Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Just recently I had to respond to a Facebook comment that compared Donald Trump to Barack Obama, this regarding Trump’s lack of familiarity with the truth:

And we should paint President Obama with the same brush? In this regard Obama is a piker compared to Trump. Actually, not even Nixon attained Trump’s rarefied air.

Obama a piker. Yes, a slacker. Then I wondered if anybody reading had an idea where we got the term “piker.” That’s this week’s Quiz Question. What’s the origin of the term?

Post your answer as a comment below. No fair running to  Google. You were supposed to know this stuff already.

Years of Living Dangerously

Continuing review of Berlin Diary

February 1934 – Paris

William Shirer’s idyllic year off came to a conclusion in January 1934 as he exhausted his savings and obtained a job with the Paris Herald. He and his new wife Tess left (then) peaceful Spain and plunged into the chaos of European politics of the 1930s.

PARIS, February 7

A little dazed still from last night. About five p.m. yesterday I was twiddling my thumbs in the Herald office wondering whether to go down to the Chamber, where the new premier, Édouard Daladier, was supposed to read his ministerial declaration, when we got a tip that there was trouble at the Place de la Concorde. I grabbed a taxi and went down to see. I found nothing untoward. A few royalist Camelots du Roi, Jeunesses Patriotes of Deputy Pierre Taittinger, and Solidarité Française thugs of Perfumer François Coty— all right-wing youths or gangsters— had attempted to break through to the Chamber, but had been dispersed by the police. The Place was normal. I telephoned the Herald, but Eric Hawkins, managing editor, advised me to grab a bite of dinner nearby and take another look a little later. About seven p.m. I returned to the Place de la Concorde. Something obviously was up. Mounted steel-helmeted Mobile Guards were clearing the square. Over by the obelisk in the centre a bus was on fire. I worked my way over through the Mobile Guards, who were slashing away with their sabres, to the Tuileries side. Up on the terrace was a mob of several thousand and, mingling with them, I soon found they were not fascists, but Communists. When the police tried to drive them back, they unleashed a barrage of stones and bricks. Over on the bridge leading from the Place to the Chamber across the Seine, I found a solid mass of Mobile Guards nervously fingering their rifles, backed up by ordinary police and a fire-brigade. A couple of small groups attempted to advance to the bridge from the quay leading up from the Louvre, but two fire-hoses put them to flight.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 80-92). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Some background may be helpful—this was before most of us were born. I translate “Jeunesses Patriotes” as “young patriots,” apparently a militant political faction at the time. Wikipedia has the following detail:

The Jeunesses Patriotes (“Young Patriots”, JP) were a far-right league of France, recruited mostly from university students and financed by industrialists founded in 1924 by Pierre Taittinger. Taittinger took inspiration for the group’s creation in the Boulangist Ligue des Patriotes and Benito Mussolini‘s Blackshirts.

According to the police, the Jeunesses Patriotes had 90,000 members in the country and 6,000 in Paris in 1932. Its street fighters were led by a retired general named Desofy, and were organized around Groupes Mobiles, paramilitary mobile squads of fifty men, outfitted in blue raincoats and berets. The group stated its willingness to combat the “Red Peril” and the Cartel des Gauches (Left-wing Coalition), and chose to back Raymond Poincaré who came to power after the Cartel des gauches.

The organization retreated in 1926, but made a comeback in 1932, with the Cartel des Gauches ‘s electoral victory, and took part in the February 6, 1934 riots, an anti-parliamentary street demonstration in Paris in the context of the Stavisky Affair. In 1936, the Popular Front government outlawed the Jeunesses Patriotes and other nationalist groups.

Grim reality was quickly manifest:

The first shots we didn’t hear. The first we knew of the shooting was when a woman about twenty feet away suddenly slumped to the floor with a bullet-hole in her forehead. She was standing next to Melvin Whiteleather of the A.P. Now we could hear the shooting, coming from the bridge and the far side of the Seine. Automatic rifles they seemed to be using. The mob’s reaction was to storm into the square.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 96-99). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

French were battling each other. It was a foreboding of the tragedy that was to follow six years later, as French society failed to rally against the invading German army.

Shirer recounts the deadly serious nature of the situation:

“If they get across the bridge,” I thought, “they’ll kill every deputy in the Chamber.” But a deadly fire— it sounded this time like machine-guns— stopped them and in a few minutes they were scattering in all directions.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 104-106). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Édouard Daladier was at the time the president of the national Council, having replaced Camille Chautemps barely ten days before, an offshoot of what is called the Stavisky Affair. The riots of 6 February, just described, resulted in 15 people being killed. A consequence was that Daladier was forced to resign. Shirer assesses Daladier’s character in light of the previous night’s action. His assessment of French democracy again foretells the doom that awaits France in a few short years:

Imagine Stalin or Mussolini or Hitler hesitating to employ troops against a mob trying to overthrow their regimes! It’s true perhaps that last night’s rioting had as its immediate cause the Stavisky scandal. But the Stavisky swindles merely demonstrate the rottenness and the weakness of French democracy.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 114-116). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Additionally:

But to resign now, after putting down a fascist coup— for that’s what it was— is either sheer cowardice or stupidity. Important too is the way the Communists fought on the same side of the barricades last night as the fascists. I do not like that.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 118-119). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

France and Germany were not the only festering sores in European society (not to  mention Spain). The German-speaking nation of Austria was coming apart at the same time:

PARIS, February 15

The fighting in Vienna ended today, the dispatches say. Dollfuss finished off the last workers with artillery and then went off to pray.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 139-141). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

The shortened trajectory of Englebert Dollfuss was pivotal in the unfolding of the European tragedy:

Engelbert Dollfuss October 4, 1892 – July 25, 1934) was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Having served as Minister for Forests and Agriculture, he ascended to Federal Chancellor in 1932 in the midst of a crisis for the conservative government. In early 1933, he shut down parliament, banned the Austrian Nazi party and assumed dictatorial powers. Suppressing the Socialist movement in February 1934, he cemented the rule of “austrofascism” through the authoritarian First of May Constitution. Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934. His successor Kurt Schuschnigg maintained the regime until Adolf Hitler‘s annexation of Austria in 1938.

Additionally:

February 23

Heard today that Dollfuss had hanged Koloman Wallisch, the Social Democrat mayor of Bruck an der Mur.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Location 147). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

William Shirer turned 30 on that day.

At this point there is a long break in Shirer’s narrative. He doesn’t pick it up again until 30 June, known hence for a horrendous unfolding of Nazi Germany’s future.

Years of Living Dangerously

January 1934

I have what may be a first edition. The book was printed in 1941, immediately following the events of the final chapter. I have no idea how it came into possession by my family, but following a division of assets it wound up on my bookshelf. I have read my copy through at least three times, and earlier this year I acquired a Kindle edition, which vastly facilitates searching, highlighting, and copying interesting passages. It’s Berlin Diary, and it’s by journalist and war correspondent William L. Shirer.

The full title is Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934–1941, and you can guess this is going to be about the early days of Nazi Germany. Besides that, it is the tale of a remarkable life. Shirer was born in 1904, and by 1925 he was in Europe, having worked his passage on a cattle boat. He intended to knock around for the summer but remained abroad for 15 years, returning only for brief intervals. As a news correspondent he traveled and associated broadly, including a close acquaintance with Mohandas K. Gandhi, and subsequently came to meet the key players in the lead up to war in Europe. In Europe he met and married photographer Theresa Stiberitz, from Vienna. Comfortable in French and German, he observed the widespread unrest in Europe and the spreading influence of Germany’s Nazi regime. He collaborated with Edward R. Murrow covering the early months of the war, being forced to leave in December 1940 as the danger became unbearable. Already noted for his war coverage, he achieved fame with the publication of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

If you ever thought your life has been dull, you may not realize how dull until you read this book. It begins after Shirer lost the sight in one  eye in a skying accident. First entries relate the couple’s year off in southern Spain, Shirer recuperating and the two living off their savings.

The plan for this series is to cover diary entries on a daily basis on each 80th anniversary. I will crowd in an initial burst of postings to catch up, since the book starts in 1934. The tale is best told by shamelessly reprinting great sections of text from the book and adding my analysis. This is, after all, Skeptical Analysis. The opening entry is 11 January 1934:

LLORET DE MAR, SPAIN, January 11, 1934

Our money is gone. Day after tomorrow I must go back to work. We had not thought much about it. A wire came. An offer. A bad offer from the Paris Herald. But it will keep the wolf away until I can get something better.

Thus ends the best, the happiest, the most uneventful year we have ever lived. It has been our “year off,” our sabbatical year, and we have lived it in this little Spanish fishing village exactly as we dreamed and planned, beautifully independent of the rest of the world, of events, of men, bosses, publishers, editors, relatives, and friends. It couldn’t have gone on for ever. We wouldn’t have wanted it to, though if the thousand dollars we had saved for it had not been suddenly reduced to six hundred by the fall of the dollar, we might have stretched the year until a better job turned up. It was a good time to lay off, I think. I’ve regained the health I lost in India and Afghanistan in 1930– 1 from malaria and dysentery. I’ve recovered from the shock of the skiing accident in the Alps in the spring of 1932, which for a time threatened me with a total blindness but which, happily, in the end, robbed me of the sight of only one eye.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 44-53). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

This is just north of Barcelona, peaceful as the tale begins, but soon to become a focal point of the vicious Spanish Civil War. Spain at the time seemed safe, compared to what was going on in Germany:

Hitler and the Nazis have lasted out a whole year in Germany and our friends in Vienna write that fascism, both of a local clerical brand and of the Berlin type, is rapidly gaining ground in Austria. Here in Spain the revolution has gone sour and the Right government of Gil Robles and Alexander Lerroux seems bent on either restoring the monarchy or setting up a fascist state on the model of Italy— perhaps both.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 55-58). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Those not familiar with the history, the Nazis came to power in January 1933 and immediately, with calculated brutality, muscled their way to complete control. At the time he wrote this, neither Shirer nor anybody else realized the level of viciousness that was about to ensue.

He tells of renting a furnished house for $60 a month—good fortune even at that time in that place:

Myself: some history, some philosophy, and Spengler’s Decline of the West; Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution; War and Peace; Céline’s Voyage au bout de la nuit, the most original French novel since the war; and most or all of Wells, Shaw, Ellis, Beard, Hemingway, Dos Passos, and Dreiser. A few friends came and stayed: the Jay Allens, Russell and Pat Strauss, and Luis Quintanilla, one of the most promising of the younger Spanish painters and a red-hot republican. Andres Segovia lived next door and came over in the evening to talk or to play Bach or Albeniz on his guitar.

Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (Kindle Locations 69-74). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Already a reader is coming to realize the waste he has made of his own life. The closest I came was when Dos Passos lived on a street in Austin I passed through going to and from the University.

The idyll ends here. After this it’s Paris and the brutal reality of European politics of the 1930s.

The World Cracked

Some memories stick. I am sure we were outside, in front of our house in Granbury. I was six, and grownups were discussing an item in the newspaper. The headlines were bold. They must have screamed. It was a major calamity.

On 16 April 1947, 70 years ago, two ships loaded with explosive cargo detonated in the harbor in Texas City. The consequences were devastating:

The Texas City disaster was an industrial accident that occurred April 16, 1947, in the Port of Texas City. It was the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, and one of the largest non-nuclear explosions. Originating with a mid-morning fire on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp (docked in the port), her cargo of approximately 2,200 tons (approximately 2,100 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate detonated, with the initial blast and subsequent chain-reaction of further fires and explosions in other ships and nearby oil-storage facilities.

The war in Europe had been over nearly two years and was almost lost in my young mind. Trade with European countries was resurging after years of their domination by fascist regimes. The loads of ammonium nitrate, produced in Texas, were headed to farms overseas.

A fire that started earlier, likely from human carelessness, in the hold of the Grandchamp had proved to be uncontrollable. Members of the Texas City fire department had been fighting the fire for hours, and the commotion had attracted a crowd of on-lookers.

Ammonium nitrate is a usable source of nitrogen for growing plants, and it is also endothermic. Energy must be applied to the basic elements to create the ammonium nitrate molecule. The molecule can disintegrate and release this stored energy when prodded. For this reason it is often used as an explosive. The notorious German V-2 rocket used a warhead comprising mostly ammonium nitrate, and domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh used a truck load of commercially available fertilizer to destroy the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

As firemen fought the fire aboard the docked Grandchamp, and as spectators looked on, the entire load aboard the ship went off.

The two-ton (4000 pounds) anchor of the Grandchamp was hurled 1.62 miles, creating a crater ten feet deep where it landed. It resides as a memorial at a park near the base of the Texas City Dike.

Nearby rests the the screw from the High Flyer. This ship also contained a load of ammonium nitrate, and the explosion of the Grandchamp set it ablaze. It exploded the following morning, and one of its screws was found nearly a mile inland.

These large devices, usually made of bronze, are often attached to their shafts by means of a large nut, which is tightened onto the threaded shaft. In this case the nut is still attached, along with the end of the shaft.

Evidence that people often do not learn was exhibited a few years ago, again in Texas. In the town of West, located on I-35 between Waco and Dallas, a private company stored a large quantity of ammonium nitrate in a shed near a residential area. While firemen were fighting a fire of unknown origin, the contents exploded, killing all nearby and causing large scale destruction to part of the town. The deadly instant was captured on video by an observer standing a considerable distance away.

Turning Point

history-zimmermanncable

From Wikipedia

In 1898 the United States entered the world stage, replacing Spain as a major power following a decisive victory. A hundred years ago today an event occurred that forever ensured this country’s participation in world affairs. On 3 March 1917 German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann acknowledged the German Empire was conspiring to bring Mexico into war with the United States. The item of the hour was the Zimmermann Telegram. A prior post recounts the details from Herbert Yardley’s book:

A famous code breaking case of the time, and one that had historical implications, was one that never came the way of the Black Chamber. This was the famous Zimmerman cable message. At the time, Mexico was still smarting from General Pershing’s punitive raid into Mexican territory, and General Carranza, the President of Mexico decided to throw in his lot with the Germans:

The reader will recall the sensational Zimmermann-Carranza note which the President read before Congress just before we entered the war, the note in which Zimmermann, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, promised Mexico financial aid and the states of New Mexico, Texas and Arizona if she declared war against the United States. This telegram was deciphered by the British Cryptographic Bureau early in 1917, just before we entered the war.

Yardley, Herbert O.. The American Black Chamber (Bluejacket Books) (Kindle Locations 1606-1609). Naval Institute Press. Kindle Edition.

The United States declared war on  Germany in April 1917, and subsequently sent approximately two million troops to France, resulting in “about 320,000 casualties: 53,402 battle deaths.” Twenty-four years later the United States entered World War Two, an almost unavoidable consequence of the earlier war. The consequences of the Zimmermann telegram shape the American landscape to this day.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

visitors

Searching for a new Quiz Question this week. History to the rescue.

I was looking over some photos I have, and I got to thinking. What was the greatest land battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere? By greatest, I’m thinking  most troops involved, most firepower, most casualties.

Search your history books if you want, and post your answer, not on Facebook, but as a comment below.

Update

This posting has received a number of comments and attempts to answer the question. I am going to drop the final hint. I pulled up a map from Google. See below:

history-westernhemisphere-small

I added a line running north and south through London. Everything to the left of that line (in the picture) is in the Western Hemisphere. Please note that almost all of Spain is west of the line, and particularly the invasion of Normandy took place to the west of the line. The eastern most landings of Operation  Overlord were directed at Caen in France, and that city is in the Western Hemisphere.

Quick History Lesson

HistoryLesson

Three years ago I posted an item in response to the above, which came to my Facebook feed by way of a conservative friend. Since that time this post has received a load of traffic, like 768 reads yesterday. It has also received push back, typically from conservatives. There is general disagreement with the apparent conclusion that political conservatives have been obstacles to  social progress in the past and  that this opposition has migrated to the Republican Party.

Here are two recent comments posted to this item. Discussion to follow:

One huge flaw in your analysis, of the 1,600 democrats in that time period, of democrats who were racist, who built and invented the KKK, only 1% switched to the Rep party.

Please stop your crap about the Confederate flag — it’s NOT racist except in the minds of people like you.

Take the first one, from Mark Carbone. He talks about Democrats being early behind the KKK. Then he comments on “1% switched to the [Republican Party].” I would like to respond to Mark’s numbers, but I can’t find any reference to the 1% in my post. I have sent Mark an email asking for elaboration, and I am waiting for a response.

If the case is that 1% of the Democrats switched to the Republican Party, and the remainder did not, then it can be surmised they all died before the character of the Democratic Party changed in the 20th century.

Regarding David Weir’s request for me to stop my crap about the Confederate battle flag, he says it’s racist only in the minds of people like me. That would put me in some interesting company:

politics-racedylanroofconfederatebattleflag

politics-raceconfederatebattleflag-01

politics-racekukluxklanconfederateflag

politics-raceconfederateflagnazi

politics-racekkkconfederatebattleflag

politics-raceconfederateflagselma

Is Dylan Roof like me? He thinks the Confederate battle flag represents racism. How about those KKK hoodies? Have they suddenly embraced the Confederate flag and abandoned white supremacy? An answer from David Weir would helpful about right now.

There will be more to  come on this in the future. Keep reading.

Tattered Justice

Nuremberg-01

It was the morning of 15 April 1945 near Bergen in northwestern Germany. When Clara Greenbaum woke it quickly became apparent something was wrong. Nobody came to bang with sticks on the bed frames in the barracks where she had spent the night, and many nights in the previous months, along with her two children. And there was something wrong. The guards who had tormented, brutalized and murdered 100,000 others were now gone. In the middle of the night, while their victims lay sleeping under threat of death, guards at the notorious Bergen-Belsen prison camp fled into the darkness. Soldiers of another army were approaching.

It was hours before anybody in the barracks summoned the courage to open the door and peer out. Then, in ones and twos, prisoners filed into the light of an overcast day. The guards were gone. But where? Then there was a sound. More soldiers were coming.

Hours passed and then the mass of people stirred. They could hear the unmistakable sound of heavy vehicles approaching from behind the low hills to the north. A moment later a column of tanks and trucks appeared. The vehicles were rumbling across the ploughed fields towards the barbed wire. Panic went through the crowd like a bolt of electricity . This was it. The Germans were going to machine-gun them and then roll over their bodies to eradicate the evidence of their crimes. Then someone saw the Union Jack flying from the turret of one of the tanks. They were British! To the prisoners’ amazement the column circled the camp twice before drawing up in formation at the front gates, where the vehicles’ engines were turned off. Presumably they had been checking to see if any SS troops were prepared to make a final stand. And there they waited. Not a word was spoken. No orders were given. Clara estimated that as many as 500 troops were standing in complete silence, staring through the barbed wire. What were they waiting for? And then one of the soldiers doubled up and retched. Another vomited and then another. So that was it. They had been staring at the inmates in disgust. Hardened soldiers were sick to their stomachs at the sight of them . At that, many prisoners turned away. They were ashamed of what they were, of what they had become.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 117-126). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Slave labourers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, one of the first camps to be liberated by US soldiers in April 1945. The camp’s first commandant from 1937 to 1941, Karl Otto Koch, was himself imprisoned here for corruption and was tried and executed by the Nazis shortly before the camp’s liberation. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 190-192). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Slave labourers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, one of the first camps to be liberated by US soldiers in April 1945. The camp’s first commandant from 1937 to 1941, Karl Otto Koch, was himself imprisoned here for corruption and was tried and executed by the Nazis shortly before the camp’s liberation. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 190-192). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

But there was no reason for these people to be ashamed. They had not caused this. An organized gang of criminals had instigated the deaths of millions of people and had brought a modern, industrial, cultured nation to absolute ruin. This was a criminal act, and somebody would have to pay.

Fifteen days after Clara Greenbaum woke to a new era, the man who had orchestrated this travesty was dead, having shot himself in the head rather than face the justice he deserved. In the following days a number of the other principals in crime would also be dead. Some at their own hand, others before the muzzles of the guns of vengeful armies.

In other camps Allied officers found it difficult to maintain discipline among their men – in some cases captured SS guards were summarily executed. This was soldiers’ justice, meted out by men who had seen their share of death, but who could no longer restrain themselves when confronted with the cold-blooded slaughter, or brutalization, of innocent civilians.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 140-142). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

By the ninth of May formal hostilities were terminated, and German forces were surrendering all over Europe. Troops were going into P.O.W. camps, Nazi government leaders were being identified and arrested. Joseph Goebbels and his wife had murdered their children and killed themselves in the government’s bunker in Berlin. Heinrich Himmler was identified and apprehended, but as he was being searched for means of suicide he chomped down on a poison capsule and died. It was later determined that Hitler’s secretary, Martin Bormann, was killed in a Berlin street while attempting to escape the bunker. A few, including Adolph Eichmann and Joseph Mengele, escaped to other countries beyond the reach of the Allies. For those firmly in the grasp of Allied forces, the future was for a moment uncertain. Some in the Allied camp wanted swift retribution.

The Allied leaders realized that something had to be done with the captured Nazi elite – and soon – because the will to pursue those guilty of perpetrating atrocities was swiftly evaporating. Furthermore, the Allied troops were exhausted after five long years of war and they just wanted to go home and put the horrors behind them. It was well known that the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, favoured the immediate execution of the captured Nazi leaders, in order to avoid the ‘tangles of legal procedure’, and certain elements within the American administration felt the same. They had managed to persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt that a cursory hearing followed by a firing squad was the most economical method of dealing with the problem. The British Cabinet had discussed what to do with captured war criminals as far back as June 1942. Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, had reminded them of the embarrassment caused by their failure to deal decisively with Kaiser Wilhelm II after the First World War.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 194-201). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Interestingly, the Soviets, who early had been complicit in Hitler’s war of aggression and ultimately suffered terribly from a German invasion, now favored a public trial.

Ironically it was the American secretary of war, the elderly Republican Henry Stimson, who vehemently opposed Morgenthau’s plan. He found an unexpected ally in the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who had told Winston Churchill that if the leading Nazis were summarily executed the world would say that their enemies had been afraid to put them on trial and had put them to death to silence them. Stimson added that to deny the defendants due process would be to risk making them martyrs in the eyes of their people, which is exactly what had happened after the British had executed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. Stimson recalled that the citizens of Dublin had initially jeered at the plotters for the destruction they had brought upon their capital city, but that their mood had altered after the British authorities had ordered the rebel leaders to be shot without trial.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 213-219). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Where to hold the trial was a problem of some proportion. We, the Allies, had bombed Nazi government institutions to rubble, with one notable exception. Here irony piled on top of irony. Spared from destruction was the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg.

The Palace of Justice

The shell -scarred Palace of Justice resembled a besieged fortress in bandit country. It had been the site of the final battle for the city. The courtyard was still strewn with pieces of shrapnel and spent cartridges where the remnants of two SS divisions had held out until they had been shelled into submission. Now five Sherman tanks squatted at key points around the main building, their gun barrels loaded with 76 mm shells, while GIs crouched behind sandbags at the entrance to the court.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 500-505). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

From Google Images. Apart from the Palace of Justice, the rest of Nuremberg was a bombed out mess. That's what you get for starting a World War that kills +50 million people.

From Google Images. Apart from the Palace of Justice, the rest of Nuremberg was a bombed out mess. That’s what you get for starting a World War that kills +50 million people.

This is the place of some of the Nazis’ notorious transgressions against justice. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 stripped German Jews of their citizenship and of all basic human rights. Here was subsequently the site of continued judicial insults, including the trumped up trial of Leo Katzenberger.

Leo Katzenberger was a Jewish businessman who had seen his chain of shoe stores stolen from him by the Nazis under the Aryanization decrees of 1938, which legalized theft from German Jews. The elderly man had no hope of emigrating so he continued to live in an apartment in one of his properties. During 1941 his friendship with a teenage girl, Irene Seiler, was reported to the authorities, who accused Katzenberger of violating the race laws, which forbade relationships between Aryans and Jews. At his trial, 67-year-old Katzenberger repeatedly denied that there was anything of a sexual nature in the relationship, but his protests were shouted down by the presiding judge, Dr Oswald Rothaug, who called Katzenberger a ‘syphilitic Jew’ and ‘an agent of world Jewry’. Katzenberger was sentenced to death.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 2719-2725). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Writer Paul Rolland tells the story in The Nuremberg trials in The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity.

Among the principal Allied governments, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States, the Americans picked up the heavy lifting for the trials. The vast bulk of the expense, logistics and legal work was provided by the U.S.

Seated in the back row are the eight members of the tribunal representing the four main Allied countries: the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States and France. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 278-280). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Seated in the back row are the eight members of the tribunal representing the four main Allied countries: the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States and France. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 278-280). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Paul Roland is not an academic historian, but he has produced a number of historical writings, including The Crimes of Jack the Ripper: The Whitechapel Murders Re-Examined. Books related to the Nazi phenomenon include Nazi Women: The Attraction of Evil and Nazis and the Occult. His book on the Nuremberg Trials is an excellent brief that draws from authoritative sources and gives a good account of the development of the legal case against the Nazi principals. Courtroom drama abounds.

Robert H. Jackson had been United States Attorney General under President Roosevelt. He led the American prosecution contingent. His duel with former Reichsmarschall Herman Goering presented a most interesting moment.

Goering Signs His Own Death Warrant

‘Did you not also sign a decree in 1940 ordering the seizure of all Jewish property in Poland?’

‘I assume so if the decree is there.’ The defendant was now visibly squirming in his seat.

‘And another saying the Jews would receive no compensation for damage caused by enemy attack or by German forces?’

‘If the law bears my name then it must be so,’ Goering conceded.

‘Is this your signature?’ asked Jackson, pointing an accusing finger at the next document that had been laid before the accused.

‘It appears to be.’

‘Is it or is it not your signature?’ Jackson’s tone betrayed his growing impatience. Goering sensed that a trap was being set. He took a moment to answer.

‘It is.’

‘It is your signature on a document dated July 1941,’ Jackson explained for the benefit of the court, ‘asking Himmler and [Reinhard] Heydrich to make plans for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question.’

Goering exploded.

‘That is not a proper translation! I said total solution, not final solution.’

‘These are your words to Himmler,’ continued Jackson, warming to the task.

‘“ I charge you to send me before long an overall plan for the organizational, factual and material measures necessary for the desired solution of the Jewish question.” Is that an accurate translation of this order?’

‘That had to do with the evacuation and emigration of the Jews,’ Goering protested.

‘You ordered all government agencies to co-operate with the SS in the final solution of the Jewish question. Did you not?’

‘There is nothing in there about the SS!’ The colour was coming back to Reichsmarschall Goering’s flaccid cheeks.

‘This document states that you ordered all government agencies to co-operate with the SS. You sent this letter to SS Gruppenführer Heydrich.’

‘That does not mean that the SS had anything to do with the solution of the Jewish question!’

The words were barely out of his mouth when Goering realized that he had placed the noose around his own neck. There was an audible murmur in the court as Jackson leaned in to face his most formidable adversary.

‘Would you mind repeating that?’ he asked calmly.

‘I must say this clearly. I did not know anything about what took place in the concentration camps or the methods used there. These things were kept secret from me.’

But Jackson was already striding back to the bench where his colleagues sat, jubilant in the knowledge that the murderous nature of the Nazi leadership had finally been exposed for all to see.

‘I might add that even the Führer did not know the extent of what was happening.’ Goering was rambling, desperate . But no one was listening.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 1723-1753). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Twenty-four people were charged:

Martin Bormann
Karl Doenitz
Hans Frank
Wilhelm Frick
Hans Fritzsche
Walther Funk
Hermann Goering
Rudolf Hess
Alfred Jodl
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Wilhelm Keitel
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Robert Ley
Konstantin von Neurath
Franz von Papen
Erich Raeder
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Alfred Rosenberg
Fritz Sauckel
Hjalmar Schacht
Baldur von Schirach
Arthur Seyss-Inquart
Albert Speer
Julius Streicher

Only 21 stood trial. Bormann was by then already dead, though this was not demonstrated until years later. He was tried and convicted in absentia. Gustav Krupp, head of the German industrial empire that fueled, and collaborated with, Nazi aggressions was deemed too ill to stand trial. Robert Ley, who had ruled over slave labor for the Nazis, killed himself in his cell at the Palace of Justice prior to the trial.

Proceedings began in November 1945 and concluded in September 1946. The judges handed down the verdicts on 1 October 1946. Three defendants, Hans Fritsche, Hjalmar Schact and Franz von Papen, were acquitted and walked free, but only with protection from angry mobs. Of those convicted, seven received death sentences and sentenced to be hanged. Principal of these was Goering.

Hermann Goering

VERDICT: Guilty on all 4 counts. Sentenced to death by hanging.

The Judgment against Goering concluded: ‘From the moment he joined the Party in 1922 and took command of the street fighting organization, the SA , Goering was the adviser, the active agent of Hitler and one of the prime leaders of the Nazi movement. As Hitler’s political deputy he was largely instrumental in bringing the National Socialists to power in 1933, and was charged with consolidating this power and expanding German armed might. He developed the Gestapo and created the first concentration camps, relinquishing them to Himmler in 1934… The night before the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the absorption of Bohemia and Moravia, at a conference with Hitler and President Hácha he threatened to bomb Prague if Hácha did not submit… He commanded the Luftwaffe in the attack on Poland and throughout the aggressive wars which followed… The record is filled with Goering’s admissions of his complicity in the use of slave labour… He made plans for the exploitation of Soviet territory long before the war on the Soviet Union… Goering persecuted the Jews, particularly after the November, 1938, riots and not only in Germany… Although their extermination was in Himmler’s hands, Goering was far from disinterested or inactive despite his protestations from the witness box… There is nothing to be said in mitigation… His guilt is unique in its enormity. The record discloses no excuses for this man.’

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 2303-2315). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I have posted a separate review of Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader [Kindle Edition]. That post concluded:

The hangman never got to Hermann Goering. Although the prisoners awaiting execution at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg were not told in advance of the execution date, Goering may have sensed that the final hour had come. He was scheduled to be the first taken by the hangman, but two hours before his time he took poison and died in his cell.

Goering’s death did not interrupt the proceedings. Ten convicted Nazis went to the gallows in a period of less than two hours beginning at 1 a.m. on 16 October 1946. Following the executions Goering’s body was brought from his cell to the gallows room and formally identified for the death certificate. Writer Paul Roland relates the final journey of Hermann Goering.

Just before dawn the bodies were taken away in two trucks under heavy guard and driven to Dachau concentration camp, a short distance northwest of Munich, where the ovens had been relit for their cremation. The ashes were scattered in a nearby river.

There was no sense of triumph among the victors, only relief that this tragic and violent era had finally come to an end.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 2648-2651). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The First Nuremberg Trial was not the last. The Allies followed up with prosecution of lesser lights of Nazi evil. There was a Doctors’ Trial, December 1946 to August 1947, and there was a trial of Nazi judges, March to December 1947. The Judges’ Trial was the subject of a motion picture Judgment at Nuremberg in 1961, staring Spencer Tracy as an American judge in a fictional case that reflects the injustice inflicted on Leo Katzenberger.

Poster from IMDB.com

Poster from IMDB.com

Rumors and Skepticism

Politics-ClintonPresidential

I’ve been associated with The North Texas Skeptics for about 28 years, and way back then we dealt a lot with creationists. I was at a symposium hosted by creationists, and a creationist challenged my skepticism. “How come you’re not skeptical of evolution?”

I probably responded with something like, “In what way?” but the proper answer would be, “Every time we look into the science behind evolution we keep running into hard facts. Hard facts tend to kill off a lot of skepticism.”

That came to mind recently while I was engaged in yet another Facebook dialog. It went something like this:

Daniel G. Kuttner I’m still awaiting that Skepticism aimed at Clinton’s misdeeds and contradictions.
Maybe you should call yourself “The Directed Skeptic!”

Like · Reply · September 11 at 6:56pm · Edited

John Blanton Did I not dig into her political intransigence and hide bound religiosity?

Like · Reply · September 11 at 8:14pm

John Blanton Dan asked whether Clinton lied under oath about the “Benghazi” video. Before I can respond I need to know some particulars, because I have no idea what he is referring to.

Like · Reply · September 11 at 9:16pm

Daniel G. Kuttner John: Yes, those “criticisms” were like my answer to the job interview question: “What is your biggest fault?” and I answer “I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”

Like · Reply · Yesterday at 1:42am

John Blanton Dan, overt religiosity is a mark against anybody’s mental state. If you believe otherwise, now is the time to say so.
In the meantime, before I can apply any skepticism, I need to know what you want me to be skeptical about. You have paved the Facebook feed with vague references. What is needed is specifics. Quotes, times, dates, locations would be helpful.

Like · Reply · Yesterday at 4:38am

Daniel G. Kuttner John: I’m amazed you see me “paving” FB, yet don’t see anything worth questioning except the straw man of her alleged religious beliefs. Those beliefs have changed back and forth according to, I’d guess, the vagaries of a chosen focus group, rather than her conscience or “religiosity.”

A list would include such things as the FBI Director’s list of her security misdeeds and special exception given her as to prosecuting them. Would you or I be able to tell a prosecutor, “I didn’t mean to drive while drunk, so you can’t prosecute me?” That was Comey’s only reason for not prosecuting. Well, his only STATED reason.

Oh, and where’s the skepticism over the coincidence of the ILLEGAL meeting between Bill and Comey’s boss? There’s something to be skeptical about!

How ’bout her physical health? There’s another one with a fair amount of video evidence.

As to religiosity itself, I’d have to judge on a case by case basis. I’m not a fan of religions, but many have nuggets of wisdom worth observing.

Mocking from afar isn’t my style. Questioning is.

John Blanton Dan, your impression of skepticism is peculiar. Coming up: a blog post to address these issues.

Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:20pm

Daniel G. KuttnerJohn: Yay!

So, here it goes. I copied this from Facebook today (13 September), just to give you a time perspective. It’s necessary to begin with what has been said. Dan never mentions particulars. I’m accustomed to particulars. Particulars would include things like:

  • Exact quotes, who said what
  • Times and dates
  • Locations, what country, what city, what government hearing
  • Links to related documents, official documents at best, but even newspaper clippings

I don’t get a lot of that from some people. A lot can be hidden in vague commentary. To the most part, Dan has left his argument bare, and he wants me to make it for him. Then I will be challenged to refute his argument, but it won’t be his argument I am refuting, it will be mine. If I refute an argument I am required to come up with, then I can be rightly charged with refuting my own argument. So cool. I will do what I can.

Let’s first clear the boards a bit. Dan’s remark “… the straw man of her alleged religious beliefs. Those beliefs have changed back and forth according to, I’d guess, the vagaries of a chosen focus group, rather than her conscience or “religiosity.” Yes, that is not a straw man. Clinton’s buy in to deep religiosity is well documented and not the conclusion of focus groups. Dan has mentioned he read my review of Carl Bernstein’s book A Woman In Charge. He maybe needs to read the book. Bernstein recounts Clinton’s religious upbringing and her involvement in the church (Christian, Methodist) from childhood. And he is harsh in his observations. Some excerpts:

While Bill sought solace in his familiar escapes, she read the Bible of her Methodist childhood and considered anew the explicit message of service in John Wesley’s teaching: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, as long as ever you can.” She dabbled in New Age spiritualism, almost always carried with her an underlined and dog-eared book of celestial axioms, and welcomed into the White House Solarium a pair of feminist oracles who channeled her into Eleanor Roosevelt’s soul. All of this as she found herself— unimaginably to her— with no choice but to remove herself (or be removed) from the White House chain of command before two full years had passed. She then fled Washington for weeks at a stretch as she sought purpose and redemption in solidarity with women of the Third World.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (pp. 9-10). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

After each of Hugh’s children was born, he drove the family back to Scranton for a baptism at Court Street Methodist Church, where he had been baptized in 1911, and his brothers before and after him. Every summer the Rodhams drove across the Alleghenys for a two-week vacation at a cabin he and his father, with their own hands, had built on Lake Winola, near Scranton, in the rolling Pennsylvania hills. The cabin had no heat, bath, or shower. It was a far different environment than the luxurious vacation cottages of many Park Ridge children on the shores of Lake Michigan or the Wisconsin dells.

Hugh meant the vacation to connect his children to a past not as privileged as the one they knew in Park Ridge, as well as to maintain a strong sense of family. On one of their summer vacations, he insisted they visit a coal mine in the anthracite fields nearby. Whatever her discomfort with such gestures at the time, Hillary’s later political identification with working-class values and the struggles of average wage-earners was not something acquired at Wellesley or Yale as part of a 1960s countercultural ethos.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (pp. 19-20). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Hillary had been confirmed at the First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge in the sixth grade. (Hugh Rodham’s parents claimed that John Wesley himself had converted members of the Rodham family to Methodism in the coal-mining district near Newcastle in the north of England.) Dorothy taught Sunday school at United Methodist. Hillary attended Bible classes and was a member of the Altar Guild. “[ My family] talked with God, walked with God, ate, studied and argued with God,” Hillary said.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (p. 34). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Read the book. Read other sources about Clinton’s religiosity. This is no straw man. She is an actual religious nut case. Here is a person who wants to be President of the United States and to command our armed forces, yet she believes there is a “man in the sky” who oversees and controls events on this planets. It is so scary. We can only hope in the years to come that Hillary Clinton does not heed that disembodied voice so as to act on it in dire ways, such as sending American forces on an armed crusade of a foreign country.

Consider another of Dan’s remarks: “A list would include such things as the FBI Director’s list of her security misdeeds and special exception given her as to prosecuting them.” I do not know whether the FBI director has an actual list, but a Google search did not return an FBI list. The closest thing I found was a report by FBI Director James Comey. Here is a pertinent excerpt:

Last, we have done extensive work to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

That’s what we have done. Now let me tell you what we found:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

Dan has made another interesting statement: “Would you or I be able to tell a prosecutor, ‘I didn’t mean to drive while drunk, so you can’t prosecute me?’ That was Comey’s only reason for not prosecuting. Well, his only STATED reason.” It is left to the reader’s imagination what Dan means by that last sentence. The reason for capitalizing the word “stated” is left unclear.

Regarding intent, yes, it does count. I have (as Dan likely has) worked with classified material. You can be prosecuted for careless handling, but this almost never happens. My boss, a cost center manager on a classified defense contract, lost a secret document. He was in deep shit, in danger of losing his clearance. He did not get prosecuted, and I have no recollection the secret document was ever recovered. On another classified project, somebody took a computer disk from a classified computer system and copied information from that disk to an unclassified computer system. All hell was to pay, but nobody was prosecuted.

Yes, Clinton was a bad girl, but a crowd of politicians will go to jail before she does. That might include the person who deliberately outed CIA operative Valerie Plame. This was deliberately done by a high-ranking official in the George W. Bush administration, presumably in retaliation for actions by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson, in opposing the Bush administration’s quest to attribute a nuclear weapons program to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Scooter Libby was convicted of making false statements and obstruction of justice. The President commuted his sentence. He was not charged with revealing classified information.

Clinton’s defense, not the best in the world, is that documents sent did not have classified headers:

In various interviews, Clinton has said that “I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified.” However, in June and July 2016, a number of news outlets reported that Clinton’s emails did include messages with classification “portion markings”. The FBI investigation found that 110 messages contained information that was classified at the time it was sent. Sixty-five of those emails were found to contain information classified as “Secret”; more than 20 contained “Top-Secret” information. Three emails, out of 30,000, were found to be marked as classified, although they lacked classified headers and were only marked with a small “c” in parentheses, described as “portion markings” by Comey. He also said it was possible Clinton was not “technically sophisticated” enough to understand what the three classified markings meant.

According to the State Department, there were 2,093 email chains on the server that were retroactively marked as classified by the State Department at the “Confidential” confidential level.

For the uninitiated, the classification “confidential” relates to items such as contractor bids and personnel records. Items marked “confidential” do not require a sophisticated safe for security.

Those claiming Clinton escaped prosecution by the skin of her teeth need to get their information from the person who makes these calls:

James Comey’s memo to FBI employees

To all:

Because it is generating a lot of interest, I thought I should update you on where we are with our commitment to transparency in the wake of the Clinton email investigation. As I promised in July, we have leaned very far forward in providing transparency, on a couple fronts:

Congress. In order to afford Congress ample opportunity to discharge its oversight responsibilities, we took the unusual step of sending relevant 302s, our case summary Letter Head Memorandum, and the classified emails we recovered during the investigation to the House and Senate security offices. That permitted them to be reviewed by a number of committees with jurisdiction, instead of requiring that committee staff come to FBI headquarters to review the documents as we would normally require. There have been a variety of complaints because we redacted personal information and, at the request of the originating agency, restricted certain classified portions only to the Intelligence Committees, but our production has been unprecedented. I will be up on Capitol Hill the last week of September to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. This is our regular annual oversight hearing, so I’m hoping to cover many aspects of the Bureau’s great work. Of course, I’m guessing folks will want to ask about the email investigation. Through public statements, testimony (4 hours and 40 minutes without stopping, but who’s counting), and prompt document productions, we have offered unprecedented transparency of the high-quality work your colleagues did in the case. Now I would like to talk about our other work, of which we have plenty.

FOIA. As you might imagine, we have also received many requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and lots of your colleagues have been working very hard to process materials under the statute, get the necessary sign-off from other agencies with interests in the information, and get it out to the public. We finished that process Friday morning with respect to the 302 of Secretary Clinton’s interview and our Letter Head Memorandum summarizing the investigation. I almost ordered the material held until Tuesday because I knew we would take all kinds of grief for releasing it before a holiday weekend, but my judgment was that we had promised transparency and it would be game-playing to withhold it from the public just to avoid folks saying stuff about us. We don’t play games. So we released it Friday. We are continuing to process more material and will release batches of documents as they are ready, no matter the day of the week.

You may be sick of this, but let me leave you with a few words about how I have been describing the email investigation in private to our former employees as I meet them around the country.

I explain to them that there are two aspects to this: (1) our judgment about the facts and prosecutive merit; and (2) how we decided to talk about that judgment. I tell them that the difficult decision was actually the second part, not the first. At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliff-hanger; despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn’t a prosecutable case. The hard part was whether to offer unprecedented transparency about our thinking. I explain to our alumni that I struggled with that part, but decided the best way to protect the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the American people’s sense of justice was to announce it in the way we did – with extraordinary transparency and without any kind of coordination. I explain to our alums that I’m okay if folks have a different view of the investigation (although I struggle to see how they actually could, especially when they didn’t do the investigation), or about the wisdom of announcing it as we did (although even with hindsight I think that was the best course), but I have no patience for suggestions that we conducted ourselves as anything but what we are – honest, competent, and independent. Those suggesting that we are “political” or part of some “fix” either don’t know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both).

I will try not to bother you with this any longer.

Jim Comey

It would almost appear the FBI Director is talking to Dan.

Another comment by Dan: “Oh, and where’s the skepticism over the coincidence of the ILLEGAL meeting between Bill and Comey’s boss?” Again a questionable use of the term “skepticism.” Again a word in all caps with no reason explained. I have to ask just what it is I am supposed to be skeptical about. Dan leaves it for me to guess. Cool move.

First, there is no skepticism the meeting took place. What is left then? The word in all caps reflects some deep rooted desire on Dan’s part. Else the word does not fit the circumstance. And that is what skepticism is all about. An allusion to illegality is made, but an examination of even the roughest sort reveals an illusion, instead.

Regarding Hillary Clinton’s health, where is skepticism called for. Most recently it is revealed she has pneumonia and is going to be off the campaign until at least Thursday. Is there something to be investigated there?

Methinks the Dan doth protest too much. He questions the veracity of one candidate while at times seeming to favor the one most mendacious. I see this a lot. I have for over four weeks been posting daily on candidate Donald Trump, and I figure to have enough material to last right up to the election in November. I go after Trump because that’s where the fun is. For a blogger he is a gift of the ages. We can only hope he does not go away soon.

Back to Dan’s desire for skepticism, he is going to need to come up with some specifics. Here’s how it is done, for example:

  • Propose that Hillary Clinton murdered her friend Vince Foster.
  • Detail possible motives, based on information Foster was about to divulge of Clinton’s criminal activity.
  • Present evidence placing Hillary Clinton at the scene of the crime.
  • Trace the murder weapon back to Hillary Clinton.

Lay all your facts out, and give me something to work with. Dropping vague references punctuated with words in all caps falls considerably short of what I am used to dealing with.