I’ve been away and tramping the back roads of Iceland for two weeks and am so far behind  I can’t see my nose…. Working on a pilgrim’s journal of that fabulous island, and a few other things.  Meanwhile, Adam Hochschild, in the latest New York Review of Books,  writes a thumbnail history of the U.S. as it entered WWI that should be read by all. There was a President and AG more draconian than the ones we have now, though that is no reason for celebration.

“As our newspapers and TV screens overflow with choleric attacks by President Trump on the media, immigrants, and anyone who criticizes him, it makes us wonder: What would it be like if nothing restrained him from his obvious wish to silence, deport, or jail such enemies? For a chilling answer, we need only roll back the clock one hundred years, to the moment when the United States entered not just a world war, but a three-year period of unparalleled censorship, mass imprisonment, and anti-immigrant terror.

When Woodrow Wilson went before Congress on April 2, 1917, and asked it to declare war against Germany, the country, as it is today, was riven by discord. Even though millions of people from the perennially bellicose Theodore Roosevelt on down were eager for war, President Wilson was not sure he could count on the loyalty of some nine million German-Americans, or of the 4.5 million Irish-Americans who might be reluctant to fight as allies of Britain. Also, hundreds of officials elected to state and local office belonged to the Socialist Party, which strongly opposed American participation in this or any other war. And tens of thousands of Americans were “Wobblies,” members of the militant Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and the only battle they wanted to fight was that of labor against capital.

The moment the United States entered the war in Europe, a second, less noticed war began at home. … “

When Dissent Became Treason

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