17 January 2020

The Modoc Victory [guest post by Edward Fox, 8 February 1873]


[From the New York Herald, 1873; story by Edward Fox]
T
he battle of the lava beds has attracted so much general attention, both from the fact of the United States troops receiving such a severe check and from the varied descriptions of the scene of the contest, that I have prepared a pretty full report of that memorable engagement, feeling convinced that the details will be read with interest by the public in general.
After Captain Jack was driven from his camp on Lost River and took refuge in the lava beds, it was thought at first that he would come to terms and the war would be ended without further bloodshed.  The addition, however, of fourteen warriors to his forces, that were really driven to the lava beds by the threats of the Linkville citizens, heated by Linkville whiskey, resulted in Captain Jack wishing to make his own terms.
But Major General Frank Wheaton, who, as the commanding officer of the [District of the] lakes, had come down in person to attend to this affair, soon arrived at the conclusion that if fighting was to be done the sooner this lava bed was inspected the better.  Arrangements were then made for an attack, and as soon as the available troops had arrived in the neighborhood General Wheaton had several councils with Colonel Green, Colonel Mason and others as to the best means of getting at Jack in his lair.  The lava beds were inspected and all the old settlers interrogated as to the geography, with reference to the moving of troops in that direction.  There appeared to be a good many opinions as to the nature of the ground within the lava beds section, and, although all agreed in saying it was a very rough country, no one was competent to describe the extraordinary volcanic formations that were afterwards discovered by the troops when they made the assault.  After mature consideration of the various plans of attack that were suggested General Wheaton decided to make a movement in force, which, should it prove successful, would at least enable him to obtain a satisfactory reconnaissance of the ground upon which to base his plans for any future aggressive movement.  Everything being arranged, the following orders were issued to the officers in command:—
General Field Orders—No. 3.
1.  The troops will move from their present camp east and west of the lava beds on Thursday, 16th of January, and take positions for the attack on the Modoc camp at sunrise on the following morning.
2.  At four A.M. on Thursday next Major John Green will detach Captain D. Perry’s Troop, F, First cavalry, and order it to clear the bluff southwest of Tule of Indian pickets and scouts, and cover the movement of the main force to a camp some three miles west of the Modoc position.
3.  Major E. C. Mason’s battalion Twenty-first infantry, two companies—C, Captain G. H. Burton, and B, commanded by Second Lieutenant H. D. W. Moore—and a detachment of twenty men of F company, Twenty-first infantry, under First Sergeant John McNamara; General J. E. Ross, Oregon volunteer militia, two companies—A, Captain Hugh Kelly, and B, Captain O. E. Applegate—and Lieutenant W. H. Miller’s battery—a section of mountain howitzers—will march from Van Brimmer’s Ranch to camp on bluff west of Tule Lake, in time to reach the designated camp not later than three P.M. on the 16th inst.  The camp will be so located and arranged as to be secure from observation by the Modocs, and every precaution taken to prevent the Indians from discovering our numbers and precise location.
4.  District Headquarters will accompany the troops.
5.  Early on the 17th of January the troops above named will move into the lava beds to attack the Modoc camp, and in the following order:—Major E. C. Mason’s battalion, Twenty-first infantry, leading, followed by General J. E. Ross’ Oregon volunteer militia and the section of mountain howitzers packed.  Captain D. Perry, Troop F, First cavalry, will follow the howitzer battery.
6.  When the troops have reached a position near the Modoc camp the main force will be deployed on the right of the infantry battalion, in close skirmish order, and a left half-wheel of the whole line will be executed in order to enclose the southern side of the Modoc position and connect the right of the main force with the left of Captain Bernard’s troop, who are simultaneously to attack on the east.
7.  Also the troops operating against the Modocs are to move from this camp, with three days’ cooked rations in haversacks, two blankets, one hundred rounds of ammunition on the person, and fifty rounds in close reserve.  Canteens will be filled at Little Klamath Lake by the troops moving from Van Brimmer’s Ranch, and care taken to water every horse and pack mule at that point, as there is no water on the bluff where the main force will encamp on the night of the 16th inst.
8.  Major John Green, First cavalry, is charged with the execution of these movements and the details of the attack.
9.  Lieutenant W. H. Miller, First cavalry, commanding the howitzer battery, will report to Major Green for orders and instructions as to when and where to prepare his guns for action in the proposed attack.
10.  The troops on the east side of the lava beds at Land’s ranch, Troops “G,” Captain R. F. Bernard, and “B,” Captain James Jackson, First cavalry, and the Klamath Indian scouts under Dave Hill, will move from camp on the 16th inst. to a point not more than two miles from the Modoc position.  At sunrise on the 17th this force will attack the Modoc camp, with their right resting on or near Tule Lake, and when sufficiently near to render the movement advisable a right half wheel will be executed, in order to connect the left of this force with the troops attacking from the west.  In his advance Captain Bernard will take steps to capture any canoes the Modocs may have near their camp, or at least use every effort to prevent Indians escaping by water.  Captain R. F. Bernard, First cavalry, will execute these movements under such detailed instructions as he may receive from Major John Green, First cavalry.
11.  After the first three shots have been fired by the howitzer battery as the signal for the troops attacking on the east side of the Modoc camp firing will cease for fifteen minutes, and an Indian scout directed to notify the nearest Modocs that ten minutes’ time will be allowed them to permit their women and children to come into our lines.  Any propositions by the Modocs to surrender will be referred at once to the District Commander, who will be present.
12.  Lieutenant W. H. Boyle, Twenty-first infantry, Acting Field Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence, and a guard of ten men, will remain at this camp in charge of the temporary field depot until further orders.
13.  Lieutenant John Adams, First cavalry, Acting Assistant Adjutant General, District of the Lakes, and commanding detachment, H troop, First cavalry, will furnish from his command such details as may be required for the howitzer battery, and accompany the District Commander.  Lieutenant Adams will be prepared to communicate by signals with the Signal Sergeant, who has been detailed for duty with the troops operating on the east side of the Modoc position.
14.  Assistant Surgeon Henry McElderry, United States Army, will give the necessary directions and instructions to the medical officers with the different commands and detachments in the field.
By order of
Brevet Major General Frank Wheaton, U.S.A.,
Lieutenant Colonel Twenty-first infantry,
Commanding District of the Lakes.
John Q. Adams, First Lieutenant First cavalry,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

In pursuance of the above and according to instructions, the troops moved from their quarters on the 16th inst. and camped in the respective locations to which they were assigned.  Colonel Bernard, with two troops of the First cavalry, had a little skirmish on the evening of the 16th, as in the fog, which is very prevalent in that section of the country, he advanced rather nearer to Jack’s stronghold than he intended, and when he found out his mistake and made a move to retire, the Indians opened fire from a position they had taken in the rocks.  They were finally driven from their shelter and forced to retreat to their stronghold, but not before they had wounded three of the cavalry.
On the following morning the troops had all arrived at their assigned positions, and at daybreak Lieutenant Adams, Acting Assistant Adjutant General, reported to General Wheaton, the District Commander, the following force in the field:—
Corps.
Commanding Officer                                          Muster
First cavalry
Captain Perry, F troop
 46
First cavalry
Captain Jackson, B troop
 42
First cavalry
Captain Bernard, G troop
 47
First cavalry
Lieut. Adams, H troop
 16
Twenty-first infantry
Lieut. Ross, B company
 33
Twenty-first infantry
Capt. Burton, C company
 57
Oregon field officers

  7
Oregon volunteers
Captain O. Applegate, A company
 56
Oregon volunteers
Captain Kelly, B company
 46
California volunteers
Captain Fairchild
 25
Indian scouts
Dave Hill
 20



            Total

400

There was also a section of mountain howitzers under the charge of Lieutenant Miller, of the First cavalry.
                                                                     Table 2.1
The troops on the west side moved down the precipitous bluff from their camping ground in the direction of the lava beds, Colonel Mason’s battalion of the Twenty-first infantry leading, followed by Captain Fairchild’s California riflemen, General Ross’ two companies of Oregon volunteers, the howitzer section, packed on mules, under the command of Lieutenant W. H. Miller, of the First cavalry, and Brevet Colonel D. Perry’s troop of the First cavalry bringing up the rear.  The morning was damp and cold, and the lava beds were nearly obscured from sight by a dense fog, which, however, only hung over that section and did not rise to the bluff which the troops had just left.  The troops on the east side, commanded by Brevet Colonel R. B. Bernard, of the First cavalry, comprising his Troop G, and Brevet Major James Jackson’s Troop B, First cavalry, with twenty Klamath Indian scouts, commanded by Dave Hill, simultaneously advanced from the position they had taken the previous evening, two miles from Captain Jack’s stronghold.  On account of the deep chasm and gorge in his front Colonel Bernard was unable to advance further than the position he had reached by severe skirmishing on the evening of the 16th.
The advance, attack and management of the troops were conducted by Major John Green, First cavalry, Brevet Colonel United States Army, and the district commander, Brevet Major General Frank Wheaton, Lieutenant Colonel of Twenty-first infantry, accompanied the troops, operating on the west side.  This force had moved forward from the base of the bluffs, with Captain Burton’s company of the Twenty-first infantry ahead in skirmishing order.  Upon the arrival of the troops at the lake a rush was made for water, as the men were naturally thirsty, having passed the night at a dry camp.  The advance was then resumed across this rugged country, and it was with the greatest difficulty the men were kept in line, as the unnatural irregularities of the volcanic rock formed nearly insurmountable obstacles to their progress.  The line was now being deployed to the right, with Colonel Perry on the extreme right, stretching into the heart of this fastness about a mile and a half, while Captain Burton moved with his company on the extreme left, supported by Lieutenant Moore and his command on his right.  The Oregon and California volunteers spread out the line between the extreme points and kept a steady advance, although the nature of the ground kept an irregularity in the face of the line.
The plan of the attack was to keep deploying in a half wheel to the right until Colonel Perry should connect with Colonel Bernard, who was adopting similar tactics, but moving from the left.  The fog still hung low and shrouded the mysteries of this craggy fastness from these daring explorers, though the frequent crack of a rifle, followed by an unearthly war whoop, denoted some fresh victim to the unerring marksmanship of these dusky warriors.  It was impossible for men to do more than both the soldiers and the volunteers did on this occasion, and although every now and then there would be a vacancy in the muster roll, and some gallant soul would fall by the bullet of an unseen foe, another brave heart would fill up the gap and press on with the steadiness of a disciplined soldier.  In vain the troops looked high and low for some Indian sign, and although the fog would rise every now and then, not an Indian showed as much as the top of his head feathers.
About noon Captain Perry, on the extreme right, arrived at an impassable chasm, at least it was impassable without a fearful sacrifice of life.  Captain Perry sent back to the district commander that it would be impossible for him to connect with Colonel Bernard by the right except by an immense loss of life, and added that if necessary he would carry the chasm, but he did not expect to take ten men across.  General Wheaton then came to the conclusion that if the proposed connection could not be made they might as well retire and wait for a few days, and consequently issued orders to that effect, but gave Major Green a discretionary power to push forward and connect by the left if he deemed it feasible.  Major Green then ordered a flank movement by the left, and, skirting along the lake under the shadow of some craggy strata of volcanic rock, in the possession of the enemy, they finally made the desired connection, but not before the galling fire to which they had been subjected had thinned their ranks considerably.
It would fill columns to detail the incidents of this fight, which proved such a trial to the officers, soldiers and volunteers that formed the attacking party.  General Wheaton told me the other day that he had been through all the principal battles during the rebellion and he had never seen officers and men appear so utterly indifferent to danger or so cool and steady under such a harrassing fire.  The Indians did not waste much powder and shot, as they were excellent marksmen, and, having the advantage of a rest for the rifle and perfect safety from a return fire, were unerring in their aim.
Often a man would fall badly wounded, and, looking eagerly around for his enemy, would only see the smoke of a rifle curling up from a small hole on some inaccessible crag overhanging his position.  On one occasion a man was shot dead at a certain spot, and another man was sent with a stretcher to carry away his body.  The second met the fate of the first, and a third, who went on the same errand, fell badly wounded.  These three men all fell without knowing the position of the Indians who had shot them.
Every little narrow passage between the rocks that was likely to be of importance was guarded by two or three rifles peeping out from loopholes that the Indians had formed for that purpose.  On the move along the lake to the left the men had to move with the greatest caution, as the Indians had lined the overhanging bluffs with their men, and to show yourself in full view was nearly certain death.  They crawled on their hands and feet, making a dart every now and then from one rock to another, but still pushing forward in the direction of Colonel Bernard.  Captain Perry, who was with his troops on the left, while stretched behind a rock accidentally turned on his side and exposed a portion of his shoulder and arm, receiving a severe flesh wound, which compelled him to retire.  Colonel Green and Colonel Mason were perpetually in the hottest of the fire, and appear to have charmed lives, as although their uniforms were, in many instances, cut by a passing ball, neither received a scratch during the fight.  There was not an officer that went into the lava beds that did not come out with some portion of his clothing marked or torn by a bullet.  When the troops on the west side finally connected with Colonel Bernard they found him stopped from further advance by an immense chasm that appeared impassable, and which was strongly defended by Indians.
Shortly before dark the fog lifted slightly and showed the Oregon volunteers, a portion of Captain Perry’s troop and the infantry reserve still on the west side, and, at a signal from the District Commander, Major Green fell back to Land’s Ranch to camp for the night with Bernard’s command and the infantry battalion.  The Oregon and California volunteers retired by the west side and fell back in Van Bremer’s Ranch.  I cannot conclude without saying something of the difficulties experienced in the retreat to Land’s ranch, and of the bravery and heroism exhibited by the officers and men on that occasion.  They had been up since four A.M. and fighting since half-past six A.M. up to dark.  The retreat commenced at half-past ten P.M. and continued all night and up to one A.M. next day.  Thirty-three hours without rest or food are enough to try the patience and endurance of most men, but these gallant fellows never uttered a word, and were always ready to relieve one another at the end of a blanket, carrying the sick and wounded.  Surgeon McElderry worked unceasingly, and through the day was exposed on several occasions to a dangerous fire, but never flinched from his duty, and rushed from place to place to the assistance of the wounded.

17 January 2020


 17 January 12020 is the Anniversary of Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba’s Assassination in the Congo Democratic Republic. (Lumumba was a bit player in the Congolese independence movement; he was murdered by members of a rival faction in the presence of Belgian officers. People associated with the CIA and MI6 have also claimed credit for the assassination.) It is also allegedly Benjamin Franklin Day, though I can’t find any indication who celebrates it or what body proclaimed it. It celebrates the life and work of the philosopher, scientist, author, and statesman. In Virginia it is Lee-Jackson Day. This celebrates the lives of the American traitors Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson.
In criminal news the trial of Donald J. Trump has begun in the U.S. Senate, with many Senators already on record for acquittal without having heard any evidence whatsoever. So much for justice, I guess. Given that the evidence already released shows that Trump is manifestly guilty of the charges against him, it seems that the only thing to be considered is whether the nature of the offense warrants removal from office. Constitutional ignorant people keep referring to impeachment as negating the result of an election; that is either a profound misunderstanding or outright falsification of the process outlined in the Constitution. If Trump were to be removed from office, nothing would be nullified. His vice-president would be sworn in, and life would go on as usual. I don’t know where these idiot notions come from; a lot of people—some of them actually in government positions—are extremely ignorant of how their own government actually works.
Now that Mercury has entered Aquarius we can expect things to settle down a bit; there are no major changes immediately upcoming in the planetary alignments. That’s probably all to the good; we don’t need any further distractions.
On this day in history (1873) a group of insurgent Modocs under Captain Jack, John Schonchin, and Shacknasty Jim held off the Federal army in northern California, much to the surprise of all concerned. They had been assigned to the Klamath Reservation, against their express desires, and preferred to hang on to their old lands in the Lost River country. As this conflicted with the greed of Oregon settlers and the desire of the Department of Indian Affairs to consolidate tribal units a small contingent of soldiers was sent out to herd the Modocs onto Klamath Reservation in November 1872, accompanied by a crowd of local settlers. The soldiers tackled Captain Jack’s village while the settlers took on John Schonchin’s, with disastrous results—the Modoc bands holed up in the lava beds where they were joined by another group under Shacknasty Jim that had attempted to go to the reservation, but were turned back by a mob of drunken settlers. A month or so later, when additional troops had arrived from Portland and San Francisco, a determined assault was made on the insurgents—who repulsed it with virtually no loss of life on their side. It was a rare Native American victory—and it wouldn’t last. By May the insurgents had surrendered, and in October they were sent to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma, except for six of them, who were either hanged or sent to Alcatraz.

16 January 2020

16 January 2020


 16 January 12020 is Nothing Day, a day set aside for not celebrating anything. Well, sort of. In the United States it’s National Religious Freedom Day, in the Congo Democratic Republic it’s the Anniversary of President Laurent Kabila’s Assassination, and in El Salvador the Signing of the Peace Accords is commemorated.
The American election—in which I have no real interest—seems to have swamped all the other news, at least in the venues still open to me to read. CNN continues its pro-Trump coverage (as it did in 2016, don’t forget) by promoting Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate—a sure loser as far as I can see. Trump supporters aren’t going to vote for Fake Donald—especially when the fake is a bumbling boob with foot-in-mouth disease—when they already have real Donald, and those opponents that do will only vote for him under the delusion that he is the lesser of two institutional maladies—which has yet to be seen. Good ole Uncle Joe has already demonstrated that he can get his noxious schemes enacted into viable law to afflict all decent Americans—the Dopey Don has yet to prove himself in that department. Better the devil you know, and all that. Right? Am I right? Hello? Is anybody listening?
Is this thing even on? At any rate all the planets are in direct motion at the moment—nobody in retrograde—so we can expect a little progress in our daily endeavors.

15 January 2020

15 January 2020


 15 January 12020 is Bagel and Lox Day—also Strawberry Ice Cream Day. In Egypt it is Arbor Day (honoring trees); in India it is Army Day (glorifying their military); in Malawi it is John Chilembwe Day (remembering a Baptist minister who advocated resistance to colonial rule), and in Nigeria it is Armed Forces Day (celebrating the crushing of the Biafran independence movement). It is the real birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.—as opposed to the day set aside for remembering his work.
From the news I gather that the Dopey Don is going to force children to pray in public schools by executive decree—or something like that; the details were not announced. (Children can already pray in school if they want to; that’s never been in question in the United States.) Possibly this is just another brainfart of the Lunatic-in-chief, and nothing more will be heard of it. And apparently neither Iran nor North Korea wants to deal with him on the subject of limiting nuclear weapons—not at this time, anyway, and possibly ever.
Venus will be in sextile with Uranus today, as if things weren’t bad enough. Otherwise the planets continue their malign conspiracies at the old Capricorn inn, as Mercury prepares to jump ship to Aquarius, if travel plans hold.
And in history this is the anniversary of the 1919 Great Molasses Flood in Boston, Massachusetts. Twenty-one people died and over a hundred were injured when a tank containing molasses exploded, sending a flood of the sticky substance through the North End neighborhood at thirty-five miles an hour, inundating people, horses, dogs, and whatever else was in its path. The company responsible for the disaster of course denied all responsibility for it in the good old American corporate tradition, and instead blamed imaginary anarchists for the results of their own cost-cutting incompetence. The good news is that it was ultimately called to account after a fashion—and after some years had gone by—by having to pay out small sums to the families of their victims, but the bad news is that none of the corporate criminals were actually punished. That wouldn’t have been fair to them, I suppose. After all, they were only trying to make a buck.

14 January 2020

14 January 2020


 14 January 12020 is supposed to be Organize Your Home Day. And Defenders of the Motherland Day (Uzbekistan). It’s Dave Grohl’s birthday. Also Benedict Arnold’s. And it’s a day when I’m feeling too lousy to write anything, or even type random letters one after another. On top of this goddamn hacking cough that’s probably going to turn out to be a symptom of pancreas breakdown or something, I’m sore from a visit to the dentist and I don’t feel much like blogging—or whatever it is that I’m doing while pulling together real pieces for the consideration of all my imaginary readers.
I see in the news that Cornplanter’s pipe—a gift to him from George Washington—has been returned to the Seneca people. I doubt that would mean much to Cornplanter; if I don’t have him confused with somebody else he ended his life thinking he had been a failure, betrayed by the American officials he had dealt with. He was right about the betrayals anyway—but he played the hand he was dealt with skill and honor. It’s been decades since I was knee-deep in the documents of his time and place, but his name still shines with a golden glow in my memory. Not that he’d care about that, either.
Well, the sun is in Capricorn of course—it’s that time of year—but so is practically everybody else, what with Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto (assuming that Pluto counts for anything since its demotion) all hanging out there as well. Still, Mercury’s just passing through on his way to Aquarius, so at least that influence will be negated.
On this day in history the Human Be-In was held in San Francisco in 1967. This “Gathering of the Tribes” was an attempt to forge an alliance among various factions in the counterculture—particularly the Berkeley radicals and the acid freaks derogatorily referred to as “hippies”. Participants included Gary Snyder, Dick Gregory, Timothy Leary, and Allen Watts, with music supplied by Big Brother and the Holding Company, Blue Cheer, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. While remembered fondly by many of those who were there, Eugene L. Grogan, Jr., wrote in his lame and unintentionally hilarious book Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps:
The Human Be-In was publicized as a “Gathering of the Tribes,” but it was actually more a gathering of the suburbs with only a sprinkling of nonwhites in the crowd of three hundred thousand. … [Eugene L. Grogan (who wrote of himself in the third person)] walked to one side of the stage and stood below it, watching the so-called luminaries of the alternative culture. He felt a sense of anger and despair over the way the Be-In had been set up and presented. Their advertising had assembled three hundred thousand people, and all they gave them was a single stage with a series of schmucks schlepping all over it, making speeches and reciting poetry nobody could hear, with interludes of music. It was even more incredible to [Grogan] that the crowd crushed forward for a better spot where they could stargaze at the feeble spectacle. … More ham chewers trouped up to the mike and kept saying how wonderful it was with all that energy in one place at the same time. Just being. Being together—touching, looking, loving, embracing each other—that’s what it was all about, they said… Three hundred thousand people shouted repeatedly that they were one, and [Grogan] just sat on the grass and watched them pretend, wondering how long it was going to take before people stopped kidding themselves.
Self-serving and untrustworthy as Ringolevio is, I like the guy’s spirit. Rest in peace, Eugene L. Grogan Jr., wherever the fuck you ended up.

13 January 2020

13 January 2020


 13 January 12020 is listed as Clean Off Your Desk Day and Make Your Dreams Come True Day, as well as Liberation Day (Togo), Constitution Day (Mongolia), Stephen Foster Memorial Day (United States) and Coming of Age Day (Japan). And it’s Clark Ashton Smith’s birthday.
Maybe I’ll be back tomorrow. I’m really not feeling well.

12 January 2020

12 January 2020


 12 January 12020 is Marzipan Day, and, from what I can gather from various readily-accessible internet sources, Prosecutor General’s Day (Russia), Zanzibar Revolution Day (Tanzania), Berber New Year (Algeria), Memorial Day (Turkmenistan), and National Youth Day (India). It’s Jack London’s birthday, as well as Glenn Yarbrough’s and Christiane Amanpour’s.
I can’t tell what, if anything, is going on in the world at large, what with all the news being behind paywalls and only Ben Shapiro deigning to enlighten me with his views. Setting aside the Iranian crisis and the American election the pickings are slim to none. Still, no news is good news I suppose….
Mercury is in conjunction with both Saturn and Pluto today as it passes through Capricorn, which gives me a rather queasy feeling. (That could be the tamales I had earlier, though.) And Venus is entering Pisces, unsettling any romantic expectations for the moment. It might be a good day to stay in bed and meditate or something. What with Jupiter being in Capricorn as well it’s probably best to keep expectations low at any rate. Focus on the tasks at hand.
On this day in 1888 some 235 people, many of them children, froze to death when a blizzard unexpectedly hit the Great Plains in North America. Timing was critical here. The weather had actually been warming a bit before the cold front came in, and it did so while students were at school. Those who stayed had a better chance of survival than those who attempted to make it home, from the looks of things. I’ve always supposed that this was the model for the fictional snowstorm in Mark Twain’s “Schoolhouse Hill” fragment, but I don’t have my books at hand to check on the details, so for this entry it remains an unsubstantiated guess.

11 January 2020

11 January 2020


 11 January 12020 is the first of two days called Carmentalia by the Romans—the other being the 15th. (Why they had two identically-named festivals so close to one another in January appears to be a mystery—and as far as I could learn was to the ancients too.) It’s also Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day and the Birthday of Eugenio María de Hostos (this last observed in Puerto Rico).
As far as I can tell there is no actual news today—just pointless politicking and chaos. I imagine that stuff is going on as usual behind the smoke and mirrors, but I don’t have access to it. The American presidential election seems to have swamped everything else. Well, that and the Iranian war that Trump seems to be promoting—which, as far as I can tell, is just another election ploy.
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