The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

As usual, feel free to use the comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Sanders Anoints AOC His Heir


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 23, 2020


  1. Zachary Smith

    The Wall Street Journal no longer allows non-subscribers to view its opinion pieces, so a person has to go hunting for somebody who has republished it.

    Mr. Hopkins has written a “pro-nuke” piece, and it includes far fewer errors than the run-of-the-mill handwringing essays usually seen this time of year. I’ll also give him a lot of credit for mentioning the big differences between the early estimates provided by the US Army and the much higher ones by later independent researchers. But he still hasn’t gotten things quite right.

    Only after the war did the U.S. discover the magnitude of Japan’s preparation to defend against the invasion.

    This statement is technically true – but only if you wear the “June 1945” blinders the author helpfully provided. By this stage of the war the US could break every Japanese code, and by monitoring the Japanese transmissions our military and political war leaders knew all about the continuing massive buildup on southern Kyushu. MacArthur blew off the intelligence information because he desperately wanted to lead an invasion which would have dwarfed the one at Normandy the year before. (“Neptune” plus Victory in Europe would make Eisenhower President, and MacArthur planned to leverage “Downfall” and Victory over Japan into his White House dream.) Marshall was evasive about the real numbers too, but for quite a different reason. Like any good leader, he monitored all the resources available to him, and he knew the US Home Front was beginning to falter. If the war with Japan didn’t end soon, the apparent victory could slip away. The very competent Japanese Intelligence system also knew all this, and that’s the “why” of the Emperor stubbornly refusing to end the war. One more massive bloodbath (with floods of American blood) might be all it took for them to get the terms he and his Generals wanted. There appears to have been a split among the Japanese Elite about those terms.

    1) Preservation of the kokutai – or “One Condition”

    2. “Four Condition”
    a. Preservation of the kokutai
    b. Imperial Japanese forces would supervise their own disarmament and demobilization
    c. No occupation of Japan.
    d. Japan would try its own war criminals.

    Obviously “b, c, and d” were not going to happen – although some wavering was already beginning to appear in the US. Preserving the kokutai is something the holier-than-thou fanatics who surface in early August of every year always misrepresent as “all we had to do was let them keep their Emperor”. The Historians among the authors know better, and are simply lying. As for the other writers, a person has to assume they’re as badly informed as their readers.

    I’ve tried to make some sense of my copy of Kokutai No Hongi, and can’t say I’ve had a lot of luck. Ditto for Shinto the Unconquered Enemy. The Bible books of Genesis and Revelation are child’s play by comparison.

    Nonetheless, I’ve concluded that kokutai was centered about a Divine Nation with a holy mission of world domination. Another feature – every single Japanese was a God. The Emperor was the political and religious leader of Japan, and his subjects or citizen-Gods owed him total obedience in all things. If he demanded they die for him, that’s exactly what happened. As Japanese behavior in China and the Pacific basin had demonstrated, the lives of the inferior races weren’t worth a damn. (Think also Bataan death march) The Allies would have been totally nuts to have permitted this System to continue. But being a God-Emperor was kind of nice, and naturally Hirohito wasn’t in any hurry to give away a speck of his power unless he had to. After a decent interval of “Peace”, Japan would have rebuilt its armed forces with jet airplanes, modern tanks, long range rockets, and nuclear weapons. A flood of modern weapons added to the Anthill State’s possession of the most determined soldiers on the planet was a recipe for WW3 a generation or so after the coming of “Peace”. Just like what happened after WW1 with Germany. There were lots of scores for Japan to settle, and the militarists would have had the means to do it right this time.

    Getting back to 1945, after the Atomic Bombs surfaced, it was clear Japan’s wear-down-the-barbaric-Americans strategy wasn’t going to work. This enemy could now send in small groups of B-29s and effortlessly destroy what little was left standing in Japan – without bothering to invade. When the Russians entered the war, both the Imperial tradition and Hirohito’s own life came under extreme risk. At some point very late in the game the Emperor concluded that giving up his Religious Divinity in order to keep his Political Throne – and his life – didn’t look like such a bad idea after all, so he finally exerted his authority and forced the suicidal Generals and Admirals to obey him.

    But time was of the essence for the US. The Russians were now moving fast, and back in the US the war-weariness of the civilian Home Front hadn’t gotten any better. The US policy makers were NOT going to allow any more Iwo Jimas or Okinawas, and neither were they going to permit a Communist Japan. If the atomic bombs hadn’t worked to force a surrender, (and they nearly didn’t) Plan B was the creation of a Japanese Holocaust. From the WSJ essay:

    A July 1945 U.S. government report estimated that invading the Japanese Home Islands would cost five million to 10 million Japanese lives.

    What author Hopkins doesn’t mention was that those millions of Japanese were going to be killed by a massive pre-invasion chemical weapons attack. At the time this would have been as well accepted back home as were the A-bombings, for hatred of Japan was deep in the US. I doubt if many tears would have been shed in Asia, either. Defending the use of the A-bombs is not an impossible thing – but in 2020 a legacy of murdering 20 to 50 times more Japanese than were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is almost too horrible to imagine. Yes, that was Plan B.

    There is “bad”, and there is “worse” – something the dishonest and ignorant August 6 moralists always overlook. In late 1945 there were no good choices. The horror at Hiroshima still looks to me to be the “least bad” of the options. We gained 75 years of a pacifist Japan, and though the militarists there continue to be hard at work, their efforts are orders of magnitude more difficult than if the US had allowed the old Emperor System to remain in place.

  2. Mark Pontin

    @ Zachary Smith –

    Interesting about the Kokutai No Hongi thing, if what you claim is true.

    I’m less sanguine about the necessity of the nuclear bombings than you. But I also recognize that most of the people who from the 1960s till today have painted a picture of the uniquely evil culpability of the U.S. in dropping those bombs take absolutely no cognizance of: –

    (a) The fact that there were various factions in Japan and absolutely no universal acknowledgement that Japan should surrender. Hell, Hirohito still barely acknowledged that with his “events have proceeded not necessarily to Japan’s advantage” speech.

    (b) How things looked and felt to people in 1945, and how deep the hatred of the enemy and willingness — indeed, desire — to destroy them in large numbers had grown to be on both sides. Forex ….

    Zachary Smith: ‘As Japanese behavior in China and the Pacific basin had demonstrated, the lives of the inferior races weren’t worth a damn. (Think also Bataan death march)’

    The record of the Japanese bioweaponeering and medical experiments (including bisecting a conscious Chinese man lengthways) is instructive in this regard.

    You can draw a graph of human warmaking and the resulting deaths through the centuries, and with the Industrial Revolution it all starts on a sharp exponential curve upwards as slaughter gets increasingly industrialized, the machine gun appears along with other modern technologies, till with WWI warfare bogs down into whole nations entrenched in industrial attrition against each for. Then this in turn gets broken down as maneuver warfare returns because it’s now become industrialized in the forms of tanks, air warfare, and ever-growing bombing of civilian populations and blitzkrieg, till you have worldwide industrial war with whole nations turning their economies over to it on a scale that’s never occurred before.

    It’s in this context that the upward curve reaches its zenith in 1945 with the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan and then is deflected down again. Because when thermonuclear weapons — H-bombs — appear in 1954, there really is no question that you can end all life on the planet with those.

    Unfortunately, human warmaking probably isn’t going away. I suspect its technological development has now been deflected down from the scale of the very large — world-ending bombs — to the very small, and in the 21st century its future will increasingly be drone swarms, and nano and bioweapons.

  3. ricardo2000

    Yes, Iwo Jima and Okinawa beaches were bloodbaths, but only because of poor fire support and application of air power. Failure to learn from the Dam Busters operations in Europe was, and is, a common failing.
    Far more than the bouncing bombs used to destroy the Ruhr dams was Barnes Wallis’s invention of 6 ton Tallboy and 10 ton Grand Slam earthquake bombs. These weapons successfully destroyed 5 metre thick reinforced concrete structures, at depths of 130 feet, in single missions. These weapons would completely collapse unreinforced tunnels, galleries, and firing ports built in volcanic ash. This would bury the majority of Japanese resistance alive, and at once. Any survivors would be helpless on the surface in the face of US naval firepower, especially with delayed shell fuses.

    A chemical weapons massacre is unthinkable now as the immediate results would be broadcast worldwide. Thank Newton for scientific progress giving us tech prowess that supports democracy and human rights.
    Prior to WWII, bigotries of every shade and hue were common. The barbarities of war repulsed three generations of humanity enough to make human rights unassailable. Trump has resurfaced subhumans who deny these truths. It is past time this section of society was repudiated, with extreme prejudice if necessary. Those denying human rights, and the rule of law, should expect no mercy. The rest of us can expect to be slaughtered by these subhumans and should act immediately.

  4. Heitzso

    Another topic … I’m pushing “baked into our DNA” “tribal ideology driven cognitive dissonance”.
    “baked into our DNA” because evolution of tribal power works through binding together with a story or identity (i.e. identity politics) even though the “story” is rarely, if ever, based in reality as discussed at length in the first part of Sapiens by Harari and power over other tribes was the essence of surviving as expounded on in “Parable of the Tribes” by Schmookler. Hence cognitive dissonance (brought up with historical context by Tim Harford on The Indicator, October 31, 2019) is not an anomaly but part of social/tribe survival. Easy to say “but we’re above that” but it is deeply embedded in all of us. Think the “capitalist” who says the free market is the most efficient way to … provide health care … while the reality/data is our capitalist ideology is, by data, not the most efficient mechanism etc. In that case the ideology (think religion) is capitalism and the ideology trumps reality, hence cognitive dissonance. As Harari notes, most tribal ideology binding stories are wrapped up in god, i.e. we are blessed by god and it is our sacred duty to kill, maim, rape, etc. But they can be wrapped up in almost anything, e.g.: Bernie good, Elizabeth bad; Sunni good, Shia bad; my race good, your race bad, … whatever.

    If not clear, DNA because if you bound to a tribe you lived, if you didn’t bind to a tribe you died, hence evolution at work. “The Little Book of Behavioral Investing” by Montier nicely lays out a number of human behaviors that are dysfunctional in that they block our ability to clearly work with reality. Read it and reflect on how many of these dysfunctional behaviors though bind us into a tribal/identity that can kill other tribes or defend from other tribes, e.g. exceptionalism, lemmings, power of the story, etc..

    What bothers me is that our country is riven into warring tribes/identities now with, as Harford notes, massive cognitive dissonance WITHOUT THIS SIMPLE ANALYSIS OF WHY WE SO EASILY FALL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AND CANNOT CLIMB OUT. I feel like the early Chaos theory researchers who suddenly realize “it’s all around us” and then “why haven’t we been able to conceptualize this before?”.

    One of my backgrounds was as a hippy on a small commune, a few of whom made their way to a small north Georgia town church where they gave all they owned to the church because Jesus was coming and would bodily lift them to heaven. Same story line as the Seekers (aliens), with the same climbing-further-out-on-the-limb when Jesus doesn’t come and lift them bodily into heaven as was found with the Seekers.

    If not screamingly obvious, overlay this theory and history on QAnon and Trump fanatics. But be careful with “exceptionalism” because we’re all caught up in our stories. Hopefully ours are grounded better in reality, but …

  5. Zachary Smith

    That’s a link to an upload of one of the books I spoke of. I’d quite forgotten about having this scan of Kokutai No Hongi. In my experience these sites retain materials for a fairly brief time.

  6. Ché Pasa

    The War in the Pacific was suffused with racism every which way. No denying it. All the combatants were driven by racism — with the possible exception of the Soviet Union which was mostly not involved in the Pacific War in any case.

    The use of nuclear weapons on Japan was intended to “send a message” both to the Imperial Household in Tokyo and to the Soviet Union that the United States of America would brook no opposition and would be more than happy to obliterate anyone or any nation which dared to defy the Exceptional Country. Truman and the psychopaths at State and the soon to rise CIA saw the Soviets as the permanent existential threat once the Empire of Japan was laid waste. Thing was, the US was bluffing. After the use of the first two nukes, there weren’t any more.

    Soviet Union caught up quickly, MAD was institutionalized, and nukes have not been used since, though much of the world has been drenched in blood during the supposed peace after WWII.

    It is today.

    Among the paradigms that need to change fundamentally are those that came to be under the psychopaths at State, the many three letter agencies, and the branches of the military. We have been under the rule of monsters, and the world is not the better for it.

  7. Zachary Smith

    Thing was, the US was bluffing. After the use of the first two nukes, there weren’t any more.

    Harry Trump grew quickly in office, and when he figured out the US Military were treating him as a figurehead, he quickly started taking charge of his Commander in Chief role. One of his first steps was to halt the shipment of the core of the third A-bomb to Tinian. If there were going to be any more Bombs dropped, it would be on his order rather than some kind of automatic and low-level process like with cluster-fu** of Nagasaki.

    Recall the sheer size of the US nuke program. This was was a “mass production” program, and by November Marshall expected to have at least 9 of the Plutonium bombs available by November. The U bomb production was much slower on account of the things being made an atom at a time. From the wiki:

    Manhattan District Engineer Kenneth Nichols expected on 1 May 1945 to have uranium-235 “for one weapon before August 1 and a second one sometime in December”, assuming the second weapon would be a gun type; designing an implosion bomb for uranium-235 was considered, and this would increase the production rate.

    Even using the super-inefficient “gun” design, Oak Ridge was cranking out a “Little Boy” every 5 months.

  8. NL

    @Mark Pontin

    Re Koch network. I did a tiny bit of research on it, and an inescapable conclusion is that they do not control key Trump policies, including MAGA/trade, monetary policy and military procurement, may control exactly zero Trump policies. The truth probably is that the New England oligarchs paint Southern oligarchs as evil and scary, while promoting themselves as ‘progressive’ and cool — a meme so that you would associate yourself with the oligarchy one way or another.

    Here’s a list of people allegedly from the Koch network:

    Links of many of these people to the ‘Koch Network’ are tenuous. Wilbur Ross is identified as a ‘friend’ of Koch — all (politically) active billionaires know each other and are friends. ‘A friend’ in American culture is someone you know and are not afraid to admit, no more and no less. Others are linked through donations, work for ALEC, some commercial ties… in other words… fluff.

    True control begins when a high positioned executive of a major corporation becomes the head of the governing body that is supposed to oversee the corporation and its industry. Examples:

    Henry Paulson CEO of Goldman rushed in as the Secretary of Treasury to save Wall Street
    Timothy Geithner President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (a private entity and the bank through which FED executes its policies) moved into the Treasury

    Current guy: Mnuchin – hedgefunds/private investment/banking
    member of Skull and Bones, Goldman Sachs 94-02, hedge fund industry Dune Capital ~04-13, Chairman and CEO OneWest Bank Group (a private investment vehicle) 09-?

    OneWest was also co-owned with George Soros, John Paulson and Michael Dell.

    By the way Attorney General Kamala Harris wanted at first to prosecute OneWest, but then did not.

    Note the name of George Soros – should we conclude that he runs Trumps fiscal policies now?

    Military procurement –
    Mark Esper – vice president of government relations at defense contractor Raytheon
    Patrick Shanahan – senior vice president Boeing Supply Chain & Operations
    Jim Mattis (not as bad as the two above) – member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors

    Jerome Powell – managing partner of the Global Environment Fund, a private equity and venture capital firm – first not a PhD/not from academia in the recent decades

    None of Trump’s trade people are on the list, Lighthizer or Navarro.

    Looks like Trumps trade policies costing Koch industries dearly. Examples:
    Executive interrogated in China, maybe some in the CCP ready the above article with the list and thought ‘why don’t put some pressure on the ‘Koch network’:

    ~17% of the Koch industries employees are in China, and they are losing money on Trump’s trade policies.

  9. Zachary Smith

    The title I’m assigning to the link was plucked from text there.

    … a Republican whorehouse …

  10. NL

    @Mark Pontin
    Some additional points:

    1. To us regular citizens even with some substantial assets, these oligarch billionaires seem menacing and all-powerful, but among themselves and in the greater globalizing world, they are insecure, fragile, limited in resources and driven by the need survive and keep up with their peers. So many fortunes in the US were created and lost. Political economy based on oligarchy may be efficient (although I can easily argue even against that) but intrinsically unstable. If ancient Egypt were an oligarchy, they would never been able to build the pyramids. Elon Musk exists to demonstrate that an oligarch can send people in space. We will see, so far it has a private-public partnership: everything that has been publicly made became his private property.

    2. This reminds me of the Discovery Institute funded by Howard Ahmanson. He was unloved as a child. At some point, this and related institutions managed to shove into the public sphere the intelligent design debate. Anyone remembers that? Probably not. Exactly. It was a craze like 20 years ago. Now, he sits at home and watches Musk, Bezos and like become trillionaires , while his fortune stagnates and he is becoming merely rich.

    Moral of the story: social engineering undertaken by the oligarchs often does not work, while wastes their money and distracts them from keeping the eye on the wealth building.

    3. Systemic lobbying by the corporate executive suite is much more destructive to the population and country. They go directly to the congress and demand and beg for more H1-B visa, lower minimum wage, lower taxes for corporations and themselves. The most damage is not from the schemes hatched by individual oligarchs who imagine that they are bigger than the whole, it is from this kind of ‘profit’ seeking.

    4. Oligarchy is the worst form of government. We need what Germans call Mitbestimmung, codetermination, or some America-specific form of it, where the voice of the broad society will be heard. One idea is direct decision-making by the citizens through an internet-based secure voting system. Expand democracy to everyone.

  11. Zachary Smith

    In case you wanted to hear Dwight Eisenhower say that Robert E. Lee is one of the four greatest Americans of all time.

    This remark at the LGM site didn’t have a link, but it was easy enough to find a little clip on youtube of Eisenhower saying precisely that. Franklin, Washington, Lincoln, and the freaking traitor Robert Edward Lee! Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper to learn of this.

    Eisenhower was a good General. Not a great one, but better than most. After the string of Nazi victories was brought to a halt in the Soviet Union, even a “good” General in charge of the Allied armies in Western Europe was quite enough to defeat them, for the “brute force” approach the Allies used didn’t require a lot of General Genius.

    Upon becoming President, Eisenhower was able to coast – the rest of the world was still shattered and he wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with problems. Lots of time for golf – and meddling. Eisenhower tolerated Eugene McCarthy and gifted us Richard Nixon. He rehabilitated the near-Nazi Charles Lindberg, awarding him a rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserve. Then there were the US-driven coups…

    Iran 1953
    Guatemala 1954
    Thailand 1957
    Laos 1958-60
    Congo 1960
    Turkey 1960

    One event not on the list was planned by the Eisenhower Administration – the invasion of Cuba.

    My opinion of Eisenhower has been in free fall for a number of years. IMO the man was an early and white version of Obama – a fellow who got away with every kind of crime and sin and came out of it smelling like a rose.

  12. Ché Pasa

    I would say that FDR (or the All-Powerful DNC of 1944) made a gross mistake in replacing Henry Wallace with Harry Truman as VP, but I’m sure it was a thought-through move for the “greater good.” FDR was very ill by 1944, the War was nearly over, and Wallace was considered (by whom, though ?) to be too progressive and soft on Communism for the post-war/post FDR world.

    If FDR died in office (likely) and Wallace were elevated to the presidency, good things might happen for the People after the War was over, better things, in fact, than the New Deal had promised. Global power, more importantly, might not be dominated by the US of A. Post-War peace might have been possible (though not easily.) The specter of nuclear annihilation might not have stalked the globe for generations.

    Of course we’ll never know what a Wallace presidency would have been like. But we do know what Truman and his successors brought, and all things considered, it hasn’t been paradise. In many ways, it’s been monstrous.

    Truman’s assertions of presidential authority meant that the US would be in a state of permanent war run by psychopaths. Permanent war that we are still in. All the yakking about Peace Dividends and ending the never ending wars is bullshit and always was. “War is the health of the state,” right?

    For Chris Hedges, “War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning.”

    But it might not have been so if WWII had ended differently, and if Truman had not become president.

    Eisenhower/Nixon made things worse, Kennedy nearly got us obliterated and was assassinated (for cause? Who knows?), LBJ actually tried to institute FDR’s later vision (Second Bill of Rights) but of course was mired in the god-awful Vietnam War, something he recognized too late (why?) was a catastrophic mistake.

    Every presidency since LBJ has continued and worsened what got underway in earnest with Truman. Including the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.

    I’m not a believer in the Great Man theory of history, nor do I think that US presidents act alone to cause or correct anything. Truman served interests that had been suppressed during the Depression and War, money interests, perpetual power interests, the underlying interests that propped up Fascism following WWI. Fascists and Nazis were promptly rehabbed by the US to fight the Greater Evil of Communism.

    And so it went decade after decade, and when the Soviet Union fell to pieces, other Greater Evils (like Noriega, remember him?) were invented and perpetuated, just as is done today (Antifa!!!).

    We can’t go back and correct the past, but the future — as perilous as it is — still holds promise.

  13. StewartM

    On Japanese surrender:

    The US suffers from a guilty conscience and tries to justify the A-bombs by turning the Japan of 1945 into Godzilla, just our PTB magnified Saddam Hussein and his military, one he had obtained at the equivalent of the world gun-and-knife show, into a something like Hitler.

    Yes, the Japanese had extensive plans to defend the home islands, and to enlist every civilian in a fight-to-the-death against the invading Allied forces. ***SO DID NAZI GERMANY!!!!*** Yet when Allied forces entered Germany, it turned out that the vast majority of Germans were not at all interested in throwing away their lives in a last-ditch and futile Götterdämmerung. Very few Germans participated in “Werewolf” and the last-ditch Alpine redoubt where the last Nazis were going hole up for their last stand never materialized.

    And the Japanese government knew their people likewise would not be keen in doing so. In Steve Birdsall’s Log of the Libertaors he reports that B-24 groups which were sent in daylight to bomb Japan at low altitudes, reported seeing Japanese civilians looking up at the bombers waving white flags as a “we surrender!” sign from their homes and fields. And that was in *April*, 1945, almost five months before Japan surrendered. Doesn’t matter how many bunkers you build, if no one fights, it’s all for naught.

    The TeeVee history one sees about this is laughable and sooo transparent in its rationale to justify the A-bomb. Yes, the Japanese had a nuclear program too, but it was barely beyond the lab stage. Yes, the Japanese were working on a jet fighter–they even build a (gasp!! horror!!!) prototype–except, well the prototype didn’t actually have jet engines yet. This, and more, is trotted out in this TeeVee history as some sort of “proof” that the A-bombs were needed despite the time lag in even the US in getting a weapons system from the drawing board into production into deployment (say, 4 years plus with the B-29, in then the richest country in the world and have an abundance of raw materials, not having its supply lines interdicted, and not being bombed to smithereens).

    Racism also drives this Ché Pasa is correct about this, even the US military concluded the real reason Japanese soldiers usually fought to the death was the fear of mistreatment or killing by the Americans–which was well-founded, rather than Bushido or loyalty to the emperor (family reasons also played a role, one’s family would get a pension if you were killed but not one if you were a POW). The Japanese who *did* surrender were usually killed, either on the spot or in transit back to camp, all due to race hatred and the revenge for Pearl Harbor. It took a systematic effort by the Allied command, starting later in the war, to get American and other Allied troops to start accepting surrenders.

    (Oh, and those Japanese women jumping to their deaths off Saipan? That was from fear of rape, and their fears were also not without foundation).

    As I have written before, the Soviets captured some 550,000 of those never-surrendering Japanese troops in August 1945. If the ground invasion had come, I personally think that something akin to what happened in Germany–where once the Allies had overcome German military resistance in March 1945, in the Ruhr encirclement, the Allies raced through the rest of Germany with only token and scattered resistance, with the leadership of towns and cities driving out in their towns to meet Allied forces to announce they had surrendered–would have happened in Japan too. The biggest difference might be as Japan consists of islands, each island would have had its own “Ruhr encirclement” battle before the collapse.

    The A-bombs weren’t the only mass atrocity we committed in the Pacific Theater. Most of the air bombardment–at night, at low level, using incendiary bombs to essentially attack civilians–was also something of a war crime, and counterproductive at that. We could have and should have bombed like we did over Germany–at least attempt precision strikes against military targets. This could have done if LeMay hadn’t insisted on the B-29s bombing from the stratosphere during day raids, where the strong winds blew the bombs off target. He had the bomber bomb from this altitude just to lessen bomber losses from flak and fighters, despite those losses were and probably would stayed lower than what we suffered against Germany because by this time the daylight bombers were not only well-armed, but had P-51 escort all the way.

    This had repercussions in the war, and not good ones for the US. Jimmy Doolittle, who took over the Eight Air Force, said “the bombers are bait”. Send the bombers over to destroy or cripple key German industries, force the German air force up into the air to stop this, and then blow the Germans out of the sky by the combination of fighter escort and bomber defensive fire. The result was air supremacy over Europe so complete that on D-Day Allied forces were told not to shoot at unidentified planes in the sky because “they’re probably ours”.

    *This was not achieved against Japan*. Instead, LeMay’s strategy of avoiding, rather than combating, the Japanese air forces left the Japanese with oodles of single-engined planes (though they admittedly had a shortage of trained pilots; in part because of their own code of honor (though they had parachutes, many Japanese fighter pilots refused to wear them; German aces by contrast were often shot down themselves many dozens of times but jumped to live to be put into a new plane)). So, with lots of planes and only rookies to fly them, kamikazes were the logical Japanese response. We probably lost more men to Kamikazes than we would have bomber crews. Moreover, if Japanese honor had allowed as ‘honorable’ the targeting and sinking of supply ships, fuel tankers, and troops and had not insisted on trying to sink aircraft carriers and battleships (the toughest target). The Japanese could have used their Kamikazes as the US used its submarine forces in the Pacific–yes, sink warships when the opportunity arose, but their primary target was the Japanese merchant marine and interdicting their supply and troop transport lines. The Allies were fortunate the Kamikazes were not used this way.

  14. StewartM

    Switching topics:

    Does anyone else other than me think that possibly the real, unspoken, fear by Trump and the Repugs in general about mail-in voting isn’t just about voting demographics, but also–just maybe–that mail-in ballots are (gasp!!) *paper ballots*, that can be individually looked and audited and re-counted, rather than being able to rely on those wonderful close-source proprietary-code no-audit-train voting machines?

    Just a thought.

  15. bruce wilder

    the right, united in their investment in domination and authority and the “order” domination and authority produce are rarely interested in discussing the politics of it. to discuss the politics of a policy of order produced by domination is to lose any political dispute over it, because reprehensible motives are necessarily revealed and opposing interests legitimated.

    any rationales offered are for the benefit of the naive and idealistic left, who, left to their own self-pleasuring and solitary political imaginations, rarely have any coherent concept of any order at all

    it can be quite unfortunate for the quality of governance to leave so little scope for rational deliberation in forming policy. the arguments are just for show, the criticisms virtue-signalling, and persuasion must fall back on nervy assertion, lies and bribes. human beings are lazy thinkers when they think at all and without a forum where meritorious argument might actually persuade, people collectively are rendered stupid in their self-interested parochialism and boundless ambivalence.

    the exemplar of 1950s foreign policy is not Eisenhower, great man or not. For me, it is Graham Greene’s fictional CIA agent, Alden Pyle, dressed in the finery of American exceptionalism, oblivious to the destruction following as he seeks “a third way”.

    careful observers might note that Obama’s foreign policy in Syria was still seeking a third way, in a farcical exercise in “training” and “equipping” a force of supposedly moderate democratic liberals to fight Assad.

    in retrospect, it is hard to fathom how Eisenhower could think backing Meyer Lansky in Cuba would work out well. i imagine it was not much discussed or thought thru. people who might have objected liked dancing the mambo and drinking mojitos at the Hotel Nacional while waiting to hear Frank Sinatra, and did not give the brutality of Batista much thought.

    Cubans did not always think “it” thru either, after the Revolución. Castro had to reopen the casinos for a time, because the oppressed workers wanted employment. Castro’s palsied management of sugar produced a series of disasters. the Cuban exiles became a malignancy in American politics: four of the five Watergate burglars were Cuban exiles. JFK’s assassination had something to do with Cuba though we may never know what exactly.

    the right only “invents” evil for entertainment purposes and because they are afraid serious deliberation would lead to isolationism or, worse, intervention on the “wrong” side. trust is merely currency, capital to be spent and squandered, the future left to take care of itself, if it can.

    but i see little danger a “pure” left will ever choose to deliberate seriously on its own motion. a left without the authoritarian followers of the working class and the elite conservative idealist “outsiders” ready to defy near naked greed is pretty useless. without those two, and maybe some others currently scorned, the left is just a ceremonial protest society. given a choice of leading that useless blob or endorsing Joe Biden, every viable politician knows what to do.

    the left will never be a majority. the right is never a majority either. but it surely does not have to be as stupid as it is right now.

  16. bruce wilder

    i guarantee the dems have seen the possibility of fulfilling Republican fantasies of widespread voter fraud with mail-in ballots.

    it is as if each side takes the accusations hurled by the other as a blueprint!

  17. bruce wilder

    @ StewartM

    Germans actually did pretty much fight to the bitter end. Not beyond the surrender. But, until the surrender. The surrender did not come until nearly a year after the military situation of Germany had become obviously hopeless, a doomed cause. And, still the Germans fought obediently and in good order.

    There were several famous examples of isolated Japanese carrying on in ignorance of the surrender. So, it is not as if the spirit were completely absent.

    I think you are straining to believe a tendentious narrative that confirms your wishful thinking. Your opening paragraph gave away your game.

  18. Anon

    Does anyone here know why, and when, Naked Capitalism stopped offering the option to enter a website connected to one’s user name when posting a comment (as Ian’s and many/most other Word Press site still do?). I recollect them offering that for quite a few years.

    Was it an expense problem, given how large the site is, or something else?

  19. S Brennan

    NR; You may not see my response to your query on the AOC thread Ref Bernie Sanders v Chris Hedges:

    “…and then there is Bernie Sanders, who dutifully plays by the party’s rules, courts billionaires, refused to speak out in support of the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for rigging the primaries against him and endorses Democratic candidates who espouse the economic and political positions he once denounced…Sanders’ metamorphosis began in December 2015 when he saw the groundswell of support for his candidacy and thought he could win the nomination. He dropped the fiery, socialist rhetoric that first characterized his campaign—He would spend tens of millions of the some $230 million he raised during the campaign on professional consultants. When it was clear he would lose, Sanders and his influential campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, began coordinating closely with the Clinton campaign. By May of 2016, Sanders had muted his criticisms of Clinton and surrendered to the Democratic Party machine. He has been an obedient servant of the party establishment ever since…

    …Sanders was always problematic. His refusal to condemn war…[including Iraq, in spite of claims to the contrary, Bernie wrote his own bill in support of the Invasion]

    It was WikiLeaks that exposed the Clinton’s pact with the Sanders campaign…Sanders delegates were deluged with messages from the Sanders campaign to be respectful, not to disrupt, support Clinton. Those messages were written by Clinton staffers and sent out under Sanders’ name. Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, herding his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Democratic Party machine…

    Sanders knew by September 2016 that the process was rigged, said nothing to his supporters. Sanders’ capitulation was political and moral cowardice. He missed his historical moment…Sanders will never recover politically…crowds dwindled from thousands to a few hundred after he endorsed Clinton…His “political revolution” slogan has been exposed as another empty public relations gimmick…for this reason Sanders is morally and temperamentally unfit to lead.

    The Democratic Party is neither democratic nor in any real sense a political party. It is a corporate mirage…Sanders, is now a loyal party apparatchik…

    ..there was about $6 million left from the Sanders campaign, and it was used to form an organization called Our Revolution in August 2016. The organization was set up ostensibly to fund and support progressive candidates, [however], it was set up as a 501(c)(4), a group prohibited from giving donations. [However], 501(c)(4) status allowed it to mask donations from wealthy donors such as Tom Steyer. Sanders’ decision to quietly solicit contributions from the billionaire oligarchs who funded the Hillary Clinton campaign and control the Democratic Party betrayed the core promise of his campaign. Yet, [Bernie] continued to write at the bottom of his emails “Paid for by Bernie Sanders, not the billionaires.

    …Sanders won’t help us. He has made that clear. We must do it without him.”

  20. StewartM

    Bruce Wilder

    Germans actually did pretty much fight to the bitter end. Not beyond the surrender. But, until the surrender. The surrender did not come until nearly a year after the military situation of Germany had become obviously hopeless, a doomed cause. And, still the Germans fought obediently and in good order.

    I don’t know what analogy you’re straining at, Bruce. The invasion of Germany proper, and Japan proper, was my analogy. Why would you compare the situation in Germany in the summer of 1944, with no actual part of Germany yet occupied by Allied soldiers, to the actual invasion of the Japanese homeland? Wouldn’t the actual invasion of the German homeland be the more proper analogy?

    The only proper analogy which you could make would be in the East, where the Germans military did resist to the last, which was because 1) to a greater extent their military forces had not been surrounded and chopped up so continued to function as cohesive units, until the very end (unlike the aftermath of the Ruhr battle in the West); and 2) German commanders, from the top downwards, were trying to buy time to retreat as many German units westward to surrender to the Western Allies instead of the Russians. This desire to surrender to one side instead of the other would not have had a counterpart in the invasion of the Japanese homeland, so I see this facet of the German invasion as less relevant.

    As for giving up when the situation was “hopeless” didn’t the Soviet situation seem hopeless in the summer of 1941 too? The Soviet Union was in more immediate dire straits at that time than either Germany or Japan, and the US military itself concluded it would not hold out more than a few months.

    There were several famous examples of isolated Japanese carrying on in ignorance of the surrender. So, it is not as if the spirit were completely absent.

    Yes, and isolated Werewolf teenagers carried on the Nazi struggle until 1948 or so. How does that mitigate my point that the vast majority of Germans, both in and out of uniform, were relived the war was over, despite whatever misgivings they had over its outcome? Despite there being any number of Japanese hot-heads and bitter-enders too (i.e., look at the plot to kidnap the emperor to keep him from issuing the surrender proclamation?):

    Yet, once it was done, it was done, and the Japanese no more rose up against the incoming Americans any more than the Germans did. If anything the Japanese resistance to the American occupation was even less than the Germans put up. Yeah, there were a fair number of suicides, if you want to call that ‘resistance’, but that happened equally in Germany too.

    Neither Japan nor Germany turned into an Iraq insurgency. Likewise, despite a great deal of bitterness among ex-Confederates towards the victors, neither did the Confederate south. Part of the reason for all of this was that the civilian populations all all these places had had enough of war and was relieved, though maybe not glad, that it was over.

  21. StewartM


    i guarantee the dems have seen the possibility of fulfilling Republican fantasies of widespread voter fraud with mail-in ballots.

    Feel free to post examples of mail-in voter fraud. (I see estimates of 0.006 % to 0.0025 %.)

    By contrast, no one knows the error or bias of those voting machines, which lack any independent method of validating or auditing the results which get spat out. There is no validation or audit trail even though it would be trivial to have these machines spit out a paper result, which the voter could review for accuracy, and then have that ballot stored in a ballot box, and use said ballot boxes as an independent check on the output the voting machine’s result.

    Trivia to do, and popular. But somehow, someway, for some reason, not done. Imagine that.

  22. bruce wilder

    I may never vote again, because the Democrats in my locality instituted an audit-less scheme of touch screens.

    Mail-in ballots are vulnerable to schemes of vote fraud and voter repression, neither of which may answerable by simple audits.

    Denying the vulnerability with references to make-up statistics is typical pmc bs.

    You can do your own damn Google searches. There was a case in North Carolina in 2019 that got lots of media attention. Historically political machines going back decades have exploited any loophole for absentee or assisted voting. At least in districts where there remains enough integrity to the count to make cheating worthwhile. The

    As I said, where I live, There is no integrity left — and Dems are in charge, so go figure your chances.

  23. Mark Pontin

    @NL —

    Good for you for digging a little deeper than a couple of MSM headlines, which is more than most do. I saw the HCN article back at the beginning. It’s okay, but incomplete and also out of date now, and it’s a piece of journalism.

    The devil is always in the details. One needs to actually dig into specific figures’ funding and histories to understand what’s going on.

    Also, one needs to dig down into the lists of who the assistant undersecretaries and rank-and-file grunt staff are *below* the titled U.S. Secretary for Whatever — because policy and execution actually are carried out by those folks — and find out where they came from.

    Also: sure, it’s a big club and we ain’t in it. Kissinger knows Obama knows Soros knows Wilbur Mills, etc. There’s a chicken-and-egg effect, too: attitudes we now take for granted as normal in elites weren’t so much so twenty years ago and that’s because of the Kochs, and — more relevantly — they effectively managed to take over the Tea Party in 2010 and through that much of the Republican Party. More relevantly, Trump had no real political organization when he began. Fairly inevitably, therefore, since many of the most competent political operatives in the Republican camp either currently were or had been employees of the Koch network – the labyrinthine system of PACs, nonprofits, think tanks, and LLCs the Kochs created –

    or had taken that network’s money, these people were who Trump recruited for his campaign staff and would comprise one-third of his transition team when he became president.

    The presence of Koch network people in the Trump administration, especially *below* the cabinet member-level, has only grown since then. It’s very striking once you dig down: 60 percent or more may be Koch types there. But even at the cabinet level, it’s a recurring pattern that as non-Koch conservative figures like Tillerson, Mattis, Bolton, McMasters, Kelly, and others have recoiled from working under Trump – usually using terms like “idiot,” “moron,” or “asshole” – Koch-connected administration officials have moved associates from the Koch network in to replace the departing non-Koch figure.

    Let’s just start with where some of the people nearest to Trump came from —

  24. Mark Pontin

    Kellyanne Conway
    became Trump’s campaign manager in August 2016, and got her own White House office and the title Counselor to the President once Trump won. Prior to that, Conway was a consultant for the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity’s national foundation,
    as well as for that group’s Ohio and Michigan chapters, and the Kochs’ Freedom Partners.
    She was, similarly, a board member of the Independent Women’s Forum, a Koch-funded group that promises to “reduce government red tape and return resources and control to people, so healthy communities and people can pursue their own visions of happiness.”

    Mike Pence, Vice President,
    was previously Governor of Indiana and employed Kellyanne Conway in his two gubernatorial campaigns there. By law, the Koch nonprofit, Americans for Prosperity, can’t support political candidates; its spinoff Americans for Prosperity Action,
    as a PAC, isn’t so restricted, but still can’t collaborate directly with candidates’ campaigns. An individual consultant like Conway, acting as a coordinator between nominally separate organizations within the Koch network, enables it to sidestep all these legal restraints. Besides such funds as Pence got from the Koch network this way, the Republican Governors Association received $10.8 million from Koch and Koch Industries from 2003 onwards,
    and passed $4.2 million of that on to Pence in 2012 and 2016. Meanwhile, David Koch personally donated $300,000 to Pence and Mark Holden – Koch Industry’s senior vice president and general legal counsel, and a board member of the Koch network’s Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, and several other Koch political organizations – gave Pence $202,500. Pence has been a mainstay at Koch events, including their secretive donor conferences, and as Vice President has met privately with Charles Koch, Holden, and other senior Koch network figures.
    Pence is now chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

    Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State,
    is even more extensively connected to Koch. From 2011 to 2017, as U.S. representative for the fourth congressional district of Kansas – where Koch Industries’ headquarters is located in the city of Wichita, on the north side of East 37th Street – Pompeo was known in D.C. as “the congressman from Koch.”
    In fact, his association with Koch goes all the way back to 1998, when his first venture, Thayer Aerospace, got off the ground with a major investment from Koch Venture Capital.
    Subsequently, in 2004 Pompeo’s next business, Sentry International, profited handsomely by supplying oil-drilling equipment to Koch Industries’ Brazilian division.
    Then in 2004 he became a board member of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, (now renamed the Kansas Policy Institute), the Kansas branch of the Koch-funded State Policy Network of ‘think tanks’ that push the Koch agenda on a state-by-state basis.
    Subsequently, the Kochs backed Pompeo’s run to become U.S. representative for Kansas’s fourth congressional district in 2010, and he got more Koch-linked donations than any other candidate in that election cycle, as he did when he ran again in 2014.
    Initially installed in the Trump administration as CIA director, in 2018 Pompeo became Secretary of State after Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil whom Trump initially appointed in the position, grew disgusted enough to publicly refer to him as a “moron” and got fired.

    tl;dr, right? I won’t try people’s patience with any more of this. You should be beginning to see the point. Which is —

    [1] It’s a recurring pattern, like I say, that when, forex, Tillerson leaves, he’s replaced by Pompeo, a Koch network person, or when John Kelly, non-Koch, ceases to be Trump’s Chief of Staff, he’s replaced by Mark Meadows, out of the Koch network.

    [2] This has been going on even more on the rank-and-file staffer level, which I’m still working through. My rough estimate is that from top to bottom 60 percent or more of the Trump administration is now comprised of Koch network-related people and some whole departments– the Department of the Interior, forex (which figures, right?) — may be as near entirely staffed by them as makes no difference.

  25. bruce wilder

    Why would you compare the situation in Germany in the summer of 1944, with no actual part of Germany yet occupied by Allied soldiers, to the actual invasion of the Japanese homeland?

    Maybe because in July 1945, no part of the Japanese Home Islands had been invaded or occupied and in the event, no invasion of Japan was necessary to obtain surrender, while Germany had to be invaded and much of it conquered before the surrender took place.

    By the mid-summer 1944, Germany was beaten, its situation hopeless. Japan in July 1945 was beaten, its situation hopeless.

    You go to a lot of trouble to avoid accepting that the use of nuclear weapons against Japan achieved the objective of Japan’s surrender, when merely reducing their situation to one of military hopelessness had not, just as reducing Germany’s situation to hopelessness had not induced their surrender before conquest of Germany proper was far advanced.

    in the East, where the Germans military did resist to the last, which was because 1) to a greater extent their military forces had not been surrounded and chopped up so continued to function as cohesive units,

    You have been misinformed apparently.

    Operation Bagration surrounded and chopped up Army Group Centre in the greatest military defeat in German history. The Soviets completely destroyed the German Fourth Army and most of the Nineth and Third Panzer in five days, surrounding and capturing German units around Minsk shortly after. The Soviets advanced into vast areas beyond the Soviet Union in Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Like the Falaise Pocket a bit later, German military capability was destroyed, and after, East and West, supply problems were mostly what slowed Allied forces.

  26. bruce wilder

    @Mark Pontin

    good stuff

    the caliber of people tied to Koch is as remarkable as their apparent willingness to subscribe to his political philosophy — perhaps that willingness speaks to character and alternative prospects

    of course, Trump, himself, is a grifter and a magnet for grifters. Koch, himself, i am inclined to imagine, thinks himself above all that grifting, but then look!

    still, i wonder if anyone in the political classes as politician, operative or media tool actually cares? or is it all transactional all the time?

  27. S Brennan

    “The Koch brothers are freezing out Donald Trump from their influential political operation — denying him access to their state-of-the-art data and refusing to let him speak to their gatherings of grass-roots activists or major donors.

    Despite a long and cordial relationship between the real estate showman and David Koch, as well as a raft of former Koch operatives who are now running Trump’s presidential campaign, the Koch political operation appears to have concluded that Trump is the wrong standard-bearer for the GOP. And the network of Koch-backed policy and political outfits is using behind-the-scenes influence to challenge Trump more forcefully than the Republican Party establishment — by limiting his access to the support and data that would help him translate his lead in the polls into a sustainable White House campaign.”

  28. S Brennan

    “Despite Ties To VP Pick Mike Pence, Koch Network Still Refuses To Support Trump”

  29. S Brennan

    “-Powerful Koch Donor Network Reportedly Will Once Again Refuse to Back Trump in 2020 Race-

    Donald Trump’s reelection effort in 2020 will not have the financial support of Koch money, the powerful conservative donor network has been quietly informing other major donors of its plan to sit out the 2020 presidential race.”

  30. NL

    @Mark Pontin

    Looks like you essentially agree with me that the so-called Koch network controls none of the key Trump policies, such as trade, fiscal or military. It does not control monetary policy. In fact, the ‘Koch network’ does not even seem to have an opinion on those policies. It is a pariah among the ‘progressive’ New England oligarchs. Trump had also a major energy policy, which since then has failed miserably at the hands of Saudi Arabia, Putin, Germany and coronavirus. The Kochs had not much to do with that policy either. And so we are down to Conway, Pence and Pompeo. Don’t know and don’t want to know what the first two do in terms of policy, if they did anything worth knowing I would’ve heard it probably. Was that Conway who said that we need to take covid-19 seriously, because this is the 19th version of this virus… and she has a confused daughter and a democrat husband or something.

    Pompeo being in the department of state can’t implement a domestic agenda of the alleged network to begin with. Many say that he along with Kushner and Bolton is a neocon who executes the policies of Adelson. McMaster and even Mattis may be in that category, but not Tillerson. Pompeo is being said to be a jovial ‘yes man’. My sense is probably the latter more than anything else, a functionary for sale, pay him and he will do anything. Bannon was arrested on a yacht of a Chinese fugitive billionaire who paid Bannon a cool million a year for promoting China bashing in the US. Goldman from wrote that Bannon was a man who read a couple of pages of a thousand books, a man who for money will imagine a 50,000 strong unemployed engineer protest marching on the communist party headquarters in China, while sitting in his palatial hotel sipping a latte. Turkey lurkey stupid unscrupulous intellectuals (see the classic Chicken Little) who will sell bullshi*ifying to anyone so that they could afford a latte. We can’t know who Pompeo really works for right now (I say it is Trump, because if he did not work for Trump he would be gone long time ago like Bolton, Tillerson and many others) unless we see his tax returns, whoever he worked for in the past may be in the past.

    But let us step back a bit and evaluate a usefulness of this type of analysis whereby we attribute wrongs to ‘evil’ people and conspiracies, whether it is the Koch network, or neocons, or Staussians, or masons, or a Jewish cabal. The conclusion of this thinking is that if we could only eliminate the offenders, we would usher in a political paradise. Aside that it invites repression, prosecution and potentially murder, it obviously does not provide a viable path to a better polity. It is our political economy and the form of government that give us the Koch network, unless we reform ourselves, a “Koch network” will be with us forever. Systemic injustices present in the political economy and the worst ever form of government will make sure of that.

    BTW, you have never commented on the contention that oligarchy is the worst form of government. Perhaps, your view is that if only we could get rid of ‘bad’ oligarchs, this form of government would be perfect.

    Also, this part: “one needs to dig down into the lists of who the assistant undersecretaries and rank-and-file grunt staff are *below* the titled U.S. Secretary for Whatever — because policy and execution actually are carried out by those folks — and find out where they came from.”

    makes me wonder whether you understand how government or a major corporation or any other bureaucratized organization works. Hint: non-political career government employees do not give a f*** about the Koch network, political appointees are wall to wall new or are carry-overs from the previous administration, in this case Obama. As a rule ‘freelancing’ will make deemed difficult, a sure way out of your job.

  31. Mark Pontin

    NL wrote: ‘non-political career government employees do not give a f*** about the Koch network, political appointees are wall to wall new or are carry-overs from the previous administration…”

    You are very, very, very naive.

    NL wrote: ‘Looks like you essentially agree with me that the so-called Koch network controls none of the key Trump policies, such as trade, fiscal or military.’

    It controls Federal coronavirus response and at every stage has worked actively to gut it, which is not inconsequential, and where and why I began this.

    Besides, what on earth do you mean ‘key Trump policies’? Trump has no policies.

    Forgive me, but the idea is hilarious. He’s a rich near-moron whose schtick about the art of the deal has in reality always boiled down to one simple operational insight: If I owe you $1,000, that’s my problem; but if I owe you $10 million, that’s yours.

    Seriously. That’s it. Throughout Trump’s “business career,” with its more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, and six bankruptcies, the *single* competence he’s reliably displayed has been in leading on and then stiffing erstwhile investors, contractors, partners, and lawyers, before escaping to his next scam – be that the Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe beauty pageants, Trump University, Trump Steaks, The Apprentice reality TV show, the World Wrestling Federation, or whatever the next half-witted vulgarian con is that’ll keep him in the public eye.

    He’s an idiot.

    Therefore —

    [1] Q: Who’s pulling the idiot’s chain?

    [2] A: Different factions among the billionaires. The Mercer/Bannon faction are done, outplayed, f**ked. There are others.

    [3] Q: Who are they? As always, what does following the money trail indicate? (Do not read stupid journalism and take it seriously, and then expect me to take you seriously. The Seymour Hershes and the serious journalists left the building — were forced out — years ago.)

    [4] A: Not always easy to get at. But one keeps finding Koch network connections and Koch money. In about 60 percent of cases in the current White House administration, it looks like. Plus, when an establishment conservative figure loses it with Trump, they get replaced by someone from the Koch network — John Kelly gets replaced with Mark Meadows, Tillerson with Pompeo, and so on. So those things are interesting.

    (Though one has to watch out for confirmation bias when one starts seeing these patterns, which is why I’m talking this stuff out here.)

    [5] Q: So then what do the Koch network people and Charles Koch want? What’s their agenda? Are they getting it?

    [6] A: Not on tariffs, no. But when the Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon faction wanted to do their ‘close immigration and H-1b visa down’ MAGA thing, that got shut straight down. I chatted about that with one of the VCs behind Moderna, the company that makes the experimental vaccine that Trump is pushing, and he said some interesting stuff, which I can’t go into it here. But Trump is a glove puppet, whether he knows it or not.

    Still, back to Koch’s agenda. Is he getting what he wants?

    It helps to put aside the ‘evil oligarch’ stereotype in thinking about Charles Koch. Going on about ‘oligarchy is bad’ — fine, ‘rain is wet’, whatever — gets you nowhere in understanding the guy and what he wants.

    For instance, you talk about ‘key policies … trade, fiscal or military’. That’s naive. Charles Koch *doesn’t care* that much about those things. He’s got a much bigger-longer-term project. He’s a radical libertarian ideologue on a half-century long mission from God to re-engineer American society in order to (a) end the Federal government, government regulation and social services, and (b) privatize everything.

    He’s getting there, on the evidence.

  32. NL

    “You are very, very, very naive.” — I know that government career employees do not give a hoot about the Koch network for a fact.

    “Federal coronavirus response” — Is there such a thing? The reason the so-called response seems befuddling is because people often come to the matter with preset ideas and assumptions. People with the eyes that can see saw this coming long time ago. There was an article Feb/March that described the so-called response precisely to a tee. Will look it up and post later.

    “Trump has no policies.” —- I don’t particular care what Trump is or is not. All I have argued is that ‘the Koch network’ has no influence on his policies, and by Trump’s policies, I mean policies carried out from within his administration. The administration policies are controlled but just not by the Koch network.

    “six bankruptcies” — He himself never personally filed for bankruptcy, business bankruptcy is a fair play business decision without stigma attached to it. It is done all the time.

    ‘The Mercer/Bannon’ — I have no idea what was that all about with Mercer some years ago. Guess he wanted to show off himself as smart or something. People can code do not necessarily can understand ecology. Bannon has no faction, he is a buffoon no less than Trump willing to do anything for cash.

    H-1b visa — Koch industry would have no interest in those visas. Bringing people from certain countries on H-1b visas for tech/banking/pharma is a big business.

    ‘Trump is a glove puppet’ — sure, but not of the Koch network. They are a bit player in the world controlled by tech/banking/pharma.

    ‘gets you nowhere in understanding the guy and what he wants’ — Likewise I don’t particular care what these people are or are not. My interest is in the ecology.

    “on a half-century long mission from God to re-engineer American society” — I get it, that’s why I mentioned Ahmanson, another oligarch on a mission. Corporate PR campaigns do more re-engineering than these dudes. And they are not going anywhere, once they die, next generation takes over, and the next generation could care little about all these ‘missions’ and would rather spend the money on something else — the end.

  33. someofparts

    It’s going to be interesting watching corporate media put a happy face on martial law.

  34. someofparts

    Ages ago in his book New Industrial State, Galbraith senior pointed out that every large industrial economy requires massive state support to persist at all. Because political opinion in the U.S. always resisted doing it openly with direct government policy, the job fell to the military by default.

    So now here we are. Out of our 240 yr+ history, there have only been sixteen years when we were not at war with somebody. Arguing about the justifications for our various policies in this or that war theatre seems like arguing about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. War is our business model. Our rationalizations for it read like short takes from Aesop’s fables.

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