Monday, September 24, 2018

Is Rod Rosenstein's Departure A National Emergency?

        David Frum seems to think so. In a piece entitled "Rosenstein’s Departure Is a National Emergency," Frum goes on a stream of consciousness tirade that Rosenstein's departure will somehow upend the rule of law. And, perhaps more worryingly to Frum, "[i]f the president can browbeat Rosenstein into resigning—or even plausibly misrepresent the firing as a resignation—Trump gains the power to bypass the Senate confirmation process under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. He can replace Rosenstein with any serving official previously confirmed by the Senate to any other job." The horror, the horror!

       I don't think that it is lost on Frum that senior government officials work at the pleasure of the Chief Executive, the President--he just doesn't want his readers to realize it. Trump would be within his rights--and in accord with the law--to terminate Rosenstein for any reason or no reason at all. Rosenstein works at the sufferance of the President, not the Senate, the federal bureaucracy, or newspaper and magazine columnists.

       What we see here is Frum defending the deep state (deep statists?): the unelected bureaucrats that have immunized themselves from the will of the people or their elected representatives, pressing forward with their pet policies and to hell with the citizenry.

       Pearl Harbor was a national emergency, the 9/11 attacks were a national emergency. Some statist flunky losing his job is not.

September 24, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Why I Despise the M14..."--Small Arms Solutions (31 min.)
It was the best rifle for the Army's bureaucracy, requiring little innovation and keeping the Army's Springfield Armory busy.

           The hunter, Corey Chubon, and Mark Uptain, the guide, had almost finished processing the 4×4 elk. Mark Uptain, the guide, was attacked first, as he was cutting off the elk's head.  The 250-pound sow grizzly gave no warning. She was first seen in an all-out charge downhill. As the bear mauled Uptain, Corey Chubon, the client, accessed a pistol at their packs, a few yards uphill from the elk.
             The pistol involved did not belong to Chubon, the bowhunter who had shot the 4×4 elk.  It belonged to Mark Uptain. Corey accessed the pistol, but could not get it to fire. As he was attacked, he tried to throw the pistol to Mark Uptain.
               The pistol never reached Mark. The pistol was a Glock....
          Glocks are the epitome of the point and shoot pistol, so the author speculates that, like many guides, Uptain carried his pistol with an empty chamber and that was why Chubon couldn't get it to work.
          •  "Classic Guns: French FAMAS Bullpup Rifle"--Shooting Illustrated. Yet for all of its positive points, France is replacing it with the HK 416F--an AR style rifle with a traditional lay out.
          • I don't think that this was something bought by a straw-purchaser at a U.S. gun store and then smuggled across the border: "Mexican Army Seizes Cartel’s Belt-Fed Machine Gun, Grenades near U.S. Border"--Breitbart
          • Time for common-sense doctor control? "Medical Malpractice Deaths over 500 Times Higher than Accidental Gun Deaths"--Breitbart
          • True colors: "It’s Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them" by Phoebe Maltz Bovy at The New Republic. Bovy argues that "It’s not about dividing society into 'good' and 'bad' gun owners. It’s about placing gun ownership itself in the 'bad' category." She never explains why gun ownership should be considered "bad," but I would expect that it is because she simply cannot stomach any hint of adversity, or perhaps she has a phobia about the goyim being armed. And in another fit of inadvertently telling the truth, she notes that guns laws are not governed by the Second Amendment, but by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment. This is a true statement. I've noted before that our Constitution can be amended by a majority vote of the Supreme Court--it is nice to see someone else acknowledge that, even if from the mouth of the enemy. In any event, watch out--she makes no exception for hunting or shooting sports. 
          • Killing some sacred cows: "9mm vs 40 S&W vs 45 ACP & 'Stopping Power'"--Abe's Gun Cave. The author contends that kinetic energy doesn't matter, stopping power is a myth, and the difference in the size of the hole made by 9 mm. v. .40 S&W v. .45 ACP is too minimal to worry about. He backs up some of this from the FBI's findings that prompted the FBI to switch to the 9mm from the .40 S&W. I may be biased because of my dislike of the .40 S&W, but I thought it was a good article and is worth your time to read.

          "Purpose & Existence"--Isaac Arthur (27 min.) 
          One of the obvious implications of the post-second coming Millennium, as described in Revelation, is that we will be living in a post-scarcity society. Even absent the religious angle, futurists recognize that we are close to achieving the technology for such a society. So, if the struggle for existence is past, what do we do when we have too much time on our hands? In this video, Arthur looks at these issues and suggests that we will still be able to live meaningful lives. We Christians are so wrapped up with the Second Coming and its attendant disasters that we often forget to look beyond it to the coming Millennium. So it is worth while to look at this video for what life and meaning might be like in such a world.

          • "The Perils of Our Liberal Hegemony"--The American Conservative. An argument that the current mess in much of the world is because of liberal progressives not in spite of. Main point: 
          The core of the problem, writes Mearsheimer, was America’s post-Cold War resolve to remake the world in its own image. The predictable result has been chaos, bloodshed, an intractable refugee crisis besetting the Middle East and Europe, increased tensions among major powers, curtailment of civil liberties at home, and generally an “abysmal record of failure.”
          • I thought there was something in the Bible about not being able to serve two masters .... "China's Catholic Church pledges loyalty to Party after Vatican deal"--Reuters. From the article: "China’s Catholic Church reaffirmed its loyalty to the country’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday, while welcoming a landmark deal struck with the Vatican on appointing new bishops." Also:
                   China’s around 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.
                     The Catholic Church in China said it would “persevere to walk a path suited to a socialist society, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”
                Will camps and other outdoor activities be part of the new experience in 2020?
                  Yes. Camps and other outdoor activities will be an important part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ. Children and youth may participate in Primary day camps, Young Women camps, Young Men camps, and high adventure activities. Local leaders, youth, and parents will identify and provide outdoor activities that invite spiritual experiences and meet the needs of their children and youth.
                    What other types of activities will be part of the new experience?
                      Activities will be based on needs rather than requirements. Weekday activities, outdoor adventures, and youth conferences will continue as a vital part of helping children and youth learn, develop friendships, serve, and strengthen faith in Jesus Christ.
                        Still vague, but at least it shows that there is some planning in the works.
                        • "Do Not Leave the Savior"--a talk by Elder Kevin W. Pearson. He offers and explains 6 points for spiritual survival: (1) Love and obey God first; (2) hold personal prayer; (3) seek learning by study and faith; (4) search the scripture daily; (5) focus on the big picture; and (6) trust in Christ. I was watching a video recently that delved into the origin of the word prayer, and, according to the video, it traced back to a Sumerian word that meant "to work for." Thus, if the video was correct, praying to God means "working for" God. So, our prayers are not just what we say when we are on our knees in the morning or evening, but our very words and actions, especially those in service to God.

                        Glock Imperfection

                        "Glock 'Perfection'? You Keep Using That Word…"--Active Self Protection Extra (8 min.)

                             Glock has announced a new pistol--the Glock 45 which, confusingly, is a 9 mm pistol. Essentially, it is a Glock 19X, except in black and eliminating some of the problems with the 19X--essentially the lack of forward slide serrations and getting rid of the 19X's "front toe" which supposedly was to make it easier to strip out a magazine.

                               Glock likes to advertise its products with the phrase "Glock Perfection." But echoing The Princess Bride, John Correia of Active Self Protection notes in the video above that, although Glock keeps using that word, they don't seem to know what it means. First of all, as Correia notes, buying a Glock is not the end of the story, because to really get the weapon ready for street use, there are a lot of changes that need to be made. At a minimum, the crappy plastic factory sights need to be replaced, and most people opt for changes to lighten the trigger, whether a 3.5 lbs trigger connector, different springs, or whatever. Especially with some of the older generations, the frame could also use some modifications to make it better including a deeper undercut behind the trigger guard and stippling to make the grip more grippy. Other changes a lot of people opt for are a better slide stop lever (the standard is just a bit of bent over steel that is almost useless--although the extended lever that ships on the competition models, such as the Glock 34, is usable) and/or a better magazine release button. So, when you buy a Glock, you need to budget in at least another $150 to $200 dollars for upgrades--more if you want work on the grip. Not as bad as the older Colt 1911s which, essentially, had to be rebuilt by a gunsmith to work reliably, but still not perfection. (For the record, when I bought my Glock 34, the trigger was so atrocious that I had to not only purchase a 3.5 connector, but also change out the striker spring with something a bit lighter).

                              However, sometimes there are larger problems that, while they don't make the firearm unusable, are annoying. One of those is the tendency for Glocks to shoot to the left. I can almost hear the comments now that it all has to do with stance or grip. In some cases--perhaps even most cases--that is true. But I think there are some mechanical issues at play in some instances. I can't find the post right now, and am not sure where I even read it--I think at The Captain's Journal or Gun Nuts Media--but the author had gone into a store and noted that all of the Glock handguns in the case had the rear sights set far to the right, and commented on the poor quality control. I'm sure that the author thought it was poor quality control in pressing the sights into place, but I suspect that the sights were accurately lined up for the pistols' points of aim--it was the barrel and/or slide that were to blame.

                              The reason I suggest this is that my Glock 34 has persistent problems with shooting to the left. When I purchased it, I noted that the rear sight had also been adjusted far to the right. Since it was the display model and the 34 comes with adjustable sights, I just figured that someone had messed with the sights. However, that does not appear to be the case. No matter what I tried, if the sights were centered, the hits were always to the left. I finally gave up, and just readjusted the sights.

                             Recently, I read a few articles and saw a couple videos discussing the problems with Glocks shooting to the left, and the authors again asserted that it was something to do with the shooter's hold or stance. One author made suggestions as to how to grip the pistol, and another suggested a simple test--shoot one handed from each hand.  It still bugs me that I have to have the sights so far to the right, so, this weekend, I decided to give the suggestions a try.

                              I shot several rounds left handed versus right handed. The rounds did strike just slightly on opposite sides of the point of aim, but not enough to worry about. Then, carefully implementing the steps outlined to "correct" my grip, I shot two handed, resulting in the rounds striking in the middle right at my point of aim. And this is with the sight still adjusted far to the right. So, I give up. I don't have the issue with any other of my handguns, including a different Glock, so I will just leave my sights where they are.

                             However, as an addendum, I would note that there is some visual indication that not all is right with the alignment of the barrel. The Glock 34, as you may know, has a long slide that has been lightened by cutting out a portion of the top of the slide near the front, exposing the barrel. As I line the weapon up to get a reflection from a light along the slide and the exposed portion of the barrel, it appears to me that the reflection along the barrel does point slightly toward the left, again suggesting that it may be a mechanical issue.

                        Saturday, September 22, 2018

                        Book Review: "The Chief Culprit" by Viktor Suvorov

                               This is going to be a quick review of The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II by Viktor Suvorov. The book was published by the Naval Institute Press in 2008, but is an updated and expanded version of an earlier book by the same author.

                              Suvorov is a former Soviet intelligence officer who defected to the UK in 1978. According to the author, while studying as an intelligence officer, he became intrigued by the question of why all criticism of Stalin had been ruthlessly quashed with one exception: the failure to detect and prepare for the Nazi invasion during World War II--Operation Barbarossa. Although Suvorov did not have direct access to many of the key records, he was able to obtain access to other records that indirectly or partially illuminated the answer: that Stalin was unprepared to defend against a Nazi invasion because he was neck deep in preparing for a Soviet invasion of Germany. Stalin's plan was to encourage Germany to start a war with the Western European powers and, when Germany was exhausted and deeply involved in the European war on the Western Front, invade Germany in derogation of the treaties and agreements it had made to lull Germany into a false sense of security.

                               In the first portion of the book, Suvorov spends considerable time detailing how technologically advanced were much of the Soviet equipment at the beginning of World War II compared to its peers--particularly as to tanks and aircraft. I won't bore you with details, but to just take one example was the T-34 tank, which served throughout the course of the war. According to Suvorov, it had superior armor, a more powerful engine, and better design of the tracks (e.g., an optimum width to allow it traverse a wide variety of terrain) than any contemporary tanks. I'm no tank expert, but even to the untrained eye, the configuration of the T-34 is certainly closer to modern tanks than what we see from Germany or any of the allied countries at the time.

                              Additionally, according to Suvorov, the Soviets had aircraft, tanks, trucks and other equipment in vast numbers, and the industrial capacity to produce more in high quantities. But where did these disappear to when the Nazis invaded? If you have studied Operation Barbarossa, one of the facts that stick out was the shortage of military equipment and arms. For instance, histories of the beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad describe Soviet troops being rushed into battle without even adequate arms; many had no rifles and had to scavenge rifles from fallen comrades.

                               This is where the documents Suvorov was able to access start to fill in the blanks. According to the records, reports, and even bits and pieces from various biographies, speeches and memoirs of senior Soviet officers, huge depots of arms and munitions had been moved up close the Soviet borders, many stockpiled in secret. The Soviets had torn down much of their border defenses, including fortresses and pillboxes, trenches and minefields, to allow the easy passage of their troops. Stalin's plan for invasion had been to make his initial thrust into Romania in order to cut off Germany's access to its oil supply, followed by thrusts elsewhere. Because of the mountainous nature of the terrain, the troops that had built up along the USSR's south-western border were mostly mountain troops; and many of the troops destined for the western border with Germany were still being moved when Hitler assaulted. Moreover, the Soviets were so focused on attack that they had not planned or trained for a defense from an invasion. Thus, when the Nazis attacked, they were able to quickly overrun or destroy the Soviet depots.

                              There are some other factors that seem to support Suvorov's theory. First, and one that he spends time on, is that the USSR used similar tactics--guarantees of neutrality followed by invasion when the enemy was weak--on other occasions, including the USSR's invasion of Japanese held territory after Japan was already largely defeated by the U.S. In fact, according to Suvorov, the strategy was almost identical. The USSR had signed a neutrality agreement with Japan promising not to fight against it. It then secretly moved men and material close to the borders. It dismantled defenses to make it easier to cross the border. And then when it invaded, it was with overwhelming force with supplies already prepositioned near the advancing troops.

                             Second, it explains the motivations of both Stalin and Hitler proceeding Operation Barbarossa. As we know, prior to WWII, the USSR and Germany had entered into a non-aggression pact and had agreed to splitting up Poland and establishing what other Eastern European countries fell within their respective spheres of influence. As part of the agreements between the USSR and Germany, the USSR promised to provide raw materials to Germany. It was these agreements, and Germany's invasion of western Poland, that enabled Germany to prosecute a war against Western Europe, and, in fact, sparked that very conflict. But, wrapped up with the war in the West, why would Hitler suddenly turn to strike the USSR? Was it because he thought that the war against Britain was a done deal? Or, as Suvorov suggests, did Hitler suddenly become aware of Soviet intentions to invade and realize that the only defense would be to strike first?

                              Another point that Suvorov raises is that, notwithstanding the overtures of peace that Stalin publicly made, speeches made in secret to Soviet military leadership, planning, war games, and Soviet doctrine, all emphasized fighting on the enemy's territory, not defending the Soviet Union. That Stalin would take such a position should surprise no one--even when the Bolsheviks were engaged in the Russian civil war, they were still fomenting unrest in the West, and very nearly brought Western Europe to revolution during the 1920's. Moreover, Marxist doctrine--and the primary difference between Communism and National Socialism--was the belief that Communists had to "liberate" the world. It was an expansionist philosophy at its core. Thus, for Stalin to secretly plan to betray Germany and invade was wholly consistent with Communist teaching.

                              The final issue that Suvorov discusses was how did the USSR fail to see German preparations for Operation Barbarossa. This is actually a quite extraordinary thing since it is well known that the USSR had intelligence sources high in the German government, and probably even Hitler's inner circle. Suvorov asserts that the USSR's intelligence assets did see the preparations and warned Stalin of the impending Nazi strike. Only, Stalin did not believe the reports because it seemed so incredible to him that Hitler would make such a suicidal decision to open a second front of the war when he didn't have the equipment to support such an invasion, including a complete lack of long-range bombers that could strike Soviet industry east of the Urals, inadequate supplies of fuel, and his troops didn't even have cold-weather clothing.

                              In conclusion, Suvorov sets out what I believe to be a compelling case that Stalin had maneuvered Germany into a war with France and the UK for the purpose of weakening the West and opening it to Soviet invasion. If Suvorov is correct, Germany's strike was so crippling to the USSR because the USSR had moved much of its war material to the front allowing it to either be captured or destroyed in the early phases of Germany's invasion. But if it had not been for Operation Barbarossa, the USSR would have been able to deliver a crushing blow to Germany's back, and probably would have had the initiative and momentum to take the Continent.

                        Friday, September 21, 2018

                        September 21, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                        "Mantis Dry Fire Monday: More micro-drills" -- Active Self Protection Extra (13 min.)
                        Working on drawing the firearm from the holster.

                        • TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Articles include topics such as movement under fire, methods of carry when running or other sports/exercise, a look at a belly band holster that might actually be safe, preventing identity theft, tips from the homeless on how to survive on the street, and more.
                        • "Effects Of Wind And Weather"--Shooting Sports USA. From the article:
                                Shooters are affected by the wind in two ways. The first kind of wind blows on you, the shooter, and affects you and your ability to perform well. The second type of wind blows on the bullet and affects the bullet and where it hits down range.
                                  Wind that blows on you and affects your ability to perform will probably become the most important factor you will have to face on a particular day. At that point, the wind that affects the bullet down range becomes a minimal problem. You really don’t worry too much about the effect of wind on the bullet because you are concerned with trying to break the shot so you can make a hit. Being able to break the shot on the target becomes your primary concern.
                          • "Remembering 9-11-2001 and 9-11-2012"--LDS Gunsite. Most of the article is on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, but he also addresses the Benghazi incident and how politicians have tried to sweep it under the rug. Interestingly, he mentions:
                            There was an investigation of the Iran-Contra affair by the Tower commission, like Benghazi investigations, came up with a solution that was far from truth. Within that particular investigation aid to the Contras was stopped by Congress. That is a lie. I was at a small American Army made landing strip in Panama well after the aid was supposed to be stopped, and it was not. So, as a powerless ex-President who believes investigations ran by Congress or any other government entity would reveal truth, I know that they do not. Because of those impotent investigations the U.S. military was at a base in Panama and lost 4 good men to an attack. We should not have been there ....
                              My first year of college, my circle of friends and acquaintances happened to overlap that of a guy who had been serving with the Rangers, and part of his deployment was to a camp just over the border from Nicaragua. The Russians had officers and troops there as "advisors" as did the United States, but they all participated in fighting. He recounted running into a Soviet officer while driving on a road, and the two spoke for a bit--the officer had attended a university in the United States and wanted to practice his English and catch up on things (if I remember correctly, college sports); a few weeks later, the Ranger's camp was attacked, and the Ranger could see the Soviet officer (among others) in the background helping to direct the attack. All of this was supposedly during a time that we had no troops assisting the rebels.
                              • "Decline of Western Civilization"--Dirt Time. The author states that "[w]e aren’t sure exactly where we are as a people in the curve of the decline of a civilization, or whether or not we can affect that decline. However, there is always something that the individual can do – always." He suggests some books, including Morris Berman’s “The Twilight of American Culture," Jane Jacobs' “Dark Ages Ahead,” and his own book, “How to Survive Anywhere."
                              • "Drawing From a Seated Position – Tips for Accessing Your Gun In a Hurry"--The Truth About Guns. The author has some tips on how to make it easier to access your handgun from a waist/belt holster when seated in a car or at a desk or table. He also suggests an ankle holster or cross-draw holster if you are seated a lot. Strangely (and this was brought up in the comments), he doesn't mention shoulder holsters. Anyway, an excerpt from the article discussing eating at a restaurant:
                                       Sitting in a chair at a table affords you much more mobility, making it easier if and when you have to go to your gun. You can easily kick your chair back and away or even push the table aside if necessary.
                                         As for situational awareness, even better than a vantage point of a restaurant’s entrance is a view of the largest avenue of approach toward your table. If you can see a suspect approaching, you’ll have more time to respond.
                                  • Strike Industries generally makes some pretty good parts/accessories for firearms. I have used several of their products for ARs and found them, for the most part, to be good quality parts and very innovative. They have just released a new set of "modular" sights for Glock pistols. The "modularity" is that you can switch out the insert in the front sight blade for different colors, fiber optic or opaque. Also, the rear sight uses a groove that narrows toward the bottom, to give you a mix of a wide sight for quick target acquisition and a narrow sight for precise shooting. A couple of articles: one at The Truth About Guns and the other at The Firearm Blog.
                                  • "Gear Review: SB Tactical SBA3 Pistol Stabilizing Brace"--The Truth About Guns. I've read and watched a lot of reviews about this brace and its all been good. There are three things that appear to set this brace apart from competitors or, even, SB Tactical's other braces. First, it has an adjustable length, using a standard carbine buffer tube (which is included with the brace). It was my understanding that for a "pistol," you had to use a buffer tube that wouldn't accept a stock, but that is apparently not the case. Second, it incorporates a mix of stiff plastic and flexible materials, which makes it less bulky and less likely to collapse or fold. (And, in the unlikely event that you should have to shoulder the brace, it makes for a much nicer cheek rest). Third, this brace weighs substantially less than other braces, including some of the minimalist braces. I had a chance to handle an AR pistol outfitted with this brace the other day, and was very impressed with it. Enough so that I ordered one. So, hopefully, I will soon be able to give you my thoughts based on my actual experience.
                                  • "Solve the Problem Before You Need Your Gun"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz uses a news report of a woman that was forced to draw a gun on a man that forced his way into her apartment and demanded sex to illustrate that you can often act to diffuse a situation before having to resort to a firearm. However, this involves being aware of pre-attack indicators and being assertive. As Ellifritz writes, "The woman had a bad feeling about her attacker.  Despite this feeling, she chose to ignore her intuition and continue on as if nothing was happening." For instance, in this case, the woman knew the guy was following her, but did nothing; the man followed her through the lobby door to her apartment building (don't know if the door automatically locked, but she might have been able to shut the door in his face); the man entered an elevator with her; he followed her to her apartment door, and then forced his way through the door when she entered; but she apparently did not act until after he was in her apartment. Ellifritz has some advice on how to train yourself to deal with these and similar situations--read it.
                                  "America in the Crosshairs of CHINESE IMPERIAL EXPANSION"--Black Pigeon Speaks (6-1/2 min.). This video examines some of the strategic considerations motivating China to seek dominance over the South China Sea. The video suggests that a historical corollary is Athens' aims and desires to dominate the Aegean Sea, Rome's efforts to dominate the Mediterranean Sea, or even the United State's actions to dominate the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. I think the analogy is somewhat flawed--the North Sea provides a more apt comparison--but it is a useful video to watch to better understand the situation in the Far East.

                                  • Heh. "Liberal Elites Are Even Ruining Hamburgers And They Must Be Stopped"--Kurt Schlichter at Town Hall. He begins by pointing out: "Let me be clear, to quote an awful ex-president: Nothing I write here is open to debate. I’m turning the epistemic closure thing back on the libs. It is impossible to disagree with my ground beef rantings, and if you do, you are racist, sexist, and a burgerphobic cisdinner hate criminal of hatred."
                                  • They are lying to you: "Cornell review finds academic misconduct by food researcher"--AP. The researcher, Brian Wansink, has been removed from all teaching and research duties. This is on top of many of his papers being withdrawn from publication. Wansink's research informed many of the federal government's food guidelines, and gave us Michelle Obama's infamous "healthy" school lunches.
                                  • Well, well: "Ford's Classmate Backtracks After Saying Attack 'Did Happen'"--Newser via AT&T. This is the classmate that claimed that the alleged attack was the talk of the school after it happened. Now: 
                                  "That it happened or not, I have no idea. I can't say that it did or didn't," Miranda says. "In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen]." 
                                  Let me mansplain it for you: she is an attention whore who felt important by making the accusations. 
                                  With the cooperation of the police agency of a small metropolitan community, 45 consecutive, disposed, false rape allegations covering a 9 year period were studied. These false rape allegations constitute 41% the total forcible rape cases (n = 109) reported during this period. These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations.
                                  Heartiste points to other studies showing similar results
                                          Journalists who report that Mike Pence has offered to take a polygraph (to prove that he was not the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed), or that Ford has taken one, without explaining that polygraphs cannot discern truth from falsehood are wasting an opportunity to educate their readers.  If you promulgate the idea that there’s a machine that can tell when someone is lying, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself living in a culture so hostile to science that kids go unvaccinated and measles break out in the First World.
                                           A polygraph measures your heart rate, breathing, and galvanic skin response. There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological responses is unique to deception. Polygraphs are useful to investigators trying to elicit a confession, however: if you convince suggestible people that these measurements are associated with lying, they are more likely spontaneously to confess when you tell them, “The machine says you’re lying.”
                                      The research I've seen indicates that you would get more accurate results by flipping a coin.
                                      • "Germany: Stifling Dissent to Mass Migration"--Gatestone Institute. Do you remember the recent protests in Chemnitz, Germany, after a couple of cultural-enrichers stabbed a man to death? There were news reports and government statements afterward claiming that protesters where chasing down and beating anyone that looked foreign. Except ... it was all a lie. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, BfV, has come out and said that it never happened. Unfortunately, Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of those that claimed that the incidents occurred, which has landed Maassen in hot water. 
                                      • "How chivalry (and mamma’s boys) brought us women’s suffrage and feminism."--Dalrock. Harry Burn, a legislator who had adamantly opposed women's suffrage, suddenly and unexpectedly changed his vote after receiving a letter from his mother essentially telling him to be a good boy and vote in favor of suffrage. In Utah, the women's suffrage movement originally arose as an attempt to preserve the practice of polygamy by increasing the number of Mormons eligible to vote. Those hypergamous women that had the high-status males didn't want to lose their positions!
                                      • "Tragedy as tech company executive, 35, is stabbed to death while on an early evening jog near her home in Washington DC - just one week after getting engaged to be married"--Daily Mail. According to the article, "Police say [the] perpetrator was likely a stranger and it's believed [the] attack was random." Perhaps by coincidence, the victim, Wendy Martinez, worked for a company called FiscalNote, which works on methods to analyze disparate sources of government data in order to identify larger trends and patterns. Its website recounts that: "As we've grown, our mission has expanded beyond government affairs into digital advocacy and issues management, uniting the work of professionals across public, corporate, and government affairs." In any event, there was an arrest made in the attack. But, interestingly, I have yet to see any photographs of the alleged perpetrator, Anthony Crawford. Based on the fuzzy surveillance video that was released, he appears to be a black man, so this is probably another example of the self-censorship employed by the media when it comes to black-on-white violence. 
                                      • "The Nastiest Feud in Science"--The Atlantic. Well, I don't know about that. Feuds over evidence of human migration to the Americas prior to the "accepted date" generally produce intense fights and threats of censure or loss of jobs. Global warming disputes are pretty rancorous and have even been taken to court. But, back to the article in question, it discusses the dispute about whether the dinosaurs were wiped out by the strike of an asteroid at the edge of the present day Yucatan Peninsula (the Chiczulub crater), or, several million years later, by massive volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps.
                                      • "Why We Should Still Be Talking About Killing Communists"--The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse. They--communists and their next of kin, socialists--view the state as more important than people, and have no compunction of cutting out of society anyone that disagrees with them. Accordingly, we should talk about killing communists "[b]ecause human lives are more important than Communist lives."

                                      A Humorous Video From Lucky Gunner

                                      "Real Men Don't Carry Pocket Pistols"--Lucky Gunner (4 min.)
                                      I'm not sure if he is mocking someone in particular, or just the more general attitude that "I carry a .45 because they don't make a .46."

                                      Thursday, September 20, 2018

                                      Calling Home the Missionaries?

                                      Brigham Young warned:
                                      When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth,” all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations, and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands. 
                                      (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 123, July 15, 1860). Heber C. Kimball similarly explained that "[t]he judgments of God will be poured out upon the wicked to the extent that our elders from far and near will be called home." Orson Pratt made similar statements.

                                             This comes to mind because my eldest son returned early from his mission due to medical issues, and will soon be serving the rest of his 2 years as a service missionary. When it became apparent that he was not going to be able to remain in the field, my wife and I, of course, discussed this with our bishop and to those that inquired about how he was doing. What surprised me was the number of people that, in turn, told us of sons, daughters, and grandchildren that had returned early from missions. This is not just an odd anecdote. According to Dave Banack, in a 2014 article for Times & Seasons, "[i]t turns out that more missionaries are coming home early than ever before. The percentage is now into the double-digits, and it turns out the folks in Salt Lake City are already well aware that we have a problem." We are now four years on.

                                             Probably as a consequence of this, the Church has been expanding its offerings of service missions. Young men that have not been able to serve a full-time proselyting mission can now serve a service mission where they can labor for the Church (or other charities) while living at home. The program is flexible--service missionaries can serve the Church full time, or work part time and serve the Church part time. Even dating is allowed.

                                              Many of the missionaries returning early from proselyting missions are serving out the reminder of their time in service missions. Currently, a missionary returning home from a proselyting mission early has to be released by their stake president, then re-apply to be a service missionary and receive a calling to do so.  This is going to change in October, so that a missionary returning from the field and moving into a service mission will simply be "transfered"--that is, it will be treated as if they simply transferred from one mission area to another. I don't know if this is to reduce any stigma in having to return early, reduce the paper work load, or what, but it will make it easier for missionaries to transition from one type of mission to the other.

                                             As I have learned about the service missions, the number of youth that are going into service missions, and the streamlining of moving missionaries from proselyting (now to be called "teaching") missions to service missions, I was reminded of the statements from earlier prophets and general authorities that there would come a time that the missionaries would be called home so that the Lord could pour out his wrath on the world. The addition of the service missions, the streamlining of the process to move from a teaching mission to a service mission, and the increasing number of missionaries returning early all seem, at least to me, to be either the beginning of, or preparations for, "calling the missionaries home."

                                              Although the Church does not have formal missions in every country in the world, the spread of members across the globe, the LDS service members that have served around the globe, the penetration of the Internet, means that the gospel has been preached to some extent in all nations. Thus, it makes sense to me that the Lord could consider the promise that the gospel be taught in all nations to be fulfilled.

                                             I'm not saying that the Lord is going to unleash his judgments tomorrow, the next week, or even the next year. I'm just pointing out a steady progression and what might be another signpost along the route.

                                      September 20, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                      While this video shows how to react to these types of attacks, the producers also make it clear that you are still going to be cut up really bad. There is just no way around it if the attacker has the surprise and initiative.

                                      • "Changing Weather, Changing Wardrobe, and Changing Tactics"--USA Carry. Colder weather means heavier clothes and/or multiple layers. Even if you don't switch to a larger weapon or a different carry method, you still have to deal with different types of clothing. Thus, this article suggests that you remember to practice with whatever is changing. The biggest issue I worry about in colder times of the year is trying to draw from under a jacket or coat that is buttoned or zipped up. This is one of the reasons that I will sometimes just slip a small revolver into an outside pocket either in addition to, or in lieu of something larger on a belt holster.
                                      • "Range Review: Glock 26 Gen 5"--Shooting Illustrated. The main points that the author raises is that the Gen 5 doesn't have the finger grooves, has a much better trigger, and you have the option of getting decent sights. One thing I thought was interesting is that Glock began using finger grooves with the Glock 26 in order to qualify for the "sporting purpose" exception prohibiting to the prohibition on the import of small handguns. The author explains:
                                      See, the subcompact Glock 26 and 27 were the first Glock handguns to introduce the molded-in finger grooves on the grip frontstrap and the dimpled “thumb rests” on the frames. This was done in order to gain enough “points” under an obscure rule instituted via the Gun Control Act of 1968. A breakdown of the point system can be found here on the NRA-ILA website, but basically due to its loss of points for size and weight, the sub-compact Glock 26 needed to gain them back some other way, and “target grips” were worth five points.
                                      • "Serious Mistakes – Unjustified Killings"--Tactical Professor. The author points to a story where a neighbor was shot to death over a disagreement about garbage. As the author observes: "Learn to control your emotions and to walk away." 
                                      • "Ditch the Batteries: Off-Grid Compressed Air Energy Storage"--Low Tech Magazine. Large scale systems, using buried air tanks, have been investigated before. This article, instead, explores a growing trend to develop small scale systems using above ground tanks. The author explains the benefits:
                                             Compared to chemical batteries, micro-CAES systems have some interesting advantages. Most importantly, a distributed network of compressed air energy storage systems would be much more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Over their lifetimes, chemical batteries store only two to ten times the energy needed to manufacture them. Small-scale CAES systems do much better than that, mainly because of their much longer lifespan.
                                               Furthermore, they do not require rare or toxic materials, and the hardware is easily recyclable. In addition, decentralised compressed air energy storage doesn’t need high-tech production lines and can be manufactured, installed and maintained by local business, unlike an energy storage system based on chemical batteries. Finally, micro-CAES has no self-discharge, is tolerant of a wider range of environments, and promises to be cheaper than chemical batteries.
                                          The issue I see is the amount of electricity--particularly amperage--to run a compressor. You can trickle feed electricity to charge a battery from a solar system, but not have the amperage to run a compressor. 
                                          • "Is It Safe to Store Guns and Ammo in a Hot Car?"--USA Carry. Short answer: yes. Longer answer: "But the fact is, it has to be over 400 degrees inside your car in order for the ammunition to 'explode.'" If it is over 400 degrees inside your car, you have bigger problems than whether the ammunition is going to pop off.

                                          It works, but doesn't really have any more power than a BB gun. Still, interesting to see what is being developed.
                                                   The laptop was confiscated, and the chief observer told investigators that the janitor 'feverishly started looking through the facility' when he realized it was missing.
                                                     The janitor began making paranoid comments about 'lax security at the facility' and said it was 'only a matter of time before the facility got hit'.
                                                       The chief observer became concerned for his personal safety after the janitor stated that he 'believed there was a serial killer in the area' and that the killer might enter the observatory and execute someone. 
                                                         At that point the agencies that operate the facility decided to shut it down out of an abundance of caution. 
                                                  • "China bets on the blue wave"--The Week. China's reaction to the latest round of tariffs imposed by President Trump has been fairly muted. The reason is that the Chinese believe that Trump will be more open to negotiation after the midterm elections. But the article also notes that China has less options to strike back at the United States because it imports so little from the United States, compared to what we import from China. Although the author suggests that the Chinese could jack tariffs up much higher on the few products it does import. That may be problematic, though. For instance, China was originally going to impose steep tariffs on American grown soybeans, but reversed its decision ... probably because it would have resulted in higher food prices in China. 
                                                  • "Economic Trendline Reversion Does Not Happen Evenly"--The Futurist. Since 2007, world GDP (in dollars) has increased by about 40%, but that increase is not spread evenly. While the United States has seen about a 34% gain, China has seen a gain of 245%, but the European Union has seen a decline of 11%. Part of the reason why China has seen such huge gains is because it started so far behind that it has a lot of room to expand its economy: "The growth of China (and to a lesser extent, India) appears to be a reversion to a status quo that existed from the dawn of civilization all the way until the early 19th century.  If this factor is combined with the exponential trend of world growth, then China's current outperformance seems less like an aberration." But what about future years? The author states: "There is almost no chance that China can outperform the RoW [rest of the world] by the same magnitude from this point onwards, simply due to the RoW no longer being large enough to manage the same intake of Chinese exports relative to China's size as before."
                                                  • "Assets Need Protection"--The Dignified Rant. The author suggests that it would benefit American security concerns for China to focus on that portion of its Belts and Roads Initiative that are based on land transport across Eurasia, because it would necessarily require China to focus its military on protecting those assets.
                                                  • "Project Veritas: Deep State Video II"--Raconteur Report. The first video was of a State Department paper pusher that worked on his socialist political organization's stuff while at work, while this newer video reveals an intern for the DoJ that uses government resources to get the addresses of political opponents so they can be doxxed.  Aesop writes: "As you ponder government officials who know your license plate and what schools your kids go to, tell me how your ammo count and local accountability lists are coming along, particularly in light of today's previous post." As I have stated many times before, you need to start collecting names and figure out the links between them, to understand what is going on.
                                                  • "White existence is a crime, says BLF spokesperson"--The Citizen. The Black First, Land First spokesperson making these comments is Lindsay Maasdorp.
                                                  • "Historical storage cellars in Budapest: The architectural history and functional operation of an industrial building in 19th-century Hungary"--published in the journal, Építés – Építészettudomány. From the abstract:
                                                    The Kőbánya district of Budapest is situated on the eastern margins of the Hungarian capital city. Beneath Kőbánya there is an extensive limestone layer, in which tunnels and passages have been made, some  of which  appear  to  date  from  the 13th  century.  In  the 19th  century,  the  limestone caverns  of Budapest-Kőbánya were used for the refrigeration of  perishable goods in  large quantities. 
                                                    • "Artificial Saviors"--B2O. A lengthy article discussing the current state of AI development and a bit on how we got here, and where we may be going. Specifically, the author looks at whether current AI research could lead to people placing unwarranted faith in AIs. Amusingly, the article came with this trigger warning: "Content Warning: The following text references algorithmic systems acting in racist ways towards people of color." But this actually hints at the crux of the article, which is that current machine learning is opaque--we don't really know how the machine arrived at its decision or determination. To the author, this raises the specter that our belief in the veracity or correctness of such decisions will become matters of faith. And, for the author, this raises the concern that "[w]hen decisions are made automatically without any way for people to understand the reasoning, to check the way power acts and potentially discriminates, there is no longer any political debate apart from whether to fall in line or to abolish the system all together." For example, the author worries, an AI that predicts crime and learns that crime is disproportionately committed by PoC will undermine attempts of PoC to achieve political solutions to change the status quo. Or, as his argument could otherwise be stated, AIs will be red-pilled, which could lead society to become red-pilled by proxy.
                                                    • "Luther's Knocking"--The Social Pathologist. The author discusses why there is such a disconnect between the Vatican and American Catholics over the seriousness of the current sex scandal rocking the church. To the author, the difference comes down to the fact that Italians, for instance, have always dealt with corruption in the church, and so, "[i]n a Darwinian manner, Italians have learned to forge a life in a manner which accommodates and accepts institutional corruption." 
                                                              Protestantism, on the other hand, gave the believer far more legitimacy in public affairs  and the theology of Protestantism expected the  believer to behave act as one of the elect. There was no reliance on the confessional to wipe away misdeeds and poor behaviour was an outward sign of perdition which rightly disqualified a man from institutional office. The net effect of this "theological bias" in Protestant culture was attitude towards institutions which demanded honesty and efficiency.
                                                             Which brings us to the phenomenon of American Catholicism. The United States was founded as a Protestant Enlightenment project: the institutional culture is Protestant. While the country was explicitly secular, Protestantism was the de-facto institutional religion of the country and within its theological framework established it's habits, ideas and cultural practices. It was into this culture that the waves of Catholic migrants flooded and eventually became assimilated. However, the assimilation wasn't one way, Catholicism too had to adapt to the culture with the overall result that American Catholicism became Protestantised.
                                                      The result--and the disconnect--is that "[u]nlike Latin Catholicism, American Catholicism won't put up with institutional corruption." 

                                                      Wednesday, September 19, 2018

                                                      POTD: Abandoned House on a Hill Overlooking Birmingham, Alabama

                                                      From: "The forgotten South: Striking shots capture abandoned Alabama house that remains frozen in time - with even a classic Mustang still in the garage"--Daily Mail. Even though the house has been abandoned for about 20 years, it seems to fairly well preserved notwithstanding the climate. 

                                                      September 19, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

                                                      "Shooting left and low with a handgun"--Personal Defense and Firearm Education (8-1/2 min.)
                                                      Are you shooting low and to the left or, if left handed, shooting low and to the right? The producer of this video discusses some simple changes to your grip that may work to correct that problem.

                                                      • Grant Cunningham's Hump Day Reading List for this week. One of my posts made the list, so, if for no other reason, you need to check it out (as I pat myself on the back). Seriously, though, he links to some good articles on self-defense and prepping, including how to handle a traffic stop if you are carrying concealed, tips on safely answering the door to your home, prepping if you are pregnant, and others.
                                                      • "Bear Spray Fails to Stop Fatal Grizzly Attack in Wyoming"--Ammo Land. More information continues to come out about the fatal grizzly bear attack on a hunter and guide in Wyoming. Previously we had learned that the hunter had to get into a pack to retrieve a pistol, and then simply tossed to the pistol to the guide who was, at that point, under attack. The article relates:
                                                      Mark Uptain [the guide] appears to have relied on a can of bear spray to deter the attack. A can of bear spray, with the safety off, was found at the site. The adult sow grizzly had bear spray on her at the scene. The bear was shot and killed as she attacked investigating Fish and Wildlife personnel. 
                                                      • "BOB: Bug Out Bags – A Fresh Look"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You. The author acknowledges that bug-out-bags, or get-home-bags, depend on your specific circumstances. For instance, he packs thermal underwear in his bag, but that would probably be superfluous for someone living in Florida. In any event, what he suggests is looking at categories of items: water, food, hygiene, first aid, energy, clothing, shelter, transportation (obviously you aren't going to carry a car, but he means things like maps, compass, etc., to assist in traveling), communications, tools, and library.
                                                      • ".22 Handgun Utility and Use" and "More .22 stuff"--Total Survivalist Blog. The obvious uses are for hunting small game, recreation, and training. They can also be pressed into service for defense against small critters (e.g., snakes), survival, or a silenced weapon (with appropriate silencer). My personal thinking on the matter is that if I could only have two weapons for bugging out or survival, one would be a .22--it would either be a .22 rifle capable of being broken down coupled with a pistol suitable for self-defense (low-key), or a .22 pistol coupled with a rifle suitable for defense or hunting medium game (don't care if seen with a rifle). The primary reason for this mix is that .22 gives you options for hunting small game (or even medium game with good shot placement), together with the ability to carry a larger supply of ammunition.
                                                      • "When Using Lasers on Handguns, Don’t Neglect the Sights"--Jerking the Trigger. The author notes that "[v]isible lasers are a great addition to smaller defensive firearms, especially those with marginal sights that aren’t easily corrected like small frame revolvers. A good laser can make firearms like these easier to aim and extend their useful range but that doesn’t mean you can forget the sights, no matter how rudimentary they are, altogether." The problem is if the laser dot is not on target but going off into space (or striking a non-reflecting object). The author explains:
                                                              Many shooters, even those who train regularly, have never thought of what happens when the surface behind the target is removed because it is not something they have encountered. With no backstop, a laser equipped firearm can be aimed in such a way that the dot is not visible because it is projecting out into the space around the target and not on a surface that registers the dot.  Think of a target on a stand in the middle of a pasture or large parking lot. The dot would not be visible unless it was projected on the target itself or the ground near the target. When this happens there is no visual feedback for adjusting the point of aim which can leave the unprepared shooter with fewer options.
                                                               This is why a correct presentation/draw stroke, even on a laser equipped firearm, involves acquiring the sights (or at least some form of coarse sight picture). The shooter finds the sights and only then, if the projected laser dot is visible, they may switch their focus to the target and dot. This technique mitigates failures on the part of the shooter to find the dot and failures of the laser itself. If there is no visible dot, the shooter is already on the sights.
                                                          I have to admit that I haven't used weapon mounted lasers much. I had heard anecdotes about how they greatly assisted sighting with small pistols with only rudimentary sights, but when my wife recently decided to carry a small .380 with laser sights, I was amazed how much faster it was for both of us to acquire the target when using the laser. 
                                                          • "KGB LLC Stinger47 Brace Adapter for AK Pistols"--The Firearm Blog. Looks nice; folds to the left, which is the side you want if you need to operate the weapon with the brace folded.
                                                          • "Wayne County Commissioner Introduces Ammunition Control"--Ammo Land. Wayne County includes Detroit. The proposed ordinance would require a mental health certificate to purchase ammunition and add an additional tax to ammunition purchases. However, like the devil trying to corrupt little-by-little, "Davis hopes to work with the NRA to find a compromise that would be agreeable to all parties." The only acceptable compromise I see would involve a long fall and a short rope.

                                                          The producer of this video follows Paul Harrell's lead in using a "meat target" to test effectiveness. The loads tested appeared to all perform adequately.
                                                                   Fr. Thomas explained why sexual abuse of children is especially heinous. “By sexually abusing children, Satan desires to destroy the icon of the kingdom of God. He wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child,” he said.
                                                                     The priest said that in his opinion, behavior that falls outside the bounds of what is conceivable -- like murder -- is also clearly demonic.
                                                                Some of these homosexual predators are, I think, possessed.   Think about it.  If you know anything about demonic activity, and this is something that lay people should not get too involved with, then you know that certain demons specialize in certain kinds of sins.  They will attach themselves like spiritual lampreys to the souls of people who commit them and also to the places where the sins were committed.  Once a demon gets hold, they claim the right to be there, until the layers of their connection are broken one by one.  That’s what exorcism rites do: they break the legalistic claims of the Enemy to be there.
                                                                         “We further deny that competency to teach on any biblical issue comes from any qualification for spiritual people other than clear understanding and simple communication of what is revealed in Scripture.”
                                                                           It references the Bible over and over, contending “the priorities and mission of the largest evangelical denominations, churches, and seminaries in the United States” have “radically changed” in recent years.
                                                                             “Seminaries previously focused on Scriptural exegesis and proclamation are now focusing on teaching their future pastors’ postmodern concepts such as critical race theory and intersectionality. Churches throughout the nation are pushing progressive agendas along with the teaching of unconscious bias training and the deceptive idea of ‘white privilege.'”
                                                                               The statement says faithful church members “are being encouraged to reject constitutional conservatives and to embrace open borders, reject normative patriotism, and embrace progressive concepts and social justice policies normally reserved for radical socialists or open society adherents.”
                                                                          You can read the full text of the statement here.
                                                                                   N., an exceptionally well-informed lay Catholic, tells me that there are two basic tribes of gay bishops and priests.
                                                                                     The first tribe is the Progressives — some sexually active, others not — who believe homosexuality should be normalized by the Catholic Church, and are pushing openly for the Church to change its teachings to reflect that.
                                                                                       The second tribe are Conservatives who live a double life. Outwardly they advocate for traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality, but they also live homosocially (in the sense of socializing with other gay conservative priests), and some have gay sex. They therefore live in a state of cognitive dissonance.
                                                                                         N. discussed particular examples of both kind of bishop and priest.
                                                                                          I asked N. why the gay Catholic progressive priests don’t simply out the hypocritical conservatives. Why not destroy your opposition, especially given that they really are hypocrites?
                                                                                             “Neither side wants to do that to the other. That would mean Armageddon,” he said. “Both sides live in a Cold War situation. They take potshots at each other, and fight proxy wars, but neither side wants to challenge the other too hard. If they really went to war, there would be nothing left for anybody.”
                                                                                               What N. meant is that the problem is so deeply embedded within the Catholic clerical structure that if the truth were known, the system as we know it would likely collapse, and neither gay nor conservative gay priests would have any privileges left to enjoy. So they tolerate each other.