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Nov 7, 2016
November 7th, 2016

Question: In the Czar’s time it was called the Okrana, in Lenin’s time the Cheka, in Stalin’s time the NKVD. Today it is the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) and the espionage agency SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service). What do we know it as..?

Yesterday’s Question: What was the Dredd Scott Decision?
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HISTORY FOR 11/7/2016
Birthdays: Francesco Zubaran, Madame Curie, Rev. Billy Graham is 98, Leon Trotsky –real name Lev Bronstein, Albert Camus, Al Hurt, Dean Jagger, Joni Mitchell, Joan Sutherland, Judy Tenuda, Clive Barnes, Lindsay Duncan, Morgan Spurlock is 47

8AD- Death of Maecenas, Roman millionaire and friend of Augustus. Maecenas was famous for sponsoring artists and poets like Virgil with lifetime incomes so they could focus on their art.

1520- The BATH OF BLOOD. The 1397 Union of Kalmar had united Sweden and Finland under the Danish crown. This day Danes invited Swedish noblemen who opposed the Danish King to come to Stockholm under a pledge of safe passage and discuss their issues. But once there they were seized, accused of treason and beheaded. All Sweden rose in revolt, and by 1523 had broken away. One Swede who had escaped the massacre, Gustavus Vasa, was declared their king.

1659- Peace of the Pyrenees- Spain and France finally make peace after 23 years of war. This peace treaty completed Cardinal Richelieu’s master plan to break France out of surrounding power of the Hapsburgs, predominant in Germany and Spain. Catholic France joined the Thirty Years War late on the Protestant side and continued to battle long after the general peace was signed at Westphalia in 1648. The Peace of the Pyrenees marked Frances becoming the dominant power in Europe and set the stage for Louis XIV the Sun King.

1775- During the Revolution, the royal governor of rebellious Virginia, Lord Dunmore, offered freedom to all male slaves who joined His Majesties army. Within a few days he got 800 black recruits. One hidden fact of the American Revolution was the British policy of freeing slaves in territories they occupied, mostly to piss off their rich Yankee masters. Slavery had not yet been totally eradicated in the British Empire yet the public outcry for emancipation led by eminent men like William Wilberforce were making it a major issue in British politics. When the redcoats raided Tom Jefferson’s estate Monticello, they liberated 200 of his slaves. George Washington’s own cook bolted through the lines to freedom and Washington angrily demanded him back. Dr. Samuel Johnson commented about Americans “Strange, all this complaining about liberty was coming from the drivers of slaves!”

1783- The last public hanging at London’s Tyburn Hill, where executions of commoners had been going on since 1196. Today the Tyburn area is called Marble Arch.

1793- The French Revolution declared Christianity abolished in France. It was restored by Napoleon but to this day it is considered very tacky for politicians to invoke the Deity in speeches.

1805- “Oh Joy of Joys!” explorers Lewis and Clark first see the Pacific.

1811- Battle of Tippicanoe- General William Henry Harrison defeats Tecumseh and his united Indian tribes in a battle that decided the ownership of the Old NorthWest (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan ). When Harrison later ran for the Presidency with James Tyler, his slogan was "Old Tippicanoe and Tyler Too!"

1820- This day President James Monroe was re-elected after running unopposed for nomination and unopposed for the election. It was the most boring election in US History. One presidential elector refused to vote for him only because he wanted George Washington to go down in history as the only US President ever elected unanimously.

1837- Abolitionist Reverend Isaiah Lovejoy was shot and killed defending his printing offices from being vandalized by a mob of slave owners. The news of the first white man dying over the slavery issue galvanized both North and South. Lincoln and Douglas frequently cited the example of Rev Lovejoy in the debate over slavery.

1841- Black slaves being transported from Virginia to New Orleans aboard the S.S. Creole seize control of the ship and sail it to British Nassau where they are granted freedom and asylum.

1863- President Lincoln sent a special train to Centreville, Virgina to inform General Ambrose Burnside he was now in command of the Union armies facing Robert E. Lee and also informing General George McClellan he was fired. Despite the fact that McClellan had fought Lee to a draw at Antietam that the North claimed as a victory, McClellan sat idle for weeks doing nothing while the road to Richmond was wide open. At one point he told an angry Lincoln his army couldn’t move because his horses were tired. Lincoln responded: Aren’t Lees horses just as fatigued? When McClellan got his pink slip, his first words were “Oh, My Poor Country.” He ran for president against Lincoln and lost in 1864 and later became Governor of New Jersey.

1865- The London Gazette is founded.

1872- The S.S. Mary Celeste sets sail from New York bound for Italy. The ship was later found mid ocean with the entire crew and passengers mysteriously gone....

1876- THE STOLEN ELECTION- The Presidential election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford Hayes was declared a dead heat. Tilden had actually won an overwhelming majority in the popular vote, but when did that ever matter in politics? The electoral votes were even, so Republicans forced the issue to be decided by the House of Representatives. In the meantime they made a secret deal with former Confederate territories that were not allowed to vote that if they would vote for Hayes they could come back into the Union as States again. The Hayes government also promised to slow down civil rights for African Americans and withdraw occupying troops from the South. On March 3rd 1877 with the aid of the new electoral votes of Louisiana, Georgia and Florida, Republican Rutherford Hayes was declared the winner. Republicans chanted: “Hooray for Hayes and Honest Ways!” while Democrats protested: “RutherFRAUD Hayes !”

1876- Three crooks try a scheme to break into President Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield Illinois while everyone was distracted by the presidential election. They planned to hold the remains hostage for money. But their scheme was foiled because nascent Secret Service had an informer among the gang and he tipped off the feds as the hoodlums were prying the lid off the sarcophagus. Lincoln’s bones stayed put.

1885- The Canadian Pacific Railway completed, linking Montreal with British Columbia.

1914- First issue of the magazine The New Republic.

1914- THE MASS-MOONING OF TSING-TAO- Japan had joined the allied side in World War I, partly to attack German colonial holdings in China.
The British Navy helped the Japanese Army attack the biggest German fortress in China, Tsingtao, home of their famous brewery. The Germans were angry that the British, with whom they had fought the Chinese nationalists Boxers together, would aid another Asian people against their fellow white Europeans.
As the British troops marched in with the Japanese, the German P.O.W.'s executed a smart about-face, dropped their trousers and executed a "group-mooning". ( From Tuchman, The Guns of August).

1917- RED OCTOBER, THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION- As the guns of the battleship Aurora boomed out across Petrograd (St. Petersburg) Lenin's Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace and overthrew the provisional government of A.P. Kerensky. Two Bolsheviks sent to take over the Petrograd telephone exchange had forgot to bring their weapons but succeeded nonetheless.
In the ten months between the Tsar’s fall and the Communist coup Russia had tried to govern itself with a fragile democracy. But no middle class support base, powerful extremists like elitist officer corps and landless peasants pulling on either side and the disastrous decision to stay in the Great War with Germany doomed the government. It was said Kerensky was a brilliant speaker but he had no serious plans or ideas beyond ebullient oratory. He was making it all up as he went along. Kerensky died in Queens, New York in 1973.

1918- As the Kaiser’s collapsing monarchy tried to save itself while seeking peace talks with the allies, Fritz Ebert, the leader of the socialists in the German Reichstag was told the Allies would not sign a peace treaty until the Kaiser stepped down. Ebert warned Chancellor Prince Max of Baden:” The Kaiser must abdicate and a democracy declared or revolution and civil war will break out.” Prince Max told this to the Kaiser but he refused to listen.

1918- American labor leader and socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs sends Lenin a congratulatory note on the first anniversary of the Revolution. The image of the people of Russia throwing off medieval tyranny and establishing a "socialist utopia" was over romanticized by progressive radicals in the west. Remember before Hitler, the Russian Czar was the Anti-Semite responsible for the pogroms. Now many leading Bolsheviks were Jews like Trotsky and Derzhinsky. Western liberals like John Reed, Ramsay McDonald, Emma Goldman, Eugene O' Neill, Jack London, caricaturist Al Hirschfield and even Groucho Marx admired what was happening in Russia until they made the effort to travel there. Then they were disillusioned by the growing Soviet centralized police state.

1937- Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels sent an emissary to Paris to talk Marlene Dietrich into coming home. But Germany’s greatest movie star hated the Nazis and all they stood for.

1944- President Franklin Roosevelt won an unprecedented Fourth Term as president, even though Democratic party insiders knew he was dying. After FDR the conservative Congress created a constitutional amendment barring anyone else from having more than two terms. Roosevelt joked this night with friends:” You know, the first twelve years are always the hardest. “

1945- The Weisbaden Mainfesto- at the end of World War II thousands of priceless works of art plundered from museums across Europe were hidden by the Nazis in salt mines in Bavaria. The victorious Americans sent a squad of art curators to catalog the treasures, then they were ordered to secretly ship it all back to the U.S.A. This order morally troubled the team, and a Colonel Obermeyer and a Captain William Farmer wrote a protest petition to the War Department and published it, saying we would be no better than the Nazis themselves if we kept the artwork. Washington gave in to the embarrassment and the 200 works of Durer, Raphael, Titian and more were returned to their proper museums. Last year investigators just found a new cache of Nazi looted art including a priceless Chagall.

1951- Frank Sinatra left his wife to marry uber-hot star Ava Gardner.

1956- Eugene O’Neill’s biographical masterpiece play “Long Days Journey into Night” first premiered.

1957- Communist East Germany debuted the Trabant automobile. Trabants or “Trebbies” quickly entered legend alongside Yugos and Edsels as one of the worst cars ever made. Eastern Europeans spent many happy hours on the side of the road trying to get them running and making dozens of Trebbie jokes. “Did you hear the Ministry of going to make Trebbies with dual extra long exhaust pipes? Why? Because after it breaks down, at least you can use it as a wheelbarrow.”

1962- After losing the California Governor's race to Pat Brown, Richard Nixon bitterly says to assembled newsmen and women:" You boys have been having a lot of fun....well, You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore..". Nixon felt his career in politics was in shambles and a final jab from the Kennedys was the news he was being audited by the IRS. Tricky Dick spent the next few years reinventing himself before making his successful Presidential run in 1968.

1963- The movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” premiered at Hollywood’s new Cinerama Dome theater.

1965- the first Pillsbury Doughboy commercial debuted. ‘Tee-hee-hee!”

1965- Dorothy Kilgallen was a New York socialite who’s witty sparring with Bennett Cerf and other panelists enlivened a CBS quiz show called What’s My Line.
But beyond that role she was an accomplished reporter and columnist who uncovered facts on the famous Dr. Sam Shepard murder case. In mid 1965 she announced publically that she knew the real facts on the John F Kennedy assassination and she had interviewed Jack Ruby. She would shortly announce her proof of conspiracy in a new book .
This night she had dinner with friends then asked them to drop her off at the Regency Hotel Lobby where she was meeting a new mysterious boyfriend. Next morning police found her dead in her bed at her Greenwich Village apartment. Pills and liquor were strewn about her night table and a book was in her lap so police assumed she took too many sleeping pills and liquor. But conspiracy buffs point out she never read without her reading glasses, which were across the room. Her files were confiscated by the Justice Department and never released.

1977- Harvey Milk won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The first openly gay man to be elected to office in the U.S A.

1980- Movie star Steve McQueen died of an aggressive cancer at age 50.

1997- Someone published a stolen home video of Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and rock star Tommy Lee having graphic sex on their honeymoon, not to mention how Tommy steered his boat. The Pamela-Tommy video became the most downloaded file on the Internet and rented video in history. In 1998 Pamela Anderson Lee was the subject of 1% of the Total Traffic on the entire World Wide Web.

2000-THE DEADLOCKED ELECTION- Al Gore and George W. Bush electoral votes came to a statistical dead heat. With nothing in the Constitution about a European style second round of voting. the decision was made in courts and precincts of Palm Beach Florida. Americans learned to study chads on punch card butterfly ballots. Katherine Harris the Attorney General of Florida who validated the election for Bush was also the Republican campaign chair in that area. In 2004 an outraged Florida voter drove his Cadillac up onto the sidewalk and tried to run her over.

Finally after 36 days the Supreme Court ended all recounts and declared Bush the winner. Other highlights of the election included Hilary Rodham Clinton became the first former First Lady to win an election to the US Senate, Alabama became the last state to rescind it’s laws barring interracial marriage and Missouri elected a dead man senator over an incumbent. That incumbent, John Ashroft, was made attorney general by President GW Bush.
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Yesterday’s Question: What was the Dredd Scott Decision?

Answer: In 1854 a slave named Dredd Scott sued in court that because he and his family were moved by his master to live in free states like Illinois, that they were now free. In 1857 the conservative Supreme Court of Chief Justice Taney ruled that Scott and his family were not people but property, and so do not have the same rights as white citizens.
This ruling enraged the North and helped bring on the Civil War.


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