Quotulatiousness

December 9, 2017

Berlin Airlift: The Cold War Begins – Extra History

Filed under: Britain, Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Extra Credits
Published on 7 Dec 2017

Tension between the Soviet Union and their former World War 2 Allies escalated into a hostile blockade of Berlin. All sides wanted to avoid another war, but the United States, Great Britain, and France refused to bend to Stalin’s pressure. They came up with a daring plan to supply Berlin by air.

August 6, 2017

Shock, horror – “local or organic food is … often available only in Canada to the wealthy”

Filed under: Cancon, Germany — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Chris Selley just got back from a European vacation, where he observed some odd German activity:

Last month, on vacation, I happened across what might be the platonic ideal of a fancy urban farmers’ market. The smell of wood smoke led me to a quiet street in Berlin’s leafy Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood, where a man was smoking various kinds of fish in the middle of the road. As one does. There was a little mobile bicycle-powered coffee shop selling vastly overpriced espresso. There was the requisite improbably expensive produce and charcuterie and cheese. (My God, the cheese. Why do Canadians put up with our benighted dairy industry?) And to shock my Ontarian senses, there was a big booth selling local wines — which one could drink, out of glasses, in whatever quantities one saw fit, right there out in the open. Tipplers weren’t even confined to a secure pen. There wasn’t even a security guard!

Even more than at Toronto’s fancier farmers’ markets, it was abundantly clear this was a place for wealthy people with time to spare. And it never occurred to me that was a problem. A new study co-authored by Kelly Hodgins and Evan Fraser of the University of Guelph suggests it is, however — and a recent headline on the matter made my eyes roll so far back in my head I feared they might get stuck: “Access to ‘ethical’ food often available only to the wealthy, study says.”

“While eating local or organic food is often touted as superior from a health, environmental and oftentimes ethical perspective, such foods are often available only in Canada to the wealthy, with limited access for those living on lower or even middle incomes,” The Globe and Mail reported.

I know. I’m just as shocked as you are. Who would ever have expected that?

November 5, 2015

QotD: The Berlin Wall

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of the depravity and viciousness of the Marxist idea. Karl Marx was a pure hate monger masquerading as a social philosopher. His ideas may, in the end, be summarized thus: wealth can be gained only by stealing from others, and thus successful people are evil, and thus it is okay to threaten or kill rich people (or even people who are just a bit better off than you are), to steal their belongings, and to threaten anyone who might in the future have more stuff than you do. If you somehow get more things than other people, it is okay for other people to take your stuff, and if you resist, it is okay to beat you up or kill you.

Even more succinctly, Marxism is the idea that envy is laudable, and should be turned into social policy with the use of pervasive violence.

I am putting this more bluntly and baldly than the average Marxist would. They prefer concealing their central idea beneath a heavy blanket of words. They dress up their “philosophy” in avant garde costumes, adding layers of verbiage, complicated and counterfactual claims about language and logic, bizarre ideas about the nature of history, etc., all in the service of keeping people from seeing what they’re actually suggesting. What lies underneath is nothing much more than hate of people who have more stuff than you do, justified by little or nothing more than wanting to take what they have for yourself.

When you base your beliefs on this sort of foundation, the violence that proceeds is not an accident or the result of an improper understanding or implementation of an otherwise fine program. The violence is the direct and intentional result of the underlying program. The violence is the entire purpose of the underlying program.

In spite of the claims of apologists, the Marxism that fell twenty five years ago was the true Marxism. You cannot force people to work whether they get any benefit of it or not if they can flee from you, so you have to build walls. The Berlin Wall was not an aberration, it was the the only way to keep the quite literal slaves from fleeing their bondage. You cannot take stuff from people who have it without goons with guns, since they will not want to hand their material possessions over, so you bring in goons with guns to scour your population. In a free market, you get ahead by making things people want like bread or telephones, but in a Marxist society, the only way to get ahead is through gaining political power, and so people who are exceptionally talented at deploying violence and thuggery and are ambitious rise to the top of your society. Stalin or someone like him was not an accident, he was an inevitability.

Perry Metzger, “A memorable anniversary, and those who would forget it”, Samizdata, 2014-11-09.

October 11, 2015

Compare and contrast – Berlin in 1936, and in July, 1945

Filed under: Europe, History, WW2 — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Open Culture posted these two films of Berlin, one from shortly after the Nazis came to power (the caption notes that there is footage from 1936 through 1939) and shortly after the allies took control of the German capital at the end of the war in Europe.

Here’s the “before” view:

Here’s the “after”:

I suspect I’ve posted the second video before, but I think it’s worth repeating.

July 7, 2013

America’s Ministerium für Staatssicherheit

Filed under: Europe, Germany, Government, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:36

Rick Falkvinge looks at an interesting appropriate pairing: the former German Democratic Republic’s Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi) and the American NSA:

If you were to compare the evil, reprehensible Stasi to the NSA side by side in a visual comparison, who’s the worse surveillance hawk? The people over at OpenDataCity have put together a nice visual guide with astonishing results. We tend to think of Stasi-scale surveillance as the epitome of evil surveillance, and have completely lost track of what today’s governments are doing to their people.

When you go to this page (in German), you are presented with a nice map that compares the size of the Stasi archives — a large building in Berlin — with the corresponding NSA archives. It’s clear that the NSA’s archives — if used with Stasi technology, for an apples-to-apples comparison — would be quite a bit larger:

Comparison of the Stasi and NSA archives. The Stasi archives were a building in Berlin, the NSA archives seem to be more like a couple of entire blocks.

Comparison of the Stasi and NSA archives. The Stasi archives were a building in Berlin, the NSA archives seem to be more like a couple of entire blocks.

Keep reading … it’s like a “powers of ten” exercise.

January 29, 2013

Taking the fight against CCTV surveillance to the streets of Berlin

Filed under: Europe, Germany, Government, Liberty — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:00

TechEye looks at the “gamification” of resistance against CCTV surveillance in Berlin:

A group of German activists has come up with an intriguing campaign to counter state surveillance — turning the destruction of CCTV cameras into a game.

Dubbed ‘Camover’, the aim of the game is simple: destroy as many CCTV cameras as possible.

Once your target is destroyed, you can upload a video of the act to YouTube for internet points and kudos. The rules say players should come up with a name starting with ‘command’, ‘brigade’, or ‘cell’, followed by the name of a historical figure, then destroying as many CCTV cameras as possible.

“Video your trail of destruction and post it on the game’s website,” the activists suggest, but warn that the homepage is continuously being shut down. It’s recommended that players conceal their identities, but this is “not essential”.

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