Monday, June 16, 2014

Today -100: June 16, 1914: A man is a fool who attempts to avoid the income tax

Dr. Charles Mercier, a British psychiatrist and public supporter of the forcible feeding of suffragette prisoners, has a letter in the London Times which says that if Home Secretary McKenna is correct that scores of women would volunteer if one were allowed to hunger strike to death, it would be another example of “epidemic mimicry,” such as fashion, witch-finding, suicide, tarantism, flagelantism, lycanthropy, and the violence of the French Revolution.

Countess Mollie Russell sues the 2nd Earl Russell (Bertrand Russell’s brother) for restoration of conjugal rights. The earl has a famously complicated personal life, and was convicted by a trial in the House of Lords of bigamy for marrying Mollie in 1901, because English law didn’t recognize his Reno divorce from his first wife. He is the first and I believe only Labour Party member of the House of Lords.

The new federal income tax has (so far) fallen short of the income it was expected to bring in, by $23 million, and the Treasury Dept is readying itself to go after tax-dodgers. “A man is a fool who attempts to avoid the income tax,” says Commissioner Osborne. “He is sure to be detected sooner or later. There is no chance that tax dodgers can escape.” And sure enough, rich people have been paying every cent of their taxes ever since.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times): “Wilson Alleges a Plot To Break His Will.” Pres. Wilson notes that a coordinated flood of letters has been coming from businessmen demanding that Congress adjourn before dealing with the anti-trust bill (“wantonly harassing business,” as one circular letter calls it) and claiming that business is being harmed by the prospect of legislation. Wilson says that business is doing just fine, and that any depression is purely psychological.

Storms in Paris. A street caves in at the Place Saint Philippe du Roule killing 14.

The ABC mediators respond to Gen. Carranza’s letter naming delegates to the Niagara conference by politely reminding him that he seems to have somehow neglected to mention whether he will agree to their conditions (an armistice and accepting everything already agreed to). Well, he’s busy, he probably just forgot. In the meantime, the US and Huerta delegates are deadlocked over who should be the next president of Mexico, and the mediators are considering calling it a day.

Latest rumor in Mexico: Pancho Villa has been forced to flee to the US after his troops revolt because they discovered papers showing he had agreed to sell part of Mexico to the US.

The House of Commons passes the third reading of the Plural Voting Bill, which would eliminate multiple votes for people who own property in more than one parliamentary constituency or are university graduates. Nothing will come of this until 1948.

An alleged plot by suffragettes to blow up London reservoirs is thwarted, if it ever existed.

Men from the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine doing their mandatory military service will no longer be allowed to serve in those provinces, because Alsatians are to blame for having leaked to the press about all the anti-Alsatian bigotry in the barracks during the conflict between the military and locals last year.

The Bijou theater in New York re-opens as a colored theater, with an all-negro production, “The Darktown Follies of 1914.” The NYT notes that the ticket-seller is still a white man and the owners are, um, named Rosenberg, but the ushers are black.

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