Friday, May 06, 2016

Today -100: May 6, 1916: The one thing I have never heard discussed is peace

Germany’s reply to Wilson’s last note on submarine warfare accepts US demands not to sink ships without warning and to rescue evacuees, and is considered by an (unnamed) member of the Wilson Administration to be “irritating but acceptable.” Germany denies Wilson’s charge of indiscriminate sinking of ships, but sees no reason to debate it since the US “omitted to substantiate the assertion by reference to concrete facts.” In other irritating but acceptable language, Germany says that sub warfare was merely a response to the British, who first extended the war to non-combatants through its naval blockade, and hey we can’t help noticing that “the sentiments of humanity, which the Government of the United States extends with such fervor to the unhappy victims of submarine warfare, are not extended with the same warmth of feeling to many millions of women and children who, according to the avowed intention of the British Government, shall be starved”. It also mentions the voluminous sales of munitions from US companies to Germany’s enemies. The irritating but probably unacceptable sting in the note’s tale is that limits on sub warfare will only remain in place if the US tells Britain to knock off the blockade.

The British execute 4 more Irish rebels, including poet Joseph Plunkett, sculptor and tutor William Pearse, and Michael O’Hanrahan, a Gaelic teacher. They sound very scary.

Lord Curzon, the Lord Privy Seal, says “I have heard many things discussed in the Cabinet, but the one thing I have never heard discussed is peace.”

US marines land in Santo Domingo.

Adela Pankhurst, whose mother Emmeline banished her to Australia before the war, is stoned by soldiers and others while leading a No Conscription rally in Melbourne.

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Today -100: May 5, 1916: Of imperialism, dangling suspenders, Irish justice, and Baptist hypocrites

Lots of US imperialism news today.

Mexico has backed off its demands that US troops withdraw, instead agreeing to cooperate with them and let them stay just as long as they like.

The Haitian Cabinet has resigned in a conflict with its Congress over acceding to US demands.

US Navy Commander W.S. Crosley threatens to land troops in the Dominican Republic, ostensibly to protect the US legation.

Speaking of the Dominican Republic, James Sullivan, the former US ambassador there until he resigned last year under investigation for getting Dominican railroad and electrical contracts for a relative (he was also accused of receiving diplomats in his undershirt with dangling suspenders – DANGLING SUSPENDERS!), is arrested in Dublin for complicity in the Rising (he was born in Kilkenny). He’ll be released without charges although, yeah, he was definitely part of it.

Courts-martial in Ireland are rapidly convicting supposed rebels in large numbers, while houses all over Dublin are being raided and no one can leave the city without a military pass. The authorities are taking a bit longer to prepare for Sir Roger Casement’s trial, and by prepare I mean leaking salacious excerpts from his diaries to anyone who might have publicly defended him (I said that Sir Roger being a homosexual was going to become significant), including politicians, newspaper editors, the US ambassador, and so on.

Theodore Roosevelt denies calling Charles Evans Hughes “that Baptist hypocrite.”

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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Today -100: May 4, 1916: Prepare for preparedness

Four of the Easter Rising leaders – Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clark, and Thomas Macdonagh – are executed by firing squad. Shit goes fast if you don’t bother with real trials and don’t mind creating martyrs.

Augustine Birrell resigns as Irish Secretary, admitting that he slightly underestimated the possibility of a revolt. He says that (as a private member of Parliament) he hopes “the rebellion will be put down with such success, yet at the same time with such humanity displayed toward the dupes and the rank and file led astray by their leaders, that this insurrection in Ireland will never in the minds of memories of the people be associated with past rebellions or become an historic landmark in their country.” Good luck with that. Birrell will never set foot in Ireland again.

Frank Benson, Shakespearean actor-manager, is knighted by King George, who uses a stage sword.

William Lorimer, who was expelled from the US Senate in 1912 for election-tampering, is acquitted for conspiracy in the failure of the La Salle Street Trust & Savings Bank, of which he was president.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Today -100: May 3, 1916: We have to put up with these things

British Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith announces new plans for conscription, following that parliamentary revolt over the last version: every male gets to go, regardless of marital status.

Asquith tells Parliament that the surrender of Kut is not of military importance. The 13,000 new prisoners of war might disagree. He added, “We have to put up with these things.” “We?” the 13,000 prisoners wonder, “We don’t see your ass being death-marched through Mesopotamia.”

The troops entering Dublin receive enthusiastic cheers from crowds, according to a reporter who seems to be in Belfast (regardless, that did happen; the rising wasn’t popular among the people who had to live where it was going on). Hundreds of Sinn Féin & Irish Volunteer prisoners are being transferred to England.

US Rear Admiral William Caperton takes the USS Prairie to Santo Domingo to tell the Dominican Congress to stop its impeachment of President Juan Jimenes, and also to inform them that he supports Jimenes’s dissolution of Congress. Caperton actually has this power, according to the treaty the US forced the Dominican Republic to sign.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Monday, May 02, 2016

Today -100: May 2, 1916: All the world would stand once more thrilled to hear the voice of the New World asserting the standards of justice and liberty

Woodrow Wilson speaks at the opening of the National Service School Military Encampment for Young Women. He says that the European war has spurred nationalism (like that’s a good thing): “how much more intensely every Frenchman and every German feels the national compulsion than he ever felt it before”. Further, “in America we are getting already the indirect benefit of that suggestion. We are beginning to realize how a nation is a unit and that any individual of it who does not feel the impulse of the whole does not belong to it and does not belong in it.” He says that if the US were somehow “drawn into” war, “in the great voice of national enthusiasm which would be raised, all the world would stand once more thrilled to hear the voice of the New World asserting the standards of justice and liberty.” You can hear him talking himself into thinking of going to war as a great humanitarian gesture.

Speaking of the standards of justice and liberty, the House of Representatives rejects independence for the Philippines, 213 to 165. Rep. Simeon Fess (R-Ohio) says the work of educating and Christianizing the Philippines should take another 25 years.

In other news, there was a member of Congress named Simeon Fess!

Irish rebels are surrendering in their hundreds.

A NYT editorial, “The Irish Folly,” says the whole thing was stupid. For a start, Ireland can never be independent of Great Britain, that’s just crazy talk.

Dominican President Gen. Juan Jimenes is impeached. Something about the budget.

The American Woman’s League for Self-Defense finally settles the trousers vs skirt question: breeches for those in the cavalry, skirts for the infantry.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016

California Proposition Recommendations, June 2016 and candidate statements

Only one proposition this time. November: condoms in porn. Try not to think of it as a metaphor.

Prop 50

Raises suspension from majority to 2/3.

As is so often the case with California ballot propositions, a populist provision – depriving suspended legislators of their pay – is included as cover for something else - raising the threshold for suspension from a majority vote of the Legislature to 2/3. As it happens, I’m actually less happy with the pay bit than the 2/3: it should be hard to override an election. But those who have only been accused of something should not be deprived of the pay they may need to support themselves while preparing their defense during what may be a prolonged process. You can imagine a legislator accused falsely or accused with political motives having to resign so they can get a job to pay the mortgage. Suspension can be before a conviction in a court of law because it’s about protecting the political process from corruption and from legislators who associate with people called “Shrimp Boy.”
But “innocent until proven guilty” means no financial punishment until proven guilty.

So NO on 50.

Let’s turn to the candidate statements, which people running for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat paid $25 a word to have printed.

Akinyemi Olabode Agbede (motto: Say My Name Three Times Fast). Okay, that’s not his motto. His real motto, complete with escalating exclamation points, seems to be “Rescue America! Rescue America!! Rescue America!!! Californian!”

One Republican’s statement consists only of a website address and the words “Constitutionalist. Americanism.” His name, naturally enough, is Jerry J. Laws.

Ling Ling Shi’s statement, verbatim: “Run for God's Heart and America's Freedom, challenge 10 giant chaos in economy and
economy-related sectors.”

Paul Merritt, who did not check his statement for spelling or grammar, says “Elect the person, not the Party-in-power's” and supports a “boarder security fence.”

The alliterative Massie Munroe says “Through my national and international research and political activism, I identified ‘mind control slavery’ by satellite energy technology weapons and social engineering programs that have been in continual development for the past 50 years and facilitated their ‘declassification’. As a result, I came under heavy
sanctions that are ongoing.” She’s a Bernie supporter.

President Cristina Grappo is a candidate shrouded in mystery – is President her first name, is she president of something? We may never know. “My education & expertise merits this prolific occupation in order to represent California, as United Senator.” “I am mainstream Facebook in social media!”

Herbert G. Peters proclaims himself an Andrew Jackson Democrat. No one seems to be a Harriet Tubman Democrat. He also supports Manifest Destiny. And ending welfare.

Von Hougo wants to put every single bill online for Californians to vote on, which will determine how he votes in the Senate.

Jason Hanania’s statement is simply “01100101.” Which is the letter e in binary.

In summary, rescue America, challenge 10 giant chaos, fight mind control slavery, be mainstream Facebook in social media and vote on June 7th. Or is that what they want you to do?

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Today -100: May 1, 1916: The Irish Republic is dead, long live the Republic of Ireland, or something

Patrick Pearse, self-styled Provisional President of the Irish Republic, orders an unconditional surrender. The Republic of Ireland has lasted six days. The dead include 70 rebels, 140 soldiers, and upwards of 300 civilians, including many children.

Pope Benedict instructs priests in Ireland to convince the Irish to be loyal to Britain.

The Irish Nationalist party’s leader John Redmond cables the editor of the American newspaper Ireland, calling the Rising an “attempt to torpedo Home Rule and the Irish Party” by “Sinn Fein cranks and German agents.” He celebrates its suppression by the force of English arms, and suggests that Irish and Irish-Americans in the US not be “unduly disturbed” by it.

A meeting sponsored by the United Irish Societies of America in New York is, however, quite unduly disturbed by it. No one thinks much of John Redmond here. There are also Germans at the meeting; “Deutschland über alles” is sung.

The Hackensack, New Jersey police will send a German-speaking cop to monitor a lecture by Prof. Eugen Kuehneman about East Prussia to see that nothing is said “unfriendly to President Wilson, Congress, the United States, or the flag.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

Another issue of The Wipers Times is out, featuring “Minor Worries,” a poem but clearly meant to be sung to a pre-war Music Hall tune, as in this clip from Oh What a Lovely War, which has no overlapping lyrics with the poem, suggesting that there were many versions.

Never mind:

    If the Hun lets off some gas – Never mind.
    If the Hun attacks in mass – Never mind.
    If your dug-out’s blown to bits,
    Or the C.O.’s throwing fits,
    Or a crump your rum jar hits – Never mind.
    If your trench is mud knee-high – Never mind.
    You can't find a spot that's dry – Never mind.
    If a sniper has you set,
    Through dents in your parapet,
    And your troubles fiercer get – Never mind.
    If machine guns join the muddle – Never mind.
    Though you're lying in a puddle – Never mind.
    If the duckboard* barks your shin,
    And the barbed wire rips your skin,
    'Tis reward for all your sin – So never mind.

* duckboard = wooden boards forming a walkway over the mud of the trenches.

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Today -100: April 30, 1916: But at least Spot is okay

The five-month-long siege of Kut (aka al-Kut, aka Kut-al-Amara), in which Turkish forces besieged a British garrison on the Tigris in Mesopotamia (Iraq), ends with the surrender of the British. One innovative feature of the siege: airdrops of food and ammunition, the first in aviation history. Several attempts to send troops to relieve the town failed owing to poor planning, insufficient supplies and bad weather (the same things that got Major-Gen. Charles Townshend and his men stuck in Kut for 143 days). An attempt to bribe the Ottomans (the emissary was Capt. T.E. Lawrence) was rejected. In the end, the British just ran out of food. The NYT remarks, “It seems almost fantastic that one prize of this modern war should be a very old, insanitary town, on a camel route to Persia, hundreds of hours away from the world”. Baghdad, that is, Townshend’s original objective.

The NYT says the surrendering forces include 2,970 British and 6,000 Indian soldiers; it was actually closer to 13,000 total, 70% of whom will not survive their prisoner-of-war experience. However – and this was Townshend’s main concern when negotiating the surrender – his dog Spot was sent back to England. He himself spent his captivity in relative freedom and luxury in Istanbul, which didn’t go over all that well back home.

But it’s not all bad news for the British Army, which has succeeded in burning out the Dublin General Post Office. Shelling has caused numerous fires in Dublin. The Easter Rising is nearly at an end.

Lots of photos of the Dublin devastation here.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Today -100: April 29, 1916: Would you put your mothers in breeches?

Field Marshal Sir John French says the “suppression of the rebellion in Dublin [is] proceeding satisfactorily.” The bombardment of Dublin by the armed yacht Helga from the Liffey, machine guns on the streets of Dublin, civilians summarily executed – you know, satisfactorily. However, the rebels still hold Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, which as we all know is the key to Dublin, or at least a nice tea. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland issues a proclamation blaming the “insurrectionary” movement on Germany.

The NYT is printing days-old reports from Ireland, thanks to British censorship. They seem rather taken by the leading role of Countess Constance Markievicz, wearing an Irish Volunteers uniform, who may or may not have shot and killed a cop (historians still aren’t sure about this). She is practically the only female fighter in the Rising – some leaders refused female participation, I’m looking at you future President De Valera – though women were used as couriers.

John Redmond, leader of the increasingly irrelevant Irish Nationalist Party, calls the rising a “wicked and insane movement” which threatens the progress made by his constitutional movement in “the short space of forty years.” He claims that “Germany plotted it, Germany organized it, Germany paid for it. ... it is German invasion of Ireland, and as brutal, as selfish, as cynical as Germany’s invasion of Belgium.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The American Woman’s League for Self-Defense is still discussing the trousers-or-skirts question, although “there isn’t a uniform in sight or even a design for one that any two of the members can agree is really sweet and pretty,” according to the not-at-all-condescending New York Times. The new president of the League, Ida Powell Priest, is determined to force through skirts, asking the meeting, “Girls, would you put your mothers in breeches?” They would, they really would. One asked her mother, who was sitting next to her, if she would wear breeches, and she would.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today -100: April 28, 1916: Passeront pas

Objections in Parliament force Prime Minister Asquith to withdraw a bill extending conscription to every single male aged 18 to 45 and extending until the end of the war the enlistment of those who enrolled for a limited period. Many consider this unfair for letting married men who never signed up voluntarily off the hook. MPs running the spectrum from Labour to Sir Edward Carson think “compulsion for all” is the only fair thing.

US Secretary of State Robert Lansing denies giving the British government the information they used to capture Sir Roger Casement.

The British say Sir Roger Casement is telling them the revolt will fail without the only person capable of leading it – himself. Pretty sure this is bullshit.

Martial law is extended to all of Ireland. The revolt seems to be spreading, and the army hasn’t managed to retake Dublin.

Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond and Ulster Unionist asshole Sir Edward Carson join in opposing the Rising and in hoping no one uses it to attack any political party. Redmond doesn’t know it yet, but he is pretty much done.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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