Breitbart Mentality

Number 12

I subscribe to the Breitbart News email feed, and I get this frequently. It’s the “Liberal Love and Kindness” meme, intended to demonstrate that liberals are not the loving and kind people they purport to be. So stop right there. I consider myself to be somewhat liberal, and I have never advertised to be loving and kind. While there is nobody I hate, there are a few I would enjoy seeing run out of town on a rail. So, Breitbart News, forget this love and kindness bull shit. We are here to do battle.

Which gets me to my point for today. Try as I may, I find it difficult to differentiate Breitbart News from a dedicated shill for Donald Trump. Let me emphasize that. Donald Trump. There appears to be nothing Donald Trump will do or say that raises the hackles of Breitbart News. Nothing. Breitbart News, what kind of people are you? Let’s take a look at the person you are carrying water for:

Trump: Cokie Roberts ‘never treated me nicely’ but ‘was a professional’

President Trump said pioneering journalist Cokie Roberts, who died Tuesday at the age of 75, “never treated me nicely” but praised her as “a professional.”

“I never met her. She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional and I respect professionals. I respect you guys a lot, you people a lot. She was a real professional. Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional,” Trump told reporters on the flight from Albuquerque, N.M., to Mountain View, Calif., on Tuesday.

Yes, let’s get that straight. A person died. And President Trump noted her passing and her professionalism. And in the next breath Donald Trump, President of the United States, inserted his self esteem into the matter. What kind of human being does this kind of shit? This is the kind of person Breitbart News never seems to find fault with.

I hope you don’t think I am prepared to stop here. There is more. Please enjoy.

Breitbart News, let’s not hear a bunch more about liberal love and kindness.

Abusing Science

Number 36 of a series

Once again I need to post an item on the topic of Abusing Science, and once again I turn to that reliable source, the creationists of Discovery Institute. Here is something directed to me from their Center for Science and Culture. The email service arrives regularly and is titled “Nota Bene.” Make what you want of the title, but here is a link from the email:

WHY CAN’T MONKEYS TYPING FOREVER PRODUCE SHAKESPEARE?

Before communication can begin, there must be an intention to communicate

BY RUSS WHITE ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

If you give an infinite number of monkeys typewriters and allow them to type freely, will they eventually produce the works of Shakespeare? Call this the infinite monkey theorem (IMT), widely attributed to Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895), best remembered today as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his defense of Darwin’s theory of evolution. In 2000, a tongue-in-cheek “protocol” for such an experiment was developed. Independently, in 2003, enterprising researchers gave a group of monkeys keyboards, in what they were willing to discuss as a test of the theory:

It is a shopworn challenge, and it centers on the random mutation aspect of Darwinian evolution. How, creationist argue, can a random process using finite resources produce well-crafted organisms? Richard Dawkins addresses the argument in his book, The Blind Watchmaker.

The resemblance of a cloud to a weasel is only mildly diverting, barely worth calling to the attention of our companion. Moreover, we are quite likely to change our mind about exactly what the cloud most resembles.

Hamlet. Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

Polonius. By the mass, and ’tis like a camel, indeed.

Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius. It is backed like a weasel.

Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (pp. 65-66). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Dawkins discusses how random permutation of a sequence of letters can eventually form Shakespeare’s line, “Methinks it is like a weasel.” He produced a computer simulation that did exactly that. However, his process incorporates a selection mechanism as required by Darwinian evolution. Dawkins’ process permutes letters in the initial string until a letter fits the required pattern, then the process stops permuting that letter and continues with the rest. In short order the process produces “Methinks it is like a weasel.”

Of course, nature does not act this way. Nature is likely to continue permuting a letter that already fits the expected pattern. Besides, nature does not have an expected pattern as a goal. And that is a thing that bothers the creationists. There must be a goal, or else Darwinian evolution cannot work. It is inside that goal Intelligent Design lives. The “intelligent” part of Intelligent Design has nothing to do with smarts. It’s all about goals. Goals are fed into the process from an external source—a source of intelligence.

And that gets us the the crucial part of White’s thesis. After some lead-up he gets around to:

These issues speak to intent. It is not enough to form symbols; it is not enough to form words; it is not enough to form sentences. Before communication can begin, there must be an intention to communicate which results in the creation of dictionaries and grammars which interact with one another and are often layered in complex ways. Intent, then, is a critical component of communication.

At this point I need to call a halt to a serious misconception by White and others seeking to use information theory to argue against Darwinian evolution. There is a basic misunderstanding of what communication is. I state without authority the following:

  • At the base level information is the entity that mediates cause and effect.
  • At the base level communication is a manifestation of cause and effect.

All higher levels of communication we experience—talking person to person, watching a game on TV—they all distill down to the bullets above. Further justification on request.

White writes, “Before communication can begin, there must be an intention to communicate…,”  and he says this without justification. He wants to construe communication in the same sense as people talking on a telephone, where intent is an ingredient. Intent is not a requisite for communication. But what is intent, and does it exist?

Stating without authority, intent is a feature of living organisms, and it is particularly a feature of animal life forms. Animal life forms move about and do things, and their actions are driven by intent. Let that be the working definition of intent.

Where does intent come from? We are born with it. Without it most animal forms would quickly perish and would not reproduce. Darwinian evolution has produced intent on this planet. Some elaboration.

A baby mammal is born. If it is born without the intent of seeking its mother’s nipple, then it will not live to reproduce. Animal life is driven by goals, the substance of intent. The animal is hungry. The animal seeks food. The animal (often without much thought) seeks to reproduce. Intent is essential to the promulgation of a species.

But whence intent? On this planet before there was life there was no intent. Creationists want to argue there was intent, and, further, that intent came from a transcendental being that exists outside space and time. You can see I am making a bunch of this stuff up.

Ultimately White’s argument appears to go nowhere. He concludes:

Neither of these approaches, however, will ultimately work — real communication requires intent, not only in the communication itself but even in the creation of the shared framework (dictionaries and grammars) in which communication takes place. Ultimately, then, thinking through the IMT shows us that artificial intelligence cannot produce the works of Shakespeare. There can be an illusion of intent but the original intent required to communicate just is not there.

He says much, but tells us nothing. What we are observing is a horrendous abuse of science.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a Continuing Series

Actually this bit of humor is from the movie.

Eva Peron is suggested to have slept her way to power as First Lady of Argentina, the wife of Juan Peron. Her past dogged her throughout, even as she represented her country on foreign trips.

She visited Spain, where dictator for life Generalissimo Francisco Franco ruled with an iron hand. After a grand review of the troops Sra. Peron had a question for the Generalissimo. “As the troops marched by,” she inquired, “they turned their faces toward me and chanted, ‘Whore! Whore!’ Is this proper?”

“Do not take them too seriously, Señora Peron,” he told her. “What do they know? For example they still call me ‘Generalissimo,’ and I haven’t worn my uniform in years.”

Houston, we have a problem.

Number 10 of a series

It has to go down as the understatement of the 20th century. James Lovell: “Houston, we have a problem.” He actually said, “We’ve had a problem,” but I prefer the present tense. Three men were aboard Apollo 13 on the way to the moon when an oxygen tank disintegrated, dooming the mission and threatening the lives of the crew. And James Lovell phoned in to say they had a problem.

Anyhow, I now apply the quote to any of a multitude of political disasters close to my home state. Here is the most recent.

John Cornyn <info@johncornyn.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com

Sep 12 at 11:41 AMNo,

Tonight, the Democratic Presidential candidates are in Houston for their big debate. Why did they choose Texas to have their debate?No, it’s because Democrats think they can flip Texas blue in 2020!

They think their policies can appeal to us, but they are wrong.

We don’t want abortion on demand, even after birth.

We don’t want to decriminalize illegal immigration.

We don’t want Medicare-For-All.

Above all, we don’t want to impeach President Trump! Democrats are trying to force all of these ideas on us. We don’t want them.

Let’s send a loud and clear message to Democrats: Don’t Mess With Texas! 

That is Senator John Cornyn of Texas making those various statements. Then he asks for money. And, yes, we do have a problem. Some dissection.

Democrats think they can flip Texas blue. No truer words were recently said. And flipping Texas blue will mean voting Senator Cornyn out of office. Any sentient carbon-based life form will do as a replacement.

They think their policies can appeal to us. Wandering around and talking to a bunch of people, I am thinking that their policies find great appeal in Texas. We wait for November next year to find out.

Abortion on demand. Isn’t that like saying if somebody wants an abortion they will request a medical professional to perform the service? Even after birth. Dude, where is that coming from? After birth it is too late to abort a pregnancy, so the phrase is just stupid. Furthermore, it’s designed to scare the bottom of the barrel voter base, aiming to convince them people want to kill babies after they are born. And it’s really bad form. By now we are beginning to realize why people are turning against the Republican Party.

Decriminalize illegal immigration. Again, a contradiction of terms. Where does Senator Cornyn, and by extension the Republican Party, get these propaganda-laced snippets? For those who are not lawyers, something that is not legal cannot be decriminalized. Not speaking for all Texas voters, I will say that coming to the United States and requesting entry, even asylum, is not now illegal. This is not illegal immigration. Coming to this country without a valid entry visa and not reporting in to the proper authorities is a misdemeanor and needs to be handled as such. Beyond that, people in dire straits coming to this country and asking for help should receive real consideration and should not be demeaned as drug smugglers, rapists, and murderers. They are people who need help, and this country does have the resources to help them. That’s the Texas I grew up in.

Yes we do want Medicare-For-All. Expanding Medicare coverage to the entire population will result in a more healthy and more productive population. My take and also the view of many Texans is a population that receives necessary medical care will be a national asset, well worth the investment.

Above all, we don’t want to impeach President Trump! Don’t want to impeach President Trump? Are you out of your mind? You don’t want to impeach President Trump? We have to ask why. Here is a person who is running the United States government as his personal ATM, and you want to keep him in office? On the payroll? Are you out of your mind? Oh yeah. I already asked that. We definitely have a problem.

John Cornyn, quit messing with Texas.

Update

As a follow-up I sent the following by email to Senator Cornyn:

Senator Cornyn,

Yesterday I received an interesting email, and since your name was at the top I am assuming it is from you. The email contained a number of comments, and I will address two of them. First there is this, from your email:

“We don’t want Medicare-For-All.”

Actually, we do want effectively Medicare for all. Our economy will be more robust if everybody in this state has access to health care, and something modeled on Medicare will accomplish this. Don’t go off the deep end with phony scare tactics.

“Above all, we don’t want to impeach President Trump! Democrats are trying to force all of these ideas on us. We don’t want them.”

You don’t want to impeach President Trump? Really? Here is a low-grade criminal who persists in, among other things, using the United States Treasury as his personal ATM. Think about the reputation of the United States government. Think about your future electability. Quit standing up for a person who cares for little but his own gain.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 21 of a continuing series

People, I definitely need help. Ether I have lost my mind or else the whole world is going wacko. The depth of inanity, from where I view it, is becoming unfathomable. Don’t believe me? Then view a recent exchange with some global warming (AGW) deniers. Pardon me, but I have decided not to redact the names of the correspondents.

It started out when a Facebook friend posted something from Fox News. The headline is “Kimberley Strassel: 2020 Dems vowing to ‘kill every coal job, every oil and gas job’ with climate goals.” I responded, letting on the world can survive without the coal industry, and things went downhill from there. The thread has multiple exchanges, and I am only keeping the pertinent ones. Here goes:

Edward Stansell All of the fuels we currently use can by present technology be made to burn clean. The real problem lies in the bogus designation of CO2 as a pollutant. Without CO2 there would be no plant life. Without plant life there’d be no animal life.

Edward Stansell Kevin Burris What do you expect out of mental defectives? We use canvas bags. They can ne used over and over. They don’t require cutting trees and they are better than those crappy plastic bags the handles or bottoms rip out of before we get them home.

Some cutting of trees is necessary. everything manufactured doesn’t have to have a container, paper or plastic. Most landfills consist mainly of used containers.

[Note: I included this bit because I so love the reference (which I highlighted) to “mental defectives.”]

John Blanton Edward Stansell Green plants depend on CO2. We need CO2 in the atmosphere. However, in my lifetime the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone from about 300 parts per million to over 400 ppm.

A basic physical principle is that CO2 absorbs infra red radiation. Atmospheric temperatures are driven by solar energy (light, infra red, etc.) and by heat sources within the earth (nuclear decay). A steady state is maintained when the heat lost to outer space (radiation) equals heat supplied by solar and nuclear. When things warm up, they radiate more, achieving a balance–steady state.

Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere raises the steady state temperature. We are experiencing a rise in average temperatures (steady state).

As always, details are on request.

Edward Stansell John Blanton According to what you say about CO2 absorbing infra-red radiation, the atmosphere and therefore the biosphere should be cooling. Please explain.

John Blanton Edward Stansell I’m glad you asked. When something absorbs infra-red it gets warmer. Let me know if you have any more questions.

After that last, I am at a loss for words. Quite obviously, humanity is lost. Is it time for me to check into the Neptune Society?

Update

Since posting the above there have been additions to the conversation. See the following:

Edward Stansell John Blanton Yes, but it didn’t adsorb the UV rays, they would still reach the earth’s surface and heat it, particularly the oceans.

John Blanton And your point being?

Edward Stansell John Blanton The point is that CO2 is not the cause of climate change. It would happen with or without it. Therefore there is no need to control the emissions of CO2.

I will not respond further on this Facebook thread. Comments posted by Edward Stansell and others speak for themselves.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 181, unfortunately

The above was posted to Facebook by a conservative friend. And that will about do it with made-up George Washington quotes:

“When a nation mistrusts its citizens with guns it is it sending a clear message. It no longer trusts its citizens because such a government has evil plans.”

The quote seems to originate from an online publication: The American Wisdom Series presents Pamphlet #230, “President George Washington’s Thoughts on Firearms.”  The author provides no citation for the quotations used.

Meanwhile, on planet Earth:

ARGUMENT BETWEEN WEST VIRGINIA PASTORS’ WIVES ENDS WITH GUNFIRE IN CHURCH PARKING LOT

BY  

A pastor’s wife in West Virginia has been charged with reckless endangerment after allegedly firing a gun in a church parking lot.

Melinda Frye Toney, 44, is accused of pulling out a pistol that accidentally discharged during an argument with another pastor’s wife at New Life Apostolic Church in Oak Hill on May 11.

Toney is the wife of New Life pastor Earl Toney while the other woman, Lori Haywood, is married to New Life’s youth pastor, David Haywood,

George Washington, where are you when we need you?

Abusing Science

Number 35 of a series

2.1.5.2. Sea-level curve for Sydney Harbour (Port Denison) since 1940, with fitted polynomial curve of decelerating nature. Adapted from Watson, P.J. 2011. Is there evidence yet of acceleration in mean sea-level rise around mainland Australia? Journal of Coastal Research 27 : 368–377

Here’s how it works, fairly often. An exchange on Facebook:

Initial post (1): Sanders wants to make steel without use of fossil fuels. Hes a modern alchemist. Fascinating.

A response from me: Life would go on just fine if every coal mine were shut down. The age of coal is coming to an end. Details on request.

Followup response from me: I have a degree in physics, and I have studied chemistry. You can make steel without using fossil fuels. No magic is involved. Details on request.

Response from (1): John Blanton not at scale or economically. But that never matters to futurists or idelogical driven thinkers in any time. Just the dream not the practical

Response from me: I believe the original statement was calling Sanders an alchemist. Is it time to revise that statement?

Response from (2): Just rearrange the letters. Asshole. (If democrats can do it, so can I.}

Response from (1): John Blanton no. Because its not practical. Practical matters.

Response from me:  So, what is practical? An increase in the cost of producing steel or the cost to mitigate the effect of rising sea levels? My offer to provide details still stands. Any takers?

Response from (3):

And there you have it. A discussion regarding what is real and what is not devolves into the posting of an Internet meme with no explanation tendered. What (3) should have done was to pull up some research into the matter and to post excerpts and links to that. Such response being not forthcoming, I will do some of it myself.

An item that popped up close to the top of my Google search is this. See the graph above:

Key Findings The Hydrosphere • Little evidence exists for an overall increase in global precipitation during the twentieth century independent of natural multidecadal climate rhythmicity. • Monsoon precipitation did not become more variable or intense during late twentieth century warming; instead, precipitation responded mostly to variations in solar activity. • South American and Asian monsoons were more active during the cold Little Ice Age and less active during the Medieval Warm Period. Neither global nor local changes in streamflow have been linked to CO2 emissions. • The relationship between drought and global warming is weak, since severe droughts occurred during both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. • Knowledge of local sea-level change is vital for coastal management; such change occurs at widelyvariable rates around the world, typically between about +5 and -5 mm/year. • Global (eustatic) sea level, knowledge of which has only limited use for coastal management, rose at an average rate of between 1 and 2 mm/year over the past century. • Satellite altimeter studies of sea-level change indicate rates of global rise since 1993 of over 3 mm/year, but complexities of processing and the infancy of the method precludes viewing this result as secure. • Rates of global sea-level change vary in decadal and multidecadal ways and show neither recent acceleration nor any simple relationship with increasing CO2 emissions. • Pacific coral atolls are not being drowned by extra sea-level rise; rather, atoll shorelines are affected by direct weather and infrequent high tide events, ENSO sea level variations, and impacts of increasing human populations. • Extra sea-level rise due to heat expansion (thermosteric rise) is also unlikely given that the Argo buoy network shows no significant ocean warming over the past 9 years.

The article’s abstract contrasts with the lead graphic, which shows a sea level rise at Fort Denison. My search discloses numerous publications concerning sea level rise, or lack of it, at Sydney Harbor. One would think global warming is not contributing to sea level rise. One would think global warming does not exist. One would think global warming is not attributable to human activity. One would be at variance with a vast body of observation.

Greenland’s ice is melting at the rate scientists thought would be our worst-case scenario in 2070

Whether the United States purchases Greenland from Denmark or not, there is still a great gob of ice sitting the planet’s largest island. The following are statements of fact, something often lacking in Facebook exchanges.

Greenland’s ice is melting six times faster now than it was four decades ago.

The authors of a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimate that the Greenland ice sheet is now sloughing off an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year. In 2012, Greenland lost more than 400 billion tons of ice.

Two decades ago, the annual average was just 50 billion.

All that lost ice means Greenland’s melting has contributed to more than 0.5 inches of global sea-level rise since 1972, the researchers reported. Alarmingly, half of that increase came about in the last eight years alone.

An additional statement of fact:

Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).

These facts can be disputed, and it is incumbent on people arguing the point to come back with facts. Respondent (3) posted a meme created by somebody else—not a way to convince anybody who is serious about the issue. To repudiate the assertion that CO2 emissions are economically damaging, somebody will need to put forth some numbers.

My question, as posted, was whether it is more practical to continue current CO2 emission rates and to pay the cost of mitigation. Would somebody like to comment on the cost of mitigating a 20-foot sea level rise? A 200-foot sea level rise? Get back to me with your numbers.

The Government You Paid For

Number 61 of a Series

It was with great alarm, surprise, astonishment, shock, bewilderment that I came upon this news item from the AM Joy show on MSNBC streaming on YouTube Saturday morning. I herewith and without shame, mortification, regret, remorse, apology regurgitate the segment almost in its entirety. Following are screen shots, some rendered into classless memes, from the video. I have, from time to time, amateurishly added my comments to what is readily a transparent narrative. To wit, President Donald Trump came into office with his ill-conceived business operations hurting. Since early on in 2017 it has been obvious to all who will see that Mr. Trump is using the office of President of the United States to make his fortunes well again. To the extent possible, I might add. Here is how it’s done on two fronts.

First, the United States government is backed by the wealth of the American taxpayer, and to the extent he can, the President is guiding that wealth into the coffers of his various companies. Second, there is wealth to be had in the treasuries of foreign governments and in the treasuries of various businesses and individuals seeking favor from the United States government, and Mr. Trump is finding ways to direct some of that wealth into his own enterprises. Start with the wealth of the government treasury.

Yes, members of the United States armed services, traveling on official business, are paying to use Donald Trump facilities, specifically the Tumberry golf resort in Scotland.

Air Force crew, in their flight uniforms, found themselves ill at ease among the well-heeled patrons at this upscale watering hole. One wrote home about it.

Military personnel and other government employees are payed a per diem to cover expenses when they must live and eat while on government business. These military personnel were not directed to a military base, where they would have dined with other troops. Instead they drew per diem and leveraged it toward their expenses at the resort, way above what the government stipend would cover.

That’s right. Donald Trump enterprises include a golf resort at Tumberry near Glasgow in Scotland, and prior to Donald Trump’s presidency the resort was losing money. It lost $4.5 in 2017. Now the United States Air Force is using the resort to house service members stopping over in Scotland to refuel on their way to and from flights to Europe and beyond. Democratic members of Congress are interested in knowing why the Air Force is using public money to enrich their commander-in-chief.

To date, there has been no response from the Department of Defense, which reports solely to the President.

Vice President Mike Pence attended a conference in Dublin, Ireland, on government business. While in Ireland, he stayed at a Trump resort near the western shore of the island nation. Dublin is on the eastern coast, over 180 miles away.

The Vice President explained it this way. Paraphrasing: The need to accommodate the unique footprint of our security detail made it logical.

Right!

President Trump attended the G7 (formerly the G8) conference in France last month, and at the conclusion he heavily pitched hosting next year’s meeting at his resort in Loral, Florida. Obviously, attending countries would pay for staying at the Trump property, pumping additional wealth into President Trump’s personal equity.

I have no idea whether the other G7 members are required to follow the President’s recommendation, but any who resist can never be sure whether that will affect their standing with the United States government.

The story continues. Remember this?

Since becoming President Donald Trump has made 213 visits to his own properties.

98 of these visits were to play golf.

Full disclosure: when the President makes a trip like this for personal business, the government does not pay his expenses. If the trip requires travel on Air Force One, the President is charged a first class ticket. He has to pay the government out of his own pocket. Government employees making the trip ride for free, and that would include his security detail.

However, the President’s security detail incurs expenses at these Trump resorts, and the government picks up the tab, paying Trump enterprises out of the public treasury. Same for other government employees making the trip. As of recently total was $109 million to Trump out of the Treasury.

Then there is the matter of Attorney General William Barr.

Truth be known, on first examination I was saying, “What’s the big deal. It’s Barr’s own money, he can do what he wants with it.” Then it dawned on me. This is not a private party. It’s a department party, and the government is picking up the tab. It’s money from the Treasury to Donald Trump.

Not surprising there are impeachment rumblings, none coming from Donald Trump’s on party. So far the movement includes 134 Democrats and one Independent.

What a difference an election day can make. Would that we could have more of these. Here is what else is going on. From Politico we learn the House Judiciary panel is preparing a definition for an impeachment probe.

So, how unusual is it for American military aircraft to stop at a private resort rather than at a military base? Apparently it has recently become not so unusual. Since October 2017 it has become a lot more common for military airplanes to land at Prestwick airport about 30 miles from Trump’s Scottish resort.

Whoa! I previously served on active duty, and my experience at the time was each command, each unit, each small department, had a budget. You wanted to fly a plane, you had a budget to purchase fuel. You needed to repair a radio, you had to purchase spare parts out of your division budget.

So what do we have now? A general officer, maybe a colonel, has a command involving flying transport planes to Europe, Asia, and back. Then one day he looks at his allotment and decides he can afford to pay more for a load of jet fuel, and he can afford to put his crews up in a swanky resort instead of in a barracks at a base or even at a Holiday Inn Express nearby. Not likely. Commanding officers get graded on how efficiently they use their allotment. Some extravagances are considered part of building command morale, but going beyond a few such expenditures will require authorization from higher up. Does this come all the way down from the Commander-in-Chief? And if so, are there recommendation as to where to heap the largess? Inquiring minds want to know.

Prestwick airport is closest to any other serving the area. The airport was also losing money, and the Scottish government purchased it for essentially a dollar and has been looking for a buyer.

The Prestwick airport is essential to the health of Trump;s Tumberry property, being the closest landing spot for travelers. In any event, the airport has been getting healthy off the increased American military traffic coming through. They have made $11 million selling fuel to the American military, and this is fuel that could have been purchased cheaper at a military base. Additionally Donald Trump’s resort is prospering by having taxpayers shell out cash so military crews can stay at his resort. Keep in mind, this is a golf resort. Crew members might need to remember to bring their clubs.

What the big hullabaloo is all about is the two emoluments clauses in the Constitution. Here they are, the foreign part and the domestic part.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause (art. I, § 9, cl. 8):
“[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under
[the United States], shall, without the Consent of the
Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or
Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or
foreign State.”
 The Domestic Emoluments Clause (a.k.a. the
Presidential Emoluments Clause) (art. II, § 1, cl. 7):
“The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his
Services, a Compensation which shall neither be
encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he
shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within
that Period any other Emolument from the United
States, or any of them.”

These parts are in the Constitution to prohibit a likely source of corruption within, and it is apparent the current president is tromping all over both of them. Foreign governments are paying to stay at his Washington hotel, which building he ironically rents from the United States government, and American taxpayers are shelling out to Trump properties every time the President or a government official patronizes one of them. This is the classic definition of “feeding at the government trough.”

To say I am shocked, dismayed, distressed, outraged, indignant, scandalized by all these goings on would be incorrect, wrong, misconstrued, fantasized, illusionary. To the contrary, I am delighted, overjoyed, enthralled, thrilled, even happy at these goings on. Since my retirement from the workforce my greatest enjoyment in life has been to deconstruct absurdities in modern day life, and this president’s actions bring much joy, delight, gaiety, merriment, thrill, even happiness to my otherwise dull existence.

And with that my thesaurus is exhausted, bankrupted, drained, even depleted, and we are now getting the government we paid for.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a Continuing Series

A funeral service is held for a woman who has just passed away. As the pallbearers carry the casket out they accidentally bump into a wall.

They hear a faint moan.

They open the casket and discover the woman is actually alive. She lives for another ten years, then she dies.

They have another funeral service for her. At the end of the service the pallbearers carry out the casket.

As they are walking the husband cries out, “Watch out for the wall.”

A Deer in the Headlights

Some stories are told best through pictures.

From Fox News:

Trump clings to idea Alabama faced big threat from Dorian

Posted 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump isn’t giving up on the dubious idea that Alabama faced a serious threat from Hurricane Dorian.

During an Oval Office briefing Wednesday, Trump displayed a map of the National Hurricane Center forecast for last Thursday that showed Dorian could track over Florida. The map he displayed included what appeared to be a hand-drawn half-circle that extended the cone of uncertainty over a swath of Alabama.

Trump had raised eyebrows and drawn an emphatic fact check from the National Weather Service on Sunday when he tweeted that Alabama, along with the Carolinas and Georgia, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

Meanwhile, on another planet, GPO politicians and voters continue to support this president and his administration. I will leave you with this from Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 180, unfortunately

This is a continuation of my posts from “A few of the reasons people fired their guns in December, 2018.” Here is number 10:

My brother was arguing with me about paying rent for the apartment we share, so I shot him in the butt. (WI, 12/31/18)

Man allegedly shot his brother in argument over money

A Kenosha man is being held on $100,000 bond, alleged to have shot his brother during an argument over rent money.

Andrae Oliver, 33, was charged Wednesday with first-degree recklessly endangering safety-use of a dangerous weapon, and resisting police.

I am so glad to know that “an armed society is a polite society!”

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 20 of a continuing series

People will not believe the manner of stuff that lands in my in-box. This is the most recent:

Donald J. Trump <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com
Sep 4 at 10:06 AM

John,

We are 6 days away from the most important congressional election of 2019.

Dan Bishop, a FANTASTIC conservative who has my total endorsement, is running against a big government SOCIALIST hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi in the NC-09 Special Election.

The stakes are high – we NEED to win.

America doesn’t need more obstructionist Democrats who will be a rubber-stamp for Nancy Pelosi’s radical socialist agenda.

We need Republicans like Dan Bishop to KEEP AMERICA GREAT!In order to have the resources we need to win this election, we need to raise $100,000 by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.

Yes, this is an email, supposedly from President Donald Trump, soliciting money for the campaign of Republican Dan Bishop. Think about it for a moment. You’re running for office against a Democratic candidate, and you need money for your campaign. And Donald Trump’s name is on your campaign mailer. Donald Trump. That Donald Trump. Let that set in. The Donald Trump who in his previous life ran a low-level criminal enterprise and made a name for himself as a liar and a cheat and who now runs the Executive Branch of the United States government as a corrupt enterprise is not the kind of person you want endorsing you if you crave the vote of honest citizens.

About this moment Dan Bishop needs to be thinking of that day in the future when his face will join the others in the image above. It truly is breathtaking inanity.

This is your president speaking.

Number 222 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrumpSuch a phony hurricane report by lightweight reporter @jonkarl of @ABCWorldNews.

I suggested yesterday at FEMA that, along with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, even Alabama could possibly come into play, which WAS true. They made a big deal about this…

6:16 PM · Sep 2, 2019Twitter for iPhoneDonald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

….when in fact, under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some “hurt.” Always good to be prepared! But the Fake News is only interested in demeaning and belittling. Didn’t play my whole sentence or statement. Bad people!

6:16 PM · Sep 2, 2019Twitter for iPhone

Apparently the President clued us in on a number of states that could be impacted when hurricane Dorian hits the East Coast. Some people were chiding him for including Alabama in the mix. And they were making fun of him. Making fun of the President of the United States. Despicable! Wanted to make him appear stupid. Figured if they left out some of what he said (tweeted) he would appear the fool. What will they stoop to next?

So, what’s this all about? Some research is due. Oops! Here it is.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrumpIn addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!

9:51 AM · Sep 1, 2019Twitter for iPhone

And later:

Trump made the false claim again an hour later, at a FEMA briefing event that began at 12:31 p.m.He said Dorian “may get a little piece of a great place: It’s called Alabama.”

Thanks for bearing with me. I had to take some time to read this through a few times. I was looking for the part they left out. From all appearances, it was President Trump who left something out. He left out the part about throwing Alabama in the mix as a joke to draw out some Trump-hating Fourth Estaters. The joke would have made a nice splash if he had not forgotten to put in the part about Alabama being a joke.

For the record, he forgot to mention Nebraska, but now it is I who am making a joke. Another reason why, when the President speaks, I listen.

Houston, we have a problem.

Number 9 of a series

People, I have good news. But first the bad news.

On Saturday a Texas man was fired from his job and shortly after went on a shooting spree, using an AR-15-style weapon. We now have seven people dead in addition to the shooter, Seth Ator.

It was some kind of show, stretching along I-20 between Midland and Odessa, ending in a firefight with police in Odessa.

But the good news. We are assured, definitely assured, by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that some of the recent shootings in the news did not, DID NOT, involve an AR-style weapon.

Thank you, Governor, for your words of assurance. The next time I am present at a mass shooting (been there, done that) I will tell those dodging fire, “Don’t worry. It’s likely not an AR-15.” They will be so relieved, as will those whose duty will be to bury the victims.

Years of Living Dangerously

Continuing review of William Shirer’s Berlin Diary

This is the 80th anniversary of the official start of World War 2. There had been extensive warfare prior to this, but Germany’s invasion of Poland on the night of 31 August – 1 September 1939 marked the commencement of full scale war.

William Shirer’s book recounts his experiences and observations from close up during the years prior to the war and concluding when Adolf Hitler’s government expelled him in 1940. Prior installments  recount the story, using extensive excerpts from the book. The previous installment concludes on 30 September 1938, 11 months before the start of the war. This will cover events from that date up to 1 September 1939.

The Allied powers decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia to forestall another European war.

MUNICH, September 30

It’s all over. At twelve thirty this morning— thirty minutes after midnight— Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, and Daladier signed a pact turning over Sudetenland to Germany. The German occupation begins tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, and will be completed by October 10. Thus the two “democracies” even assent to letting Hitler get by with his Sportpalast boast that he would get his Sudetenland by October 1. He gets everything he wanted, except that he has to wait a few days longer for all of it. His waiting ten short days has saved the peace of Europe— a curious commentary on this sick, decadent continent.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 144). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Shirer confers with fellow corespondent Edward. R. Murrow. They agree the situation is grim.

PARIS, October 8

Ed Murrow as gloomy as I am. We try to get it out of our systems by talking all night and popping champagne bottles and tramping the streets, but it will take more time, I guess. We agree on these things: that war is now more probable than ever, that it is likely to come after the next harvest, that Poland is obviously next on Hitler’s list (the blind stupidity of the Poles in this crisis, helping to carve up Czechoslovakia!), that we must get Warsaw to rig up a more powerful short-wave transmitter if they want the world to hear their side, and that we ought to build up a staff of American radio reporters. But honestly we have little head for business.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 150-151). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Shirer assesses the mood of the Poles.

WARSAW, November 11

The Poles a delightful, utterly romantic people, and I have had much good food and drink and music with them. But they are horribly unrealistic. In their trust of Hitler, for instance. Polskie Radio promises to get along with their new short-wave transmitter. I explained to them our experience with the Czechs.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 153). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Hitler’s friend and inspiration, Benito Mussolini, is enjoying the prospects. He is almost mocking the British statesmen.

ROME, January 11, 1939

Chamberlain and Halifax arrived today to appease the Duce. At the station Chamberlain, looking more birdlike and vain than when I last saw him at Munich, walked, umbrella in hand, up and down the platform nodding to a motley crowd of British local residents whom Mussolini had slyly invited to greet him. Mussolini and Ciano, in black Fascist uniforms, sauntered along behind the two ridiculous-looking Englishmen, Musso displaying a fine smirk on his face the whole time.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 156). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The fallout from the unfolding events begins.

GENEVA, March 14

The radio reports Slovakia has declared its “independence.” There goes the remains of Czechoslovakia.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 159). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The dominoes continue to fall, and the British PM’s reaction is characteristic and appalling.

PARIS, March 15

The German army has occupied Bohemia and Moravia on this blizzardy day of spring, and Hitler in a cheap theatrical gesture from the Hradshin castle above the Moldau in Prague has proclaimed their annexation to the Third Reich. It is almost banal to record his breaking another solemn treaty. But since I was personally present at Munich, I cannot help recalling how Chamberlain said it not only had saved the peace but had really saved Czechoslovakia.

Complete apathy in Paris tonight about Hitler’s latest coup. France will not move a finger.

Ed Murrow telephones that the reaction in London is the same— that Chamberlain in Commons this afternoon even went so far as to say that he refused to associate himself with any charges of a breach of faith by Hitler. Good God!

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 160). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

A few days later a prelude to World War Two runs its final course.

GENEVA, March 29

Madrid surrendered yesterday, the rest of republican Spain today. There are no words to express what I feel tonight. Franco’s butchery will be terrible.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 162). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Matters begin to solidify in Great Britain. In observance of Hitler’s intransigence and double dealing, the British parliament finally draw a line in the sand.

BERLIN, April 1

Chamberlain, who in the House yesterday enunciated at last a complete change in British foreign policy and announced that Britain would go to the aid of Poland if Polish independence were threatened. Off to Warsaw tomorrow to see when the German attack is expected.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 163). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Shirer assesses the resolve of the Poles.

WARSAW, April 6

Beck [the Polish Foreign Minister], who committed this country to a pro-Nazi, anti-French policy for so many years, has been in London and tonight we have an Anglo-Polish communiqué announcing that the two countries will sign a permanent agreement providing for mutual assistance in case of an attack on either of them by a third power. I think this will halt Hitler for the time being, since force is something he understands and respects and there is no doubt in my mind after a week here that the Poles will fight and that if Britain and France fight too, he is in a hole.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 163). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

As the year progresses the situation develops treacherously.

BERLIN, April 7

When the Orient Express pulled into the Schlesischer Bahnhof here this evening, the first thing I saw was Huss’s face on the platform and I knew there was bad news. He said London had phoned to get me off the train as the British had reports of German troop movements on the Polish frontier. I had watched for these as we came across the border, but saw

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 165). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

At this time the American government sought assurances that Hitler had no additional plans against neighboring countries. Hitler’s response was caustic and classic. He turned the challenge around.

BERLIN, April 28

Hitler in the Reichstag today denounced a couple more treaties (I could hardly repress a chuckle at this part of his speech) and answered Roosevelt’s plea that he give assurance that he will not attack the rest of the independent nations of Europe. His answer to the President rather shrewd, I think, in that it was designed to play on the sympathies of the appeasers and anti-New-Dealers at home and the former in Britain and France.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 165-166). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Here is an excerpt from his speech of that date:

Or is Mr. Roosevelt in a position, with the enormous amount of work which he must have to do in his own country, to recognize of his own accord all the inmost thoughts and feelings of other peoples and their governments?

Finally, Mr. Roosevelt asks that assurances be given him that the German armed forces will not attack, and above all, not invade, the territory or possessions of the following independent nations. He then names as those to which he refers: Finland, Lithuania, Latvia,’ Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain , Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, the Arabias, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran.

Answers I have first taken the trouble to ascertain from the states mentioned, firstly, whether they feel themselves threatened, and, what is most important, secondly, whether this inquiry by the American President was addressed to us at their suggestion or at least with their consent.

The reply was in all cases negative, in some instances strongly so. It is true that there were certain ones among the states and nations mentioned, whom I could not question because they themselves – as for example, Syria – are at present not in possession of their freedom, but are under occupation by the military agents of democratic states and consequently deprived of their rights.

There is a video of this. We see his words dripping in sarcasm as he tics off the list of countries.

At the time Shirer was unsure how this would eventually play out. In the end he turned out to be wrong. Still 28 April 1939.

Still much doubt here among the informed whether Hitler has made up his mind to begin a world war for the sake of Danzig. My guess is he hopes to get it by the Munich method.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 167). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

During the summer Shirer returned to the United States for a visit. His narrative assesses the mood of the American people.

WASHINGTON, July 3

Hope I can stay a little while in my native land. It takes some getting used to again after being almost continuously away since the age of twenty-one. Little awareness here or in New York of the European crisis, and Tess says I’m making myself most unpopular by taking such a pessimistic view. The trouble is everyone here knows all the answers. They know there will be no war. I wish I knew it. But I think there will be war unless Germany backs down, and I’m not certain at all she will, though of course it’s a possibility. Congress here in a hopeless muddle.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 167-168). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The experience of the previous world war demonstrated Germany’s weak position regarding war materials. Those conditions persisted in 1939.

GENEVA, July 28

[Marcel W. “Mike”] Fodor and [John] Gunther dropped in tonight and we argued and talked most of the night through. John fairly optimistic about peace. Fodor, a trained engineer himself, had a lot of material about Germany’s lack of iron. You can’t store much iron ore, Fodor says.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 170). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

In August, days before Armageddon, events begin to take a dramatic turn. Doubts start to vanish.

BERLIN, August 10

How completely isolated a world the German people live in. A glance at the newspapers yesterday and today reminds you of it. Whereas all the rest of the world considers that the peace is about to be broken by Germany, that it is Germany that is threatening to attack Poland over Danzig, here in Germany, in the world the local newspapers create, the very reverse is being maintained. (Not that it surprises me, but when you are away for a while, you forget.) What the Nazi papers are proclaiming is this: that it is Poland which is disturbing the peace of Europe; Poland which is threatening Germany with armed invasion, and so forth. This is the Germany of last September when the steam was turned on Czechoslovakia.

“POLAND? LOOK OUT!” warns the B.Z. headline, adding: “ANSWER TO POLAND, THE RUNNER-AMOK (AMOKLÄUFER) AGAINST PEACE AND RIGHT IN EUROPE!”

Or the headline in Der Führer, daily paper of Karlsruhe, which I bought on the train: “WARSAW THREATENS BOMBARDMENT OF DANZIG— UNBELIEVABLE AGITATION OF THE POLISH ARCH-MADNESS (POLNISCHEN GRÖSSENWAHNS)!”

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 172-173). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Here is Shirer’s expanded analysis of the situation on the same day. He includes a personal perspective of German women.

But so far the press limits itself to Danzig. Will the Germans keep their real designs under cover until later? Any fool knows they don’t give a damn about Danzig. It’s just a pretext. The Nazi position, freely admitted in party circles, is that Germany cannot afford to have a strong military power on her eastern frontier, that therefore Poland as it is today must be liquidated, not only Danzig, which is Poland’s life-line, taken, but also the Corridor, Posen, and Upper Silesia. And Poland left a rump state, a vassal of Germany. Then when Hungary and Rumania and Yugoslavia have been similarly reduced (Hungary practically is already), Germany will be economically and agriculturally independent, and the great fear of Anglo-French blockade, which won the last war and at the moment probably could win the next, will be done away with. Germany can then turn on the West and probably beat her.

Struck by the ugliness of the German women on the streets and in restaurants and cafés. As a race they are certainly the least attractive in Europe. They have no ankles. They walk badly. They dress worse than English women used to. Off to Danzig tonight.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 173). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Hours tick away as the horror of war approaches. Shirer pens an appraisal of Poland’s situation.

IN A WAGONLIT, GDYNIA– WARSAW, August 13, midnight

The Poles, with French backing, have done a magnificent job. Fifteen years ago, Gdynia was a sleepy fishing village of 400 souls. Today it’s the largest port in the Baltic, with a population of over 100,000. Lacking natural facilities, the Poles have simply pushed piers out into the sea. The city itself looks like a mushroom growth, much like some of our Western towns thirty-five years ago. It is one of the promises of Poland.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 176-177). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

There has indeed been progress in Poland, but it was too little and too late. Clearly Poland was no match for the German Wehrmacht. Reports come in of rising tensions.

WARSAW, August 16

Much excitement in official Polish circles today. Conferences between Smigly-Rydz, Beck, and the generals. A Polish soldier has been shot on the Danzig frontier. Result: an order tonight instructing Polish troops to shoot anyone crossing the Danzig border on sight and without challenge.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 177). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Another assessment.

WARSAW, August 20

I think the Poles will fight. I know I said that, wrongly, about the Czechs a year ago. But I say it again about the Poles.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 178). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

It turned out Shirer was correct in this assessment. The Poles’ refusal to knuckle under once attacked led to the inevitable raging conflict.

Let me know if you see some similarities to our situation today. What happens when you cross personalities with thin-skinned power?

BERLIN, August 23

Hans Kaltenborn, our star foreign-news commentator, was turned back by the secret police when he arrived at Tempelhof from London this afternoon. We have been nicely double-crossed by the Nazis.

“May I ask why?” Hans said, boiling inside but cool outside, though beads of sweat bubbled out on his forehead. The officer had a ready answer. Looking in his notebook, he said with tremendous seriousness: “Herr Kaltenborn, on such and such a date in Oklahoma City you made a speech insulting the Führer.”

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 179). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The same day. The pact between Hitler and Stalin was critical. Hitler dared not attack Poland without the collusion of the Soviet Union. A deal was struck to divide the conquered country between the two dictatorships. Again the same day:

LATER (Four hours after midnight).— Great excitement at the Taverne tonight. About two a.m. we get the terms of the Russian-German pact. It goes much further than anyone dreamed. It’s a virtual alliance and Stalin, the supposed arch-enemy of Nazism and aggression, by its terms invites Germany to go in and clean up Poland. The friends of the Bolos are consternated. Several German editors— Halfeld, Kriegk, Silex— who only day before yesterday were writing hysterically about the Bolo peril, now come in, order champagne, and reveal themselves as old friends of the Soviets! That Stalin would play such crude power politics and also play into the hands of the Nazis overwhelms the rest of us.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 180). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The Nazi propaganda machine ramps up, preparing to counter the inevitable.

BERLIN, August 26

program. Some choice headlines in the German press today: The B.Z.: “COMPLETE CHAOS IN POLAND— GERMAN FAMILIES FLEE— POLISH SOLDIERS PUSH TO EDGE OF GERMAN BORDER!” The 12-Uhr Blatt: “THIS PLAYING WITH FIRE GOING TOO FAR— THREE GERMAN PASSENGER PLANES SHOT AT BY POLES— IN CORRIDOR MANY GERMAN FARMHOUSES IN FLAMES!”

“WHOLE OF POLAND IN WAR FEVER! 1,500,000 MEN MOBILIZED! UNINTERRUPTED TROOP TRANSPORT TOWARD THE FRONTIER! CHAOS IN UPPER SILESIA!”

No mention of any German mobilization, of course, though the Germans have been mobilized for a fortnight.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 185 – 186). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Like an ocean wave, the specter of war advances without remorse.

BERLIN, August 27

(Sunday) Hot and sultry today, which makes for an increase in tension. Henderson failed to return today as expected, causing the Wilhelmstrasse to accuse the British of stalling. (In another fortnight the rains start in Poland, making the roads impassable.) Some Nazis, however, think Henderson’s delay in London means the British are giving in. Tomorrow’s Völkische Beobachter will ask the people to be patient: “The Führer is still demanding patience from you because he wants to exhaust even the last possibilities for a peaceful solution of the crisis. That means a bloodless fulfilment of the irreducible German demands.” This is a nice build-up to convince the people that if war does come, the Führer did everything possible to avoid it. The V.B. ends by saying that Germany, however, will not renounce her demands. “The individual, as well as the nation, can renounce only those things which are not vital.” There you have German character stripped to the bone. A German cannot renounce vital things, but he expects the other fellow to.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 186). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

There is a harbinger of things to come, echos from the war 20 years ago. The same day.

Food rations were fixed today and I heard many Germans grumbling at their size. Some: meat, 700 grams per week; sugar, 280 grams; marmalade, 110 grams; coffee or substitute, one eighth of a pound per week. As to soap, 125 grams are allotted to each person for the next four weeks.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 187). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

There can no longer be any doubt. War is coming.

BERLIN, August 28

Troops, east-bound, pouring through the streets today. No crack units these. They were being transported in moving-vans, grocery trucks, et cetera. Germany has assured Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, and Switzerland that it will respect their neutrality in case of war.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (p. 189). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The countdown continues.

BERLIN, August 30

The British reply to Hitler’s latest came bouncing back to Berlin tonight. With what result, we don’t know. Henderson has seen Ribbentrop again, but no news of it. Tonight may well be decisive. DNB [the German news agency] has announced it will be issuing news all night tonight. This sounds ominous. The Wilhelmstrasse took pains this evening to point out to us that the non-aggression pact with Russia is also a consultative pact and that this part of it had been put into operation the last few days. This puzzles me, but I said in my broadcast tonight: “That would seem to mean— and, indeed, informed circles in the Wilhelmstrasse leave no doubt about it— that the Germans and Soviets also have been doing some talking the last few days, and, as one writer says tonight, ‘talking about Poland.’ In this connection the German press tonight does not omit to mention a dispatch from Moscow to the effect that not only has Russia not withdrawn her three hundred thousand men from its western frontier, as reported, but on the contrary has strengthened her forces there— that is, on the Polish border. I don’t know the significance of that. I only know that it’s given some prominence here.”

LATER.— Poles ordered general mobilization at two thirty p.m. today. It isn’t terribly important, because Poland has already mobilized about as many men as it has guns and shoes for. But the story gives the German press an excuse to hail Poland as the aggressor. (Germany has mobilized too, though not formally.) Since Hitler now has publicly demanded the return of Danzig and the Corridor, the German people ought to know who the aggressor is liable to be. But they are swallowing Dr. Goebbels’s pills, I fear. At midnight Hitler announces formation of a War Cabinet— to be called a Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich. Göring to preside; other members are Frick, Funk, Lammers, and General Keitel.

The sands are running fast tonight.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 190-191). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The ax falls on the lives of millions of people.

BERLIN, August 31

(morning) Everybody against the war. People talking openly. How can a country go into a major war with a population so dead against it? People also kicking about being kept in the dark. A German said to me last night: “We know nothing. Why don’t they tell us what’s up?” Optimism in official circles melting away this morning, I thought. Huss thinks Hitler may have one great card left, an agreement with Stalin to attack the Poles in the back. I highly doubt it, but after the Russo-German pact anything is possible. Some think the Big Boy is trying to get off the limb now— but how?

LATER.— Broadcast at seven forty-five p.m. Said: “The situation tonight is very critical. Hitler has not yet answered the British note of last night…. An answer may not be necessary…. The new Defence Council sat all day. The Wilhelmstrasse has been seething with activity…. There has been no contact between the German and British governments. Instead… between Russia and Germany. Berlin expects the Soviets to ratify the Russo-German pact this evening…. The British Ambassador did not visit the Wilhelmstrasse. He had a talk with his French colleague, M. Coulondre. Then he saw the Polish Ambassador, M. Lipski. Bags at these three embassies are all packed….”

LATER. Three thirty a.m.— A typical Hitler swindle was sprung this evening. At nine p.m. the German radio stopped its ordinary program and broadcast the terms of German “proposals” to Poland. I was taken aback by their reasonableness, and having to translate them for our American listeners immediately, as we were on the air, I missed the catch. This is that Hitler demanded that a Polish plenipotentiary be sent to Berlin to “discuss” them by last night, though they were only given to Henderson the night before. 7 An official German statement (very neat) complains that the Poles would not even come to Berlin to discuss them. Obviously, they didn’t have time. And why should Hitler set a time limit to a sovereign power? The “proposals”— obviously never meant seriously— read like sweet reason, almost. They contain sixteen points, but the essential ones are four: (1) Return of Danzig to Germany. (2) A plebiscite to determine who shall have the Corridor. (3) An exchange of minority populations. (4) Gdynia to remain Polish even if the Corridor votes to return to Germany.

Tonight the great armies, navies, and air forces are all mobilized. Each country is shut off from the other. We have not been able today to get through to Paris or London, or of course to Warsaw, though I did talk to Tess in Geneva. At that, no precipitate action is expected tonight. Berlin is quite normal in appearance this evening. There has been no evacuation of the women and children, not even any sandbagging of the windows. We’ll have to wait through still another night, it appears, before we know. And so to bed, almost at dawn.

BERLIN, September 1

At six a.m. Sigrid Schultz— bless her heart— phoned. She said: “It’s happened.” I was very sleepy— my body and mind numbed, paralysed. I mumbled: “Thanks, Sigrid,” and tumbled out of bed.

The war is on!

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (pp. 191-194). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The remainder of the book recounts events up to a few weeks prior to the American entry into the war.