Links 6/7/19

Watch an elephant ‘count’ simply by using its sense of smell Science

Little legal recourse for astronomers concerned about Starlink Space News

Global bond market has biggest inflows in over four years FT

Machinery sector falls fastest in Asia sector PMI in May Nikkei Asian Review

This week’s dead Google product is Google Trips, may it rest in peace Ars Technica. “This is by our count the 13th Google shutdown this year… Increasingly, Google users are having the perfectly functional tools they rely on taken away on a whim.” Odd.

Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years NYT

GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet (PDF) US Department of Energy. “The GeoVision analysis determined that the market potential for [Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP)] technologies in the residential sector is equivalent to supplying heating and cooling solutions to 28 million households, or 14 times greater than the existing installed capacity. This potential represents about 23% of the total residential heating and cooling market share by 2050.”

Florida sugar companies hit with lawsuit to halt the controversial practice of burning sugarcane The New Food Economy. Third World stuff…


Most EU governments back another Brexit delay, says EU source: The Times Reuters. Second time as farce, third time as…?

Boris Johnson’s tilt at the Tory leadership gains momentum FT


Neither Israel’s nor Germany’s Slide Into Fascism Was Accidental Haaretz

Mexico freezes bank accounts in widening migration clampdown Reuters


In latest move likely to goad Beijing, US defence department puts Taiwan on a list of ‘countries’ South China Morning Post

Google warns of US national security risks from Huawei ban FT

Huawei’s PR Campaign Comes Straight From the Party’s Playbook Foreign Policy

African Swine Fever Is Spreading Fast and Eliminating It Will Take Decades Bloomberg


Day Zero in India Looming For Millions Weather Underground

Rs 1389-crore poll cash puzzle in Calcutta The Telegraph (J-LS).

Queen Harish, India’s ‘Dancing Desert Drag Queen’ (obituary) The Wire (J-LS).

New Cold War

Who Will Build the New World Order? Russian International Affairs Council


Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source The Hill. Lol.

House Backs Off Holding Barr in Contempt in New Resolution NYT

Cover Ups and Truth Tellers Counterpunch

Journalist and Educator Among Those Caught Up in YouTube’s Latest Attempt to Purge Online Hate Speech Common Dreams

Trump Transition

The fate of Trump’s economy now hinges on the Federal Reserve, the agency the president called ‘crazy’ WaPo

How Payday Lenders Spent $1 Million at a Trump Resort — and Cashed In Pro Publica

The Making of the Military-Intellectual Complex The New Republic (TY).


Remarks by President Trump on the 75th Commemoration of D-Day The White House. Trump finally has a Nooners-level speechwriter.

Russia to West: D-Day wasn’t decisive in ending World War Two Reuters

D-Day And The Myth That The U.S. Defeated The Nazis Moon of Alabama


Festival of Biden:

Biden’s Climate Plan: Much More than Natural Gas, But Still Natural Gas Paste

Biden drops support for Hyde Amendment restricting abortion funding after criticism NBC (Furzy Mouse: “He’s waffling”).

When Joe Biden Collaborated With Segregationists The Nation

Democrats in Disarray

Democratic Chiefs of Staff Coached on Schmoozing With Lobbyists at Retreat Ryan Grim, The Intercept. Oh.

Health Care

Single-Payer Reform—”Medicare for All” JAMA. “Halfway measures are politically attractive but economically unworkable. The $11 559 per capita that the United States spends on health care could provide high-quality care for all or it can continue to fund a vast health-managerial apparatus—it cannot do both.” Makes one class aspect crystal clear.

Police State Watch

Video shows now-indicted Cuyahoga County Jail supervisor pepper-spray inmate strapped in chair

Virginia Teen Was Detained and Prosecuted for Saying ‘Oink Oink’ to Cop The Appeal

Why Public Spaces Are Critical Social Infrastructure Governing

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming Education Week

Guillotine Watch

Scoop: Warriors fan who shoved Raptors player is a part owner Axios

Class Warfare

A Cross-Atlantic Plan to Break Capital’s Control Jacobin

Vox Media Employees Walk Out On Final Day Of Union Bargaining HuffPo

Americans May Be Strapped, But the Go-To Statistic Is False Bloomberg

Jeff Bezos explains why he’s trying to colonize the moon: ‘We need to go to the moon to save the Earth’ Business Insider

Purpose in Life Protects Against Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults Science Direct. N = 11,557.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Don’t try this at home.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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.


  1. Anonymous2


    Worth noting the Peterborough by-election result announced early this morning. This was widely expected to deliver the Brexit Party’s first MP but in fact Labour retained the seat.

    This has psychological importance as it suggests the strength of support for Farage’s new party is less than previously thought (therefore less of a threat to the existing parties). It could also conceivably affect the outcome of any Parliamentary votes on ‘no-deal’ where the margins have been very tight at times. A Brexit Party MP would, one assumes, vote for ‘no-deal’ whereas a Labour MP will probably oppose that outcome

  2. Steve H.

    > Scoop: Warriors fan who shoved Raptors player is a part owner

    Compare to this ESPN headline:

    “GSW investor banned 1 year after shoving Lowry”

    While searching I found this headline, 2 days before this game:

    “NBA Teams Reportedly Looking to Get Rid of the Term ‘Owner'”

    The who of which term is used is critical:

    “”He’s not a good look for the ownership group they have,” Lowry said”

    The great players change the game in ways manifested in rules, and LeBron’s game-changers have (mostly) not been on-court. Having a white Owner shove a black ___ (insert term here) isn’t going to work in a majority-black league. Expect the NBA to be way ahead of the NFL on this; the NFL has no black majority ‘investors’.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      the NFL has no black majority ‘investors’.

      This isn’t the reason for why the NBA might act. At the end of the day, there is nothing stopping Lebron and friends from starting a barnstorming league. The facilities exist. It might not be the money maker as the current NBA, but between Europe and China potential, continuing shoe deals, tv deals, and college facilities, they could pull this off. NFL players don’t have this leverage. I think the story of the concussion deal required Brady getting Rodgers on board and they browbeat the other QBs and stars into signing on. With the shape of the league (I don’t know team by team ratings, so I’m guessing), ratings follow players.

      Marginal NBA players can make great livings in foreign leagues now, so anyone who makes three seasons in the NBA is in fantastic shape without having a gambling problem.

      1. Steve H.

        There is history for that, the ABA pretty much forced a merger with the NBA. But LeBron’s movement has been about player control and labor getting paid. They’re not trying to split the brand to get a bigger piece of a smaller pie, they’re leveraging it to decrease worker exploitation.

        A likely path for that is the shoe companies providing resources for college players, the unpaid labor of the industry. And the shoe companies need the media to put the glamour on the product.

        The players know the NBA has allowed an African-American majority owner, and have high regard for their commissioner. NFL players don’t get guaranteed contracts, they know they’re just meat on the barbeque. But both leagues are the only ones with salary caps, which correlates with African-American majority players. That’s been noticed.

        1. eyelladog

          What? NHL has a salary cap too. Highly punitive too considering the parity in the league that should have had nothing but 3 teams dominating every year for the last 10 years if not for the cap.

          MLB essentially has one with an arbitrary number that initiates a luxury tax.

          NFL is the truly screwed labor league. They have a guaranteed number in their contract, but they rarely ever play out the full contract because it is cheaper to go with someone younger most of the time.

          Go ahead and make it minority problem, but this has been going on since the days of gladiators…

      2. Pespi

        That’s less of a risk than you might think. The networks have to pay the league even if there are no games being played. That removes a big pot of money that could go to a player run league.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          FoxSports, NBC, and CBS don’t run NBA games, and Fox and CBS run college games. NBC use to have a sports department. Streaming services exist now. As long as the NBA is reasonable, its not going to happen because its unnecessary, but if the NBA behaved liked the NFL for a day, the NBA players could swing this. Again, NBA players would have options that aren’t available to NFL and MLB players. Where is Joe Thomas going to play?

          It would take Lebron’s leadership and single point of decision making, but I think this is always a threat to the NBA if it doesn’t play ball.

          To me the trick is, locations to play and a league system people might want to follow. Cleveland Cavalier games had amazing ratings when Lebron was with the team. An NBA that moved to become like the NFL would be at risk.

  3. dearieme

    Pat Buchanan writes:

    Bernie sits on a huge pile of votes Biden may not be able to win, but which Bernie is denying to any other challenger. … as long as Bernie holds onto the votes he has, he prevents any candidate of color, any woman, or any new and fresh face from amassing enough strength in the polls to get within striking distance of Biden.

    Bernie is thus today a de facto ally of Biden. He holds too few votes to take the nomination from Joe, but sufficient votes to stay in the race through the early primaries and deny any other Democrat a clean shot at Biden.

    I add this to his behaviour last time, and it makes me wonder whether Bernie is an “asset” of the US Securitate.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      This is bs. Biden is the spoiler here. He is a national embarrassment who has no business being in this race; he has nothing to offer and the only reason he polls well is that he is riding on Obama’s coattails. When Clinton ran on Obama’s legacy we all know what happened.

      1. Watt4Bob


        It’s obvious, the democrats are more intent on stopping Bernie Sanders than winning the White House.

        I’m hoping they’ve miscalculated, and are currently driving beyond their headlights, which seems possible.

        The democratic field at the moment, resembles 2016’s republican clown car, flying past the “Bridge is Out” sign, with an ever-growing group of sane folks, not just Bernie this time, looking on in disbelief.

        And who’s driving, the naked emperor Joe Biden.

        It’s pathetic, and yes, embarrassing.

        1. Cal2

          All Trump has to do in the general election debates is to say something like:

          Walks over and points at Biden. Snuffles. “Here’s the guy responsible for all you people in big student debt to be finished. He’s the guy behind that! What a shame. He’s the debt swamp you’re drowning in…”

          45 million student debtors, 22% who are now in default, hear that and vote accordingly.

          Trump wouldn’t actually say something like that on a debate stage would he?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If Trump heard it on Fox And Friends, or some other Fox News show; he very well might say that.

            He would have to hear about it first.

            If anyone here has personal contacts with contacts within the Fox Organization, perhaps they can suggest that exact sentence to their contact within Fox, who would then hopefully maybe suggest it to the Fox Shows that Trump watches.

            1. Procopius

              510 days is a very long time in politics. Wait until next year, anyway, OK? Otherwise Trump will have forgotten and moved on to something else.

      2. Carolinian

        Right. Although some of us have our own questions about Bernie running due to his age and prospects, he was there first. When Sanders started his campaign it wasn’t at all clear that Biden would enter.

        And who is this fresh faced alternative that Sanders is supposedly blocking? Gabbard would be my choice but she has already been erased by the media.

        1. pretzelattack

          is it biden. nothing says “fresh” like joe biden. which democrat would pat buchanan support?

          1. Chris Cosmos

            Buchanan is a conservative in the “America first” tradition but is solidly anti-war, anti-Imperial so he might support Gabbard.

            1. pretzelattack

              he was all in on vietnam and the cold war, so i doubt that he is honestly anti imperial. he doesn’t seem to like neocons (or israel); they took over the party from the paleos.

              1. Chris Cosmos

                I’ve read him during the past couple of decades and you clearly have not. He’s changed his mind–imagine that! Something we should all aspire to. He’s also anti-neo-liberal.

                1. pretzelattack

                  i have trouble believing he has changed his core principles. what does he say about assange? afghanistan?

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    I might note Israel under Likud has become significantly more right wing and supportive of American misadventures as Pat Buchanan has become less supportive of American misadventures. Maybe Pat has been consistent?

                    Who does Pat consider to be the number one enemy of Americans?



                    Oh for the days of Republicans who were so moderate and reasonable…but with Trump, we missed brunch!

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Aren’t Joe and Pat both admirers of Strom Thurmond? Buchanan helped persuade Strom to join the GOP. For all I know, this is the start of Joe’s plan to reunite Clinton supporters who weren’t so keen on Obama with the old Solid South.

          3. neo-realist

            Biden sounds soooo fresh when he is stammering through his dentures in his speeches:/

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I always thought it was obvious Biden would enter. Outside of MSDNC, I’m not sure there is a great deal of stomach for Biden. He’s HRC without the nostalgia, token appeal, intelligence, charisma, etc. Biden is exceptionally arrogant. His campaign is still subdividing white male catholics as a special identity group. JFKs been dead for over 50 years. No one gives a damn.

          Doofuses like Pete Buttigieg are drawing major supporters when Biden was fishing for money when he was “thinking about running.” Enough people recognize what a doofus he is.

          1. Linda Amick

            The DNC and DCCC must know the pitfalls of running Biden. i give them that credit. I think Biden’s purpose at this time is to serve as a distraction from Bernie Sanders. Ultimately I believe IF the Dems want to win the 2020 election (which is questionable) they will pull out a candidate at the last minute that they think can win…Michelle Obama comes to mind.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I don’t think Biden has a purpose. This is his vanity project. Take this for what its worth, I know a couple of his people, and they are the kind of people that make me regret mocking Clinton people, I knew mid-tier level people and I really regret referring to them as dumb. Biden’s people are stupid, I mean really stupid like NOT understanding doing phone calls during the Red Sox play off games in New Hampshire would be a good idea.

              Michelle Obama, the DNC and DCCC aren’t remotely clever. Sanders should never have come close. That was about the DNC allowing room for Sanders to maneuver on policy because Hillary didn’t have answers ready. The inevitability and effectively 12 year campaign locked down a lot, but they are dumb.

              Not having a climate change debate after they were raked for their previous debate questions is going to start a raucous now.

              1. John k

                Talk about dinosaurs…
                Or dino’s…
                And so bipartisan. Used to be you could say the difference between dems and reps was abortion…
                Now there’s no difference at all.

                The country’s anti progressive consensus inside the beltway has not been this strong since the 1920’s… and the current political mix of anti-progressive and pro-war convictions is unique in our history.

                And unusual anywhere in modern history… maybe Germany in the 1910’s, Germany and Japan in the 1930’s.

              2. jrs

                Maybe there is a grand scheme behind it all, but not by masterminds, by very small minds maybe.

                Biden is flipping about like a trout. “Climate change can be tackled with a nice slow incremental approach, no no I mean I have a climate change plan, come back, come back!” Ok that could cost him on the margins (how many climate activists want Biden anyway), but when he did the same flip flopping in the wind thing with abortion “no, no I believe in women’s right to an abortion, come back, come back!” he probably lost the race, because that one could make even the grandmothers disgusted.

            2. Hepativore

              I think that they would like to win the presidency in an ideal situation, but the Democratic Party probably considers losing elections the cost of doing business with its donors.

              Even if the political aspirations of its members crumble due to public opinion, being a corporate rentboy (or girl) allows you to rake in the cash with impunity later. Somebody like Sanders would upset the entire applecart, whereas a Trump presidency would be a minor inconvenience at best, and Trump serves as a handy scapegoat for the aftermath of neoliberal ideology.

            3. jrs

              The DNC is probably somehow magically going to make sure Biden and anyone who can give him a tough grilling, are not on the same debate stage, and with so many candidates that they are breaking into multiple debates, they could.

        3. Cal2

          That’s why Gabbard would be the logical choice for Bernie’s V.P.

          There’s a lot of educating of the electorate that can happen between now and election day to replace the role of the MSM.

          The nightmare mirror image of Bernie/Tulsi?


          Where are the barf buckets?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If Sanders can somehow break the Catfood Democrats’ legs . . . and take the nomination away from them, then Gabbard would be a good running mate.

            VP nominee Gabbard would signal that there will be no compromise with evil enemies, least of all with the Catfood Democrats. It would give hope and inspiration to those who wish to see the Catfood Clintobamazoids exterminated from the Democratic Party.

          2. Hepativore

            I can think of a worse scenario…Biden picks somebody outside of the presidential race and chooses Hillary Clinton as his Vice President to placate the Clintonites much like how McCain chose Sarah Palin from the outfield for his partner.

      3. Brian (another one they call)

        If you have the stomach to look at the Drudgery website, you will find he promotes Biden all the time. He cites Biden ahead of all competitors but won’t mention Sanders unless he can disparage him. MSM would like us’sn’s to believe Biden is ahead of Sanders because no one in their right mind would poll Sanders supporters much less put the results on paper. Oh a tangled web is woven.

    2. Jesper

      The splitting of the vote argument :-) The strongest argument of them all against first by the post system. The elite is too small to be divided so the only chance the elite has to remain in power is the splitting of the vote and a slow drift of the candidates towards the interests of the elite. How long has the drift been going on now?
      Even with the list system there is a drift but then as a reaction the ‘populist’ parties can be created and get influence. The so called polarised electorate in the US is remarkably united in their wants and needs for a few items/reforms. Sadly the two-party (is it really more than one party?) system in place makes the very possible to be something impossible.

    3. Antifa

      Buchanan’s column frames Sanders as a spoiler of legitimate elections, both in 2016 and 2020. The truth is that Hillary Clinton and the DNC went to great lengths to shut Sanders out of the nomination process in 2016, and the DNC is using Biden 2020 to force a brokered convention no Dem candidate can win on the first vote, throwing the nomination to the boys in the back room — who will nominate Biden.

      Buchanan also frames the entire 2020 campaign as a horse race, when it isn’t. Sanders is pushing a bevy of new ideas, none of which the DNC can countenance. His likely policies once elected are the issue, not his age. If this country does not turn away from business as usual there will come a grinding halt to our economy, society, and civilization — not to mention the biosphere all of those depend upon. Sanders is running his last campaign to spare as many people as possible from this grinding demise, not to gather in as much corporate money as possible.

      The 80-year old Buchanan, who describes the Green New Deal as a Democratic suicide note, has yet to rise above the trench warfare of party politics to actually address the crushing climate, economic, and social issues landing harder on America every morning. Easier to do what he’s always done — snipe at the Democratic Party, and offer endless concern trolling.

      We’re not at the race track, Mr. Buchanan. And we’re not in Kansas anymore.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Buchanan long ago rose above party politics. If you read his columns regularly you would know he and the publication he is connected with The American Conservative may well be the most anti-Imperial major publication around. This at a time when “liberals” are becoming solid little martinets. I disagree with his characterization of Sanders because the issues he brought up and supports are ones with deep resonance with the public though it will take more than Sanders to make them come to pass with the solid opposition from both parties in Congress and the entire mainstream media at least so far.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The 80-year old Buchanan, who describes the Green New Deal as a Democratic suicide note,

        If there is anyone who is concerned with the health of the Democratic Party, its a Nixon speechwriter who among other misdeeds coined the term “silent majority” to justify the Vietnam War and accept the role of ambassador to South Africa because of his interest in the country in 1974. The diplomatic corp revolted on this one.

        I doubt Pat was interested in working on reforming the regime given that Saint McCain would vote against divestment in South Africa in the 80’s.

        Of course, these were figures in the more sane and decent GOP of yesteryear before Trump trashed everything according to people who are impressed memory skills of goldfish.

    4. Tyrannocaster

      “His behavior last time”?

      Supposed to be a reply to dearieme’s comment about Sanders, but it doesn’t seem to have ended up where it was intended.

      1. dearieme

        His behaviour last time: I was alluding to his feeble acceptance of being diddled out of the nomination followed by his finally backing his Diddler-in-Chief.

        If I were an American Dem I wouldn’t touch the fella: Gabbard looks to me to be their only candidate worth a damn.

          1. John k

            Not interested in pats views.
            Tulsi is fine, but she’s not moving the needle because Americans are not concerned about wars that kill far away people with dark skins. I do, but the only way she can get close to the Oval Office is if Bernie picks her for for veep. Which I support.

            Bernie is nothing if not pragmatic. Would she help or hurt him vs trump? Would some other progressive be better? How would she do in the debate with pence?
            I think she ticks a lot of boxes, and comes across as a tough lady. Would warren look better? Warren has a lot more support among progressives, but seems to be gaff prone, distracting from message.

    5. JerryDenim

      Your comment is daft. If you believe the current poll data concerning the Democratic Primaries, nine months before the first contest in Iowa, then you would know that Biden is far out front from the rest of the crowded Democratic pack. The voters of the next two top-polling candidates, Sanders and Warren, added together are still shy of Biden’s numbers (by most polls) so what are you talking about? If all of the primaries were held today it looks as if Biden would win in a walk?!

      Since Sanders is leading Warren, but trailing Biden, you could make the argument that it is progressive policy proposal machine Warren who is actually preventing Sanders from “taking a clean shot at Biden” but Sanders can’t be the one preventing anyone from challenging Biden since Sanders is best polling Democratic candidate after Biden.

      Even if Sanders dropped out of the race today and IF the next best polling candidate (Warren currently) could absorb 100% of Sanders’ voters (ridiculous to even consider), Biden would still be the front runner! None of what Pat Buchanan is saying makes any sense nor does it have any basis in fact.

      Furthermore if you think Pat Buchanan is either remotely earnest or credible when he cries that Sanders alone is preventing women and candidates of color their rightful opportunity to run unopposed for the Democratic nomination by white men while ignoring the other fourteen white men running for the Democratic nomination (including front-runner Biden) then you are smoking some industrial grade crazy. Since when has Patrick Buchanan worried about white guys being in charge or hogging opportunity? That’s kind of his thing don’t you know?

      Try this instead:

      Warren is thus today a de facto ally of Biden. She holds far too few votes to take the nomination from Joe, but sufficient votes to stay in the race through the early primaries and deny Sanders, Biden’s biggest threat, a clean shot at Biden.

      I add this to her behaviour last time, and it makes me wonder whether Warren is an “asset” of the US Securitate.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Warren is mostly deluded at this point on the viability of her candidacy. I like her, but what is she offering to make me go this 69 year old should be President? Recycling programs on air craft carriers with her green imperialism nonsense? Sitting out 2016 was a bad move. She polled best with Hillary supporters in Massachusetts. Could Warren have made a difference in Massachusetts which was a key place for stopping Sanders momentum with can he beat HRC crowd? Hillary of course lost to Donald Trump, mirroring previous Clinton results. Without a third party challenger pulling Republican votes in key states, it didn’t lead to victory.

        1. JerryDenim

          Thanks for the Dore link. Good stuff. I’m quite skeptical of the poll numbers showing Biden with a large lead, but you can’t squabble about hypothetical voter splits, spolilers and election math without some data, and so far, I haven’t seen a poll showing Sanders even with or beating Biden that I can pick apart or trumpet as evidence of other polls being dubious. Dearieme’s comment and the Buchanan commentary Dearieme quoted are all predicated on the assumption that the very early poll data on the Democratic Primary is accurate. The comment is wrong-headed, incorrect, and illogical regardless of poll accuracy so I just jumped in and hammered them with their own assumptions and election framing, which by the way, do not match my own views.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Biden is the frontrunner??? That’s based on nationwide polls which deliberately excluded people under age 50.

        CNN says Biden is the front-runner because that’s the story they want to tell. The longer they believe that, the better. Biden isn’t going to make it out of Iowa.

        1. polecat

          That the Clinton News Network cranks throw out bogus poll numbers .. as their own viewer numbers diminish by the hour, is truely rich in iron y !!

          … and I seriously can’t believe there are many, except perhaps by the Neera crowd and a few other throwbacks, who buy into the crap that the BIG 5 Networks .. and their affiliated tendrils, are trying to sell ! .. the youngins ain’t believin what THEY’RE lyin eyes don’t see …

    6. dcblogger

      yeah, because Pat Buchanan has such a great understanding of the Democratic party, or life in general.

      1. KevinD

        A twit from Jeffrey Kleintop:

        Getting tired of the 2020 U.S. election campaigns already?

        Consider that:
        – In Australia, the campaign lasts 38 days.
        – In France, the Presidential campaign is generally only 2 weeks long.
        – In Japan, it is limited to 12 days.

        1. a different chris

          Yeah. Amusing that those three countries also all have s(family blog)ts in their version of the US Presidency.

          But at least they get it over with quickly.

    7. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would file this under a “Republican offers election advice to the Democrats because Republicans really want Democrats to do well.”

    8. Brindle

      Bernie’s behavior last time? He was screwed over by the DNC—what about their behavior ? I don’t recall any bad behavior on Sanders part.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bernie’s behavior last time?

        Yes, this is Pat Buchanan. Everything Sanders does, he does while being Jewish…so that’s probably where Pat is coming from.

        1. pretzelattack

          right pat and joseph sobran came from the same school of american conservatistm.

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well! . . . that certainly is quite the “theory” you have there. Let us see what record you have in the accurate predicting of events going forward based on an analytical framework like that.

      Meanwhile, Buchanan may just be “concern trolling” at some level. It is part of an effort to “fuddy-duddy-ize” Sanders.

  4. Christopher Fay

    Hopefully Biden with his tops 30-something percent standing will self-deflate as he’s not aware of where we are now, or where many in the Democrat party are. Ten percent of that thirty-something is due to the phantom people who boost any of those social media forums. Hunter Biden seems to be the special purpose vehicle for accumulating a Biden family fortune; there’s a swamp scandal in plain sight. Biden’s public campaign plank seems to be his willingness to support the Republican agenda.

      1. tegnost

        This is where I put the hyde amendment flip flop, it’s one of those private position public position things so favored by elite dems ( they can’t just up and say what they think because WTF would be/is the response) It’s a dog whistle to centrist repubs/evangs that he’s privately against abortion, he just had to cover himself with the flip flop because of those looneys on the left

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think it also demonstrates how lazy and stupid Biden and his team are. In the days after the Georgia law, they can’t even handle this.

          This isn’t even #metoo from a year and half ago. This is a last week problem.

  5. Amfortas the hippie

    from the wandering while waiting for Links:

    a Centristy site, but i like them better than neera’s outfit, by far.
    in this, considered benadryl due to all the allusions to means testing… but if this is where a perhaps second ring thought farm from the Center is at, I’m all for it.
    …that is, if i ever saw any actual commitment to these principals…let alone action towards them.
    when i let go my ire at the demparty for a moment, i realise that it’s pretty sad how easily they could be a successful vehicle for good in the world, if they could only give the gop back it’s moderates.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Single-Payer Reform—”Medicare for All” JAMA.

    I really wish someone would just simply some of the stats here into very easy to communicate numbers that can be brought up anytime someone complains about the ‘costs’ of health care. For example:

    This complexity drains resources from patient care. According to official estimates, insurance overhead is projected to cost an estimated $301.4 billion in 2019, including an estimated $252 billion for private insurers, approximately 12% of their premiums.1 In contrast, overhead is 1.6% in Canada’s single-payer system and 2.2% in Medicare’s fee-for-service plan. Reducing US systemwide insurance overhead to 2.2% could save an estimated $238.7 billion.1

    The complex payment system also increases hospital costs and prices. Single-payer nations, such as Canada and Scotland, pay hospitals global budgets, analogous to the way US cities fund fire departments. That payment strategy obviates the need to attribute costs to individual patients and insurers and minimizes incentives for upcoding, gaming quality metrics, bolstering profitable “service lines,” and other financially driven exertions; a 1272-bed multihospital system in Toronto employs only 5.5 full-time equivalent employees to handle all billing and collections.2 A 2014 report suggested that administration consumes 12.4% of hospital budgets in Canada (and 11.6% in Scotland) vs 25.3% in the United States,3 a difference of an estimated $162 billion annually.

    … can really be stated as the US system wastes $400 billion a year on bureaucracy a year in hospitals alone (and this doesn’t include the cost inflicted on patients and business).

    1. a different chris

      He’s got a real optimistic take on how we “fund fire departments”, too. What a country.

    2. jefemt

      Not to mention that many f all ages are not accessing CARE due to cost and the over-arching apparent unwillingness of Americans to help their fellow ‘team-mates’
      The Bern said it best,

      ” No, Sir, we are NOT a compassionate nation”

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      This:”… a 1272-bed multihospital system in Toronto employs only 5.5 full-time equivalent employees to handle all billing and collections….”
      …is remarkable.
      the hospital we’ve been going to has an entire 5 story building(off campus, safely tucked down a leafy, dead end road) for these purposes…in addition to the top floor of the hospital, itself, as well as various little “missions” scattered throughout.
      I’d guess hundreds of people.

      1. Procopius

        I’m afraid this is ambiguous. Are you going to a Canadian or and American hospital? Are you saying the numbers PlutoniumKun cited are wrong? What point are you trying to make?

    4. tegnost

      Thanks PK, this dovetails nicely with some of the chartscommentary in the finance curse post

    5. anon in so cal

      Have any of the healthcare discussions mentioned tort reform?

      How much does the US tort system affect costs?

      “Seventy-seven percent of doctors said they won’t stop practicing defensive medicine with the enactment of traditional tort reform, according to a nationwide physician survey conducted in 2012 by Jackson Healthcare. Texas doctors also had an identical response with 77 percent saying a high-profile statute to limit damages in that state did not change their practice of defensive medicine.

      To change physician behavior related to these wasteful expenditures, lawmakers in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Maine and Montana, lawmakers are considering a plan that would abolish each state’s medical malpractice system and replace it with a no-blame model similar to workers compensation.

      Under the proposed Patients’ Compensation System, an injured patient would instead file a claim before a panel of healthcare experts that would determine whether a physician had injured the patient. If so, the patient would be compensated in a matter of months with an amount similar to what they would get under a protracted, expensive legal fight in court.

      Doctors support the concept as they would not be personally sued. As a result, physicians would have a real incentive to avoid practicing defensive medicine and we would see a reduction in healthcare costs. Their medical malpractice premiums would drop as litigation would disappear and the reduced premiums would fund the no-blame system, just as employers pay into a workers compensation fund.”


      “One significant contributor to escalating health care costs is the impact of malpractice. An article published by Michelle Mello and colleagues in Health Affairs discusses the impact of medical malpractice on the US health care system. It estimates that in 2008, medical malpractice, including defensive medicine, cost $55.6 billion or about 2.4% of total health care spending.

      Currently, having passed the House of Representatives, federal tort reform legislation is stuck in the US Senate . The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting federal tort reform would save approximately $14 billion over five years and $50 billion over 10 years…”

    6. shtove

      $400 billion a year on bureaucracy

      Somebodies receive the money, so it’s not wasted. Maybe some of it gets taxed back. From Barbados.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Most EU governments back another Brexit delay, says EU source: The Times”

    London – 23 June 2091: Today the EU held the 75th Commemoration of B-Day when the people of the United Kingdom voted “Yes” for Brexit back in 2016. In honour of the occasion, the EU granted its 67th extension for Brexit. The United Irish Republic was in attendance as were the Independent Republics of Scotland and Wales.

      1. Ignacio

        “I swear”, said Farage the 3rd, “over the tomb of Macron the second, that this one will be the conmemoration when UK definitely leaves the UE, somehow”

  8. PlutoniumKun

    GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet (PDF) US Department of Energy.

    Hidden in all this (very useful) study is the enormous potential of domestic geothermal heat pumps (section 2.2.3 of the document, page 26). This is the one form of energy where the very low density of housing development in the US is an advantage – probably most dwellings in the US have sufficient yard space for one. They got a bad rep in past years due to some poorly designed systems on the market, but current systems seem reliable and cost effective – but as always with these things it is the initial capital cost that prevents most people building them, but the payback period seems to be around 5-7 years in most areas, which is pretty good.

    Given that there are no supply bottlenecks in providing the systems (unlike, say, with photovoltaics), the installation of such systems nationwide, along with weatherization would seem to be an ideal element of a Green New Deal – it would be an enormous job generator among medium-skilled people, it could be focused on the poorest communities first, and would provide very rapid benefits in CO2 reductions

    1. Jeff

      I have such a system. One hole (100m) six meters apart from the second hole (also 100m). One doesn’t need much yard space to build one.
      One caveat though. You replace your heat source (nat gas, petrol, coal whatever) by electricity. So if this takes off, someone has to build more electricity generator plants, a better/larger distribution system etc., Even if you consume 4 to 5 times less electrical energy than before, it still adds up over a community.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        On the point of electricity – this is true, but most systems now can be designed so that the pumping occurs at night or other low use periods. In other words, while total electricity use increases, there is no need for additional electricity generating capacity as the pumps don’t need to operate during peak demand periods.

        I can’t find the link right now, but I read a study once for communal heat pumps in NY which proposed centralised control of all electric pumps so they only operated when there was surplus power in the system, so they actually acted as a form of demand management/balancing.

        1. Ignacio

          There is a push to “electrification” –at least theoretical– in Europe through the newest heating systems. Although aerothermal is not as efficient as geo, it has also reached a point in which it is quite cost effective though yet with some upfront costs, not as high as geothermal, but still troubling to many. The newest advances include very efficient hot sanitary water production in refrigerant/water exchangers. In temperate/warm weathers (Southern California, Arizona, Texas, New México, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Flórida, South Carolina…) aerothermal systems would work very well and provide confortable air conditioning in summer.

          1. Jesper

            Yep, from an Irish government site:
            Replacing direct electricity heating with heat-pumps makes a lot of sense, it cuts the electricity bill quite dramatically. Although, the priority might be to fix the insulation first. I complained about the cold apartment due to the poor insulation and the suggestion from the landlord was to install a bigger electric heater…

            1. Ignacio

              Landlords only worry about rents and for them investing in the house is always wasteful. In theory, landlords have to provide with an A to G energy label before signing the contract but this is barely done in practice. I would suggest that a limit on kWh/m2 should be forced to avoid theses abuses.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve wanted to do that for years, but couldn’t find anyone within 100 miles who even knew what i was talking about.
        That may have changed a little, by now…but i have to wait for $$$ to be free to pursue.
        we usually don’t turn on A/C until well into june, if not later, due to the whole house being a heat long as it’s dry, this works well enough up to 101 or so…and even 105 so long as the cowboy pool is handy.(this year, the louisiana-like humidity negated that: 80 degrees and 80% HM and it feels like the Congo)

        1. Ignacio

          Those conditions are really challenging (high humidity and heat). One possibility, if you have a double-tube ventilation system would be to use dessicant filters. If there is not such a system and the house is reasonably isolated termically and not too permeable to water I think that a dessicant could be deployed in some places and complement that with old fashioned vents.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Here is another area where the very low density of housing development in the US is an advantage–semi-subsistence production-for-use right there on site . . . in every single detached suburban home.

      Retrofitting every single family house to capture as much sunlight as feasible for solar home-heating and perhaps even some solar home-cooling with solar chimneys.

      Roofwater harvesting and storage for several thousands of gallons of stored skywater per house.

      And of course high-density high-intensity gardening and micro-orcharding in suburban yards. And perhaps creative experiments like growing food-trees beside the driveway and training the branches over the driveway to gather all the sunlight otherwise wasted hitting the driveway and turning that sunlight into food. Or even planting food trees “semi-near” the house and training them over time to arch over the house from either side to gather all the sunlight hitting the rood and turn it into food.

      ” The New Permaculture Suburb” . . . a source, not a sink.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    The Making of the Military-Intellectual Complex The New Republic

    Quite a must read I would say – lots of people talk about the NSC without really understanding what it is (or how central it is to US foreign policy).

    Nevertheless, after reading over 200 pages that make clear, in Gans’s own words, that the NSC “has made more bad recommendations than good,” one wonders whether the council truly can be reformed. The NSC, after all, reflects the anxieties of the era in which it was born, an era in which American elites insisted that the nation’s survival rested on concentrating power in the executive branch. But the past seven decades have demonstrated that it is unwise to place so much authority in an imperial presidency. From Korea to Iran to Guatemala to Vietnam to Lebanon to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Yemen, history indicates that neither presidents nor their advisors can be trusted to make wise decisions. Perhaps we should no longer allow them to direct foreign policy.

    The NSC, like manifold institutions of the so-called “American Century,” suffers because its organizing logic is meritocratic, centered on the idea that uniting the best and the brightest in a single group engenders intelligent policy. It is no surprise that many of the NSC’s most influential members—Kissinger, Brzezinski, Condoleezza Rice—studied or served at the nation’s most prestigious universities. Despite the august academic credentials of its leaders and analysts, however, the NSC has rarely proffered new and interesting perspectives. As Gans admits, “the NSC staff is usually proposing old ideas, some as old as war itself.” The meritocracy, as in so many other areas, failed to fulfill its promise.

    The most striking thing of course is that it has been remarkably inept and sometimes downright stupid in its advice. So much for ‘the brightest and the best’. I do wonder what peculiar mix of careerism and group think makes it so incompetent even in its own terms. Smaller, poorer countries simply can’t afford to get their foreign policies so badly wrong, which is why I think they’ve often found the US easy to manipulate for their own ends (for example, Gulf States continually dragging the US into their own local conflicts).

    As the article goes on to say – reforming (or abolishing) the NSC should be one of the very first items on the agenda of any progressive President – it is too heavily embedded into the bureaucracy to fight, it always seems to find a way to drag even the most unwilling President into its desire for continual interference around the globe.

    One of the most important tasks for the emergent social democratic left, then, is to advance plans to replace the NSC—and CIA and DOD—with novel institutions that meaningfully connect the demos to the foreign policymaking process. Decisions that affect the lives of millions at home and abroad must no longer be the purview of a small group of unelected, unaccountable, and unwise officials.

    1. David

      I don’t find the argument impressive. The origins of the NSC, as the writer realizes, lay in the need to make sure the vast and sprawling US national security bureaucracy was all going in roughly the same direction and that, as far as possible the Pentagon’s foreign policy did not get in the way of the State Department’s. All advanced nation states do this: the UK established the Cabinet Office over a hundred years ago, and the French followed shortly after. The US was unusual in having no central direction of security policy at all until the 1940s. Even now, the NSC is in practice little more than a coordinator, which spends most of its time trying to find a consensus between warring agencies. The usual complaint is not that the NSC is too strong, but rather that it’s too weak, and that as a result the more powerful US agencies do essentially what they like.
      The article overlooks a very important distinction. The NSC is a committee, and its members are the Cabinet level heads of the various security agencies. It is not an independent organization in that sense. Indeed coordination is why it exists. But like all committees it needs a secretariat, and if you visit ´the NSC’ you visit the people who do the supporting work and chair the numerous lower level committees.
      The last paragraph you cite seems to me to be quite surreal. Policy is made by the elected government, not the ´demos’ and the main problem in Washington and there’s no reason at all to think that policy would be any better if yet more interest groups and lobbies were involved.
      The real problems are twofold. Firstly, the anarchic and sprawling US system means that powerful bureaucracies can do what they like, and won’t easily accept oversight from the elected government. Secondly, under the spoils system the top levels of every bureaucracy are filled by feuding cliques of amateurs : academics, businessmen, lobbyists or just people owed a favour. There’s plenty of expertise in the US system, but it’s all at the lower levels, and much of the incoherence of US policy can be traced to that. A serious socialist policy would engage with those problems rather than hand waving.

    2. witters

      Still the US as all powerful victim of those it dominates? “Smaller, poorer countries simply can’t afford to get their foreign policies so badly wrong, which is why I think they’ve often found the US easy to manipulate for their own ends (for example, Gulf States continually dragging the US into their own local conflicts).”

  10. PlutoniumKun

    D-Day And The Myth That The U.S. Defeated The Nazis Moon of Alabama

    Needless to say, there won’t be any major events in the west to mark Operation Bagration, the offensive that really destroyed the German Army. The staggering scale of Bagration is still a thing to behold – it made D-Day look like a small localised affair in comparison. It was also a far more inventive and imaginative plan than the usual western stereotype of it being a simple thing of overwhelming the Germans with human waves. The Soviets learned a lot of lessons from their earlier defeats. And given Stalins proclivity for executing his own best officers, it is amazing how the Soviet Army still performed so very well.

    What I do find interesting about D-Day is that it was mostly pushed by the US – Churchill was far more keen on focusing on the Mediterranean and fighting through Italy and the Balkans. The strategic reason for this is straightforward – the British wanted to keep open the supply lines to their Empire, and they needed clear access to the Med and the Suez Canal for this – they therefore saw knocking the Italians out of the war as a more important initial aim than directly threatening the heart of Germany. I can’t help thinking that this is one reason FDR preferred the direct route into Germany, he was always looking a step or two ahead.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not only did Stalin execute his top officers, he also ignored intelligence about an eminent German attack (Operation Barbarossa).

      How many fewer soldiers the USSR would have lost or how less badly the opening of the fighting would have been (related to Vlad’s comment below), had he paid more attention to those reports, I leave to others who are very informed to comment.

  11. vlade

    Moon of Alabama D-Day. Aaargh. This is almost as bad as the “we won”. I know, I was subject to a Soviet propaganda for decades which claimed that it was Soviets who won and allies did zilch.

    So, let’s take it step by step:
    MoA: SU lost 20m. Yes. Well, maybe even more, maybe as many as 26m. But of those (eitehr number) vast, vast majority were civilians. Military losses are (as calculated by Russian MoD) about 8.5m. Still wastly more than US losses, but no 20m. Apples/oranges? Of those 8.6m, vast majority were lost in the first 12 months. Before end of 41, SU lost 3m soldiers (that includes PoW/MIA who were later recovered, so not just deaths – but a lot of PoW in 41 died from German “treatment”). In first half of 42, it lost another 1.5m. Before breaking the siege of Stalingrad (early 43), they lost another 1.7. So you have >6m losses, more than 50% of all (including recovered PoW and MIA) in first 18 months of fighting. And here’s the myth of “Soviets fought in human waves”. Soviets lost masses of soldiers and equipment in the first 18 months of the war, but after that actually fought reasonably efficiently (because they could not afford such massive human losses anymore). It also happens to coincide (Q3 42) with when Stalin finally stopped meddling and the party grip ont he army disappeared.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, in terms of human casualties, China suffered at least 70m. So easily three times Soviets did.

    MoA: “And a few dozens sub-par German division later joined “. Panzer Lehr. Das Reich. Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. Yep, a few sub-par divisions.

    At least it gets right Bagration, and the fact that US troops weren’t the most numerous on D-Day.

    But it also entirely ignores the fact that Soviet history glossed over, and so does Russian one. W/o Lend-Lease, it’s quite possible that Soviet would have lost. Not because the tanks, or airplanes that the US/UK provided (and claims of inferiority do not hold up that well, for example Pokryshkin, one of the SU aces, long flew on P-39 Aircobra).

    But because of the other stuff the US (for it was the US here) really provided. Food (spam, known as “second front” by Soviet soldiers), trucks, rail tracks and running stock, copper, explosives etc. etc. W/o those Soviet economy and war effort would collapse, as it was consuming them at a vast rate, but would not be able to source it itself. For example, by the end of the war Soviet army was very well motorised with US trucks and jeeps, way way better than Germans (who despite their image of motorised army relied on horsepower a lot). That, amongst other things allowed the logistical efforts for Soviets and supported their large artillery concentrations.

    There’s also the bit where US kept Japanse from invading SU, where they would have likely rolled over Siberia, causing problems. But that’s much more of a speculation.

    So, to win the war, both Soviets and the US had to work hand in hand, Soviets doing the fighting (and the casualities that go with that), and the US providing the materiel, without which the Soviet war effort would likely continue like it did in 41/early 42.

    Claiming that one side was the one who “won” the war is just false. Unfortunately, both sides of the divide see good PR in doing that.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is certainly true, although it must be said that Britain got about four times as much aid from Lend Lease as did the Soviets. Although the British in turn gave the Soviets lots of aid, but apparently the Soviets didn’t think much of British tanks or aircraft. Its noticeable that the Soviets usually preferred their own designs of weapons rather than copy US or British examples (which they were fully capable of doing – Tupolev did an almost exact copy of a captured B-29 on the orders of Stalin immediately after the war). Allegedly he even copied repaired bullet holes in his design as a sort of subtle protest at the order – he was convinced he could design a better bomber if he’d been given the chance. The Soviets certainly liked their jeeps and US trucks though. I’m not sure though if they were more motorised than the Germans, the Soviets were still very heavily dependent on railways for logistics right up to the end of the war. The Germans of course sourced many of their trucks from the Ford plant in Paris.

      The Aircobra is an interesting example of where US aid to the Soviets worked out well for everyone – the US initially ordered it to be mass produced for the western front, but it proved a flop – it performed very badly against the Luftwaffe in the typical high altitude dogfights – the RAF hated them and refused to use them after initial trials. But the Eastern Front was a very different air war – it was mostly about tactical use of aircraft to support ground troops, so mostly carried out at low levels – the Aircobra proved very well suited to this, hence its popularity with Soviet pilots.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was reading a book about the German pilots on the Eastern front and they could not work out how the Russians flew their planes like those Bell P-39 Airacobras in the bitter cold as the oil was freezing up in their own engines before they could take off. It was only when they captured a few pilots that they found out how. The Russians would build roaring fires underneath the engines of their aircraft which would get the oil and the lubricants flowing. Somehow, the thought of being in a plane loaded with fuel and ammo while having a roaring fire underneath you does not really sound like a great idea if you can avoid it.

      2. todde

        the 2 ton truck was probably America’s greatest material contribution to the Soviet war effort.

        1. vlade

          I think it’s really hard to say which one was the most important. The almot 500k trucks were super important (consider that the German production during the war was about 50k trucks/year!) , but so were the 2k steam locomotives, 10k flat cars etc.

          My book with all the numbers is somewhere in a moving box, so can’t get the other date, but I know that say ammo was important (something like a third of all the SU ammo used came from the US, and a lot of stuff for manufacturing the other two thirds IIRC). Also, they got tons of field phone cables and field phones.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Be interesting to see how much supplies a Soviet division needed to do its fighting on. An American Division needed about 700 tons a day in supplies to fight with while a German division was expected to do its fighting on about 200 tons a day. I suspect that a Soviet division may have needed even less.

            1. vlade

              Here you have to be really really careful. A US had massively more support personell than the SU had. When you look at the SU division of about 10k personell, the support will be maybe another 5-10k tops. US had IIRC 1-3 ratio, i.e. there were three support personel for one front line chap doing the fighting. So the overall consumption was way higher.

              Numbers I have seen (look up book “Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945” sugest that an SU division consumed about 280t/day. The major difference was really in fuel, as Americans were just driving everywhere, as they were used to. In the Red Army, the fuel and transport was much more carefully handled resource.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I recall reading that the Soviets had very carefully calculated the calorie needs of each type of service(wo)man, especially in winter. I believe only aviators were permitted the full calories recommended, service personnel would be in calorie deficit for most of the year. I don’t think other armies went into such detail, certainly not the US, whose soldiers were famously well fed (at least from the perception of UK civilians).

                Soviet vehicles also were usually diesel while US vehicles were gasoline – I assume the latter used significantly more weight/volume, this may have been significant in overall terms when supplying mobile divisions.

                The Soviets were also masters of improvisation. I believe that before Kursk the Germans had an investigation into mine laying because of complaints by their officers that they were continually running into their own minefields during maneuvers. Then they realised that the Soviets were very carefully digging up over-run German minefields and re-using the anti-tank mines to save having to manufacture their own.

            2. BobW

              Soviet divisions were very much smaller, too. They were what would have been a contemporary UK brigade or maybe a bit larger than a US reinforced regimental combat team sized. With a little hand-waving.

              1. vlade

                Hmm. UK brigade was about what, 3-4k? SU divisions were usually about 10k front line troops + some (but not a huge amount) support. Where you might be going is that say on some heavy fighting the 3-4k was the real size of the division vs. what it should have been. But similar goes for the Allies. I don’t know off the top of my head, but I think the divisions three months post D-Day were about half strenght if that (but this is a very vague recollectionand could be wrong here).

                IIRC, as far as combat troops went, the nominal sizes were about the same across all combatants – around 10-15k depending on the timing (SU had larger nominal numbers early in the war, and then stabilised over 10k IIRC). Where there was a lot of differences were support troops, where the US had a really really high numbers, way much higher than SU, and still very much higher than the UK or Germany.

      3. vlade

        On trucks – SU got about 450-500k trucks from the US. Germany produced about 50k trucks a year. About 80% of the German army had no trucks and was relying on horsepower (at the start of the war German army had more than a million horses).

    2. KevinD

      It is childish to proclaim one side won the war over another. I learned this in sports – no one person wins or loses a game – even if it comes down to a field goal, hundreds of individual plays are what leads to a victory or defeat.

      1. juliania

        To take from the cogent article from in links above:

        “…To rephrase [former President of Kazahkstan ] Nursultan Nazarabagov, those who do not lament the disintegration of the old world order have no heart and those who wish for its restoration have no brain.”

        We have more important discussions to employ ourselves in. Well said, KevinD.

      2. wilroncanada

        Really, KevinD? I thought John Wayne won the war (maybe all of them) all by himself.

      3. Olga

        Sports and any war are very different. I hope most of us can appreciate that (while a few are happy to simplify).

    3. Detroit Dan

      @vlade: The Moon of Alabama article did not “entirely ignore Lend-Lease”. Apparently you did not read the article carefully.

      This is not to disparage the Western Allied soldiers who fought and died to free the world from Nazism. In particular, the seamen who enabled Lend-Lease, at high risk of lethal submarine attack, to transport indispensables like canned food, trucks and aviation fuel to Russia, possibly played a crucial role in preventing its collapse in 1941-42. And the bomber crews massively disrupted Germany’s war potential at the cost of horrid fatality ratios, significantly shortening the war.

      1. vlade

        Ok, looks like I overlooked this bit in a haste reading, apologies.

        But it still does not give it its dues IMO. It did not prevent the collapse in 41/42. Winter did in 41, and overextension in 42. LL got in swing only in 43 really (43 materiel = more than 10x 41, and twice 42). LL allowed the Russians to fight back post Stalingrad.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Of course Russia had some great Generals to aid in their fight against the Wehrmacht such as General Winter, General Frost and General Snow.

          1. vlade

            Indeed. But while we’re on subject of Generals, that’s acutally one of the issues where Soviets are underrated and some allies (here’s looking at you, Montgomery!) massively overrated.

            For example, it’s a toss up whether Guderian or Tukhachevsky (who got killed by Stalin’s purges) was really the one who invented the massed armour attack, especially since both of them were present in Kazan where at Kama facility Germans trained in tank warfare from late 1920s to early 1930s.

      1. anon in so cal

        Moon of Alabama is not inherently anti American, just pro-accuracy.

        Such as regarding today’s mishap in the Philippine Sea or the South China Sea, wherein a US Navy cruiser nearly hit a Russian destroyer:

        “U.S. Navy Cruiser Ignored Rules At Sea – Caused Near Collision With A Russian Destroyer


        “But the #USSChancellorsville had the #Russian ship on its starboard side.”

        “Rule Number 15 requires the vessel that has the other on its starboard side to stay out of the way and to pass behind.”

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks, Vlade.

      I agree that no one nation or side won the war, and with respect to the comment about the US keeping Japan busy, perhaps we can add China, then under KMT rule, which kept the Japanese Imperial Army from threatening all the way from Vladivostok to Mongolia to Uzbekistan to the Urals, the areas where Stalin relocated USSR’s wartime production. He would not have those extra divisions to defend Moscow and Staligrad.

      1. Anon

        But we know who “lost” in WWII; Civilians in the Soviet Union and China (multi-millions). (Not to mention the fried folks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.)

    5. Harold

      We give a lot military aid to other countries like Saudi Arabia and South Vietnam and they don’t “win.” The Soviets were not our proxy army against Hitler. It was a joint effort. At the time our military paid generous tribute. They said it was the greatest military effort in the history of warfare. Not exaggerating

  12. a different chris

    >Virginia Teen Was Detained and Prosecuted for Saying ‘Oink Oink’ to Cop

    You know, the cop could have just laughed and said “ouch”. He (assuming a he, not sure) could have maybe then even found a way to strike up a conversation. This would have never gone down like that in Britain.

    But you know, macho culture. The police are scarier than the gang-bangers.

    PS: wonderful video, should be labeled “cute girl with snake” just to totally throw off men of my age’s (gross) clicking expectations.

    1. todde

      The police are scarier than the gang-bangers.


      I was thrown down a flight of concrete stairs by the police while handcuffed.

      I was put in the hospital for 2 days by the Violent Boyz set of the GD.

      Tough call. You can always sue the police and get paid at least.

    2. Divadab

      I don’t know – individual officers have to maintain authority and that is their main job. Admittedly some kid saying oink oink is trivial but it strikes right at the core of the cop’s authority.

      Just consider how authority was maintained in Samurai Japan- if a peasant even dared make eye contact with a samurai he was subject to immediate beheading.

      Yes the cop should have handled it better. But cops are trained now to escalate not to de escalate. It’s all part of the feminization of the police. Standards were lowered so more women could be police – a good idea since women much better at dealing with and respecting women in distress. But now more small weak men are cops due to the lowering of standards. Why not have a different height/strength standard for men and women?

      I’m very interested in others’ views on this, my not even close to politically correct thought. Thanks!

        1. todde

          I was thrown down the stairs for simply leading my holding cell is a rousing rendition of the Disco classic “Burn, Baby, Burn.”

          Of course, I was being held on suspicion of arson on a cops house. (I didn’t do it, it was a sweep)

          “Look at the skies,
          The Smoke starts to rise
          Flames getting higher,
          The pig sty’s on fire.

          everybody now
          Burn, Baby, Burn
          Disco Inferno
          Burn, Baby burn,

          1. todde

            what you have to understand is, that everyone, and I mean everyone, the cops included, is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

      1. a different chris

        >officers have to maintain authority

        But over-preening isn’t how you “maintain authority”, it’s how you start fights. Try it with any group of adolescent boys.

        >it strikes right at the core of the cop’s authority.

        If he (the cop) laughs it off, doesn’t that reinforce his authority? It’s little dogs that do all the barking. I strongly feel you have this backwards. Being an overbearing a(family blog) just makes people want to take you down a notch.

        >Just consider how authority was maintained in Samurai Japan

        Yeah and that’s why Japan is chock full of Samurai’s today… How is this even a point?

        >But cops are trained now to escalate not to de escalate.

        Yes! Which is so stupid.

        >It’s all part of the feminization of the police.

        No! Just the freaking opposite.

        >my not even close to politically correct thought

        I don’t care about pc, but they aren’t even coherently linked thoughts. You seem to envision a police officer as a large male with malevolent intent. I again refer you to the (at least historical, they seem to be getting worse) picture of the “Bobbies”. They were generally large men and probably good in a fight, but that isn’t the first thing anybody thinks about them. People feel reassured when they see them, not anxious.

        The weirdest thing about your post is, are you in the US? Because here the true “bad guys” have serious weaponry. Height/strength, aka size, basically just makes you an easier target. You got a big guy strutting around, who you can’t even say “hi” to, and all most of the ‘hood sees is his large back making a perfect target if we want to pop some caps at him.

        Don’t think that’s going to work. Actually, it is being tried and doesn’t work. Not that that makes any difference in the good ol’ USA of Marion Morrison.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That’s an interesting concept that. I suppose that if you cannot get your people to give their consent to your decisions and if you have to use violence to get it, then you have moved from ‘We the people’ to ‘you our Leaders’.

      2. Wyoming

        Much of what you say above is just flat not accurate. Thus the word incorrect on the end of the politically incorrect statement. Such statements are almost never right.

        I mentioned here the other day that I work about half time as a volunteer officer. I have a lot of first hand knowledge and interact with many police officers every day.

        Disrespect from a child does not undermine the authority of the police. The reaction to the disrespect is what undermined their authority. A good police officer can easily find a way, using the unique circumstances of the event, to use it as a learning experience for the juvenile. The juvenile wants you to react inappropriately and by not doing so you gain the upper hand on them and this is seen by the bystanders (who are mostly on the side of the police and do not like disrespectful obnoxious teenagers). Thus the police officer wins the confrontation. What happened was very bad policing.

        Extra judicial and unnecessary violence does not help make things better.

        Police are ABSOLUTELY NOT trained to escalate vice de-escalate anywhere in the US. Period. Full Stop. It certainly happens during incidents. Sometimes because it is necessary and sometimes because an officer loses control, but not because they were trained to always escalate.

        Feminization of the police? A new invention of what that word means. You say the police are deliberately increasing violence and that ‘this’ is feminization? Please!

        Since women police officers often have skill sets which are more useful at many police functions than male officers tend to have how is adding lots of female officers a ‘lowering of standards’? It could more accurately be described as increasing capability.

        And it is a flimsy assumption that female officers and ‘small weak men’ make for a less qualified police force is also just confused (and I am not aware of any ‘weak’ officers of either sex). You have obviously not dealt with people who decide to resist police officers. The size and strength of the officer has no bearing on their decision to resist. If they were thinking rationally they would not even go down that decision path. In fact in many cases the bigger the officer the more likely it is there is a problem as there is some weird quirk in impaired people who find some challenge in going after the biggest guy they can find. We see it in bar fights all the time.

        In today’s police academy’s all trainees have to pass the exact same physical test. It does not matter their sex or age (I know of a 62 year old trainee who is just getting ready to graduate and this applies to him as well). Being able to fight Bruce Lee one-on-one is pretty much a useless skill. Being the toughest guy at the scene is not particularly important either. Authority does not come from the ability to pound someone into the ground. When the police are coming they are coming in force. It does not matter how tough you are or how many guns you have you are eventually going to lose. Everyone knows this. If you resist an officer the others are not going to stand there and watch to see which one of you is toughest. Everyone of them is on you instantly. People want officers to use the minimum force required solve a confrontation. They don’t seem to understand that doing this dramatically raises the likelyhood of an officer getting killed or injured. The officers understand this quite well. If you have been in many fights one thing you learn is that when you barely win (thus the minimum force was used to succeed) you tend to have as many injuries as the guy you beat. This is not a good thing. When you dominate someone you usually have minimal damage and the fight is over quickly. This is a good thing. End it quickly – most of the time – unless you can see a clear path to de-escalation or are willing to risk death or serious injury due to the circumstances. The best thing, of course, is to manage never to get to the violent stage in the first place. But that is often out of your hands.

        I grew up in a very rough neighborhood and the police back then were far more likely to hurt you than they are today. This is not to say in any way that there is not room for vast improvement. People who have hard feelings over police mistreatment have mostly good points and their complaints are valid about what needs to improve. Policing is always going to have lots of violent situations. Many of those situations are not going to be easily understood by arm chair video evaluators. Even if you manage to take all of the racism out of human situations (and don’t for a second think that all of the racism causing problems in police-citizen interactions comes from only the police) and all of the other factors which can adversely influence what happens that there are not still going to be many unfortunate deaths and poor outcomes. When violence happens people are sometimes going to be hurt bad or die. It is unavoidable.

      3. kgw

        Ahh, let’s go back to the good ole days…Feminization of the police? Har.
        I read a piece long ago by a retired detective, who was active in the late 40’s/50’s, on the horror of visiting his old station during the 70’s. Rather than using their human skills, the “new” police were “strictly by the book.” When talking to people they wanted info from, they threatened them, rather than befriended them.
        He told a story of going out by himself on a call of two men fighting, pulling up to the pair, getting out of his car and sitting on the hood. As he sat there watch the men fighting, the lady who had called the station came up and asked why he wasn’t stopping them. He replied he wanted them to run out of steam first…Which they did as they tired. He then approached them and asked the pair if they were finished, and had them shake hands. He left them with the admonition that if he had to return anytime because of them fighting, they would go straight to jail.

        Personal story: I dropped off a date when I was in high school (mid-sixties), and walked her up to her door. I returned to the car, got in, windows up, locked the doors, started the engine, put the lights on, put my head back and fell asleep! I awoke to the tapping of a uniformed officer, who politely asked me to submit to a sobriety test, which I did. I did have a buzz, having had moderate amount of beer. The officer decided that it would be best if he locked the car up right there, and then asked me where I lived, and drove me home. He gave the keys to my mother. Not the usual technique these days!

        A tragic incident in the area of Sylmar, north of L.A., in which two CHP officers, both Vietnam vets, were shot and killed by a pair of bank robbers, was a watershed moment for police everywhere. The analysis of the event showed that the training of the officers was devoid of situational behavior and tactics. Long story, short, the police tactics turned towards military forms. Total domination of the situation.

        1. Wyoming

          Well an interesting story about your retired detective and one I have personally witnessed myself 50 years ago. But this is in no way an example of good policing nor some better way of doing things we want to return to.

          The officer in your example today would be summarily fired, the department and he would be successfully sued, and he might go to jail. All for sound reasons. Policing has 3 main functions of enforce the law, maintain public order and protect people from harm. This old method does none of those things. As I mentioned earlier when violence occurs bad things often happen that are not expected. When children fight there is seldom any serious injury or death, but sometimes there is, and we always stop them. When adults fight there is often serious injury and death is not uncommon. Imagine the officer sitting there on his ass watching this fight and the next blow causes the death of one of the participants. It is now his fault and the dept’s fault someone died. I know this can happen from personal experience as back in the early 70’s one of my brothers-in-law killed a man in a fistfight and spent a couple of years in the State Prison. Your example was just bad policing which we have learned not to do.

          In the 60’s of course the officer had no way to check your blood alcohol levels and had to use his judgement on what to do. Not a real bad solution. But today they can measure it and know what the law requires them to do. It is more accurate and also helps remove a lot of potential bias and bad judgments. We also know a lot more today about how much death and mayhem results from impaired driving – so I think we are better off the new way.

          Training of officers today is much more comprehensive than in the past. While there are still rural locations with little money to spend on training most officers are receiving substantial training today and this is a very good thing. Training in many places is excellent. for example where I live to get into the academy requires you pass 2 PT tests, a comprehensive physical from a doctor, a polygraph, a background check, a psych exam, a written exam, an oral board. Then the academy last 4 months full time and fails about 20% of the candidates. Then you have an on the street training of several hundred hours and then a probationary period of about 6 months. All of this for a job which pays under $50K starting.

          Re: weaponry. Officers when we were young did not have a reasonable possibility of facing more than a model 1911 and usually only a revolver. Today assault rifles are quite possible and almost all handguns are carrying large capacity magazines. It is simply a different world and training and weaponry have to adjust. Not to mention the possibility of dealing with mass shooters. On the flip side Tasers are a huge improvement on reducing injuring people compared to billy clubs and the other weapons officers often carried in the old days.

          1. kgw

            I suggest you read “ABOVE THE LAW : Police and the Excessive Use of Force,” by Jerome H. Skolnick & James J. Fyfe. Slightly dated now, but very clear as to the source of the problem: excessive laws themselves. The law itself is force, and the overabundance of statute law leads to the daily use of this force upon the people who live within the state.

            I once had a conversation with a senior officer wherein I told him that the spectre of a wet-behind the ears 24-year old with the power of a badge and a gun was a sight to behold. He agreed with me, and said the general rule was to partner them with a more experienced officer, and hope for the best.

            1. Procopius

              I was going to mention that “overabundance of laws.” The Supreme Court had to rule that a police officer does not need to know that some activity is not illegal. I have seen plausible estimates that the US Code defines between 2,500 and 5,000 acts as felonies. That’s not even counting State laws and local ordinances. You can be “detained” for almost anything, and it’s a very widespread belief that police officers lie. This is not new. There is a Chinese saying going back at least to the days of the Yellow Emperor, “Officials always protect officials.”

          2. Oregoncharles

            ” While there are still rural locations with little money to spend on training most officers are receiving substantial training today and this is a very good thing. ”

            Yeah, that’s why police kill over 1200 people a year, with obviously unjustified killings or beatings – murders – every couple of days. Those are the ones the media catches. They’re a menace, worse if you’re black but not only. They’re obviously being taught exactly the wrong thing.

            Furthermore, it’s clear from some of the reporting what that is: they’re taught that their own life is much more important than anyone else’s. So they shoot on a hair trigger at the slightest sign of danger, or sometimes none. And frequently just because they’re mad. Institutionalized cowardice, and they get away with it. AND demand to be treated as heroes.

            Police are trained, equipped, and (well) paid to take certain risks. Civilians are not. Cops’ job is to risk their own life to save someone else’s. But that isn’t what they’re being taught, or the way they’re usually managed. And we know it’s wrong because there are exceptions, to say nothing of places like England or Sweden where they hardly kill people at all.

            I understand your point of view, and you may be right where you are, but you’re wrong.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        I suspect the “Escalate first last and always” training that police receive is to prepare police departments for their role in more violent suppression of more violent public unrest as the public adjusts unhappily to the coming Revolution of Falling Expectations.

      5. Plenue

        “Just consider how authority was maintained in Samurai Japan- if a peasant even dared make eye contact with a samurai he was subject to immediate beheading.”

        Not really true. A samurai did technically have that kind of social power, but after any incident the killer would be put on trial and have to justify the killing.

        Also peasants mattered more than any social class other than the samurai. The entire economy and world order revolved around farming.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Violence was a part of the Japanese way of keeping people in line for a long time. “Pappy” Boyington was a POW in WW2 and was in Japan itself at one stage. He wrote how he saw this real old boy cross a road when he was not supposed to. A Japanese cop called him up, screamed into his face, and then furiously punched him in the face several times and the old boy just had to stand there and just take it.

          1. Harold

            This is true of Fascist regimes. They give carte blanche to the police. I know several anecdotes from people who lived under them. My late Italian stepfather, for example, was kicked by a police officer all the way to jail in Rome in the late 30s or early 40s for the crime of reading L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, which, unbeknownst to him, had an article deemed critical of Mussolini on its last page. He could have been made to drink Castor oil, but fortunately he had friends who were able to get him out. Another friend, while serving in the US Navy in Spain under Franco, was similarly kicked down many cars of a train by the Guardia Civil for accidentally sitting in a first-class seat while having a second class ticket. The idea is to keep the population in a permanent state of terror.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          The entire economy and world order revolved around farming.

          Boy I agree. I have a whole thing on this. I mean Hollywood’s gotta Hollywood, but feudalism was:

          A. Fighting for the products of the effing peasants. We didn’t have enclosures worked out yet.

          B. Killing a peasant was like whichever Ajax killing the sheep. A loss of honor.

          C. You don’t have a gun. They may kill you.

          D. You want the peasants on your side. It is so much easier as a management strategy.

      6. lyman alpha blob

        More small weak men are cops!?!?!

        I don’t know where you live, but most male cops I see these days are buzz cut, muscled up, stone faced alpha types who probably ate steroids for all three meals and look like they should be in an MMA ring, not trying to protect and serve. Not too many Officer Friendlies around these days in my neck of the woods.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The prevalence of “roid rage” is, I suspect, greatly underestimated.

          Maybe they should be checked for drugs. Daily.

    1. pretzelattack

      well, that’s the death knell. the efficiency of capitalism in gutting businesses!

    2. voteforno6

      That’s too bad…I’ll miss the semiannual Criterion Collection sales that they have.

    3. BobW

      Our local mall used to have two bookstores, now none. The mall is on the endangered list too, hanging on since Sears left. Now it’s mainly the venue for senior walks

  13. Carolinian

    That’s a good Haaretz article on the parallels between German and Jewish nationalism. The premise is that in both instances race became the basis for forging a national identity and in the Jewish case it was as much a reaction to European bigotry but the messianic result–which we are now seeing–is the same. The view that race rather than culture is the basis of all differences pervaded the 19th century and I’m currently reading a book about the vast discrimination the Chinese faced in 19th cent. California and the US in general. Those who think discrimination is all about my cracker ancestors should know that the Jim Crow South existed because the rest of the country basically approved.

    Supposedly we 21st century-ans have moved on from primitive and unscientific notions of racial differences but these powerful ideas along with colonialism itself linger on.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      On the subject of discrimination against the Chinese – at least one (American) historian of Japan that I’ve read has argued that one of the key seeds for the Pacific War was that overt legal discrimination against Asians in California was widely reported in the Japanese press in the 1920’s, strengthening the argument of the militarists that the US would never accept the Japanese as equals. Apparently the State Department was aware of this and lobbied California over laws banning Asians from certain schools, but was ignored.

      1. David

        John Dower’s ´War without Mercy’ is very good (disturbingly so) on the explicit racial nature of the Pacific War. Essentially, both sides believed that the other was sub-human, a useful corrective to the idea that racialism was a western monopoly. In practice racialism (the idea that humanity was divided into different races, doomed to constant conflict) was a commonplace of the time, and as much a part of the intellectual furniture a century ago as, say, human rights would be today. Fascism picked this idea up as it picked up a lot of other rubbish at the time, but there was far more to Fascism than racial theory. In effect Zionism was a classic form of nineteenth century ethnic nationalism, similar to schemes for establishing white -run settler states through mass emigration to places like Algeria and Kenya.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “the idea that humanity was divided into different races, doomed to constant conflict) was a commonplace of the time, and as much a part of the intellectual furniture a century ago”

          Sam Huntington did pretty well financially with his “clash of civilizations” not so long ago, and the Neocons still see the world this way.

          1. David

            No, explicit racial theory has pretty much disappeared now. Huntingdon’s point was precisely a clash between civilisations (ie cultures) not races.

            1. todde

              Exactly, when he described the rift in Ukraine it was based on which culture Ukrainians would choose, western or eastern european culture(christianity).

              Do you think the book helps explain what is happening now or off the mark?

              1. David

                I have never been keen on the idea that clashes, of races, cultures, civilizations etc. are inevitable. Where there are real issues at play (historically conquest, empire, trade routes etc) it is possible to say that conflict was highly probable if not necessarily inevitable. That’s not the situation today, with the partial exception of Political Islam, which sees itself in violent conflict with everybody else (including other Muslims). But the idea that certain groups or cultures are fated to be in conflict seems to me far too reductionist.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The Japanese had an odd approach to race – they insisted on the need for a ‘yellow’ Empire in opposition to the ‘white’ empires, but then went and treated non-Japanese Asians in an appalling manner, often even worse than any whites they captured (contrary to what is often suggested in the West, this was spoken about very openly by ex servicemen in Japan after the war, some of the stories I’ve read are absolutely horrifying). They were big believers in the western 19th Century notion that every ‘race’ had very specific genetic characteristics. Many contemporary Japanese still talk that way quite openly.

          Its also notable of course that the Pacific War included a level of individual cruelty between combatants that well exceeded the European War (bad and all as that was). Its difficult to say whether it was tit for tat (started by the Japanese) or whether there was a strong racial element to it, but I think its notable that the US was more ruthless in its military approach in the Pacific than in Europe – for example when it came to firebombing civilian cities (it was the RAF that enthusiastically burned German cities). If you dig far enough into youtube, there is an old colour clip to be seen of US sailors machine gunning helpless Japanese merchant sailors in the water. While this no doubt happened in the Atlantic as well, it seems significant that clips like this were not censored at the time. Gore Vidal wrote quite a bit about the casual cruelties inflicted on Japanese captives during the war.

          1. ewmayer

            “Gore Vidal wrote quite a bit about the casual cruelties inflicted on Japanese captives during the war.” — I expect that was in no small part the result of the stories of the utterly horrific depredations of the Japanese imperial troops on captured allied soldiers. Recently finished reading Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbreakable, which supplies some shocking statistics re. deaths of U.S. captives in Japanese prison camps versus those in German camps. And the Japanese treatment of their Asian neighbors, from the rape of Nanjing to Korean slave laborers and “comfort women”, was even worse. And there are less-well-publicized horrors, such as the estimated quarter-million Chinese civilians slaughtered by the Japanese in retaliation for the latter’s having aided the Doolittle raiders who landed in China after that mission.

            1. The Rev Kev

              This cruelty could have unexpected blowback. One time, during the Korean War, a British officer was brought into a HQ to help him promotion-wise as he had fallen behind due to his being a POW during WW2 and had lots of experience in the east. A Korean officer was sent up to act as liason to him and went into his office. A few seconds later, a shot rang out as the British officer shot the guy dead in his tracks. Seems that the Japanese used a lot of Koreans guards in their POW camps and this officer recognized him instantly, saying yes, he knew him straight away as being one of the worst. The HQ sent back for another replacement with the requirement that he speak some Finnish and having no experience in the east.

  14. The Rev Kev

    True it was an Allied effort but in spite of what we see in films, it was the Russians which did the heavy lifting based on historical records. The German forces at D-Day were mostly second stringers but at Omaha beach where the US landed, the Germans had the 352nd Infantry Division stationed there. This was a division that had a lot of combat vets and so turned that beach into “Bloody Omaha” for American forces.
    This could have been true for all the Allied beachheads but the German troops that would have made it so were already dead in Russia. Because the Germans lacked the forces to fight off the Allies in the West, the campaign from D-Day to VE Day was only 11 months in length while the Russians ground their way from the east in a brutal campaign. I talked with a German combat vet once who was proud of his service on the Eastern Front where he reckoned that there were 60 odd nations fighting but even he said that he was glad when he was transferred to Italy.

    1. Wyoming

      When I see this lack of respect (or even awareness) in the West for what the Russians (Soviets actually) went through and accomplished it saddens me. All sides saw and experienced very hard times and it was a team effort. But there are stars on every team who carry the biggest load. None of the Allies could have beaten the Germans on their own and everyone needs to keep that in mind.

      As bad as places like Omaha beach (my mother’s first husband was in the 1st wave as well as in the Sicily invasion) and Iwo Jima (a cousin of mine was awarded the MOH for actions there) were they were small potatoes compared to places like Stalingrad. At Stalingrad for example the average daily death rate was 1 1/2 times that of D-Day every day for 5 months – imagine that! Soldiers went into the lines without guns as they did not have enough to go around. Soldiers were so frightened about crossing the river into town that the Commissars stood at the back of the boats and shot people to keep them under control.

      My greatest fear is that we are on a path towards that kind of world again.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Chinese had fought Japan since around 1937 or 1938.

        That’s about 7 or so years, compared to 5 months of fighting mentioned.

        1. Procopius

          It’s complicated. Chiang Kai Shek tried to conserve his forces (the Kuomintang) to fight the Communist Eighth Route Army. Two of his subordinate generals detained him in 1936 (the Xi’An Incident) until he agreed to join the Communists fighting the Japanese, so the Chinese were fighting the Japanese since before 1935. At least the Communists were, and possibly some of the other warlords. Chiang Kai Shek, despite what the right wingers claimed, did not really control China.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Day Zero in India Looming For Millions Weather Underground

    The number of people in India experiencing “Day Zero” is set to grow significantly by 2020, according to a startling report released in 2018 by Niti Ayog, India’s federal think tank. “Supply gaps are causing city dwellers to depend on privately extracted ground water, bringing down local water tables,” the report says. “In fact, by 2020, 21 major cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru (formerly called Bangalore), and Hyderabad, are expected to reach zero groundwater levels, affecting access for 100 million people.” Loss of groundwater supplies will force people in the affected cities to rely on rainwater harvesting and water piped from rivers–sources that are inadequate to meet the demand. Groundwater supplies 40% of India’s water needs, including more than 60% of irrigated agriculture and 85% of domestic water use. India accounts for 12% of global groundwater use.

    Serious stuff, although the article repeats the myth that leaking pipes is a major problem – in reality leaking pipes actually help to recharge groundwater so there is little net loss.

    The big unstated issue in all this is that a very high proportion of India’s water comes from rivers that rise in the Himalaya – much on Chinese territory. Most of these are dammed and in one form or another under the control of Chinese authorities. If a war breaks out between those two nuclear powers, it will almost certainly be over water.

    1. Ignacio

      Serious stuff, although the article repeats the myth that leaking pipes is a major problem – in reality leaking pipes actually help to recharge groundwater so there is little net loss.

      I don’ think it is a myth. Typically, leaks do not return water to the accession points, and it is a loss of water treated for sanitary uses that in many cases becomes contaminated. Sanitary/grey waters/rainfall waters and black waters mix so this musn’t be recoverable water. Also, those leaks produce considerable damage to urban structures. Leaks are very important even in the best maintained systems but in India these must be huge.

    2. Synapsid


      A similar, more compact situation with great explosive potential:

      Turkey controls the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Six inches of sea level rise and the sewage system stops working in Miami.

        ‘Civilization’ comes from the Greek word for ‘functioning sewers’. /wink

  16. Polar Donkey

    Surveillance state- I have been out of local government for a several years. I used to do gis mapping. This week I went to a meeting of local government and nonprofit data mappers/users. I was shocked by what was coming online. Google and Microsoft are providing data collection and processing service to agencies. Google and Microsoft are cajoling local agencies to standardize data creation, by doing this they will possess all local government’s information about a citizen. For example, Google is selling a service to the city. It puts cameras on top of garbage trucks. Every week your house is photographed then scanned by Google AI. A report is generated the next day of code violations and code enforcement officers are sent out to check property. Who believes code violations is the only information getting culled by the AI. City is also getting a new system to process 911 ambulance calls. These various systems will be standardized and consolidated, giving in the near future Google the ability to create a profile of citizen as related to government services. Combined with all the private sector data about you, Google will know almost everything about you. How does this not become authoritarianism government just run through google? People at the meeting mentioned how most of this stuff have come online in the past year. All those surveillance products developed in china are now ready for the U.S. market?

    1. J7915

      Don’t ignore Alexa and her bff. IIRC the algorythms can go beyond recording conversations to determining who is talking with whom in a room.
      Can we save money b reducing the NSA,CIA bugging budgets?

      1. RWood

        “You’re safer if you have us watching everything.”
        Good morning Mister Blue, we’ve got our eyes on you…

  17. Craig H.

    > This week’s dead Google product is Google Trips, may it rest in peace

    I have never used Google trips but the article is not bad. It has been awhile since that company was been the most- or second-most important company in the Valley. When was the last time they made a really great decision?


  18. The Rev Kev

    “Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming”

    Sounds like that all that is missing is an Independent Thought Alarm-

    I wonder how the kids will react long term? Already they seem to be dropping Facebook because of all this overwatch. Of course all this surveillance will act like acid with the concept of trust. They will have none for their teachers, none for their schools, and none for the parents who sign up to all this. God knows what will come out the other end when they hit 18.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      a possible scenario; A high school student finds that something extremely private to them has been learned by a third party. If the student knows that they did not release this information to anyone, they will find out more easily where the leak occurred. I like your phrase; “like acid to the concept of trust”
      I can’t imagine anything more chilling. The students will be taught that trust was never real and they will become part of the opposition. What will they oppose?

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      In a generic American suburban school the Bullies have a substitute father relationship going on with the Vice Principal. Many graduate to law enforcement. Students see this. Or did 30 years ago. ‘The same contractors build our schools and prisons’ was a common quip. They taught us about Constitutional Rights and then did random locker searches and banned shorts in spring semester. LOL

      Schools monitoring minors 24/7 with their laptop cams was last decades’ scandal. I haven’t met anyone under 40 who thinks FICA isn’t just another FU.

  19. William Hunter Duncan

    “Little legal recourse for astronomers concerned about Starlink”

    I’m wondering if Musk will go down in history as the guy who initiated a Keppler Syndrome, where space junk crashes into a satellite or vice versa, and the resulting debris cascades throughout orbit crashing into ever more satellites making ever more debris, so on and so forth until there is nothing left but debris?

    1. polecat

      Uh, I think what you’re refering to is what’s called a ‘Kessler’ effect …
      Although, the Keppler satellite would perhaps become an unintentional ‘participant’ in such a scenario …

    2. Hopelb

      …And then that one amateur astronomer who would have detected that earth killing asteroid in time for us to deflect it, doesn’t.
      Or the aliens hide their small ships behind them.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Welcome to already knowing about global warming, peak oil, EROEI, finite planet, etc….

      Eventually we will be blamed for understanding this and doing nothing about it. :)

      I knew you meant Kessler, it’s Friday. Does autocorrect actually save time? My browser does not recognize ‘autocorrect’.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    More on the fate of Schrodinger’s Cat.

    There was a link a couple days ago regarding a new experimental result that didn’t give the best explanation of what was going on. Just found a couple articles that give a much better description, including what is meant by an “artificial atom”.

    Not smart enough to know whether the results from an “artificial atom” are equivalent to what happens in a real one, but these article do give a pretty good explanation of what the researchers did and what the results mean and it sounds plausible to this dilettante at least.

  21. John B

    On “Florida sugar companies hit with lawsuit” — an excellent lawsuit against some of the more pernicious operations in the United States. Third World stuff indeed!

    The political economy of the Lake Okeechobee area is appalling. At more than 700 square miles, Lake Okeechobee is (or was) the largest natural lake in the United States outside the Great Lakes, and it lies scarcely 30 miles from some of the most valuable coastal real estate in the United States on Jupiter Island and West Palm Beach. Yet, the Lake Okeechobee region is deeply impoverished. Starting in the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers built a tall dike around the entire lake to prevent hurricane flooding, thus converting the lake essentially into a giant bucket. This dike is now surrounded in many places by sugar cane field stretching as far as the eye can see, which cause the smoke mentioned in the article, as well as pesticide runoff and plenty of CO2 emissions. In contrast to the teeming Atlantic coast, few people live near the lake. Tourists are hardly to be found.

    The sugar industry exists in the United States entirely because it is protected by tariff barriers — sugar costs far less on the world market. Meanwhile, U.S. sugar contributes to a national epidemic of diabetes and obesity.

    The tariff should be replaced by a sales tax on all sugar. That will destroy the U.S. sugar industry and begin to solve the Lake Okeechobee problem. That will happen sometime after the U.S. coal industry disappears. If the U.S. coal industry does not disappear, the Lake Okeechobee problem will be resolved another way.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Next family road trip…

      Kids: Daddy, are we lost?
      Me: No, be quiet, I’m just working out my hippocampus.
      Kids: We’re definitely lost.
      Wife: Can we please use GPS, now?
      Me: No! I’ll figure it out. Let me work out my brain! Do you want to have to baby-sit me in a couple of decades because I forget how to do everything and who everyone is?
      Wife: Ummmm…okay…just let me know when you’re ready to give up.
      Me: NEVER!!!

  22. anarcheopteryx

    Florida sugar companies hit with lawsuit to halt the controversial practice of burning sugarcane:

    “What’s particularly galling, according to Abruzzo, is that this is disproportionately affecting poor people. He says he wasn’t aware of the issue until 2017, when the wind shifted and blew ashes into Boca Raton, causing an uproar among “politically active retirees,” as the Sun-Sentinel put it. Generally, he says, the sugar companies will only burn the fields when the wind blows west, which disperses the ash onto the poorer communities of Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay.”

    As usual, companies know very well what they’re doing is harmful and are choosing to harm only the people they think can’t or won’t fight back.

  23. Edward

    I have my own Youtube censorship story. From time to time I listen to a Youtube video of the famous 1942 Furtwangler/BPO performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. However, the video is now banned as “hate speech”, presumably because some photos of the concert display Nazi flags:

    Furtwangler was actually opposed to the Nazis and the “Ode to Freedom” symphony was actually a rebuke to the Nazis. Even if he were a Nazi, though, I will decide for myself what is out of bounds without Youtube’s “help”.

      1. Edward

        Maybe a stupid algorithm is responsible for this censorship. What puzzles me, though, is that the only reason I can think of to ban this video is the appearance of a Nazi flag in a few pictures. Can an algorithm actually identify a Nazi symbol in a photo?

    1. Norm de plume

      Yes, Furtwangler was a very brave man. It could be argued his decision to stay was more courageous than leaving.

      Re youtube: does anyone else always get Jordan Peterson vids appearing on the suggestion list sidebar despite no-one in the house ever having watched one?

      1. Grebo

        All mine are of the “Noam Chomsky / Richard Wolff / Pee-Wee Herman Destroys Jordan Peterson” variety. Perhaps “Furtwangler” is alt-right slang for something?

        1. Harold

          We kind of liked “Taking Sides”, the movie about Furtwangler, though apparently critics panned it, saying that the Harvey Keitel character, an American major, acted more like a Nazi when he interrogated the conductor. I don’t feel sorry for F. however, much less admire him. You have to separate the art from the people who make/interpret it. They are only human, all too human.

  24. Potted Frog

    I’d like suggestions from the community for biographies of Gaddafi and Putin. Both are subjects of disinformation campaigns. I’d like to read some well informed alternative views.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Another one who’s a curious character is Bashar Assad of Syria.

      He doesn’t come across as a brutal thug like Saddam Hussain. Assad speaks very good english and in the interview I saw with him, he showed a lot of patience with hostile questions.

      The whole thing was odd, because I could easily see the Western media promoting a guy like him….especially as compared to the godawful Saudi monarchs. That bunch is just overtly awful.

      I’m hardly going to defend Assad, I’m sure he’s done some reprehensible stuff. But I think he’s a more interesting character than most in that region. He is certainly really good at surviving and I think he played his cards extremely well during the war from 2011-2018.

      1. Potted Frog

        Assad is also on my list of interesting people. MSM does more to cloud than reveal.

      2. marieann

        Just an anecdote, but my hairdresser is from Syria. A couple of years ago I was commiserating with her about the situation over there. She says Assad is well liked by many people and told me not to believe anything I read in the western media about him.

    2. ilpalazzo

      There is some excellent stuff about Gaddafi, Syria & other ME issues on Adam Curtis’ BBC blog.

    3. turtle

      For Gaddafi, while I can’t recommend a book, one of Adam Curtis’ more recent documentaries, Hypernormalization, covers him from a pretty different perspective. Here’s how the Wikipedia article about the film describes this chapter:

      The Colonel
      This chapter describes the Reagan administration using Muammar Gaddafi as a pawn in their public relations (PR) strategy of creating a simplified, morally unambiguous foreign policy by blaming him for the 1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks and the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing that killed US soldiers, both of which European security services attributed to Syrian intelligence agencies. Gaddafi is described as playing along for the sake of increasing his profile in the Arab world as a revolutionary. The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, 10 days after the disco bombing, is described as an operation carried out mainly for PR reasons, because attacking Syria would have been too risky.

      You should be able to find a copy of the film on Youtube (at least that’s where I watched it). If you’re in the UK you should be able to find it on BBC’s iPlayer. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be available through any official means in the USA (figures). Adam’s films are highly, highly recommended. Almost obligatory viewing for the NC readership.

      Edit: I see that ilpalazzo also recommended Adam Curtis’ blog before me. I hadn’t seen his reply before refreshing the page.

    4. Edward

      I know a few things about Gaddafi and Assad. Gaddafi came from a poor background and grew up during the Italian occupation of his country. With 60 co-conspirators, he seized power from King Idris during a bloodless coup. He had an anti-imperialist orientation but was also flakey. He supported some causes such as the ANC. We know from the leaked Clinton emails that France wanted to attack Libya because it was collecting gold to establish a pan-African currency that would compete with the French currency.

      Assad’s father was a shrewd but ruthless dictator; Bashar Assad inherited an oppressive government. There was some effort to reform the government but it never got very far. Originally, Assad’s brother was being groomed to succeed the father but he died in a car accident, at which point Bashar was designated as the successor.

  25. Cat Burglar

    My experience agrees with the results of the studies finding a link between a sense of purpose in life and slower cognitive and physical decline.

    Exhibit A was an old climbing friend of mine who died recently at age 94, within a month or two of his last rock climbing trip. His lifelong involvement in a sport that taught him how to keep going meant that he was already familiar with overcoming physical obstacles, and as he aged, he just had a few more — and it kept his mind clear. Luckily somebody convinced him to let them make a film about him (Dirtbag) or no one would believe the story.

    The last time I saw him, he asked me why I couldn’t stick around to go climbing, and I told him I had to go to work. “You can always work!” he told me, making a mosquito-batting gesture. That is exactly the attitude you need to really live.

    1. turtle

      Thanks for the recommendation. I see that the documentary is available on itunes and amazon. I’ll add it to my list to watch.

  26. rd

    Re: Russia and D-Day

    D-Day is probably the most daring and complex large military operation ever staged, but here is my list of pivotal WW II battles.

    1. Battle of Britain 1940 – denied Germany occupation of all of Western Europe. Britain became Allied staging ground.
    2. Battle of Moscow – 1941 – stopped German advance on Russian capital in heart of Russia
    3. El Alamein 1942 – denied North African and Middle East oil to Germany
    4. Siege of Leningrad 1941-44 – denied Russian coast and major port to Germans
    5. Midway 1942 – broke the Japanese fleet by sinking their aircraft carriers. Japan was now only playing defense.
    6. Stalingrad 1943 – broke the German Army in southern Russia and started the Russian advance to Berlin
    7. D-Day – 1944 – Gave the US, British, Canadians a foothold in France so they could meet the Russians in Berlin. Germany and France would likely have been part of Soviet Union if D-Day had not occurred.

    A single Russian battle on the list had far more participants than all of the other British and American battles combined.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Where do you rate the Battle of Changsha (a good movie) or the Battle of Xuzhou (1938)?

    2. todde

      I would add the USSR lost more men fighting for Stalingrad than America lost fighting all its wars.

    3. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, that’s a good highlight list there.

      Fun fact regarding the famous Battle of the Bulge in Belgium’s Ardennes forest.

      Hitler really was itching for a counter-attack. He didn’t have enough spare troops to make a dent on the Eastern Front, so naturally, the German general staff turned westwards and pointed to a weak point in the lines of the Allied forces.

      So there you go, one of the more pivotal battles of the whole campaign on the Western Front…fought with so few troops that they barely would have been noticed in the East.

      1. Procopius

        For some reason the Allies could never get it through their heads that the Ardennes Forest was not an obstacle to a modern army. It’s traversed by good roads, for heaven’s sake, and the Germans demonstrated that to them more than once. I read an interesting point long ago. George Patton’s intelligence chief saw the weakness in the Ardennes sector and brought it to his attention, so he set his staff to preparing plans to change direction and go there instead of continuing East. When the Germans attacked a few days later he was the only army commander who was prepared to immediately go to the aid of the Bulge. Logistics are not discussed nearly enough in popular military histories.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Disrespecting an officer is a crime here in fla-dee-da. Things like this make me realize how we don’t grok how diverse this country is.

      [My browser does not try to autocorrect Grok. Squee.

      It does redline ‘autocorrect’ and ‘squee’. And ‘redline’. Oi]

      1. Procopius

        There are too many of them and they are the biggest reason for the existence of the carceral state.

  27. pjay

    Re: ‘Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source’

    The funniest line in the article:

    “Why Mueller’s team omitted that part of the Kilimnik narrative [i.e. the part about his being a State Dept. intel source!] from its report and related court filings is not known. But the revelation of it comes as the accuracy of Mueller’s Russia conclusions face increased scrutiny.”

    Hmm. I have a “theory” about why this little detail was omitted.

    John Solomon is on fire these days. I’m surprised he still has a platform for this, though I understand the partisan benefits for the Republicans.

  28. Plenue

    >Americans May Be Strapped, But the Go-To Statistic Is False Bloomberg

    Oh man, this is gold!

    “This claim has never seemed plausible to me. After all, if so many Americans can’t cover a relatively minor unexpected expense, that would affect daily life in obvious ways. You’d frequently have a coworker out of the office who can’t afford to buy a new tire. You’d frequently hear from friends and neighbors who can’t afford to fix their dishwashers.”

    Lots of people don’t work in offices, dipshit. And plenty of people don’t own dishwashers.

    “Instead, as the Fed report makes clear, though “the remaining 4 in 10 adults” “would have more difficulty covering such an expense,” many of them would be able to make it work by carrying a credit card balance or borrowing from friends and family.”

    So, er, the point about not having 400 bucks is correct?

    “The report also goes out of its way to make clear that some of the 39% who wouldn’t use cash might still have $400 in the bank: “It is possible that some would choose to borrow even if they had $400 available, preserving their cash as a buffer for other expenses.”

    ‘It is possible’.

    “In a footnote, the report even cites a 2016 study finding that 76 percent of households had $400 in liquid assets, even after taking into account monthly expenses.”

    Well as long as they can always dive into the under-the-mattress pile, that’s okay then!

    “Fortunately, the economic recovery is largely complete. But judging by the persistence of the myth that a broken washing machine would be a crisis for well over one-third of adults, the psychological recovery is continuing.”

    Ah, of course. People only ‘think’ they have money problems and that there’s been no recovery for main street.

  29. VietnamVet

    The map of the African Swine Fever outbreak is right out of “Contagion”. The problem is an anti-science Administration that is cutting government spending. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is what will prevent the destruction of the American Pork Industry. It is typical of neoliberal propaganda to ignore this.

Comments are closed.