Saturday, October 01, 2016

We are all in some sense becoming, by necessity, desensitized to Duterte's language

reuters |  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to liken himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on Friday and said he would "be happy" to exterminate 3 million drug users and peddlers in the country.

Although the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama played down the remark, Duterte's comments triggered shock and anger among Jewish groups in the United States, which could create pressure on the U.S. government to take a tougher line with the Philippines leader.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a news conference following a meeting Southeast Asian defense chiefs in Hawaii that he personally found Duterte's comments "deeply troubling", though the matter wasn't discussed at the meeting.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner had earlier described Duterte's remarks, made in a rambling speech in Davao City, as "a significant departure" from America's partnership with the Philippines "and we find them troubling."

Duterte told reporters that he had been "portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler" by critics.
Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said, "There are 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them.

"If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have ...," he said, pausing and pointing to himself.

On Friday, reacting to critical comments on his war on drugs by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Benjamin Cardin, Duterte said: "Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world. Do not be the policeman because you do not have the eligibility to do that in my country."

Jewish groups quickly condemned Duterte's Hitler comments.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Digital Terrorism and Hate project, called them "outrageous".

"Duterte owes the victims (of the Holocaust) an apology for his disgusting rhetoric," Cooper said.
The Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish group based in the United States, said Duterte's comments were "shocking for their tone-deafness".

"The comparison of drug users and dealers to Holocaust victims is inappropriate and deeply offensive," said Todd Gutnick, the group's director of communications. "It is baffling why any leader would want to model himself after such a monster."

Duterte has said there will be no annual war games between the Philippines and the United States until the end of his six-year term, and his hostility may make Washington's strategy of rebalancing its military focus toward Asia in the face of an increasingly assertive China more difficult to achieve.

Friday, September 30, 2016

California Joins New York and New Jersey in Outlawing Criticism of Israel

yournewswire |  California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law that prevents companies from engaging in actions that could be deemed critical of Israel. 

The new law prevents companies that boycott or discriminate against any country, including Israel, from doing business with California.

Brown signed Assembly Bill 2844 on Saturday afternoon. The State Senate approved the bill by a vote of 34 to 1 on August 24, and the State Assembly passed it by 69 to 1 on August 30.

An earlier version of the legislation banned the state from making contracts worth over $100,000 with companies boycotting Israel.

In order to satisfy critics, who said it violated the constitutional right to boycott, the bill was modified to include reference to other countries as well.

The approved version does not prohibit companies working with the state from boycotting Israel. Rather, companies have to certify that they do not violate California civil rights laws in boycotting a foreign country – including Israel, the only country mentioned by name – according to The Jewish Journal.

“We commend Governor Brown for signing this bill,” said Janna Weinstein Smith, American Jewish Committee’s Los Angeles Regional Director, in a statement.

An Intriguing Link Between Police Shootings and Black Voter Registration

wired |  What we found was staggering. The number one determinant of over-representation in fatal police shootings—after controlling for all other aforementioned indicators—was the percentage of eligible black Americans registered to vote within the state in question. In other words, the higher the percentage of eligible black Americans registered to vote, the lower the over-representation ratio in a given state. Furthermore, states suffering from increased rates of income inequality (i.e. Gini index, median household income) demonstrated higher over-representation ratios, while states with increased diversity (i.e. percentage of noncitizen residents) demonstrated lower over-representation ratios.

What does this all mean? In addition to promoting diversity and reducing income inequality, these preliminary results suggest that increasing voter registration among black Americans could potentially reduce the risk of fatal police shootings of black victims.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Minority groups are routinely excluded from voter registration drives due to higher rates of unlisted individuals. Furthermore, most states require voters to register several weeks before Election Day—a practice that disproportionately suppresses minority registrants. (Voter registration remains open in most states ahead of Election Day 2016; check whether you’re registered to vote here.)

Despite controlling for several socioeconomic variables, these results don’t conclusively imply causation. But they’re a reasonable starting point. Expanding on that knowledge and finding other potentially actionable mitigation strategies will require reframing the issue as a public health crisis, with a focus on data-driven research and policy recommendations.  Fist tap Dale.

When America Becomes South Africa?

unz |  “Elections to be meaningful presuppose a certain level of political organization. … The primary problem is … the creation of a legitimate public order. Authority has to exist before it can be limited, and it is authority that is in scarce supply in the modernizing countries,” warned Samuel Huntington in “Political Order In Changing Societies.” Little did Huntington consider that, with enough tinkering by its ruling elites; a modern and mighty country like the U.S. could devolve into an atavistic and dangerous place.

Not nearly as hopeful as Horowitz was that “noted student of nationalism” Elie Kedourie. “If majority and minority are perpetual, then government ceases to have a mediatory or remedial function, and becomes an instrument of perpetual oppression of the minority by the majority,” concluded Kedourie. It was after a visit to South Africa that he wrote the following, in the November 1987 issue of the South Africa International:
The worst effects of the tyranny of the majority are seen when parliamentary government on the unalloyed Westminster model is introduced into countries divided by religion or language or race. Such for example was the case of Iraq … where an extremely heterogeneous society came to be endowed with constitutions which made no provision for diversity, and where the result was tyranny of one groups over the other groups in the society.
A prerequisite for a classical liberal democracy is that majority and minority status be interchangeable and fluid in politics; that a ruling majority party be as likely to become a minority party as the obverse. By contrast, in South Africa, the majority and the minorities are politically permanent, not temporary.

America’s Founding Fathers had attempted to forestall raw democracy by devising a republic. Every democratic theorist worth his salt—Robert Dahl and Elaine Spitz come to mind—has urged that the raw, ripe rule of the mob and its dominant, anointed party be severely curtailed under certain circumstances fast approaching in the United States of America. These are “whenever people of different languages, races, religions, or national origins, with no firm habits of political co-operation and mutual trust, are to unite in a single polity.”

In other words, multicultural America.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Is There an "Economic" Basis for the Colonization of Space?

WaPo |   In 2002, SpaceX basically consisted of carpet and a mariachi band. That was it. That's all of SpaceX in 2002. As you can see, I'm a dancing machine. And, yeah, I believe in kicking off celebratory events with mariachi bands. I really like mariachi bands.

“But that was what we started off with in 2002. And really, I mean, I thought we had maybe a 10 percent chance of doing anything, of even getting a rocket to orbit, let alone getting beyond that and taking Mars seriously. But I came to the conclusion if there wasn't some new entrant into the space arena with a strong ideological motivation, then it didn't seem like we were on a trajectory to ever be a space-faring civilization and be out there among the stars. Because, you know, in '69 we were able to go to the moon and the space shuttle could get to low-Earth orbit, and then after the space shuttle got retired.”

On how the first people going to Mars might die:

“Well, I think the first journey to Mars is going to be really very dangerous. The risk of fatality will be high. There's just no way around it. So I would not suggest sending children. It would be basically are you prepared to die, then if that's okay, then, you know, you're a candidate for going.

“But really this is -- this is less about, like, you know, who goes there first or -- it's -- the thing that really matters is making a self-sustaining civilization on Mars as fast as possible.”

On how what SpaceX is doing is a lot like the early days of the United States railroad system:

“The goal of SpaceX is really to build the transport system. It's like building the Union Pacific Railroad. And once -- once that transport system is built, then there's a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to go to Mars and create something new or build the foundations of a new planet. So it's like who wants to sort of be, you know, among the founding members of a new planet and, like I said, build everything from iron refineries to the first pizza joint. You know, we will want them all.

“And then things on Mars that people can't even imagine today that might be unique or would be unique to Mars. And -- but that's really where a tremendous amount of entrepreneurship and talent would flourish. Just as happened in California when the Union Pacific Railroad was completed. And when they were building the Union Pacific, a lot of people said, ‘Well, that's a super-dumb idea because there's no -- you know, hardly anybody lives in California.’ But now, I mean, today, [it's] the U.S. epicenter of technology development and entertainment. And it's the biggest state in the nation. But you need that transport link. If you can't get there, then none of those opportunities exist. Our goal is just to make sure you can get there.”

On why the return trip to Earth will be free:

“I think it's pretty important to give people the option of returning. The number of people who would be willing to move to Mars is much greater if they know that they have the option of returning, even if they never actually return. I mean, most of the people that went to the original English colonies in North America, they never returned to Europe, even once.

“But some did. And just knowing that if you don't like it there, that you can come back, I think makes a big difference in people's willingness to go there in the first place.

“In any case, we need the spaceship back. So it's coming. You can jump onboard or not. It's cool. You get a free return trip, if you want.”

why there is Trump

theautomaticearth |  It’s over! The entire model our societies have been based on for at least as long as we ourselves have lived, is over! That’s why there’s Trump.

There is no growth. There hasn’t been any real growth for years. All there is left are empty hollow sunshiny S&P stock market numbers propped up with ultra cheap debt and buybacks, and employment figures that hide untold millions hiding from the labor force. And most of all there’s debt, public as well as private, that has served to keep an illusion of growth alive and now increasingly no longer can.

These false growth numbers have one purpose only: for the public to keep the incumbent powers that be in their plush seats. But they could always ever only pull the curtain of Oz over people’s eyes for so long, and it’s no longer so long. 

That’s what the ascent of Trump means, and Brexit, Le Pen, and all the others. It’s over. What has driven us for all our lives has lost both its direction and its energy.

We are smack in the middle of the most important global development in decades, in some respects arguably even in centuries, a veritable revolution, which will continue to be the most important factor to shape the world for years to come, and I don’t see anybody talking about it. That has me puzzled.
The development in question is the end of global economic growth, which will lead inexorably to the end of centralization (including globalization). It will also mean the end of the existence of most, and especially the most powerful, international institutions.

In the same way it will be the end of -almost- all traditional political parties, which have ruled their countries for decades and are already today at or near record low support levels (if you’re not clear on what’s going on, look there, look at Europe!)

This is not a matter of what anyone, or any group of people, might want or prefer, it’s a matter of ‘forces’ that are beyond our control, that are bigger and more far-reaching than our mere opinions, even though they may be man-made.

whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me...,

weburbanist |  Former mayor of the world’s second-largest refugee camp, humanitarian Kilian Kleinschmidt notes “the average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That’s a generation.” These places need to be recognized as what they are: “cities of tomorrow,” not the temporary spaces we like to imagine. “In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city,” Kleinschmidt said in an interview. Short-term thinking on camp infrastructure leads to perpetually poor conditions, all based on myopic optimism regarding the intended lifespan of these places.

Many refugees may never be able return home, and that reality needs to be realized and incorporated into solutions. Treating their situation as temporary or reversible puts people into a kind of existential limbo; inhabitants of these interstitial places can neither return to their normal routines nor move forward with their lives.. On the one hand, assert experts like Kleinschmidt, planners need build up refugee camps to be durable and sufficient places in their own right. On the other, they also need to move refugee migrants toward countries and regions where they will end up virtuously integrated into struggling economies, including (though controversially): areas of nearby Europe with unused housing and high labor needs.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

No Knowledge, Ability, Skill, or Money? You and Yours MUST BE Left Behind

cnbc |  SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk spilled the details on his plan to colonize Mars. 

Musk revealed the plans for an "interplanetary transport system" Tuesday at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

In his address, Musk said that the goal of SpaceX's planned missions to Mars is to turn humans into a "multiplanetary species." Musk has said in the past that making humanity "multiplanetary" is his primary reason for starting SpaceX. 

The ship in the video is what the company intends the actual craft to look like, Musk said. It would need to fit about 100 people, and enough cargo to build self-sustaining colonies on the planet, with "iron foundries, pizza joints, you name it." 

sciencealert |   A rocket engine to get to Mars

This isn't the first the world has heard about the Raptor engine, but it's allegedly the first test-firing of the device – and definitely the first photo we've seen of it.

The image shows a static fire test, which is when a cone-shaped rocket engine is hooked up to a fuel source, ignited, and pushed to the limits to measure its performance.

The Raptor's fuel is almost certainly methane burned with liquid oxygen, based on SpaceX's previous intimations about its Mars rocket system, previously called the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) – and before that a self-descriptive "Big F**ing Rocket" (BFR).

Musk shared a few of the Raptor's test-firing details on Monday morning as well, including a beautiful image. "Production Raptor goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tonnes) at 300 bar," Musk wrote on Twitter.

only the most visible, vocal element of the Left Behind phenomenon?

kunstler |  As a blog-writer, I correspond with some interesting people. One of them is a middle-aged black man who has worked for a long time in the Baltimore black ghetto. He is one of those rare Americans these days not susceptible to pre-cooked ideas about what is actually going on in this country. He would prefer to remain anonymous for reasons that ought to be self-evident, but I want you to see his interesting theory about what is going on in the black community vis-à-vis the police shooting meme. The subject line in his email to me was “Trauma programming.”

Its a type of narcissism designed to compensate for [the] fact nobody (of any value) really wants to deal/interact with them; therefore, they gladly adopt this false narrative that “somebody is after us and wants to kill us…”

See how that raises their value by claiming somebody “wants us?”

Its like the ugly fat girls obsessed with getting raped/sexually assaulted.

Truth be told, because so many black people are not useful to each other and/or other people… they end up only a liability. Therefore, most people spend a significant amount of time trying to dodge them. (but the police can’t do this)

This increases their sense of worthlessness, which forces them to cling ever so tighter to this false narrative of “the police are after us and want to kill us…”

(nobody wants you and we wish you would just go away)

But wait,

it gets worse.

At this point, some black people decide, “try as you might, I’m NOT going to allow you to ignore me, because I’m going to act like a belligerent a-hole until I force you to deal/interact with me…”

NOW you gotta call the police.

And when the police show up, the black person says:

“see, here come the police; they are always after us because they want to kill us…”

But at the end of the day, the key is; the “Long Emergency” is generating increasing numbers of superfluous people; black people are only the most visible, vocal element of this phenomenon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

the most important issue facing this generation

robertscribbler |  The 2016 presidential candidates’ stances on the most important issue facing this generation couldn’t be clearer.

Donald Trump believes climate change is a hoax, wants to increase fossil-fuel burning until the planet bakes and the oceans putrefy, plans to shut down the EPA, wants to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement, can’t wait to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and has a noted penchant for attacking climate change solutions like wind power. Trump’s stances on climate change are so appalling that 375 of the world’s top scientists, including Stephen Hawking and 30 Nobel Prize winners, issued an open letter to the U.S. electorate, essentially pleading that we not vote for Trump on the basis of climate change alone.

The letter notes:
The United States can and must be a major player in developing innovative solutions to the problem of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nations that find innovative ways of decarbonizing energy systems and sequestering CO2 will be the economic leaders of the 21st century. Walking away from Paris makes it less likely that the U.S. will have a global leadership role, politically, economically, or morally. We cannot afford to cross that tipping point.
Hillary Clinton, by comparison, wants to push a big solar energy build-out, support electric vehicles, cut carbon emissions, and ensure that policies like COP 21 and Obama’s Clean Power Plan are enacted and enhanced. Though some climate hawks might not be completely satisfied with Clinton’s record on climate change (we’re going to have to do quite a bit more than what Clinton is shooting for), the reality is that Clinton’s proposed climate policies are aimed at building on and improving Obama’s initial plans.

Obama Warns of "Mass Migrations" If Climate Change Is Not Confronted

scientificamerican |  President Obama used his final address to the U.N. General Assembly yesterday to warn that climate change would worsen the kind of unrest and inequality that has spurred a global refugee crisis.

Speaking before a high-level summit on migrants he convened at U.N. headquarters, Obama told the assembly of world leaders and foreign ministers that the problems they are seeing would only worsen in a warming world.

“If we don’t act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations, and cities submerged and nations displaced, and food supplies decimated, and conflicts born of despair,” he said.

The president, as he has in the past, pleaded for a “sense of urgency” from countries to help bring last year’s landmark Paris climate agreement into force this year. The United States ratified the deal with China early this month, and 31 more countries have done so today.

Obama also acknowledged the need for countries to do more than they promised in the French capital last year if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of warming.

“The Paris Agreement gives us a framework to act, but only if we scale up our ambition,” he said.
The president also alluded to what is likely to be a particular area of focus at a round of U.N. climate talks that opens in Marrakech, Morocco, in six weeks time: money. He said the $10 billion Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help poor nations address warming “should only be the beginning” of the wealthy world’s commitment.

“We need to invest in research and provide market incentives to develop new technologies, and then make these technologies accessible and affordable for poorer countries,” Obama said, adding that these investments would help developing countries “leapfrog” directly to lower-carbon solutions. 

“And only then can we continue lifting all people up from poverty without condemning our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair.”

missing ingredient to solving the refugee crisis: Common Sense

mishtalk |  UK prime minister Theresa May will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. She seeks UN Action to Control Mass Migration Flows.

In contrast, I propose a 10-point “common sense” solution, not UN action.

What the hell can the UN do?

The answer of course is nothing. And asking a political body that cannot possibly do anything useful to solve a problem is like hoping a wish-granting magic genie will pop out of the bottle.

Some readers may be thinking “stop criticizing and offer a solution”. Fair enough.

Mish Ten Point Refugee Plan
  1. Don’t start wars. This especially applies to the US.
  2. Don’t nation build. This especially applies to the US.
  3. Don’t interfere in the internal politics of other nations. Universal
  4. Don’t welcome refugees with open arms. This especially applies to the EU
  5. Don’t pay bribes to halt refugee flows. This especially applies to the EU.
  6. Don’t demand other countries accept refugees they do not want. This especially applies to the EU.
  7. Don’t criticize other countries for controlling their borders. This especially applies to the EU.
  8. Do recognize the difference between economic refugees and political refugees. Universal
  9. Do be willing to accept Australian-style solutions of forcibly stopping refugees from entering a country. Universal
  10. Do Recognize a nation’s first priority must be the safety and welfare of its own citizens. Universal
If point 6 had been followed, Brexit would never have happened.

Instead of seeking UN action, how about a little common sense?

Scientists “too frightened” to tell truth on climate impacts

climatechangenews |   China is protecting itself against future food supply problems caused by climate change by buying or leasing large tracts of land in Africa and South America, a leading UK climate scientist says.

Professor Peter Wadhams, an expert on the disappearing Arctic ice, says that while countries in North America and Europe are ignoring the threat that changing weather patterns are causing to the world food supply, China is taking “self-protective action”.

He says that changes in the jet stream caused by the melting of the ice in the Arctic are threatening the most productive agricultural areas on the planet.

“The impact of extreme, often violent weather on crops in a world where the population continues to increase rapidly can only be disastrous,” he warns.

“Sooner or later, there will be an unbridgeable gulf between global food needs and our capacity to grow food in an unstable climate. Inevitably, starvation will reduce the world’s population.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

the enforcement of unjust laws is what puts you on the wrong side of morality, justice, and truth...,

NYTimes |  How do we keep people safe? How do we ensure that laws are enforced clearly and impartially?

I helped lead President Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing and have dedicated my career to thinking about these questions. One answer I keep returning to is a greater commitment to partnering with community groups. The police must not be seen by residents as quasi-military occupiers, but rather as allies and partners.

This will require significant efforts by police departments around the country to develop training that goes far beyond learning the criminal code, filling out an incident report or firing a gun.

It’s not an abstract notion. I have seen it in action in educational programs, like the ones offered by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, that help officers better understand their role in a democracy and the dire consequences a society faces when the police fail to live up to their role as guardians of freedom.

Police officers carry a lot of baggage. They have not always been on the right side of justice as we define justice today. In some cases, they were enforcing unjust laws of a different era. When I went into the Chicago Police Department in the late 1960s, it wasn’t the most popular thing a young black kid could do.

There are consequences to that difficult history that will take time to repair. But this challenging moment is also a tremendous opportunity to make real improvements. I hope none of us squander it.

outside of a tongue-lashing, industrial-scale thievery will go entirely unpunished...,

newyorker | In case there was any doubt about Elizabeth Warren’s feelings toward John Stumpf, the C.E.O. of Wells Fargo, it was cleared up on Tuesday during a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. “Okay, so you haven’t resigned, you haven’t returned a single nickel of your personal earnings, you haven’t fired a single senior executive,” Warren said to Stumpf, during an interaction that might properly be characterized as a verbal evisceration. “Instead, evidently, your definition of ‘accountable’ is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy P.R. firm to defend themselves.”

Warren kept going, articulating a very pointed attack on the head of the company. She estimated that Stumpf’s stock holdings had increased by two hundred million dollars in value during the time that “this scam,” as Warren put it, occurred, in which fifty-three hundred employees opened unauthorized customer bank accounts in order to meet sales targets. “You should resign,“ she finally said. “You should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

The banker was ostensibly there to defend his company’s handling of the falsified accounts, which were first reported in detail in 2013, but which became major news after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined the bank a hundred and eighty-five million dollars, earlier this month. At the same time, though, the episode seemed designed to remind the public that, almost exactly eight years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and one of the worst financial crises in history, very little about the unrestrained, incentive-driven banking culture that caused so many problems has changed.

Wall Street has always been bonus-driven; the amount of money an employee receives in January or February each year is seen as a direct reflection of a person’s worth. Even the staid retail portion of the industry—checking, savings, mortgage, and credit-card accounts–came to mimic the culture of Wall Street trading firms. Dozens of regulatory investigations since the crisis have shown that this high-stakes incentive culture that works so well to motivate employees to push and take risks has no apparent mechanism in place to moderate bad decisions.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

with so much to coon about lately, i wondered why sharif coonius been so quiet and downlow...,

Policy Overseers: Marijuana Legalization Will Not Change Policing

npr |  Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., is a mecca for joggers and families out with their strollers. Along with the smell of sweat and goose poop, weed is an equally present aroma.

Police seemingly take a "light up and let live" attitude here. But Nashanta Williams, who's out walking her dog, says it's not like this in other parts of the city.

"I have been pulled over and been told that my car smells like marijuana and put on the sidewalk and had my vehicle searched," Williams says. "And I felt like they were fishing."

California is one of five states this year where marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Washington and Colorado paved the way for making recreational pot legal back in 2012. Since then marijuana arrests have plunged in Washington. They've also gone down in Colorado, but not by as much.

This raises the question, what is the effect of legalizing marijuana on policing?

Methamphetamine is Nazism in Pill Form

guardian |  The story Ohler tells begins in the days of the Weimar Republic, when Germany’s pharmaceutical industry was thriving – the country was a leading exporter both of opiates, such as morphine, and of cocaine – and drugs were available on every street corner. It was during this period that Hitler’s inner circle established an image of him as an unassailable figure who was willing to work tirelessly on behalf of his country, and who would permit no toxins – not even coffee – to enter his body.

“He is all genius and body,” reported one of his allies in 1930. “And he mortifies that body in a way that would shock people like us! He doesn’t drink, he practically only eats vegetables, and he doesn’t touch women.” No wonder that when the Nazis seized power in 1933, “seductive poisons” were immediately outlawed. In the years that followed, drug users would be deemed “criminally insane”; some would be killed by the state using a lethal injection; others would be sent to concentration camps. Drug use also began to be associated with Jews. The Nazi party’s office of racial purity claimed that the Jewish character was essentially drug-dependent. Both needed to be eradicated from Germany.

Some drugs, however, had their uses, particularly in a society hell bent on keeping up with the energetic Hitler (“Germany awake!” the Nazis ordered, and the nation had no choice but to snap to attention). A substance that could “integrate shirkers, malingerers, defeatists and whiners” into the labour market might even be sanctioned. At a company called Temmler in Berlin, Dr Fritz Hauschild, its head chemist, inspired by the successful use of the American amphetamine Benzedrine at the 1936 Olympic Games, began trying to develop his own wonder drug – and a year later, he patented the first German methyl-amphetamine. Pervitin, as it was known, quickly became a sensation, used as a confidence booster and performance enhancer by everyone from secretaries to actors to train drivers (initially, it could be bought without prescription). It even made its way into confectionery. “Hildebrand chocolates are always a delight,” went the slogan. Women were recommended to eat two or three, after which they would be able to get through their housework in no time at all – with the added bonus that they would also lose weight, given the deleterious effect Pervitin had on the appetite. Ohler describes it as National Socialism in pill form.