Links 12/7/18

‘They were so full of joy’: Video of 200 dolphins swimming beside B.C. ferry goes viral CTV News

Global Carbon Budget 2018 Earth System Science Data. Important.

Texas and New Mexico shale basins hold 49 years worth of oil: USGS Reuters. Let’s leave it in the ground, so we always know where to find it.

For the first time, a major US utility has committed to 100% clean energy Vox. In 2050 – 2018 = 32 years.

Investors withdraw billions from US equity funds FT

Tesla Replaces General Counsel With Seasoned Trial Lawyer WSJ. Hmm.

Facebook’s 2018 Year In Review Facebook Newsroom [sic]. Not mentioned: “Cambridge Analytica, Myanmar genocide, a 30 million user security breach, and some other insignificant things.”

Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators (dataset) The World Bank. “The Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators (WWBI) is a dataset on public sector employment and wages that can help researchers and development practitioners gain a better understanding of the personnel dimensions of state capability, the footprint of the public sector on the overall labor market, and the fiscal implications of the government wage bill.” A lot to unpack there, but start with the framing of “state capability” as “bureaucracy.”

What the largest sex-furniture manufacturer in the US can teach America about trade Quartz

Brexit

Brexit uncertainty makes pound ‘impossible’ to trade FT

Brexit Deal Maze (diagram) Reuters. Beautiful diagrammatic visualization, but some of the end states (new Brexit referendum, new negotiations) are imaginary, unlike others which are real possibilities (crash out, canceling Article 50, May’s deal). Perhaps readers can make other corrections.

A second Brexit referendum may push us over the edge The Times. Well worth a log-in. “The polling shifts to Remain are still small, still within the margin of error, still dependent on non-voters deciding to vote this time round.” Surely the real issue is legitimacy? If Parliament were sovereign, not just in word but in deed, there would be no need for referenda, first or second.

How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain George Monbiot, Guardian

High Court agrees to hear full legal challenge of Blighty’s Snooper’s Charter The Register

How France’s Yellow Vests Are Plotting Online Bloomberg

France’s Gas Tax Disaster Shows We Can’t Save Earth by Screwing Over Poor People Gizmodo

Merkel’s party votes for new leader, and new era in Germany Reuters

Syraqistan

Meet the Senators Who Took Saudi Money The American Conservative

China

‘Shocking’ Huawei Arrest Threatens to Upend Trump-Xi Trade Truce Bloomberg

US-China tensions played no part in death of renowned Stanford professor Zhang Shoucheng, family says SCMP. Oh.

A Week In Xinjiang’s Absolute Surveillance State Palladium (via Mark Ames).

The America hawks circling Beijing FT

While Small Dairy Farms Shut Down, This Mega-Dairy Is Shipping Milk to China Civil Eats

China prepares mission to land spacecraft on moon’s far side AP

Exploring the Ecosystem of the U.S.–Mexico Border Scientific American

Mexico’s New President Restarts Investigation Into 43 Missing Students NYT

Brazil future unclear amid opposing ideologies of ministers AP

Why voters should mark ballots by hand Freedom to Tinker. There is no good reason for any election official, of any party, to defend e-voting, let alone purchase electronic voting machines.

Exclusive: Emails of top NRCC officials stolen in major 2018 hack Politico. So Crowdstrike works both sides of the street?

Democrats in Disarray

AOC continues her on-boarding process:

I don’t see how a good progressive like Nancy Pelosi can permit this.

Making Manchin the Ranking Member of Energy Committee Might Be a Compromise Too Far New York Magazine

Your Q Anon Exit Briefing Violent Metaphors

Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained Vox

USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy after hefty lawsuits over Larry Nassar CNN

A Mysterious Imposter Account Was Used On Facebook To Drum Up Support For The Migrant Caravan Buzzfeed. More at NC here.

A Business With No End NYT

Health Care

J&J pays $360 million for illegally using a charity to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients STAT

6 metro Detroit doctors busted in $500M opioid scheme Detroit Free Press

An Ancient Case of the Plague Could Rewrite History The Atlantic

Imperial Collapse Watch

At the CIA, a fix to communications system that left trail of dead agents remains elusive Yahoo News

Class Warfare

Marriott strike yields 40 percent pay hike for Westin housekeepers San Diego Tribune

The liberal peace fallacy: violent neoliberalism and the temporal and spatial traps of state-based approaches to peace Territory, Politics, Governance

Global Wealth Report 2018: US and China in the lead Credit Suisse

The European Youth Guarantee: A systematic review of its implementation across countries International Labor Organization (UserFriendly).

Damn It All NYRB

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

142 comments

  1. David

    Further to the gilets jaunes links above, a few quick observations about what may happen in France this weekend. However it turns out (see below) this weekend will be critical for Macron’s future, and possibly that of the French political system as a whole.

    The French state is going double or quits. They have announced the mobilisation of 89,000 police and gendarmes across the country, including 8,000 in Paris. Every available unit of the CRS (French public order police) has been mobilised, as well as all of the available gendarmerie units, including reservists. Leave and rest periods have been cancelled, and, according to the gendarmerie’s newsletter, in Paris they will be deploying about a dozen armoured vehicles, which can be used to destroy barricades, as well as transporting gendarmes safely through dangerous areas. It’s a maximum effort, in other words. Tourist sites are being closed, and shops in wealthy areas boarded up, to limit damage. After last weekend’s fiasco, the government has said that they will use a more active policy, including “contact” with the protesters, dispersing and arresting trouble-makers. Macron has decided (or been persuaded) to keep his mouth shut until next week for fear of making things worse. A number of political leaders have weighed in at his request, asking for calm. (Thus incidentally avoiding blame if things go wrong).

    The government probably had no choice. Another weekend like the last one would almost certainly bring down the government, and encourage even more radical demands. In addition, government sources are saying (and this is probably true) that groups from the political extremes are likely to take advantage of the situation to create havoc. There will almost certainly be opportunistic theft and looting. In addition, groups from the poor suburbs, with their own sets of demands, have also talked about being present. The policy seems to be to defend key buildings (the Elysée is being targeted by protesters, apparently) and use as much force as necessary to break the back of the protests and bring the situation back under control, riding out the inevitable criticism. In the circumstances, it’s probably the only option.

    But there are a number of problems. First, it may not work. There are 36,000 communes in France, many with some symbol of the central government (tax office for example). The gilets jaunes are not a movement, are not conducting traditional demonstrations, and can spring up anywhere. There have been incidents around the country all week, and they have become intertwined with violent protests by Lycée students against education changes. So the government might win in Paris, but the rest of the country might be on fire. Likewise, a “contact” policy will involve injuries, and perhaps deaths, on both sides. The forces of order are not, in principle, armed in these circumstances, but flash grenades, for example, have been lethal under certain conditions. (If things get really bad, French law allows the use of force (including deadly force) to protect life, as long as it is proportional to the threat.) Then, if this policy of escalation fails, the government has nowhere to go. A state of emergency would give the government more legal powers, but it’s doubtful whether it would give them more actual capability to control the situation. And the perception of a defeat this weekend would discredit the government anyway, and embolden the opposition. Finally, the government can’t keep up this level of effort for long. The security forces are exhausted by three years of crisis operations, and four weeks of non-stop confrontation. The threat level is still Red for terrorist attacks. This weekend, therefore, will be critical in a number of ways.

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      Your update is much more useful than reading the likes of the NYT (see below opinion piece from today’s online edition).

      The ruling elite continue to spin and spin in an non-reality/historically based world.

      “Yet, if Emmanuel Macron survives this crisis, something good may come out of it. He, along with French and European elites, could draw the lesson from the revolt of the Yellow Vests and find a way to govern with the people, not against them. That is, after all, what democracy is about.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/opinion/macron-yellow-vest-protests.html)

      Reply
        1. Kevbot5000

          I came across the thought recently that ‘sovereignty of the people’ is a bogus idea. Sovereignty is something you do TO the people. Still working that idea over trying to decide if I agree, but figured I’d share.

          Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The recent juxtaposition between tax cuts for the wealthy and targeted tax increases which didn’t apply to jet fuel, his only way out is if his administration is running between a devil and angel style advisers within his government if they exist. This wasn’t a bad roll out or “unknown unknowns.”

        The lesson that needs to be learned is leaders of democracies have to not be treated as anything other than the staff at the homes of vile gilded age millionaire monsters. The celebrity culture needs to end. Even if the politician is a friend, they need to be questioned and hounded.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Macron is just their version of Obama, talk a big game about how you’ll do good things then just do the opposite once you’re in.

          Pity that the supine U.S. populace didn’t see the fix was in from the beginning in 2009 and demand actual change, not just more corporo-fascist billionaire coddling. Obama had a perfect moment, and a wide open field of play. What he did with that moment, and especially the yawning chasm between his words and his actual deeds, gets him my coveted Worst_President_Evah_ award.

          (And yes I am counting Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson).

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Not long after he took the reins of power, I started calling him ‘The Great Spelunker’ because he would cave on anything.

            Reply
              1. jackiebass

                You are absolutely correct. There are many others like him in congress. The senate is filled with democrats that are really republicans, starting with Schumer.

                Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              He wasn’t caving. He was double-crossing, just as he secretly planned to do right from the start.

              Reply
    2. Frenchguy

      While I agree with all your main points and with the importance of the week-end, I’d just like to add a few caveats.

      _while the yellow vests are quite popular according to polls, the actual number of people on the streets is surprisingly small compared to the worldwide coverage. According to police numbers (usually fairly accurate), they were roughly 290,000 across France on November 17, 170,000 on November 24 and 140,000 on December 1. In Paris, they were roughly 8,000 on December 1 (I was on-site the last two weekends, it indeed didn’t seem like that many people) . For reference, there were 340,000 people just in Paris on January 13, 2013 marching against gay mariage and demonstrations against pension reform in 2010 peaked at more than a million people, to no effect on both cases. The yellow vests numbers are impressive considering the organisation is so loose but they are far from extraordinary.
      _since no one is in charge, people demonstrate anywhere they like and it makes it very difficult for the police to handle possible looters among them without resorting to violent measures. Looters have been encouraged by that and people who didn’t think of violence have lost their inhibitions. As time passes, fewer people demonstrate and the ones left are the most prone to violence. I would guess this is especially true in Paris.
      _they are popular mainly because the movement is so nebulous it can stand for everything (see their alleged list of demands that made the rounds). But they have already won what was their main demand (no tax increase on gas in 2019) and if the weekend is indeed very violent, violence will quickly become their main caracteristic. Public opinion could snap very quickly from supporting them to demanding a very hard response. Remember that elections in June 1968 resulted in one of the most right-wing Assembly ever (doesn’t mean this will help Le Pen, she has been one of the most supportive of the yellow vestsand it’s starting to show…).
      _the government may indeed fall in the sense that the Prime Minister may be replaced by a more flexible one (Bayrou for exemple which is well liked across France would be a contender). But Macron will stay President and his majority at the National Assembly is rock-solid.

      In short, I think we are suffering from a bout a collective insanity and people are right to be very wary of what will happen this weekend. The police force are indeed exhausted but if they crack, it won’t be that they will lay down their arms, it’s that they are going to use them. Macron has done the responsible thing by backing down on taxes and, as David says, more and more political opponents are calling for the movement to calm down. It’s harder and harder to see why he would be the only one blamed if things got out of hands…

      Reply
      1. David

        Basically agree. I’d just add that sheer numbers are less important in this kind of situation. I remember watching the 2013 march and it was quite impressive. But then that march was designed to influence public and political opinion, and to be noticed by the media. Sheer numbers are important in such cases, which is why recent marches against the government have rightly been seen as disappointments. But as you say, we’re in a different logic here, and it’s less the sheer number of demonstrators than the havoc that they can cause. There’s some evidence that they are losing public support, not for their objectives but for their methods – disruption, especially outside Paris, is disrupting people, after all. I also think that Bayrou could be the next Prime Minister, but having been sold out once by Macron he will pose some pretty tough conditions. And it’s not clear who would want to be PM anyway in such a situation, when the real problem is Macron himself. We’ll have a much clearer idea on Monday, but in the meantime it’s safe to say that forces have been unleashed over which no-one now has much control.

        Reply
        1. Move the Virtue

          The last French protests were just virtue signalling from some upper middle class student kids
          When real workers with real grievances tried to join they were just ignored or met with blank stares.

          Reply
        2. Frenchguy

          +1 Macron is the problem, though more his personality (when you start calling yourself Jupiter the day you come to power, you are going to piss off people) than his reforms (that aren’t really that much to write about). But if he plays it well, i.e. looking chastened and humbled by all that, he may come out of it. People won’t start suddenly liking him again but there will be a feeling that he has learned a lesson.

          As you said, the other solution is that the next PM is a political heavy weight who impose his conditions and Macron will have to take a back seat. Whatever the case, Philippe has to go though. Macron doesn’t have much political sense but Philippe seems to have even less. He was the one behind the reduction of the speed limit and apparently was advocating absolutely no retreat at all on the fuel tax… No wonder he was close to Juppé.

          Reply
          1. Savita

            (when you start calling yourself Jupiter the day you come to power, you are going to piss off people)

            ROFLMAO hhahahahahah indeed. Around the time the current President of the U.S. of North America took the seat, there was a photo of him in the Australian news (supporting whatever the story was) of him in the oval office, with Wing of Hermes coming out of either side of his head. It was supposed to look like an accident, I think the wings were on the wall and the photo caught his head perfectly in between both of them. To me it was a real ‘secret society’ ‘secret communication’ moment – like someone mentioned recently with an esoteric number being associated with the Washington Post to say ‘hey look we are getting away with it’. Wings of Hermes – the trickster, prankster God. fufilling a role, quite deliberately

            Reply
      2. JBird4049

        With the caveat that I know very, very little about this, I would worry about the exhausted police and the excitable demonstrators. Protests, even riots, often only get violent after some fool, usually the police, but it can demonstrators also, gets…overly enthusiastic. Some fool officer with a gun or some idiot protester with a Molotov cocktail gives a violent response with gets a more violent response which just keeps going. Doesn’t have to be deliberate or planed as just some tired frustrated people making bad choices are need. This is also theme in American protests. The police seek absolute control and use extreme force, their targets respond, and the fun really begins.

        Reply
    3. Lord Koos

      “Leave and rest periods have been cancelled” — insuring that the security forces will be pissed off and tired, and thus more prone to violence and brutality.

      Reply
  2. TalkingCargo

    Texas and New Mexico shale basins hold 49 years worth of oil: USGS Reuters.

    This is a very misleading headline. From the article:

    “The largest oil field in the United States holds as much as 49 years worth of oil at current production rates, according to data from a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

    In its first assessment of the Delaware portion of the Permian shale field that spans west Texas and New Mexico, the USGS, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said it contains about 46.3 billion barrels of oil and 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

    The government estimates include all underground shale oil and gas that is technically recoverable but may not be economic to extract at current prices.”

    That’s at “current production rates”. Global oil consumption is about 100 million
    bbls/day, so 46.3 billion barrels is about 463 days worth of global supply. And since
    it “may not be economic to extract at current prices” it’s hard to say how much (if any) of this oil will be extracted. In any case, it doesn’t mean that there is 49 more years of oil supply.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      left out, too, is the fact that the Permian is a spent field. It peaked for “conventional oil” in the 70’s.
      This “Boom” is the result of more sophisticated technology, and relatively high prices…to offset the negative eroei(costs more in barrel of oil equivalent energy to extract than is contained in what is extracted)
      These efforts are—quite literally—scraping the bottom of the barrel.
      The “boom” will end abruptly(like Eagle Ford in South Texas)…I watch for cheerleaders selling “investment opportunities” invading local papers as an indicator that the end is near,lol.
      Folks I know who work in those fields are worried…moaning about how gas prices are too low.(Peak Demand)

      and…related, somehow, but so contradictory that I have yet to figure it out…
      The big sand plant near me…been operating for 40 years. 2 years ago, there was suddenly a flurry of activity behind my place…a new natgas pipeline running to service that old sandplant.
      soon after, that sandplant bought one of it’s 3 competitors, and was soon after bought by a big, international proppant firm.
      Now, that firm is laying everyone off and closing the plant.
      they’re offering jobs to about half the workers in a new plant closer to the Permian.
      for our local economy…a five county area…this closure is big news…as damaging as when the peanut subsidies went away in the late 90’s.
      the disconnect is between spending a bunch of jack for a dedicated pipeline, and then closing up shop.
      I understand that the pipeline was in the works for years…it didn’t actually touch my place, so I have no “standing” and wasn’t informed until the machinery showed up.
      still.
      something looks to be afoot.
      caveat emptor

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it didn’t actually touch my place, so I have no “standing” and wasn’t informed until the machinery showed up.

        “Standing” is a killer. If something touches your property, you have standing, but if that same something wrecks a watershed or cooks the planet, everything’s jake. Something the environmental movement should have centered long ago because better standing rules would allow monkey-wrenching through the courts. (I strongly believe that every petroleum project, without exception, should be attacked during the permitting process. Pipelines, sand plants, everything.)

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          The Supremes have been limiting standing for years. It’s really a stretch to be able to bring a suit now. The Notorious RBG has even commented on it.

          Reply
    2. crittermom

      “Texas and New Mexico shale basins hold 49 years worth of oil”

      This is all over the top of the news here in New Mexico, among the poorest of states with one of the higher unemployment rates @ 4.6% (with a ranking of 44 out of the 51).
      https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
      Jawbs, don’t ya know!

      Most folks I’ve met here don’t seem to care much about the planet in the ‘future’. They’re too busy trying to secure food & a roof over their heads on a daily basis.
      For the large Native American population here, it’s a way for them to possibly move off the reservations since there are few jobs available.

      What a shame. As a country, we’ve beaten down the former stewards of this land to a point where their immediate needs overshadow those of this planet.

      Reply
      1. Synapsid

        crittermom,

        One thing that could help: The oil and gas industry in New Mexico flares enough natural gas every year to supply every household in the state for that year. Get the state to address this.

        Easier said than done, I know, but it needs doing.

        Reply
    3. Synapsid

      TalkingCargo,

      Right you are.

      The USGS is comparing the geology in the Delaware to parts of the Permian Basin that are producing. The report is an evaluation of the similarities, reported as “undiscovered, technically recoverable” oil, gas, and I believe natural-gas liquids.

      The USGS doesn’t address the possible economics of developing whatever may be there (you won’t know that–what’s there–until you drill) because it isn’t supposed to and lacks the expertise anyway. USGS is United States Geological Survey, emphasize “Survey”. The report can be handy in deciding where to drill.

      It would be nice if those in news media understood the above.

      What percent of whatever may be there would actually be recovered is another point to consider. I’d guess the number would be small.

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    There’s a stretch of Ca. State Route 99 I drive by that always amuses me on account of the wording:

    ‘Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial Highway’

    …ever seen a memorial in regards to those that survived something?

    My dad worked with a fellow in the stock biz in the early 60’s, whose father was upper echelon in the military in the run-up to the day of infamy, and he told my pops that most definitely we knew that the attack was coming according to his dad, not that I remember any of the trenchant details.

    The idea that all of our aircraft carriers were conveniently away from harm’s way that day, is ample proof in my mind.

    The battleships @ Pearl Harbor were ancient, the USS Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee & West Virginia all being built in the 1910’s…

    So here we are today 77 years later, and we discovered how profitable the war business is, and we’ve devoted so much to keeping it going, utterly Krupp’d.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      In all fairness, if the carriers were away from Pearl Harbour that was due to Admiral “Bull” Hallsey who saw the war coming and tried to keep the carriers at sea as much as possible. In fact, he had the crews on his ships doing constant drills and training while stripping down anything not needed in war including even a piano. Those carriers were supposed to be at Pearl on December 6th but a storm held them up as they were returning from Wake Island so they missed the battle.

      Reply
      1. James Graham

        Rev:

        Please do not offer rational explanations.

        The “American corporations are evil and omnipotent” crowd will be displeased.

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Also, America’s military is overseen by people who want to go to West Point at age 16 which might explain why American’s generals thought tanks were a passing fad after World War I.

        Reply
        1. Kevbot5000

          To be fair to post WWI generals, even in the Wehrmacht it was only a minority that had a good grasp of the potential of the tank. What they got right was having enough of them in important positions (Guderian and Manstein among others) making organizational/operational decisions to steamroll people until they met every non-mongol army’s nemesis, the vast expanse of Russia.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Well, Guderian read deGaulle on the subject, and paid more attention than the French high command. And Tukachevsky, who had made mobile armor a big part of red army doctrine, got purged by smiling Uncle Joe.

            Reply
    2. Darthbobber

      As to the ancient battleships, if you look at the active inventory of the Navy as of 1941, they were about as current In design as anything except the two North Carolina class battleships, which entered service early in 1941. With the signing of the Washington treaty in the early 20s, contemplated new battleships were largely cancelled. I don’t think a new battleship keel was laid between 1922 and the beginning of Roosevelt’s crash rearmament program in the late 30s.

      Reply
    3. Darthbobber

      And the Japanese were aware of the absence of our carriers, and attacked anyway, so they may have been in on it as well. This one has been hashed out pretty exhaustively, and the historian’s consensus is largely on the side of “yes, we were indeed caught flat-footed.”

      Reply
    4. knowbuddhau

      It’s my understanding that FDR approved of plans to make it plain for all to see that Japan had drawn first blood. Note that has nothing to do with “being in the wrong.”

      Used to have to wave an actual bloody shirt with actual bloody blood. Non-existent WMDs are much better: no one can prove they’re not there. And as for terrorists: What’s the point of having the CIA & FBI if you can’t use them?

      Comprehensive research has shown not only that Washington knew in advance of the attack, but that it deliberately withheld its foreknowledge from our commanders in Hawaii in the hope that the “surprise” attack would catapult the U.S. into World War II. Oliver Lyttleton, British Minister of Production, stated in 1944: “Japan was provoked into attacking America at Pearl Harbor. It is a travesty of history to say that America was forced into the war.”

      Roosevelt’s intentions were nearly exposed in 1940 when Tyler Kent, a code clerk at the U.S. embassy in London, discovered secret dispatches between Roosevelt and Churchill. These revealed that FDR — despite contrary campaign promises — was determined to engage America in the war. Kent smuggled some of the documents out of the embassy, hoping to alert the American public — but was caught. With U.S. government approval, he was tried in a secret British court and confined to a British prison until the war’s end.

      During World War II’s early days, the president offered numerous provocations to Germany: freezing its assets; shipping 50 destroyers to Britain; and depth-charging U-boats. The Germans did not retaliate, however. They knew America’s entry into World War I had shifted the balance of power against them, and they shunned a repeat of that scenario. FDR therefore switched his focus to Japan. Japan had signed a mutual defense pact with Germany and Italy (the Tripartite Treaty). Roosevelt knew that if Japan went to war with the United States, Germany and Italy would be compelled to declare war on America — thus entangling us in the European conflict by the back door. As Harold Ickes, secretary of the Interior, said in October 1941: “For a long time I have believed that our best entrance into the war would be by way of Japan.”

      Much new light has been shed on Pearl Harbor through the recent work of Robert B. Stinnett, a World War II Navy veteran. Stinnett has obtained numerous relevant documents through the Freedom of Information Act. In Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (2000), the book so brusquely dismissed by director Bruckheimer, Stinnett reveals that Roosevelt’s plan to provoke Japan began with a memorandum from Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence. The memorandum advocated eight actions predicted to lead Japan into attacking the United States. McCollum wrote: “If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.” FDR enacted all eight of McCollum’s provocative steps — and more.

      https://www.thenewamerican.com/component/k2/item/4740-pearl-harbor-hawaii-was-surprised-fdr-was-not

      The Tyler Kent papers released in the 70s did not support the above assertion, according to Wikipedia. He sounds more like a raving anti-commie nutter. Didn’t stop the FBI from investigating him 6 times.

      The McCollum Memo, interpreted as intending war, seems to be holding up.

      Zinn is better as a source for showing that WWII, like all the others, didn’t just happen to us innocent, peace-loving people. War is how we roll. And for those who insist on blaming humanity for our belliphilic bellicosity, please explain the people who built Caral.

      Can’t wait to see how the War on Climate Change turns out. /s

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Have you read any of the works within the mainstream of historical interpretation on this, or only the counternarratives? Because they also deal with most of this information, without drawing these conclusions from it.

        Reply
  4. Steve H.

    > A Week In Xinjiang’s Absolute Surveillance State Palladium

    “China would need tens of millions of police to get the same sort of coverage over its whole population.”

    I think it was Assad the Elder who said you need one-tenth the population for a police state, so hundreds of millions, but yeah, they could do that.

    “One other thing that is very visible in its absence. Young men.”

    ? . !

    Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    What does a ‘crash’ mean

    Deadpool – that’s the name experts have given a specific level of Lake Mead, Sorensen says. When water levels hit that mark – 895 – water will no longer be able to get past the dam.

    “There’s a lot of energy focused right now on making sure the Colorado River doesn’t crash, that it doesn’t collapse, but it is a real danger,” she said.

    The issue is further complicated by Lake Mead’s shape, a “V”, which means levels won’t drop at a linear rate, but could increase over time.

    https://www.12news.com/article/news/local/valley/phoenix-looks-to-water-rate-increases-to-deal-with-looming-disaster/75-cac3d485-95f6-44cb-be6b-30f8303e1a59
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We’ve been doing a kayak trip on the Colorado River for 15 years now-once or twice annually, and have been watching Lake Mead go down continually, there’s a stretch not far from Hoover Dam near Boulder Beach in the Lake Mead National Recreational Area, where a rocky peninsula has emerged on account of the 18 year long drought that has the look of a Stegosaurus’s back, and has halfway blocked water from entering the lake basin there.

    Phoenix is the poster child for bad stuff happening on account of Lake Mead drying out, but San Diego is in for as big of a comeuppance seeing them sometime, as half of their freshwater comes from the Colorado River.

    Never mentioned much is the invasion of Quagga mussels to the Colorado River that happened just after the turn of the century. These bivalve swingers breed like underwater rabbits and love to gum up the works, as per the photos in the link below.

    Every one of the reservoirs in San Diego-adjacent has plenty of these in residence, and probably the only way to kill them off, would be to take the water away from them, which is probably a non-starter, as 50% comes from non Colorado River sources.

    https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/quagga/photos.html

    Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Relations live in Phx, and I noticed an interesting thing there as far as freeway billboards go, most of which are the electronic flavor that hits you with a triple play of messages trying to sell you something as you pass by @ 60 mph…

            About 1/3rd are for lawyers trying to get you to use their services, “In a wreck-need a check?” or a burn injury lawyer, or a motorcycle injury lawyer, or a husband-wife lawyer team, or a wrongfully fired on the job lawyer, or (I could go on and on, but lets not).

            Reply
            1. Daryl

              Here in Texas, we have a lot of those large electronic ones, and they are really bad to drive past at night. Probably a doubly good investment for a car crash lawyer.

              Reply
            2. ChristopherJ

              TY Wuk. Bill boards are a big distraction and cause accidents. But take your eyes off the road to look at your phone??

              Reply
          2. newcatty

            MK,
            This is getting old…My spouse and I are alive and well in AZ. Bashing AZ, as though all residents live in Phoenix area is foolish. I don’t want to live in Phoenix, but there are many places in CA I don’t want to live, either. We have close relatives living in CA. I don’t want to live in their world, but am always cheering for their well being. Maybe some of the CA refugees from that state can find refuge here, as many have already done.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              So, noticing that the growth industry in Phoenix appears to be ambulance chasers is my bad?

              You almost never see those kind of billboards here…

              Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I see a future caravan taking refuge from the scorching heat behind the shade of a small rise with a cave full of little plastic statues of men swinging cubs at tiny balls and a picture of a men not dressed for the weather, only to be covered up by the sands.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          p.s.

          I haven’t golfed since I got my MPGA tour card by getting a hole in one on the windmill hole, but our 9 hole course here has been closed for almost a decade, and for an interesting reason, in that a Korean-American gent bought it and a bunch of other courses around the state, apparently as a nice tax write-off or so i’ve heard, while owning pretty damned good land totally suitable for building something else in the future.

          Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        From McKibben’s New Yorker article:

        Thirty years ago, this magazine published “The End of Nature,” a long article about what we then called the greenhouse effect. I was in my twenties when I wrote it, and out on an intellectual limb: climate science was still young. But the data were persuasive, and freighted with sadness. We were spewing so much carbon into the atmosphere that nature was no longer a force beyond our influence—and humanity, with its capacity for industry and heedlessness, had come to affect every cubic metre of the planet’s air, every inch of its surface, every drop of its water. Scientists underlined this notion a decade later when they began referring to our era as the Anthropocene, the world made by man.

        I was frightened by my reporting, but, at the time, it seemed likely that we’d try as a society to prevent the worst from happening. In 1988, George H. W. Bush, running for President, promised that he would fight “the greenhouse effect with the White House effect.” He did not, nor did his successors, nor did their peers in seats of power around the world, and so in the intervening decades what was a theoretical threat has become a fierce daily reality.

        IOW, from a political standpoint, the environmental movement was a catastrophic debacle?

        Reply
        1. Steve H.

          Catastrophic is the precisely appropriate word.

          Well, in regards to the greenhouse effect. There’s a better understanding of ecology and global effects nearly universally. DDT is gone and the waters and land got cleaner for decades. The ozone layer is recovering.

          On the greenhouse effect, though, the problem is the number of point sources, which scales from industrial to individual metabolisms. It’s completely distributed. CO2 from developing countries shot up, as did ‘all others’.

          Lever the oil industry in. They knew. Ngrams peaks for “multinational corporation” in 1977, but they didn’t go away just because people were talking about them less. Pop in loss of international trust by NATO expansion after the Wall fell. Drizzle on that when Clinton was elected, we in the Environmental Science program thought the hypocrisy was done, then he submitted his budget for the Environmental Protection Agency – I can’t find the original, but he was clearly wrecking it.

          And this – the dollar as world reserve currency pushed polluting jobs to developing countries. That’s a big part of the drop in toxins in America. NIMBY, out of sight out of mind. Just like what happened to the anti-war movement when the draft went away.

          So, man muss immer umkehren: what social movements have been more successful than the environmental movement? Women’s rights had the pill as a material fact. If civil rights had really ‘worked’ there’d be no BLM. Anti-war?

          F*k, now I’m sad.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Using NIMBYism the reason for the partial defeat, even destruction of the Civil Rights Movement as well as the environmental movement, women’s rights (feminism), or any other of the reform movements is overdoing it; just as the entire American Left including the union movement was systematically destroyed starting from the very late 1940s, so was anything that could be tied to communism.

            For example: unAmerican=communism=socialism=leftist=liberal=traitors=civil rights=Martin Luther King Jr.=Malcolm X=Black Panthers=blacks=criminals=The Bad People.

            Anything that could be tied in such a way was and I include the conservative reformers, and there were many, was marginalized and then usually destroyed or at least deformed.

            Reply
  6. generic

    Pretty disgusting whitewash from AP . Where are these contradictions? “Renowned fighter against corruption” Moro is literally the judge that prevented Lula from running. “Free Markets” and military dictatorship? Who ever heard about such an unlikely combination in all of South America? A focus on enterprise and leaving the climate accord?

    Reply
  7. Mark Alexander

    Re: AOC continues her on-boarding process:

    I know I shouldn’t be reading Twitter comments, because they make me want to sign up and write rebuttals. But so many of the responses to AOC’s tweet seem ridiculous to me, especially the ones claiming that companies like Goldman somehow “fund the US government.” Here’s another place where that MMT-on-a-postcard would be useful.

    Reply
    1. rd

      “I don’t see how a good progressive like Nancy Pelosi can permit this.”

      It wasn’t clear to me what “this” is.

      Is it that she can’t permit labor not being there? Or can’t permit AOC to tweat about labor not being there?

      I haven’t gotten the sense that labor has been high on Pelosi’s agenda for a long time now.

      Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Sarc tag or no, I would unsarcastically say it’s about thirty-five years since she been sincerely interested in labor issues.

              Sadly too many people actually believe she does support labor because after all the Democratic Party does. (Cue in bitter laughter here)

              Reply
    2. crittermom

      I’m so happy to see AOC using her voice to speak out & expose the truth.
      First about how her new health care choices cost less than half of what she paid as a waitress earning much less pay, & now about only CEO’s being the speakers.

      She’s come out swingin’, & I applaud her for that.
      So far, it appears she can’t be ‘bought’. How refreshing–& dare I say, hopeful?

      Reply
      1. makedoanmend

        I also like her giving the common people ideas of how government actually operates and highlighting issues of which most of us would not normally be aware.

        I hope she does well.

        However, AOC need never be “bought” in the conventional sense. They merely have to let the system grind her down or, worse, make her irrelevant. On the other hand, she does seem to have a fire in her belly. Hopefully, as she gains experience, she can maintain a balance and make some progress. Ordinary people could sure use the support of their government and its representatives. For too long across the West, ordinary folk’s respect for the institutions has been taken for granted by the wealthy and the powerful who dominate governments – both directly and indirectly. Maybe AOC can help make representative democracy representative again.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          She’s just one among hundreds and Congress persons and could already be relatively “irrelevant” if not for how much the establishment is freaking out and making her a household name before she even starts.

          Sanders worked in the shadows for decades trying to get people to pay attention to his ideas and the media and Dems ignored him. With AOC their actions have elevated her and given her a huge voice that she is using incredibly wisely already.

          As we saw/see with Trump, mass media exposure and establishment outrage can propel someone far. Whether she delivers down the road remains to be seen but she’s already done more to shift the narrative in a positive direction than just about anyone in recent history. Between her and Sanders there’s less to worry about them “being bought” (even if they do play politics sometimes and choose their battles to the anger of some on the left) than about future candidates appropriating their momentum while having no intent of delivering “hope and change” as it’s been branded before.

          Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        I’m rather enjoying her ‘report from the belly of the beast’ style of discourse. She seems to have decided that the best defense against being corrupted is to report the whole thing in real time, so we can see it all in action.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think AOC is great. I don’t think conservative firepower is enough to take her down. That would mean liberals would have to do it. Here’s a taste from the hacks at Mother Jones:

          Sanders’ event was about climate change, but it was also about a profound generational shift in the party. “Can you interrupt this program to make an announcement on your shoes?” asked Sanders, interrupting Ocasio-Cortez by putting a hand on her shoulder, in what was an attempted meta-media commentary joke. The New York Rep-elect quickly redirected the conversation back to her talking points, calling out Republicans’ attacks on her for distracting the public from climate change.

          You can imagine what the usual suspects are going nuts about….

          Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “An Ancient Case of the Plague Could Rewrite History”

    A really great article that with some very unexpected information. It sounds like the plague came to Europe in waves then and this evidence from 2900 BC was from one such wave. Got a coupla books on the Black Death and went digging into them looking for a story I remembered. Scandinavia got hit hard when the plague came in 1349 but it came in a totally creepy way. A cargo ship loaded with wool departed England but the plague was aboard and killed the whole crew one after another. This ghost ship drifted until it eventually ran aground at Askøy near Bergen harbour in Norway. Locals went to investigate and that was how the plague came to Scandinavia and wiping out a third of the people.

    Reply
        1. In the Land of Farmers

          I was referring to Yersinia pestis (THE Plague), which is a bacteria, unlike Measles, which is a virus.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Chapo, who was the chief of the tribe here would’ve liked to have heard that…

            “What, we’re not dying from the plague, it’s only a measly virus?, a win-win!”

            Reply
  9. el_tel

    The “parliament is sovereign” issue is something I have commented on before and which continues to engage me. When will people learn that “mixing” different types of democracy automatically builds in a risk that “one House of Parliament” goes one way whilst another (or a direct democratic vote via referendum) goes another? The UK has a lot to learn from the US experience here (positive and negative) – particularly with the fact the Senate and the House are getting even more out of sync than usual. Whilst this “out of sync” phenomenon is not new, when voting becomes, for want of a better word, “multidimensional” (e.g. you have a position on an economic scale, one on an identity politics/social scale, one on a trade scale etc etc), as is most definitely the case now in the UK and US compared to (say) the 1950s/60s, then you really need a system that establishes far more clearly “who has the last word”.

    The US split of power worked for a long time but now looks just like the touted “murky swamp” with the obscure compromises made. The reform of the UK House of Lords under Blair had the opportunity to really shake things up if it had provided a proper “escape valve” for the (largely legitimate) frustrations of all those disenfranchised by the first-past-the-post system for the lower House. It might be a supreme irony that some version of the US system might have served the UK better under BREXIT. No referendum, but a different House of Lords (or whether it was renamed Senate or whatever) representing the regions, might have enabled those (many) who wished to “kick the establishment in the teeth” to do so but in a less self-destructive way. Personally I think a “Senate” representing the regions, but also with members who are experts in key fields (engineering, law spring to mind, but NOT economics or, as currently the case, religion) might have helped things immensely. But of course my proposal is really equivalent to the punchline in that joke about the Irish guy giving directions saying “if I were you I wouldn’t start from here” :-(

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Please review the election funding mechanisms in the US before suggesting the US system is to be emulated in any manner.

      Reply
  10. Ulmer

    Re: Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained.

    The person who chose the accompanying photo should win a Pulitzer Prize.

    That photo says it all, and seems worth a thousand books on political science and psychology.

    Reply
    1. Lemmy Caution

      It’s not the picture that bugs me, it’s Epstein’s slap-on-the-wrist sentence that included special perks (released for 12 hours a day!) that is really demoralizing. Even so, he really paid a steep price compared to some high-profile sexual predators. For example, the senior DOJ official who was investigated by the OIG. The OIG report released a few days ago found that:

      The OIG investigation substantiated that the senior DOJ official (1) sexually harassed one subordinate when he pressured her into a sexual relationship with him in exchange for a promotion; (2) sexually harassed another subordinate when he made repeated verbal sexual advances to her and ultimately sexually assaulted her; and (3) sexually harassed two other subordinates by engaging in sexually inappropriate conduct toward them. The OIG concluded that the senior DOJ official’s actions constituted ethical misconduct, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, all in violation of law, federal regulations, and DOJ policy.

      Even though the DOJ official was caught with his pants down, the report ends not with a bang but a whimper:

      Criminal prosecution of the senior DOJ official was declined. The senior DOJ official retired from his position.

      To quote Yakov Smirnov, what a country!

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Epstein may have had a lot more honey-trap photos resting comfortably offshore with the prospect of being called up as needed to help reduce his sentence or otherwise inducing some action. Given the whole sordid mess, that is as plausible as any other explanation for his treatment.

        How much of life in present-day Washington is conducted under the umbrella of some type of mutually-assured destruction? Were those senators and congressmen in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington all in on that?

        Somewhere, a story could be written about how things work there, like Grisham’s The Firm only bigger.

        Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Damn It All NYRB
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I’ve always been of the opinion that Hell is right here in California, in Stockton if i’m not mistaken.

    What if we switched out Santa with Jesus, and old Saint Nick would be responsible for us in the afterlife, having watched our every move & motive to see if we were indeed naughty or nice in the endgame, whereas Jesus only served to dole out made in China consumer goods once a year?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS2IBMQIjDo

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      If the Mormons are right that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, then yeah, hell being in California (or Texas) is clearly self evident.

      Reply
    1. Lemmy Caution

      I don’t know what a setee goes for but for God’s sake buy new and don’t go looking for bargains on Craigslist.

      Reply
          1. Brian (another one they call)

            a potato is a potatoe. a couch is;
            1. a day bed
            2. the extra bedroom
            3. the dog’s
            4. naugahyde

            Reply
    2. ambrit

      Well, a Kama Sutra settee sati would set you back to the beginning.
      I agree with Mr. Caution. If it smells like Febreeze, do not buy it!
      What is Kraigslist Sutra anyway?

      Reply
  12. precariat

    Perhaps it’s been said already here: The gilet jaunes movement is as much about petrol taxes as the Boston Tea Party was about tea. This American totally understands that it is about tax cuts to millionares and billionaires and regressive taxes on the working classes (who have been pushed into the exurbs in France and thus have no other transportation).

    What is truly bankrupt and vile is that the French neoliberals like Macron have tried to shame the resistors by using climate change as ‘cover’ for their ‘let them eat cake’ agendas.

    Reply
    1. Late Introvert

      +1

      I was trying to explain to my 13-year-old why dumping so many pounds of tea in the harbor a) didn’t hurt the fish and b) wasn’t about the tea.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Must have been some very fast-moving fish in Boston Harbor.

        It was about globalization and taxes. But as a tea drinker, I’ve always had qualms about all that tea.

        Reply
  13. Synoia

    A Week In Xinjiang’s Absolute Surveillance State

    Could be a description of traveling through a US airport.

    I’ve always wondered if the US airport experience could become a model for a much larger system.

    Reply
  14. Jean

    “100% Renewable Energy by……..”
    One has to get to the 7th paragraph before they even hint a HOW the utility will do it,
    thus lots of room for ads to be inserted, then one gets to the 20th paragraph for the zinger;
    “Advanced Nuclear Power.”
    From Washington’s Blog Feb 15, 2017
    “Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity, nuclear 13%, reversing their 2000 shares–and made over 90% of the world’s additional electricity in 2008.”
    “For more than 50 years, nuclear energy has been quietly polluting our air, land, water and bodies—while also contributing to Global Warming through the CO2 emissions from its construction, mining, and manufacturing operations. Every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle—mining, milling, shipping, processing, power generation, waste disposal and storage—releases greenhouse gases, radioactive particles and toxic materials that poison the air, water and land. Nuclear power plants routinely expel low-level radionuclides into the air in the course of daily operations. While exposure to high levels of radiation can kill within a matter of days or weeks, exposure to low levels on a prolonged basis can damage bones and tissue and result in genetic damage, crippling long-term injuries, disease and death.”

    Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      I am honestly so exhausted from debunking this junk. It’s like trying to convince the jehovah witness that showed up on your doorstep that there is no god. If you aren’t even willing to consider that the other side might have a point I’m wasting my time and energy and just getting more and more depressed and feeling even more hopeless.

      Reply
  15. thump

    I have a small query. I thought the practice here was to strip links of identifying origin, yet the article on “France’s Gas Tax Disaster” contained the following:

    ?utm_source=earther_facebook&utm_campaign=socialflow_earther_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    I admit to not knowing how these things work, but it certainly looks like using this augmented link encourages the source to use Facebook, and perhaps my use of the link puts me in a database somewhere of people influenced by the source’s Facebook page…

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Sorry, we’ll fix that.

      It does not encourage anything. It does tell the site owner where its traffic came from, which helps them figure out where traffic came from so they can know what sources are productive.

      Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    Wow, the wheels are coming off the housing bubble in Seattle, sales down 20% YOY, inventory up 135% YOY.

    What would a nationwide housing bubble bust entail, if the government does nothing and lets it slide into the nether regions?

    And as important, what will fill the void of people talking about how good they’ve done on their domiciles, @ social get togethers?

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      a million more illegal foreclosures to feed the privileged. Quoting Freddie Mae; “If we didn’t get their house by 2012, we’ll get it next time.”, says Android Mozilla, former head of Embezzlement for the Rich and Famous.

      Reply
  17. precariat

    Suspect that some in the US secretly admire what the Chinese get way with – control. Much of what the Chinese are doing up front is being achieved through softpower alogorithms, corporate monopolistic extraction, and the corruption of the rule of law bent toward corporations and wealth. The ideological gloss is different, but what is done to maintain power really isn’t in my view.

    Reply
    1. precariat

      Just to clarify the “what the Chinese do up front ” the US is doing more indirectly. Technology is facilitating it all. Technology may the great leveller of political systems – they all start to look alike if they all use technologic means/tools to achieve power.

      Those in the Establishment who are not beyond all redemption should take note: it matters how power is achieved and wielded. Depending on a gloss of ideology/myth
      or one’s own propaganda will bump hard against the effects of that power dynamic on whole populations. Will not be smooth, nor will it end well.

      Reply
  18. Geo

    That CIA article is a doozy! Feel terrible for those they failed. The whole operation seems to be one heck of a drift though so doubtful things will improve much.

    The issues with internet-based covert communications systems cannot be fully solved piecemeal and will require an immense allocation of resources. “A patch won’t solve the problem,” said one of the former officials. “We’re not talking about billions of dollars, we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars to fix” these systems.

    “They keep paying [family blogging] defense contractors” to work on covert communications and other projects, said one of the sources.

    When I read stuff like this the thought that always goes through my mind is, “Are they really bad at their job, or really good at it?”

    Seems instability and strife are good for the CIA’s business model. Wouldn’t want peace and tranquility to break out and devestate the bottom line!

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I actually feel sorry for those CIA line officers. It’s like they have their own mini-Silicon Valley tech boys to deal with and their privileged attitudes. The only thing missing from that story was a CIA officer trying desperately to get through to the tech division to fix a critical flaw that would blow a whole middle east operation only to hear the words “Your call is important to us…”

      Reply
  19. Savita

    David
    I wish to convey my sincere appreciation for your contribution to this forum. In a general sense, when I see your name, I always pay close attention as I know your words will be informed, articulate and reliable. Specifically I wish to thankyou for your detailed explanation and coverage of the events in France presently. You recently spoke about the mobilisation of all available policing and security personnel for this weekend, as we have read about. I read that patrolling security teams will also be pulled in. I took this to mean the small teams of two or greater in military uniforms with semi automatic weapons wearing berets whom have been patrolling public and transport areas for a few years. One gets used them fairly quickly and they’ve always been very friendly and polite When I’ve been visiting France and observed these groups at, for example an airport or train station, I was struck by a few things. One – how unbelievably young they all seemed – literally teenagers with acne! Having observed the recruitment posters for the job about town, I was guessing they had applied for the job out of school and some/many/most were not ex-military with all the training and experience that would provide. I then also wondered at their capacity to use their weapons in a public place. Could they do so safely? Did they have to expertise to do so safely? Was safety even possible? So, I’m also wondering if they will be pulled into the front lines this weekend – are there any implications for either side, if they go toe to toe with the protestors? Your insights appreciated!

    Reply
    1. David

      Simply put, these two things are different. The people you saw patrolling with automatic weapons are military (mostly Army) and there are about 10,000 of them deployed in France, 6,000 in Paris. Their function is almost entirely deterrent, and to provide the public with a sense of security. In the days before the November 2015 attacks, they did (although in very much smaller numbers) actually do some static guarding, but now they patrol tourist areas and areas with potential targets.
      The people who have been mobilised come from either the Republican Security Companies of the Police (the CRS) or the Mobile Squadrons of the Gendarmerie. There are about 30,000 of these in total (though some are deployed overseas) and they are the ones you see on TV, with plastic armour and helmets. They are specially trained to work in groups of 7-15, and do not use lethal weapons in crowd control (though there is some controversy about the potential effects off some weapons). The rest of the 89,000 reported personnel are normal police, who are not intended to confront the demonstrators directly, but will deal with traffic, arrests, administration, security of buildings and lots of other things.
      There is no suggestion that the military personnel you saw would be involved in dealing with today’s demonstrations. They are not trained in crowd control, the Army doesn’t want it and, unless the situation gets much worse, it would be political suicide for a government to use them.

      Reply
  20. Savita

    RE: Pearl Harbour
    Dusko Popov the man who would be Bond -the real life inspiration confimred by Ian Fleming and Mr Popov in interviews. Mr Fleming observed him in a casino in Monte Carlo dumping large amounts of chips which inspired Casino Royale

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Du%C5%A1ko_Popov

    A definitive biography of this masterful, masterful agent for the Allies, explains that Popov had intelligence confirming the attack on Pearl Harbour and delivered it the the US many, many months in advance. The US sat on it. I believe he tried to warn them a second time, wanting to be sure they understood.

    https://www.bookdepository.com/Into-Lions-Mouth-Larry-Loftis/9780399565908

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      What he apparently had was a German request for information about Pearl Harbor’s defenses. He allegedly warned of an attack on Pearl Harbor on August 12, but it would have had to be pretty general, since Japanese planning for the attack was not complete until November 5, and final approval wasn’t given until December 1st. (Indeed, as of August 12, Japan still retained some slim hopes of extracting concessions from the US)

      Expectation of some kind of Japanese attack at some point was the norm. Even a narrow majority of the public expected war with Japan.

      But the staff consensus expected the Philippines to be the first target, and mistakenly evaluated Japan as capable of only one major attack at a time. (McArthur, I think, was a big part of that misjudgment.)

      Reply
      1. Savita

        Thank you for the detail. It was a few years ago I read the book, although my vague recall is it was described as more empahatic than you suggest. Sounds like you’re quite familiar with the man. Truely legendary. I recall a few extraordinary coups he was behind including the sabotage of the heavy water manufacturing plant in Norway

        Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        Heck, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan knew all about the attack almost a year before it went down…

        On January 27, 1941, Grew secretly cabled the United States with information gathered from Ricardo Rivera Screiber, Peruvian Minister to Japan, that “Japan military forces planned a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor in case of ‘trouble’ with the United States”, information that was declassified twelve years later. Grew’s account says “There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbour. Of course I informed our Government”.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Grew

        As I mentioned up thread, giving up a bunch of ancient battleships was a small price to pay, to get us into the war.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          There are some days in military history when everything that can get stuffed up does. Isandhlwana comes to mind here. The US military even has a term for that – a cluster**** – and Pearl Harbour was one such day for the US military. Going by SecSate Cordell Hull’s shocked reaction to the news, I am going on the assumption that it was thought the first attack would be in the Philippines, not Pearl as it was thought too far from the action. Even though the US Navy planned out a war game that ended up mirroring the actual Japanese plan the local military thought that they would have plenty of warning.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            More Grew’ll news:

            “Grew’s report was provided to Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, and Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, but it was discounted by both.”

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              I do not know how much Stark knew but I know that both Admiral Kimmel and General Short, the commanders on the ground at Pearl Harbour, were denied a lot of the intelligence that Washington knew so lost a lot of their ability to make the correct decision. Even President Roosevelt was taken off the list of those that could read the decoded Japanese messages in ’41 for awhile which is unbelievable. They actually stopped sending the President of the United States real-time intelligence on what the Japanese were talking about.

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                I’ve been waiting all day to spring the news of Grew, just wanted to see what others could come up with.

                Most if not all of you have never heard of him…

                Reply
        2. Darthbobber

          Except that this was NOT the war the Roosevelt administration wanted to get into. War in the Pacific would simply divert resources from the European conflict in which they did wish to intervene. And Pearl Harbor would not, itself, have provided any excuse for war with Germany.

          But the Germans solved that problem for Roosevelt by immediately declaring war on us, even though their defensive treaty with Japan didn’t obligate them to do so.

          I think two different things get conflated here. To predict that in the event of war with Japan the home base of the Pacific Fleet would be a likely target of attack hardly required great powers of precognition. To predict the actual specific attack of December 7th is a different matter altogether.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            So, they just put their fingers in their ears when Ambassador Grew told them what was coming, naaah naaah naaah naaah, we can’t hear you?

            Reply
            1. Darthbobber

              Oddly, scuttlebutt from ambassadors about what “all the talk is around town” is often not treated as reliable intelligence.

              At least in part because of the likelihood that “all the talk around town” is being deliberately put out there by the host government.

              And there’s the related problem of all intelligence. “Did we cleverly find it, or was it put here specifically so we would find it? “

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                The key difference being, that Ambassador Grew wasn’t some Trump lackey, but an incredibly accomplished fellow. He deserves more attention.

                Read his book: Ten Years In Japan, to get a measure of the man.

                Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I ask again:

      Can any readers point to any scholarship on Pearl Harbor? We’re devoting a lot of time to “I found it on the Internet”-style links, and the ensuing speculation verges on agnotology.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its not directly related to Pearl Harbour, and although its a US academic, he looks at the pre-1941 period very much from the Japanese point of view, but Kenneth Pyles Japan Rising is I think a pretty decent read on the broader topic of mid-20th Century Japanese international politics and how it was viewed from the US.
        His view is that the US continually misread Japanese intentions (largely due to racism) and simply didn’t consider Japan a real threat. The US certainly provoked Japan into the attack at Pearl Harbour, but from this perspective it was largely due to ignorance more than malice and it wasn’t until the shock of losing the Philippines that the Washington establishment realised just how formidable an adversary Japan was. The British of course similarly underestimated them.

        Reply
  21. ewmayer

    o “Exploring the Ecosystem of the U.S.–Mexico Border | Scientific American” — Note that the Discovery Channel just inaugurated a 6-part series about the border, Border Live.

    Reply
  22. Anon

    RE: US asks Canada to detain Chinese corporate officer (BigWig) for fraud.

    How come none of the US CEO bankers were ever detained for fraud?
    This Chinese exec is accused of lying? That’s a crime in the US? Hell, that’s what Wall Street and Madison Avenue call “advertising”.

    Reply
  23. sd

    In response to the AOC tweet…coincidentally, the ILCA* Awards were held at the AFL-CIO in Washington DC this week. (*International Labor Communications Association)

    Reply

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