The recent "incidents" in Manchukuo have stirred up editorial writers into a lather of anticipation, as war, "short, brutish, and nasty," is predicted as the imminent outcome of the Japanese-Russian dispute. (The New York Times, on the other hand, has felt called upon to reverse without warning its views of Soviet diplomacy, now terming it shamefully weak and spineless where before they thought it insidious plotting against the safety of the civilized world; the Times has gone so far as actually to bewail the lack of supporting connection between the Kremlin and the Third International). Other papers, however, have asserted with surprise and some glee that conflict is approaching and apparently not unwelcome to either government. But despite the very considerable friction which has developed over the main source of trouble (the Soviet owned Chinese Eastern Railway), there seems to be little basis for forecasting a war. Aside from the fact that both countries realize the prohibitive price of that form of insanity, it is quite obvious that all the recrimination and bluster employed by Japan and Russia alike are simply attempts at effective haggling over the sale of the disputed railroad.
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When the N.R.A. was first documented there were many who suspiciously scented a rat in the structure, saying that it had Fascist proclivities of a disturbing nature. The latest "fighting speech" of General Johnson will not do much to allay these worries. Dragging out the musty old rhetorical formula of banker and steel-worker pulling together in sweet harmony toward Prosperity, the General has added as a corollary that strikes are inimical to that teamwork; and this declaration has been approvingly echoed in the press everywhere. In place of the strike, "mediation boards" are to settle all industrial disputes.
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Now this has been a recognized plank of Fascist policy since that party came to the fore, and its adoption by the N.R.A. will be an unpleasant piece of plagiarism. For these boards cannot possibly discover violations of code agreements unless apprised of them by the labor of each industry: the job of policing would be entirely too vast, and the violations could be too easily veiled. It is asking a great deal of Labor, which contrary to silly reports of selfishness, has not been able, in the larger industries, to raise its individual weekly wages above the regular depression low, even slipping back in those brackets above the minimum wage, to surrender its supposedly guaranteed right to strike into the hands of a board whose impartiality is incomplete and whose first-hand knowledge of conditions is non-existent.
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While the atmosphere of the Reichstag trial is saturated with undentable tragedy, it has had its lighter moments. Some of these have been furnished by Georg Dimitroff, the Bulgarian Communist who is both defendant and lawyer in his own defence. Dimitroff has been a thorn in the red-robed sides of the presiding judges because of his unfortunate custom of interposing questions to the witnesses and assailing the peculiar methods of the court. On several occasions, after he had taken over the procedure and cross-examined Nazis into embarassing admissions, the session was hurriedly adjourned to prevent more of it. It became so much of a habit with the prosecution to ask him if he was a Red, if he was a Marxist, if he admired the Soviets, if he advocated bloody revolution, and so forth, that he adopted a counter habit of answering repeatedly and loudly: "Self-evident!" This tactic irritated one judge very much and he interrupted one day to tell Dimitroff: "Anyone would think you believed this court was trying to waste its time and yours with irrelevant questions!" Dimitroff rose quickly and shouted: "Self-evident!" CASTOR.