Saturday, September 19, 2020

A Quick Run Around The Web (9/19/2020)

 

VIDEO: "Why Everyone Likes Lever Actions"--Lucky Gunner Ammo (19 min.)
This past year, Chris Baker had an excellent series of videos examining pocket pistols. He  is now starting a series that will look at the lever action rifles. This first episode takes a look at the history of lever actions and why the continued popularity and interest in the platform.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

  • First, be sure to read Greg Ellifritz's Weekend Knowledge Dump for this weekend. (And my thanks to Mr. Ellfritz for the shout-out!). Foremost among his links is one to a 52-minute podcast by Michael Bane on the topic of "The New Rules of Engagement." Bane raises a few points that I and others have noted about Antifa tactics oriented around taking a threat up to the line of where you would be entitled to use lethal force, but not quite stepping over that line. He discusses other of their tactics, and warns that while the police won't do anything to protect you, they will arrest you if you try to protect yourself. Take the time to listen.
    Some other notable links are an article by Tom Givens on the importance of situational awareness and some tips on how to increase yours; an article on how and why the M16 had problems in Vietnam and how those problems were fixed (and it may have some relevance today--I just had a reader comment about an extraction problem that sounds similar to one discussed in the article); an article from Mass Ayoob on how to explain a self-defense shooting in court (including explaining why you own more than one gun or are carrying spare ammunition); an article about moving past the IFAK and discussing some additional tools/equipment to include in a home medical kit; an article from Kyle Lamb about gun fighting in or around a vehicle; and a lot more.
  • And while you are at Active Response Training, check out Greg Ellifritz's article on "Hip-Pocket Medical Drills." Just as certain firearm drills are designed to test particular firearm skills under some stress, these drills are intended as a test of certain first-aid/trauma care drills under a time and chaotic environment stresses. The drills are intended to only need a few minutes in most cases. Ellifritz describes each drill, the purpose of the drill, and any equipment needed. 
  • "'Expedient Recoilless Launcher: Panzerfaust' Book now Available"--The Firearm Blog. Available in paper back from Amazon.
  • "Gear Review: $39 ‘Fule Filter’ Form 1 Silencer Build"--The Truth About Guns. The author decided to try out one of those certain items sold as fuel filters or solvent traps. The product, which was aluminum, worked great for .22 LR and 9mm--as good as more expensive options. It can't handle the blast from a rifle round, however.
  • "Why do Revolver Iron Sights Suck SO MUCH?"--The Firearm Blog. The author posits two reasons: (i) traditional target shooting at white targets encouraged black sights; and (ii) it is too difficult to change the sights on a revolver (which is really circular logic because until the 1980s, many semi-autos also had fixed front sights). I'm going to hazard another reason which I believe to be more likely: revolvers have fallen out of favor as defensive tools, and, consequently, most of the people that buy revolvers are purchasing them for the classic looks and styling. And I will defend my reasoning by pointing out that revolvers designed for hunting have better sight options (including on some the ability to mount optics), and some of the revolvers intended for concealed carry are, finally, getting upgraded sights comparable with what we see on defensive pistols.
  • "Tested: StealthGearUSA Chest Holster 2.0 For Backcountry Carry"--American Hunter. Like the Kenai chest holster, this is a Kydex holster system that allows you to change holsters while still using the same harness system. The difference is that whereas the Kenai holsters use clips to connect directly to the straps of the harness, this system uses an adapter plate to which the holster connect. I presume the advantage, if there is any, would be that you wouldn't have to fiddle with adjusting the straps when you changed holsters. The MSRP is higher than the Kenai system, as well.
  • "M1 Garand Reloading With Modern Components & Tools"--American Rifleman. The author highlights some of the latest in powder measures from RCBS, some newer dies, and mentions that the .30-06 brass from Starline was very consistent. Bullets used were the  Berger Hybrid Target 168-gr. Primers used were the CCI BR2 benchrest primers.  Powder was VihtaVuori N150. At 45.00 grains, the author was seeing 1.24 MOA, which is actually excellent performance from those rifles.
  • "The Second Fight: The Psychological Consequences Of Self-Defense Shootings"--USCCA. The author explains that "The emotional impact of being forced to use a weapon in self-defense varies from person to person, and it is critical to note that each person will navigate the aftermath in different ways." She goes on to describe what you can expect and some signs that you may need counseling or help with dealing with the shooting.
  • "Of Course You Can Defend Your Family"--357 Magnum. A juvenile smoked a perp who was threatening his mother with a knife. The author comments: "So according to the Left, any firearms should have been 'locked, securely away' from this kid, so that the only course of action available was to stand by and watch as this guy killed his mother." 
  • "The Importance of Securing Your Carry Gun" by Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated. The author recounts a visit to his grandmother's house where, as a matter of respect, he took off his revolver and put it in a coat closet. Later, there was a commotion out by a tool shed, and Wilson grabbed his revolver as he went to check on what was happening, and surprised a criminal, who ran off. Checking his revolver after the fact, Wilson was dismayed to discover that it was empty--his mother, trying to be helpful, had unloaded the weapon so that it would be "safe."
  • "Uncle Chadwick’s Colt Dragoon" by Ray Goldrup, Friend. (Note: Friend is an LDS magazine for kids. This article is from 1982). 
    Whenever Uncle Chadwick [the local sheriff] wasn’t chasing down a horse thief or helping Widow Farley put up a barn or mend a fence, he was usually in his office. He’d be fiddling with some papers, just waiting for us to come busting in—as we always did—to ask him to tell us a story.

    We’d sit on a bench under the gun rack and wait anxiously for my uncle to do what he always did: He’d step to the window, smile at us out of the corner of his eye, pull on a suspender with one hand, and scratch his chin through his trim dark gray beard with the other. Then he’d sit down and lean back in his chair with his feet on his desk and spin us a yarn. Sometimes the tale would be about the Dixon Stage robbery or the midnight rider from Hooter Flat or the hang-tree ghost. Sometimes my uncle would tell about when Porter Rockwell was a marshal.

    Well, one day when we’d piled into Uncle Chadwick’s office, he wasn’t there. What was there was his big Colt dragoon revolver, lying on his desk in a patch of windowlight. It was a handsome piece, full of mystery. Uncle Chadwick had used that very gun to shoot a huge bush pig that had come snorting into Horse Creek one day. The pig was foaming at the mouth and chasing Cylus Thombson’s girl who’d been playing marbles in the street. All it had taken was one shot from the Colt dragoon, and that prairie hog was laid out flatter than the road through town!

    Amy touched my uncle’s gun first. It had a pearl handle that glinted in the light. Then Mosiah, Latimer, and I argued over who was going to hold it first. We were tugging and pulling at it, and I said that since it belonged to my uncle, I, by rights, should hold it first.

    That’s when Uncle Chadwick stepped into the room. He’d been taking a nap back in one of the jail cells. He didn’t smile. He just kind of went white and looked at us.

    Straightway Uncle Chadwick snatched the gun from us, sagged back against his desk, and pushed the big beads of sweat off his forehead. Then he looked at the gun, shook his head, and mumbled, “I cleaned and reloaded this thing just an hour ago. More my fault than yours, leaving it around to tempt you.”

    Uncle Chadwick crossed to where a gun belt hung on the gun rack and slid the big pistol into its holster. “Seems like the older I get, the more careless I get,” he went on. He walked back to where we stood and drew us about him. “And any kind of gun,” he stressed with firm gentleness, “is one thing you can’t afford to be careless with. Some of the headstones in Fox Hill Cemetery are grim proof of that.”

    He stepped over to the window. That meant we were going to have a story! Uncle Chadwick gestured for us to take a seat on the bench. We were glad he wasn’t still mad at us and that he still wanted to spin a tale. We traded happy, eager looks as Uncle Chadwick pulled on a suspender and scratched his beard.

    “What’s it going to be today, Sheriff?” Mosiah asked. “The one about the hang-tree ghost?”

    “Or maybe the midnight rider?” Amy prompted hopefully.

    Uncle Chadwick turned from the window and sat down behind his desk. He propped his feet up and looked at us a long moment, his deep-set eyes shining with warm concern and quiet, tender affection. “It’s supposed to be a true story I don’t think you’ve ever heard before. It’s about one of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s sons, Joseph III. It happened in Nauvoo, in the early 1840s before the Prophet’s martyrdom at Carthage Jail in 1844.

    “Joseph and some of the Brethren, including John Taylor and other apostles, were having a meeting at the Prophet’s home. A man by the name of Loren Walker—a member of the Church who lodged with the Prophet and his family for a time and who became a close and trusted friend—had on that occasion cleaned Joseph’s firearms and some of his clothes. He put the clothes into the wardrobe but, rather than disturb the Prophet during the meeting, put Joseph’s guns on the bed, thinking that Joseph would put them where they belonged later on.

    “Now I want you children to know that the only reason the Prophet Joseph carried a gun was that the persecution he endured was sometimes so intense that he was forced to arm himself for his own safety.

    “Anyway,” Uncle Chadwick continued, “the Prophet’s son Joseph went into that room to take a nap. The sound of the voices in the adjoining room kept him awake, and he found himself attracted to the pistols. Seeing that he was unobserved because of the bed’s canopy, young Joseph picked up one of the pistols. Now, he didn’t think for a minute that it was loaded or that he could possibly fire it, but the thought playfully passed through his mind that if it was loaded and he did fire it, he was sure he could hit a certain spot on the canopy.”

    Suddenly Uncle Chadwick banged the flat of his hand on his desk, and we all jumped. “BANG! went the pistol,” he yelled.

    “Well,” he went on, “the sound of the discharge alarmed the Prophet and the others who were holding council. Thinking the gunshot had come from outside the house and that someone was coming to attack the Prophet, they all dashed outside to look around. When they didn’t see anyone, they were puzzled. Then Brother Walker suddenly remembered where he’d left the pistols. Fearing the worst, they ran back into the house and into the bedroom.”

    Uncle Chadwick pulled out a rumpled handkerchief, blew his nose, then stuffed the cloth carefully back into his back pocket. He took off his spectacles and held them up to the light as if to examine an imaginary smudge, all the while listening to the bench creak as we fidgeted. Finally, when he was sure we had fretted long enough about the worst that could have happened to young Joseph, he propped his eyeglasses back on his nose, gave us a sideways look, and continued: “Well, there lay young Joseph, as white as a just-scrubbed sheet. The pistol was at his side, and smoke was filling the canopy. He was unharmed, except that when the pistol had recoiled, it had fallen from his hand and struck him soundly on the head.

    “At first there was some thought on the Prophet Joseph’s part to scold both Brother Walker, for having left the weapons there, and his son Joseph, for having played with them. But after the scare was over, there was general laughter—at the boy’s expense. The dust from the canopy, the damaged ceiling plaster that covered young Joseph, and the fast-swelling bump on his head were about all the ‘fun’ he had from the incident. However, it was a good lesson for everyone, and after that, firearms were carefully kept away from children.”

    Mosiah, Amy, Latimer, and I looked sheepishly at each other, then at Uncle Chadwick’s big Colt dragoon. I guess we hadn’t thought about how really dangerous a gun can be, and we gazed at it with new respect.

    Uncle Chadwick took his feet off his desk and grunted as he shifted in his chair. “Someday,” he said, “I’ll take you youngsters up to Potter’s Quarry. We’ll set up some cans, and I’ll let you shoot this old gun, if you like.”

    “That would be great!” I exclaimed, and the others agreed. Then my uncle dug into his vest pocket, drew out a dime, and tossed it to us. He told us to treat ourselves to some sweets over at Fergason’s Store.

    We hooted and hurried out, but I stuck my head back in the door and thanked my uncle for everything. He smiled. I smiled back, then ran to catch up with the others.
    Many years ago, a group of approximately 13 boys — one only 10 years old — and two young men allegedly beat a 36-year-old man to death. One teenager reportedly threw an egg at the victim, probably as a prank. The man retaliated by punching another teen in the mouth, knocking out a tooth.

    The minute he did that, he was fighting a losing battle.

    The youths allegedly lashed out, using improvised weapons such as broomsticks, crates and other objects to bludgeon him to death.

The author advises: "The martial arts are fantastic for defending against one or two people, but when you're facing 15 attackers at once, forget it. In that situation, the best thing to do is swallow your pride and try to talk your way out of the confrontation."
    I make a distinction between a plainclothes holster that might be worn with a pair of jeans and a windbreaker with Police stenciled across the back and a true concealment rig. A good concealment holster must be able to retain the gun during high levels of physical activity, allow for a fast draw and one hand return, be fairly durable and effectively hide the gun. The holster must be positioned on the belt, so that as soon as hand hits it to begin the draw stroke, a proper shooting grip high on the backstrap is instantly acquired.

    Up until a few years ago, my concealed carry needs were best served with an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. Under a light covering garment, this allowed me to discreetly carry a pretty fair size gun. Three decades of wearing a gun on my strong side hip, have taken a toll and this is no longer an option for me. Instead, I utilize either a neutral or forward rake holster worn just forward of the hip. Sure, it takes a little more creativity to hide the gun, but it remains a fair tradeoff for carrying a formidable pistol.

    Many professionals favor a concealment holster with a FBI forward rake and this style remains extremely popular for soft clothes carry. Concealment qualities can be very good, but I find FBI rake holsters awkward to draw from. In order to get a firm and final shooting grip on the draw stroke, I have to break my wrist and bring the elbow out further away from the torso. For me anyway, this isn’t very efficient. If you prefer this style of holster, by all means have at it. It just isn’t my cup of tea.

    Shoulder holsters may be appropriate for certain applications — however, I don’t see them as a best choice for general concealed carry. Much the same can be said of ankle holsters. Ankle rigs are great for a backup, but accessibility is a problem for general wear.

    Avoid holsters that prevent you from getting a full firing grip as your hand hits the gun, or that interferes with vital controls of the weapon itself. One of the attendees had his 1911 in a holster with a retaining strap that covered the grip safety. This made for a less than optimum draw stroke. In short order, this officer came to a similar conclusion and is saving his nickels for a new rig. If your first attempt at finding the right holster doesn’t work out, try something else.
    Gathering food storage and emergency supplies can be simplified by using 12 monthly emergency prep lists (see below for an example). With different monthly goals, these lists can put you on autopilot and help you establish a habit of gathering year-round while you regularly shop.

    Although these lists are based on seasonal sales in Utah, anyone with a desire to become self-reliant can use them. Each list suggests monthly goals for one adult, but you can multiply food and water amounts by family members, increase or decrease amounts, modify food choices, and create a list that’s perfect for you.

    These lists incorporate the four steps found in “All is Safely Gathered In: Home Storage” a pamphlet prepared by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and additional home storage goals, emergency equipment goals, and preparedness goals you can work on as a family.

    Instead of burying food in your basement to use only during emergencies, learn to “store what you eat, and eat what you store” so when emergencies come your children can actually eat food they are accustomed to. (There will be another post on this next Saturday on the Mormon Channel Blog).

    Work on the first three steps: gather a three-month supply of food, emergency drinking water, and a financial reserve (see the post from last Saturday on short-term food storage). Then gather long-term foods, home storage supplies, and emergency equipment.
  • "Debunking Survival Axes"--Mad Mad Viking. His recommendation is the the 26″ Estwing camping ax. However, he also states: "... if I was going to pick a survival ax for an urban setting, I’d go with a Truckers Friend type tool."
  • "Threat: When Do We Start To Sweat?"--The Lizard Farmer. The author wargames one possible scenario of widespread civil unrest that eventually results in the invocation of the insurrection act, and looks at when it will start to be dangerous to our fictional/idealized rural prepper. 
  • "Vox Day And 2033"--Men of the West. The author observes that "Vox has consistently predicted that the United States will no longer exist in its present form by the year 2033. Not only that, but he took his prediction seriously enough to move his family out of the country." An excerpt:
    Vox Day’s prediction of dissolution by 2033 is based upon his observations of two parts of American society: economics and demographics. Many economists agree that we are headed for a reckoning, as our massive deficit spending and upcoming unfunded liabilities simply cannot be sustained. When a national debt becomes overwhelming, nations usually have two choices: print more money or repudiate the debt. The first option leads to inflation, such as what plagued Weimar Germany in the early 1930s, Argentina in the 2000s, or Venezuela today. The latter option would destroy any remaining trust in the US government. Remember that what we call the national debt is owed on treasury bonds and other government-backed financial instruments. ... As we speak, the US National Debt is nearly $22 trillion, a number so large as to be inconceivable. A third of a trillion dollars each year is spend simply servicing the interest on that debt, and that number continues to grow as a percentage of total spending. Even the most fiscally conservative politicians have no real plan to tackle this elephant. ... Yet something that cannot go on forever won’t.

    The other factor in Vox’s prediction is demographics. Demographic change is happening in America as we speak. Many on the right are called racist by mainstream news for pointing out that the European-American heritage of America is in danger of being eclipsed by a new citizenry whose heritage is Hispanic or African. Yet those same mainstream journalists will happily write articles about the coming demographic change, excited that evil white men are going to soon be in the minority. After a relatively brief open period (the Ellis Island days), immigration was tightly controlled for much of the 20th century. In 1965, however, Congress passed the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act which completely overhauled our immigration laws. Instead of taking a small number of immigrants with demonstrable skills, the Hart-Celler Act made family unification a priority, which enabled today’s chain migration. Immigration quotas were doubled, with new preferences given to immigrants from the Western Hemisphere rather than western Europe. Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the chief proponents of the Act, reassured Americans that these new laws were not revolutionary: “The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”

    Time has proven the late senator wrong on all four counts. ... Note that among the supporters of the Act were prominent Republicans as well as Democrats, including 1996 GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole. This aligns with my observation that the Globalist Party of the last two generations transcends party labels.

    ... [I]mmigration has only increased. Tens of millions of migrants from impoverished regions have crossed our borders, in both legal and illegal manners. This massive migration is driving demographic changes in nearly every state in the union, despite assurances from Kennedy and his ilk that this would not be the case. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have any motivation to solve this issue, rather they continue to push more openness and amnesty for illegal aliens rather than any sort of enforcement of our borders. Wealthy Republican donors are content with ever-increasing immigration as it drives down wages for their businesses. Democrats can safely assume that millions of new citizens from quasi-socialist nations will be reliable voters for generations to come. ...

Read the whole thing. The article does not explain why the 2033 date, specifically, but it is probably because it will be 2000 years after Christ's crucifixion. We should also be entering Grand Solar Minimum as Sun Spot Cycle 26 should be beginning about that time.

VIDEO: "What to Keep in Your Aid Bag"--ITS Tactical (9 min.)
This is a good supplement to the article in Active Response Training's Weekend Knowledge Dump on the topic of moving beyond the IFAK.

The Current Unrest:
A Michigan court decision that will extend the deadline for postmarked mail-in ballots to be received up to 14 days after Election Day will also allow ballots to be submitted by third parties — a practice called “ballot harvesting” — during a specific period.
    ... Melissa Francis was the first to object.

    “George Soros doesn’t need to be a part of this conversation,” Harf insisted. Harris Faulkner looked embarrassed and surprised, and there was an awkward silence.

    “Okay, so it’s verboten,” Gingrich retorted. Another awkward silence followed where you could clearly hear the mic was cut off. Then Faulkner said the panel was going to move on. One has to wonder what she heard in her earpiece.
    As the man who implemented the David Brock blueprint for suing the President into paralysis and his allies into bankruptcy, who helped mainstream and amplify the Russia Hoax, who drafted 10 articles of impeachment for the Democrats a full month before President Trump ever called the Ukraine President in 2018, who personally served as special counsel litigating the Ukraine impeachment, who created a template for Internet censorship of world leaders and a handbook for mass mobilizing racial justice protesters to overturn democratic election results, there is perhaps no man alive with a more decorated resume for plots against President Trump.

    Indeed, the story of Norm Eisen – a key architect of nearly every attempt to delegitimize, impeach, censor, sue and remove the democratically elected 45th President of the United States – is a tale that winds through nearly every facet of the color revolution playbook. There is no purer embodiment of Revolver’s thesis that the very same regime change professionals who run Color Revolutions on behalf of the US Government in order to undermine or overthrow alleged “authoritarian” governments overseas, are running the very same playbook to overturn Trump’s 2016 victory and to pre-empt a repeat in 2020. To put it simply, what you see is not just the same Color Revolution playbook run against Trump, but the same people using it against Trump who have employed it in a professional capacity against targets overseas—same people same playbook. 

    In Norm Eisen’s case, the “same people same playbook” refrain takes an arrestingly literal turn when one realizes that Norm Eisen wrote a classic Color Revolution regime change manual, and conveniently titled it “The Playbook.”
“Am I the only one, or do you feel eerily that we’re living in Kansas, 1859, and that tensions are boiling over, but only years later will people say, ‘Yes, the Civil War began there and then?'” Ayers posted on Facebook. He posted the same statement on his website, BillAyers.org.
    Leftist activist Vaun L. Mayes designated a local homeowner as a racist. The case against him appears to consist of displaying the American flag, displaying a Trump flag, and allegedly using the forbidden n-word. As punishment, Mayes community-organized a siege of his house.

    The BLM shock troops had a high old time:

They set up chairs, tables, barbecue equipment, and music. They waved Black Lives Matter flags, wore Black Lives Matter shirts, and placed a large Black Lives Matter fist in front of the house. There were black people and white people protesting — and several children were in the mix, dancing and joining in the demonstration.

As night fell things got intense. Protesters aimed lights at the man’s home and called out to him on a megaphone …

    After the presumably terrified homeowner appeared in a window holding a firearm, Milwaukee suddenly had police again; they arrived to drag him off in handcuffs on charges including “disorderly conduct while armed” — i.e., for trying to frighten the bullies who were on his property harassing him.
Folks, things have changed.  We may still be living under the same laws, but they're no longer being even-handedly applied.  We're no longer operating in the same legal environment.  Forces on the left are openly campaigning to elect "progressive" prosecutors and District Attorneys, and pouring massive amounts of money into their campaigns.  Thanks to widespread voter apathy and the support of mainstream news media, they've succeeded in doing so in several major cities.  Even in Texas, where the laws are very much in favor of law-abiding individuals, there are now prosecutors who openly state that they won't charge certain categories of "politically correct" offender.  They're also trying to put legal roadblocks in the way of citizens who defend themselves in accordance with the law.  In so many words, they're looking to make examples of the latter in an attempt to put pressure on others, to stop them exercising their legal rights.  Prosecution has been politicized.

    “Let black people go with our own land and reparations, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell.”

    Thus spake convicted murderer Kori Muhammad, 42, at his June sentencing in Fresno, California. Muhammad drew a life sentence without possibility of parole for the 2017 murders of Carl Williams, Zackary Randalls, Mark Gassett and David Jackson, all targeted solely because they were white. The case passed with little attention from national media, despite relevance to ongoing racial violence.

I'm afraid that even if we were to offer reparations, after deducting the costs from crime and reduced standard of living because of the tax burden imposed by the various welfare and social programs, blacks will still owe the country trillions. 

    While it is certainly terrifying and incredibly sobering to think about, I’m not sure it has ever been made more clear that America probably missed its chance at a nonviolent revolution.

    Words cannot even begin to describe the amount of rage and pain I am currently feeling, and the thought of people just telling others to “vote” is in all honesty enough to put me over the edge. What exactly is a vote going to do for the protestors on the frontlines who saw three people gunned down by a white supremacist right in front of their eyes? What is that going to do for Jacob Blake, who is now unable to walk? How has it worked for them so far? The ballot box is not going to be enough to fix centuries worth of ignored prejudice, hatred, and discrimination. The ballot box is not going to fix the fact that the most prominent cable television host in the country is on Fox News responding to the murder of these protestors, saying: “how shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”

    The most influential cable news pundit on television just made “maintaining order” synonymous with killing people and domestic terrorism, and people still expect that this will be solved with an election? This is not going to be solved with politics as usual, and the sooner we realize that the better. Petitions won’t solve this. Vote shaming won’t solve this. Neither will a march, and consistent infighting between progressives and leftists certainly won’t, either.

    Jack Califano summed it up brilliantly on Twitter, saying: “This country is going to break simply because it has refused to bend for a very, very long time.”
  • Consequences: "With violent crime on the rise in Mpls., City Council asks: Where are the police?"--MPR. The article notes that the city council cut more than $1 million from the police budget to hire “violence interrupters” to intervene and defuse potentially violent confrontations; and the police department has had twice as many officers as normal retiring or leaving the force, with 100 leaving already this year. And police officers have told residents that they are reluctant to arrest criminals. The consequence? 
The number of reported violent crimes, like assaults, robberies and homicides are up compared to 2019, according to MPD crime data. More people have been killed in the city in the first nine months of 2020 than were slain in all of last year. Property crimes, like burglaries and auto thefts, are also up. Incidents of arson have increased 55 percent over the total at this point in 2019.

And the genius council members are completely flabbergasted that there would be a crime problem.

        This came moments after he allegedly attacked diners outside a nearby pizzeria, knocking their food off the table, spraying them with WD-40 and telling them he was going to light them on fire.  
     
        Shocking footage captured the surprise attack at the tea shop as well as the ensuing struggle outside as customers tried to detain the suspect until cops arrived, before backing off when he pulled out an ax.

        He also pulled out a knife during the fight. Per the article, "[a] police search of McGlone also uncovered knives including a machete, matches, lighters and several ‘Molotov cocktails'."

        VIDEO: "Trump Was Right | It'll Start Getting Cooler"--Suspicious Observers (4 min.)
        The past 150 years has been a period of relative geological quiescence. If we return to a normal pattern of volcanic activity, we should see cooler weather due to gasses and ash released into the atmosphere. Also, the melt of Arctic ice threatens to dampen the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation that keeps the East Coast and Europe warm.

        Miscellany:  

            Stanford biophysics professor Michael Levitt, who won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, says the pandemic might have come to an end.

            “CDC excess deaths to 29 Aug. are 14% below baseline as predicted in July. This is the first time since March that delay-corrected death data fell below baseline. Excess death in the Mar.-Aug. 20 COVID-19 season may be over. A huge milestone!” he tweeted Thursday.

            Levitt has a strong record predicting how the virus runs its course. He “began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January,” the Los Angeles Times reported in March, “and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted.” 

            On July 25, he predicted “U.S. COVID-19 will be done in four weeks with a total reported death below 170,000.”

            His fatality prediction was a bit high. The actual death toll was about 161,000 four weeks later....
        • They are lying to you: "COVID-19 emails from Nashville mayor's office show disturbing revelation"--Fox 17. Emails show that the data showed that the coronavirus cases from bars and restaurants were so low, that the mayor’s office and the Metro Health Department decided to keep it secret in order to keep an order in place forcing such businesses to be closed. As Glenn Reynolds explains, "[s]o there are two stories: One is that the city’s own numbers don’t justify closing the bars.... The other is that the Mayor’s office’s own emails show they were trying to keep this quiet, so as to maintain an order that wasn’t supported by the science in which we’re all exhorted to believe."
        • Remember when we were told the lockdowns were just until we flattened the curve? "Fauci Spills The Beans: A Vaccine Won’t End COVID-19 Restrictions"--The Federalist.
          • Related: Who knew the cure to COVID-19 was so simple? (Source)

        • The Left was willing to destroy the economy to ensure a Biden win: "Yelp data shows 60% of small businesses that closed during the pandemic have now shut their doors permanently and 97,966 firms in total have closed for good - with restaurants and bars among the hardest hit"--Daily Mail. This is all U.S. data.
        • More shutdown failures: "Colombian Gangs Are Using the Pandemic To Exploit Youth"--Der Spiegel. "With schools closed as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, many children in Colombia no longer have a safe haven. Paramilitaries and drug gangs are taking advantage of the situation to bait or forcefully recruit adolescents for their criminal operations."
        • "US billionaires' wealth grew by $845 billion during the first six months of the pandemic"--Markets Insider. No surprise, Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, led the pack.
        • Tilting the scales further in favor of diversity admissions: "How The Coronavirus Has Upended College Admissions"--NPR. The gist of this story is that elite universities will be relying completely on subjective methods of deciding who to admit, instead of objective measures such as SAT/ACT scores or grades. The excuse is that because of the CCP virus, many students weren't able to take the SAT/ACT tests and don't have grades from their last semester because of school closures and going online. "Schools will also have to make do without a semester's worth or more of extracurricular activities — sports, band, theater, volunteering and anything else that would help distinguish applicants from one another," the article reports. I call B.S. University and college applications are generally submitted the fall of the senior year. The schools could simply extend their deadlines farther into next year to allow time for students to take admission tests this fall or winter.
          • Related: "Analyzing 'the homework gap' among high school students"--Brookings Institute (h/t Instapundit). The study looked at the breakdown of how much time students spent on homework/studying each day based on race and income. It found that Asian students, on average, spent almost two hours studying each day, white students spent almost an hour, and black students a little under a half-hour. Hispanic students were only slightly below that of white students. I spent about 2.5 to 3 hours a day when I was in high school.
          • Related: "About those "smart" hard-working immigrants"--Vox Popoli. Vox Day discusses a news report of a link between the CCP and the College Board (which administers the SAT), writing:
        The Jews historically tested low in comparison with Europeans until they managed to get control of the universities. As I have conclusively proved, their much-vaunted "115 IQs" are not only a pure and self-serving myth, but are statistically impossible unless Israeli Jews have IQs comparable to US Blacks. I would not be even remotely surprised if it turns out that the spectacular Asian performance on the SATs in recent years was, in part, the result of widespread corruption of the College Board.
            Hezbollah has stores of weapons across Europe including the explosive chemical that blew up Beirut, the US government claimed last night. 

            Hezbollah operatives have moved ammonium nitrate through Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland since 2012, the State Department said as it ramped up the pressure on Europe to ban the Iran-backed group. 

            Counter-terrorism official Nathan Sales said Hezbollah had been smuggling the substance in first-aid kits, with ammonium nitrate hidden in cold packs.
            An Air America UH-1D was coincidentally enroute on a resupply mission when the AN-2’s started their mischief. Confronted as he was by the swirling biplanes on his approach to the site CPT Moore later remarked, “It looked like something out of World War 1.”  
         
            As the remaining AN-2 Colts banked for North Vietnam CPT Ted Moore’s UH-1D gave pursuit. CIA operator Glenn Woods rode in the back of the Huey and readied his personal weapon.

            In short order, the AN-2’s and pursuing Huey were in North Vietnamese airspace. Visibility out of the AN-2 was pretty wretched on a good day. The plane was designed to dust crops, not mix it up in aerial combat with enemy aircraft. As a result, CPT Moore’s Huey was on top of the AN-2 before the communist pilot knew he was there.

            These two dissimilar aircraft were about evenly matched as regards performance. They both had a similar top speed, though the Huey was likely much more maneuverable. As a CIA Air America driver, CPT Moore was undoubtedly the markedly more capable pilot as well. This was about to make a huge difference in the day’s outcome.

            This AN-2 was flying low, presuming that it had gotten away free and clear. CPT Moore maneuvered his helicopter above and behind the lumbering biplane, using his prodigious rotor wash to stall the plane’s top wing. This caused the confused communist pilot to further reduce speed in an effort at maintaining control. Now with the AN-2 flying slowly and mere meters from the pursuing Huey, Glen Woods leaned out the door of the helicopter and unlimbered his AK47.

            In the European theater of World War 2, as early as 1943, the German Army deployed a small number of special Panther tanks into the field. These Nachtjäger or “night fighter” tanks had been equipped with powerful search lights, however these lights did not cast light in the visible spectrum. They emitted invisible infrared light, with beams stretching about 600 meters. Inside the tank, operators viewed the scene from outside via a small monochrome cathode ray tube (CRT) that was fed through an image intensifier, which converted the infrared spectrum into visible light. In this way, operators of the Nachtjäger Panther tanks had a crude system to see outside when in complete darkness⁠—essentially the first practical night vision apparatus. Some 50 to 60 such night vision tanks were deployed throughout the war.

            Toward the very end of the war, some German soldiers were similarly outfitted with the new “Vampir” variant of the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle. The Vampir was equipped with a miniaturized, backpack-powered night-vision scope for nighttime sniping. Advanced as they were for the time, whether or not these weapons contributed to any battlefield victories is uncertain.

            The Air Force “secretly designed, built, and tested” the prototype in just one year, which is unprecedented in recent decades.

            Can you say, “Make procurement great again?”

            Roper told Defense News earlier this week, “We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it.”

            Staying otherwise mum on when the world can expect to see the world’s first sixth-generation air superiority jet, Roper added, “All I can say is that the.. test flights have been amazing.”

            Officially known at this early date as the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter, the Air Force could not have found a better time to get its procurement mojo back.

            Currently, the Air Force’s air superiority fleet consists of just 186 F-22 Raptors and around 450 F-15C/D Eagles.

            The more-numerous F-15 platforms, designed back in the early 1970s, would have difficulty surviving — at best — against the air defense systems of near-peer opponents like China and Russia.

            There aren’t enough F-22s to go around, which is hard on airframes expected to serve for 40 years or more. All that extra flying ages the platforms more quickly than defense planners accounted for, meaning USAF has got to get its replacement in the air ASAP.

        The article goes on to discuss (speculate) on what the new fighter can probably do, both roles and performance. 

        The short version of the story is that our biggest cities have exceeded the viable scale of their operation as we enter an era of resource and capital scarcities that will inescapably shrink economies. Their infrastructure is too complex and costly to maintain. The skyscrapers and megastructures that were built to accommodate a particular way of organizing work have very suddenly gone obsolete. The cities face default on their ruinous debt obligations and pension promises. Social and ethnic conflict has turned ugly, and both life and property are at risk as public order founders.

        The author focuses on the fall-out from the COVID-19 lockdowns, and extrapolates from that his conclusion that cities are passé and irrelevant. But, in seeming contradiction, then maintains urban sprawl is unsustainable: "For instance, Sunbelt cities like Atlanta, Miami, and Dallas are mostly composed of low-rise buildings. But they owe their stupendous growth since 1950 to the phenomenon of universal air-conditioning and mass motoring, both of which will prove to be extraordinary short-lived luxuries of the cheap fossil fuel age." However, mass motoring is what has kept from the United States the vast mega-cities of the third-world. Lack of transportation options force people to live closer together, not farther apart. The age of mega-cities is, in my opinion, only just beginning.

            A US academic has revealed the existence of 2.4-million-person database he says was compiled by a Chinese company known to supply intelligence, military, and security agencies. The researcher alleges the purpose of the database is enabling influence operations to be conducted against prominent and influential people outside China.

            The academic is Chris Balding, an associate professor at the Fulbright University Vietnam.

            And he says the company is company is named "Shenzhen Zhenhua".

            Security researcher Robert Potter and Balding co-authored a paper [PDF] claiming the trove is known as the “Overseas Key Information Database” (OKIDB) and that while most of it could have been scraped from social media or other publicly-accessible sources, 10 to 20 per cent of it appears not to have come from any public source of information. The co-authors do not rule out hacking as the source of that data, but also say they can find no evidence of such activity.

            “A fundamental purpose appears to be information warfare,” the pair stated.

            Balding wrote on his blog that the database contains the following:

        The information specifically targets influential individuals and institutions across a variety of industries. From politics to organized crime or technology and academia just to name a few, the database flows from sectors the Chinese state and linked enterprises are known to target.

        The breadth of data is also staggering. It compiles information on everyone from key public individuals to low level individuals in an institution to better monitor and understand how to exert influence when needed.

        The database includes details of politicians, diplomats, activists, academics, media figures, entrepreneurs, military officers and government employees. Subjects’ close relatives are also listed, along with contact details and affiliations with political and other organisations.

            In the paper, the pair said all that data allows Chinese analysts “to track key influencers and how news and opinion moves through social media platforms.”

            “The data collected about individuals and institutions and the overlaid analytic tools from social media platforms provide China enormous benefit in opinion formation, targeting, and messaging.”

            It gets worse: “From the assembled data, it is also possible for China even in individualized meetings be able to craft messaging or target the individuals they deem necessary to target.”