Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Today -100: July 12, 1917: Patriotism has nothing to do with profits

Kaiser Wilhelm offers some constitutional reform. The Cabinet still won’t be responsible to the Reichstag, but a new supervisory committee will be. There will also be a shakeup of the current Cabinet. Foreign Minister Alfred Zimmermann is out. It’s all a bit muddled, and looks like Willy set it up so he can easily retract it in the future if his hand gets stronger.

Continuing the replacement of Irish Nationalists by Sinn Feiners, Éamon de Valera is elected to Parliament for East Clare in a by-election caused by the death of Willie Redmond, brother of the Nationalist party leader. De Valera was one of the commanders in the Easter Rising and was sentenced to death; he was amnestied last month. Eventually he’ll be Ireland’s taoiseach and president.

Woodrow Wilson says he will determine the prices of the raw materials, manufactures, shipping etc required to prosecute the war, and the public must get the same prices as the government, or else. Patriotism and profits must not be mentioned together, he says. “No true patriot will permit himself to take toll of their heroism in money or seek to grow rich by the shedding of their blood. When they are giving their lives, will he not at least give his money?” I think you’ll find they won’t, Mr. President, but thanks for asking. In addition to not being thrilled at the government setting their prices, industrialists don’t particularly want government auditors looking into their businesses to determine what prices are fair. They’re also a bit dubious about his message that there are other incentives to production than wacking great profits. It’s like, “dude, do you even know us?”

Several states have suspended child labor laws because of the war and general dickishness.

Henry Ford is suing Louis Enright, to whom he lent a car in order for Enright to test out his alleged invention of a process to make gasoline for 2¢ a gallon. Ford wants his car back.

The War Department will send troops to Washington state because the governor says the IWW plans to destroy crops and decimate the US’s strategic apple reserves, or something. The NYT seems to think the IWW is everywhere, “paralyzing industry and terrifying labor,” and that its demands for better wages are a “pretext” for its plot to sabotage the war effort.

The IWW members who were forcibly put on cattle cars in Jerome, Arizona are released by order of the governor.

Rep. Leonidas Carstarphen Dyer (R-Missouri) wants East St. Louis, Ill. renamed by executive order, because the race riots there are embarrassing the residents of St. Louis, Missouri, which hasn’t had a race riot in ages (two months).

The US Army will now enlist men as short as 5’1” and 110 pounds.

French Prime Minister Alexandre Ribot rejects the idea of a plebiscite in Alsace-Lorraine to decide what country the province will be a part of. “We have an imprescriptible right over Alsace-Lorraine,” he says.

A Russian Pole is arrested for supposedly causing the explosion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard (in the Bay Area) that killed 6 people. The government will later put the blame on another guy, a supposed German spy, but there’s no proof that sabotage was actually involved.

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