What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Monday, April 22, 2019

Atheists vs. atheists: the problem with fundamentalism

I’ll have nothing to do with the organized miscreants who call themselves “Atheists” with a capital “A” (as if they speak for all atheists, and are the Official Arbiters thereof). Their hubris is unbearable.  Visit their websites, peek in at their online discussions, and you'll quickly learn that, by and large, all they've done is substitute one religion for another:  they preach from The Gospel According to Marx.
This, of course, is antithetical to the atheism of Ayn Rand and those of us who consider ourselves Objectivists.  We eschew anything and everything pertaining to Marx.  More about this later.
Yes, there is a problem - a big problem, at the moment - in America with fundamentalists who believe that 1) the Bible was written by God Himself and everything in it must be taken literally; 2) the American system of government was founded on Christian principles; 3) demand that our cultural myths be taught in science classes as if they were facts; and 4) demand that their peculiarly strict and impossible-to-practice sexual mores be the only choice available to a supposedly free people. They are dangerous in that they want the same thing the radical environmentalists want: a return to pre-Enlightenment, pre-Industrial Age conditions in which no one was free to think any thoughts unapproved by the Ruling Class, poverty was the natural state of man, and Divine Revelation (aka ignorance and superstition) trumped human reason.
But the capital-A organized Atheists, who are fundamentalists in their own way, are just as opposed to Reason as the fundamentalist Christians are. Instead of fighting for things that really matter, they waste their time “hacking at the branches of Evil” (Thoreau).
Our cultural myths are important: they tell us something about who we are, and a society needs to remember and celebrate them. In our culture, that means, among others, the Christian myths of the Nativity and the Resurrection; just as the myth of St. Patrick is important to Irish culture, and the myths of the sacred mountain known (to the White Men) as Shiprock is important to the Navajo Nation.
Most Navajos know that Shiprock is a volcanic dike formed 20-some million years ago; few, if any, literally believe the tribal myths of its origin. And I suspect that most Irish folk are aware that there never have been snakes in Ireland. Still, the Navajos practice some kind of sacred ritual at Shiprock, and the Irish still celebrate St. Patrick's Day. As they should.
Unfortunately, that does not extend to America, where far too many people believe that the beautiful, inspiring, mobilizing myths in the Bible -- all of which contain elements that are physically impossible -- actually happened.  Worse, they'll get in your face and tell you that if you don't believe the literal texts, you'll burn in Hell for eternity.  

That’s a problem, but so is having hissy fits over cultural matters - such as a cross on a hillside - that harm no one while ignoring the far graver threats to Western civilization posed by the fundamentalist Christian Right.  To my knowledge, there has never been an Atheist protest at a Native American rain dance, and no one protesting at a St. Patrick's Day parade that there never were snakes in Ireland (but I probably shouldn't give them any ideas).

The threat that Christian theocrats pose to American values lies in the fact that Christianity is a Collectivist system, and therefore anti-American.  Of course, the large-A Atheists will never protest that, because they, mostly Marxian in their worldview, are even more Collectivist than the Christians.

And so we have two opposing factions who hate each other, but both want the same thing:  to rule over others and decide for them what they're allowed to know, what they're allowed to do with their lives, and what they're allowed to think.

"For centuries, the battle of morality was fought ... between those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth.  And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it."
          --Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

PREPARE TO MEET THY DOOM! (this time it's real)

Being breathlessly reported in today's news:

Extreme CO2 Levels Could Trigger Clouds' Tipping Point and 8º C of Global Warming

Go ahead and take time to read the article. It's not a long read.

This particular "study" is being ballyhooed all over the media right now. Its purpose, of course, is to frighten us -- stampede us, really -- into some sort of unspecified "action" to "do something" about rising CO₂ in the atmosphere. Since the only way to stop CO₂ emissions is to completely undo the Industrial Revolution and return to a stone-age existence of "grunting sub-animals" (Ayn Rand), the "solution" that is universally accepted is: worldwide Central Economic Planning. In other words, the entire world under Marxist rule.

Now let's examine what we can of the "study" itself, which is behind a paywall. There are a few things we know:
  1. It is entirely based on computer simulations. No field or lab work involving the study of actual clouds in the Real World is evident from either the abstract or "news" reports.
  2. It assumes a "feedback loop" that has long been assumed to exist, but has never been found to exist in nature.
In short, yet another bogus "study" consisting of massive number-crunching based on assumptions. No connection to the Real World.

Preaching Doom and The End Of The World As We Know It has been a very popular -- and lucrative -- enterprise for thousands of years. The Bible is full of that stuff, and newspapers have been pushing Impending Doom ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press. Just as Al Gore has been telling us for more than thirty years that "We only have ten years left to save the planet," here is a brief compilation of "Climate Tipping Point" stories that I was able to find with a simple DuckDuckGo search:

2018: A Tipping Point for Climate Change
-- Forbes, Dec 2018

Greenland's Coastal Ice Passed a Climate Tipping Point 20 Years Ago, Study Says
-- Inside Climate News, May 2017

Have We Passed the Climate Change Tipping Point?
-- Forbes, March 2017

18 Signs That Show We've Reached the Tipping Point
- EcoWatch, Dec. 2016

Earth warming to climate tipping point, warns study
-- BBC, Nov. 2016

Climate change tipping point crossed: What is to be done?
-- Liberation, Oct. 2016

Global warming milestone as scientists warn Earth has passed carbon tipping point 'for good'
-- Daily Mail, Sep. 2016

2015 a 'tipping point' for climate change: experts
-- Phys.org, Jan. 2016

The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here
-- Rolling Stone, Aug. 2015

6 climate tipping points: How worried should we be?
-- EDF (Environmental Defense Fund), May 2015

Report warns of climate change ‘tipping points’ within our lifetime
-- UC Berkeley News, Dec. 2013

Climate 'tipping point' warning
-- Politico, Dec. 2013

An unrecognizable Arctic: Climate Tipping Points
-- NASA, July 2013

The Climate Change Tipping Point
-- New York Times, July 2012

Is Earth Nearing an Environmental "Tipping Point"?
-- Scientific American, June 2012

Point of no return for climate is 2017: IEA
-- A Change In The Wind dot com, Nov. 2011

Climate Change at a Tipping Point
-- Western City, May 2007

Warming hits 'tipping point'
-- The Guardian, Aug. 2005

I see no point in going back farther, but Mark Morano over at Climate Depot did, and found prophecies of Climate Doomsday going all the way back to 1982:

And Tony Heller recently noted on his Real Climate Science blog:
Climate experts said 350 PPM CO2 is the tipping point, beyond which we were doomed. That was passed in 1988.
Then they said 400 PPM was the tipping point, beyond which we were doomed. We passed that a couple of years ago.
Now they say 450 PPM is the tipping point, beyond which we are doomed.

Doomsday prophecies have always been a lucrative business. Just look at all the generators that were sold in 1999, all the water filters that Alex Jones has sold, and all the churches full of congregants.

So be sure you get those overdue library books and video rentals returned.  The end is near!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Forgive me...

This is another "boilerplate" post that I'm writing because I'm going to need it over and over as I argue with certain people online.  Tired of people who post multiple links to anti-science sites who then complain that I didn't even look at them, this is my response.


Well, forgive me. But after fifty years of dealing with the environmental movement's lies and FUD, my experience with these Marxists has taught me that the only safe default position is one of extreme skepticism.

The Global Warming hoax began about thirty years ago when a Senator who tried to major in science but had to change his major to religion because he was flunking science, got himself a chairmanship on the Senate science committee and proceeded to hold a hearing on the historical hottest day of the year after his colleague tampered with the air conditioning to disable it. His star witness was a NASA crank with a hypothesis that had already been falsified fifty years earlier that had never been submitted to a scientific journal before his "publication by press release" -- an infallible symptom of junk science.

This was after twenty years of lies and junk science in the environmental community, whose actual goal is political -- America under Marxist rule -- and having nothing to do with science.  Ever since the first Earth Day (also known as Comrade Lenin's 100th birthday), in which I participated as a member of the Movement, environmentalists have done nothing but lie.

They lied about nuclear power, claiming that the cooling water can be made radioactive.  They lied about DDT causing raptor's eggshells to break in the nest, causing about a million deaths in Africa every year, most of them children and all of them black.  They lied about refrigerants affecting the ozone layer, causing commercial refrigeration units to use more power, and raising the prices of home units.  They lied about Alar, and destroyed a few small farmers in Washington in the process.  They lied about Spotted Owls in the Pacific Northwest, wiping out entire towns as working families found their lifetime investment in their homes suddenly worthless.  They started the lie about mass extinction, which is still with us today.  And then they began the Biggest Lie of them all:  Global Warming.

Now, after thirty years of the Global Warming fraud, every prediction made by the Carbon Dioxide / Global Warming hypothesis has failed, and yet the extremely well-funded CAGW lobby continues cranking out "study" after "study" that in each case, takes weeks to months to refute, by which time the alarmists have segued to another Apocalypse Scare Story du jour.

We've been through debunked "hockey sticks," proof of data-tampering by NASA, a scandalously fraudulent "study" claiming a "97% consensus," false claims of sea level rise, false claims of "ocean acidification" which is impossible, false claims of corals dying, false claims of declining polar bear populations that are actually increasing, false claims of "the hottest year evah" when there are people still alive who can remember the 1930s when Earth was hotter than it is today, and on and on and on ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

And now that public interest in the Global Warming hoax is fading, the environmentalist extremist Left is pivoting back to a relentless barrage of Junk Science and disinformation on other supposedly environmental disasters that are going to kill us all if we don't immediately adopt a Marxist economic system: fracking, so-called "endocrine disruptors," cell phone cancers, glyphosate, pesticides, GMOs, acid rain (rain is always acidic), sea levels which have been rising at the same rate for hundreds of years, the myth of "fragile ecosystems," modern farming methods without which billions would starve, and the myth that we're running out of landfill space.

Note, if you will, that every one of these is a product or technology that has vastly improved the quality of life for mankind.  Note also that every one of them is a cause célèbre of the political Far Left.  Neither is a coincidence.

So forgive me if I'm showing extreme skepticism for yet another "study" by the extremely-well-financed "scientists" being paid to promote the Climate Change or other Apocalyptic narrative while the few skeptics working in the field have to scrape and scratch just to put up a blog, let alone do real research.  And forgive me if I don't immediately drop everything in my life and read the half-dozen links you posted, two of which I've already seen (because I used to believe in that stuff myself), two more are from known far-Left journalist sites who have no knowledge of actual science or how it works, and the remainder from known cranks and quacks.  Junk Science is very well funded these days -- because there is no end of money for people who crank this stuff out day and night -- and it takes time to read through and debunk it all.  And I have other things to do.

So forgive me if your whining plea that I'm "not interested in ideas that contradict my own" is falling on deaf ears.  First of all, I've probably already heard it because I used to believe in that rot myself.  It's just that after fifty years of dealing with these people, I already know that I'm going to be dealing with a pack of lies before I even click on one of your links.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Real Men don't raise troubled sons

There was a time when I was young that I was a devout church member.  I worked in the refrigeration trade, and there was an older man in my church who was a union pipefitter.  So while we didn't do exactly the same thing, we had a lot in common and became friends.

He had spent his life working on some of the biggest projects in the West.  He'd helped build parts of the Hanford nuclear complex in southeast Washington, various coal-fired power plants, etc.  His work kept him moving every few years as one project finished and another opened.  He spent inordinate amounts of time away from home.

He had two sons.

One of them I knew well, as one of my "charges," you might say, in my unofficial position as a youth leader in the church.  The other had already left home and was doing time in Cedar City, Utah, which was rumored at the time to be one of the rougher state prisons in the country.  Hopefully I've painted enough of a picture of where these boys were heading without being explicit.

Suffice it to say that my friend was supremely disappointed in both of his sons.  I remember a conversation we had once, one of those rare moments when men fully open up to each other, in which he wondered what went wrong.  He ran through three or four different possible theories, such as "Maybe it's the Devil," and I don't remember the others except for the last one:  "Maybe it's just the times we live in."

His sons were the only disappointment in a life that was otherwise well lived.  But that one disappointment was so big, that it wasn't a life well lived.  He felt empty.

One day I was driving two or three of the boys from my church to an event a hundred miles away.  The route follows the Clark Fork River most of the way.  As we were whizzing along the highway, one of the boys started pointing out places along the river:  "Me and my dad went fishing there."  A few miles later, "Me and my dad camped there."  At about the third one of those "Me and my dad did X there," the younger son of my friend exploded.


We all went, "Whaaaaaat???  You wish you could say what?"

"Me and my Dad did this.  Me and my Dad did that."  He was so angry that he was throwing spittle.

The last time I saw him, he had gotten into drugs.  A quick Internet search on his name just now returned a somber result:  "Deceased at 25 and lived in [the only city in the list of search results that was anywhere near where we lived]."

That one line, spoken by a kid who is now surely dead from his bad choices, hit me hard.  I've never been able to forget it, and the seething rage with which he spit it out.

I never told his father.  The man was hopelessly clueless, blaming everything in and out of this world -- except himself.  But I never forgot that moment, and it shaped the way I raised my own sons.

Men:  If you want to be a Real Man, take your son(s) fishing.  Or camping.  Or hunting.  Teach them to shoot a gun.  Build something together.  Whatever "manly things" means to you.  Because it really does make a difference.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Drunk That Stumbled Into a Roomful of Experts

This is a story I've told from time to time on social media.  I find it necessary to re-tell it at times, and have decided to put it here, where I can link to it as the need arises.

I was once a commercial refrigeration mechanic.  As with every profession I plied during my working life, I endeavored to be the best in that profession I could be.  So as soon as I had heard of them, I joined a group called the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES).

It is primarily an educational group dedicated to continuing education for those who actually work in the trade.  Local chapters hold monthly meetings at which the main event is a talk given by some expert in some aspect of the trade.  And in that trade, there are lots of aspects:  you have to be a mechanic, a pipefitter, an electrician, a controls technician, understand your Seven Properties of Air, a little bit of a physicist, understand thermodynamics, and so forth.  I thoroughly enjoyed working in that trade, because there is always something new to learn -- right up to the day the Government decided they know more than I did about how to do my job.

And I thoroughly enjoyed the meetings, not only learning something new about what I did for a living, but hanging out with the other guys (later we had both genders) and swapping stories.  The social times were as fulfilling as the lectures.

Once a year, all of the RSES chapters in the Pacific Northwest would meet somewhere for a regional conference, and I always went.  Not only to hear higher-powered speakers than what we had in our town, but to meet others in the trade who lived farther away.  They were always held during our slow time of year:  spring.  Or was it fall?  Either way, not many refrigeration systems break down that time of year.

It was at one of these conferences where this story happened.  There was a social hour in the evening, after the day's learning sessions, in one of the venue's meeting rooms.  Some equipment vendor had supplied little snack-y things and we were all just standing around munching little sandwiches, holding our little (non-alcoholic) drinks, and talking about thermostatic expansion valves, and superheat, and that one leak that evaded us for months, and so forth.

A drunk walked in.  Maybe he was in the place for another meeting and stumbled into the wrong room; I did that once and went, "Why is everyone here gay?" so I s'pose it could happen to anyone.  Maybe he just walked into the hotel off the street and picked a room at random.  I'll never know.  But this guy was about as out of place as I was in that roomful of swishes.

Except that it only took me a number of seconds to realize I was in the wrong place, and leave.  This guy stayed, listening to our conversations.  None of us knew him, but we refrigeration men are a friendly sort and always willing to see a new face willing to learn.  We didn't quite figure out what he was until he started trying to talk.

Let's just say that he knew nothing -- NOTHING! -- about thermostatic expansion valves, or superheat, or finding leaks.  And when he finally did say something, it was "Thish shtuff ish all a bunsch of bullshit."  Meaning, of course, that he didn't understand anything being said.

I wanted to say, "Yeah, you'll think it's all bullshit when your beer doesn't get cold," but I kept my mouth shut.

He stuck around, mooching away at the food, until one of our group told the hotel staff that "This person is not part of our group" and they took care of getting him out of there.

Many has been the time that I've been in an online conversation with others of like mind and similar education / experience / knowledge when someone not-one-of-us, who knows nothing, tries to barge in and lecture us.  It always reminds me of this story, because it's the same feeling:  someone who knows nothing, thinking he knows everything, trying to lecture those of us who really do "know everything."  They really stand out, but are completely unaware of how far out of their league they are.

I see it when Creationists try to hijack a conversation about evolution; I see it when Global Warming true believers try to come into a conversation among skeptics; I see it when Marxists or Keynesians try to barge into a discussion of economics; I see it when hoplophobes try to argue in a 2nd Amendment discussion.  In every case, they don't even know the basics.  And they don't know that they don't know.  And when you mention Dunning-Kruger, they think that they are the smart ones -- just as Dunning-Kruger predicts.


And now, instead of retelling this story every time that happens, I can just link here.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Ghost on Hayes Street

Copied from a set of memoirs that I was writing for my next of kin.  But they'll never read it.

Someone on social media wanted to read this, so what the hell.  Here's my Ghost Story.


A tale to tell the young ones around the campfire
I don’t believe in ghosts. But, there was this ONE time…
Now stories were made to be told
And here's the one that I know
I can't hide it anymore

There's evil on Queen Street
Ronnie James Dio, “Evil on Queen Street”
Evil resides at 1682-B Hayes Street in Eugene, Oregon. Don’t ever live there.

It’s the middle unit of a triplex in what was once an apartment complex, but had been converted to condos by the time I moved there.

Shortly thereafter, the woman I loved dumped me – hard. Thus begins my tale.

A year or two later, my neighbor in 1682-C moved in with the love of his life, and offered to rent his home to me for less than what I was paying at “B.” So I moved.

Time went on, and my son, the son of the woman who’d dumped me, and I had gone backpacking to the Rosary Lakes on Willamette Pass. I don’t remember how the topic came up – maybe it always comes up when fathers and sons are around a campfire, but we started talking of Spooky Stuff and I was half-joking about a ‘curse’ on that place because his mother had dumped me right after I moved in there.

He wondered aloud what would happen to the young couple who had just moved in, and I kinda gulped and said, “Well, actually, the man just moved out.” The woman half of that couple was the infamous Kim Kutyba, of whom there are many entertaining (and ribald) stories.

Then he cleared his throat, beginning with, “Well, I don’t really believe in any of this stuff… but --” and proceeded to tell of strange noises he’d heard, sleeping on my couch during my exercise of what they call “visitation rights.” He said it sounded like someone was bouncing a pencil on its eraser somewhere in the room.

I made a little gulp when he told me that. He’d always insisted on sleeping with a light on, and I was always tempted to tease him about being afraid of the dark. Something dark in my own head had always stopped me from doing that.

So… I had moved in, and my marriage ended. Kim and Kerry Green moved in, and their marriage ended. Matt heard strange noises. Kim heard strange noises after her husband moved out: she complained to the building superintendent that she could hear me walking up/down the stairs, next door to her. The super tried to brush it off with, “Well, these walls are thin.”

“But that happens when Ken isn’t home,” she replied.

Years later, I actually saw that ghost. But that tale needs to be told separately. This one MUST end thus:

So Matt and I are around the campfire, talking about ghosts, and the sun has gone down. It’s getting a little spooky, so we changed the subject to backpacking. This was his “first” backpacking trip, sort of.
At least, the first one that he was old enough to remember.

I told him of a backpacking trip, years before, that my recently-departed father had taken with me and two of this boy's older brothers, to Mildred Lake in the Jefferson Wilderness north of where we were. Grandpa had had quite a bit of trouble on that trip, needing frequent stops to rest, but nothing bad happened and the four of us had a pretty good time. Matt was just a baby at the time and didn’t go.

So I told him of the trip and what a good time we’d had, ending my story with, “and that was the last backpacking trip that Grampa ever took.” Immediately the campfire flared up with a WHOOSH! noise, flames shot up 3-4 feet in the air – and the fire went dead out.

I looked over at Matt, and he was looking at me. I noticed that the moon, either full or nearly so, had come up and was casting a spooky light through the trees.

“I think I’ll go to bed now,” he said.

“Me too,” I replied. Both of us pulled our sleeping bags way up over our heads, and closed our tents as tight as a tent can be closed.

We still don’t believe in ghosts – but, there was this ONE time...

Friday, December 07, 2018

Pearl Harbor: Did FDR Know?

I have a blatant dislike of conspiracy theories.  I get downright abusive on social media of people who espouse them.

And yet, conspiracies do exist.  Most conspiracy theories are bunk, but human nature being what it is, it's almost certain that out of all the noise, there are probably one or two that are real.  The only question is:  which one or two?

There are two that I find credible.  The first is the "International Communist Conspiracy." There really was an international organization of various countries' Communist Parties, known internally as ComIntern (Communist International, sometimes further abbreviated to "ComInt"), that met regularly in conferences to plan how best to bring the world under Communist rule.  There were seven of these conferences before Comrade Stalin shut them down in the 1940s, referred to by insiders by the shorthand of "Second International," "Third International," and so forth.

So, yes.  It might not be an actual conspiracy, since they operated in the open until the 1940's, but there are people today who will accuse you of wearing a tinfoil hat if you speak of it.

The other conspiracy theory that I find credible is vastly more interesting:  the rumors that Franklin D. Roosevelt knew in advance of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941, and allowed it to happen.

First, a bit of background.  By 1941, Britain and Germany had been at war against each other for over two years.  We know from Winston Churchill's memoir The Gathering Storm that Roosevelt communicated to Churchill his desire to help the British, but the American people were were not having any of it, and were dead set against getting involved.

That all changed when the Japanese attacked American soil.  Americans changed their minds en masse and Roosevelt got his wish:  we entered The War the next day.


Thompson Falls, Montana is a little logging, mining and ranching burg with a weekly newspaper known as The Sanders County Ledger.  For thirty years its owner, publisher, and editor-in-chief was a self-described "big fish in a small pond, " an old news-hound that, if I remember correctly, had once worked for the major dailies (or maybe the Wires), gave it all up, and bought a small-town paper in Montana to live out his years quietly.  His name was K. A. "Doc" Eggensperger.  I knew him.  Everyone in town knew him.  And every newspaper editor in Montana, including the big-city Dailies, knew him.

One day a story appeared that intrigued and shocked me:  he'd been to some convention of Press people and wound up in a bar with some other old News Hounds, one of whom had been in the White House Press Corps when Roosevelt was in office.  This old reporter claimed that Roosevelt had told them confidentially, "Boys, we're going to war against the Japanese."  That there would be an attack on Pearl Harbor, which would rile up the American people and give FDR the political backing that he needed to take the US into World War Two, which had already been raging for a couple of years.

I tried to put the story out of my mind.  "Well, national press corps reporters are all a bunch of drunks, and this guy was in a bar drinking," I told myself.  Still, I couldn't get it out of my mind.


My dad was a World War II Navy veteran.  He turned eighteen about a year before Pearl Harbor.  In the National Guard at the time, he saw what was going on in Europe and correctly deduced that he was eventually going to end up in the Army somewhere slogging through the mud.  That prospect didn't suit him very well, so he went down to the Navy recruiter's office to talk about serving his country where he'd be sleeping in a warm bunk every night and have nice hot meals from a ship's galley.

The recruiter needed a signature from Dad's National Guard commanding officer.  "What do you want to join the Navy for, boy?"  the man roared.

"Well, I think we're going to get involved in that war over in Europe," Dad replied.

"Oh, no, we'll NEVER get called in to that," the CO snorted.  But he signed the paper.

According to Dad, his Guard unit was called up into the Army two weeks after he'd sworn in to the Navy.  He claimed that most of them ended up in the Bataan death march.

Dad was apparently a pretty good trombone player in high school (I never heard him play) and signed up to be in the Navy band.  "He can play anything I put in front of him," his instructor exasperatedly explained to his superior, "but he has no tone."  So Dad flunked out of Navy music school and went on to be just an ordinary swab.  The trombone player sitting next to him ended up on the Battleship Missouri.  The man is still there.

So one day I asked my dad if he'd heard that story about Pearl Harbor.  He said that he hadn't, and then said something that I've never forgotten:  "It always seemed strange to me that the only ship at  that base that was worth anything just happened to be out on maneuvers that day.  Everything that was destroyed in the Harbor was basically junk."



Decades later -- indeed, only a few years ago, I was in Colorado conversing with an Old Prospector who owned a gold mine that was open to the public for tours.  Unlike most gold mines, which the old joke goes are a hole in the ground with liars standing around it, this mine really did have a vein:  I saw it with my own eyes.  But I think he made most of his money giving tours.  And like every owner of a gold mine, that old geezer loved to talk.  In fact, that's all he did:  his employees did all the work.

I love to talk too, so he and I had a great time.  I don't remember how it came up, but he'd been a Navy man in signals intelligence during the Korean war.  I asked him if he had an opinion on the "FDR knew" story, and he related a story that his superior had told him back in his Navy days.

The superior had been a very young Navy man who was somewhere in the Pacific intercepting and decoding (we had cracked their encryption) Japanese radio signals.  He began to see a lot of traffic relating to an attack on a Navy base.

He alerted his commander, and the alert went nowhere.  Alarmed, he began escalating up the chain, and got ignored at every step of the way.  Finally, in a total breach of protocol he sent a desperate letter to someone at the top in Washington, DC.  I think it was Secretary of the Navy or somebody.

A day or two later, his commanding officer called him into his office and delivered a sealed telegram.  "I don't know what you've done, boy, but this came all the way from the top."  With quaking hands, he opened the message and read:  "You will not question the decisions of the United States Navy."