In 1861, Confederate negotiators James Mason and John Slidell narrowly escape Federal arrest on the British mail packet RMS Trent but unfortunately their steam-powered exo-skeletons fail and Yankee sailors from the USS San Jacinto fish them out of the sea. A cursory inspection of their Dixie-logoed Head bags soon confirmed the sinister nature of their secret mission: to travel to London to seek diplomatic recognition for the Confederacy.
The Mason and Slidell SkankInfuriated by the combination of American disrepect and the humiliation of British technology failure Queen Vic pens an angry letter to Union Prez Abe Lincoln (pictured). Fortunately, Bert the Prince Consort was able to exert a moderating influence and when his missus wasn't watching he made a single character change in the opening sentence of the letter from "p*ssed" to "dissed".
Nevertheless, tensions continued to rise and lighter than air dirigibles were placed on standby in Britain and France. This international crisis soon threatened to escalate the American Civil War into a general conflict between the Steam Club of Great Nations. But after several weeks of tension and loose talk of war, the crisis was resolved when the Lincoln administration released the envoys and disavowed the actions of Charles Wilkes, the Captain of the USS San Jacinto. No formal apology was ever issued. Mason and Slidell resumed their voyage to Britain but failed in their goal of achieving diplomatic recognition. And nine months later at Antietam, Bob Lee's men were overwhelmed by Union soldiers equipped with fully functioning steam-powered exo-skeletons.
In 1939, during the course of an annual speech at the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall in Munich commemorating the failed putsch of 1923, Führer Adolf Hitler was instantly killed by the explosion of a large bomb placed by Johann Georg Elser in a column behind the speakers podium.
Beer Hall Putsch, ReduxThe Führer's downfall was entirely due to lax security which had been mishandled by local party strongman Christian Weber rather than Reinhard Heydrich. Incredibly Elser had managed to stay inside the Bürgerbräukeller after closing hours each night for over a month, during which time he hollowed out the pillar behind the speaker's rostrum, and placed the bomb inside it.
Of course the assassination occurred at the oddest moment imaginable. Germany had invaded Poland, and although this action had triggered a declaration of war from Britain and France the allied powers had not yet intervened in the fighting in any meaningful or committed way. This was contrary to the Franco-Polish military convention; instead of assistance by the promised full mobilization within three days, the Polish Government had been bitterly disappointed by the Saar Offensive. This half-hearted attempt saw eleven French divisions cautiously advance along a twenty mile line near Saarbrücken against weak German opposition.
As a result of this collective loss of will, opinion in Europe was deeply divided. Either those eleven divisions would rapidly begin advancing, or perhaps members of the Allied Government would reveal their true colours by seeking a negotiated peace.
In 1948, on this day American scientists finally succeeded in reverse engineering the anti-gravitation technology that had enabled the Nazi leadership to escape from the New Swabia base in Antartica before it was destroyed by an atomic bomb dropped from the B-29 "Sally Jupiter" of the 509th Composite Group.
Die GlockeDie Glocke ("The Bell") was a top secret technological device conceived by the Nazi scientist Hans Kammler. At the Wenceslaus mine by the Czech border his team successfully developed a test rig which had the appearance of a tall thin thermos flask a meter high encased in lead and containing red mercury. Not only had the goal of anti-gravity propulsion been achieved, but a concave mirror on top of the device provided the ability to see images from the past during its operation.
Fortunately, a film of that remarkable test had been smuggled out by an Allied double agent. The consequence was the momentous decision by FDR to abandon his demands for an unconditional surrender, and offer the Nazi High Command safe passage to Antartica.
The further development of secret weaponry then tempted the Fuhrer to resume hostilities. The result was the Battle of Antarctica which ended in the nuclear destruction of the Nazi base. Of course the Allies were unable to pursue the Nazis to the Moon base. The flipside was that the Nazis still needed a regular supply of red mercury from earth. Having developed their own UFO, the Allies decided to starve out the Nazi Moon base by intercepting the supply chain. The result was a frenetic series of UFO battles fought particularly over the North American continent. The Second World War had ended its final phase..
An article from the Nazi UFO thread.
In 1942, in the beginning of the darkest hours of the Second World War, the ill-fated 1942 invasion of the European mainland began on a sunny, mild day.
Operation Sledgehammer Begins The week prior to the landing had been one of changeable weather, and Allied Command had been nervous about weather upsetting the Channel waters. On the 5th, an inch of rain fell in London, which made ground commanders nervous about the ability to move tanks and trucks while pilots hoped air fields and visibility would be clear. On the 7th, as if Mother Nature were welcoming the invasion, temperatures climbed into the 50s (12+ C) and dried the soaking land. In the early hours of the 8th, Supreme Commander Allied (Expeditionary) Force Dwight Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for the invasion.
The operation had very nearly not happened. As late as the Second Claridge Conference in July of 1942, Prime Minister Churchill was firmly against the idea of an assault on the heavily defended northern shore of France. He recommended instead that the Allies attack through North Africa, striking at the "weak underbelly of Europe" to take on Hitler's weaker allies in Vichy France and Italy rather than the Third Reich itself. His main argument against a massive assault was that Britain simply did not have the resources necessary in supplies, transports, and aircraft.
Against him was US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor had thrust America into the war, but many felt that resources should be spent seeking revenge on Japan in the Pacific theater rather than Roosevelt's call to destroy Hitler, the instigator of the war. With Americans fully invested in Europe, FDR would further hush naysayers who said we were fighting the wrong enemy. In March of 1942, FDR wrote Churchill that he was "becoming more and more interested in the establishment of a new front this summer on the European continent, certainly for air and raids... And even though losses will doubtless be great, such losses will be compensated by at least equal German losses and by compelling the Germans to divert large forces of all kinds from the Russian front".
The Russians were thusly extremely interested in a second front in Europe. If Hitler were caught in a pincer movement, or even distracted by air raids such as FDR suggested, the bloody Eastern Front would take great relief. Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov visited the UK and insisted on aid as soon as possible. He was rebuffed in London, but his visit to Washington proved much more supportive. Eventually, however, diplomatic squabbling settled on the side of the US and Soviets, and Churchill begrudgingly readied his country for another great fight after surviving the Battle of Britain in 1940 and terrible Blitz in '41. He was at least able to postpone the invasion until the late autumn, using the disastrous Dieppe Raid on August 19 as an example of the vicious resistance the Allies would face.
Allied Command determined that the only possible method of success would be air superiority. For months, air resources were readied on fields in England and even as far away as Scotland while convoys such as SL 125 worked to divert German attention toward the false notion of an African attack. The attack began with bombers with diving torpedoes attempting to clear a path in the mines for landing craft while naval bombardment provided cover and pounded the soon-to-be-captured port of Cherbourg. The landing would be difficult and the resulting fight even worse with urban warfare racking up numerous Allied losses. Thanks to "brute American will", however, the beachhead would be established.
Any plans for a push that winter, however, were cut short when Erwin Rommel was brought back from North Africa, where he had begun a drive to take Egypt, but was cut short by British General Montgomery's counterattack. Rommel took up the Panzer divisions that had waited in Europe for just this moment and attacked the Allied port, narrowly kept at bay with massive casualties by American General George Patton. Through the bitterly cold winter of '42-'43, the Allies and Axis would throw more and more resources into the fray, creating a warzone not seen in France since the bloodbaths of World War I.
The next spring, Operation Roundup pumped more divisions and the Allies finally made a few miles of progress into France. News of never-ending battles beleaguered the war-weary nations with Americans growing firmer on the idea that they had yet again stumbled into Europe's mess. In Britain, which was continually under German air assault in hopes of breaking up Allied supply lines, Churchill was blamed as speeches recalled his responsibility for Gallipoli. A vote of no confidence was carried, and Churchill fell from office despite his historical innocence. Likewise, FDR would be narrowly defeated in 1944 despite the European theater coming to a close. Hitler himself became increasingly frantic, causing many of his ministers and commanders to distance themselves. Mussolini as well as Admiral Francois Darlan of Vichy attempted to work with the Allies, and both would find themselves murdered by the end of the war.
Modern commentators often mention that the real winners of the Anglo-American and German Second Battle of France were the Soviets. Much relieved from German pressure and even victorious at the Battle of Stalingrad with the capture of the German 6th Army, Stalin surged in a counterattack across Eastern Europe and brought the ultimate defeat to Germany by taking Berlin in late 1944. Capturing numerous German scientists and technologies, it would be only a matter of a few years before Moscow began producing its own supersonic V-2 rockets.
In 1916, on this day the dastardly efforts of the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR) to foment an actual Jewish conspiracy were finally rewarded with a breakthrough when time-travelling neo-Nazi Astrid Pflaume persuaded Britain's chief diplomatic negotiator on Middle Eastern Affairs, Sir Mark Sykes to advocate a Jewish National Homeland in Palestine.
Rise of the GZR
Breakthrough in LondonSykes convinced the War Cabinet of David Lloyd-George that the GZR had vast power of influence over both the Bolsheviks in Russia and also the government of President Woodrow Wilson. According to his policy wonk logic, if the British Government embraced Zionism then more belligerent Russian and American war efforts might be encouraged by the influence of the disproportionate number of Jews amongst their respective leadership.
""It was considered that the support which the Jews could give us all over the world, and particularly in the US, and also in Russia, would be a definite palpable advantage" ~ Winston ChurchillThe British Government was sufficiently desperate to give credence to this specious argument because Russia was on the verge of being forced out of the war, and the massive surge of trained American troops in strength appeared to be over a year away. In reality, Leon Trotsky was the only prominent Jewish Bolshevik of note, and Wilson had no sympathy whatsover for the Jewish national home policy.
The active support of America and Russia was unnecessary because Jewish immigration was to be imposed on the Palestinian Arabs by British military power alone. A year later, the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to leader of the British Jewish community Baron Rothschild stating:
"His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".
By that time Rothschild, and the head of the Zionist movement in Britain, Chaim Weizmann had good cause to suspect that the reasons for the growing British interest had little or nothing to do with their declared passion for the Bible and justice for worldwide Jewry. Because in reality all the parties were being manipulated by time-travelling neo-Nazis who had returned from 1968 in order to create the conditions for a thousand-year Reich.
To the delight of Pflaume events now began to move with a sinister momentum of their own. Two years later at the Paris Peace Conference Woodrow Wilson interviewed General Allenby, Chaim Weizmann and others. Yale asked Weizmann what he would do if the British did not support the Balfour Declaration for the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine. Yale said, "Weizmann pounded his fist on the table and the teacups jumped. 'If they don't,' he said, 'we'll smash the British Empire like we smashed the Russian Empire".
Part one of the novel can be downloaded here and continues as a thread on this site.
In 1863, on this day Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Union President Abraham Lincoln met at Mount Vernon, south of Alexandria, Virginia. The former home of George Washington, although dilapidated and still years away from a full restoration, was one of the few places between Richmond and Washington that could be considered neutral ground.
The Trent AffairThe two men exchanged formalities and then signed a truce agreed to five days earlier by representatives of both governments. Orders were immediately sent to the military forces of both sides specifying how and where they were to be disposed for border defense. Although a state of war still existed, the killing was over.
After the signing, Lincoln walked out to the great lawn in front of the house with his Secretary of State, William Seward. "Seward, I have failed the nation. I do not believe we can long survive as a people now". Seward said nothing, for there was no consoling the President when he was in one of his dark moods. But he knew, as did Lincoln, that continuing the war would have certainly destroyed the nation. It was bitter consolation.
A new story by Matt DattiloIn December, 1861, when Abraham Lincoln announced that the Union would not release James Mason and John Slidell, public response in the north was resoundingly positive. Seven months after the beginning of the War Between the States, it was obvious that the conflict would be a long and bloody one. Armchair strategists on both sides had predicted a short, heroic conflagration, but it was not to be. By the end of 1861, thousands lay dead on both sides and although Union forces had experienced some success in the West, the Confederate army seemed to be unstoppable in the East despite having all the material disadvantages on its side. The northern public needed a solid victory and the continued imprisonment of the two Confederate diplomats filled the bill for a time.
As one can imagine, the response to the imprisonment was somewhat sharper in Richmond and London. Jefferson Davis was outraged that two of his hand-picked diplomats had been taken off a neutral ship in international waters with the thin legal argument that the two men were "contraband". Demands for their immediate release were met with stony silence from Washington.
When word of the capture reached London at the end of November, the outcry from both the British public and government was deafening. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston had steered a course of neutrality with the regard to the American Civil War and even though Confederate ships had been granted access to British ports for refit and replenishment, the war was officially considered an internal matter in which the British Empire would not interfere. In private, though, those knowledgeable of the situation on the other side of the Atlantic considered Confederate victory simply a matter of time. In addition, Britain had strong economic ties to the southern states because of the empire's unquenchable thirst for cotton. In 1860, almost 80% of the southern US cotton crop had been bought by dealers from England. While other sources of raw cotton were available, America was the closest source and the widespread use of slavery on cotton plantations kept prices competitive. With those advantages in mind, many cotton purchasers in England could look the other way when the morality of slavery was discussed.
It was Christmas Eve, 1861 when word of Lincoln's statement concerning Mason and Slidell reached London. In an emergency cabinet meeting the next day, Palmerston called for the reinforcement of Canada with British regulars and the bolstering of the North America and West Indies stations of the Royal Navy with ships culled from the Home Fleet and Mediterranean Squadron. The meeting ended with discussion of a final question: should Britain formally recognize the Confederate States of America and, if so, should military and financial aid be considered? It was a bold proposition and one sure to put the United States on a war footing with England, but as Palmerston put it, "Are we going to let what has been considered an internal issue change how the world recognizes the rights of sovereign nations?"
In the end, it was Washington's lack of response which brought the matter to a head. In February, 1862, the same month in which Lincoln's son Willie died at the age of 11, the British minister to the US, Lord Lyons, asked for a meeting with the President. Lincoln was in mourning, and while Lyons was aware of this he thought the issue of enough importance that he should be granted a meeting without delay. However, Lyons had the unfortunate luck of meeting face-to-face with Secretary of State William Seward, who promptly dismissed Lyons' request as inappropriate. Feeling that he had been treated in a manner not conducive to good diplomacy, he returned to London for consultation, leaving his subordinate in Washington.
For Lord Palmerston and, subsequently, Queen Victoria, this was the last straw. On April 11th, 1862, Britain formally recognized the Confederate States of America and extended the new nation an essentially limitless line of credit. London also declared the blockade of southern ports illegal and stated that any interference with British merchant vessels or warships by ships of the U.S. Navy would be considered an act of war. By the time this declaration reached Washington, the first ships full of rifles and cannons were already crossing the Atlantic.
Although 19th century strategists would not have used the term, Lincoln faced a no-win situation. In 1861, the U.S. Navy consisted of fewer than 80 warships, almost none of them of modern design. A year into the war, most of the ships on blockade duty were lightly-armed converted merchant ships. The British Royal Navy, however, had the largest battle fleet in the world and while it was not the incredible force which had fought Napoleon 50 years earlier, it was more than a match for anything that could be sent to challenge it. If Lincoln ordered the blockade to be enforced against British shipping, a shooting war would quickly develop between the US and British navies, a war that would soon spread to the North American continent.
However, failure to block the British merchant ships and their escorts approaching the ports of the Confederacy would essentially end the blockade and ensure that the South's army was well provided for. The Union had an advantage in manpower, but the rebels had shown, at least so far, that they had the advantage in military leadership. And so Lincoln's option were thin: start a war with the British that his nation could not hope to win under the present circumstances, or allow the Confederacy to be supplied from Europe, a situation that would change the nature of the war.
The truce signed at Mount Vernon in March, 1863 and the treaty signed later that year in London divided the United States into two separate nations. The border states (Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland) were allowed to decide by popular vote which nation they wished to join. All three joined the Confederacy. One important concession won by the Union was the creation of West Virginia, an area of Virginia that was strongly pro-Union. As of January 1st, 1864, the new nation consisted of 14 states. Texas, by far the largest, stretched from the southwest corner of Missouri to the eastern border of southern California. The agricultural heart of the nation remained in Union hands.
The intervention of the British into the Civil War was a mixed blessing for the Confederacy. British arms and financial support helped bring about the truce that ended the war in the South's favor, but that support came with a heavy toll. In helping to ensure the creation of the CSA, the British Empire gained what it had lost 80 years before: a largely agrarian society dependent on British imports of finished goods, some of them made with the raw materials purchased from Southern farmers. While the Union continued to grow what would become the world's largest industrial base by 1900, the Confederacy remained mired in rural stagnation.
Slavery continued in the CSA until 1880. The trans-Atlantic slave trade ended in 1807 and never resumed. Since the United States was under no obligation to return escaped slaves who made it across the Ohio River and other border crossings, a lively escape business developed in which abolitionist groups paid Confederate residents to help slaves escape to the US. While the British officially complained to the US government about this, in practice they paid the controversy nothing but lip service. Most Southerners did not own slaves and many disliked the institution. 16 years after the Treaty of London, the last slaves were freed by a vote of the Confederate Congress.
In 1904, Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was elected President of the United States; it was the 44th anniversary of his father's election to the office for a single term.
Southern Integration, Northern SecessionThe elder Lincoln, Abraham, had yielded to the South after long argument and implemented a slave code that brought slavery to New Mexico, Arizona and Cuba by the start of the 20th century.
The North was also irritated at the Southern mode in keeping the Slave State delegation the size of the Free States by the measure of splitting themselves. Texas was now five states (North, East, Central, South and Pecos) and Florida, Alabama and Georgia now came as North and South States. Abraham Lincoln had gone down to defeat by John C. Breckingridge of Kentucky. Horace Greeley had been the next Republican President elected in the wake of a corruption scandal. And the third Republican President had been Ambrose Bierce of California.
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln had won the Presidency largely because Democratic President Alton B, Parker had gotten mixed up in a stockyards scandal yet got nomination for a second term anyway. Lincoln acquired 50.85 percent of the popular vote, and scored surprise electoral vote wins in Virginia, Tennessee, North Alabama and Cuba.
In the address he made to an audience in Chicago on election night, "Tad" Lincoln said: "My father, Abraham, did predict that this country could not endure half slave and half free, but we know that the weight of office and the principle of compromise brought slavery some additional land and more Slave State senators by the division of Southern states.
How can we outlaw child labor or provide a decent subsidy to the colonization programs which elderly slaves are entrusted to? How will a modern road system be financed when half the Senate approves gravel roads smoothed by local slaves? When will labor unions be recognized under federal law?
Friends, I see the solution as Secession. We, the non-slave states. ought to separate from the Slave States which have a malign influence in
our daily affairs. With our own Congress, we shall have our own majority to do what comes natural to us, unhampered by the slaveholders.
And to my supporters in Virginia, Tennessee, North Alabama and Cuba, who voted for me knowing what I thought of slavery, I welcome you to the new Union I propose to form. Any state that is within twenty years of emancipation by the plan they have adopted may join the new Union I suggest".
In 1832, over a month before John C. Calhoun resigned the Vice Presidency to join forces with his rebellious comrades in South Carolina, agents provocateurs of Her Majesty's Government secretly arrived in Charleston Harbour, triggering a sequence of events that would lead inexorably to a rematch with their nemesis from 1812, the "Old Hickory" Andrew Jackson (pictured).
"Disunion by Force", 1833 Crisis Part 1 by Ed. & Scott PalterBecause the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Marquis Richard Wellesley - elder brother of the Duke of Wellington - was intent on "the dissolution of the American Confederacy, which I think would be a great benefit to the civilized world".
"The dissolution of the American Confederacy would be a great benefit to the civilized world" ~ WellesleyOf course the biggest driver for dissolution was purely economic. Because high federal tarrifs might be good for protecting Northern manufacturers from imports, but they were frankly disasterous for the cotton and rice planters in the South who depended on export trade. Worse still, secession was an unspeakable word in Washington, because the loss of the southern states would cost the Federal Government millions in lost revenue.
Invoking a strict interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, South Carolina nullified the tarrifs, infuriating President Jackson who believed that the State was about the destroy the Union. Soon enough Jackson would be dispatching a warship, the Natchez, to Charleston Harbour, to extract - if necessary by force - federal tarrifs from merchant's warehouses.
The War would soon be joined, and yet the conflict would take a shape few anticipated. Because the State of South Carolina overestimated its support in the south. "By the God of Heaven, I wil uphold the law!" ~ JacksonAnd Andrew Jackson was determined to fight, predicting that "I expect soon to hear that a civil war of extermination has commenced. When everything is ready, I shall join them myself". The President was also secretly pledging to arrest Southern leaders, and hang them.
Starting with the hero of the South. Because already medals were being issued, with the clandestine assistance of British agents provocateurs, emblazened with "John C. Calhoun, First President of the Southern Confederacy". In the words of Daniel Webster, America faced "Disunion by Force".
The Story Continues in Part 2
In 1521, on this day Emperor Moctezuma II received the young nobleman Hernan Cortes in peace, hoping to get to know the Conquistadors weaknesses better and to crush them later.Mexico City Founded
Shortly afterwards, Cortes large Spanish Army besieged then raised the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.
Many of the priests and Aztec soldiers preferred to die rather than surrender to the Spanish. To quell any resistance, Cortes demolished building by building, using the rubble to fill in the city's waterways that had served as streets in the manner of Venice.
It would prove a fatal mistake for the Conquistadors who would be massacred themselves - for under the city, they disturbed the demon Mictlantecutli.
The surviving Aztecs would build Mexico City upon the ruins of Tenochtitlan.
In 2001, on this day Lexington wrote in the Economist ~ THIS has been a truly remarkable week for President Al Gore. The Taliban is in full retreat in Afghanistan.
Al Gore discovers himselfVladimir Putin has agreed to scrap more than two-thirds of Russia's nuclear weapons, fulfilling a dream that Mr Gore has cherished since he first went into politics. And Congress stands poised to pass a giant stimulus package. No wonder the president's approval rate stands at a stratospheric 87 percent.
An article by LexingtonIt seems almost churlish at such a time to bring up the little matter of the 2000 vote. But after last November's disputed election a consortium of conservative newspapers, led by the Washington Times, decided to pay for a recount of all the Florida votes. A million dollars of Richard Mellon Scaife's money and thousands of man-hours later, these Republican geniuses have proved what we all knew already: that the election was damn close. If Mr Gore had followed the advice of some of his more cynical advisers and concentrated on counting the votes in just four Democrat-controlled counties, rather than doing the honest thing and calling for a recount of all the votes in the state, he would have lost to George Bush."After September 11th, Al Gore at last realised what God put him on earth to achieve"
Can you imagine it? Mr Bush has gone into semi-retirement in Austin, his limited abilities as Texas's governor taxed by a legislature that meets only every other year. But the mere thought that he might have been president sends shivers down the spine. This is a man whose idea of foreign travel was to visit a barrio or two when he wished to appear "compassionate", and who would have conducted foreign policy from behind a Maginot Line of missiles. There is every reason to believe that, after September 11th, a President Bush would have struck out blindly at Osama bin Laden, perhaps even using nuclear weapons.
Which all goes to show how sensible the American people were to choose a man with real experience. Mr Gore has brought a remarkable set of skills to the present crisis, honed by a lifetime in politics and eight years in the vice-presidency. His "golden Rolodex", as one commentator has called it, has been invaluable to his building of a grand alliance against terror. He used his close personal relationship with Mr Putin to bring a reluctant Russia into the war, fundamentally changing the whole pattern of geopolitics. He used his ideological ties to Tony Blair, forged at many a seminar on the Third Way, to turn Britain into a bedrock of support. It is fair to say that Mr Gore has not one secretary of state but two: the indomitable Richard Holbrooke and the ever-loyal British prime minister.
The mention of Mr Holbrooke points to another extraordinary fact about the Gore presidency: the quality of the people he can call on. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr Gore has the entire brainpower of the country, from Washington think-tanks to the Ivy League universities, at his disposal. And there are few brains as acute as the secretary of state's.
Mr Holbrooke is one of the most experienced diplomats in the business. Mr Gore credits him with getting Germany wholeheartedly to join the anti-terrorist campaign, thanks to his time as ambassador there. But in some ways Mr Holbrooke still has to come into his own. The very qualities that make the secretary of state so unpopular in polite circles-his abrasive self-importance, his absolute confidence that he is right on matters big and small-make him a giant when it comes to negotiating with primitive warlords. He knocked heads together with extraordinary success in Bosnia; he will do the same thing in Afghanistan.
Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle
Mr Gore's extraordinary knowledge of Washington has been more of a mixed blessing in two other areas. The first is military strategy. The president has been a military buff ever since he became a congressman back in 1977. But his encyclopedic knowledge of warfare-and his iron belief in his own abilities-have inevitably led to clashes with the Pentagon. The generals grumble that Mr Gore wanted to control where every bomb was dropped, and that the result was a much more hesitant start than necessary to the war.
On the home front, Mr Gore was furious at the way the anthrax outbreak threw his administration into confusion. He could not understand why the Centres for Disease Control did not know more about the illness. He was apoplectic when he discovered that the FBI did not even know which laboratories in the country were licensed to produce the stuff. Yet his decision to put himself in charge of a special task-force has failed to produce results. Even more unsatisfactory has been his handling of the question of airport security. His remarks that those Republicans who oppose federalising security workers are "Neanderthals with the blood of the American people on their hands" is hardly likely to produce compromise.
Mr Gore's habit of micromanaging events is clearly his biggest weakness: a weakness that has been made worse by the decision to put Vice-President Joseph Lieberman (who had aroused much wrath on the Arab street because of his Jewish background) into a permanent secret location. But all this pales into insignificance beside Mr Gore's secret weapon during these dark days: his discovery of his true self.
The strongest criticism of Mr Gore has always been that he does not know who he is. Throughout his career, he reinvented himself to suit the mood of the times. In his first run for the presidency, he presented himself as a champion of the business-minded New Democrats; in his second run, he campaigned for the people against the powerful. All this left the impression that he had no hard centre, but was simply playing at politics in order to appease his father's ghost.
All this changed on September 11th. The collapse of the twin towers gave this extraordinarily restless and energetic man the task he has been seeking all his life: the war against terrorism. Al Gore at last knows what God put him on earth to achieve.
In 1970, one full year after their embarrassing 1969 Western Division playoff loss to the British Columbia Lions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were eliminated from the CFL postseason in the first round for the third consecutive year. This time their executioners were the Calgary Stampeders, who walloped the Bombers 51-12.
Winnipeg head coach Jim Spavital resigned the next day.
On this day in 1941, Japanese dictator Hideki Tojo rejected Konev's surrender demand, vowing Japan would fight the Red Army to the last man.
In 1994, Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas is defeated for re-election by Republican Mike Huckabee.
A significant factor in Clinton's defeat is the whiff of scandal still clinging to him in the wake of his failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination two years earlier.
Clinton had sought the support of former President Edward M. Kennedy in his gubernatorial run, but Kennedy, wary of being tainted by association with Clinton's alleged financial and extramarital misconduct, had turned him down. Clinton and many of his supporters will be convinced that Kennedy's denial of support tipped the scales in the election. This belief will embitter Clinton toward Kennedy, whom he had previously admired.
Republicans make significant gains in both the House and the Senate, but, thanks to aggressive campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates by President Sam Nunn and Vice-President Bill Bradley, fail to capture control of either one.
On this day in 1973, opening arguments were heard in the trial of accused serial killer George Stark, a.k.a. 'the Lawnmower Man'.
Leading Stark's defense team was a former Bible salesman-turned-celebrity attorney, Greg Stillson; before the Stark trial was over rumors would begin to circulate that Stillson was almost as unstable as his client.
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys improved their 1970 NFL record to 8-0 with a 23-20 home win over the New York Giants.
In 1960, in one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history, Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy defeats Vice-President Richard M. Nixon. Kennedy, whose campaign slogan is 'Let's get this country moving again,' has spent the month since Leonov's suborbital flight suggesting (very carefully, as President Eisenhower remains hugely popular) that 'lethargy' on the part of Ike's administration has allowed the 'Reds' to outrun the U.S. in the space race despite the fact that America was the first to place a satellite, the famous Mickey, in orbit back in November of 1954..
In 1836, elections for Congress and state legislatures are held. Under the Constitution, however, the new Congress will convene in December of the following year, meaning that a lame-duck House and Senate will decide the fiercely disputed presidential contest. Reformers have urged for years that Congress establish a more reasonable date for convening, as the Constitution grants it the authority to do by legislation. Members, however, have refused to yield what amounts to a free extra year in power for incumbents defeated at the polls.
In 1988, Representative Jack Kemp wins the U.S. presidential election, defeating Democrat Richard Gephardt.
The election has been a roller-coaster, with President Gary Hart, once considered likely to win re-election in a walk, instead forced to drop out of the race after the embarrassment of the Donna Rice episode, Gephardt emerging seemingly from nowhere to capture the Democratic nomination in the President's place, and the Republicans jolted by the surprisingly powerful candidacy of television preacher Pat Robertson.
In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy wins the U.S. presidential election, beating Republican Richard M. Nixon by the narrowest popular-vote margin in modern times. Nixon supporters will claim for many years that Kennedy won with the help of vote fraud in Chicago which supposedly swung the state of Illinois his way and thus gave him the election. Kennedy backers will deny this and counter that even if Illinois had gone for Nixon he would still have lost in the electoral college. Kennedy's victory is marred by the fact that, by narrow margins, the GOP retains control of both House and Senate. The new president will face a hostile Congress.
In 1969, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were knocked out of the CFL postseason in the opening round for the second straight year as they lost to the British Columbia Lions 25-22 in the first round of the CFL Western Division playoffs..
In 1994, the Republican Revolution began as the GOP assumed control over Congress and the Judiciary in Washington, D.C. The struggle began during Congressional elections, when results turned out very unclear, and the Republicans simply began assuming office as if they had won. This didn't sit well with the Democrats, and open fighting broke out in the streets of the capitol.
In 1988, Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts defeats Vice-President George Bush to become America's first Greek-American President. Dukakis owed his victory to a pair of fairly vicious attack ads he launched against Bush after Bush tried to make him look silly for riding in a tank; after all, that had been Dukakis' job when he was in the army. The first ad showed Bush's wife Barbara as the young woman George married, followed by a current picture of her, and asked if he planned on doing the same thing to the country. The second ad showed Bush in meetings with several dictators and asked if he was seeking their advice on running a country. Although it wasn't a high point in American politics, it was effective - Dukakis won with 57% of the vote, and an electoral landslide of epic proportions - all 50 states.
In 1904, Communist James B. Weaver of Iowa wins the presidential election against Socialist Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt and Weaver also battle it out in the election of 1908, with Weaver winning again. Roosevelt split with the Socialists after that and joined the Progressive, or 'Bull Moose' Party, for whom he was the presidential candidate in 1912.
In 1895, Dr. Wilhelm Roentgen discovered a new form of light, which he dubbed X-Rays. Practical use of this discovery in medicine was considerable, but it became wildly popular in the 1960's when J. Edgar Menkin devised a set of glasses that used the principles of X-Radiation to actually see through people's clothing! Menkin became a millionaire overnight.
In 1864, incumbent president Abraham Lincoln's political career became a casualty of the Civil War as he was defeated by General George McClellan of the Democratic Party. President McClellan finished the Civil War halfway through his term, but rebels in former Confederate territory continued to plague the Union for decades to come.
In 1789, Elijah Craig, a farmer in Bourbon County, Kentucky, tried to make an alcoholic drink by distilling fermented corn. Craig claimed to love the drink, but few others did, and moonshiners in the country stuck with more traditional grain from then on.
In 1656, British astronomer Sir Edmund Halley was born in London. He made many important discoveries during his life, including naming a comet, but his greatest achievement came late in life when he was able to verify the Mlosh's claims to come from outer space, and to use their equipment to observe and visit space himself.
In 2007, with both former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in exile, Imran Khan stepped up the pressure on the military government of Pakistan by announcing 'If we do not struggle against this, [Musharraf] will take the country towards destruction.'
A 'long march' was announced, due to start the following Tuesday, 13 November, from Lahore to Islamabad, Khanher unless key demands were not met.
launching the Beer Hall Putsch, Adolf Hitler led the Nazis in a successful attempt to overthrow the German regional government in Munich. He soon discovered the insanity of his greatest supporter, former Prussian General Erich von Ludendorff. Having suffered a nervous breakdown
over the German defeat in 1918, and furious over his dismissal and flight to Sweden, Ludendorff had been unstable in the half-decade since he had been Quartermaster General of the Imperial Germany Army. However, he was by now worshipping Norse Gods in his back garden and praying to Wotan. Ludendorff and Hitler fell out. Ludendorff reportedly sent a telegram to his former boss, President von Hindenburg: 'By allowing Hitler to administer Munich, you have handed over our sacred Bavarian City to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I prophesy to you this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation. Future generations will curse you in your grave for this action.' The Wooden Titan acted on his former subordinates trusted advice and sent Freikorps Units into Bavaria. They dissolved the Nazi government and imprisoned Hitler where he wrote the book 'My Failed Struggle' before suiciding in 1924.
In 1941, the RAF plane carrying reactivated Colonel T.E. Lawrence to Cairo flew over the Mediterranean. His mission was to 'turn' the Egyptian Officer Cadre who were leaking signal intelligence to General Erwin Rommel. The 'Keys to Rebecca' would be used to lead the Afrika Corps into an ambush before they could overrun North Afrika. Privately, Lawrence doubted the plan - for personal reasons also. Churchill had said rightly that he was neither a young man, nor a well man. He was fifty-odd, and only half the man that had survived the motorbike accident at Clouds Hill.
In 1944, on this day Charles Augustus Lindbergh was elected for a record third term as President of the United States of America.
1944 Election (President Lindbergh)The United States presidential election of 1944 proved to be more competitive for the incumbent President Lindbergh than the previous election. Lindbergh's signing of the 1938 Non-Aggression Accord with Germany had proven to be less popular than he'd expected, and after the Pearl Harbor attacks in late 1941, the president had been forced to engage in limited military action with Japan only.
Several Democrats jumped into the race to succeed him, with somewhat conservative Southerner James F. Byrnes winning out. Byrnes tacked to the left in the general election, arguing in favor of working with the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany. Still unwilling to go to war, however, the voters re-elected President Lindbergh by a comfortable margin.
In 1917, on this day 40th President of the United States Howard Keel was born Harry Clifford Leek in Gillespie, Illinois.
Howard Keel finds his VoiceThe son of a coal miner, he had, by his own admission, "a terrible, rotten childhood". His father was a drunk, who abused his son and killed himself when Howard was 11. His mother was a six-foot, "buck-toothed" tyrant - a strict Methodist, who regarded any form of entertainment as an invention of the Devil. Howard grew up mean and rebellious, with a fierce temper.
He found early employment as a car mechanic and during the war worked for five years with Douglas Aircraft. By the age of twenty he had moved to Los Angeles where he found expression for his blue collar rage in the Democrat Party. It was just the beginning of a forty year career that climaxed in his election in 1980. By then, a series of political missteps had brought the country to a cross roads but it was Keel's booming voice that provided fresh hope for a glorious socialist future.
In 2012, on this day John Andrew Boehner was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
Tragedy on East Randolph StreetAs the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Ohion was second in line in accordance with the Presidential Succession Act. If there was grim irony to be found in the fact that Boehner was a Republican, then there was a further twist in that his fellow Ohions had narrowly voted Democrat.
Of course the succession had been triggered by the red-state secessionist terrorists who blew up the DNC Headquarters on East Randolph Street, tragically killing President Obama and Vice President Biden as they appeared set to gain re-election. Because despite their waiver-thin margin of victory, their support had been galvanized by a coalition of minorities.
In 2012, on this day the State of Ohio disallowed enough provisional ballots to put Mitt Romney "over the top".
Post Partisan President Mittens in by a Whisker
by Ed & Scott PalterThe irrefutable electoral logic was that no Republican Candidate had ever won without Ohio. And of course President Obama had been widely expected to win because of the "auto bail-out" which had assured the long term future of automobile companies in the Mid west.
For these reasons the Democrats refused to accept the result, claiming a racial bias in results legally termed as disparate impact. However the United States Supreme Court found for the Republicans in a 5-4 vote that followed a party line vote. It was an inauspicious start for the man aspiring to be America's first post-partisan President.
In 1764, on this day the Pennsylvania Assembly dispatched Mr Benjamin Franklin to London so that he might seek an agreement whereupon
the Penn family should sell their holdings to the Colony.
This post is an article from the Midshipman George Washington thread.
Midshipman George Washington #4This most famous of Philadelphians had turned to politics as a second career after retiring a wealthy man by the age of forty-two. With his younger ally the twenty-six year old lawyer Joseph Galloway, he founded the Assembly Party that dominated the Pennsylvania Legislature (Galloway was closely associated with Philadelphia's most affluent merchants who feared that independence would threaten trade). That body soon began to call for a royal charter granted by the crown and a chief executive appointed by the king.
Arriving in London dressed in a blue suit with elaborate gold braid and buttons, his personal gain from royalization was unmistakeable. He would return to Philadelphia as the newly appointed Royal Governor of Pennsylvania, and his chief justice would of course be none other than Joseph Galloway.
During the visit Franklin had also been consulted by the British Cabinet on the sensitive issue of colonial taxation; he had offered the terribly misinformed advice that indirect taxation would be considered acceptable by his countrymen. A letter from a friend warned that "People have imbibed the Notion that you had a Hand, in the framing [of a parliamentary tax on America]", whilst his wife sent a message informing him that a dangerous mob had gathered menacingly outside their new house in Philadelphia.
When war between Great Britain and the Colonies broke out, Franklin and Galloway were seen as the most hated loyalists in America. Years later in exile in Montreal, Franklin would still rage at his countrymen, "Bone of our bone ; born and educated among us!".
This is an alternate ending to Robbie Taylor's Canadian Revolution thread which ends with the Revolution Founding Fathers living in Exile in Montreal continuing to plot against the British Empire.
In 1972, on this day Richard Nixon's cynical attempts to disparage his opponent with the belittling acronym RFK ("Rich Fat Kid") came to nought because voters narrowly elected Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy to serve as their 38th President of the United States.
Triumph of the Rich Fat KidLess than eight weeks after burying his brother Robert, members of the Democrat Party had tried to persuade the Senator to run for Vice Presidential on a Humphrey-Kennedy ticket. The candidate himself was unable to win a private audience with Kennedy but kept dropping hints in public about what a fine fellow his good young friend from Massachusetts was.
He had reluctantly determined that at only thirty-six years old, he was too inexperienced and would prefer to stand for Senate Majority Whip, which would still require him to become the youngest person ever to serve in that position. But the party would not take no for an answer, hinting that he would fail to muster support for Senate Majority Whip if he declined the Vice Presidential candidacy.
In the event, he chose to keep Robert's campaign ideas alive and agreed to run. But they narrowly lost on a knife-edge vote to Nixon. Elected to the post of Senate Majority Whip as he originally wanted, the Senator was then forced to wait another four years for another shot at the White House, but this time as the Presidential Candidate.
In 1730, in a punishment that was fitting of the iron-willed Prussian king but proved to be too much, Crown Prince Frederick died from what was officially declared "fever".
Crown Prince in Prussia Dies during Imprisonment Historians as well as contemporary scholars disagreed what "fever" meant, whether a brain hemorrhage from stress or legitimate illness. Another theory stands that the prince might well have killed himself. Some even suggest a conspiracy to assassinate a would-be foppish king before he could ruin his throne.
The matter at hand was something of a youthful dreamer's ideal of escape from an authoritarian father. Frederick was born January 24, 1712, and was eagerly welcomed as a surviving heir second in line to his grandfather, Frederick I, the first King in Prussia.
One of many states within the aged Holy Roman Empire and a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Poland, Prussia sat at the southern shore along the Baltic Sea with several scattered territories separated from one another by Poland and various other German dukedoms and principalities. Although devastated in the Thirty Years War with invasions by the Swedes and riotous counterattacking armies marching up from the south, Prussia had gained greater strength over the latter seventeenth century. They were liberated from Poland as a buffer for Sweden in 1657, and further gains were made as native coal became an increasingly valuable resource as well as the issuance of the Edict of Potsdam in 1685 that welcomed Protestants, especially encouraging Huguenots expelled from France, to transplant to Prussia, bringing valuable wealth and skills with them. In terms of joining the War of Spanish Succession against France, the Duke of Prussia was allowed by treaty to upgrade himself to king, and the new title "King in Prussia" was born despite Prussia not being a true kingdom as it was still an electorate under the Holy Roman Emperor.
Thus, in 1701, Frederick I would crown himself king. Bubonic plague would ravage the country a few years later, but the capital at Berlin would be spared and from then on would stand as a centralized point of authority. Frederick William I came to the throne shortly after his son Frederick's birth and, only months later, his father Frederick's death. He continued efforts to improve Prussia and was soon nicknamed the "Soldier King". Establishing effective bureaucracy and creating a modern, professional, standing army, Frederick would prove an able leader and oversee the defeat of Sweden as a world power through the Great Northern War. He added territory to the small kingdom and forcibly included aristocracy into the army, giving seriousness to warfare that was often considered a "gentleman's sport". Frederick William was notably spartan, thrifty and calculating, and not participating much in art, except in military display, where he sent proclamations throughout Europe seeking the tallest men for a unit known as the "Potsdam Giants".
Prince Frederick, however, thrived in the arts. His father gave him no aristocratic tutors, demanding his children would be taught as "simple folk" with pragmatism and religion. Frederick sought the company of his sister Wilhelmina and comfort of his gentle mother rather than facing the austere temper of his father. Frederick William (himself terrified of not being among the Elect) attempted to block Frederick from Calvinism. Frederick firmly held onto the tenet of the Elect while being otherwise irreligious, causing many to think he was spiting his father.
The greatest spite, however, was Frederick's plan to escape his father's weight and flee to Britain in 1730, where he would be welcome in his uncle George I's court to pursue philosophy and music as he pleased. He and his friend Lieutenant Hans Hermann von Katte planned to slip away along with a contingent of other junior officers. Word leaked of the escape, and Katte and Frederick were captured. His father determined to deal with them as would fit a soldier. Katte was found guilty of desertion by trial and given life imprisonment, but Frederick William announced that both would be executed under treason law. Katte was beheaded on November 6, and Frederick was forced to watch until he ultimately fainted and began to suffer hallucinations. The next morning, he was discovered dead in his cell.
His father became distraught. Frederick William had wanted to toughen his son and planned to pardon him in a few days. The last ten years of the king's reign would be spent quietly reviewing the military and ensuring that Prussia would be able to defend itself during the reign of the new heir, Frederick's younger brother Augustus. Augustus became king in 1740, and he worked to keep Prussia free from the potentially disastrous entanglements of the War of Austrian Succession. His son Frederick William II succeeded him in 1758, and the king proved soft: unwilling to put forth great efforts and rather delight himself with simple pleasures, such as good food. After a half-hearted alliance against the French Republic during Frederick William II's term, Frederick William III attempted to clean up Prussia's wasteful decadence, but it came as too little too late when the armies of Napoleon swept across Europe.
After Napoleon, Europe attempted to rebuild, and Austria managed to cut off Russia's attempt at land-grabbing by surrendering claims to Pomerania, land for which Frederick William III's ancestors had fought bitterly. The German Confederation fell under the sway of Vienna, and Austria would be the dominant power of Central Europe over the next century. Troubled times would come in 1848 with waves of revolution, but Emperor Franz Joseph I was adept in granting improved autonomy to the German kingdoms of Bavaria, Hanover, and Prussia. After the Great War at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be broken up, and the three German states would gain independence with Hanover competing with Prussia for political influence in Mecklenburg, but failing. It wouldn't be until 1945 when the Fuehrer would manage to fulfill his dream of a forcibly united German-speaking people from the Rhine to the Danube and Baltic.
In 1986, on this day the beleaguered Romanov regime in Moscow held the Soviet Union's 59th annual Red Square parade commemorating the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Red Square ParadeBesides being the last such event staged in Russia's capital before the Communist dictatorship collapsed, the parade was most notable for the paltry crowds which turned out for the event and the conspicuous absence of much of the CPSU elite; Grigory Romanov himself left midway through the proceedings after being fired on by a sniper who was himself shot and wounded by the KGB while trying to flee Red Square after the attack. Following the attempt on Romanov's life the CPSU ordered Red Square permanently closed to all public gatherings except those officially sanctioned by the CPSU's Central Committee-- an order later rescinded by the new PLM government after the end of the Russian civil war in 1987.
In 1938, Western fears that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin had forged an alliance with the militarists trying to overthrow Mars' royal house were realized when Stalin used the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to announce the Kremlin had signed what he called "an historic accord" with the Martian militarists to receive weapons and technological assistance from them in return for Moscow's support of their insurrection against the Martian monarch.
Part Four of Parley But that was only the beginning of the bad news for the West: just 24 hours after Stalin dropped his diplomatic bombshell, Third Reich foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop set off another one with the news Martian militarist technicians were assisting German rocket scientists in upgrading facilities at the ballistic weapons development complex in the Baltic city of Peenemünde. And two days after Ribbentrop's announcement, the Japanese war ministry accepted an offer from the Martian militarists to furnish the Imperial Army with a new type of improved armor for its tanks and blueprints for a portable heat ray that could be used by its infantry.
These developments prompted the West to accelerate its own efforts to master Martian technology. The most dramatic example of this acceleration was in the United States, where a research and development laboratory was hastily established at the town of Roswell, New Mexico on orders from President Roosevelt's Secretary of War Harry Woodring. CBS Radio producer Orson Welles, who had been responsible for broadcasting the first accounts of the Martians' arrival at Grovers Mill, would be among those in attendance at a White House press conference in late November announcing the laboratory's historic breakthrough in creating an airframe capable of traveling at the speed of sound.
In 1992, on this day the proprietor of the popular jazz cafe Pennsylvania 6-5000 Glenn Miller died peacefully in his sleep at his home in New York City. He was eighty-eight years old.
Miller TimeRight up until the end he was an occasional player too, setting down his little brown jug of alcohol to thrill members of the audience who were in the mood for the big band sound. Of course Miller was there at the birth, touring with his own band up until the American entrance into the Second World War. They disbanded in 1942.
Aged thirty-eight, Miller was too old for the draft but nevertheless determined to play a part in a band making an altogether different kind of music, the wretched cacophony of war. And it was during this period of preoccupation that a clarinetist and alto saxophonist Wilbur Schwartz came forward and suggested an unusual refinement to the big band sound. Essentially the idea of the "sonic keynote" was to have a clarinet play a melodic line with a tenor saxophone holding the same note, while three other saxophones harmonized within a single octave. It was a sophisticated, and potentially innovative suggestion, but at first it just sounded _wrong_ and there was no time to develop it fully.
Before long, Miller found himself serving in the US Army Air Force. Stationed in Great Britain he soon realised that he was now too old to pursue a professional career in music, instead he dreamt of opening a jazz cafe after the war. Wilbur Schwartz was not able to give his idea much further thought either, he was killed during the invasion of Sicily.
And so following his demobilization, Miller returned to the States, and after a short spell settled in Manhattan. He was able to use his military pension to open an establishment which he would ultimately run for almost half a century.
Some nights he would recall Schwartz's madcap idea and by the mid 1960s he began to experiment with the sound again, this time successfully. Because as that crazy Schwartz always used to say, "it dont mean a thing if it aint' got that swing".
In 1860, Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln was passed telegrams shortly after midnight at an ice cream parlour in Springfield Illinois reporting his failure to win an outright majority of free states in the electoral college. The presidential election would now be determined by a states vote in the House of Representatives.
Northern StrategyNeedless to say, the result was an absolute disaster for Lincoln. Having established himself as a national figure during his debates with Stephen Douglas during the 1858 race for the Senate, he had attempted to reverse the outcome of that defeat with the obvious alternative strategy of uttering barely a word during the campaign. In fact one of his few utterances was to predict that only the Republicans could win the election.
Because Douglas had split the Democrat vote at the national convention by committing to a free state's vote on slavery. This suggestion had antagonised abolitionists who sought to prevent the adoption of slavery in the new western states of the Union. At the same time the proposal had angered southern democrats who stormed out of the convention, and promised to back Breckinridge.
Of course Douglas was no fool. He had devised a winning strategy understanding fully that he could not possibly unite Northern and Southern Democrats on a common platform and therefore gain an outright majority in the electoral college. Instead he sought to limit Lincoln's majority by nurturing "fusion" candidates in key states. And the returns from Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut tipped the balance precisely as Douglas had predicted. Because a vote in the House of Representatives would be based on that institution's very different set of democratic calculations, based as there were upon an equitable vote by state where the South was more likely to gain a more positive, negotiated outcome.
In 2009, senior ministers of the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived by helicopter in Ottawa's new "Green Zone".
This Baghdad-style maximum security cordoned area had been hastily constructed over the previous forty-eight hours by elements of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command utilising robot technology.
The War on Terror Plus, Part 6 - "Operation Citadel"
Operational plans had changed dramatically in the two weeks since the first Olympic torchbearers Catriona Le May-Doan and Simon Whitfield had carried the Olympic flame through a crowd of thousands in Victoria. The slow-acting variant of the zombie virus known as "Solanum" that they carried with them was now raging through Canada, unhindered by the 50.4 million doses ordered by Health Canada from GlaxoSmithKline factory in Ste-Foy, Quebec. That order was cancelled in dramatic fashion, because the factory was now a smoking ruin after Al-qaeda crashed a hijacked Air Canada Jet Liner crashed into the production facility.
Prior to that devastating terrorist attack, Stephen Harper's government had devised Operation Citadel in which the then tiny population of Canadian zombies would be securely held in the purpose built Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village. Events had moved on a piece, and instead of building a twenty-first century leper colony, Special Forces were recalled from British Columbia in order to execute an altogether more desperate Operation Citadel. Rather than keeping the zombies in, the future of Canada now depended on these troops fields training in the wilds of Kandahar province in order to keep the zombies out of the Green Zone.
In 2007, the director of The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan made an unexpected offer - would seventy-year old actor Jack Nicholson reprise his 1989 potrayal of the role of The Joker following Heath Ledger's withdrawal on mental health grounds?Surprise reprise
Ledger had been chosen to portray the Joker, whom the actor described as a 'psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy'.
Director Christopher Nolan had wanted to work with Ledger on a number of projects in the past, but had been unable to do so. When Ledger saw Batman Begins, he realized a way to make the character work in that film's tone, and Nolan agreed with his anarchic interpretation.
To prepare for the role, Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the character's posture, voice and psychology.
While he initially found it difficult, Ledger was eventually able to generate a voice that did not sound like Jack Nicholson's take on the character in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film.
He started a diary, in which he wrote the Joker's thoughts and feelings to guide himself during his performance.
He was also given Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth to read, which he "really tried to read [...] and put it down". Ledger also cited inspirations such as A Clockwork Orange and Sid Vicious, which were "a very early starting point for Christian [Bale] and I. But we kind of flew far away from that pretty quickly and into another world altogether. There's a bit of everything in him. There's nothing that consistent," Ledger said, adding that" There are a few more surprises to him".
Bringing the Joker back to the big screen invited a wave of speculation over his depiction. Before Ledger was confirmed in July 2006, Paul Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell, and Robin Williams publicly expressed interest in the role.
Jack Nicholson jokingly expressed anger at not being invited to reprise the part: "You can't believe the reasons things do or don't happen. Not asking me how to do the sequel is that kind of thing," he said". Maybe it's not a mistake. Maybe it was the right thing, but to be candid, I'm furious". After the trailer was released, director Guillermo del Toro and comic book writer Jeph Loeb lavished praise upon Ledger, while Batman: The Animated Series co-creator Paul Dini said, "He seems more street than any other version of the Joker [...] His attitude is mordant and sardonic as opposed to manic [...] No goofy gags or puns for him. This Joker doesn't split sides: he splits skulls". Mark Hamill, who voiced the part on The Animated Series, said "The balls-out debauched psycho approach seems like a great way of reinventing everyone's favorite scary (and scar-y) clown".
Frighteningly close to a complete mental collapse, Ledger had quit the set shortly after filming started. Ledger stated that his role preparation had taken a toll on his ability to sleep: "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. ... I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going". At that time, he told Lyall that he had taken two Ambien pills, after taking just one had not sufficed, and those left him in "a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing".
"It was tremendously emotional, right when he quit" Nolan recalled. "But the truth is, his potrayal was just too Marlon Brando. With Jack Nicholson I feel very lucky to have something productive to do, to have a performance that he was very, very proud of, and that he had entrusted to me to finish".
In 1960, on this day John Lindsay made American political history by becoming the first candidate ever to be elected mayor of New York City on a write-in vote.
Lindsay's first official act was to appoint outgoing mayor Abe Stark as a special consultant on disaster preparedness.
On this day in 1941, Soviet premier Ivan Konev used the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to call for Japan's surrender.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon is re-elected, defeating Senator Edward Kennedy by an even narrower margin than he had won over Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
Nixon's victory would not have been possible without the votes of supporters of George Wallace, whose decision not to run in '72 left them with nowhere else to turn.
Some Kennedy supporters will charge that Nixon and his people rigged the vote, and that Kennedy was the actual winner. However, no hard evidence supporting this claim will surface, and Kennedy himself will refuse to endorse the accusation.
On this day in 1944, Franklin Roosevelt won election to an unprecedented fourth term as President of the United States, beating Republican challenge Thomas Dewey in the biggest landslide in American political history.
That same day in Moscow, as part of ceremonies marking the 27th anniversary of the 1917 Communist revolution, Red Army general Georgi Zhukov was proclaimed a Hero of the Soviet Union for the fifth time, the only Red Army senior officer to be so honored.
|Franklin D. Roosevelt|
On this day in 1962, ceremonies marking the 45th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Communist revolution were disrupted when a clash broke out between pro-Brezhnev and anti-Brezhnev factions of the Red Army.
That same day, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was assassinated in Havana.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon scores a landslide victory over Democratic challenger George S. McGovern, winning re-election with 61 percent of the popular vote to McGovern's 35.
American Liberty Party candidate Strom Thurmond receives five percent of the popular vote. Nixon will win 48 states; McGovern wins only Massachusetts, while Thurmond captures his home state of South Carolina.
The Briggs Initiative followed similar legislation that had passed in Oklahoma and Arkansas, banning gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. It stated that any teacher that was found to be 'advocating, imposing, encouraging or promoting' homosexual activity could be fired.
It was opposed by then-President Jimmy Carter. There were many 'gay Republican' groups and organization through the country beginning in the '70s. The most prominent of these, in 1977 California, founded Log Cabin Republicans, as a rallying point for Republicans opposed to the Briggs Initiative, which for a time was winning in polls conducted prior to the election with about 61% of voters supporting it while 31% opposed it. It was the first attempt to restrict gay and lesbian rights through a ballot measure.
The timing is significant for Reagan because he was then preparing to run for president, a race in which he would need broad support. As Lou Cannon (Reagan biographer) puts it, Reagan was 'well aware that there were those who wanted him to duck the issue' but nevertheless 'chose to chase the swing voter.'
Despite the legend, student worker, Grant Grays, at the Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota Libraries discovered that there was no editorial penned by Reagan but rather he sent a letter to a pro-Briggs Initiative group in which he supported the initiative. The entire text of Reagan's letter of opposition was never printed in the public media. The most extensive excerpts from his statement were reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle of September 24, 1978 where it was revealed that the future President supported the Briggs Initiative.
Reagan's actual letter allegedly stated, in part, 'Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual's sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child's teachers do not really influence this.' Assuming this is true, this was a remarkably progressive thing for a politician, especially a conservative one about to run for president, to say in 1978.
The Briggs Initiative was passed on a marginal vote, it was even close in Briggs' own Orange County. Its sponsors cited Reagan for the victory.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon is re-elected, defeating Senator Edward Kennedy by an even narrower margin than he had won over Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
Nixons victory would not have been possible without the votes of supporters of George Wallace, whose decision not to run in '72 left them with nowhere else to turn. Some Kennedy supporters will charge that Nixon and his people rigged the vote, and that Kennedy was the actual winner. However, no hard evidence supporting this claim will surface, and Kennedy himself will refuse to endorse the accusation.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.