Saturday, November 30, 2019

Jimmy Buffett and friends - Hey Good Lookin'

It's nice to have friends.  If you're a singer, these are some pretty big name friends.  If you're singing Hank Sr., then these are the friends you want to bring.

Hey Good Lookin' (Songwriter: Hank Williams, Sr.)
Say hey, good lookin' - what ya got cookin'?
How's about cooking somethin' up with me?
Hey, sweet baby - don't you think maybe
We can find us a brand new recipe?

I got a hot rod Ford, and a two dollar bill
And I know a spot right over the hill
There's soda pop and the dancing's free
So if you wanna have fun, come along with me

Say hey, good lookin' - what ya got cookin'?
How's about cooking somethin' up with me?
I'm free and ready, so we can go steady.
How's about saving all your time for me?
No more lookin' - I know I been tookin'
Hows about keepin' steady company?

I'm gonna throw my date book over the fence
And buy me one for five or ten cents
I'll keep it till it's covered with age
Cause I'm writin' your name down on every page

Say hey, good lookin' - what ya got cookin'?
How's about cooking somethin' up with me?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A turkey named Elizabeth

Via Gorge, with LOLOLOLZZZZZ:

You do read him every day, don't you?

Credit to The Queen Of The World for the post title.

Happy Thanksgiving

May your turkey drop onto your table ...

Have a non-political Thanksgiving


Music for Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Global Warming causes Acne

I posted this ten years ago, and it's only gotten worse since then.  What I didn't point out in that post is the reason for this - almost all government science grants are awarded to study the effect of Global Warming Climate Change on [fill in the blank].

And so we get a huge list of [fill in the blanks].  Hey, the Scientists aren't too proud to take the King's Shilling.  As the Romans used to say, pecunia non olet (money doesn't smell).

Originally posted 27 November 2009.

Global Warming causes Acne


Oh, it also causes a bunch of other stuff. Of course, this really isn't a surprise. A while back, Bruce let us know:
Why, just yesterday, global warming cleaned the siding on my house, pruned my hedges, and made me a nice grilled cheese for lunch.
Grilled Cheese beats Acne. Win!

Hat tip: The Corner.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

And now, a palate cleanser

I've been a bit ranty lately about our beloved Pentagon brass, so here's some cuteness to put a smile on your face.

How on earth has this only gotten 4000 views on Youtube?  You know what to do.

So we're finally out of Internet Addresses

Well, IPv4 addresses.  I think that this time it's for sure.  Maybe.

It doesn't look like it's making much - or any - difference.  For sure, nobody wants to run IPv6 - no doubt that most vendors "support" IPv6 only if you also run IPv4.  And at no time do their fingers leave their hands ...

The good news is that if everyone had to switch to IPv6, it would probably go decently well.  Sure a few things would break but they'd get fixed toute suite.  I mean, it's the Internet.  You bet they'd fix it.

The whole thing has been billed as an Earth Shattering Kaboom but has turned out to be a damp firecracker.

Monday, November 25, 2019

It looks like Gallagher's case isn't the only one that the Navy JAGs screwed up

Remember how the JAGs screwed up the Gallagher case?  Remember how testimony was dorked up, how the prosecution's "star" witness admitted that he was the one who did whatever "crime" was committed?  Remember the prosecution's misconduct?  Remember how they all gave themselves medals for what a bang-up job they did?  Remember how President Trump revoked all the medals and pardoned Gallagher for the single chickens**t charge they got to stick?

Well guess how their prosecution of the U.S.S Fitzgerald's CO went:
The trial would be allowed to go forward, but the judge admonished Richardson and his deputy, Moran, for violating a sacred tenet of military criminal justice: to not poison the system by making their opinions clear. By doing so, any potential jurors would know exactly what the top brass wanted.

A month later in January, the judge handed the Navy a final blow: The admiral in charge of the criminal proceedings was disqualified for improperly using his position to help the prosecution gather evidence against Benson.

The Navy’s case had collapsed, but more than three months dragged by before it finally dropped the remaining charges against Benson.
[blink] [blink]

And it gets worse, with the post clusterf**k ass covering from the Navy brass:
(The day the charges were dropped, ProPublica had informed the Navy it would be publishing a story detailing the extensive, troubling mistakes made by the Navy’s leadership in Benson’s case.)

The next day, the Navy took one more swipe at Benson, this time with a public letter of censure. The secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, wrote an admonishment that repeatedly used the same words and phrases, such as “failure” and “unworthy of trust,” basically restating the charges the Navy was unable to bring to court, without an avenue for appeal. In an email, Spencer’s spokeswoman declined to provide details about why he wrote the letter.
One last potshot from the E-ring on the way out the door.  And while I don't know if this is true or not, it sure has the ring of truth to it:
One officer said in an interview that he’d decided that he’d opt to retire before commanding a ship again.

“We all realize we’re completely going at this alone,” another officer said, “and are expendable in the eyes of those who only crave rank authority and shirk responsibility.”

Commanders still talk about how [then Chief of Naval Operations] Richardson was publicly saying safety first while privately urging commanders to be more daring and take more risks. One skipper boldly asked Richardson at a luncheon how his position squared with prosecuting commanding officers “when something goes wrong.” Richardson, said some in attendance, sidestepped the question.

Sullivan, captain of the USS Whidbey Island, said all captains accept that they are responsible for what happens aboard their ships — even if they are asleep. But, she said, it “was very shocking” to see Navy leadership decide to hold the commanders criminally accountable. “I’m willing to sacrifice my life; that’s my job. But it’s hard to do that when you don’t think the organization has your back.”

In all, Sullivan said, “The herd is spooked.”
While I can see Sullivan wanting to put this on a dysfunctional Navy bureaucracy, what we see is a dysfunctional Navy bureaucracy.  Second verse: same as the first.

Richardson is no longer CNO which looks like a very good thing.  The SecNAV is gone, too - also a good thing.  But the JAG corps needs to be nuked from orbit, and the Navy brass needs to get purged of the ass-coverers.  Holy cow, it looks like Barack Obama was successful in fundamentally changing America's Navy.

The case against Chief Gallagher

A person I know who is retired Special Forces emailed about the Navy and Chief Gallagher.  With his permission I'm posting his thoughts because they give a view from the inside (and one that you will not hear from the Media):
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I thought it was pretty much crap what they were charging him with, so I’m glad to see the President defend him. However, on the other hand…having served in small unit spec ops, I’m a firm believer that team business is team business, and the President needs to mind his own. While I didn’t want to see Gallagher go down for anything he was charged with, if his team has lost confidence in him, or thinks he’s a wild card, or simply doesn’t want him on the team anymore for whatever reason, that’s their business and it shouldn’t be interfered with. Team dynamics and relationships are critical to team survival. If there’s heartburn between Gallagher and the rest of the team, that’s to the detriment of the team.

We did the same thing in SF. Instead of “trident” reviews we called them peer reviews. It’s unthinkable to me for someone outside of the team to intervene in a peer review.


... reading between the lines, and again, having served on a small team…I would have my own reservations about being on a team with Gallagher. I mean let’s face it, we’re at war, war isn’t pretty, and we don’t send choir boys to do the kind of work that team was doing. But Gallagher seems like a bit of a wild card, reckless, not entirely in control, too much emotion/hatred in his actions. His actions don’t describe the cold, calculating, professional and emotionless warfighter you need in that role. I feel confident in saying that if anyone on my team had done the things he’s accused of, I may not necessarily want to see him hang for any of it, but I may think twice about him being one of only 11 other people my life depends on. And that’s all a peer/trident review is. And I think it’s warranted in this case.
Note that this "case" against Gallagher has nothing to do with the JAG corps or Articles of War of Uniform Code of Military Justice.  It's purely between Gallagher and his team.  I still think that a good pruning of Navy (and other branch) Pentagon deadwood would invigorate the military, and suspect that Obama's Pentagon purge did a lot of damage - damage that needs to be fixed by removing his appointees.

Well, it's a good start

Buh bye, SecNAV.  Now there's some more insubordinate brass that needs to get polished right out the door, including the CNO (hey, it's his show, and his command seems to be spending more time contradicting the Commander-in-Chief than - you know - learning how to drive boats so they don't run into everything in the Pacific Ocean).

Supporting evidence for this is in today's newspaper which tells me that "senior Navy personnel" said that Trump's tweet wasn't an order to knock that shit off* and which said that people were working to "defuse" the conflict between the President and the Navy.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?  The man doesn't want to hear "But Sir ..." he wants to hear "Yes, Sir!"  Maybe the CNO never heard that one before, but he will.

We can also add in RADM Whatshisname at SEAL Command.  I can't remember a more clear example of insubordination as this "Oh yeah we're going to take his Trident", following hard on the Charlie Foxtrot that was a Courts-Martial including perjury, the Navy's "star" witness admitting that no, he was the one that killed the Tango, and the prosecuting JAGs tapping the defense counsel's phone (!!!).  Incompetent and insubordinate in equal measure.  Trump should bust him in rank and let him know he's luck that he's not facing time in Leavenworth.

And I've already said that the top three levels of command in the Navy JAG command should all get fired.

* Trump's tweet was in the great tradition of Z-Grams.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

My first (and only) viral meme

Ten years ago today I posted what would become my only viral meme.  It was satirizing the ClimateGate shenanigans.

What happens when you run the Climate Models?

There's been a lot of analysis of the Hadley/CRU emails disclosed in the data leak. There's been less - but very interesting indeed - analysis of the source code disclosed in the leak.

That got me wondering: what happens when you run the code? I mean, the whole IPCC Thermageddon story is based on this code, right? Running the code might be interesting.

So I ran it. "Interesting"? Boy, Howdy.

The first thing that became obvious is that this is not at all a manual process. There is a lot of operator intervention, with the program asking you for all sorts of input. So much so, in fact, that it looks like a programmer at CRU took a shot at trying to automate the process:

I'm not interested in grants, and it looks like the editor of GRL has already been properly dealt with, so I selected the first option and forged ahead.

Unfortunately, the code looks to be very fragile, with poor error handling. I'm in the middle of stack dumps, but thought that these results so far were interesting enough to post. Here's the (admittedly limited) error report that I have so far.

Michael Haydn - Requiem

Image von der Wik
You wonder if musical families are like everybody's family - probably they are.  And so we have to wonder if Franz Joseph Haydn sometimes thought his younger brother Michael was a twerp.  Maybe.

But older brother Franz was making a name for himself in Vienna and Michael was able to get some temporary gigs - substituting when the regular organist was unavailable, that sort of thing.  Not bad for 12 years old.

The Haydns and the Mozarts were friends, and Wolfgang wrote a part for Michael's wife in one of his operas.

Despite my snarky (whimsical?) opening, Franz held his brother Michael in high regard - perhaps because he respected Michael's focus on religious music.  Most famous of these is his requiem mass that he wrote on the death of Saltsburg Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach in 1771.  Both Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart were at the premier and the younger Mozart admitted that Haydn's requiem influenced his own (more famous one).

But the requiem mass is a solemn occasion - the missa pro defunctis (mass for the dead) is performed for the repose of the soul of someone recently departed.  A friend of mine just passed far too young.  May his soul rest easy.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Rest in Peace, John

I just heard that a guy who worked for me 15 years ago just died.  He was ten years younger than I, which makes him way too young to go.  He was one of those guys that you want working for you - bright, motivated, hard working, glass-half-full attitude.  I could ask him to put together a particularly difficult demo for a big customer and know that he would make the crazy hard look easy.

It's strange, but this one has hit me pretty hard.  I'm sadder than I remember being in a long, long time.

Ave atque vale, John.  I'll catch you on the other side.

This is an excellent reason to finish an 80% Lower

That's made of Win, right there.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thanksgiving Blues

This is hilarious.  The guys can play, too.

Thanksgiving Blues (Songwriter: ???)
Turkey is smoking The gravy is burnt
Cranberry’s missin’ I hadn’t learnt
Should’ve called grandma She’d know just what to do
Grandma don’t answer I got them Thanksgivin’ blues 
The in-laws are coming Bringing their friends
The toilet has backed up The fun never ends
Next time I’ll tell them We’ve all got the flu
No sign of grandma I got them Thanksgivin’ blues 
There’s football on TV Just after one
Don’t know who’s playing But it sure sounds like fun
Festive occasions I know you love them too
Hope grandma’s not wasted She’s got them Thanksgivin’ blues 
Kids on their iPads Mom’s got her wine
I’m in my easy chair Marking the time
Pie’s overrated Ambrosia too
Grandma just show’d up We’ve got them Thanksgivin’ blues 
There’s cornbread dressin’ Calling my name
Jim’s on his blessin’ But no word has changed
Amen y’all! We got work to do
Grandma brought fixins’ I love them Thanksgivin’ blues

A refresher: What was ClimateGate and why does it matter

We're ten years on from the ClimateGate scandal.  Here's a FAQ from then that (mostly) holds up pretty well.  I was overly optimistic that the media would not sweep this entirely under the rug.

Originally posted November 20, 2009.

The Science Story of the Century?

I've spent quite some time looking over the chatter about the Hadley Centre's data disclosure, and have a high-level overview of what seems likely so far. While I've downloaded the data, I haven't gone through it yet. I plan to over the weekend, but this is all background on what is a terrifically interesting science story.

What is the Hadley Centre and what happened to it?

The University of East Anglia (UK) hosts the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, one of the three most influential climate research organizations in the UK. The Hadley Centre is part of the UK Met (Meteorological) Office, the UK's national weather office. Hadley develops computer climate models and provides one of the most influential temperature data sets (CRUTEM3). Earlier this year, the Hadley Centre controversially refused a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request for the CRUTEM3 raw (uncorrected) data.

Phil Jones is the current director of the Hadley Centre.

Last night someone posted 61 MB of emails, computer program code, and climate data from Hadley servers to an FTP server on the Internet. While the data has been removed from the original FTP server, it has been replicated to a number of filesharing networks, including Bittorrent. Antivirus messages that the master ZIP archive contains the virus Win32.Agent.wsg are a false positive (some antivirus scanners look for how files are compressed as a sign of being malware, and are a rich source of false alarms; that's the case here).

Hadley has confirmed the data breach.

Did they get hacked?

Nobody knows. Based on many years in Internet security, I am skeptical that this was the work of outsiders. This is speculation, but the following seems significant:

1. Email was exposed as a series of 1073 discrete files. If an external attacker were after email, he would target the email server, which keeps emails in a very small number of files. You'd have a big blob containing many emails, rather than many small blobs containing a few (or only a single) email.

2. The information looks very damaging to Dr. Jones and proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming (more on this in a bit). An external attacker will generally not know where the bodies are buried, so to speak. A disgruntled insider, on the other hand, will have much more knowledge of where the most significant data is to be found.

What is in the information that has been disclosed?

There are lots of emails, ranging from scientific discussions to catty name calling to what may constitute a conspiracy to avoid the FOIA. Here is a sample of the most interesting emails:

On potential data manipulation (of a very warm period that makes the AGW hypothesis less compelling):
(file 1257874826.txt)
Phil Jones writes:
“One final thing – don’t worry too much about the 1940-60 period, as I think we’ll be changing the SSTs there for 1945-60 and with more digitized data for 1940-45.”
And the sausage being made here:
At 06:25 28/09/2009, Tom Wigley wrote: Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip. I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from.
That 0.15 degree adjustment to the data was not just pulled out of the air; rather, it was carefully chosen to get the "right" results.

On not complying with FOIA requests:
From: Phil Jones
To: “Michael E. Mann”
Subject: IPCC & FOI
Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008


Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
have his new email address.
We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) xxxx xxxxxx
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) xxxx xxxxxx
University of East Anglia
Note: “Michael E. Mann” refers to Dr. Michael Mann, who popularized the Hockey Stick temperature graph.

Other information is also very interesting. There is a spreadsheet showing how much grant money Dr. Jones has received since 1990: £13.7M. An email shows that there was big money flowing around:
At 11:31 13/10/2008, Tim Osb*rn wrote:
>Hi CRU Board,
>I just had an interesting chat with Jack Newnham
>from the International Development Team at Price
>Waterhouse Cooper. They get lots of DfID
>(Douglas: DfID is the UK Government Department
>for International Development) funding.
>They’ve heard that DfID are likely to call for
>expressions of interest for a new centre
>focussing on international climate
>change. Their idea is to fund a centre that
>would be the first point of call for advice and
>for commissioning research related to climate
>change and development or to climate change in countries where DfID operate.
>He was talking about £15 million per year for 5
>years! Not sure how much would be from DfID and
>how much raised from other donors (and hence
>uncertain), nor how much would be given up-front
>versus how much spent later on specific research
>projects organised via this centre.
>Nevertheless, sounds big enough to be worth getting involved in.
That's £75M in one shot right there. Adding in Dr. Jone's funding, and you have about £100M identified in just these two files.

Lastly, source code and what appears to be raw data sets appear to be in the released data.

What is the likely short-term impact of the disclosure?

The most significant impact is probably in the public debate. While the public has a very low appetite for esoteric scientific arguments, personal conflict is a very different matter. Given that more than a little of this looks dodgy (just why are they trying to get around FOIA requests), and since this is the first whiff of just how much money is floating around the Climate Research community, and you have the making of a story that the general public might be able to sink its teeth into.

Given that the general public doesn't believe the Anthropogenic Global Warming hype anyway, this seems like the most significant short term impact - the narrative becomes not "dodgy science", but rather "dodgy scientists".

We'll have to wait and see how the press plays this. The interest is ramping up all over. Follow the money, indeed.

What is the likely long-term impact of the disclosure?

Just what's in the source code and data? It will take a week or a month for skeptical scientists to start really examining these, but we'll soon start seeing every mistake, every computer programming error, every hard to justify model assumption publicized. We'll also see any data errors or inconsistencies, as well as divergence between the models as run my the skeptics and model results as published in the peer-reviewed literature.

In other words, scientists will do what scientists normally do, and try to recreate published results.

Again, this is not based on my own examination of the data. I'll post on the data tomorrow.

UPDATE 23 November 2009 10:22:  JayG linked, from a very interesting post about how the MSM is playing this. Cliff's Notes version (cue Mark Twain): If you don't read the newspaper you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.

UPDATE 23 November 2009 23:16: Paul The Pirate linked, with the logical question:
To me, this has little to do with science, and everything to do with the horrific results of politicization of virtually anything. Science, medicine, ethics, whatever. The same people who gave us eugenics, social Darwinism and the other bastard children of science are at work again. Last time, it was 'only' minorities and the handicapped who suffered when smart people used fake science to fool the not-so-smart. Who's going to be on the shit end of the stick here? 
Sadly, we know the answer.

I hope all those container ships have paper charts

Quite some time ago I posted about how GPS was hacked.  That was a proof of concept but it looks like this has been weaponized by persons (nation state actors?) unknown:
When it came time for the Manukai to head for its own berth, the bridge began echoing to multiple alarms. Both of the ship’s GPS units—it carried two for redundancy—had lost their signals, and its AIS transponder had failed. Even a last-ditch emergency distress system that also relied on GPS could not get a fix.
Now, new research and previously unseen data show that the Manukai, and thousands of other vessels in Shanghai over the last year, are falling victim to a mysterious new weapon that is able to spoof GPS systems in a way never seen before.
It seems that lots of ships are effected, at least those in Shanghai.  And it's a sophisticated attack"
Although the American ship’s GPS signals initially seemed to have just been jammed, both it and its neighbor had also been spoofed—their true position and speed replaced by false coordinates broadcast from the ground. This is serious, as 50% of all casualties at sea are linked to navigational mistakes that cause collisions or groundings.
Click through for the whole article which includes a spectacular video of pedestrians scattering as a ship rams the riverbank promenade.

There's a lot of speculation about who is behind this and why.  Interestingly, one of the suspects is black market sand dealers.  Sand is a critical component of concrete and is in surprisingly short supply.

All I can say is that if this plays out as stated in the article, there are huge implications all over.  Ship navigation may be the least of the problems.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ClimateGate: looking back after ten years

Ten years ago today a massive data dump appeared on the Internet.  Containing computer source code, climate data, and most damningly hundreds of emails from top climate scientists, this triggered a scandal known as ClimateGate.  My three initial impressions back then have held up decently well.

A quick introduction to the email below is in this short but very accessible video by Dr. Richard Mueller who leads the Berkeley climate temperature database.  FYI, Dr. Mueller believes in man-made warming from carbon dioxide but this does not prevent him from being extremely critical of the  scientists involved in ClimateGate.

The decline that was hidden is shown at about 2:30. 

Originally posted November 20, 2009.

"you get to see ... how they struggled between telling the truth and making policy makers happy"

Long time readers will remember how the UK's Hadley Centre has refused to release their climate data, even under a Freedom of Information Act request. Well, there's a saying on the Internet, that "information wants to be free."

The Hadley Centre has been hacked by persons unknown, who posted thousands of data files to an Anonymous FTP server in Russia. Since this happened last night, the files have been uploaded to at least three file sharing systems, including Bittorrent.

This is very likely to be explosive, because in the thousands of files are email archives, including emails between the most prominent proponents of Global Warming. What I find most interesting is that people initially seem to be focusing not on the data, but on the emails. And they look like they're already finding things:
Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow. I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.

Thanks for the comments, Ray.
Emphasis added by the blogger at the link.

I plan on digging into this today, as I have some time on my hands. Initial thoughts:

1. Climate Science has become so politicized and contentious that there are a lot of people who very strongly dislike the chief proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming. There will be many eyeballs on the email archives over the next several days.

2. Anything that comes out over the next few days will be contents from emails. This is likely what the press will pick up on, since it will be a story they understand (the title of the post comes from the Examiner article, and deals with the politics of the science). It will be interesting indeed to see how the press plays this out.

3. The most interesting bits will take longer. Remember, Hadley didn't want to release their data. The implication is that they knew that something wasn't kosher with it, and that implies they were knowingly publishing misleading results (otherwise, why not release the data?). Someone will examine that data, and announce their results.

Stay tuned. We may have the modern Piltdown Man here.

Tab clearing

Lots going on and so I don't have time to flesh these out much, but still worth your time:

German farmers block roads in Germany protesting environmental laws.

Everywhere it seems that the public is rebelling against the Greens, who seemingly cannot regulate their demands to the "moderately sane" level and appear determined to ruin everyone's lives.  Protests in Chile and in the UK and The Netherlands are really an inversion of 1970s and 1980s radicalism - now it's the "revolutionaries" that have triggered mass, spontaneous protests.  File this under "Environmentalists are stupid and everyone hates them now."

Hilarious retro computer goofs.

A simple typing mistake led to an IBM S/370 mainframe getting wiped out, and IBM coding a check to prevent this from happening again.  That story reminded me of how Back In The Day we took our security scanner to a Big Government Agency to test it.  The scanner excelled at guessing usernames and passwords (this was back in the day before the operating system stopped you from trying eleventy million passwords).  There was a big row of Unix servers in the data center; some Einstein had wanted to be able to remotely shut them down without having to walk all the way to the room and so had set up accounts with a username of "SHUTDOWN" a password of "SHUTDOWN" and which executed the login shell /sbin/shutdown.  As the consoles all started flashing the message "THE SYSTEM IS GOING DOWN IMMEDIATELY", one after another, the wide-eyed Admin said something along the lines of "Make it stop! Make it stop!"  Good times, good times.

It's been ten years since ClimateGate and climate science is worse now than it was then:
Scientists on the ‘warm’ side of the spectrum think that IPCC is old hat and too conservative/cautious (see esp Naomi Oreskes’ new book); in short, insufficiently alarming.  The ‘alarmed’ scientists are focused on attributing extreme weather to AGW (heeding Steve Schneider’s ‘wisdom’), and also in generating implausible scenarios of huge amounts of sea level rise. As a result, consensus of the 97% is less frequently invoked.
Such alarmism by the climate scientists has spawned doomsterism, to the dismay of these same climate scientists – things are so bad that we are all doomed, so why should we bother.
This is kind of depressing and is really a eulogy for Science in today's society.

Today is the 154th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  I covered that here.  Propaganda isn't just a recent phenomenon.  It was par for the course with "Honest Abe", which is why he is undoubtably the worst President in this Republic's history.  Of course, the history of that war as it's taught today is retarded.

And after all this (mostly) bad news, here's a palate sweetener courtesy of Gorges:

Monday, November 18, 2019

Now that's a boating accident!


And +1 to Flugelman's comment.

A Public Service Announcement for the upcoming holidays

Just to be on the safe side, drink Maker's Mark or Four Roses.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Ten years of "Climate Apocalypse Fatigue"

Ten years ago people were already rejecting the "ZOMG We're all going to die" global warming message.  It's interesting to look back and see that precisely nothing has changed in a decade.

Originally posted November 17, 2009.

Climate Apocalypse Fatigue

Interesting article at Yale Environment 360:
Rather than galvanizing public demand for difficult and far-reaching action, apocalyptic visions of global warming disaster have led many Americans to question the science. Having been told that climate science demands that we fundamentally change our way of life, many Americans have, not surprisingly, concluded that the problem is not with their lifestyles but with what they’ve been told about the science. And in this they are not entirely wrong, insofar as some prominent climate advocates, in their zeal to promote action, have made representations about the state of climate science that go well beyond any established scientific consensus on the subject, hyping the most dire scenarios and most extreme recent studies, which are often at odds with the consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
And it's interesting what they have to say about the relative lack of effect the recession (and corresponding high rate of unemployment) seems to be having:
But notably, both the Pew and Gallup data show that the trend of rising skepticism about climate science and declining concern about global warming significantly predate the financial crisis. Pew found that from July 2006 to April 2008, prior to the recession, belief that global warming was occurring declined from 79 percent to 71 percent and belief that global warming was a very or somewhat serious problem declined from 79 percent to 73 percent. Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who believed that news of global warming was exaggerated rose from 30 percent in March of 2006 to 35 percent in March of 2008. So while these trends have accelerated over the last 18 months, they were clearly present in prior years.
Not enormously surprising, but interesting.

Franz von Suppé : Light Cavalry Overture

Yesterday I posted about the twilight of the cavalry at the beginning of World War I.  As it turns out there is a very famous classical piece that goes with this.  Franz von Suppé was an Austrian composer from the high romantic era.  He made his living writing operas and operettas for the Vienna upper classes.  While he wrote over 100 pieces, this is without doubt his most famous composition; you very well may recognize it.

It is said that the theme music for Dudley Do-Right from the old Bullwinkle cartoon.  I'll let you be the judge.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Twilight of the heavy cavalry

OldAFSarge posts some great old paintings of Napoleonic cavalry, on the occasion of the discovery of the grave of French General Etienne near Smolensk.  Etienne was one of Napoleon's favorite generals and his name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

But the paintings are what struck me, particularly the ones of the cuirassiers - heavy cavalry.  They had bronze helmets and breastplates and crests on the helmets.  It was quite a show as they rode past. In fact, we know this from primary sources because the French army went to war in 1914 with units of cuirassiers and we have photographs of the spectacle:

Image courtesy of Le Wik

1914, a full century after Napoleon - but they look like nothing has changed.  Machine guns, barbed wire, and trenches awaited but nothing quite captures just how clueless the General Staffs were of that fact.

The Shires - Nashville Grey Skies

Nashville attracts dreams from all over; in this case, from Hertfordshire in England.  Alas, the country music of our day is pop infused, but this one is pretty good despite that, an upbeat, catchy tune that sings about hope and dreams.  It's about their hope of building a country music scene in England's Green and Pleasant Land.  That may be a bit of a tall order, but what's country music without big dreams?

But perhaps there's hope for them - this was on their debut album in 2014 which was the first UK country album to peak in the top 10 on the UK Albums Chart.  Quite frankly, it's pretty easy to like - both the music and the attitude.  And they're currently touring with Carrie Underwood which can't hurt their career.

Dream big.

Nashville Grey Skies (Songwriter: )
Well, they'll say it's way too cold for cut-off jeans
And they won't be drinking moonshine but G&Ts
They'll be, country boys at heart
Dancing with sweet, country girls all night

We can build our own Nashville
Underneath these grey skies
And people will come, they'll come from far and wide
They'll leave their village greens and their big cities behind
We can build our own Nashville
It's about time

Won't get that Southern sun, we'll be dancing in the rain
Every single night, we'll do it again and again
All those, country girls at heart
Kissing those, country boys in the dark

We can build our own Nashville
Underneath these grey skies
And people will come, they'll come from far and wide
They'll leave their village greens and their big cities behind
We can build our own Nashville
It's about time
It's about time
It's about time

We can build our own Nashville
Underneath these grey skies
People will come from far and wide
They'll be dancing in the rain
People will come, they'll come from far and wide
(Far and wide, far and wide)
They'll leave their village greens and their big cities behind
We can build our own Nashville
It's about time
It's about time

Friday, November 15, 2019

The GOP does not represent traditional conservatives

There is a very interesting post over at Peter's discussing political polarization.  A comment left by McChuck jumped out at me:
The "Never Trumpers" are part of the Left, not the Right. They are infiltrators and Wormtongues. They are the approved opposition, the Washington Generals. They have finally being so obvious about their true loyalties that anyone with eyes to see and ears to listen can tell.

"You may think these thoughts, but not those. You may go this far, but no further. Now, the conservative case for eating the flesh of the innocent."
To take a leaf from Polifact, I would rate this "mostly true" - everything after the first sentence is spot on.  And the first sentence is also sort of right, but our "left" vs. "right" thinking is two dimensional, and so has hidden the really nefarious games that the GOP has been playing for decades.  If we expand our thinking just a little, a lot falls squarely into place.

Picture our classic "left" and "right" as a horizontal line but instead of the old labels let's use "Perfectability of Mankind" and "Traditionalist" as the labels.  Much of this captures the social issues that are so divisive in the political conversation today.  The GOP can correctly claim that it exists on the Traditionalist side of that spectrum.

But now let's add a vertical axis, representing the desired size of government (smaller or bigger).  We get something that looks like this:

Conservatives in the way we're used to think about them are in the lower left - traditionalists who believe in smaller government.  Communists (and actually fascists as well) believe in the perfectability of mankind and are quite eager to use a vastly expanded government to bring this about; they inhabit the upper right.  The political establishments are (mostly) about not rocking the boat too much but have a galaxy of hangers-on, all feeding at the public trough; they are in the upper left.  It's important to emphasize that these types really don't want to upset the apple cart by radical changes.  Lastly, there is almost nobody in the lower right: people who want to perfect humankind but don't really want any part of government.  About the only example I can think of is the Branch Davidians who got burned to death by the ATF in Waco.

Now let's populate the current political Who's Who into this quadrant:

Yeah, nobody I can think of is in the lower right.  The upper right is who you'd expect - Big Chief Sitting Bulls**t, Bernie, and AOC.  Obama may or may not be here (more on this later).  But the interesting bit - and the bit that gets to McChuck's comment ("The Never Trumpers are part of the left") is in the upper left quadrant.  Let me explain.

That quadrant is perhaps best labeled as "Grifters".  All of those mentioned are in it for the filthy lucre.  Not one of the republicans listed (all of whom I should point out have impeccable Establishment credentials) lifted a finger to reduce the size of government, and indeed were enthusiastic in their use of big government to oppress their opponents - all of whom were in the lower left quadrant.  Where were all the GOP complaints about the IRS targeting the Tea Party?  Who in the GOP Establishment stood up against the smearing of Sarah Palin?  Who was complaining about ballooning Federal Regulations*?  Where were National Review and The Weekly Standard in all this?  [crickets]

The Establishment is about using ever increasing government to feed their swelling army of clients.  The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is actually pretty small - look at the massive expansion of spending under George W. Bush.  The Deep State lives right there, in the upper left, and all the people listed are 100% Deep Staters.

Now what else is interesting is that the core bases of each party are much more motivated by social issues which the parties play up to distract everyone from, well, the graft.  As long as the rubes keep chasing the laser dot then the Powers That Be can relax and go back to the money machine.  Both parties play this game, with Obama perhaps the most successful Democrat to do so (which is why even though I show him in the upper right he is probably in the upper left/Establishment quadrant).  With him it was a lot of pretty murmurings of transformation to the base while in many ways governing as the 3rd and 4th George W Bush administrations.

In short, the Democratic Party lies to their base and the GOP lies to their base.  They have been for decades.

But Donald Trump breaks this cozy arrangement.  I would tentatively put him in the lower left quadrant.  Yes, the Federal Budget is still out of control, but Congress is firmly in the "Establishment/Grifter" camp and Congress passes the budget.  This isn't something that he can do much about (yet - we'll see if it gets on his radar or not).  But he has been enormously successful in slashing regulations in a very short time, and people vastly underestimate just how important this is.  If he doesn't do anything other than this for the rest of his two terms, this will be a major sea change for America.

And so to McChuck's comment - the Never Trumpers are violently opposed to Trump, but they're all in the upper left.  That's more evidence that Trump is seen as being in the lower left, or he wouldn't get that sort of visceral reaction from them.  Livelihoods are at stake, if Trump can dry up the gravy train - and the best way to understand government regulation is as a gravy train for the connected class.  All of the complaining about Trump's tweets and how he is mean is transparent drivel.  When they say it's all about the principle, it's really all about the money.

* I would like to point out that it was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, and George H. W. Bush who established the wetlands protection regulations.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

How's that Global Warming working out for ya?

Every year is the Hottest Year Ever®, at least it seems this way because the press reports it that way.  I've posted often about how this is only because the temperature record is changed, increasing recent temperatures - thus, the string of Hottest Year Ever®

But the record temperatures - both high and low - are not adjusted.  We haven't seen a record high temperature set in any of the fifty States in over 20 years despite the run of reported Hottest Year Ever®.  Well, we're told, what's happening is that the Greenhouse Effect raises the temperature in the winter (and at night), so average temperature is increasing.  But remember, the night and winter temperatures are also adjusted.  So what's going on with the record winter temperatures?

Boy, howdy:
Record lows were reported this morning from Birmingham, Alabama, to Burlington, Vermont, from New York City to Detroit, from Wichita to St. Louis, From Atlanta to Ohio. Birmingham’s low of 18F shattered the previous record of 22F set in 1911.
New York City and Buffalo, New York, as well as parts of Ohio set new cold records. In Kansas alone, at least six cities, including Wichita, set cold records for the date on Tuesday.
In Missouri, St. Louis dropped to 11F, breaking a record for the date that had stood for more than 100 years.
Meanwhile, the entire state of Alabama was under a freeze warning as temperatures dipped into the 20s and below, breaking records at more than 100 locations.
Record-challenging low temperatures were everywhere. Single-digit temperatures descended on much of the Midwest, where Detroit sank to 7F, shattering the old record of 12F for the day.
And remember all the record cold temperatures last winter?  This isn't a "weather not climate" incident, unless the climate serves up record freezing each year as "normal weather" - which you could just as well call "climate".

Record temperatures aren't adjusted, remember?  After a century of ZOMG Warming, should it even be possible for this many cold records to be set?  Or maybe the adjustments aren't being done right.  Maybe changing data after it is recorded is an opportunity for all sorts of mischief, or incompetence.

Oh, and a note: these aren't daily records.  They're records for the month of November:
Record-low temperatures from Texas to Maine. Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan set records not only for the day, but for the entire month of November, according to forecasters.
At least eight deaths have been blamed on a record-breaking cold spellthat still had its grip on much of the country Wednesday morning.
The National Weather Service said the cold front brought a level of intensity not seen since 1911, more than 100 years ago.
And this is a reminder that in record heat people are uncomfortable; in record cold they die.

Anarcho-tyrrany in action

Denver business fined for not cleaning up human poop left by the vagrants that the city allows to flourish unhindered.

And this bit is a short way of describing Rich People's Leftism:
The Progressive defense of the Deep State has proven beyond a doubt that the purpose of government, at all levels, is to create sinecures for people too incompetent to succeed in the private sector.
College kids are coming out of school (college and public) less educated than ever before, school tuition or per student cost is at an all time high, and our schools have more non-teaching administrators making more money than ever.  This is not a coincidence, this is the system.
Rich People's Leftism is one of the clearest explanations I've ever seen for the utter failure of government in Blue States:
With this new approach in mind, let me contrast Rich People’s Leftism (RPL) with Poor People’s Leftism (PPL).

RPL thinks that its goal is to help poor people, while PPL thinks that RPL’s primary goal is to ensure that wealthy leftists dominate and get great jobs.

RPL favors equality and so rejects upward mobility. PPL favors upward mobility via capitalism, since it sees that “egalitarian” schemes never work and are really disguised hierarchies with wealthy leftists at the top.

RPL respects wealthy liberals for wanting to help the poor. PPL observes that these wealthy liberals ensure that they are well paid for what they do and prefers to support wealthy conservatives, who at least are honest about where they are coming from.

RPL thinks capitalism is horrible, while socialism or even communism is best. PPL thinks that capitalism is fine or at worst a necessary evil, while socialism and communism, since the best jobs in such systems usually go to the wealthy, are nothing but systems that allow wealthy leftists to assuage their feelings of guilt about being wealthy while not actually doing anything for the poor.
There's ever so much more over there, and it all hits center mass.  The only thing to add is that nobody embodies the entirety of Rich People's Leftism than Elizabeth Warren.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A picture says a thousand words

Quote of the Day, Political Mockery edition

Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford declared a month or two ago that he was running against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.  The nation yawned.  Yesterday he dropped out, once again to thunderous yawns.

Don Surber gets QOTD on the whole l'affair Sanford:
Don't cry for Mark, Argentina.

Major 4th Amendment privacy win

Court rules that Customs cannot search phones and laptops at the border without probable cause:
The seizure and search of phones and laptops at the US border is unconstitutional, a judge said Tuesday in a landmark ruling. 
Massachusetts district court judge Denise Casper declared [PDF] that the practice breaks the Fourth Amendment on unreasonable search, and that border agents need to have a “reasonable suspicion” of illegal activity before they can search electronic devices. 
“The CBP [Customs and Border Protection] and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] policies for ‘basic’ and ‘advanced’ searches, as presently defined, violate the Fourth Amendment to the extent that the policies do not require reasonable suspicion that the devices contain contraband for both such classes of non-cursory searches and/or seizure of electronic devices,” Casper declared.
It seems that the Government's primary argument was that they were searching for Child porn.  Ooooooh kaaaaaay.

It looks like the Government is going to appeal (thanks for working hand in hand with the Deep State, Trump!), but the SCOTUS has recently ruled on something very similar:
Most integral to her argument is another landmark decision (Riley) by the Supreme Court where it found, unanimously, that the warrantless search and seizure of digital contents of a mobile phone during an arrest is unconstitutional.
But our Public Servants are going to rope-a-dope this in Court as long as they can.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

This seems like big environment news

New process frees hydrogen from oil sands; price of hydrogen could fall by 75%:
Scientists have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen (H2) from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. This can be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are already marketed in some countries, as well as to generate electricity; hydrogen is regarded as an efficient transport fuel, similar to petrol and diesel, but with no pollution problems. The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela. Interestingly, this process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil.
Hydrogen powered vehicles, including cars, buses, and trains, have been in development for many years. These vehicles have been acknowledged to be efficient, but the high price of extracting the Hydrogen from oil reserves has meant that the technology has not been economically viable. Now a group of Canadian engineers have developed a cheap method of extracting H2 from oil sands.
If it actually is that inexpensive then it would cost less than gasoline for equivalent energy output.

Prediction: since the whole "Climate Change" nonsense is politically (rather than scientifically) motivated, the Usual Suspects® will start coming up with reasons that this is bad for the environment.  My guess is that they will say that burning hydrogen produces water vapor (true) which is the most prevalent greenhouse gas, responsible for ~ 80% of the greenhouse warming (also true).  So they will claim that water is a pollutant, just like they claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.  I mean, the economy isn't going to change itself into a Grand Socialist Experiment, so they need something to complain about.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Armistice from 500 feet over No Man's Land

Eddie Rickenbacker looks back on eleven o'clock.  You forget that the planes flew as slow as cars go today, and he had time to observe things as he flew slowly by.

Troop Greeters

This Veteran's Day, I'd like to point out some folks from the Home Front that made a difference.  The country is full of people who thank veterans; this is the story of two groups who went above and beyond the call of duty.

The North Platte Canteen

Troop trains would stop in North Platte, Nebraska.  The engineers would lubricate the wheels and top off the water in ten minute stops.  The women of North Platte would bring food - at first cookies and later in the war full meals and even birthday cakes - to the trains.

Every single train for the entire war.

Six million troops stopped in North Platte, and every single one was fed.  The government donated exactly $5 of this, and it was a check sent by Franklin Roosevelt when he heard about the effort.  The people who organized this raised almost $140,000 (in 1940s dollars).  The food was gathered during a period of rationing.  The soldiers and sailors who went through North Platte never forgot that day.

The Bangor Troop Greeters

Bangor, Maine has the easternmost international airport in the United States.  Originally built as Dow Air Force Base, the runway once hosted B-52 bombers.  This makes it a great refueling stop for troop flights returning from overseas.

A group of people in Bangor heard that soldiers returning from Desert Storm were going to be stopping.  They showed up with coffee, cookies, and cell phones for the troops to call their loved ones.  A million and a half troops have stopped in Bangor, and they're met at all times of the day or night.  The US Government hasn't had to pay a dime - this is an all volunteer effort.

These people make me proud to be their countryman.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Screw Germany

The German Foreign Minister (!) says that the US had no impact on Germany reunification:
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for more solidarity among European nations in an article published in media outlets across 26 European countries on Saturday. He also thanked Europeans for their contribution to German reunification.
"German unity was a gift from Europe to Germany," Maas wrote in the editorial. "And that was at the end of a century in which Germany brought unimaginable suffering to this continent."
So  Europe did it for Germany, all on their lonesome.  Screw you, Fritz.  We should ditch NATO and set up a replacement alliance with countries that want to be, you know, allies.  And it's not just the Foreign Minister; Germany's damned President took a swing, too:
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged the United States to be a "mutually respectful partner" and reject nationalism, in a clear salvo aimed at US leader Donald Trump as Germany on Saturday marked 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Recalling the United States' key role in helping to bring down the hated Wall separating communist East Germany from the capitalist West, Steinmeier said he still hears the late American president Ronald Reagan's cry of "tear down this wall" at the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

But in a swipe at Trump's America First policy and his insistence on building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, Steinmeier voiced a yearning for a return of the transatlantic partner of the past.

"This America as a mutually respectful partner, as a partner for democracy and freedom, against national egoism - that is what I hope for in the future too," said Steinmeier.
Two words were not spoken by either of these gentlemen: Gail Halvorsen.

Germany's gotten so used to sitting at our Stammtisch that they've forgotten that's a privilege, not a right.  What the hell are we doing with troops in Europe?

Thirty years after the Berlin Wall

The Usual Suspects® are ignoring the anniversary, but that's to be expected.  After all, pas d'enemies a gauche, n'est-ce pas?  But the cold reality of that monster regime is ever green, with explicitly socialist presidential candidates and large numbers of this Republic's youth thinking that socialism - and even communism - is the bee's knees.

I wrote this ten years ago on the 20th anniversary of the fall, hard on the heels of the Newsweek Cover story "We're all socialists now".  The Useful Idiots® are still idiots today.  They're also useful, to some.

Originally posted November 10, 2019.

The Line

The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.
- Cicero

I used to be a leftist, proudly "progressive."  No more. I no longer have the stomach to sleep with evil, even evil in the name of the greater good. In all of the retrospectives about the fall of the Berlin Wall this score of years ago, something is missing. Recognition of tyranny is there (mostly). Recognition of how (mostly) the once unfree populations have embraced freedom is there, too (mostly).

What's missing is any description of the depth of evil that was our enemy. Col. Jeff Cooper saw it, and wrote of it in To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak The Truth:

Starting at its western edge, The Line is composed of several strata. First comes the actual linear boundary, surveyed and marked to the centimeter. There is no fence here. Free people can walk right up to it - but they do not step across it. Death looms. Some ten paces beyond the marked boundary, to the eastward, is the outside fence. It is a single barrier some ten feet high, electrified and sown with directional mines set to fire along its inside surface. Beyond the outside fence is a band of dead ground some 100 meters in width, cleared of life and planted at random with pressure-release anti-personnel fragmentation mines. When the snow melts in winter thaws these go off erratically in the sunshine - "Lenin's serenade."

At the inner edge of the dead ground are the dogs - German shepherds chained to an overhead trolley that allows them to run parallel to the inner fence but not back into it (electrocution) nor forward away from it (explosion). ...

At intervals watchtowers loom fifty feet into the air, manned and equipped with enhanced-vision devices, cameras, weapons, and release controls for packs of killer dogs which can be set free at command behind the inner fence. ...

Behind the inner fence lies a belt of Zombie-land five kilometers deep. No one moves here except those whose duties demand it. The fields produce. Roads and roofs are mended. There is an occasional dilapidated vehicle in motion. At first glance it seems a viable countryside. On closer inspection, however, it is death-in-life. There are perhaps two lighted windows where there should be scores. Such villages in which there are lights are inside electric fences. The sickening effect grows as the sun sets. ...

With exquisite cruelty the very existence of The Line is concealed from those it contains. The east border of the 5 km Zombie zone is marked - from the east - simply as the border. Good slaves do not cross it, not because it is fearful to behold, but because they are good slaves. Bad slaves sometimes do cross it, but because they do not know what they face they usually die.

My staff sergeant guide on this occasion told me of a case he witnessed. A young woman, apparently driven to desperation, dared to cross the eastern 5 km line and lead her small child west towards liberty. As she approached the inner fence, the orcs in the watchtower loosed the dogs.

"I stood there with a rifle in my hands, but I was not allowed to shoot." He said, "I hear those screams every day. The mother's were louder than the child's. They were long and very high. They drowned out the growling of the dogs.

"For a while."
The worker's paradise was not above selling its slaves to the west:
Between 1964 and 1989, 33,755 political prisoners were ransomed. A further 2,087 prisoners were released to the West under an amnesty in 1972. Another 215,000 people, including 2,000 children cut off from their parents, were allowed to leave East Germany to rejoin their families. In exchange, West Germany paid over 3.4 billion DM – nearly $2.3 billion at 1990 prices – in goods and hard currency.[117] Those ransomed were valued on a sliding scale, ranging from around 1,875 DM for a worker to around 11,250 DM for a doctor. The justification, according to East Germany, was that this was compensation for the money invested by the state in the prisoner's training. For a while, payments were made in kind using goods that were in short supply in East Germany, such as oranges, bananas, coffee and medical drugs. The average prisoner was worth around 4,000 DM worth of goods.[118] The scheme was highly controversial in the West. Freikauf was denounced by many as human trafficking but was defended by others as an "act of pure humanitarianism";[119] the West German government budgeted money for Freikauf under the euphemistic heading of "support of special aid measures of an all-German character.
I'm thankfully not the only one to notice this strange amnesia, and judge. And to find today's leftist intellectuals to be wanting:
The first person shot dead at the Berlin Wall was 24 year old Gunter Litfin, as he tried to swim across the Spree River on August 24, 1961. A year later, East German guards shot 17 year old Peter Fechter as he tried to scale the wall, and left him to bleed to death in that barren and desolate area of open land east of the Wall.
The last person known to be killed at the Wall was 20 year old bartender Chris Gueffroy, shot ten times for good measure on February 5, 1989. 
I find it obscene that [New Zealand] National Radio broadcasters Geoff Robinson and Lloyd Scott this morning recalled the Berlin Wall, its twenty-eight years of bloodshed and the 1200 slaughtered East Germans, with wistful nostalgia. They even appeared to excuse the East German secret police, the Stasi, as people just doing their jobs.
Not just judged to be morally void, but intellectually as well:
In 1922 Ludwig Von Mises explained that socialism would eat itself and the people whom it enslaved – that it couldn’t plan, it couldn’t produce, that it couldn’t calculate -- that it was and always would be both morally depraved and economically unsustainable. Sixty-seven years later he was proven emphatically correct when the illusion that was socialist Eastern Europe collapsed, and the symbol of its totalitarian state was torn down.
The barest minimum qualification for an intellectual is to examine and test your first premises. To reject them, if they do not model the world effectively. Philosophers all the way back to Plato would hold today's left in contempt, with their hope that some how, this time it will be different.

Here's a different way of saying the same thing:

Such a strange forgetfulness by the Moral Titans of the left: chattel slavery, Schießbefehl ("Order to fire" - shoot to kill), thousands of dead, the souls of millions crushed. For their own good, of course. The People must be protected from the people.

So strange that the left cannot take this moment to reflect on actual evil, and to condemn it without mistakes were made and for a noble cause excuses, without clinging to that most slippery word "but". They believe - and I generally concur - that they are good people, motivated to do good. But they flinch from examining the actual truth. They are behind their own mental Iron Curtain, trapped by an unexamined world view. Behind their own, intellectually-imposed Line. 

The east border of the 5 km Zombie zone is marked - from the east - simply as the border. Good slaves do not cross it, not because it is fearful to behold, but because they are good slaves.
Tear it down.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.