Total solar eclipse, 2 July 2019


This 9 July 2018 video says about itself:

2019 Total Solar Eclipse – Where, When and How to View

On July 2, 2019, ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile will be covered in darkness by a total solar eclipse. Learn about the event from the latest ESOCast episode.

By Lisa Grossman, 5:00am, June 30, 2019:

How the 2019 eclipse will differ from 2017’s — and what that means for science

Chasing the moon’s shadow is never easy

Two years ago, scientists towed telescopes and other equipment into fields and up mountains across the United States for a celestial spectacle: the 2017 Great American Eclipse.

Now, they’re at it again. On July 2, the next total solar eclipse will be visible shortly before sunset from the Pacific Ocean and parts of Chile and Argentina.

Eclipse watchers hope to study some of the same solar mysteries as last time, including the nature of our star’s magnetic field and how heat moves through the sun’s wispy outer atmosphere, known as the corona (SN Online: 8/11/17). But every eclipse is different, and this year’s event offers its own unique opportunities and challenges.

“There are all sorts of outside things you have to be lucky about” in watching an eclipse, says astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., who will be viewing his 35th total solar eclipse from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in northern Chile. Here are some of the challenges, and potential rewards, facing astronomers.

1. The sun is in a period of low solar activity.

One of the main reasons, scientifically speaking, to observe a total solar eclipse is to catch a glimpse of the corona, whose wisps and tendrils of plasma are visible only when the sun’s bright disk is blocked. This region could hold the key to predicting the sun’s volatile outbursts, including giant burps of plasma called coronal mass ejections that can wreak havoc with satellites and power grids if they hit Earth (SN Online: 4/9/12). But the corona is one of the least well-understood parts of our nearest star.

One of the main reasons, scientifically speaking, to observe a total solar eclipse is to catch a glimpse of the corona, whose wisps and tendrils of plasma are visible only when the sun’s bright disk is blocked. This region could hold the key to predicting the sun’s volatile outbursts, including giant burps of plasma called coronal mass ejections that can wreak havoc with satellites and power grids if they hit Earth (SN Online: 4/9/12). But the corona is one of the least well-understood parts of our nearest star.

Scientists are getting ever closer to measuring the corona’s magnetic field. In 2017, solar physicist Jenna Samra of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and her colleagues spotted a particular wavelength of infrared light in the corona for the first time (SN Online: 5/29/18). This wavelength, emitted by iron molecules that have lost several electrons to the corona’s extreme heat, is particularly sensitive to magnetic fields. Future observatories that focus on it could reveal more about coronal magnetism.

This year, Samra’s team will be looking again, in hopes of confirming that 2017 detection. She plans to fly an aircraft in the shadow of the sun with a special spectrometer aimed out the window. Over the last two years, she and her colleagues have improved the instrument’s sensitivity by a factor of 20, meaning the corona will look 20 times as bright as it did in 2017.

“We want to understand which of our emission lines are useful for future measurements of the magnetic field,” she says.

2. Less of the total eclipse will cross land.

Most of 2017’s total eclipse was visible from land, covering about 4,600 kilometers from near Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C. That gave scientists a comparatively long time in the dark — about an hour and a half from coast to coast. Comparing the corona’s appearance from west to east let researchers measure how the corona changed over that period.

This year, the path of totality covers a chunk of the southern Pacific Ocean and a narrower swath of land, roughly 2,000 kilometers from western Chile to eastern Argentina. A partial eclipse will visible across other parts of the two countries as well as Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and parts of Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

2019 solar eclipse

The moon is also closer to Earth this time. So the spot with the longest duration of totality will see four minutes and 32 seconds of darkness, but unfortunately, that spot is in the middle of the southern Pacific Ocean. (In 2017, the same period was about two and a half minutes.)

Back in Chile, scientists can expect about two and a half minutes of totality. Because totality will happen a few hours before sunset, around 4:39 p.m. local time, many researchers are heading as far west in the country as possible to catch the maximum amount of obscured daylight.

Some groups still hope to get a longer stretch of corona watching time. Solar physicist Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu is leading a team that will spread out over three sites, one at Cerro Tololo in Chile and two in Argentina, giving the team a total of about seven minutes in totality.

Other scientists are turning to the air. Astronomer Glenn Schneider of Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona in Tucson will chase the moon’s shadow in an airplane for nearly eight minutes of totality near Easter Island. And an hour later, totality will reach Pasachoff at Cerro Tololo, giving the pair roughly the same total amount of time in totality as they got in 2017.

With all those sets of observations, “we’ll be able to see what might be changing and measure velocities of things in the solar corona,” Pasachoff says.

3. The sun will be low in the sky.

That sunset eclipse might be beautiful to view. But it makes the science more difficult. By the time totality begins, the sun will be just 13 degrees above the horizon. Scientists will have to look through more of the Earth’s atmosphere to see the corona, leading to blurrier images.

Pasachoff expects the blur to be bad enough that he’s not bothering with one measurement he did in 2017. Then, his team looked for rapid oscillations in a particular wavelength of light to measure the corona’s temperature, and test why it’s so much hotter than the solar surface (SN Online: 8/20/17).

“We’re not working on that question this time,” he says. “We’ll do it next time.”

4. Observatories offer good viewing spots, but the telescopes themselves are largely useless.

The path of the eclipse’s totality crossing over South America has another big advantage: It will pass right over several of the world’s most powerful observatories, built on sites chosen partly for the clear, dry mountain weather. Those conditions improve chances of seeing totality and not getting clouded out.

But none of the telescopes at Cerro Tololo or the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla site will actually be able to aim at the eclipse. Designed to collect as much light as possible from the night sky, they could catch fire if they observed the sun directly.

“You think, the eclipse is passing over these big observatories, they already have big telescopes in place, we can just use them!” Bryans says. “Turns out the only real advantage from the observatories is the nice location.”

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Misogynistic Chilean bishop resigns


This 14 June 2019 video says about itself:

Chile bishop resigns after suggesting there is a reason the Last Supper had no women

A Chilean auxiliary bishop appointed by Pope Francis less than a month ago has resigned, just weeks after he made controversial comments about the lack of women in attendance at the Last Supper.

Carlos Eugenio Irarrazaval was appointed by the pope in an effort to rebuild the church’s credibility following a pervasive sex abuse scandal that exposed hundreds of allegations now being investigated by Chilean criminal prosecutors.

The archdiocese of Santiago did not specify the reasons for Irarrazaval’s departure in its statement, but said the pope had accepted the bishop’s resignation “in favour of unity and for the good of the church”.

The bishop’s short tenure began with a television interview in May, in which he said there were no women seated at the table at the Last Supper and that “we have to respect that”.

“Jesus Christ made decisions and they were not ideological … and we want to be faithful to Jesus Christ”, he said in reference to the lack of women in attendance. He also said that perhaps women “like to be in the back room”.

According to the Bible, the Last Supper was Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion, depicted in many famous works of art.

The comments sparked a backlash among women’s groups and critics of the church in Chile at a time when confidence in church leadership in the once staunchly Catholic nation has plummeted. Pope Francis earlier this year accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati as archbishop of Santiago, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic church in Chile, after he was caught up in the country’s sex abuse scandal.

The church’s credibility has been harmed in much of the world by abuse scandals in countries including Ireland, Chile, Australia, France, the United States and Poland.

In Chile, prosecutors say they are investigating more than 150 cases of sexual abuse or cover-up involving more than 200 victims.

Irarrazaval will continue to serve the church as a pastor in Santiago, according to the Archdiocese of Santiago. Irarrazaval could not be immediately reached for comment.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Chilean auxiliary bishop quickly gone after insulting women

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the auxiliary bishop of the Chilean capital Santiago. Carlos Irarrázaval had only been in his job for 24 days, but soon got into trouble.

In a TV interview, the auxiliary bishop had said that there were no women at the Last Supper of Jesus and his apostles, and therefore there was no role for them in the church. It was supposedly a “non-ideological” choice by Jesus. The auxiliary bishop also said that women may “like to stay in the back room”. He had previously caused controversy by his remark that people should let bygones be bygones with regard to a major abuse scandal in the Chilean church.

Women’s organizations and critics of the Catholic Church responded indignantly to the comments by Irarrázaval. He now says he will leave to preserve the peace and unity of the Archdiocese of Santiago.

Irarrázaval had especially been appointed by the pope in an attempt to restore peace to the Chilean Catholic community, which was shocked last year by the news of large-scale abuse by priests. The Chilean Public Prosecution Service is conducting criminal investigations into more than 150 clerics who allegedly abused children or concealed such crimes.

‘Pope Francis not doing enough against sexual abuse’


This 28 October 2018 video says about itself:

A child sex abuse scandal shakes the core of Chile’s Catholic Church

When Pope Francis visited Chile in 2017 he received a lukewarm reception. Once one of the most Catholic countries in Latin America, perception of the church in Chile has been challenged by revelations of widespread sexual abuse dating back decades.

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of victims. And prosecutors say the cover-up of the abuse reaches the highest level of the Chilean church.

The Pope is now taking action against members of the clergy in Chile. And he even invited three abuse survivors to Rome to speak and give their advice.

Correspondent Joel Richards brings us their story from Santiago.

There are daily developments in this case in Chile. Despite the Pope’s intervention a poll claims more than 83% of Chileans think the local Catholic Church is dishonest.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The criticism of [Pope Francis I‘s] approach to the abuse scandal grows. Pope Francis has underestimated that subject for too long, so think, eg, victims of abuse. They want the pope to be open about the role of high level clergymen, including his predecessors, in covering up the abuse.

United States conservative wants Pinochet-style dictatorships


This 1 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Conservative Pundit Calls For ‘Pinochet Type’ Dictators

In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s 2016 electoral victory, Erick Erickson was the type of conservative pundit many despairing liberals wanted to see. Erickson, a popular conservative radio host and commentator, had been a fierce critic of Trump, disinviting him from a 2015 conservative conference for “inappropriate” comments on Megyn Kelly. He also wrote a November 2016 op-ed for The New York Times in which he talked about the need for conservatives to “reach across the aisle and go outside Washington” and was profiled by The New Yorker.

Read more here.

See also here.

Puma cubs outside den for first time


This video, recorded in Chile, says about itself:

Adorable Puma Cubs Explore the Wild for the First Time

23 November 2018

A puma lets her three kittens run through the scrub in the Torres Del Paine region of Patagonia. It’s their first excursion out of the den – they’re too young to hunt, but they’re ready to explore their new world.

Macron’s police state attack on left opposition


This 18 October 2018 video says about itself:

French Leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon has broken new ground on social media by broadcasting a police raid on his political headquarters from his mobile phone.

A furious Mr Mélenchon, head of France Insoumise (France Unbowed), filmed as eight police officers searched the party headquarters early on Tuesday, which he slammed as an attempted “coup de force” against his party “to scare and intimidate us”. He broadcast the raid from his smart phone on Facebook.

Police also searched the headquarters of the Parti de Gauche, a Leftist ally, and Mr Mélenchon’s former assistants.

So, now the French Macron government attempts to silence opposition to it from the left; basing itself on smears of ‘corruption’ made by the neo-fascist National Front (now renamed National Rally) attacking the political left, to divert attention from their own real corruption.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Police raid on Mélenchon: The state attacks the Unsubmissive France party

17 October 2018

Yesterday’s police raids on Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s home and the headquarters of his Unsubmissive France (LFI) party in Paris are a major attack on democratic rights. It is a political operation launched on false pretences against an organization that received the votes of 20 percent of French voters in the 2017 presidential elections. If the first target is Mélenchon, fundamentally its target is rising opposition in the working class to President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

Around 100 police, according to LFI estimates, woke up Mélenchon and searched his apartment and those of his aides, and collected all the data on the computers in the headquarters of LFI and of the Left Party (PG), an allied political party founded by Mélenchon in 2009.

Mélenchon filmed a video of his apartment occupied by police and called on his supporters to protest outside LFI headquarters as it was raided. “I look funny because since 7 a.m. I have been the target of a police raid at my home, at the headquarters of the PG and of LFI. … My entire place is filled with people: please go and tell everyone this is a political act, an act of political aggression.”

Prosecutors reportedly cited two cases to justify the raid: last year’s allegations that Mélenchon paid LFI staff improperly using funds provided for aides to LFI Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), and allegations of corruption in LFI’s campaign finances.

These dubious accusations do not justify the police raid launched on LFI. The first came last year from neo-fascist MEP Sophie Montel, who explained after making it that it was simply “me sticking my tongue out” as revenge for state allegations of corruption in the National Front’s finances. At the time, Mélenchon reacted by threatening to sue on defamation charges, and the story rapidly faded from public attention.

The second comes from various sources … charging LFI with having overpaid services furnished by associates of Mélenchon. Some of these charges, such as those targeting the Médiascop company held by Sophia Chirikou, the head of Mélenchon’s public relations in the presidential elections, have already been thrown out. Mélenchon’s campaign finances have in the meantime been approved by state authorities.

The Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES) has documented its political differences with … Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former Socialist Party government minister. But this type of police operation targeting LFI is an attack on democratic rights that threatens everyone, and the PES defends LFI against an assault prepared through de facto collaboration between the police, the far right, and the Macron government.

A political decision was taken to use these allegations as a pretext to carry out searches and seizures at the headquarters of the organization that received the most left-wing votes in 2017. The campaign of Macron and his Republic on the March (LRM) party faces similar accusations, which are now common in French elections, but it naturally has not faced similar police raids.

Above all, even if the courts were legitimately investigating corruption allegations, it would not justify collecting all the electronic data of an organization with approximately 240,000 sympathizers—the overwhelming majority of whom have no connection to these cases. The most serious questions are posed. What data have the security forces collected on LFI sympathizers and voters? And what do they plan to do with the masses of files they have harvested?

These questions have particular urgency, amid the rapid drive to police state rule and the repudiation by the ruling class of all the social and democratic rights won by the European working class in the 20th century, after the Russian revolution and the defeat of fascism. After a decade of deep capitalist crisis since the 2008 Wall Street crash, the bourgeoisie is taking ever more violent measures targeting social opposition.

Macron, widely despised as the “president of the rich”, is seen with contempt in the working class. His attack on rail workers’ and government workers’ wages and conditions, and his plans for historic cuts to pensions, health care and unemployment insurance provoke deep opposition among workers that terrifies the political establishment. It reacts by building a police state to repress opposition to the policy of enriching the financial aristocracy and devoting hundreds of billions of euros to the army—policies being carried out across Europe.

Between 2015 and 2017, France lived under a state of emergency that suspended democratic rights and massively increased police powers to launch raids and impose house arrest without charges. The state of emergency was used as a pretext to launch violent police attacks on mass demonstrations against the Socialist Party’s (PS) draconian, anti-worker labour law.

The unpopularity of Macron, who took two weeks to find ministers to work with him, so he could name his new government after a spate of ministerial resignations, is part of a crisis of rule and a collapse of European democracy. In Italy, a neo-fascist government is threatening mass deportations of refugees. And top German officials, including Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, have come out in support of neo-Nazi riots in Chemnitz, where rioters attacked Jewish businesses. …

Yesterday, at the National Assembly, [Mélenchon] was reduced to asking whether France was still a democratic regime, amid the jeers of conservative and LRM [Macron party] deputies.

The decisive question is to unify and mobilize the working class in an international and revolutionary movement in the defence of democratic and social rights, and opposing war and the militarization of society. This means undertaking a struggle for socialism, making a ruthless break with the nationalism and the ties to the right wing … In the face of the dangers revealed by the attack on LFI, this entails defending the rights of Mélenchon, and of his movement, against the police state.

This 17 October 2018 video says about itself:

French left-wing opposition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has vehemently denounced his country’s government – during a raid on his party’s premises.

By Alex Lantier in France:

”We are beginning to see the same thing in France”

Refugee who fled Chile’s dictatorship denounces police raids against Unsubmissive France

18 October 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters attended a demonstration by supporters of Unsubmissive France (LFI) outside the party’s headquarters on Tuesday, called to oppose police raids against the organization that morning. Police seized all the data on computers in the offices of LFI and the Left Party, an allied political party founded by LFI leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2009, and searched Mélenchon’s apartment.

We spoke with Myriam, a Chilean refugee in France who had fled the dictatorship of Augustus Pinochet, and her daughter, Esperanza. Myriam came to sound the alarm, and warned that the raids against LFI recalled the methods used by the Chilean right-wing to terrorize workers prior to Pinochet’s bloody CIA-backed coup d’ état in 1973. “The methods of the right wing are always the same: overturn the law and take advantage of their powers for actions like this.”

“I arrived in 1985 with my two children to escape the dictatorship there”, she said. “We were targeted. I wanted to protect my children, economically as well. We arrived here and my children have grown up, but now we are starting to see the same thing. I’m very afraid.”

Myriam noted the deep anger growing among workers in France against the authoritarian and militarist policies of the government of Emmanuel Macron, which is seeking to tear up workers’ social rights and public services. “You see that all the resources for supporting the poor are being taken away. … They don’t want workers, they want slaves.”

She also said that the class interests supporting the policies of Macron and that which backed Pinochet’s coup were the same. “Pinochet’s coup d’état was supported by the free-market conservatives”, she said. “Chile was the laboratory for their free-market policies. They profited, and the people starved to death.” In France, Myriam said that under former Socialist Party (PS) president Francois Hollande, “they have begun to put an end to the labor code. In Chile there is no longer a labor code.”

Myriam made clear her hostility to Macron, a banker and former advisor to the PS government who could only become president because he wants to place the whole of society at the disposal of the financial elite. “Macron was a zero, the worst of all the candidates, and now look where he is”, she said. “And whom does he serve? He serves the rich, the ultra-rich, and that’s it.”

Myriam warned of the growing neo-fascist danger in the Brazilian presidential elections, where the extreme-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro is on the verge of taking power. She noted that “the methods of Chile in 1973 and those of Brazil today, which we are seeing with the attacks against Lula, are the same”, a reference to the judicial maneuvers that led to the imprisonment of former president Lula de Silva of the Brazilian Workers Party on corruption charges.

Myriam added that with Macron in France, “I see the same processes, slowly at first, because it is France after all. It is not an impoverished South American nation. So, they proceed with more care. But it is the same.”

This 12 July 2017 video says about itself:

France: Mélenchon attends rally against Macron’s proposed labour reforms

Deputy for La France Insoumise and former French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon spoke to a rally in Paris, on Wednesday, against proposed reforms to the nation’s labour laws.

Adressing the crowd, Melenchon said, “The labour law, that is to say, the particular rights which have been acquired by wage-earners over the course of a century of struggle, all this is being called into question.”

By Alex Lantier in France:

After police raids on LFI, French courts and media denounce Mélenchon

18 October 2018

After the police raids targeting the Unsubmissive France (LFI) movement on the order of the Paris prosecutor, the courts and the media are launching a violent campaign targeting LFI leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon. They are manifestly threatening to ban LFI, an organization that received the votes of 20 percent of the electorate in last year’s presidential elections, or at least to threaten its leaders with substantial legal penalties.

This would mark a major step in the transformation of the police state created in France during 2015–2017 into a tool serving openly to crush political opposition and social anger against the financial aristocracy. Indeed, the manner in which official circles are treating the police raids is a warning as to the profound crisis of French democracy. A police state exists and is rapidly consolidating itself—a situation that poses mortal dangers to the working class.

The state and the media are concentrating on the fact that Mélenchon got angry at police who were searching LFI headquarters and were illegally trying to prevent LFI parliamentarians from entering their party headquarters. The LFI officials had to break down a door guarded by police in order to enter into their offices, and Mélenchon had harsh words for police inside LFI headquarters. Many videos of the confrontation are circulating online.

In one of them, Mélenchon said: “You are not acting as policemen in a democratic state. … You cannot bother us, you cannot push us, you have no right to prevent us from entering into our headquarters, above all because we are not obstructing your searches. But you are acting in a very strange way. You enter, you take all sorts of things, you do not say what they are, you leave and we do not know what you have taken.”

In fact, beyond the personal effects of LFI leaders, police gathered all the data on computers at LFI headquarters. Manuel Bompard, the LFI campaign coordinator, denounced the behavior of the police and of investigators: “I was prevented from attending and observing the administrative procedure, although I am the legal representative of Unsubmissive France, but I was not allowed to attend the operations. … I received no legal document to sign.”

“A policeman grabbed me by the neck, by the arm, pulled me. This policeman’s hierarchy came to him and said: ‘calm down.’ I was roughed up, attacked … What took place is unacceptable”, he added, insisting that he would “launch a lawsuit at the police station for the blows I received.”

Nonetheless, the state and the media, far from critiquing police behavior, rapidly aligned themselves with the police to attack Mélenchon. Yesterday, the courts announced they would launch an investigation into Mélenchon’s behaviour during the police raids. The Paris prosecutor’s office, which first launched the raids, opened an inquiry into charges of “threats or acts of intimidation against the judiciary” and “violence targeting persons who represent the public authority.”

Several police trade unions, close to the far right, demanded a “public apology” from Mélenchon … The Alliance union, historically linked to the neo-fascist National Front, called on the new interior minister, Christophe Castaner, to file a complaint targeting the LFI leader.

In order to maintain at least the false semblance of impartiality despite having launched the trial, Paris prosecutor François Molins then asked the general prosecutor to be allowed to recuse himself from the case, so that the nearest regional court would take charge of it.

The principal French media are launching a wave of denunciations of Mélenchon. This points, above all, to the unlimited deference to the police that predominates in official publications, which are all in agreement on threatening Mélenchon. Libération, Le Monde, L’Obs all published articles hostile to LFI yesterday.

Libération was the most aggressive against LFI, publishing reactionary articles suggesting that Mélenchon’s behavior could justify banning LFI. The daily put on its front page a large picture of Mélenchon with the headline “Is this one step too far?” In its article titled “Police raid on Mélenchon: from unsubmissiveness to obstruction”, it accuses Mélenchon, without any proof of his having tried to block the police searches. Libération threatens: “The leader of Unsubmissive France is posturing as a political martyr, risking illegality.”

Having made this extraordinary threat, Libération then attacks the LFI parliamentarians, giving a free pass to the police: “It’s not nothing, in France, to see elected officials physically oppose policemen who are carrying out a judicial order.”

In its editorial titled “Tactics”, Libération poses as being understanding, admitting that it’s “not surprising” that LFI “is screaming against such a massive police operation. … But if you step back a bit, you have to say that the reaction of the leaders of Unsubmissive France is essentially outrageous and illegitimate.” Declaring that “the judges were only doing their job” in ordering the raid, Libération concludes: “where they went over the red line, it was when deputies of the nation blocked, with numbers and with decibels, a perfectly legitimate judicial inquiry.”

In fact, there is no reason to believe that the judges were only doing their work, or that the judicial inquiry that provided a pretext for the police raids was “perfectly legitimate.” It was recently reported that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had “auditioned” all the candidates for the position of Paris prosecutor. The journal Les Echos reported that this was an “unprecedented situation” and pointed to these “meetings that Edouard Philippe ‘took credit for’, because he wants ‘to be certain’ that he will be ‘perfectly happy’ with the future prosecutor.”

That is, the prosecutor was carefully selected by the government, which was no doubt forewarned on Tuesday about such a large-scale, impending police sweep on Mélenchon—with 15 police raids carried out by over 100 policemen—before it happened. The attack on Mélenchon and LFI is manifestly political, carried out by the executive even as it is at its lowest point ever in the polls and is desperately trying to strangle all social opposition to its program.

Two weeks after the departure of Interior Minister Gérard Collomb and after several failed attempts to assemble a cabinet, French president Emmanuel Macron finally presented his reworked government on Tuesday. He had pledged to reshuffle the government to give a “second wind” to his programmeme of austerity and militarism, but he presented only modest changes, designed to allow him to pursue his widely hated agenda: here.