Friday, December 19, 2014

CUBA LIBRE

Michael Totten, a real journalist, went to Cuba this Spring and wrote about it here.

Good luck Cuba! Good luck American tourists!

I loved the usual NPR commentators who exulted about all the trade we could do with Cuba once we end the sanctions. I was hard put to figure out how Cuba was going to pay for anything we might ship there and what, if anything they had that they could afford to ship here. Frankly, I don't see any sort of robust trade in our future. It will be more along the lines of the anemic trade we currently have with Argentina, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Contrast his experience in Cuba with his recent experience in Vietnam.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

REVELATION

This picture hung on my father's various office walls years throughout his years in the Army and even after he retired from the Army. It is undoubtedly still lurking somewhere in his basement. I didn't realize what it was because it was forever unlabeled but I ran across this item today and learned why the picture was there for so long. He was the Battery Commander.
Dak To, South Vietnam. An infantry patrol moves up to assault the last Viet Cong position after an attempted overrun of the artillery position by the Viet Cong during OPERATION HAWTHORNE.

SONY POND SCUM, THE STORY

Sony has been gutted by the seizure and abuse of its personal and private data. The data was stripped off their networks without any alarms or flags popping up and then the organization that stole the data used it punish Sony executives and share holders. I find it amusing that the other motion picture studios are holding their breath waiting to see what slime floats to the surface when their private files are leaked. I'm OK with whatever comes next. You see, these guys deserve it.
The entertainment industry calls for:
spyware on your computer that detects and deletes infringing materials;
mandatory censorware on all Internet connections to interdict transfers of infringing material;
border searches of personal media players, laptops and thumb-drives;
international bullying to force other countries to implement the same policies;
and free copyright enforcement provided by Fed cops and agencies (including the Department of Homeland Security!).
Remember who started the cyberwar. It was SONY.
The Sony BMG CD copy protection rootkit scandal of 2005–2007 concerns deceptive, illegal, and potentially harmful copy protection measures implemented by Sony BMG on about 22 million CDs. When inserted into a computer, the CDs installed one of two pieces of software which provided a form of digital rights management (DRM) by modifying the operating system to interfere with CD copying. Both programs could not be easily uninstalled, and they created vulnerabilities that were exploited by unrelated malware. Sony claims this was unintentional. One of the programs installed even if the user refused its EULA, and it "phoned home" with reports on the user's private listening habits; the other was not mentioned in the EULA at all, contained code from several pieces of open-source software in an apparent infringement of copyright, and configured the operating system to hide the software's existence, leading to both programs being classified as rootkits.
Sony BMG initially denied that the rootkits were harmful. It then released, for one of the programs, an "uninstaller" that only un-hid the program, installed additional software which could not be easily removed, collected an email address from the user, and introduced further security vulnerabilities.
Following public outcry, government investigations, and class-action lawsuits in 2005 and 2006, Sony BMG partially addressed the scandal with consumer settlements, a recall of about 10% of the affected CDs, and the suspension of CD copy protection efforts in early 2007.
The details are graphic and well worth a quick read. Sony deliberately, with malice aforethought, attacked 22 million computers in America and loaded them up with spyware.

LEFT BEHIND

In our heart we always knew that we left men behind. It was the nature of the war and that enemy. It was just hard to read that we documented leaving our men behind in Chinese hands when we pulled out of Vietnam. The National Security Agency, Army, Navy and Air Force, and the upper echelons of State and the Department of Defense knew damned well that when they signed the Paris Peace Accords they were writing off soldiers, sailors and airmen who were held captive by the Chinese.

                                When our country called for me we came from forge and hill,
From workshop, farm and factory the broken ranks to fill,
We left our quiet happy home and those we loved so well,
To lanquish all our Union foes or fail where others fell.
But now in prison drear we lanquish and 'tis our constant cry,
Oh ye who yet can save us . . . will you leave us here to die?

Did the voice of slander tell ye that our hearts were weak with fear?
That all, or nearly all, of us were captured in the rear?
But the scars upon our bodies from the musket ball and shell,
The missing legs and shattered arms a truer tale will tell;
We have tried to do our duty in the sight of God on high,
And ye who can yet save us now leave us here to die.

There are hearts with hope still beating in our "Northern Homes"
Watching, waiting for the footsteps that will never come.
In "Southern prisons" pining, meager, tatters, pale and gaunt,
Growing weaker, weaker daily from pinching old and want --
Are husbands, sons and brothers who hopeless captives lie,
And ye who yet can save us -- Will you leave us here to die?

From out our prison gate there's a graveyard close at hand,
Where lay fourteen thousand Union men beneath a Southern sand,
And scores are laid beside them as day succeeds each day,
And thus it shall be until we all shall pass away;
And the last can say while dying with upturned glazing eye,
Both faith and love are dead at home and they've left us here to die.
---An Unknown Andersonville POW

Requiescant in pace.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A NOS FRERES D’ARMES AMERICAINS

This is a fascinating article and well worth reading. Don't worry, it's not very long.
(This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember it's ruin to run from a fight./ So take open order, lie down, sit tight/ And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.
This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder is surprises the hell out of our enemies.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SCREW THEM

A real true blue moron named Michael Tomasky proudly penned an article for The Daily Beast. You should read it. Seriously, read it. Tomasky pretty much spells out why I made the decision to drop my newspaper and news magazine subscriptions and stop watching television altogether.

That idiot doesn't have a clue how he sounds to anybody familiar with history. He is writing, with great disdain, about the entire Southern United States and the people who live there. It is clear that this elitist would have been happy to fight the Civil War from Broadway in New York City and then grab his carpet bag and trundle on down to the defeated States of the United States of America and screw them out of every cent, every peck of grain, and every piece of moveable  property in retaliation for their failure to let themselves be pushed around by a ruthless majority of Congress.

Stalin and the Red Army in Ukraine could not bear more animus to a conquered people than Tomasky and the Liberal Progressive People's Democratic Party. Look at what he writes:
But it’s not just a question of numbers. The main point is this: Trying to win Southern seats is not worth the ideological cost for Democrats. As Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen recently told my colleague Ben Jacobs, the Democratic Party cannot (and I’d say should not) try to calibrate its positions to placate Southern mores: “It’s come to pass, and really a lot of white Southerners vote on gays and guns and God, and we’re not going to ever be too good on gays and guns and God.”
I'm always impressed when the socialist lib/progs rear up on their hind legs and spout about how they must be allowed to constrain your freedom of speech, take away your inalienable right to keep and bear arms and forbid you the free exercise of religion because you got it all wrong. They don't say it with irony. They really do want to kill your God, take away your right to defend yourself and ram their morality down your throat. They can't even claim that God gives them the right since they mostly deny and abjure God.

I don't know what motivates other people to oppose the Liberal Progressive People's Democratic Party, but for me, the answer is simple. We cannot afford their policies. Right now the only way to pay off an intergenerational debt that will not be paid off in the lifetime of your great great great grand children, is to do what socialists ALWAYS do when they get in that fix and inflate the hell out of the money supply. I owe you $22 trillion of government debt, would you take 22, trillion dollar bills? I think the Fed owes more than $50 trillion of debt that they used to pump the economy over the last 7 years. I'm sure they could print off a handful of $10 trillion dollar bills and pay it off tomorrow.

Saddest of all, there are probably 320 million Americans who think that would work just fine and don't have any idea why we don't just go ahead and do it already.
At the time of its introduction in 1980, the Zimbabwean dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar in the official exchange market, with 1 ZWD = 1.47 USD
But today, as we learned in Sunday’s Times, state attorneys general, many in the South, are colluding with energy companies to fight federal regulation of energy plants.
When did it become against the law for States to work together to defeat bad legislation? Has this idiot Tomasky never heard of lobbyists? Senators? Congressmen?
It’s lost. It’s gone. A different country. And maybe someday it really should be. I’ll save that for another column. Until that day comes, the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying. If they get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway.
Nobody alive today has direct memory of what happened the last time the accord of the Union was broken by people who felt they had very little left to lose after being driven out of the concern of the political majority in Washington DC. It wasn't so much about slavery then and it won't be about electoral votes the next time. Kurt Schlichter speculates what a Red America and a separate Blue America would look like in short order.

Monday, December 15, 2014

TAKE EVERYTHING

Little story, barely news, about a couple in Florida who are angry. At this point, I'm sure they're enjoying themselves but maybe, in the end, they will prevail.

Do the Right Thing director Spike Lee tweeted a Florida couple's address to his 300,000 followers and claimed it was the Zimmerman of Trayvon fame's home address and then wrote:

“I don’t give a f— what you think kill that Bitch,” Lee wrote. “HERE GO HIS ADDRESS, LET THE HUNGER GAMES BEGIN.”. . .

I hope the couple whose address he tweeted and got wrong take everything Spike Lee has left.

ARTISANAL LAWYER

This made my day.
After crafting your paper and extracting your ink, I painstakingly draft your legal documents using the tools and techniques of an 18th-century barrister. A feather quill will write the motion to dismiss your traffic ticket on a beautiful vellum sheet in large, ornate letters that will appear familiar to you if you’ve looked at a reproduction on the “Conftitution.” S’s will look like f’s, the first word of each paragraph will be comically oversized in the historic manner, and all documents will be rolled up like a poster, just like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

REGARDING THE VIOLENCE

I found myself wondering today why all colleges and universities reward the truly violent students and expel those merely 'accused' of violence against women.* The protesters, the rioters, the campus vigilantes who show justice by throwing rocks through store windows, arson, or spraying graffiti never seem to feel the wrath of university administrators. But try taking a gun on campus, which is your actual civil right or try handing out copies of the Constitution [free speech] on campus, which is again, also your civil right, and the administration policy is to suspend or expel you without warning and without mercy.

Doesn't that seem odd to you? When did actual liberals rally around and support zero tolerance?

A Commenter at SF Gate On The Berkeley Riots Last Week
*Guilty until proven innocent is a rare approach to law in America but then we're not talking about law, we're talking about academic policy which bars the rule of law.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CIVIL WAR LETTER HOME CHATTANOOGA

My cousin wrote a letter home from Chattanooga on the eve of the battle to open a supply line to the Army of The Cumberland which was then besieged in Chattanooga.  General Grant kicked off the Cracker Line Operation on 26 October which led two days later to the Battle of Wauhatchie.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3e/Battle_of_Wauhatchie_map.jpg

Medical Purveyors Office      Chattanooga, Tennessee                      Oct 26th , 1863
                                    Dear Mother
                                                      I received your letter of the 8th ult, this morning and now as my days work is over I will take a few moments time to write to you. Lieutenant A. F Davis started home with a letter for you yesterday. I hope he may arrive safely and be able to commence his new labours with a new and willing heart for I wish him to gain reputation and become as good a civil officer as he has been a military officer. General Grant is doing something now that I think will cause the enemy to leave our front very soon. I cannot t ell you at the present what it is but if things end I can write more with safety and I will tell you.
Luther Sheets was down here this afternoon and I went with him to the 11th Ohio to see Jno  and I saw him but did not get to talk to long with him as he was fixing to go out with the  Regiment, where to I do not know but I think I can tell you in my next. I have to borrow a postage stamp to send this letter will you please send me some in your next. I hope I will not be an expense to you much longer in the Army but I do hope to be able to come home and do for myself and you.
Newton Conklin is the 1st Sergeant in the Battery again so I understood today. I wish all the soldiers well and hope he may do well.
Lieutenant Davis will explain the reason why I left the hospital and came here for I explained it to him and if you ask him he will tell you and it will save me the trouble of writing it.
I still like my new place here and I think I can keep it as long as I am in the Service which I understand is not to be very long.
I seen General Grant out walking with his crutch and cane this morning before I was hardly up. He is not a lazy General nor is he afraid to talk to the men. But still the men want General Rosecrans back again.
The 15th will not be in the coming fight but I think most of the Brigade it belongs to will as they have gone to the front this evening.
You must excuse my bad writing for I cm in a hurry and when I write fast I write poor but I can write very well when I  take my time to it.
Well good night. Expect more in the next.

                                             Luther
                  P.S. Write soon.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Interesting story from Russia via the BBC.
Russia's richest man has revealed that he bought US scientist James Watson's Nobel Prize gold medal, and intends to return it to him.
I'm afraid that the IRS is going to eat a big chunk of Watson's money from the sale in taxes when he receives his medal back which will come on top of the chunk they took out of the sale price from the auction.
The IRS knows how much it's worth. Maybe he should arrange to buy it for $1 instead.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

THE DAY THAT LIVES IN INFAMY

Many of them have no idea or actively hate that such men and women exist. One of them just drove by here at 0300 with spotlights on looking for stupid criminals in the neighborhood. Today is a day to think of the people who willingly drank Montrose toast. In the end, they put it all to the test.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Friday, December 5, 2014

VERY SMALL ON THE INSIDE

I stood on the rooftop of my apartment building in San Diego watching the fireworks over the bay on 4 July. All of us were up there. It was a while ago. OK, rather a long while ago while Desert Shield was unfolding. I accepted an offer to crew a boat sailing to Cabo San Lucas. It was a thousand miles under sail. We mostly sailed 200 miles offshore.

It was downwind. We moved at the speed of the wind. Kettenburg 40's are very slow down wind.


RULING BY DECREE

It is not what we wanted.


Who knew she had a facebook page?

396 DRAFTS

I don't write this for me or you. I am, none the less, stunned at seeing that I have 396 lurking posts that will never see the light of day.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ORANGE IS THE PINK

So if I just paint my gun muzzle orange, it will let me survive an encounter with the Cleveland police?

A sad story

This was a really sad story and yes, had I the power, I would take these two cops and drop them somewhere in Lake Superior. Rather far from shore.

Link updated. Thanks Buck.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NEARER TO GOD

I admired the men and women who flew missions in support of SOUTHERN WATCH. They got into aircraft everyday and flew over an impressively armed Iraq. They flew in planes that were maintained by men and women living far from home, frequently in conditions that boggle the mind of people who have never deployed on aircraft carriers or operated out of the Kingdom. It is a dangerous and lonely profession.

We lost a pilot today flying in support of the war we claim we are not fighting in Syria.

Two F-16s getting ready to take off in support of Southern Watch in 2000

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Why exactly do we send our children away from home to discover alcohol and drugs for the very first time in the company of strangers?
I would like to think that I am relatively free of these biases. I have no particular axe to grind with fraternities, although I do think they play a regrettable and occasionally dangerous role as alcohol distributors to the under-21 crowd, courtesy of the federal drinking age. And I don't believe sexual assault is as grave a problem at college campuses as many activists have made it out to be—if the 1-in-4 statistic were anywhere close to accurate, it would be a baffling outlier in a sea of falling rape rates.
It's not a stress test. It is not a test.


If you didn't read Arthur Ransome's stories when you were young, you missed out on a treasure on par with Burrough's stories about Barsoom. You kind of had to be the right age. It's way too late to go back and read them now.

GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST

Wired has an interesting article on ENIAC. It's worth a read. Ross Perot did what he did and most of us found it distasteful. On the other hand, preserving a bit of the first computer in this age of the world is a noteworthy accomplishment.

People might wonder, how could they not preserve the first computer in the modern era and yet they don't know. Oh God, they don't know. The 'owner' has to rent the space at about $8/square foot/year and so we only have 454 warehouses that still store CRT computer monitors. Something had to be shuffled out the door so we could keep all the millions of surplus CRT monitors, right? Out you go Ark.

I once found that I had 2 warehouses full of TALOS fire control system consoles. None of the senior staff cared that they were paying half a million dollars every year to store the fire control systems for a long defunct missile. They just kept paying the bill to store them and would do so forever.


The Talos abides dude.

Monday, December 1, 2014

CONUNDRUMS

I'm not sure how they do the scam. They have a membership program that entitles members to a 10% discount if they pay $ upfront and remember to bring their card in when they go to buy a book or product but at the same time, they fill my inbox with things like this, almost every day.


I don't get it. Why would you pay $25.00/year to get 10% off when the rest of us get invited to take up to 30% off?  I'm not sure they actually grasp 'membership rewards programs.'

ON POINT

Interesting read from Fred.
Ethnic mixing doesn’t work, gang. Not Moslems and Parisians, Irish Catholics and Protestants, Shias and Sunnis, Indonesians and Chinese, nor even New Yorkers and Alabamans. We think it should work, insist that it will, punish those who observe that it doesn’t. Yet still it doesn’t work. The greater the difference between groups, the less well it works. If we realized this, and let people do as they choose, the country would be much better off.
He left out one particular mixture.

When I go out in society I am surrounded by people who could be reliably described as democrats and liberals and progressives. I dare not open my mouth about my monarchist views or they will throw me to the kitchen floor and stab me to death.

That's no way to treat a sovereign.

FUTURE AMBASSADOR COMPROMISED

USA Today reports that Obama friend and fund raiser is accused of raping a child. Oddly, as far as I can tell, they are the only major organized news service in the United States to report this story. That's kind of odd. Not only was this man a huge fundraiser extraordinaire for Obama, he was founder of a NAMBLA type organization devoted to human rights.

You might know them. A lot of them have this sticker on their cars. They're proud and they won't allow others to tell them what sex is wrong or should be held illegal. They'll decide for themselves if the law means what it says and thank you very much Obama for giving us cover to decide for ourselves if the age of consent is 8 or maybe 10. After all, if neither the President nor the Attorney General obey the law, why should they?


When he was 'done', Roman Polanski put his shoes on and fled the country forever.  Wanna bet Obama pardons him the way Clinton pardoned Rich?

Obama is anti-civilization. It won't surprise me at all if he pardons 955,000 people on his last day as president and leaves office. Holder is already drawing up names for the massive file of losers who will receive presidential pardons. [It's a muslim tradition to pardon just about everybody at certain occasions and his departure from power follows one of the most glaring examples of this kind of behavior of ruling monarchs in the Arab world.]

You may have thought he overstepped with his amnesty for all illegals but wait until you see him pardon everybody in jail in America and all of those at Gitmo...... because he can.

WHAT STUNNING POWERS OF OBSERVATION

I see that the British Home Secretary has just discovered that there are up to 20,000 slaves living in the United Kingdom. This was recently announced by Home Secretary Theresa May who had earlier taken great pains to exclude honest American bloggers who had been invited to visit Britain to address this specific problem.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who had called for the bloggers to be banned from the UK, said: "I welcome the home secretary's ban on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering the country. This is the right decision. The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate."
Man, if that is what you are, if you can't find it worthwhile to condemn slavery in the most violent terms, what the hell do you condemn and what do you find hateful?

As I recall, the reasons given for their exclusion was that the government didn't need anybody coming over to rile up the natives about the murderers and slavers living among them unmolested by the police, courts or government officials who were all "down" with whatever the local muslim gangs wanted to do so long as there was no widespread "French" muslim violence. I suppose muslims hacking the head off a soldier outside his barracks might have breached the fragile peace they were willing to fantasize about.

They figured, "what's a few slaves?" There's millions of little girls so there's plenty to go around without carping about one or two thousand of them being led into a short life of slavery and abuse in just one little town in Great Britain.

To be honest, I'm not sure why they banned Martha Stewart or Michael Savage.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS AND OUR DEAR LEADER

As I watch the violence in Ferguson and the masses of fools who decided to block freeways from Cleveland to San Diego and who barge into carol ceremonies screaming hate at 7 year olds, I am struck by how very well organized it all is.

Byron York at the National Review Online looked into what Community Organizers such as Obama do.
Community organizing is most identified with the left-wing Chicago activist Saul Alinsky (1909-72), who pretty much defined the profession. In his classic book, Rules for Radicals, 
Alinsky wrote that a successful organizer should be “an abrasive agent to rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions.” Once such hostilities were “whipped up to a fighting pitch,” Alinsky continued, the organizer steered his group toward confrontation, in the form of picketing, demonstrating, and general hell-raising. At first, the organizer tackled small stuff, like demanding the repair of streetlights in a city park; later, when the group gained confidence, the organizer could take on bigger targets. 
But at all times, the organizer’s goal was not to lead his people anywhere, but to encourage them to take action on their own behalf.
Now that does sound like our Dear Leader doesn't it?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

THE IRONY RUNS DEEP IN THIS ONE

The New York Times stands by its decision to publish the address of police officer Wilson and says that the two reporters who included that little fact along with a copy of Wilson's marriage license in their valuable reporting on the riots and destruction in Ferguson, did nothing wrong.

The two reporters are whining about the fact that the internets retaliated by publishing their addresses on media all over the planet. Those poor vicious bastards are now calling the police for protection.

Can you see the policeman at the precinct picking up the phone and hearing that the reporter who outed one of them knowing that the consequences almost certainly mean the place gets firebombed, feels the need for 24/7 protection because somebody outed her address? I'd tell her I would despatch Officer Wilson the moment we can find him.