Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Today -100: December 9, 1914: A war with which we have nothing to do

In his State of the Union Address, Woodrow Wilson is defensive about the condition of the US’s military defenses (he’s been fighting off attempts in Congress to investigate that).  “It is said in some quarters that we are not prepared for war. What is meant by being prepared? Is it meant that we are not ready upon brief notice to put a nation in the field, a nation of men trained to arms? Of course we are not ready to do that; and we shall never be in time of peace so long as we retain our present political principles and institutions. ... We are at peace with all the world. ... We are, indeed, a true friend to all the nations of the world, because we threaten none, covet the possessions of none, desire the overthrow of none.”  Indeed, he says, increasing military spending more than the tiny amount it has been increased, creating a standing army “would mean merely that we had lost our self-possession, that we had been thrown off our balance by a war with which we have nothing to do, whose causes can not touch us, whose very existence affords us opportunities of friendship and disinterested service which should make us ashamed of any thought of hostility or fearful preparation for trouble.”

He’s less concerned about the military than by the deficiency of commercial ships, because he’s positively licking his lips at the thought of American companies taking over the trade with Latin America and elsewhere that European companies can’t currently handle.  He wants the government to step in and buy ships, which he compares to the government subsidy of the Transcontinental Railroad.

He also promises businesses that he’s done with adding new regulations on them: “Our program of legislation with regard to the regulation of business is now virtually complete. It has been put forth, as we intended, as a whole, and leaves no conjecture as to what is to follow. The road at last lies clear and firm before business. It is a road which it can travel without fear or embarrassment. It is the road to ungrudged, unclouded success. In it every honest man, every man who believes that the public interest is part of his own interest, may walk with perfect confidence.”

The United Mine Workers end the strike in Colorado after 14 months.  Quitters.

Pres. Wilson orders an inquiry into whether James Sullivan, his ambassador to the Dominican Republic, used his influence to get Dominican government contracts for his family and friends.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Osborne Sets Up Convict Republic.”  Sing Sing Warden Thomas Mott Osborne will allow an inmate “court” to deal with infractions (on the theory that it is unrealistic to ask prisoners to fink to the guards).

Fog Smoke of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The Daily Mail (London) accused the Germans of burning down the French village of Domremy, the birthplace of Joan of Arc, showing their disregard for sacred blah blah blah.  Actually, it was a different Domremy.

Albert A. Michelson, the first American to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences, in 1907, says he’s invented a new type of super-strong steel, which will make possible taller skyscrapers and indestructible forts, which would end all wars.  Super Steel™ is not mentioned in Michelson’s Wikipedia page.

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