Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Today -100: November 19, 1919: If they’d had the internet it would have been Warry McWarFace

Pres. Wilson is again wheeled onto the White House lawn, where he is “much interested” in the flock of sheep there. I think that’s literal sheep, but you never know in Washington.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Official according to the US War Department. 

When Hungary has elections in December (in the unoccupied parts of the country anyway), men and women over 24 will have the vote, plus younger men who served at least 13 weeks at the front.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Today -100: November 18, 1919: Zara today, Spalato tomorrow!

Woodrow Wilson is rolled on to the White House lawn, er, in a wheel chair, the first time he has left the building since the beginning of last month. Mary Pickford drops by, but is not allowed to see the president. So I guess she just shows up places?

And we’ve finally heard from Wilson (or whomever) on what he will do if the reservations to the peace treaty pass: he will pocket veto it (or just “pocket” it? – can a treaty be vetoed?). There is some talk of possible compromises that he might accept (Sen. George Hitchcock passes this on to the Senate while staying reticent on some of the details, possibly because Mrs. Wilson hasn’t decided on them yet). The Senate is still working on reservations (40 more to vote on!).

Ernest Lundeen, until recently the Republican congresscritter for Minnesota’s 5th district, in which capacity he voted against entering the Great War and against conscription, is about to speak in the Orontville, Minn. opera house against the League of Nations when a bunch of American Legion types (and the sheriff) grab him, march him to the train station and lock him in a refrigerated car on an outbound train, as was the custom.

Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio is given (presumably by himself) a new title: Commander of Fiume and Commander of Dalmatia. On his triumphal entry into conquered Zara, he proclaims “It is Zara today, it will be Spalato [Split] tomorrow.” Censorship is keeping news of this out of Italian newspapers.

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Today -100: November 17, 1919: Fortunately, we had guns and ammunition

Ludwig Martens of the Russian Soviet Government Bureau in New York says that many large US businesses are aiding Soviet agents pushing for US recognition of the Soviet government. He presents himself as interested only in restoring trade relations, not spreading revolutionary propaganda.

Mexico arrests US businessman and consular agent William Jenkins for being complicit in his “kidnapping.”

Lady Astor: “There is a place in politics for women. They have the spiritual qualities needed in politics. Men may have them, but they haven’t the courage to show them.”

The center & right do well in French parliamentary elections, Socialists not so much. The clergy, who in the past boycotted the polls because of the Vatican’s displeasure at the introduction of secular education in public schools, seem to be voting this time.

A black man is lynched in Moberly, Missouri, one of 4 who allegedly beat up a man and robbed him of $12. The other 3 may or may not have escaped.

French aviator Etienne Polet, who is trying to fly from Paris to Australia, was forced by engine trouble to land in India. He wires: “One day the inhabitants wished to kill us, taking us for devils. Fortunately, we had guns and ammunition.”

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Today -100: November 16, 1919: The breath of life will never be put in it again

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer sends the Senate a draft of a proposed anti-sedition law aimed at the IWW, communists, etc. He sorrowfully reports that at present “the preaching of anarchy and sedition is not a crime under the general criminal statutes of the United States,” nor is “openly advocating the unlawful obstruction of industry”.

18 miles from Centralia, Washington, two American Legion posses exchange shots with IWWers, killing one of the former. The article has a long quotation from a “confession” by one Wobbly, which said the IWW planned the Centralia clash 3 weeks in advance, although it actually sounds like he said they planned to defend the IWW hall if it was attacked.

The San Francisco police order all IWW members to leave the city.

Senate Republicans adopt 10 more reservations to the peace treaty. Some exempt the US from various activities of the League of Nations, others reserve to Congress decisions on accepting mandates or paying League dues. Democrats promise to vote down ratification of the treaty so amended, after which, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.) says, “the treaty may be considered as dead. It may lie in the Senate inert, but the breath of life will never be put in it again.”

Ludwig Martens of the Russian Soviet Government Bureau, the self-proclaimed embassy of Soviet Russia in New York, rejects a subpoena from the Lusk Committee of the NY Legislature.

Gabriele D’Annunzio invades Zara (aka Zadar), the capital of (Yugoslav) Dalmatia, evidently in order to revive Italian enthusiasm for his little Fiume adventure ahead of Italian parliamentary elections. Yugoslavia, afraid of an all-out war, is not putting up resistance.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Today -100: November 15, 1919: Of porches, vigilante legions, and Bolshevik et anti-Bolsheviki

On Armistice Day, Pres. Wilson was allowed out of bed for the first time since returning to the White House, in a wheeled chair. Today he was rolled to the rear porch. Did no one find it strange that he’d been confined to bed for a month and a half, with no explanation of his condition offered beyond “nervous exhaustion?”

Members of the American Legion are sworn in as special constables in Spokane, which is expecting a mass invasion of Wobblies. 52 supposed Wobblies have already been convicted of “criminal anarchy.” They refused to put up a defense and were sentenced to 30 days and a $100 fine. In Kansas City, Poughkeepsie and elsewhere, American Legion branches are organizing vigilante squads.

The Centralia, Washington coroner’s jury fails to place the blame for the deaths of those 4 American Legionnaires on the IWW, after hearing testimony that the Legion attacked the IWW hall. But the prosecutor says he has other witnesses who say shots were fired before the attack on the building.

The NYT says the only issue in the French parliamentary elections is “Bolshevik et anti-Bolsheviki.”

Italy raises its blockade on Fiume.

Yesterday I marked what I think is Mussolini’s first mention in the NYT. Then today’s would be the second. Not all of it is legible, but someone is killed and 8 more wounded when a gunfight breaks out at an election meeting in Lodi at which the future Duce is speaking.

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Today -100: November 14, 1919: What won the war? Rum!

The Senate votes 46-33 to attach reservations to Article X of the peace treaty, the mutual defense provision, saying the US isn’t obligated to do anything. At all. Ever. Pres. Wilson once described this idea as a knife thrust at the heart of the treaty, and he’s not wrong. The vote is almost entirely partisan.

A letter from Lenin to Turkestan Communists celebrating restored communications between Russia and Turkestan as “open[ing] the way for a struggle against universal imperialism headed by Great Britain” is taken as a threat against British India.

North Dakota takes over the 30 union coal mines in the state, coal companies protesting all the while.

More Palmer Raids™ on IWW branches in Washington and Oregon. Washington Gov. Louis Hart (R) says he will wipe out the IWW in his state. As does Gov. Samuel McKelvie (R) of Nebraska, who wants any member arrested and charged under “criminal syndicalism” laws.

The visiting American prohibitionist “Pussyfoot” Johnson is kidnapped from his speech at Essex Hall, London, by medical students and forcibly taken along the Strand to Oxford Circus, hit with flour and other objects, one of which will cause him to lose an eye, etc. They have rough banners saying things like “What won the war? Rum!”

Supposedly Austria, which is in terrible economic shape and whose newborns are dying of cold in large numbers because of lack of coal, is considering simply dissolving the Austrian Republic and allowing each province to declare itself part of Germany.

The Catholic Committee of Rome, whatever that might be, wants the newspaper Popolo Italia prosecuted for insulting the pope. The NYT doesn’t describe the nature of the insult, but the paper is edited by one “Professor Benito Mussolini.” This may well be the first mention of him in the NYT.

A letter from Samuel James Meltzer, a physiologist, recounts the discussion of Einstein’s theories at the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. One speaker called Einstein a mere philosopher (ignoring the scientific evidence from the solar eclipse), which he ascribes to Einstein being a Jew. The second speaker pointed out that Einstein wanted Germany to lose the world war, and that cancels out his Jewiness. Comments Meltzer, “Undoubtedly the mental rays of some of our scientists suffered a more or less perceptible deviation from the normal, brought about by the course of Mars in the last four years.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

I get anarchist gases every time I eat beans.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Today -100: November 13, 1919: Law and order shall prevail

A mob of veterans break into the Oakland, California hq of the Communist Labor Party, destroying it and burning furniture and literature. The police were warned in advance, but chose not to protect the building. The mob leaves a note: “Hereafter, Oakland will be unsafe for radicals and for anti-Government propaganda. Law and order shall prevail.” Some law. Some order.

Wobblies are arrested all over Washington State, following the Centralia contretemps.

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer plans to deport radicals to Russia, but won’t say to what part of Russia.

Lady Nancy Astor accuses the Labour candidate running against her of being “a red-hot independent of the type that advocates all sorts of Trotsky-tainted issues.”

I went to my doctor with Trotsky-tainted issues and he prescribed an ointment.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Today -100: November 12, 1919: I think that I would rather perish in the exclusive company of members of my own sex

The non-alien Communists will evidently be tried under state law. In NYC, Chief Magistrate William McAdoo reads the constitution of the Communist International Party and declares it to be an “organized conspiracy against the United States Government and the Government of the State of New York, and each member of the party is guilty and responsible for the acts, writings and sayings of each and every member,” astonishingly citing as precedent the cases arising from the Gordon Riots in London in 1780. He then insisted that the US is at war with Russia.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Actually, there are two versions of this, one in which Wobbly snipers shoot at members of the American Legion marching in an Armistice Day parade in Centralia, Washington, and another version (which makes no appearance in the NYT) in which the Legionistas storm the IWW Hall and the Wobblies shoot in self-defense. Either way, 4 veterans are dead, and the rest lynch Wobbly Wesley Everest (not Britt Smith as the article says) and dump his body in the river, as was the custom. Tensions already existed in the town: last month the Citizens’ Protective League announced plans to drive radicals out of the city.

The White House reports that Pres. Wilson has sat up for the first time in well over a month “and is declared to have been none the worse for his experience.”

The British House of Lords rejects a measure to allow women to sit in the Lords. The Lord Chancellor the Earl of Birkenhead (an Anti-suffragist from way back), moving rejection, says “If we [the Lords] are to be abolished, I think that I would rather perish in the exclusive company of members of my own sex.” Lord Haldane expresses surprise that Birkenhead did not wish “to see the gentle touch of ministering angels about us at the moment that that extinction came.”

Many coal miners are obeying the court and going back to work, but North Dakota’s Gov. Lynn Frazier (Non-Partisan League) takes advantage of the strike to proclaim martial law and seize control of the mines.

Ohio voters rejected ratification of the Prohibition Amendment (which has of course already been ratified) by a narrow majority.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Demanding them from Germany, anyway. They don’t just go around demanding cows from passing strangers. Probably. 

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Today -100: November 11, 1919: Of injunctions, cops, cut and dried affairs, raids, and captains

The UMW are still debating whether to obey that federal judge’s order to call off the strike.

Boston has 600 new cops, mostly ex-military, to replace the fired strikers.

The House of Representatives votes 309-1 not to seat Victor Berger, the elected Socialist congressman from Wisconsin’s 5th district who was convicted earlier this year under the Espionage Act (the conviction will be overturned by the Supreme Court in 1921). Before the vote, Berger addressed the House, saying he expected his ejection to be a “cut and dried affair” because “I am a Socialist and an opponent of war and profiteering.” He says he takes back none of his words. He notes that the “conspiracy” of which he was convicted was with four other Socialists he hadn’t actually met, much less conspired with; the prosecutors claimed the conspiracy consisted of a “meeting of minds” because they all belonged to the Socialist Party. He points out that his position of neutrality in the war was the same as that expressed by Woodrow Wilson in 1916. The seat is declared vacant.

More Palmer Raids™: the government now holds 391 aliens under deportation warrants. For some reason 145 of those were arrested in Hartford.

Capt. William Turner of the Cunard Line retires. He was the captain of the Lusitania when it was sunk, and another ship that was sunk in 1917. He has (somehow) reached the mandatory retirement age of 63.

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