Saturday, November 30, 2019

Today -100: November 30, 1919: Of war criminals, boudoirs, hunts & heels

Germany asks the Allies to give up their demand for alleged war criminals, including the former kaiser, in exchange for Germany not objecting to treaty commissions being set up without any Americans on them. Germany is holding off signing the treaty protocols in the hopes of using the American failure to ratify the peace treaty to extract concessions.

Emma Goldman is ordered deported.

A House of Commons tea-room is being re-purposed for the use of Lady Astor. It has “a dressing table and other appointments never before seen in the House”. It is being called the “boudoir,” because of course it fucking is. The Morning Post: “The House of Commons must now prepare to become one of the curious institutions that are colloquially styled ‘Cock-and-Hen Clubs.’” The Daily Telegraph thinks that her election is due to Astor’s personality and to local circumstances in Plymouth and won’t soon be replicated by other women.

Sinn Féin prevents a stag hunt in County Down because a commander of the Royal Irish Constabulary is being allowed to take part. His name is Gen. William Hacket Pain, which is what he would be named if he was a character in a Dickens novel and Dickens was Irish.

An ad asks the question

“What is being advertised?” you might well ask. O’Sullivan’s Heels. They’re rubber. They “absorb the shocks that tire you out.”

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Today -100: November 29, 1919: Of volunteer miners, sex candidates, guilty candy man, and other phrases probably best not searched for on PornHub

The federal government warns coal miners and coal company owners that it will prosecute any interference with coal production. The owners are expected to give miners the 14% raise Fuel Administrator Harry Garfield called for.

3,500 people have answered Kansas Gov. Henry Allen (R)’s call for volunteers to mine coal during the coal shortage. They’re mostly college students: the University of Kansas will give credits for coal-mining, which has to be a higher-educational first.

The Tacoma City Council decides to let the 22 hunger-striking IWWers starve.

Lady Nancy Astor is elected to Parliament with a strong majority. She tells the NYT that she didn’t run as a sex candidate but found a general feeling that there should be “at least” one woman in Parliament. Astor is not the first woman elected to Parliament, but the Countess Markievicz, elected in 1918, is Sinn Féin and thus wouldn’t take the oath to the king and take her seat (also she was in prison at the time). Astor does not plan to wear full evening dress in the Commons, hoping to set a precedent for women of lesser financial means who might follow her.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Today -100: November 28, 1919: One may always hope

A large meteor hits Lake Michigan. Maybe.

Bulgaria signs the peace treaty. However Yugoslavia and Romania do not; they’ve been told they can only sign the treaty with Bulgaria after signing the one with Austria, which they refuse to do because it includes clauses for protection of their minorities. The Bulgaria treaty is called the Treaty of Neuilly, because everyone is bored with signing ceremonies so they just held it in the mayor’s office in that town.

A French diplomat on service in the Far East (Singapore?) met an American actress and eloped to marry her in Mongolia, as you do. The marriage was performed by a Belgian missionary. After a few days, he abandoned her, as you do. A French court annuls the marriage because a Frenchman marrying abroad must either marry in front of a French diplomatic officer or according to the usages of the local country, which in the case of Mongolia required him to either kidnap or buy his wife, and he did neither.

Woodrow Wilson has Thanksgiving in bed. Wait, that’s an option? His doctor forbids turkey for the president but allows quail.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Paris Police Chief Raux, asked if Paris would see dancing again, says “One may always hope.”

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Today -100: November 27, 1919: Of reservations, military control, firing squads, pan-Germans, and opera

China says if the US is allowed to add reservations to its signature on the peace treaty, it should be too.

The 15th Cavalry seize 52 foreign striking miners from a mining camp in Wyoming. Evidently they can do that because the state is “under military control.” In Monarch, WY, the soldiers round up miners and force them to vote to return to work. Secretary of War Newton Baker evidently had no idea this was going on, says it’s “inconceivable” that an army officer would order the arrest of strikers, but he’s waiting for an official report.

Mexico, after taking a long time to reply to the US’s demand, refuses to release consular agent William Jenkins, pointing out that there is no principle of international right behind the US demand and that the decision is up to the courts and the state of Puebla, not the federal government.

Mexico executes Gen. Felipe Ángeles, who defected to Pancho Villa in 1914 and again in 1918, by firing squad, as was the custom.

Britain bans Sinn Féin and associated groups in Ireland. The government is finally planning to go ahead with its mutilated Home Rule legislation, and is worried that SF, by far the most popular party in Ireland, won’t cooperate. Or that it will use the Dublin Parliament to declare independence.

Where Labor Secretary William Wilson suggested a 31% pay increase for coal miners as equitable given cost-of-living increases, Fuel Administrator Harry Garfield (son of the former president) thinks 14% is plenty, and also that mine owners should absorb it without increasing prices to the public. The unions prefer 31% and dismiss Garfield out of hand.

Gen. Erich Ludendorff graciously agrees to help lead the Pan-Germans. He gives a speech at the Potsdam Garrison Church attended by many soldiers garrisoned in Potsdam on “Militarism as a School for Moral Qualification of Successful Men.” Correspondent George Renwick insists that “the silly goings on of Ludendorff and people like him... are not even the prelude to a counter-revolutionary coup.” Spoiler Alert: well, not a successful one.

The House of Commons rejects a bill to allow peers to give up their peerages and allow Viscount Astor in particular to remain eligible to sit in the Commons. Mrs Astor had said if she was elected to his seat and this bill passed, she’d resign in his favor. The Commons also agrees with the decision the Lords made not to let girls in, we’re looking at you Viscountess Rhondda.

German opera is once again nipped in the bud in New York. The North German Society of Queens had plans to perform Strauss’s “Der weiße Hirsch” in Astoria, but American Legionites surrounded the hall...

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Today -100: November 26, 1919: Of poison gas, little people, nominal dictatorships, and coffee shops

The Chief of the General Staff of the Army Gen. Peyton March puts out a statement that the use of poison gas is war is actually humane, because it puts soldiers out of action while killing a smaller percentage of them than other means.

73 radicals awaiting deportation on Ellis Island go on hunger strike to protest the wire separating them from visitors.

Federal agents raid the hq of the Union of Russian Workers in NYC and claim to have discovered lots of explosives in a secret room.

Lavinia Warren, aka Countess Magri, the well-known little person (2 foot 8 and at most 29 pounds), the widow of “General Tom Thumb” (2’10”) and wife of “Count” Primo Magri (2’8”), dies at 77 or 78.

The Allies have to postpone putting the peace treaty into effect because the Germans are refusing to sign the protocols, probably because they don’t want commissions set up without Americans to balance out delegates from more vengeful countries (looking at you, France).

In Alabama, 12 white men are actually punished for a lynching. With fines, but still, punished. Oh, wait, the victim was white.

Adm. Kolchak’s evacuation of Omsk and full retreat has the West thinking the anti-Bolshevik “All-Russian Government” may not be doing too well and that Kolchak may soon be reduced to only “nominal dictatorship.”

Theodore Roosevelt’s three living sons and miscellaneous other relatives open  The Brazilian Coffee House, the first of a planned chain of coffee houses. Which is a new thing in New York. The manager has to explain that it is not a restaurant but a coffee house like those in London in Addison and Steele’s time, or Paris and Brazil today. He explains that Americans don’t yet appreciate coffee made properly. Kermit Roosevelt got the idea on a trip to Brazil before the war.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Today -100: November 25, 1919: Do not let the Italian people have the hateful feeling that the great American democracy opposes what is just

Italy’s proposals to settle the Fiume issue – Fiume and vicinity to be a buffer state and Zara a free city, Italy to build a port on the Adriatic for Yugoslavia – are rejected by the US. Italian PM Francesco Nitti appeals through the AP to the American people: “Do not let the Italian people have the hateful feeling that the great American democracy opposes what is just.”

The Star Opera Company, the one that ran into trouble from mobs of ex-soldiers and NY Mayor Hylan when it attempted to perform German opera, has gone bankrupt as a direct result, having laid out money for costumes, scenery etc for performances that never happened.

The British government announces that it won’t release any of the hunger-striking Irish political prisoners (nor is it forcibly feeding them). It will also suspend jury trials in Ireland.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Rumors about the newly elected Socialists in the Italian parliament. They don’t support monarchy.

The New York Telephone Company is installing automatic switchboards which will enable customers to make calls without going through an operator. The company explains that people will indicate their desired number “by manipulating a dial attached to the telephone instrument. This dial is equipped with ten finger holes, each carrying one of the ten numerals. To call a number the subscriber simply places his finger in the hole corresponding to the first digit of the number desired, pulls the dial around to the finger stop, allows it to return to its original position, and does the same for each other digit of the number....” Wow, the future is now.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Today -100: November 24, 1919: Take care they do not make you become a Croat

Republican party leaders repudiate Sen. Lodge’s desire to fight the 1920 elections on the issue of the treaty, saying they expect some sort of compromise before then. Presumably they realized that it sounded like Lodge is playing partisan politics with the end of the war, if only because that’s what he was doing.

The Republican Club of Massachusetts wants Gov. Calvin Coolidge to run for president.

A week after D’Annunzio’s forces invaded Zara, Italian censorship finally allows the Italian press to report it. In Zara the poet-aviator, speaking from (naturally) a balcony, tells of meeting a little girl there who he told “Take care they do not make you become a Croat,” to which she replied “Not until our Maggiore Mountain falls into the sea.”

Vice President Whatsisname is interrupted in the middle of giving a speech to the Order of Moose in Atlanta by a phone message that Pres. Wilson had died. He asks everyone in the hall for their help, then, possibly while the organist is still playing Nearer My God to Thee, phones the AP, which informs him that the report is false. Gov. Dorsey offers a $100 reward for the identity of the hoax caller.

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Today -100: November 23, 1919: Pigs caused the war

Sen. Warren G. Harding (R-Ohio) informally announces his candidacy for president (that is, he gets someone else to do it for him, because he’s shy) (or too busy fucking his mistress) (hashtag #presidential). He previously said he wouldn’t run. National Republican leaders are trying to get a bunch of “favorite son” candidates into the field in order to head off Gen. Leonard Wood and to divide up the delegates between them, leaving it to the party grandees to pick the candidate at the convention in a smoke-filled room, like God intended.

Democratic candidates aren’t declaring themselves yet because they’re politely waiting for Woodrow Wilson to make it official that he’s not running for a third term and Wilson, well, you know.

Coal miners accept Secretary of Labor William Wilson’s pay increase proposals, which he based on cost-of-living increases in the coal districts. Coal owners do not, and say they will no longer deal with Wilson because they accuse the Secretary of Labor of speaking with... labor.

Prof. Richard Lynch Garner, who, as we have seen, claims to have captured the Missing Link and to be able to speak with monkeys, sues a photography company for $100,000 because a picture of theirs ran in a number of newspapers supposedly showing the good professor kissing a monkey. The company says the picture was of a monkey trainer and it was the newspapers that said it was Garner. Beyond the identification issue, Garner’s complaint mentions the fact that the chimp in question was chained up, a practice Garner objects to; “He has also disapproved the custom or practice of embracing or kissing animals.”

The NYT Sunday Magazine has an excerpt from a Justice Department report on “Radicalism and Sedition Among the Negroes, As Reflected in Their Publications.” Many of these publications, the report says, are “always antagonistic to the white race, and openly, defiantly assertive of its own equality and even superiority” and they show “insolently race-centered condemnation of the white race”.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Not specific pigs. Count Carl Seilern, a former adviser to the former Austrian emperor, attributes the hostility between Serbia and Austria in the 15 years or so before the war to Austria cutting off the sale of Serb pigs to Hungary.

The North Dakota Supreme Court says Gov. Lynn Frazier (Non-Partisan League) can’t just take over the coal mines. Justice James Robinson’s opinion complains about laws “pandering to the labor vote [which] permit and encourage strikes, picketing and idleness” and limit work to 8 hours a day. He further complains that “without any grievance our well-paid miners have quit work and struck pursuant to orders from some labor agitators.”

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union decides not to try to get tobacco banned.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Today -100: November 22, 1919: A question between patriotism and politics

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.) issues a statement:  “After four months of careful consideration and discussion, the reservations were presented to the Senate. They were purely American in their character, designed solely to Americanize the treaty and make it safe for the United States.” The reservations were voted down “under the President’s orders,” he says, but there was also a majority against the treaty without the reservations. “There is no room for further compromise between Americanism and the super-government presented by the League. All I ask now is that we may have the opportunity to lay those reservations before the American people.” In other words, he plans to fight the 1920 elections on this issue.

Acting Senate minority leader George Hitchcock (D-Neb.) responds: “It would be entirely welcome to us if the reservations should be taken into the campaign, but I do not consider that it would be very patriotic. It appears to have become a question between patriotism and politics. The patriotic thing to do is to work out a compromise.”

The US threatens to invade Mexico (again) if it does not release consular agent William Jenkins, who is under arrest for allegedly masterminding his own “kidnapping.”

The Supreme Council of the Allies decides that Eastern Galicia will go to Poland for the next 25 years as a League of Nations mandate and then become part of Poland properly.

Yet another dastardly Red plot is uncovered, this one to murder the head of the NYPD bomb squad, an assistant district attorney and a Justice Dept agent. The latter two are engaged in anti-Red investigations in New York.

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Today -100: November 21, 1919: Some detective force!

France, Britain and Italy will put the Treaty of Versailles into effect in December, without waiting for the dubious prospect of US participation.

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.) says the peace treaty is “inert.” Sen. George Hitchcock (D-Neb.) disagrees.

A couple of days ago there was a train robbery in Wyoming, which was believed to have been pulled off by “Wild Bill” Carlisle, who a few days before escaped from prison, where he was serving a sentence for train robbery. Now Carlisle walks into a Western Union office in Casper, Wyoming and sends a telegram to the Union Pacific Railroad offices: “Thanks for haul on your limited. Some detective force!”

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today -100: November 20, 1919: So, still at war with Germany then

The US Senate votes on the peace treaty three times. With Henry Cabot Lodge’s reservations attached to it, it loses 39-55, after a letter is read from Pres. Wilson (or whomever) to Democrats saying that the reservations amount to nullification and urging rejection. Another vote on the amended treaty loses 41-50. Finally, a vote on the treaty without reservations loses 38-53. All attempts at even beginning to craft a compromise fail. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge says the treaty is dead and he’ll introduce a simple resolution to the effect that the war is over. The Senate then adjourns. Wilson may re-submit the treaty next session (December).

The Philadelphia police claim to have uncovered a Red plot to send mail bombs disguised as Christmas gifts to officials all over the country involved in the persecution of alleged radicals.

NYC is investigating teachers believed to be members of the Communist Party and firing them.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

Official according to the US War Department. 

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

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Monday, November 18, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, November 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Italy raises its blockade on Fiume.

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

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

I get anarchist gases every time I eat beans.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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

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

Headline of the Day -100: 

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

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

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

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

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

Headline of the Day -100:  

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

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Monday, November 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Today -100: November 10, 1919: Only astronomers are affected. Also: in your face, Newton!

The American Federation of Labor calls the injunction against the coal strike so “autocratic” as to “stagger the human mind” and offers its support to the miners.

More Palmer Raids™ Saturday, on 71 “radical headquarters.” 25 tons of literature are seized, including addresses from Lenin to the US people and “disguised or open pleas for revolution in many languages”. Assistant US Attorney General Francis Garvan says the Federation of Unions of Russian Workers approved a plan for the overthrow of the US government via assassinations and bombings. The document, captured in the Baltimore raid, was printed only in Russian. So they’re planning to deport any alien who’s a member.

Evidently Russian plans for a world revolutionary uprising on the 7th were thwarted by various governments (Germany, Italy) taking “stern measures,” or simply came to nothing (Switzerland).

Headline of the Day -100: 

This is the dethronement of Isaac Newton by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. He published the theory in 1916, but it has now been proven by Arthur Eddington’s expedition to the island of Principe and Andrew Crommelin’s to Brazil last May to observe the solar eclipse and measure the bending of light. If you want a proper explanation of that, it won’t come from the president of the Royal Society, where these results are presented. He says it’s pointless to try to explain relativity to the man in the street. But there are several books just out for the centenary, including one with the title Einstein’s War: How Relativity Triumphed Amid the Vicious Nationalism of World War I. Astronomer W.J.S. Lockyer (son of the inventor of helium) says Einstein’s discoveries “do not personally concern ordinary human beings; only astronomers are affected.”

Parliamentary candidate Lady Nancy Astor says “Women are essential to the introduction of a policy of thrifty, national housekeeping, which is imperative to establishing the empire on a sound post-war foundation.” I wonder how many servants it takes to oversee the thrifty housekeeping at Cliveden.

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Saturday, November 09, 2019

Today -100: November 9, 1919: The first big step to rid the country of these foreign trouble-makers

Federal judge A.B. Anderson orders the UMW to rescind its coal strike order, which he says violates the (wartime) Food and Fuel Control Act.

The Senate passes the first “reservation” to the Peace Treaty, saying that if the US leaves the League of Nations, the US will be the sole judge of whether it has met its obligations. The vote, 50-35 with all R’s voting in favor, is strong enough to suggest that all the Lodge Reservations will pass.

35 of those seized during the Palmer Raid on the Russian People’s House are sent to Ellis Island for deportation, and 150 released. “Most of them also had blackened eyes and lacerated scalps as souvenirs of the new attitude of aggressiveness which has been assumed by the Federal agents against Reds and suspected Reds.” Other “reds” seized in other Raids throughout the country are also sent to Ellis Island. Says Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, “This is the first big step to rid the country of these foreign trouble-makers.”

Germany is also arresting its trouble-makers, members of the Communist and Independent Social Democratic parties who were preparing to, wait for it, celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

The Supreme Council of the peace conference orders Britain to release Austrian POWs.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George endorses Nancy Astor, saying Parliament needs “woman’s point of view presented by a woman” on, you know, women’s issues like housing, child welfare, prices and other things men don’t care about.

New York decides to build a tunnel to Staten Island. Now the only question is whether it will connect SI with Brooklyn or Manhattan. Spoiler Alert: construction will begin in 1923 but never finish.

NYU Medical College admits its first women students.

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Friday, November 08, 2019

Today -100: November 8, 1919: Of Palmer Raids, egg stamping, assassinations, and monocles

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Palmer Raids™ begin, in NYC, Detroit, Philadelphia, Newark, Jackson... Scores are held for deportation as “criminal anarchists.” The NYPD prevents a meeting of the Communist Labor Party to celebrate the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The Russian People’s House is raided by NYPD under federal orders and 200 arrested, some badly beaten; those with US citizenship are released.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Thomas Brewster, the chair of the Coal Operators' Scale Committee, says the coal strike is being financed by Lenin and Trotsky.

Hugo Haase, leader of the German Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), dies a month after being assassinated by one Johann Voss who Haase, a lawyer, was prosecuting for extortion.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Today -100: November 7, 1919: Of superior rights, lady pilots, and ransoms

The federal government will ask a federal judge to order UMW officials, who are already under injunction not to direct the coal strike, to call off that strike. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer says there are some callings so important that “the right to strike in those cases must be subordinated to the superior right of the public to enjoy uninterrupted service.” He also suggests that the public respond to the higher cost of living not by strikes, but by spending less and saving more, wearing old clothes, that sort of thing, the sort of helpful life advice the rich like to dispense to the poor. Secretary of Labor William Wilson was against going the injunction route, but was overruled in Cabinet.

The Aero Club, which is organizing an around-the-world aerial derby for next summer, with a prize of $1 million, says women pilots (the word elegant if sexist word aviatrix hasn’t been coined yet) may enter.

The State Department says that William Jenkins, the consular agent kidnapped – or possibly “kidnapped” – in Mexico will have to reimburse the ransom paid for him; the US won’t pressure Mexico to pay it unless some negligence by it can be found.

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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Today -100: November 6, 1919: Of women’s suffrage, intercourse with enemy troops, justice *cough* in Arkansas, and direct defiance or opposition to the government

Maine ratifies the federal women’s suffrage Amendment. 19 down, 17 to go.

Supposedly Pres. Wilson is pleased that Calvin Coolidge won re-election as governor of Massachusetts, because the D. had supported the Boston police strike.

The IRA orders women in Ireland not to consort with British soldiers – “intercourse with enemy troops” as they phrase it. One has had her hair cut off in punishment. And men are ordered not to drink in pubs that serve soldiers.

37 more black men are sentenced for participation in the Elaine, Arkansas race riots, and zero whites. We’re up to 11 death sentences. The trials for the 11 were super-short.

A federal judge dealing with citizenship applications rejects those of 5 striking coal miners (4 of them veterans of the late war), saying they are striking “in direct defiance or opposition to the government.”

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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Today -100: November 5, 1919: There is nothing like the stubbornness of the American men in such matters, is there?

Today -10 years ago, I wrote the first of these posts.

Calvin Coolidge easily wins re-election as governor of Massachusetts, helped by his hardline stance against the Boston police strike. Coolidge attributes his victory to “all who have supported the great cause of the supremacy of the law.”

Rep. Fiorello La Guardia (R) is elected president of the NYC Board of Alderman. Tammany Hall has been slaughtered this election.

Although Socialists have been gradually disappearing from US elected offices, Lackawanna, New York elects John Gibbons mayor, defeating an incumbent backed by both the D & R parties, evidently because he banned strike meetings.

Samuel Gompers explains that striking coal miners just want more regular employment than they’ve been getting, but owners don’t want the miners working full-time because the price of coal would soon come down. He also points out that the restraining order barring the United Mine Workers’ leaders from directing the strike also means they can’t negotiate an end to it.

Supposedly, Soviet Russia bans babies being given Christian names. Henceforth, they will be... numbered.

The NYT has been covering Nancy Astor’s parliamentary campaigning every day, because she knows how to give good quote. She is asked by AP whether women will get a better reception in British politics than in the US; the Virginia-born Lady Astor says “There is nothing like the stubbornness of the American men in such matters, is there?” She says she is willing to abide by Commons rules banning hats. Thanks, AP, for the penetrating questions on the important issues of the day. To be fair, a lot of what she’s doing in response to electors’ questions sounds like evasion, like telling a woman who asked about old-age pensions that she was too young & pretty to worry about that. She offers fortune cookie slogans like “You cannot say the world is at peace unless we ourselves are at peace.”

Incidentally, the Liberal candidate running against her, Isaac Foot, was the father of future Labour Party leader Michael Foot, and of Dingle Foot, future solicitor-general and famous possessor of the name “Dingle Foot.”

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Monday, November 04, 2019

Today -100: November 4, 1919: As wet as the Atlantic Ocean

Six negroes are sentenced to death for last month’s race riot (or whatever it was) in Elaine, Arkansas. A lot more blacks than whites were killed, but indictments have mostly fallen on blacks, you’ll be surprised to hear.

The Supreme Council of the Entente once again orders Romania to remove its troops from Hungary. One could be forgiven for thinking that their main concern is that they can’t wrap up the Peace Conference and go home until Hungary signs a peace treaty, which it can’t do that without having a proper government, which it can’t form while under occupation. Meanwhile, Romania denies that it has annexed Bessarabia. Rather, it says, Bessarabia annexed it by holding a referendum, so whaddaya gonna do?

Today -100 is election day in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, which I have neglected here despite the fact that the Republican candidate rejoices in the name Newton Bugbee. Newton Bugbee will lose to Edward Irving Edwards, who in 3 years will run for the US Senate and defeat Joseph Frelinghuysen, which sounds like a name Jerry Lewis would say. Edwards wins in part because he promised to use the state machinery to obstruct prohibition and make Jersey “as wet as the Atlantic Ocean.” Which is quite wet. Bugbee calls that position “nullification of the Constitution.” Another issue between the parties in New Jersey is the federal women’s suffrage Amendment, which NJ has yet to ratify. Republicans support a referendum, D’s want the Legislature to just ratify it.

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Sunday, November 03, 2019

Today -100: November 3, 1919: Of profiteering, fires, and leather

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer pretends that the government isn’t siding with coal companies against miners by declaring that the government will come down on any company trying to take advantage of the situation by profiteering. Sure it will. Sure it will.

Former soldiers burn down the Germania Hall in Stanton, Nebraska (a heavily German area) after a German group holds a Halloween party there. The (non-German) fire dept takes its sweet time getting to the fire.

Headline That Sounds Kinky But Probably Isn’t Kinky of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, November 02, 2019

Today -100: November 2, 1919: Of suffrage, dry raids, and too many toes

California ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment. 17 states down, 19 to go.

H. W. Mager, head of Internal Revenue Agents (i.e., revenooers), says there will be no more “spectacular” raids on saloons, presumably in response to that Wild West-style shoot-em-up on West 42nd in NYC a few days ago. Instead, agents will go undercover to collect information, and subpoenas will be issued.

Russian Minister of War Leon Trotsky declares Petrograd saved from the threat of capture by White forces.

Peter Dieptro was injured by a pipe falling on his toe while working for a contractor in Syracuse. Thing is, it was the 6th toe on that foot, so there was objection that he didn’t deserve compensation because he’s only entitled to 5 toes per foot (he has 6 on the other foot as well) (and a couple of extra fingers), and if he’d had the right number of toes he wouldn’t even have been injured. However, it is decided that compensation law doesn’t discriminate against polydactyls.

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Friday, November 01, 2019

Today -100: November 1, 1919: Of ethnic cleansing, injunctions, questions of national dignity and sentiment

A mob in Corbin, Kentucky rounds up all but the most elderly blacks in the town and drives them out, on train and foot. One is killed.

A federal court issues an injunction against UMW officials directing a coal strike. In other words, the right to strike is not officially under attack, just the right for it to be organized by leaders. So that’s the end of that. Or....

Italian Prime Minister Francesco Nitti complains that the Allies do not recognize that Fiume holds for Italy not an economic value, “but a moral value, being a question of national dignity and sentiment.” In Fiume, Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio announces elections on the 16th for Fiume’s delegate to the Italian Chamber of Deputies – Fiume is, of course, not a part of Italy, that’s the whole point. He also names Commander Luigi Rizzo as chief of Fiume’s sea forces.

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