Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Today -100: September 23, 1920: Of trains, squares, and un-American elements

Gov. Cox’s train derails in Arizona. No one is killed.

Assistant (Illinois) State’s Attorney Hartley Replogle tells the Grand Jury that the 1919 World Series was “not on the square.”

FDR accuses Republicans of appealing to “the hyphenated vote” and “seeking the support of un-American elements in the electorate” and people who put other countries’ interests (he specifically names Italy) ahead of those of the US. Harding’s attacks on the League of Nations are evidently a sign of this.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Today -100: September 22, 1920: We are training our youth to recognize the evils of that race, which we do not detest, but which we will not endure

Headline of the Day -100: 

This is the Sack of Balbriggan and I believe the first time the NYT uses
the term “Black and Tans” – the auxiliary police brought in to terrorize Ireland into submission. 150 of them destroy a town 22 miles from Dublin in revenge for a couple of cops killed outside a pub there earlier in the day. Dozens of homes, as well as factories and pubs, are burned, and two people shot and bayoneted to death, probably after being tortured to reveal the names of local Sinn Féin leaders. The B&T’s then leave, singing “Boys of the Bulldog Breed.”

Headline of the Day -100:  

University of California (i.e., Berkeley) President David Prescott Barrows gives an interview supporting California banning Asians from owning or renting land: “The doom of the United States is the possession of this region by Orientals”. He asks for the rest of the country to understand that California is on the racial front line. “[I]n order that America may lead we are training our youth to recognize the evils of that race, which we do not detest, but which we will not endure.”

And yes, UC Berkeley students are currently trying to get Barrows Hall “denamed,” mostly based on his History of the Philippines (1905), which says “the history of the black, or negro, race begins only with the exploration of Africa by the white race, and the history of the American Indians, except perhaps of those of Peru and Mexico, begins only with the white man’s conquest of America.”

Democratic presidential candidate James Cox, speaking in Long Beach, says he’d let California lead in forming national policy on the immigration of the Oriental races.

Police stop a crowd trying to lynch a black man who mugged a white woman for her purse, containing $5. In New York City, no less.

Poet-aviator-duce Gabrielle d’Annunzio names his cabinet for the Italian Regency of Quarnero (Fiume). He will also be foreign minister. Fiume is celebrating its independence in the traditional manner, with an outbreak of bubonic plague.

The New York State Assembly again ousts 3 of the elected and re-elected Socialist members, but not the other two, who nevertheless resign, denouncing the Assembly as “un-American.”

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Today -100: September 21, 1920: Of women’s ages, occupations, black socks, and stupendous frauds

The Maine Supreme Court rules that women don’t have to reveal their ages (if 21 or older) to register to vote.

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby defends the US invasion of Haiti in 1915 and subsequent occupation, which Harding is criticizing in order to undermine FDR.  Evidently it’s all been done for the benefit of the Haitian people and with their permission and will end soon (Spoiler Alert: 1934). And he denies handing over Haitian finances to the National City Bank of New York.

Speaking of that benevolent occupation, the US tells Haiti’s president, cabinet secretaries, state councillors etc that their salaries, which have been withheld since June, won’t resume until they show a less antagonistic attitude towards their American masters. Which I believe would be shown by agreeing to turn over the Bank of Haiti to the National City Bank of New York.

A grand jury in Chicago will investigate gambling in the 1919 World Series.

Harding calls the League of Nations a “stupendous fraud.” Stupendous frauds are the worst kind of frauds. He says the League has a dozen ambiguities in it, while the US Constitution had only one and one that led to the Civil War (whether or not states could secede). That is the oddest explanation of the origin of the Civil War I’ve ever heard – it was all because of... a loophole?

French Prime Minister Alexandre Millerand gives in to the pressure to take over the presidency from Deschanel. He really didn’t want to take the largely ceremonial position.

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Today -100: September 20, 1920: Of death wagons, hats, islands, duchess-nuns, and refuse

Major breakthrough in the investigation of the Wall Street bombing: they have identified the farrier who made the horse shoes of the horse (RIP) who hauled the explosives-filled “death wagon” (farriers put a mark on each horseshoe they make). But he can’t remember anything about the driver, even his nationality. So I suppose it’s also pointless to ask him the horse’s name. The wreckage is now a major tourist attraction.

Police say they have recovered a great number of hats at the scene.

The London Sunday Times doubts that Terence MacSwiney and the other Irish prisoners can really be doing proper hunger strikes. It’s been nearly 40 days after all. Visitors must be sneaking them food. MacSwiney issues a statement that God is keeping him alive to give the English “their last chance to pause and consider.”

Swedish Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting suggests that Sweden and Finland’s agreement to let the League of Nations decide ownership of the Åland Islands may have prevented a war. He also thinks the islands will be given to Sweden, because the majority of the population is Swedish and not Finnish like Finland claims (the League will give the islands to Finland, but require a large measure of autonomy, which continues to this day, and that they not be militarized).

The Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide of Luxembourg, who abdicated as the country’s ruler last year, goes into a Carmelite convent in Italy.

Samuel Shortridge, Republican running for the US Senate from California (Spoiler Alert: he will win), the brother of Clara Foltz, the super-impressive first woman lawyer in California, opposes letting in “the refuse of Oriental countries. The thought of it appals the calmest mind and disturbs the stoutest heart.”

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Today -100: September 19, 1920: Of new voters, Californians, and occupations

Democratic Party leaders in the South are scared:  white women have not been registering to vote, and black women have. It is believed that out-of-state Republicans are helping them, but election officials are doing their best to prevent black women qualifying, using literacy tests and whatnot.

The Census shows the population of California as 3,426,526, up 44% from the 1910 Census. It now has more people than Georgia or Indiana.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels angrily defends the 1915 invasion of Haiti against Harding’s charges, which were intended to damage then-Assistant Navy Secretary Franklin Roosevelt. Daniels says the Marines built roads (with forced labor, he doesn’t add), preserved order (by shooting people), introduced sanitation and saved Haiti from so-called bandits.

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Today -100: September 18, 1920: God Almighty provided that the fathers of America should be white men

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. says that FDR is “a maverick. He does not have the brand of our family.” Wouldn’t surprise me if there was an actual brand, maybe a bull moose.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Harding accuses Franklin Roosevelt of being connected with the “rape of Haiti and San Domingo,” meaning that as assistant secretary of the Navy he had oversight of the occupation of those countries – FDR’s been bragging recently about having written Haiti’s constitution, which he didn’t. Harding says thousands of Haitians were killed by US marines since the 1915 invasion of Haiti “in order to establish laws drafted by the assistant secretary of the Navy, to secure a vote in the League.” FDR responds that there was no objection to those invasions at the time (in the US Senate anyway; there was quite a bit of objection in Haiti and San Domingo) and calls Harding’s statement “merest dribble” which won’t rouse racial hatreds as Harding intends or “deceive intelligent Americans.”

The British government denies planning to arm the Ulster Volunteers, although it says any citizen willing to help maintain order and allegiance to the King can be enrolled, Catholic or Protestant, which is not especially reassuring.

Circulars are found which suggest that the Wall Street bombing was the work of anarchists possibly associated with last year’s bombings.

Speaking in San Francisco, Democratic presidential nominee James Cox accuses Harding of being both a reactionary and the property of a Senate oligarchy which determines his course and censors his words. He also says Harding always reflects the views of the most recent delegation to Marion, Ohio, promising the country “a chameleon policy.” For example, Harding changed his mind for on the subject of Japanese immigration after receiving a delegation of racists from California (including racist Gov. William Stephens), whereas Cox’s view has always been that “If California does not desire her lands to come into the possession of Orientals, she may expect, in consonance with the established democratic principle, the genuine cooperation of the national government in the working out of a plan where by she excludes the Oriental settler. There is nothing evasive about this.” He also says “God Almighty provided that the fathers of America should be white men.”

In Sacramento, Cox says that the US is incredibly prosperous after 8 years of Democratic rule: “I am the only presidential candidate in all the history of America who ever passed from the salt water of the Atlantic to the salt water of the Pacific without seeing a tramp anywhere in this country.”

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Today -100: September 17, 1920: Boom

An explosion shakes Wall Street, across from the J.P. Morgan building. The ultimate death toll will be 38, mostly low-level employees, plus the horse pulling the wagon containing the explosives. Junius Morgan III is slightly cut on one hand. At press time, quite a long time after the explosion (noon), it’s still not entirely clear that this was an intentional bombing, although of course...

No responsibility will ever be taken and no arrests ever made. Investigations will suggest that the driver of the wagon got away.

The 5 Socialists who have been elected to the NY State Assembly and then expelled more times than I can count are... wait for it... elected to the NY State Assembly. This after the Democrats and Republicans agreed to run joint fusion candidates against them in each of the districts.

French President Paul Deschanel resigns. He is, as the French probably say, looné toons.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Today -100: September 16, 1920: Too much is heard of independence in politics

The Veterans of Foreign Wars call for the exclusion of all Japanese immigrants and amending the Constitution to prevent children of Japanese immigrants becoming citizens.

In a letter to the president of the Women’s Harding and Coolidge Club of NYC, Warren Harding says women should join the Republican party, but also that they should join some party: “Too much is heard of independence in politics. ... the fashion of parading independence is to be deplored. Cooperation and organization, of all human effort, require some sacrifice and concession upon the part of one individual’s opinion.” And then he lambasts the League of Nations, because the US “must be guided by her own conscience, and not by mortgaging that conscience to debtor nations.”

Connecticut Gov. Marcus Holcombe refuses to certify the ratification of the 19th Amendment by the Legislature, which he says was not legal because reasons.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Today -100: September 15, 1920: Of the 2%, fast mail, immigrants, and lynchings

Gov. Cox, doing his best Bernie Sanders, says the 2% are raising a $25-30 million fund to defeat him. He says no one knows where Harding stands on the League of Nations, including, probably, Harding himself (it’s funny ‘cuz it’s true).

There are reports, which may even be true, of rioting in Petrograd following news of military defeats, with commissars being drowned in the Neva.

The new transcontinental air mail service has its third and fourth fatalities, as the gas tank on a plane explodes. Some of the scattered mail is recovered.

Connecticut ratifies the already-ratified 19th Amendment.

Harding endorses an “America first” immigration policy to a delegation of anti-Japanese Californians, promising to admit only immigrants who can easily be assimilated. He avoids offending Japan by not referring specifically to Japanese people, only Orientals. Yeah I’m sure that’ll totally do it.

A man is lynched near Hartford, Alabama — hanged in a swamp, no less – for making remarks to a white woman. The shock twist: he’s white.

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Today -100: September 14, 1920: Dead as slavery

The Zionist World Movement tells Jewish organizations in Eastern Europe not to send Jewish immigrants to Palestine unless they can support themselves.

Deposed Bulgarian Czar Ferdinand is living happily in exile in Germany. Having recently been given access to funds which an English court decided belonged to him personally rather than to Bulgaria, he’s been buying up art and fending off people who want to help him invest that money in, for example, a machine that makes shoe polish out of smoke, or matches that will never stop burning.

In Maine elections, the Republican candidate for governor, Frederic Hale Parkhurst, scores a massive victory, for all the good it will do him. This is seen as indicating what might happen in the national elections in November. Some of the increase in the state’s Republican vote is attributed to the new women voters.

Cox repeats that the prohibition issue is dead – “as dead as slavery” – and it’s now just a matter of enforcing the law.

No fewer than 160 extras filming Man-Woman-Marriage file injury claims from horse-related accidents during a battle scene between men and Amazons, I guess.

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Today -100: September 13, 1920: Of ballot slackers, Fiume Day, and asymmetricity

Phrase of the Day -100: 

Some random pastor says some shit. My interest here is the phrase “ballot slacker,” which I haven’t come across before.

Fiume’s poet-aviator-duce d’Annunzio is holding an American steamer ransom for a “loan” from the Italian government of 200 million lire, which is the equivalent of some money. By the way, “duce,” which the NYT is translating as “commander,” is indeed the title he has given himself.

There’s a “Fiume Day” celebration for the anniversary of d’Annunzio’s occupation of the city at the City College Stadium in New York. Caruso sings.

A committee on recreation and rural health finds that farm kids are asymmetrical. 

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Today -100: September 12, 1920: Of non-issues and ponzis

Cox says prohibition is not an issue.

Charles Ponzi is finally indicted, on 68 counts.

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Friday, September 11, 2020

Today -100: September 11, 1920: America has not failed and will not fail the American negro

A cop is killed in Tullow in County Carlow, Ireland, so the cops shoot up the town and burn buildings in retaliation. Must be some more of that law n’ order Lloyd George is preserving by keeping Lord Mayor MacSwiney in prison.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Gabriele d’Annunzio, poet, aviator, and now head of state (duce) of the Italian Regency of Quarnero takes the oath, on a balcony, as was the custom: “I swear on this sacred banner of youth, on this relic of heroic blood, and on my soul” etc. (never let a poet write his own oath of office). He asks the crowd if the new constitution is okay with them, and that’s evidently enough to ratify it.

Headline of the Day -100:  

“America has not failed and will not fail the American negro,” he says to a delegation of black people, whose response to that assertion is not recorded. Harding’s black cook comes out to watch. Does the NYT condescendingly employ dialect in quoting her? What do you think?

Cox opposes cash bonuses for Great War veterans, but does support assisting them to become home-owners.

The election board in a ward in Long Branch, New Jersey resigns en masse rather than go home to home to ask women voters questions they’d be “proverbially disinclined to answer” (I assume they think women won’t divulge their age).

Sacco and Vanzetti are charged with robbery and murder.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Today -100: September 10, 1920: Of regencies, delanos, and babes

Gabriele d’Annunzio, responding to mysterious “private news from Paris,” declares Fiume independent 3 days earlier than planned. The Fiume National Council, not agreeing with the poet-aviator’s constitution or his declaration of independence, resigns.

FDR’s uncle William Delano IV, a coal tycoon and horse fancier, is killed when his horse panics and runs in front of a train.

Incidentally, he was the son of William Delano II. There was, briefly, a William Delano III, 4’s brother. Giving a child the same name as a sibling who died in childhood used to be a thing. FDR and Eleanor had two Franklin Juniors.

Gamblers spread a false rumor that Babe Ruth is injured.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Today -100: September 9, 1920: Of earthquakes, lords mayor, and libel

Hundreds die in earthquakes in Italy, mostly in Tuscany. Towns and villages destroyed.

Lloyd George accuses Terence MacSwiney of having been involved in the assassination of cops. He says MacSwiney’s predecessor as lord mayor of Cork was murdered for not going along with IRA plans; he definitely knows that MacCurtain was killed by a police death squad.

The New Jersey Assembly votes 25 to 12 to ask for MacSwiney’s release.

Chicago Mayor Big Bill Thompson sues Lt. Gov. John Oglesby for libel for letters he sent to soldiers attacking Thompson’s patriotism and saying he attended seditious meetings.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Today -100: September 8, 1920: Of canes, walls, regencies, and fires

Headline of the Day -100: 

The British government will pay Catholics ousted from jobs in Belfast by Protestant violence. They will get the same unemployment pay as unemployed former military men.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Not in a Cask of Amontillado way, he’s actually building it himself out of logs he cuts so no one can see or photograph him cutting logs, which as we know is his favorite pastime. 

Poet-Aviator Gabriele d’Annunzio will declare Fiume (and some surrounding territory and islands) independent on Sunday. It will be called the “Italian Regency of Carnaro.” The regency thing means that the new country is being held in trust until such time as Italy agrees to annex it. D’Annunzio is supplying the state with a constitution that allows for a temporary dictator.

A Chicago grand jury will investigate whether gamblers fixed a baseball game between the Cubs and Phillies last week.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Why? What does he know?

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Monday, September 07, 2020

Today -100: September 7, 1920: Of trade-offs, drys, and sick men in sick rooms

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George supposedly said that he’d release Terence MacSwiney and the other hunger strikers if he received a promise that attacks on police in Ireland would stop.

William Jennings Bryan’s sole aim this November is to elect strong prohibitionists to Congress, enough so they could impeach a president who doesn’t adequately enforce the 18th Amendment. He thinks women voters will support this goal.

Democratic presidential nominee James Cox is visiting west of the Mississippi for the first time. He complains about Republicans attacking Woodrow Wilson, “a sick man in his sick-room.” At the Minnesota state fair, he meets Capt. John Smith, a Chippewa Indian who claims to be 132 years old and to remember when Washington was president.

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Sunday, September 06, 2020

Today -100: September 6, 1920: Of covers of mayoral courts, presidents, and tanks

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George rejects NYC Mayor Hylan’s plea for the release of his fellow lord mayor, Terence MacSwiney, saying he can’t interfere with the course of justice and law. Well, he did impose military courts on Ireland, including the one that sentenced MacSwiney, does that count as interfering with the course of justice and law? that probably doesn’t count, because reasons. The British Labour Party has also asked for MacSwiney’s release. The government responds that MacSwiney was “actively conducting the affairs of a rebel organisation under the cover of a Mayoral court,” and so could perfectly legitimately have been just taken out and shot. It also points out that since MacS’s arrest, a lot of cops have been assassinated in Ireland.

There are also 11 hunger-strikers in Cork Gaol, now on the 26th day of their strike, which the NYT notes is “a record for Irish political prisoners.”

Gen. Álvaro Obregón is elected president of Mexico.

Factories in Milan are on strike. The strikers have tanks. The article, sadly, does not explain how it is that they came to have tanks. It’s probably a funny story too.

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Saturday, September 05, 2020

Today -100: September 5, 1920: This campaign is for America

Harding denies targeting any appeal towards German voters: “This campaign is for America.”

The Tennessee State Senate passes, but the House rejects, a bill for poll taxes for women voters.

Most states will let women vote in November without requiring further legislation, but Mississippi’s attorney general says the four-month registration period stands. Georgia’s AG, in contrast, says that women can vote there even without registration, since they hadn’t had a reasonable opportunity to register. He says registration facilitates the vote, it is not a qualification for voting.

France splits Lebanon from Syria, the territory they’re running as a League of Nations mandate. Standard imperial divide and conquer stuff.

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Friday, September 04, 2020

Today -100: September 4, 1920: Of herrings, einsteins, and twins

Citing John Herring, editor of a Long Island German newspaper, the NYT says German-Americans are supporting Harding because of his opposition to the League of Nations and support for a separate peace with Germany.

So far 12,750 people have filed unpaid notes against Charles Ponzi. It looks like they’ll get back less than 30¢ on the dollar.

The Swiss are trying to lure Albert Einstein away from Berlin, where he’s been getting anti-Semitic abuse lately.

The Cornet family of Montilgnon, France sold their twin boys for $14. They blame the high cost of living. The kiddies were bought (one died at some point afterwards) by a woman who wanted to pass them off as having been fathered by 1) the husband she was in the process of divorcing, to extract a larger separation allowance, and 2) her rich lover, to extract a settlement.

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Thursday, September 03, 2020

Today -100: September 3, 1920: Of enthnographic borders, real Americans, raids, carefully planned anarchy, and plain people

Poland refuses the US’s request that it not attack Russia across the ethnographic border established by the Peace Conference between Russia and Poland. In other words, it won’t promise not to try to seize territory.

Warren Harding has been complaining that his front-porch campaign has made him miss his beloved baseball games, so the owners of the Chicago Cubs bring them to Marion for an exhibition game. Harding tells the team he likes baseball “just like every other real American.” And he’s also for “team play” in government.

Sinn Féin fighters raid an RAF base near Dublin and steal a bunch of military documents including the military plan for Ireland, as well as the current code and cipher.

Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, says appeals for clemency for Terence MacSwiney will be ignored: “None of the mercy which some seek to invoke for the lord mayor was shown the eighty policemen who have lost their lives in Ireland.” He says the current rebellion is the work of a small body of men who are trying “by carefully planned anarchy” to impose independence on the 80% of Irish people who don’t want it.

Carefully planned anarchy is the worst kind of anarchy.

What to Watch: D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (“A Simple Story of Plain People”), starring Lillian Gish, premieres. Honestly, not an especially good movie – structural problems, shoehorned-in unfunny comic relief – but Gish is good

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Today -100: September 2, 1920: A devil of a fix

The Tennessee State Senate refuses by a 17 to 8 vote to follow the lower house in attempting to reverse ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Harding refuses to discuss Cox’s charges of a Republican slush fund: “I haven’t noticed any signs of alarm in the country that it is being bought for the presidency.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

Transcontinental air mail is supposed to start up next week.

Richard Harron, the star of 220 films at age 27, including many D.W. Griffith films including Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and Hearts of the World, “accidentally” shoots himself in his hotel room. He calls the front desk for help, saying “I’m in a devil of a fix, I’ve shot myself.” No one says “devil of a fix” anymore. Anyway, Harron is arrested in his hospital bed in Bellevue and if he survives (he won’t) he’ll be charged for not having a license for the gun with which he shot himself. This picture of him is from the 1913 Griffith short “The Yaqui Cur.”

What to Watch: “Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire,” directed by Robert Wiene, whose previous film was “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari,” premieres in Berlin. Haven’t seen it myself. What seems to be the only full-length version on YouTube is pretty low quality.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Today -100: September 1, 1920: Of take-backs, innate modesty, party-poopers, and suspended actresses

The runaway members of the Tennessee House of Representatives have returned from Alabama and force a vote to expunge the record of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The House votes 47 to 24, with 20 not present, The vote is legally meaningless, since the US Constitution makes no provision for “backsies.” In 1870 the NY Legislature attempted to take back its ratification of the 15th Amendment.

Gov. Cox has pointed out that the Republican platform showed no pride in the US having won the war. Teddy Roosevelt Jr. responds that that’s because it’s “not in good taste to praise your own achievements” (he also says it was Republicans that fought the war). The NYT comments that “It is well known that the innate modesty of that [Republican] party has always prevented it from mentioning its part in either the Civil War or the Spanish War. And boasting has ever been peculiarly abhorrent to a Roosevelt. Furthermore, the Republicans at Chicago were so absorbed in denouncing that they had no time or strength left for commending anybody – not even our soldiers. The great task of the platform was to bury, not to praise.”

Armed men raid a fancy-dress ball in Dublin, for the purpose of ordering British military officers out, as Irish people are not supposed to be consorting with the army of occupation. They also order ladies out who they think are dressed too scantily.

France and Belgium drop the idea of a mutual-defense treaty because of a cabinet crisis in Belgium. There will instead be a less formal non-binding military agreement.

Babe Ruth is suing to prevent the commercial showing of films of him playing baseball, citing the... Civil Rights Act?  The defendants say he is a public figure, just like the president, so he’s news. (He will lose.)

Actress Emily Marceau testifies against Metro Film Corp director Smythe Addison, who is charged with disorderly conduct. She had previously #MeToo’ed him and he retaliated during filming. She was hoisted on wire for a stunt scene involving fire and while she was suspended in the air he called a lunch break and went off with the crew for 2½ hours.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Today -100: August 31, 1920: The people want a leader, not a syndicate presidency

More sectarian violence in Belfast. And armed men burn down the country residence of Jospeh Pike, the deputy lieutenant of County Cork, after allowing the servants to take their possessions and leave.

In Indianapolis, FDR says Harding would be run by the “Senate cabal.” He says “The people want a leader, not a syndicate presidency.”

An Oklahoma City mob lynch a black man, Claude Chandler, who was part of a shootout during a raid on a moonshine still in which his father and two cops were killed.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Today -100: August 30, 1920: It will be better for my country if I am not

More fighting in Belfast Saturday, 11 dead. “The greatest of bitterness was displayed during the fighting.”

The imprisoned, hunger-striking Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney (whose name the NYT finally spells correctly), who is about to die at any moment (no he’s not, he’s only on Day 17), tells his sister, “I am convinced I will not be released. It will be better for my country if I am not.”

William Anderson of the Anti-Saloon League warns NYC Mayor John Hylan that he will ask Gov. Smith to remove him from office if he doesn’t start cracking down on booze.

A Tulsa mob of 2,000 lynches a 19-year-old alleged murderer. His race is not specified in the article.

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Today -100: August 29, 1920: Of racial entities, looting, holy water, and why Berlin can’t have nice things

Warren Harding suggests that, instead of a League of Nations, what is needed is an “Association of Nations” with an international court with “teeth.” He says the League’s failure to stop the Russo-Polish war proves that it’s past restoration. He and Cox have both made pro-Irish statements this week, Cox saying “The League of Nations does not abridge the right of any racial entity to determine its own destiny” and Harding that the Irish “have as good a right to seek their political freedom as we had in 1773, and have the same right to develop eminence under the inspiration of nationality as we held for ourselves.”

More “law and order” in Ireland: Cameron Highlander troops loot stores in Queenstown (County Cork) allegedly owned by Sinn Féiners.

Terence MacSwiney, the lord mayor of Cork hunger-striking in Brixton Prison, refuses to take pastilles of holy water from Lourdes, in case they contain nourishment or, I don’t know, magic. A hunger strike’s a hunger strike. Everyone thinks he’ll die momentarily, based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how long it takes people to starve to death.

The authorities have been trying to track down Charles Ponzi’s agents, who seem to include a Boston Police Department lieutenant, 5 inspectors and a bunch of patrolmen. They may have thought this was a legitimate business.

The president of the American Baseball League says players can’t boycott Yankee pitcher Carl Mays just because he killed that guy with a baseball.

Albert Einstein is thinking about leaving Berlin after several public lectures attack the theory of relativity on the basis that it can’t be right because Einstein’s a Jew.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Today -100: August 28, 1920: Vulgar salesmanship is the worst kind

The NYT seems disappointed that Gov. Cox’s “proof” of the $15 million Republican slush fund is more an aspirational list of quotas for state and local branches, and even more disappointed that the Republican documents are “pervaded by the tone of the most vulgar ‘salesmanship.’”

Tickets for D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East, which opens next week, will cost as much as $10 (orchestra seats) at the Forty-fourth Street Theatre.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Today -100: August 27, 1920: Ratification complete

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby proclaims the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Suffragists wanted a big ceremony in front of movie cameras, but he just signed it at his home, without any women present, possibly in his underwear.

The anti-suffrage speaker of the Tennessee House, Seth Walker, telegrams Colby, insisting that Tennessee really didn’t ratify because there wasn’t a proper quorum when a motion to reconsider was rejected (because 31 Antis fled the state), so Gov. Roberts was wrong to certify ratification.

Russia accedes to Britain’s demand that it drop from its peace terms for Poland the creation of people’s militias. Foreign Minister Georgy Tchitcherin points out that Britain obviously believes that all workers are Bolsheviks, “a point of view [which] will undoubtedly be welcomed by those who look foeward to spreading Bolshevism in Great Britain.”

Sing Sing executes its first cripple, a man with a wooden leg. Also a black man who I’m guessing is not the first one executed at Sing Sing.

Sinn Féin appoints Hannah Sheehy Skeffington, who was the leading Irish women’s suffrage activist and is widow of Frank, who was extra-judicially executed during the Easter Rising, to the Supreme Court of Ireland. Nothing will come of this.

More sectarian rioting in Belfast, with sniping at soldiers, arson, looting, armored cars firing machine guns, the usual. It began with false rumors that Nationalists stoned children leaving a school.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Today -100: August 26, 1920: Of injunctions, statues, hunger strikers, and gunboats

DC Supreme Court Judge Frederick Siddons refuses to issue an injunction against the 19th Amendment being declared ratified. The antis will now appeal to the District Court of Appeals, but if the governor of Tennessee’s notification of ratification arrives (by registered mail) before that Court can hear the case, the secretary of state can certify it and that’ll be it.

Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, says women should not create their own political party but join the D’s or R’s.

Pilgrims are pouring into Templemore, Ireland, which  has one of those weeping holy statues that can miraculously cure people, so that’s nice.

Prime Minister David Lloyd George responds, dickishly, to a message from the sister of hunger-striking imprisoned Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney: “It is with profound regret that I hear of the pain inflicted upon you by the determination of your brother to starve himself. It is impossible for the Government to make an exception in his case. Were they to do so it would break down the administration of the law in the United Kingdom, for all prisoners would claim the same privilege.” I assume she will respond questioning the “administration” of “law” by jury-less military courts-martial and subsequent deportation to English prisons. LG is also pointing out that the only use MacSwiney could have had for possessing the police cipher was to help in the campaign of killing police. One might point out, again, that it was a police hit squad that murdered MacSwiney’s predecessor as lord mayor.

The US sends a gunboat to Honduras to protect American interests against possible revolutionary movements in Honduras and Guatemala.

Poland rejects most of Russia’s peace terms. Actually, all but one out of 15, and the one (for Polish disarmament) with an addendum: only if you do too.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Today -100: August 25, 1920: I am prepared to believe that he knows nothing about a lot of things that are going on around him

Warren G. Harding is refusing to campaign at the Ohio State Fair being held only 50 miles from his front porch, because Cox and the Prohibition Party candidate will both be there. His campaign wanted to have a tent where they’d just play phonograph records of his speeches, but the manager of the Fair told them it’s the candidate in person or nothing.

Arthur Balfour, on behalf of the British Government, sends a note to Russia asking whether it’s true that it’s changed its peace terms for Poland to include land nationalization and a Polish Red Guard, and he expects an answer by Friday dammit!

The Times of London claims that Trotsky secretly visited Germany and made a deal to buy ammunition for use in the Warsaw campaign, but too late. Naturally, he paid using the crown jewels.

The convention of the National Association of Masters of Dancing develops new dance steps including the Cat Step, Camel Walk, Chic Walk, Fox Trot Artistique and the Triangle One Step. Dance them all today.

The chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court sets aside a restraining order preventing the governor certifying the Legislature’s ratification of the 19th Amendment. So he certifies it. Now the “American Constitutional League” says it will ask the DC Circuit Court to stop Secretary of State Colby certifying (the last step in the process).

There’s still an obstacle to women voting in this year’s election in some states: early registration deadlines. Maryland would need to call a special session of the Legislature to extend its reg period, which ends two days from now.

The Harding and Cox campaigns are shouting back and forth about Cox’s assertion that there’s a $15 million Republican slush fund. Cox offers to provide evidence to a Senate sub-committee and responds to Harding’s claim to know nothing of such a fund, “I am prepared to believe that he knows nothing about a lot of things that are going on around him.”

It’s funny because it’s true.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Today -100: August 24, 1920: Of ethnographic limits, Mexican Protestants, and Jewish seats

The US informs Poland that it won’t support any military action by Polish troops beyond the “ethnographic limits of Poland.” Poland promises to behave.

Dozens of houses and businesses and a boot factory supposedly owned by Irish Nationalists in Lisburn, near Belfast, are burned down by Unionists in retaliation for the assassination of Inspector Swanzy, and employees are being told to sign a pledge that they are not in Sinn Féin and are loyal to king and country.

The bishop of Aguas Calientes and Leon calls for Mexicans to oppose the spread of Protestantism. Priests should demand that children at first communion promise never to read Protestant propaganda, and to avoid the English language, which is just a Trojan horse for Protestantism.

The Committee of Jewish Delegations will campaign for a special Jewish seat in the League of Nations.

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Today -100: August 23, 1920: Of retaliations, bullfights, masculine deeds and feminine words, and jewel collectors

The Times of London thinks Britain will shortly recognize Egypt’s independence.

A Royal Irish Constabulary inspector, Oswald Swanzy, believed (correctly) to have been behind the murder of Cork’s Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain in March, is killed by an IRA hit squad by order of Michael Collins, as he leaves church in Lisburn, an Orange town near Belfast to which he was transferred for his safety. A constable who was with Swanzy is also killed, and two other cops wounded. Inspector Swanzy is killed (with MacCurtain’s own personal gun) in front of his family; to be fair, so was MacCurtain. Naturally, a pogrom against the Catholic residents of Lisburn ensues. The incident was one of several attacks on police in the last few days.

Democrats in Ohio are worried that a recent influx of blacks from the South is intended to affect the vote in Ohio, of something.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Staten Island detectives believe that a bootlegger killed Saturday was murdered by two dirty Federal prohibition agents to prevent him squealing on them for reselling confiscated whisky after he was arrested. The dry agents pressured a saloon-keeper to pay his bail so they could get at him.

Suffragists in Maryland want the state motto, Fatti Maschii, Parole Feminine (Deeds are Masculine, Words Feminine), changed. That’s old Italian, by the way, not Latin. It’s still the motto in 2020, although the state now claims it means “Strong deeds, gentle words.”

Prison authorities shut down the Sing Sing Bulletin after it featured an article by a famous bigamist that began “A good wife is a jewel. I have been a jewel collector.”

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Today -100: August 22, 1920: Of escaping representatives, hunger strikes, and whistling

A judge issues a restraining order against the governor and other officials of Tennessee certifying the ratification of the 19th Amendment because of a provision in the state constitution that we know violates the US Constitution. Meanwhile 30 Anti House members flee the state to prevent a quorum (this is sort of a Tennessee tradition; the state was without US senators for two years in the 1840s because of a walkout that included future president Andrew Johnson). Suffragists say the state rules on quorum don’t apply on this federal matter.

Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, now in an English prison where he is hunger-striking until his demand that the New York Times spell his fucking name right, or at least spells it the same wrong way twice in a row, is met, is told by Home Secretary Edward Shortt that he won’t be released and won’t be force-fed either.

What To Watch, Except You Can’t Because It’s Another Lost Movie: The Untamed, starring Tom Mix, at the Capitol Theatre. Advertised as “A Startling Tale of Three Strange Comrades of the Wild – A Man, A Horse and a Dog.”  Mix plays “Whistling Dan.” “His whistling was like the magic of wild things, the cry of the banshee, weird, soft and beautiful – that’s why people loved him, feared him and called him ‘Whistling Dan.’”

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Today -100: August 21, 1920: Of oaths, socialists, and gunfights

Charles Ponzi, still in jail because he can’t raise bail, admits to bankruptcy and takes the bankrupt’s oath, whatever that is. His investors are FINALLY beginning to realize that they’re screwed.

The 5 Socialist members of the New York State Assembly who were expelled last spring are re-nominated by their respective county committees.

A fight between the town marshal and a deputy sheriff of Irvine, Kentucky over who gets to take in a bootlegger prisoner turns into a gunfight, leaving two cops dead and another cop and the bootlegger wounded.

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Today -100: August 20, 1920: Of bribery, arms-less armies, and welcomed women

A Tennessee grand jury opens an investigation into whether bribes affected the Legislature’s vote to ratify the 19th Amendment, specifically the vote of Harry Burn, the 24-year-old representing McKinn County. The only influence brought on young Harry was a letter from his mother telling him to be “a good boy” and vote for ratification (“help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification”, she wrote, whatever that meant).

Woodrow Wilson is back to his old weight, the White House says. And he likes cowboy movies. Of course he does.

The Poles are driving back the Russian army. At the peace talks, Poland rejects the Soviet demand that it’s army be disarmed.

Headline of the Day -100:

I’ll bet he does, I’ll bet he does.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Today -100: August 19, 1920: The civilization of the world is saved

The Polish army turns back the Russian siege of Warsaw. Everyone is very surprised.

The Tennessee House of Representatives votes 50-46 in favor of the federal women’s suffrage Amendment (an earlier vote to table was lost by a single vote). This should be the end of the ratification process but it isn’t because there may (Spoiler Alert: will) be a vote on rescinding the ratification, and then possibly a legal challenge under the Tennessee Constitution.

Presidential candidate Gov. James Cox praises the ratification: “The civilization of the world is saved. The mothers of America will stay the hand of war and repudiate those who traffic with a great principle.”

Alice Paul, the chairman of the National Woman’s Party, says “The victory of women today completes the political democracy of America and enfranchises half the people of a great nation.”

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Today -100: August 18, 1920: Of sieges, suffrage, Ponzi, and rats, but I repeat myself

The Russians fail to encircle Warsaw. They lose communications and become spread out, allowing Polish troops, some of whom got to the front on double-decker buses, to break their lines.

The North Carolina Senate votes 25-23 to postpone any consideration of women’s suffrage until the 1921 session. So ratification of the 19th Amendment is now entirely in the hands of the Tennessee Legislature, where things are getting a little heated.

Charles Ponzi says that he’s the real victim here, as many people altered the notes they held with him, changing $100 to $1,000, that sort of thing, and that’s why the government auditors found those discrepancies in his liabilities.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Today -100: August 17, 1920: Of reversals, secret ciphers, warships, lynchings, child soldiers, and deadly baseballs

Warren G. Harding says a Republican victory in November would result in a “complete reversal” of Wilson’s foreign policy, although he refuses to give any details. When asked about Poland, he says he hasn’t read a newspaper today, and only the president and secretary of state really know what’s going on in the world. Harding is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, is sentenced by a military court-martial for possession of the secret police cipher (I assume that means a police cipher which is secret, not the cipher of the secret police), and of having a document likely to cause disaffection, namely the resolution of the Cork Corporation pledging allegiance to the Dáil Éireann, and of making a seditious speech. He told the court that the trial was illegal and anyone taking part in it is liable to arrest under the laws of the Irish Republic. He also tells says he will set his own term of imprisonment through hunger strike and “shall be free, alive or dead, within a month.” He doesn’t understand how long it actually takes to starve to death.

British soldiers seize a man named Patrick Lynch from his home, I think in Dublin, and kill him, which is a bit on the nose if you ask me.

The US is sending warships to Danzig. To protect US citizens and their interests, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says, though some suspicious souls suspect a broader intervention into the Russian-Polish war.

A lynch mob seize a suspected child murderer after setting fire to the town hall and the jail to get at him. But he makes a little speech about how only a degenerate would do such a thing and they decide to let the legal process run its course. Which is how lynch mobs work in Canada (specifically St Catharines, Ontario).

A 15-year-old appears in Brooklyn Children’s Court, charged with shooting craps. He is released when it comes out that he’s a World War I veteran, having enlisted at 13.

Ray Chapman, the Cleveland Indians’ shortstop, is hit in the head in the fifth inning by a pitch from Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. He’s not dead yet, but will be, the first and only Major League Baseball fatality.

The Indians win the game, if you were wondering. 4-3.

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Today -100: August 16, 1920: Of speed traps, loop the loops, hunger strikes, and financial dementia

Constables from Jacksontown, Ohio attempt to arrest Gov. Cox and his four-automobile campaign group for speeding, but he refuses their order to turn around and go to court immediately. The cops follow on motorcycles trying to get the cars to pull over for a while, but content themselves with taking down their license numbers. Jacksontown is a known speed-trap, but it might have been a Republican plot to embarrass the governor.

“Girl flier” Louise Brownell sets a loop-the-loop record, flipping her plane 87 times. The previous record was 25.

Cork’s Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney and his fellow political prisoners go on hunger strike.

A lot of wild rumors lately about Soviet plans to team up with Germany, possibly after instigating a revolution there, to invade France, then Britain, then the world, then Mars.

Charles Ponzi’s legal defense may be “financial dementia.”

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Today -100: August 15, 1920: Of castles, too much money to be spent honestly, and little ententes

The Olympics open.

A crowd attempts to storm Dublin Castle. A few shots are fired. No mention of pitchforks, which are surely de rigeur on such occasions. Elsewhere, trucks bringing mail from England are intercepted and government correspondence taken.

Russian artillery flashes are visible from Warsaw.

In Sioux Falls, FDR makes fun of Harding’s front-porch campaigning, saying it’s great to get around the country and hear from all sorts of people and who wouldn’t want to do that: “I cannot understand the viewpoint of a man in a similar position to mine who would set up a little shrine in his front yard and expect the people to come there and worship without taking advantage of this opportunity.” He also warns that Republicans are raising a $30 million campaign chest; “I believe that is too much money to be spent honestly.”

Some Republican members of the House of Representatives’ Reapportionment Committee are contemplating reducing the representation of Southern states that deny the vote to blacks, as set out in the never-used section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania sign the “Little Entente,” a treaty for mutual defense.

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Friday, August 14, 2020

Today -100: August 14, 1920: Of no bias, coal & salt, and more ponzi schemes,

The Tennessee State Senate ratifies the Susan B. Anthony Amendment by a surprising 25-4 (out of 33). The lower house will be more difficult. Carrie Chapman Catt denies a charge made by Sen. Walter Chandler that she supports racial intermarriage. He says he based his accusation on a speech in which she said that “suffrage knows no bias of race, color or sex.”

The Red Army is within 20 or 25 miles of Warsaw. Russia’s peace terms to Poland (which seem to be trickling out bit by bit) include a referendum within a year on the future of former Russian Poland, with unrestricted propaganda in the meantime. Russia also wants control of Poland’s coal and salt mines.

The Old Colony Foreign Exchange Company, another Boston ponzi scheme, unrelated to Charles Ponzi, is raided and its officers arrested. Like Ponzi, it promised 50% profits in 90 days. Many of its investors, like Ponzi’s, are Italian immigrants. The district attorney had warned the public against investing with it, but noted that there was no law to shut it down; the patsies kept on enthusiastically handing their money over. Many Boston cops, by the way, are Ponzi investors. The lawyers are still working on it, but those who benefited from being at the top of the Ponzi pyramid can probably be sued by Ponzi’s creditors for (at least) their profits. The NYT suggests that those who profited are receivers of stolen goods.

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Today -100: August 13, 1920: In a year, all Europe will be Bolshevist

Charles Popnzi is arrested for using the mails to defraud, after failing to provide evidence that he had the $4 million in assets he claims he has. The federal auditor calls him “hopelessly insolvent,” which is the worst kind of insolvent. Letters from investors are still coming in, but the estimate is that 40,000 of them gave Ponzi between $15 and 20 million. The Post Office says he never dealt in those international reply coupons.

Reportedly, Russia’s peace terms for Poland include a clause that Poland’s workers be armed. I’m guessing they don’t really. France advises Poland not to accept the peace terms, Britain advises the opposite.

Franklin Roosevelt says Poland could have been saved if only the US had joined the League of Nations, the “moral force” scaring off the Russians without a single soldier needing to be sent.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Russian War Minister Leon Trotsky predicts “In a year, all Europe will be Bolshevist.”

Speaking of poles, six members of Roald Amundsen’s ill-fated North Pole expedition quit, leaving him with too few crew to continue. He may hire Eskimoes.

Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos is shot at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris by two royalist Greek ex-soldiers who aren’t very good shots, missing him 6 times but hitting him in the left shoulder and right thigh.

Warren G. Harding favors tariffs to protect California lemons against cheap Sicilian lemons.

The Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, and ten associates are arrested by British soldiers. The previous lord mayor was killed by a British death squad a few months ago.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Today -100: August 12, 1920: Society owes me a chance to redeem my past

France recognizes the White “South Russian Government” of Gen. Pyotr Wrangel, “taking into consideration the military success and strengthening of the Government of General Wrangel,” which, yeah, no. The Soviet government had asked the allies to get Wrangel to surrender, and this is France’s response. France will send a high commissioner (ambassador).

Charles Ponzi admits having been to prison, once in Canada for, he says, taking the blame for his persecuted employer (it was for forging a check), and once in the US for smuggling Italian immigrants into the US, but he says “Society owes me a chance to redeem my past” (and how’s that redemption going, Carlo?). Authorities close the Hanover Trust Company, in which he bought a one-quarter share.

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