Sunday, September 24, 2017

Today -100: September 24, 1917: Of fun fights, false teeth, and Usonians

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Secretary of State Robert Lansing says that before Romania declared war on Germany, Germany snuck explosives and biological warfare (anthrax, glanders) into the country and hid them in the consulate.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The war has created a false teeth shortage in France.

Christine Ladd-Franklin, a psych lecturer at Columbia University writes to the NYT about the problem of what to call US soldiers, who really don’t like “Sammies.” She suggests Usonians, from the abbreviation for United States of North America. Ladd-Franklin likes abbreviations: in the 1870s she applied for a fellowship at Johns Hopkins as “C. Ladd” and that worked out well for her.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Today -100: September 23, 1917: Of recounts, impeachments, and extremists

Headline of the Day -100: 

“No, it’s still just 4½ inches, Mr. Mayor.”

Actually, NYC Boy Mayor John Purroy Mitchel’s competitor in the Republican primary, William Bennett, has been claiming there was fraud and threatening to run as an independent, so Mitchel wants a recount to prove him wrong. In fact, the recount will go against Mitchel and he will run as an independent “Fusion” candidate.

Texas Gov. James Ferguson is impeached and found guilty on 10 charges (out of 21) of stealing state funds, various corrupt activities at his bank, and trying to coerce the regents of the University of Texas.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Bolsheviks are demanding an end to the war, the military structures of which present, as Gen. Kornilov showed, a continuing threat of counter-revolution.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Today -100: September 22, 1917: Of peace, influence, technical rights, and champagne

Germany and Austria finally respond to Pope Benedict’s peace proposals. They are all for them in principle but vague as hell about the details. That took them nearly two months?

Secretary of State Lansing releases a message sent in January by then German Ambassador Count Johann von Bernstorff to Berlin about spending $50,000 to influence the US Congress. He also suggested they sway US opinion with a statement in favor of Ireland. Members of Congress immediately start accusing each other of having taken German money, although I’m pretty sure Bernstorff meant influence, not bribe.

Minnesota Gov. Joseph Burnquist (R) announces an investigation into Sen. Bob La Follette’s alleged seditious remarks at a conference on the cost of living. Bob La F. said that the “technical rights” of US citizens – “the right of an American citizen to ride on a munitions-loaded ship flying a foreign flag” – had been abused by Germany, but that wasn’t worth going to war over.

Headline of the Day -100: 

We’ve all been there.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Today -100: September 21, 1917: Because nothing says making the world safe for democracy like setting human beings on fire

An arrest warrant is issued for Philadelphia Mayor Thomas Smith (R), Councilman Isaac Deutsch and police Lt. David Bennett for conspiracy to, among other things, interfere with Tuesday’s primaries, which were marked, as we saw yesterday, by an attack on Deutsch’s opponent and the killing of his police guard.

Germany denies a French story that Kaiser Wilhelm offered a reward of 300 marks and 3 weeks’ leave to the first German who captured an American soldier.

However, some guys in Mulvane, Kansas have pledged $1,000 towards a planned $1 million bounty on the head of the kaiser.

Secretary of War Newton Baker rejects a request by Rep. James Gallivan for war reporters from local Massachusetts papers be allowed to go to France. He says the 16 reporters already there will have to do, because they’re using all the cable facilities, so more reporters would just mean shorter stories. Baker says the best news comes from letters home from soldiers. Which the Army censors, of course.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Or, you know, not.

The US army will use gas and flamethrowers.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Today -100: September 20, 1917: One looming shadow if this war is its drift toward socialism

1/5th of the men drafted in Manhattan failed to show up.

Food Administrator Herbert Hoover warns a war conference of the US Chamber of Commerce that if business doesn’t to its public duty and cooperate with the government in the war effort, the result might be socialism. Just look at Russia, he says.

After Bolshevik resolutions – exclusion of the propertied classes from government, abolition of private property, the Soviet to seize power from the provisional government, etc – win in the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet, the outvoted executive committee resigns.

Argentina’s Senate votes 23 to 1 for breaking off relations with Germany.

The Republican primaries in Philadelphia’s Fifth Ward (the “Bloody Fifth”) are marked by riots and a blackjack attack on one candidate by a paid thug who then shoots and kills a cop who was guarding the candidate. He is captured along with others from a group of men recruited in Jersey City – by a man called “Little Neck,” no less – to vote illegally and intimidate the opposition.

Italy refuses a request from the Jewish Union of Frankfurt that it allow the export of palm branches for use in religious services.

Alice Smyth Burton Jay sues Chappell & Co., Ltd., the publishers of “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” for stealing the chorus from her 1908 song Yakima (beginning “I’m on my way to Yakima”). She wants $100,000.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Today -100: September 19, 1917: I hate it when that happens

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Today -100: September 18, 1917: Woodrow Wilson, America, democracy for me

Leon Samson, a junior expelled by Columbia University for his pacifist views, fails to get relief from the state Supreme Court, Justice Mullan, perhaps unclear on the concept of pacifism, calling him a “menace” to the university.

An Indiana superior court judge declares the new women’s suffrage law unconstitutional. The state supreme court will agree.

Vice President Thomas Marshall tells some Freemasons that the democracy for which the US is fighting to make the world safe is not one that includes the IWW’s principles. “Is it not possible to have until the conclusion of this war all hands in America lifted up to the God of our fathers, and all voices proclaiming: ‘Woodrow Wilson, America, democracy for me’?”

Feds arrest 7 people at a Chicago IWW meeting.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Today -100: September 17, 1917: Of eternal indefiniteness, fake news, women doctors, and Polish regencies

Kerensky declares Russia a republic in order to “put an end to the eternal indefiniteness of the State’s organization”.

With Gen. Kornilov finally in custody, the government is saying that most of the soldiers who marched on Petrograd were told lies or one sort or another about why they were doing so. Not sure to what extent this is actually true, but it’s a good way to de-escalate the situation.

The London Daily News reports that right after the fall of Riga, Kerensky got married. To an actress, no less. “It is amusing to hear that this item of fashionable intelligence created an unfavorable impression in Petrograd.” Petrograd will be pleased to hear that it is not true. Kerensky is already married. As is the actress in question. But it’s an interesting rumor for someone to have started.

Harvard – well, just Harvard Medical School, but still – will admit women for the first time. Its enthusiasm for the scheme is shown by the announcement being made only a week before the start of the new term.

Germany and Austria decree a new Polish state. Which they will be occupying while the war lasts. They still haven’t named a king, but they will appoint a 3-person regency, who will appoint a prime minister, and there’ll be a State Council, also unelected, which will pass legislation. No one’s asking the Poles about any of this.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Today -100: September 16, 1917: The heel of authority must crush the heads of the serpents of sedition

Kerensky, still unable to form a coalition government, establishes instead a 5-person Directorate consisting of himself, Foreign Minister Mikhail Tereshchenko, Minister of War Gen. Alexander Verkhovsky, Navy Minister Dmitri Verderevsky, and of course Minister of Posts and Telegraphs Alexei Nikitin.

Nikitin is also interior minister, NYT, otherwise that would be silly.

Kerensky issues an order to the men of the army and navy, telling them to stop with all the political discussion, stop arresting their commanding officers, and stop forming voluntary groups on the pretext of fighting counter-revolutionaries.

Headline of the Day -100: 

A NYT editorial about street-corner speakers expresses the Times’s traditional support for free speech: “The heel of authority must crush the heads of the serpents of sedition before they have become too numerous.”

CSI: Stockholm. An autopsy is performed on Sweden’s King Karl XII to determine whether he was shot by his own men or by the enemy. Karl was killed in 1718.

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