The Charlotte News

Sunday, January 2, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page is here. Cash also contributed to the book-page of this date "Country Gentlemen in the White House", regarding FDR's reading habits, giving rise to comparison with Andrew Jackson, the subject of one of the President's recent reading expeditions; as well the Coyle plan to run the national debt out of sight to obtain prosperity, i.e. Reaganomics, which Cash hoped was, in lieu of policy gestation, merely entertainment fodder for the President. The article also offers insight into Cash's take, under a by-line, on the New Deal at this juncture in time, not altogether a positive view, as often reflected in the regular editorial column, whether the piece in question was by J.E. Dowd or by Cash, or both operating on the same subject.

Speaking of pieces co-written, we would lay odds that "What Do You Think?" was such a piece. Senator William Borah of Idaho, one of the coterie of isolationist, prohibitionist, anti-New Deal, old guard Senators Cash detested and, in this particular instance, against whom he regularly railed for his isolationism in the face of the Nazi juggernaut in 1939-41, and Senator Harry Flood Byrd, who Cash saw as a recalcitrant Southern conservative of the old school, an exponent of segregationist views, even if garnering from him tepid respect for being unabashedly open and relatively steadfast to principle, suggest some of the selections as not being his; by the same token, the inclusion of liberals John Bankhead of Alabama, (Tallulah's uncle, her father William being at the time Speaker of the House), Wagner of New York, and probably newcomer Schwellenbach, suggest some were not the choice of the more conservative Dowd either. Likely half were the selection of Cash and half by Dowd, or perhaps an amalgam of that of the staff at large.

"Politeness Pays" points up a recurring compromise with justice and fairness before the law which does society a consistently low blow, which indeed was the ultimate reason we have a dark date now appended to our annual calendar of memorial tragedies, right alongside the infamous December 7 and November 22, that of September 11. In the latter episode--and who knows, maybe in each of the former, as well--politeness was the operative word to enable easy slippage past security with box cutters in tow; the nineteen men having been instructed by their fearless leader, Muhammad Atta, to be as polite as possible in checking in at the gate, proceeding through security, and boarding the aircraft, that because, Mr. Atta proclaimed, the airline personnel like politeness and will do nothing to you if you so behave. He snickered that they will only harm you if you are rude.

Well, he was right of course and it likely took him no more than thirty minutes of observation in any airport in the country at the time to figure out this systemic abuse being employed by the airline employees. Let someone smirk a mild complaint under their breath or even look wrong at some of these nuts who once proliferated among the ground personnel of the airlines, many of whom we strongly suspected literally of being on drugs, and you were likely to have security summoned, security which itself was more likely than not to be singularly untrained and unprofessional, as if the cops who couldn't be so wanted to be that they landed a gig acting the part as airport rent-a-cops. And security would then do nothing on a legitimate complaint but threaten the passenger with abuse and arrest if complaint continued, no matter how mildly registered, the effort being to put down the complaint and the complainant, not to address the legitimate concern--such as the effort to steal money from you by overcharging on trumped excuses, probably to pocket the money themselves, to feed their drug habit.

That sort of thing, compounded by the millions over a decade and a half of time, seemingly starting with rapacity as People's Express sucked away passenger traffic from the majors until the majors began hiring scumbag hit personnel to undermine People's Express in the late eighties by calling in false reservations to overburden the lists of unpaid advance reservations, companies, in short, run as if by crime families--and not far from being that in fact--, was, ultimately, why 9-11 occurred. "Hey, dude, let's get loaded and fly."

Start with the small thing next time, and pay attention to your customers, the ones who feed you, not the nutz out politely to seed you. Then, perhaps, we might avoid becoming the nearly totalitarian country we have become since 9-11, gearing steadily toward that day for fully two decades before it, a country out of control in its disregard for truth and justice and basic fairness under its governing Constitution and laws promulgated pursuant to it.

Oh no, says some tranquilized blunderhead, as they scrunch up their face and contort into apoplexy at the suggestion: No, no, no, no, no, no, trust the little actor or actress on the witness stand who took acting lessons so they could look good and sound better while lying their little fool heads off, after taking their cues from watching the fare on "Judge Judy" on the tv. That's the sure path to truth and fairness and the American way. "Wake up in the mawnin' Revooluuution, little sweetie poo, and it just becomes whatever we want it to be, right off the Christmas tree, dawlin'. It's mawnin' in America!"

Midcentury Nightmare

A man we should not like to be is young Theo Knobel, Nazi composer. We should like to be Herr Knobel almost as little as we should like to be Dr. Alfred Rosenberg. Dr. Rosenberg, as all the world knows, yearns to go into history as the destroyer of Christianity and the restorer of the old religion of the barbarians Caesar found painting their bellies blue in the forests of the Northland. And young Herr Knobel? Herr Knobel yearns to go into history as a great composer of music.

So--. Because Felix Mendelssohn was a Jew, the Nazis threw out his incidental music to Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," which was to be presented on the great occasion of the opening of the Kurmaerkische's Landestheater at Luckenwalde. Herr Knobel was commissioned to do the music instead. Mendelssohn is not one of the great composers, but his music has stood the test of a century. And a century is a formidable argument, a century is. Twenty centuries argue that Dr. Rosenberg will go into history not as a great man but simply as an obscene clown. And as for Herr Knobel, even a century is pretty conclusive evidence that he will never stand in the company of Bach and Beethoven and Wagner but only in the company of Pantaloon and Punch and Judy.

Politeness Pays

The action of the Cuban government in dismissing all charges against Gerardo Machado, sometime Iron Boss of the Island Republic, will surprise no one. For that is the way such cases usually turn out. Machado stood charged with mass murder, with misappropriating funds in bulk, and with selling his country all the way down the river to the sugar interests. And there was plenty of evidence that the charges were true--at least enough evidence to call imperatively for his apprehension and trial. But Machado probably never personally killed anyone. That dirty work he left to his minions. Machado was a suave, polite man, the kind of man who makes an excellent dinner companion. He moved and had his being in the polite world, and all his life had been used to power and command. So--Machado will not have to stand trial for his crimes.

We are reminded pretty grimly of another man of the polite world here in North Carolina who was indicted for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he was never brought to trial. And of the unfortunate black man who in November stole a suit upon which a value of $25 was put, who was promptly arrested, and, attempting to escape, was shot dead by an officer--"in the line of duty." He was not, you see, polite.

Still a Mystery*

The mystery that is the Government's silver policy becomes deeper and darker than ever with the revision in price from 77.57 to 64.64 an ounce. Why the price on silver mined domestically should be fixed at exactly 64.64 is as hard to explain as the previous price of 77.57. To be sure, 64.64 is about half of $1.29, but for that matter, why $1.29? That figure preserves the old Bryanesque ratio of 16 to 1 with gold at $20.67 an ounce, but the current fixed value of gold is $35 an ounce.

By the reduction in price, the Treasury will save some money, it is true; but if that was the principal motive, why did it not go the whole hog and let the price of domestic silver fluctuate with the world price, which is now hanging around 45? Not long ago 71 of the country's leading economists signed a paper urging that precise course, but of course the Government's silver policy has never lent itself to rational interpretations. It is just a bit of swag that the silver state Congressmen have obtained for their constituencies, mainly for the lead, copper and zinc mines of which silver is a profitable by-product.

What Do You Think?*

A questionnaire comes to our desk from the Baltimore Advertising Club of Baltimore, and, contrary to our habit with questionnaires, we have answered it. For what it wanted to know was which ten Senators we thought most outstanding. And we thought about it and named those listed below. See if you agree, and if you don't, tell us why, and your choice, in a letter to the Editor.

Bailey: A Tar Heel, a vigorous, logical mind, exceptionally well-informed, and a powerful fighter for his beliefs.

Bankhead: A Southern gentleman who seems to be genuinely and passionately concerned for the welfare of the under dog in his country.

Borah: Unstable but a heavy gun when he goes into action.

Byrd: A conservative of the best type, a good administrator, and a bold fighter.

Glass: The old master of conservatism and sound banking, of the most unquestioned integrity, and one of the toughest fighters ever heard of.

Pat Harrison: A sort of genius of common sense, when he isn't taking orders.

Norris: A fit match for Glass on the other side of the fence.

Schwellenbach: One of the abler young men who came in from the West on the Roosevelt tide.

Wagner: Not so uncompromisingly spotless as Norris, but still of high honesty, and like Norris militantly social-minded. Sometimes too quick on the trigger, and a little starry-eyed, but still a big man.

Step Up or Be Shoved

Our opinion of the Popular Front government of France goes up a couple notches. It was in a bad spot when 120,000 utility workers struck and paralyzed Paris.

The action was in effect a tacit rebellion against that government, since it was that government which ordered the pay cuts. And on the other hand, the support of the 120,000 and their associated radicals is absolutely necessary to the continuance of the Popular Front government. But it met the situation most manfully. First, it pointed out that its resignation would leave the way open for reaction.

And then--it grimly reminded the 120,000 that, under French law, every last jack of them was subject to being called immediately to the colors, and promised that, if the terms offered were not accepted, it would do just that thing. In short, it gave them the choice between military service, or embarking on open and undisguised rebellion. And, remembering that the governments of France have traditionally been rough with open rebellionists who did not succeed, they naturally quailed before that.

So long as France has a government as determined as that, it is not, whatever the alarmists may say, going either Red or White.

The Law Says...*

The tourist camp proprietor was in County Recorder's Court Thursday morning, 15 pints of tax-paid liquor having been found behind a trap door in his place. During the course of the trial it was brought out by the defense that a search warrant had been issued but without the accompanying affidavit as required in the Public Laws of North Carolina, 1937, Chapter 339, Section 11/2; to wit:

Any officer who shall sign and issue or cause to be signed and issued a search warrant without first requiring the complainant or other person to sign an affidavit under oath and examining said person or complainant in regard thereto shall be guilty of a misdemeanor: and no facts discovered by reason of the issuance of such illegal search warrant shall be competent as evidence in the trial of any action.

For this reason the fellow, hardly crediting his luck, walked out of the courtroom carrying his 15 pints. But wait a minute. Without caring to be captious about it, we or somebody ought to point out that the law plainly says that the officer who issued the search warrant without the accompanying affidavit was guilty of a misdemeanor. We don't think this fine officer intended to commit a misdemeanor, and for our part we aren't going to charge him with it. He just forgot. But the law plainly says...

A Large Order

Up on his feet at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science got Mr. Gover Hambidge, research writer for the Department of Agriculture, to advise that all the problems of the world might be solved quickly if only scientists would apply to social phenomena the methods used in chemistry, medicine, and astronomy.

Mr. Hambidge is obviously another Planner. And planning, so far as it is feasible, is manifestly sensible. The idea is not really new. The Encyclopedias of the eighteenth century had it. So, in the nineteenth century, did Henry Thomas Buckle, who believed that he had proved that it could be done. So did Herbert Spencer. And so, in our own time, has Mr. Spengler with his "Decline of the West."

But actually, none of these arguments and schemes have ever proved to be the airtight propositions their papas thought they were. Nor does it seem too difficult to guess why. The scientist who deals with medicine, chemistry, and astronomy deals with fixed and invariable phenomena. But he who tackles social phenomena deals with the most variable and complex of things: the human mind and human emotions. Ultimately, social phenomena may have their laws, too, but if so they are as complex and variable, precisely, as this human mind and these human emotions.

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