The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 12, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Alright, now, class, shall we pay attention?!

Achtung! Eyes front! Arms in the air!

Very nice, little Adolf. By George, you've got it.

Clyde Dale, sit down.

Now, stand up again like a most proper member of our organization.

Anheuser, shut your ugly mouth, now, or we shall have to send you directly to the Instructor, Mister Big Bossman, down the hall--and we know what Big Bossman shall want to do to thine, don't we? Yes, that's right, Clyde Dale. We know, don't we, from last week. Yes.

Alright, now, now that we are all in proper lock-step, together as one, on the count of three.

No, Bavar. We shall have none of that. We do not tolerate dissent. We stress only that which is real, here and now. You, Bavar, are always such a problem. We do not sing such rubbish as "Tisket, tasket" and other such nonsense as that. It turns your mind upside down, sideways, and backwards, inside out, and will turn you most definitely into the Devil's witch-brew. The words love and free, with certain necessary exceptions being made only for those we trust, have been banned by Big Bossman. We may not utter them, or anything which might smack of them, little Bavar.

For you, Bavar, for your insolence in daring to suggest such nonsense yet again, you, Bavar, you shall be detained today and made to recite over and over again, "I, Bavar, will not ever again dissent or be insolent." Should you fail to do so, while standing upon one leg the entire hour, we have for you a little surprise, for little Bavar. You see the chimney, Bavar?

Now, as we were saying, altogether now, except for Bavar--

One, four, three. Eyes right!

Everybody zing:

Die Fahne hoch die Reihen fest geschlossen
S. A. marschiert mit ruhig festem Schritt
Kam'raden die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen
Marschier'n im Geist in unsern Reihen mit

Die Strasse frei den braunen Batallionen
Die Strasse frei dem Sturmabteilungsmann
Es schau'n auf's Hackenkreuz voll Hoffung schon Millionen
Der Tag fur Freiheit und fur Brot bricht an

Zum letzen Mal wird nun Appell geblasen
Zum Kampfe steh'n wir alle schon bereit
Bald flattern Hitler-fahnen Uber allen Strassen
Die Knechtschaft dauert nur mehr kurze Zeit

Die Fahne hoch die Reihen fest geschlossen
S. A. marschiert mit ruhig festem Schritt
Kam'raden die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen
Marschier'n im Geist in unsern Reihen mit

[Meanwhile, in the ante-room: Shhhhh. They might be listening. We have left the ball now, and turned heel upon it, regained our feathers, unstripped our masque, too, as we soar. But, don't tell them. For as you know, they can not see or listen, though they hear everything. It seems all we ever get is--trouble. Oh, no, not the helium talk again. Thet mekes you sound like a be-yerd. Auh, hell. Bombs away, tiny babies...]

Curious Omissions

Two speakers came to our town Tuesday night. One was Dr. George Hermann Derry, Director of the Department of Social Education of the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus. The other was Mrs. Hazen Smith, Associate Dean of Women at Duke University.

Dr. Derry thought democracy was in grave danger. But apparently only from the Reds. He retailed their crimes at great length, including the unsubstantiated murder of "tens of thousands of innocent men and women in Spain" for the crime of "consecration to God." But he said not a word about fascism. Now a word about Franco whose murder of large numbers of women and children is substantiated by the most unbiased reporting sources we know.

Mrs. Smith thought democracy was in grave danger, too. Apparently only from fascism. She described at length its crimes in Italy, Germany and Spain, and what would happen to us if we let it climb in among us. But she said not a word about the crimes in Moscow, not a word about what would happen to us if the Reds had their way among us.

Dr. Derry is easy to explain. He represents a church which has officially blessed Franco and Italian fascism. But what explains Mrs. Smith?

Trouble in Hollywood

The Federal Theater Project in Hollywood has struck a snag in its scheme to have Mr. Harry Hopkins and the WPA going into the movie business. Some time ago, somebody out there cooked up the idea of providing employment for unemployed actors, musicians and stagehands by making pictures dealing with "the nation's history and industrial development, geography, and social and economic problems," which were to be shown in theaters at specially reduced prices. All of which is to say, of course, the use of the movies for governmental propaganda.

But now the studio carpenters' union has busted out to say that, while it wants WPA jobs for its unemployed members, it must insist on the standard union wage scale. That scale is $1.28 an hour. The Federal Theater's pay scales run from $85.44 to $94.08 for 96 hours of work per month. And now, on top of the carpenters comes the news that the actors, writers, etc., are growling that they used to make more in a day than the Theater Project would pay them in a month, with the very plain implication that it ought to come through with something like that now.

After which you'd expect even Mr. Hopkins would be apt to tell them to eat cake. But it does not appear. On the contrary, the WPA is listening to their demands with tenderness and perhaps even with sympathy. After all, and to say nothing of propaganda, if you gotta have a Cadillac, you gotta have a Cadillac.

Three-Horse-Team Ickes

Secretary Ickes has his good points and his bad points. His good points are, that he is incorruptibly honest, loyal, capable and sincere. His bad points are, that he is as obstinate as a mule, impatient of restrictions, and doesn't give much of a hang about the means by which he obtains his ends so long as he thinks those ends are desirable. We have called him the worst bureaucrat of them all.

Last Summer, horror-struck at the Hindenburg disaster, Congress passed and the President signed a bill to let Germany, developers of zeppelin transportation, have small quantities of the helium which this country alone produces. Sales were to be conditioned on Germany's being at peace and on the approval of the Munitions Control Board composed of six Cabinet officers. Germany proceeded to build the Hindenburg's successor for helium instead of hydrogen, and went so far as to equip a steamship with great tanks and to send it over for the gas that had been promised her. That steamer is still tied up awaiting its cargo.

A story out of Washington yesterday had it that Secretary Ickes is the only member of the Munitions Control Board holding out. The Secretaries of State, War and Navy have acquiesced to the transaction, and Chief of Staff Malin Craig has assured the board that the military importance of the gas allotted to Germany is only a "drop in the bucket." But with Ickes there is still nothing doing.

Well, we know how he feels. The bare possibility that zeppelins buoyed by the non-inflammable helium might fly over London or Paris or Prague and drop great bombs upon the scurrying ants below, is frightful enough to give any humane man pause. So, by George, would it give pause to any ordinary executive officer to find himself the sole holdout against Congress, his colleagues and the advice of military men. But Harold Ickes is no ordinary executive officer. He's the three branches of the Government all in himself.

Not the Guillotine

There is, we think, real need for the dime taxis in this city. They furnish a highly flexible form of transportation which, in the nature transportation, the bus lines cannot furnish. And at rates which make them available to people who cannot afford the regular-fare cabs regularly. Moreover, these cabs are a means of making a living to a large number of men who might otherwise be unemployed.

Nevertheless, we believe the City Council is indubitably doing the only feasible thing in enacting an ordinance requiring them to secure liability insurance and abolishing the cash-bond plan which has failed to work. The public which rides in these cabs and the public which encounters them in the streets must be protected first of all.

Nor, for that matter, do we think this ordinance is the death-sentence for the cabs which it has sometimes been made out to be. As we understand it, there is at present at least one insurance company which is prepared to write these liability policies. Other companies, indeed, have written them before--and before long canceled them. Why? Simply because, when they sent their investigators into check up, they found many of the cabs were being recklessly and incompetently driven--that the cabs were not safe. And that some of them were being used for purposes of bootlegging and prostitution--invariably associated with disregard for law and public safety.

That has been the whole trouble and if the insurance is again canceled, that will be the trouble again. What the dime taxis mandate above all is to clean their own house. The problem is complicated by the fact that the cabs are individually owned, but that can be got around by their organizing and setting up their own authority, armed with power to put down recklessness and improper uses of the cabs with fines and suspensions. And by backing that authority to the limit. If the new ordinance can bring about such a result, it will be the best thing that could have happened, not only for the public but for the taxi men themselves.

Thunder in the Center

The intrusion of Nazi trappings and doctrines into the midst of this land of ours is not, admittedly, at all desirable. It is highly distasteful. At the same time, there are no laws against "heiling Hitler" and establishing camps at which German-Americans, more German than American, may dress up in uniforms and vent their enthusiasm for parades and singing the Horst Wessel song and fly the swastika and extol the superiority of the Nazi way. It's all a little silly, not to say ominous, but tolerance of such things is the essence of our democracy.

Wherefore it is astonishing to find that because a mob of American Legionnaires are ready to take the non-existent law into their own hands and use violence to break up such goings-on, a resolution has been introduced in Congress--to order the Legionnaires to cease and desist? To call out the guard against such interference with the right of assembly? Not a bit of it. To the contrary, the resolution calls for another investigation of the German-American Bund on top of that made by the G-Men, which couldn't find a thing to pin on them.

Put Herr Hitler's Storm Troopers in place of the bumptious Legionnaires and any minority you choose in place of the German-Americans, and you will have an approximate analogy of how not to go about preserving democratic institutions.


Site Ed. Note: Anyhow, we're just sittin' here playin' our ukelele. Since we need to stop, whet the steel against our barber's strop, and trim it up some, we thought we would show you the rest of the day's editorial page so's you can make your own choices, with some degree of intelligence in mind maybe.

Incidentally, the "stock-yards case" to which the General refers, regarding his harsh critique of the "Nazified Third New Deal" and Henry Wallace's criticism of the Supreme Court decision, is one we have been unable to find on the bill of fare for you, though we searched high and low on it for it; so you're on your own on that one. It could be this one, but that one wasn't decided until a few days later and contains no such fat as the General suggests, and decides in the favor of the Secretary of Agriculture in setting down maximum rates the beef corrallers could charge for corralling the growers' beef when it came to market in Kansas City, Chicago, Omaha, what-have-you; it might be this one, but that one was two years earlier and again contains no such burgher's bite and also comes out for the Secretary on the same grounds, that the rate set was non-confiscatory such that it did not substantively imply the Due Process "taking of property without just compensation" clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Moreover, Secretary Wallace was the only Secretary of Agriculture which the New Deal had so far by this point and remained so until he stopped to run for Vice-President in 1940 with the President.

Maybe it was a little pink elephant or was so bad it was excised from the reporters. Maybe it's all a government plot and none of it ever existed. Maybe we never existed. Guess we may have to check the Sunday Times for further insight on this one.

Also in this period the Supreme Court had delivered up two other landmark decisions, both of which become well-known to law students, U.S. v. Carolene Products, 304 US 144, and Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 US 64, both decided April 25. You may read them for yourself and make your own decisions if you've a mind for it. We've got to get on back to the ukelele.

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