Author Archives: ultimaratioregis

September 1st, 1939

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Much rightful attention will be paid to the events of the First World War as we mark the centennial of the events of the “War to End All Wars”. 

Not to be lost in those observances of the Great War is tomorrow begins the marking of the 75th anniversaries of the events of the Second World War.  It was seventy-five years ago tomorrow, September 1st 1939, that the Wehrmacht of Hitler’s Third Reich crossed the Polish border and unleashed the savagery and bloodshed of that global conflagration. 

A great deal of what is in the news today can lead one to believe that the world is literally going to hell.  Perhaps it is, but the last century shows us that it has been there before.  Imagine in 1939 being a man or woman in your early 40s, who experienced the war of 1914-18, lost family and loved ones, perhaps your home and possessions, only to see war again come to your land and your people.  Again, for the second time in your short life, you may send a loved one (a son, or a husband) to war. Millions of men who fought in the Second World War had done so in the First.  Even without yet more personal participation as a soldier, the horrors of war were again manifest in the lives of hundreds of millions of souls, many of whom would perish before the uneasy peace ended the carnage. 

In 1914, the world was plunged accidentally into a bloodletting that spiraled out of control, by incompetent and irresponsible leaders in the nations of Europe.   In 1939, the world was again plunged into bloodletting, this time deliberately so by monsters who spewed their hatred and made no secret of their plans for conquest and subjugation.  Following a half a decade of weakness and appeasement from the Western democracies, whose desperation to avoid war only fueled the appetite of the dictator.

There are lessons aplenty from 1914, and many more from 1939.   Which are most applicable to 2014?  As the storm clouds gathered in the late 1930s, the words of Berthold Brecht must have echoed forlornly across the great cities of Europe.

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.

If one listens to the cries of “death to the Jews” in the Muslim protests all over Europe, and watches the death squads murder thousands in Iraq, those words should echo still. 

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The Vanishing Polar Ice Cap Has Grown 43% Since 2012 (and gotten thicker, too)

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The UK Daily Mail has the story.  Despite some logical tap-dancing by a number of “experts” in the article, the fact remains that the predictions of doom and gloom regarding the polar ice cap are complete hogwash.   And I cannot shake the feeling that, like so much else about the “environmental movement” dominated by anti-capitalists with a statist communist agenda, these “experts” knew it all along.  Which is why there has been massive fraud and dishonesty in the body of research regarding Global Cooling Global Warming Anthropogenic Climate Change.

Al Gore, inventor of the internet, once ominously forecast that by this summer (2014) it would be possible to have “ice-free” polar waters.   The predictions of the acceleration of global warming that would cause sea levels to rise (global cooling alarmists were predicting sea levels to fall back in the 70s) have proven entirely inaccurate.  Even given the widespread manipulation of scientific data, the warmest year on record was some sixteen years ago.  The twelve months between March 2013 and March 2014 were the coldest on record in North America.   The snow cover in the Himalayas was supposed to have melted, but we know that the snow cover is as deep as it has ever been.  Massive hurricanes, we are constantly told, will destroy coastal US cities because climate change will make them so much more powerful and intense.  Yet, we have had the longest drought for a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) striking US soil in a century.   It has been nearly NINE YEARS since Hurricane Wilma struck the US mainland in October of 2005.

Each and every prediction has been wrong.  All of them.  So why do they persist?  Why is it that the EPA is allowed dictatorial powers as a mere regulatory entity of our government?  Because “environmentalism” is yet another path that the far-left is employing to engorge the power of government, enrolling the ideologically rabid but wildly ill-informed and poorly reasoned (you listening, Sam Locklear?), to erode capitalism and make private business and private citizens in this country subject to the extra-legal authority of unfettered and ideologically-driven bureaucratic apparatus.  And that authority will be wielded by distinctly far-left zealots who despise capitalism and see mankind as a dangerous inconvenience to the perfect world they seek.  And, of course, there is money in it.  Lots and lots of money.  Taxpayer money.  For research.  For bureaucracy.  For enforcement, often at the end of a gun that the far-left purports to despise when it is in the hands of a private citizen.

Barack Obama partakes of the lies, and perpetuates them to the American people.  There are enough addle-headed and smug Prius drivers to nod grimly and resolutely when Obama talks of the next draconian measures that will stifle free enterprise and once again increase the scope of government power to have the complicit media tell us that such measures are not only necessary but popular.   New carbon rules, choking regulation of industry, emphatically demanded from the man who demands his dog be put on a separate airplane to join him on vacation.   After all, the environmental omelet requires the breaking of eggs.   Those eggs just happen to be the liberties of American citizens, which once again are so inconvenient to the Socialist-Communist Secular Paradise that Hope and Change will bring us.

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Tannenberg

PVH

One hundred years ago today, the greatest German victory of the First World War was won in the East, against vastly superior numbers of Russian forces, at the Battle of Tannenberg.

In mid-August 1914, the two large Russian armies in the East had made incursion on German soil, and threatened to subsume much of the German countryside.  In the weeks leading up to the massive action, the German 8th Army was roughly handled at Gumbinnen, and its commander, General Maximilian von Prittwitz, ordered a withdrawal behind the Vistula.  German Chief of General Staff von Moltke (the Younger) dismissed Prittwitz, replacing him with General Paul von Hindenburg, who had been called out of retirement (He had retired in 1911, and had first seen action almost a half century before, at Königgratz in 1866.).  Barbara Tuchman’s description of the elderly Hindenburg waiting at a siding in a Prussian railroad station in his sky-blue Prussian General’s uniform is a striking one.  Hindenburg’s Chief of Staff was to be General Erich Ludendorff.  Hindenburg was most fortunate to retain Prittwitz’s Chief of Operations, the brilliant Colonel Max Hoffman, who would be the true architect of the great victory at Tannenberg, though contemporary opinion gave nearly all the credit to Hindenburg and Ludendorff.

The battle, which began on 26 August, featured some of the first instances of what is now called signals intelligence.  The Russians, inexplicably, transmitted orders and messages over wireless communications sets entirely in the clear, giving Hindenburg and Ludendorff the Russian plans and intentions from the two Russian commanders, Samsonov and Rennenkampf (whose full name, Paul von Rennenkampf, seems far more suited for German than Russian high command), and from the Russian Army Chief of Staff Zhilinski.

Hoffman’s plan reversed the withdrawal over the Vistula for the German 8th Army, and instead set a series of traps for the widely-separated and badly coordinated Russian armies.  On the narrow end of a 1:3.5 force ratio (The Russians with almost 800,000 combined between Samsonov and Rennenkampf, and the Germans with about 210,000), Hindenburg gambled with an economy of force action that a thinly held line could halt the Russians long enough for the trap to be sprung on Samsonov.  Rennenkampf, who personally despised Samsonov (the feeling was mutual), did little to come to his aid.  Near Konigsberg, Samsonov’s army was surrounded, and between 29 and 30 August was annihilated.  The numbers staggered the imagination.

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Samsonov’s 150,000 engaged troops lost nearly 30,000 killed and 90,000 captured. More than 500 guns and mountains of supplies and ammunition were captured by the Germans or abandoned by the fleeing Russians. It is estimated that the ordnance and equipment required sixty trains to be transported to Germany. Samsonov, for his part, famously killed himself as he and his staff wandered in the German woods. Rennenkampf withdrew from the battle largely intact, but would be ejected for good from German soil at the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes in the second week of September.   Russian forces would not set foot on German soil again until January of 1945.

Hindenburg, with a strong grasp of history, insisted that this decisive battle of encirclement be named for one of the villages which had been the scene of a Teutonic defeat five centuries earlier.  His written summary of the great battle included the following:

On August 24 I motored with my small Staff to the Headquarters of the 10th Corps, and thus entered the village which was to give its name to the battle so soon to blaze up.

Tannenberg!  A word pregnant with painful recollections for German chivalry, a Slav cry of triumph, a name that is fresh in our memories after more than five hundred years of history.

Before this day I had never seen the battlefield which proved so fateful to German culture in the East.  A simple monument there bore silent witness to the deeds and deaths of heroes.  On one of the following days we stood near this monument while Samsonof’s Russian Army was going to its doom of sheer annihilation.

The Battle of Tannenberg featured another interesting situation, which is an object lesson in the high quality of German military leadership.  Ludendorff had ordered I Corps commander General von Francois to attack Sazonov’s flank on 25 August.  Francois, desperately short of artillery ammunition, abjectly refused.  He informed Ludendorff that he would not attack without sufficient artillery support, and was due an ammunition delivery on 27 August, and that the tactical situation allowed him to afford the wait.  Interestingly, intercepts of Russian messages showed Francois to be correct, and he was neither relieved nor punished.  He was instead allowed to begin his attack on the date he stated, when the supply of artillery ammunition would be adequate.

On 31 August, Hindenburg was able to dispatch the following message to the Kaiser:

I beg most humbly to report to Your Majesty that the ring round the larger part of the Russian Army was closed yesterday.  The 13th. 15th and 18th Army Corps have been destroyed.  We have already taken more than 60,000 prisoners, among them the Corps Commanders of the 13th and 15th Corps.

The guns are still in the forests and are now being brought in.  The booty is immense though it cannot yet be assessed in detail.  The Corps outside our ring, the 1st and 6th, have also suffered severely and are now retreating in hot haste through Mlawa and Myszaniec.

The Russian threat in the East, so ominous in those August days, was shattered.  It would be eliminated for good at Masurian Lakes in September.  Hindenburg, for his part, was largely complimentary of the Russian soldier, of his toughness and bravery.  His descriptions of the magnanimity of the German soldier toward the Russian prisoners, while accurate in 1914, stands in stark contrast to the events of the next war.

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Farewell, Saratoga

Saratoga Departure

This morning at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, the hulk of ex-USS Saratoga (CV-60) was towed from her berth at Pier One, to begin the sad final trip to the shipbreaker.   I have written of her before, as even in her dotage she was an inspiring and somewhat beautiful sight at the Naval Station.  As one woman watching the proceedings said, “she has become a part of the landscape, and I will miss seeing her”.  

Just after 0730 this morning, tugs took their places in order to back the 1,065-foot long supercarrier from her home of nearly twenty years.  Once clear of the pier, Saratoga was turned about, so that her bow was facing the shipping channel.  From there, the salvage crew aboard her passed a tow line to the ocean-going tug to tow her out of the harbor and into Narragansett Bay, and from there to the open ocean.   More than a hundred people stood and watched, and many more than that peered from windows all over the base and the surrounding community.  Many a graying man (and at least one woman) wiped away tears as the old girl was eased about, and began to slide silently under the Pell Bridge, to her date with the cutting torch.  Below are the images I was able to capture showing Saratoga beginning her melancholy final journey.  Fittingly, just as she began to move under tow, the overcast parted, and the beautiful old ship was bathed in one last spectacular glisten of sunshine.  

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Watching this once-powerful warship be towed away, one cannot but recall Melville’s lament of the glories of another ship whose storied history could not save her once her age had passed:

A pigmy steam-tug tows you, 

Gigantic to the shore, 

Dismantled of your guns and spars, 

And sweeping wings of war.

Farewell, Saratoga.

 

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Maybe She Should Just Burn Them…

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Seems the intolerant intellectual fascism of the American Far-Left remains in full flower.  Erica Payne, the vulgar uber-“liberal” progressive strumpet whose Agenda Project is yet another conduit for mega-wealthy leftists to disparage anyone who deigns to disagree with them, has decided that the way to combat Paul Ryan’s legal free expression is through vandalism.

Erica Payne, founder and president of the left-wing Agenda Project, is encouraging people to deface the cover of Paul Ryan’s new book, which is hitting shelves today.

Not a new paradigm, to be sure.  

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Erica Payne provides a representative sample of the extreme prejudice and closed-minded intolerance of a bankrupt intellectual philosophy.  Disagreement with the far-left ideology will not only be brutally suppressed, but those who espouse such heresy will be flagged as threats.  This should come as a surprise to nobody, not after the machinations of the IRS and other government entities, including the race-mongering Justice Department, now in the sway of the most malignant administration in the history of our Republic.  

Time was, books would be burned, instead of merely vandalized.  But that probably involves a carbon footprint which will accelerate Global Warming.  (No estimate on the environmental impact of burning the homes of Global Warming skeptics.)  So the Erica Paynes of the world will have to settle for defacing private property in lieu of providing cogent counter-argument.  Which demonstrates just how illiberal those who consider themselves the most “liberal” truly are.   

Perhaps instead of the coarsely vulgar slogan adopted to disparage the Tea Party, Ms. Payne’s Agenda Project could find a more appropriate one.  Sieg Heil comes to mind.  

 

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A Lesson in Information Humiliation

Seems the vaunted cyber-warriors at US CYBERCOM were matched up recently against some US military reservists whose civilian jobs centered around IT security.   The outcome, the UK’s Register reports, was decidedly grim for the DoD’s concept of a “cyber” command.

“The active-duty team didn’t even know how they’d been attacked. They were pretty much obliterated,” said one Capitol Hill staffer who attended, Navy Times reports.

Bear in mind that the opposing force to CYBERCOM did not consist of true hackers, but IT security people.  The best of those IT security professionals will readily admit that the bad guys, the black hats and hackers, are way ahead of them in the ability to penetrate networks, exploit operating systems, and do so with very little chance of detection and virtually none of attribution.

DoD and the respective services are quick to point to someone or some group and label them “cyber experts”, when in reality those people may merely have some insights into network operations or limited experience with network security.  In actuality, while those people may know considerably more than the average person, their depth and breadth of knowledge is woefully inadequate for even the very basics of what DoD claims it can do in what it euphemistically calls the “cyber domain”.

Retired Marine General Arnie Punaro, commenting as a member of the Reserve Policy Board, had a salient observation:

“It defies common sense to think that industry, in particular our high-tech industries, are not moving at light speed compared to the way government works.”

While Punaro was commenting about the 80/20 active duty/reserve mix in these “cyber” units, he is also seemingly laboring under some illusions about the ability of the US Military to recruit “cyber warriors”.  The kinds of people who will stay up all night eating pizza and smoking grass, pulling apart this or that operating code just for the fun of it, are largely not the types of people whose sense of patriotic duty will put them on the yellow footprints at Parris Island, or have them running PT with a shaved head at 0600 while drawing meager pay and having to field day the barracks every Thursday.  They are a free-spirited counterculture which often operates on both sides of the line of legality.

And those are just the “script kiddies”, whose motivations are often driven by some sense of social cause and are far less sinister than some.  From those groups come those who are hired by some very bad people, nation-state and non-state actors, who mix the technical knowledge of the kiddies they hire (or develop indigenously) with a considerable knowledge of the targeted network(s) and their importance to critical infrastructure which is central to America’s industrialized and automated society. It is  among that latter mix from which our most serious security threats emerge.

The concept of “information dominance”, so cavalierly and arrogantly thrown about, is a thoroughly bankrupt one.  The whispered assurances that “Fort Meade knows all” when it comes to network security and the ability to conduct what we used to call “offensive cyber” are so much wishful thinking.  The adversaries, the dangerous ones, are way ahead of them.   Read any report written by McAfee or other security firm in the last five years and the tale is always the same.  Network exploits and the hemorrhaging of sensitive information have often been ongoing for YEARS before a breach is even detected.  And, without exception, attribution in any meaningful way has proven impossible.

DoD is way behind the eight-ball in all things “cyber”, including a realistic understanding of the problem set.  Some F-16 pilot does not become a “cyber expert” in a ten-month IT course.  He becomes just dangerous enough to overplay his hand.  The depth of technical knowledge required for such expertise is years and decades in the making.  We would be off to a good start in recognizing such.

I will finish with a football analogy.  When you have just scrimmaged a freshman team and lost 63-0, you have a very long way to go before you are ready to play your conference schedule.

Oh, and you FOGOs who might vehemently disagree with what I wrote above?   You may be doing so on a computer that is jump number 384,262 in a 600,000-machine bot-net that will shortly be bombarding the US State Department with hostile packets, or displaying “Free Julian Assange” on a Pentagon website.

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Where’s Preston Brooks When You Need Him?

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Apparently, Nancy Pelosi forgot that the Dems controlled both houses of Congress for four years, and the White House along with it for two of them.  And when Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino pointed that out in regards to the border crisis, Pelosi actually walked across the aisle to scold him.

A Pelosi staffer told us Nancy accepted Marino’s apology.  But Marino’s people said no such apology was given, and Marino had this to say via “twiddah”:

“Rep. Pelosi called me an ‘insignificant person’ on the Floor of the House. I’ll ponder that for a while driving to Williamsport tonight. Of course I’ll be driving myself, with no staff or security. And I’m just a country lawyer who worked in a bakery until he was 30,” he said in three separate tweets.

Of course, Minority Leader Pelosi seems to be mostly polystyrene these days.  So maybe going all “1856” on her wouldn’t do much.  Also, Brooks was a Democrat like Pelosi, the party of slavery and segregation, Dixiecrats and discrimination.  So maybe Pelosi would be Brooks and Marino would be Sumner.

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