Tuesday, December 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1919

I've uploaded year 1919 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Great Molasses Flood -- 2 million gallons of molasses breaks loose in Boston. I talk about government regulation and the duty to ones neighbors not to kill them accidently.

The Red Scare Begins -- Letter bombs and rounding up the usual suspects.

The League of Nations to Punish Germany -- The league will be useless and the Treaty will set the stage for World War 2.

Notable Births -- Lots and lots.

In Other News -- Charles Ponzi,s scheme, Adolf Hitler gives a speech, and Eisenhower leads the US Army into an Indian ambush... just kidding... he was kidding.

The Great Molasses Flood

Molasses has been important in sugar and rum production since before the American Revolution. Ships arrive in Boston Harbor and the sticky liquid is pumped into a steel tank near the waterfront to be distilled later. The tank itself is only a few years old. There are a few leaks, and children sneak onto the property to scoop up the dark liquid. The owners have already re-caulked the tank twice, but is there really a danger? The metal flaking has severely weakened the steel structure, but Mr. Jell makes it clear that no more complaints will be entertained. "I don't know what you want me to do. The tank still stands." On January 15th, a little after noon, the rivets finally give way. Two million gallons of molasses pours into the street. It forms a wall 25 foot high and despite the old saying about molasses, it moves along fairly quickly. The distillery offices are flattened. Horses, dogs and people are swept away. Twenty-one people are killed and 150 people are injured. Years later, it will be said that in the summertime you can still smell the molasses. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This event pushed the Paris Peace Conference and the League of Nations stories off the front page. What concerns us today are the government regulations that resulted from this disaster. Even though we have property rights, those rights are not absolute. Recently there was an uproar over EPA regulators hassling a guy who built a small dam and created a pond. The discussion centered on what a private citizen could do on his own property. Well, despite any movies to the contrary, he cannot launch a spacecraft from his barn simply because he wants to. A property owner has a duty to keep his neighbors safe from predictable dangers... like your dam breaking, or your molasses tank bursting. It doesn't take much to cause a lot of damage. However, government regulation tends to expand no matter how carefully we write a law, so regulations need careful pruning from time-to-time to limit their power. [3] [4]

The Red Scare Begins

"The needs of the many" seem to be a deep-seated desire to blow up rich people. Thirty-six mailbombs are sent to prominent professional and political leaders such as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller. The bombs take the form of gifts from Gimbel Brothers department store to arrive on May the 1st... May Day. The package is a brick-sized piece of wood inside a box with the label, "Open" on one side. If one is unfortunate enough to follow the directions, a spring sets off three blasting caps, a stick of dynamite and a vial of sulfuric acid. Given the vagaries of the postal system, some bombs arrive earlier than others. In one case an office staffer opens the wrong end of the box, and a vial of acid falls out. In another case the package is opened by the maid, blowing off her hands. Sixteen packages lack proper postage, and are sitting in the post office. The rest are intercepted. One bomb is addressed to the Attorney General of the United States Alexander Palmer. Thus begin the Palmer Raids to round up these subversive communist immigrants and hold them on Deer Island. The man assigned to carry out the raids is 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover, and his newly formed Bureau of Investigation. Just the man for the job. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was there anything to be afraid of? Yes. The bombs were real and the bombings went on for several years. The bombers called themselves anarchists, so they were deported if it could be proven an immigrant was an anarchist. US immigration law didn't define the word "anarchist" except that if you called yourself one, you got the boot. But it is clear that the law meant terrorists, or anyone opposing the government. In the same year, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to yell "Fire" in a crowded movie theater. That was in reference to a socialist caught distributing pamphlets that urged military-aged men to dodge the draft. (He served 6 months in prison.) What we would define today as reasoned, loyal opposition, President Woodrow Wilson defined as treason. In other words, he took it personally, but this is what happens when the unfaithful utter impious words before their President. That is a terrible thing for me to say, but Wilson thought of himself as something close to a messiah... or higher. (Golly! I think I hate Wilson more than Glenn Beck does.) [8]

The League of Nations to Punish Germany

President Woodrow Wilson rushes to Paris to hammer out an agreement... that is... he uses a hammer to beat you senseless until you agree with him. This is not simply a peace treaty between the Allies and Germany. Wilson wants to redraw the borders of Europe, so that this kind of thing never happens again. His advisors are Colonel House who is an administrator, and a 12th century medieval historian named Charles Haskins. Why a 12th century historian? That was when Europe changed from battling war lords into an administrative honeycomb of arcane bureaucracies. Wilson sees World War 1 as a symptom of not enough government. He also wants a League of Nations that is more than talk. It should be the enforcement arm for the signatories. If anyone gets out of line, the League comes down on the offender good and hard. But instead of harmony and bliss, France wants to be paid back. In the end, Germany signs what is an open-ended agreement. The Treaty of Versailles calls for the admission of guilt, and to pay back the Allies. No amount is specified, which means, "everything you've got, forever and ever." Most people realize how unfair the treaty is. Once Wilson returns to the USA to begin his campaign to ratify the Treaty, he falls victim to a stroke. The US Senate fails to ratify, and Mrs. Wilson, a woman who never attended high school, is left to run the country. The stage is set for World War 2. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The only nation that had any money was the United States. The Europeans had borrowed heavily in order to win the war. Their economies should have collapsed long before this. In fact, Germany's Wiemar Republic was already experiencing high inflation. It didn't hit hyperinflation for a couple of years yet, but it was already eating up whatever savings the German people had. For the United States, the Roaring 20s was coming. But the Great Depression followed after that. Regarding the League of Nations, it's primary goal was to disarm the Axis Powers and then disarm the Allied Powers. Neither goal was achieved. So as World War 2 got started, the League fell apart. Its original objective was to at least reduce the arms nations had and thus prevent war. War came anyway. Game over. [12]

Notable Births

  • Balto, the sled dog (He will deliver medicine to an Alaskan town to fight an outbreak of diphtheria.) [13]
  • Isaac Asimov (Author/editor of science and sci-fi books such as "iRobot" and "Fantastic Voyage".) [14]
  • Pierre Trudeau (Canadian Prime Minister, media sensation and father of Justin, the current Prime Minister.) [15]
  • Liberace (Entertainer. He will win a libel lawsuit against the Daily Mirror for implying that he is a homosexual.) [16]
  • Madalyn Murray O'Hair (Atheist whose lawsuit will end Bible reading in government schools.) [17]
  • George Wallace (As governor he will "stand in the schoolhouse door" for state's rights... and segregation.) [18]
  • Jackie Robinson (The first man to break the "color barrier" in Major League Baseball.) [19]

In Other News

  • Charles Ponzi has a great idea for making money. His pyramid scheme will bilk small-time investors out of their life savings. [20]
  • The German Workers' Party is founded. (It's the Nazis!) War hero, Adolf Hitler, gives his first speech to the membership. [21]
  • The 1st US Army coast-to-coast convoy. They must use Indian trails. Lt. Col. Eisenhower dupes the convoy into believing that they are being attacked by Indians. Shots are fired. Thus is born the need for a US Highway system. [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1919, Wikipedia.

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