Links 8/8/18

Yves here. Apologies for the lack of original posts. Working on some longer-term stories (reporting takes a ton more time than commentary) competing aging parent duties.

OffGuardian (JTM)

Burn, Baby, Burn

Reuters (EM)

Washington Post (David L)

BBC. Photo of emaciated lambs. :-(

Politico. More from Politico’s daily newsletter:

1540 ALL OVER AGAIN? The rivers dried up, the leaves turned brown mid-summer and wildfires swept across the Continent. Temperatures climbed above 40 degrees. Sound familiar? Sitting in Wittenberg in July of that year — 1540 — a desperate Martin Luther wrote to his wife: “Day and night there’s an unbearable heat and dryness everywhere. Come, dear Judgement Day, Amen.” A few days later they burned a witch in Wittenberg. But even that didn’t help end Europe’s worst drought. About 40 million people lived in Western Europe at the time. And about a million more people than usual died that year.

DealBreaker

Science

Lars P. Syll

Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

CNN (Kevin W)

Politico

Brexit

Guardian

Irish Times

Guardian. Ahem, that’s before you get to distribution issues. Trust this government to implement a sensible rationing scheme?

Counterpunch

New Cold War

State Dept Demands Russia Withdraw From Georgia’s Separatist Regions Antiwar.com. Kevin W: “It is not generally known that the military for South Ossetia has already been partially incorporated into the Russian Armed Forces so this demand will not likely be fulfilled.”

Asia Times

Syraqistan

Reuters

Nordwest-Zeitung. Google Translate:

Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

RT (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Verge. Well, scrap the (very very idle) idea of making that trip…

Tariff Tantrum

Wall Street Journal

Trump Transition

The Hill

BBC

Bloomberg

Atlantic

Forbes. UserFriendly: “Wowzsers if true.”

Rolling Stone

News anchors should be asking Deval Patrick about his work at Texaco and subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest, and the circumstances under which he was offered the positions.

— Zach Carter (@zachdcarter)

Fake News

Gizmodo

Gunz

The Trace (David L)

New McCarthyism

– CBS News (UserFriendly)

AntiWar. Wowsers:

Sunday’s suspension and banning of antiwar and libertarian Twitter users Peter Van Buren (whistleblower), Scott Horton (Antiwar.com Editorial Director), and Daniel McAdams (Ron Paul Institute Director) is all over the media today, including on Drudge and Zero Hedge. In today’s Ron Paul Institute special report we bring all three together to tell what really happened… and more importantly, what it means to the future of social media and free speech.

Kevin W: “Cfdtrade gets two mentions about 16:25 & 17:35 in.”

Consortiumnews

YouGov (UserFriendly)

Real News Network

NonProfit Quarterly

Bloomberg

Wolf Street (EM)

New York Review of Books

Crisis Retrospective

Obama didn't prevent a depression. He prevented a New Deal.

— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller)

Class Warfare

YouGov (UserFriendly)

Business Insider (Kevin W)

CNBC (UserFriendly)

Dean Baker, Counterpunch

Antidote du jour. Susan B:

This is a Máfur from Iceland, also known as a baby seagull. It was taken on the small island of Flatey off the coast of Breiðafjörður in Iceland. Flatey has fantastic bird watching.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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306 comments

  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: Socialism is becoming more popular with Baby Boomers,

    This is not surprising. Contrary to the stereotype of the rich Boomer relaxing on the beach and enjoying their retirement, many Boomers lost out big in the financial crisis and never recovered. More people are working past retirement age, many because they have to and not just because they want to, and those are the lucky ones compared to those who lost jobs and could never find decent work again due to age discrimination.

    Also, again, contrary to the Boomer vs. Millennial stereotype pushed by the media, many Boomers seem to understand and empathize with their struggling children and grandchildren. At least from what I have seen, plenty of Boomer parents help their children out by letting them live at home rent-free or with minimal rent in order to help them as they struggle with jobs and difficulties building savings.

    Certainly there are also many Boomers who are stuck in the right-wing media bubble and refuse to believe that the economic system is not working for everyone and it is not just a problem with “laziness” or “entitlement.” But Fox News and talk radio can only distort reality so much. Sometimes reality hits you so hard that you have to take notice.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Livius Drusus
      August 8, 2018 at 7:13 am

      I’ve noticed a slew of articles about how well off the elderly are – living the high life on social security and medicare.


      Those covered by Medicare have no skin in the game. And that is precisely why Medicare for All would be an abomination.

      A startling inaccurate and ignorant statement. Not only is there skin, there is muscle, bone, viscera, and all your blood (and I am only speculating, but I surmise the blood being confiscated is due to Peter Thiel…) in the “game.” Just as lack of regulation and oversight in the housing “free market” almost destroyed the world economy, “free market” medicine is nothing but a GIANT scam that manages to be as BAD AS POSSIBLE – lots of useless stuff at high prices while NOT providing useful NECESSARY inexpensive care.


      Take my own bete noire – shopping for drug plans. How the H*LL are you suppose to know what illness requiring what drug your going to need in the future? (I’m talking about making sure the drug you need is on your health plan’s “formulary”) When I get fire insurance, it is for FIRE and the CAUSE of the fire is irrelevant (other than fraud). Likewise, I expect my health insurance to cover any valid prescription drug necessary for my treatment.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        “Those covered by Medicare have no skin in the game.”

        Ack! I have ‘traditional’ Medicare only, no Medicare Advantage or Supplemental. Mostly because I refuse to give away money to predatory health insurance companies. (My grandma would call this behavior ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face.’)

        So, with traditional Medicare, there is an annual deductible of a couple of hundred dollars. So, I paid for the first couple of chiropractor visits out of pocket.

        Then, Medicare pays 80% and I pay 20% for most services. Medicare does NOT pay for an annual physical. Nada. So I paid for a physical with a new health care provider when we moved.

        And, Medicare refused to pay for an electrocardiogram done by my physician to check for heart damage due to my spiking blood pressure (moving is stressful!!)

        Medicare does NOT cover visits to the optometrist. Or pay for necessary eyeglasses. So I paid for my visit to the optometrist. Fortunately, I have artificial lens due to early cataracts, so my vision is pretty good and I can function without my distance and reading glasses.

        Medicare does NOT cover dental visits. Even routine teeth cleaning and checks for oral cancer. Despite studies linking infections caused by bad oral health to heart disease.

        I am out of pocket for a co-pay every time I fill my prescription for a generic hypertension medication. Only a few dollars, but it’s my skin. Plus, the whole ‘shopping for a drug plan’ for next year, under Medicare Part D, is a Kafkaesque scenario.

        So, in the past 12 months, what with premiums deducted from my Social Security checks and my out of pocket expenses, I have paid about $2,000 for health care expenses. And, I am old but pretty healthy, aside from mild hypertension and arthritis in my spine. And ankles. And hands.

        As an aside, this scenario is what I have in mind when we refer to ‘Medicare for All.’ It’s crapified universal health care.

        Reply
        1. Carla

          Of course, what we really need is Expanded, Improved Medicare for All — as outlined in HR 676 and advocated by Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (www.pnhp.org). It would include full dental care, nursing home care, and comprehensive drug coverage, among many other things.

          In other words, we need the kind of universal healthcare many other countries have, from Canada to Taiwan. It’s a shame that we Americans refuse to demand this.

          Reply
          1. Eclair

            Carla, you and I are on record as demanding the kind of universal healthcare that countries from Canada to Taiwan, from Sweden to New Zealand, have!

            Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for mentioning HR 676.

            From congress.gov:

            (a) In General.—All individuals residing in the United States (including any territory of the United States) are covered under the Medicare For All Program entitling them to a universal, best quality standard of care. Each such individual shall receive a card with a unique number in the mail. An individual’s Social Security number shall not be used for purposes of registration under this section.

            (b) Registration.—Individuals and families shall receive a Medicare For All Program Card in the mail, after filling out a Medicare For All Program application form at a health care provider. Such application form shall be no more than 2 pages long.

            (c) Presumption.—Individuals who present themselves for covered services from a participating provider shall be presumed to be eligible for benefits under this Act, but shall complete an application for benefits in order to receive a Medicare For All Program Card and have payment made for such benefits.

            (d) Residency Criteria.—The Secretary shall promulgate a rule that provides criteria for determining residency for eligibility purposes under the Medicare For All Program.

            (e) Coverage For Visitors.—The Secretary shall promulgate a rule regarding visitors from other countries who seek premeditated non-emergency surgical procedures. Such a rule should facilitate the establishment of country-to-country reimbursement arrangements or self pay arrangements between the visitor and the provider of care.

            It depends a lot on the Secretary to determine who is in the ‘all.’

            And secretaries come and go all the time.

            Also, the presumption (c) is interesting, if not exceptional. I assume, similarly, everyone presenting himself/herself to be a presidential candidate is eligible, needing only to complete an application.

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              The qualifications to be President are (1) at least 35 years old; and (2) a born citizen of the US.

              And, of course, a vote of the Electoral College – which, as we’ve learned, has little to do with the popular vote.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I was wondering if, similar to the residency question, a person is presumed to be a natural born citizen, pending the completion of his/her application to run.

                In that case, if the government can’t prove the person to be not natural born, that’s the end of it.

                Reply
        2. oh

          I’ve often wondered what good is the extended (private) Part B is good for. It’s another give away of our tax dollars to the private insurance crooks. Their list of drugs covered is almost always out of date as are their lists of participating clinics and doctors. Besides, doctors may pull out of the network once you’ve chosen the insurance company. The rating of the insurance companies by Medicare is always a year behind.

          As detailed in the book “An American Sickness” by Dr. Rosanthal, the whole healthcare (for profit) industry is a profit machine Everytime there is a requirement by Medicare to remove a ripoff in the system, heavy lobbying seems to defeat the move.

          Unless we remove the insurance companies from the loop and cut back on $$$$ paid for unncecessary drugs and so called treatment and surgery, the looting of $$$$ from the individual will continue.

          Reply
          1. RUKidding

            I have Medicare Part A because I’m old enough to have that. I am still working full-time and am covered by my employer’s health insurance, which is considered a “good” policy these days but is clearly crapifying year over year.

            I want to work and am glad to have a great job that I love (and that I’m still capable of handling), but I admit that I’m partially motivated to stay in the workforce as long as possible bc my preliminary investigations into Medicare and all the varous off-shoots of it have led me to the inescapable conclusion that it’s mostly crap.

            As you say, there’s absolutely no guarantee that your chosen doctor will stay in the network that you choose (based on past, outdated info). I’m lucky that right now I’m not taking any ongoing medications, but who knows what will happen in the long (or short) run. The whole prescription thing is a nightmare.

            Anyone who thinks we shouldn’t move to some sort of nationalized health care system is either willfully blind & stupid or rich enough that spending thousand$ annually doesn’t matter.

            I just heard from a friend of mine. Retired teacher who just found out that she will no longer get health insurance as part of her retirement package. She has some type of arthritis requiring the use of medications. Her cost for whatever she takes will rise from something like $70 per month to over $1000 per month.

            In an article linked here yesterday, it highlighted an elderly man with Parkinsons who can no longer afford his medication due to a dramatic increase in the cost for it. He is on Medicare, but so what? So here’s the elderly man with Parkinsons who can no longer afford his medications.

            It’s outrageous. How can any sentient being believe that this health care scam is OK?

            Reply
          2. Lord Koos

            The health care debate is invariably framed in the mainstream media as being about “insurance”. In reality of course, health care and insurance are not the same thing. We can easily live without the latter if we have the former.

            Reply
        3. Westcoastdeplorable

          My “Medicare Advantage” plan costs me nothing in terms of a premium, and covers most everything, except a modest co-pay on some of the drugs I need. You might want to look into all the different plans available in your area, I’m in SoCal.

          Reply
          1. oh

            You’ll find out the gaps in coverage if you go for your “preventative checkup” which is supposed to be free. For example, If you get a colonoscopy, they’ll find the polyps without your approval (you’ll be under a sedative where you won’t remmeber anything when you come out of it) and they’ll send you bills that are not covered by you “insurance”. BTW, your medicare advantage does cost you – it’s deducted from the social security payments to you.

            Reply
            1. Lord Koos

              Being new to medicare as of last year, I didn’t realize they would take deductions from SS to pay for medicare. Two programs aimed at helping seniors, and they take from one to pay for the other… nice.

              Reply
        4. Phacops

          Re: Medicare Advantage.

          There is a new scam run by insurers for Medicare Advantage. They are calling the elderly and scheduling a “home visit”. Under the guise of this visit they document “medical and safety issues” that are used to upcharge medicare reimbursement. A reason I will never participate in anything but standard Medicare.

          Before I die I hope to see the employees of medical insurance firms and mail order pharmacies destitute and living under highway overpasses.

          Reply
        5. Procopius

          I have never understood why someone who is not a doctor or executive in a pharmaceutical company think that “having skin in the game” is only a financial obligation? If I’m having a heart attack I have “skin” in the game, why are you taking whatever money you find in my wallet, too? Where did the idea come from that medical care is like shopping for a new pair of socks? Now I’m seeing commenters who are surprised that people seeking non-emergency care are not making use of “transparency aids.” Of course nobody knows that such things exist, and in the real world they mostly don’t. Saw a study recently that people pass five cheaper “providers” on their way to an MRI examination. How would they find out about those cheaper “providers?”

          Reply
      2. TroyMcClure

        I love how having a mortal body (which I didn’t ask for) that requires food, clothing and shelter is not considered “skin in the game” :)

        Reply
        1. knowbuddhau

          Oh my. If this weren’t a finance blog, I might ask, where were you before you were in your body? How did you come to be there? What’s the nature of this realm? How and when did you come to be in your body? By what process was that accomplished?

          That way produces cellves cellf-imprisoned by your own mistaken making. Everything there is is Other, in that way. Kinda isolating.

          Are you not selfsame? Are we not all selfsame, at root, with all there is, all at once? (Diversification does not mean absolute division. Although us earthlings are obviously much different than Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, it nevertheless shaped this solar system, which shaped and indeed still shapes, this planet (we gain a little weight all the time thanks to a perpetual shower of meteorites), which of course shapes us earthlings. And don’t get me started on quantum entanglement. And then there’s the startling but compelling challenges to local realism.)

          As it is, Ima just let that go. Oh wait…

          Reply
    2. marieann

      As a boomer, and maybe it makes a difference because I am in Canada, I never stopped being a socialist. Both I and my husband worked in jobs with strong unions. I know where the good paying jobs come from and where employees views and concerns are taken into account. It’s not because of a generous company it’s because of strong labour agreements.

      I am appalled at this economy where workers are treated like chattel.

      We have a really good retirement now, also because of unions.
      Why would anyone in the working class (meaning anyone working for money) not see that what we need is more power to the people

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        marieann:
        “Why would anyone in the working class (meaning anyone working for money) not see that what we need is more power to the people?”

        I am also a boomer.
        Many more citizens here are finally realizing what has happened (greatly due to Bernie Sanders?), but when those with the money have all the power & the politicians in their pockets, we’re not being heard.

        Once upon a time we had unions, pensions, & good-paying full-time jobs with medical coverage in this country, too.

        When Canadian medical coverage is mentioned I’ve heard Trump supporters gasp & state that “getting a Drs appt in Canada can take months, & you have to wait for surgery such as a gallbladder being taken out, for years, so people die!”, implying our medical coverage is superior. *heavy sigh*

        I, too, am appalled.
        I want my country back.

        Reply
      2. eg

        The Fraser Institute and its usual cohort of fellow travelers is busy trying to undermine unions in Canada. A particular target are the public sector unions, especially their pensions.

        Reply
    3. RUKidding

      It’s really obnoxious when there’s article after article about “greedy grandma and grandpa Boomer” who either have tons and tons of money and/or they were profligate [family blog] who spent like drunken sailors are totally and solely responsible for their bad economic plight, so screw ’em and let ’em rot.

      Sure there are wealthy boomers. And sure there are boomers who lived beyond their means and spent big-time and now are scrambling to survive financially. Personnally, I know people who fit in both groups.

      So what?

      There’s a much larger majority of boomers – I know people in this cohort, too – who did their best to live within their means, tried to save as best they could, and they got royally screwed over in the 2008 crash and ensuing DEPRESSION (I’m so sick of it being called the “Recession”). All while the 1% hoovered gobs and bags of ca$h. The banks robbed us blind and experienced no consequences. Rather they were amply rewarded and given HUGE salaries and bonuses.

      I could go on and on.

      The propaganda does its usual dirty job convincing the populace to blame the victims of the DEPRESSION, rather than the perpetrators. Why even now, the very same perpetrators have been given another ginormous tax cut (while MY taxes increased), and they want yet another tax cut.

      But let’s blame grandma and grandpa for not living up to some arbitrary standard set by ??? Pete Peterson and his ilk??

      I don’t like to talk about victims, but there are times when our citizens have been truly shafted by the rich and the powerful, and they are victims. Wake up and smell the coffee.

      We all did a whole lot better financially when our system was more socialized. So a few rich people could “only” afford two yachts, rather then TEN???? My heart bleeds… NOT.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        I’ve always hated the term “The Great Recession” & yet it did not ‘qualify’ as a depression.

        I prefer to call it “The greatest criminal financial fraud in the history of mankind”.

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          Depression for the post ’29 one was itself a euphemism, to avoid using the previously preferred term “panic.”

          For what it’s worth, during much of the time spanned by the Great Depression the economy was not technically in recession, but actual conditions remained quite dire nonetheless.

          Reply
  2. fresno dan

    Obama didn’t prevent a depression. He prevented a New Deal.

    Atrios
    @Atrios
    2 great myths of the Great Recession:

    1) fixing it was some sort of miraculous work that only geniuses could do
    2) they fixed it
    =============================================
    Brutal!
    fresno dan’s corollary: cause of the great recession wasn’t some kind of unfathomable mystery – it was greed, corruption, and illegality. (and as always, justified as innovation, reform, and efficiency)

    There was nothing wrong with saving banks or propping up the financial system – BUT the idea that prosecuting bankers for evading and breaking the myriad of financial rules and regulations would somehow hinder recovery is one of the reasons why I think we have Trump.
    Obama and Hillary (talking to Goldman Sachs for how much?) managed to destroy Franklin Roosevelt’s and the dems reputation for financial oversight and looking out for the little guy…

    Reply
    1. Darius

      The reply tweets are illuminating. Democrats cherish nothing more than the narrative of their own powerlessness. The Republicans wouldn’t let us. Blah blah blah. When Republicans hold the reins, no matter how tenuously, they get stuff done. No matter how outrageous, they ram it through, Democrats or no. For Democrats, Republican intransigence is their go-to excuse.

      Reply
      1. Richard

        But don’t you see, that is why we need the Blue Dogs
        Because then we have the majority
        And can pass important legislation…
        hey wait a minute, THAT NEVER HAPPENS THEY ARE EFFING USELESS
        sorry, I’m a mainstream dem, and I forget that every day

        Reply
        1. Phacops

          This.

          The reason I will not vote for corporate Dems. So, here in Michigan with Gretchen Whitmer winning the nomination I’m sitting out the governor’s race. What a toxic, neoliberal woman! She could probably do as much damage to this state as any craptastic republican as we descend into Michississippi.

          Working as an elections inspector yesterday it was sad to see the scam artist and opportunist, Shri, get as many votes as Abdul when I closed the poll.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth Burton

            This could be the year when candidates who weren’t successful in Democratic primaries could get traction running as indies in those states where that’s halfway feasible. Tim Canova’s trying it in Florida, so he’s probably the one to watch.

            Reply
          2. DonCoyote

            Neoliberal/corporatist Democrats can do more damage than equivalent Republicans (or at least they used to be).

            This is one of Thomas Frank’s (and other people’s arguments), which is that Democrats can get odious Republican legislation passed, because they are Democrats and can put a pretty face/veneer on it. NAFTA was proposed by Bush I but passed by Clinton. Likewise “The Grand Bargain” (privatizing SS), Repubs have wanted to do “forever”, but Clinton and Obama both actually almost did it. And of course Obamacare (sans public option, the way we go it) is a Heritage Foundation Plan.

            Reply
      2. Lord Koos

        The comment that floored me was the guy talking about how too-liberal Eugene McCarthy pushed out LBJ. Talk about revisionist… Johnson’s decision not to run again had nothing to do with that. Hippie punching is alive and well.

        Reply
    2. perpetualWAR

      “There was nothing wrong with saving banks or propping up the financial system…” This is hyperbole.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        perpetualWAR:

        I agree.
        The small banks that had yet to ‘join the gravy train’ of the TBTJ banks could have handled the banking while the big banks were broken up & their criminals at the top thrown in prison.

        If those in power had ENFORCED THE LAWS the economy would have been better off.
        But with “No-balls Obummer” in charge…

        Reply
    3. Herb Walker

      “Fixing” the Great Recession:

      I remember the day everyone “ran around with their hair on fire” crying that the entire financial system would collapse unless the government intervened. Paulson demanded that Congress give the banks $700 billion NOW.

      I thought “Great. Give them what they need. Save the system.” But I also thought of the REAL fix: for every dollar the banks got they had to forgive a dollar of home mortgage or credit card debt on their books, beginning with the lowest FICO score debtors and working their way up.

      In the end, when the banks got trillions of relief, trillions of mortgage or credit card debt would have disappeared. What housing crisis? What overburdened consumers?

      To government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, what a crazy idea!

      Reply
    4. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

      Any hope of change I had evaporated completely when President elect Obama dropped a virtual financial nuclear bomb by nominating T. Geithner for Secretary of the Treasury just a couple of weeks after the election on November 24, 2008.

      I didn’t think President elect Trump could do any worse but he managed to prove me wrong by nominating S. Mnuchin.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Who would Hillary have had for Treas Sec? If she ever said I have forgotten.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if we could sue politicians who do not deliver what they promise?

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          My one reason for preferring Obama to Clinton (not that I was political back then, that happened as a result of the crisis) was that Clinton was sure to bring back the old Clinton economics team. Turns out that was baked in with a Dem win.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            I remember a cartoon that I saw when Obama got in back then. It was showing zombies slouching through a mist towards the White House moaning ‘Jobs, jobs’ and if I recall right the zombies were marked as Bill Clinton policy wonks. That cartoon deserved to be immortalized.

            Reply
        1. Phacops

          I was banned from Daily Kos for suggesting that Obama was a Herbert Hoover wannabe once I saw his economic team before he even was sworn in.

          I am proud of that ban.

          Reply
          1. Lord Koos

            dailykos, feh. I would wear the ban as a badge of honor. One of their hall monitors once threatened me with a ban after I published some diaries which were purposely going against the grain. A few times a year I check in there to poke the hornets nest with a stick, so to speak. They are all pretty much in denial still.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Stoller was on to Obama early (as in REALLY early, he was going to be expelled from the 2004 Dem convention for saying what now look like pretty mildly skeptical comments on Obama’s coming out speech) but if you were a normal voter, you had to listen really carefully to what Obama was saying to get that he was weasel-wording his Hopey-Changey talk even on the campaign trail.

              Reply
  3. Clive

    Re: […] this little England, this sedated isle

    It’s always so fascinating and enjoyable when you get, as that writer did, pieces from non-nationals that are accurate descriptions of where you live (as you need outsiders’ world views to see things afresh because for you, as a citizen there, you just gloss over it all) which critique without judgement or finger pointing.

    And yes, that’s just how it is. All of which might serve to illustrate why, for every attitude which might be softened towards the EU by a “we just have to accept ‘the four freedoms’ because otherwise there’ll be no food!” Remain-ultra argument (of which the Guardian link a couple of lines below is an example, albeit a little click-baitey as there was an element of NFU special pleading wrapped up in the basis for it) there might just as well be at least another which is only hardened, drawn from the ranks of those the author met.

    Other newshounds please feel free to correct me, but I did notice the usual mainstream sources on both Leave and Remain go a little quiet during the past couple of days. Perhaps the hardliners in the U.K. at each end of the spectrum have screeched themselves hoarse and it has demonstrably gotten nobody anywhere. And there’s nothing much else to do but wait for the mini-Brexit Summit between the Heads of Government in Austria* in September and see where the land lies after that. Either that, or they’re just pausing to catch their breaths.

    * is a U.K.-centric bit of coverage, but note (and compare and contrast the lack of emphasis of Brexit) in this more typical European summary (although that was written a little earlier).

    Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Gates Says He Stole, Lied and Cheated But Trust Him Anyway”

    I’m sorry. When I saw this headline I assumed that it was a story about Bill Gates, not Rick Gates.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      August 8, 2018 at 7:37 am

      but IT IS just as applicable to Bill Gates….
      (I hope everyone knows the story of the “contracts” that Gates forced hardware manufacturers to sign that were a restraint of trade – just another squillionaire yammering about the market and competition who illegally prevented a market and competition)

      Reply
      1. Spring Texan

        Yes, Gates was ruthless and underhanded. We act like he brought tech stuff when he cornered the market on a lot of tech stuff not invented it and was a scoundrel.

        Reply
      2. Richard

        It would be difficult to find a great fortune these days that doesn’t stem from monopoly capitalism in one way or another, from corrupt privilege.

        Reply
    2. begob

      Gary Kildall developed DOS, but the story of how it became MS-DOS is fascinating – there was a good Forbes article with full details, but I can’t find it.

      Reply
  5. allan

    [AP]

    A seven-term prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County who gained national attention in his handling of the investigation of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson lost a primary challenge Tuesday to a black Ferguson councilman, according to unofficial results.

    With the vote counted from all precincts, the county reported Wesley Bell with a 57 percent to 43 percent victory over 67-year-old Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary. No Republicans were on the ballot, making Bell all but certain to win in November.

    Bell, 43, is an attorney and former municipal judge and prosecutor. He was elected councilman in 2015 as protests continued to rage over Brown’s death. …

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      Karma finally comes home for Bob McCulloch.

      If we’re lucky, his BFF, Sen. Claire (“Evaded taxes on her private plane”) McCaskill will join him in the fall.

      Reply
    2. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

      Not directly on point, but worthy of mention any time Michael Brown is referenced, is the “Force Analysis” of William Harmening. Scroll to “The Michael Brown Report,” and click on the link. I offer no commentary as Harmening’s report speaks for itself.

      Reply
      1. marieann

        I don’t usually read about these shootings, it always brings me to tears….as it did this time.

        Thank you for posting this.

        I was never one for cowboy movies….shooting the bad guys down like dogs in the street seemed to always be the theme, only now they are shooting the black guys (good or bad) in the street…and there seems to be no good guy in a white hat coming to the rescue.

        I don’t think I want to live in this new world anymore

        Reply
        1. georgieboy

          This Harmening fellow lost the plot: go to the link provided above and look to the right side of the page, where he speaks to Closing the Reactionary Gap, and Perceptual Distortion. He is fighting a losing battle with science, not with legal stratagems.

          Why? Read Robert Sapolsky’s new opus on the state of neuroscience, “Behave.” See page 42-43, where he touches on the ultra-fast link between the amygdala and the subcortical, reflexive MOTOR pathways. “Increased speed of reaction by by-passing the cortex, but decreased accuracy. Thus the input shortcut may prompt you to see the cellphone as a gun. And the output shortcut may prompt you to pull the trigger before you consciously mean to.”

          Who ya gonna believe, the (liberal) Stanford brain researcher (neuroendocrinologist) or the ex-cop who makes his living as an expert witness? Argumentation by authority stinks, I know, but when we have to make choices we have to make choices.

          ********************

          As an aside, this sentence from Harmening’s essay is telling in the way it fails to accurately describe what Brown did before he died: ” A physical exchange ensued between Brown and Wilson through the window of Wilson’s vehicle.” Context counts where the amygdala is concerned, by the way. Getting your face punched in through the window of your police car and your gun grabbed probably primes the shortcut quite powerfully.

          Separately, if Harmening’s essay on behalf of the Michael Brown estate is to be believed then some of the (black) witnesses who appeared before the grand jury are not to be believed. Harmening quotes only witnesses 37, 43, and 54. Why were they not unanimous in what they reported? Who was crazy enough not to stick with the story which the media and their neighbors fixed upon?

          Sorry, while the long-term, slow-burn oppressive injustice in Ferguson was and is deplorable, and may provide context for understanding the riots which followed, and while the police officer may have been playing the part of oppressor without actually knowing that Brown had just committed a crime at the convenience store, the Michael Brown death was ultimately a moment of self-defense, not an execution.

          Bad guys doing bad things can be useful martyrs at times, it appears.

          Reply
  6. gordon

    Re: New McCarthyism, Martian invasions, zombie apocalypse, Russian manipulation and so on…

    It’s amazing to watch the US tear itself to pieces over highly dubious claims of Russian interference, when everybody knows the Israelis have been interfering for years and years. Israeli influence in US politics has been common knowledge at least since Mearsheimer and Walt’s well-known working paper (“The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”) published by the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard) in 2006, and subsequent articles (London Review of Books, Fall 2006 issue of Middle East Policy), and the 2007 book of the same title.

    The working paper which started the ball rolling is rather hard to find (not available at the Kennedy School or Belfer Centre sites (unless I’m working them wrong), and for some reason unavailable at the Wayback Machine – but try here:
    .
    A later version published in Middle East Policy is here:

    So while the US is busy chasing what is probably a mare’s nest, the well-documented Israeli interference is ignored. Gee, that couldn’t be the result of foreign interference, could it?

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      gordon
      August 8, 2018 at 8:06 am

      The Boxer: I am just a poor boy
      Though my story’s seldom told
      I have squandered my resistance
      For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
      All lies and jests
      Still a man hears what he wants to hear
      And disregards the rest

      If people could be objective and rational, and look at things AS THEY ARE, Russia, a supposed enemy, has probably, in reality, harmed the US less, than the consequences of the interventions we have taken in the mideast to support/at the behest of our supposed ally, Israel.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I was thinking about further on down the lyrics of the Boxer where it says-

        Asking only workman’s wages
        I come looking for a job
        But I get no offers
        Just a come-on from the whores
        On Seventh Avenue
        I do declare
        There were times when I was so lonesome
        I took some comfort there, le le le le le le le

        Sounds like a start point for tonight’s article on “What’s the Right Way to Legalize Prostitution?”

        Reply
    2. Jean

      Let’s use a control; something that’s never questioned or challenged by the MSM, as the basis for “interference” and affecting elections and foreign policy.

      Has Putin lectured congress?

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        How about Obama’s coup in the Ukraine? You know, the one that installed actual Nazis in government right next to the heart of Russia? I’d say that counts as much more than “meddling”.
        Listen to Obama’s “Freedom and Democracy” team plan their coup step by step:

        Reply
        1. Jean

          Yeah, but that’s “there,” not
          “Here in the Bastion of Democracy” that we must selectively protect.

          Reply
    3. gordon

      And now we have the US joining the UK in blaming Russia for the poisoning of the Skripals, Sturgess and Rowley.

      Russian involvement in that curious episode has never been proven. It’s just as likely that those people were poisoned by UK or other “Western” spooks, accidentally or to cause a propaganda coup, as it is that they were poisoned by the Russians. But it keeps the bandwagon rolling, doesn’t it?

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth Burton

        What to me is most terrifying about that whole Skirpal et seq. incident is that if the narrative were published as a novel, the reviews would likely be scathing. Yet apparently at least portions of the populace embrace it as absolute truth no matter how surreal it gets.

        Reply
  7. fresno dan

    The Story of Stagnant Wage Growth Dean Baker, Counterpunch

    The folks who want to blame Trump for stagnant wages are off the mark, unless they think he is responsible for the rise in world oil prices.
    ….
    Higher productivity will in turn lead to higher wages.
    The key in this story is investment. And so far, there is nothing to show here, indicating that the tax cuts are only paying off for shareholders, not workers.
    ========================================
    I certainly like Baker, but I have to chide him for even insinuating that investment, if only done right, might be helpful with regard to stagnant wages. NO, NO, NO!!!!! The problem is the rich taking ever pretty much all increases in GDP for themselves for 50 years – and this is due ONLY to corruption of the political process. Only fixing the political process will fix the problem.
    SEE:

    When it comes to the economy, the centrist Democratic message is that ordinary people are struggling and we want to create better jobs for them—which is exactly what Donald Trump says. Wait, we say, we’re better at creating jobs! But Trump and the Republicans have a clear story about how they will create jobs: cut taxes on job creators, increase incentives to work and invest, eliminate “job-killing” regulations, deport immigrants who “take away jobs,” and rewrite trade deals that hurt American workers…..
    The facts and the economics may be on our side, but that and $3 6$ (where the hell are these 3$ starbuck coffees at) will buy you a coffee at Starbucks. As Sweeney points out, Bustos stands for the exact same thing Trump does (on economic issues).
    …..
    Growth and jobs are not the problem.

    But if you look at recent history, we’ve had enough growth. The problem, as is well known to anyone (except centrist Democrats, apparently) is how that growth has been shared. Since 1980, real per capita gross domestic product — total economic output per person — has grown by 82% (1.7% per year), while real median household income has increased by only 16% (less than 0.5% per year)…. In other words, if wealth inequality had not increased, ordinary American families would have 44% more stuff—more housing, more education, more health care, more retirement security—than they actually do today. That’s a lot of stuff.

    Reply
  8. wuzzy

    Re: musicians

    Oh those poor recording and touring “artists”. A friend and I played for an hour in a club and made a total of $90 most of it tips on the eve of a big musical event, tickets $120 each. Our 150 years experience can’t match the hype of the big time promoters.

    Reply
    1. bassmule

      I don’t make my living playing music, but it is definitely an important part of my income. I don’t see the connection between playing a club for tips and touring.

      Let me tell you about touring: My band got home Monday from a five-day trip from Hartford CT to Grand Junction CO to play a long weekend private party for some rich people who have more money than sense. Our leader/lead singer got her own room, the other five of us had cots in the “dance studio.” All of us got sick to one degree or another from the smoke from nearby wildfires. We spent five hours with an unfamiliar sound system and the idiot who ran it, just getting everything to work, much less sound good. Part of my wireless rig got confiscated by the TSA in Hartford, I still have no idea why. We finished the last show at 11 pm, then got up at 4 am to drive back to the airport. It took us 18 hours to get home–including the drive to the airport, then flying to Phoenix, then to Chicago, then finally to Hartford. Where three of us (not me, thank heaven) found that American Airlines had sent their luggage from Chicago back to Phoenix. The last bag showed up at 7 am this morning. For which each of us made about $400 after expenses. The glamour of the road, yeah.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        Ouch, bassmule, I empathize. Hope you musicians befriended the catering staff (the ‘rich people who have more money than sense’ must have had caterers, yeah?) and bar tenders and got to spit in the hor d’oeuvres and the glasses of bubbly.

        Reply
        1. bassmule

          They were nice enough people. They’d seen us play at a festival in Connecticut, decided to hire us. We were politely dismissive, and then three months later the plane tickets showed up. You just never know. The missus ran the show; she won the startup lottery in 2010, dough out the wazoo. Very nice, although I wouldn’t ever want to cross her. Husband is a dance instructor. Very much the gentleman.

          Wherever we play, we’re tight with the people who do the work. We have a circuit of clubs we play in Connecticut, and we know everybody: bartenders, wait-staff, kitchen people, bouncers. Bandleader is always buddies with the owner or manager. We’ve even helped mop the floor at one club after two customers had a brief encounter that ended up with spilled blood. Only difference with a private event is getting everybody’s name straight.

          Reply
          1. Lord Koos

            I’m along time musician myself. I think the moral of the story is that you should have charged them at least twice as much for your services, IMHO that is way too much work for that kind of money. I’d rather stay home than go through that for $400 myself, but then I’m 66 and don’t like to work that hard anymore unless the payoff is big. The stoy about TSA taking your gear is enraging…

            Reply
      2. cnchal

        >. . . to play a long weekend private party for some rich people who have more money than sense

        I beg to differ. Those rich people had the sense they could get away with paying you peanuts to perform. They could have easily doubled or tripled what they paid and it still wouldn’t have been worth the hassle.

        That’s why they have moar money. Cheap with everyone except themselves.

        Reply
        1. bassmule

          You are correct, she drove a hard bargain. There is a lot of that going around these days in our business. Live rock music is extremely competitive at the local and regional level. We had the time available on the calendar, and thought we’d treat it as a working vacation. Even got an afternoon to visit Telluride (speaking of big money). But I would not do this again for the same price. We did a wedding last September in Wellfleet, just an overnight, and made basically the same amount.

          Old joke:

          “What’s the difference between country and rock’n’roll?”

          “Country is five guys in a station wagon driving five hours to play three sets for $150. Rock’n’roll is what they do when they get there.”

          Reply
          1. cnchal

            That joke is really old. $150 would barely cover the gas today, were one to find a wagon big enough, the last of which were made in 96. To modernize that joke substitute minivan and $500 for station wagon and $150, although then it wouldn’t be a joke but a tragedy.

            Reply
          2. Lord Koos

            Don’t know what it’s like in Connecticut, but in the Seattle area for the last 10 years or so professional musicians now have to compete with hobby-rocker guys who have good-paying day jobs at Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon, etc. These guys always have really nice (expensive) gear and some of them are talented enough, the problem is that they will play for nothing. Makes it so that it is hard to get a decent price out of the club owners, most of whom don’t really care how good the band is, as long as the liquor sells. Weddings and company parties still pay pretty good.

            Reply
            1. wuzzy

              LOL in the 80’s, in PDX. I had to compete with a lawyer who would play for $10 – $2.50/hour. I’m sure he didn’t charge that in the courtroom.

              Reply
            2. Elizabeth Burton

              In publishing, it’s now-acceptable self-publishing that’s killing small presses. I was on a panel at a convention last weekend on the subject of self-publishing with two successful people who do. They answered when asked that publishing their books cost between $3000 and $4000; I said that was the ballpark for the books I publish as well. I could see the initial shock on the faces in the audience, followed almost immediately by the clear decisions made that they didn’t really need to hire the professional editors and cover designers we all recommended.

              Then, on the advice of the self-appointed gurus of self-publishing, they set up an ebook for pre-sale for a buck that rises to $3, which a publisher can’t do and get a decent return for the author. Combine that with the steadily declining amount of uncommitted income more and more people suffer…

              Reply
      3. crittermom

        Growing up in southern Michigan in the 60’s live bands were everywhere.

        The band I joined in ’68 was making a minimum of $500 per 40-minute set back then, mainly because we mostly played in Canada. Much better wages there. Especially because we came from the US.

        Sorry to hear things have become so crapified in the music industry, though I’d heard that it was the promoters who were getting all the money now.
        Apparently, that’s now been confirmed.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          crittermom
          Did you ever do any gigs with Crowbar, or Levon Helm and the Hawks (later The Band) or Richard Newell (King Biscuit Boy)? All came out of the “stable” of Ronnie Hawkins at the Coq d”Or tavern in Toronto.

          Reply
        2. HotFlash

          Hi crittermom, we see that pattern today in my Toronto ‘hood. Our local ‘roadhouse’, a former hardware store turned ‘destination bar’, has lineups down the block, the bands are ‘all from New York’, a local musician told me in disgust. The patrons aren’t local either. What they are is loud and obnoxious and we get to meet them since smoking of any substance is illegal inside restaurants. No need to buy weed here, just go to our main drag and inhale on a Friday night. So far the locals have been able to scotch their repeated requests for a roof patio permit, but somebody gonna be able to pay somebody something someday and it will happen.

          Reply
      4. wuzzy

        I don’t see the connection between playing a club for tips and touring.
        _________________________________________

        The place was full of people with the tour. They were rude, the locals and tourists appreciative.

        There is a difference: Live acoustic [piano and guitar in this case] musicians play from the heart to the hearts in the audience, big production tour musicians play from the gonads. In a word subtlety…

        Reply
  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves, for the link to The Intercept’s write-up of the Canada-Saudi Arabia bust-up.

    From reading and listening to some African, including francophone, and Asian media in the past couple of days, Saudi Arabia is not without some sympathy. Why? Many people in former colonies or countries occupied by imperialists are wary of human rights being weaponised and destabilisation using identity politics etc. Some readers and listeners asked about Trudeau’s concern for Canada’s First Nations and Palestinians.

    Reply
    1. Mirdif

      This is much more related to the assuredness the Gulf monarchies have that the Arab spring is not about to come to their doorstep. This reaction would have been unthinkable even 2 years ago. The Arab spring was the brainchild of George Soros through his Open Society Foundation and was utilised by the US State Department and the US intelligence community to force certain changes in the Middle East as part of a wider initiative to redraw the borders which are based on the Sykes-Picot agreement. American foreign policy has since the early 1990s been based on the concept of Balkanization.

      The spring is on hold for the moment from a US foreign policy perspective but the Balkanization concept remains via redrawing borders. There are three reasons for it being on hold: one, the Assad regime has been stubbornly resisting attempts to end it and the Turkish, Iraqi and Iranian resistance to the Balkanization aspect which was aimed at preventing the creation of “Kurdistan”. Two, under Obama, Soros had a direct line to US foreign policy via people connected to Center for American Progress (another Soros vehicle) being in the US administration and of course this is no longer the case. Three, Trump has changed the policy somewhat by extorting the Gulf monarchies on his previous visit there and in return they get no Arab spring on their doorstep.

      Soros continues to fund and agitate and without looking further in to it I guess he has some friendly people in the Canadian administration which has led to this reaction.

      Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Is Iran a threat to Germany?”

    Gaach! Same sort of neocon rubbish but this time in German. Lots of hand-wringing about missiles until they mention the real reason why the worry – those missiles can hit Israel. Verdammt! Then more rubbish about how Iran is spreading Islamist propaganda. If I was in Germany I would be more worried about Turkey and Saudi Arabia doing that as Iran is mostly Shia, not Sunni, which is not that big into spreading terrorism.
    No wonder that Germans these days call their media the ‘Lügenpresse’ – the lying press. Look, lets assume that Iran has evil intentions towards Germany and sends an invasion force to Europe. In such a case, Germany could remember the advice of Otto von Bismarck and simply say: “If the (Iranian) Army landed in Europe, I’d get the Belgian police to arrest them.”

    Reply
    1. Ted

      Yes my thoughts exactly. I fell out when I got to the part about Iranian missiles reaching southern Europe (aka Isreal?!). And then the big warning that one day those missiles could reach the rest of Europe (gasp!) or the US (gasp!). Now where have I heard such things before? This piece sure feels like warmed over, ghost written CIA or Mossad propaganda to me.

      Reply
  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: John McCain says Rand Paul is “working for Vladimir Putin” – CBS News (UserFriendly)

    This article is from March, 2017.

    I don’t think mccain is saying much of anything at all these days, not even things he should be saying like that he’s “retiring” to spend more time with his family. Of course, the forced silence of a deranged hawk and Putin hater like mccain is probably the best we could hope for right now.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      that is good news. the mcculloch run “prosecution” of that cop was a disgrace. one corrupt prosecutor down, how many to go.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        I can’t remember her name offhand, but the snake doing the same job in Chicago got sent packing in 2016, for the same reasons.

        Reply
        1. Cripes

          I’m pretty sure that was Snakes Attorney Anita Alvarez. Will see if Kim Fox is any better. Chicago has a deep bench of corrupt Democrats.

          Reply
  12. Spring Texan

    and more good news:

    Labor groups won a landmark victory Tuesday as Missourians voted by referendum to overturn the state’s new right-to-work law, an embarrassing rejection for the state’s Republican lawmakers.

    Reply
  13. Roger Smith

    I am very disappointed by the Michigan gubernatorial primary results. Yet again, another corporate puppet general election brought to you by big $$$. On other fronts, criminals like Debbie Dingell, Brenda Lawrence, and Debbie Stabmenow ran unopposed.

    The Democrats need to be destroyed. They occupy the prime political real estate for actual change and possibility, which they currently stifle and suffocate. I suppose a route to this could be state level legislation that makes it illegal to force citizens to vote party lines on election ballots, followed by ranked choice voting. This would make it easier for these better candidates to get a fresh, equal start (from a general standpoint) outside of the Democrat party itself.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      The Democrats need to be destroyed.

      Amen to that! In any meaningful way beyond the trappings of our hive mind they (D and R) are illegitimate now. What, at best 30/35 ish percent of eligible voters are going to play along this primary season? Half (17 percent of eligible’s) will call themselves a wave!

      Rather than ‘better candidates’, how about democracy? Add constituent established binding platforms to your other suggestions. People should have actual say in their representation and candidates should sell, represent and pass issues in their platform.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Thirded. And I like this:

        “Rather than ‘better candidates’, how about democracy? Add constituent established binding platforms to your other suggestions. People should have actual say in their representation and candidates should sell, represent and pass issues in their platform.”

        Democrats: deterring democracy since, what, 1978 at least?

        Reply
    2. Richard

      “They occupy the prime political real estate for actual change and possibility, which they currently stifle and suffocate” +1
      Currently for 40 years now.

      Reply
    3. curlydan

      Unfortunately, Brent Welder lost in the Dem primary in KS-03, losing to the Emily’s List backed candidate, Sharice Davids. Davids wound up with 39% of the vote, Welder 33% I believe. I confess to not knowing much about Davids. I did hear Emily’s List dropped $400K in TV spots for her late in the game. Her ground game seemed pretty good, too, and likely better than Welder’s IMO who appeared to rely more on texting.

      I will say this about Davids: Most of the direct mail that landed in my mailbox from her talked about…gun control. Not really sure why this is a key issue in my district, but I suspect it’s likely because everyone in KS is afraid to talk about abortion. And Davids wasn’t going to endorse Medicare for All, so what “safe” issues are for the often eggshell walking Dems in KS?

      I give Davids about a 2% chance of beating the R incumbent Yoder. Welder I would have give about a 35% chance of winning.

      I don’t really mind if Emily’s List wants to drop big $$$s in a primary on a female candidate since that’s one of their explicit goals–not sure if they gave any money to the other female candidate in the primary though. That’s their decision. It’s mainly when Planned Parenthood comes in and starts picking sides in Dem primaries when all candidates are pro-choice that drives me nuts.

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Ominously, it looked like there were about 20,000 more votes cast in the sleeper of a Republican primary that inevitably renominated Yoder, than in the much more competitive Democratic primary. Some of that may be because of people showing up for the Colyer Vs Kobach steel cage death match on the Republican side, but it isn’t, on the face of it, indicative of a huge intensity gap favoring the democrats.

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “The Satanic Nature of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

    I know that the current trend is to say that it was not necessary to bomb Japan as it was about to surrender [air quotes] any day now [/air quotes] but I am not so sure. I knew someone once that was glad that the bombings forced Japan to surrender. Years ago I used to work alongside this guy from Cyprus and this island belonged to the British back then. Near the end of the Second World War he joined up in a Cypriot unit of the British Army along with a lot of his mates. He was telling me that his unit, after the German surrender, was undergoing training to participate in the invasion of Japan. Having seen the huge casualties that the Japanese inflicted on the Americans at places like Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Saipan he was under no illusion about how tough a fight it would be and how many casualties that his unit might suffer. American estimates were for about one million casualties for the invasion called Operation Downfall. From what I have read, the Japanese military were preparing civilians to take part in mass suicide attacks in order to get a better negotiating stance with the Allies as civilian lives were not worth much to them after all. The bombing for him meant that he could finish his army service and go home. And should I mention that if there was an invasion, Stalin’s Russia would have taken part so perhaps the northern island of Hokkaido might now be another North Korea right now.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The Japanese had been suing for peace since April 1945:

      Months before the end of the war, Japan’s leaders recognized that defeat was inevitable. In April 1945 a new government headed by Kantaro Suzuki took office with the mission of ending the war. When Germany capitulated in early May, the Japanese understood that the British and Americans would now direct the full fury of their awesome military power exclusively against them.

      American officials, having long since broken Japan’s secret codes, knew from intercepted messages that the country’s leaders were seeking to end the war on terms as favorable as possible. Details of these efforts were known from decoded secret communications between the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo and Japanese diplomats abroad.

      Lots of good detail.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        The context of those communications — and the number of “surrender”-based ones (very few) compared to the deluge of “continue the war” messages — make pretty clear that “suing for peace” was confined to a small faction of Japanese leaders who essentially had no power.

        Suzuki was a mere figurehead — all power in the Cabinet was vested in the military, even at that late date. The main actor in the “surrender” faction was the Japanese ambassador to the USSR, who *was* attempting to negotiate terms.

        All this, however, was completely unreal. The terms being discussed in those cables were completely unrealistic. There’s no chance that those terms would have been considered even remotely acceptable after December 7, 1941. By 1945 — after 4 years of bitter fighting — the terms under discussion in Japan completely lacked any basis in reality.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Suzuki was most certainly not a figurehead, that is to entirely misinterpret the balance of power in the Japanese establishment following the resignation of the isolated Kuniaki Koiso (who also tried, and failed, to negotiate a surrender). If he had no power, then he would not have been the target of so many assassination campaigns by the hard liners, who knew they were losing the argument. He was a highly respected ex Admiral who was seen as acceptable to most factions and was seen as having ‘clean hands’ to allow him to lead surrender negotiations.

          Far from being irrelevant, the post of Prime Minister had become more important as the war went on and the military lost their credibility – it was the cabinet who was close to the Emperor, not the disparate Generals and Admirals who had called the shots up to 1941. Suzuki was made PM precisely because it was seen as important to re-establish the civilian governments authority.

          Reply
          1. Big River Bandido

            Frank (1999), p. 91:

            After much middled discussion, the jushin selected as the new premier Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, president of the privy council. As a young officer, he had commanded extraordinary heroic torpedo attacks in wars with China and Russia. These exploits had lifted his name into a prominent orbit. Suzuki embodied the virtues of exemplary personal courage, absolute integrity, and pure fidelity to the throne that were the epitome of the revered samurai tradition.

            After the war, Suzuki’s supporters, spearheaded by his cabinet secretary, Hisatsune Sakomizu, argued that from the outset the new premier had pursued a secret peace agenda. They depicted Suzuki as playing haragei (the stomach game), which supposedly reconciled his private views with a clear record of espousing the fight-to-the-finish strategy.

            Though Suzuki might indeed have seen peace as a distant goal, he had no design to achieve it within any immediate time space or on any terms acceptable to the Allies. His own comments at the conference of senior statesmen gave no hint that he favored an early cessation of the war. Suzuki promptly signed a pledge presented by a delegation of generals from Imperial Headquarters committing himself to prosecute the war to the bitter end… . One state minister pressing for peace, Vice Admiral Sakonji, later conceded that Suzuki took up his appointment with no vision of ending the war in the near term and very much convinced that he must bide his time until some “splendid success” of Japanese arms made peace palatable to the Imperial Army.

            Bold text added.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              Richard B. Frank – if thats who you are referring to – is an establishment historian, an ex-military man, a Weekly Standard contributor, and, for that matter, someone who so far as I am aware is not a Japanese speaker and as such had to rely on second hand sources for his writings on the Japanese perspective on the war.

              I’m sure he is a very good military historian, but he is not a reliable source for internal Japanese politics of the period. Most historians that I’ve read on the period who have examined the Japanese archives and who understand the cultural context (such as Kenneth Pyle) , believe Suzuki was actively engaged in trying to get the Soviets to broker a deal, although Suzuki and the rest of the cabinet no doubt massively overestimated the willingness of the US to accept one. As Pyle has written, the irony is that the final deal the US accepted, was more or less what the ‘Big 6’ (the cabinet, including Suzuki) wanted to broker with the Soviets in June 1945 – i.e. keeping the Emperor in his place, and maintaining the existing power structure (the US mistakenly thought the old landed aristocracy was what needed eliminating – in fact, the Tokyo establishment of the 1950’s was almost unchanged from that of the pre-War years).

              Reply
              1. Big River Bandido

                I will make a note to search for Pyle next time I’m at The Strand. Max Hastings is not tainted by American citizenship or military service. His conclusions (written almost a decade later) hardly differ from Frank’s.

                But yes, I’m referring to Richard B. Frank, whose history on the subject was the first written after Hirohito’s death, when for the first time a trove of internal wartime documents was released for study. Franks wrote about this in the introduction. You can write him off as “establishment” but undoubtedly his credentials were what got him access to all that in the first place. Since he also thanked his translator Bunichi Ohtsuka, I would assume he did read the documents.

                Both historians write of Suzuki’s attempt to use the Soviets as peace intermediaries. There’s nothing new in all that, except the idea that anyone outside of Japan took all that seriously at the time. Certainly the Soviets didn’t.

                And yes, I agree that the ultimate outcome might possibly have been arrived at sooner, with a little less death. As Sherman said, war is hell. Not for nothing is Hastings’ overall history of WWII titled All Hell Let Loose.

                Reply
                1. Darthbobber

                  It was not in the Soviets interest to take that seriously. Both their ambitions in Manchuria and their desire to get as much as possible from the US in return for entering the war dictated that peace not break out prematurely.

                  Reply
              2. Richard Kline

                There is zero reason to believe that Suzuki had a real brief to surrender on any terms, or that the military would have accepted directives to him to quit fighting.

                The ‘terms’ bruited would never have been remotely acceptable to any of the combants arrayed against Japan. And they knew those terms, these weren’t hypotheticals.

                But it is not my view that this is why the bombs were dropped when they were dropped. The US could have firebombed many more Japanese cities while drawing out things for months to come. The main reason the bombs wee dropped were to keep the Japanese from surrendering to the Russians. Who might very well have offered better terms initially, Stalin knew how to thimblerig this sort of thing thing (think eastern Poland, 1939). Russia’s entry into the Asian War changed everything, especially the time frame for the decision cycle. The bombs were dropped to express to the Japanese that America would NOT accept a surrender to the Russians but would continue to reduce Japan to ash until surrender was made to the US immediately. And even the Japanese military got that message.

                Was it inhumane? The entire war was inhumane, and Japanese conduct throughout was, by any standard, despicable. I think it was reprehensible for the US to incinerate civilians; they could have dropped a couple of nukes on thinly inhabited sites in the surrounds of Tokyo and Kyoto to give mostly the same message. But the genocidal ruthlessness in simply incinerating the young, old, and soldierly alike is a message of a different order; a terror message: “Do it our way, or we’ll kill you all.” Japan had specialized in that kind of message; think Nanking, 1938. And payback’s a bitch.

                We shouldn’t have nuked them, morally, and we’re culpable for that. As a lesson in power politics it was supremely to the point, effective, accomplished its goal, and ended that war in days. One wonders when the same Man in the Gray Hat will come to pay a call on us. Because: payback’s a bitch.

                Reply
          2. Big River Bandido

            I replied to this with a post that included a long quote, and the post has now apparently been stuck in moderation…or it just vanished. I’ll check back later and see if it pops up and if not, I’ll re-submit.

            Reply
    2. Clive

      A large helping of victors’ history in some of that.

      Firstly, the vast majority of the Japanese civilian population was . In addition to the almost impenetrable maritime blockade, US air power enabled at-will aerial bombardment. Increasingly accurate ordinance sighting and targeting accuracy enabled something that resembled precision bombing. So any stockpiles of food or major distribution points (including rail infrastructure) was vulnerable. Imported foodstuffs would have ground to a halt and domestic production curtailed with little opportunity to supply major population centres. Japan also has no oil production capacity of any description.

      And Tokyo was literally razed to the ground by fire bombing. There were few ferroconcrete structures in Japan at that time and the predominantly wooden buildings were unprotectable.

      Diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis were widespread and there were no appreciable medical supplies to treat them nor anything other than the most rudimentary healthcare facilities.

      So the entire nation could have been starved to death or left to die of disease during the course of a 6-12 month “softening up” campaign. The only thing preventing this strategy being adopted by the US was the need to have then reached an accommodation with the Soviet Union for their participation.

      Conversely, using nuclear ordinance as a terror weapon negated that particular downside (and a downside it was, as far as the US was concerned, thinking as they were about how the postwar world would need to be carved up).

      Reply
      1. todde

        So the entire nation could have been starved to death or left to die of disease during the course of a 6-12 month “softening up” campaign.

        Sounds humane.

        It appears we’re both ok with Japan being paid back with it’s own coin, but we are arguing about what denominations to use.

        Reply
        1. Clive

          No, I didn’t spell it out because I’d hoped it would be obvious — the Japanese governing regime (and there were multiple competing factions within that) would have become increasingly amenable to a negotiated surrender. The starvation and disease motivational factors would have made for ratcheting desperation, that desperation wbould more likely than not have produced a result acceptable to the Allies in a matter of months, at most.

          See also Yves’ comment above.

          Reply
          1. todde

            RE Yves comment, the guy ‘suing for peace’ was almost murdered by Army officers when the peace terms were accepted.

            Odd that an attempt wasn’t made in April if the Japanese were pursuing peace so aggressively.

            The Soviets wouldn’t even accept Japan’s Special Envoy because there were no actual peace proposals being made by Japan, just vague references to ‘maintaining peace in East Asia”. see my link. Japan’s Ambassador wrote:

            Concerning the matter of the dispatch of the special envoy, the Soviet Government has declined to accept such an envoy for the time being on the grounds that the mission is not specific. The above is indeed regrettable but just as I said in my humble opinion in my telegrams Nos. 1386 and 1392, and as again demonstrated this time, there is no way other than to present a concrete proposal when dealing with this government.

            That the Japanese were proposing ‘maintaining peace in East Asia” shows how unrealistic the peace overtures were. Japan’s Soviet Ambassodor replies:

            Moreover, the manner of your explanation in your telegram No. 891 –“We consider the maintenance of peace in Asia as one aspect of maintaining world peace”– is nothing but academic theory. For England and American are planning to take the right of maintaining peace in East Asia away from Japan, and the actual situation is now such that the mainland of Japan itself is in peril. Japan is no longer in a position to be responsible for the maintenance of peace in all of East Asia, no matter how you look at it.

            As you already know, the thinking of the Soviet authorities is realistic. It is difficult to move them with abstractions, to say nothing about the futility of trying to get them to consent to persuasion with phrases beautiful but somewhat remote from the facts and empty in content.

            I have transmitted the foregoing to you in all frankness, just as I see it, for I firmly believe it to be my primary responsibility to put an end to any loose thinking which gets away from reality. I beg for your understanding.

            On July 17th, Togo writes this:

            Not only our High Command but also our Government firmly believes that even now our war potential is still sufficient to deal the enemy a severe blow, but against an enemy who can make repeated attacks we cannot always be completely free from anxiety. In such times, we continue to maintain our war strength; if only the United States and Great Britain would recognize Japan’s honor and existence we would terminate the war and would like to save mankind from the ravages of war, but if the enemy insists on unconditional surrender to the very end, then our country and His Majesty would unanimously resolve to fight a war of resistance to the bitter end. Therefore, inviting the Soviet Union to mediate fairly does not include unconditional surrender; please understand this point in particular.

            Doesn’t sounds like they were on the cusp of surrendering, or that the threat of starvation would deter them.

            But it is a nice navel gazing exercise.

            Reply
            1. Clive

              And the relevant counter arguments:

              This includes authoritative sources for the subsequent revulsion about the use of nuclear weapons and the rearguard action by the US military to colour the subsequent narrative (“Growing criticism”)

              Which the BBC then goes onto accept based on nothing more than a few hand-waves (“There is a growing consensus among modern historians”), showing, nicely, how cognitive capture is indeed a thing. It’s rare, but illuminating to see it go through all the usual stages and have it played out right there in front of you in a single page. Hence my citing it here — it’s far more effective than if I were to simply source any of the many rebuttals in isolation.

              Reply
              1. todde

                The article states:

                demonstrate America’s new power to the Soviets by bombing Japanese cities, even though he knew the Japanese were trying to surrender.

                But here is how Soto, Japan’s Ambassador to the USSR who was charged with getting the Soviets to help negotiate Japan’s terms of surrender described the attempts in a telegram dated July 12, 1945:

                the futility of trying to get them to consent to persuasion with phrases beautiful but somewhat remote from the facts and empty in content.

                Proposals that are ‘remote from the facts and empty in content’ aren’t trying to surrender, they are wishes.

                Reply
                1. Plenue

                  Their wish was that they be allowed to keep the institution of the Emperor, and perhaps some remnant of their empire. In the end they didn’t get the latter, but MacArthur did allow them to keep their Emperor. Which means their number one concern was acquiesced to. They got in an unconditional surrender one of their key conditions.

                  You can dismiss their overtures as feeble or insincere, but the reality is that they were making attempts at a negotiated peace. This stands in stark contrast to the common propaganda narrative that the Japanese were a bunch of diehard Samurai who were prepared to wage a civilizational fight to the death and willing to sacrifice every last one of the 70 million citizens.

                  Reply
                  1. todde

                    Actually, the reality is the Japanese couldn’t find a way to surrender, until they suddenly could.

                    The only thing I see that changed was the use of the bomb, and the Soviet declaration of war.

                    That is the reality of the situation.

                    And I didn’t judge their overtures as feeble or insecure, the Japanese Ambassador to the Soviet Union did.

                    It was his choice of words, not mine.

                    Reply
      2. flora

        Don’t forget the large number of Allied forces POW camps on the Japanese islands. Starving the Japanese nation to death would surely have starved all the POWs to death first (as if they weren’t already on near starvation rations.)
        While the post war planning no doubt included the Soviet Union question, the Allies desire to free the Allied POWs as soon as possible was also a large part. There is no question a US president (in this case, Truman) who did not win the war at the soonest possible moment, by any means necessary would have been defeated in a re-election campaign.

        Reply
        1. flora

          And I have first-hand accounts that the islands were still militarily capable of self-defense, and using shore batteries and close by ships’ batteries against US and Allied planes and ships up thru June and July of 1945.
          Japan may have been ready to surrender earlier …. with conditions. The Allies from the beginning of the war demanded Japan’s unconditional surrender to end the war. Japan did not accept unconditional surrender terms until late July; Japan then unconditionally surrendered in August.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            And in the end got what would have been one their key conditions anyway.

            Regardless, do you honestly not see how sick and twisted this is? They were trying to surrender, but it was, what, not ‘surrender-y’ enough for us?

            The use of the bombs is always couched in terms of an utter refusal on the part of the Japanese to surrender, and a willingness to turn their entire population into cannon fodder (and a necessity for us to go in and fight said fanatical population). The very act of conceding the reality that they were trying to surrender completely demolished this narrative.

            What would have been the worst case scenario of opening negotiations? If nothing came of it, there would have been a period of ceasefire in which both sides likely shift forces around and organize supplies, but the balance of power wouldn’t have changed at all. If anything it would have been to the US’s advantage, since it would have given them some respite from kamikazes while they brought up forces and prepared the logistics for Downfall, which was three months away at the earliest. If the talks failed, the fighting resumes.

            Instead we were hellbent on making sure the bucktoothed midgets fully paid for the ‘treachery’ of Pearl Harbor (apparently sinking the vast majority of the navy that conducted the attack, as well as firebombing Tokyo to the ground and killing many times more than died on December 7th wasn’t already payment enough).

            Reply
              1. Plenue

                The Soviet invasion of Manchuria, and the prospect of the USSR occupying at least Hokkaido and having a say in the running of occupied Japan.

                Reply
            1. todde

              and here is how the Japanese Ambassador described the attempts to surrender:

              the futility of trying to get them to consent to persuasion with phrases beautiful but somewhat remote from the facts and empty in content.

              It was a futile attempt. remote from facts and empty in content.

              Reply
            2. flora

              The Allies demanded and received unconditional surrender from Germany in WWII. (May 7, 1945, Reims, France.) Should less have been required or demanded from the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theatre?

              Reply
              1. Plenue

                When our propaganda claim is that we had to invade and take a million casualties because the yellow savages wouldn’t surrender, but in fact they were open to negotiating terms but we refused to talk to them… Yeah, maybe we should have at least tried?

                Reply
                1. flora

                  Unconditional surrender vs negotiated terms.

                  Again, why should the Empire of Japan have been afforded a change of war declaration aims by the Allies that the German Reich was not?

                  Reply
                    1. flora

                      And yet, after unconditional surrender the US did occupy Japan, the occcupation led by “I shall return” Gen. MacArthur.

                      This wouldn’t have been possible without unconditional surrender, imo.

                  1. Plenue

                    Tell me why it shouldn’t have been? I’ll go further, why shouldn’t the Reich have been allowed a conditional surrender? The Soviets would have never gone for it, of course, but most wars throughout history have ended not in the total destruction of one side or the other, but negotiated terms. Why should WW2 been necessarily different?

                    As for Japan, yet again, when the claim is that we’ll take a million causalities if we invade, why not a. just not invade, and b. actually talk to them, since they were willing to talk? What you’re presenting is that hundreds of thousands, either theirs or ours, needed to die to that we could get a sufficiently total and humiliating surrender signed.

                    I always come back to this, but one of the main things the Japanese wanted guarantees on was that they’d get to keep their stupid institution of the Emperor. They surrendered unconditionally and yet got not only that, but were allowed to keep Hirohito himself, who should have been tried and hanged (I doubt he ever would have been executed, but we didn’t even require him to abdicate. This is something that allows the Japanese to brush over WW2; 1945 marks the end of nothing in the Showa calendar). We got the unconditional surrender we wanted and claimed we dropped a nuke for, yet conceded to the Japanese anyway.

                    Reply
        2. flora

          adding: the entire question of Allied servicemen held as POWs by the Imperial Japanese Army is a very touchy subject. The Japanese camps holding American,Australia, Canada, British, Norwegian, and Czech POWs were more concentration camps, not like the POW camps in the European theater. Many POWs were killed inadvertently by Allied planes bombing Japanese military ships (that had prisoners aboard), or construction sites using Allied prisoner slave labor, or main Japanese cities where POW camps were located. This did not change the requirement to end the war as quickly as possible.
          I think if Truman had not won the war as quickly as possible by any means necessary, including dropping the bomb, he would have been impeached if it came out he had a weapon he did not use, and thus prolonged the war.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            The war was already over! The Japanese were entirely defensive. Putting aside entirely the fact that we refused to even talk to the Japanese about a conditional surrender, the US could have simply continued blockading and sea mining, with minimal combat.

            This may even have been a better option long-term for the Japanese themselves, since an internal revolt might have more thoroughly purged the leadership of right-wing warmongers than actually happened under the occupation.

            Reply
            1. Todde

              The war was alteady over!

              And yet it wasn’t. Thats why chinese mothers were selling their daughters for food.

              You do understand that a blockade is an act of war?

              Reply
              1. Plenue

                Spare me the pretense that we gave one iota of a shit about the Chinese. Our calculations about minimizing casualties were entirely about our own soldiers (though I see no reason to think that Truman actually cared about any such calculus. He had plenty of people telling him their was no need to drop the bomb).

                Reply
                1. flora

                  China? So we had Sitwell* in China and Burma, and were flying the hump** because we didn’t give a shit about China? OK.

                  *
                  **

                  Reply
                  1. Plenue

                    Yes, I’m well aware. We didn’t care about the Chinese; they were an asset. If we actually cared, we might not have insisted on siding with the faction that drowned half a million of its own people.

                    Reply
                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Thanks for that article.

                      But siding during what years though?

                      During the war, the communists and nationalists were nominally fighting together against the Japanese, and the US sided with ‘both of them.’

                      After the war, it was the nationalists.

                      With Nixon, we switched it back to the communists, at least when it came to UN membership and diplomatic recognition

                2. Todde

                  Whether we cared an iota or not is irrelevant.

                  They were suffering under Japanese occupation. The war had to end for there suffering to end.

                  I am discussing at macro levels people suffer.

                  Was the bombing horrific absolutely.

                  Was it necessary i dont know.

                  I do know the end of tbe war ended a whole lot of suffering

                  Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              A war is not over until the last trickle of armed hostilities has ceased and a surrender or an armistice has been achieved. As long as fighting is going on, the war is going on. And as long as the war is going on, the war is not over.

              Reply
      3. oh

        Several plates of Revisionist (victors’) history heaped with ladles of Bernays Sauce. No matter how one cuts it, there is no excuse for a country to use the atomic bomb to vaporize so many innocent citizens. So they saved a million lives in the invasion of the island. Just a guesstimate by the milirary, war hungry morons. If they had just continued the embargo of oil, certainly less people would have been killed, given that the devastating toll extracted by the fire bombing of Tokyo (where there were no ordinance or weapons factories)

        Reply
        1. flora

          Consider the US Civil War. Port embargos of Confederate ports. The Confederate will to fight was undiminished, though the South was starving. (And Northern POWs held at Andersonville camp
          were starving even more.) Consider Northern General Sherman’s “March to the Sea* – a campaign of “scorched earth” warfare designed to destroy the Confederate forces physical and psychological will to fight. To this day it remains a controversial military campaign.

          This a long way around to say 2 things: 1.The past is a foreign country; and 2. Total war is brutally ugly.

          *

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            Except those two scenarios aren’t remotely comparable. Sherman’s March broke the back of the Confederacy, whereas Imperial Japan had already been broken for a long time.

            Reply
            1. JBird

              Sherman’s March broke the back of the Confederacy,

              I have been reading this exchange, and I am baffled as to the jamming of our relatively peaceful age’s conditions onto the often horrific insanity of the past. Wars are not sane, and the people fighting them are often not sane.

              There were battles and sieges afterwards as General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House did not happen until April, or four months after Sherman’s March ended, and there were several Confederate Armies still fighting, that didn’t surrender until that heard of that surrender. Lee had to stop his soldiers to not break up the army and sneak past, which most of it could have, and continue fighting a guerrilla war. The Civil War could have lasted for months, even years longer.

              Both Japan and the Confederacy fought long after it was clear that they were not going to win and the United States fought awful battles in both cases after it was clear that it was going to win.

              Wars do not end cleanly and the people fighting them are not completely sane. War is not a sane business and once started it has its own life which does not follow the logic, the ethics, or the morality of decent humanity.

              The order of battle for the invasion of Japan was completed, the plans mostly finalized by both sides for a campaign that was not needed. Both sides were moving the units into place. The United States was determined to invade if the Japanese did not surrender unconditionally, even though no invasion was really necessary.

              Japan had lost, yet the Emperor was almost physically stopped from broadcasting his surrender speech. His staff had to actually smuggle the recording past the Army garrison protecting him to the radio station.

              Reply
        2. Plenue

          >Revisionist (victors’) history

          Exactly this. Talking about the nuking of Japan is made difficult because the US has been lying since day one. There were plenty who were opposed not just to the atomic bombings, but to even the idea of invading the Home Islands. Dissident voices are swept under the rug, and a fraudulent narrative involving a number of false ‘truths’ pushed.

          Not only was an invasion not a universally accepted plan, but the one million casualties figure was pure bullshit. Further, these extreme casualties were (dubiously) arrived at based on the assumption that every square inch of territory would be fought over. There were alternate proposals involving just seizing key locations, and holding them.

          And again, this assumes there was a need to invade at all. There were those who were content to just keep the islands under the already highly effective blockade and starve the Japanese out. And even if their was an invasion, no one seems to have factored in potential Soviet forces, who absolutely chewed through the Japanese army when they finally did attack.

          Let’s ignore all of the above, however, and just accept that an invasion was needed, and would cost a million US casualties. Guess what? The earliest time Downfall could have been launched was three months after the atomic bombings. Care to explain to me what the rush was? Care to explain why the US couldn’t have just maintain the blockade while preparing the invasion, and then if the Japanese hadn’t surrendered by November, dropped a nuke or two as a final effort? The simple, solitary fact of the projected invasion timetable completely lays bare that Hiroshima was a live weapons test; they didn’t use the bomb as a last resort. They used it as soon as they were able to. The rush was that the war was coming to an end.

          I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Hiroshima bombing deliberately targeted civilians. They dropped the bomb over the city center. Hiroshima had a small military base of around 20,000 soldiers that not only wasn’t aimed for, but in fact survived largely unscathed, compared to the city proper.

          Same story for Nagasaki. Ground zero was intended to be the middle of downtown, but the bomb drifted and detonated much nearer the Urakami Christian Cathedral, which I suppose is probably grimly ironic in some way.

          Reply
          1. todde

            Ya, why the rush?

            ask an American POW, or the millions of Chinese living under Japanese occupation.

            Here is a quote from a Chinese boy living under occupation at the wars end.

            Life in the camp was monotonous and the internees were hungry, but the Chinese in Shanghai were suffering much more. Betty’s future husband, George, was living in a tiny attic with his mother and seven siblings. His father had been sent to work in a coal mine in Manchuria, in the north-east of the country, where he died. The children were slowly starving.

            “My mother, she had to sell my younger sister to get money,” he says. “That morning she brought pancakes. We were so happy! We hadn’t eaten them for several months. Suddenly I saw my mother was sad and not eating. I asked her why are you not eating? She said, you are eating your younger sister’s flesh!”

            But hey, if a few Chinese have to starve to death for our morality, it’s worth it, right?

            Reply
              1. Todde

                Now youre catching on.

                At the macro level, people are going to suffer and die.

                Who do you think it should be? The perpetrator or the victim?

                Reply
        3. ewmayer

          Talk about revisionist – you insist on judging the folks making the decisions with the benefit of 70 years of hindsight, and with gross ignorance of even the basic agreed-upon facts. You think fewer civilians were ‘vaporized’ during the Tokyo firebombing than the A-bombings? Do you think those incinerated in Tokyo would have taken comfort in the ‘conventional’ nature of their demise? Your derisive ‘guesstimate’ was in fact arrived at at a cost of hundreds of thousands of actual human lives lost in the island-hopping campaign – that ‘guesstimate’ was paid for in blood. You offer no credible factual basis for your certainly-fewer-lives-would-have-been-lost-if-they’d-just-continued-the-oil-embargo assertion, and your ‘no ordinance [sic] or weapons factories in Tokyo’ claim ignores the fact that by then the Japanese had organized a highly distributed small-scale war matériel production effort involving many small easily-disguised small factories and even individual households, precisely because large factories had become sitting ducks as soon as US air bases had moved close enough for bombing of the mainland.

          And if you deem the Allied powers as ‘war hungry morons’, how would you characterize the Imperial Japanese Army?

          There are good arguments on both sides made by many of the knowledgeable contributors to this thread, all of which you succeed in missing. Congrats on winning today’s “‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool…” prize.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            If by ‘hindsight’ you mean ignoring ‘numerous critics at the time the decisions were made‘.

            “And if you deem the Allied powers as ‘war hungry morons’, how would you characterize the Imperial Japanese Army?”

            This argument might hold water, if the US hadn’t deliberately targeted civilians at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and not military infrastructure.

            And the total US killed in the entirety of the Pacific theater, not just the island hopping, was 111,606, not ‘hundreds of thousands’. So how about you kindly shut the hell up?

            Reply
            1. flora

              Add in the Australians, New Zealanders, British, Canadians, Czechs, Maylays, and Filipinos. (And if you want to see pure hatred of Japanese, talk to a Filipino of age about 80-90 now who lived through the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. ‘War crimes’ barely hints at what happened.) Then add in the civilians caught in the occupation in Manilia and elsewhere.

              Reply
              1. flora

                Then there were the Marshall Islanders, Guam, Borneo, Burma, the eastern edge of then unpartitioned India, China, and Korea.

                Reply
                1. flora

                  I will add I’ve lived in Japan; greatly admired the Japanese people I met; found the country cultured, educated, orderly, friendly in a reserved fashion, and wonderful in its arts and literature. I think the same is true of Germany. I can only conclude that politicians who dream of empire + military hubris is a kind of madness that can overtake any country, and must be guarded against, even in the US for example.

                  Reply
            2. ewmayer

              “And the total US killed in the entirety of the Pacific theater”

              Where did I say ‘US killed’ – I was thinking total casualties on both sides. Strawman much?

              And do you think 111,000+ US killed is a small number, and doesn’t reasonably exrapolate to 1M+ for a home-island invasion? If so, please explain why the home islands would not be much costlier than those dozens of tiny atolls and small islands. Any non-deluded estimate points to millions of US and Japanese deaths, with Japanese civilians likely dying in the mutliple millions. You consider that a better outcome in terms of casualties than the 2 A-bombings?

              And delberate targeting of civilans was alas SOP among all sides toward the end of the war – a home-island invasion would’ve left millions of civilians dead from mutliple causes even absent such deliberate targeting.

              Reply
          2. witters

            So, summing up: It was TINA, or it wasn’t.

            I’m always suspicious of the first, especially when deployed by those who implement TINA.

            Reply
    3. todde

      Here are the telegrams between Japan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union and Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs:

      It doesn’t appear the Japanese Minister was dealing with reality.

      For activity in Bern, look here:

      Reply
    4. vlade

      I agree. It’s very easy to judge this from today’s perspective. Moreover:
      – where’s the upset over firebombing of Tokyo, which killed more than Nagasaki – 100k vs. 80k, Hiroshima estmates range from 90k to 140k, including long-term dead?
      – does anyone really really believe that a nuke would have been used if Nagasaki/Hiroshima wasn’t bombed? I can too easily see WW2 getting extended between USSR and Allies, and given Soviet manpower (at least perceived, in reality their manpower was pretty much spent) advantage, I’m pretty sure it would involve nukes. IIRC Soviets didn’t know that well how many nukes US had and how fast it could produce them until a few year later, by when it was too late.

      TBH, this is the danger I see now – that the horrors of Hiroshima/Nagasaki (or a large-scale war in general) are being forgotten, and thus people come to see it more and more as just something abstract, which may well be worth trying out. Again.

      Reply
      1. ChrisPacific

        Not to mention other events like the bombing of North Korea, which is estimated to have killed around 1 million, with probably a proportionately much higher rate of human suffering (the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs, in contrast, probably killed the vast majority of victims instantly).

        Certainly on a scale of military atrocities it’s not near the top purely in casualty terms. Large scale bombing of civilian populations is repellent, but the US didn’t invent the practice, and was far from the only offender.

        I think the main controversial points were (a) the war was already more or less won, and the bombing was intended to induce unconditional surrender earlier than would otherwise have been possible, and (b) it heralded a massive escalation in the theoretical maximum amount of destruction that could be applied by a given force or nation. Previous bombing campaigns required a massive logistic effort and expenditure of resources. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were one bomb, each. For the first time, the technology existed for a single nation, or otherwise properly equipped small subset of humanity, to kill almost everyone on the planet. It was the beginning of the current state of affairs in which all major nation-states possess an arsenal sufficient to kill everyone on the planet, and we are all constantly reliant on the forbearance of leaders around the globe for our continued existence.

        Reply
      2. Plenue

        Forget today’s perspective. One of the keys to the establishment narrative about the ‘need’ to use the bomb is to relegate all the voices, both military and civilian, who disagreed with the decision at the time, to the dustbin. Here’s some I’ve collected over the years:

        ————

        Even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated. – United States Strategic Bombing Survey (1946)

        ————

        It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. – William Daniel Leahy, I Was there (1950)

        ————

        The rights and wrongs of Hiroshima are debatable, but I have never heard a plausible justification of Nagasaki. – Telford Taylor

        ————

        No effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb. – Henry Lewis Stimson

        ————

        As for the conventional bombings, both in WW2 and Korea, yes, there is ‘upset’ over those as well. They were all, unequivocally, war crimes.

        There is something uniquely horrific and inexcusable, however, in the deliberate targeting of civilians just to see what the real-world effects of a new type of weapon would be.

        Reply
    5. Mel

      “The Satanic Nature of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

      Definitely one of the more shallow, thinly based articles I’ve had the displeasure of skimming in quite some time. The bombings were horrendous: so was the war. The reasons for the bombings? Maybe first answer the reason for our existence as a little warm-up.
      From Plain Speaking by Merle Miller, he found a copy of Hamlet in President Truman’s private library at the Truman Memorial Library with these lines underlined from Horatio’s speech in the final scene:
      …let me speak to the yet unknowing world
      How these things came about: So shall you hear
      Of carnal, bloody, and natural acts,
      Of accidental judgements, casual slaughters,
      Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
      And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
      Fall’n on the inventors heads…
      But let this same be presently perform’d
      Even while men’s minds are wild; lest mere mischance,
      On plots and errors, happen

      The last two lines were unlined twice.

      Reply
      1. vidimi

        the article had its flaws, but there can be long and detailed philosophical discussions about how US polity throughout its existence has been not just amoral, but outright evil.

        Reply
        1. zer0

          In the light of all the controversy surrounding our bloody pasts and debates on which nation & race is clearly ‘the bloodiest of all’, we might begin by applying statistical and mathematical models to death in war. It is in the interest of the public to know, without a doubt, the vilest nations so their anger and justification can be verified and can withstand the scrutiny of the most detail oriented internet troll.

          Our goal can be described in the following example: we can say, for instance, that the Egyptians killed 20,000 Ethiopians and back in the BCs when the world’s population was 300 million. But how can we make these 20,000 deaths back then, equivalent to now? Perhaps we can use per-capita style adjustments, a ‘death-inflation’ if you will. For the more population, the less death means, or something like that.

          But you might say ‘Wait! Isnt death unequal?’. Of course! How could killing a child be the same as killing an adult, or killing a woman be morally equivalent to killing a man?

          ‘And what of the means and pre-death?’ you may exclaim. Surely, torture followed by murder is much much worse than simply murder. And rape? Wowee! WAY WORSE!

          To start, we make the baseline the killing of an adult male soldier on the battlefield, clearly the most morally righteous death there is! No other death can compare in how meaningless this death is. So we take this death, annotated as SD and begin to list the other atrocities as either compound or multiplicative factors in this manner:
          Torture = +½ (SD)
          Rape = +¾ (SD)
          Civilian = 2 (SD)
          Civilian Child = 3 (SD)
          Male = 1 x total
          Female = 1.25 x total
          The worst death, by far, is the rape and subsequent killing of a female civilian child. This would be equal to 4.68, or around 5 soldier deaths….

          **Meant to be a parody of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

          Basically, every nation has had its heyday of an Empire of which genocide and warfare were commonplace. Persia, Greece, Egypt, Mongolia, China, Japan, Korea, Aztec, Maya, Inca, all of Europe, Britain, India, Zulu, etc. It is nonsensical to think that the US was less evil or more evil. It is simply an Empire whose heyday is the majority of the 21st century. Nothing more, nothing less.

          As for the atomic bomb, replace that with any war tech, like recurved bows or the arquebus, and the outcome is the same. The recurved bow allowed Khan to stretch his empire all the way to Hungary. And do you think he wasnt killing, raping, pillaging along the way? What about the Sino-Japanese wars during the early 1900’s? Rape of Nanking? Battle of Changde? The bio-weapon research centers like Unit 731 all over the Chinese coastline, that abducted what historians think might be around 100,000 Chinese civilians to conduct human experimentation? And you think the US is unduly cruel for dropping a bomb on a city? I think it is just war as usual, no more, no less, all equally perverse and yet a part of humanity since the dawn of time (making us a perverse species).

          If you think that the US is worse, I challenge you to try to start ranking number of deaths (which is widely inaccurate btw, for most if not all war) & type, and kind, etc etc to come to a logical conclusion as to which country is the worst ever. Im sure you will find it easy and fruitful /sarc.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            Strawman. It’s not about whether the US is worse in absolute terms. It’s about whether what the US did was right or even justified. Also, most of the Empires of history haven’t presented themselves as champions of justice and morality, at least not to the extent that the US has. America putting itself on a pedestal opens it up to be judged even more harshly than similarly Great Powers throughout history.

            Nanking and 731 etc are irrelevant. Aside from the fact that “well, they were worse assholes!” isn’t a justification for anything, Japan was a military dictatorship. We deliberately targeted the people least culpable for the atrocities of Imperial Japan.

            Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Evil is evil.

            We might as well include the Katyn massacre, and many, many others, by many, many nations.

            Reply
    6. Big River Bandido

      The debate over the use of the atomic bomb in 1945 is simply academic. Wars is hell. People die, and in some pretty horrible ways. In recent, extensively-researched books, Richard B. Frank and Max Hastings have destroyed the “victim” narrative that was propagated by the Japanese right-wing in the 1960s and swallowed hook, line and sinker by American liberals. I think you summarize pretty well the arguments for why the U.S. decided to use the bomb — although using the bomb was never a question in anybody’s mind, if it could be built.

      The notion that the Japanese were about to surrender in July 1945 is fantasy. Franks cited countless internal communications to suggest that the surrender was out of the question for the Japanese high command, even after the atomic attacks. It was only the final insistence of the Emperor that the Cabinet stood down. And in the interregnum between the Emperor’s decision, his recording of the surrender announcement for radio, and the airing of that recording the next day, there were final attempts by hard-liners in the military to assassinate the Emperor and prevent the surrender.

      All this to say, there’s a huge difference between “defeat” and “surrender”. We saw this from Germany in 1918 — the freshest example at that time of how the bitterness of World War I led directly to the insistence on “unconditional surrender” in 1945.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        That’s your belief set, sir. There’s lots of books and articles and careful studies based in the tons of records from that time, that support the converse of your beliefs.

        It is comforting to think that the US Empire, having driven Japanese Empire in its attempt to mimic and contest the US and European Empires, to attempt the Pearl Harbor attack by “imposing sanctions,” as in blockading their sources of oil and iron, became the “good guy,” this country that killed off the Indians, invaded all those little countries south of us to secure the interests of American corporations and their friends in loca oligarchies, engineered regime changes hither and yon. I still, against inner impulses, put up the American flag at NYU front door. But I know a lot about what a rotten bunch of grasping looters we really are, and my belief set comes from the perspective that the decision to build and actually detonate nuclear weapons on civilian populations was a lot more than “War is hell, people die, kill a lot of them to make the war end. QED.” One of many articles that discusses the certainly complex bits of the actions that led up to opening the bomb bay doors on Enola Gay and BocksCar is here: There are a lot of very good reasons why the action of nuking those two “Jap” cities are still subject to very vigorous and rancorous (moreso from the side that says we were just doing the right thing) debate.

        To me it is absolutely clear that the US rulers intended from the git-go to nuke Japan, willy-nilly, and rushed the preparations and worked the “diplomacy” to make sure the bomb was dropped before the hated little yellow people could surrender. And all the other bits and pieces, the hegemonic threat to the Soviets and the rest of the world, the career interests of General Groves and other bomber lovers, the intent not to have spent all that treasure without the massive climax, the revenge motivation, and all the rest, fit together way too nicely for the health of our species. But exactly in accordance with the nature of the US of A, the Empire, the corporate state it was less of but is now more of, the one I was dumb enough to enlist to go fight for (after taking that Soldier’s Oath to “defend the Constitution.” An oath that there have been lots of efforts to revise to remove stuff like “obeying all LAWFUL orders” and maybe making it more consistent with the “Pledge of Allegiance,” where you “pledge allegiance to the Flag,” a very different notion…

        None of this matters, of course, except to preservation of one’s notion of oneself as a righteous person, part of a “righteous exceptional empire.” Comfort ye, my people…

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          There’s lots of books and articles and careful studies based in the tons of records from that time, that support the converse of your beliefs.

          I cited recent work by two scholars (Frank, 1999, and Hastings, 2007) in support of my claims. Where are your sources?

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            I expect you have seen the many sources that go against your “War is hell, people die nastily” justification for yourself, and reject them as inconsistent with your world view. Some are noted in the one article I linked. Anyone caring to self-inform can use DDG to search on “real reasons the US used nuclear weapons on Japan.”

            Is that the extent of the impeachment you offer?

            Reply
    7. Gary

      All true, but they could have detonated it on an unoccupied island as a quick demo of what the Japanese were up against. And was Nagasaki really necessary? Would they have done this to Caucasians? Dresden would suggest, yes, but I still think it’s a hard maybe….

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        If the atomic bomb had been ready before May 1945, I’m quite sure the U.S. would have used it against the Germans. The whole reason for the Manhattan Project was the fear that Hitler already had a jump on it, and might use a rocket-launched bomb against the Allies.

        War Secretary Henry Stimpson famously said that FDR would have dropped the bomb only to prove that he hadn’t wasted $2 billion. Stimson was probably correct.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think its actually unlikely it would have been used on Germany. The Americans were much more squeamish about German civilian casualties than Japanese – it was the RAF who firebombed German cities, while the USAF insisted on daytime tactical bombing to minimise civilian casualties (at a huge cost in US airmen lives). The bombing campaigns over Germany and Japan were very different – the Japanese campaign was far more ruthless.

          There was also the fear that the Germans might be close to a bomb too – so it would likely have been kept in reserve, but not used, as with the vast amount of mustard gas that was stockpiled but never used.

          Reply
                1. PlutoniumKun

                  It does precisely that. There are numerous histories on the European air campaign, they all agree that the USAF chose daytime tactical bombing of industrial areas as they did not agree with the British that the mass firebombing of civilians was justified – this even extended (as with Dresden) to the same operation. This resulted in significantly higher casualty rates for US crew.

                  The use of indescriminate firebombs was almost entirely reserved by the USAF for Japanese cities. As was the deliberate starving of Japanese civilians in the admirably unambiguously named .

                  Reply
                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Starvation as practiced in the Art of War.

                    From Wikipedia, Blockade of Berlin, by the Soviets:

                    The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948–12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.

                    Were communists better than capitalists in this case?

                    Reply
                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  Yes, what about hitting military targets v. killing civilians don’t you understand?

                  There is a huge discussion of this very issue in the book Humanity by Jonathan Glover, which is about the big horrors of the 20th century and why they happened. He discusses at length that prior to the Blitz and the firebombings, it was considered unacceptable to TARGET civilian populations in war.

                  Reply
          1. Synapsid

            PlutoniumKun,

            I don’t disagree with the points you make but I do suggest another factor that would have played a role in bringing about the difference between severity of the US bombing campaigns of Germany and Japan: Germany had not made a tactical, let alone strategic, attack on US territory and personnel, as Japan had. Germany had been attacking US allies, not the US directly.

            This statement is focused solely on the difference between the bombing campaigns.

            Reply
        2. José

          In retrospect, the Manhattan project – that led to the introduction of nuclear weapons on the world scene – was quite unnecessary, if we are to believe former secretary of defense William Perry:

          In September of ’41, we know that Heisenberg visited his colleague, Niels Bohr, in Copenhagen. What was said between them is not known with any certainty.

          But interestingly enough, there was a play on Broadway called Copenhagen that suggests that Heisenberg had decided to deliberately slow down the German atomic bomb program and hinted as much to Bohr. What is known– and this is not speculation– is that shortly after that visit, he wrote a report for the German government in which he said that an atomic bomb could not be ready before 1945, and that it would require immense applications of German manpower and German money. And within weeks after that report was received by the War Ministry, they reduced the priority on the atomic bomb program and shifted resources to programs related to the immediate war effort.

          In a sense, this is not really a surprising decision by the German military, particularly given Heisenberg’s report. In fact, in 1940, in fact, late ’39, the US military had resisted an American atomic bomb program precisely because they thought correctly that it would draw large resources away from the immediate task of the Army. But the direct intervention of Albert Einstein with President Roosevelt led Roosevelt to launch the high-priority Manhattan Project.

          And we’ll put in your notes for you to review the letter that Einstein actually wrote to President Roosevelt, basically saying that the new discoveries in physics now made it possible to build a bomb that’s large enough to destroy an entire city. And that the Germans had a substantial lead in getting to that bomb. Of course, Einstein knew of the pioneering effort of German scientists in nuclear fission and feared that they were working towards a nuclear bomb. But he and also others in the United States were unaware of the German shift in priority and assumed the German atomic bomb program continued to enjoy a high priority.

          In fact, in 1943, Gen. Groves who was the head of the Manhattan Project established a high-powered group to go with the vanguard of American invasion forces to try to gather information and capture scientists who were involved with the German A-bomb program. In fact, when the full knowledge finally was gained of the German program, is it clear that they were far behind that of the United States. Their late start in ’43 when Hitler finally decided to try to get some miracle weapons going, was just way too late.

          Still, after the war, the British and the Soviet Union both employed captured German atomic scientists in their own A-bomb program. So the American atomic bomb was created because we feared that the Germans would get one first. That could have happened. But for a variety of reasons, some of which we understand and some of which we don’t, it did not.

          Source: William Perry, Stanford University online course, “Living at the Nuclear Brink”, 1.3 Video: Nuclear Weapons During World War II

          Reply
      2. Shane Mage

        the “expected cost” of invading Japan is pure bullshit. the invasion plans were months in the future when the Tokyo/Hiroshima/Nagasaki genocides were perpetrated, so if atomic slaughter was indeed “effective” in precipitating surrender it could scarcely be less so in the days before invasion, leaving months to negotiate the terms. Which, of course, could not be “afforded” partly because Stalin had already been bribed to enter the war, but mainly because the US troops unanimously wanted only to go home once the Axis had been defeated and so if Japan had not surrendered when it did it would have been increasingly difficult to maintain support for the US (and satellite) reoccupation of East and Southeast Asia. But, as the pre-“Pearl Harbor” and subsequent histories of Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaya, Phillipines, et. al. show only too clearly, this from the very outset was the goal of the provoked war with Japan.

        Reply
      3. Plenue

        Or drop it on what was left of the Japanese fleet. The Nagato, Japan’s last remaining afloat capital ship, had survived a conventional air raid in July launched specifically to sink her. What better way to demonstrate a new super bomb than to turn a battleship into a heap of melted slag with a single untouchable bomber?

        After the war she was sunk with a nuke anyway, in Operation Crossroads.

        Reply
    8. PlutoniumKun

      There is a couple of things wrong with the narrative that it was intended to prevent an invasion. For one thing, there is little evidence that the US high command at the time saw it in those terms. This narrative only really started about 2 years after the war, when there was widespread US public disquiet following newsreels showing the horrors in both those cities.

      The Manhattan Project scientists largely assumed the Bomb would be used in a phased manner to bring the war to an end. Say, starting with a sea blast in Tokyo Bay or over an island military base. Then week by week take the explosions closer to the core of Japan. Its never been explained as to why that strategy was not followed.

      It also ignores the military reality that an invasion of Japan was unnecessary – a quick invasion would only have been needed for political reasons (assuming it was logistically possible in 1945, which is debatable). Japan had entirely collapsed economically and could barely put any aircraft up or put ships to sea, and its internal transportation system was destroyed (this is why Japanese cities were starving, not because of a lack of food). It could be safely bottled up, with surrender wrung out over time. An invasion would have only been a last resort.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        an invasion of Japan was unnecessary.

        This is hindsight. The end of World War I (and its aftermath) were a reminder of why unconditional surrender was the demand. The American high command would never have considered a negotiated peace with Japan after Dec 1941.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          It is most certainly not hindsight, the fact that Japan was militarily crushed and incapable of mounting offensive operations was accepted by the Allied high command since the victory at Leyte Gulf in October 44 and the establishment of B-29 bases in the Marianas – although it is probable that it wasn’t appreciated just how dire the situation was for food in Japanese cities. By the turn of 1945 they were already turning their attention to the future of China and the Korean peninsula.

          Reply
          1. todde

            To bad it wasn’t accepted by Japan’s High Command. From Togo’s July 17, 1945 telegram to Soto:

            Not only our High Command but also our Government firmly believes that even now our war potential is still sufficient to deal the enemy a severe blow,

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              You neglect to point out that the context of that telegram was Togo’s embarrassment at being challenged by Soto about the approach to Moscow. Soto pointed out that it was ridiculous to expect the Soviets to act as go-betweens. Togo was part of the Big 6 (including Suzuki) who had earlier agreed to try to start a peace process. Their problem was that they, along with the rest of the establishment peace party, had absolutely no idea how to go about doing it as there were no formal or informal connections left with any foreign powers with clout. The telegram to Soto was a Hail Mary pass, and Togo’s response was boilerplate denial that he’d meant what he’d written.

              Reply
              1. Todde

                You seem to ignore Sotos pleas for what would need to be done to start the peace process.

                The Japanese govt chose to ignore Soto, and we see qhere that got them

                Reply
              2. todde

                Soto told them exactly what was required to start the peace process:

                If indeed our country is pressed by the necessity of terminating the war, we ourselves must first of all firmly to terminate the war. Without this resolution, an attempt to sound out the intentions of the Soviet Union will result in no benefit.

                Reply
                1. todde

                  the Japanese were trying to surrender in the same manner that Corporatist Democrats fight for workers.

                  On their terms.

                  Reply
                    1. todde

                      Depends on which of the Big 6 you were talking too.

                      AFTER the nukes were dropped, all 6 agreed that the Emperor would have to stay.

                      3 members of the big 6 wanted additional concessions:
                      1) No US troops on Japanese main islands
                      2) Japanese war criminals were to be tried by japanese tribunals.
                      3) the Japanese would disarm themselves

          2. Big River Bandido

            You are missing the critical point. Of course the Japanese were defeated. Everyone knew it. But is an enemy that won’t surrender “defeated”?

            Every historical indication says “no”, and those that say otherwise really have to cherry-pick special data (and ignore the preponderance of evidence) to make that case.

            Reply
            1. Shane Mage

              “Is an enemy that won’t surrender “defeated”?”
              If you’re down three pawns in the endgame are you defeated even if you drag it out instead of resigning?

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                usually, but i think the question is what defeated meant to the japanese; afaics, they just wanted to retain their emperor, which seems like a face saving gesture we could well have afforded–they may not have wanted to play it out.

                Reply
            2. Plenue

              >But is an enemy that won’t surrender “defeated”?

              When they’re an island nation with no force projection left? The remnants of the IJN made their last significant (and still very weak) operation in April, and the only result was that they got the Yamato and half the task force sunk. After that what little was left of the fleet didn’t leave its ports.

              Outside of that, what did Japan have? The ‘mighty’ Kwantung Army, that collapsed in a week once the Soviets decided to roll over it?

              Reply
          3. vlade

            I’d also point out that the Germans were defeated, knew they were defeated, but more or less didn’t admit it until there were no significant units left and Soviet/Allied forces met.

            After Battle of the Bulge, or even Soviet Bagration offensive of ’44, which showed that Soviets could roll over German defences, Germany was toast – it was not a question of whether, but when.

            Even if Germans could build nukes, at “best” they could try to nuke London & Paris, but on the tactical level would be still overrun by Russians – logistically, they were toast as they lost both manufacturing, but more importantly raw materials sources (German iron ore was bad, so was coal, and their rail network was in pieces, and overwhelmed even before Allies bombed it to bits).

            Time to try to negotiate a peace settlement for any rational German government was after Kursk, anything after that was doomed.

            Allies knew that Japanese were even harder to get to surrender than Germans.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              The difference in the situations of course was that the US/UK were in a race to get to Germany before Stalin, while in Japan they were actively trying to persuade the Russians to declare war on Japan – there was no ‘race’ to Tokyo.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                while in Japan they were actively trying to persuade the Russians to declare war on Japan – there was no ‘race’ to Tokyo.

                “They” meaning the Japanese in Japan, or Western Allied regarding the situation of Japan?

                That is, was Japan trying to get the Russians to declare war on Japan, the other Allies trying to get Russian to declare war on Japan?

                Reply
                1. liam

                  Stalin had secretly promised the Allies to join the war against Japan within 4 months of the German surrender. Pretty much the same promise the Allies had made earlier to open up a second front against Germany. The Soviet/Japan non-aggression pact was canceled in early 1945 so they knew it was coming eventually.

                  Given that much of Japan’s remaining food supplies and industrial capacity was coming through Korea at that point (if it made it through the US Navy at all), there was no hope of any successful resistance on the home islands after a Soviet invasion began. The army in Manchuko was in no shape to fight the Soviets. And defending the home islands in the south against the US and the north against the USSR was an impossibility.

                  The best Japan could hope for was to cause enough damage on the home islands to get the Allies to relent on the status of the Emporer which was the only condition the Japanese would never negotiate about. Even wavering on things like occupation and disarmament were discussed privately. Japanese codes had been broken for some time so none of this was a secret to those making the decisions. And of course the Allies refused to budge, and gave in anyway once it was all over.

                  About the only thing the Hiroshima bomb did was give the generals a way to save face. Afterall, there isn’t much point to bringing a machine gun to fight a battle involving nuclear weapons, so why not surrender? Hardly a good reason, but it is what it is.

                  Nagasaki on the other hand … I guess that let Truman prove he had more than one bomb.

                  Had there been a little less bloodlust and a little more cultural insight, I’d bet the war would have been over long before the nukes came to play.

                  Reply
            2. Shane Mage

              The whole point of the “Unconditional Surrender” doctrine, against both Germany and Japan, was to prevent any domestic insurrection in those countries that would open the way to a working-class movement like that which had followed the First Imperialist Slaughter and to establish a monopoly-capitalist Occupation tyranny which, with “democratic” coloration, persists in both countries to this day and (they hope) indefinitely into the far future.

              Reply
            3. Shane Mage

              “Unconditional Surrender” (like Chamberlain’s Brechtesgarten/Munich “appeasement” tactic) was designed precisely to prevent the Wehrmacht High Command from overthrowing the Nazis and forming a “rational German government” that would end the slaughter.

              Reply
        2. Shane Mage

          (ad Bandido) Exactly. The “aftermath” of “the end of World War I” was proletarian revolutionary upheaval in Petrograd, Vienna, Berlin, Budapest…Occupation (lasting to this day) was the best way to prevent any such aftermath. any possible revolution thus, as Churchill put it, was strangled in its cradle.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Red Army occupying East Germany and other Eastern European nations – was that occupation to suppress proletarian revolutions too, like the occupations by the other victors?

            Reply
            1. Shane Mage

              Of course. That’s what Stalin was and *always* had been, They had to occupy Czechoslovakia *twice*, murder Slansky and imprison Dubcek, to keep it suppressed.

              Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        By the way, I am not trying to argue that the purpose of the bomb was “to make an invasion unnecessary”. The people of that time had no basis for such a conclusion — that’s an argument that was propagated after the fact.

        Reply
      3. vlade

        TBH, it’s extremely hard to alt-hist this.

        The Japanese surrender was a result of a direct action of the Emperor, otherwise Japanese high command would fight on. A direct action of the Emperor was unheard of – especially when it took form of accepting Allied terms which included “the authority of the Emperor [..] shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers”.

        While wikipedia is not be all/end-all, it’s pretty well sourced for the discussion on this, and it seems to be that w/o the nukes AND Soviet declaring the war on Japan, it may not have happened.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          It has long been my understanding that the vast majority of Truman’s military advisers saw the bombing as unnecessary and told Truman so. Today, there is little doubt that Truman’s motivations were (a) to scare the Russians, (b) test the bomb, and (c) end the war (with a bit of vengeance mixed in). Anything else is revisionist history – in which US invested a lot of effort (not he least because it tried to shed the inevitable conclusion that it had acted in a barbaric and unnecessary way):

          “General Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In 1945 … , Secretary of War Stimson visited my headquarters in Germany, [and] informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act…. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and second because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face.’

          Admiral William Leahy told President Truman: “This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.”

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            And then there were the “sky is falling” physicists that were worried that it would detonate, and trigger a combustion of the whole atmosphere.

            Hey, that would have been really cool!

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The Scientific Method involves hypothesis and testing.

              Testing, because no one knows for sure beforehand…especially given that any explanation is only the current best explanation (there is a better one tomorrow).

              In that case, we were lucky.

              Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There was a Daily Beast article from 2015 that said the US planned to drop 12 atomic bombs on Japan.

            It would be more than about testing bombs or scaring the Soviets.

            It would be about ending the war.

            Reply
            1. Olga

              And then there was a plan to bomb Soviet Union – Operation Unthinkable ():
              “Operation Unthinkable was a code name of two related, unrealised plans by the Western Allies against the Soviet Union. They were ordered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1945 and developed by the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff at the end of World War II in Europe.”

              But you’d probably argue that was also about ending the war… Opinions are dime a dozen, facts not so much…

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Why would I argue that was about ending the war, and between whom?

                I hope that’s not your opinion.

                Reply
          3. Synapsid

            Olga,

            “…(b) test the bomb…”

            Which bomb? The bomb at Hiroshima was a uranium bomb, the one at Nagasaki a plutonium bomb.

            There was no need to test the plutonium bomb; that had been done in New Mexico in the Spring of 1945. I suspect that the uranium bomb had not been tested because it was thought to be sure to work; otherwise, for whatever reason the bombing had been decided upon it was going to use an untested weapon the first time out? Who would do that except in desperation? The US wasn’t desperate, Japan was.

            Reply
            1. Plenue

              The fact that the two bombs were of two different types actually bolsters the argument that the atomic bombings were field tests. Yes, they knew from New Mexico that the bomb worked. That wasn’t the same as seeing its effects on a live target.

              The US (or more accurately Truman) was desperate: desperate that the war would end before he got a chance to try out his new toy.

              Reply
            2. Olga

              Both – somewhere i remember reading that – while bombs were tested in uninhabited areas – what they really wanted to see was the effect on a population. The bombs fulfilled their expectations.

              Reply
          4. Yves Smith Post author

            In the book I referenced above, Jonathan Glover’s Humanity, he did archival work on the “decision” to drop the nukes on Japan.

            No one made a decision. He made extensive investigations of all of the contemporaneous materials. For instance, Truman acted as if he’d been presented by a decision by various military leaders, when they had in fact mad no such decision. And this was not blame shifting, Truman believed it.

            Every acted as if the decision had already been made by someone else. He describes who said what to whom in detail.

            Reply
      4. Alex

        And how many Japanese would have starved to death until its government decided to surrender? Are you sure that the number would be less than the number of the victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          How very humane, incinerate 200,000 people to save millions from starvation. Yeah, I’m sure that was the motivation.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I have to admit I am powerless to process something like that.

            Do we kill one person to save 10?

            Do we kill one to save a million?

            Do we kill 1,000 to save a million?

            Do we kill 200,000 to save a million?

            In all cases, I would not kill one innocent people. Who wants to be that person?

            In reality, things happen…like on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific or Atlantic.

            Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              Ask Jack Bauer. Or Netanyahoo. Or Madeline Albright. Easy-peasy.

              As I learned law school, “hard cases make bad law.”

              Reply
        2. JTMcPhee

          A lot of those hated “Japs” did starve to death, even after the surrender.

          Why don’t our rulers, everywhere, run through the checklist conveniently provided by thatvancient Sage of War, Sun Tzu? Honest appraisal of the situations would mosly invariably show that going to war is a stupid choice. At least when it comes to the effects on the mopes/peasants.

          Reply
    9. FluffytheObeseCat

      In the western US, today, we are living with the first obvious sequelae of poisoning the Earth’s atmosphere with greenhouse gasses. We still have thousands of nukes point at Russia and China, who in turn have thousands of nukes pointed at us. Our nation’s infrastructure is beyond shabby, and all of last year’s Trump-talk about fostering public-private partnerships to rebuild it…….. has disappeared, with no action in sight.

      And you lot are re-fighting the last days of WWII on a finance blog comments page.

      Reply
      1. todde

        I’ll navel gaze with the best of them.

        I’m a History buff, this is what we do.

        In training for the my retirement, where I assume I will sit around and shoot the sh!t in a manner much like this with a bunch of old people.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        I beg to disagree, fluff – it is incredibly important to have an understanding of history! I would say it is imperative. If we do not have at least a somewhat correct/accurate understanding of history, how can we put current events into a rational context? It is precisely this lack of knowledge of historical events (something that too many Americans are guilty off) that allows the media to brainwash us. We don’t need more people to advocate ignorance…

        Reply
      3. pretzelattack

        sigh, just wrote a long reply, which was snatched up by the internet in some fashion. shorter version, we are uneasy about our national identity and what our role in the world has been, and that necessarily spills over into disputes about our stories about our past. america the exceptional is increasingly looking like america the latest entry in the wiki of empires–how are we to account for that? and where did we go wrong? we were promised an american century, and all we got was a lousy 50 years or so. we also get to revisit another old dispute–should states be able to secede?–and marvel anew at how the world blundered into the war to end all wars. history never ends (so far!), it just gets recycled and retold and relitigated.

        Reply
      4. Oregoncharles

        Fluffy: I agree. I started skipping a while ago.

        A footnote: my father was in the Navy in WWII – I was born while he was in the Pacific, preparing for the invasion of Japan. He was convinced that without the Bomb, he would have died in the invasion. That may have been what he was told at the time.

        OTOH, leftish sources seem to come down on it being unnecessary. It’s clear that Japan was already defeated. Granted, that reflects the whole anti-nuclear campaign, which is motivated, in turn, at least partly inspired by Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

        Which reminds me: Monday night I attended a commemoration for the bombings of htose cities, which my wife helped organize. It was beautiful and moving – and about 100 people showed up, about 3 times previous turnouts. People are visibly nervous.

        Reply
      5. VietnamVet

        All the WWII Vets I met all said the use of atomic bombs saved their lives. They never talked about the war itself. Over 14,000 Americans were killed at Okinawa in April-June 1945. The Atomic Bombs allowed the Japanese to save face and keep their Emperor. If not used, the invasions would have been gone ahead killing thousands more and Thomas Dewey would have been elected President. The current wars for profit and supporting propaganda try to make the forever wars seem to be halftime at the Super Bowl. However, to conquer a people requires killing most of the male combatants. This is the forgotten consequence for the Confederacy for defending the plantation economy. It was not the case in Vietnam. It is not the case in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. These wars are unwinnable. Someday, the USA’s Holy War against Islam will end. It will be all for nothing. At best, to survive and avoid being exploited, a people must build strong borders, make alliances, train and promote modernity. Be like the Swiss.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As indicated above, internal records released years after the war says the claim that the US needed to bomb Japan so as not to have to invade it wasn’t advanced at the time but two years later. The invasion idea looks like revisionist history. My uncle who served in the Navy shortly after the war and spent years in Japan heard different things from older sailors that you heard. I am sure the soldiers were indeed very concerned re the human costs of an invasion given how hard it had been to capture key islands, but that appears to be why, despite the apparent momentum of seizing territory, the idea of invading Japan was far from settled. I need to go back and look at Glover on this (I’m out of town and I have only a hard copy back at the ranch).

          Reply
          1. VietnamVet

            Interesting. I never heard before that Washington DC was thinking of postponing or wasn’t ready for the Japanese Islands invasions. It feels like alternative history where General William Tecumseh Sherman halts his march at Atlanta Georgia. After the bloody carnage from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima and Okinawa, I can’t imagine the USA not being ready to invade Japan. Atomic bombs were not part of the strategic planning to win the war. It was unsure that the atomic bombs would even work until the July 1945 Trinity test of the plutonium bomb. There was only enough uranium for the one gun-fission bomb. Plutonium was necessary for an atomic bombing campaign. The Soviet Union could have invaded Hokkaido because all the help that was needed to conquer the Japanese Islands if the atomic bombs hadn’t worked. They did seize the Kuril Islands before it ended.

            Paul Fussell rings true to me;

            Reply
    10. Jeremy Grimm

      While it may have been a consideration, I doubt the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki resulted in Japan’s surrender and I have doubts those bombs were dropped with that intent alone. Why should an atomic bomb be a more convincing argument for surrender than the equivalent destruction of life and property which could be accomplished, though at slightly more cost, by carpet bombing Hiroshima with fire bombs? What did dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki accomplish? The idea that the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan to force Japanese surrender doesn’t make logical sense to me.

      Suppose destroying a civilian population can compel an enemy state to surrender. How can we justify that destruction by other than purely utilitarian arguments? How culpable are the individual citizens of a nation for the actions of that nation? In considering that question I always recall a quote from Hermann Goering:
      “Of course people don’t want war. Why should a poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best thing he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? …”
      Without assigning culpability what moral justification might there be for the wanton destruction of civilians in warfare — or of soldiers for that matter? If the sole purpose of warfare were dominion and control, how is that purpose served by destruction and death? I think some other purposes drive warfare. The quote from Jung is haunting.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        The emperor’s own words in announcing the surrender put the lie to your ‘I doubt’ surmise.

        As for your

        ‘Why should an atomic bomb be a more convincing argument for surrender than the equivalent destruction of life and property which could be accomplished, though at slightly more cost’

        ‘Slightly more cost’ – dude, what are you smoking? Compare the number of planes used over Tokyo vs Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The ‘qualitatively new level of horror’ is clearly what Hirohito was referring to. Of course due to post-WW2 nuclear proliferation the entire world now continuously faces the same qualitatively new level of horror…

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          Gee, why on Earth would a surrendering leader want to reassure his (already doubting) victorious opponents and occupiers that it was their super-weapon that caused his nation to give up? It most certainly wasn’t those hated Communists kicking in our backdoor, no sirree!

          I wouldn’t trust anything “I just couldn’t do anything to stop my people and generals, even though I’m supposed to be their literal God” Hirohito had to say about anything. Except maybe fish.

          Reply
          1. ewmayer

            Facts are stubborn things, aren’t they? Facts: the 2 bombs were dropped, a few days later the Emperor gave an unprecedented radio address to his people in which he stated:

            “Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization”

            and a formal unconditional surrender followed a few weeks later. Completely coincidental timing, I’m sure. At the same time Hirohito said zilch about the fear of those marauding Soviet troops, who were ready to pour across the border … oh wait, please explain to us precisely how the Soviets were gonna invade Japan and thus were seen as an even greater threat than the US. Clearly you are annoyed at those facts, none of which support your inane fear-of-the-commies-is-what-really-drove-the-surrender claim.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith Post author

              How about archival records in Japanese contradict your view? You have ONE fact, in isolation. You do not have facts. This topic is debated among historians and for you to act like you have superior knowledge and browbeat readers is way out of line.

              You have become abusive. Drop it.

              Reply
    11. The Rev Kev

      When I posted my comment I did not know that this was such a sensitive topic. I’ll close out here with my own thought and say that as it was the Japanese military that controlled Japan, and assassinated those that disagreed with it, that it was up to the Japanese military to surrender. A lot has been made of historical documentation as it should be. However (and you knew that there was going to be a however) consider this.
      These events were in 1945 which was 73 years ago right? And we are using these documents to understand what happened, right? Now think about this. Let’s go forward 73 years to the year 2091. The people then are trying to understand Trump’s America. If you look at the documents from the 2018 White House you think that you have the picture. But then you go to the State Department documents and find a different picture. The Pentagon documents show something else entirely going on. Looking at the recently release documents from the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. shows them mostly fighting the White House. The 2091 historians then decide to try looking at opinion polls to see what the people were thinking and finding they mostly depend on if they were taken – the coastal cities or the heartlands.
      So I ask you. Based on the documents being generated in 2018 America, how well will those 2091 historians be able to get a handle on Trump America?

      Reply
  15. vidimi

    re brexit and astra zeneca

    how would british intellectual propoerty be treated in the EU post a no-deal brexit? would it be possible for generics to start producing AZ drugs?

    Reply
    1. Clive

      They’d be liable for patent infringement suits if they did (assuming it was patented pharmaceuticals which are in scope here), see

      Unless the patent-holder agreed to licence these to an EU-based manufacturer. But medicine manufacturing is, by necessity, a process with zero tolerance for product off-specs so it takes a fair while to get a new production line on stream.

      If it is more that they’re generics already and its the problem of accepting UK-manufactured drugs into the EU27, that’s “just” a reverse problem of what the UK will have if it doesn’t have access to the European medicines authority. Presumably there are some instances where the main source for the EU27 is drugs which have a UK single-source-of-supply constraint. That all said, there’s very little generic medication which isn’t available from multiple international sources. It’s just a question of if the EU27 is happy to accept supplies from those third countries.

      Reply
      1. vidimi

        thanks. I was wondering whether UK companies would be cut off from the international mechanisms that enforce IP law such as WIPO.

        Reply
  16. timbers

    Fake News

    Here’s the Internal Report Proving the FCC Made Up a Cyberattack Gizmodo

    No, the FCC got it right…

    Non elite citizens (“Little People”) petitioning govt for representation – who are not the ultra rich friends of those in govt and rich gigantic corporations who donate and control them – is most definitely a “cyber attack” by today’s standards.

    Reply
  17. Carey

    First trial alleging Monsanto’s Roundup™ causes cancer goes to jury:

    Quite notable that evil Monsanto’s lawyers repeatedly state, as in the quote here, that
    *glyphosate* does not cause cancer. Mmm.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe, as with the ingredients in “Agent Orange,” it’s the “unintended byproducts” like 2,3,7,8 dibenzodioxins and -furans, that are the principal carcinogens, so the Dow Attorneys are not exactly lying in their perfect teeth…

      A quickly from an old acquaintance from my EPA days:

      The Soft Corruption Of The Revolving Door

      *Chang Bek, a former Dow employee, went to work for MDNR’s [Michigan Department of Natural Resources] Wastewater Permits Division, and was assigned the task of revising Dow’s NPDES [National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, the Clean Water Act basic regulatory tool] permit, rather than recusing himself from same for obvious reasons. At one meeting with Dow at our offices, Bek tipped off the Dow representatives about the existence of a letter in our files from EPA Region 5 outlining its compliance strategy against Dow regarding the dioxin contamination of the Midland, MI, environs. The Dow representatives asked to look at the file, and Bek began to hand it over. I responded that the request needed to be reviewed by Stu Freeman of the AG’s [Michigan Attorney General’s] office to determine whether any document in that file was protected by attorney-client privilege. Bek ignored me and completed handing them the file. One of them then asked if they could take the file with them to back to Dow to copy. I replied I know that is not standard procedure, because no file can be removed from the office. If they insisted on obtaining a copy of the file without following standard procedures, they should make a copy here using our copy machine under our supervision to ensure that the file is not altered in the process of being copied. I then stood with the Dow representative as one of our secretaries made the copies for him using our machine.

      At a subsequent meeting, Dow again rejected zero discharge of carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens, including arguing that dioxin was produced in the trace chemistries of fire, so zero was impossible. I countered that we could accommodate Dow’s concerns by regulating the dioxin discharge using the same upstream and downstream caged trout that Dow used to reveal that it was a net source of dioxin to the Tittabawassee River that it had to report pursuant to Section 8(e) of TSCA. I had not cleared this with anybody else on the team, however. Dave Wilson, who was the manager of Dow’s wastewater treatment system, assured us that the CWA made no such provision to use caged fish in this manner, because it was a transformation of the wastewater and not the wastewater per se. Toxicity testing, yes; bioconcentration, no. (Subsequent review of the Congressional record proved him correct.) He closed the meeting by assuring us that, while he liked us personally, when he got back to Midland and told his boss, Dow’s General Manager, Bill Caldwell, about what MDNR had proposed, he would not be able to keep him off of the phone to his friend, (Governor) Bill Milliken.

      The message was clear: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, sir, and I won’t have it.

      This was back in the mid-1980s, and the situation has hardly improved in the favor of the public since then…

      Reply
  18. Teejay

    FCC chair Ajit Pai responds to his inspector general’s report: He opens by commending the FCC OIG for its investigation and concludes that he is “surprised and disappointed” with the findings of the investigation. Disappointed?

    “Paging the White House Iraqi Group”; this is not the conclusion we were looking for.

    Reply
  19. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

    The amazing hypocrisy of the Canadian Foreign Minister: her granddad was a Nazi who served the Third Reich and ran a newspaper (confiscated from a Jewish man who died in a concentration camp) which idolized Nazi butcheries. She is an avid supporter (or pimp of) Nazis in the Ukraine who have raped, tortured, murdered, and indeed slaughtered innocent civilians in the eastern part of the country. There is (to intelligent persons other than her) no disputing this as the pictures and the testimonies of victims are freely available on the uncontrolled areas of the internet. To this day these Nazis are firing rockets and shells, daily, into residential areas in eastern Ukraine. Their stated aim is to “exterminate the subhumans” (their words) in the east. That was their published claim in regard to Crimea which is what prompted the 84% pro vote for RE-uniting with Russia by the people of Crimea who didn’t want to be sent to “filtration camps” and slaughtered by the Nazis. So Chrysta Freelander’s “well meaning” tweet in regard to the abomination known as Saudi Arabia must be seen in context. The amazing, incredible, unspeakable hypocrisy of that woman defies belief!

    Reply
  20. Jean

    So, Joe Biden is possibly the progenitor of 1 in 8 divorces?

    Worse for his chances, divorce rates are higher in Blue states.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Hmm, our Mr. Biden is a self-described practicing Catholic. I suppose he will have to confess all those divorces.

      Reply
  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Plan to replicate 50 high-impact cancer papers shrinks to just 18 Science

    Medical School’s Exam-Rigging Against Women Prompts Furor in Japan Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

    Why Italy’s U-turn on mandatory vaccination shocks the scientific community CNN (Kevin W)

    —–

    Not just the last one, but each is, or should be, shocking to anyone.

    Reply
  22. JohnnyGL

    So, the AP story about how we’re besties with Al Qaeda in Yemen….now Larry Wilkerson gets a little love from the Hill? What’s going on here? Why is this breaking the media bubble now? None of this stuff is new….but newly receiving of attention…

    Something’s up….anyone got any ideas?

    Reply
      1. vidimi

        trump must have given MBS the go-ahead to go after canada. MBS then overplayed his hand.

        if all you know is absolute monarchy, you might assume that trump is an absolute monarch, too. unfortunately for MBS, the rest of the USA is not quite so hostile to canada.

        Reply
  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    1 in 8 couples blame student loan debt for their divorce CNBC (UserFriendly)

    Between a rock and a hard place.

    Should we put this on the table for young people to at least think about – if you have to borrow, don’t go to college?

    Should that be one consideration, until the problem is addressed?

    The down side to that (to not going) is they have to go to college in order to get a job.

    On the other side, even graduating from it, debt or no debt – doesn’t often lead to a job. So, maybe the question should be considered.

    Reply
  24. djrichard

    New McCarthyism

    Our favorite part of the #AlexJones #infowarsban brouhaha is people desperately insisting that there’s any meaningful distinction between the US government and the corporations that own it …

    Caitlin Johnstone has the longer form on this theme:

    Reply
  25. Synoia

    State Dept Demands Russia Withdraw From Georgia’s Separatist Regions Antiwar

    There is a “kc ” string at the beginning of that url, which causes browser hiccups.

    Reply
  26. Alex

    Imagine an article that argued that, say, there is no systematic violence against African Americans. It would mention that some organisations like Black Lives Matter or NAACP (calling them “vociferous”) believe that this is not the case but then would say that they are biased and instead present a view of a certain professor (“himself an African American”) who would deny such violence. You can always find at least one.

    Then (re-)read the Counterpunch article and reflect on why this is considered acceptable in one case but not the other

    Reply
  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Reuters California wildfires story:

    The fires are on track to be the most destructive in a decade, prompting Brown and Republican leaders such as state Senator Ted Gaines to call for thinning and controlled burns of forests to reduce fire danger – moves opposed by environmentalists who say they kill wildlife.

    So, which way to go?

    Controlled burns or not?

    Reply
  28. Oregoncharles

    “Wildfire smoke is wreaking havoc on air quality in the Western U.S. ”
    The Willamette Valley, hundreds of miles from those fires, is under “haze,” which I assume means high smoke. Sunsets last for hours. I don’t smell smoke, but sure can see it. There are fires in southern Oregon, too, so that’s part of it.

    Reply
    1. Synapsid

      Oregoncharles,

      Same for Seattle. Winds at the 700 millibar level are bringing smoke from Oregon and California fires northward.

      Reply
    2. Lord Koos

      There seems to be a new conspiracy to label smoke as “haze”, as even the NOAA website calls it haze now. I don’t recall that terminology being used in previous years.

      Here in central WA, the smoke is getting thicker today as temperatures top 100, although there are no big fires close to us. We are supposedly getting some of it from the large uncontained fires in Siberia.

      Reply
  29. crittermom

    Yves, I’ve no doubt all of us are appreciative of your already tireless efforts to keep us informed, & no apologies are due from you.
    Regarding parental care, we understand that, as well.

    Take some time to ‘catch your breath’. No worries.
    We’ll still be here.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope they are not die-hard Star Trek fans and are taking the Prime Directive thing seriously…or too seriously..

      “We too can one day progress to where Canada is today, but let us do it on our own pace.”

      I mean, it was just a TV show.

      Reply

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