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Pearl Harbor: Photos and Facts from the Infamous WWII Attack

November 30, 2018 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

The surprise Japanese assault inflicted heavy losses but failed to strike a decisive blow.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japan launched a sneak attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, as part of a plan to eliminate any potential challenge to Japanese conquests in Asia. The attack compelled the United States to enter World War II as a combatant, and to wage a costly, bloody struggle to defeat the Japanese empire.

The events set in motion by the attack also led to the United States becoming a global superpower. As Peter Harris, an assistant professor of political science at Colorado State University, wrote in 2017, the attack dramatically altered U.S. foreign relations, “sidelining isolationism as a powerful force in domestic politics and making overseas engagement the accepted norm.”

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese military launched a surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack killed 2,403 service members and wounded 1,178 more, and sank or destroyed six U.S. ships. They also destroyed 169 U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps planes.

View the 17 images of this gallery on the original article

Here are some key facts about the attack.

Why Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor

  • The Japanese plan to attack Pearl Harbor was devised by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, a former student at Harvard University who had served as Japan’s naval attaché in Washington. Yamamoto knew that the United States had far greater resources than Japan, and that his country could not win a protracted war. As Steve Twomey details in his 2016 book Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack, Yamamoto believed that Japan’s only chance for success was to stage a surprise assault that would knock the U.S. fleet out of action for a year or more.
  • Japanese forces trained for about a year to prepare for the attack. They added wooden fins to their aerial torpedoes and made other modifications, so that they could work on short runs at the 45-foot average depth of Pearl Harbor.
  • The Japanese Foreign Ministry wanted to present the United States with a declaration of war prior to the attack, so that they wouldn’t violate international law. But they were blocked by the Japanese military, which didn’t want to jeopardize the operation.
  • The Japanese attack force—which included six aircraft carriers and 420 planes—sailed from …read more

    Source: HISTORY

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Here are 5 of the most ridiculous, buffoonish things Rush Limbaugh has said about Robert Mueller’s investigation

November 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

When right-wing media figures are nervous, they'll cling to any desperate excuse.

In the early 1990s, AM talk radio star Rush Limbaugh was very critical of Republican Patrick Buchanan’s protectionist, isolationist “America first” agenda. But now that President Donald Trump is promoting that same type of agenda, Limbaugh is one of Trump’s leading carnival barkers—and that includes jumping through hoops to defame the Russia-related investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Limbaugh has made one ridiculous comment after another about Mueller’s probe, trying to paint the special counsel as a shameless tool of the Democratic Party despite his numerous GOP connections.

But then, Limbaugh has always had his contradictions. Limbaugh, infamously, had a major addiction to OxyContin in 2003 when he was still ranting and raving in favor of the War on Drugs and draconian prison sentences for even minor drug offenses. Drug addicts, Limbaugh repeatedly insisted, were scum—and his army of gullible followers (called “Dittoheads”) didn’t see how much of a contradiction it was when he entered rehab for his OxyContin problem. Similarly, the Dittoheads of 2018 aren’t going to see how much of a contradiction it is that the same Rush Limbaugh who repeatedly called for in-depth investigations of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s considers Mueller’s probe to be frivolous.  In Limbaugh’s world, only Democratic presidents merit government scrutiny.

Here are five of the most ridiculous, buffoonish things Rush Limbaugh has had to say about Mueller’s investigation.

1. Limbaugh Believes Paul Manafort Is Being Punished for Being Truthful

Limbaugh has been claiming that the crimes of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, are irrelevant and that Mueller is simply grasping at straws by investigating him. On November 26, major media reported that Mueller had terminated Manafort’s plea deal on the grounds that Manafort has been repeatedly lying to federal investigators. But according to Limbaugh, Manafort is being persecuted for being truthful and forthcoming with Mueller’s office.

This week, Limbaugh asserted, “Manafort is said to have lied after reaching a plea deal with Mueller and his Trump-hating prosecutors—so that Manafort’s plea deal is now out the window, because what you do …read more


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'The unseemly underbelly of Trumpland': Conservative writer explains why fellow Republicans should fear what Mueller will uncover

November 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The evidence of collusion is stacking up.

A long list of Donald Trump supporters, from Ann Coulter to Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, have been quick to dismiss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-related investigation as a waste of taxpayers’ money—insisting that Mueller is searching for wrongdoing that never occurred.

But conservative journalist Matt K. Lewis, in his latest article for the Daily Beast, stresses that fellow conservatives should not take Mueller’s investigation lightly. Republicans, Lewis cautions, are “going to feel squeezed” as Mueller wraps up his probe—and “conservatives are going to be put in a lot of difficult situations these next few weeks or months.”

Lewis (author of the 2016 book “Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Went from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Trump”) opens his article by asserting that “things are speeding up in Robert Mueller’s universe,” and he cites some recent examples: journalist/author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi (who he describes as a “Roger Stone confidant”) has refused Mueller’s plea deal and is facing perjury charges, and “former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.”

“Things, as they say, are coming to a head,” Lewis writes. And conservatives, Lewis advises, “should be ready to accept the very real possibility that serious misdemeanors were committed and lies told.”

It remains to be seen, Lewis writes, just how damning the revelations of Mueller’s investigation will be in the months ahead.

But conservatives, he warns, “no longer have the time to put off grappling with these tough issues. If we are to make it through this precarious moment, we must start thinking about this now.”

Of course, Republicans should have started “grappling,” as Lewis puts it, with Mueller’s probe in 2017. Instead, most of them—apart from the hardcore NeverTrump conservatives like Rick Wilson, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ana Navarro—have been happy to look the other way and pretend that Mueller has been simply grasping at straws.

Lewis goes on to say, “It is still unclear whether Trump is, himself, guilty of ‘collusion.’ But what is clear …read more


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This Total Eclipse of the Sun Lasted for Over a Year

November 30, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

The ninth plague of Egypt was complete darkness that lasted for three days. But in 536 C.E., much of the world went dark for a full 18 months, as a mysterious fog rolled over Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia. The fog blocked the sun during the day, causing temperatures to drop, crops to fail and people to die. It was, you might say, the literal Dark Age.

Now, researchers have discovered one of the main sources of that fog. The team reported in Antiquity that a volcanic eruption in Iceland in early 536 helped spread ash across the Northern Hemisphere, creating the fog. Like the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption—the deadliest volcanic eruption on record—this eruption was big enough to alter global climate patterns, causing years of famine.

What exactly did the first 18 months of darkness look like? The Byzantine historian Procopius wrote that “the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year.” He also wrote that it seemed like the sun was constantly in eclipse; and that during this time, “men were free neither from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death.”

The drilling site (under the dome tent) on Colle Gnifetti and a detailed view of a section of the core that revealed details of the year 536.

Accounts like these weren’t taken very seriously until the 1990s, says Michael McCormick, a history professor at Harvard University and co-author of the Antiquity paper. That decade, researchers examined tree rings in Ireland and found that something weird did happen around 536. Summers in Europe and Asia became 35°F to 37°F colder, with China even reporting summer snow. This Late Antique Little Ice Age, as it’s known, came about when volcanic ash blocked out the sun.

“It was a pretty drastic change; it happened overnight,” McCormick says. “The ancient witnesses really were onto something. They were not being hysterical or imagining the end of the world.”

With this realization, accounts of 536 become newly horrifying. “We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies at noon,” wrote Cassiodorus, a Roman politician. He also wrote that the sun had a “bluish” color, the moon had lost its luster and the “seasons seem to be all jumbled up together.”

The effects of the 536 eruption were compounded by eruptions in 540 and 547, and it took a long …read more


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Trump’s budget director reveals plans to attack Social Security and Medicare

November 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Nancy J. Altman, Independent Media Institute

Americans will not be fooled into allowing Mick Mulvaney to make what he deemed “easy” cuts to earned benefits.

Opponents of Social Security and Medicare are so eager to end these two overwhelmingly important and popular earned benefits that they can’t contain themselves. Mick Mulvaney, the Trump administration’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, is the latest to make crystal clear the longstanding plan to destroy both programs.

Speaking at a conference of state legislators hosted by the anti-government American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”), Mulvaney just revealed that he plans first to go after what he sees as more politically achievable cuts. He explained that the next step, presumably after Trump is in his second term, will be for the administration not just to cut these programs but to end them as we know them.

Mulvaney is apparently so eager to go after our earned benefits that he threw the point into a speech to state legislators, even though both Social Security and Medicare are federal programs.

Mulvaney’s apparent uncontained enthusiasm to take away people’s earned benefits is similar to that of Mitch McConnell, who just weeks before the midterm, called for Social Security and Medicare to be “adjusted” (code for destroying them). McConnell couldn’t resist broadcasting his intentions, even though these programs are extremely popular even with Republican voters.

Why are these opponents so hostile to such important programs? Social Security, now more than eight decades old, and Medicare, now more than five decades old, have stood the test of time. Both of these efficient, virtually universal, overwhelmingly popular programs insure us against risks that all of us face. Rich or poor, anyone can suffer a disabling illness or accident, making work impossible. Rich or poor, any parent can die prematurely leaving dependent children. Rich or poor, all of us hope to live to old age and, if we are so fortunate, require income we cannot outlive and health insurance for the treatments and medication we inevitably will need.

The private sector is incapable of providing the wage and health insurance …read more


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Both Trump and John Roberts Are Wrong About Politicized Judges

November 30, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

President Trump’s pre-Thanksgiving rant about an
“Obama judge” who had ruled against the
administration’s new asylum rule set off an argument about
the judiciary that has lasted into the post-prandial moment.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in an unusual public statement, felt the need to come to the
defense of “an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing
their level best to do equal right to those appearing before
them.” Trump took to Twitter to correct Roberts and assail
his old bugaboo, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth

In the feud between
President Trump and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, both
are wrong. Judges aren’t partisan hacks, but they do have different
approaches to jurisprudence.

Never mind that the judge was technically correct, that the
executive branch can’t change plain statutory text to disallow
asylum applications filed outside a port of entry. This president
has faced plenty of adverse rulings—by judges appointed by
both Republican and Democratic presidents, including his own
nominee, who recently ruled against him regarding Jim Acosta’s
press pass. But that’s no different than any president, including
especially Barack Obama, who lost more (and more unanimously) at the Supreme Court than any of his predecessors.

Never mind too that the Ninth Circuit should indeed be split up,
but not because it’s liberal. The west-coast
federal appellate court generally is the most-reversed court,
although not by much and not every year. In the travel-ban
litigation, it was the mid-Atlantic Fourth Circuit that was
most vociferously against President Trump,
while the Ninth Circuit engaged in methodical statutory
interpretation that was measured even if ultimately ruling the same

No, the larger point is that, even as Roberts is right that
(nearly all) judges approach their trade in good faith, there are
stark jurisprudential differences that, in the most controversial
cases, do map onto partisan divisions.

The chief justice should be commended for trying to reduce the
politicization of the courts. The president too easily conflates
judicial philosophy with political bias. But there’s no escaping
the fact that, if there’s a case with ideological salience, the
party of the president who appointed the judge deciding it

That’s why we’ve seen the ever-escalating battles over judicial
confirmations. Otherwise, why would Republicans have held up
Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court? Why would
Democrats have pulled out all the stops against Brett Kavanaugh
(who voted with Garland more than 90 percent of the time)?

The selection of judges has become one of the most
hyper-partisan issues in American public life. That’s why voters
consistently say that judicial appointments are …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Historians destroy Paul Ryan's ridiculous claim that 'history' will be 'very good' to his defeated GOP majority

November 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

He's become a complete joke.

After the GOP suffered a devastating rebuke in the 2018 midterms and lost 40 U.S. House seats and their majority in the chamber, Speaker Paul Ryan has become desperate to defend his legacy from the stain of this historic defeat.

Speaking at a Washington Post event Thursday, Ryan offered a meek defense of his fallen GOP majority, saying, “I think history is going to be very good to this majority.”

Historians were quick to chime in and dispell Ryan of this idea.

Kevin Kruse, a historian who has made a name for himself by debunking conservative lies on Twitter, was clear:

Others agreed. Abigail Pfeiffer, the executive director at the Vietnam War Digital History Project, said, “As a historian, I can tell you that you are incredibly wrong. You and McConnell will go down in the history books as tools of trumpism.”

“I’m a historian,” said Susan Sutton.  “No, we won’t be good to your majority. We genuine historians tell the unvarnished truth. Propagandists may be 'good' to you.”

Dirk Breiding added: “Take it from a historian: no, history won’t. Where normal people have a spine, guts, & balls [Paul Ryan] only has delusion.”

Writing for the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin explained why, even by his own lights, Ryan will not be judged well by history. He cited the passage of the tax bill as one of his major successes but the failure to pass immigration reform as a major failure.

“Oddly, he posits that the tax plan will be the main reason for the anticipated rave reviews, although he also says a major regret was the debt, which the tax cuts expanded. Umm, that’s the best part of his legacy?” she wrote.

She continued: “He also regrets not achieving immigration reform, but it was he and his fellow Republicans who refused to take up the Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate overwhelmingly in 2013 and it was Ryan who would not put on the floor a bipartisan compromise on the …read more


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Trump's shady attorney general knew his company was swamped with complaints of fraud — but promoted it anyway: report

November 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

He looks to be as honest a businessman as Trump was.

The new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives will have all kinds of investigative and subpoena powers after being seated in January 2019, and one of the many things they might be taking a close look at is Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker’s involvement with a Miami-based marketing company called World Patent Marketing—especially in light of the complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when Whitaker was on WPM’s advisory board. And FTC documents released on November 30 in response to a public information request show how deeply Whitaker was involved with the company even when complaints were coming in.

Whitaker joined WPM’s advisory board in 2014, and the company received complaints from customers that year as well as in 2015. The FTC eventually filed a complaint against WPM for allegedly cheating its customers—some of whom reportedly lost their life savings.

Public records, according to the Washington Post, show that in May, a federal court in Florida ordered WPM to pay a settlement of over $25 million and close down.

Whitaker, the Washington Post reported Friday, “did little to assist” the FTC’s investigation of WPM. Once in a public position, though, he seems to have changed his tune. In an October 2017 message, Whitaker told the FTC, “I didn’t know that you had served a subpoena. I am now at the Department of Justice here in Washington DC, as the chief of staff to the attorney general; so, I want to be very helpful.”

But questions have emerged about whether Whitaker was entirely forthright with the commission.

Bloomberg reported Friday on Whitaker’s communications with the FTC, initially claiming that he may have misled the commission after becoming acting attorney general by telling the FTC’s James Evans that he “never e-mailed or wrote to consumers” when he was with WPM, citing a message reviewed by the outlet. But Bloomberg has since issued a correction.

Bloomberg had said that in 2015, Whitaker wrote a letter to a “disgruntled customer” who was threatening to report WPM to the Better …read more


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20 Rare Photos of Native American Life at the Turn of the Century

November 30, 2018 in History

By Madison Horne

By the early 1900s, Native American populations and territories had diminished, but one photographer spent 30 years documenting the lives of more than 80 tribes.

When photographer

Native American History Timeline

Why Andrew Jackson’s Legacy Is So Controversial

How U.S. Westward Expansion Breathed New Life into Slavery

Why the Navajo Nation Banned Genetic Research

World War I’s Native American Code Talkers

…read more


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Why 100 Imposters Claimed to Be Marie Antoinette’s Dead Son

November 30, 2018 in History

By Hadley Meares

Louis XVII (1785-1795), Dauphin of France.

Louis-Charles de France grew up in the gold-trimmed rooms of Versailles, the happy, handsome and charming son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. At the age of four, he became the heir to the French throne when his brother died, and from that day forward, the whole palace staff bowed to his every desire.

But the French Revolution destroyed his family, and the once carefree child—an orphan by the age of eight after his parents’ execution in 1793—was horribly abused and neglected, isolated in a prison cell in the Paris Temple. Vilified as the “wolf cub,” the “son of a tyrant” and the “bastard,” by 1795 the newly styled Louis-Charles Capet was unrecognizable, covered in sores and his belly distended from malnourishment.

Finally, his jailers called in Philippe-Jean Pellatan, a respected doctor who was horrified by the condition of the young Dauphin, or heir apparent, writes Deborah Cadbury in The Lost King of France. “Unfortunately, all assistance was too late,” the doctor recalled of the boy who was once destined to become King Louis XVII. “No hope was to be entertained.”

On June 8, 1795, Louis-Charles died of tuberculosis in the arms of one of his jailers. He was only ten years old.

An illustration of Louis XVII of France, who died in the Temple prison being taken up into heaven.

The revolutionary government quickly sprang into action. The child’s body, so neglected in life, was hovered over in death. Dr. Pellatan performed a detailed autopsy, and found physical evidence of the abuse Louis-Charles had endured. Once the autopsy was completed, the body was secretly buried in a mass grave at the nearby Sainte-Marguerite Cemetery.

But not all of the Dauphin’s body made it to the common pit. During the autopsy, Dr. Pellatan had slipped the wretched child’s heart into a handkerchief and placed it in his pocket. He was determined to someday return the relic to exiled members of the royal Bourbon family. (Louis-Charles’s last surviving immediate family member, Marie-Thérèse, sat unaware of his death in her cell on the floor above).

In the years following the secret burial, dozens of men claiming to be the Dauphin would come forward, many of them pestering Louis-Charles’s sister, Marie-Thérèse, the Duchesse d’Angoulême. Marie-Thérèse would be haunted by the mystery of what happened to her younger brother from the moment …read more