Thursday, December 22, 2016

History: The Year is 1921

I've uploaded year 1921 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Murder, Mayhem and the Trial of the Century -- Sacco and Vanzetti are convicted of murder. Did they do it? I don't think so but we'll never know. The evidence was messed with.

The Brownshirts Are Here! -- Hitler's speeches are popular, so the Reds are threatening him. The Nazi Brownshirts are Hitler's protection. I talk about hyperinflation and the American ambassador's daughter.

Notable Births -- Steve Allen, Gene Roddenberry, Nancy Reagan, John Glenn, Jesse Helms, and Betty Friedan.

In Other News -- The Plague in India, the Tulsa Race Riots and FDR is stricken with polio.

Murder, Mayhem and the Trial of the Century

"I was crazy to come to this country!"
--Nicola Sacco, on trial for murder in Massachusetts.
At the beginning of the 20th century, terror, assassination and bombs in your mailbox are the order of the day. To the people of the United States this also means the Italians and the Jews because whenever one of these terrorists is caught, he or she is usually Italian or Jewish, or someone like that is urging him on. (FYI, I am Jewish. This stuff makes me cringe, but some assassins of the 20th century were Jewish in ancestry... not in faith. Dear God, not Jewish in faith! Let's move on.) Several men rob a shoe company in Massachusetts, brutally murdering the guard and the paymaster. The usual suspects are rounded up, and one of them fingers Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti who are Italian. (Natch.) The evidence is thin, so witnesses for the prosecution are "convinced", and ballistic evidence is doctored. There are witnesses in favor of the accused, but they are mostly Italians. (These guys are hosed.) The foregone conclusion is that Sacco and Vanzetti are bad men who must be stopped dead. Sacco and Vanzetti are going to fry, but before that happens, their case will become a world-wide sensation. Poetry will be written. Long essays that would be laughed at by most third-grade grammar teachers will be praised as worthy works of erudition. It makes no difference. Seven years later, Sacco and Vanzetti will be dead along with any sense of justice or common sense. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The question remains, "Were Sacco and Vanzetti guilty?" I am convinced that they were dangerous men, but they PROBABLY were NOT guilty of this crime. We'll never know because either the government or the defense tampered with the evidence either accidentally or with intent to deceive. Regarding the bigotry of the time, it was part of the eugenics war building to World War 2. Most people blame the Nazis, but eugenics did not originate with them. British and American philosophers led the way with pseudo-scientific arguments on race and "survival of the fittest". In a real sense, science had become a religion, and remains so for many people today. Here is the test. If someone says, "I believe in Global Warming," that is a clear faith statement. Religious people recognize faith statements. On the other hand, "Global Warming has been building for thousands of years," is NOT a faith statement. It is either true or false, but not a matter of faith. [4] [5]

The Brownshirts Are Here!

The newly formed German Nazi Party is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is Adolf Hitler a gifted speaker, but his "Brownshirt" regiments are making sure that his political opponents are paying close attention to his every word. Hitler is preaching freedom of religion as long as that religion is in the best interest of Germany. (shudder!) A fight breaks out between the Brownshirts and the Reds meaning the German communists. To avoid government scrutiny, Hitler calls the Brownshirts the "Gymnastic and Sports Division" of the Nazi Party. The German government has its hands full right now. Hyperinflation is showing its ugly head. The German mark is trading at 75 to the dollar. By November it will be 283 marks to the dollar. Next year it will be 400 marks, and the year after that, 7,000. Something must be done! So they'll do something. No one is shouting "Sieg Heil!" yet, but Hitler's youthful energy is infectious... sort of like a bad cold. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Hitler eventually came to the office of Chancellor in 1933 using the Democratic system as constituted at the time. It was recognized that he was a problem, but no one else could rally the people to a cause like he could. The world leaders trusted that the Germans would eventually come to their senses, and give this little guy the boot. As FDR came to power, he seemed to spend little concern over who was sent to Germany as ambassador. FDR sent a tweedy little history professor from the University of Chicago named William Dodd and his Nazi-loving daughter, Martha, who was willing to give her all for German-American relations... and Soviet-American relations. All kinds of relations! Apparently she was on a mission to save mankind... one man at a time. [8] [9]

Notable Births

  • Steve Allen (Entertainer who popularized the TV talk show format as the host of "The Tonight Show".) [10]
  • Gene Roddenberry (Fighter pilot, policeman and creator of something called "Star Trek".) [11]
  • And on the political front... (First Lady Nancy Reagan, astronaut and Senator John Glenn, Senator Jesse Helms, and Betty Friedan, founder of NOW) [12] [13] [14] [15]

In Other News

  • 15 million have died from the Plague in India so far. This is the 25 year accumulated death toll. [16]
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma is now under martial law. The Tulsa Race Riots have forced a crack down on the KKK. It's bad. It's real bad. [17]
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt is stricken with polio. He lost his Vice-Presidential bid to Calvin Coolidge last year. He is 39 and in a wheelchair. His political life is over. Isn't it? Not quite. [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1921, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

History: The Year is 1920

I've uploaded year 1920 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Your Government at Work... Trying to Poison You -- It's Prohibition, and the government adds poison to the booze but doesn't tell anyone.

KDKA Is On the Air! But Is Anyone Listening? -- Westinghouse is looking for a way to beat RCA in the radio business. Offering entertaining radio programming is the answer.

Notable Births -- James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Ricardo Montalbán, Eddie Slovik, and An Wang of Wang Laboratories.

In Other News -- Kingsford Charcoal, the HIV virus, and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

Your Government at Work... Trying to Poison You

"...practically all the liquor that is sold in New York today is toxic..."
--A warning issued by the New York medical examiner.
Prohibition is now the law. Selling or transporting booze is against the Constitution of the United States of America! (I think I hear America the Beautiful playing softly in the background.) Of course, many religious groups like the ban on alcohol. Socialists believe that alcohol has stupefied the common man into accepting his chains of oppression. Employers believe that workers are losing productivity due to hangovers after boozy weekends. Police departments are tired of rounding up drunks. With all this support, alcohol consumption should be dropping. In reality, drinking simply changes. Now you drink illegal booze fast, going for the effect, not the taste. Private clubs called "speakeasies" are for social interaction, but people are drinking something there. Hotels install bottle openers to reduce damage to furniture as guests knock off bottle-caps along the edges. Bay rum is an aftershave "for external use only". It says so on the label. Bootleggers add coloring to commercial ethyl alcohol and sell it. Although individuals are drinking less, more individuals are drinking. To help folks comply with Prohibition, the government provides an incentive. They add poison to some of the booze, and don't tell anyone. Have a nice day. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The logic goes like this: Prohibition is part of the US Constitution, so if you buy booze from a bootlegger, that's like treason. Right? Since the penalty for treason is death, it all makes sense now. (IN WHAT UNIVERSE???!!!) You will have to trust me. It made sense to them. Part of it was due to the growing eugenics movement. Drunks had to be cut out of the herd, so-to-speak. By the end of Prohibition more than 10,000 people had been killed by their own government. Maybe over 50,000. But you say, "Alex... that was almost 100 years ago. They would never do anything like that today. Would they?" Yes they would. During the 1970s the government sprayed marijuana fields with a deadly herbicide. It turned "weed" into a "killer". The CDC issued a warning, but that was next to useless. President Obama's Science Adviser, John Holdren, once advocated forced abortions and mass sterilization, but rest assured. The government does not want to kill off it's own citizens... unless it absolutely has to. Feel better? Me neither. [6] [7] [8]

KDKA Is On the Air! But Is Anyone Listening?

Westinghouse has been using a vacuum-tube wireless for simple communication and experimentation, but when their lead engineer, Frank Conrad, offers a 2 hour concert, playing records over the airwaves, the amateur radio community is delighted. This experiment in entertainment makes the newspapers, and the Vice-President of Westinghouse, Harry Davis, sees the article. He also sees an ad for a $10 wireless receiver that can pick up Conrad's signal. 10 dollars is around 284 dollars in 2015 money which is in range for the average household. Davis hits on the idea of Westinghouse building radio receivers and offering entertainment programming from their local transmitter. By November, radio station KDKA is ready to broadcast the election results. (Warren G. Harding, Republican, is elected the next President of the United States.) They continue a bi-weekly broadcast until near the end of December when they embark on a schedule of daily broadcasts. They are really cooking with gas now! [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Westinghouse was about to get their backsides kicked by their radio competitor, RCA. Westinghouse had been looking for an angle to boost their sales which was how the idea of using the radio waves for entertainment came into being. Regarding cooking with gas, the gas stove was just starting to replace the wood stove by 1915, so I was a little ahead of myself there. The phrase "Now you're cooking with gas" came from Bob Hope's radio show sometime in the 1940's. Someone from the American Gas Association slipped the line to Hope's writers and they inserted it into the show. Later Bob Hope started using it himself, and it soon became a well-worn phrase. [12]

Notable Births

  • From Star Trek (James Doohan as "Scotty", DeForest Kelley as "Bones", and Ricardo Montalb├ín as "Kahn") [13] [14] [15]
  • Eddie Slovik. (The only US soldier to be executed for desertion during World War 2. He seemed to think he would only get prison time.) [16]
  • An Wang (Co-creator of Wang Word Processors. "Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius.") [17] [18]

In Other News

  • Henry Ford founds Kingsford Charcoal. Waste lumber and sawdust from building Model Ts are made into charcoal briquets. [19] [20] [21]
  • The HIV virus emerges from the Belgian Congo. It will reach New York 51 years later. The CDC will declare it an epidemic 10 years after that. [22] [23]
  • "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is banned from Major League Baseball. He was part of the conspiracy to fix the 1919 World Series. Rumors that he is really Ray Liotta from the movie "Field of Dreams" are false. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1920, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1919

I've uploaded year 1919 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Great Molasses Flood -- 2 million gallons of molasses breaks loose in Boston. I talk about government regulation and the duty to ones neighbors not to kill them accidently.

The Red Scare Begins -- Letter bombs and rounding up the usual suspects.

The League of Nations to Punish Germany -- The league will be useless and the Treaty will set the stage for World War 2.

Notable Births -- Lots and lots.

In Other News -- Charles Ponzi,s scheme, Adolf Hitler gives a speech, and Eisenhower leads the US Army into an Indian ambush... just kidding... he was kidding.

The Great Molasses Flood

Molasses has been important in sugar and rum production since before the American Revolution. Ships arrive in Boston Harbor and the sticky liquid is pumped into a steel tank near the waterfront to be distilled later. The tank itself is only a few years old. There are a few leaks, and children sneak onto the property to scoop up the dark liquid. The owners have already re-caulked the tank twice, but is there really a danger? The metal flaking has severely weakened the steel structure, but Mr. Jell makes it clear that no more complaints will be entertained. "I don't know what you want me to do. The tank still stands." On January 15th, a little after noon, the rivets finally give way. Two million gallons of molasses pours into the street. It forms a wall 25 foot high and despite the old saying about molasses, it moves along fairly quickly. The distillery offices are flattened. Horses, dogs and people are swept away. Twenty-one people are killed and 150 people are injured. Years later, it will be said that in the summertime you can still smell the molasses. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This event pushed the Paris Peace Conference and the League of Nations stories off the front page. What concerns us today are the government regulations that resulted from this disaster. Even though we have property rights, those rights are not absolute. Recently there was an uproar over EPA regulators hassling a guy who built a small dam and created a pond. The discussion centered on what a private citizen could do on his own property. Well, despite any movies to the contrary, he cannot launch a spacecraft from his barn simply because he wants to. A property owner has a duty to keep his neighbors safe from predictable dangers... like your dam breaking, or your molasses tank bursting. It doesn't take much to cause a lot of damage. However, government regulation tends to expand no matter how carefully we write a law, so regulations need careful pruning from time-to-time to limit their power. [3] [4]

The Red Scare Begins

"The needs of the many" seem to be a deep-seated desire to blow up rich people. Thirty-six mailbombs are sent to prominent professional and political leaders such as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller. The bombs take the form of gifts from Gimbel Brothers department store to arrive on May the 1st... May Day. The package is a brick-sized piece of wood inside a box with the label, "Open" on one side. If one is unfortunate enough to follow the directions, a spring sets off three blasting caps, a stick of dynamite and a vial of sulfuric acid. Given the vagaries of the postal system, some bombs arrive earlier than others. In one case an office staffer opens the wrong end of the box, and a vial of acid falls out. In another case the package is opened by the maid, blowing off her hands. Sixteen packages lack proper postage, and are sitting in the post office. The rest are intercepted. One bomb is addressed to the Attorney General of the United States Alexander Palmer. Thus begin the Palmer Raids to round up these subversive communist immigrants and hold them on Deer Island. The man assigned to carry out the raids is 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover, and his newly formed Bureau of Investigation. Just the man for the job. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was there anything to be afraid of? Yes. The bombs were real and the bombings went on for several years. The bombers called themselves anarchists, so they were deported if it could be proven an immigrant was an anarchist. US immigration law didn't define the word "anarchist" except that if you called yourself one, you got the boot. But it is clear that the law meant terrorists, or anyone opposing the government. In the same year, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to yell "Fire" in a crowded movie theater. That was in reference to a socialist caught distributing pamphlets that urged military-aged men to dodge the draft. (He served 6 months in prison.) What we would define today as reasoned, loyal opposition, President Woodrow Wilson defined as treason. In other words, he took it personally, but this is what happens when the unfaithful utter impious words before their President. That is a terrible thing for me to say, but Wilson thought of himself as something close to a messiah... or higher. (Golly! I think I hate Wilson more than Glenn Beck does.) [8]

The League of Nations to Punish Germany

President Woodrow Wilson rushes to Paris to hammer out an agreement... that is... he uses a hammer to beat you senseless until you agree with him. This is not simply a peace treaty between the Allies and Germany. Wilson wants to redraw the borders of Europe, so that this kind of thing never happens again. His advisors are Colonel House who is an administrator, and a 12th century medieval historian named Charles Haskins. Why a 12th century historian? That was when Europe changed from battling war lords into an administrative honeycomb of arcane bureaucracies. Wilson sees World War 1 as a symptom of not enough government. He also wants a League of Nations that is more than talk. It should be the enforcement arm for the signatories. If anyone gets out of line, the League comes down on the offender good and hard. But instead of harmony and bliss, France wants to be paid back. In the end, Germany signs what is an open-ended agreement. The Treaty of Versailles calls for the admission of guilt, and to pay back the Allies. No amount is specified, which means, "everything you've got, forever and ever." Most people realize how unfair the treaty is. Once Wilson returns to the USA to begin his campaign to ratify the Treaty, he falls victim to a stroke. The US Senate fails to ratify, and Mrs. Wilson, a woman who never attended high school, is left to run the country. The stage is set for World War 2. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The only nation that had any money was the United States. The Europeans had borrowed heavily in order to win the war. Their economies should have collapsed long before this. In fact, Germany's Wiemar Republic was already experiencing high inflation. It didn't hit hyperinflation for a couple of years yet, but it was already eating up whatever savings the German people had. For the United States, the Roaring 20s was coming. But the Great Depression followed after that. Regarding the League of Nations, it's primary goal was to disarm the Axis Powers and then disarm the Allied Powers. Neither goal was achieved. So as World War 2 got started, the League fell apart. Its original objective was to at least reduce the arms nations had and thus prevent war. War came anyway. Game over. [12]

Notable Births

  • Balto, the sled dog (He will deliver medicine to an Alaskan town to fight an outbreak of diphtheria.) [13]
  • Isaac Asimov (Author/editor of science and sci-fi books such as "iRobot" and "Fantastic Voyage".) [14]
  • Pierre Trudeau (Canadian Prime Minister, media sensation and father of Justin, the current Prime Minister.) [15]
  • Liberace (Entertainer. He will win a libel lawsuit against the Daily Mirror for implying that he is a homosexual.) [16]
  • Madalyn Murray O'Hair (Atheist whose lawsuit will end Bible reading in government schools.) [17]
  • George Wallace (As governor he will "stand in the schoolhouse door" for state's rights... and segregation.) [18]
  • Jackie Robinson (The first man to break the "color barrier" in Major League Baseball.) [19]

In Other News

  • Charles Ponzi has a great idea for making money. His pyramid scheme will bilk small-time investors out of their life savings. [20]
  • The German Workers' Party is founded. (It's the Nazis!) War hero, Adolf Hitler, gives his first speech to the membership. [21]
  • The 1st US Army coast-to-coast convoy. They must use Indian trails. Lt. Col. Eisenhower dupes the convoy into believing that they are being attacked by Indians. Shots are fired. Thus is born the need for a US Highway system. [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1919, Wikipedia.

Monday, December 19, 2016

History: The Year is 1918

I've uploaded year 1918 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A World Transformed by War and Peace -- Nations are bailing, the Kaiser is sidelined and peace finally breaks out.

The Spanish Influenza Begins in Kansas -- The second wave seems to focus on Spain but the first wave begins in Kansas.

Notable Births -- Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Sam Walton, Paul Harvey, Mike Wallace, Nelson Mandela, Betty Ford, and Nassar.

In Other News -- The first cruise missile, "Wild Bill" Donovan, and the Sedition Act.

A World Transformed by War and Peace

The end of the Great War is characterized by technological innovation, rebellion, and the passing of an lackluster aristocracy. The German "Red Baron" makes his name with 80 victories, many of them in his Fokker (FOCK-er) Triplane until he is shot down by Canadian Roy Brown in his Sopwith Camel. The Ukrainian People's Republic is independent for less than a year. 800 sailors of the Austrian-Hungarian Navy mutiny. Lithuania goes through formal procedures for independence. Russia is tied up in its October Revolution. Estonia declares it's independence and then loses it as German forces advance. Then Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, plus parts of Eastern Turkey become independent. British forces capture Nazareth, Haifa and Jericho. The Kaiser is pushed aside. The German military is now in charge. In one last push before the Americans can overwhelm them, the Germans launch their Spring Offensive, but they outrun their own supply lines. By that time over a million fresh American troops throw their weight against the line and push hard. By November, defeat is certain. The German public is in full rebellion. The German naval leadership is on a "death ride", but German sailors refuse to cooperate. Finally, the Kaiser abdicates and flees to the Netherlands. Germany is a republic. At "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" a truce is declared. It is Armistice Day. Peace talks will begin next year, but generally speaking, this war is over... for now. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The German military retreated in good order which allowed them to contend that they had not been defeated. The German public believed that they had been "stabbed in the back" by the government leadership, the Jews and the Bolsheviks. The antisemitic novel, "The Sin Against the Blood" became a best seller in Germany that year. President Woodrow Wilson imposed his idealistic, progressive will on the Paris Peace Talks. The Versailles Treaty imposed ruinous requirements on Germany, and set up the conditions for World War 2. Armistice Day became a US national holiday. It was renamed "Veteran's Day" in 1954. [13] [14]

The Spanish Influenza Begins in Kansas

If you look up "middle-of-nowhere" in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Haskell County, Kansas. A violent influenza outbreak begins in January or February. Dr. Miner is the county coroner. He reports on the outbreak of flu as "an influenza of a severe type." These are the earliest documented cases. His reports are unusual because flu is not one of the diseases that are tracked nationally, but it strikes so quickly and violently that Dr. Miner feels compelled to report it. The outbreak probably would have burned out there except that several soldiers come home on leave before shipping out. They carry the disease to Camp Funston, and from there it travels to Europe. By May, Madrid headlines are reporting on the deadly influenza outbreak. That is how it gets the name "Spanish Flu". Three to five percent of the world population will be wiped out in the next two years. Most of the deaths will occur in the 16 weeks beginning in mid-September of this year. It hits young adults the hardest by causing an overreaction of the immune system. Elderly people and those with weaker immune systems are safer. [15] [16] [17] [18]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Kansas is one of the proposed sites for the original outbreak, but there are other credible theories on where it might have begun, including Camp Funston at Fort Riley, Kansas, France and even Spain! The disease tracking disciplines of the modern day did not exist back then, so tracing its origins is nearly impossible. Wherever it started, it reached Haskell County, Kansas early on. Today it has a population of less than 5,000. If you think that relative isolation makes you safe from one of these pandemics, think again.

Notable Births

  • Billy Graham (Christian evangelist, spiritual advisor to 3 Presidents, countless Christian pastors and Glenn Beck.) [19] [20] [21]
  • Oral Roberts (First televangelist and founder of Oral Roberts University.) [22]
  • Sam Walton (Founder of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.) [23]
  • Paul Harvey (Radio personality of Paul Harvey News and The Rest of the Story.) [24]
  • Mike Wallace (Correspondent for 60 Minutes and father of Fox News Sunday host, Chris Wallace) [25]
  • Nelson Mandela (Anti-apartheid revolutionary, and President of South Africa.) [26]
  • Betty Ford (First Lady and co-founder of the Betty Ford Center, a drug and alcohol rehab center.) [27]
  • Gamal Abdel Nassar (President of Egypt, will nationalize the Suez Canal, and begin the modernization of Egypt.) [28]

In Other News

  • The first cruise missile is developed. This automatic airplane delivers a bomb, but development stalls when peace breaks out. [29]
  • "Wild Bill" Donovan receives the Medal of Honor. He will found the OSS which will become the CIA. [30]
  • The Sedition Act forbids criticism of the US government. This includes observing that Germany is not a credible threat to the USA. The Supreme Court upholds this law. [31]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1918, Wikipedia.

Friday, December 16, 2016

History: The Year is 1917

I've uploaded year 1917 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The German Plot to Invade the USA -- Really. The public is so outraged when the plan is revealed that it pushes the US into the war.

The October Revolution Begins in February -- The great Soviet experiment begins. You know how it ends.

The East St. Louis Massacre -- This is both a race riot and a union riot. The unions look like turds in this one... big turds.

Notable Births -- John F. Kennedy, Carl Karcher, Arthur C. Clarke and Jane Wyman.

In Other News -- The 100-inch reflector telescope, Rutherford splits the atom and the Lions Club is founded.

The German Plot to Invade the USA

Seriously. Germany cannot win this war, but they have not yet lost it. Great Britain has cut off Germany's food supply, so the German U-boats need to get aggressive against British shipping, but if they do that, the USA will come into the war. The Kaiser believes that German-Americans will rise up against President Wilson, but German agents within the USA know that this is a mistaken assumption, badly mistaken. The Kaiser also believes that Mexico will fight for Germany due to the recent US acts of war against Mexico, and the threat of Japanese invasion... "The Yellow Peril" as he puts it. (He really thinks this. Honest.) A telegram is sent by German Foreign Secretary Zimmermann to their ambassador in Mexico informing him of their plans and to ask for Mexico's help. In exchange, Germany will help Mexico take back Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. (The Mexicans have their hands full with a civil war right now. They pass.) Meanwhile, the Brits are tapping the telegraph lines. They decode the Zimmermann Telegram, and through intrigue, pass it on to the USA. It is published, and the public goes wild. A lot of German pubs in the USA suddenly change their names to "The Swiss Gardens", if you know what I mean. It's war! [1] [2][3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It has been difficult not to shout vulgar words during these history segments. These guys sound insane, but we are the product of those who survived.... those who were less insane. When it became clear that the German Navy was kaput, the admirals (mostly old-time aristocrats) planned to go down in a blaze of glory. The German sailors didn't like that plan. Now you know why so many people have disdain for the aristocracy. Don't get me wrong. The aristocracy has it's place. Preferably some place cool and dry, and out of the sun. [5]

The October Revolution Begins in February

  • "Rivers of blood," they say. Let us analyse this aspect of the question as well.
--Lenin in 1917, comparing death through revolution to death in a senseless war. [6]
It is February. Over a thousand locomotives lay dormant, their boilers frozen and burst at the seams. The Russians on the home front (a new turn of phrase) have had enough. Food strikes, and work strikes have turned into riots. The people want bread, and meat and a life! Their military has been tossing young lives away like leaves in an autumn wind. Well... winter has come. Time's up. Emperor Nicolas the 2nd orders his troops to clear the streets of the rioters, so the St. Petersburg garrison is called out: 170,000 young men... farm boys, really. Their officers are unknown to them being mostly transients recovering from war wounds. The order comes to fire into the crowd. One regiment refuses. Another turns its rifles on the officer and shoots him instead. It's mutiny. By March 12th the streets of St. Petersburg are deadly quiet. 25,000 troops have joined the rebellion. By nightfall that number more than doubles. The Emperor orders the suspension of the Duma (that's the parliament) and edges out the door. The Duma judges that law and order have been suspended... therefore... the Emperor's order is invalid! Duma rules! The city is in the hands of the revolution... sort of. [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You'd think a little revolution would be enough, but the Duma attempted to maintain Russia's previous obligations... like fighting in the war. Bad move, Duma. The Russians held their ground, but refused to advance. It was chaos. By October, V.I. Lenin had returned to Russia. The Duma's hope was that Lenin could lead the people to a new republican form of government like the United States, but instead of calming the crowds, he wound them up to a fever pitch. They don't call it "Red October" for nothing. The resulting civil war left almost 3 million dead. By 1922, the Soviet Union was formed. It was the greatest experiment in government since the American Revolution. Yes. I know. Socialism doesn't work, but at the time it was untried, it looked good on paper, and they wanted something different real bad, and that is what they got... something different... and real bad. [11]

The East St. Louis Massacre

This is the year that was. World War 1 has caused a boom in manufacturing. The Europeans need everything, and they need it now. But the USA is joining the war, so most able-bodied young men are signing up for the military. The factories need workers, so they hire black laborers looking for better pay. The unions, which are mostly white, see the black labor force as driving down wages. The unions block membership of blacks, but a man's gotta eat. That means a man's gotta work. Many black men become strikebreakers. So, with this background in mind, a car rolls through the black neighborhood of East St. Louis, Illinois, and fires into a crowd of black people. It's a drive-by shooting. The occupants of the car are identified as white men. An hour later, another car drives through the neighborhood. It is filled with white men too. Shots are fired into the car killing one police officer instantly, and mortally wounding another. The white community is outraged. They march on the neighborhood, setting fire to everything and clubbing down anyone who tries to escape. In the end, 312 homes are burned. Thousands of black men, women and children are left homeless. The exact death toll cannot be determined, but most people think it was around 100 to 150 black people killed and 9 white. [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Union leader, Samuel Gompers, attempted to say that it was not unions that were to blame but the evil factory owners who were enticing black workers North. This is somewhat like blaming the victim. I say "somewhat" only because someone fired into the second car. That was not self-defense. That was murder. However, the reaction of white people thereafter was vicious. Frankly, most people across the country were outraged. After all... the United States was sending young men to Europe to save democracy and establish freedom "over there" while black people could not walk down the street in peace in America. The irony was not lost on most people... like Teddy Roosevelt, for example. He was torqued off at Gompers.

Notable Births

  • John F. Kennedy (President of the United States, and assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.) [3]
  • Carl Karcher (Founder of the Carl's Jr. Restaurant chain, he starts by hocking his car to buy a hotdog stand.) [15] [16]
  • Arthur C. Clarke (Sci-Fi author who states, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.") [17] [18]
  • Jane Wyman (Actress and 1st wife of President Reagan. Rumors that she is really Jane Wyatt are false... though I've never see them together. Hmmmm.) [19]

In Other News

  • The 100-inch reflector telescope is installed at Mount Wilson, California. Unfortunately, the light from the city of Los Angeles will become a problem later on. [3]
  • Rutherford splits the atom. It had to happen. He also discovers the proton and names it as such. [20] [21]
  • The Lions Club is founded. "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else." --Melvin Jones, founder of the Lions Club. [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1917, Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

History: The Year is 1916

I've uploaded year 1916 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Rasputin Is Dead! Wait. He's Alive! -- The Russian mystic gets one to the head. It's all going to hit the fan now.

The Slaughter of the Innocents -- The Battle of the Verdun and the Somme will kill millions rather efficiently. (shudder!)

4 Reasons Why the USA Will Enter the War Next Year -- Essentially, promises made that could not be kept... and a telegram that went where it wasn't supposed to go.

Notable Births -- Roald Dahl, Betty Grable, and Kirk Douglas.

In Other News -- Bayano oil swindle begins, Margaret Sanger opens the 1st birth control clinic, and the Rose Bowl Games begin.

Rasputin Is Dead! Wait. He's Alive!

Let's make sure he is dead. BANG! He falls to the floor, but it's not enough. The poison didn't kill him. The bullet to the chest didn't work, so a final bullet to the forehead puts him down for sure. Right? Just in case, they tie him up and dump him in the river. His body is found days later. The autopsy concludes that he did NOT die of drowning. (I guess the bullet to the head did it.) Was he a zombie? No. He was a peasant mystic. He frightened most people, but Empress Alexandra of Russia believed that Rasputin was the only man who could keep her son alive. In fact, he had saved the boy's life a number of times, but his very public sexual shenanigans and obvious influence over the royal couple have turned the people against Emperor Nicolas and his German wife, Empress Alexandra. Russia is in a life-and-death struggle with Germany, so designating Alexandra as regent while the Emperor is away on a military inspection has people wondering about German collusion, sorcery, sexual promiscuity, and whether the heir to the throne is really Rasputin's son. (Probably not.) But Rasputin's death comes too late. The damage is done. The 20th century is about to hit a major speed bump with the Russian Revolution. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
If you saw a picture of Rasputin, you might believe that he was one of the undead... or played lead guitar for ZZ Top. He seemed to perform miracles, but these so-called miracles had logical explanations, such as his advice, "not to let the doctors bother the boy overmuch". In those days, doctors were less helpful than one might have hoped, though they were doing better than their predecessors. Whatever Rasputin was doing, he kept the heir to the throne alive while the doctors were failing. Once Rasputin died, the heir followed soon thereafter. As a couple, Nicolas and Alexandra seemed nice enough, but as leaders they had failed their people utterly. As a result, millions died in the Great War, and even more millions died with the creation of the Soviet Union. [6] [7]

The Slaughter of the Innocents

Just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse... it gets worse. The Battle of Verdun is a change in tactics. The gloves are off! (What the "F" did they think they were doing before this?) The normal tactic is for the guns to "soften up" the invasion route (thus advertising the invasion route) and then stop to allow the invasion to proceed. Of course, everyone knows this, so the other side immediately moves forward to block them. This time is different. The Germans wait for the Allied troops to move forward, and then blast the area again. Trees and pieces of bodies launch into the air. As with most battles of World War 1, the Generals fail to take advantage of breakthroughs, and it turns into a battle of attrition. With almost a million dead, the Generals do what is natural. They try it again 6 months later. The Somme (SUM) offensive is an attempt to break the stalemate on the Western Front. (It always is.) It will be the bloodiest battle of the 20th century. Almost 20,000 British soldiers are killed the first day. In 6 weeks a million men lay dead... at least they look like men... pieces of men anyway. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Forgive me. It's awful. I know, but if you can believe it, I'm leaving out the really bad parts. I recommend reading the book by Peter Hart, "The Somme" which contains first-hand accounts from survivors, or at least they survived long enough to write a letter or two back home before they were killed. They read like good-bye letters because that is what they are. They knew they were dead men. They were even taught how to kill their fellow soldiers should they be wounded. "No sense in lingering," goes the logic. Very few men could kill their buddies even while they begged for relief from their suffering. [11]

4 Reasons Why the USA Will Enter the War Next Year

  • March 24th: President Wilson demands that Germany never sink vessels with Americans on board. This looks like a pretext to force the USA into the war, but historians are not sure of Wilson's intent. [12]
  • July 22nd: The San Francisco Preparedness Parade in support of joining the war is bombed, killing 10 and injuring 40. [13]
  • July 30th: The armory on "Black Tom" Island is blown up by German agents. The explosion damages the Statue of Liberty. Tourists are now blocked from entering the torch. Also FDR will round up the Japanese during World War 2, saying, "We don't want any more Black Toms." [14] [15]
  • January of Next Year: This sounds like a joke, but the Germans plan to invade Texas. Even though they promised not to sink shipping with Americans on-board they might have to do it anyway, so they telegram Ambassador Zimmermann in Mexico with instructions. He is to ask Mexico to threaten the US-Mexico border to keep President Wilson distracted. In exchange, Germany will help Mexico take back Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Fortunately, Mexico will tell Germany to stuff it, but the British have the line tapped. The Zimmermann Telegram will be passed to Wilson who will publish it and the reaction of US citizens will be explosive. [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
According to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, if Germany had held off the U-boat attacks for a couple of months, The USA would not have come into the war. Russia was about to crash in a revolution. That changed the whole dynamic. But the Germans didn't wait, probably couldn't wait any longer, so we'll never know. [17]

Notable Births

  • Roald Dahl (Author of "Matilda," and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.") [18]
  • Betty Grable (The #1 pin-up girl of World War 2. Her legs will be insured for 1 million dollars.) [19]
  • Kirk Douglas (Actor who recently celebrated his 100th birthday! He is also the father of actor Michael Douglas.) [20]

In Other News

  • Leo Koretz (korits) begins his Bayano oil swindle. Investors will beg him to take their money. [21] [22]
  • Margaret Sanger opens the 1st birth control clinic in the USA. It will become Planned Parenthood. [23]
  • The Rose Bowl Games begin. The 1st game was in 1902, but from this year forward a Rose Bowl football game will be played every year. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1916, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

History: The Year is 1915

I've uploaded year 1915 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

War Made New and Terrifying -- A lot of people die through technology.

The Armenian Genocide -- A lot of people die the old fashioned way.

Notable Births -- Captain Midnight, Les Paul, and Frank Sinatra.

In Other News -- A prototype tank, "In Flanders Fields", and the KKK is reborn... in film... and later in reality.

War Made New and Terrifying

  • What in God's name are those things?! WHAT ARE THEY?!
--A German NCO in the midst of exploding shells. [1] [2]
  • This is not war. IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!
--Indian-British solider in a letter to his father. [2]
The dead lay everywhere, in pieces or whole, rotting for days, or months. The smell cannot be described. It is death simply to raise your head above the trenches. Most men are wearing cloth hats. Helmets are just coming on line. Helmet or not, when the order comes, over the top you go, to live or die. That is frightening enough, but imagine that you are in the 2nd line, seeing what just happened to the first. The whistle sounds. It's your turn now. Death is the end of suffering. Shells arrive in waves. The battlefield is awash in metal and poison gas. By treaty, gas is forbidden, but millions are dead already... so... the Germans wait for the wind to be right (if such a word can be used) and pull the tops off the canisters. The gas creeps along the ground like the Angel of Death, claiming lives as it flows by. Some men run from the shelling. They call it "shell-shock". Later they will call it "battle fatigue," but the officers call it cowardice. Hundreds of soldiers are lined up and shot for desertion. No mercy. The French start rotating their troops out of the trenches, but how much more of this can the troops take? For those of us commanded to die, the whistle sounds. For king and country, over the top we go. [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The battles of World War 1 were actually much worse than I'm describing here. The Second Industrial Revolution brought more than prosperity. It created an infrastructure that allowed large armies to be fed, clothed, armed and rearmed to the point where the complete destruction of a nation became possible. Bureaucracies broke down under the strain. Economic collapse was imminent, but it just didn't matter. For them, there was no tomorrow... but we know that tomorrow came. What emerged was ugly, bitter, disillusioned and building up for a second round. The next time will be different. It always is. [5] [6]

The Armenian Genocide

The killing of Armenian Christians has been going on long before World War 1, but when the Ottoman Empire (mostly modern day Turkey) sides with Germany, it all comes to a head. Russia is at war with Germany and traditionally, Russia has been an ally to Armenia. A lot of Armenians have escaped the persecution by the Muslim Turks, and joined the Russian army. Now the Russians are sending their ethnic Armenian units to beat the tar out of the Turks. It feels good to the Armenians. The Turks? Not so much. One more background item: secret negotiations are in progress to carve up the Ottoman Empire after the war. It's called the Sykes–Picot (sikes PEE-ko) Agreement. Whether the Turks know the secret or not, they'd have to be idiots not to have guessed. So here we are. A large Armenian population exists within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. They look like a 5th column ready to join the Russians (because they are). As the war rages, the Turks decide to move the Armenians to Syria... millions of Armenians, on foot with whatever they can carry. If you are asking yourself, "How did they feed these people?", you have noticed one of the problems. The other problems are murder, rape, pillaging, and beheadings. The number of Armenians that will die is unknown, but figure around 600,000 for this year alone and 1.5 million over all. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was it intentional? It depend on what you mean by "intentional". The Ottomans of the time knew what would happen when they tried to move so many people at once. I'm leaving out a lot of the horror, but pictures exist, and credible, non-Armenian, non-Turkish witnesses reported on the death marches. It was a major catastrophe. Whether the death marches were organized specifically to kill off the Armenians is still debated. Look. I'm Jewish. Millions of my fellow Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany. They are sorry. I'm sorry. We are all F-ing sorry. Let's move past it now. We will not forget. Never that, but their sons didn't do it. Don't get me wrong. I'm watching the son carefully, but his sins are his own as are mine.

Notable Births

  • Richard Webb (Actor, best known as Captain Midnight. I actually met this guy... and he cared!) [13]
  • Les Paul (Musician and inventor of the solid-body electric guitar.) [14] [15]
  • Frank Sinatra (Singer and actor. I liked him in "Guys and Dolls" and "Von Ryan's Express".) [16]

In Other News

  • England produces "Little Willie," a prototype tank. It's not ready for prime time, but it's coming along. [17]
  • "In Flander Fields" is published. "In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row..." [18]
  • "Birth of a Nation" is released. This film about the KKK will be screened at the White House. (That is, Woodrow Wilson, Democrat.) [19] [20] [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1915, Wikipedia.

Friday, December 9, 2016

History: The Year is 1914

I've uploaded year 1914 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The War to End All Wars is Here -- A few words to give context to the start of World War 1.

Death to All Tyrants... or Maybe Just Death -- A Serbian assassinates Archduke Ferdinand.

Better Off Losing -- With almost a million dead, the French might have done better losing this round.

Notable Births -- Yuri Andropov, Joe DiMaggio and Alec Guinness.

In Other News -- Babe Ruth, the last Passenger pigeon and Goddard patents his multistage rocket.

The War to End All Wars is Here

Just a few words before we begin. This generation has been running at a furious pace believing that success is within their grasp. They're good enough; They're smart enough; and Doggone it... they don't give a CRAP what you think! [1] The safeties are off. All the governors have been released. Then it happens. For years world leaders have been dropping like flies to assassin's bullets, but something has changed. Mutual defense treaties (some of them secret) have been signed recently. Otto Von Bismark's cradle-to-grave social programs and his building power base frightens everyone. Serbia has been harboring separatists who are spoiling for a fight with Austria-Hungary. HOWEVER, the coming war is not the fault of a single leader or terrorist group. At any point the public could call a halt to the coming war, but they are no more willing to back down than their leadership. They call it "The Great War" or "The War to End All Wars". Millions are going to die. It's going to happen, and it will be more horrible than you can imagine. I mean that. [2] [3] [4]
Here we go.

Death to All Tyrants... or Maybe Just Death

The Great War will begin with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a disgruntled Serbian. Is the Archduke a tyrant? He's not a lot of laughs, but seriously, no. Not really. Is the assassin an anarchist? Maybe. In any case, he is one of six assassins planted along a prearranged and advertised motorcade route. One of the assassins throws a bomb, but it bounces off the car and injures others. On their return, the Archduke and Duchess want to visit the injured people at the hospital, but their driver never gets the memo. He follows the original route. One of the assassins is still in position, but he figures the operation is blown. Then the Archduke shows up, five feet away! The assassin steps up and fires twice. The Duchess is hit. The Archduke takes one in the neck. His last words are, "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!" But Duchess Sophie is dead. The Archduke will be following soon. The assassin is 19 years old... too young for capital punishment. He takes a cyanide capsule, but it doesn't work. He tries to shoot himself, but witnesses wrestle the gun away. He will spend the rest of his life in prison... which will be another 4 years. He will die of tuberculosis. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A metal plaque marks the spot today. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip (gahv-ree-low prin-sip), is considered a hero by the Serbians. They are considering restoring the home of his birth. [9]

Better Off Losing

Archduke Ferdinand is dead and a Serbian did it. It's war. Austria-Hungry is allied with Germany, and they know that if Serbia is hit, Russia and France will jump in to save them. France's Plan 17 calls for fast, deep strikes into Germany, so, logically speaking, the Germans must hit France first before the Russians bite the Germans in the... uh... rear. It will do no good to roll into Paris victorious if the Russians are burning Berlin behind them. To outflank the French forces, the Germans march through Belgium which has a mutual defense treaty with Great Britain. (Oh... Oh...) England makes vague noises, but as the German forces reach the Belgian border, the British unleash. The Germans are riding the tiger now. (That is, once you get on the tiger, there is no getting off until he is dead... or you are.) Certainly, the Belgians know they are dead already, so they open up with everything they've got. Bodies pile up like cord wood, but the Germans keep coming. The Belgians and the French are trying to buy time so that the Russians can save them. Indeed, the Russians are mobilizing more quickly than anyone expected... almost as if they were fully mobilized already... because they were. But the Russian forces are mauled by Hindenburg. 250,000 Russians are dead or captured. This isn't working out like it was supposed to, but if one side or the other could get one solid hit in... well... that's not going to happen. France wins this round, but by the end of the year 955,000 Frenchmen will be dead, and that is just for starters. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I highly recommend Dan's Carlin's 6-part series entitled "Blueprint for Armageddon". It is worth the time, and as of this writing, it is free. One other point...the war seemed romantic and exciting to these farm boys, but it became less so from this point on. [15]

Notable Births

  • Yuri Andropov (Chairman of the KGB and General Secretary of the Soviet Union's Central Committee.) [16]
  • Joe DiMaggio (Center-fielder for the Yankees and best known for his 56-game hitting streak.) [17]
  • Alec Guinness (Actor best known as Obi-wan Kenobi from the Star Wars movies.) [18]

In Other News

  • Babe Ruth makes his Major League debut. He pitches a winning game for the Red Sox. He also meets his first wife. [19]
  • The last Passenger pigeon dies. They once filled the skies. You shot in their general direction and you were bound to hit several. [20]
  • Goddard patents his multistage rocket. He also patents liquid rocket fuel. [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1914, Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

History: The Year is 1913

I've uploaded year 1913 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

It's a Duesy of a Car -- The Duesenberg company is established. It will regulated out of existence during the Great Depression.

The Sudden Suicide of Diesel -- Rudolf Diesel takes a flying leap. I talk about the recent settlement of VW over violations of diesel emission standards.

Limitless Government -- Dear God, whatever did we do to deserve this? It starts with Woodrow Wilson and rolls downhill from there.

Limitless Banking  -- Dear God, now I see. The Federal Reserve is established.

Notable Births -- Richard Nixon, Jimmy Hoffa, Rosa Parks, and don't forget: Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, and Jessie Owens.

In Other News -- Mahatma Gandhi, the Geiger counter and Henry Ford brings the assembly line to his factory.

It's a Duesy of a Car

The Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company is open for business in Des Moines, Iowa. The two brothers, Frederick and August Duesenberg, are building racing cars and marine engines, but by the 1920's they will be producing luxury automobiles. The Duesenberg will earn the distinction of being the "Rolls Royce" of American cars... the very best that money can buy in terms of luxury, quality of design and materials. Soon "It's a Duesy," will describe anything that is the biggest and/or the best. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So Rolls Royce is still around. Where is Duesenberg? One could say that the Great Depression did them in, but what really did it was government regulation. With crushing poverty across the nation, the government felt compelled to free up resources to help the poor. This presumed that somehow when a rich person bought a set of fabulously expensive tires for his Duesy that some poor guy was denied tires for his Model T Ford. Government regulators turned to experts to craft new regulations... experts that were hired by Duesenberg's competitors. In time the Duesy was edged out of the market. And that was how the phrase "It's is a Duesy!" was replaced by "It's the Cadillac of its class". Now the term "Cadillac" is being edged out. Obamacare was enacted to regulate the high cost of medical care. The people with "Cadillac Insurance Plans" are heavily fined. (They don't call it a fine, but it is a fine.) Soon, all that will be left will be "Model T" plans that most doctors will not accept. Look for a Duesy of a shake up. Only a few insurance companies will be left standing, and the doctors accepting those plans will be sporting tattoos and smoking heavily.

The Sudden Suicide of Diesel

Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, has disappeared. He boards a steamer in Antwerp for a business meeting in London. He takes a late dinner and asks for an early wake-up call. The next morning, Dr. Diesel is not in his cabin. A quick search reveals an overcoat left neatly folded near the after deck railing. 10 days later, a fisherman pulls a body out of the sea. With heavy weather coming he must abandon the body, but he collects a few items from the pockets. Diesel's son identifies them as belonging to his father. Later speculation suggests that Diesel was murdered for selling secrets to the British, but it is more likely that he committed suicide due to financial losses in real estate speculation and in the stock market. He leaves his wife about £1,000 pounds sterling or three-quarters of a million dollars in 2015 money. While this is a considerable amount to go on with, his patents had come into question which drove him into a deep depression... just as the diesel engine was starting to to replace the steam engine. [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In order to comply with "clean diesel" standards, certain German companies have gamed the emission tests. Just like the tests for the best video card, CPU or internet download speed, these car companies have programmed the automobile computers to notice when a test is being run, and then tweak the engine parameters to produce the best emission results. The engine runs terribly for the purpose of actual driving, but for the emission test, it's golden. It's also illegal. We are talking about emissions 40 times the legal limit. As of July 2016, Volkswagen has agreed to a settlement of 14.7 billion dollars for US violations alone. I doubt I'll see a dollar of it. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Limitless Government

Well... here we are. Woodrow Wilson has been elected President of the United States on a platform of expert domestic management. No foreign entanglements are on the horizon, so its all about fixing the USA. Yes, we can. The old Constitution was good enough for the 18th century man (read is morons) but in the 20th century we need something modern. We can trust the voters to get it right, We can build a government based on science and run by experts... socialism-lite, so to speak. The Constitution limits the power of taxation, but with the ratification of the 16th Amendment our limits are gone! The Feds can tax the income of individual citizens mercilessly... oh... I mean fairly. After all, if you are making too much money, you should be sharing that extra income with your fellow citizens, whether you like it or not. The 17th Amendment is also ratified this year. It allows Senators to be elected by the people rather than be beholden to the state legislature or the governor. Now we have a second House of Representatives promising bread a circuses to the masses... oh... I mean looking out for the little guy. (Sure, Wilbur.) Anything else? Yes. The U.S. Federal Reserve System is established. I knew there was a reason to fear God's justice. Next up... Prohibition. [12] [13] [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
To be fair, these guys really believe that this is the right course for the future of humanity. The fact that we know these boneheaded bigots have just placed our heads into the jaws of a lion should not blind us to that fact. What worries me today are the measures we are implementing today that we are CERTAIN are correct and that our children's children will curse us for. Without granting forgiveness, we cannot expect forgiveness in return. With that in mind, "May my children forgive me as I have forgiven my father and my father's father. I reserve the right to criticize my father's actions while understanding that every man sets out to do what he think is right... or at least reasonable."

Limitless Banking

Remember that earthquake that flattened San Fransisco? It caused a world-wide financial panic. Why? Well.. a lot of insurance companies had to pay off, and believe it or not, insurance companies do not exist to pay off your claims. They are like banks. They hold your money in reserve, investing it in other businesses while trusting that you won't need it back any time soon. So after the Great Earthquake, there was the Great Payoff with no money left for investment. There was a run on the banks, so the banks issued script, like casino chips, redeemable in limited locations... like... one location... the bank. J.P. Morgan tried to save the financial system. It wasn't enough. This year, President Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) pledges to reform the banking system. Traditionally, Democrats have despised a central bank, but Wilson thinks it can work. They change the name to "The Federal Reserve." (This is like a Socialist switching to the Democrats. Only the label has changed. It works the same when Libertarians become Republicans.) Now they must convince the man of the common people, the one-and-only, William Jennings Bryant. He is an intelligent man, but he admits that he doesn't fully understand this Federal Reserve system. He eventually signs off. On December 23rd, Wilson signs the bill into law. The financial markets are free... free to do good... free to do bad. The possibilities are limitless... either way. [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I hate Woodrow Wilson almost as much as I hate Satan.. close call... yet I cannot assign Wilson the total blame. Republicans were four-square behind the idea. The bankers met at Jekyll Island to plan it all out. Their first objective was to kill off the farmer's banks which were draining the New York banking reserves. Is it any wonder that farmers view bankers as little weasels? I know bankers. They are not little, but there is great potential for their inner-weasels to blossom if they are not careful. Running the Federal Reserve (without it spiraling out of control) takes a lot of self-discipline. The generation of the late 19th and early 20th century had a lot of self-confidence. It's not the same thing. I recommend the book "The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve" by Edward Griffin. I caution that the 2nd half of the book gets into conspiracies which, I think, do not hold up. Nevertheless, the author clearly notes where he is speculating, so I'm still recommending it. [17]

Notable Births

  • Richard Nixon (Vice-president and President of the United States. I voted for this guy. Hey! I was young.) [16]
  • Jimmy Hoffa (Union leader who will go missing... very likely "sleepin' wit' da fishes".) [17]
  • Rosa Parks (A black woman who forces a legal case by refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man.) [18]
  • And don't forget: Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, and Jessie Owens... zoom!!! (Owens' Olympic feats are the subtext in the movie, "The Book Thief") [19] [20] [21]

In Other News

  • Mahatma Gandhi is arrested. The Indian Passive Resistance Movement has begun. [12]
  • H. Geiger introduces the Geiger counter. It detects radiation by counting individual alpha rays. [12]
  • Henry Ford brings the assembly line to factory production. He is not the first, but everyone is scrambling to catch up now. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1913, Wikipedia.