Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today -100: September 26, 1917: Of impeachments and censorship


Texas Gov. James Ferguson is removed from office and barred from ever holding office in Texas in the future. Actually he resigned the night before the state senate finished impeachment procedures, evidently thinking it would protect him from the office-holding ban (it doesn’t, not that he won’t try to run for governor again next year). He is replaced by Lt. Gov. William Hobby, riding to the rescue (see what I did there?)

The postmaster general says he intends to strictly enforce the part of the Trading with the Enemy Act that allows him to ban “seditious” non-English-language newspapers from the mails. I hadn’t realized that any material he excludes from the postal system is also banned from using commercial express companies. The postmaster is also talking about censoring letters to Mexico, but not to France or Britain, where he can just rely on their censorship systems.


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Monday, September 25, 2017

Today -100: September 25, 1917: The ignorant zealot goes where the paid traitor sends him


Theodore Roosevelt demands that the Senate figure out a way to expel Robert La Follette.

In Congress, Rep. “Cotton Tom” Heflin (D-Alabama) is attacked for his comment, made after the State Dept claimed that at the start of the year Germany spent $50,000 to influence Congress, that he could think of 13 or 14 members of Congress who “acted suspiciously” and that there was a certain German-run cardroom where pro-German congresscritters could “win” large sums (in a newspaper interview he will deny having given). On the House floor, though, he refuses to name names.

The NYT says that if Germany was trying to sway Congress when the two countries were at peace, they must still be doing it. “The thing needs no proof.” The Times also needs no proof to accuse the pacifist movement of being pro-German: “The ignorant zealot goes where the paid traitor sends him.”

Germans complain that at a time when railroad cars can’t be found to transport food, the crown prince got a special train to bring opera singers from Munich to his headquarters. Two newspapers have been suppressed for mentioning this.

The House of Representatives votes 181-107 to create a Committee on Woman Suffrage. Joseph Walsh (R-Mass.) objects to giving in to the White House picketers, who he calls “the nagging of iron-jawed angels” and “bewildered, deluded creatures with short skirts and short hair.” In response to the states’ rights argument, Jeanette Rankin points out that it is nearly impossible to amend some state constitutions. New Mexico, for example, requires 3/4 of the votes and 2/3 in every county.


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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Today -100: September 24, 1917: Of fun fights, false teeth, and Usonians


Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Secretary of State Robert Lansing says that before Romania declared war on Germany, Germany snuck explosives and biological warfare (anthrax, glanders) into the country and hid them in the consulate.

Headline of the Day -100: 



The war has created a false teeth shortage in France.

Christine Ladd-Franklin, a psych lecturer at Columbia University writes to the NYT about the problem of what to call US soldiers, who really don’t like “Sammies.” She suggests Usonians, from the abbreviation for United States of North America. Ladd-Franklin likes abbreviations: in the 1870s she applied for a fellowship at Johns Hopkins as “C. Ladd” and that worked out well for her.


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Today -100: September 23, 1917: Of recounts, impeachments, and extremists


Headline of the Day -100: 

“No, it’s still just 4½ inches, Mr. Mayor.”

Actually, NYC Boy Mayor John Purroy Mitchel’s competitor in the Republican primary, William Bennett, has been claiming there was fraud and threatening to run as an independent, so Mitchel wants a recount to prove him wrong. In fact, the recount will go against Mitchel and he will run as an independent “Fusion” candidate.

Texas Gov. James Ferguson is impeached and found guilty on 10 charges (out of 21) of stealing state funds, various corrupt activities at his bank, and trying to coerce the regents of the University of Texas.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Bolsheviks are demanding an end to the war, the military structures of which present, as Gen. Kornilov showed, a continuing threat of counter-revolution.



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Friday, September 22, 2017

Today -100: September 22, 1917: Of peace, influence, technical rights, and champagne


Germany and Austria finally respond to Pope Benedict’s peace proposals. They are all for them in principle but vague as hell about the details. That took them nearly two months?

Secretary of State Lansing releases a message sent in January by then German Ambassador Count Johann von Bernstorff to Berlin about spending $50,000 to influence the US Congress. He also suggested they sway US opinion with a statement in favor of Ireland. Members of Congress immediately start accusing each other of having taken German money, although I’m pretty sure Bernstorff meant influence, not bribe.

Minnesota Gov. Joseph Burnquist (R) announces an investigation into Sen. Bob La Follette’s alleged seditious remarks at a conference on the cost of living. Bob La F. said that the “technical rights” of US citizens – “the right of an American citizen to ride on a munitions-loaded ship flying a foreign flag” – had been abused by Germany, but that wasn’t worth going to war over.

Headline of the Day -100: 

We’ve all been there.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Today -100: September 21, 1917: Because nothing says making the world safe for democracy like setting human beings on fire


An arrest warrant is issued for Philadelphia Mayor Thomas Smith (R), Councilman Isaac Deutsch and police Lt. David Bennett for conspiracy to, among other things, interfere with Tuesday’s primaries, which were marked, as we saw yesterday, by an attack on Deutsch’s opponent and the killing of his police guard.

Germany denies a French story that Kaiser Wilhelm offered a reward of 300 marks and 3 weeks’ leave to the first German who captured an American soldier.

However, some guys in Mulvane, Kansas have pledged $1,000 towards a planned $1 million bounty on the head of the kaiser.

Secretary of War Newton Baker rejects a request by Rep. James Gallivan for war reporters from local Massachusetts papers be allowed to go to France. He says the 16 reporters already there will have to do, because they’re using all the cable facilities, so more reporters would just mean shorter stories. Baker says the best news comes from letters home from soldiers. Which the Army censors, of course.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Or, you know, not.

The US army will use gas and flamethrowers.


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Today -100: September 20, 1917: One looming shadow if this war is its drift toward socialism


1/5th of the men drafted in Manhattan failed to show up.

Food Administrator Herbert Hoover warns a war conference of the US Chamber of Commerce that if business doesn’t to its public duty and cooperate with the government in the war effort, the result might be socialism. Just look at Russia, he says.

After Bolshevik resolutions – exclusion of the propertied classes from government, abolition of private property, the Soviet to seize power from the provisional government, etc – win in the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet, the outvoted executive committee resigns.

Argentina’s Senate votes 23 to 1 for breaking off relations with Germany.

The Republican primaries in Philadelphia’s Fifth Ward (the “Bloody Fifth”) are marked by riots and a blackjack attack on one candidate by a paid thug who then shoots and kills a cop who was guarding the candidate. He is captured along with others from a group of men recruited in Jersey City – by a man called “Little Neck,” no less – to vote illegally and intimidate the opposition.

Italy refuses a request from the Jewish Union of Frankfurt that it allow the export of palm branches for use in religious services.

Alice Smyth Burton Jay sues Chappell & Co., Ltd., the publishers of “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” for stealing the chorus from her 1908 song Yakima (beginning “I’m on my way to Yakima”). She wants $100,000.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Today -100: September 19, 1917: I hate it when that happens


Headline of the Day -100: 



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Monday, September 18, 2017

Today -100: September 18, 1917: Woodrow Wilson, America, democracy for me


Leon Samson, a junior expelled by Columbia University for his pacifist views, fails to get relief from the state Supreme Court, Justice Mullan, perhaps unclear on the concept of pacifism, calling him a “menace” to the university.

An Indiana superior court judge declares the new women’s suffrage law unconstitutional. The state supreme court will agree.

Vice President Thomas Marshall tells some Freemasons that the democracy for which the US is fighting to make the world safe is not one that includes the IWW’s principles. “Is it not possible to have until the conclusion of this war all hands in America lifted up to the God of our fathers, and all voices proclaiming: ‘Woodrow Wilson, America, democracy for me’?”

Feds arrest 7 people at a Chicago IWW meeting.


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