The Charlotte News

Friday, December 17, 1937


Site Ed. Note: "Sailors, Take Care" continues the story begun in "Mutiny and the Bounty", November 10, 1937, which would be continued further as to the Algic's Captain Gainard in "Past's Echo", February 12, 1940.

As they say, red sky o' mornin'...

The rest of the page is here, worth a careful gander, especially as to Hugh Johnson's piece on the appointment of Joseph P. Kennedy to become Ambassador to Great Britain, a post for which he would depart in the spring.

How does all of that work? you may ask. Rest assured that you are not alone. Rest assured also that we did not seek deliberately to set it up that way. It just is--and was.

But also rest assured that no one may kill another person and get away with it, ultimately, even if perhaps of the moment, and that is so whether accomplished by direct action or indirect action.

As we have stressed before, the truth will out. And just maybe, at long last, it is about to do so. Are ye frightened, Little Piggy? You ought be. Are we a threat to you? Probably so.

That corn in the Ripley's today is special, idn't it? They call it Apollo corn. It's Magical and Majestical. They say it comes all the way from Saturn.

Looks like all that dog slaughter we told you about has spread even so far now as Lumberton. Viciously mangled dogs everywhere. Everywhere, everywhere, and not a one fit to eat. Stringy. Sticks in ye teeth.

Well, never mind. We must go out and curl some to get our exercise.

Incidentally, we have never heard of the Revolution Mills in Greensboro, only the Cone Mills.

Little Hungary Too

Little Hungary has joined Little Finland in paying her war debts to the United States. It is true that Hungary is making only a token payment, $9,628 on an installment due of $457,673, and that her debt, like Finland's, was adjusted, which is to say that it was scaled down. But anyhow, Hungary has joined Finland in paying something, and that is something.

As in Finland's case, there is every reason, both moral and economic, why Hungary should pay. Both countries' debts are not really war debts, at all, but post-war; relief debts. And furthermore, both can pay out of the favorable balance of their trade with this country. Finland, as we have pointed out before, in 1935 sold us twice as much as she bought from us. Hungary sold us ten times as much as she bought, and the difference was sufficient to cover the whole of her debt nearly twice over.

We wouldn't for the world detract from the honor properly due either. After all, they have paid, though Hungary might, it seems, have come through with a bit more than $9,628. And to pay a debt is always an honorable thing. Nevertheless, it is worth observing that both are in excellent position to pay, and that both are perfectly aware which side their bread is buttered on.

Wrong Horse

(But the Right Track)

It rather seems to us that the attorneys for the Revolution Mills at Greensboro miss the point when they argue before the National Labor Relations Board that criticisms of the Wagner Act and labor unions, voiced by the management in the little paper circulated to the employees, come under the guarantee of the freedom of the press.

Undoubtedly, any utterance by the mill management in a paper of general circulation ought to come under that guarantee. But this is not a paper of general circulation. It is a house organ, sent, without charge, only to the employees of the mill. And that being so, it is really no more than a sort of revolving bulletin board. And bulletin boards, we opine, were not contemplated when the freedom of the press was laid down in the Constitution.

But there is a guarantee even more fundamental than the freedom of press under which it seems to us the bulletin boards do come: the freedom of speech. As the Wagner Act is written and interpreted, it not only forbids management to coerce or intimidate labor (which ought to be forbidden) but, also, it forbids the expression to employees of any unfavorable opinions of any sort about the Wagner Act itself or any labor union or the National Labor Relations Board, regardless of justification. And if that isn't to deprive management of the right freely to say what it may honestly think and sincerely believe, we wouldn't know such a deprivation if we met it in broad day.

Mark of the Reactionary

The ten-point recovery program of Senator Bailey et al. supposed to have been formulated a few days ago at a meeting of conservative Senators, mostly Democrats, and Lewis Douglas, former Director of the Budget, has been released. It [indiscernible word] fiscal policies, such as tax-reduction, tax-revision, and a balanced budget. It calls for preservation of the American system of private enterprise and recognition of the profit motive; it hits the high points of the labor question by wistfully [indiscernible word] "just" relations; and then it goes on to demand the "maintenance of states' rights."

A candid person must admit that usually, say nine times out of ten, the doctrine of states' rights is equivalent to the doctrine of laissez-faire. It is seldom invoked in order to further aggressiveness of states but, rather, to impede the progressiveness of the Federal Government. Why this should be so, especially since the Constitution specifically declares, and was ratified only on the condition, that powers not expressly conferred upon the Federal Government shall be reserved to the states--why this should be so we know not; but it is so. And the 10-point recovery program of Senator Bailey et al. would have been a whole lot stronger if it had contained only nine points.

Site Ed. Note: For a little on Major-General Butler and his strange, but interesting, career as an army officer and police chop-topper, see the notes accompanying August 13 and 14, 1938. Just why we decided to look him up then, as the notes themselves suggest, was purely in the realm of the whimsical, one lazy, hazy summer Saturday afternoon in 2006.

The Terms

Major-General Smedley Butler pops off to the effect that the United States ought "to get the hell out of China." But before we leap to the conclusion that the testimony of the irrepressible General, who once served many years on China duty, cinches the proposition, it might be as well to inquire what is involved in it.

American citizens own some $200,000,000 worth of property in China, acquired in good faith, and not only with the consent but also the active cooperation of our government. Can we, then, now demand that they leave it, on pain of being deprived of protection, without compensation? Obviously we couldn't, in common fairness. More than that, this property is the base of our whole trade with China, and to abandon it would probably be to yield that trade, too. Well, but is this property and this trade worth the risk of war? Wouldn't it be better to let the trade go, call our nationals home, and pay them for their property losses?

Maybe, if we could be sure that that is all we would lose. But it seems entirely probable that such action on our part would be interpreted by the bandit nations generally as conclusive proof of weakness and fright--as carte blanche to seize any or all the property of our nationals abroad, and to shoulder us summarily out of any portion of our trade they may want. And are we really quite ready to accept that?

One of Mr. Caldwell's

Consider the case of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Majure, of Phillips County, Arkansas. Yesterday they were awarded a $250 prize by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal as the champion tenant farmers of the middle South. But as a matter of fact they are no longer tenants--not in the strict meaning of that term, at least, though they continue to farm lands belonging to others. For by the practice of "living at home," crop rotations, and soil conservation on the lands of others, they have so prospered that now they are themselves the owners of a farm of 40 fertile acres.

Which seems to prove that the case of the Southern tenant is not so utterly hopeless as it is sometimes made out to be, that it is possible, after all, for one of them to make headway against his fate. Is that to say, then, that all of them might do it if only they weren't so all-fired shiftless? It isn't. The willingness to work, energy--these things are obviously necessary. But necessary also is a kind of native shrewdness which many of them simply don't have, and which no amount of moralizing will confer upon them. And even more necessary is something else--a landlord sufficiently intelligent to give his tenants a chance to practice the kind of horticulture which enabled the Majures to get on. And in the South, alas, such landlords are still more the exception than the rule.

Sailors, Take Care

The decision of a Federal court at Baltimore yesterday, that the action of the 13 seamen of the American freighter Algic in staging a sit-down strike in Montevideo harbor constituted mutiny, seems a sound one.

Sailors have always signed on from home port back to home port, and these contracts have traditionally had the binding effect of a military enlistment for the very good reason that the sea remains ineluctably a treacherous and perilous passage. Moreover, there was abundant evidence that this tradition of the sea was in danger of breaking completely down on American ships. At the very moment that the sailors were being convicted, Senator Copeland was making public the statements of men and women rescued from the President Hoover, that members of the crew of that ship got drunk on the island after she had grounded.

These incidents and others like them may be dismissed by some simply as a sign that American seamen are determined to have the rights and the decent treatment which are their due and which the ship-owners have long withheld from them. But if discipline isn't restored, rights and treatment won't make any difference--for the very good reason that nobody will travel on American ships.

Site Ed. Note: Oh, by the way, don't forget that the forerunner of the O. S. S., established by Presidential directive issued July 11, 1941, was called the Office of the Coordinator of Information, that is COI.

Piggy, listen up heya: That's a hint.

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