In 517 AD, on this day, the Romano-Celtic High King of Britain Arthur Pendragon defeated Mordred's rebel forces at the Battle of Camlann.
Battle of CamlannThe "Strife of Camlann" was a bitter feud which had begun (as usual) with an act of selfish disloyalty. Because in a bid to gain the High Kingship for himself, his former lieutenant had reneged upon Arthur's trust, striking a bargain with the Saxon invaders instead of defending the northern marches of the Kingdom.
To bait Arthur, Mordred had raided the Court, throwing his wife Gwenhwyfar to the ground and beating her. Fought upon a site of his choosing (pictured), the crooked bank of a river by Hadrian's wall, both armies suffered devastating casualties. At the last, Arthur managed to run Mordred through, narrowly avoding a sword thrust that would almost certain have killed him.
But the bloodbath had fatally weakened the Britons who were easily overcome by the Saxon invaders that Arthur had kept at bay for twenty years. Forced into exile on the Isle of Apples, and his sword Excalibur thrown back into the Lake, he was unable to mount a comeback despite speculation that persisted years after his death.
In 1865, Chancellor Bismarck's arrival in a steam-powered exo-skeleton
upstaged the dirigibles carrying mustachio-twirling German diplomats
and monocled English & French civil servants to the Colonial
Conference in New Amsterdam. Which was to say nothing of the majestic dapperness of the Russian contingent. The Dutch of course were already there. An episode from the Steampunk America thread.
Part 1 by Ed & Jared MyersAlmost inevitably, the "Scramble for America" had created a large number of boundary issues between the European Colonies. Perhaps the most pressing of which was navigation of the Mississippi River, an issue that affected the co-existence of Spain, England and France. Also required was a common approach to liquidating Lee's rebels who were believed to be holed up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia refusing to accept the dissolution of the Union.
But the remainder were in broad agreement that a growth spurt in the European Industrial Revolution spelled domination of the Americas for the forseeable future. Because during the last decade, neo-colonials had reversed the American revolution and re-created a patchwork of assorted states ruled by European Governors. Nothing less than an all-out invasion of the USA by Russia, France, Spain, Britain, Prussia, and the Dutch Republic.
In 2011, Occupy Apple Campus was electrified by the unexpected arrival of a new protestor: Steve Jobs.
Occupy Apple Campus 2
By Ed and Robbie TaylorA near-miraculous temporary recovery from pancreatic cancer had forced the co-founder of Apple to completely re-evaluate many of his core beliefs. After his retirement on medical grounds, he appeared on a number of television and radio interviews, expressing increasingly maverick opinions. This quaint controversy only led to a complete break with the company when he remorsefully admitted to the "soft-bullying" of his subordinates. In a cruel self-parody of his former self, he joked "Thats the most stupid thing I have ever heard!" to express his profound regrets over his business decision to outsource the manufacturing of Apple products to China. That judgement in particular had defined his demonized status an an enemy of the American working man.
Of course Jobs biggest regret of all was delaying medical treatment in 2004 when his medium-term survival prospects were far better. Because he had recently discovered that the cancer was back and he only had months to live. He immediately announced his desire to use the remaining time he had left to become a friend of the American worker. And even though he was a marketing genius, he expressed doubt that he could actually pull off such a complete rebadge. But then he received the fateful call from US blue-collar labour advocate George Lucas inviting him to join the protest in Cupertino. It was a home-spun truism that was driving the campaign of Democrat Presidential front-runner Charlie Bucket with his key platform message - "one day, things will change, and probably when you least expect it". Watch Cheer up Charlie on Youtube!
This article is part of the Blue Collar Fightback thread.
In 1888, on this day the troubled life of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh took its darkest turn as he murdered his roommate and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin.
Van Gogh Murders Gauguin Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853, and suffered a lifetime of mental illness, most based in anxiety and magnified by poor nutrition and alcohol. He described his youth as "gloomy and cold and sterile" in a later letter to his brother Theo. Boarding school troubled him as a student, prompting him to leave abruptly. His uncle managed to find him a position as an art dealer, bringing van Gogh to London where he fell in love with his landlady's daughter. She rejected him, and he fled to Paris, where he lost his job after voicing his opinions that art was not to be treated as a commodity.
A new story by Jeff ProvineAfter stints as a minister's assistant, bookshop worker, and missionary, in 1880, he decided to become an artist in pursuit of God's service. His early work while in the Netherlands was notoriously dark and somber, such as The Potato Eaters with its ugly portrayal of genuine peasants. In 1886, he moved to Paris to study art further, moving in with his younger brother Theo, who had always supported Vincent financially and emotionally despite, or because of, his worries about Vincent's mental health.
Van Gogh's work brightened, and Theo used his art-dealer connections to introduce him to many other artists whose work helped to influence van Gogh's growing styles. After some 200 paintings and two years imbibing and smoking too much, van Gogh sought to leave the city in pursuit of a dream of an artists' colony. He settled in Arles in the south of France, much to the chagrin of locals and, after ten months, persuaded his friend Paul Gauguin to join him.
Gauguin, five years van Gogh's senior, was a man of experimentation and a leader in the Symbolist movement. He held some Peruvian blood and had lived in South America in his youth. After serving in the French Navy, marrying a Danish woman, and beginning a career as a stockbroker, he quit it all in 1885 to paint full time. Gauguin had met van Gogh in 1887, and the two shared similar experiences with depression. In October of 1888, he moved to stay with van Gogh in his famed Yellow House in Arles, beginning a nine-week deterioration of their friendship that would lead into an altercation where van Gogh slashed Gauguin's throat with a razor.
According to interviews, van Gogh immediately regretted his action and attempted to save Gauguin by gingerly holding his throat, but the latter bled to death. Neighbors were roused by van Gogh carrying Gauguin's body into the street and screaming for the police to arrest a murderer. Van Gogh was indeed arrested and sentenced to death, though his brother Theo successfully campaigned (and bribed) for Vincent to be placed permanently into a mental institution. There van Gogh was allowed to paint and was studied by eminent psychiatrists.
Great shock was raised in Paris, London, and Brussels at word of the Murderer-Artist, and galleries were filled with his works, instantly in demand and expensive. Van Gogh had achieved fame, but he remained in horrid mental condition at the guilt of murder. When his brother died in 1891 of syphilis's dementia paralytica (believed from over-celebration at his newfound wealth), Vincent stopped painting and became increasingly suicidal, famously stabbing out his left eye with a paintbrush. After months of interrupted attempts, van Gogh hanged himself by his own shirt.
The shock increased throughout Europe's artistic circles, and the new reaction was that the post-Impressionist style was too much for the human mind. It became unpopular among the wealthy to pay artists to paint unrealistically, just as one would not pay to see dogs fight. Underground galleries continued to show lesser known artistic experiments, but New Realism dominated the art world until the horrors of World War I gave a new call for escapism. Haunting Abstractionism and Surrealism of the Mad Generation exploded across Europe and North America in the 1920s and '30s, which itself would ultimately fall as the pendulum of taste swept back toward realistic depictions in art for the next twenty years.
In 1864, the Confederate House followed the CS Senate and two-thirds the Confederate States in passage of the Emancipation Amendment, which repealed every endorsement of slavery in the Confederate Constitution and established a prohibition against slavery or any sort of involuntary bondage.
Gettysburg Prayer Part Two by Raymond SpeerThe celebration of the Greatest Christmas Present continued in every Confederate State well into the new year of 1865, (Winston S. Churchill's Commentary, 1933.)
When the Confederate Congress returned to session, there were eight different bills of impeachment on file at the House Judiciary Committee to the effect that President Davis ought to be removed from office. It was pointed out that the president had disparaged the guarantees of slavery written into the CSA Constitution, and one complaint went to the core of the issue and declared Davis had gone insane for love of the Negro.
News of the Gettysburg Prayer were passed off as inconsequential by radical Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens, who grumbled that Southerners could admit that they were defeated and be rid of slavery without arguing the issue among themselves. The Lincolns held a reception for
General Grant, who was cheered on the assumption that he would soon take the battle to Lee. But every federal general was either dead (like Hancock) or in a Richmond jail like George Meade (whose nerves were shattered), so it was no easy matter to get a new federal Army ready to try to defeat Lee.
Around Washington DC went higher walls, deeper trenches, new artillery batteries and even telegraph lines to the new entrenchments. Though Lee have famously replenished his artillery by seizure of the heavy guns of the Army of the Potomac, Lee was hardly disposed to strike the fortress that was Washington and so quiet returned to the East theatre of the War.
At the next big battle between the Union and the Confederacy, Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, the South had reinforced its Western Army with Longstreet's Corps which featured Hood's Texas division and Pickett's Virginians. The men of Hood and Pickett co-operated and broke the position of Union General Thomas, putting out of commission the Army that Grant had great plans for.
The British Cabinet voted to offer the two sides in America the services of the British Foreign Officer as mediators to end the ongoing War. Made in the first week of October 1863, the British offer to act as a mediator was rejected by Abraham Lincoln two weeks later even as Davis accepted the proposal. The "People's Militia of New York, the ruffians and hooligans who had dominated the streets in most parts of the metropolis since the Gettysburg-caused shortage of Union regular troops, took up arms again when Lincoln spurned a peace conference and were reduced in urban combat by Yankee arms which encircled the city.
Adroit maneuvers by General Jackson's infantry and General Stuart's horse soldiers permitted the Confederacy to exploit eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey from their base in central Pennsylvania. While Grant used his talents and men to suppress rioters block by bloody block, Lee waited on the strategic periphery of New York, certain that his foe could not take any substantive maneuver against the Army of Northern Virginia.
The great successes of the winter of '63 and '64 were Stuart's rescue of 4,000 prisoners of war from a camp in the far north, and Jackson's candy raid, when Jackson's men had brought to the South so much in the way of supplies that many of the wagons were hauling candy!
Given time illuminated by victories, support grew for implementation of emancipation. Foes of Davis forced votes in Congress on the issue. The Senate gave an emancipation amendment majority support and the House was ten votes shy of a majority, but no one could argue that there was no reasonable support for the deal.
Negroes in gray uniforms were usually in garrisons in Confederate territory and public opinion was galvanized around Christmas when black Confederates near Trenton, New Jersey, atacked and ran off an equal number of federal white troops, who began reciting the Gettysburg Prayer on the field of battle.
In spite of everything, given the size of the Union's edge over the Confederacy in population and in productive capabity, the South still stared defeat in the face at the beginning of 1864.
In 2001, for the second time this Christmas week, President Gore appears on nationwide television. In somber tones, he informs his audience that the Taliban government of Afghanistan has refused to comply with his demands.Final Warning by Eric Lipps
"Therefore", he continues, "in accordance with my responsibilities as President of the United States, I have decided to act, as I promised the American people I would do. I do not consider myself at liberty to divulge what measures are planned. I am sure that those who have made themselves the enemies of this nation are listening tonight along with the American people, and I do not intend to give them advance notice of our strategy. To the extent that our actions may involve the nation of Afghanistan, I again warn Kabul: do not attempt to obstruct our efforts to locate, capture and bring to justice the murderers of September 11. Any such action will be taken as indicating that the government of Afghanistan sides with the murderers, and we will respond accordingly. One final note, again to Kabul: we have chosen at this time not to sever relations with the government of Afghanistan, because despite its non-cooperation we do not now consider it an enemy of the United States. But if any action is taken against our embassy in Kabul, or against its personnel, by the Afghan government or anyone else, we shall consider ourselves to be at war not only with the terrorists of Al Qaeda but with the government of Afghanistan. We shall not allow our concern for the welfare of our diplomatic personnel to be used against us. There shall be no repetition of the nightmare of Iran".
The President's words are, if anything, even more controversial than those of two nights earlier. Many people had expected him to let his 48-hour deadline pass without comment, and without action, while he kept on pleading with Kabul for aid in rooting out Al Qaeda. His words this evening suggest he is not interested in further diplomatic maneuvering, but do not--quite--amount to a statement that he will use military force.
On this day in 1973, the Cowboys' season came to a shockingly early end as the Los Angeles Rams jumped out to a 14-3 first half lead and went on a 37-20 upset victory in the 1973 NFC divisional playoffs. The Rams subsequently beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game to clinch their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
On this day in 1944, the last German occupation troops in Norway left for home; the next day, Norwegian King Haakon V would return to Oslo after over four years in exile.
|Coat of Arms|
|Norwegian Royal Family|
On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-28 in the 1972 NFL divisional playoffs.
In 1905, star-maker Howard Hughes was born in Houston, Texas. Although his family business was in the tool industry, Hughes saw his fortune in Hollywood, and with his acquisition of RKO Pictures in 1948, gave up all interest in virtually every other pursuit. Under his direction, RKO made some of the greatest classics in Hollywood's history, such as Spartacus, The Godfather, and Star Wars. Hughes, who hated flying, died in a plane crash on his way home to his native Houston in 1982.
In 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF is executed at Nuremberg on Christmas Eve. Speaking in exile from Toronto, former British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill pays tribute to Bader. Reprising his 'Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few' speech, Churchill pledges to fight a second Battle of Britain and reconquer the islands from the Nazi occupiers. He speaks at length of his experience as a journalist in the Boer War, drawing comparisons with the relief of Mafeking and Ladysmith in 1900. Britain, he says, has lost some wickets, but the innings is far from over.
In 1979, Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in support of the Marxist insurgents, beginning a nine-year proxy war with the United States. The Al-qaeda government of Osama Bin Laden was finally defeated in 1989 and American allies assisted them in their escape to the caves at Bora-Bora.
In 1914, the 'Christmas truce' begins in World War I as Russian and German soldiers swap cigarettes and chocolate. After its over, the Armies go home and overthrow their respective monarchs.
In 1942, German scientist Werner von Braun tests the world's first surface-to-surface missile at Peenemunde. The Fuhrer gave Braun just sixteen months to deliver a super-weapon. The incredible true story of how he made the deadline, and stopped the war is epically described by the journalist James Herbert in '48
In 1814, the Treaty of Ghent brought peace between the United States and Great Britain. The British, once again, had gotten the raw end of the deal, and were unable to negotiate back the Canadian possessions they had lost during the war. If they had maintained their alliances with the Native Americans, it?s possible that they could have had more negotiating strength, but British arrogance towards the 'savages' lost them a valuable ally.
In 0, a young Hebrew couple, the woman heavy with child, were given shelter in an inn in Bethlehem. The innkeeper, whose wife had just had a baby, took pity on them and gave them his finest room free of charge.
In 1962, more than 1,000 servicemen from the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba returned to the United States in time for Christmas. A rapturous crowd of 10,000 Cuban exiles greeted each new arrival at the Dinner Key Auditorium, on the outskirts of Miami. Police and army cordons could barely restrain the mass of cheering, flag-waving people as they surged towards the buses bringing the prisoners back. US President Richard M Nixon congratulated the men on a job well done. Aslo present for the speech were former President Dwight D Eisenhower, and Richard Mervin Bissell Jr., director of Operation Zapata, the CIA's codename for the operation.
In 1802, a Signore Tolman, was permitted into the presence of Emperor Buonaparte of Italy to inform him of a grave disaster he could foresee with mystic powers. The emperor listened half-heartedly at first, but gave the man greater attention when he showed that he could disappear and reappear at will. Emperor Buonaparte sent his armies to the German north at the stranger's request.
In 1952, Congress is unable to override President Truman's veto of the McCarren-Walter Act. Truman's characterization of the act as 'inhumane' evoked the image of all the Jews turned away from America who went back to their deaths at the hands of the Nazis, and scuttled any chance the bill had of being enacted. This led to charges from the Republicans of being soft on Communism, but even incoming President Eisenhower agreed with Truman, having seen what happened to the Jews in Europe because of bad immigration policy.
In 1994, Algerian extremists hijack a French plane and fly it to Paris, where they blow up the plane, killing all the passengers on board. The horrific spectacle prompts governments around the world to institute new security procedures in their airports. Scarily, this catches many other groups that were planning similar attacks over the next few years, including five groups in the United States who had planned on using large planes as missiles.
In 1974, former UK Lord Lucan was found living under a false name in Australia after apparently faking his own death.
He was detained under an immigration law by Melbourne police at the seaside resort of St Kilda, where he told officers his name was Donald Clive Mildoon. He was due to appear before a magistrate on Boxing Day and it was thought he was being held for entering the country with a false passport.
A colleague in the Lower Chambers of the British Parliament, MP John Stonehouse was feared drowned after vanishing on a business trip to Miami Beach on 20 November. He vanished while swimming in the sea and there was no trace of him but for the pile of clothes he left behind on the beach.
It has emerged he then left the country the following day and travelled between Singapore, Denmark and the Lebanon before returning to Australia around 10 December. Melbourne police's 'dog squad', so called because they hunt in packs, had placed a man under surveillance from 10 December after a tip-off from overseas. Initially identified as John Stonehouse, there are unconfirmed reports they believed him to be the missing Lord Lucan who disappeared after his children's nanny was found dead. The re-emergence of the Lord,on the other side of the world has stunned Parliament and his colleagues at Westminster. A Whitehall source said his future in the House of Lords was uncertain but it is too early in the proceedings to comment on whether he could be expelled.
In 2004, outgoing US President Al Gore pardons his former boss, Bill Clinton, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the many scandals that forced Clinton's impeachment and subsequent resignation.
In 1948, seven former Japanese leaders sentenced to death by hanging at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. Missing are Emperor Hirohito and Prince Asaka who had escaped to the island of Formosa, where they formed an unlikely partnership with Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT government-in-exile to forge the first Asian Tiger in the 1950s using the entire gold and foreign currency reserves of China and Japan.
In 0, Mullah Elijah Rafsanjani continues to search the town of Bayt La (Bethlehem) for the birth room of Jesus. Time is running short now.
In 1783, George Washington is stripped of his title of commander-in-chief of the American Continental Army after he refuses to stop fighting the British. Washington addressed the troops one last time before fleeing to Canada to join its resistance movement against the British, saying, 'I resign with disappointment the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task; which was sabotaged by others' lack of confidence in the rectitude of our cause.'
In 2003, Buckingham Cathedral forbids anyone from filming, painting, or viewing the new star in the heavens through a telescope. Estellians had begun spreading rumors that those who looked closely enough at the star could see that it was the face of God; the Holy Mother Church wanted to dispel such wild fantasies quickly.
In 1968, Dr. Richard Tolman briefly spoke to a group of young comrades in San Francisco, California Soviet. He told them that the space-time continuum was nearing a total breakdown, and warned them to be ready for the coming chaos.
In 1946, Commander of the British Eighth Army Colonel T.E. Lawrence was executed at Nuremberg on Christmas Eve. Lawrence blamed his defeat upon a group of Egyptian officers, headed by Gamal Abdul Nassar, and Anwar el-Sadat, who secretly sided with the Germans, ridding North Africa of Britain's presence. On the prison wall, Lawrence had scribbled a biblical quote from the Book of Proverbs, 9:1: Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars
In 1973, on this day US President James Earl Carter commented publicly on the death of British Primie Minister Enoch Powell the previous day. Yes, it was now time for the Plot Against America to end and leaders to work with Carter to build 'the World that Hitler never made'. No, the Central Intelligence Agency had not executed a drastic and odd resolution to a political situation reminiscent of a deus ex machina. Not to his knowledge at least.
In 47,402 BCE, Telka the Speaker became a great-grandmother as her grandson had his first child, a daughter that Telka named Swikolay. Swikolay became Telka's most constant companion in her later years, and the first leader of the Speaker's Children on Telka's death.
the Ghost Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Ebeenezer Scrooge a wonderful vision of the far future.
In Central Texas Ebeneezer Scrooge witnesses the unbounded joy of the man RAT and his CAT at the arrival of Little CAT. RAT tells Scrooge that something was missing in this harsh world
, but now it is finally fulfilled.
Scrooge says he understands, he really does.
ten thousand people are feared dead after a two-hour earthquake rips through the Nicaraguan capital, Managua
. Fifty years after the Tunguska Impact Event
, the embedded singularity was still creating havoc for the Earth's tectonic plates.
BBC News Reported Jubilation as allied troops leave Suez
. Crowds of Egyptians have poured onto the streets of Port Said to celebrate the withdrawal of American, British and French forces from Egyptian soil. Yesterday's troop departure follows pressure from the Soviet Union to escalte the armed occupation of the region which followed President Abdel Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal. The demonstrations reached a peak this afternoon when a small detachment of the Egyptian Army marched into Port Said greeted by well-wishers waving the national flag and pictures of President Abdel Nasser. Shouting 'Long Live Nasser' and 'Down with [President] Thurmond [British prime minister] Eden and [French PM] Mollet', demonstrators burned American, British and French flags. King Hussein of Jordan has sent a message to President Nasser praising the 'heroism' of the people of Port Said.
In 1944, Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower decorates young Private Eddie Slovik with a Purple Heart and recommends him for a Medal of Honor. Slovik, a young thief in civilian life, had been on the verge of desertion when his unit was attacked in France; he fought off thirty Germans single-handedly, saving the barracks where his men were stationed.
In 1942, comedian Leslie Hope entertained U.S. troops stationed in Alaska. Although the audience loved him, Hope felt that comedy in the middle of a war was inappropriate, and never performed for soldiers again.
In 1912, the Nouvelle Revue Francaise rejects A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, an abysmally awful novel by Marcel Proust. He published the work himself in 1913, but after it met with little success, he committed suicide in his small apartment in Paris, France. The work has since been viewed with a less harsh eye, but it has still never garnered much critical acclaim.
In 4548, the Theater of the Celestial opened in the nominally-Oueztecan controlled land of the Pomo people, in the city of Huitotanango. The great spectacle of Chinese theater soon developed a following on the continent, and theaters were opening up across Ouezteca.
In 2000, outgoing US President Al Gore pardons his former boss, Bill Clinton and the former First Lady Hilary Clinton for the many scandals that forced Clinton's impeachment and subsequent resignation. Why not? - having lost the presidential election to Bush by a landslide, Gore had nothing to lose by then.
In 2008, outgoing US President John Edwards pardons his former boss, John Kerry for the Swift Boat scandals that forced Kerry's subsequent resignation. In particular, the damning statements by former US Marine Jack Smith that Kerry had thrown someone else's medals at the front steps of the U.S. Capital on April 22 1971.
seven former European leaders sentenced to death by hanging at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. Amongst them are Major General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO and Lord Louis Mountbatten. During the trial, the two had written Scapegoats of the Empire of the Sun. In a remarkable episode, the book
was smuggled out of Japan, taken to Port Stanley
in the Falklands Islands for the safe-keeping of the Head of the British Government in Exile, Winston Churchill.
whilst driving in Center Lovell
, Maine, agent of the random
Bryan Smith was distracted by an unrestrained Rottweiler named Bullet, moving in the back of his vehicle, a 1985 Dodge Caravan. The author Stephen King was walking on the right shoulder of Route 5. Agent of the purpose
, Patrick Danville had been sent because King must not die. Before the author could be fatally struck by the Dodge, Danville grabbed King and they both landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.
In 244 AD, on this day Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus was born into slavery in Salona, an ancient Illyrian Delmati city in the Roman Province of Dalmatia.
Hedges of the Night
Article written by Ed, Scott Palter & Jeff ProvineFrom freedman he rose steadily through the ranks of the military, serving in Gaul before the appointment as Dux Moesiae, cavalry commander of forces on the lower Danube. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed Emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' other surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus. With his accession to power, Diocletian ended the Crisis of the Third Century.
Diocletian appointed fellow officer Maximian Augustus his senior co-emperor in 285. He delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors. Under this "Tetrarchy", or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the Empire. Diocletian secured the Empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power. He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298. Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the Empire's traditional enemy. In 299 he sacked their capital, Ctesiphon. he led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favorable peace.
His life experience provided Diocletian with a broad understanding of the operation of the power structures in the Roman Empire. And from his lowly birth status grew the germ of a compelling vision for meritocracy that would secure the future. Clearly to survive the centuries, the Empire needed to devolve into a symbiotic grouping of self-sustaining admnistrative provinces which could draw from local resources (the Rhine and Danube had the good recruiting grounds, whereas the East and to a lesser extent Italy/Africa had the money). But such a structure was always vulnerable to a powerful general whose ambition was to rule the whole Empire.
The answer to this conundrum was the progression of offices under which a Count of Britain picked in York by two Caesars and two Augusti could rise to higher order roles in Trier, Antioch, the Danube and finally Rome. As a further safeguard against dictatorship, Diocletian introduced a formal separation of powers, with a strong Senate and controls to keep the Praetorian Guard in check. It was these "hedges of the night" that would sustain the rule of four in the long centuries to come, preventing the civilized world from plunging into a dark age.
In 1979, on this day an unmarked private jet was given special authorization to land at the Cairo International Airport.
Presley ends American Malaise Part #2
By Ed & Stan BrinThe sole passenger on-board was the terminally ill Elvis Aaron Presley who was returning from a prayer vigil that had brought much-needed hope to the hostages at the American Embassy in Tehran. And yet this final mission of the King's was even more audicious: to try to persuade the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to accompany him to Jerusalem.
Because Presley had a personal stake in the peace negotations that had begun at Camp David. Before he left Jerusalem, he would reveal the secret of his Jewish identity. A "sabbath boy", he spent Friday nights at a Jewish home where he was treated as a member of the family in exchange for turning out the lights. As an adult, he became one of the largest donors to the Nashville Jewish community. But through all this, he never knew he was, by tradition, a Jew himself.
In 1849, on this day the political martyr Fyodor Dostoyevsky (pictured) was shot by a firing squad in St. Petersburg.
Political Martyr Dostoyevsky Shot Fyodor Dostoyevsky's childhood led his great mind into the only option for its escape: revolution. His father, a raging alcoholic, was a retired military surgeon who moved his family into a small apartment on the grounds of Moscow's Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor, where he practiced. The hospital was surrounded by bitter poverty such as an orphanage for the abandoned and an asylum for the insane. Such conditions would be forever impressed upon the young Fyodor. Suffering from epilepsy himself, Fyodor would defy his parents' wishes and explore the hospital gardens, visiting with patients and building a sense of hope out of such bitterness.
A new story by Jeff ProvineAt age 16, after the death of his mother, Dostoyevsky was sent to military engineering school, and his father died soon after. He fell in love with literature and suffered through mathematics enough to manage a commission, eventually becoming a lieutenant. Dostoyevsky left the military in 1843 and turned fulltime to literature, translating Balzac and creating his own fiction. His first published work came in 1846 as a novella entitled Poor Folk, and Dostoyevsky was thrown into literary fame. Fame was fleeting; his next work, The Double, met with frowns of disappointment.
His explorations of schizophrenia and literary experimentation were given up after The Double, and Dostoyevsky pushed himself toward the trials of poverty that he had known so well. He joined the Petrashevsky Circle, a reading and discussion group of progressives in St. Petersburg. While they made some movement, there was no great organization for change beyond theory.
Across Europe in 1848, however, there was much action for change. The Revolutions of 1848 spread across the continent, and Czar Nicholas feared an uprising in Russia. He had easily quashed the 1825 Decembrist Revolt and ended Peter the Great's ideals of Westernization, instead turning back toward orthodoxy. With challenges to autocracy rising in many other empires, Nicholas decided to end the revolution before it could take place by rounding up any progressively minded intellectual. The Petrashevsky Circle was among the groups arrested and put through public mock execution rituals, displays in which the populace could see the might of the Czar's will but also his grace at giving reprieves.
Dostoyevsky himself was arrested April 23, 1849, and, on November 16, sentenced to death by firing squad. After the mock execution, he assumed this would be another of the Czar's displays, and it was generally agreed that he would receive a reprieve. However, due to bureaucratic bungling in the delivery of the reprieve, Dostoyevsky was shot by order of a zealous commander.
Shock settled over St. Petersburg, and Dostoyevsky's writings spread through the city and, then, the country. Many historians suggest that not all of the writings were his, but his depictions of the lives of serfs and the poor are recognized as genuine. Propaganda or not, the works ignited the Russian people as they discussed around fires and over glasses of vodka. Nicholas, refusing to appear weak, repressed those calling for government apology on what was increasingly viewed as a terrorist assassination.
That spring, Russian Mikhail Bakunin escaped from imprisonment while being handed over to Austrian authorities for his organization of the Dresden Uprising the year before. Aided by Russian revolutionist leaders, the 1850 Rising began as Bakunin arrived and announced the liberation of the serfs. Pandering to Slavophile ideals and collectivism, the bureaucracy was overthrown, aristocracy and Jewish farmers alike around the country were slaughtered, and Nicholas was violently ushered off the throne in favor of a much weakened Alexander II constitutionally bound by a council of advisers, Bakunin among them.
Monarchs in Europe debated sending military aid to the Czar, but renewed troubles with revolts in their own empires kept them from assembling a campaign. New stability would be founded in nationalism, citing the best for one's people and country. Strong, central leadership struck both the West and Russia, but the return to the mir, or collective village, style of living would create a sharp ideological division between the two. As the West modernized, Russians settled into orthodoxy, ultimately preparing for swift military defeat by Imperial Germany after the turn of the century.
In 2008, outgoing US Vice President Richard B. Cheney was appointed the next Chief Executive Officer of the United Mining Companies (© Stephen R. Donaldson, 1991-1996). A student of warfare makes the most of his Gap Years
In the gap years between the Bush administrations, Cheney had served as Chairman and Chief Executive of UMC's predecessor organisation, Halliburton Company, already a Fortune 500 company and market leader in the energy sector.
Of course, as a former Secretary of Defence, and member of both the American Enterprise Institute and Council on Foreign Relations, Cheney had a business rolodex that was second to none.
Officially headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cheney would spend the majority of those five years networking his contacts to engage in highly profitable business development activities with Middle Eastern governments.
To "promote American global leadership". Cheney founded a neo-conservative U.S. think tank (the Project for the New American Century) with Donald Rumsfeld, William Kristol and others in 1997. Just three years later, he chaired a selection committee for Vice President, wisely determining that Dick Cheney was the most suitable candidate. To removed any conflict of interest, he resigned his post at Halliburton. At this stage, his net worth was estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, largely derived from his post at Halliburton, as well as a gross income of nearly $8.82 million.
Throughout the Bush43 Presidency, and due to the inconveniently resource intensive nature of these plans for global domination, the business of warfare was largely outsourced to private security contractors (pictured) such as Blackwater International, Global Risks, Vinnell Corp. More than 15,000 employees of private military contractors, from giant Halliburton to tiny commando firms worked, fought and died alongside U.S. Soldiers in Iraq. There were more private military contractors on the ground in Iraq than troops from any one ally, including Britain. One single company, Global Risks, reported 1,100 employees in Iraq, including 500 Nepalese Gurkha troops and 500 Fijian soldiers, ranking it sixth among troop donors.
Due to the American success in the Second Gulf War, Halliburton's contracts in Iraq generated more than $13 billion in revenue by the time they started to expire in 2006. Thereafter a merger with other energy giants led to the formation of the United Mining Companies, and the consolidation of private security contractors into a quasi-autonomous security division, the United Mining Companies Police (UMCP). As expected, Mr Erik D. Prince, the founder and sole owner of the private military company Blackwater Worldwide was named the first Director of the UMCP.
The two organisations would pursue global domination for some five centuries until finally Captain Sixteen Vertigus presented a bill of severance to the Governing Council of Earth and Space (© Stephen R. Donaldson, 1991-1996).
In 1860, on this day Yankee soldiers quit the United States Garrison at Fort Moultrie in South Carolina just two days after the State had seceded from the Union. At the Charleston Convention that had ratified that historic decision, ardent secessionists had predicted that the Union would commit an act of "hostility and coercision". Because it was widely expected that troops would occupy Charleston Harbor, perhaps decamping for the artificial island of rubble upon which the Union had constructed the as yet unfinished Fort Sumter.
Cooler Heads Might PrevailThe hidden hand of the President-elect was behind the wise decision to pull Yankee Troops. And rightly so because the mood in the South had turned bloody ever since John Brown had begun to fuel a slave revolt with weapons seized from Harper's Ferry.
The citizens of South Carolina had welcome the secession decision made at the Charleston convention. "[South Carolina] had acted nobly and history will accord to her the noble part she had plated. We have been grossly cheated by the North and I would rather that every soul of us would be exterminated then we should be allied to her again. When our Southern Confederacy is formed and in full operation, we will be the gainers and the North the losers" said T.H. Spann of Woodlawn.
"Let them Commerce the war and we will wage it with them until the last drop of blood is spent before we will submit". ~ T.H. SpannQuite who would be the winners and who the losers was a decision that hung in the balance during the nightmarish US Government transition period of 1860-1. The election of Abraham Lincoln - with less than forty percent of the popular vote, and an electoral college result recording not a single state in the south - had been the catalist for the secession. And yet Lincoln was dead in the ground with an assassins bullet in his head, and maybe, just maybe, cooler heads might prevail and allow both sides to back off long enough to avoid a costly conflict.
In 2001, on this day Ursula K. Le Guin
finally relented and endorsed a movie adaptation of her epic 1968 fantasy novel "A Wizard of Earthsea".
Deed of GedThe author had previously rejected screenplays that simply followed the book's structure by depicting a strong central protagonist leading the Shadow Quest. Instead the inner construction of the film would be built around the story-within-the-story, the narration of the "Deed of Ged" by his companion Estarriol of Iffish.
If this inside-out perspective was not enough to offer something new and compelling, then the alternative ending was a further surprise for long-term fans of the Earthsea Quartet. As depicted at the climax of the book, the Archmage Ged embraces his evil self on a boat in the open sea. For a moment Estarriol is unsure who has won out, but when the wizard bursts into tears, it is clear that he is in the reassuringly safe presence of his friend from the school for wizards on Roke. Whereas in the movie, his sister Yarrow suspects that the Archmage has actually been possessed and is bent upon the domination of Earthsea.
In 1984, on a cold Saturday afternoon, five gunshots rang out on the New York City Subway, heralding a new age of vigilante justice in major American cities. Bernard Goetz, carrying electronics in transport for his business, boarded the No. 2 Express bound for downtown, where he ran across four young men.
Goetz Resolves to Fight Vigilantism After exchanging signals, they approached him, cutting him off from the rest of the passengers, and one, Troy Canty, told Goetz, "Give me five dollars".
Goetz stood, put his hand into his jacket, and asked Canty what he had said. Canty said again, "Give me five dollars".
Controversy continues as to whether the young men were panhandling or preparing for a mugging, but Goetz took the demand as that of a robbery. He had been mugged before in 1981, when three men jumped him and threw him into a window while trying to get to his valuables. Though he managed to assist an officer in making an arrest, Goetz spent twice the time at the station than the would-be robber did, being charged only with "criminal mischief" and would suffer chest and knee pain for the rest of his life. Never wishing to be a victim again, Goetz applied for a handgun permit, but was denied (possibly on his faking of mental illness some fifteen years before to escape the Vietnam War draft). He purchased a revolver anyway on a trip to Florida, and now he made use of it.
A new story by Jeff ProvineGoetz fired five shots, wounding all four of the young men, Darrell Cabey permanently when the bullet pierced his spinal cord. The other passengers made a terrified dash out of the car, leaving two women behind, nearly trampled. Goetz spoke with them to see that they were uninjured, then met with the conductor, who asked if Goetz was a police officer. Goetz replied simply, "No".
He hurried home, rented a car, and began to drive through New England to clear his head. On December 26, an anonymous tip gave Goetz's name as matching the description of the gunman and mentioned that he had been mugged before. Goetz learned from his neighbor Myra Friedman that the police had been by his apartment, and, on December 30, he returned to New York City. He prepared to leave again to turn himself in somewhere peaceful when he came across a copy of the Marvel comic book Punisher at a newsstand in New Hampshire. Goetz suddenly felt vindicated in what he had done.
New York City at the time had more than 170 percent the crime rate of the rest of the United States. Some thirty-eight crimes were committed each day on the subway alone. A New York Times poll showed that 25 percent of New Yorkers knew family who had been victims of crime in the last year and that "Two in five said muggings and holdups had become so bad that New Yorkers 'have a right to take matters into their own hands.'"
Goetz returned to New York City and began his campaign of masked crime-fighting, combing the city streets, maiming would-be muggers, and leaving calling cards encouraging other New Yorkers to join him. Word spread through front-page newspaper articles despite police and city leaders urging the city to remain calm. The famous Guardian Angels community watch group became split, many holding to their programs of nonviolent outreach while others turned to guns. Pimps and cocaine-dealers were brought down all over the city by covert "heroes" or snipers from apartment rooftops. The New York crime wave came to an abrupt halt and traffickers fled elsewhere.
While crime itself froze, New York became a city on edge, what Mayor Edward Koch referred to as, "some kind of Wild West town". Police attempted to maintain order with record numbers of shootings while the DA's office was lambasted with claims of self-defense. Some citizens called for tight gun control, others applauded the new peace, and political leaders decried the statistics on injuries as being a huge step backward in race relations (though others reported ).
That March, Goetz was brought in by a special police task force that had studied his patrols through the city. His trial for the initial shootings became a circus as support and opposition poured out from across the nation. While he was acquitted of attempted murder, he was found guilty of reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, 200 hours community service among his sentences. Goetz asked to perform his service as a volunteer with the police, but his request was denied, citing his references to the justice system as a "joke", "sham", and "disgrace". As more of his shootings became known, he would attend trial for years to come.
With its most influential case setting precedence, masked "superheroes" have been seen throughout the United States and even other countries in the past 25 years, soon earning the nickname "Reals". Recently, they have been applauded by President Barack Obama (famously a comic book geek) as "active citizenry". Though armed with legal weaponry such as stun guns, mace, and self-defense training, their casualty rate is notoriously high.
In 2003, a star appears over London this evening, and its light seems directed at Buckingham Cathedral. The light of this star is strong enough to read by, and it shines faintly even during the day. Although Pope Righteous' spokesman says that it is God's favor shining down upon the Holy British Empire, its light at night makes the Cathedral appear warped and twisted.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.