Four Weeks In

Number 67 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 67:

67. Feb. 16, 2017 — White House press conference

The claim: “We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 per cent of the uranium in our country.” Added: “Hillary Clinton gave them 20 per cent of our uranium.”

In fact: Clinton didn’t personally give Russia uranium. The State Department, which Clinton led as secretary of state, was one of nine government entities that reviewed the Russian purchase of the Toronto-based firm Uranium One, which controlled the rights to about 20 per cent of U.S. uranium capacity. There is no evidence Clinton was personally involved in the process in any way. Further, only the president could have made the decision to block the deal; Clinton did not have final authority either way.

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 18 April the count was up to 179. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

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.

Four Weeks In

Number 65 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 65:

65. Feb. 16, 2017 — White House press conference

The claim: “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.”

In fact: The Walmart expansion plan that is creating the jobs was announced in October, before Trump was elected. The company did not reveal the precise 10,000 figure until after Trump took office, but it is directly connected to the previous announcement.

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 18 April the count was up to 179. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Four Weeks In

Number 64 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 64:

64. Feb. 16, 2017 — White House press conference

The claim: “General Motors likewise committed to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave. And if I didn’t get elected, believe me, they would have left. And these jobs and these things that I’m announcing would never have come here.”

In fact: GM made a new $1 billion commitment to U.S. factories, not “billions”; it committed $2.9 billion last year, before Trump was elected. GM did not offer any indication that it made the decision because of Trump, and independent automotive analysts said it was unlikely the company had done so. “Mostly theatre to play in the news cycle created by President-elect Trump’s tweets,” Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs said. “These investments and hiring plans have long been in the works and are a continuation of what the company has been doing in recent years.”

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 18 April the count was up to 179. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Four Weeks In

Number 63 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 63:

63. Feb. 16, 2017 — White Houselistening session” with members of Congress

The claim: “Well, I always said about President Obama, it’s great to play golf, but play golf with heads of countries. And, by the way, people like yourself (congressmen), when you’re looking for votes, don’t play with your friends who you play with every week.”

In fact: Trump did not “always” say this about Obama, if he said it at all. He criticized Obama’s golfing at least 11 times on Twitter without ever declaring that it would be great for Obama to play with foreign leaders. He also said, “I don’t want to touch a golf club.”

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 18 April the count was up to 179. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Down for the Count

Some more of this

The title came naturally, and it was hardly a surprise when I noticed it’s been used before, twice. So, who’s down for the count today? But you knew that already. ABC World News Tonight with David Muir has the story:

Bill O’Reilly is leaving the Fox News Channel, the network’s parent company announced today.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.

The star host has been dogged by misconduct claims — some sexual in nature — since an April 1 story in The New York Times detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.

An internal 21st Century Fox memo obtained by ABC News said that the “decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.” The memo was signed by Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, the company’s top executives.

“We want to underscore our consistent commitment to fosteri

And that’s too bad. Really. My liberal friends are tooting horns all over Facebook, but remember you heard it here first—we are going to miss having Bill O’Reilly as the focus for conservative foibles. For pure audacity in the face of fact, few could compete. Start with O’Reilly’s tag line — “Caution. You are about to enter the no-spin-zone.” Ha!

On the face of it, O’Reilly’s no-spin was 100% spin. For example:

Saddam Hussein… I believe is involved with this World Trade Center and Pentagon bombing. I believe that you’re going to find out that money from Iraq flowed in and helped this happen.

And this:

I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.

Never having met Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein.

Anyhow, liberals will no longer enjoy watching Bill O’Reilly make  a mockery of conservative ideals on  Fox. Maybe somewhere else, but not courtesy of the Murdoch empire. Nor is this due to any sense of public decency. The story seems to be money down the line. As ABC and others point out, at least 83 sponsors have bolted the show since O’Reilly’s settlements became public.

Is it an illusion that conservative grandstanders accept as a given that women were put on this planet to  be exploited by the powerful? John and Ted Kennedy, also Bill Clinton, gained notoriety for their sexual escapades, but a pernicious theme has run through the conservative hierarchy of late. Fox chief Roger Ailes exited last year due to scandals that rival O’Reilly’s. And O’Reilly gets his highest level of support from none other.

Yes, it’s the Groper-in-Chief, who seems to have been created by and for O’Reilly. And O’Reilly may have put his finger on the critical point. There is a conservative regard that good manners are a manifestation of weakness:

There is a point where political correctness becomes an acid that erodes freedom.

There is a point at which righteous conduct has been denigrated in the quest for power.

Four Weeks In

Number 62 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 62:

62. Feb. 16, 2017 — White House “listening session” with members of Congress

The claim: “The fake-news media doesn’t like talking about the economy; I never see anything about the stock market sets new records every day. I never see it.”

In fact: We cannot fact-check what Trump does or doesn’t personally see, but his suggestion that the media ignores market records is inaccurate. The Dow Jones industrial average has received extensive coverage, even more than the usual daily stream of business stories, as it has reached new heights over the last month.

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 18 April the count was up to 179. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Four Weeks In

Number 61 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 61:

61. Feb. 16, 2017 — White House “listening session” with members of Congress

The claim: “Will anybody show up to that press conference? Historically, they didn’t care about these things. For me, they show up.”

In fact: Obviously, journalists have always cared about presidential press conferences.

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 18 April the count was up to 179. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Four Weeks In

Number 59 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 59:

59. Feb. 12, 2017 — Twitter

The claim: “While on FAKE NEWS @CNN, Bernie Sanders was cut off for using the term fake news to describe the network. They said technical difficulties!”

In fact: Sanders was not cut off by CNN, and he was mocking Trump’s use of “fake news” to describe the network, not doing so himself. What actually happened: Sanders jokingly called CNN “fake news,” then added, “It was a joke.” CNN host Erin Burnett said, “I know it was a joke.” Sanders then lost his audio feed of Burnett’s questions. Burnett announced they would go to commercial to get it sorted out. After the break, she continued the interview.

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 3 April the count was up to 172. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.

Four Weeks In

Number 58 of a series

There’s no way I’m ever going to run out of these. Daniel Dale, with the Washington bureau of The Toronto Star, compiled a list of 80 fabrications by Donald Trump, all during the first four weeks of the new administration. That was so many days ago, and we have ceased expecting any truth from our president. It’s near pointless to continue putting Donald Trump’s lies on display. However, forge ahead I must. History is waiting. Here is number 58:

58. Feb. 10, 2017 — Twitter

The claim: “The failing @nytimes does major FAKE NEWS China story saying “Mr. Xi has not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov. 14.” We spoke at length yesterday!”

In fact: Trump was wrong to suggest the Times made an error: this article was written before Trump’s phone call with Xi. As soon as the call became known, the Times updated the article, online and in its late print edition, to include the details of the conversation. Trump may have been reacting to an earlier print edition, but this was not “fake news,” simply the news as it stood as of the newspaper’s deadline.

Daniel Dale’s list has since grown. As of 3 April the count was up to 172. How long can our president keep this up? Better yet, how long can I keep this up?

Until there is no skin left.