Saturday, August 31, 2013

What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?

Believing it was important to speak to the American people about our forthcoming not-at-all-a-war with Syria at a time when they would be paying maximum attention, President Obama went on tv on the Saturday of a holiday weekend.

In keeping with the Obama administration position that it is “indisputable” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he only spent a single sentence on proof, and the level of proof he offered was simply “Our intelligence shows...”

He never spoke about “punishing” Syria, but about “hold[ing] the Assad regime accountable.” He did not explain precisely how bombing a country produces accountability, nor why the Assad regime should be accountable to the United States (and France, I almost forgot about France).

He will ask Congressional authorization, which he totally doesn’t need, because “I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Also... moxie!

He asked a good question: “What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?” What message, indeed, oh wielder of the flying killer robots?

He asked another good question: “If we won’t enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?” Says the man about to launch unilateral military strikes.

Finally, though, it’s all about the children: “We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.” So this is, what, a teachable moment? It’s about teaching our children the importance of cleaning up their rooms when they say they’re going to clean up their rooms?

“But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action.” Our unilateral action in support of the writ of the international community, without asking for UN endorsement, because only the United States decides what constitutes the writ of the international community.

“And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military.” The American people can’t find Syria on a map.

“we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.” Is he quoting Lyndon Johnson now?

Always end on a joke: “I ask you, members of Congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment.”

“And we lead with the belief that right makes might -- not the other way around.” But flying killer robots and cruise missiles help too.

(Incidentally, although he said he’s going to Congress for authorization, he didn’t say that, like Cameron, he’ll be bound by that vote).

And now, all over America, Republican congresscritters are preparing statements linking authorization to the repeal of Obamacare. Oh, you know they are.

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Today -100: August 31, 1913: Of capitals and lockouts

The European Powers have decided that Albania’s capital will be Elbassan, a small crappy town several days’ mule-ride from the coast (that is, it was then; today I’m sure it’s a sophisticated, gleaming metropolis), which “does not contain a single dwelling suitable for a European resident.”

Rioting in Dublin (the NYT surely meant to say a police riot, since it was they who attacked striking tram workers). Well, I say striking, but this is the start of what is known as the Dublin Lockout. Employers in the city collectively decided to crush the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union by firing hundreds of its members (Guinness, a major employer in the city, did not join in the lockout).

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Today -100: August 30, 1913: Of lynchings, gypsies, protecting American women, detestable harridans, splendid cannibals, and letters to the editor

The Jennings, Louisiana, police chief and other town notables are arrested for accessory in the lynching of Joseph Comeaux, who was of course black. Comeaux had responded to a Syrian (probably Lebanese, I’d guess) shopkeeper who had brushed dirt onto his shoes by hitting him with his own broom, inflicting minor injuries. Obviously, he had to die.

A large band of gypsies attack the town of Lunel in France, before being fought off by the army. No idea what this is about, and there will be no follow-up stories.

Texas Gov. Oscar Branch Colquitt at the governors’ conference: “I would send every United States soldier into Mexico to protect American women, if necessary.”

In Britain, of course, it is the politicians who need protection from the women. Prime Minister Asquith is attacked by two suffragettes (or, as the NYT puts it, “detestable... harridans”) on the golf links. Charges against the detestable harridans will be withdrawn to save Asquith having to testify.

NYC Mayor Gaynor has a sore throat, possibly because he was shot in the throat three years ago.

Headline of the Day -100 (New York Globe): “Cannibals Are Splendid People.” Says Dan Crawford, author of “Thinking Black,” a missionary who has been living with the Luban of Central Africa for 23 years. “Their religion is one of sex,” he says, which probably explains why he finds them so splendid.

Uneaten Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “REFUSED TO EAT HIS WORD.: Oklahoma Editor Killed When He Declined to Masticate Newspaper Criticising Former Treasurer.” Former treasurer of Murray County John Lindsay approached J. Y. Schenck, the editor of the Sulpher Democrat, and demanded that he retract and eat a story. Schenck refused and Lindsay shot him, as was the custom. The LAT doesn’t say what the paper said about Lindsay.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today -100: August 29, 1913: Of governors on burros

Headline of the Day -100: “25 Governors Race Down a Mountain.” On burros, yet.

Proquest Typo of the Day -100, for an LA Times story about the reaction in Mexico to Wilson’s speech: “WILSON MASSAGE ANGERS REBELS.” No happy ending?

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today -100: August 28, 1913: Of dueling governors, strikebreakers, horses, confidential agents, and the settled fortune of the distracted country, and brides of the wind

The lower house of the NY Legislature accepts messages from Acting Gov. Martin Glynn, thus formally recognizing him and not Sulzer as the One True Governor. The state senate will follow suit tomorrow.

Guards at the Pope tin mill in Steubenville, Ohio shoot at strikers, hitting six.

President Wilson’s daughter Jessie (aka “the hot daughter”) is thrown from her horse and is unconscious for more than a half hour.

Mexico makes public its communications with the US government, which include a promise from Woodrow Wilson that if Huerta promises not to run for president, Wilson will ask American bankers to make loans to Mexico. For some reason, people think this sounds like an attempted bribe. Mexican Foreign Minister Federico Gamboa says that Mexico won’t submit its elections to the veto of any president of the United States, because that’s the prerogative of the Mexican military. OK, he didn’t say the last part. Still, if it weren’t for the fact that he was speaking for a murderous coup government, I’d admire his wonderfully sarcastic letters to John Lind, whom he addresses repeatedly as “Mr. Confidential Agent.”

Woodrow Wilson addresses a joint session of Congress about Mexico, where “War and disorder, devastation and confusion, seem to threaten to become the settled fortune of the distracted country.”

He sounds genuinely surprised that Gen. Huerta did not accept his proposal that he step down immediately and not stand in presidential elections, and seems to be casting about for reasons why he didn’t: “I am led to believe that they were rejected partly because the authorities at Mexico City had been grossly misinformed and misled upon two points. They did not realize the spirit of the American people in this matter, their earnest friendliness and yet sober determination that some just solution be found for the Mexican difficulties; and they did not believe that the present administration spoke, through Mr. Lind, for the people of the United States.” But “the steady pressure of moral force will before many days break the barriers of pride and prejudice down...” Why, Mr. Darcy! “...and we shall triumph as Mexico’s friends sooner than we could triumph as her enemies-and how much more handsomely, with how much higher and finer satisfactions of conscience and of honor!”

He does not plan to intervene militarily at this time, or to do much else, really: “We can afford to exercise the self-restraint of a really great nation which realizes its own strength and scorns to misuse it.” Which sounds rather like his explanation for not declaring war on Germany after the sinking of the Lusitania, that there is such a thing as being “too proud to fight.”

He calls for all Americans to leave Mexico (or, as an LAT headline puts it, “‘Run’ is Wilson’s Last Word to Americans in Mexico”), and for a ban on the sale of arms to both sides (arms have been sold to the regime which the US government does not recognize).

Name of the Day -100: Oskar Kokoschka, an Austrian painter I’ll admit to not having heard of, perhaps because Tom Lehrer didn’t sing about him in the song about Alma Mahler, has broken off his engagement with her because he didn’t like her living off the income from her late husband Gustav Mahler’s estate. But c’mon, that name! Wouldn’t you love to be able to say, “Hello, my name is Oskar Kokoschka”? Anyhoo, this is “Bride of the Wind,” a 1913 painting by Oskar, which Wikipedia describes as “a self-portrait expressing his unrequited love for Alma Mahler.”

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What part of indisputable did you not understand?

Jay Carney says it’s “preposterous” to doubt that there were chemical weapons attacks in Syria or that the government was responsible. Biden says there’s “no doubt,” and last week Kerry said it was “indisputable.” So that settles that: evidently the debate on the facts is over without ever having actually, you know, occurred. We seem to have skipped right past that to the part where officials deny the validity of questioning “facts” which are, after all, indisputable, beyond dispute so why are you even still trying to dispute them, you preposterous lackwits?

Shouldn’t Kerry at least go to the UN with a test tube of fake anthrax or something? Isn’t that, like, traditional?

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Today -100: August 27, 1913: I am tired of being a girl

There is a Carnegie Commission investigating atrocities during the Balkan Wars. First I’ve heard of it. Anyway, the Serbs are boycotting it, as is the custom.

Headline of the Day -100: “Girl Wears Male Garb.” The NY police “had been receiving complaints that a girl masquerading as a man was going about his precinct, and had been seen in various saloons.” Naturally a police captain and a detective investigated, tracked her down and arrested her for vagrancy. She told the magistrate, “I am tired of being a girl. I want to work with men and get a man’s pay. I am tired of the worries of a girl who works in factories at a salary that will not keep body and soul together.”

Leo Frank is sentenced to death for the murder of Mary Phagan, which he did not do.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Today -100: August 26, 1913: Of peons, the kind of government that best suits Mexico, holidays, and Arctic expeditions

Headline of the Day -100: “Two Slain by Peons.” A couple of Europeans in Mexico. Er, the Europeans are the slayees, not the peons. You just don’t hear the word peons that much anymore.

As special envoy Lind’s mission to Mexico comes to an end, having accomplished nothing, the NYT again calls for recognition of Huerta’s junta in Mexico, pooh-poohing the objection that it’s a dictatorship: “Mexico, in the long run, will have the kind of Government that best suits it. If it amounts to a dictatorship, that is Mexico’s affair.”

There seems to be a truce between the British government and militant suffragists. Emmeline Pankhurst is visiting her daughter in Paris and will then go on an American tour, and has advised her followers also to take a holiday. On the other side, the government is failing to re-arrest women out of prison on Cat and Mouse Act licenses. Currently there are 43 militants sentenced to prison, only one of whom is actually in prison.

The HMS Karluk, leading a Canadian Arctic expedition got caught in the ice pack early in the month, expedition leader Vilhjalmur Stefansson (on one of the other ships) reports. It will drift for the next few months before sinking in January 1914, while the ship’s phonograph played Chopin’s Funeral March. The crew of 25 will camp on the ice for a few weeks, then set off looking for land. Two advance parties are lost, the remaining 17 men reach Wrangel Island, and 14 will survive until they are rescued (by the HMS Bear; I was momentarily startled by the June 1914 headline “Bear to Get Karluk’s Men”) in September 1914, when their first words were, I’m guessing, “There’s a WHAT now, a WORLD war? What say you just leave us right here on our cozy ice-island until it’s over.” (Update: wow, I just assumed they were all men. There was an Inuit whose wife and two children came along.)

I have to wonder how many groups from various ill-conceived expeditions were scattered throughout the Arctic Circle. In 1917 the Karluk’s captain, Robert Bartlett, rescued another 1913 expedition, which was searching for Crocker Land, which explorer Robert Peary claimed to have spotted in 1906 but which he hadn’t seen any more than he’d actually reached the North Pole (he named it for the banker who paid for the expedition, and who he hoped would pay for another expedition to explore “Crocker Land”). The expedition (which Peary was not on) had been stranded for four years, with only one vicious murder. And before Bartlett rescued them, another ship tried to reach them, only to get stuck in the ice for two years.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Today -100: August 25, 1913: Slow news day

Nothing of interest to report. Sorry readers. And sorry, websites & Facebook pages that copy off this feature. Don’t know how you’ll fill your space today; might I suggest doing so by thanking your sources and linking back to them?

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Today -100: August 24, 1913: Of Tammany muscle-flexing, birth strikes, and ray guns

Evidently not satisfied with ousting a Democratic governor, Tammany Hall decides to replace the Democratic mayor of New York City, William Jay Gaynor, at the end of his current term, nominating Edward McCall. But Gaynor isn’t ready to go and may run as an independent (if something doesn’t intervene...).

Sulzer’s enemies are also trying to have him investigated for allegedly favoring his business interests in Nicaragua when he was a member of Congress.

of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Socialists Are Divided On Declaring Birth Strike.” German socialists. As a way of raising the status of the working class.

The British War Office has been having talks with a man who claims to have invented a device which can send a wireless beam that can stop the engines of enemy airplanes at a distance of up to 100 miles. The secretary of war even drove out for a field-test of the apparatus. Which didn’t work. The device, when opened up, turned out to be a box of sand with some buttons on the outside.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Today -100: August 23, 1913: Of emigration, and x-ray skirts

The Governor of the Austrian province of Galicia orders that all males under 36 attempting to emigrate be arrested and returned to their homes.

The US sends threatening messages to government and Constitutionalist commanders in Chihuahua, saying it will hold them personally responsible for any violence against American citizens in Mexico.

The latest scandalous fashion: the x-ray skirt, whatever that is.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today -100: August 22, 1913: Of fighting guvs

Avignon Albany: Since Sulzer won’t give up the Executive Chamber, Glynn has another one built on the floor above. Everyone in government is ignoring the attorney general’s decision that Glynn is the One True Governor, and doing nothing while trying to ignore both presumptive governors, who in turn are both trying to avoid direct confrontation by doing no actual work. Sulzer asks the postmaster in Albany to deliver all mail addressed to the governor to him (that is, he’s trying to get the federal government to recognize him), and is told that all mail will continue to be sent to the governor’s PO box, to which Sulzer has the key. Glynn plans to demand that mail.

Speaking of embattled governors, America’s governor of Jolo Province in the Philippines, Vernon Whitney, kills two Moros who tried to assassinate him. He shot one and killed the other, the NYT says, with a barong. I’m not sure what the NYT thinks a barong is.

In the Senate, Boies Penrose (R-Penn.) introduces a resolution calling for troops to be stationed in Mexico to protect American lives and property, but not to aid either side in the civil war.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Today -100: August 21, 1913: Mud, mud, glorious mud

The governor of Missouri claims that at least 250,000 men (including himself and, for some reason, the governor of Kansas) worked for free on the roads in the first day of his Good Roads campaign (Slogan: “Pull Missouri out of the mud”). He plans to do it again next year and says every state should.

Hungarian Prime Minister Stephan Tisza fights his third duel of the year.

Mexican dictator Huerta has met with Wilson’s special envoy, who presented him with Wilson’s proposals (Huerta resigns, elections held in which Huerta didn’t participate, cease-fire, etc) and, surprisingly, Huerta said no. Actually, he said he’d ignore Lind’s offers to mediate peace unless the US officially recognized his regime. He insists that Woodrow Wilson doesn’t have the support of the American people in non-recognition, which is an odd criticism coming from someone who overthrew and murdered a democratically elected president.

Romania promised full citizenship to Jews who entered the military for the Second Balkan War. Now, it tells the volunteers that they were mustered in illegally, so no citizenship for you.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Today -100: August 20, 1913: What is the use of us going out to a demonstration for freedom and going unarmed?

The NY attorney general issues an opinion that Glynn is governor. State employees will be informed that they must report to Glynn rather than Sulzer or they won’t be paid. Sulzer has the combination of the safe in the Executive Chamber changed.

Huerta did not send an ultimatum to the US after all. The theory about what’s going on is that the regime leaked the story to the press for domestic consumption.

British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst advises her East End supporters to learn ju-jitsu and to practice with sticks. She asks, “What is the use of us going out to a demonstration for freedom and going unarmed?” What use, indeed.

Escaped lunatic murderer Harry Thaw is captured in Canada. His lawyers will argue that he has done nothing illegal for which he can be extradited (breaking out of an asylum for the criminally insane is evidently not illegal in NY), but he will probably be deported, since it is illegal for insane foreigners to enter Canada.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Today -100: August 19, 1913: Too lazy to read

Mexican dictator Huerta gives the US until midnight to recognize his regime.

French aviator Adolphe Pégoud bails out of his airplane at 900 feet, parachuting safely to earth. Although a few people had parachuted from planes (and lived) since 1911, I believe this was the first successful use of a parachute in an airplane emergency situation, although balloonists had been using parachutes since 1785.

Robert Donald, editor of the Daily Chronicle (London) and president of the Institute of Journalists, predicts the future of journalism: fewer newspapers, which will be distributed in the major cities by pneumatic tubes; reporters will carry wireless telephones; news will be delivered directly via “the cinematograph and the gramophone or some other more agreeable instrument of mechanical speech.” “People may become too lazy to read, and news will be laid on to house or office just as gas and water are now.”

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today -100: August 18, 1913: Thawed out

Harry Thaw, murderer of architect Stanford White in the 1906 Crime of the Century, escapes from the booby hatch after his family bribes attendants at the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and takes off in a car that was waiting for him. Since he was committed rather than convicted of a crime, he can’t be extradited (he is believed – wrongly – to have fled to Connecticut, as was the custom).

The governor of New York swings into action to find Thaw. As does the other governor of New York.

The NAACP protests the Wilson administration’s segregation of government departments by race, noting that this has never been done before (except in the military). But now, the federal government “has set the colored people apart as if mere contact with them were contamination.”

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Today -100: August 17, 1913: Game of Thrones: Albany

Martin Glynn, one of the contending governors of New York, signs several pay checks for members of the adjutant general’s staff, but the First National Bank refuses to cash them, given the confusion in Albany. The NYT notes that former Gov. Dix is on the bank’s board. Avignon Gov. Sulzer is still getting all mail addressed simply to the governor. State employees are taking advantage of the situation to take a day off.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Today -100: August 16, 1913: You must give us the vote or you must kill us

William Sulzer spends the day busily pretending he’s still governor of New York, transacting important business, although he refuses to tell anyone just what important business he was transacting. His secretary explains that this policy of “invisible government” is intended to prevent his enemies knowing what he’s doing. He has had quite a few new locks installed and hired private guards. Alt-Gov. Glynn sends Sulzer a demand for the privy seal, the Executive Chamber, all the state’s account books and papers and so on, and rejects Sulzer’s suggestion that they let some court settle the issue of who is governor. Anyway, in their exchange of letters, both insist that they are the One True Governor. Glynn will have another privy seal made. Every dept is having to pick sides: the post office is delivering mail addressed to “the Governor” to Sulzer, while the controller’s office won’t pay Sulzer’s salary unless Glynn signs off.

And those poor cops from West Virginia still don’t have their prisoner, not being able to find anyone in the police or DA’s office willing to decide whether extradition papers signed by Sulzer are legitimate or not.

The NYT interviews Emmeline Pankhurst, British suffragette leader. She says that suffragettes hunger-strike in prison because “We will not submit to the Government until we have a voice in it.” She believes that this resistance has broken down the efficacy of the Cat and Mouse Act and imprisonment generally, leaving the government having to choose between 1) punishing window-breaking, obstruction of the police, etc with death through self-starvation or 2) giving women the vote. “You must give us the vote or you must kill us.”

There is a drought in the Southwest, but Kansas Gov. George Hartshorn Hodges refuses to call for a day of public prayer, saying, “I believe in the efficacy of prayer, but not in the case of flood or drought.” I assume he’ll be burned at the stake as a heretic, but that may just be me applying 2013 assumptions to the more enlightened Kansas of 1913.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Today -100: August 15, 1913: They told us New York had two governors, but the fact is it hasn’t any

Game of Thrones: Albany. The first day of the Dueling Governors in New York. William Sulzer fitted a new lock on his inner office and ate a sandwich at his desk, as he was unwilling to go home for lunch because someone might seize his office while he was out. Martin Glynn did nothing all day. The only piece of official business seems to have been an extradition request from West Virginia for a check-kiter; some poor deputy sheriff and a former sheriff up from West VA had to decide which of the two governors should sign his papers, and they wandered from office to office asking everyone they met whether Sulzer or Glynn was the actual governor. They got a signature from Sulzer before realizing he probably wasn’t governor anymore, then Glynn refused to sign papers that were already signed. Finally the West Virginians decided, “They told us New York had two governors, but the fact is it hasn’t any.”

Sulzer’s people are talking about indicting Boss Murphy as well as Assembly Speaker Alfred E. Smith, Sen. Frawley (the head of the committee which investigated Sulzer), and others for treason, that is, using this impeachment to seize control of the state government for Tammany Hall.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

There can only be a political solution by bringing people together with a political solution

John Kerry also has a statement about Egypt.

First, he wants it known that “The United States strongly condemns today’s violence and bloodshed across Egypt.” Although as he goes on, it’s clear that he’s unwilling to ascribe that violence and bloodshed to the police and military. Indeed, he only admonishes “demonstrators [to] avoid violence and incitement.”

“In the past week, at every occasion, perhaps even more than the past week, we and others have urged the government to respect the rights of free assembly and of free expression”. He evidently can’t remember exactly how long the US has been concerned with the rights of free assembly and free expression in Egypt, but he’s pretty sure it’s a week or so.

“We also strongly oppose a return to a state of emergency law and we call on the government to respect basic human rights including freedom of peaceful assembly and due process under the law.” See, here’s the thing about a coup/crapfest: it abrogates “due process under the law.” There is no “law” and certainly no due process when they are enforced by people who have no legitimate, legal right to do so.

WHENEVER THAT MIGHT BE: “And we believe that the state of emergency should end as soon as possible.”

“Violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere else.” I’ll just let that sentence sit there for a minute, like a giant turd that the US has shat on the Middle East for lo these many years.

WHAT VIOLENCE WON’T DO: “Violence will not create a roadmap for Egypt’s future. Violence only impedes the transition to an inclusive civilian government... And violence and continued political polarization will only further tear the Egyptian economy apart and prevent it from growing and providing the jobs and the future that the people of Egypt want so badly.” Who is responsible for this violence? He won’t say.

HE HAD TO USE THE WORD “TOLERANT” SO THAT NO ONE THOUGHT HE WAS CALLING FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE ELECTED CIVILIAN-LED DEMOCRACY: “The United States strongly supports the Egyptian people’s hope for a prompt and sustainable transition to an inclusive, tolerant, civilian-led democracy.”

I spoke too soon when I said that Kerry won’t assign any responsibility: “The interim government and the military, which together possess the preponderance of power in this confrontation, have a unique responsibility to prevent further violence and to offer constructive options for an inclusive, peaceful process across the entire political spectrum.” You know how they could exercise their unique responsibility to prevent further violence? STOP FUCKING SHOOTING PEOPLE!

HE HAS A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN POLI SCI, YOU KNOW. FROM YALE AND EVERYTHING. “There will not be a solution through further polarization. There can only be a political solution by bringing people together with a political solution.”

WELL, EXCEPT THE ONES THE EGYPTIAN MILITARY HAS LOCKED AWAY IN SECRET DUNGEONS, OF COURSE: “The United States remains at the ready to work with all of the parties”.

At no point does he use the word coup, or allude to the coup in any way, much less suggest that it is responsible in any way for the violence which is totally not a solution. It’s more like a precipitate.

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Obama and the Egyptian crapfest

White House spokesmodel Josh Earnest earnestly complains that the bloody crackdown in Egypt “runs directly counter to the pledges by the interim government to pursue reconciliation.” Who knew that when the military seized power and arrested the democratically elected president that it would fail to pursue reconciliation?

Also, the Obama administration opposes the declaration of a state of emergency. But not the coup itself. Also, it wasn’t a coup.

When the Bush administration was denying that Iraq was in the middle of a civil war, I suggested, as a compromise, that it be designated a “crapfest.” Since the Obamaites are equally unwilling to use the word “coup” for what took place in Egypt, may I again suggest “crapfest.” You’re welcome.

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Today -100: August 14, 1913: Of impeachments, straying aircraft, angry moose, pig suits, bebels, and blacks in government

The NY State Assembly votes 79-45 to impeach Gov. Sulzer. Of the 79 in favor, 72 were Democrats (like Sulzer) and 7 were Republicans. Of the 45 opposed, 26 were D’s, 16 R’s and 3 Progressives. 25 abstained. This marks something like the 8th time a governor of any state has been impeached. Only two were actually removed from office (some of the others pulled a Nixon and resigned first), both in 1871, the governors of North Carolina and Nebraska, the former basically for fighting the KKK and the latter for stealing government funds.

Which leaves only one question: who is the governor of New York now? The NY constitution seems to some to say that impeachment mean temporary removal from office, pending the trial, in favor of the lieutenant governor, Martin Glynn. Sulzer disputes this. (Spoiler alert: fun and games will totally ensue).

Since I started this feature less than 4 years ago, NY -100 has had five governors, including Glynn.

France and Germany agree to allow each other’s aircraft to land if they stray across the border, although the craft’s commander will then have to swear that they were not up to no good.

Headline of the Day -100: “Angry Moose Defy Forces of Fusion.” If I didn’t know that was something about New York City electoral politics, that would look a little weird.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100: “Adele Ritchie in Pig Suit.” That is, she’s being sued for payment for some chickens and pigs she bought.

German Socialist August Bebel dies.

More evidence that Woodrow Wilson is not Good For the Negro: another of the very few federal posts traditionally held by blacks is given to a white dude. US ambassadors to Haiti had all been black since 1869 except for one four-year period. Now, Wilson gives the job to Madison Smith, a white former congresscritter from Missouri. This news, as well as the forced withdrawal of Adam Patterson’s nomination for the post of register of the Treasury, appears in the NYT only in the form of a letter from the editor of a black newspaper, The New York Age.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today -100: August 13, 1913: Of conspiracies and naughty first ladies

The Wilson Administration has been whispering privately that there is a conspiracy to get the US to intervene militarily in Mexico. The NYT pooh-poohs that notion.

Another Wilson Administration conspiracy theory: Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo has been saying that New York banks conspired to reduce the price of government bonds in order to defeat the bill creating the Federal Reserve system. Republicans in Congress demand that he prove it, while Democrats say he was just giving his personal, not official, opinion.

Oh wow, this is lame: after days of failing to answer the charges against him, and as the Legislature is considering impeachment, NY Gov. William Sulzer finally comes up with an explanation: it’s his wife’s fault. Clara Sulzer pops up to say that it was she who diverted those campaign funds, forging Bill’s signatures on the checks without his knowing anything about it so she could speculate on the stock market. (Update: she will then become conveniently ill and unavailable for questions). Gov. Sulzer is telling anyone who will listen that an extraordinary session of the Legislature doesn’t have the power to impeach anybody (if you squint at the state constitution, you can come to that interpretation), and that he would be within his rights to hold his office by force of arms.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Today -100: August 12, 1913: Of impeachments, pathetic addresses, and persistent prostitution

The Frawley Investigating Committee of the NY Legislature reports in favor of impeaching Gov. Sulzer for under-reporting campaign donations, using some of those funds for personal things, speculating in stocks while pressing for legislation that would affect stock prices, pressuring witnesses not to answer the Committee’s questions... And then it gets to charges that are more than a little questionable: that he punished legislators who disagreed with him on legislation and traded his approval of bills in exchange for support for direct primaries.

Having signed the humiliating peace treaty, Bulgarian King Ferdinand issues what the NYT calls “a pathetic address” to his army: “Exhausted and tired, but not conquered...” (only because he surrendered when Romania told him that if he didn’t they would occupy Sofia) “...we had to unfurl our glorious standards until better days ... Tell your children and your grandchildren about the gallantry of the Bulgarian soldiers, and prepare them to complete one day the glorious work you began.”

Headline of the Day -100: “WASHINGTON MUCH CHEERED.; Mexico City's Calm Over Lind Pleases Our Officials.” See how good Mexican-American relations are? The US is congratulating itself that Wilson’s envoy wasn’t greeted with riots, burning effigies, and rotten fruit. Indeed, “Officials to-day laid great stress upon the circumstances that Mrs. Lind had accompanied her husband,” without too much fear that she’d be murdered on the street.

Some of the delegates to the International Medical Congress in London are invited to the weekly Women’s Social and Political Union meeting. Emmeline Pankhurst points out that a paper at the Congress argued that “We have always had prostitution and we shall always have it.” Mrs. P says this sentence justifies the women’s revolutionary movement. She says that when she was a registrar of births and deaths, she knew that whenever a baby’s death certificate came in an envelope it meant that it had died of venereal disease – the envelope meant the doctor was covering up for the father by keeping the information from the mother (Pankhurst assumes that it was always men who brought VD into the home).

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt or Lindsey Graham’s sexual identity

John McCain and Lindsey Graham are back from Egypt and oh so eager to share what they have learned with the WaPo readers.

BECAUSE IF THERE’S ANYONE WHO HATES POLITICAL CRISES... “We traveled to Cairo this week to support a U.S. and international effort to help Egyptians end their political crisis.”

WE CALCULATE TIME IS RUNNING OUT AT THE RATE OF ONE MINUTE PER MINUTE: “We returned convinced that time is quickly running out to resolve this crisis”.

YEAH, THAT’S KIND OF THE PROBLEM: “We are longtime friends of Egypt and its armed forces.”

AND YET, YOU’RE STILL HANGING AROUND, MAVERICK-BOY: “But as we said again this week in Cairo, we find it difficult to describe the circumstances of Morsi’s removal from office as anything other than a coup. Unsuccessful leaders in a democracy should leave office by losing elections.”

AT A RATE WHICH OUR FIGURES SUGGEST IS APPROXIMATELY ONE DAY PER DAY: “We heard much that was encouraging in our meetings, and we have urged all sides to back up their good words with constructive actions. We have urged them to do so quickly, because time is running out.”

JUST LIKE McCAIN HAS SO GRACEFULLY ACCEPTED LOSING THE 2008 ELECTION: But their sage advice to the Muslim Brotherhood is to “accept that [Morsis’s] actions generated massive public discontent and that he will not be reinstated as president of Egypt...”. So they should just “accept” the thing McCain & Huckleberry just described as a coup. Which Team Maverick already has done, because the word “reinstated” suggests that Morsi is somehow not the president of Egypt, because the military says he isn’t.

“...that they must refrain from acts and incitement of violence; and that eventually they will need to move out of the streets and into the political process, because there is no good or effective alternative to advance their interests.” Yeah, because participating in a political process in which the military exercises a veto has been soooo effective in advancing their interests so far. Also, you guys claimed earlier to have supported the 2011 revolution against the last military dictatorship, so what’s changed?

They call for “releasing political prisoners, including Morsi supporters,” which is not a call to release ALL political prisoners or to release Morsi himself.

DIDN’T YOU SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT IRAQ? I MEAN, THE EXACT SAME THING? “We still believe Egypt can serve as a model of inclusive democracy that can inspire the region and the world, and, in this great endeavor, the United States must continue to offer its support.”

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Today -100: August 11, 1913: Of sulzers

NY Gov. William Sulzer denies having used campaign contributions to speculate in the stock market.

Some in the NY Legislature doubt whether Sulzer can be impeached for acts committed before he became governor.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Today -100: August 10, 1913: Of September morns

The Post Office bans reproductions of French painter Paul Chabas’s “September Morn” from the US mails.

An art store owner was just arrested in New Orleans for displaying a print of it in the window. In March an art store owner was arrested for the same crime in Chicago but was acquitted. Anthony Comstock, puritanical asshole and head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, went into a store in NY and ordered the owner to remove a copy from the window but he refused.

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Friday, August 09, 2013

America is not interested in spying on ordinary people

Because it was a Friday summer afternoon, Obama decided to slip in a press conference. On the 39th anniversary of a president officially stepping down in large part because of recordings he made in his own office, Obama naturally chose to defend recording the entire fucking world.

BEIBER FEVER? “At the same time, I’m focused on my number-one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief, and that’s keeping the American people safe. And in recent days, we’ve been reminded once again about the threats to our nation.”

REBALANCING: “As I said at the National Defense University back in May, in meeting those threats we have to strike the right balance between protecting our security and preserving our freedoms. And as part of this rebalancing, I called for a review of our surveillance programs.” Oh, that’s what he’s been doing to our freedoms: “rebalancing” them. It’s like getting a “realignment” for your car, and then the government gets the content of all your communications.

AN ORDERLY AND LAWFUL PROCESS: “Unfortunately, rather than an orderly and lawful process to debate these issues and come up with appropriate reforms, repeated leaks of classified information have initiated the debate in a very passionate, but not always fully informed way.” Although a lot more informed than he’d intended. No, his idea of an orderly and lawful process to debate these issues (did you know there are illegal ways to debate issues? that just shows that you’re not a constitutional lawyer) would have involved us all debating these issues in a purely theoretical way, without knowing what practices were being debated. You know, orderly. And lawful.

“Now, keep in mind that as a senator, I expressed a healthy skepticism about these programs...” And then he got those programs in his hot little hands and his views were no longer either healthy or sceptical. Funny, that.

MOSTLY POTATO-SHAPED: “But given the history of abuse by governments, it’s right to ask questions about surveillance -- particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives.”

SURE, BECAUSE HE’S READING ALL THEIR EMAILS: “I’m also mindful of how these issues are viewed overseas...” I think that’s the third time he’s referred to secret surveillance programs as “issues” rather than as a set of government practices, suggesting that the only concern he really has is with the public relations aspect of this.

“...because American leadership around the world depends upon the example of American democracy and American openness...” Also soldiers and guns and flying killer robots.

“...because what makes us different from other countries is not simply our ability to secure our nation, it’s the way we do it -- with open debate and democratic process.” Okay I’m pretty sure he’s just being sarcastic now.

He wants to reform the law governing the collection of phone records. “But given the scale of this program, I understand the concerns of those who would worry that it could be subject to abuse.” I don’t think the mass hoovering up of all our phone conversation is subject to abuse, I think it is, in itself, an abuse.

“So after having a dialogue with members of Congress and civil libertarians...” I love how he distinguishes those two groups. Shouldn’t all members of Congress be civil libertarians? Shouldn’t all Americans? What exactly is his definition of “civil libertarian” that implies that they’re a minority special-interest group of some kind?

AS ALICE SAID, HOW CAN I HAVE ADDITIONAL CONFIDENCE WHEN I HAVEN’T HAD ANY CONFIDENCE YET? “I believe that there are steps we can take to give the American people additional confidence that there are additional safeguards against abuse.”

“Second, I’ll work with Congress to improve the public’s confidence in the oversight conducted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISC.” Not to improve the actual oversight, just to improve the public’s confidence. Again, the only concern he really has is with public relations.

“And while I’ve got confidence in the court and I think they’ve done a fine job...” Sure, because they’ve never stopped him doing a single thing he wanted to do.

He says the FISA court might be allowed to hear from “an adversary” instead of just from the government, though he doesn’t say who that adversary might be. Maybe those crazy civil libertarians.

“Number three, we can, and must, be more transparent. So I’ve directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these programs as possible.” Technically it’s quite “possible” to make all the information about these programs public, so presumably he means something else by “as possible.”

ALONGSIDE THE 40,000 OR SO ANTI-CIVIL LIBERTIES AND ANTI-PRIVACY OFFICERS: “The NSA is taking steps to put in place a full-time civil liberties and privacy officer”.

Also, the NSA will create a website.

HOLY MIXED METAPHORS, BATMAN! “We now have to unravel terrorist plots by finding a needle in the haystack of global telecommunications.”

I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT EVERYBODY IS EXTRAORDINARY IN THEIR OWN WAY: “And to others around the world, I want to make clear once again that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people.”

“It’s true we have significant capabilities. What’s also true is we show a restraint that many governments around the world don’t even think to do, refuse to show -- and that includes, by the way, some of America’s most vocal critics. We shouldn’t forget the difference between the ability of our government to collect information online under strict guidelines and for narrow purposes, and the willingness of some other governments to throw their own citizens in prison for what they say online.” Oh, burn.

“And I believe that those who have lawfully raised their voices on behalf of privacy and civil liberties are also patriots who love our country and want it to live up to our highest ideals.” But not the ones who have unlawfully raised their voices on behalf of privacy and civil liberties. I mean, obviously.

We won’t be boycotting the Olympics. “And one of the things I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we’re seeing there.” Is Russian homophobia predicated on a belief that homosexuals are bad athletes? I did not know that.

By the way, gay olympians, I’m pretty sure your president just said that you have an obligation to announce your sexual orientation.

OH NO HE DID NOT JUST CRITICIZE PUTIN’S POSTURE: “I don’t have a bad personal relationship with Putin. When we have conversations, they’re candid, they’re blunt; oftentimes, they’re constructive. I know the press likes to focus on body language and he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. But the truth is, is that when we’re in conversations together, oftentimes it’s very productive.”

He doesn’t think Snowden’s a patriot. “Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies. If, in fact, he believes that what he did was right, then, like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer and make his case.” He makes it sound so inviting. Thing is, though, courts can only determine what is legal, not what is right. You might want to keep this in mind when you’re writing your speech for the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington.

“But having said that, once the leaks have happened, what we’ve seen is information come out in dribs and in drabs, sometimes coming out sideways. Once the information is out, the administration comes in, tries to correct the record. But by that time, it’s too late or we’ve moved on, and a general impression has, I think, taken hold not only among the American public but also around the world that somehow we’re out there willy-nilly just sucking in information on everybody and doing what we please with it.” Sorry, I fell asleep while you were bitching about the difficulties of the 24-hour news cycle; what did you say about sucking willies?

Obama “hates” that people are attacking Larry Summers “preemptively” before he’s even nominated. Of course after he’s nominated, it’s kind of too late. “I felt the same way when people were attacking Susan Rice before she was nominated for anything.” So he hates those attacks because they might make him cravenly abandon Summers like he did Rice?

He says there are no abuses of the secret surveillance programs because that would be against the law.

“Having said that, though, if you are outside of the intelligence community, if you are the ordinary person and you start seeing a bunch of headlines saying, U.S.-Big Brother looking down on you, collecting telephone records, et cetera, well, understandably, people would be concerned. I would be, too, if I wasn’t inside the government.” So he’d be concerned if he were being spied on rather than the one doing the spying. Gotcha.

He says he and the NSA only want to foil terrorism.
Q Can you understand, though, why some people might not trust what you’re saying right now about wanting to --


Q -- that they should be comfortable with the process?
No he can’t.

“If I tell Michelle that I did the dishes -- now, granted, in the White House I don’t do the dishes that much -- (laughter) -- but back in the day -- and she’s a little skeptical, well, I’d like her to trust me, but maybe I need to bring her back and show her the dishes and not just have her take my word for it. And so the program is -- I am comfortable that the program currently is not being abused. I’m comfortable that if the American people examined exactly what was taking place, how it was being used, what the safeguards were, that they would say, you know what, these folks are following the law and doing what they say they’re doing.” I take it that he’s inviting every American to go to Ford Meade and see for themselves.

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Today -100: August 9, 1913: Of impeachments, truces, Spigoties, and the Infra-Red Rays of Doom

More evidence suggests that NY Gov. Sulzer’s Wall Street investment account grew quite fat from diverted campaign funds. Impeachment is now a certainty, driven entirely by the Tammany-controlled wing of his own party, while the Republicans look on pretty much in silence.

Mexican Constitutionalist leader Venustiano Carranza rejects any suggestion of a truce pending elections in October (this is believed to be the proposal Gov. Lind is bringing from Pres. Wilson). Carranza says that the Huerta Junta is not a legally constituted government.

British Prime Minister Henry Asquith meets with a deputation of non-militant women’s suffragists. He says that he will do nothing for women’s suffrage in the current parliamentary session and that if anything were done in future sessions he would leave office rather than be a part of it. However, he told them that if they were able to persuade “the judgment of the people,” their opponents would not be able to stand against them. He fails to explain what proof of this persuasion he would accept.

Historical Epithet of the Day -100: Spigoty. It’s what Americans in Panama call the natives: Spigoties with their Spigoty ways. It’s supposed to be derived from the Panamanians’ attempts to speak English. Seems to be linguistically related to “spic.”

An Italian scientist named Ulivi who works for the French government announces that he has invented a ray-gun that can set off mines, torpedoes, and gunpowder from a distance of 15 miles, which will make warfare impossible. Phew.

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Today -100: August 8, 1913: Of misdemeanors, child labor, arbitration, and lepers

The investigation of NY Gov. William Sulzer by the Frawley Committee suggests that not only did he under-report campaign donations, but some of the money went into stock speculation rather than the campaign. Or it’s all just a frame by Tammany Hall. Either one’s believable, really. The Legislature will reconvene next week and State Sen. Frawley says there’s enough evidence to justify impeachment or indictment (conviction even for a misdemeanor would have the effect of removing him from office).

The Georgia Legislature considered a bill to ban 12-year-olds from working and to require that all children, before being allowed to work, have to prove an ability to read and write, but after strong opposition from mill owners it’s been dropped.

The US and El Salvador sign a treaty not to go to war with each other for the next five years “without first thinking it over seriously,” in the words of the NYT, which does not appear to be taking this very important treaty very seriously.

Headline of the Day That We Can Only Hope Wasn’t Meant Literally (LA Times): “Wife Sticks to Leper.” The wife of George Hartman of St Louis insists he doesn’t have leprosy but he’s less in denial (he used to be a guard at a leper colony in the Philippines).

I don’t know how many Americans catch leprosy in the Philippines these days, if any, but I do know that one-third of Americans who do get it, get it from armadillos.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Today -100: August 7, 1913: Peace, ain’t it grand

A preliminary peace treaty is signed in the Second Balkan War. Bulgaria, which at the beginning of the First Balkan War was thinking of itself as the center of a new Balkan Empire, only to find itself at war with every other Balkan country in the Second Balkan War, will lose 90% of the territory it seized from Turkey, while Romania, Greece and Serbia will all become substantially larger. The NYT optimistically asks how soon it will be before the Third Balkan War. (Spoiler alert: one year, but it’ll have a different name.)

Sun Yat Sen flees China.

The Mexican government says that ex-governor Lind, Pres. Wilson’s personal envoy, must either come with credentials as a regular ambassador and recognition of the Huerta Junta, or he will not be welcome.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Today -100: August 6, 1913: Of heads, policewomen, religious freedom in the Balkans, and the most vigorous of protests in favor of the national dignity and decorum

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Train Severs Man’s Head.”

Headline of the Day -100 That Sounds Like The Title of An Early Porno Film But Isn’t: “Chicago Rejoices in Policewomen.” Eight are sworn in. “The Captain told the women he would give them the handsomest detective in the district to show them about and tell them how to ‘pull a box.’” Maybe it really is an early porno film. It still hasn’t been decided whether they get to carry clubs and guns. Exclaims one of the new cops, “Why, I know I can arrest somebody today! The Park is just full of spooners, who should make love at home.” The police chief actually wants them to “instruct and persuade” people rather than arrest them. Yes, definitely 18 frames-a-second porn.

Oh, and we have a Name of the Day -100: Chicago Police Chief McWeeny. Which probably explains the porn thing.

In Denver, however, the city’s first policewoman, Josephine Roche, resigns as Inspector of Amusements (I could make a joke here but I’m beginning to feel bad about all the porno jokes) because her cases are never prosecuted.

The US asks the Second Balkan War combatants to include a provision guaranteeing religious freedom in the peace treaty currently being negotiated. The real target of this, Romania, says no. Romania will be acquiring many new, no doubt delighted, Jewish citizens. Or would be if Jews were ever allowed to become citizens in Romania.

The NYT asks Mexican dictator Huerta some questions. He responds that he will refuse all intervention or mediation from the United States, that he will deal with rebels only by shooting them, and that the “present war is the most vigorous of protests in favor of the national dignity and decorum.”

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Monday, August 05, 2013

Florida kills the Prince of God, evidently

Florida executes John Errol Ferguson, who believed he was the immortal Prince of God who could control the sun. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that that didn’t make him insane, because lots of Christians also believe they are immortal.

His last words were “I just want everyone to know that I am the Prince of God and will rise again.”

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The military can’t keep running the country

John McCain and Lindsey Graham are in Cairo to “defuse the crisis,” because if there are two people who are all about defusing crises, it’s John McCain and Lindsay Graham (it was evidently the Obama administration’s idea to send these guys, which says all you need to know about how seriously the Obama administration is taking the coup in Egypt).

Graham says the Egyptian army “move more aggressively” to hold elections. Really really aggressive elections.

“The military can’t keep running the country,” Graham says, demonstrating his firm grasp of the last 60 years of Egyptian history.

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Today -100: August 5, 1913: Of hop riots, lectures, and special envoys

There is a battle between IWW-led striking hop-pickers and a sheriff’s posse in Wheatland, California, with four deaths. This is the famous Wheatland Hop Riot (I’d never heard of it either)(or, indeed, of Wheatland, California).

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan has abandoned some of his planned paid lectures, and the Democratic Party of Texas has offered to raise a large sum of money for him if he’ll stop lecturing when he’s supposed to be secretary of stating.

US ambassador to Mexico Henry Lane Wilson has resigned/been fired, at long last. John Lind, the one-armed former governor of Minnesota, will be sent as special envoy. Lind knows nothing about Mexico, has no experience in diplomacy, and doesn’t speak any Spanish, but his instructions from Woodrow Wilson are to end the fighting in Mexico, establish a provisional government satisfactory to all sides, secure free elections, get Gen. Huerta not to run in those elections, etc. These instructions immediately leak to the press.

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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Today -100: August 4, 1913: Of the fruit of an unnatural task

There’s rioting in Cawnpore, India, when British authorities demolish part of a mosque for road improvements.

The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage issues a statement of its objects. “We, more than any other organization, believe in woman’s rights. We are fighting for woman’s rights. First in the catalogue of woman’s rights is the right of exemption. By that we mean exemption from active politics and all that it involves. ... by virtue of it woman is able to do her half of the world’s work. Deprived of this exemption, woman becomes an incongruity. Called upon to do double duty, she will face the failure which is the fruit of an unnatural task.” It insists that the “franchise is not a right, nor a privilege. It is a duty, a stern duty imposed by the State upon that class of persons thought by the State to be best equipped to perform it.”

Suffragettes interrupt services at St Paul’s in London to chant “Save Emmeline Pankhurst. Spare her, spare her, etc.”

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Today -100: August 3, 1913: Of protectorates, eugenics, feather men, sugar senators, tea, and hypnotists

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee informs Secretary of State Bryan that the “protectorate” bits of the proposed treaty with Nicaragua are not acceptable. They are willing to keep the provision giving Nicaragua $3 million in exchange for rights to build a canal that no one would ever want to build. (I wrote that before China announced plans to build just such a canal.)

It’s the first day of the eugenic marriage laws in Pennsylvania: “The questions relating to the health and moral character of the applicants as propounded by Thomas C. Smith, the application clerk, were received and answered with varied emotions. Young women blushed and became indignant, and then stammered out their answers under protest.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Say Feather Men Dominate Senate.” A letter signed by various Audubon Society types says that the feather trade has thwarted attempts to protect birds by banning the importation of plumes, feathers, quills etc for anything but scientific purposes.

Another Headline of the Day -100: “Defends Sugar Senators.” Another indigenous tribe brought to light by the Tariff Bill: alongside the Feather Men, the Sugar Senators are defending tariffs on imported sugar.

The Bishop of Kerry says that the recent spread of lunacy in that Irish county has been caused by drinking. Tea-drinking.

The LA Times has two stories about hypnotists today, for some reason. A hypnotist in Dulwich, England has reportedly cured a 9-year-old girl of blindness. The case “is arousing considerable interest in gullible British medical circles,” the Times says (I may have added a word). And a M. Lerambourg of Paris “used to invite women to tea, hypnotize them, and cut strands of their hair.”

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Friday, August 02, 2013

Oaths & impunity

When American politicians express indignation over Russia’s refusal to hand over Edward Snowden to face “the rule of law” (which as we know always begins with extraordinary rendition from a country with which we have no extradition treaty), I think – well, there are lots of people I could think of, but I think of this dude,

who spent his latter years as the owner of a pizza parlor in a Washington DC suburb in Virginia.

Bradley Manning’s crime is often described as violating his oath. Conservatives attach a great deal of importance to oaths; maybe I’ll write about that one day, hopefully more coherently than in the paragraph I just deleted. But Manning’s oath of secrecy was a blank check. How is an oath to protect secrets one doesn’t know yet morally binding? If he’d discovered that the reason we invaded Iraq was to kill Iraqi children and drain them to slake Dick Cheney’s insatiable thirst for human blood (sorry if I just scooped you, Glenn Greenwald), would everyone expect him to have kept schtum?

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Today -100: August 2, 1913: Of fire traps, loan-shark diplomacy, policewomen, and dog-combing monarchs

NYC Fire Commissioner Johnson inspects the Asch Building, the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, and discovers that the conditions that led to that fire – flammable scrap material lying about the floors, employees allowed to smoke, etc. – are still being practiced.

The Liberal Party in Nicaragua evidently doesn’t want their country to become a protectorate of the United States (“loan-shark diplomacy,” Theodore Lippincott calls the proposed treaty).

Venezuela’s former president Cirpriano Castro returns from exile with an army in an attempt to overthrow the government, as was the custom. President Gomez assumes dictatorial powers until the crisis is over, as was the custom.

Chicago hires ten policewomen, to police dance halls and public beaches. “Their uniforms have not been decided upon.”

Kaiser Wilhelm criticizes the Balkan monarchs, except for Greek King Constantine (his brother-in-law), for failing to lead their armies in the Balkan Wars: “The others have stayed at home and combed their dogs.”

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Today -100: August 1, 1913: Of peers, ambassadors, and pseudonyms

British Chancellor David Lloyd George attacks the House of Lords as undemocratic and, with its insistence on obstructing measures proposed by Liberal governments, as creating in effect one constitution for Tory governments and another constitution for Liberal ones. Sound familiar?

Ambassador to Mexico Henry Lane Wilson has come to Washington and made his case to the president for recognition of Huerta as dictator of Mexico, but to no avail. President Wilson just will not recognize a government founded on murder. Okay, when I put it like that it just sounds funny.

Headline of the Day -100: “Suffrage Autoists Besiege Senators.” A convoy of 60 autos brings women’s suffrage petitions to the US Senate.

A letter to the Times says that author pseudonyms are unethical and proposes that they be required to register their noms de plume. Of course the letter is by the (future) author of “The Jolly Book of Funcraft,” who delights in the given name Patten Beard.

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