czecho-Slovakian provinces was undertaken at the request of their Governments and their peoples. Unfortunately for that, however, King Zog and the Albanian legations everywhere said it wasn't so. And the Albanian people proved it by bitterly fighting against overwhelming odds.

But did that stop Mr. Mussolini? Not at all. Yesterday his embassy in London issued a statement, while the fighting was still going on, saying that Italy had met no resistance whatever from the Albanian Army, only a little from a few "irregular bandits" (somewhere we have heard that phrase before) and that the people generally were "cordial." Cordial!!!

And at the same moment, Mr. Musso's propaganda service at Rome assured the world that the reasons he had undertaken the conquest, were: (1) to "protect" Yugoslavia and to punish Zog for having wickedly proposed that Italy help him in hogging up Yugoslavia, which is only ten times as large as Albania; and (2) to "protect" the Italians in Albania, who are being intolerably kicked about by the Albanians! And simultaneously we were informed from Berlin that Mr. Hitler felt the most tender sympathy for Mr. Musso in his tribulations, and that he well understood that "Italy naturally cannot tolerate continued unrest so near to her shores, and attacks upon Italian citizens."

Everyone knows, of course, insofar as there have been "incidents" in any of the raped lands, they have been either provoked or deliberately "planted" by agents of the Nazis and Fascists.

And finally, to cap the pinnacle, the Roman lads also "assured Britain" that the occupation of Albania is only "temporary," and that the Italian troops will get out as soon as "order" is restored. That, after two years of the same sort of promises, always brazenly broken, in regard to Spain! And just two days after Count Ciano himself had assured the British that the Italians had no thought of interfering in Albania or in anywise changing "the status quo."

But however much this may amuse or exasperate you, it will surprise only the injudicious. For long ago Mr. Hitler laid down in "Mein Kampf" a rule which Mr. Mussolini has often echoed: that most people are fools; that, while they tell small lies themselves, they would be ashamed to tell whopping lies; that therefore they cannot believe that other people are capable of telling preposterous and outrageous lies; and that therefore the best way to get a lie believed is to tell a plainly preposterous and outrageous one.

Hitler's Money Troubles

The admission of the German Government that its debt stands at more than 28,000,000,000 marks is seen by some financial quarters as offering the best assurance that Hitler plans a period of peace. And the suspected reluctance of the German people to go to war is interpreted as pointing to the same thing.

It may be so. Certainly, Germany is in no reasonable position to enter upon war. The debt is actually a great deal bigger than the figures indicate, for at trick bookkeeping Berlin makes Washington look like a piker. And the current rate of spending is appalling. According to Fritz Reinhardt, State Secretary in the Finance Ministry, tax revenues have gone from something less than $2,000,000,000 in 1933 to $7,000,000,000 in 1938--in a country, mind you, with less than half the annual income of the United States. And taxes are still increasing. On March 24, for instance, a new levy of 30 per cent on all increases of income over 1937 was ordered, only earnings below $1,200 being exempted. Nor is that by any means all. The best estimates are that in reality more than 40 per cent of the total national income goes for Governmental purposes.

Furthermore, and even more ominous for the war viewpoint, the loan market seems to be exhausted. On the same day that the new income tax levy was laid, a Nazi official announced "other ways must be found to finance the Reich's needs instead of as hitherto by loans." And that instead of issuing securities, the Government would thereafter use a system of paying for all purchases by the (State-owned, of course) railroads, municipalities and so on (estimated to total about $2,400,000 annually), 60 per cent in cash and 40 per cent in non-interest-bearing credit bills, to be used in paying the next year's taxes--and which, of course, the sellers would have to accept. That simply amounts to a draft against next year's taxes to be used now. And a country which is driven to such measures is certainly not in a fix to war successfully against the best-heeled powers on earth.

Clyde Stancill*

Clyde Stancill, who died yesterday, was 24 when he finally got his law degree. That was back in 1913, in a day when boys were men at eighteen and used, especially country boys like this one, to doing a man's work, and it tells an appealing little story. The young chap, you see, was having to struggle for his education, to take it when he could get it, probably only after he had worked to pay for it.

From then on, Clyde Stancill worked for what he got, and plodded for a good deal of it. Not, as professional competition went, a brilliant lawyer, he was by the same token a sound lawyer. He was more. He was a highly honorable person and a man in whom gentleness and strength met in one of those rare combinations that make for nobility. His friends, in truth, were legion.

His career, it will be noted, had a marked political cast. In turn he was City Solicitor, Legislator, County Attorney, so that for a good part of his legal career he held some public place. And it was a characteristic of the man and the lawyer that he never let his political preferments absolve him from the conscientious rendering of a full measure of service. He died with the respect of all his fellows and the deep affection of those who were privileged to know him best.

A Man Is Alarmed

The Hon. August Andersen, Republican of Minnesota, is hopping mad about that speech the President made at Warm Springs the other day urging the South to get out of hock to the North, to build its own industries, and to diversify its crops. What particularly aroused the Hon. Gus's ire is that the President said that every morning he heard noisy freight trains stomping through Warm Springs with loads of milk from the Northwest and apples, etc., from Oregon and all points East, North, and West--with the implication that that was a little silly. So the Hon. Gus is alarmed lest the President is going to end by unbalancing the whole national economy, and says he has already ruined the good old days when the freight trains went South with milk and came marching back to Minnesota with cotton goods and all sorts of other Southern products.

Maybe the gentleman has an argument, too. Too much localism is admittedly dangerous to the nation. And all efforts at self-containment ought plainly to stop with products which can be produced more cheaply in the South than they can be imported. And as for getting the South out of hock to Yankeedom--everybody agrees that it is desirable, but it is easier said than done--seeing that the South is not exactly rolling in capital of its own.

But in the end, the Hon. Gus's complaint is purely selfish, and the South has quite as much right to be selfish as Minnesota. The lovely picture Mr. Andersen paints of the free flow of goods back and forth between the South and his state isn't really quite accurate. For, look you, Minnesota lays a tax of five cents a pound--designed to be absolutely prohibitive--on all imported oils and fats which might conceivably compete with butter fat. And that happens to include one of the South's great products--the oils and fats made from cotton seed.


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