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April 20, 2012

Today is the 98th anniversary of the Ludlow Mine Massacre

98 years a bunch of miners went on strike. They demanded eight-hour work days. They demanded the right to choose their own doctors. They demanded the right to live in housing that wasn't owned by their employer and to be able to shop at stores not run by their employer. They demanded that they be paid for the work they did. And in return the mining company, owned by John D. Rockefeller, sent an army of mercenaries to put down the strike. 19 people were killed by snipers, machine guns, and fire. Including 15 women and children. This was only the initial incident. The striking miners fought back against the mercenary army and somewhere between 69 and 200 people died. In the end the Union was outspent and leaders were jailed. The mine company won. This Day in Labor History: April 20, 1914 - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
On April 20, 1914, members of the Colorado National Guard, along with a strikbreaking militia employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, a corporation owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., opened fire on a tent camp of strikers at Ludlow, in the coal country of southern Colorado, north of Trinidad. At least 19 people died in the tent camp that day, mostly wives and children of the strikers. Colorado Fuel and Iron was the largest coal company in the American West. The state of Colorado had passed a significant number of laws concerning the regulation of coal mines but CF&I ensured that none of them were enforced. Workers were not paid for such things as traveling into the mines, shoring up the mine ceilings, or fixing tools; meanwhile they died by the hundreds in mine cave-ins and from disease. Workers lived in company towns; that area of southern Colorado is relatively densely populated for the American West, but there wasn’t anything in Ludlow except for the mines so living in non-company housing wasn’t possible. Moreover, those company houses meant that CF&I agents could enter your home at any time, you had to shop at the company store using company scrip, and company thugs ruled the camp with an iron fist, firing anyone associated with unionism. The United Mine Workers of America had organized the workers in southern Colorado throughout the early 1910s, despite significant repression. The UMWA overcame significant challenges, including the polyglot workforce, which included large numbers of Greeks, Mexicans, and Italians. The Ludlow Massacre was the culmination of a long struggle among coal miners in southern Colorado for basic working and human rights, including an 8-hour day, the right to choose their own homes and doctors, a pay raise, and enforcement of mine safety laws. In 1913, the union presented these and other demands to CF&I. The company rejected it out of hand and the miners went on strike. . . .

April 19, 2012

This is a photo of President Obama sitting in the bus Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of

Here's a thing I wrote when Rosa Parks died. PHOTO: Obama Seated In Rosa Parks Bus | TPM Livewire

April 12, 2012

7 The Inconvenient Astrologer Of MI5

Propaganda takes many weird forms. The Inconvenient Astrologer Of MI5 | The Awl
In the summer of 1941, delegates at the American Federation of Scientific Astrologers’ convention in Cleveland, Ohio, listened to a keynote address from an astrologer named Louis de Wohl. The bespectacled German-Hungarian—late thirties, rather corpulent, flamboyant in dress and confident in manner—told his rapt audience that Hitler was operating under advice from “the best astrologers in Germany,” who had plotted out the course for Germany to attack the U.S. The invasion, it seemed, would occur sometime after the following spring, once Saturn and Uranus, the two “malefic” planets, had entered Gemini, America’s ruling sign: “America,” he warned, “has always been subject to grave events when Uranus transits Gemini.” De Wohl’s professional assessment, nonetheless, was that the stars portended eventual disaster for Hitler. “We can’t predict a date for his defeat,” he said, “but if the United States enters the war before next spring, he is doomed.” What no one realized was that de Wohl’s lecture was pure propaganda from the British government, which was attempting to drag the Roosevelt administration into WWII by any means necessary. De Wohl, who was employed by SOE (Special Operations Executive, the wartime sabotage unit), had been dispatched with instructions to present himself as a renowned astrologer with no connections to Britain, and to undermine America’s belief in the invincibility of Hitler. As the spy novelist William Boyd put it in a 2008 radio interview: “At the time, there was a perception of American people, in the minds of the British Security Services, that they were more gullible than us Brits.” . . .

April 10, 2012

Many people don't know that the Titanic was real