Election 1944: Westbrook Pegler columns

The Pittsburgh Press (August 1, 1944)



Pegler: Dewey in Pittsburgh

By Westbrook Pegler

Mr. Pegler, traveling with Governor Dewey and his party, wrote his column in Pittsburgh yesterday.

Governor Tom Dewey came to Pittsburgh from New York during Sunday night with Mrs. Dewey and a lot of others, bound for a conference in St. Louis tomorrow and Thursday of 26 Republican governors, including himself and John Bricker of Ohio.

For some obscure reason, possibly of political delicacy or through intent to deceive the Democrats, someone has tried to create an impression that this is not a campaign trip, which it is nothing else but, and that the train of nine cars on the Pennsylvania Railroad, which is waiting in the yard at this writing, is not a special but just another section of a regular train.

In some technical meaning, known only to railroad men and the Interstate Commerce Commission, it may not be a special train, but in all other respects, it is.

There are 45 reporters and photographers along, for newspapers, press associations and news magazines, each of whom pays his own way and picks up his own tabs for his meals and drinks, and one who can speak from considerable experience will say that political life is austere by comparison with travel on the World Series specials, which in the pre-war days, at any rate, were luxurious and gay.

Union politicians know each other

Mr. Dewey spent a large day meeting Pennsylvania Republicans here, including a number of professional unioneers of the opposition, or anti-CIO-Communist movement, and it appears the Republican Party is gathering a rather substantial labor wing of its own whose speakers will cry up various grudges against Mr. Roosevelt.

These include a charge that he is an enemy of free labor because he has been partial to the CIO which, in turn, has become a holding corporation for his own Democratic Party. They are saying he created this CIO arrangement as a shrewd and deliberate plan whereby the labor movement would become a device for collecting campaign funds to keep him in office, with the eventual intention to strip it of its original guise and run it, himself, as a party, as Mussolini ran the Fascists.

This fight will develop as the campaign warms up and should be interesting because the professionals of union politics all know each other of old and have plenty on each other. Unlike the machine politicians of the conventional type, they call each other crooks, murderers, racketeers and Communists out loud when they get going, instead of keeping their old business secrets to themselves.

Mr. Dewey is in a unique position as a candidate because he sent a lot of boss racketeers to prison during his spell as District Attorney and he knows the background of many of those who are still at large, including the relationship between the union of Sidney Hillman, the boss of Mr. Big’s CIO-Communist wing, and the late Mr. Lepke of New York and his team of professional murderers.

Deweys survive handshaking

The conferences of a hot and busy day included meetings with businessmen and representatives of the servicemen and women’s organizations of the last war and this one. Then, late in the afternoon, the Deweys toed a line in the ballroom of the William Penn Hotel and for an hour and 40 minutes, without a break, shook hands with a passing line of visitors – Republicans, they dared hope – who filed by at the rate of 40 a minute. This was a serious physical ordeal and Paul Lockwood, Mr. Dewey’s handyman, hurried downstairs after an hour of it to get them salt tablets.

The Deweys came through it with their right hands in good shape, thanks to a trick which now seems to be common property among statesmen of using a quick, firm grab in shaking hands and letting go quickly. This gives the subject command of the situation, for he has taken his hold and let go before those energetic, clear-eyed, firm-jawed bone-crushers can take the initiative.

The Deweys say “How do you do?”, “How are you?” and “Nice to see you,” varying the repertoire so that seldom are two successive individuals given the same greeting. It seems a hell of a way to choose a President.

On baseball trains, usually there is something to speculate about in the press cars at night, such as a pitcher’s sore arm or hangover, or a heavy hitter’s split finger which prevents his taking a firm grab on the stick. On this little journey, however, the head man seems to be in good shape for his conferences with the other governors in St. Louis and the visit to the tomb of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, neither of which should be any great physical trial.

Inasmuch as it is not a speechmaking trip, it comes under the head of strange business in the experience of most of those on board. The meaning of it all may not dawn for days and days.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 2, 1944)



Pegler: Dewey in Springfield

By Westbrook Pegler

Springfield, Illinois –
In the hearing of about a thousand men and women and some Whitcomb Riley types of Midwestern boys and girls, most of them carrying small political placards on sticks, Tom Dewey intimated on his arrival in Springfield yesterday that his journey from New York to St. Louis for a conference of 26 Republican governors is, in fact, a campaign trip.

He said he and Illinois Governor Dwight Green, who met him at the railroad station, were engaged in a great campaign, a continuation of their war on gangsters in which both took part 14 years ago.

This was a reference to Green’s prosecution of Al Capone which condemned Capone to long, pensive years in Alcatraz and to continuing oblivion in Miami, and his own attacks in New York on the underworld alliance of Tammany and the racketeers of unionism.

Up to this point, the Dewey party had preferred to pretend that he was not campaigning just yet but only conferring with other leaders of the Republican Party. It is a fine point but he did campaign today, both in his small oration to the crowd at the station and in the press conference at the Executive Mansion.

This, incidentally, is a large and remarkably tasty house which markedly excels the equally large but monstrous old heap in Albany which, nevertheless, has served four New York governors, to date, as a prep school for the White House.

Mr. Dewey’s precise mind apparently has it that a campaign doesn’t begin until the nominee actually starts throwing volleys of lefts and rights to the face and body in prepared speeches. In that sense, he is still doing calisthenics and working out on the heavy bag in the gym, for he refused to elaborate on his reference to the continuing war on gangsters, just now.

Will open up at the bell

This may be taken as an intimation, however, that when the seconds are out of the corners and the bell rings, he will tear into Franklin D. Roosevelt as the protector of some of the foulest criminals of the age who, in turn, in this contest, are supporting Mr. Roosevelt both financially, out of the colossal treasuries, which he helped them to amass, and, politically, through the organizations which, in the guise of labor’s gains, he helped them to create.

The mention of gangsters and the continuation of the old war against them refers to the legal protectorate which was maintained for highway robbers of the criminal underworld of unionism, when Congress tried to pass laws against union racketeering, and to the late Lepke Buchalter, whose field of operations was that section of the New York needle trades dominated by Sidney Hillman.

Mr. Hillman, the boss of the CIO-Communist Political Action Committee, is politically and personally in Roosevelt company, and Dewey is thoroughly acquainted with the career and associations of Lepke, whom he once prosecuted for extortion. And he has neither awe of nor illusions about Roosevelt as a machine politician.

Mr. Roosevelt will not come into the ring as Commander-in-Chief in this phase of the campaign, but as one who befriended the oppressors and dictators of the labor movement on a quid pro quo understanding which reduced labor to helplessness.

Will stress private jobs

Mr. Dewey’s themes apparently will be jobs under private enterprise when peace comes, as distinguished from public employment at dole wages, and the exploitation of the worker by subsidiaries of Roosevelt’s party through racketeers and manipulators in the unions. He has returned to the thought, first expressed in his acceptance speech in Chicago, that until the war created millions of jobs at public expense, Roosevelt’s only solution for the unemployment of 10 million workers had been government-made work projects.

Wendell Willkie refused the issue four years ago but this year, for the first time, the subject of real jobs and law-abiding unionism, all for the benefit of labor, itself, is coming to challenge.

Frank Simpson, a Negro employed in the Governor’s office in Albany, is a member of Dewey’s staff on this trip. As the party drove to Abraham Lincoln’s tomb this afternoon, he remarked gravely that this pilgrimage stirred in him feelings which he could not well express. His grandfather came North with Gen. Sheridan.

He was invited to join the party entering the tomb of the man whom he reverently regards as his emancipator and was shocked to hear that, back in the ‘70s, after Lincoln had been moved 20 times from one more or less temporary resting place to another, a gang of criminals tried to snatch the body, intending to hold it for $200,000 ransom. That was why now it was encased in solid concrete and steel, deep in the ground.

On the way to the tomb, Simpson, who sees Tom Dewey every day, very full of his feelings, heard two little boys playing near the cemetery. One of them yelled to the other: “Did you see Tom Dewey? I saw him good.”

The Pittsburgh Press (August 3, 1944)



Pegler: GOP conference

By Westbrook Pegler

St. Louis, Missouri –
This contribution to American literary treasure and political wisdom is being written under the same roof which covers the deliberations of the 26 Republican governors who are pondering a supplementary party platform under Tom Dewey’s general supervision.

Serious men all, of varying degrees of intelligence and statesmanship, they are meeting in defensive spirit, handcuffed, as it were by the prestige that Frank Roosevelt has assured for himself as a personal chum and easy confidant of Stalin and Churchill, and hushed by their own awe of a native American politician certainly no better than themselves.

This is a political fight between two American candidates for one office. If that office were mayor, sheriff or coroner, the Republicans would be at ease and ready to throw the record at Roosevelt.

If an incumbent sheriff, elected on a crime-must-go platform, had established a flagrant and mocking alliance with the very same sordid gangs, comparable to Ed Kelly’s and Frank Hague’s, that he had affected to despise and promised to destroy, the opposition would disgrace him with proof of his own hypocrisy.

Timid GOP disowns Fish

Yet, these Republicans speak softly and with a respect for the presidential office which no more belongs to Roosevelt as a candidate than it belongs to Dewey in the same status. They have been so dazzled, awed and humbled by Roosevelt’s own propaganda that when Congressman Ham Fish, a Republican, states an indisputable fact, Dewey and the rest of the party disown him.

The truth is that it wasn’t Ham Fish who injected issues of clannishness, religion and race into this campaign but Mr. Roosevelt’s own Communist auxiliary which went underground a few months ago and emerged as the Political Action Committee of the CIO.

Poles, Irish, Catholics, anti-Catholics, Jews, Masons, Protestants and units of labor and business all have voted as blocks in this country, off and on, according to the heat of the moment, for generations.

Mr. Roosevelt, himself, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court a man of such miserable character that, just to win a cheap, local job as county prosecutor in Birmingham, Alabama, he joined an oath-bound gang of night-riding terrorists whose guiding creed was hatred and persecution of Jews, Catholics and Negroes.

Yet, such is the power of the Roosevelt propaganda and the spell of his New Deal cynicism, that today, there are even Republicans who disown Mr. Fish, not for his infallible oafishness but merely because he remarked that Mr. Roosevelt would command the Jewish vote.

Communists arouse prejudice

Every honest politician and political writer in the United States knows that religious and racial prejudice are political implements of the Communists as well as of the true bigots. Where the bigots arouse such issues in plain, stupid hatred and superstition, the Communists do it for the calculated purpose of causing bloody disorders.

They do it by selecting despicable characters to commit outrageous attacks on the dignity and character of honest, tolerant Americans. For years the Communists of Mr. Roosevelt’s own political auxiliary have been trying the souls of exemplary patriotic men who shed their blood in France in the purest devotion to American ideals, by subjecting them to loathsome abuse.

They call them Nazis and Fascists and, thus, traitors to their country and, for the delivery of these trying provocations they have selected ingrate refugees who not only scuttled out of the American draft in the last war but employed their time in soapbox exhortations to other immigrants to make a revolution here in the absence of the nation’s best fighting men.

That is the Communist way. The Communists all will vote for Mr. Roosevelt.

Yet the Republicans cringe and repudiate Mr. Fish on the very day that Vito Marcantonio, the Communist candidate is renominated for Congress in New York.

Marcantonio openly preaches Communist doctrine and is loyal at once, both to Mr. Roosevelt and to Joseph Stalin who slaughtered more human beings, his fellow Russians, is cold-blooded butchery and calculated famine than the United States has lost in all our wars from the Revolution down to this very day.

Mr. Fish fought bravely in World War I. Marcantonio has never worn a uniform or heard a shot and resisted every effort to arm this nation for its own defense until Hitler attacked Stalin.

And while the Republicans, in pallid voices, dissociate themselves from Mr. Fish, what says Roosevelt about the nomination of Marcantonio? He doesn’t even bother to deny that the Communists are his. The American people don’t even know where he is.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 4, 1944)



Pegler: Press propaganda

By Westbrook Pegler

St. Louis, Missouri –
At this distance it is possible to examine more clearly specimens of propaganda which, amid the general clamor of continentalism on the Eastern Seaboard, are indistinct noises in the campaign.

I should like to discuss a United Press dispatch published in today’s St. Louis Star-Times, a highly beholden New Deal paper and not Red, nor even pink, but of that pale orange hue which comes of mixing a very little red with a liberal splash of another primary color.

The UP reported that Russell Davenport would not support Tom Dewey for the Presidency.

Not one American in 100,000 ever has heard of Russell Davenport. He is identified as the editor of Fortune, which sells by subscription only for $10 a year and thus can hardly be called a well-known magazine. Mr. Davenport is qualified as a quoteworthy person because he was a “close associate” of Wendell Willkie in 1940.

“Millions of other Republicans will find it necessary to make that decision,” not to support Mr. Dewey, Mr. Davenport was enabled to say on crowded press wires and on scarce white paper, as though this man had a recognized right to speak for multitudes.

Represents no party

But has he? He represents no party. Even in the 1940 campaign, he had no position in the Republican Party. He was, at most, a sleeve-puller for a personal hero. Such advertisement as he has had, was derived from this association and the fact that he is the husband of Marcia Davenport who wrote some books.

Yet, by exercise of the suave effrontery of the con man who greets the sucker with a booming “Well, if it isn’t my old friend, Joe Butch,” the unsuspecting victim is given to feel that he really does know Russell Davenport. For the moment, through his own stupidity, he just can’t place him.

Mr. Davenport announced his decision at a forum of the newly-organized New York Liberal Party. The reader is too proud to admit that he doesn’t know what the Liberal Party is. It is what the Communists call a fraction, or ideological offshoot, of the Communist Party.

The American Labor Party, or Communist Party, now controlled by Frank Roosevelt’s henchman, Sidney Hillman, advocates the Russian type of dictatorship. Mr. Davenport’s friends of the Liberal Party prefer the Hitlerian type of dictatorship, but, of course, without antisemitism.

Both groups agree, however, on all the essentials of totalitarian rule. They agree further on Mr. Roosevelt’s candidacy, and their only discord is a personal rivalry between Mr. Hillman and David Dubinsky of the Garment Workers’ Union, refugees both, who found here privilege, luxury and safety, but never have liked the way the Americans run their country.

No objection to persecution

Neither group has the slightest objection to persecution, of itself. Violence against American workers refusing to join a union, or to strike on the orders of union dictators, no less savage than the brutalities of Hitler’s Brownshirts, has left them calm.

Hideous slanders against decent Americans equivalent to Der Führer’s filthy anti-Jewish propaganda, is their common repartee. They force Americans who detest their ideas and candidates to attend their political rallies and contribute to their campaign funds.

Mr. Davenport announced his decision about the time that the primary returns revealed the nomination of Republican Ham Fish and Vito Marcantonio of the Communist front.

He said:

For weeks, Dewey resisted efforts to draw from him a repudiation of Ham Fish on the basis of his obstruction of attempts to prepare the country for war.

Mr. Marcantonio voted against every “attempt to prepare the country for war,” until Hitler attacked Russia. His Communist cohorts violently obstructed such efforts in the war plants. Mr. Fish’s obstruction consisted of his single vote in Congress. Mr. Marcantonio changed when Russia was attacked. Mr. Fish changed instantly when the United States was attacked.

Mr. Dewey did repudiate Mr. Fish. Mr. Roosevelt has not repudiated Mr. Marcantonio.

Yet here a political nobody is presented as a man of standing and a spokesman for millions in a dispatch from a reputable news agency, thus endowing him with a completely fictitious importance.

the unions should have broken his kneecaps with baseball bats.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 5, 1944)



Pegler: Poignant embarrassment

By Westbrook Pegler

St. Louis, Missouri –
Although the 26 Republican governors tactfully set the date for opening their unique political conference in St. Louis one day after the Missouri primary, the results have been such that their three days of deliberation have been a period of poignant embarrassment to statesmen of President Roosevelt’s party of humanity and of restrained exultation for the guests.

Tom Dewey spent Tuesday, Primary Day, in Springfield, Illinois, while others of the 26 either held themselves quietly incognito in St. Louis or put in the day traveling. Meanwhile, the citizens of Missouri were going to the polls and the governors’ congress opened Wednesday amid a scene of some confusion and sounds of recrimination.

For, on the Democratic side, Bennett Champ Clark, Missouri’s senior Senator and the colleague, personal friend and political choice of Senator Harry Truman, the nominee for Vice President, was beaten badly for renomination by Roy McKittrick, the State Attorney General, who had the export of Sidney Hillman’s Political Action Committee of the CIO-Communist front in New York. Senator Clark was, so to speak, the regular Democratic candidate, for he had the friendship and endorsement of Robert C. Hannegan, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Yet Clark’s defeat was made certain in St. Louis, where he ran more than 17,000 behind McKittrick. St. Louis is Hannegan’s own hometown.


Hillman’s local agency was diligent here, especially among the workers in the war industries, many of whom, of course, are relative strangers in town, but active in the rural regions as well. Hillman’s assistant in the New York headquarters of the PAC is C. B. Baldwin, who left the chairmanship of the Farm Security Administration in Washington to help the CIO in the national subordinates in that powerful agency. The Dies Committee, recently through seizure of long-distance telephone slips in New York, was enabled to report that Baldwin’s New York political center had made a number of calls to FSA regional offices where the CIO was fighting to defeat for renomination Senators and Congressmen whom it condemned for excessive Americanism. Among them was a call to the FSA in Springfield, Missouri.

Clark’s defeat has created real bitterness among the Democrats of Missouri and, in view of his endorsement by Truman and Hannegan, plainly is a defeat for the two regular Democrats of the party who rank next to President Roosevelt. It was noted at the Chicago convention that Hillman, by his use of the taxing power over labor, conferred on him by the President, had become Hannegan’s equal, if not his superior in the party, although he holds no party position. Now by remote control he has humiliated Truman and Hannegan, who recently blocked his attempt to dictate the renomination of Henry Wallace.

The CIO modestly disowns credit for Clark’s frustration but, in reality, is mildly alarmed by its own success and trying to escape blame for a turn which may arouse regret among some who voted against Clark and anger among those who voted for him. For, while McKittrick, too, is a Missourian, he is not popular in the picturesque and sentimental sense, and the successful intervention in Missouri of an outside pressure group on his behalf will not endear him.

Clark frankly denounced the CIO as a group controlled by communists in a bitter statement accepting defeat but put his faith in the future.

Other matters may have contributed to his fall but the CIO undoubtedly made the decision.

The Republicans are thus greatly heartened and expect to win Missouri in the fall, defeating Truman in his home state. Their candidate for Senator is Forrest C. Donnell, the present Governor. Hannegan and McKittrick tried to keep him out of office when he was elected and did prevent his inauguration for two months. Now they are divided and Donnell meets the CIO’s candidate head-on in an election in which their own Bennett Clark warns the state that a vote for McKittrick will be a vote for Hillman and Communism.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 7, 1944)



Pegler: Nepotism

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
The wife of one of the Republican governors at Tom Dewey’s St. Louis seminar ran loose at the lip with a suggestion that any statesman’s loving little treasure who wouldn’t help her old man with his letters, without public pay, ought to get a divorce. She was talking about Mrs. Harry Truman, who has been drawing $4,000 a year from the government for such work.

Deplorable as it is for its nastiness, this remark might do some good, nevertheless. For one thing, it should embolden other husbands in the campaign, on both sides, to call up their manhood and issue orders as to who is to do the talking and who is to keep quiet.

Not all husbands face this problem of marital discipline and none could hope to carry the burden of political blame for meddlesome statements that President Roosevelt has borne so lightly for twelve years. But Mrs. Roosevelt is a unique and special case. She has advertised and endorsed shows and books and Communist persons and projects, called her husband the “ruler” of the American people, given aid and comfort to rackets and racketeers and journeyed far at public expense in the hitherto non-political and almost holy habit of the Red Cross.

Bad practice

But this extra emphasis on the Trumans arrangement for the collection of some petty white graft may be salutary in another way, too. It calls attention to a snide and disreputable practice which the members of both houses of Congress have resorted to as a pathetic compromise between decent dignity and the necessities of their economic condition.

Although Congress is supposed to be the master of its problems, any proposal and every vote to raise their salaries to a fair level would be unfairly condemned as a self-serving act. Only a lame duck or a man determined to retire could take responsibility for such a bill and those who voted for it would be hammered in their home districts for unconscionable greed even though it were designed to take effect at a future session.

Congressman’s pay of $10,000 should be raised to $25,000 at once.

He runs for office every two years. The campaign expense varies but is, on the average, $1,000 a year. It may be more if he has to stand a primary contest and some rivals run in primaries with no hope of winning but only to cause the incumbent expense. In presidential years, some of them get help from their national organizations, but this is not necessarily generous and is never reliable.

The statesman gets 20 cents a mile to and from a session but many of them make four or five trips a year to their home districts and none of this political expense is deductible in their income tax returns. Neither is the expense of living in Washington for 200 or more days a year which, with unavoidable touches and the cost of entertaining, will be about $3,000, although salesmen, executives and the like may charge off such amounts. Meanwhile, he maintains a real home in his district where he must be a substantial citizen and, nowadays, the sessions are so long that his private law practice or other business wanes or dies of neglect.

In granting the raise, the people, in effect, would be subsidizing the political expenses of their servants. That sounds worse than it is, and anyway, the people are doing it now and, as for the hold-the-line order and the Little Steel formula, it should be remembered that practically all labor is receiving inflationary pay. Sidney Hillman recently got a raise of $3,000 a year from his clothing workers at a convention attended and addressed, of course, by Mrs. Roosevelt. The reason public opinion condones this nepotism is that we all know the expenses of the position and the price levels of the time call for. The people, in this case, are in no position to pull snoots at the Trumans.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 11, 1944)



Pegler: Pay raise issue

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
To the proposal that the salaries of Congressmen and Senators be raised from $10,000 to $25,000 comes a quick retort that many of them are overpaid, even now, an unfortunate truth encountered also in many of our factories and, as the law says, “facilities.” However, having adopted the principle that a monkey is as good as a man, we now have to consider whether we should be kind to those who make our laws, or brusquely refuse to consider their problems and necessities. We might also bear in mind that, if we treat them so, they could be real mean to us.

This small group of about 600 men is one of the very few elements of the American people having no collective bargaining, rights or agent. Although, with questionable wisdom, they provided these boons for others, with special benefit to the bargaining agents, themselves, our lawmakers bashfully neglected to improve their own position and, meanwhile, have been compelled to raise their own income taxes. They, almost alone among us, have held the line along their own little sector against inflationary wages.

Long before the CIO was even a mischievous gleam in the brooding eye of John L. Lewis, Congress was operating on that basis which is sometimes called levelism in the jargon of the night-school economist. The best was like the worst, and so remains today; for we pay the intelligent, diligent man no more for his long hours and superior work than we pay the clowns, loafers, nonentities and frauds. Like many sluggish, unskilled and highly overpaid hands employed in the war industries, some members of both houses are little better than useless and, in some spectacular cases, are a little worse if you insist.

Can’t treat people that way

But surely, they have not thought things through, as our horn-rimmed essayists say, nor weighed the implications, who would turn off this proposal in this highhanded way. I should like to get the word “impact” in here somewhere and a casual use of “pattern” to show that I am up on my reading, but tomorrow is another day.

Certainly, experience should have taught us that if you arrogantly refuse to sit down and bargain in good faith you cause explosions. And certainly, the American people, who are the boss in this case, have been insincere in their approval of the right to bargain if at the first test we rudely say that these servants are a lot of bums who are getting too much now.

You just can’t treat people that way, these days. You have to open your books and explain your financial position; you have to be polite and, above all, even if you are running at a loss at the time being, you sometimes have to raise their pay so that they can catch up with the advanced cost of living.

Demand too much servility

There is another point or two in our popular treatment of Congress which should be reconsidered. We demand altogether too much servility. In private industry even the president, or the chairman of the board in his plug hat and plush weskit, spanned, as the Alger books used to say, by a heavy gold watchchain, cannot fire a sweeper in the plant for calling him any of the popular simple or compound names.

That is the sweeper’s human right and the situation is one to be met man-fashion or in the courts. Yet, no Congressman dares call his employers by any of the names that he might have good reason to apply to them and we, in our inconsistency, would fire anyone who did.

We do demand high respect from the people, however little we try to deserve it; and the very fact that we get it should make us suspicious or their honesty. But if an honest candidate told us his real opinion of us, would we elect him?

We might question, too, our employer-espionage on these, our hired help. For, while Congress has provided that employers are guilty of intimidation and provocation who snoop and peer in the shop, and after hours, it is our own practice to check the Congressman’s votes on current issues, to mark down how much time he spent in his seat; and if he is seen with certain people that news is quickly spread. We don’t even grant him the right to select his own social company and he, like as not, if challenged for what we consider to be evil companionship, instead of telling us to go to hell, explains that he was investigating something for some committee.

Congressmen are human and can be driven too far. Goaded just so much, they might get good and sore and pass a pension law giving everybody $1,000 a week from the cradle to the grave. It would be cheaper to grant that raise and keep them in a good mood.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 14, 1944)



Pegler: The Carey letter

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
The national propaganda bureau of the CIO has sent out for circulation among the American fighters a copy of a long letter, written by James B. Carey, the Secretary-Treasurer of CIO, to his brother Joe, a member of the Navy’s Seabees, serving in the South Pacific.

This is a propaganda letter attempting to defend the war record of the union movement, although that record includes more than ten thousand strikes and, at present, is responsible for a shortage of big tires for artillery, bombers and heavy vehicles in the invasion of France.

It contains a great plug for Mr. Carey, himself, who is highly ambitious and often advertises his personal chastity and family felicity, as though the nation owed him a medal for that. And it gets in a fine tribute to Mrs. R. as “that great and gracious lady” by the tortuous process of associating her name with a loathsome rumor concerning the Marines of Guadalcanal and then exonerating her in tone of indignant chivalry.

No such rumor had appreciable circulation at home but the CIO proceeds to circulate it all over the Armed Forces of the United States for the sole purpose of building up an opportunity to deny that the “great and gracious lady” ever said any such thing. I receive just about all the propaganda there is going these days and I never read this one until I saw it in Carey’s letter.

Knowing their ways, my guess is that the Communists themselves invented the dirty slander, then attributed it to Mrs. R. and then followed through with this fine, vehement passage of Carey’s intended to persuade the Marines that someone is an anti-Roosevelt circulated a hideous lie about the Marines, just to make them sore at the “great and gracious lady.”

My idea here is to cause counterpropaganda to be sent out to the troops everywhere that Carey’s letter and other mimeographs of the same kind can do. If Carey’s letter goes up on a bulletin board or from hand to hand, its antidote can reach the same readers and let them know the facts which Carey concealed. Even without such a propaganda organization as the CIO maintains, the millions of individuals who read the newspapers could get the truth to the troops by sending them clippings, such as this.

The soldier who has been away two or three years, may not detect the tricks in Carey’s statement to his brother Joe, whom he does not hesitate to use for a stooge in the promotion of his own political ambitions, safe here at home.

For example, Carey writes Joe a lot of really splendid statistics about our war work production and then says, “85 percent of the equipment was produced by workers covered by collective bargaining contracts with unions.”

The trick here ill that the unions deserved no credit for that production. It was produced by American working men and women, millions of whom were forced to join the unions against their will.

So the weapons which they would have produced were not made. The truth is that the unions actually have decreased production which would have been much greater but for their slowdown rules. Some unions have limits on each person’s daily production so low that they finish their work an hour or 90 minutes before quitting time and loaf until the bell rings.

For every copy of Carey’s letter and of other writs like it, the troops deserve an opportunity to read that the unions are Roosevelt’s political auxiliaries and that all these restrictions are imposed with his consent and by his aid. In return, the unions are collecting thousands of millions of dollars subject to no accounting and are spending as much as they care to for his fourth term.

Mr. Carey tells his brother, Joe, that sinister characters are trying to create among the troops a bitterness against labor at home. This is another familiar trick and the troops might fall for it, if it is not explained that all professional unioneers falsely use “labor” as a synonym for unions.

There certainly is great bitterness against unions among the troops, and on the home front as well, but no bitterness against labor. On the contrary, labor, itself, is growing bitter against the unions. That is why Carey and the CIO are trying to take the heat off by sending out such propaganda. They are afraid of what the troops and labor will do to the union fakers after the war.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 15, 1944)



Pegler: Fellow traveler Frankfurter

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
From time to time, earnest and sincerely puzzled American patriots, who have heard the words “Communist” and “fellow traveler” applied to many individuals in the Roosevelt government, write to inquire what these terms mean. They are loath to believe any President of the United States would knowingly encourage enemies or opponents of the American system of government and the inner security of the nation, or anyone in sympathy with them.

A Communist, of course, is a believer in Communism who proclaims his membership in the movement. The fellow traveler is one who associates with Communists and gives them aid and comfort, but does not join the party in its guise of the moment and declare himself openly. The reasons usually are lack of courage and a selfish unwillingness to donate a private fortune or a large income to the movement. Some, however, remain fellow travelers because they can command more attention and public respect outside the party. In that status, they can pose as “liberals” and “progressives.”

Felix Frankfurter, born in Austria, has been, throughout the New Deal, one of its most influential personalities. As a teacher at Harvard, he impressed his beliefs and ethics on many young American lawyers and many of his more precocious, witty and cunning students soon found their way into influential positions in the New Deal. Largely because of his political beliefs, Franklin D. Roosevelt put him on the Supreme Court.

Complicated details

Back in 1917, Frankfurter was sent to Bisbee, Arizona, with a commission appointed by President Wilson to investigate the forcible mass deportation of more than a thousand men by citizens deputized as sheriffs who loaded them into freight cans and sent them over into New Mexico. The details of the situation are too complicated for a full statement in this space.

Frankfurter denounced the deportation and sympathized with the deportees. Bisbee was producing a large part of the copper which this country and her allies needed for the First World War. The IWW, a Communist organization of terrorists, had been obstructing the war effort in Bisbee and many other places just as their successors did again during our so-called conversion, or tooling-up period in 1940 and 1941, right up to the hour when Hitler attacked Russia. The menacing element included Mexicans, who were believed to be veterans of Pancho Villa’s guerrilla army which earlier had attacked Columbus, New Jersey, and aliens from Europe. All Communists, or “Wobblies” as the Communists then were called, were opposed to this country’s war effort; Russia had quit the war and their mission was to extend the Bolshevik Revolution all over the world.

In December 1917, Theodore Roosevelt, the ex-President, in a letter to Frankfurter, wrote:

You are taking, on behalf of the administration, an attitude which seems to me to be fundamentally that of Trotsky and other Bolshevik leaders in Russia.

Roosevelt was referring to Frankfurter’s concealment of the peril of the community which stirred to action the local American citizens, many of whom soon went to the war in person.

Roosevelt wrote Frankfurter:

Your report is as thoroughly misleading a document as could be written on the subject. No official… is to be excused for failure to set forth that the IWW is a criminal organization. To ignore the fact that a movement, such as its members made into Bisbee, is made with criminal intent, is precisely as foolish as for a New York policeman to ignore the fact that when the Whyo gang assembles with guns and knives it is with criminal intent. The President is not to be excused if he ignores the fact, for, of course, he knows all about it. No human being in his senses doubts that the men deported from Bisbee were bent on destruction and murder. [Roosevelt erred here, in that a few of the deportees were not Wobblies but law-abiding local men who resented being rounded up and refused to dissociate themselves from the rest.]

And when the President, personally, or by representative [meaning Frankfurter] rebukes the men who defend themselves from criminal assault, it is necessary sharply to point out that far greater blame attaches to the authorities who fail to give needed protection, and to the investigators [again meaning Frankfurter], who fail to point out the criminal character of the anarchistic organization against which the decent citizens have taken action.

Here again you are engaged in excusing men precisely like the Bolsheviki in Russia who are murderers and encouragers of murder, who are traitors to their allies, to democracy and to civilization as well as to the United States, and whose acts are nevertheless apologized for on grounds substantially like those which you allege.

In times of danger, there is nothing more dangerous than for ordinarily well-meaning men to avoid condemning the criminals by making their entire assault on the shortcomings of the good citizens who have been the victims or opponents of these criminals.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 16, 1944)



Pegler: Fellow traveler Frankfurter

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
During the last two or three years, it has been bruited about Washington that Felix Frankfurter has lost much of his old power in the New Deal.

If this be true, the fact remains that many of his old pupils from Harvard, men indoctrinated by Frankfurter during their impressionable years, are still planted in government positions in which they can impart to their judgments and interpretations the Frankfurter twist, which, in the minds of some, seem to give the law a meaning contrary to the intent of Congress.

It is a fact worth noting, too, that the Communists have a way of “going underground” as they put it, when they feel that they have made themselves too conspicuous. The entire Communist Party of the United States did this a few months ago when it disbanded and assumed the harmless guise of an educational society.

A year before, the International Communist Party or revolutionary movement, always directed from Moscow, went underground by means of a complicated and deliberately confused document which appeared to announce its dissolution but actually announced no such thing. However, the world reading the document, carelessly, believed it had dissolved itself.

Mr. Frankfurter’s apparent retirement from politics and informal but effective government administration may be a similar stratagem.

Accused by Theodore Roosevelt

In his reply to the late ex-President Theodore Roosevelt’s letter accusing him of writing a misleading report to President Wilson in the Bisbee deportation case, Mr. Frankfurter denied that the men deported from Bisbee, Arizona, in 1917, were planning insurrection. He went into a discussion of organized opposition to social justice in the copper mines which seems to have been beside the point on which Mr. Roosevelt had challenged him.

Mr. Roosevelt’s point was that there was imminent danger to an unarmed community, and this contention was supported by much testimony of reputable men and finally proved in a trial in the state court, of one of the deputized citizens.

In this test case, tried in 1920, Harry E. Wootton, a Bisbee hardware dealer, was acquitted in 16 minutes by a jury from which employees of the railroads, copper companies and other big interests were barred.

The charge was kidnapping. The defense was imminent danger to the community.

Judge Samuel L. Pattee told the jury they could acquit Wootton if they believed there was a “real, threatened and actual danger of immediate destruction of life and property.”

Mr. Frankfurter ignored, or gave no weight to, powerful evidence that many strangers had sifted into Bisbee, that men and women had been threatened, and that the International Workers of the World, the predecessors of today’s Communists, were violently obstructing this nation’s war effort in many western areas.

Tried to promote revolution

The IWW had seized upon this country’s intense preoccupation with the war against Germany as an opportunity to make a revolution here at home. There were many Germans, Austrians and other continentals among them and, in the Bisbee trouble, there were many Mexicans. The sheriff insisted that these Mexicans included former Villistas who, of course, were violently anti-American.

TR wrote to Mr. Frankfurter:

The apologists for anarchy are never concerned for justice. They are solely concerned in seeing one king of criminal escape justice precisely as certain big businessmen and corporation lawyers have in the past been concerned in seeing another kind of criminal escape justice.”

He did not call Mr. Frankfurter an apologist for anarchy in so many words but he did say, flatly, “You are engaged in excusing men precisely like the Bolshevik who are murderers and encouragers of murder.”

A recent issue of the Catholic Worker, a radical, but, of course, not Communistic paper, the organ of the Catholic worker movement, discusses Mr. Frankfurter’s friendship for Harold Laski, the English Communist whose writings attack religion and who, also, is well received in Washington, and is more influential there than any other Englishman except Churchill.

Arthur Sheehan, the editor, who spent a long time in Boston, writes that in 1937 he went to a forum at Ford Hall, Boston, to hear Mr. Laski. He reports that Mr. Frankfurter introduced Mr. Laski to the audience with the remark that the day he looked forward to in the year with the most joy was the day when Mr. Laski came to stay with him in his home in Massachusetts.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 17, 1944)



Pegler: On Wilson

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
A visit to the screen show President Wilson allays any thought that this might be politically unhygienic entertainment for the American fighting people, even though it is a propaganda picture, heroizing a man who had at least a fair share of faults and arguing that the resistance of the historic little group of willful men in the Senate was, in the end, responsible for the present World War.

Without the benefit of counterpropaganda or argument, the young men and women of the American forces in this war might be persuaded that Mr. Wilson was a god and that none of the fault was his. However, the whole thing is very provocative so I think the result will be a reopening of the debate among those who see it.

And there are, fortunately, still many Americans around, even in the fighting services, who remember that Mr. Wilson, himself, was no less willful than Henry Cabot Lodge and that, the conduct of the whole American people after 1920, showed that they were fed up on Europe and didn’t want to commit themselves to intervention in Europe’s interminable wars, as the phrase went in those days.

Wilson bossy and patronizing

For the benefit of those who came into this world too late for personal observation of the issues and personalities, it will be recalled that Mr. Wilson was a very bossy and patronizing President, wherein he seems to have served as a model for the next man elected on the same ticket.

He had a way of low-rating Congress and going over their heads to appeal to the people who then turned him down on two important occasions. His conduct in Europe revealed an appetite for personal honors and homage which, likewise, is reflected in Mr. R., and each had a mysterious personal stool pigeon whose unaccountable importance created ill-feeling and some distrust.

The tendency of this film is to suggest that Mr. Roosevelt is the heir to Mr. Wilson’s wisdom and his woes and that, therefore, the troops ought to vote for him and a league of some kind to enforce peace.

It may be questionable pool to issue a propaganda film on this theme during the current campaign and it should be noted again, for future reference, that in going in for propaganda, the moving picture industry so far has conspicuously refrained from presenting any work dealing forcefully with any of the notorious evils of the New Deal. Under a Republican administration, it might be moved to pay some attention to such phases of our recent history, including the elevation to the Supreme Court of two men who have flagrantly condoned violent insurrection.

Film provokes own reputation

The trouble with this kind of film is that it provokes its own refutation. You present Wilson as he is shown here and you instantly arouse reminiscences showing that he was so self-willed and mulish, in fact so selfish, that he estranged himself from almost all his friends and even treated the faithful Joe Tumulty so badly that public sympathy went out to Joe.

You insinuate that money-hungry men tried to drive him into the war prematurely and you draw attention to the presence in his cabinet of old William Jennings Bryan who was always running off from the State Department to pick up $500 or $1,000 for a lecture and who, in the end, became so greedy that, in the Florida boom, he actually exploited the people’s trust in him to rally suckers for a real estate promotion by preaching religion to them and then leading them out to the scene of the development.

The man who paid him his hire in those days revealed later that Bryan always demanded his money before he would go on with his act and, toward the end, when the company seemed shaky, demanded it in currency.

There have been parallels of this exploitation of high office and public faith in the present government which will be brought to mind instinctively as the film unreels.

Reading Eagle (August 22, 1944)



Pegler: Bold conduct

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
If I have any ear for the language of the USA, RAdm. Husband E. Kimmel is calling Mr. Roosevelt’s running mate a liar when he writes a letter to Senator Harry Truman saying:

Your innuendo that Gen. Short and I were not on speaking terms is not true. Your statements alleging failure to cooperate and coordinate our efforts are equally false.

Any way you read that Kimmel is accusing Truman of intentional falsehood. He doesn’t say Truman is mistaken or misinformed. And when a man trained in the code of either of our service academies, as Kimmel was, tells another man that he lies, that means that he is willing to go to the floor with him. In this case, of course, Kimmel is not expecting a fistfight with Truman but he certainly does put it up to him to submit to a public examination of his statements and the facts.

This is very bold conduct for an admiral. He knows he is addressing a man who hopes to become Vice President of the country and who is now a member of the Senate. If there is any precedent for such impious language to a Senator from an officer of our Army or Navy, I have never heard of it and you have Kimmel daring not merely Truman but President Roosevelt to open the record and let the public judge who was most at fault in the greatest naval disaster in all history. He is willing to take his chances in a court-martial, knowing that if he were found guilty, he might be disgraced forever and deprived of his pension.

The Roberts Committee, which Mr. Roosevelt himself appointed to make a quick survey of the case, did not exonerate the President, and although it was shrewdly restricted in its mission so that it could not accuse any of the high civilians, its report leaves both the late Frank Knox, as Secretary of the Navy, and Mr. Stimson, as Secretary of War, in a doubtful position. Certainly, in the findings of his own commission, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, as he is so fond of calling himself, must have some responsibility for the kind of orders that were sent to Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short. Their orders were to take precautionary action and to avoid alarm and publicity and the program which they did adopt was the only one that could meet that restriction.

As to whether they were guilty otherwise of neglect or incompetence, Kimmel asks only a trial in which he can present all the evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

In the meanwhile, although this is a very dangerous political issue, Mr. Roosevelt has had all the best of the propaganda. I believe this is one of the very few discussions of the Pearl Harbor disaster which has recognized the possibility that a fair inquiry might blame the President himself.

Nevertheless, his partner on the Democratic ticket comes out with a magazine story again blaming Kimmel and Short although both men have asked to be tried and no fair judgment can be had without such trials.

Of course, the President can’t be tried whatever his error may have been unless you are thinking of impeachment which, of course, is out of the question. The Senate could make an investigation but there, politics would interfere and the verdict could not be clear and conclusive. But a court-martial, which Kimmel continues to demand, could reveal the degree of the failure and the error in the Navy Department, the War Department, and the White House.

To anyone who studies the Roberts Report, it becomes apparent that the committee permitted itself to be used for tawdry political business. It had no moral right to say as it did, in the end, that these officers were guilty of dereliction when it had refused them facilities for the defense of their reputations and had no legal authority to try them anyway. Although it couldn’t avoid revealing some obvious failures in Washington contributing to the disaster, the only men it actually condemned were the two commanders. In this war, it became a political document and now Adm. Kimmel is actually defying the President himself to let the people know the entire truth so that they may consider whether he did his own job well or made a horrible mess of it, in making up their minds whether they want four years more of him as Commander-in-Chief.

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Reading Eagle (August 23, 1944)



Pegler: Debate

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
A studious observation of the controversies of the last few years in our country bring it home to me that we no longer debate, if we ever did in my time, but confine ourselves to claim, or boast, and accusation. That is to say, in an ancient political phrase, we point with pride and view with alarm. But seldom, even in Congress, are issues actually debated.

A New Deal orator or journalist will say, for example, that President Roosevelt is a great friend of labor and cite the Wagner Act as proof of his militant love for the working man. He presumes that it will be conceded that the Wagner Act is all that he says it is. Other men and women, of contrary opinion, might like to argue that this law is dangerous to labor, meaning the people who work for wages, although a great boon to the professional organizer and union politician and to the New Deal party.

But the question is never debated, head-on. The New Dealer makes his claim in the course of a speech or article and rushes on to insist that therefore Mr. Roosevelt should have the workers’ votes.

The one who insists that the Wagner Act deliberately exposes workers to oppression, exploitation and intimidation by the union and that behind it all is a cunning scheme to hitch labor in chains to Mr. Roosevelt’s chariot, does so in another form, over another hookup or in another publication. The point is that they never meet in public, whether on platform or printed page, and argue the issues in detail, speaking strictly to the subject, as Huey Long used to say.

In that form or oratory which passes for debate, Huey was a master, himself. For that matter, he was a great debater in the true meaning of the word, as good lawyers agreed who heard his argument before the 1932 Democratic Convention. But in speaking to the whole public. Huey actually won over multitudes by showing contempt for their intelligence. Thus, in one oration over the air he got his best effect by smearing Hugh Johnson as a chocolate soldier who had never snapped a cap. This was unfair and irrelevant. It was unfair because everyone who knew Johnson knew he was not a dandy, or chocolate soldier but downright slovenly and that one of the great disappointments of his life in the Army had been his inability to get overseas with a command. But the whole reference had absolutely nothing to do with the subject under discussion.

In one of big Bill Thompson’s campaigns in Chicago, a rather austere opponent who had been sticking to the issues patiently and conscientiously in an effort to arouse the people to intelligent consideration, found all his earnest presentation offset by Thompson’s ribaldry. Thompson said his opponent had egg on his necktie, which may have been true, but still had no bearing on the subject. Finally, Thompson’s opponent let fly with a roar one night that Bill had the hide of a rhinoceros and the brain of a baboon. That wowed them, although it did not win for him. But it touched Thompson more than anything else that had been said of him in the campaign.

I have been told that a Southern Senator first won his seat by campaigning in an old Model-T flivver in misfit clothes and waving at the crowds a bill of fare from one of the expensive Washington hotels which listed such luxuries as caviar at $3 a portion and steak at $8 for four. He would explain that caviar was just nothing but fish eggs and imported from Red Russia at that, and point out that honest, God-fearing people, were lucky to sell a cow, on the hoof, for $8. I am not sure that he was selling out his constituents to “the interests” so as to be able to buy imported fresh eggs at $3 an ounce. The whole idea was one of suggestion. The successful candidate, incidentally, is a man who has been noted for his fastidious dress and luxurious living in Washington in the years since he was first elected.

During the convention of the two big parties in Chicago, many speakers sounded off on many subjects, promising or condemning. But the only possibly way to weigh the opposing claims and charges was to wait until the Democrats were through and then go back over the text in the papers which, of course, nobody did. Not a word was said in defense or answer in either convention. Every speaker just claimed, promised or attacked, with no facilities provided for disproof.

Debate is abandoned in our politics, unless you count those squalling radio forums in which the speakers seldom have a chance to prepare arguments and are subject to hecklement with loaded questions.

Reading Eagle (August 25, 1944)



Pegler: Roberts Commission issues

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
The subtle nature of the executive order defining, but also limiting, the duties of the Roberts Commission in its investigation of the Pearl Harbor disaster, may have escaped most of the people at the time when the report was published, only 16 days after the attack. The whole country was still stunned. The people wanted information but were willing to concede that many details could not be revealed just then without advantage to the Japanese. Therefore, attention centered on the commission’s sketchy and restricted version of the facts and its conclusions. The preamble evoked no comment, but that preamble, nevertheless, shows that the executive order was a self-serving document so written as to preclude any criticism of the civilian authorities in Washington, including President Roosevelt, the Commander-in-Chief.

The preamble says, “The purposes of the required inquiry and report are to provide basis for sound decisions whether any derelictions of duty or errors of judgment on the part of United States Army and Navy personnel contributed to such successes as were achieved by the enemy,” and if so, who was responsible?

If President Roosevelt had committed any derelictions of duty or errors of judgment, the commission was not authorized to “provide basis for sound decisions” on that score. He was not of the Army or Navy personnel.

But although the commission had no mission to pass judgment on the conduct of civil authorities in Washington, it did presume to report that the Secretaries of State, War and the Navy had fulfilled their obligations. The report says the Secretaries of War and the Navy fulfilled their obligations by conferring frequently with the Secretary of State and with each other and by keeping the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations informed of the course of the negotiations with Japan and the significant implications thereof.

The report does not fully demonstrate that this actually was so, and it certainly leaves doubt that Adm. Kimmel and Gen. Short were thoroughly warned of the “significant implications.” Moreover, it says flatly that the last warning to these commanders, “indicating an almost immediate break in relations,” dispatched from Washington at 6:30 in the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Honolulu Time, was not delivered until after the attack, which came at 7:55, one hour and 25 minutes later.

The delay is attributed to “conditions beyond control of anyone concerned” but the warning is evaluated as only “an added precaution,” which still would have come too late to be of substantial use. Yet, the fact remains that the two commanders were still under restraints, forbidden to adopt a state of preparation that might have caused alarm among the civilians.

The limitation of the Roberts Commission’s field of inquiry so as to exclude examination of official conduct in Washington obviously blocked access to historic facts which are an important part of the whole story, and should be the property of the people. And, although the commission had no right to pass judgment on Kimmel and Short, considering that it was instructed only to provide a basis for sound decisions, it nevertheless went beyond that limitation in convicting these two men of dereliction. The preamble does not say who was to make those “sound decisions” after it had provided the basis for them. Possibly the public was to make the “sound decisions.” But in that case the commission’s conviction of the two officers, the vindication of the three secretaries in Washington and the implied vindication of the President, were prejudicial to Kimmel and Short and politically favorable to Mr. Roosevelt. The conclusions were gratuitous in two respects, first in exonerating civilians whose conduct was not within its scope. Second, in condemning men who had not been placed on trial or even served with charges according to law.

The report becomes a political issue in a presidential year because it has been introduced into the campaign by Senator Truman, the running mate, on the Democratic ticket, of the President who might be shown by history to have had a share of the responsibility.


The circumstances in which Kimmel and Short were scapegoated seem mysterious right now

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Reading Eagle (August 26, 1944)



Pegler: Labor Federation endorsement

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
The endorsement of Franklin D. Roosevelt for a fourth term by the state convention of the New York Federation of Labor is an appropriate act of homage and appreciation by an organization heavily infested with public enemies. It is, at the same time, a delicate, if unintentional, compliment to Tom Dewey who, in his career as a prosecutor in New York, sent to prison a number of prime dignitaries of this licensed racket. Any other action would have been a shocking violation of the underworld code, and an undeserved smear against a man, who, like Roosevelt, well knows the criminal characters and methods of predatory unionism but, unlike Roosevelt, and to his honor, has never joined in their oppression of the worker or their outrages against the whole public interest.

To ignore or try to dignify the fact that for 12 years the administration has been a helpful partner in the appalling brutalities operated by the American Federation of Labor, is to serve the public ill. The relationship has been shown in the plainest detail and, from early indignation and denial, all parties to the conspiracy have turned to defiant acknowledgment. The fact that the presidency of the last relatively free great nation on earth is involved in this business cannot be remedied by a popular refusal to believe it. To be sure, decent citizens, including millions of workers whom Roosevelt has delivered over bodily to his crooked partners, do wish in their hearts that the highest office within their gift has not been so debased But the remedy is not to cry lèse-majesté at the very truth itself, but to throw out of office the regime which has so debauched free government.

Roosevelt’s Supreme Court has had the cynical effrontery to hold, in sonorous language, that his cohorts in these rackets have a right to bear false witness, that is to slander and injure by deliberate lies, innocent members of the community. It has held that highway robbery is a special right of his partners in the exploitation of the people. His Department of Justice has violated its trust by its tolerance of a national system of loot, operated in many ways and in all communities and his shameless flunkeys on Capitol Hill, by tricky stratagems in committees, have frustrated all proposals to abate the menace.

The rouges’ gallery of criminals exposed by private effort and initiative, mainly that of American journalism, contains the portraits of four presidents of national unions of the American Federation of Labor and of one member of its executive council, the national governing body. It contains pictures of two national treasurers and of innumerable regional and local criminals. Its general counsel, Joseph Padway, the guide and intimate friend of William Green, the president, while posturing before Congress and state legislatures as a friend of labor, has taken the money of union crooks so foul that not even administration patronage could save them from prison. And Roosevelt, nevertheless, sent Padway to England a year ago as a spokesman of American labor, a gesture deliberately insulting to American and British labor.

The basic wrong, the most defiant and tragic offense against the freedom of the American workers, has been Roosevelt’s protection of the system which makes it possible for union racketeers to shake down both workers for jobs and employers for protection against strikes called, not by any vote of the workers, but by order of the criminals. Dictatorships have arisen, notably in the Pacific Northwest where the teamsters’ union, one of Roosevelt’s favorites, established a working model of the Hitlerian scourge and men have been beaten and killed, terrorized and starved, all for the lack of a few fundamentally decent laws to restrict the powers of the goons.

That the New York state organization of this vicious system endorsed for a fourth term the one man who stands between it and the public interest, therefore, is not so much news as scandal.

Reading Eagle (August 28, 1944)



Pegler: Thomas the missionary?

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
No good purpose could be served by the visit of R. J. Thomas and other American professional unioneers to the zone of war in France and the ulterior purpose is plain.

Certain New Deal gauleiters went abroad to take the heat off the soldiers’ resentment against strikes and slowdowns and the extortion of hundreds of millions of dollars from construction workers. They want those soldier votes for their candidate. They have another purpose – to soften up the soldiers for exploitation by the unions when they come back.

The choice of Thomas as one of the missionaries to an angry fighting army is the most significant selection. This man’s union, the United Auto Workers, having nowadays about one million head within its corrals, 90 percent of them either unwilling or uncomprehending captives, has a particularly bad record. It was the union in the memorable Allis-Chalmers Communist shutdown near Milwaukee in the days of the Hitler-Stalin alliance. Again, it was the union responsible for the North American Aviation blockade at Inglewood, California, which was broken only by troops of the regular Army. Neither one was a membership strike. They were Communist insurrections.

The object in both cases was to prevent the conversion of this nation’s industry from peace to war and thus to assure Britain’s defeat, as she stood alone against the Nazis. The Communists planned the dissolution of the United States into a mobocracy, under external force from triumphant Nazis and internal Communist force. After that Communist dictatorship was to come. The plan changed on June 22, 1941, when Hitler double-crossed his ally and the war became, in the view of Mr. Thomas’ Communist colleagues, a crusade for freedom in which we were welcome to participate. The Communists even berated us for not being able to send equipment to Russia in larger quantities, a failure which was largely their own doing.

The soldiers in France are too busy with more urgent matters to inform themselves that two of the more detestable Communist saboteurs involved in these two jobs have, ever since, enjoyed deferments in the draft on the ground that as professional unioneers they are essential to the war effort on the home front. It is doubtful that Thomas will remember to tell them that, or that he will explain the more spiritual aspect of CIO-unionism as propounded by his valued colleague, one Posner, known as Thomas de Lorenzo, who said that if it came to a question of sacrificing some advantage for Mr. Thomas’ union or sacrificing the life of an American flier, he would let the flier die. The question was one of deliberately retarded production of fighting planes for the Navy. And so deep was the position occupied by Thomas and De Lorenzo, under the political patronage of the Commander in Chief, that even Frank Knox, then secretary of the Navy, kept silent.

They were blasted out only when a subordinate in the Navy department privately appealed to certain members of the press to publicize this sector of labor’s gains under the New Deal. But it is incorrect to say that they were blasted out. The one called De Lorenzo got a vote of confidence from his subjects, who otherwise might have suffered from epidemic broken-leg, and brother Roosevelt’s government, forced to offer some rebuke, chose the mildest possible way. He got 30 days and a $500 fine for giving false data on a government questionnaire, but nothing for the sabotage. He may never serve the 30 days and the union may pay the fine.

This is the boldest political mission yet sent to the troops. The President’s own forays have the color, if not the exact odor, of legitimacy. Mrs. Roosevelt, after all, did go through the masquerade of wearing a Red Cross habit on her roundabout visit to her political protégé, Joe Lash, on Guadalcanal. But the union politicians have no such excuse or disguise for a mission which is purely political. They go as advocates of the fourth term and of all Roosevelt’s works and purposes. The immediate object was to deceive the troops by propaganda to which men so far from home and so preoccupied could not have the answers.

“This strike talk is purely propaganda,” said one of them.

That there have been more than 10,000 strikes in war plants since Pearl Harbor is well known at home, but the troops can’t know that. And even we, at home, can’t know the whole truth, because the Roosevelt Labor Department keeps the statistics and, being an accomplice, naturally will not squeal and implicate itself.

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Reading Eagle (August 30, 1944)



Pegler: Free speech for victory

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
Free speech for victory.

The thing we all love most about the glorious old United States of A.
Is that everybody, regardless of creed or color, is entitled to have their say.
It makes no difference whether you are a member of the wealthy group.
Or if you are so poor all you have for your humble fare is soup.
It is just the same whether you are of socialistic persuasion
Or vegetarian or any other peculiar denomination.
Everybody is entitled to express their opinion in this wonderful free land of ours.
From the rockbound coast of Maine to California’s tropical bowers.

But that does not mean that discordant elements have any right to abuse
The wonderful freedom of speech by telling any lowdown dirty pack of lies they choose
About our wonderful Commander-in-Chief with his firm hand
Or the great and gracious First Lady of the land.
So if it happens that your mother or your teachers forgot
To teach you true patriotism, we true Americans are ready to tell you what.
He came to rule over us when the poor were clamoring for bread.
And millions were so ill-clad they wished they could be dead.
And the first thing he done was he drove the money changers out of the temple.
And why didn’t Herbert Hoover do it, if you think that was so simple.

His heart is overflowing with sympathy for the common man,
Whereas all Thomas E. Dewey ever did was put underprivileged offenders in the can.
Yet, on every hand all we hear is lowdown, underhanded prevarications
About this and that, and all kinds of character assassinations.
When our great President for twelve long years has been striving with might and main
To sweep out the Aegean stables and set us on an even keel again.
So our little children, instead of being always hungry and weak and cold
Can be warmly garbed and do not have to toil before they are even ten years old,
And the bosses do not have power to push the working man around.
And grind you down until finally they put you under the ground.

So, if you are a patriotic American, please get wise
And do not go around repeating anti-fourth-term propaganda lies.
Freedom of speech does not mean the right to spread disunity
When we are all out for victory over the aggressors with impunity.
And meanwhile our President is protecting our beloved home fires
Only to be the target for anti-fourth-term, pro-Nazi liars.
If you didn’t know the true facts you might think he was a worm
Because he obeyed the people’s command to run for a fourth term.
Freedom of speech is our glorious heritage from Plymouth Rock
But those who don’t use it the right way will get a good sock.

So, everybody, all together, let us stop this discordant repining
And when the war is over, we will find the silver lining.

Any resemblance in the foregoing to current New Deal and Communist verse is purely intentional.

Reading Eagle (August 31, 1944)



Pegler: Slavery

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
You know how it is when you go to the library to look up one subject and get lost in another.

I never did get what I went for and almost forgot what it was I wanted, digging into old debates on Negro slavery.

These wrangles were only a hundred years ago, which is only twice your age when you are 50, and not such a formidable stretch of time as it seems when you are younger, and yet, in England, there was great agitation for the abolition of the slave trade from Africa and of slavery in the United States by men who were, in practical manner of speaking, slaveholders themselves, in their own country. This point was brought out in one document by a man who was interested in the preservation of slavery and though I tried to chase it down I never found the reply, much less a refutation.

He said a certain noble lord who was agitating himself with humane tremors over a problem which many Americans held to be strictly our own affair, was actually holding white English workers in bondage in his coal mines, while living on the fat of the land himself. The mines then. at least, were not equipped for ventilation or fire-prevention and the occupational risk of the miners was great, what with asphyxiation, explosions and fires. Moreover, the men worked a 12-hour day, which meant that for about eight months of the year they never did see daylight, except on Sunday, and were becoming purblind like the ponies they worked with, or a deepwater fish. Their wages were peanuts although there might be some margin in the fact that, even down to 1914, a shot of Scotch in an ordinary London bar cost only four cents, and other necessaries of life were proportionately cheap, and it seems that they couldn’t lay up a cent for depression periods which came unexpectedly. My Uncle George, who seems to have been a Methodist clergyman and abolitionist of some importance in this country along toward the ‘60s, related in his life and times, published by the Wesleyan Methodist Publishing House, of Syracuse, in 1879, that this old man had two wives (consecutively, of course) and 25 children, of whom Uncle George never saw more than 15 at a time, and that he went to work helping his mother spin hemp in his dad’s rope-walk in London when he was only four years old. Then he ran away to sea at the age of eight and he tells of some prodigious swimming around Bermuda when a small boat broke loose and he had to go after it; so I have sometimes suspected that Uncle George was a bit of a liar around the edges because you don’t learn swimming in a rope-walk or working as a ship’s boy. I don’t mean he actually was my uncle, but, with that name, he couldn’t have been far removed.

This Englishman in the slavery debate insisted that the slaves in Jamaica, where his interests were, were better off than the white men in this noble lord’s mines because they were fed enough to keep them in fair shape as property, whereas the miner had to feed himself and, when he went on relief in slack times, got only four cents a day. I gather that this four cents was for the whole family, not per head, and moreover, this mine owner didn’t pay it, nor the government, but the parish or church.

Then, he said, this lord had the gall to propose that during depressions the husbands should be sent elsewhere, away from their wives, so that they wouldn’t beget more children to grow up and complicate the problems of unemployment and overpopulation; and even to try to impose a rule forbidding men to marry before the age of 35, for the same reason. If a man did marry prematurely, he was blackballed from the mines.

Of course, this was strictly counterpunching, which is not the war to win a fight, and England continued to agitate against slavery in our country, a precedent for some of our later intrusion in certain affairs of European nations, while white Englishmen in their own country actually were much worse off than many of the Negro slaves. Here we are again, for example, running a terrible force over ghettos in Europe as though we had no ghettos of our own. And, for another thing, like the noble English lord, here we are hollering down fascism, with our professional unioneers leading the chorus, while many of the loudest and angriest crusaders against the foul philosophy, notable Mr. Roosevelt and Sidney Hillman, are imposing on our country regulations and restrictions straight out of the book of Benito Il Bum.