Saturday, October 31, 2020

Today -100: October 31, 1920: The true patriot wants his country to be first in service, not first in selfishness

Cox’s odds have improved; betting is now 6:1 in favor of Harding.

Headline of the Day -100:  

I guess this RNC ad is how Republicans think the new women voters should be appealed to:

The Dayton Journal, owned by a former Republican governor of Ohio, publishes a refutation of the “unthinkable assault” on Warren G. Harding. What is the nature of that unthinkable assault? Maybe the Journal says, I don’t know, but the NYT does not, although the fact that rebutting it requires a complete investigation into Harding’s genealogy, dating back to the early 17th century, might give a hint. An editorial entitled “An Odious Attack” also fails to elucidate the nature of the attack.

Berks County, Pennsylvania Republican County Chair Thomas Seidel has Democratic court clerk Harvey Bausher arrested for criminal libel for circulating the circular about Harding’s supposed racial ancestry.

In Chicago, Gov. Cox tells the Good Samaritan story. Evidently Europe is the “broken and bleeding” wayfarer and the US should be the good Samaritan. “The true patriot wants his country to be first in service, not first in selfishness.”

500 Klansmen march through Jacksonville, Florida (and a couple of other Florida cities), at night, with torches, “supposedly as a warning to negroes to attempt no lawlessness at the polls Tuesday.”

The Bishop of Cork visits Cork Gaol and orders the hunger strikers to knock it off. They tell him no. He orders the nuns attending them to prepare food for them. They do not eat it.

I haven’t mentioned it because I haven’t been able to find it online, but the furor over a pro-Republican cartoon in Harvey’s Weekly that offended Catholics with a parody of a painting of the immaculate conception has been going on and on for days.

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Today -100: October 30, 1920: You have murdered our brother and you are not going to arrest his body

Prof. William Estabrook Chancellor is fired by Wooster College for allegedly writing pamphlets about Harding supposedly having black blood. Chancellor didn’t write them, probably, but the anonymous author had access to his extensive research, i.e.,  interviewing everyone who would talk to him in Marion, Ohio. Stories about Harding’s ancestry have circulated around Marion for years, mostly by his father-in-law, now dead, who really didn’t like him. This NYT article, published on the front page three days before the election, is very mysterious about the actual content of the pamphlets, without knowledge of which the story would be rather confusing. The closest it comes is a quote from a statement put out by the Ohio Republican Party about “malicious propaganda” being circulated by the Democrats “in the most malicious and cunning matter [sic]”, “the purpose of which is to arouse group against group, race against race, religion against religion.” Today’s Chicago Tribune is more informative: “some of his ancestors were colored”. The pamphlets have been circulating widely and in large numbers, suggesting serious money and organization.

The struggle over Terence MacSwiney’s body continues. Police drag family members off the train carrying the body in Wales, his sisters crying “You have murdered our brother and you are not going to arrest his body.” In Ireland, train employees refuse to run a train with the coffin since it’s accompanied by police and soldiers, so a navy launch is used. When it reaches Cork, no one – city officials, church officials – is willing to take charge of the body. The family eventually does so after a threat that they’ll just bury him in the barracks yard.

Vice presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt makes 12 speeches in one day in New York and Connecticut, mostly on the subject of the League of Nations, an issue he says is “above party and above candidates.” The deluded soul evidently thinks pro-League Republicans will vote Cox-Roosevelt in large numbers. He says “there is no doubt about” Cox winning the election. Wall Street betting odds are 7:1 in favor of Harding, so there might be some doubt.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Cooperative rows are the best kind.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Today -100: October 29, 1920: Of zinc, wild birds, coffin fights, regents, and perverted minds

Harding calls for tariffs on zinc, in case you thought he didn’t have any concrete policies.

Also birds. He’d protect wild birds, he tells the Audubon Society.

FDR sues John Rathom, editor of the Providence Journal, and a couple of RNC publicity bureau officials to the tune of $500,000 for libel for saying he intervened in favor of sailors convicted of “unnatural crimes” when he was assistant secretary of the Navy. The Justice Dept is trying to discredit Rathom by releasing a letter he wrote in 1918 which they characterize as a “confession,” given in order to avoid testifying before a grand jury, about the many claims he made during the war to have thwarted German sabotage plots (which he did by publishing every piece of bullshit that British Intelligence handed him).

Headline of the Day -100:  

The police seize it to make sure it goes from England straight to Cork and not through Dublin. Before that, a requiem mass is held at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, where the coffin is guarded by men in Irish Volunteer uniforms. There’s a procession, observed by many police.

The Greek parliament chooses Admiral Coundouriotis, the Minister of Marine, as regent for the vacant throne.

Cox really is very pleased with the “wiggling and wabbling” thing about Harding, judging from the number of times he’s repeated it.

Sylvia Pankhurst is sentenced to 6 months for printing seditious articles. She says she will go on preaching revolution. The judge says her ideas are those of a perverted mind (curiously, Lenin will say something similar next month). She’s considering hunger striking, but thinks that weapon has been destroyed, since the government is just letting Irish hunger-strikers die.

Der Golem, directed by and starring Paul Wegener as the golem, premieres. An early monster movie, not great in terms of plot but really interesting visually. Make sure you’re watching a tinted version.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Today -100: October 28, 1920: Make Good or Quit

I was wondering about this: the monkey that bit Greek King Alexander is still alive. The news today about possible next king Paul: he is an excellent dancer.

The inscription on Terence MacSwiney’s coffin reads “Murdered by the foreigner in Brixton Prison”. At the coroner’s inquest there is a back and forth between the coroner and MacSwiney’s widow Muriel over his occupation, which she insists was “volunteer officer of the Irish Republican Army.”

Pres. Wilson meets 15 pro-League of Nations Republicans. He reads them an address beginning “My fellow country-men.” What was it Queen Victoria said about Gladstone, he always speaks to me as if I was a public meeting? Anyway, Wilson is pretty feeble, doesn’t seem to recognize people he knows, and reads to them from a wheelchair. “[T]he whole future moral force of right of the world depends upon the United States rather than upon any other nation,” he says, so no pressure. “[W]e have now to choose whether we will make good or quit.”

Marriage of the Day -100:  

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Today -100: October 27, 1920: There are some classes of social equality which cannot be

Terence MacSwiney’s family and Sinn Féin plan to hold a really big funeral.

Ohio Gov. James Cox says MacSwiney “died as a martyr.”

Harding denies that financier Washington D. Vanderlip is representing him in negotiating with Lenin for oil and coal concessions in Siberia in exchange for recognition of the Bolshevik government, as Vanderlip reportedly told Lenin. “I have never heard of Mr. Vanderlip,” Harding says. The State Dept heard about Vanderlip’s activities from its commissioner in Riga, who heard about them from H.G. Wells, who heard about them from Lenin during a recent trip to the Soviet Union. It would be nice to know when exactly the State Dept heard this, since Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby is releasing the “news” suspiciously close to election day. (Update: Wells will deny ever having spoken with the US commissioner in Riga, or indeed ever having been in Riga, but says he did meet Vanderlip and talked about him with Lenin).

Cox accuses Republicans of making promises to the “Afro-American Party” which they don’t intend to carry out. “There are some classes of social equality which cannot be, to quote the words of the immortal Lincoln, ‘We do not want the negroes to be slaves, but that does not mean that we want negro women for our wives.’” (Don’t know if that’s a real quote.)

The League of Nations adopts a plan for a World Court, although a case can only reach the Court if both sides consent. And the cases won’t establish precedents.

After next month’s elections the Greek cabinet will, assuming they win, offer the throne to monkey victim Alexander’s little brother Paul, who is 18. They’ll appoint a regent until Paul returns from exile to take the throne, which I suspect they believe he won’t do. Paul says he’ll have to ask his dad, deposed king Constantine. One condition the government is putting on this offer is that Constantine finally formally abdicates and renounces the throne, and that Paul’s older brother George, Duke of Sparta, do the same. It might be easier just to crown the monkey.

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Today -100: October 26, 1920: Monkeys:1, Monarchs:0

Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, dies in Brixton Prison on the 74th day of his hunger strike, at the age of 41. And in Cork Gaol, a second hunger striker, Joseph Murphy, dies after 76 days, not that it’s a competition or anything.

The London Evening Standard says MacSwiney “persisted in his design of suicide” and no one else bears any responsibility. But the Westminster Gazette says MacSwiney has beaten the government.

Pope Benedict, helpful as always, has referred the question of whether hunger strikers are suicides to a committee.

Also dead: King Alexander of Greece dies of blood poisoning from a monkey bite, as one does, at the age of 27. He tried to break up a fight between his dog and his monkey earlier this month. This leaves a succession problem. Alexander was placed on the Greek throne in 1917 by the Allies after they deposed his father Constantine for being too pro-German. Constantine never officially abdicated, just fled the country, as was the custom, so most of the royal family would refuse the crown. Constantine himself is considering trying to return to Greece and the Greek throne, which would be resisted by the Allies and by Prime Minister Venizelos, who after all was nearly assassinated earlier this year by pro-Constantine monarchists. Alexander has no offspring... yet. His wife is pregnant, but she’s a filthy commoner so their daughter Alexandria won’t be officially royal, at least until World War II when she will meet and marry another exiled royal in London, Prince Peter of Yugoslavia. Tito deposed them, so she never actually set foot in Yugoslavia.

Gov. James Cox says he would consult with the Senate about the League of Nations and “merely the executive will” will not control the terms of admission. He says he will accept reservations. He thinks that after election day the partisan spirit that has infected discussions of the League will go away. He also thinks there’s been a “psychological change” in the people in favor of the League, especially among women voters. “The people have come to realize that the fight against the League is a conspiracy.”

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Today -100: October 25, 1920: We must defend our national culture when we see it endangered

Headline of the Day -100: 

There are rumors about a plot, which is stupid enough to be entirely plausible, for Poet-Aviator Gabriele d’Annunzio to descend from the clouds into Rome on November 4, in a plane presumably, and declare himself dictator, with the support of various generals and admirals and, of course, Lenin.

Rabbi Joseph Louwisch, principal of the Poughkeepsie, NY Hebrew School, is mobbed by members of his congregation demanding information about the death of his wife. He recently brought over his childhood sweetheart from Russia and married her, then had the marriage annulled when he found out she was a Bolshevik. She then committed suicide.

The Hungarian National Assembly is debating a bill to restrict the number of Jewish college students. The (Catholic)  Bishop of Stuhlweissenburg, Ottokár Prohászka, who I guess is also a deputy? says it’s not about anti-Semitism but “racial self-defense.” Prohászka is a big ol’ anti-Semite, and his book “The Jewish Question in Hungary” (1920, not sure if it’s out yet) has a big honking swastika on its cover. He continues: “Our attitude of defense must not be looked upon by the Jews as an act of hatred. Merely for the sake of liberalism we must not suffer that half the lawyers and the majority of medical men in the country be Jews. ...Hungarian literature is saturated with the Jewish atmosphere. We must defend our national culture when we see it endangered.”

John Rathom, editor of the Providence Journal, accuses Franklin Roosevelt of having, when he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, tried to return to active service sailors who were convicted of unnatural crimes, you know, gay stuff. I presume these were some of the sailors used in a sting operation ordered by Roosevelt in Newport, Rhode Island to investigate illicit gay sex between sailors and townies, some of them prominent. And by sting operation, I mean FDR sent young sailors out to entrap civilians by having sex with them.

Hugh Lofting’s The Story of Doctor Doolittle, the first in the series, is published.

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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Today -100: October 24, 1920: Of reservations, pink ballots, underwear, and mysterious affairs

Cox says he’d accept a reservation to the League of Nations Covenant stating that the US would only send its military if Congress voted for it.

The National American Woman’s Suffrage Association is watching out for states obstructing the 19th Amendment. For example, Arkansas Attorney General John Arbuckle thinks women are ineligible to hold public office, and refused to certify Dr. Ida Brooks as candidate for superintendent of public instruction. Missouri Attorney General Frank McAllister thinks the same, but overturned a law requiring women to vote on separate ballots. Pink ballots, naturally.

Headline of the Day -100: 

If your interest in the Roaring 20's leans more towards preferences in male underwear than mine does, this is the article for you.

Agatha Christie’s first Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, is published. In the US; its British publication will be in 1921.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Today -100: October 23, 1920: It is dullness made God

The NYT expects bitterness in the last week of the presidential campaign, “owing to the use that is being made [in Ohio] by the Democrats of the ‘negro social equality’ issue and scurrilous attacks from anonymous sources on Harding, in which the Democrats say they have had no part.” The Times is still not willing to explain the “Harding is an octoroon” rumors. The R’s have 6 black candidates running for the Ohio Legislature, and the D’s won’t shut up about it (fun fact, for certain definitions of fun: the Ohio Constitution officially limited the vote to white males from 1802 to 1923, although superceded by the 15th federal Amendment; a referendum to remove the word “white” failed in 1912) (other fun fact: the 1851 Ohio constitution allowed slavery as punishment for crime – and it still does).

Yugoslavia is now officially a hereditary monarchy.

One of King Alexander of Greece’s doctors, Georges Vidal of Paris, says the monkey bite which afflicted his majesty was from a monkey which had been injected with rabies, so this was obviously an assassination attempt.

Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street is published. Here are some of the bits I underlined whenever I read it:
In shame she knew that they glanced appraisingly at her snowy overshoes, speculating about her legs. Theirs were not young eyes—there was no youth in all the town, she agonized. They were born old, grim and old and spying and censorious. 
she ordered porridge for breakfast, which was his symbol of morality.  
It is an unimaginatively standardized background, a sluggishness of speech and manners, a rigid ruling of the spirit by the desire to appear respectable. It is contentment . . . the contentment of the quiet dead, who are scornful of the living for their restless walking. It is negation canonized as the one positive virtue. It is the prohibition of happiness. It is slavery self-sought and self-defended. It is dullness made God. 
A savorless people, gulping tasteless food, and sitting afterward, coatless and thoughtless, in rocking-chairs prickly with inane decorations, listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles, and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world. 
But a village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to dominate the earth, to drain the hills and sea of color, to set Dante at boosting Gopher Prairie, and to dress the high gods in Klassy Kollege Klothes. Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicate to the sayings of Confucius. 
Such a society functions admirably in the large production of cheap automobiles, dollar watches, and safety razors. But it is not satisfied until the entire world also admits that the end and joyous purpose of living is to ride in flivvers, to make advertising-pictures of dollar watches, and in the twilight to sit talking not of love and courage but of the convenience of safety razors.

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Today -100: October 22, 1920: Of the threat of negro domination in Ohio, Harding’s 14 Positions, bluebeards, and breakdowns

Headline of the Day -100:  

The “problem” is that lots of unskilled blacks came from the South during the war to replace whites who had moved into higher-paid war work, and “These black immigrants from south of the Mason and Dixon Line do not begin to compare in intelligence with the Northern negroes” and the Republicans have “coddled” them since they will mostly vote R. The Democratic State Committee sent out a circular letter to white Ohioans warning about “the threat of negro domination in Ohio,” just as in the South during the days of Reconstruction, when indignities were heaped on white women and children and the “South Carolina negro Legislature” made a “vicious attempt” to give every negro 40 acres and a mule.

Harding has offered a prize if anyone can prove that he’s changed positions on the League of Nations. Cox accepts the challenge (what else did Harding think would happen?) and names all of Harding’s 14 positions. He even points out that that day’s Philadelphia Public Ledger reports Harding’s meeting with Hiram Johnson under the headline “Insist Harding Rejected League” and his meeting with Taft under the headline “Harding Favors League, Says Taft.”

Henri Landru, the French Bluebeard, is on trial for swindling in his garage and automobile business. Landru keeps asking the judge why he’s not being charged with the eleven counts of murder for which he was initially arrested.

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby says Bolshevik rule in Russia is experiencing a “breakdown.”

A referendum in British Columbia repeals prohibition.

Belgium extends the franchise to women, at the municipal level only, except for registered prostitutes.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Today -100: October 21, 1920: Well that’s just dickish

Terence MacSwiney lapses into unconsciousness and the prison doctor feeds him, or inserts food into his unconscious body might be a better way of phrasing it, against his wishes.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Today -100: October 20, 1920: Of vacillation of mind, sedition, felonious suicide, and crowd control

Harding’s handlers deny that his mysterious French contact was writer Maurice Dekobra, but still won’t give a name. They are claiming that Dekobra, who was refused an interview with Harding, had been sent by Cox as part of some sort of elaborate sting operation. Franklin Roosevelt says Harding “either by accident or design tried to fool the American people into believing that France is ready to negotiate a new League of Nations. ...It is simply another glaring example, either of looseness of tongue or of vacillation of mind”.

Sylvia Pankhurst is arrested for publishing allegedly seditious articles in her newspaper The Workers’ Dreadnought (formerly The Womens’ Dreadnought in the suffragette days).

A military court rules that Michael Fitzgerald, the first Irish hunger striker to die, “did feloniously kill himself.” As his funeral begins, soldiers enter the church, gun in hands, to ban a public funeral and limit the number of people accompanying the coffin to 100. An officer threatens to fire on the crowd if it exceeds 100.

In Parliament, former Labour leader Arthur Henderson denounces the “policy of military terrorism” in Ireland, comparing it to the “policy of frighfulness” practiced by the Germans during the Great War. A motion of censure is defeated 79-346.

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Today -100: October 19, 1920: Of Democratic orgies, too much johnson, scurvy, and informal spokesmen

Headline of the Day -100: 

He’s just hurt he wasn’t invited. This is Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer demanding that San Francisco acting mayor Ralph McLeran prove his statement that Palmer knew about all the booze at the Democratic Convention.

Editorial Headline of the Day -100:  

That’s what she said.

Terence MacSwiney, on the 67th day of his hunger strike, has scurvy. Prison doctors are threatening to feed him if he becomes unconscious.

Pres. Wilson sends a letter to Harding asking if it is correct that the senator had informal contacts with representatives of the French government. He makes it clear that he’s checking the quote so that he can call Harding a liar. The French embassy and Foreign Office have denied sending anyone to speak with Harding. Harding responds that he didn’t say the French government approached him (he did say that, though adding “informally”), just that, because he’s on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has spoken with people who “spoke the manifest sentiment of the people of France,” you know, “spokesmen,” and that he made that clear in his speech (he very much didn’t). Cox thinks this “informal envoy” from France was the writer/humorist Maurice Dekobra and that Harding’s remarks were the result of his giving an extemporaneous speech away from his usual handlers.

Journalist John Reed (“Ten Days That Shook the World”) dies of typhus in Moscow, as was the custom. He was 32 and did not look much like Warren Beatty. 

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Today -100: October 18, 1920: Of expulsions, hunger strikers, hunger strikes, and how the history of the world is never changed

So what’s Woodrow Wilson been doing since his stroke a year ago? Netflix and chillin’. That is, he’s been watching one movie a day in the White House. He used to like vaudeville, which he discovered pretty late in life. He’s also been reading French historical novels and romances.

The German government orders Grigory Zinoviev and Lisowsky, who have been part of the Halle conference that split the German Independent Socialists, out of the country. Both factions are claiming the party’s name (and resources), but the real question is how to name a splinter of a party whose name already denotes splinteriness: the German Super-Independent Socialists? The pro-Moscow group claims 21 of the party’s 81 Reichstag deputies.

The first of the Irish hunger-strikers, Michael Fitzgerald, one of the prisoners in Cork jail, dies after 68 days not eating. Lloyd George blames his having been in prison 13 months without a trial on the failure of jurors to show and then Fitzgerald’s hunger strike.

British Secretary for War Winston Churchill says if Ireland became independent, there would be a civil war with Ulster and Sinn Féin would be joined by Americans and staffed by German officers and it might lead to conflict with the US. He also says Britain won’t surrender to foul play and that assassination has never changed the history of the world. Er, how did the Great War begin, just remind us?

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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Today -100: October 17, 1920: This thing of trying to wriggle into the presidency will not do

Sen. Warren Harding claims that “France has sent her spokesman to me informally asking America in its new realization of the situation to lead the way for an association of nations.” Whatever that means.

Gov. James Cox accuses Harding of now taking his 12th position on the League of Nations, but “It pays to be square with the people. This thing of trying to wriggle into the presidency will not do.”

Asked about Japanese immigration, Cox says “this is a white man’s country and the yellow man cannot run it.” And the federal government should let California decide whether to ban Asians owning or leasing land.

George Clark, chairman of the Ohio Republican Committee, accuses D’s of spreading malicious falsehoods about Harding, via paid people going house to house, no less. His Democratic counterpart responds yeah, tell us what malicious falsehoods, exactly, we’re spreading. I’m pretty sure this is the thing about Harding being one-eighth black.

Harding is against independence for Puerto Rico.

Big coal strike in Britain. Prime Minister David Lloyd George accuses miners of trying to “gain their ends by force.”

British Secretary for War Winston Churchill says the strain on soldiers in Ireland is far higher than in World War I (he doesn’t mention that they’re only getting peacetime pay), “But we are going to break up this murderous gang, and it will be broken up absolutely and utterly, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.”

50-75,000 veterans parade up 5th Avenue in New York for a bonus.

An article about Terence MacSwiney by Dr. Benjamin Harrow describes his 63-day (so far) hunger strike as “a ‘Babe Ruth’ record” and attempts to explain, badly, how it is possible.

Supposedly, the MacSwiney family have heard from a churchman who saw Pope Benedict that he regards the hunger strike  as not being suicide since the motive is not to die per se. I’m dubious about this report, but during the 1980-1 IRA hunger strikes (Bobby Sands etc), the Catholic Church in Ireland generally held that the strikes did not constitute suicide, the Catholic Church in England that they did.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Sunday NYT has a review of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Today -100: October 16, 1920: Of indiscriminate killing, bomb warfare, souls, and waffles

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says he was completely unaware of the letter Gen. Barnett sent him a year ago about killings by marines in Haiti. Probably lost in the mail or something. And he’s pretty sure that Barnett “never meant to convey what these words [indiscriminate killing] have been interpreted to mean.” Oh, so the other kind of indiscriminate killing.

Headline of the Day -100: 

A couple of bombs are thrown at the Hotel Cazor in Milan, where British delegates to a League of Nations conference are staying. No deaths. And Italian nationalists in Trieste throw bombs into the Socialist newspaper Lavoratore and set it on fire. There are also local general strikes in various places. Italy is mess.

That article contains the first reference I’ve seen – although I haven’t read all the recent Italian stories – to Fascisti. The Associated Press seems to think that’s someone’s name.

Grigory Zinoviev, chairman of the Third Internationale, who is visiting the Independent Socialist Party convention in Halle, Germany, suggests they join the Internationale and create a German and world revolution. 

The German Foreign Ministry claims the actual revolt is one supposedly going on now in Moscow.

Dr. Duncan MacDougall, known for his experiments weighing dying people to determine the weight of the human soul because science, has died, and is now presumably 6 to 8 ounces lighter.

Priv. Paul Francis Jones of the US Marines wins what is touted as the US army-marines waffle eating championship. He sucks up 26½ waffles in 30 minutes. These days Americans are much better at the rapid ingestion of waffles, as they are in all speed-eating contests, with a Patrick Bertoletti setting a record in 2007 of 29 waffles in 10 minutes, just one of his many disgusting records.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Today -100: October 15, 1920: Of hyphenated activity, night riders, Cork City Hall uncorked, and lynchings

Gov. James Cox, speaking in Columbus, Ohio, accuses Sen. Harding of being the puppet of various groups: the reactionary party, the pro-German party, the Italian party, the low-wage party, the suppression party, the Greek and Bulgarian parties, the bayonet party, which wants to solve industrial disputes through martial law, the atavistic party, the national isolation party, whose creed is selfishness, the Liberty bond speculators’ party, the anti-Federal Reserve party, the profiteer party, and the anti-League of Nations party. That’s a lot of strings. Also, he says, “There is behind Sen. Harding the Afro-American party, whose hyphenated activity has attempted to stir up troubles among the negroes upon false claims that it can bring social equality, thereby subjecting the unsuspecting Colored people to the counterattacks of those fomenting racial prejudice and endangering them to the bloody race riots which distinguished cities like Chicago, citadel of [Mayor] William Hale Thompson, one of the supporters of Senator Harding.” There is A LOT in that sentence.

Harding’s handlers reject Cox’s challenge to a debate as “utterly absurd.”

Night riders burn cotton and cotton gins in Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas.

The US says it won’t recognize any treaty between Russia and Poland in which Russian territory changes hands unless it’s signed by a Russian government that the US recognizes.

British soldiers with armored cars and machine guns seize the Cork City Hall, search it and the employees, and arrest a clerk who had a raffle ticket for a revolver. Then they steal some cash from the safe and leave.

Travel writer Harry Franck (Vagabonding Down the Andes, etc) says (or possibly writes in The Century Magazine), that Southerners in the US Marines hunted Haitians for sport, including with machine guns from airplanes, although Franck is generally happy with the idea of killing “bandits.” Maj. Gen. John Lejeune, commandant of the Marine Corps, says that Haitian prisoners were only ever summarily executed on the orders of a lieutenant who was later conveniently found to be insane. The privates who did the actual shooting were acquitted.

In other colonial news, Warren Terhune, governor of American Samoa, removes 2 native governors for disloyalty to him. An admiral is being sent to investigate his regime.

A mob near Greenville, Alabama lynch a black man, Select Reid, who hit his boss at the Southern Cotton Oil Company with a pipe after being fired.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Today -100: October 14, 1920: Of unself-suporting women, comforted bolsheviki, submarines, Boston pies, and debates

The US Navy releases a report on the 5 years (so far) of occupation of Haiti. While the report praises the many accomplishments imposed on Haiti, it notes that 3,250 Haitians were killed, including some summary executions.

Chicago election judges reject the voter registrations of some women because they are not self-supporting, but the decision is  overruled by the chief clerk of election commissioners.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Sinn Féin is supposedly trying to buy a submarine.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Democrats propose a presidential debate, which would be the first since 1860, on the subject of, what else, the League of Nations. Alternately, Harding could just debate himself.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Today -100: October 13, 1920: Wiggling and wabbling

A baseball team wins the World Series.

Cox calls Harding a “wabbler,” which turns out to just mean wobbler. He says Harding’s latest position on the League of Nations is his 11th, and that position calls for a nebulous “association of nations” to replace the League, about which Harding himself said “I have not in mind a single constructive idea”.

The London Evening News claims Terence MacSwiney is only alive (on Day 61 of his hunger strike) because he’s been taking fruit juices, wine and spirits.

Night riders burn cotton gins in the South.

Russia and Poland sign a peace treaty. Described as a peace without victors, Poland gets a bit more territory, but no financial settlement, and Lithuania is now cut off from Russia. And Poland has occupied Vilna. Will the League do anything about this?

A pigeon fancier in New York is pissed that his $1,500 (!) show pigeons keep getting stolen, probably for use in 30¢ stews.

What To See: George M. Cohan on Broadway in “The Meanest Man in the World.”  Filmed in 1943 with Jack Benny, which I’ve somehow never seen.

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Today -100: October 12, 1920: Of revelry, nuns, and uncorked

A warder in Cork jail is kidnapped. He had been accused of tormenting hunger-striking prisoners.

NYC Mayor John Hylan complained about charges in the Philadelphia Public Ledger that the NYPD aren’t doing much to enforce prohibition and may even be in league with bootleggers. Hylan demanded proof. So the reporter, J.C. Daschbach, comes to New York with proof that the mayor was recently at a dinner (or “orgy,” as the reporter puts it) where... alcohol was present. Hylan didn’t take any of the Demon Rum, “But those who saw say that he enjoyed every bit of the revelry produced by those who imbibed.”

Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, who I don’t remember being exactly supportive of women’s suffrage, tells nuns they should register to vote.

Author Anatole France marries again, at 76.

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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Today -100: October 11, 1920: Not government but anarchy

Former British Prime Minister Asquith says Current British Prime Minister Lloyd George’s speech yesterday condones reprisals, which yeah, but “At attempt to answer murder and outrage by terrorism is not government, but anarchy.”

The story is spreading that Russia is only making peace with Poland and Finland because the army demanded it, first sending a delegation of 12 men to Moscow, who were all shot, then a second delegation, who were all arrested, then a third delegation...

Headline of the Day -100: 

I’ve included this just to indicate that the NYT’s sources for its Russia stories include “very random guy from Jersey City who was in Russia recently.”

Britain threatens to sink any Russian submarines it sees.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Threats to ginneries in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida to refrain from ginning any cotton until the price rises above 40¢, and to cotton farmers to refrain from picking cotton ditto, appear in the form of notices and... match boxes. Are they Ku Kluxers? Maybe. Black cotton-pickers certainly think so.

Asked about race, Sen. Harding says “I have not come from older Ohio to tell you how to solve your peculiar problems of the South. ... That is too serious a problem for some of us to solve who do not know it as you do in your daily lives.” He claims to be in favor of equal rights but but but “I don’t intend that it mean that the white man and the black man must be made to experience the enjoyment of their rights in each other’s company.” He also wouldn’t use federal forces to ensure blacks in the South can vote. On his way home he is allowed to pretend to drive the choo choo train.

Prof. Pierre Delbet, a famous French doctor, has discovered a serum which cures appendicitis and will render operations for that ailment obsolete.

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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Today -100: October 10, 1920: They have grievances, but so have we all

Harding complains that while the US was attempting to impose altruism on the world, Britain gobbled up 80% of the world’s known oil reserves.

The commission in charge of building the (as yet unnamed) Holland Tunnel, ground for which will be broken Tuesday, says they’ve worked out the problem of ventilation, probably. This will be the first vehicular tunnel built for motor vehicles rather than trains.

In a speech in Carnarvon, Wales, British Prime Minister Lloyd George says Sinn Féin crime will be suppressed by “stern methods.” He says “police and soldiers do not go burning houses and shooting men down wantonly, without
provocation”. It is “all very well for people who are sitting comfortably at home here” to “pompously criticise” police in Ireland “about outrages and discipline when they are defending themselves.” He explains that when Sinn Féin don’t wear uniforms, and witnesses are unwilling to come forward, the police, when they, say, shoot fleeing suspects in the back, are “defending themselves.” “And that is what they call reprisals.” He is asking the country to “reserve its judgement about the men who in great difficulties have shown infinite restraint, and not to think that they are mere murderers wandering about Ireland and shooting innocent civilians.” And burning down whole towns, don’t forget about that, Dave.

He says some people want to go beyond the Home Rule Bills that Gladstone in the 1880s and Asquith in the 1910s thought “safe,” noting that these measures no longer satisfy the Irish people. He asks if it is necessary to satisfy Ireland in “an angry mood, which I think will pass... when it has that sulky disposition which we all have now and then” [ed.: wow]. He says even if Ireland were given independence, it would just want more, like the inclusion of Northen Ireland. And Ulster wouldn’t tolerate an independent state to its south, so there’d be civil war. And if Ireland were independent and had an army headed by the likes of Michael Collins, Britain would have to maintain a large army, which would mean conscription. And Ireland could side with Britain’s enemy in “our next war.” “What a chance you are asked to take to trust the destinies of Britain and the empire to a people who are apt to get fits of passion that sweep away all reason and make them swing violently from one extreme to another... They have grievances, but so have we all.” Irish Nationalist newspapers call this speech a declaration of war on Ireland.

Bombs blow up Cork City Hall.

Vice presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt flies to Kansas City for a campaign speech in an aeroplane, which is probably some sort of first.

King Alexander of Greece is feeling not at all well after that monkey bite.

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Friday, October 09, 2020

Today -100: October 9, 1920: Of dangerous propositions, ethnic cleansing, and reapportionment

Harding calls the League of Nations Covenant’s Article X “the most dangerous proposition ever presented to the American people.” His new tagline is that you can have the Covenant or the Constitution. And while he’s admitting that the claim that the League could vote the US into a war without congressional approval is false, the US would be morally obligated, or something.

Hungary orders the expulsion of all Jews who have arrived in the country since 1914. There have been recent reports of anti-Semitic violence, some of it by the military.

Now that the census report is out, Congress has to decide whether to increase the size of the House of Representatives by 50 in line with population growth, which was past practice but is beginning to seem a bit much, keep it at 435 with more residents per rep, or even reduce it to 300. No one’s suggesting the thing that will actually happen.

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Thursday, October 08, 2020

Today -100: October 8, 1920: The world is ready to recognize our moral leadership

The 1920 census is out. The US population is 105,683,108, up 14.9% from 1910. This doesn’t include the colonies (Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, the Panama Canal zone, etc). New York State leads with more than 10 million, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio. Nevada is least populous, with under 100,000. For the first time, more people live in urban than rural areas (urban defined as 2,500 or more).

Answering questions in Des Moines, Harding clarifies, or not, his stance on the League of Nations: “I do not want to clarify these obligations. I want to turn my back on them. It is not interpretation, but rejection, that I am seeking.” He says staying out of the League wouldn’t mean lessening US influence in the world: “We stand almost alone among the great nations in our disinterested relation to the problems of the world. Because of this the world is ready to recognize our moral leadership.” He says he will create “an association of nations for the promotion of international peace” which will allow the US complete freedom of action. Presumably every nation in the world would have to agree to drop out of the League and join this thing. Asked about Ireland, he says he wouldn’t tell Britain what to do in its internal affairs any more than he’d let Britain tell the US what to do with the Philippines.

Dublin Castle issues a list of “offenses” carried out in Ireland since the start of 1920, including 16 soldiers and 109 police killed, 63 court houses and 504 police barracks destroyed, etc. It notes that very few of those responsible are arrested. “In this fact might be found the motive for reprisals,” it says, almost as if the purpose in compiling this list was to justify Black and Tan terrorism

Alma Simpson, whoever that is, gives a concert in Carnegie Hall, singing “not too clearly, in half a dozen tongues,” including some Brahms and Schumann, the first time German has been sung in concert in New York since the war.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Today -100: October 7, 1920: The roof of the house was off

Russia and Poland sign an armistice.

And Russia and Finland agree a peace treaty.

B.J. Jones, the black chairman of the Columbia County Republican Club of Florida, who has been encouraging black women to vote, is kidnapped from his bed, a noose put around his neck, and driven some miles, where he is let go. Presumably this is intended as intimidation rather than actual attempted murder.

Former British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith has been talking about offering Ireland “Dominion home rule.” Current Prime Minister David Lloyd George says Asquith refuses to explain what that even means. LG is particularly keen that Ireland never be allowed an army. Or control over taxation.

The mayor of Wexford in County, um, Wexford, Ireland, Richard Corish, is arrested.

An airplane lands at night in Long Island, using magnesium flares and “torches such as are used on Fourth of July” reflecting off mirrors on the underside of the wing to illuminate the landing strip. So planes can safely land at night for the first time, yay.

During the Democratic convention in San Francisco, orders were given for 40 barrels of whiskey and gin to be released from warehouses for the use of the delegates. The city health officer signed off. Supervisor (and acting mayor) Ralph McLeran (a Republican) says everyone knew about it. “The roof of the house was off, and San Francisco was entertaining in the San-Francisco-knows-how way.”

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Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Today -100: October 6, 1920: Of lynchings, occupations, and dynamite

Four black men accused of killing a white farmer are taken from the county jail in MacClenny, Florida and lynched.

The Commander-General of the Marine Corps, Gen. John Lejeune, insists that Haitians like being occupied and just love them some marines.

The Justice Dept rules out Florean Zelenska as the Wall Street Bomber. But he will be charged for taking dynamite across state lines.

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Monday, October 05, 2020

Today -100: October 5, 1920: Of equality and anschlusses

The Workmen’s Independent League sends questions to Harding, including whether, as propaganda circulating among negroes asserts, he gave them a pledge of absolute social equality between the races in Ohio, with blacks able to enter any place whites can.

On Oct. 1st (unreported until now, I think), the Austrian National Assembly voted for a motion for a plebiscite on union with Germany, to be held within 6 weeks. France says hell no.

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Sunday, October 04, 2020

Today -100: October 4, 1920: Of pocket dynamite, gross ignorance and impudent audacity, and roads

The feds arrest a suspect in the Wall Street bombing, one Florean Zelenska. Caught with dynamite caps and fuses, the Brooklyn resident claims to be a miner tho’ “His hands... are soft as a woman’s.” He’ll turn out to be some weirdo who liked to carry bits of dynamite in his pockets and bring them out to impress dates. As you do.

Woodrow Wilson finally joins the campaign with an address to the American people about the election, which he calls “a genuine national referendum” on “Do you want your country’s honor vindicated and the Treaty of Versailles ratified?” and, of course, the League of Nations. He fails to mention Gov. Cox at all. He says the people have been “grossly misled” by the opponents of the League (should he not have said that those opponents attempted to mislead? Wilson is such a condescending ass). He accuses the anti-Leaguers of “gross ignorance and impudent audacity” – impudent audacity is the worst kind – “which have led them to attempt to invent an ‘Americanism’ of their own, which has no foundation whatever in any of the authentic traditions of the Government. Americanism, as they conceive it, reverses the whole process of last few tragical years. It would substitute America for Prussia in the policy of isolation and defiant segregation. Their conception of the dignity of the nation and its interest is that we should stand apart and watch for opportunities to advance our own interests, involve ourselves in no responsibility for the maintenance of the right in the world or for the continued vindication of any of the things for which we entered the war to fight.” Blah blah light of the world blah blah subordinate role in the affairs of the world...

H.G. Wells is visiting Russia (there will be a book). He meets Gorky, he will meet Lenin. He says “Your road is toward communism; ours is toward collectivism.”

Lenin, who does not believe in different “roads,” orders the Italian Socialist Party to expel moderate leaders, adhere to all the articles of the Third Internationale. The Executive votes to comply.

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Saturday, October 03, 2020

Today -100: October 3, 1920: Of sitting down with the Senate, hecklers, and weak war beer

In Kansas City, Cox says Ireland will soon be independent, and as president he would bring the matter before the League of Nations. He denies what some people have been saying, that Article X of the Covenant would require the US to help Britain put down Irish rebellion (it really wouldn’t) (that said, it’s far from clear that the League has any jurisdiction while Ireland is still part of the UK). Cox says he would “sit down with the Senate” and work out any necessary reservations to the Peace Treaty.

A man arrested at Warren Harding’s campaign meeting in Baltimore for trying to ask a question about the League of Nations sues Republican officials and the cops for $100,000. To be fair to Harding, he did invite the man onto the stage, but the cops grabbed him as he was making his way forward.

Beverage of the Day -100: 

Weak war beer is the worst kind of war beer.

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Friday, October 02, 2020

Today -100: October 2, 1920: Of hit lists & reprisals, non-murder societies, and monkeys

The fiercest anti-Leaguers, William Borah and Hiram Johnson, will no longer campaign for Warren Harding (but when did they ever?), thinking he might join the League with reservations. Borah cancels speeches scheduled under RNC auspices but will campaign for Senate candidates who also hate the League.

Arthur Griffith, founder of Sinn Féin, shows the press various captured secret government documents showing that reprisals such as the sack of Balbriggan were not done by a few bad black-and-tan apples but on government orders. Other documents reveal a plan to assassinate moderate SF leaders, including Griffith, and blame it on radical Féiners (which is exactly what was done with the Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás MacCurtain in March, so it’s very much not implausible).

The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Hamar Greenwood, warns the Royal Irish Constabulary against reprisals, buuuuuut goes on to justify and downplay them, talking about the number of cops killed (over 100 now) and saying newspapers “frequently misrepresent cases of justifiable self-defense as reprisals”. Fake news, to coin a phrase.

Black and Tans attack Tubbercurry, County Sligo after a cop is killed there, throwing bombs and setting fire to the town.

Sinn Féin publishes a list of 269 soldiers and police they have captured but then released unharmed (and disarmed), proving that SF is, in their words, “not a huge murder society.”

Harding proposes the establishment of a new federal Department of Public Welfare.

A federal grand jury indicts Charles Ponzi on 86 counts of using the mails for fraud.

King Alexander of Greece is bitten by a monkey.

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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Today -100: October 1, 1920: Of appeals to racial bigotry and friendly association

Gov. James Cox enunciates a list of reasons veterans should vote for Democrats, mostly about the League, but point 7 is: “Because the Democratic candidates despise to appeal to racial bigotry.” Not sure what he’s accusing the R’s of, but has he ever met a Southern Democrat? Or heard himself on Japanese immigration? Don’t despise to appeal to racial bigotry, hah!

A couple of days back, FDR publicly asked Harding what his stand was on the League of Nations. Harding responded “I will never favor any alliance, league or compact that can impose its will by its vote on the people of the United States. I will favor friendly association and conference of the peoples of the world.” FDR simplifies the question to a more specific version that will be harder for Harding to tapdance around (and no, “Harder for Harding” was not a 1920 campaign slogan). But FDR doesn’t think Harding can answer without losing the support of either Hiram Johnson and the anti-Leaguers or Taft and the pro-Leaguers.

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