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A Treason Forged in Dishonor

Germany has occupied northern France for several years now. The local dialects are German-based languages and Yiddish, spoken by the Jews of the region, borrows heavily from High German. Thus when secrets about the new French super-cannon is leaked to the Germans, suspicion immediately falls upon Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew born in the German-occupied French territories. His Army career has been exemplary except for that dust up with a General at the academy who didn't want Jews becoming officers. (At this time many Jews are officers and even General officers, but bigotry is still with us.) Dreyfus is given the opportunity to confess to his treason, but he refuses. (He also refuses the apply the pistol to his head that his confessor supplies.) The military justice system has not changed since Imperial times. In fact, a soldier is sent to the firing squad this year after he flings a button at the judges during his court martial. So, the military court is mostly about setting examples to encourage the others (pour encourager les autres). Documents are forged, and every odd fact or remembered turn of phrase is twisted into an act of treason. The Captain is convicted. By next year he will be publicly humiliated, his sword broken, and he will be sent to Devil's Island. Years later he will be offered a pardon. Dreyfus will respectfully tell them where to shove their pardon. Eventually, he will be exonerated and returned to service as a Major. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Germans had the French military totally penetrated with spies, but once the public was focused on Dreyfus, it became politically unacceptable to follow any other path. Like the Italians in Louisiana who were lynched for being found "not guilty" of murder or the famous trial of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1921, the public simply KNEW who was guilty or innocent, and things like fair trials or rules of evidence that interfered with the correct result would not be tolerated. We promised never to forget Sacco and Vanzetti, but I have found very few who still remember that trial and the evidence that was forged. Those men were executed for a crime they might not have committed. Don't shed too many tears, though. They were not nice men, but it was our duty to PROVE THAT THEY DID IT, not only to protect the accused but TO PROTECT OUR SOULS! We are burdened with a herd mentality. We say that we resist the herd, but before we know it, we are wondering how we got caught up in it all. We band together to fight those who would attack our family, our friends, or our community. That is a good thing, but it can turn into a bad thing when we are not careful. [8]

Honesty is not the Best Policy for the Mid-Term Elections

It is a landslide for the Republicans. The mid-term elections are focusing on economic issues because the US economy is languishing in a depression. President Grover Cleveland has been a union buster which has put him at odds with many of his Democrat allies. The southern states have been natural free-traders because their large agricultural base and small industrial capability mean that tariffs only make the stuff they buy cost MORE without the benefit of saved jobs or protected markets. Nevertheless, they know that protective tariffs are popular. In the past they tried to soft-sell the reduction of tariffs by explaining that the loss of jobs and markets would be negligible. But now the Democrats have changed tactics. They are speaking honestly about tariffs. They call it "robbery and fraud." It is a matter of principle to eliminate all protective tariffs. Republicans heap the blame for the economy and lost jobs onto the Democrats and it works. The Democrats lose their massive majority in the House. Democrat go from 218 seats last election to only 93 seats. In some states not a single Democrat is elected to the House, and in others only one. One Democrat calls it "...the greatest slaughter of the innocents since Herod the Great." Catholics continue their move toward Republicans despite every effort by the Democrats to paint Republicans as anti-Catholic. The Republicans will maintain their majority until the 1910 election. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I don't have much of an opinion about the 2016 election since it is entirely too wacky. It looks like Hillary ducked an indictment for her email scandal, but I expect some last minute revelation that will be so shocking that only a particularly gullible 3-year-old would think it happened by accident. Still... it will be disturbing enough to cause pause. For example: a campaign manager might be found dead of an apparent suicide with four bullets in his back. People are disgusted with the election, and that changes the number of voters that will show up. The Presidential election always draws additional voters to the polls, but I am going to strangle someone if I hear one more time, "It is going to be a record turnout!" All things being equal, every presidential election cycle should result in a "record turnout". As our population grows, so does our voter turnout. Nevertheless, the voters seem enthusiastic, and with an unconventional campaign on both sides, it seems to be a question of who will do a face-plant first? Could it be both? Maybe. [12] [13] [14]

Notable Births

  • Jack Benny (Comedian and master of the pregnant pause. "I'm thinking! I'm thinking!") [1] [15]
  • Nikita Khrushchev (As leader of the Soviet Union, he will say, "History is on our side. We will bury you!" referring to NATO members and Israel.) [1] [16] [17]
  • Aldous Huxley (Author of the dystopian novel, "Brave New World.") [18]

In Other News

  • The Plague bacillus is discovered. Alexandre Yersin discovers the little pest while in China so the name of the bacteria is Yersinia pestis. [19] [20]
  • 4,000 factory workers strike after the Pullman (Sleeping) Car Company reduces wages. Eugene V. Debs organizes an obstruction of the railroads. President Cleveland sends out the Army. He can't do that? Just watch him. 30 are dead. [21]
  • Labor Day is made a federal holiday. President Cleveland is trying to mend fences with the unions. It's not going to help. [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1894, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 448-449. 
  2. 1906, Dreyfus rehabilitated : The military justice system. dreyfus.culture.fr (2007). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “Under the Third Republic, military justice was still governed by a code promulgated by imperial decree on 9 June 1857. The introduction to Book IV of the Code stipulates: 'Sentences are not only to punish the guilty, but also to serve as an example to all and to thereby prevent, inasmuch as possible, violation of the laws.' Placed under the authority of the War Ministry, military law was 'the natural law' for 'any individual belonging to the army' and claimed 'to ensure the enlightened but vigorous repression of all acts that are contrary to discipline, while bearing in mind swiftness in investigation and proceedings, and moderation in sentencing.' Such moderation was entirely relative, and Jaurès was amazed, on 25 December 1894, at the deportation of a traitor, while 'a wretched youth of twenty years [is shot] for being found guilty of having thrown a button from his uniform at the head of the president of the court martial.'”
  3. Mulhouse - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “After the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) Mulhouse was annexed to the German Empire as part of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine (1871–1918). The city was briefly occupied by French troops on 8 August 1914 at the start of World War I, but they were forced to withdraw two days later in the Battle of Mulhouse. The citizens of Alsace who unwisely celebrated the appearance of the French army, were left to face German reprisals. After World War I ended in 1918, French troops entered Alsace. Germany ceded the region to France under the Treaty of Versailles.”
  4. History of the Jews in Alsace - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “While the Dreyfus affair (1894–1906) by and large played out in France, and Alsace was a part of Germany at the time, it had immediate repercussions for the Jews in Alsace. Alfred Dreyfus was by birth a citizen of Mulhouse and thus suspected by French conservatives of innate sympathy with the German enemy by virtue of his being Alsatian and Jewish, which put him under suspicion of being doubly disloyal. One of the alleged traitor's most stubborn advocates was fellow Mulhousian Auguste Scheurer-Kestner, a (non-Jewish) chemist, industrialist, politician and philanthropist. Another main player in the Affair, and advocate of Dreyfus' cause, was the Strasbourg-born army general Georges Picquart.”
  5. John Byng - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “Byng's execution was satirized by Voltaire in his novel Candide. In Portsmouth, Candide witnesses the execution of an officer by firing squad and is told that 'in this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others' (Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres).”
  6. Voltaire. Candide: or, Optimism. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140440041. “There is no doubt of it; but in this country it is found good, from time to time, to kill one Admiral to encourage the others.” 
  7. Dreyfus affair - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “On 13 October 1894, without any tangible evidence and with an empty file, General Mercier summoned Captain Dreyfus for a general inspection in 'bourgeois clothing', i.e. in civilian clothes. The purpose of the General Staff was to obtain the perfect proof under French law: a confession. That confession was to be obtained by surprise – by dictating a letter based on the bordereau to reveal his guilt. In the morning of 15 October 1894 Captain Dreyfus underwent this ordeal but admitted nothing. Du Paty even tried to suggest suicide by placing a revolver in front of Dreyfus but he refused to take his life saying he 'wanted to live to establish his innocence'. The hopes of the military were crushed.”
  8. Sacco and Vanzetti - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “The appeals were based on recanted testimony, conflicting ballistics evidence, a prejudicial pre-trial statement by the jury foreman, and a confession by an alleged participant in the robbery. All appeals were denied by trial judge Webster Thayer and eventually by the Massachusetts State Supreme Court. By 1926, the case had drawn worldwide attention. As details of the trial and the men's suspected innocence became known, Sacco and Vanzetti became the center of one of the largest causes célèbres in modern history. In 1927, protests on their behalf were held in every major city in North America and Europe, as well as in Tokyo, Sydney, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Johannesburg.”
  9. The Historic 54th Congress - US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. history.house.gov (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “Voters had vented their frustrations with an economic depression, set off by a financial panic in 1893 as overextended railroad companies collapsed into bankruptcy. Republicans ran a savvy campaign, blaming the Democratic administration of President Grover Cleveland. 'It was the greatest slaughter of innocents since the days of King Herod,' one of the Democratic casualties, Representative (and future Speaker of the House) James Beauchamp 'Champ' Clark of Missouri, would later recall.”
  10. Republican Campaign Text Book. books.google.com (1894). Retrieved on 7 November 2016.
  11. Party Divisions - US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. history.house.gov (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016.
  12. FBI will not change decision regarding Hillary Clinton's emails - Daily Mail Online. dailymail.co.uk (6 November 2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “FBI chief James Comey told leaders in Congress hours earlier that a review of 650,000 emails discovered on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner had reinforced his July 5 decision to let her off the hook.”
  13. FBI Sources: Agency Moving Towards 'Likely an Indictment' for Hillary Clinton --Update: Fox News Walks Back--. ijr.com (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “I explained a couple of times yesterday the phrasing of one of my answers to Brit Hume on Wednesday night, saying it was inartful the way I answered the last question about whether the investigations would continue after the election and I answered that, 'yes, our sources said it would. They would continue to likely an indictment.' That just wasn’t inartful, it was a mistake and for that I’m sorry. I should have said they will continue to build their case. Indictment obviously is a very loaded word, Jon, especially in this atmosphere and no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment no matter how strong investigators feel their evidence is.”
  14. If Hillary Is Indicted, President Clinton Could Pardon Herself and Congress Might be Helpless - Law News. lawnewz.com (October 28, 2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “On Friday, just days before the election, reports are emerging that the FBI has re-opened the Hillary Clinton email investigation. 'The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,' a letter from FBI Director James Comey reads.”
  15. Jack Benny - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 November 2016. “Benny was known for comic timing and the ability to cause laughter with a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature exasperated 'Well!' His radio and television programs, popular from the 1930s to the 1970s, were a major influence on the sitcom genre.”
  16. Nikita Khrushchev - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  17. We will bury you - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 November 2016. “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!'”
  18. Aldous Huxley - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 November 2016. “He was best known for his novels including Brave New World, set in a dystopian London; for non-fiction books, such as The Doors of Perception, which recalls experiences when taking a psychedelic drug; and a wide-ranging output of essays.”
  19. Alexandre Yersin - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 November 2016. “He is remembered as the discoverer of the bacillus responsible for the bubonic plague or pest, which was later named in his honour (Yersinia pestis).”
  20. Kitasato Shibasaburo - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 November 2016. “He is remembered as the co-discoverer of the infectious agent of bubonic plague in Hong Kong in 1894, almost simultaneously with Alexandre Yersin.”
  21. Pullman Strike - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “The strike and boycott shut down much of the nation's freight and passenger traffic west of Detroit, Michigan. The conflict began in Pullman, Chicago, on May 11 when nearly 4,000 factory employees of the Pullman Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent reductions in wages.”
  22. Pullman Strike - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 November 2016. “The strike and boycott shut down much of the nation's freight and passenger traffic west of Detroit, Michigan. The conflict began in Pullman, Chicago, on May 11 when nearly 4,000 factory employees of the Pullman Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent reductions in wages.”

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