Friday, May 25, 2018

Unassigned desks, Time trackers? Maybe Now Is The Time To Leave The Corporate Work Force - If You Can!

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The news (WSJ, May 17, p. A14,  May 21, p. B3) that employers have new tricks up their slimy sleeves to make their employees' lives miserable, didn't really catch me by surprise. I was already aware, for example, at the changes implemented barely 6 years ago, for "open seating" and transparent walls - so the CEO snoops and bosses can keep steady eyes on their staff, e.g.

This followed an earlier atrocity when corporate workers had their personal offices taken away and got  crammed into "cubes" ca. 1994, 

From then, the corner office for an ordinary employee evidently went the way of the Dodo. The American corporate worker was expected to continue to produce outstanding work in his open cube while within earshot of some bozo yammering on his cell phone to his honey, another character gorging on sardines and munching them loudly while smacking lips and two others chattering away to each other about "American Idol".

Now, however, we learn corporate employers have engineered even more abominations to drive their staffs nuts.  The latest is to remove defined personal desks and keep them "floating", hence, no personal space to do one's corporate work. If you maybe come in early you might get a desk and chair, else it's catch as catch can.  As one worker put it:  "Don't be late or you could end up seated next to the dumpster."

According to the first WSJ piece cited ('Don't Get Used To Your Own Desk'):

"Employers are replacing traditional one-desk per employee setups with a smaller number of first come, first served desks - plus additional workspaces with names like 'huddle rooms' and 'touchdown spaces'. Some 25 percent of employers are placing at least some employees in unassigned seating and 52 percent of the rest plan to in three years, according to a survey of 138 employers by the real estate service CBRE, and CoreNet Global."

The article goes on to note that "while some employees embrace the flexibility and ambience of unassigned seating" - generally the Young Turks, Millennials  (who love the 'liberating' atmosphere) and those who just hate staying in one place to work. But many others, most older with families,  find it a "wrenching change".  Well, duh! You are basically destroying the employee's personal, individual work space and converting it into a free for all area. It absolutely would enrage any older worker  - who is also now being advised (WSJ, May 22, p. A9) to "change dress styles to what is currently in vogue" such as older, still working males now advised to wear stove pipe trousers and replacing tie-lace  shoes with those with Monk wraps. Seriously? 

Obviously, the new seating brain fart from overpaid corporate CEOs - still toked up from their corporate tax cuts and stock buyback binges -  leaves no possibility to secure the items at one's desk - because one has no fixed desk to call one's own.  The CEOs are gracious, bless their venal little hearts, because they realize this unarranged desk change will require "a little etiquette training". Really" Who'd have thought?

What about the employees that for one reason or other, end up with no seats or desks? Well, one CEO suggested they can always bring a cushion from home or maybe pillow, and park near the restroom. Or, they can go to a (smaller space)  "huddle room" with fifteen or twenty others, to thrash out some current issues, just don't bring anything else as there will be no room.

One manager admitted the change is trying for some "older traditionalists"  who "have aspired to a corner office for their entire career".   Maybe  they aspired to a corner office like one I used to have at my final corporate gig, e.g. before leaving to write books, text books,

Of course, having such a large office, nearly 250 sq. feet space- with
large desk, was necessary as I was preparing special technical documents to do with stereotactic radiosurgery software.  We called these large extensive regulatory compliance documents, 501 (k)s. 

So a personal large desk was required with ample large drawers to keep all the background material, including applicable research as well as radiation parameters for the device, software module specifics, and so forth in one place.

Doing this type of critical job (I'd left university teaching 4 years earlier  after being frustrated by the built -in grade inflation using "teacher evaluations") necessitated a large, separate work area, desk and all the rest. Trying to do what I was doing in a little half-baked, floating, unassigned desk domain would simply not have worked.

But given these (mainly) older guys now see they aren't getting that corner office after all has engendered issues for the HR departments, managers and others. Including one cited, a Donna Burnell,  who "encourages resistors to see the redesign as bringing the comforts of home into the office with multiple choices of seating and décor".

Transl. If you don't like the fact you have no fixed desk or chair you can amble over to our cozy huddle rooms where people are squatting on cushions. Or check out the different décor venues in other conveniently located tiny rooms- some sporting fake Picassos-  that might have a spare cushion lying around.

And where do employees now put their assorted stuff if they have no fixed desk? Well, in lockers,  of course!  They are small, practical and employees can fit just about anything they need to into them including their bag lunches,  Ipads, and even a book -if they still read (and assuming they can find the time).  A hall full of lockers that greets employees at one Dallas insurance company is shown below:
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Obviously, this sort of arrangement is going to piss off a lot of folks, though the article claims only 11 percent of employers "meet resistance from employees". According to one manager:

"Some people don't really want a locker. They want a desk for pictures of their family ...and a sense of what's mine."

Really?  But see the big shots at Corporate Central Inc. don't give two craps about your sense of what's yours or the notion of personal space. They just want to save money, i.e. increase corporate profits.  Oh, but they are generous!  Some anyway. At least nine percent of the employers surveyed  said they are committed to "providing etiquette training to curb behaviors like squatting or usurping shared space for oneself".   Hmmm... about ancillary training to avoid going postal or psychotic in such a work place?

But hold strain. These new seating -desk arrangements don't tell half the story of the new order of corporate abuse. Oh no. Now the corporate CEO  devils -m apologies to Austan Goolsbee (recent WaPo op-ed)  for my Manichean frame -  are also using time trackers to ding time (and $$$)  out of workers so they can dock their pay. ('Workers Challenge Time Trackers', WSJ May 21).

Across years of employment this can result in "thousands of dollars deducted from paychecks."  Example:

"Nurses have said they spend meal breaks tending to patients but automatically receive a 30 minute deduction from every shift."

In other words, the "time tracker" deducts the time, say for lunch, whether the nurse actually takes it or not. The domination of dumb tech thanks to penny pinching, tyrannical CEOs.   We also learned:

"The systems are capable of calculating employee's pay to the second but employers are attracted to such features as rounding and automatic time deductions because they help keep labor predictable and free managers from having to take time to record every break."

Transl. The devices enable the managers to dispense with break monitoring to screw their workers out of their hard earned pay and under the name of efficiency. 

You'd be amazed to read the bollocks PR baloney some of these high- on- their- horse CEOs give, like one who insisted (ibid.):

"We put devices with rounding mechanisms into place to be sure to pay only for the hours of a scheduled shift, not to avoid paying for the time worked."

Well, save that for the HR peanut gallery, do. The fact that worker lawsuits are now being mounted, one already settled for $450,000, shows the "plebes" are not really buying that balderdash. And good for them!

Little wonder so many people now - if they can - are bailing out of the corporate workforce, especially with these draconian new tactics to edge workers into psychosis or an early grave. Many are now adopting the F.I.R.E. path  "Financial independence, retire early"  -  leaving corporate employment  permanently as young as age 35 or 40.

More about this movement and how it works in a future post.
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Selected Questions-Answers From All Experts Astronomy Forum (Diffraction and Optical Resolution)

Question: Could you explain in detail how diffraction applies to stellar sources and how one computes the optical resolution, say of a telescope  - using this?

Answer:  Diffraction refers to the bending of light waves as they encounter edges or in this specific case, lenses (say in an astronomical refracting telescope) which cause refraction and the production of a diffraction disk or image.

The diagram below illustrates the problem for two sources and a single rectangular aperture. (For simplicity)
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On the far right we see the detecting screen with the two separate  (diffraction) patterns superposed, the peaks of each clearly visible.  We basically have two lenses on either side of the aperture.  Two light sources are detected which are very close together in the line of sight. These produce two diffraction patterns on the screen depicted as two overlapping intensity patterns. Note that the central maxima of the two patterns are separated by an angle a which is the same as the angle (q) subtended by the two sources at the slit center. Thus, for each pattern, the principal maximum just falls on the second minimum.

The resolving power or resolution of an optical instrument just means its ability to distinguish the images of two light sources very near to one another. In terms of application, it is the diffraction pattern of the sources via the aperture that sets the upper theoretical limit to the resolving power.
For a rectangular slit the resolving power may be expressed as:

q1 = nl/ d

 Where n is the number of minima from the center, l is the wavelength of the light used and d is the slit width.  Hence, in this case we find:  q1 = 2l/ d

 For visible light, l = 5.5 x 10 -7 m. In performing the calculation, care must be taken to ensure that l and d are expressed in the same units. For the case depicted the two sources are clearly resolved with the angular separation:

a =  2q1 = 2l/ d

It shouldn’t be difficult to see that the degree of resolution deteriorates as one reduces the angular separation. Of particular interest is the case where a = p, corresponding to the condition a =  q1, for which the images are just barely resolved. This is known as the Rayleigh criterion and occurs when the central maximum of one diffraction pattern just falls on the first minimum of the other, or:

q1  = l/ d

Having considered resolution in the context of the single slit Fraunhofer diffraction pattern we’re now in position to discuss resolving power as it applies to circular apertures.  Such a pattern is arrived at by rotating the single slit about its rotation axis leading to the result shown below:
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Note we again have secondary maxima and minima but these are now observed as concentric rings around a bright central disc. The latter is called Airy’s disc  after Sir George Airy, and is what the observer actually sees when he focuses his telescope on a distant star. (We do not observe a star as it actually is, it's simply too distant, we can only capture its diffraction disk. The smaller that disk, the better the resolution).

The expression for resolving power is analogous to that for the single rectangular aperture already considered. The chief difference is that n is no longer a whole number. In particular for the Rayleigh criterion:

q 1 = 1.22  l/ D

Where D is now the diameter of the circular aperture. One can see from this that the separation of two light sources will depend very directly on the objective diameter D of the telescope. The larger D the smaller  q1 and hence the better the resolution.

To fix ideas consider the diagram below which shows two stars and their corresponding diffraction patterns for the Rayleigh criterion. Here, one of the stars is on the principal axis and the other is off it. The diagram shows the intensity distributions for sources S1, S2 and what might actually be observed, say through a telescope.
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Note at this critical threshold the two stars are just barely separated.   As an exercise we can compute the resolving power of the Harry Bayley Observatory Celestron 14 telescope (the one which I am shown using in the accompanying blog image and profile "About Me").
Then: q1 =  1.22  l/ D

q1 = 1.22  l/ D = 1.22 (5.5 x 10 -7 m) / 0.35 m

q1 = 1.91 X 10 -6 rad = 0.40 arc sec

Thus, the C-14 telescope will be able to (theoretically)  resolve double stars separated by as little as 0.40 seconds of arc.   

While the apparent angular diameter of a celestial objects (a discrete object, say like a planet) does increase with higher magnification, one does not increase the resolving power at the same time. In effect, one cannot extract any more detail than the diffraction pattern already allows for a star. Further, if one recklessly increases the telescope magnification without regard to the aperture, then one only succeeds in producing a blurred image.

In general, as one increases D, the telescope aperture, the diameter of the Airy disc produced by a distant star is reduced in scale. Thus, we observe star images as smaller and smaller points of light the larger the telescope.

See also:

Seriously? Most 'Muricans Don't Believe Mueller Has Any Criminal Evidence?

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Is this what Americans have now become?  Ignorant yahoos who are prepared to give Trump full control of our nation, without a fight?

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Power is ever stealing from the many to the few." - Wendell Phillips (1811- 1884)

"A woman asked Benjamin Franklin, 'Sir,  do we have a monarchy or a Republic?' Franklin replied, 'A  Republic, if you can keep it."

"The demagogue is one who preaches 'facts' he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." - H.L. Mencken

"From a new poll, Americans are amazingly uninformed about the most basic facts of the Mueller probe."  - Chris Hayes, 'All In', last night, responding to new poll.

In terms of Benjamin Franklin's retort to the inquiring woman, it appears we may not be able to keep our Republic, given a recent poll shows 59 percent do not believe Robert Mueller has found any evidence of crimes in his investigation of the Trump cabal, vs. 41 percent who do.  The 41 percent are, of course, the true citizens given THEY have been paying attention and are not mesmerized by Trump's thousands of lies and distractions, disinfo.

Former DOJ spokeman Matt Miller on 'All In' discussed how the Trumpies are winning by "throwing things against a wall" virtually every day to see how many can stick and keep the body politic distracted,  confused or on the cusp of outrage fatigue. He noted:

"They just have to keep something else (from the Mueller probe) going, and it started over a year ago with the allegation that Trump Tower was wiretapped, moving on to unmasking, moving on to allegations that Jim Baker at the FBI leaked things, moving on to Uranium one. They just have to come up with a new allegation every few weeks... It doesn't even have to be founded. You just start with allegations then move it into a process and a committee on the Hill  that starts investigating. Or they put enough pressure on the deputy attorney general for an IG investigation, and now there's two separate ones... They just have to throw enough chum in the water that there's a little bit of a distraction from the constant drumbeat of negativity against Trump."

 Reading Miller's sum up it appears no one can blame Americans for being inundated, mentally blitzed into acquiescence and normalizing the human virus inhabiting the Oval Office.  But sorry, that doesn't cut the mustard. A true citizen puts down his or her  celllphone, pays attention and fully learns - because s/he is well informed  - how to separate wheat from chaff, signal from noise  And if 41 percent could do it, why not the other 59 percent?

Maybe they never read of or learned the meaning of the old saying (from Wendell Phillips,  not Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry, as sometimes claimed) that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty". Incredibly, some people don't even know what the hell eternal vigilance means, given I've seen questions to that effect on Quora.  Simplifying, it means the citizen can never rest, can never take his attention off the seat of power - what his leaders are doing. Further, s/he can never stop reading widely.

It means the constant exercise of scrutiny over power and critically parsing it in all its aspects. It means that one has paid attention to the Mueller probe enough to KNOW it has already secured 19 -  that is NINETEEN - indictments, and five guilty pleas, as well as a remarkable trail  of Trump's criminal associates, such as Felix Sater, former mobster and convicted child pornographer.  In other words, we can ascertain the only true citizens are the 41 percent in the recent poll who KNOW that Mueller has uncovered crimes, while the 59 percent majority are wrong in their belief Mueller has found nothing. These losers are a disgrace to the ideals of our Republic and have lost touch with reality  - whatever the vehicle by which it happened. Maybe too much time on social media, maybe too much outrage fatigue or they simply have given up trying to differentiate fact from fiction. As when Trump blabbed yesterday, without a scintilla of proof, that we have a new "spygate"  because the FBI "planted spies in his campaign".

However, I don't cut any slack for those who buy into such lies, given Trump is a compulsive, pathological liar and has already told over 3,000.  Hence, your default position as a citizen has to be to disbelieve anything Trump claims. That started with his insane claim of Obama wiretapping him last year.   See e.g.

Citizens have to be able to discern bullshit bollocks from truth, and who the good guys are.  Hint: any president who's surrounded himself with  a host of criminals isn't a good guy!

Discernment and eternal vigilance also mean being able to tell a bogus (e.g. House Intel) investigation from a real one (e.g. Mueller's and the Senate Intel Committee investigation). It also means being able to judge that Devin Nunes is a phony and bad actor, as well as traitor, whose sole object is to run interference for Trump.  Further, that all this latest dust up about an "FBI informant" is more disinformational nonsense designed to confuse the ordinary person, the one without enough critical thinking skills or political -historical knowledge.

The REAL citizen, the one who is informed and eternally vigilant, ought to be absolutely apoplectic about a meeting today,  between Chris Wray, Rod Rosenstein and other DOJ officials with Trumpie whores Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy.    This is over the so-called FBI informant and documents pertaining to his actions.   These are now being reviewed by the DOJ's Inspector General, and everyone - that is every citizen who's alert, aware and vigilant, will know in advance when his conclusion comes back the Trump enablers and defenders will squawk it's "not enough"..  Of course not, because they want enough to wreck or undermine the Mueller investigation.

Lastly, the astute citizen - the real one - may wish to check out this video

 of Leslie Stahl's interaction with Trump over his incessant media browbeating. (Trump said he bashes the press to "demean" and "discredit" reporters so that no one will believe negative stories about him.)   Thus, he's given away his M.O.

See also:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Is It Time To De-Emphasize The AP Calculus Test?

IN a recent WSJ op-ed ('Who Needs Calculus? Not High Schoolers', May 15, p. A11) James Markarian (chief technology officer of SnapLogic) made the case that AP calculus is overrated for most high school students. This despite the fact that nearly 450,000 took the exam in 2016.   This is relevant now as perhaps nearly the same number sat down to take the test last week Tuesday.

But why? Why all the emphasis on AP calculus?  Markarian's theory is perhaps as good as any for the radical expansion of calculus teaching in high school, namely it's taught  because of the "intense competition for elite colleges". So hundreds of thousands take it, though they may even hate it, because "they hope it will increase their chances of admission."

The problem is that high school math classes then veer dangerously close to 'teaching to the test" which is actually adverse to genuine learning and critical thinking (which also, btw, emerges in many math problems). In addition, how many students will actually use it in their professional careers? As Markarian observes:

"Students need skills to thrive in the 21st century workplace but I'm not convinced calculus is high on that list. Sure calculus is essential for some careers, particularly in physics and engineering, but few high schoolers are set on those fields."

What to take instead of calculus? Well statistics!  As Markarian notes:

"The Labor Department estimates that 'statistician' will be one of the fastest growing job categories over the next decade, faster than software developer and information security analyst. The pay isn't bad either: The median statistician made $84,000 in 2017."

Sounds like the teaching of AP Calculus needs to be de-emphasized in favor of statistics.  Note that Markarian, like yours truly, isn't saying high schools ought to stop teaching calculus. As I wrote in an earlier post, e.g

"Calculus then, ought to be here to stay, certainly for most college math and science majors and perhaps even some others (e.g. Philosophy) interested in exploring the role of quantum mechanics in modern expositions, say involving quantum nonlocality and entanglement. "

But also having noted,

" I've always been skeptical of the high school AP Calculus curricula and whether students are really of sufficient mental maturity that the courses serve any useful purpose (apart from the usual academic 'feather' in the cap to expand their choice of college). And I never saw the reason for pre-med students to be taking calculus. In each case then, perhaps some finite math course or statistics would better serve these populations as opposed to differential and integral calculus."

The key point which Markarian hits on and with which I concur:

"Changing the incentives could encourage students to take subjects relevant to their ambitions. Statistics and probability are much easier to apply to real world problems such as traffic analysis or election polling, which helps keep adolescents engaged."

Now, to be sure, it is possible to teach oneself statistics on one's own time. I did it in preparation for completing the extensive statistics sections (e.g. Poisson statistics) in my  solar physics dissertation. However, that was done at the post graduate level and statistics itself was not a course requirement. The point here is that if one is serious about statistics as a career choice then he will be doing the subject as a major, so self teaching will clearly not be enough.

In addition, let's note that an academic route that includes both calculus and statistics may be optimal. One WSJ letter writer picks up on this (May 21, p. A16):

"Calculus in conjunction with statistics is a vastly superior skill than statistics alone and the proof is the proliferation of extremely profitable high frequency trading and finacial modeling. Statistics on its own can really only tell you about past processed  but you need calculus to understand how something will change over time."

On the other hand another letter writer (Sean Campbell, Ph.D.) warns:

"Almost nobody should learn calculus at the age of 17 or 18 with the expectation it will advance one's career ten years in the future.  The reason to learn calculus is to think rigorously and analytically in a structured environment."

The implication here appears to be that few 17 or 18 year olds are  really mentally equipped (e.g. their prefrontal cortex still growing) for rigorous analytical thought of the type required to master calculus. If they do take AP calculus most are likely trained to memorize mechanical techniques,such as for differentiation and integration - then working  as many problems as possible to  reinforce the techniques.

But if that is the case, the high school  population taking AP calculus may be vastly inflated, i.e. over what it realistically should be.  This is especially in terms of realizing there are currently some 30 million jobs available in the U.S. that pay an average of $55,000 a year and don't  require a bachelor's degree  - far less calculus, or even statistics  This according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. .

This begs the question of whether it is worthwhile to get a college degree at all,  if the  post-secondary object is simply to get a good paying job minus the onerous burden of student loan debt. The total of that debt now stands at nearly $1.4 trillion, and defaults are also growing at an unnerving pace. These will continue given the interest on most student loans are set to increase by 50 or more basis points,. 

The determining answer to the previous question  may have been provided by Dr. Steven Mason ('The Myth of Higher Education', Integra , No. 9, Oct.  2010).  He argued that that the only real reason to attend college isn't to snag a job after, but  "in the quality added to one's life".

He elaborated this means that completing college  "allows one to better appreciate music, art, history and literature. It contributes to a better understanding of language and culture, nature and philosophy. It expands rather than limits horizons and replaces faith and belief with reason and logic"

In essence, one attends college because "it teaches a person to live - not to earn a living" and that living encompasses an impetus for further learning just for its own sake. If a fantastic, well-paying job also comes with it, that's icing on the cake.  But it should not be expected because you are shelling out twenty grand a year to get your B.A. or B.Sc.

The takeaway?  If a high school student is confident of securing a good job without going to college and isn't invested in "learning how to live", there's no reason  to take an AP calculus course.   I would, however, suggest still gaining a mathematical background at least up to Algebra II.  That course still imparts good thinking and analytical skills - but perhaps not as rigorous as calculus.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The D.O.J. - One Step Closer To Being Like The Nazi Reich Justice System?

Image result for brane space, Trump Hitler imagesNo automatic alt text available."To a frightening degree the masses themselves....showed a suicidal frenzy in breaking with their customary ideals, connections, parties, leaders. They looked on in silence as their political world fell into ruins, and tacitly acknowledged that a new, uncertain, but bold edifice was growing up. This was no sudden general flocking to National Socialism, but a cynical lack of resistance.." - Konrad Heiden, The Fuehrer, 1944,  p. 468.

For those who missed my Sunday update of the May 17th  post let me re-reference the key part here, as it is germane to the content of the current post:

As per a NY Times front page article ('Trump Demands Inquiry Into Whether Justice Dept. Infiltrated or Surveilled His Campaign') Trump tweeted earlier today:

"I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes,  and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

This is a confirmation not only of Trump's obstruction of justice ("on steroids" as I put it- by using an investigation to stop an investigation - of him)  but also of Trump's declaration in 2017, in a NY Times interview:

"I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department"

Making clear in no uncertain terms that he is a despot, much like Adolf Hitler (when he took over the German Judiciary - which I will get to) and hence telegraphing that he doesn't believe in any independent judiciary. Now, while it is true that the Department of Justice is included in the Executive Branch of government, it is also true that laws passed since Watergate establish the D.O.J. as an independent entity within that branch. It cannot be otherwise, else the executive can manipulate the judiciary and defile the rule of law - as Hitler did. Trump's Sunday tweet and his earlier declaration disclose he is not of any different mindset from Hitler.

As many of us know, in the film 'Judgement at Nuremberg' the defendants were all members of the German Judiciary who had been co-opted by Hitler and made to act on behalf of the deformed laws of the Third Reich.  As the Wikipedia entry for the film notes:

"The film centers on a military tribunal led by Chief Trial Judge Dan Haywood (Tracy), before which four German judges and prosecutors (as compared to 16 defendants in the actual Judges' Trial) stand accused of crimes against humanity for their involvement in atrocities committed under the Nazi regime. The film deals with non-combatant war crimes against a civilian population, the Holocaust, and examines the post-World War II geopolitical complexity of the actual Nuremberg Trials."

In the film, the judges on trial for their crimes against humanity argue strenuously that they were only "following the law" as it pertained to the Third Reich. But as the prosecutors made clear, this law was a deformation of the actual rule of proper law, based on a foundational grasp of morality.

This elicits the question of what happend that changed the proper German law to the debased form?  To answer that one can do no better than to get hold of the superb book, The Fuehrer (1944) by then German journalist Konrad Heiden.  We learn for example (p. 566) that the first step the Nazis made was to convert the existing judiciary into their own handmaidens.  This was done by "enlisting all the officials entrusted with the administration of justice - including the judges- into the National Socialist organization, e.g. The National Socialist Jurists"  which Hans Frank (Hitler's favorite lawyer) had founded.

Effectively then, the initial judiciary of the Weimar Republic became Nazi judges, i.e. National Socialist jurists, if they succumbed to the change and agreed to it. (One of the prosecutor's witnesses in the film was challenged by the defendants' lawyer how he could act so morally superior when he never refused to join the Nazi Jurists).   Heiden, for his part, observed (p. 567) "at least for a time some German judges tried to oppose the rape of the law by the National Socialists"  - for example declaring part of their mission was to "protect the weak". To which Herr Frank responded contemptuously (ibid.): "yes, previous justice did protect the weak and created a morality for slaves."

Ultimately, all this rhetoric and manipulation was to create the deviant judicial path by which Hitler could flout all the original laws and thereby destroy the rule of law in Germany. For example, Hans Frank echoed Hitler when he said (ibid.): "Law should not protect the weakling but make the strong even stronger."  This echoes Hitler's words (p. 257):

"If Germany should get a million children each year and eliminate seven to eight hundred thousand  of the weakest, in the end the result would be an increase in power."

The key point made by Heiden regarding the  Nazis' assault on German justice was:

"The German judges' backbone was broken down when the Government broke down the security of their existence."

This meant that the original tenure for life was abolished. In Heiden's words (ibid.):

"The privilege, designed to ensure the independence of the courts, was eliminated by the National Socialists."

This is important to note in order to make the analogous comparison to what is now happening here in this time, in the U.S. - under Trump.  While the judicial authorities of the DOJ lack lifetime tenure - there is still the expectation that they will exercise their authority independent of the executive and not become its political pawns.  As law professor Paul Butler put it on 'All In' last night: "If Trump can get away with ordering documents, or an investigation for an FBI source, he can do it for anyone, even a sitting Senator."

Carrying on the rough analogy, did Rosenstein give Trump what he wanted? In one way, yes, and in other, no. In the former, Rod Rosenstein went through the motions and just tossed Dotard a bone by agreeing (in a way) by having Trump's twitter frets turned over to the Inspector General for parsing.  This would be roughly like the Weimar judges agreeing (in a way) to do Hans Frank's bidding but not joining the National Socialist Jurists.  Rosenstein absolutely did not give Trump what he really wanted - which was for Rosenstein to resign so Trump could them appoint a new deputy AG - as his personal puppet- to then fire Mueller. 

As former assistant Watergate special prosecutor Jill Wine -Banks put it on 'The Last Word' last night:

"I think Rod Rosenstein   played this exactly right. It's not an ideal world, because in an ideal world the president would not be demanding this.  In the ideal world the answer would be 'we only do this if there is probable cause and there is no probable cause here.'  In this case, we have to play chess with the president - who doesn't know how to play chess- and the fact that Rod Rosenstein is still the deputy attorney general is still a good thing.

I am still outraged the president is asking for this, and I don't believe the president or his base will like the answer when it comes out."

Which latter point makes it even more of an atrocity that The Wall Street Journal yesterday (p. A1) openly published the identity of the FBI source who acted as an informant on the de facto Russian agents, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos et al.  All this while also defending the rights of traitors like Devin Nunes to get their paws on further documents related to the FBI source (see editorial p. A16,) and eliding the Snowden affair with this.(To remind readers, Snowden never disclosed actual source names, but rather the extraordinary utilities, e.g. XKeyscore,  MUSCULAR, PRISM etc. that the NSA used to grab citizens' data without their knowledge and in violation of the 4th amendment.)

On the other hand, David Frum diverged  from Wine-Banks take, pointing out:

"Rachel (Maddow) said a very good thing, you respond to the lizard brain, you treat this as a confrontation with a dangerous predator. And you show it what you have. And maybe we're into constitutional crisis territory..  But this slow moving dissolution of normal expectations - maybe crisis is the wrong word - is a corrosion and a corruption,  We're all worse off than we were. At some point, someone is going to have to fight, and maybe today was that day."

I tend to concur with this - in the sense I believe we're at a critical inflection point- not too different in kind from when the Weimar jurists had to make the choice to become National Socialist, aka Nazi, jurists, or be rebuked and lose their positions. Once that 'Rubicon' was crossed - as Heiden notes - and the principle of equality was violated, then "homicide was no longer homicide and murder no longer murder."  In other words, when sanctioned by Hitler or the state, radical differences in kind emerged, and no punishments necessary if committed for the Reich.   This difference was punctuated when amnesty was declared for previous Nationalist Socialist murderers, e.g. who slaughtered trade unionists, Marxists, others.  Thus, the five murderers of Potempa were summarily released from prison, no questions asked.

Perhaps then, Jill Wine-Banks response to Frum is most germane here:

"David definitely made a very compelling case. This is something that concerned me since the election, And I think we saw in Hitler's day - people don't like that analogy - but he didn't change everything all at once, he ate away at the fabric of the society. A little at a time.  First it was one thing, then another extension, then another. So David's point is that's what we're seeing, one step at a time."

The key difference, as Ms. Wine-Banks noted, is that even if Rosenstein is fired - Mueller as well - the DOJ staff  plausibly remain and can continue their work. But up to now we don't know if that will happen or not. (During Watergate, after the 'Saturday Night Massacre', public outcry spared the staff of Archibald Cox) So far, history's negative drumbeat marches on, and no one seems willing or able to turn back the Trump Despot Tide. If we don't, one way or other, we shall rue what transpires even as we cogitate on George Santayana's words: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."