The Charlotte News
Monday, July 10, 1939
Site Ed. Note: "Useful Cat" suggests a song. Wonder if someone might write it someday. Oh, muse, where are you? They closed the library, Mac--don't you know?
Which Would Bite Good As Well As Bad Corporations
Senator O'Mahoney, who some years ago sponsored a bill to require all corporations engaged in interstate commerce to secure Federal license, has a new one. This time he proposes that in cases of corporations adjudged by the courts to be guilty of violating the anti-trust laws, all officers and directors who participated in the decision which led to the violation shall be subject to a civil suit by the Government to recover twice the sum of their remuneration from the corporation for every month in which the violation was practiced. And that the corporation itself shall be subject to such a suit for recovery of twice its total income for every month of the violation.
On the face of it, you might call that fair enough. After all, a corporation consists finally of its officers and directors? But there is a great glaring hole in that logic. It is this: that the anti-trust laws are so vague that nobody on earth knows what they cover and what they don't. And the varying interpretations of the courts are as numerous as the decisions that have been handed down. Under this law a corporation which in all innocence has been pursuing a given policy for several years might find itself suddenly ruined. The anti-trust laws ought first to be made quite explicit as to what constitutes "monopoly in restraint of trade." Until that is done, such penalties as these are much more likely to turn out to be instruments of oppression than of justice.
Which Mr. Hitler Will Not Take At Danzig
The Danzigers yesterday screamed and yelled that Danzig must be "a German harbor." And Mr. Hitler is represented as being determined that the citizens of the town "shall be allowed to return to the Reich, as they desire." It is pretty apparent that the Danzigers are silly dopes who are being propagandized into sticking their heads in a trap. And that what Adolf Hitler actually wants with their town is simply to use it as a means to choke Poland to death, through the fact that it controls two-thirds of Poland's Baltic trade. But if it is really the Danzigers he wants...
We have already pointed out that there is a way to get 'em--i.e. by doing what he has done in the case of the Germans and the Italian Tyrol, in arranging for the immigration from Danzig of all Germans who just must live as little Nazis in the Reich. But there is perhaps another way. Poland's natural commercial artery is the Vistula, which issues to the Baltic at Danzig. But she has Gdynia, the new Baltic port in the Corridor. And it may be that, given a little time, she can arrange to switch all her trade to that point. If Mr. Hitler is sincere, let him enter into a treaty under which he may have Danzig in fee simple at the end of five years, in return for payments large enough to aid Poland in financing the necessary rail facilities for the switch to Gdynia.
Certainly, it would mean that Danzig, which lives as a parasite on Poland, would be left without means of making a living. In ten years its population would probably be down to a thousand or so. But that would be a great deal fairer than allowing Hitler to use the town's present commercial position to destroy Poland. In fact, we think it would be beautifully and ironically fair all around. And--it would give Mr. Hitler his Germans.
An American Whose Uses Have Been Overlooked
A small item concerning the uses to which an American Legion post out in Muskogee, Okla., puts a pet skunk reminds us of a favorite idea of ours. Mephitis mephitis, it appears, automatically passes into the custody of any member whose dues fall in arrears--with the salutary result that dues are always paid on time.
It has long been our notion that the skunk is an American whose possibilities have not been properly appreciated because of an unfortunate prejudice against him. If military men were not such slaves of tradition, some fairly bright one among them, it seems to us, would long ago have thought of the possibilities of the skunk in war, for instance. The skunk is fairly numerous in the American scene (we imply no more than we say) and so--well, suppose that ten thousand of him had been rounded up and sent across to France in April, 1917, pending the coming of the army. It would have required heroic sacrifices on the part of trappers and caretakers, obviously--and one ship would have had to be sunk after their transportation. But patriots sufficiently hardy could probably have been found. And think of the advantages. Ten thousand skunks sicked on the German trenches ought to have had the approximate value of 600 shiploads of mustard gas, 6,000 guns, 1,500 machine-gun battalions, 2,500 tanks, and 100 divisions of infantry. Probably the army would never have had to go over at all.
But in peace he might be even more valuable. As we understand it, all that is needed to convert him into a creature amenable to the civilized niceties is a slight operation. And that done--think of the effect, for example, if you turned up at one of those parties to which you are always being dragged against your will, with the skunk on a leash. Or on the bore who invariably drops in on you and talks for hours just when you have the most work to do, if Oscar (we will name him Oscar) suddenly popped into view when you whistled softly. It wouldn't work on a large scale, plainly--for then everybody would know the secret and only say "kitty, pretty kitty." And it would probably get you set down as a little eccentric if you kept the secret and practiced it alone. Still, wouldn't it be worth it?
New Deal Gets A Taste Of Its Labor Medicine
A favorite complaint of ours against labor policies of the New Deal is that it has made organized labor an instrument of Federal policy. There is no disputing the statement. It has done so by legislation, by regulation, and by exhortation. And it is no accident that workers understand the New Deal's wishes to be that they organize and immediately proceed to obtain for themselves higher wages and better working conditions.
So when WPA's skilled workers all over the country, most of them organized, strike against a drastic (100 per cent) increase in hours of work with no increase in pay, they are only doing what the New Deal has taught them to do and, even by implication, urged them to do. They are simply protesting and resisting treatment that, by previous established standards, is clearly unfair.
The fact that they are striking against the Government itself is alarming and may weaken their cause. But we are malicious enough to believe that it serves the Government right, and that it is merely getting a taste of the medicine it has been administering to its citizens.
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