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The Freedom Forum

These brain farts I call ‘posts’ have been placed on this here website since 2012 and now, as this damned pandemic is finally being stamped out, I find myself in need of a plain-old job, so that old Facebook rant I wrote a few years ago? — Gone! Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, I sincerely apologize for not calling you the total geniuses and visionaries that you all most certainly are. Also, I’m looking for between $70,000 and $80,000 a year plus bennies. Boston area. Seriously folks, in this wide webbed world, nothing goes unnoticed and not for nothing, very few employers want to be tangled up with a know-it-all, part-time journalist, except the demeaning (and low paying) business of journalism. What passes for ‘news’ today largely sucks in my lowly opinion and that’s one of the reasons I started this blog. $100 a year to read that shit? This shit = free of charge.

I speak my mind, so to speak (because I write it) and I’ve revealed a lot of my personal information in the blog, however my pen name gives me the courage to speak to power and call a former President of the United States a coward, among other not nice things, but that’s what makes America great! I can say what I want, but now, I just need to pay the rent and eat, so to my (dear) readers, if ever there was a post you would want to read again and reminisce about how truly terrible a president Donald Trump was, our subscription department (me, located in an abandoned train terminal beneath Harvard Square) will gladly email any title to you, free of charge. Speaking of free, this site will always remain free and if you use it you know why, because although there are few pictures or videos and the text is impossibly hard to read, if you slap on your readers, there’s more valuable information pulsing through this mighty information portal on a daily basis than the old Out of Town Newsstand in Harvard Square with CNN on the overhead TV. One tip: I recommend using your browser’s reader view (the aA symbols on the top left of the screen on a Mac device, Android people, I just feel sorry for you) while perusing pages and posts.

The posts I’ve written since 2016 were the real reason I got into this blog because I felt I had to do anything I could to ridicule our ridiculous former president, but now that he’s gone (kinda), I feel it’s time to move on. For the past four years, I simply wanted to do one thing: help dispel the overall Trump lie. I saw the goofus as the self-dealing schmuck that he has totally been revealed to be, but for now, Trump is one for the books. I’m still in a bit of shock over the whole mess (see Jan. 6) and can’t bring myself to face the consequences just yet, but as most Americans, I’m simply glad it’s (almost) over. Some things in life are so deep and complicated, you just can’t get a hold of the entirety of the thing for some time — I still haven’t written a word about 9/11, for example.

The good news for the descendants of North Carolinan Andrew Johnson, Virginian James Buchanan, California’s Richard Nixon and Grover Cleveland from New Jersey is that the miserable tenure of our former president* is done and we can grade him now (‘Ol Grover Cleveland frighteningly won two non-consecutive terms, I might add) but these former presidents will now rise up one notch from the bottom of the heap of the worst in history thanks to what’s his name from New York. James K. Polk was worse you say? I say maybe, but he had to drink the White House’s bad water, yet regardless of personal opinion, one hundred years ago Ohio Senator Warren Gamaliel Harding was inaugurated our 29th President. He was a very bad president, maybe the worst, so I must apologize now to his descendants for pointing out the fact; Harding, a Republican from Ohio who usually ends up on the very bottom of lists of good presidents was a newspaperman who had ordinary sorts of affairs his entire life, a spectacularly normal man, whose ‘return to normalcy’ election pledge after Woodrow Wilson kept the US out of WWI, then ushered the US into WWI (with the accompanying Spanish Flu), Harding’s presidency would then begin the incredibly weird Roarin’ Twenties, when America reached drinking age as a nation. ‘Ol Warren G. was proverbially caught with his pants down and in the words of his attorney general and kingmaker Harry Daugherty, Harding had more ‘women scrapes’ than any president in history and for historians, that now includes the former guy by a bright orange hair, but it took almost 100 years for the full, flowering love of ‘Ol Warren G. Harding to take its rightful place among his presidential papers collection.

On May 7, 1915, ten miles south of Old Head, Kinsale in Ireland the British-registered luxury liner Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat with 1,266 passengers and a crew of 696. When the Cunard-owned liner was torpedoed, she was carrying over four million rounds of ammunition, almost 5,000 shrapnel shell casings (weighing over 50 tons) with an additional cargo of thousands of percussion fuses. Just before the ship sailed, Captain Dow, the longtime Lusitania captain, left his command due to the ‘stress of the job,’ and no kidding, passengers were warned in advertisements taken out in the New York Times that declared the ship was subject to sinking by German U-boats. The Cunard’s owner and CEO Alfred Booth simply assigned a new captain to the thankless task of guiding the gigantic liner past the German wolfpack in the North Atlantic, where a single bullseye from German Navy submarine U-20 would take the doomed ship down in ten minutes. Did the Germans know that the (barely legal) weapons were in the ship’s cargo holds along with the thousands of passengers above? They most certainly did.

The brutality of the Rape of Belgium failed to arouse US interest in a world war (then employing gas attacks in far-flung Europe, not dissimilar to the bombing of Guernica, Spain 20 years later) and isolationism was the word as President Woodrow Wilson ran for a second term with the boast that he “kept us out of the war,” however after being re-elected, Wilson became a reluctant enemy to Kaiser Wilhelm’s Imperial Germany, especially after German meddling in South America and particularly after Germany’s offer to hand over Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to Mexico after the war in an offer to Mexico’s Carranza government via the infamous Zimmerman telegram. Germany was already notorious for espionage and acts of terrorism on American soil before the war and the sinking of the Lusitania, her passengers as well as her cargo, became part of a much bigger picture in which German military planners Alfred von Schlieffen and Helmuth von Moltke (the Younger) war gamed for years, after their field trips/reconnaissance missions to France, the German General Staff would play out their war games during a time of peace in order to use the blueprint for the actual war plan that Wilhelm demanded for total victory, but as all battle plans, it was obsolete and thrown away after facing the first few days of conflict after August 1, 1914.

Whenever WWI really began, whether it was after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo or after the timidity of the British Navy in the Straits of Malta, most European countries had strong opinions about whether the US would get involved in the war. The English and the French desperately wanted America on their side but the Germans absolutely did not want the US to get in the way of the war of aggression, however when it became obvious that America would support the British and then the Russians, the German General Staff began an organized campaign of terror on American soil the likes of which we have never seen before or since. German saboteurs bombed the Welland Canal and bridge in Maine, blew up the San Francisco Army Depot and then the infamous Black Tom sabotage in New Jersey that injured Lady Liberty with shrapnel so bad that she has never healed (after the explosion, the torch was permanently closed to visitors) and after the Lyndhurst, New Jersey conflagration (known as the Kingsland explosion), Germany’s criminality prepared US doughboys for the killer gas attacks that Germany would employ (for the first time ever in war) against their enemies. Though it can be debated when the war began, the war definitely ended on November 11, 1918, a vacation day for most: Veteran’s Day in America and Armistice Day in Britain, where most wear red poppies in remembrance of the fighting in Belgium and France, where the flower still flourishes.

Carrie Fulton was a comely woman from President Warren Harding’s hometown of Marion, Ohio where she was very proud of her German roots. Many Germans emigrated to Ohio in the 1800s and by the time WWI started, German culture and tradition was fully ingrained in America. Mrs. Phillips, (her name after she was married) was Harding’s most intriguing dalliance, unlike his personal secretary Nan Britton with whom Harding fathered a child the year before entering the White House (denied: true), Mrs. Fulton Phillips had become a woman of the world, married to Harding’s good friend and associate James Phillips, the Phillipses were long-time family friends of the Hardings, more than once First Lady Flossie and ‘Ol W. Gamaliel would travel with them to Europe together. The descendants of former President Harding may cringe as I splay out the story of his failure as a president and husband, but I’ll have you know that there but for the Grace of God go I. I’ll also have you know that I’ve never banged my best friend’s wife. Asking whether Harding was compromised by German spies or whether Carrie Fulton Phillips was an agent of Germany gives me no pleasure (actually, I do take some pleasure but that’s on me) because it’s my opinion that Harding was compromised by German spies and the descendants of Mrs. Fulton Phillips must cringe due to the evidence. I’m descended from some fairly sketchy slave-owning bastards myself (with a few traitorous scoundrels thrown in as well) but to accentuate the positive is a human trait and I, too, tend to highlight my Revolutionary War ancestors instead of the deadbeats.

In 1920, radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcast Harding as the winner of the presidential election, the first time election results were ever heard live on radio (Harding also recorded a speech on an early phonograph record that was played back on wax discs) and he was the first president to own a radio and the first to have one installed in the White House. Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson also both made phonograph speeches for their campaigns, but it was Harding’s voice that America heard for the first time LIVE on the radio. By 1920, WWI was over, the wartime boom had collapsed and diplomats were arguing over peace treaties and America’s participation in the League of Nations in Europe, where wars and revolutions continued, but here at home there were strikes, riots and a growing fear of radicals and terrorists.

Henry Cabot Lodge was the head of the national Republican Party in the early ’20s, the Senior Senator from Massachusetts proudly and almost single-handedly scuttled the League of Nations and kept the US out of the only international peacekeeping force prior to WWII. As de-facto Senate Majority leader and Chair of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, this Republican was also at the very center of Harding’s ‘woman scrapes,’ helping to sweep Harding’s indiscretions under the rug, especially when Mrs. Fulton Phillips blackmailed the GOP while looking for hush money. Oh, the stories Mrs. Phillips might have been able to tell if she hadn’t been whisked off on an all expenses paid junket, care of the Republican National Committee, on a world tour at the same time of the 1920 election!

Carrie Fulton Phillips would move to Germany with her husband, however with the First World War approaching she moved back to Washington, rekindling her illicit relationship with Harding, however with far more vehement cajoling, lobbying and outright arguing the case for Imperial Germany with our soon to be compromised president, Fulton Phillips finally grew impatient with Harding and proceeded to scam him and the Republicans for what amounts to millions of dollars today in the only recorded case of a major political party being blackmailed in (unwritten) US history. Carrie Fulton Phillips was paid monthly by the GOP for her entire life to keep quiet about the affair, yet it was revealed that she was almost certainly a German spy, a brazen and immoral one at that — to blackmail a sitting President of the United States!

The Great War was supposed to be the ‘War to End All Wars’ and the failure of democracy after the first war was worsened and compounded at Versailles when the US refused to support the League of Nations, instead supporting the shitty Knox-Porter treaty, ending the state of war between the US and Germany, signed by President Harding (who died in office of a heart attack in 1923), Pennsylvania Senator Philander Chase Knox (yes, his first name was actually Philander) served in the Senate from 1917 until his death in office in 1921, but before he died he was one of Harding’s biggest financial backers as well as one of the most vocal critics of the Treaty of Versailles, saying, “This Treaty does not spell peace but war — war more woeful and devastating than the one we have but now closed.” Knox was a prominent steel industry attorney, forming the law firm Knox & Reed (now Reed Smith), today one of the highest profile law firms in the world, with industrialist and millionaire Andrew Carnegie listed as their first client, after Knox had successfully defended steel magnate millionaires from Pennsylvania whose indifference and negligence killed over 2,000 Americans (you can read all about it in historian David McCullough’s fantastic, first-ever book, The Johnstown Flood for the full story) and ten years after the Knox-Porter Treaty, after the failed presidency of Republican Herbert Hoover and the Wall Street Crash of ’29 and the resulting Great Depression, WWII would soon follow and Germany, then under the leadership of Adolph Hitler, were back to their old tricks.

John Underhill
May 20, 2021

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