TBR News March 26, 2020

Mar 26 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. March 26, 2020: “The storm is weakening and in places, the sun is breaking through the thinning clouds. I am speaking here of the invented stories of a deadly plague sweeping across the globe, threatening all with death and destruction and resulting in outbreaks of panic and official overreactions. It was know all along that Coronavirus was a mild flu and not a deadly 1917 epidemic but the media, on the verge of economic collapse, seized on it like a starving man snatching a horse turd and used it in a vain attempt to gain paid subscribers. The economic and social chaos they caused by their rampant fictions was of no consequence but when, in time, their large office buildings are turned into day care centers for autistic children, it will be too late to mourn.”

Agitation From Reuters

• U.S. weekly jobless claims surge to a record 3.28 million as coronavirus spurs mass layoffs
• ‘All we have left is to hope and pray’: Travellers stranded in airport by coronavirus
• Grid operators turn control centers into campsites to keep coronavirus at bay
• Newly jobless Americans worry about making ends meet
• Two more weeks of lockdown as Spain’s coronavirus crisis worsens Fresh produce in Europe set to be more scarce as coronavirus strikes
• In Europe, tech battle against coronavirus clashes with privacy culture
• U.S. Senate passes $2 trillion bill for ‘strange and evil’ coronavirus crisis
• World stocks slip as U.S. jobs angst outweighs $2 trillion stimulus
• Belgium says coronavirus peak still ahead

Agitation From The Guardian

• Record 3.3 million Americans file for unemployment as the US tries to contain Covid-19
• US may be in recession amid Covid-19 crisis, says Fed chair Jerome Powell
• Return to normal activity depends on health experts’ advice
• Central bank will not ‘run out of ammo’ to support economy
• It’s all Covid’: New York medical staff brace for a surge of coronavirus patients
• The governor has warned that efforts to slow the spread of the virus have so far failed; hospitals will no doubt be overwhelmed
• ‘We’ve got two weeks before we run out of food’: Americans trapped between coronavirus and poverty
• In Kansas City the deadly threat of the pandemic looms on the horizon but livelihoods have already been destroyed
• The ER Diaries: inside a California hospital, a sneeze can cause a panic
• Coronavirus pandemic has delivered the fastest, deepest economic shock in history

Agitation From the New York Times

• U.S. Jobless Claims Are Highest Ever; House to Take Up $2 Trillion Stimulus
• New Orleans Facing Deadly Virus Outbreak
• What You Can Do About Coronavirus Right Now
• Europe’s Leaders Ditch Austerity and Fight Pandemic With Cash
• ‘God Will Protect Us’: Virus Infects an Already Struggling Pakistan
• Afghans returning from Iran crossing into Afghanistan at Islam Qala on Sunday.
• Fresh From Iran’s Coronavirus Zone, Now Moving Across Afghanistan
• Doctors Are Writing Their Wills
• God Doesn’t Want Us to Sacrifice the Old
• Coronavirus Has Brought New York to Its Knees. Here’s What That Looks Like.

Agitation From the Washington Post

• As New York’s crisis deepens, experts split over how to contain its spread to new areas
• Hospitals consider universal do-not-resuscitate orders for virus patients
• Some health-care workers resist orders to work without adequate protection
• Our domestic health-care system is stretching past the breaking point
• In some states, oil-price collapse brings back 99-cent gas
• What lockdown orders mean when it’s not your hometown
• Why cruise ships kept sailing even as the virus spread.
• Soldiers around the world get a new mission: Enforcing coronavirus lockdowns
• Much of the world is under virus-related restrictions
• Army seeks retired medical personnel to rejoin service to fight virus

The Table of Contents
The Great Disaster Blog
• After Senate vote, massive U.S. coronavirus bill moves to the House
• How lethal is Covid-19 REALLY? Why massive fatality rates from Italy are MISLEADING
• In China, life returning to normal as coronavirus outbreak slows
• It’s Time for the US and Saudi Arabia to Break Up
• National Commission Recommends Extending Draft Registration to Women
• The Roosevelt-Churchill Conversations
• Encyclopedia of American Loons

The Great Disaster Blog
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Sigismondo P. Malatesta, Webmaster & Director of the Malatesta Disaster Institute

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The week of March 24, 2020
We have just learned that there has been an outbreak of the dread TF sickness in Albino, Texas! This dangerous illness originated in Armadillos and passed to humans who ate them. Terminal Flatulence is extremely dangerous, according to Scientists, because the massive release of methane gas in confined places can produce terrible explosions if brought in contact with an open flame. Cigarette lighters, birthday candles and other such burning objects can cause extensive damage to property, blowing out windows, burning nearby humans and causing fatal crashes in commercial aircraft. Teams of US government health officials have sealed off Albino and residents are ordered to remain in their homes or apartments with all wndows open. Also, the use of ranges or ovens is forbidden as are barbecues and especially birthday cakes with lit candles. The town has been surrounded by US Army units, wearing gas masks, who have orders to prevent any person from leaving the area.

March 25, 2020
Apparently, a citizen of Albino left the town before the military arrived and it is feared they might have carried the TF disease into the general population of Texas. The FBI is now involved in a statewide search for a Hector Alvarez. He was seen driving a pink pickup and headed for El Paso. New Mexico authorities have been put on alert. And at the same time, teams of DHS workers have been killing Armadillos in the fields around Albino. The score so far are ten Armadillos, eight cats, one dog and a young autistic dwarf who refused an order to stop and be tested.
Washington officials are shipping a load of wooden anti-TF anal plugs and wooden hammers to Albino to neutralize the population and protect its inhabitants from gassing or explosions.

March 26, 2020
The Alvaraz truck was found in the parking lot of the El Paso airport early today and a check with the TSA units showed him boarding a Mesa commercial airplane bound for Denver. Authorities were alerted but it appears Alvaraz had landed at Denver and disappeared. All passengers on the flight that were located were at once quarantined and tested for TF. It it feared that the dread disease is now moving out into the general population and Washington has been alerted as have all airports across the nation.

March 26, 2020
A tragic incident in Bad Seepage, Ohio where a passenger car suddenly filled with a ball of blue flame and all the windows blew out is being traced to the late Tracy Pleebleman who was known to have been in Denver during the week. The FBI is tracing other Denver passengers and teams of Pluggers are making ready to neutralize any possible carriers. Ohio authorities are preparing to issue an Initial General Warning prior to closing all Ohiio’s schools, restaurants, shopping centers, banks and car washes. Proihbiting the lighting of matches anywhere in the United States is part of an emergency bill being considered by Congress.

After Senate vote, massive U.S. coronavirus bill moves to the House
March 26, 2020
by Richard Cowan and Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill sent the unprecedented economic legislation to the House of Representatives, whose Democratic leaders hope to pass it on Friday.
The Republican-led Senate approved the massive bill – which would be the largest fiscal stimulus measure ever passed by Congress – by 96 votes to none late on Wednesday, overcoming bitter partisan negotiations and boosting its chances of passing the Democratic-majority House.
The unanimous vote, a rare departure from bitter partisanship in Washington, underscored how seriously members of Congress are taking the global pandemic as Americans suffer and the medical system reels.
“When there’s a crisis of this magnitude, the private sector cannot solve it,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Individuals even with bravery and valor are not powerful enough to beat it back. Government is the only force large enough to staunch the bleeding and begin the healing.”
The package is intended to flood the country with cash in a bid to stem the crushing impact on the economy of an intensifying epidemic that has killed more than 900 people in the United States and infected at least 60,000.
It follows two others that became law this month. The money at stake amounts to nearly half of the total $4.7 trillion the U.S. government spends annually.
Republican President Donald Trump, who has promised to sign the bill as soon as it passes the House, expressed his delight on Twitter. “96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA!” he wrote.
Only two other nations, China and Italy, have more coronavirus cases than the United States. The World Health Organization has warned the United States looks set to become the epicenter of the pandemic.
The House’s Democratic leaders announced that they would have a voice vote on Friday. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she backed the bill, and was open to passing more legislation if needed to address the crisis in future.
The House Republican leadership is recommending a “yes” vote.
The massive bill, worth more than $2 trillion, includes a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 apiece to millions of families.
The legislation will also provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and at least $100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.
There had been some debate about whether all 430 House members, most of whom have been out of Washington since March 14, would have to return to consider the bill. That would have been difficult, given that at least two have tested positive for coronavirus, a handful of others are in self-quarantine and several states have issued stay-at-home orders.
There are five vacant House seats.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Robert Birsel

How lethal is Covid-19 REALLY? Why massive fatality rates from Italy are MISLEADING
March 25, 2020
by Peter Andrews
In Italy, the proportion of infected people dying from the novel coronavirus — 10 percent according to the latest figures — seems through the roof. Unsurprisingly, there is more to this terrifying figure than meets the eye.
You do not need to be an expert to calculate the mortality rate. It is one number divided by another — the number of people who have died from the virus divided by the total number of confirmed cases. In the case of Italy, 7,503 dead divided by 74,386 infected gives a mortality rate of roughly 10 percent. But that does not mean that one in ten people who contract the virus will die, despite what the scaremongering media would have you believe.
The first reason why is that the first, smaller number — the number of deaths from Covid-19 — is impossible to underestimate. People are either alive or dead, and usually as soon as a person dies they will quickly find their way into the national statistics.
But the larger number, the confirmed cases, must by definition be an underestimate. It would be impossible for every person in a country positive for the coronavirus to have been already tested and added to the confirmed cases. The virus can be dormant in people for up to two weeks, and young people can experience very mild or even no symptoms at all, and still be positive for the virus. Since that figure is by definition too low, the mortality rates being reported are by definition too high.
Failing to test
Another factor is that governments are being pushed well beyond their capabilities for mass testing and contact tracing, some more than others. With typical efficiency, Germany is on top of their testing situation, and as such have picked up many milder cases. Therefore they have a high number of confirmed cases relative to the true number of infected people in Germany.
This is keeping the mortality rate in Germany down at 0.5 percent, baffling experts who are expecting apocalyptic scenes at the hospitals, the likes of which have so far only materialized in Italy. Perhaps the cases will soon mount up in Germany, and their mortality rate will climb toward the four or five percent that seems to be the European average. But due to the asymptomatic people (a majority according to the best research) even that is an exaggeratedly high rate.
Apply this principle to Italy, whose civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli told La Repubblica newspaper on Monday that “It is credible to estimate that there are 10 positive cases for every one officially reported.” If this were true, and as many as 640,000 people are infected in Italy, their actual mortality rate would in a stroke become one percent instead of ten percent. The scale of the problem begins to look quite different in that context.
Cause of death
Yet another reason for Italy’s inflated mortality rate is how deaths are being recorded there. Professor Walter Ricciardi, an adviser to the Italian minister of health, told the Telegraph on Monday that “the way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.’’
A thought experiment may elucidate this. Imagine that one thousand people, all over the age of 75, died in hospitals in northern Italy last week. All of them had tested positive for the coronavirus at some point during the past few weeks.
The vast majority of Covid-19 fatalities, 99 percent according to Italian research, have had a pre-morbidity, if not two or three. These are underlying health issues,like heart disease, cancer or various infections. Some might have been comatose, with life support machines and artificial breathing the only thing keeping them alive anyway.
Eventually, their bodies gave out, and they simply could not fight on any longer. But does that mean that in the absence of the coronavirus, those one thousand people would still be alive? In other words, is it really true to say that all of these people died of Covid-19? But amidst this crisis, when health systems and governments have tunnel vision for this one ailment, all one thousand are chalked off as victims of the plague.
More spanners in the works
A recent article in the Guardian wrestling with Germany’s apparently too-low mortality rate concludes that because they are not conducting widespread testing of dead bodies for the coronavirus people could be dropping dead inside their own homes of Covid-19 and going unrecorded. This seems unlikely to be much of a factor, but there may be other reasons why Italy has so far been an outlier in coronavirus casualties.
Many have pointed to Italy’s elderly population as the catch-all reason for their unnaturally high death rates. But that idea is a non-starter. Germany has the next oldest population in Europe, and Germans are not as healthy as Italians (who live long lives precisely because they are healthy), and yet Germany has the lowest death rate of the ten worst affected countries. Age cannot explain away the disparity.
Another factor is doubtless the unpreparedness of Italy’s health system, and the dearth of beds and equipment that is now spawning rumors about doctors being forced to jettison some patients to make room for others. Germany is better equipped, but may not have been put to the test yet, as the virus is yet to explode there as it has in northern Italy.
Crisis around the corner?
Experts are still saying that the reason for all of these disparities is simply that some countries are further along the epidemic curve than others. This could explain why so many more have died in China and Italy and so few in Germany and the UK, for example, but it cannot explain the wild fluctuations in the mortality rates.
None of this is meant to take away from the severity of the crisis in Italy, or that which may be just around the corner for the rest of the world. But the key point to take away from this is that the 10 percent mortality rate being reported from Italy is grossly misleading. It is being waved around by the mainstream media as a bit of old-fashioned sensationalism at best, and a calculated tool of propaganda at worst. A figure like 0.3 percent – barely higher than the common flu – simply does not have the same power in getting people to swallow unprecedented legislation that gives the state tremendous new powers in a host of new areas… all in the name of public health of course.

In China, life returning to normal as coronavirus outbreak slows
Draconian measures, which appear to have quelled the outbreak in China, are gradually being relaxed.
March 17, 2020
by Shawn Yuan
Al Jazeera News
Chongqing, China – “Look! What a big fish!” Ding Shijiu exclaimed in joy after catching a carp from the lake where he normally goes fishing.
Sitting under a tree full of spring blossoms on a warm day, Ding is finally able to catch up with old friends over a few fishing sessions – something he has been unable to do since the coronavirus pandemic started to sweep across China in January, prompting a major lockdown of cities and provinces across the country.
“The last two months felt surreal and, trust me, I’m almost 70 years old, and I’ve seen a lot of things,” Yang said while pointing at his friends, unable to contain his excitement of seeing them again.
“But we’re all still alive, and I’m just so happy that the worst has passed.
“This is the first time I came back fishing at this lake since Lunar New Year – I’m very happy,” Yang said with a smile, before trying to reel in another fish.
Like many people in China, Yang has spent nearly all of the last two months at home as the central government imposed unprecedented quarantine measures across the country in a drastic bid to contain COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The central province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan, where the virus was thought to have originated, were completely sealed off.
As the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed overseas daily have surpassed those within China, the draconian measures that appear to have quelled the outbreak domestically – particularly outside Hubei – are gradually being relaxed.
Chongqing, Yang’s hometown bordering Hubei, has had more than 500 confirmed cases since the disease started to spill into the municipality. But now, there have been no cases in the city for several days.
The slowdown is not only in Chongqing. Across the country, 13 out of 34 provinces in China have cleared their remaining cases, and approximately 69,000 of 81,000 confirmed cases have been discharged.
Pressure easing
Even in Hubei, where some 10,000 cases remain, the pressure on front-line medical workers has eased. On March 17, the first batch of nearly 4,000 medical workers who were parachuted into Wuhan to help control the outbreak were able to leave.
With so many provinces having downgraded their emergency response levels, China is slowly – and cautiously – returning to normal life.
Classes are gradually resuming after most students spent the last month or so at home and studying online. In provinces classified as “low risk of infection,” including Guizhou, Qinghai, Tibet and Xinjiang, local governments have allowed educational institutions to resume classes this month.
“I couldn’t really focus while taking courses online, and I can’t afford to waste any more time because the college entrance examination is in a few months,” said Ouyang Yanjiang, a student in Guiyang, referring to the highly competitive national exam that determines which college students can attend. “I’m glad that we are going back to school.”
Meanwhile, factories that were ordered to suspend operations are also starting to pick up their assembly lines after what many small business owners who spoke to Al Jazeera described as something akin to a “near-death experience” for their companies.
According to the latest report released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in January and February, the peak of the outbreak in the country, the industrial output of the world’s second-largest economy plummeted to the lowest point since 1998, and the unemployment rate soared to more than 6 percent, the highest on record.
The suspension has pushed many businesses to near-bankruptcy, but as the quarantine measures have been loosened, many are preparing for a rebound in production.
Cities that have a high density of manufacturing industry, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the south, are organising their employees’ return to work and pushing for the resumption of long-suspended business.
For example, the production line of Woniu, a Guangzhou-based kitchenware factory, came to a halt on January 20 – the day the government confirmed human transmission of the virus.
The head of the factory told Al Jazeera that, with their income near zero for the last two months, they had been on the brink of closing down the facility for good. But on March 9, their proposal to reopen was accepted by the government, and they are now back in business.
“It’s still high pressure to just break even, but at least we are now back to work,” Liu Lufei told Al Jazeera over a chat session on Taobao, the online shopping site under Alibaba. “Dear God, that was a difficult time.”
The harsh toll the outbreak took on people’s lives also appears to be easing.
Chengdu, famous for its hotpots and foodie culture, now has only a dozen cases remaining and the provincial government has said no new ones have been detected over the past three weeks.
That has allowed a gradual reopening of restaurants, although people remain cautious.
In videos shared online, restaurant patrons line up in front of the city’s many hotpot restaurants – wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from each other.
During the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, residents of Chengdu told Al Jazeera that the first thing they planned to do when the emergency ended was to go to a restaurant, “eating hotpots with friends and family”.
For a city whose soul is “hotpot flavoured”, as some playfully describe it, the reopening of Chengdu’s hotpot restaurants gives residents an almost unparalleled reassurance that the worst of the outbreak has indeed passed.
“We are only allowed to accept 50 percent of our restaurant’s maximum capacity for dine-in guests, and that’s the rule for all restaurants in Sichuan (the surrounding province),” Xiao Ma, a waiter at Shudaxia, a famous hotpot restaurant in Chengdu, said. “But in the last few days, we have been hitting that line almost non-stop.”
“People’s taste buds have been pent up for too long,” Ma jokingly said.
Travel gradually being allowed
Apart from dining out, people are also gradually regaining their ability to travel. Many provinces and cities have steadily resumed their public transportation, including inter-provincial long-distance buses that were suspended across the country days after Wuhan was sealed off on January 23.
Even in Hubei, the provincial epidemic prevention and control command has allowed “low and middle risk” areas, such as Xianning and Yichang, to begin operating public transport again.
News coverage of the outbreak has also eased. In late January and February, it was difficult to turn on a television or use a mobile phone without constantly being exposed to news about the coronavirus – but with the epicentre shifting to Europe, many entertainment shows are reappearing on Chinese TV.
“Now I’m able to watch something on TV that is not about coronavirus, and that was unimaginable last month,” Zeng Yunru, a Wuhan resident, said. “It’s funny that all of us seemed to have forgotten what our life was like before the virus.”
Barbershops reopening, parks welcoming tourists again, migrant workers making their way back to their jobs – the calamity that disrupted China’s society so completely seems to be receding steadily.
As life begins to return to normalcy, however, experts worry that there is still an underlying risk. There are worries that as soon as the expansive quarantine measures are lifted, China will be a hit by a second wave of infection, especially as the coronavirus is now a global pandemic and imported cases outnumber local ones.
China reported only one new domestic coronavirus case on Monday, in Hubei. Twenty other cases were of travellers arriving from overseas.
“I don’t think anyone is saying the outbreak is over – only the worst seems to be over,” Zeng said when asked about her concerns. “What we can do is still exercising social distancing and slowly driving our lives back to normal.”

It’s Time for the US and Saudi Arabia to Break Up
March 24, 2020
by Daniel DePetris
Defense One
Riyadh’s recent crude-oil dump is the latest indication that the oil-for-security basis of the special relationship is no longer applicable.
It was only a short time ago when Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince, was assembling world leaders at conferences in the Saudi desert and impressing global investors with grandiose plans of economic and social modernization. Next month will mark the third anniversary of MBS’s PR tour around Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and New York, pressing the flesh with titans of industry like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Disney’s Bob Iger—and convincing lawmakers on Capitol Hill that Saudi Arabia under his tutelage was a country brimming with opportunity.
Much has changed in a few years. The Saudi crown prince is no longer categorized as a widely-hailed reformer of the Middle East, but as a thick-headed, rash, and impatient young autocrat whose tenure is filled to the brim with an endless list of poor decisions. MBS’s latest gamble, which involved dumping more Saudi crude into the global market to coerce Russia into returning to the negotiating table on pricing and output quotas, has caused significant strain for American shale oil companies.
It would be convenient to pin all of the blame on MBS. But the truth is that Washington bears some culpability. Lawmakers are just now waking up to the fact that the underlying premise of the special relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia—oil for security—is no longer applicable. In refusing to acknowledge reality for so long, the U.S. has given the Saudis far more leverage to shape the relationship to its own advantage.
During the Cold War, the U.S.-Saudi relationship could fairly be described as a pivotal one. Soviet dominance of Persian Gulf energy resources would have given Moscow an irrefutable card to play over Washington. Pragmatic cooperation with Riyadh helped avoid this worst-case scenario and earned the U.S. a key partner in an energy-rich region that at the time was strategically important.
Yet over the last decade, the bilateral relationship first envisioned by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdulaziz aboard a U.S. warship in February 1945 has changed in more ways than one. While Saudi Arabia may still be the world’s preeminent foreign exporter of crude oil, the United States no longer relies on Riyadh as a supplier as it did in the past. Thanks to the combination of alternative fuels, emerging technologies in the energy industry, and the exponential increase in American oil production courtesy of fracking, Saudi Arabia’s biggest point of leverage over Washington has taken a dent. In 2001, the U.S. imported an average of 2.66 million barrels per day of Saudi crude. In 2018, that number declined to 1.47 million barrels per day, a 44 percent reduction. By the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s own figures, Saudi Arabia only accounts for 6 percent of Washington’s total crude imports.
Of course, Saudi Arabia is still an important player in the global oil market. Riyadh’s decision this month to rapidly increase supply in order to pressure Moscow and recapture some of the market share lost to American companies illustrates just how volatile the market can be depending on Saudi behavior.
But if there is a lesson to be learned from this recent price war, it’s that Saudi Arabia is not the U.S. ally so many policymakers and lawmakers long presumed it to be. In fact, Saudi Arabia has never been a U.S. ally. Saudi leaders, especially MBS, will conduct policy through the prism of what best serves the interests of the Kingdom and its people. The United States shouldn’t delude itself into believing otherwise.
Because MBS will inherit the crown from his ailing father and could very well rule the monarchy for the next 50 years, it would be counterproductive to simply write off the next Saudi monarch completely. If there are points of convergence where the U.S. and Saudi leaders can collaborate together in a respectable fashion, then Washington shouldn’t hesitate to explore the opportunity.
But as it does so, the U.S. foreign policy elite should also keep its eyes wide open. A more comprehensive reappraisal of the U.S.-Saudi relationship is necessary.
This reappraisal will require Washington to understand that Saudi Arabia needs the United States far more than the United States needs Saudi Arabia. The Saudis may be major players in their neighborhood, but they have also proven themselves to be extreme risk-takers, often to the detriment of Middle Eastern security as a whole. From the ugly, humanitarian abomination ushered by Riyadh’s war in Yemen to the long, geopolitically pointless standoff against neighboring Qatar, Saudi Arabia under MBS’s leadership has been as destabilizing to the Middle East as its Iranian rival. For Washington to do what it has often done in the past—unblinkingly support Saudi initiatives—would be to enable Riyadh’s most reckless behavior, provide Saudi Arabia with a veto over U.S. policy, and risk tying the U.S. military another unnecessary security commitment.
Foreign policy is rarely, if ever, a game of black and white. Relationships have changed since the Cold War and U.S. policy should change along with it.
Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities, and a columnist for the Washington Examiner.

National Commission Recommends Extending Draft Registration to Women

March 25, 2020
by Edward Hasbrouck
This morning the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) released its final report, recommending that Congress amend the Military Selective Service Act to require that young women, as well as young men, register for the draft when they reach 18 years of age, and inform the Selective Service System each time they change their address until their 26th birthday.
In my testimony to the NCMNPS in April 2019, I told the Commissioners:
Any proposal that includes a compulsory element is a naïve fantasy unless it includes a credible enforcement plan and budget…. How much are you prepared to spend, and how much of a police state are you prepared to set up, to round up the millions of current draft registration law violators or enforce a draft?
The Commission’s recommendations with respect to Selective Service registration are just such a naïve fantasy, completely unfeasible and with no foundation in research or reality. The Commission kept its head firmly in the sand, carefully avoiding any inquiry into whether or how the current (unenforced and widely violated) registration requirement for men, much less an expanded registration requirement applicable also to women, could be enforced.
There’s no mention at all in the report’s 255 pages of compliance or noncompliance with draft registration. There’s been no audit of the registration database since 1982, and the Commission didn’t conduct or ask for one.
The Department of Justice is, and would remain, responsible for enforcement of the registration requirement. But nobody has been prosecuted for nonregistration since 1986, and since then, as I pointed out in my testimony, “the Department of Justice – conspicuously absent from the witness list for these hearings – has made neither any estimate of the numbers of violators nor any plan or budget for how to identify, investigate, find, arrest, prosecute, or incarcerate them.”
The preliminary report the NCMNPS received from the Department of Justice didn’t mention enforcement, and the Commission didn’t bother to follow up with the DoJ about the omission. The Commission never met with the DoJ, and didn’t call any witnesses from the DoJ to testify at its hearings. When Commission staff convened an interagency working group of representatives from 25 other agencies and departments to consult on possible recommendations, the DoJ wasn’t invited. The Commissioners went to extreme lengths to avoid asking any questions about compliance, noncompliance, enforcement, or feasibility – because they knew that even cursory research into these questions would make clear that draft registration of men has failed, and that trying to register women would be even more of a failure.
According to a statement from peace and antidraft organizations and activists, including antiwar feminists:
The issue is not whether women should have to register for the draft, but whether the government should be planning or preparing to draft anyone.
Congress should end draft registration for all, not try to expand it to young women as well as young men.
H.R. 5492 would end the current contingency planning for a future draft as well as draft registration, and would end all sanctions against those who didn’t register. That’s the appropriate choice for Congress and the American public.
The NCMNPS was directed by Congress to consider the “feasibility” of any draft. But registering or drafting women would not be feasible in the face of the likely widespread noncompliance. Women and men will join in resistance to any attempt to expand draft registration, or plans for a draft, to women.
Draft registration for men failed: criminal enforcement had to be abandoned decades ago in the face of pervasive noncompliance. Even the former Director of the Selective Service System testified to the NCMNPS that the current Selective Service System database is “less than useless” as the basis for a draft. Trying to draft women or get them to register to be drafted would be even more of a fiasco.
Making contingency plans for a draft that would include women would be an exercise in self-delusion by the Selective Service System and military planners. Even more women than men would resist if the government tried to draft them.
Congress is under no legal obligation and has no deadline to consider the recommendations made today by the NCMNPS. But if Congress does nothing, draft registration is likely to be ended before long by court order. So Congress is likely to consider both the Commission’s recommendations and the alternative of H.R. 5492 either later this year or at the latest in 2021.
A public forum in Washington, DC, planned by the NCMNPS has been postponed, but you can still register to receive updates when it is rescheduled. A Senate hearing on the NCMNPS report has also been postponed. Only members of the NCMNPS, and not any of its critics or those with other views, were invited to testify at the Senate hearing, but the ranking member of the parallel House Committee suggested in a statement today after being briefed by members of the NCMNPS that he may want to hear from at least some of the Commission’s critics during House hearings.
The NCMNPS report doesn’t mention the bill to end draft registration and preparations for a draft entirely, H.R. 5492, even though that proposal was submitted to the Commission by its initial sponsor, Rep. Peter DeFazio, and endorsed by many antidraft organizations and activists. It’s important that if a bill to implement the Commission’s recommendations is considered in Congress, H.R. 5492 is considered at the same time as an alternative.
The issue isn’t likely to come to head in Congress for months, but it’s important to start mobilizing opposition and raising awareness now that this debate is going to happen. The government doesn’t readily admit failure or acknowledge that the willingness of the people to comply with its orders places limits on what it can do. The decisive factor is likely to be whether, when the time comes for Congress to vote on whether to end draft registration or extend it to women, members of Congress see sufficient visible evidence that young women – as young men have done, but probably in even larger numbers – will resist if the government tries to draft them or get them to register to be drafted, and that many older people will support them in that resistance.

The Roosevelt-Churchill Conversations

On March 6, 1942, German Minister of Post, Dr. Wilhelm Ohnesorge, sent the following letter to Adolf Hitler. To it was attached a sample manuscript of an intercepted conversation.
The Reichspost Minister Berlin W 66 6 March 1942
Leipziger Str. 15
Geheime Reichssache!
(Secret State Matter)
U5342-11Bfb Nr. 23 gRs
Decoding of the American-England telephone system
Mein Führer!
The Research Section (Forschungsanstalt) of the German Reichspost has, as the latest of its efforts, completed a unit designed to intercept the telephone message traffic between the United States and England which had been rendered unintelligible by their use of current communications technology. Because of the significant work of its technicians, the Reichspost is the sole agency in Germany that is now able to make immediate interception and decoding of these hitherto unintelligible conversations.
I will present these results to the Reichsführer-SS, Pg Himmler who will forward them on the 22nd of March.
It is my intention, pending your approval, to strictly limit the circulation of these communications in order that no news of our success reaches the English. This might seriously jeopardize future interceptions.
Heil mein Führer!
In 1937, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company put into use a telephone scrambling device called the A-3. This device, which permitted telephone conversations to be scrambled at one and descrambled at the other, effectively prevented interception of the conversations en route.
The German Reichspost (state postal system responsible for the telephone and telegraph systems in Germany) had purchased the A-3 system from AT&T before the war for use on lines in service between Germany and the United States. However, each set of scrambling devices was different and in practice, the possessors of one set could not intercept the transmissions of another.
The A-3 system in use between Roosevelt and Churchill was housed, in America, in a secure area of the AT&T offices at 47 Walker Street in New York City and the British A-3 counterpart was located at Whitehall in London. Roosevelt’s calls to Churchill were routed through the New York office where technicians constantly supervised the conversations to be certain that the transmitted speech was unintelligible after passing through the scrambling devices.
In September of 1939, the A-3 system was in use by the White House and on the first day of that month, Roosevelt heard from his personal friend and Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, that the Germans had invaded Poland.
The Germans were well aware that Roosevelt used this device through an indiscreet article in the New York Times of October 8, 1939 entitled “Roosevelt Protected in Talks to Envoys by Radio Scrambling to Foil Spies Abroad.”
The spies abroad found this indiscretion stimulating and Dr. Ohnesorge determined to find a way to unscramble the President’s messages. He assigned a specialist in the field, Kurt Vetterlein, to work on the project using the A-3 equipment then in the hands of the Reichspost as a basis. By late 1940, Vetterlein and his team of specialists had effectively broken Roosevelt’s secure system.
Vetterlein then built a device that was able to descramble each conversation as it progressed without the loss of a single word and Ohnesorge ordered an intercept station to be established in the occupied Dutch coastal town of Noorwikj aan Zee, just north of den Haag. Here, in a former youth hostel, Vetterlein set up the equipment he needed to begin a full-scale 24-hour program of interception and transcription of the trans-Atlantic radio telephone traffic.
The first intercept was made at 7:45 PM on September 7, 1941. The daily number of intercepted calls, on a 24 hour basis, ranged from a high of sixty to a low of thirty and were screened by experts for their intelligence value. Important material was transcribed in the original English and send by courier either to Hitler’s military headquarters in East Prussia or to Heinrich Himmler at the RSHA in Berlin.
Himmler, in turn, had the original English texts translated into German and distributed within his organization. SS General Gottlob Berger, head of Himmler’s Main Office, was one of the recipients and the head of Overseas Intelligence of the Sicherheitsdienst or SD received others.
These intercepts, coupled with confidential coded reports by Bruggmann, Swiss Minister to the United States, proved to be of incredible value to German intelligence organs and gave the Germans the closest look at the inner workings of the top leadership of the United States. Bruggmann was the brother-in-law of Vice President Henry Wallace who was absolutely indiscreet about top level police decisions. The Swiss Minister had no idea that the Germans were reading all of his secret dispatches to the Swiss Foreign Office in Bern just as the American President and the British Prime Minister had no idea their often sophomoric and pompous chatterings were ending up on the desk of Adolf Hitler within hours after they hung up.
Ever since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the subsequent entry of the United States into what then became World War II, there has been a heated and protracted debate about the historical role played by Roosevelt in this episode. His detractors have claimed that the President was fully aware of the impending Japanese attack and allowed it to proceed because it supplied him a casus belli that would permit him to actively engage his real enemy, Hitler. Much is made of the interception and decoding of Japanese official military and governmental messages, which in hindsight would appear to point clearly to a Japanese attack.
Certainly, the decoding of Japanese Foreign Office diplomatic traffic would indicate the strong probability of a military attack on the United States by the Japanese if their respective governments were unable to resolve their problems in the Pacific.
None of the diplomatic messages, however, were specific about such an attack and all that can be gained from reading them is the clear knowledge that the Japanese did not want war with the United States and, like Saddam Hussein of Iraq, were desperately seeking some kind of a peaceful solution.
Given that Roosevelt was aware of this attitude, which he clearly was, there has been no proof that the President was aware of a specific attack on the United States.
On November 26, 1941, the German intercept station in Holland recorded the following conversation between Roosevelt and Churchill concerning the situation in the Pacific. It is of such historical importance that it is reproduced in full and copies of the original German documents are attached. These transcripts of the Roosevelt/Churchill conversations were always initially in English and were then later translated into German.
Roosevelt-Churchill Conversation of November 26, 1941
This conversation is taken directly from a German transcript of a trans-Atlantic scrambled telephone conversation initiated by British Prime Minister Winston Spencer-Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt. The original was taken down in English and a German translation is in the German State Archives.
The original carbon copy of this, and other historically important German intercepts, came from the private files of Robert T. Crowley, formerly Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Conversation Participants
A=Franklin Roosevelt, Washington
B= Winston Churchill, London
B: I am frightfully sorry to disturb you at this hour, Franklin, but matters of a most vital import have transpired and I felt that I must convey them to you immediately.
A: That’s perfectly all right, Winston. I’m sure you wouldn’t trouble me at this hour for trivial concerns.
B: Let me preface my information with an explanation addressing the reason I have not alluded to these facts earlier. In the first place, until today, the information was not firm. On matters of such gravity, I do not like to indulge in idle chatter. Now, I have in my hands, reports from our agents in Japan as well as the most specific intelligence in the form of the highest level Japanese naval coded messages (conversation broken) for some time now.
A: I felt this is what you were about. How serious is it?
B: It could not be worse, A powerful Japanese task force comprising (composed of) six of their carriers, two battleships and a number of other units to include (including) tankers and cruisers, has sailed yesterday from a secret base in the northern Japanese islands.
A: We both knew this was coming. There are also reports in my hands about a force of some size making up in China and obviously intended to go (move) South.
B: Yes, we have all of that. (Interruption) ..are far more advanced than you in our reading of the Jap naval operations codes. But even without that, their moves are evident. And they will indeed move South but the force I spoke of is not headed South, Franklin, it is headed East..
A: Surely you must be…will you repeat that please?
B: I said to the East. This force is sailing to the East…towards you.
A: Perhaps they set an easterly course to fool any observers and then plan to swing South to support the landings in the southern areas. I have…
B: No, at this moment, their forces are moving across the northern Pacific and I can assure you that their goal is the (conversation broken) fleet in Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor.
A: This is monstrous. Can you tell me…indicate…the nature of your intelligence? (conversation broken) reliable? Without compromising your sources…
B: Yes, I will have to be careful. Our agents in Japan have been reporting on the gradual (conversation broken) units. And these have disappeared from Japanese home waters. We also have highly reliable sources in the Japanese Foreign Service and even the military…
A: How reliable?
B: One of the sources is the individual who supplied us the material on the diplomatic codes that (conversation broken) and a Naval officer whom our service has compromised. You must trust me, Franklin and I cannot be more specific.
A: I accept this.
B: We cannot compromise our code breaking. You understand this. Only myself and a few (conversation broken) not even Hopkins. It will go straight to Moscow and I am not sure we want that.
A: I am still attempting to…the obvious implication is that the Japs are going to do a Port Arthur on us at Pearl Harbor. Do you concur?
B: I do indeed. Unless they add an attack on the Panama Canal to this vile business. I can hardly envision the canal as a primary goal, especially with your fleet lying athwart their lines of communications with Japan. No, if they do strike the canal, they will have to first neutralize (destroy) your fleet (conversation broken).
A: The worse form of treachery. We can prepare our defenses on the islands and give them a warm welcome when they come. It would certainly put some iron up Congress’ ass (asshole).
B: On the other hand, if they did launch a bombing raid, given that the aircraft would only be of the carrier-borne types, how much actual damage could they inflict? And on what target?
A: I think torpedoes would be ruled out at the outset. Pearl is far too shallow to permit a successful torpedo attack. Probably they would drop medium bombs on the ships and then shoot (conversation broken) damage a number of ships and no doubt the Japs would attack our airfields. I could see some damage there but I don’t think either an airfield or a battleship could sink very far. What do your people give you as the actual date of the attack?
B: The actual date given is the eighth of December. That’s a Monday.
A: The fleet is in harbor over the weekend. They often sortie during the week…
B: The Japs are asking (conversation broken) exact dispositions of your ships on a regular basis.
A: But Monday seems odd. Are you certain?
B: It is in the calendar. Monday is the eighth. (conversation broken).
A:…then I will have to reconsider the entire problem. A Japanese attack on us, which would result in war between us…and certainly you as well…would certainly fulfill two of the most important requirements of our policy. Harry has told me repeatedly…and I have more faith in him than I do in the Soviet ambassador…that Stalin is desperate at this point. The Nazis are at the gates of Moscow, his armies are melting away…the government has evacuated and although Harry and Marshall feel that Stalin can hang on and eventually defeat Hitler, their is no saying what could transpire (happen) if the Japs suddenly fell on Stalin’s rear. In spite of all the agreements between them and the Japs dropping Matsuoka, there is still strong anti-Russian sentiment in high Japanese military circles. I think that we have to decide what is more important…keeping Russia in the war to bleed the Nazis dry to their own eventual destruction (conversation broken) supply Stalin with weapons but do not forget, in fact he is your ally, not mine. There are strong isolationist feelings here and there are quite a number of anti-Communists…
B: Fascists…
A: Certainly, but they would do all they could to block any attempt on my part to do more than give some monetary assistance to Stalin.
B: But we too have our major desperations, Franklin. Our shipping upon which our nation depends, is being sunk by the huns faster than we could ever replace (conversation broken) the Japs attack both of us in the Pacific? We could lose Malaya which is our primary source of rubber and tin. And if the Japs get Java and the oil, they could press South to Australia and I have told you repeatedly, we cannot hold (conversation broken) them much but in truth I cannot deliver. We need every man and every ship to fight Hitler in Europe…India too. If the Japs get into Malaya, they can press on virtually unopposed into Burma and then India. Need I tell you of the resultant destruction of our Empire? We cannot survive on this small island, Franklin, (conversation broken) allow the nips (knips?) to attack, you can get your war declaration through your Congress after all. (conversation broken)
A: Not as capable as you are at translating there messages and the army and navy are very jealous of each other. There is so much coming in that everyone is confused. We have no agents in place in Japan and every day dozens of messages are (conversation broken) that contradict each other or are not well translated. I have seen three translations of the same message with three entirely different meanings (conversation broken) address your concern about British holdings in the Pacific…if the Japanese do attack both of us, eventually we will be able to crush them and regain all of the lost territories. As for myself, I will be damned glad to be rid of the Phillipines.(sic)
B: I see this as a gamble (conversation broken) what would your decision be? We cannot procrastinate over this for too long. Eleven or twelve days are all we have. Can we not agree in principle now? I should mention that several advisors have counseled (advised) against informing you of this and allowing it to happen. You see by notifying you where my loyalty lies. Certainly to one who is heart and soul with us against Hitler.
A: I do appreciate your loyalty, Winston. What on the other hand, will happen here if one of our intelligence people is able to intercept, decipher and deliver to me the same information you just gave me? I cannot just ignore it…all of my intelligence people will know about it then. I could not ignore this.
B: But if it were just a vague message then?
A: No, a specific message. I could not just sweep it under the rug like that (conversation broken).
B: Of course not. I think we should matters develop as they will.
A: I think that perhaps I can find a reason to absent (leave) myself from Washington while this crisis develops. What I don’t know can’t hurt me and I too can misunderstand messages, especially at a distance (conversation broken)
B: Completely. My best to you all there.
A: Thank you for your call.

Historical Significance- Reflections of the Author
In dealing with documents of a controversial nature, there are a number of factors to be considered. The first point to consider is the authenticity of the document in question.
Authenticity can be determined by several means. There is the provenience of the piece; where it came from and a catalog of the owners showing unbroken custody. Then there is the forensic study of the document. Is the paper correct to the period when the document was purported to have been written. Is the typewriter or the handwriting correct? If ink is used, can it be tested as to age?
These are the forensic issues and the next issue is one of plausibility. Does the document accurately reflect knowledge and opinion when it was alleged to have been written? The sure sign of a faked or altered piece is if it reflects information known only after the fact and not before.
As a case in point, American newspapers contemporary with the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April of 1912, reported on what was then believed to be fact. These perceived facts later turned out to be in error. A document that accurately depicts the opinions, and errors, current with its alleged origin is far more believable than one that reflects information that was developed at a later date, information that could not be known to a period writer.
In the case of the copies of the German intercepts, these principles have been carefully adhered to. Because of the importance of some of these captured papers, it is vital to at least ascertain their authenticity based on the forensic criteria.
These documents, fortunately, exist in their original form.
The Roosevelt/Churchill conversation of November 26, 1941, was typed on a German Olympia typewriter, manufactured in 1938. The typeface does not indicate excessive wear such as one would find in an old, second-hand machine.
The paper on which the document was originally typed is common pulp paper, very quick to age. This paper proved to be unremarkable pulp that could have come from any period. There were no chemical additives, as are found in post 1948 paper, and no wood pulp additives that would preclude period German manufacture.
The next step in authentication would be to study the text to see if the speech was consistent with the speakers, their education and background.
In studying this aspect of the conversations, it must be remembered that these intercepts were taken down directly from the intercepted messages, as they were in progress. The technicians were persons in German employ who were conversant with idiomatic English. They were not necessarily of German birth or upbringing and attempting to write down intercepts in a foreign language could easily lead to minor grammatical or textual errors.
It is also necessary to consider the personal attitudes of persons who wish not to believe the authenticity of very controversial documents.
As a case in point, using this November 26, 1941, intercept as an example, several scholars have decided that the text is authentic. One recent reviewer, historian John Lukacs, has decided that it is not.
Dr. Lukacs has written at some length about this intercept in the American Heritage magazine of November/December 2002.
A very polished writer, Dr. Lukacs has stated that he simply cannot, and will not, accept this conversation as authentic. He stated in his article that he once spoke with an unnamed elderly British translator who stated she could not accept some of the comments made in the text.
There is the argument that Churchill would never have called Roosevelt by his first name. Since Roosevelt had known Churchill and his family for some time before the date of the conversation, there is no logical reason why he would not have used the President’s first name. Roosevelt’s mother was a friend of the Churchill family and had been visiting with them in England in 1915. This is an obscure fact, admittedly, but one that is not so concealed that it could never be discovered by a competent researcher.
There is also the question of Churchill’s use of ‘fascist’ in the conversation when Lukacs feels that ‘Nazi’ would be more accurate. A number of Churchill’s published speeches contain references to both definitions. Lukacs refers to the use of this word as ‘nonsensical’ when in fact published material shows that Churchill very clearly had used it a number of times in his writings and speeches.
What all of this proves is nothing more than the fact that Dr. Lukacs is not happy with the implication that Churchill, about whom he has written glowingly and at great length and whom he holds in the highest esteem, had prior knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack and was engaged in plotting with his American opposite number to let it go forward. By both Roosevelt and Churchills’ doing so, it is obvious many lives were lost and the war burst forth on a global dimension.
Dr. Peter Hoffman from Canada and Dr. Lukacs have both written in glowing phrases about their particular historical idols. Hoffman produced a highly laudatory work on Claus von Stauffenberg, as worshipful as the Lukacs’ Churchill works, and any writer who dares to denigrate their heroes immediately draws the academic ire of their biographers.
These academic gentlemen have staked out their turf, as it were, and like many other academics, will fight to the death to defend their own territory. It is never an edifying sight to witness distinguished academics engaged in behavior redolent of elderly whores engaging in a hair-pulling and purse-swinging battle in a dark alley over possession of a drunken client but this sort of activity seems to be more the norm than the exception
The ferocity of these encounters is always in direct proportion to the unimportance of the subject.
In essence, Dr. Lukacs simply cannot, and will not, accept anything that brings the character, or lack of it, of his primary hero into question.
Many do indeed revere both Roosevelt and Churchill. Still others revere Hitler and Stalin and are just as fierce in the defense of their respective heroes.
The personality of Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill could very well be a subject of interest to an alienist who, by definition, is a physician who treats mental disorders. There is a saying that the world is governed with very little sense and there are times when one could add to this statement that it often has been governed by lunatics.
(For an illuminating discussion of the personality and activities of Churchill, see a report by eminent American historian Harry Elmer Barnes in the Appendix)
Churchill was born in 1874 and died in 1965. His father was Randolph Spencer-Churchill, a son of the Duke of Marlborough. The first Duke was John Churchill, one of England’s most capable military commanders, who died without male issue in 1722 and the title was given to one of his nephews, a Spencer. As a courtesy, the Spencer family was allowed to add Churchill to its name, separated by a hyphen. Winston always wanted to believe that he was a gifted military leader in the mold of the first Duke but his efforts at generalship were always unqualified disasters that he generally blamed on other people. This chronic refusal to accept responsibility for his own incompetent actions is one of Churchill’s less endearing qualities.
Randolph Churchill died early as the result of rampant syphilis that turned him from an interesting minor politician to a pathetic madman who had to be kept away from the public, in the final years of his life. His mother was the former Jennie Jerome, an American. The Jerome family had seen better days when Jennie met Randolph. Her father, Leonard, was a stock-market manipulator who had lost his money and the marriage was more one of convenience than of affection.
The Jeromes were by background very typically American. On her father’s side, Jennie was mostly Irish and on her mother’s American Indian and Jewish. The union produced two children, Winston and Jack. The parents lived separate lives, both seeking the company of other men. Winston’s psyche suffered accordingly and throughout his life, his frantic desire for attention obviously had its roots in his abandonment as a child.
As a member of the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars, in 1896 Churchill became embroiled in a lawsuit wherein he was publicly accused of having engaged in the commission of “acts of gross immorality of the Oscar Wilde type.” This case was duly settled out of court for a payment of money and the charges were withdrawn. Also a determinant factor was the interference by the Prince of Wales with whom his mother was having an affair.
In 1905, Churchill hired a young man, Edward Marsh (later Sir Edward) as his private secretary. His mother, always concerned about her son’s political career, was concerned because Marsh was a very well known homosexual who later became one of Winston’s most intimate lifelong friends. Personal correspondence of March, now in private hands, attests to the nature and duration of their friendship.
Churchill, as Asquith once said, was consumed with vanity and his belief that he was a brilliant military leader led him from the terrible disaster of Gallipoli through the campaigns of the Second World War. He meddled constantly in military matters to the despair and eventual fury of his professional military advisors but his political excursions were even more disastrous. Churchill was a man who was incapable of love but could certainly hate. He was viciously vindictive towards anyone who thwarted him and a number of these perceived enemies died sudden deaths during the war when such activities were much easier to order and conceal.
One of Churchill’s less attractive personality traits, aside from his refusal to accept the responsibility for the failure of his actions, was his ability to change his opinions at a moment’s notice.
Once anti-American, he did a complete about-face when confronted with a war he escalated and could not fight, and from a supporter of Hitler’s rebuilding of Germany, he turned into a bitter enemy after a Jewish political action association composed of wealthy businessmen hired him to be their spokesman.
Churchill lavishly praised Roosevelt to his face and defamed him with the ugliest of accusations behind his back. The American President was a far more astute politician than Churchill and certainly far saner.
In order to support his war of vengeance, Churchill had to buy weapons from the United States and Roosevelt stripped England of all of her assets to pay for these. Only when England was bankrupt did Roosevelt consent to the Lend-Lease project, and in a moment of malicious humor, titled the bill “1776” when it was sent to Congress.
Hitler’s bombing of England was not a prelude to invasion, but a retaliation for Churchill’s instigation of the bombing of German cities and Churchill used the threat of a German invasion to whip up pro-British feelings in the United States. Threats of invasion by the Germans, in this case of the United States, have been cited by such writers as Weinberg as the reason why Roosevelt had to get into the war. Neither the Germans nor the Japanese had even the slightest intention to invade the continental United States and exhaustive research in the military and political archives of both countries has been unable to locate a shred of evidence to support these theories.
A dedicated academic supporter of Winston Spencer-Churchill or Franklin Delano Roosevelt would undoubtedly find any evidence of bad character on the part of their beloved subjects, total anathema but this attitude in and of itself has no actual bearing on the originality of documentation that might augment or expose lack of character or morality.
Roosevelt’s role in the Pearl Harbor attack has been the subject of speculation even from the first. His opponents claimed that he deliberately pushed the Japanese into war to permit him to fight his archenemy, Adolf Hitler. His supporters have firmly denied this thesis and the multiplication of books, scholarly articles and media dramas seems to have no end.
Several valid points have been brought by Roosevelt partisans that deserve to be carefully considered. The first is concerned with American military intelligence work and deals, in the main, with the interceptions of Japanese coded messages. It has been fully acknowledged that the Japanese diplomatic code, called “Purple,” was broken by the Americans and consequently, all high-level diplomatic messages between Tokyo and Japanese diplomats throughout the world were being read almost as soon as they were sent. (The average translation took two days.)
The question of the Japanese Army and Navy operational codes was another matter. The American government has firmly denied for decades that such codes had even been broken or, if that had, were not translated until 1945! While nearly all of the “Purple” intercepts have been made public, only a very few of the coded Japanese Naval messages have appeared in print and then only concerning matters of no special significance.
The Japanese Pearl Harbor task force did not broadcast any messages during their passage to the Hawaiian Islands but Japanese Naval headquarters did send messages to the task force. What they may have consisted of are not known at present and perhaps will never be known, although the National Security Agency, holder of these documents, has stated that it will release the Naval intercepts (known as JN-25) at an unspecified future date.
The argument has been well made, specifically by Roberts Wohlstetter, that so much material was intercepted during the period just prior to the Japanese attack, that it was extremely difficult for American intelligence agencies to winnow out the wheat from the chaff. In retrospect, it is glaringly obvious that some kind of a Japanese attack was planned and in train, but the direction of this attack was lost in the muddle of complex and difficult-to-translate messages.
A further point well made is, had American military intelligence learned of a definite attack on Pearl Harbor, it would have been impossible to keep this a secret, given the number of translators and other military personnel who handled such intercepted messages. The army and navy of that period were small in size and most senior officers in both services knew each other well, having served together for many years. In the absence of any concrete evidence to support the receipt of Japanese military messages dealing with an attack on any specific American installation, it is not within the realm of belief that these senior officers would passively allow American military units to be attacked.
In response to this entirely valid postulation, it should be noted that the specific warning did not come to Roosevelt from below but on a parallel level and from a foreign intelligence source which was far better equipped to decode and translate the Japanese transmissions.
A second area of interest has been the possible motivation for Roosevelt’s increasing pressure on the Japanese, pressure which culminated in a stringent oil embargo that forced Japan into war. Diverse reasons are given for this, including a personal prejudice in favor of China stemming from his maternal grandfather’s highly lucrative opium and immigrant-smuggling operations to an intense hatred of Hitler in specific and Germans in general.
Both of these reasons for Roosevelt’s attitude are historically valid but in and of themselves do not explain the dangerous brinkmanship practiced by Roosevelt in his dealings with Japan. It is clearly evident from reading the intercepts of the Japanese diplomatic coded messages that Tokyo was not only not interested in pursuing war against the United States but was seriously engaged in attempting to defuse and dangerous situation whose accelerating progress caused them great alarm. Roosevelt and his advisers were fully aware of the ease with which they could achieve effective dialog with the Japanese government. All diplomatic approaches by Japan were rebuffed by Washington and as the diplomatic crisis deepened, the possibility of military action by Japan against the United States was very clearly evident in Washington.
The actual motivation behind the turning of the screw against Japan and the refusal on the part of Roosevelt to negotiate has been explored extensively in print but one of the most valid answers seems to lie clearly in the section of the intercepted communication dealing with the Soviet Union.
As much as Roosevelt wished to enter a war against Germany, he was constrained by Congress from conducting a personal war. A de facto war against Germany was in progress in the Atlantic where US naval units were engaged in open warfare with German U boats but Hitler would not rise to the bait and issue a unilateral declaration of war against the United States. For a time, Roosevelt was check in his ambitions.

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Bryan Leonard

Bryan Leonard is one of the alleged martyrs featured in the creationist movements dishonest “academic freedom” campaigns, people having been the victim of what Intelligent Design creationists would describe as oppression by the Darwinist establishment (i.e. actual scientists with actual expertise and a commitment to science). A more comprehensive description of the so-called Bryan Leonard affair can be found here. We’ll just provide a brief recap:
Leonard was (or perhaps is) a high school biology teacher at Hilliard Davidson High School in a suburb of Columbus (yes, he was teaching the controversy and promoting creationism to the high-school kids; surprised?), and – a decade ago – an appointee to the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee, where he authored the creationist-friendly “Critical Analysis” model lesson plan adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education in 2004. Leonard also testified for the pseudoscience side at the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court hearings (excerpts from his testimony here). Leonard himself appears to be a young-earth creationist.
Now, by 2005 Leonard was also a doctoral candidate in science education at Ohio State University, doing dissertation research on the academic merits of an ID-based “critical analysis” approach to teaching evolution in public schools. Scheduled to defend on June 6, the defense was suddenly postponed to the shock and horror of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscientists everywhere. And of course, in real life the postponement was due to the questionable tactics and strategy of the creationists, in particular the composition of Leonard’s committee. You see, the OSU requires that the committee must reflect the expertise needed for the dissertation and must have at least three members: two from the science education program area and one from outside the science education program area. Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements – in particular, it contained no member from the science education program area – and one suspects this was because his advisor, Paul Post, realized that it would not pass if they included, you know, actual experts on biology on the committee. Instead, the committee included, in addition to an assistant professor in French & Italian, Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition, both of whom have track-records as champions of creationism and pseudoscience – both are signatories to the Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, for instance, and DiSilvestro, surely coincidentally, also testified for the anti-science side at the Kansas evolution hearings. (He was also at that time contact person for the Ohio Intelligent Design Movement’s 52 Ohio Scientists Call for Academic Freedom on Darwin’s Theory petition; and Needham was a signatory). Leonard’s advisor Paul Post has no relevant qualifications to comment on evolution either.
So, when members of the faculty of the OSU brought these and other anomalies to the attention of appropriate administrators in the Graduate School, the assistant professor of French & Italian asked to be relieved and was replaced by the Dean of the College of Biological Sciences who was an evolutionary biologist. At that time, the defense was suddenly postponed, apparently at the request of Leonard’s advisor; it was never rescheduled. And note: It was Leonard’s advisor who asked for the postponement, after it became clear that he wouldn’t be allowed to violate the guidelines in his attempt to fix the jury in Leonard’s favor (which rather strongly suggests that the creationists on the committee had little confidence in the actual merits of Leonard’s pro-creationist thesis). The pattern of behavior from the Intelligent Design community is rather striking – even if Leonard’s thesis were perfectly OK, the attempt of the Intelligent Design community to subvert the process is telling, isn’t it? Being caught in the act, the Intelligent Design community responded by claiming “violation of academic freedom”, of course. Indeed, a decade later the case remains one of their go-to examples of howChristians are oppressed in academia.
Diagnosis: We haven’t heard much from Leonard since 2005, but the Bryan Leonard case is occasionally revived by pseudoscientists who aren’t that concerned with what actually happened. Now, one can reasonably argue that Leonard was, indeed, a victim in that particular case – a victim of the shenanigans of established creationists, of course – but his activities on the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee and role in the Kansas Kangaroo court hearings still qualify him for an entry in our Encyclopedia.

Noson Leiter

More from the fuming, delusional hatred department. Noson Leiter, of the rather unappealingly named Torah Jews for Decency, is apparently one of the Religious Right’s favorite rabbis, and has appeared at Tea Party conferences along with luminaries like Rick Scarborough. Leiter rose to a modicum of fame when he blamed Hurricane Sandy on New York’s marriage equality law. He was, of course, not the only dingbat to do so, but might have been the only one to point out the appearance of a double rainbow after the storm as evidence that Hurricane Sandy was a sequel to the Flood (which God, according to the Bible, explicitly promised never to do again). Leiter had previously worked with Liberty Counsel and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms in an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn said law. Not everyone was impressed with Leiter’s observations.
Leiter has also asserted that the “end game” of the gay rights movement is “child molestation.” (No, he has no decency, which is presumably why he feels the need to put “decency” in the name of his organization.) “They are after our kids,” says Leiter; “they are after the bibles and guns that Americans cling to but they are also after us and after our kids.” He also warned that gay rights advocates “will not rest until all of their opposition is totally eliminated,” but fortunately assured us that they will ultimately lose, because “the Lord will vanquish evil.” Apparently, this is a recurring theme; also in connection with blaiming Hurricane Sandy on the gays, Leiter said that the “LGBT radical homosexualist movement” will increase child abuse by giving molesters a “license to victimize” children and even “a certain degree of diplomatic immunity.”
Here is Leiter in 2013 warning then-Senate candidate Tom Price about the “tremendous medical health impact and economic impact” of the “homosexual agenda” and asking him (Price) whether Congress will consider studying the “fiscal impact” that “promoting such a lifestyle will result in.” Leiter’s general point was ostensibly (but not really) that any bill involving social issues should require a study of the “fiscal impact” the legislation would have. Price agreed, of course.
Diagnosis: Hate, hate and more hate, fuelled by fanatic delusions. Same as always.

David L. Lewis

“David Lewis” is a relatively common name – some of its carriers are definitely non-loons – but David L. Lewis is one of the movers and shakers in the anti-vaccine movement and one of discredited crank and monster Andrew Wakefield’s most passionate defenders and fundraisers; he definitely qualifies. Lewis, a retired environmental microbiologist and “director” of the “National Whistleblowers Center Research Misconduct Project”, believes that there is a conspiracy involving the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies to exact ‘retribution’ on the purportedly innocent Wakefield. Fortunately for civilization, Lewis’s understanding of the issues – fuelled as they are by conspiratorial presuppositions – is so poor that he has probably ended up harming Wakefield’s case more than helping it; basically, when trying to counter the conclusion that Wakefield had committed scientific fraud, Lewis supplied documents strongly suggesting that Wakefield was grossly incompetent – but which also failed to counter the fraud allegations; Lewis, apparently not knowing how to read the data in the documents he submitted, didn’t seem to realize – details here – and promptly complained that the data weren’t used to draw the conclusion he wanted to be drawn.
And don’t ever think that Lewis will pretend to protect whistleblowers if outing them will serve his agenda – the center is about pushing an antivaccine agenda, not whistleblowing, as tellingly illustrated by their approach to the so-called CDC whistleblower case (which, of course, really was nothing of the sort).
Lewis is the author of book Science for Sale, and it is interesting that he tends to neglect to mention his own conflicts of interest when engaging in his anti-vaccine work. He is a regular at anti-vaccine gatherings, and also popped up in the utterly insane Truth About Vaccines “documentary” series.
To explain some of Lewis’s mindset, looking at his conflicts with his previous employer, the EPA, is illuminating.
Diagnosis: Conspiracy theorist with a persecution complex. Yeah, we’ve encountered these before, but Lewis is relatively loud and not without influence (some people seem to think that Lewis actually helped exonerate Wakefield when his actions really contributed to the exact opposite). Dangerous.

4 responses so far

  1. Dear Sirs!
    Are you under lockdown. Since 26th there are no new entries on your website. What’s going on?
    Tone Percic, Kranj, Slovenia

  2. Haven’t seen any new articles. I hope you’re doing well.

  3. Been in Europe working on a Russian/German economic union plan.

  4. I have been in Switzerland working on a story about a German/Russian economic union (Germany to leave the EU and Nato) and am back now.

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