The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 1, 1939


Joe Guffey Again

Has The Senator Made Another Trip To Mexico?

If the innuendoes about Senator Joe Guffey of Pennsylvania which appeared in highly reputable newspapers--that he was mixed up in deals for the sale of oil from wells which Mexico had expropriated from Americans--are "100 per cent false and malicious character-destroying lies," as he charged, then he has his plain and ready recourse to the courts.

Indeed, if he should fail to confront his accusers with an action for criminal libel, popular opinion would be bound to take it as a sign that there must be something in the stories which Guffey decidedly doesn't want to come out.

It would not be the first time. He was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in 1932 for the embezzlement of funds entrusted to his care in the Alien Property Custodian Department. The indictment was nol-prossed, but the charges against him were both specific and ugly.

Nor would this be the first time he has muscled his way into the Mexican oil racket. In 1920 he wangled from President Carranza concessions on five large oil properties which, in one of Mexico's perennial seethings, had only recently been revoked from major oil companies. That there was anything wrong in this does not appear, but at least it shows that he knows his way around in Central America

Without Warrant

British Resort To Nazi Methods For IRA

The wide decay of civil rights under the impact of Nazi-Fascist activities and other terroristic activities, which are perhaps related to them, goes steadily on. In France, such rights are already largely dead. And now England has upset precedent unbroken in centuries save in time of war and enacted a law allowing the arrest of men without a warrant and their deportation without a hearing.

She has as good ground for the action as any country ever had. The Irish Republican Army, probably working hand in glove with the Nazis and Fascist, has turned into a perilous menace.

What this organization is after primarily is the forcing of Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic, though the majority of the Protestant inhabitants are strongly opposed to that. The De Valera Government is up to the same thing in fact which pretty well cancels out most of the claims of the Irish to sympathy. But at least it proposes to go ahead about it peacefully. The IRA, an illegal organization, in the Irish Republic itself, is attempting to do it by the murder of innocents and wholesale terrorism. And incidentally, to get in some telling anti-British blows in general.

The Irish Republican Army plainly deserves anything it gets, however ruthless. But if you can arrest an Irish Republican Army man without a warrant, you are at least well go on your way to arresting anybody else without a warrant. Altogether, it would have been a great deal better to have applied existing rebellion laws, to have given these men their trials, and to have disposed of the guilty, to have quelled the rest by some dozens of good healthy hangings.

The Cops Catch It

They Have To Stand And Take The Strikers' Blows

The family feud between UAW-C.I. O. and UAW-AFL in General Motors brought off a full-sized riot in Cleveland yesterday with its regulations accouterment of clubs, bricks, tear gas and bare fists. Between the attacking CIO forces outside and the non-striking AFL and ununionized forces inside, only the cops intervened, and as usual they had to bear the brunt of the mob's fury.

Were Dr. Gallup to take a survey of labor opinion among the police forces of this country's larger cities and industrial centers, doubtless he would find that the cops had a lower opinion of organized labor than Johnny Lewis says Jack Garner has. And no wonder.

For of all the rough customers the cops have to deal with, labor on strike is the worst. And that isn't the half of it. Confronted with ordinary hoodlums, the cops know exactly what to do, and do it, sometimes with more satisfaction than restraint. They call the wagon, and toss 'em into jail.

But a sort of unwritten law governing police behavior toward battling strikers is that they be held at a distance, mollified and persuaded, if they pretty please, to disperse.

There's really nothing else for the cops to do. They can't draw and shoot: that would be merciless, and after all the strikers are only temporarily deranged. But such behavior can hardly be calculated to endear labor's cause to the blue coats, or, indeed, for that matter, to anyone else.


How The Prevailing Wage Really Worked

That was a very interesting explanation of the way the "prevailing wage" for union men on WPA has actually worked, which Senator Byrnes set forth in the debate in the Senate last week.

The way the thing actually worked, the Senator said, was this:

A brick layer, in Washington, for instance, would have to work only 41 hours a month--five eight-hour days--to earn the maximum security wage of $72.50. For his hourly pay rate under the "prevailing wage" rule would be $1.75 an hour.

But having earned the maximum security wage, he could do no more work for WPA in that month--had at least sixteen working days left entirely free. Hence, when a job in private employment came open, he could--and often did--take it at wages which were below the scale! That knocked some other man who had not been on relief out of his daily bread.

In short, the thing seems to have worked just exactly opposite from the way organized labor chieftains claimed. So far from keeping up the general standard of wages, it actually served to depress it. And came ultimately to being just a subsidy paid to certain men who were lucky or cunning enough to get on the relief rolls at the expense of their own fellow workers.

Small Change

In Philadelphia This Doesn't Come To Much

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank has handed the government of the City of Brotherly Love and Boodle a check for $41,000,000. Half the jack was put up by the RFC and the other half out of the Pennsylvania retirement fund for school employees, and by 25 banks and insurance companies. The money will be used to balance the Philadelphia budget. It will be secured by the annual rental from the municipally owned gas works.

It sounds like a good deal of money. It is a good deal of money. But is only a drop in the bucket for Philadelphia, which is already far more deeply in hock than any other town in the country.

In addition to the current deficit of $33,000,000 which the loan will cover, the city has a total funded indebtedness of $500,000,000. That comes clearly to a fourth of the value of all the real estate in the town. And taxes are so high that over one-third of all the homes in the place had gone under the sheriff's hammer in the last six years.

Some of this debt is owed for necessary reasons. The great part of it is accounted for simply by waste and loot--that the city has for many years been ruled by a machine which makes even the Tammany of Boss Croker's look tame.

It is interesting to observe that that machine is a Republican one, for that pretty well disposes of the claim, often insinuated by that party, that municipal corruption is a Democratic monopoly. On the other hand, there is no cure in the Pennsylvania Democrats either. It was tried--under the Earle administration. But Philadelphia went right on being run for the swag that went with the job.


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