Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Today -100: February 21, 1917: A limit which makes civilisation impossible

Oxford introduces a PhD degree, because Americans like them.

Headline of the Day -100:

The bill to make spying illegal passes the Senate 60-10. Opponents say it gives the president dictatorial powers to suppress speech. There are differing penalties depending on whether the US is at peace or at war, ranging all the way up to the death penalty for communicating information about troop numbers and movements and suchlike to an enemy nation. It also makes it illegal to impersonate a foreign official.

The British War Office requisitions all stocks of leather in the country, denies it’s for anything kinky.

William Howard Taft says it’s not the time for pacifism and that George Washington’s warning against entangling alliances “was made when conditions were totally different than they are now and it was intended for that period.”

Headline of the Day -100:  

The u-boat, thought to be the same one that sank the Lusitania (it isn’t but is perhaps captained by that guy), sank the Thor II (and you thought it was Chris Hemsworth’s acting and a weak script), towing its lifeboats to shore but not releasing the ship master and his family, including 6-year-old Solveig, who they treat as a mascot, if you normally bring mascots into a war zone and military engagements. The sub is nearly destroyed when a French ship it torpedoes turns out to be carrying ammunition, resulting in a larger-than-expected explosion.

The Americans in charge of the Dominican Republic’s finances have fired a great many Dominicans from government no-show jobs. They’re also saving the Dominicans money by cutting the army, since the US has decided the Republic doesn’t need one.

In the British Parliament, pacifists Philip Snowden, Charles Trevelyan and Arthur Ponsonby make speeches accusing the government of pursuing a war of conquest (for example acquiring Constantinople for Russia) and failing to respond to German peace approaches. Chancellor of the Exchequer Bonar Law (Tory) claims to be shocked at such pacifism, especially at a time when the United States “has itself recognised that there is a difference between right and wrong – has itself recognised that the excesses of our enemy have reached a limit which makes civilisation impossible, and are intolerable even to any neutral State.” Read the whole debate here.

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