The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 11, 1937


Site Ed. Note: We could attempt to say something snappy, such as "Give Peace A Chance", to fit within the context of the other print for this day, the 19th anniversary of the Armistice at Compiègne, ending the fighting in World War I, yet, however, to be continued, 21 years later, already in the cooking by this point in 1937, and even later, after that.

But, we like what Cash says here in this piece, as a suggestion worth considering, and quite so still, and, so, with that, and with this piece and its original photograph from Time, we shall leave it to you to contemplate, on this 89th anniversary of the Armistice of the War to End All War.

For Ending War

It is the general custom of newspapers on this day to write editorials in somewhat rhetorical vein calling up various pretty phrases anent Flanders Field, et cetera, and breathing the pious hope that the last war was after all really a War to End War. Another is for everybody to observe the anniversary of the cessation of hostilities on the Western front with a moment's prayerful silence in which we all are supposed to contemplate the enormous horror of the thing and devoutly resolve as far as we are concerned it shall not happen again; after which interlude we go our ways and spend the rest of the year comfortably reflecting that if we should have to fight, we can probably lick two or three nations with one hand tied behind us.

Well, this is all right, but why would it not be sensible--at least as sensible as most of the suggestions for keeping us out of war--to reverse the procedure? That is, to spend a moment reflecting how mighty we are and the rest of the year in prayerful silence contemplating the horror of war and devoutly resolving that as far as we are concerned it shall not happen again?

The Seller's Turn

It has been well-nigh overlooked in the formal entry of Mr. Justice Black upon the stage as a decision writer. But the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Federal Trade Commission against the Standard Education Society for false statements in the selling of encyclopedias, kicked the celebrated old rule of caveat emptor completely out of American law.

It was high time. Caveat emptor, which translated into American means "Let the buyer look out for himself," worked after some fashion as long as trade was on a horse-swapping basis--as long as one's purchases consisted of a few relatively simple articles about whose materials and workmanship one could learn to judge for himself. But under the complex convictions of modern life it long ago turned grotesque. None of us is capable of analyzing at once the worth of a new automobile, a new radio, a new carpet-sweeper, a new house or a new encyclopedia. No one in ten thousand of us is capable of determining if any of them come up to representations. All of us necessarily buy on trust. So it was high time the old rule was being kicked into its grave. There will be no flowers for it.

Site Ed. Note: The heart of the decision stated as follows:

In reaching the conclusion that respondents should be left free to engage in that part of the sales scheme prohibited by clauses 1 and 3 of the Commission's order, the court below reasoned as follows: 'We cannot take too seriously the suggestion that a man who is buying a set of books and a ten years' 'extension service' will be fatuous enough to be misled by the mere statement that the first are given away, and that he is paying only for the second. ... Such trivial niceties are too impalpable for practical affairs, they are will-o'-the-wisps, which divert attention from substantial evils.'

The fact that a false statement may be obviously false to those who are trained and experienced does not change its character, nor take away its power to deceive others less experienced. There is no duty resting upon a citizen to suspect the honesty of those with whom he transacts business. Laws are made to protect the trusting as well as the suspicious. The best element of business has long since decided that honesty should govern competitive enterprises, and that the rule of caveat emptor should not be relied upon to reward fraud and deception.

The practice of promising free books where no free books were intended to be given, and the practice of deceiving unwary purchasers into the false belief that loose leaf supplements alone sell for $69.50, when in reality both books and supplement regularly sell for $69.50, are practices contrary to decent business standards.

Oh, Lady; Don't!

The report from Raleigh is that Senator Bailey's jesting remark that a woman ought to enter the contest to take Bob Reynolds' toga away from him, has Mrs. Helen Robertson Wohl of Guilford giving serious thought to doing just that. Mrs. Wohl ran under the McDonald aegis for State Treasurer last year and got something like 100,000 votes. Besides, she is a prohibitionist, which would give her the United Dry vote as a nest egg, and she is, we say, a woman, and that would give Bob competition in the quarter he is strongest.

But, anyhow, we hope the lady politician invokes the privilege of her sex and changes her mind against running. For it was quite evident when she was campaigning for State Treasurer that she didn't know a balance sheet from a blatherskite. She came forward with some absurd scheme to save a lot of money by, as well as we remember, selling all State bonds of a lower interest rate. The fact that they weren't due and weren't sellable was [indiscernible word] which she never sought to explain away. Indeed, we satisfied ourselves that she entered the race for State Treasurer, not because she had any special aptitude for treasurin' but, cannily, at the eleventh hour, because she was assured of running no poorer than second in the event. There was only one other entry.

The comforting thought about the Reynolds-Hancock line-up has been that no matter if the inferior man won, the State would be no worse off than it is at present. Should the Lady from Guilford inject herself into the equation, there would no longer be that slight consolation.

Always--Next Year*

It undoubtedly was with the President's full consent or at his express direction that Secretary Morgenthau made the sort of speech he made last night. That being so, it follows that the President has decided against further "pump-priming," which is to say spending money you haven't got, and has determined to balance the budget.

We suppose it is good news. When accompanied by the President's conciliatory gesture in the direction of the utilities; his calling to the White House last week such business big shots as Chairman Perkins of National City Bank, Broker Shields of Shields & Co., Chairman Harriman of Union Pacific; his conferences yesterday with Presidents Wood, Swope and Turner of Sears-Roebuck, General Electric and Turner Construction Co., why, it does look encouraging, indeed, as though the President had finally decided he couldn't have a business boom without business's active cooperation and participation. But we've been too long deluded by brave words about balancing the budget to fall an easy victim to one more promise.

And it is his master's voice that utters through Secretary Morgenthau, making that worthy say:

"I turn now to the immediate practical aspects of budget balancing for the coming fiscal year."

"The coming fiscal year" is only a euphemism for--next year. And we have heard year in and year out how the budget was certainly going to be balanced--next year. It was going to be balanced when this year was--next year, and look at it now! Through November 8, it stood:

Receipts........ $2,112,352,678.38
Expenditures... 2,752,755,766.10

Verily, if next year's budget can be balanced by a reduction in Federal expenditures, this year's budget can still be brought to an approximate balance by the same procedure. But it would require doing, not mere saying: tightening up this year, not--next year.

Site Ed. Note: The Harriman mentioned, incidentally, is Averell, who served in various capacities, primarily in State Department positions, the Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. He also served one term, from 1955 to 1959, as Governor of New York, in between Thomas Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller, and twice contested Adlai Stevenson, in 1952 and 1956, for the Democratic nomination for President. (Incidentally, should you look him up at our old, dear friend Wicked-pedia, caveat emptor, and go here for some primary research, for, for starters, whoever wrote down casually that there was a "confession" of LBJ to the assassination of the Diem brothers is cracked. They cannot even read a simple sentence without going hog wild, nonsensically so. For how, in all practicality, would it have been that LBJ as Vice-President had anything to do with the Diem assassinations? (It's quite as nutty as what we read not long ago regarding the "death-bed" revelations of E. Howard Hunt to his son, referenced without question at Wicked-pedia--which may indeed contain some shifty kernel of truth, as long as you understand Hunt's occupation as a liar, and for whom he really worked; not, for goodness sakes, LBJ, but another fellow. Got milk?) In any event, LBJ's "we" in his supposed "confession" to Senator Eugene McCarthy, (an early anti-war opponent of LBJ in the 1968 presidential primaries), was not, obviously, meant to express some individual culpability, but was generically referring to the United States, and specifically to the CIA's role in the Diem assassinations. Henry Cabot Lodge, they might note, was then Ambassador to South Vietnam. Give understanding the English language a chance, for a change, too.)

You see, Virginia, it appears to us, anyway, this way: The Haggars were Lebanese; their company is, and was, in Dallas, Texas; the old man had sent to the President some slacks and some coats which obviously did not fit, and so badly so that they implied that he was too big for his britches, in or shortly before August, 1964. Now, those good students of history will remember what happened on August 2 and 4, 1964 out in the Gulf of Tonkin, as well what occurred on July 2, 1964. So, we conclude, Virginia, that the phone call about which you have so much fun was not at all a gaffe, but a deadly serious phone call. Do you get it? Or shall we just laugh ourselves to death--at your stupidity and arrogance?

Well, Virginia, just remember one thing: We do not flaunt the laws. But we do have mighty big missiles for your little piggies there in the Army of Northern Virginia. Come down to Pulpit Hill sometime, darlin', and we'll show you all our missile bases. They're out thar in the Duke Woods.

No Dallying Here

They hanged Meguerdich Karayan at Beirut Wednesday. Karayan was the 29-year-old Armenian who killed the United States Consul General James Theodore Marriner because he believed himself "insulted" by the supposed refusal of the consul to allow him to return to Boston where he had sometime lived. The crime was committed October 12.

That's pretty swift justice: French justice (the French rule at Lebanon whose chief seaport Beirut is). And French justice is like that. Where there is doubt it moves with reasonable slowness; where there is good reason to question the guilt of the defendant it prefers not to convict. But when the facts are clear, it moves with dispatch and decision.

Maybe that's one reason the murder rate in France and the French empire is among the lowest in the world, while the United States' is among the highest.

Ask Old Grandad; He Knows

One of the favorite naivetes of the drys is that all alcoholic beverages, no matter of what strength, are alike. Because beer has alcohol in it and wine has alcohol in it and liqueurs have alcohol in them, the drys have proceeded on the false assumption that they were birds of Three Feathers and sought to pin them up along with the harder stuff. Their innocence did credit to their personal habits, perhaps, but not to their knowledge of Tar Heel drinking characteristics.

For your Tar Heel, native or imported, drinks liquor, red liquor, when he can get it. No toying with a thin stemmed wine glass or the lifting of a cheerful stein for him when he feels the urge coming on. No effete cocktails or custom-made concoctions will slake the thirst he has for something raw and neat and instantaneous. It were better it were not so, but it is so.

ABC stores in North Carolina sold nearly 100,000 gallons of alcoholic beverages in September, of which 87.39 per cent was whisky. Gin was next, with 7.60 per cent, and cocktails were way down the list with hardly 1-2 of 1 per cent.

To be sure, the liquor stores don't sell beer and wine, which does not alter the fact that they have a variety of wet goods on their shelves and that nine out of every ten purchases are whisky. Put it down in Black & White: Tar Heelia's taste runs to red liquor.

Site Ed. Note: ...That is, as long as Old Grandad hasn't been acquiring too much lead from the still waters producing his namesake.

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