Links 8/9/2021

Nagasaki marks atomic bomb anniversary with sombre ceremony France24

Blinded by the Light: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Age of Normalized Violence  Counterpunch

The three-or-four-hours rule for getting creative work done Oliver Burkeman

The Silver Age of Essays The Paris Review

Napoleon Bonaparte, gardener? Yes, says a new book, the dictator found solace in the natural world WaPo

Fornicating Under Consent of King Literary Review

Egypt: Ancient pharaoh’s boat transported to new museum Deutsche Welle


Learn to live with mutating coronavirus, top Chinese virologist says South China Morning Post

Officials split on masking children in schools as pediatric hospitals fill up with Covid-19 patients CNN

Fauci says some likely to need booster COVID-19 shots The Hill

Fauci urges more testing to track breakthrough Covid cases Politico

Too Many People Are Dying Right Now New York Magazine

‘There is a real cost’: As Covid shows, barring bedside visitors from ICU deprives patients of the best care Stat


Coronavirus: China tests tens of millions as second wave of virus hits 17 provinces South China Morning Post

France implements Covid-19 health pass despite protests France24

Not Realistic’: Denmark, Iceland Say Vaccination Has Not Led to Herd Immunity Sputnik News (gurus)

Not Even Bolsonaro Could Break Brazilians’ Love of Vaccines NYT


Pandemic plunges families into food poverty in world’s rich economies FT

Pandemic set off deadly rise in speeding that hasn’t stopped AP

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Big Tech call center workers face pressure to accept home surveillance NBC

Cuomo’s top aide resigns as governor faces harassment furor AP

Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s No. 2, Quietly Prepares to Step Into the Limelight NYT

Gov. Cuomo ‘groping’ accuser reveals identity in new interview NY Post

Biden Administration

Biden speeds ahead on installing judges The Hill

Biden yet to nominate new FDA chief even as delta surges The Hill

House Members’ Letter to Pelosi Mostly Barking Up the Wrong Tree The Lens with Stephanie Kelton

Biden’s infrastructure bill crawls toward Senate passage Politico

Progressives demand more for climate action and healthcare as infrastructure bill clears key Senate hurdle AlterNet

How Joe Biden Defanged the Left The American Prospect

Greece wildfires: Hundreds more evacuated as uncontrolled fires rage BBC

Despite the Dixie Fire’s destruction, some residents aren’t evacuating. NYT

Major climate changes inevitable and irreversible – IPCC’s starkest warning yet Guardian

A 10-Point Platform (and Anti-Platform) on Climate Change Counterpunch

Here are 5 things to watch for in the latest climate science IPCC report The Narwhal


Taliban captures three more Afghan provincial capitals in a day Al Jazeera

As Taliban Capture Cities, U.S. Says Afghan Forces Must Fend for Themselves NYT

Afghan conundrum Business India

Searching for the Next War: What Happens When Contractors Leave Afghanistan? The Diplomat

Sports Desk

I wanted to stay’: Lionel Messi tearful at Barcelona exit as PSG move looms Guardian

This is what a 31 mph pitch looks like

Opinion: Animal cruelty on display at the Olympics Deutsche Welle

Tokyo Games prove Olympics are more irrelevant than ever Asia Times

DJ posts stealth pics of Obama’s ‘epic’ birthday party — before being forced to delete them NY Post

New York Times reporter is ripped for saying Obama’s 60th birthday bash was low COVID risk because of the ‘sophisticated, vaccinated crowd’ who attended Daily Mail

Class Warfare

Regulators refuse to step in as workers languish in extreme heat Politico

Now is the time for bankruptcy venue reform The Hill

Port Authority’s Inspector General to Probe Sky-High Airport Food Prices After ‘$27.85 Beer’ Fiasco The City

Op-ed: The Governors Island rezoning is Bill de Blasio’s good-bye gift to real estate The Architect’s Newspaper

Groves of Academe

The Great Master’s-Degree Swindle” Chronicle of Higher Education


The Gift of Food e-flux

Making sense of Pegasus-derived data Hindustan Times

Analysis | Battle for democracy: India, Hong Kong and Biden’s China bogeyman South China Morning Post


US falling further behind China in STEM PhDs Asia Times

Antidote du Jour (bob):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. bassmule

    re: “NY Times Reporter is ripped, etc.” She didn’t say it. She quoted a local resident. Here’s the actual bit:

    “There are a lot of people here for the event,” said Richard Taylor, a summer resident who writes a column on the historically Black Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard for the Vineyard Gazette. “I’m sure they’ll be hosting smaller groups.”

    Unlike Ms. Styron, Mr. Taylor said he had been looking forward to the party.

    “He has 20-plus acres of land, and everyone was going to be outside,” he said. “You’re dealing with a sophisticated crowd. I think the concerns were a bit overblown.”

    Now it may just be that the Mail is unhappy with this line:

    “On Friday, it was still not clear exactly how big the event would be, but the island was buzzing with excitement, with tabloids like The Daily Mail snapping paparazzi shots of catering vans arriving at the Obama complex.”

    1. QuarterBack

      In this case, the headline is not out of context, it’s more an example of rendering out the fat. The NYT reporter is playing the “people are saying” gimmick to posit the “these are not deplorables” argument. Yes she is offering up a quote, but it’s hard to miss her tone that clearly shows she is fully onboard with the “sophisticated crowd”.

      1. LaRuse

        I interpreted “sophisticated crowd” to mean “deep enough pockets to afford monoclonal antibody treatment and not need a Go Fund Me to cover their surprise billings from the hospital stay” crowd.

        1. Carla

          I honestly doubt the “sophisticated crowd” gets treated to surprise hospital billings… surely that’s just for us little people.

        2. Mikel

          People that can get an appointment (maybe even a house call) to see a doctor right away.
          Everybody else, insurance and a bit of money or not, gets told to take a couple of Tylenol and let the vaccine keep them out of the hospital. They could possibly wait too long to receive monoclonal antibody treatment as it is only useful if you haven’t already reached the severe sickness point.

          A lot of the issue is about how quickly you begin whatever treatment.
          And now we have people expecting the “magic shots” to do all the heavy lifting.

          Time will tell.

        3. Nce

          Hah, yeah I was thinking the same. Wouldn’t it be funny still if those sophisticated vaccinated elite are the ones who get ADE, not the MAGA crowd who continue to refuse to get vaccinated? (I got vaccinated, so I don’t hope for this outcome and I can’t afford to be sick.) A funny kind of karma if the Covid vaccines hurt more than help in the long run.

      2. timbers

        Yes but my eyes popped at “He has 20-plus acres of land”. On prime expensive real estate island.

        Cleary he’s The People’s President.

        1. John Beech

          So what? This is America and socialists can stuff it, or leave because nobody is stopping them. I own five acres and I’m nobody’s president. And it’s expensive land as such things go for my neck of the woods. Going to chastise me as well? I’m rather fed up with have nots jealousy of other’s achievements and worse, taking cheap shots at them for it, as if they’ve done something wrong. Bottom line? The guy can spend his dough as he pleases, your approval’s not required. Or mine. Oh, and don’t mistake me for a someone who voted for the guy. Or have you forgotten this is the land of the free to do as they damn well please as long as they’re not hurting anyone? Grrrr!

          1. hunkerdown

            If you really believed that, you wouldn’t demand that the poor pay to enforce your conceits of self-superiority for what amounts to LARPing and duckspeaking to one another. Yet, elites continue to flatulate that idea.

          2. AndrewJ

            You are, by your own admission, rich. Not Bezos joyride rich, not CEO rich, but rich enough to bail our your daughter, and rich enough to have five acres of expensive land. For every one of you there are hundreds if not thousands of people who have worked just as hard and will never be able to afford land much less security for their children. I suggest you learn to feel lucky, because you are, and that you comprehend that jealousy others feel toward you, that you profited in a wildly unjust society because you won the dice roll, may be justified.

          3. Robin Kash

            Not much imagination or sensitivity is required to understand resentment at a system that permits, no, encourages people to gather great wealth while others are able scarcely to make a living. Not to mention that Obama’s wealth was accumulated as he ostensibly rendered public service. Then there is the presumption of privilege that glories is ostentatious display, conspicuous consumption, as T. Veblen might point out. Bill Clinton at least managed the pretense of “feeling (y)our pain.”

        2. EdwardNoble

          At sea level too. Doesn’t he know his property will be under the Atlantic in a few years?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Obama believes in Obama. If he didn’t like the Vineyard, he might know this and mock people for owning this exact house.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Want to know what the worse thing about Obama’s self-love fest? People are watching this and are drawing their own conclusions. So anybody who was not already gone to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota for example will now hop on their bike and just go. And those that have been double-vaccinated will note how nobody was masked up at Obama’s party and will probably do the same there. And the predictable part? In a few weeks when there is a spike in infection because of Sturgis, you will have heaps of people wagging their fingers at them for their carelessness and would have already obliterated all memory of Obama’s party from their minds.

      1. tegnost

        Right. Covid came to the US not on a harley but in a big ol jet airliner,
        but you wouldn’t know that from the zeitgeist

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Tom Hanks, close Obama friend, known for playing dull white guys since he became popular, and Covid survivor. How many people did he infect before he had symptoms? Did he alert anyone he was in contact with?

          1. Oh

            I found Tom Hanks’ movies to be boring. He had sense of humor on SNL but he lost it in Hollywood.

            1. Alex Cox

              None of the SNL crowd should have been allowed to become movie actors. They were the ruin of Hollywood.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        And his dippy followers will follow suit because the Great One did it. Imagine being so dull one would kayak out to hold a birthday sign up in the water near the tent.

        1. bassmule

          re: “What happened to all the concerns about vaccinated people passing Delta to the unvaccinated?”

          Massachusetts’s most recent data on breakthrough cases indeed indicate that vaccines are working remarkably well in that state. As of July 31, there were 7,737 breakthrough infections among 4.3 million fully vaccinated people. Of these, 395 required hospitalization, and 100 died.

          With that large of a denominator, the percentages are reassuring: 0.18% of fully vaccinated people had a breakthrough infection; 0.009% went to the hospital; and 0.002% died.

          1. Pat

            While there may be no disputing the numbers of breakthrough infection hospitalization and deaths, no one in America should begin to state there have been X number of breakthrough infections regardless of region being reported about. With CDC guidance on them and with less testing, we do not know those numbers for certain.

            Although having more breakthroughs does lessen the terrifying percentage of need for hospitalization and possible death if you lose by beating the high odds and do get the disease. I mean a greater than 1 in a hundred chance you will die if you have already won the bad news lottery and aren’t in that supposed 99.82% of vaccinated people who don’t get infected.

            1. Yves Smith

              Correct. We have via IM Doc his state, many if not all hospitals in Texas, and a super prestigious hospital system not HQed in either state not reporting breakthrough Covid cases.

              So if Mass is actually tracking all/most breakthrough cases, it appears to be quite the exception.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            If 395 fully vaccinated were hospitalized and 100 of them died, then, assuming these numbers are “predictive” as implied, you have a 25.3% chance of dying if you’re fully vaxxed and hospitalized. 1 in 4. Not quite as “reassuring” as “.002 %.” Just sayin’.

            For “context,” you’d need to quote from further down in the article:

            While Massachusetts did not offer data on the percentage of unvaccinated people who’d been infected, hospitalized, and died, it’s likely a substantial proportion, given the state’s 7-day average of 870 cases daily (and given that the 7,737 breakthrough cases were a cumulative total since Jan. 19, 2021).

            Yes, researchers have acknowledged that breakthrough infections are likely to be under-reported, so the CDC recently estimated that 35,000 fully vaccinated people each week develop symptomatic COVID-19.

            You have to believe that the same data for the unvaxxed would have been provided had it reinforced their point. Instead we get the uber-“scientific” “likely a substantial proportion” verbiage.

            And the number 7,737 “breakthrough” cases would seem to be meaningless. The cdc itself “estimates,” according to the article, 35,000 symptomatic breakthrough infections PER WEEK. 7,737, measured since January, 2021, is what, 2 days worth????

            The story of breakthrough infections is one of the degradation of “protection” offered by the “vaccine” over time, as well as what happens when a vaxxed person’s immune system is challenged with re-infection as time since “vaccination” increases. It is a dynamic situation as opposed to the static one represented by these fuzzy numbers.

            There’s no way to assess what’s really going on unless it’s honestly compared to what is happening in an unvaxxed control group, which this article specifically refuses to do.

            1. Skip Intro

              I think there is another half to the story, and that is that the vaccines were never claimed to prevent infection and transmission, the limited data only showed they were effective in reducing hospitalization. The combination of delta and the false sense of safety has lead to some unknown number of non- or mildly-symptomatic, highly infectious people. The CDC has said not to test the vaccinated, so breakthrough cases only show up in the stats when they’re pretty sick. The indications from Israel are that the vaccine makes no difference in transmission.

            2. Aumua

              If 395 fully vaccinated were hospitalized and 100 of them died, then, assuming these numbers are “predictive” as implied, you have a 25.3% chance of dying if you’re fully vaxxed and hospitalized. 1 in 4. Not quite as “reassuring” as “.002 %.” Just sayin’.

              Yes, You can make numbers appear to say all kinds of different things if you play around with them. Just sayin.

              And the number 7,737 “breakthrough” cases would seem to be meaningless. The cdc itself “estimates,” according to the article, 35,000 symptomatic breakthrough infections PER WEEK. 7,737, measured since January, 2021, is what, 2 days worth????

              I’m pretty sure one number is for the entire country and the other one is for Massachusetts only. But yes the article points out that 7737 is probably under reported. I don’t think that makes it meaningless, though.

  2. vlade

    Re Lionel Messi: “I so desperately wanted to stay that I cut my pay package to measly 100 m/EUR year, but since the love of my life can’t afford even that, because the club is bankrupt, I have to take my 400m EUR fortune and go somewhere else they will pay me properly”

    can you hear the world’s smallest violin?

      1. newcatty

        We know an ex wife who is justified to play one of the world’s largest violins. The “ex wife meme” is often played by the ex husband. Smacks of the old canard that the greedy and opportunists women take the beleaguered men for a ride. Of course, not specifically talking about your situation, since I know nothing about it. Pointing out, that often the story is the opposite. We know a truly kind, generous women who was cheated on while pregnant, abandoned while the house mortgage money was used for “other purposes” and ended with foreclosure. He goes on European trips ( well, in old daze), has a luxury auto, great apartment and a busy ” Social life”. She, single mom, lives in an old, run down apartment, no trips, and works long hours every week to make ends meet. He often missed child support for two kids. She had car repossessed cause of that circumstance . How? Well, he had bucks and connections for an excellent divorce lawyer. She, with help from family, not quite as “excellent”. Could go on, but enough to make a point.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Right there with Cristiano Steroido. Pox on modern football, gladiator-robot players and dubious sources of club money

    1. praxis

      Complete theater. I stopped watching barca a couple years ago. A train wreck of entitled players and fans.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I was surprised at how upset he was, he was not faking those tears. He seems to have genuinely wanted to play for them even for a lot less than he could get elsewhere, but no doubt there were plenty of people whispering in his ears that nobody just throws away tens of millions of euro for such sentimentality. I suspect though that he is the victim of the Barca board trying to play chicken with the Spanish FA, and failing miserably. The manner in which Barca has been mismanaged the past few years (after being for many years a model of a well run organisation) is staggering. Something about losing Neymar seems to have genuinely unhinged them.

      Sadly, we we are now entering the era of the petro-giant clubs. PSG/Qatar now has Messi and Neymar and Mbappe and Manchester City/UAE has just spent £100million on a glorified squad player. Its got to the stage that Chelsea (dubious Russian petro-cash) now looks like one of the cleaner clubs. Thankfully Saudi Arabia failed to get their hands on Newcastle but I’m sure it won’t be long before they muscle in.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        At some point, one has to respect the product. How many jerseys does Messi sell to Americans who have to arrogantly and incorrectly correct people about the word soccer?

        If that is the going rate, it’s the going rate. Blame current tax structures. Is this soccer club a charity that funds research into disease? Nope. Is this a passion project between a successful actor and friend who can’t get funding to make a movie they always wanted to make? Nope. Someone is making out like a bandit.

        I don’t know the WAR for soccer players, but I have a hard time believing the players that could be acquired by not resigning Messi and even cutting total salary aren’t going to be better than a team with Messi. It’s possible the just didn’t want him at any price point.

        Then does the club need the player to sell jerseys? Some pro sports teams do, but others don’t. They will sell well regardless.

    3. InThePines

      Even had he agreed to play for free, he is out of contract. Barcelona’s wage bill:income ratio exceeds 90%, far more the 70% hard cap which Tebas and La Liga were never going to fudge after the Super League debacle. Barsa couldn’t sign and register him in La Liga at any price, and a player can’t play in the Champions League if not registered in their team’s domestic league. Barsa’s neglect of the academy and Bartomeu’s flailing profligacy after selling Neymar is not Messi’s fault. As Messi said, last year he wanted to leave and couldn’t; this year he wanted to stay and can’t.

  3. zagonostra

    >France implements Covid-19 health pass despite protests France24

    “…four weekends of angry protests that saw almost a quarter of a million rally nationwide on Saturday…[Macron] “It’s a question of being a good citizen … our freedom is worth it”

    If two Chinese protesters show up protesting Uyghurs treatment it would be splashed on front pages on NYT, but I don’t recall protest in EU over Medical Passport getting much play, nor do I see anything in the “World” section of Google News this morning.

    Most people, including friends and family living Italy, don’t even know about the protest within Italian Parliament last week (see Ytube clip below)? There was a story in the Links yesterday titled “Exclusive: New York Times quashed COVID origins inquiry,” we have the recent Russiagate reporting, and of course the long U.S. history of censorship of Media going back to operation “Mocking Bird” and so on and so on.

    Yet despite all the misinformation Macron, DeBlasio, and other political leaders want me to be a “good citizen” because my “freedom” is worth it. It’s really interesting to see some friends who have always been anti-war, anti authoritarian, now get behind “The Science” in spite of knowledge of the lies told during Vietnam, and a thousand other instances where the gov’t/ruling elites over reached.

    Time to re-read It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis because it is happening over there, over there, and it may, if current trajectory isn’t opposed, happen over here.

    1. David

      Well, the UK media has covered this extensively: the Guardian had a pompous editorial on the subject today.

      As it happened, I was in Paris on Saturday, watching one of the demonstrations there. The kindest thing you can say is that the participants were a varied lot. There were lots of families, people of all ages, few if any organised groups. Some had home-made placards articulating grievances, but most were illegible from where I was sitting. There were none of the usual chants, flags or marshals, so the motivations of the marchers were not very clear. There were two other demonstrations planned in Paris the same afternoon in other areas, one organised by Florian Philippot, who’s trying to take the leadership of the sovereignist Right away from Le Pen, and by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the unsuccessful candidate of the Left in 2017, who’s had a disastrous couple of years recently. In many ways, this is illustrative of the problem. The anti-pass movement has no real coherence, no programme, no leadership and no obvious demands. Some of the demonstrators, according to vox pop interviews, are vaccine conspiracy theorists, whilst others are fully vaccinated but object to having to show a pass. Some are young people who believe the virus can’t hurt them and don’t see why they should have to protect others older than themselves. But what unites most of the demonstrators is the opportunity to go into the streets to protest against the government: for some the pass is the real issue, for others it’s just a pretext. Given that the government (and Macron especially) is unpopular for all sorts of reasons at the moment, what we’re seeing, more than anything, is a display of general pissed-offness.

      However, a lot of people are now starting to worry about September, and the famous “rentrée” when the schools go back, and it’s widely expected that some kind of limitations will have to be re-introduced, even if not another lockdown. Precisely because there is so much anger about so many things, and because the recent demonstrations are only incidentally about the health pass, we could be in for a very lively autumn.

      1. Synoia

        Clearly the UK will adopt the tried and true Plague process from the 1666 bout of the Black Death.

        Carts wandering down each street, with chants of
        “Bring out the Dead” and with fire pits to dispose of the bodies. /s

      2. zagonostra

        “The kindest thing you can say is that the participants were a varied lot”

        I see this as well within certain circles I come into contact with. There are religious right extremist, beatniks, and others on the “margins,” who are, generally, less than well integrated socially and economically. They see vaccines as part of greater program with nefarious overtones. Others people that I come into contact who have advanced degrees, are socially and economically well off. The latter tend to distance themselves from the former and look at them askance, and, for the most part accept the “science.”

        It’s difficult for these two groups to listen to each other, but it is encouraging that you saw these two disparate groups congregating.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        In Ireland, there were some very small demonstrations against a pass, which is needed here to dine indoors. There is a very small but very vociferous right wing/CT movement here which is if anything being given disproportionate time on the media.

        Last week they ran a campaign which consisted of block booking tables in some well known restaurants and either not turning up, or turning up and demanding entry without a pass. No doubt they thought this was clever, but it backfired on them, there was a very swift public backlash against this as there is a lot of sympathy with all the small businesses suffering.

      4. philnc

        In past history, the de-legitimatization of elites happened across decades, country by country, such that they were able to bob and weave around dissent, and ultimately, popular uprisings. So the revolutions of 1848, 1870, 1917 and 1919 were spread out over enough time and geography that only one nation-state was “lost” in those cycles. The significant difference now is that process is playing itself out simultaneously across the globe, so that “the Hamptons is not a defensible position” may soon become “there’s no place left to hide”.

        1. c_heale

          With Global Heating there is no place to hide. Well, there is Mars but you won’t survive for long there

      5. Mikel

        And more on: “The anti-pass movement has no real coherence, no programme, no leadership and no obvious demands…”

        That would actually be a good descriptor of the global pandemic response “movement” by the establishiment. No real coherence (ever shifting goalposts and narratives), no programme ( there isn’t just one programme globally), no leadership ( see ever shifting goalposts and narratives), and no obvious demands (the demands are all subtle with trap doors into disenfranchisement and precarity).

      6. Maxwell Johnston

        “Some are young people who believe the virus can’t hurt them and don’t see why they should have to protect others older than themselves.”

        I don’t understand your point. The latest data coming in from Israel and USA shows that the vaccines don’t prevent transmission of the virus. Am I missing something?

        1. David

          I’m reporting what they say. The official government position here is still that you protect others by getting vaccinated, and the interviewees are objecting to having to make sacrifices for that end. Whether the government position is right or wrong is of course another matter.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            OK, fair enough. My sense is that governments in general haven’t yet fully digested the new data coming in about the uselessness of the vaccines for preventing further spread of Covid. Maybe because it’s vacation time, or maybe because the new info contradicts the official narrative that “everybody is vaccinated” = “everything is awesome”. Perhaps the young protesters have a valid point.

  4. upstater

    We visited ground zero and the museum in Nagasaki in 2016. It was a moving experience, of course. But most significant was the groups of school children placing wreaths at ground zero and copiously taking notes in the museum for the required papers. All very well behaved, of course. We chatted with some teachers and the kids came from all over Japan. It was a very memorable experience.

    One hopes some of the children embrace the lessons learned and become anti militarism. In the late 1950s and 60s there were huge antinuclear demonstrations by leftist parties. The movement was deranged with the help of uncle Sam.

    Nagasaki was testing a second type of bomb using plutonium. Hiroshima was a uranium bomb. Gotta make sure the both work! Nagasaki had many allied POWs, which was known, but didn’t matter.

    A war crime of the greatest proportions…

    1. zagonostra

      I’m still confused why the site of Nagasaki was selected. It was the center of Christianity in Japan, especially Catholic religion. The official account was that Kokura was the initial target but because of bad weather the second target, Nagasaki was selected. However, accounts from weather reports that day contradict this narrative (David Dionisi has a couple of books on this, I’ve not read them, only have seen reference to his work so I can’t evaluate his claims)

      1. Oh

        I believe Kurosaki (a half hour from Kokuro by train) was the initially chosen target because of a huge chemical plant there. The bad weather over Kurosaki is given as the reason Nagasaki was the eventual target per the museum there.

        A sad, sad happening in history with dubious honors going to the U.S. The big egos that were in favor of the bomb should burn in hell, if they’re not already there.

      2. James Meek

        The target was the huge Kokura arsenal, which employed about 40,000 workers, who at the time would have been nearly half women and children. It was surrounded by a large area of small subcontractor workshops. The obscuration was partly by smoke generators started up when the approaching planes were detected. Smoke from a conventional attack on an upwind industrial area may have been a factor.

        The Alperovitz book is an outrageous abuse of the historical record; read my 1-star review on Amazon (I read Japanese and have been researching this for 25+ years). The Counterpunch article is even worse, full of erroneous information, utterly incompetent at best.

    2. TMoney

      Perhaps – if you believe the Japanese were ready to surrender after 1 bomb.
      But my grandad was happy to see the end of the war – after his European tour, he was being prepped for jungle warfare in the far east, when the timely intervention of nuclear weapons caused the war to stop suddenly. It’s not like the Japanese were fanatics with huge numbers prepared to fight to the last man or anything like that.
      I’m not claiming its a good thing to nuke cities, but if your waging war and have to choose which citizens die – well the other team’s are generally a better choice than your own. We should however, send American school kids to such a site so they all know what these weapons actually do – so the next time someone wants to play wargames everyone knows just what they are causing.

      1. EdwardNoble

        Would the troop trains of combat hardened G.I.s from Europe have even made it to the west coast without riots, mutiny and desertion taking place? Doubtful.
        Patton said it best: “We were fighting the wrong side.”

        1. Phil in KC

          I’d take issue with that. Maybe today (though again, I doubt it), but the greatest generation was indeed great and fought with great fervor and love of country. In fact, many were so eager to fight that they didn’t wait around to get drafted but volunteered. My father’s first cousin graduated from high school in 1943 and immediately tried to enlist, but they denied him the chance to serve, saying he was needed on my great-uncle’s farm. They allowed him to enlist in 1945 and he was in training for the November 1945 invasion of Honshu when the bomb was dropped. He was glad for a quick and decisive end to the Pacific War. (In contrast to the bitter-end fight in Europe).

          He was in the first wave of Occupation troops to land in Tokyo in September 1945 and recounted that everyone in his company on the plane were anxious as to what type of greeting they would get at the airport.

      2. Temporarily Sane

        There’s always gotta be at least one person making excuses for dropping the atomic bombs…

      3. ex-PFC Chuck

        The US plan in lieu of using the bomb or if the tests didn’t work was to invade first Kyushu followed by Honshu. Based on the recent experiences of Okinawa and Iwo Jima Gen. Marshall et al were giving Truman estimates of 500K US killed, wounded and missing. If Truman had chosen the invasion route and that level of casualties proved the case, and then knowledge of the bomb leaked to the press, he might well l have been strung up on a DC lamppost.
        Frank Costigliola, in Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War, asserts the war’s denouement likely would have played out quite differently had FDR lived another six months or more. Specifically he claims the president’s relationship with Churchill grew more strained as the war went on whereas he and Stalin grew closer, much to the consternation of his diplomats, especially those in the Moscow embassy. It was these latter who convincingly got to Truman’s ears first after FDR’s sudden death.

      4. Darthbobber

        But the Japanese had been attempting to negotiate terms of surrender for some time.

        Anyway, the logic runs the same for all such slaughters of the civilians.

        “If our soldiers attack their soldiers we might suffer high casualties. Therefore, we will not fight against their soldiers. Instead we will hold the civilian population hostage and do mass killings of noncombatants to compel surrender.’

        1. James Meek

          The Japanese were not attempting to negotiate terms of “surrender”. The ruling oligarchy were trying to get out of the war on terms that would have precluded the planned occupation reforms of their master-race-myth based hypermilitarist system.

          It’s truly amazing that people of left and liberal persuasions nowadays think we should have made peace on terms that would have left that system in place (we destroyed that poisonous sysrem and deposed the Emperor in all but name). At the time, it was exactly the most left and liberal elements in the American political system who (quite rightly) opposed appeasement and wanted the Emperor tried as a war criminal.

          Note that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria killed more noncombatants and caused more human misery than the atomic bombings, and was rushed by Stalin after the news of Hiroshima as he feared Japan might surrender before he could get into the war and rip off the industries Japan had built there. By doing so he needlessly risked the lives of tens if thousands of Soviet troops (the Red Army was prepared for more than half a million casualties). But you’ll find no criticism of it by Alperovitz. And the Counterpunch piece gilds it as the Soviets “making a contribution”.

          It’s absolutely clear from the Japanese-language historical record that it was the atomic bomb that caused Hirohito to command his government to stop angling for soft peace terms and accept the Potsdam Proclamation terms, the day before the Soviet entry into the war. And his chief political advisor Marquis Kido made it clear in a 1950 interview that the bomb alone would have been adequate to bring surrender. The carnage of Stalin’s attack was not necessary.

          1. Polar Socialist

            The ruling oligarchy were trying to get out of the war on terms that would have precluded the planned occupation reforms of their master-race-myth based hypermilitarist system

            True, but a conditional surrender is still a “surrender” nevertheless. It means the end of war. While I completely agree on the need to reform Japanese political system, history also tells us that unconditional surrenders often plant seeds for new wars.

            …was rushed by Stalin after the news of Hiroshima…

            Completely untrue. Already in 1943, in Tehran, Stalin had promised to join the the fight against Japan within 3 months of German capitulation. Which is exactly what he did, to the day.
            Planning for the Manchurian Strategic Offensive started in March 1945, 6 months before the launch date. For months equipment and troops were transferred to Far East. 1000’s of kilometers of new roads were constructed. Each Army was meticulously restructured, re-equipped and trained according to their planned task. Units were assigned tasks based on what kind of battles they had fought in Europe. And all this was done without the Japanese intelligence ever getting even a whiff.
            Marshal Vasilevsky reported to Stalin that the troops were ready to begin the attack on the 5th of August, but Stalin delayed until the last possible agreed upon date. Doesn’t seem too rushed to me.

            As somewhat interesting though exercise: what if Vasilevsky would have attacked on the 5th? Assuming the operation would have proceeded as it did 4 days later, the Red Army would have already pushed trough Kwantung Army’s defensive positions to a depth of 150-200 kilometers rendering the situation hopeless for Japanese in Manchuria and unconditional surrender the only option left for the Emperor by the time Enola Gay was taking off.
            Do you think general LeMay would have called it back?

            And his chief political advisor Marquis Kido made it clear in a 1950 interview that the bomb alone would have been adequate to bring surrender.

            While he made it clear, researchers (like Tsuyoshi Hasegawa) say:
            “Kido’s description of the emperor’s reaction to the Hiroshima bomb must be taken with a grain of salt. As Hirohito’s closest adviser, Kido worked assiduously to create the myth that the emperor had played a decisive role in ending the war. Kido’s testimony under interrogation on May 17, 1949, was designed to create the image of the benevolent emperor saving the Japanese from further devastation. Hirohito’s offer of “self-sacrifice” does not correspond to his behavior and thinking during those crucial days. ”
            In other words, Kido was desperate to hold on to the last remains of the “master-race-myth based hypermilitarist system”, not assert what really happened.

            1. James Meek

              Re your “Completely untrue …”:
              Regarding the start date:
              Per David M. Glantz’s authoritative “The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945: ‘August Storm'” (page 140), on August 3 Vasilevsky reported to the Stavka that although his forces would be prepared to receive the order to attack by the morning of August 5, it would take 3 to 5 more days to begin operations, and he advised the optimum would be August 9-10. The Stavka then set the date to begin the offensive as 0000 hours August 11. However during the afternoon of August 7 he received a new directive to accelerate his preparations by two days and attack at 0000 hours August 9.

              Per David Holloway “Stalin and the Bomb”,, (page 400, note 74), at Potsdam on July 24 General Antonov assured the Allied Chiefs of Staff that the Soviet Union would be ready to begin operations in the latter half of August, though the exact date would depend on completion of the negotiations with the Chinese.

              Truman’s Potsdam note of July 17 states that Stalin had told him August 15 would be the start date.

              Vasilevsky was hard put to attack even on the 9th. As I wrote, he did so only because Stalin was desperate to get into the war and gather his spoils before Japan could surrender. By doing so, as I wrote elsewhere here, he caused the deaths of more Japanese noncombatants than died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and risked the lives of many tens of thousands of his troops (the Red Army was prepared for more than half a million casualties). Actual Soviet combat deaths were about 13,000, Japanese at least 30,000 (in addition to the noncombatant deaths).

              Regarding “… all this was done without the Japanese intelligence ever getting even a whiff”:
              – It’s long been well known that Japanese diplomatic couriers transiting the Trans-Siberian railroad had reported in great detail on the amount of Soviet arms being transferred to the Far East.
              – It’s also well known that the Japanese were expecting the Soviet attack to begin in late August or early September (most likely because July and August are the monsoon rainy season in Manchuria, unfavorable for a Soviet armored offensive).
              – You will find in the UK National Archives numerous Blechley Park decrypts of Japanese diplomatic and military attache messages from Europe to Tokyo warning of the impending Soviet attack, e.g., document collection HW 35 messages ULYRA/ZIP/JMA numbers 11440, 11475, 11567, 11585, 11625.

              Regarding Kido’s remarks, I was referring to his replies to questions by Frank Nakamura on April 17, 1950, long after the Tokyo trials. (Kido Koichi Nikki, Tokyo Saibanki ISBN 978-4-13-030043-8, pages 443-444). He stated that while the Soviet entry into the war provided additional pressure, he believed the atomic bomb alone would have been adequate to overcome military and popular resistance and bring the war to an end. Note that though there is probably some validity to Hasegawa’s opinion that “Kido’s description of the emperor’s reaction to the Hiroshima bomb must be taken with a grain of salt,” what Kiso was referring to in the Nakamura interview was the fact that the atomic bomb gave the Emperor and Kido a tool they could use to overcome army resistance to surrender, as it would allow the army to save face by claiming it had been defeated not in battle but by U.S. science.

    3. Big River Bandido

      “A war crime of the greatest proportions…”

      What, then, of the war crimes committed in Nanking, Manila, and Unit 731?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not for those of Unit 731. Most of them went on to have long, distinguished medical careers in the Japanese medical establishment after the war was over. One guy went on to doing experiments for Japan’s National Institute of Health Sciences and infected prisoners with rickettsia and mental health patients with typhus.

          They were secretly granted immunity in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East by the US government in exchange for information and research for the US biological warfare program so long as this data was not shared with the other Allied powers. About a dozen were prosecuted but by the Soviets which the US labelled as Russian propaganda. In the end this data was found to be mostly trash.

        2. upstater

          It was the USSR that tried and executed some of the Unit 731 perps; many return to Japan. MacArthur gave those criminals a free pass in exchange for their data on human experimentation. Many of these monsters are buried and memorialized at the Yasukuni shrine, when a nondecript landfill or the ocean would have been far more appropriate.

          Bandido, Tmoney: Nobody is making excuses for the barbaric militarism of the Japanese. It is documented there were contacts between Japan and the USSR (they were not yet at war) to end the war in the month prior to the bombing on the condition of retaining the emperor. Which is how it ended anyway. I believe the purpose was to demonstrate the weapons to the USSR. Groves said something to this effect was the case very early in the Manhattan Project, long before the bombing.

          1. Big River Bandido

            The dispatches sent between the Toyko government and Ambassador Sato are often used to buttress the argument that the Japanese were ready to surrender. But in fact, they prove the opposite, that the high command had not reached a consensus on a surrender.

            Sato’s responses to his orders from Tokyo were generally scathing, sarcastic, almost contemptuous; he seemed to take glee at the cluelessness of his own superiors. His own estimates of the situation, meanwhile, were generally clear-eyed, hard-nosed, prescient, and borne out by history.

            It has often been speculated that the bomb was dropped simply as a power play against the USSR, but it is easy to read backwards into history and jump to conclusions too far, and that notion doesn’t really square with the status in August 1945. Things happened very quickly in summer 1945 and it’s easy to forget that things which may seem premeditated to us often would have been very easy to overlook in the rush of events.

          2. vlade

            It is reasonably well documented that there was no single overriding force in Japanese government at the time (true from early 30s really), just a bunch of factions.

            In such a situation, it is pretty hard to argue that Japanese government wanted X or Y, and, more importantly, was able to deliver on it. Often, mid-level officers (coloners/majors) had more real power than the ministers or generals, and were able to take decisions which then drove the policy.

            1. David

              Yes, the basic error of the bombing advocates was the belief that a certain level of bombing and destruction would automatically lead to surrender. There was never any attempt, so far as I am aware, to evaluate this idea in the context of either the German or the Japanese political system, and the bombing advocates had no idea how this surrender was going to actually come about. They seem to have been greatly influenced by popular culture – the novels of Olaf Stapledon – for example, with their assumption that bombing would bring about a nuclear level of destruction and the complete collapse of a society. But they never really asked themselves how “surrender” was supposed happen.

              1. vlade

                I think it was driven by the success of the WW1 blocade of Germany, which effectively put the Germany out of the war even when it still had a functional army and all.

                If so, it was an even more stupid IMO, as we saw what it lead to. A country which is not “properly” defeated gets all sorts of issues down the line… (an example now would be Soviet Union in the cold war, and the US in its middle East adventures, or Vietnam for the matter).

        3. Big River Bandido


          The Japanese Army committed untold numbers of vicious war crimes against civilians in Nanking and Manila. Things like tying naked women to a stake, drawing a circle around the heart and telling the soldier to bayonet that area *last* so as to prolong the victim’s suffering.

          That’s just one type of horror committed in those two cities alone. The numbers of civilians murdered in these atrocities number upwards of one million in each city.

          The documentation of the atrocities committed at Unit 731 — including but not limited to human vivisection — are so numerous as to be horrifying.

      1. Darthbobber

        And were the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki composed largely of the perpetrators of those atrocities? If not, I fail to see the relevance

    4. PlutoniumKun

      The museum has been revamped in the last few years. I was told by an American guy I met doing a PhD there and he said that there was a distinct alteration in tone in the Japanese text used in the museum following the changes. Previously it was very neutral, but it had been changed to a distinctly angrier tone, although this was not reflected in the English translation. How much this comes down to pressure from the previously very conservative Abe led Japanese government I really don’t know.

      I think sometimes its a mistake to over-focus on the decision making around the nuclear bombs. In many ways, the decision had been made years before when a central part of US strategy was the deliberate destruction of civilian areas – this was the entire thinking behind the B-29 project (the single most expensive weapons program of the war), which had no other design purpose than bombing Japanese cities (it was well established at the time that accurate tactical bombing from the altitude B-29’s operated was impossible). The napalm filled bombs that had been dropped by the thousand ton on cities from February 1945 onwards were deliberately intended to cause mass destruction and casualties among civilians. Some towns were destroyed solely because they were judged to be particularly flammable, not because they had any economic or military value.

      In many respects, the decision to drop the bombs was simply a logical extension of the B-29 program, on the basis that if you have a hammer, every problem is a nail, and the B-29 was a very crude hammer. The Koreans of course found themselves under that hammer a few years later.

      1. David

        I haven’t been there for decades, and certainly the original tone of the whole display was we-were-the-helpless-victims, which is not so surprising when you consider that that’s what most of the dead actually were.
        But I do agree that far too much effort has been expended trying to complicate what was a very simple decision at the time. The doctrine of strategic bombing, to destroy the will to resist of the civilian population and bring about surrender, had been long established by then. All that the nuclear weapons really meant was a bigger bomb and more destruction, so theoretically a quicker end to the war. Yes, there were individuals among the scientists who were worried about what was going to happen, but there were very few such people among the decision-makers.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It annoys me that I can’t remember the name of the author or the book, but years back I read a very convincing argument by an American historian that the bombing was in reality the result of what would now be called bureaucratic inertia, and only minimally the result of a deliberate strategic decision, exacerbated by the extent of secrecy around the Manhattan Project. It does seem that many people – even quite senior decision makers and military men were genuinely taken by surprise by the speed at which the bombs were used. Essentially, the decision had been taken years before to destroy all Japanese cities (except for Kyoto) as a central strategy for ending the war. The use of the nuclear devices was seen by the Air Force as simply a more efficient weapon to carry it out and were used without much strategic thought (except that some wanted to keep the bombs in store for Operation Olympic). Ironically, the USAF itself had concluded from its studies in June 1944 that the bombing of German cities hadn’t made much impact on the war effort.

          A.C Graylings book Among the Dead Cities is a very interesting assessment of the ethics and morality of the bombings – as he points out, its often forgotten that the bombing of German and Japanese cities was far more controversial even during the war than is often known. The idea that it was essential to ending the war quickly was something that only became received wisdom well after 1945.

        2. upstater

          The goal of strategic bombing might be to destroy civilian will to support their government and resist, but I do not think there is a single example demonstrating this actually worked in practice. Goebbels used it as one component very effectively to motivate resistance (“total war!”) to the bitter end. Southeast Asia or Korea had far more tonnage dropped than Japan or Germany received and we know how those turned out. Perhaps there are some small decolonization or separatist wars where this was the case.

          Strategic Bombing of civilians is a fancy word for terrorism. Late in life,, Robert McNamara, Curtis Lemay’s assist said had the US lost WW2, the B-29 bombing campaign would have been prosecuted as a war crime. Which it was and will always be.

          1. jonboinAR

            “Strategic Bombing of civilians is a fancy word for terrorism.”

            I agree completely. I’ve always thought that the condemnation of “terrorism” by powerful countries like the US was a little bit of protesting too much. It’s a war-making technique proven to be effective against their populations. Hence, it’s somehow a “war crime” and an illegitimate method of making war. But “accidentally, or “collateral-laly” killing any number of civilians is somehow unfortunate, but ok, just unavoidable considering the necessary objective of eliminating the far more serious evil of the horrible dictator or whatever, whomever. Buncha BS, if you ask me.

          2. James Meek

            The immediate goal of the bombing was to cripple Japanese aircraft production, to which even the bombing of the smaller cities greatly contributed by destroying the factories that made the parts from which the planes were built. That was more effective than destroying the final assembly plants. (Japan had intentionally dispersed its parts-making factories throughout the nation.)

        3. urblintz

          The atomic bombings (I guess you believe we needed 2 to “destroy the will of the civilian population” – a ghastly “doctrine” you describe quite antiseptically) was about Russia…

          The Japanese had offered full surrender but wanted to keep their puppet emperor. We said no, then after the bombing said, well, okay Hirohito can stay afterall…

          “The doctrine of strategic bombing, to destroy the will to resist of the civilian population and bring about surrender, had been long established by then.” With an atomic bomb?.. my ass. Tokyo had already been destroyed by the fire bombings.

          See Polar Socialist below and get informed David.

          1. David

            I’m afraid you (and others here) are confusing three issues which are actually quite distinct. They are (1) How and why the decision to use the bomb was taken (2) whether strategic bombing as a whole was effective, and (3) whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki directly contributed to the surrender of Japan. The answers to the first two are clear, the third a bit less so.

            The bombs were used as part of a continuing military strategy. They were ready, Japan had not, at that stage surrendered, and there was no reason not to use them. Bureaucratic and strategic inertia largely carried the day. During the Cold War, revisionist historians began to argue that somehow the bombs were “really” directed against the Soviet Union, but there is no evidence in the documents of the time that supports such an interpretation. Second, the strategic bombing campaign was a failure in its own terms, both in Germany and Japan, although again there are some revisionist historians who have argued otherwise. But when all you have is a hammer … Beyond the obvious point that dropping hundreds of thousands of tons of explosive on your enemy is going to have some effect, it’s not clear what can really be claimed for it. Thirdly, the available evidence isn’t clear, but it seems very probable that the bombing had little influence on the Japanese decision to surrender. Indeed, some have argued that the absence of references to it in the archives, as well as the terrible communication problems at that stage of the war, meant that the War Cabinet may not even have been aware of it. But of course the fact that the bombs probably didn’t have much impact on the Japanese decision in practice doesn’t invalidate the fact that the Allies thought they would. They were mistaken. As I said, it’s important to keep these issues separate.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I think in terms of the use of the bombs, the big question has always been not ‘why did they use them’, but ‘why did they not use them on a military target’. Neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki were chosen randomly – they are both compact and surrounded by mountains and were thus judged ideal for ‘testing’, and they were largely spared conventional bombing for that reason. Both had some strategic and military value, but not more than many other places. There were other cities, such as Kure (the HQ of the Navy) which was arguably a more justifiable ‘military’ target. And there were still plenty of solely military bases they could have been used on. Or, as I think was discussed, they could have detonated one in the middle of Tokyo Bay or somewhere symbolic like Mt. Fuji.

              I don’t know much of the precise history of it, but there were certainly internal arguments at the time that the best use for the bombs was clearing the way for the landings on Kyushu that were scheduled for later that year. Thats certainly what the Navy wanted.

              To a very large extent, I think a major driver behind the choice of targets was the USAF trying to prove a point to other services.

              1. David

                The bomber lobby in both the UK and the US essentially believed it could win the war on its own by strategic bombing, and fought bitterly against any suggestion that bombers should assist in the ground war. For them, cities (with, admittedly, production facilities) were the only acceptable target. I think the argument against the “demonstration” option was that they simply weren’t sure that the bomb would actually work.

              2. Basil Pesto

                A cynical answer to this is that the Allies
                could make H & N field laboratories for nuclear warfare. There were many unknowns about the weaponry, and using them on strictly military targets would presumably have made subsequent study much more difficult. One can imagine that clearing the way for landings on Kyushu was a non-starter for a similar reason. Who knows what effect they would have had on the troops passing through the irradiated area?

                NB this post is speculative and not informed by any sources.

                the NC posts I mentioned from last year in my reply below moved me to buy Lesley Blume’s Fallout, about John Hersey’s reporting on Hiroshima (his book is something of a personal journalistic monument), at the time. I think I’ll finally start it tomorrow.

              3. James Meek

                Hiroshima was known at the time as “an Army City”. About one-third of its area was taken up by military installations. These included the HQ of the Second General Army, responsible for the defense of all western and southern Japan (including in particular southern Kyushu, which the U.S. was scheduled to invade in November). Hiroshima Castle and the surrounding area was all military barracks and offices. The bomb killed about 20,000 army soldiers.

                The intended target of the second bomb was the huge Kokura arsenal. Covering more than 125 acres, the arsenal employed 40 thousand workers (probably nearly half women and children at the time), manufacturing rifles, machine guns, artillery, ammunition and other sundries of war. As it was in the center of the city and surrounded by small factories and workers’ homes, the attack would probably have killed as many as the Hiroshima bombing.

                One of the criteria for target selection was that the target be large enough to fully demonstrate the power of the bomb. Kure and its naval base were much too small. I doubt there were any army bases in Japan worth attack with an atomic bomb that were not in cities. An airfield would not be a worthwhile target because an airburst would not damage runways, a ground burst would generate massive fallout, and the major air bases had already been under attack since long before.

            2. Basil Pesto

              for those following along, there was a spirited discussion on anniversary posts about the bombings last year. You can see them by going to the NC archives August 2020 section.

              I don’t wish to prosecute my arguments (broadly speaking, anti-H&N bombings) again here, although a commenter had a go at me at the time for my lack of knowledge of Japanese undermining my analysis because I can’t read sources. This has the potential to be a fallacious or dishonest premise for an argument, obviously, but it can also be a valid criticism, especially if one is undertaking real history (which I wasn’t, which is yet another reason not to care what I think). Still, it made me step back a bit and admit to lacunae in my knowledge of the time.

              Thanks as always to David and PK for the interesting posts.

            3. upstater

              During the cold war revisionist historians synthesized that USSR was the real target of the bomb, huh? How about Groves himself, a contemporaneous primary source?

              General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”


              It was NOT just another bomb. And while there was bureaucratic momentum to use it, the USSR was certainly one of the intended recipients of the message of its use. It remains one of the most heinous war crimes in a war that had 8 years of heinous war crimes.

              1. David

                Groves took over the project in 1942, and seems to be one of those, from his own statements, who never saw Russia as an ally, but as the real enemy. In saying this, he specifically differentiated himself from the majority of the political system and indeed the majority of the American people, when he made these comments in 1954. He was also talking primarily about the security procedures involved in the project, and his fear of Soviet espionage. It was this, rather than anything military, which made him see Russia as the “enemy.” He was, of course, speaking at the height of the McCarthy panic. In any case, it’s unlikely that he had any decision-making role about the use of the weapon.

          2. James Meek

            The Japanese *did not* offer “full surrender”.
            The Emperor *was not* a puppet.
            And we allowed him to “stay” only as a totally powerless “symbol of the state”.

        4. Yves Smith

          “Destroy the will of the civilian population”? That it horseshit. Or more accurately, US/Allied ass covering.

          There had already been 17 bigger than Dresden firebombings. And Japan had been suing for peace via the Swiss since April.

          1. David

            Er, that’s what they thought they are doing, and that’s what the doctrine of strategic bombing was all about.

          2. James Meek

            Sorry, Yves, but the Japanese had not had been suing for peace via the Swiss since April. The Japanese in Europe who had been trying to get peace negotiations started had no official backing whatsoever, and the U.S./U.K. knew this through ULTRA message intercepts.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Tsuyoshi Hasegawa makes a rather good point that after the devastation of previous bombings, the atom bombs had very little effect on the Japanese military or political decision makers. They were willing to absorb the casualties.
        The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan’s Decision to Surrender?

        What really made them desperate was the Soviet entry in the Pacific war, because until the very day the Japanese were counting on Soviet neutrality (plus mediation in peace talks) and vaguely hoping them to join to fight against US, UK and China (since Soviet Union had interest in the area – Japan was willing to yield whole Manchuria to Soviet Union if so demanded!).

        For the first 36 hours or so after the Hiroshima bomb most of the Japanese leadership, especially military, believed it was not an atomic weapon but just a bluff by USA. And even if it was, that did not change anything except a need to put more diplomatic pressure on Soviet Union to mediate better terms for peace.

        The news of Nagasaki bomb came in the middle of Japanese War Council meeting, and we thus know it caused no reaction whatsoever – the discussion was all about how to get Soviet Union out of the war as fast as possible so that focus could be on fighting the USA. It quickly became obvious to everyone that the political effect of Soviet entry into the war against Japan left only two choices: unconditional surrender or total destruction. The Emperor lost all confidence in his military leaders and made the “sacred decision” to surrender.

        And then it was over.

        1. Kouros

          Seems reasonable, but especially in the US, the idea that the Germans and the Japanese were not defeated single handedly by the GI Joes is hard to shake…

        2. James Meek

          Rather, Hasegawa makes the point that the atomic bombs had little effect on the Japanese military. It had a great effect on the political decision makers, and on the Emperor, who on August 8 directed Foreign Minister Togo and Premier Suzuki to stop angling for soft peace terms and bring the war to an end. Suzuki then ordered Chief Cabinet Secretary Sakomizu to schedule the meetings of Supreme Council for Direction of the War and the cabinet that led to the first “sacred decision” to accept the Potsdam Proclamation. Note that Sakomizu is quite explicit that he had scheduled those meetings _before_ the Soviet entry into the war.

          Per my comment earlier in this thread, interviewed by Frank Nakamura on April 17, 1950, Marquis Kido, Hirohito’s chief political advisor (perhaps the most powerful civilian in Japan) stated that while the Soviet entry into the war provided additional pressure, he believed the atomic bomb alone would have been adequate to overcome military and popular resistance and bring the war to an end. In the interview he explained that the atomic bomb gave the him and Hirohito a tool they could use to overcome army resistance to surrender, as it would allow the army to save face by claiming it had been defeated not in battle but by U.S. science. (Kido Koichi Nikki, Tokyo Saibanki ISBN 978-4-13-030043-8, pages 443-444)

          Moreover, there was an element in the Japanese leadership which, far from counting on Soviet neutrality (they expected the attack to occur in late August or early September), intended to exploit Allied fear of the geopolitical consequences of Soviet entry into the war to blackmail the U.S. into offering softer terms to get end the war before too much of the Far East fell under communist control (Joseph Grew and Forrestal were especially anxious about this). Sometime in the last few weeks of the war Navy Vice Chief of Staff Onishi confided to his friend Yatsugi Kazuo that the strategy was to pull the armies in Manchuria and China back into strong defensive positions, allowing Chinese Communist and Soviet forces to flood into the areas they’d vacated, bringing the Soviets into confrontation with Nationalist Chinese, and perhaps even into confrontation with U.S. forces (which were expected to land in Korea and China); and that if Japan could then maul U.S. forces in their invasion of Japan, it would then be fine to negotiate peace as the international situation evolved (i.e., as the U.S./U.K.-Soviet alliance collapsed (Yatsugi, Kazuo、Shōwa jinbutsu hiroku, Shin Kigensha, Tōkyō, 1954, p. 329-332).
          The original:

          1. Soredemos

            I just wanted to thank you and Dave in Austin for meaningfully contributing to this discussion by actually citing specifics, both American and Japanese.

            The nukes and their use have been a political football for two generations now. It’s absolutely meaningless to try and debate them outside of their original context. On balance I still view their use as a war crime, but it’s an extension of the more general war crime that was deliberately bombing civilians. That’s part of the context that is missing: allied strategic bombing, conventional and nuclear, was based on a theory that turned out to be massively wrong, but which was coherent and had a rationale behind it at the time.

            One of the things that strikes me after reading much on the use of the bomb is the degree to which there never actually seems to have been any singular decision. Once the true, unique horror of nuclear weapons became painfully apparent Truman would like to claim that this had been some sort of agonizing decision on his part. But there’s little evidence of that ever having really been the case.

            The nuclear bomb was developed based on the logic that “well, someone’s going to do it. We need to get there before Germany” (looking back Germany was in fact no where close to having the bomb, but that wasn’t known at the time). Once Germany surrendered the logic shifted to “well, we’re so close, might as well keep going. Might need it in Japan”. Once the tests were finished the bombs simply moved through the bureaucracy to approval and deployment. No one seems to have even appreciated that this was some sort of big step that should be treated with particular attention. As far as the military and most of the civilian officials were concerned a nuke was just an especially powerful bomb. If it had a yield of 10,000+ tons of TNT, then it’s just like blowing up that much TNT all at once. There was nothing else unique about it. It’s only after the fact, when the unique horror of atomic weapons because apparent that the retconning began. Remember, the context here is that during the development of the bomb many people were inadvertently poisoned with radiation (John Wayne and a whole movie cast and crew most infamously) because its danger wasn’t fully appreciated. These kinds of mistakes would continue to be made during the post-war testing into the 50s.

            There’s no compelling evidence that the use of the two bombs was any kind of calculated show of force to the Soviets. There’s also no real evidence that the bombings were viewed primarily as field tests (though I’m sure this was a factor that lingered in the minds of some people involved). The process by which both Hiroshima and Nagasaki came to be targeted is well documented, they weren’t cynically chosen because they were viewed as ideal test zones with terrain that would amplify the shockwave or anything (and both were valid military targets; the way key evidence about the military importance of Hiroshima in particular seems to have conveniently fallen through the cracks is…interesting).

            I think ultimately the nukes weren’t actually needed. I think the Soviet invasion by itself probably would have been enough, though it may have taken weeks or months for its full effects to make themselves apparent (the die hards in Tokyo would have had to come to see that their hopes of pitting the allies against each other weren’t going to come to pass). I don’t even particularly find the argument that a bloody invasion would have necessarily followed if the bombs hadn’t been dropped particularly compelling. The oft-repeated ‘one million dead’ trope is not entirely honest (that was one estimate for total casualties from one specific invasion plan. It wasn’t the only plan, and ‘casualties’ doesn’t automatically mean dead), but any invasion would have been bloody. I think in the event there simply wouldn’t have been an invasion, and the home islands would have just been blockaded and the bombing continued. The 1946 bombing survey, which I know was a politically fraught document and not entirely neutral, maintains that inter-island ship lane mining would have been sufficient to compel surrender. Of course, how long would that have taken? Would more Japanese have died of starvation and conventional bombing than died from the nukes? And what would have been the toll among US sailors as the Japanese likely unleashed even more kamikaze attacks? Would we simply have been trading sailors lives for those of foot soldiers?

            But also these are all counter-factual claims. Unless someone invents a way to peer into an alternate universe and we can see how things happened in a different scenario, we’ll never know for sure. As it stands we can only appraise the decisions that were made (or not actually made at all, that seems to be a crucial factor here) within their original context.

            In point of fact the nukes really were what drove the Japanese to surrender. Not the military, but the civilians, including crucially the Emperor. There really is a verifiable direct line between Hiroshima and Hirohito’s subsequent actions.

            Also I think an added bit of tragedy is that while the Japanese ended up unconditionally surrendering as the allies demanded, to a large extent they got to keep what would have been their demands for a conditional surrender. They not only got to keep the institution of the Imperial household, but the very same Emperor, when in a more just world he would at least have abdicated. Yes, some people were hanged, but a lot weren’t. The US very quickly shifted to cutting deals and compromising in order to either get information it wanted (Unit 731), or to make Japan easier to utilize as an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the far east. Many war criminals ended up slithering back into public and professional life, and many of the corporations that drove and profited from the war continue to exist to this day. And of course the seeds were sown for a conspicuous Japanese blindness to their actions before and during the ‘Pacific War’.

            I’ve sometimes wondered if it might have been better in the long-term to starve the Japanese out, until the people themselves overthrew their leaders and demanded surrender. Such a scenario may have led to a much more though purging and discrediting of the old guard than what the US accomplished. But again, counter-factuals. And would it have been worth the likely much larger number of dead?

        3. James Meek

          Regarding “The news of Nagasaki bomb came in the middle of Japanese War Council meeting, and we thus know it caused no reaction whatsoever …”:

          As no detailed minutes have ever surfaced from that meeting or the subsequent cabinet meeting, there is no basis for saying “it caused no reaction whatsoever,” especially as one quite predictable reaction would have been that anyone who intended to argue “they can’t have more than one” would have been silent, and that would not have been recorded even if minutes had been kept. All we know about what was said in those meetings is what some attendees reported later. The meetings went on for hours, the cabinet meeting for nearly nine hours, but the reports give us just a few minutes worth of speech. We do know that in the cabinet meeting (during which news of Nagasaki was received) Army Minister Anami, though arguing that the atomic bomb was no big deal, reported that a downed American pilot had said the U.S. had 100 atomic bombs, and that also argued for continuing the war (despite the Soviet entry — he argued that the forces in Manchuria could hold out for two or three months).

    5. Wotan

      My cousin was a POW interned at Nagasaki when the bomb went off. He and his fellow POVs stared in silence when they saw the parachute drop but cheered when it blew up. It saved more lives than it lost he claimed.

    6. Harold

      The narrative that the bomb was the decisive factor in ending the war is now considered by historians to be a convenient myth. Real reason: Zhukov’s blitz invasion of Manchuria.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its a lot messier than that – Japanese sources from the period are notoriously unreliable as there isn’t anywhere near as much contemporary written records available, and obviously most post war memoirs or diaries were often a little self serving. Its not a concidence that the term Rashomon comes from Japan.

        The Japanese government was riven with different factions, policy was generally set by whatever faction had the upper hand on any given day or week. The Japanese feared Communism more than they feared the US, but they were also aware that the Soviets lacked any amphibious warfare capability, unlike the US, so they never really feared an invasion of the home islands from that direction.

        Ultimately, the real reason why the Emperor called it off died with him. Most likely it was just the accumulation of undeniable facts on the ground and the glimmer of hope offered that the Imperial family could be saved that things. There is certainly an arguable case that the war could have ended much earlier had the US had not insisted on unconditional surrender, but arguably that was not politically possible at the time.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Re Soviet amphibious capability: you might read about Project Hula, which was the USA’s frantic 1945 effort to help the USSR invade Japan. The Soviets had quite the impressive amphibious capability by August 1945, and to this date the Russians still have their own version of the Marines (“морская пехота”, or “naval infantry”):

          Of course it’s possible that the Japanese were unaware of this development. And by all accounts, the Japanese were caught totally by surprise by the Soviet attack of 9 August 1945.

        2. Harold

          Soviets were promised Sakhalin by treaty, didn’t need amphibious capacity to demand Hokkaido. (C’mon, man! .. as our leader would say). Japanese defensive capacities were nil at this point.

        3. John Steinbach

          “Japan’s Longest Day”, by The Pacific War Research Society, provides the best referenced analysis of the events leading to the surrender decision.

    7. Phacops

      Some point to the Operation Meetinghouse firebombing of Tokyo as more destructive, but this overstates firebombing while creating a false notion that the nuclear weapons are somehow equivalent to it. The density of fatalities with the nuclear weapons is greater.

      From an analysis: “So if the Hiroshima bomb had been dropped on Tokyo, it probably would have destroyed less area than the March 1945 Tokyo firebombings — something like 5 square miles, compared to the 15 square miles destroyed by firebombing. However it would have killed between two and four times as many people who died in the firebombings, and injured possibly fewer or the same amount of people.”

      Either way, American’s claiming that its civilians were illegally targeted by terror in the WTC attack in a legitimate act of war (because of America’s foreign involvement in anti-muslim warfare) rings hollow.

      We need to eliminate all nukes, especially as the B61 dial-a-yield has people talking about it as a “usable” weapon.

      1. lordkoos

        My father was in the army as a navigator on bombers that flew over Manila, and later Tokyo. After the Japanese surrendered he was part of the forces that occupied Tokyo, and was then able to see the results of the bombing missions he helped to guide. He would never talk about that time.

        1. Dave in Austin

          I read this string of comments with interest. I’m probably the only person here who has spent much time with the original documents and I can tell you, neither the left nor right interpretations has much to do with reality; both are exercises in ideological post-hoc thinking. And even the most acute commentators here are working with a very limited and distorted funds of information. I could give a dozen examples but here are just two:

          First “The strategic bombing program against Germany was a failure”. It didn’t halt German industry until late 1944 when not only deep penetration missions with enough fighter cover and low bomber casualties became possible, but also because against limited oposition the correct targets were hit repeatedly (coal-to-synthetic fuel plants, rail years, locomotives and power plants). The none-to-good 1942-early 1944 bombing campaigns did however divert huge German resources.

          In 1945 German AA was using 10,000 88 mm AA guns which were vitally needed to reinforce the less than 3,000 88 mm anti-tank guns opposing the Russians. The lack of fuel meant German fighter pilots were going into combat with less than 100 hours in the air vs 400 for the Americans. As a result the German air force became insignificant by late 1944 and allied bomber casualties went down. In March 1945 on the first days of the attack across the Vistula the Russians flew 30,000 missions/day (many more than were flown on D-Day) against almost no resistance. The German Air Force was out of business. If the bombing offensive had not happened the Germans would have had more than 2,000 jet fighters and 1,000 type XXIII submarines in action by January 1945 and the results would not have been pretty. Strategic bombing was not a failure, it made a significant contribution to victory.

          “Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not military targets”. Wrong. I’ve unearthed many of the original US documents which were “misplaced” and they tell quite a story. The plan to invade Kyushu in late 1945 was in serious trouble. We had expected to face four divisions but the Japanese had broken our codes and there were now 17 divisions there with more coming. The HQ for the southern defense army group was in Hiroshima castle, which was on a limestone hill and had many deep tunnels. But the whole staff and the commanders were out every morning in the courtyard doing calisthenics. Three bombers coming by overhead were routinely ignored, so got them all, totally disrupting the Kyushu preparations, along with making the largest rail marshaling yard in southern Honshu and the ship loading docks unusable.

          My favorite tidbit is from the “accidentally” misfiled Nagasaki mission telexes. The Nagasaki mission was intended for Kokura on the north coast of Kyushu. It would get the largest small arms plant in Japan and the place where the electrified rail tunnel came across from Honshu. The mission was a mess: the Japanese read our weather plane messages and knew the targets; a fuel pump had failed on the bomb plane so 1/10 of the fuel couldn’t be used; one of the three planes on the mission failed to meet at the rendezvous so an hour of fuel was lost waiting; the bomber made three passes over Kokuru and couldn’t see the target- the Japanese had apparently used smoke generators. So low on fuel they couldn’t divert to Iwo Jima, the bombers headed for still-contested Okinawa. The secondary target was Nagasaki and on the way they dropped the bomb by radar and they missed the target by more than a mile because they didn’t have the fuel to make a second run. They arrived at Okinawa with no fuel and no radio crystals to call the airstrip, so they fired off flares, drove right through the planes on the approach glide and landed. When they tried to taxi off the runway two of the four engines ran out of fuel and stopped. If they were still carrying the 10,000 bomb they would have run out of fuel and crashed at sea. Back at the HQ of 20th AF rear in the Pentagon, the HQ’s head, Gen. Lauris Norstad, after a nail-biting 12 hour wait for word from the plane, found out what had happened and sent a telex congratulating the pilot for finding a more appropriate target than the AF had selected with six months of effort. Unexpected people were unhappy with the targets.

          1. James Meek

            Dave is 100% correct on every point.
            (I, too, read Japanese and have spent thousands of hours reading both the latest Japanese-language histories and the original primary documents on which they’re based.)

          2. vlade

            If you have access to the primary sources, then you know well that fuel was a problem for Germany from day 1. It had to rely almost entirely on Romania, which it lost in summer 44, and even that wasn’t close to necessary.

            Once Ploesti was lost, it was only some trivial wells in Czechoslovakia/Hungary/Austria and synthetic oil – which had no chance of supporting army, navy and airforce.

            The strategic bombing was a failure – because, for one, they could not really hit anything with any sort of precision. The larger impact it had was on the workforce, than the actual equipment, but even that’s questionable.

            What was not a failure were the deep raids disrupting the rail transportation. Germany suffered from the lack of locomotives and rail cars from early in the war (as in it had less than it really needed to support its industry), and the air raids were a significant drain on these. But these were possible only quite late in the war.

            1. James Meek

              No, as Dave in Austin wrote, the strategic bombing was not a “failure”. Though it did not decrease German weapons production as much as hoped, it forced a massive diversion of weapons and other resources into defense against the bombing that would otherwise have been used against Allied ground forces. And it _did_ reduce weapons production (by IIRC about 10%) — every little bit helps.

          3. David

            As I said, you can’t drop hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs on countries for years without having some sort of effect. Yes, German production had to be partly geared to meet the bomber offensive, and what you spend on one thing you can’t spend on another.
            But that’s not what the bomber lobby promised. Their entire argument was the bombing would cause a collapse in civilian morale, especially among industrial workers, that would in turn lead to the collapse of Germany and make a land invasion unnecessary. Harris, the head of Bomber Command promised that, with enough bombers attacking the Ruhr, he could end the war in 1943. (All this is in the official documents). The bomber lobby totally failed to deliver what it had promised, and to that extent the bomber offensive failed.
            It remains an interesting question what would have happened if more effort had been devoted to precision-bombing of infrastructure and transport, but this would have required capabilities that the allies didn’t really have, as well as a complete change in policy. The german economy was heavily resource constrained throughout the war.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Afghan conundrum”

    This is nuts. The Taliban have just spent the past twenty years pushing the US/NATO out of Afghanistan at enormous cost. Why then, would they let India establish a presence there when India is getting in deep as a partner with the US and are part of the Quad? They would be putting at risk everything that they have fought for.

  6. QuarterBack

    Re Employers conditioning employment on home surveillance – If there are any movie producers out there, maybe it’s about time ‘1984’ had a prequel.

    1. Jesper

      Intrusive and also pointless. There’ll be little to no improvement in output and the people who believes that this will improve output might need to check their calculations. True, multiplying a small improvement by a large number of people might seem like it will do something, however, the reality is that the improvement is so small that it is insignificant compared to many other things.

      My favourite example of this kind of sub-optimising (spending more on efficiency than the efficiency gain saves) is when an efficiency-expert saw me doing something that took me minutes to do. I did this task once per week. He decided he wanted to automate it so he spent an entire weekend on automating it. Time saved was maybe 2-5 minutes per week and as a percentage of my 40h work-week then a time-saving of 2-5 mintues was 0% improvement. Even if that 2-5 minutes per week had been multiplied by thousands of workers (there were not) then the time saved would still be nil.
      It is a bit similar to the people who try to save money on computers by buying a computer that on average is working at 95% of max performance. One slight disturbance pushes it into 100% and the result is a reduction of performance by 50-75% or worse. There is always a need for slack in the system, things and people break down if they are worked at 100% for extended periods of time.

      In the end then I suppose it is about power and control; If executives and managers are not exercising power and control then some/many executives and managers believe their own jobs are at risk. They’ll do onto others so it won’t be done to them.

      1. hunkerdown

        When every “citizen” has nine “slaves” collectively at their command, the material concerns take care of themselves, and there are only left the interpersonal protocols and postures to perform. There was a WaPo opinion piece from earlier this year trying to normalize condescension and self-superiority and the aristocratic mien. We need defenses against the exercise of class privileges, and preferably some very powerful self-defense. Lots of them.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      brother works in follow up sales for a giant tech company.
      working at home since march 2020.
      in june, mom talked him into meeting us in san antone to take over ferrying her around while monitoring stepdad’s va icu adventure(not really taking a load off me, since he’s coming from the other direction…i still had to take her down there, and retrieve her 2 days later, but whatever)
      he’s always covered up at work…more so since bringing the office home.
      That office resides in a backpack, with a laptop and assorted teleconferencing equipment, and even a few paper files that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1980’s spy movie.
      he kept it with him everywhere he went…even into the luby’s where we ate, and to the gas station bathroom.
      i asked him about it….”trade secrets?”…him:”yes”.
      what other requirements?
      camera on all the time the laptop is open…even in the bedroom where his desk is.
      location always enabled on whatever device has such a setting, including his personal iphone.
      there was more surveillance type things he mentioned, but i can’t remember them…being the kind of guy who goes blank when my weed guy asks if i have “cashapp”.
      add to all this being essentially on-call 24-7….he was “at work” pretty much the entire time he was with mom…even when he was driving her around, he was on a headset, talking to clients all over the world.
      this, for $80-100K…and yet he’s underwater on mortgage on his high dollar shack, as well as his 3 vehicles ….and experiences no downtime, even on vacation. he’ll run off to fish down at galveston(70 miles to his south), but think about work the whole time(fish can sense this: he never catches anything…adding to his anxiety)
      as we’ve discussed around here before…even the PMC are part of the Precariat…just better compensated for it.

      since he hired on there, some 12(?) years ago, i’ve told him i wouldn’t last 10 minutes with those people before showing them the finger,lol.

      1. John Beech

        Show them the finger? I imagine a mortgage on home and autos keeps him in line. I remember being shocked the first time I heard my boss and the company owner talking about an employee buying a new truck and chuckling about how he was now under the gun (at the time I was being groomed for a position so I was occasionally invited in for after work toddies in the boss’s office). Never forgot and have endeavored to live my life without the debt that would sink us if one or the other lost their jobs.

        Sadly, I didn’t pass that lesson on as I’ve learned to my chagrin when daughter and grandchildren arrived to camp out with us. This, after son-in-law announced he wanted a divorce via text (total coward, but I digress). Anyway, she carries $80k worth of debt, which I’ll be responsible for once they’re divorced because she can’t possibly clear it and I don’t want to see her ruin herself for the purpose of a lesson. Fortunately I can afford it but it bothers me she turned out so stupid about finances.

        Comes from running off to marry the pool guy (not literally but the subject of many movies, e.g. where little rich girl falls in love with the poor guy who can’t keep them in the style her father could and use credit card debt to pretend). Sigh.

        Anyway, my point stands and the guy puts up with the cameras and the overwork because he has no choice. Said choice being made by him when he undertook so much debt. It’s called wage slave for a reason! Note; upraised middle fingers are immensely satisfying – but – you’d better be prepared to accept the consequences when it’s displayed.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          only debt we have is from the first 3 weeks of wife’s cancer adventure…before medicaid saw fit to kick in(this being Texas, and all)
          that will never get paid…especially since i can’t even determine who it is sending the bills(ie: were they one of those doctor looking types who literally stuck their nose in the door on their way down the hall and billed for it?)
          my credit score…last i looked, whenever they made it free to do so…is around 50…because i have no debt…which says it all, really,lol.(debt=money)
          it ain’t easy to live these days without it…and i couldn’t have a 3/2 2 story in kingwood, texas without going into debt…but then again, i wouldn’t live there anyway.
          since he’s all online, now…i’ve lately advocated selling that house at the top of the market, and coming out here, where a nice house can be had for relatively cheap. but his wife would abscond with the kids, i’m sure.
          i think she’s the main reason he keeps digging his hole.

          “Our desires and possessions are the strongest fetters of despotism-“–Ed Gibbon.

      2. Daryl

        That’s fascinating. I work in tech and I would imagine any constraints similar to that would result in a riot of the employees. I do of course assume that everything I do on the work laptop is monitored and all of my emails/etc are forfeit. But cameras? Answering calls before 10 and after about 4? I’d be looking for the exit in short order…

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          he says the weird hours are due to time zones…ie: when singapore or vienna wakes up.(may be an excuse/justification for working himself too hard)
          i’ve encouraged him to find something else to do for a living for a long, long time…mostly due to the sharkpeople he works with.
          constant pressure to be a sharkperson, himself…which runs against his essential self.
          of course, the last year and a half, those shark people are relegated to virtual…but i gather that in many ways, it’s worse when he can’t stare them down in person.
          and this whole work from home experiment has had the effect of increasing his workload…whether due to layoffs(idk) or the fact that his home office is in his bedroom, where he can see and hear it if he wakes up at 3am for a wizz: which makes him switch to work-mode mentally=> then no more sleeping=> then may as well get to work.
          I’ve recommended he put one of those 3 part partitions around it, or throw a sheet over it…as well as adopt some kind of ritual when “leaving the office”(turn around 3 times and spit, etc)…anything to put a bright line between his off time and work time. The daily fight with Houston Traffic used to perform this function.
          i worry about him…he’s pretty high strung already…but keeps it tightly wound up and under his shirt…my vibe antennae bristles whenever i’m around him…i can feel the tension in him.

          he doesn’t take my advice, of course…
          i’m just a poor crippled farmer-guy with no healthcare and a 16 year old truck that has manual windows…so what do i know.
          i don’t even have a mortgage…or a credit card…or a real job.

          1. Daryl

            > i don’t even have a mortgage…or a credit card…or a real job.

            Me neither and I thank my lucky stars every day.

      3. griffen

        It’s a healthy job market right now; your sibling ought to at least entertain the idea he could leave. More current openings apparently than people to fill them.

        Tossing a few feelers on Linked in or Indeed or such could turn into something. Heck, even the people he covers as the mega tech rep might consider it.

        Corporations are sucking out the very soul of most non management.

    3. Mikel

      Why do they need home surveillance when fhey can just provide workers with the phone they are supposed to use and monitor that?
      Also, that distance from workers had never been a “problem” before…look how many call center jobs are outsourced.
      Nah…this is about Big Tech creeping in on more metrics to sell advertisers and trying to create a precedent (this will be challenged in court) for other employers to do the same.

  7. Wukchumni

    A ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs thought up in the heartland
    Little Boy’s gonna be a uranium scar
    Fat Man debuts from backseat of Bockscar

    Suckin’ on fire-seared cogs that used to be human beings
    Fat Man’s sittin’ on Japan’s lap
    He’s got his hands between Nagasaki
    Little Boy say, hey Fat Man lets run off
    Behind Hiroshima and see
    Dribble off those babbling brooks
    Let me do what I please
    And Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone they wok on

    Little Boy sits back reflects his thoughts for a moment
    Scratches his head and does his best clean sweep
    Well you know Fat Man we oughta blow up the city
    Fat Man says, baby you ain’t missing no-thing
    Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone

    Gonna let it rock
    Let it roll
    Let the A Bomb come down
    And save my soul
    Hold on to U 235 as long as you can
    Changes comin’ round real soon
    Make us half-life women and men

    A historical ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs that went off according to plan

  8. RockHard

    Searching for the Next War: What Happens When Contractors Leave Afghanistan? The Diplomat

    This is an interesting article. The USA has been selling armaments for ages, but you could say that the most dangerous weapon of all is a human being. So now that’s what we export: Hollywood movies, weapons and most importantly, mercenaries. A cruise missile is dangerous until it’s used, then it can’t do any more damage. Mercenaries trained by the US military but without any stable command structure are dangerous until they get killed.

    Having said that, the bit about “exploited workers” is bit rich. These are people who threaten, intimidate, and kill for money. They’re people with no ties or commitment to the local culture, which makes them perfect soldiers – the local armies drawn from a country’s civilian population might have divided loyalties.

    “TCNs often risked their lives for far less pay than their American counterparts at contracting companies, and are often exploited by their employers. Post-Afghanistan, as these vulnerable workers are pulled into even less transparent conflicts, it has become more likely that they will be injured, killed, or exploited.”

    I’m sure it’s likely these soldiers for hire will suffer, but it’s a certainty that for every one who does, a hundred or a thousand civilians in some other country will suffer too.

    1. Keith

      Well, TCN is a bit outdated, by at least a decade. The term, at least when I was overseas was FN (Foreign National). It was meant to be nicer. You have to realize that not all these “mercenaries” are in the combat arms trade. They cook meals, fix toilets, build buildings, etc. In fair, they are just supplying their trade to provide for their families. Back in the day, I oversaw several from south Asia who merely wanted to put their kids through school so they would have a better life, ditto for their American counterparts.

      It is easy to blame and castigate the people who at the bottom of the food chain trying to make the best of opportunity.

      Lastly, do we direct the same ire at people who choose to make the military their profession? Or is it since they are paid directly from a government they become noble civil servants?

      1. RockHard

        >It is easy to blame and castigate the people who at the bottom of the food chain

        The point is it’s an odd way to frame this article, “gee what a shame these Nepalese contractors don’t get good job protections while they help the USA turn Afghanistan into a humanitarian nightmare!”

        Understood, some of these guys are basically construction workers. But they also work security. Or participate in the assassination of a head of state.

        >Or is it since they are paid directly from a government they become noble civil servants?

        No, but there’s a government behind them and they wear the uniform. You blame the government. Who do you blame when it’s just some guy wearing unmarked fatigues?

    2. David

      I read this a couple of times, and I’m still not sure whether the authors have actually visited Afghanistan, or just interviewed a few people who have. A bit of context might be useful therefore, not least because like most such stories it’s obsessed with the US angle, although contractors in Afghanistan work for many different nations, for international organisations like the UN and the EU and for local and international NGOs.

      “Mercenaries” in the traditional sense of soldiers fighting somebody else’s wars for pay, are now basically an extinct breed. The last example I know of is Libya before 2011, when Gaddafi employed mercenaries from West African countries in his Army. It’s not uncommon for states to make use of ethnic militias (eg in Sudan) but that’s a different issue. Modern “mercenaries” don’t fight at all if they can help it, and, rather than being independent “soldiers of fortune” they are often retired military personnel sent on training and advisory missions by the state of which they are a citizen, or by the UN or the EU.

      Now, there are many countries in the world where basic security of foreign nationals can’t be guaranteed. Even if there is no conflict in the country, Embassies, residences, UN/EU offices, major hotels, banks, NGO offices and so forth can attract the attention of ill-wishers, maybe for political reasons, but often just for ordinary criminality, or hostage-taking, which is an industry in some areas. In theory, you ought to be able to rely on the host government to protect these sites, but very often you can’t. The solution is to employ retired soldiers and policemen for things like static guarding and close protection tasks. So if you were a diplomat, the head of an NGO or someone from the UN visiting Kabul perhaps 5-10 years ago, when the international presence was at its height, you’d have been collected from the airport in an armoured Land Cruiser, gone through security barriers to get into your hotel, escorted to meetings etc. by retired soldiers working for a private security company. Such people don’t fight wars. Their job is to protect you, keep you out of trouble, and call for help if it’s needed. Kabul was not (then anyway) a war zone, and truly violent incidents were very uncommon: it was a bit like living in London during the IRA bombing campaigns of the 1970s.

      The final strand is that when you have military deployments, from purely peacekeeping all the way to war-fighting, you have a lot of jobs where soldiers are not needed. Our model of large-scale military deployments is still drawn unconsciously from WW2 and Vietnam, which were fought by large conscript armies. Modern armies are nearly all professionals, and it simply doesn’t make sense to have highly-trained professionals cooking the food, refuelling vehicles or doing the washing. So you employ locals to do that or, if the job is sensitive, you use retired soldiers from your country for things like static guard duties. This is as true of UN operations as it is of Afghanistan.

      Obviously, nothing guarantees that the companies concerned will treat their people well, and I’m sure that many of the criticisms in this piece are quite justified. But it does give a rather distorted picture of what’s going on generally.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “and call for help”

        The modern mercenaries in the Afghanistan example always knew proper soldiers would come get them. Like mercenaries of yore, when the tough gets going, they flee or join the winning side. I’m sure the drug trade employed people, but I figure they were well compensated.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Maybe it isn’t happening in a country like Afghanistan, and I have doubts about that, but it certainly is happening in places like Yemen.

        I’d also guess that mercenaries are doing a lot of dirty work in Africa.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          War Nerd once commented drily that the UAE seemed to hire better mercs than the Saudi’s, hence their better performance in Yemen, up to when they lost interest.

          I think in Yemen there is a large ‘grey area’ where lots of African soldiers have been ordered to fight for their Saudi allies in Yemen due to cash gifts to their home countries.

    3. Wukchumni

      1, 2, 3, 4

      Well the war was now nineteen
      You know what I mean
      And the way it looked
      Was way beyond repair

      So how could we depart & have conflict with another
      Oh, when KBR had standing there
      Well Halliburton looked at fees
      And they, they could see
      That before too long
      They’d fall in love de rigueur
      They wouldn’t dalliance with another
      Oh, when they had standing there

      Well war profits went boom
      When we crossed into the ‘stan box room
      And they held their hands out every time

      Oh they prospered through the fight
      And they held their money tight
      And before too long
      They fell in love with war

      Now why be a sutler with another
      Oh, when they had standing there
      Well the war profits went boom
      When we crossed that Rubicon into doom
      And they held their hands out each time

      Oh they prospered through the fight
      And they held onto to manna tight
      And before too long
      They fell in love with war
      Now why have a dalliance with another
      Oh, when they have standing there
      Oh, since they have standing there
      Yeah, well as long as they have standing there

    4. Andrew Watts

      The extent that the US relies on mercenaries makes America look less like Rome and more like Carthage.

  9. Wukchumni

    Port Authority’s Inspector General to Probe Sky-High Airport Food Prices After ‘$27.85 Beer’ Fiasco The City
    The first time I flew into Prague with a friend, we saddled up to the airport bar for a couple of barley sodas, and to my amazement, a 1/2 liter of Pilsner Urquel was 71 Cents, hadn’t they got the gouge memo?

    I related this miracle to my cousin, who scoffed @ the hidden gouge I missed, as 1/2 liters @ his favorite bar were a mere 25 Cents…

  10. LawnDart

    Pandemic set off deadly rise in speeding that hasn’t stopped

    More often than not, I am on the road for my job. While the pandemic has seemed to have unleashed a contagious form of a$$holery in general, the increase is very noticeable on the highways. On the interstates, I’ve noticed that offenders tend to be white males behind the wheels of higher-end vehicles, although in certain places, like Shelby County, TN, 100+ inside of city limits is not uncommon with these vehicles usually driven by younger black males. With some women drivers, there seems to be a tendency to “yo-yo” between given speeds; say the speed limit is 70, they’ll zip to 80 and a minute later drop down to 60, which makes it a bit aggravating if you are trying to use your curse control. Also there is this “Thou Shall Not Pass!” mentality, where you move to pass a car that you’ve overtaken and the driver speeds up.

    But it’s only an increase, a flare-up of symptoms if you will, of what was already present before the pandemic… wankerism is a word that I think well-describes it.

    From our good friends at the Urban Dictionary, I submit the following for your purview:


    UK/Aus/NZ slang for:

    1. Someone excessively and annoyingly pretentious and/or false, with a strong likelihood of working in the creative industries, especially “new media”. Very high populations of wankers are to be found in certain areas of London including Shoreditch and Hoxton; see also Shoreditch twat.

    2. Someone with a faintly sociopathic lack of regard for other people; see also arsehole.

    3. Someone useless, inefficient or time-wasting, especially in a place or work and/or position of responsibility.

    4. A general term of abuse.

    5. Someone who masturbates.

    I think that a combination of 2 and 5 begins to capture the essence of what it is that we are seeing, with a pinch of number 1 mixed in. It’s easy to notice the a$$holes, because they draw attention to themselves, but even here in USA they are still the minority of people that you come across in daily life.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s hard to quantify, of course, but i’ve noticed that phenomenon as well.
      almost 3 years of mostly every 2 week trips for wife’s chemo(130 miles to san antonio, one way)…and now added the last 3 months of stepdad in the VA icu(!), and carrying mom down there 2-5 times a week.
      so that’s my sampling method, such as it is.
      road assholery is markedly up…especially since “Opening Day” in Texas…in may, i think?(time has become all but meaningless to me).
      things like cutting you off, driving too fast, swerving all over(to be fair, common in places like houston…less so out here)
      and it’s not confined to the freeways…even on the little side streets i like, there’s abundant wankery.
      i reckon one couldn’t find a single source…if you took the trouble to do some comprehensive survey.
      i think it’s the Id of the World Soul, acting out over the numerous myths and narratives and worldviews crashing all around us.

      I feel it, as well…but i’ve got a lot of practice doing my freaking out after i get home.
      (there’s even a Decompression Protocol, for after these san antonio runs…involving beer and a splif and the cowboy pool at the wilderness bar by my trailerhouse Library. everybody knows to leave me be when the Protocols are in effect….evidenced, generally, by Miles Davis in the treespeakers)

      1. InThePines

        The cuttings-off, the ill-tempered and illegal passing, the general impatience of the motoring public: these seem to be up in my neck of the woods too. It’s entirely a tourist- and resident-carrying/serving highway that I work on, heading to the unavoidable, long, deep, and wide dead-end. I don’t know whether it’s a post-Covid-infection-addled-brain-vasculature thing, or fed-up-with-life-in-this-time-and-place-of-great-sorrow-and-uncertainty thing, but consideration and regard for life and limb? they’ve evaporated on the hot pavement in the last two years.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “How Joe Biden Defanged the Left”

    He didn’t defang them. They pulled their own teeth out – with a pair of rusty pliers. They fought so hard to make him President that they did not bother to get any solid commitment from him to do anything for them after he got elected. The promise last November was that everything had to be done to get him made President and when everything was all settled, then the Left would push him left. What, you think that this so-called left is going to admit that they were made suckers out of? If anything, old Joe has pushed the so-called Left to the right. Want an example? How many on the Left are saying that internet censorship would be a great idea and silencing critics from all social media is the obvious thing to do? They were so happy to see Alex Jones shut down but now they want to shut down anybody that is not with “the program”. And how many progressive politicians have actually used their power to do, ummm, anything? This is now a very much a see what-they-do rather than a see-what-they-say situation.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “we’ll hold his feet to the fire once trump is gone”
      I voted Green.
      and don’t regret it one bit.
      to be fair, he’s made good noises that have surprised me…and even done a few things that i didn’t expect….but the Machinery will always push him back into line, no matter the epiphany he’s had in his dotage.
      i’ll continue to prepare for the worst.

    2. zagonostra

      Not sure about the identity of the “left” but I know for sure that the “They” is the same folks who orchestrated “the night of the long knives” – a night never to be forgotten by this pissed-off erstwhile Bernie supporter.

  12. Wukchumni

    We’re on the verge of going bankrupt, as the spring fed creek that supplies our cabin community’s water is toten hosen. This has never happened before in 90 years of occupancy…

    Notes from the underground:

    In the last week, the water level of the pool in the creek that supplies the surface water filtration system has dropped rapidly. Although the water tanks are currently refilling each night, if the level of the pool falls below the intake valve, the tanks will not refill. We cannot predict whether or when this will happen, but it is possible that we may have only a few days’ notice before we are unable to deliver water.

    We had planned to use the well as a back up supply to the creek. The well was opened over the weekend for testing. The well is producing no water at this time. Thus, our only source of water is the creek pool referred to above, which is diminishing rapidly.

  13. Wukchumni

    Tokyo Games prove Olympics are more irrelevant than ever Asia Times

    I would propose a ‘War Olympiad’ instead, lasting only a fortnight.

    Combatant nations would compete to see how many lives & wherewithal could be lost in such a short time and before you knew it, a truce was signed at the closing ceremonies and similar to athletes in obscure sporting events, we’d forget about it until the next War Olympics came along in 4 years.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Learn to live with mutating coronavirus, top Chinese virologist says”

    This is Shi Zhengli’s idea? She works in a biolab with the best protection available and a boatload of protocols to follow to protect her. Every day she works in a plastic biosuit. If she ever gets sick, she is prioritized for treatment by the State who will give her whatever is necessary. Wait a moment. I’ll just turn on the news and see what is happening with this pandemic. Uhuh. Borders shut, people wearing masks, protests, ICU beds running out, mass graves in the third world, people isolating. Hmmm. And this is what learning to live with the virus looks like. And yes, it is still mutating. What if it learns from the MERS Coronavirus a few tricks and now has a lethality rate of 35%. What then? It won’t be so much living with the virus as dying with the virus. Maybe they should totally revisit the whole vaccine situation and start checking out those paths not taken. See what was missed because of wanting a quick and easy vaccine first. Till then, keep wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It’s not over till it’s over- (4:19 mins) Click SHOW MORE for lyrics.

    1. hunkerdown

      What are you even on about? China didn’t create the variant factories and permanent virus reservoirs in the US and EU. The US and EU made everyone else’s bed and now we all have to lie in it. The distribution of infections and variants has reached disaster levels that are unrecoverable with current values and property interests, and China didn’t make those up. This is why we should harass, annoy, obstruct to the best of our legal rights those people in the street who show signs of ambitious entitlement over others: so they stop that.

      1. The Rev Kev

        What I am saying is this. People like Shi Zhengli say that we should learn to live with this virus and I am saying that that is not possible. Most countries are either depending on vaccines to get them out of this situation or are aiming for a mythical ‘herd immunity’. We have to do stuff like the Chinese are doing like testing a city of twelve million people to see who is infected rather than playing whack-a-mole, re-configuring our economy to enable people to work from home more and revamping building to enable more ventialtion.

    2. John Beech

      Must admit to being a cautious fellow, e.g. masking up post vaccine despite pronouncements it was safe not to. Nor have I stepped foot in a restaurant in more than a year and a half. Over? Not yet.

      Meanwhile, I’m greatly encouraged by IM Doc’s data regarding Ivermectin. Disappointed the government and media seems to be in cahoots with Merck regarding how it doesn’t work. Won’t be in the least surprised if they soon find a tiny change in formulation which allows them to charge out the wahoo for it.

      Health care is the sole exception to my capitalist leanings. I’d far rather see it being run like a utility. Changed voter registration to Democrat to participate in the primaries to support Senator Sanders but that came to nought so I still ended up voting for DJT. Seriously dislike the guy, but Biden as an alternative has been everything I feared. Sigh.

        1. LawnDart

          #1. Get Covid and hope you have a doc who’s a bit if a rennagade, or, #2…

          (#2 is stuck in moderation)

    3. Isotope_C14

      Hi Rev,

      She’s a PI (Principal Investigator)

      “Every day she works in a plastic biosuit.”

      She takes photos in a plastic biosuit. She has deplorable lab technicians, PhD students, and post-docs do any real work.

      All of whom should have known what they were doing and should have sabotaged it in every way shape and form. Unfortunately the spectrum in science runs from incompetent to brilliant, with a a fairly weighty populace on the former.

      At work today, I had to inform a post-doc that the media that just says “mTeSR1” with no hand written notes on what was added is in fact, just the media without supplement (or pen-strep, or FBS, or anything else written on it.) – it is standard lab protocol to write with permanent marker what you added to the base media. I’ve never had a situation where this wasn’t done.

      He had been growing his cells without the supplement, and I asked him how his cells looked, he replied “wierd”.

      Post-doc. Not kidding

  15. Mikel

    Obama Bday bash / Covid

    Actually, it might be a good idea to convince the super famous to have these big, maskless parties once a month.
    A perfect way to keep track of vaccine protection over-time…how long and how long will it prevent deaths? How virulent will it become?

    A great way to track the effectiveness of vaccines and keep the public informed.

    These would be deaths or hospitilizations hard to hide. Many of them, if sick, would be followed by fans and media all the way thru their ordeal.

    1. newcatty

      The Maskless of the Covid Death.

      But the Prince Prospero was happy and countless and salacious. When his dominions were half populated, he summoned to his presence a thousand have and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court…The Prince had supplied all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvasatori, there wereballet dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine .All these and security were within. Without was the “RedDeath”. Edgar Allan Poe

  16. Mildred Montana

    The three-or-four-hours rule for getting creative work done Oliver Burkeman

    “…it’s positively spooky how frequently this three-to-four hour range crops up in accounts of the habits of the famously creative.”

    More corroboration. Somerset Maugham wrote every morning for exactly four hours from 8am to noon and took the rest of the day off. When he lived on the French Riviera he had his writing desk placed against a windowless wall so that he would not be distracted by the view.

    Odd coincidence: Maugham was an exact contemporary of Winston Churchill. Both were born in 1874 and died in 1965.

    1. Harold

      According to the Trollope society, prolific Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope wrote “for three hours every morning from 5am – 8am, and then went to work. He paid a servant £5 extra a year to wake him up with a cup of coffee. In his autobiography, Trollope observed that the servant was ‘never once late with the coffee…I do not know that I ought not to feel that I owe more to him than to anyone else for the success I have had. By beginning at that hour I could complete my literary work before I dressed for breakfast’.”

      1. Mildred Montana

        I wrote an earlier reply but it seems to have disappeared into cyberspace.

        Just wanted to say, what a charming quote! Trollope seems like a nice man.

        By the way, £5 in 1850 equates to about £700 today.

        And thanks for your comment. Because of it I learned today how to do a £ symbol on my US keyboard!

  17. Andrew Watts

    RE: Taliban captures three more Afghan provincial capitals in a day

    It seems like every day the news has been one step behind the Taliban’s offensive. Yet another provincial capital has fallen for a total of six in the last four days. The government in Kabul is stretched pretty thin as they’ve been primarily using their special forces commandos as a fire brigade. By concentrating their forces in the southern part of the country the government has enabled the Taliban to roll through the north. It’ll be interesting to see if this is merely a diversion to allow the Taliban to capture their Pashtun heartland.

    The disappearance of the Afghan National Army (ANA) shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that’s been paying attention. Almost a decade ago VICE released a documentary that highlighted the poor quality of their recruits, widespread corruption, and other logistical factors that is the cause behind their collapse. It was even speculated that the troops of the ANA would either go AWOL or join the Taliban.

    This Is What Winning Looks Like – VICE

    While re-watching it recently I had a morbid yet curious question. Where did the children ultimately end up? I’m guessing they’re banging alongside the Taliban if they’re still alive.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Every day in Western media reports I hear, like a drumbeat, Taliban, Taliban, Taliban. No mention of whom they’re fighting against. In order to “capture” a capital a force must overcome its defenders. In this case, who are they and why doesn’t the media name them? Perhaps because they don’t exist?

      My admittedly limited understanding of the situation is that the Taliban have *always* controlled the majority of the country. In fact, ten years ago I remember then President of Afghanistan Karzai being jokingly referred to as the Mayor of Kabul, because that was the extent of his power.

      I stand to be informed on this issue because I certainly can’t rely on the media.

    2. David

      To understand this, you have to realise that “capture” doesn’t mean what it would mean in a WW2 battle. In Afghanistan, as in most Asian/African conflicts, there isn’t a great deal of actual fighting. The weaker side will usually retreat, sometimes after token resistance, or indeed the commanders or the troops may just change sides. This was the pattern of the “defeat” of the Taliban in 2001, and it looks like being the way in which they will take power again. An awful lot of local commanders and leaders seem to have worked out that the Taliban are going to win anyway, so they might as well get on board. Drones and airstrikes can’t do anything to stop that.

      What little I saw of the ANA didn’t impress me: more importantly, they didn’t impress the military I spoke to. It was notorious that the Taliban paid better than the ANA, and they were probably much less corrupt, certainly at senior levels. If you want to understand what’s going on in Afghanistan today, The Godfather is probably a better guide than any number of western books on military strategy.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its been the way of war since at least the times of the Greeks and Persians outbidding each other for the loyalty of various city states.

        Its kind of ironic that it shows that the US could well have had a lot more success if it spent a little less on bombs and a little more on cash payments to the right people.

        I do wonder how long the Taliban will be content to maintain a fairly bloodless process – at some stage I suspect their minds will turn to taking revenge on those they see as traitors.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the one cab i’ve taken in 30 or so years was driven by an Afghan immigrant, “Mike”(i insisted on calling him his given name, “Abdul”)
          he said he had been a translator…wanting to help his country…believing the american BS, etc.
          but the local warlord’s goons showed up on his dad’s farm…said “Abdul/Mike has to go”
          so he went, to protect his extensive extended family there.
          so he drives a cab in san antonio, texas…says he requested that city because there’s a sizeable population of Afghani/Pakistani tribespeople there(ie: those borders are a western conceit, and have little to do with the lives lived there).
          took an hour, both ways, due to traffic(and i called him back for the return trip)…so we talked at length.
          me, about farm life, which got him all excited, and then led into the bitterness i glean that is always there, that he can never go home to butcher goats or tend crops again.
          i think about him whenever i see a news story from the thought collective about that part of the world, and how they’ll never make it on their own, without Uncle Sam lording it over them.

      2. Andrew Watts

        If you’re right about that than Kabul is in serious trouble. It looks a lot less secure than it did before and a noose is being formed around it. The government, or rather the people who run it, might just flee without a struggle for it. I gather most high ranking officials probably have another passport already.

        In the documentary, a US Marine officer compared it to the Sopranos. I don’t want to demean the Afghanis too much as I’m reminded of the US government’s response to the pandemic. There is a huge disconnect between the people on the ground and the officials in Washington. Most high ranking officials only look interested in having their next photo op and so on.

        The comparison is striking.

  18. antidlc
    Obamacare architect floated for top FDA job

    Biden administration officials involved in the lengthy search for a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner have discussed University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel as a candidate to lead the agency, according to four people with knowledge of the deliberations.

    A prominent figure in Democratic health policy circles, Emanuel helped craft the Affordable Care Act as an adviser to the Obama administration. The 63-year-old has since become a strong ally of President Joe Biden, advising his campaign and later serving on the transition’s Covid-19 advisory board.

  19. Rod

    Much thanks for a source with something real to offer that I may have overlooked.
    With the reason they wrote it to be a reference.

    A 10-Point Platform (and Anti-Platform) on Climate Change Counterpunch

    ten things that are forthright, concise, and doable today as well as tomorrow.
    You’ll understand why Radical Conservation shows up at # 3 when you see #1 and #2

    with ten counterpoints of the current Hopium for sale— that may sound familiar to any interested in survival as a species

    I believe I’ll share it with my Congressman and Senator when their ‘Breakthrough Covid” (bless their hearts) quarantine is up and they are taking Constituant Visits again.

  20. juno mas


    Sounds like an argument for radical conservation to me.

    (I’m sure today’s IPCC report will shake some more people awake, as well.)

    1. juno mas

      Here’s the LATines editorial on today’s IPCC report of environmental warming “Code Red” .

      We can still prevent the worst devastation with radical action to cut carbon emissions over the next decade.

      Make that 8 years and 5 months and it’s a maybe.

  21. Soredemos

    >US falling further behind China in STEM PhDs Asia Times

    Is this as BS as every other time there’s fearmongering about a supposed STEM shortage?

    1. juno mas

      Those STEM PHD’s are mostly acquired at US institutions of higher education. I see them every year (maybe not this year (Covid restrictions)). They are hard working students. I’m not sure their environmental science education is having an impact back in China, though. China is still making wrong assumptions as to their ability to tame natural phenomenon (flooding, in particular). Their engineering is quality, but making the wrong assumptions is lethal.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Egypt: Ancient pharaoh’s boat transported to new museum”

    Unbelievable that this 4,600 year old boat managed to survive and it is magnificent. There is a video I link to below that shows this boat in its museum and you have to click the ‘CC’ button to get the text describing it. (10:28 mins)

  23. ArvidMartensen

    As regards the Covid vaccines and the increasing evidence that might be ineffective long term against SARS-CoV-2, and might even do harm, it might be worth looking at the experiences around depression treatments SSRIs.
    First, many of the industry funded SSRI experiments were skewed to give good results, when the truth is that they are probably no better than a placebo – .
    Second, there is some preliminary practitioner evidence that the Covid vaccines, like SSRIs, may do long term harm. See above paper and also looking at what IM Doc is saying.
    Third, for both SSRIs and vaccines there has been a barrage of PR in the medical literature, by the relevant health authorities, and in the daily press, extolling the effectiveness of said treatments, so that those who question have been seen as anti-science, irrational, simpletons.

    So if experience shows, as it seems to be, that vaccines are progressively failing in the fully vaccinated countries to stop infection, then to stop illness, then to stop hospitalisation, then to stop death, we can expect the drumbeat of vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate to grow louder and more persistent, not less.
    We can also expect to see “new and improved” vaccines, “new and improved” research and continuing demonisation of opponents.

    If you look at depression, after over 30 years of docs handing out SSRIs like lollies, there is still an epidemic of depression in our communities. Rational thought would say that if they worked then depression, like smallpox, would be a disease of the past. But GPs ignore this and keep dishing out SSRIs to the bereaved, the newly separated, the unemployed, the marginalised, and those burnt out by inhuman work demands.

    Bombardment by marketing works. Especially when a country’s health authorities are captive to the industry.
    So it matters not if vaccines don’t work, they will be foisted on us for a very long time in terms of booster shots, shots for the next variant, shots just in case there is a next variant etc.
    And like the CDC is doing now, all data which shows harms will not be collected or will be deleted or ignored.

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