Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--April 30, 2015

A random selection of articles today:

Serbu Blowback 22LR

The Firearms Blog reports on a .22 blowback machine pistol--the Serbu--that shoots an impressive 2,000 rounds per minute. That exceeds the firing rate of even the American-180 submachine gun, (although I would note that the latter used a 177-round drum magazine, rather than the 10-round magazine of the Serbu).

"Prepper on a Budget"

A reader pointed me to this article on putting aside food storage and supplies when on a tight budget. It includes links to other resources and articles. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Finland Gearing Up For War?

SNAFU passes on the report that Finland is sending out letters to all 900,000 military reservists to inform them where to report in the event of an emergency, and putting together a database of current contact information.

Greg Ellifritz: Mob Survival

Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training has an article on what to do if you get caught up in a mob/riot.

First They Came for Traditional Christians....

From the National Review:
Religious institutions could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt status due to their beliefs about marriage if the Supreme Court holds that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed, President Obama’s attorney acknowledged to the Supreme Court today [i.e., April 28].
The government wouldn't even have this stick with which to beat Christians if it wasn't for the awful events of 1913--a year to live in infamy. Paul Rosenberg described the events of that year as "The Blow That Killed America 100 Years Ago." He described three events that killed the United States--at least as a constitutional federal republic: (i) the 16th Amendment, allowing the Federal Government to impose an income tax; (ii) the 17th Amendment, which eliminated the representation of States in Congress by requiring the popular election of Senators (prior to that, Senators were chosen by each State's legislature), turning Senators into creatures of a strong central government; and (iii) establishment of the Federal Reserve System--i.e., privatization of the creation of money. Read the whole thing, and see also "Beware of Years That End in 13."

Boko Haram Changes Name...

Boko Haram’s commitment to the jihadi group the Islamic State, has just become even more pronounced, after the Nigerian terrorist organization changed its name to ISWAP or Islamic State’s West Africa Province. 
The move appears to give the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) a foothold outside of the Middle East and North Africa for the first time, as the terrorist organization tries to create a global caliphate. 
Links between the two militant Islamist organizations have grown over the last year. A recent video released by IS sang the praises of Boko Haram fighters, while the Nigeria-based militant group also released a propaganda video, via IS’s social media channels.

Appendix Carry--For or Against?

Breach Bang Clear noted a couple articles about appendix carry yesterday. The first is "The Appendix Carry Craze" by Darren LaSorte, who insists that appendix carry is bad. His primary argument (based on the number of lines devoted to it) is that it was extremely uncomfortable for him when he tried it. But he also adds:
There is no doubt that appendix carry allows for more efficient concealment than the strong side carry that I practice. Too many people around us like to casually touch our sides, but few will attempt to touch the area immediately above the beltline below our stomach. Many around me end up feeling steel or polymer. It’s always a little unsettling when it happens. Also, it’s easier for the end of a handgun’s grip to print out from under a shirt or suit, especially when bending over (at least bending over is possible for me when not carrying appendix).  
This newer form of carry also provides for a lightening quick draw as long as circumstances surrounding the draw are perfect. The one, not so insignificant problem with this is that circumstances are usually less than ideal when you are in a fight for your life (why we conceal and carry in the first place).  
Some advocates of appendix carry claim that it is hard for an adversary to foul a draw. This claim simply doesn’t stand up to reason or practice, and it’s why I reserve this form of carry for the most extreme of circumstances such as venues where there are large, dense populations with people regularly bouncing off one another. Concealing the presence of the gun in these circumstances is the most critical consideration. 
Try this: Get a training partner to come at you aggressively while you are carrying a blue gun appendix style. Let him get fist-fight-close and see how easy it is for him to jam your draw. Then, move the blue gun to a more comfortable spot (4 o’clock on the strong side) and try again. With the latter, you can use most of your body as a shield in order to provide time and space for a draw. It all becomes really evident if you simply try it.  
All of this was on display during a training course I attended in California this past weekend. I’ve been looking for a solid reason to shun appendix carry, and I’ve finally got it. It’s no longer my being an old dog unwilling to learn new tricks. There is a legitimate tactical reason that appendix carry is a real disadvantage. I would hope that anyone who practices it on a regular basis takes a realistic look at how difficult it is to draw from appendix against a determined adversary in a physical fight. It can also be dangerous when the muzzle is redirected toward your body during a struggle.
On the contrary side is Breach Bang Clear's own article on the topic: "Why Carry AIWB?" by Matt Jacques. Jacques points out the advantages:
AIWB is faster and more secure than many other carry methods. The handgun is near my body's centerline. If someone “bumps” it, they will most likely be someone I am giving a hug or brotherly shoulder bump to, and in either of those cases they know I'm a gun-toting guy so no surprise there. If it's someone I'm not close to, I can now control the action and keep that area away from an accidental bump and resulting “look of concern”. 
And the draw / presentation is faster from 1 o'clock AIWB as opposed to 3 – 4 o’clock strong-side carry. It's an economy of motion consideration. Less time-in-hand movement, quicker to the target. 
It's also more practical while seated in a vehicle, since your weapon is up front and accessible instead of under a seatbelt or tangled in a cover garment. The cover garment can be mitigated with setup, but your draw is still faster coming from the centerline. I've also found that AIWB makes it easier to hide the handgun's profile (depending on clothing). ...
In quickly poking around the internet, it appears that appendix carry has a lot of fans. When the Ballown Goes Up! blog note that appendix carry is popular with combatives instructors. The author dismisses the paranoia over the issue of safety (i.e., it is no more dangerous than other common methods of carrying a firearm) and gives some tips for making it more comfortable. He also notes that draws from an appendix carry are fast, can be done without the exaggerated arm movement of a hip-side draw, and are more natural.

Gabe Saurez also recommends appendix carry for exactly the situation where you are grappling/on the ground with an attacker on top of you. Another good article I found on the topic is "Appendix Carry Illustrated" at the Legion's Fate blog. And here is woman's take on appendix carry and why it worked better for her. Although Caleb at Gun Nuts Media ditched appendix carry, it mostly had to do with it not working with his preferred wardrobe and that he didn't want to have to practice a different draw from what he used in competition.

I'll admit that I've never tried appendix carry before. I experimented with it last night after reading the articles by LaSorte and Jacques, using my J-frame in its pocket holster--just pushing the holster inside the waistband and cinching up my belt a little tighter than normal--before leaving to do some grocery shopping. I just wore a loose t-shirt over it. My initial impressions are that it concealed better, and was more comfortable when sitting seatbelted into the car, than the standard strong-side holster I would normally have used. So now I think I will look into getting a holster more appropriate for appendix carry.

I will leave off with a story that I quoted from last year. Although the story has to do with appendix carry versus using an ankle holster, I think some of the points are applicable to appendix versus other methods of carrying. The story can be found in its whole at The Firearms Blog. The part relevant here:
I have always appendix carried my Browning BDA-380 when undercover just the the right of my belt buckle and had put on rubber Pachmayr grips that work perfectly to prevent the firearm from slipping down from the belt.  
The big dudes were kicking us in the achilles tendon, and calves, while wearing heavy work boots, and pinching the back of our arms. Let me tell you when a large full grown man pinches your muscles it hurts like hell.  
We were in deep deep shit but fortunately we had stopped right before the May 19th lady and I quickly got my firearm out because I could still move my forearms and it was a simple matter to just move my hand to my belt buckle area to draw. Danny on the other hand had seen me going for my weapon but when he bent over to get to his ankle mounted weapon they “bucked” up against his extended rear end preventing him from bending over and when he tried to lift his leg to get to it they jostled him so he couldn’t stand on one leg.  
HE COULD NOT GET TO HIS WEAPON TO SAVE HIS LIFE.  
I took my weapon out from under my shirt with just and inch or so of the barrel showing, so the rest of the crowd couldn’t see it, and told the May19th lady “I know who you are and you know who I am. Look down (she did) and in three seconds I’m going to start shooting, starting with you right in the stomach if you don’t get your goons off us” I told her “we are leaving so just get them off us and we are out of here” All this time they keep up the pinching and kicking and I could see Danny was having a hard time of it.
(Underline added).

Anyway, I'm excited to give appendix carry a try. Maybe it will work better for me, maybe not, but I'm intrigued to give it a try. I don't expect it to be the best method in all situations, though, but it is another option.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Bird Flu Cases in Iowa and Kentucky

Two types of bird flu--H5N2 and H5N8--have popped up in poultry operations in scattered states around the nation. Reuters reports that the H5N2 strain has been found in five commercial poultry farms in Iowa, affecting up to 6 million birds in just those facilities. If these findings are correct, the outbreak will have affected a total of 15.1 million commercial birds. The flu strains first appeared in the western United States and Canada: the H5N2 strain first appeared in British Columbia, and appears to have subsequently spread to Washington. H5N8 appears to have first appeared in Washington as well. (See also this CDC announcement).

In any event, the H5N2 strain seems to spreading the furthest, gradually crossing the continent. Today it was reported that it had been detected in two wild ducks in Kentucky.

A Quick Run Around the Web--April 28, 2015

Between work and family over the last several days, I've hardly had time to catch some of the news, let alone post anything here. However, here are a few firearms items that I found interesting:

  • The Truth About Guns has posted a second test of various AR-15 muzzle brakes. The winner of this second test is the one that came out on top in the first test: Precision Armament’s M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator.
  • Timothy Yan at The Firearms Blog discusses the inner workings of the Chinese QBZ-95 bullpup assault rifle.
  • "Wyatt Earp on Shooting vs. Gunfighting" at Looserounds. I had read of Wyatt Earp's "secret" to gun fighting previously in, of all things, a college Calculus text book. It was there as a warning against rushing too fast through a problem.
  • "Japanese Type 97 Sniper Rifle" at Forgotten Weapons. A short video on the weapon. The 7.7 mm Type 99 Arisaka rifle was the primary Japanese infantry rifle in WWII. However, the Japanese still used the older 6.5 mm Type 38 rifles through the war as well. The Type 97 was a Type 38 mounting a scope. Based on the naming convention (Type [year of introduction based on the Imperial Calender]), the Type 97 sniper rifle was introduced two years before the Type 99.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cold War Weapons Caches

File:Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Weapons Cache in Northern Gaza.jpg
Weapons cache found in Gaza (Source)


At one time I started reading a book called Nuclear Suitcase by Joel Jenkins. I thought the book itself was terrible, and I'm not recommending that anyone read it. I stopped about a third of the way through it. However, the premise intrigued me--that the Soviet Union had created caches of weapons (including potentially small nuclear "suitcase" bombs) inside the United States during the Cold War. The author noted Congressional testimony concerning the caches, and I tracked down an article about the subject from the January 25, 2000, Los Angeles Times.
A former Soviet spy testified at a congressional hearing in Los Angeles on Monday that Russian intelligence operatives placed weapons and communications caches--perhaps even small nuclear devices--in California and other states as part of a plan to destabilize the United States through sabotage.

Those caches, hidden during the Cold War and perhaps for years afterward, were to be used by elite Russian commandos to attack political leaders, military installations and oil pipelines, power plants and other civilian targets in the event of war or increased political tensions between the two superpowers, according to Stanislav Lunev.

Lunev was the star witness at the field hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform. A former colonel, he was billed as the highest-ranking member of the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU ever to defect to the United States.

... The central reason for the hearing--the suggestion that there may be "portable tactical nuclear devices" stashed in suitcases and hidden in strategic locations across the United States--has been controversial and strongly discounted by some, including senior State Department officials.

Critics say that Lunev has never been able to identify a specific location of one of the sites and that even if they exist, they probably contain items that are a lot less destructive than portable nuclear weapons.

On Monday, Lunev had the luxury of appearing only before two sympathetic Republican congressmen--committee Chairman Dan Burton of Indiana and Joe Scarborough of Florida--who didn't grill him on the details of his allegations.

Lunev said he is unable to pinpoint the locations of the caches because his orders were only to locate potential sites.

But he insisted that during his nearly four years spent in Washington, D.C., before 1992, he was one of literally hundreds of agents who were told to find such secret hiding places.

"I had very clear instructions: These dead-drop positions would need to be for all types of weapons, including nuclear weapon[s]," Lunev said in a heavy Russian accent. Lunev said the caches also contained guns, radios, maps and currency.

Lunev's allegations received support last year when another Soviet defector, Vasili Mitrokhin--an archivist for the Soviet intelligence service KGB--co-wrote a book that contended that hundreds of the sites were scattered across the United States and Europe.

Mitrokhin had smuggled information out of the Soviet Union and only had time to write down four specific locations of the caches--three in Switzerland and one in Belgium. When authorities accessed them, they found at least some evidence of intelligence activity.

One bunker in Switzerland exploded when authorities sprayed it with a water cannon.

Burton said he wanted Monday's hearing to take place in Los Angeles because intelligence information indicates that California was one of the major targets for such caches in the United States.

Also, there is a preponderance of important civilian and military installations near Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the two congressmen and Lunev.

"California is the most populous state in the nation," Burton said. "If there are hidden caches of explosives in this state, that's very dangerous. That's something the people ought to be informed about."

A senior State Department official said the administration--and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in particular--were taking the allegations very seriously.

The official said, "We understand that the FBI investigation to date has not produced evidence of such arms caches in the United States." The source added that senior Clinton administration officials "have asked the Russians [about the arms caches] . . . and they have denied that there are such caches placed around the country."
(See also this article). In 2014, notes smuggled out of the Soviet Union by Vasili Mitrokhin, a KGB archivist, were made publicly available.  Reporting on the information contained therein, The Telegraph wrote:
Booby-trapped caches of weapons are probably still hidden around Britain after being concealed during the Cold War by Soviet agents preparing for conflict, a leading historian has said. 
Details of how clandestine stockpiles of small arms and communications gear were hidden across Europe are disclosed in a KGB intelligence archive made public for the first time on Monday. 
* * * 
The trove of files copied down by a senior KGB archivist called Vasili Mitrokhin over a 12 year period before he defected in 1992 is considered one of the most invaluable intelligence sources of the Cold War and provides a detailed insight into Soviet spy operations. 
Nineteen of 33 box files containing his notes are being opened to the public at Churchill College in Cambridge.
Mitrokhin’s notes provide detailed descriptions of weapons caches hidden around major European cities for use by agents operating abroad should tensions escalate into a conflict. 
Professor Christopher Andrew, a historian and friend of Mitrokhin who has written two books on the archive, said caches were hidden around most major cities. 
Though the archive provides no details of hidden weapons in Britain, they are almost certainly here, he said. 
He added: "This was a large scale operation and the caches were strategically placed in most Nato countries during the Cold War. 
"Given that Britain was second only to the United States in terms of importance to the Soviets at this time, it would be remarkable if this tactic wasn't deployed here. 
"Of course by now they would not be easy to find and it is unlikely the weapons would be serviceable." 
Describing one stash near Berne, Switzerland, Mitrokhin provides directions to a chapel near a farm. 
He adds: "After taking 36 steps, you will be at the point between two large leafy trees, the only ones in the sector. 
"The distance between the trees is three paces. The area between the trees has been used for the cache." 
Another note provides instructions on how to disarm explosive booby-traps on the caches.
 (See also this article at the Daily Mail).

Of course, the Soviet Union was not the only country to create caches of weapons. It was reported in 1996 that the United States had negotiated with Austria to remove weapons caches placed by the CIA decades earlier.

Book Review: "How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It" by James Wesley Rawles

(Source)

It might seem odd, but although I have looked at, and through, Mr. Rawles book on several occasions since it was first published, I have never read it because I never actually felt any great need or desire to buy it. But I recently saw that the local library carried a copy and thought I would read it.

Like my review on Max Velocity's Contact!, I think it is best to first approach How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It by describing what it is not. And that is, unlike other books such as Cody Lundin's When All Hell Breaks Loose, Rawles book is not actually a manual on surviving disasters or emergencies. That is, there are no instructions on what to do in the event of an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear explosion, riots, and so on. The only place that Rawles touches on surviving any particular disaster is a short appendix that addresses surviving a pandemic. (And this is not his primary concern regarding how the world will end, which is an economic collapse). Instead, Rawles' theory on surviving a disaster is avoidance--not being there when a disaster strikes.

You may remember my recent discussion between survivalism and prepping, and that it primarily revolves around the idea of a retreat of some sort. And that is what Rawles' book is about: it is, at heart, a book setting out the basics of setting up a small homestead in an isolated rural area, while addressing topics such as self-defense that other homesteading books, such as Back to Basics won't address. (Rawles has a chapter discussing defense and security issues, and another chapter specifically devoted to weapons). Yes, it gives a nod to sheltering in place in an urban setting, but Rawles is quite clear that he does not believe that "bugging-in" is a viable option.

At 316 pages including a couple appendices and an index, Rawles obviously cannot go into great detail on the various topics of food storage, gardening, getting and purifying water, etc. This book is to provide an overview--a place to start on your journey into creating a self-reliant homestead, rather than an end. Notwithstanding the marketing hype, this is not "the definitive guide on how to prepare for any crises." This is not to say it is without benefit to the person that is already experienced. Rawles includes a broad swath of information, as well as some specific tips and directions, that there is more likely than not something new and of value. For instance, his chapter on water, although not very long, has some excellent information on purifying and treating water. His chapter on gardening and raising livestock also has good information on controlling pests, sources of tools, and some lessons learned for when buying livestock which are probably worth the cost of the book to someone just getting started into livestock. However, the value of this book will go down the more experience and knowledge you have. It is, as I said, for the person relatively new to the topic of survivalism and prepping.

My single biggest disappointment with the book is the lack of diagrams or illustrations. There is not a single diagram or illustration in the entire book. For instance, his instructions on building a Berky water filter clone (pp. 73-74) or constructing a bullet bucket (p. 75) would have been helped out by photographs or illustrations showing the various steps or components. Illustrations on the construction of barriers or other security devices would have been useful.

Secondly, as I've mentioned, Rawles rejects the idea of "bugging in." However, he seems to have an all or nothing attitude: he assumes that if you are "bugging in" in an urban environment, it must be a an apartment building in Manhattan or similarly dense urban center; and bugging out must be to an isolated retreat. I would have liked to see some discussion about the suburban home.

Another criticism I have with the book is the tacit assumption that you will find and settle in a location similar to that of the author's. Rawles lives in the extreme north of Idaho--practically on the Canadian border--in an area with decent to good soil and adequate supply of natural precipitation. Although the winters can be cold, the summers are mild. Moreover, there is a significant amount of pine and fur forests and an adequate population of larger game animals (as well as bear). Thus, what may work for Rawles in that situation may not be applicable if you were, instead, attempting to live in a retreat in the high mountain deserts of Nevada, the plains of Kansas, or in rural Alabama, for instance. This isn't something that Rawles ignores--he specifically notes the importance of researching not only the general climate for your location, but also the specific micro-climate, when considering a location--but it does carry over into recommendations on what firearms to have and certain other factors.

In short, if you are new to survivalism--or perhaps a prepper that has decided to invest in a retreat--this book provides a good overview of what is needed for a survival retreat. However, it is only an overview. It has some defects, the most significant of which is the lack of illustrations or diagrams.

"Christians Are Being Systematically Purged From The U.S. Military"

An article by Michael Snyder. So what is the purpose of such a policy? To bring the military more strongly into the socialist fold by having de facto "purity" or "loyalty" tests, and thus more malleable as to what missions they would be willing to carry out.

Who Says There Isn't A Conspiracy? Task Force on New Americans

PJ Media has obtained an internal “Dear Colleague” letter written by Leon Rodriguez, the “director and co-chair of the Task Force on New Americans.” The letter refers to a White House report called “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents.”

* * *

The Rodriguez letter states:

This report outlines an immigrant integration plan that will advance our nation’s global competitiveness and ensure that the people who live in this country can fully participate in their communities.

“Full participation” is a term commonly used to include voting rights. To that end, resources within DHS have been redirected toward pushing as many as aliens and non-citizens as possible to full citizenship status so they may “fully participate” in the 2016 presidential election. For example, the internal DHS letter states one aim is to “strengthen existing pathways to naturalization and promote civic engagement.”

Naturalization plus mobilization is the explicit aim of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.” Multiple sources at DHS confirm that political appointees are prioritizing naturalization ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Empirical voting patterns among immigrants from minority communities demonstrate that these new voters will overwhelmingly vote for Democrat candidates. If the empirical rates of support for Democrats continued among these newly naturalized minority voters, Democrats could enjoy an electoral net benefit of millions of new voters in the 2016 presidential election.
 --"Homeland Security Working Overtime to Add ‘New Americans’ by 2016 Election" by J. Christian Adams

Second Magma Chamber Found Below Yellowstone

(Source)
In an interesting bit of news, scientists at the University of Utah, making use of seismic tomography, have discovered a second magma reservoir below the previously known magma chamber. According to the article:
The new report fills in a missing link of the system. It describes a large reservoir of hot rock, mostly solid but with some melted rock in the mix, that lies beneath a shallow, already-documented magma chamber.  The newly discovered reservoir is 4.5 times larger than the chamber above it. There's enough magma there to fill the Grand Canyon. The reservoir is on top of a long plume of magma that emerges from deep within the Earth's mantle.
The data doesn't change the risk assessment of whether there will be an eruption, but will help geologists to better understand the mechanics of such an eruption.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Work Begins on United Arab Army

To lead this off, it should be noted that Iran has apparently redirected the convoy of ships headed to Yemen. The AP indicates that "it remains unclear where the nine-ship convoy may be headed now, but as of Thursday it was no longer moving in the direction of the Yemeni port of Aden." However, that does not mean that the Saudi air campaign has been a success. Fox News reports:
A Saudi-led coalition is keeping up an air campaign against Houthi rebel targets in Yemen, despite an announcement to end airstrikes.

Riyadh is hoping these bombings will disrupt the Iranian-backed militants’ network but, so far, rebels are still holding significant territory in the country, experts tell FoxNews.com.

Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton (Ret.) and David Andrew Weinberg told Fox News’ Jonathan Hunt that it has been hard to predict whether airstrikes against the rebels are working.

“If the goal is just to get the Houthis to the negotiating table, then perhaps the airstrikes are working. Now, from a tactical, military sense because there apparently are some difficulties with the targeting the Saudis are using, I would then say the strikes are not working,” said Leighton, a former Air Force intelligence officer.

He added, “air power needs to be used in concert with other means of power -- whether they be diplomatic, military on the ground, military maritime – those are the kind of things that make a difference.”

Strategic errors are a potential reason for Saudi Arabia wanting to end their air campaign.
So, basically what I noted the other day: aerial bombing campaigns are not strategy, but must be in support of other forces, such as ground forces.

But the Saudis may have learned from their error. The Saudi Gazette reports that several Arab countries are in discussion to form an international military organization to counter threats to the region's governments. From the article:
Army chiefs from Arab League nations on Wednesday began work on building a region-wide military force aimed at combatting [sic] militants. The regional bloc agreed in March to set up the force, with member states given four months to decide on its composition, precise rules of engagement and required budget.

The meeting to discuss such details was overseen by the Egyptian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Mahmud Hegazy at the League’s Cairo headquarters. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has pushed for the creation of the regional force after Daesh (the so-laclled
 [sic] IS) executed a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya in February, prompting retaliatory airstrikes by Cairo.

The plan gained further momentum after Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched airstrikes on Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen. “The creation of a joint Arab force in no way aims to form a new alliance or army hostile to any country, but a force to fight terrorism and maintain security, peace and stability in the region,” Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Arabi said in a speech Wednesday.

Hegazy said there was a need to “fight terrorism,” adding that the force might intervene in internal conflicts.

“We cannot ignore internal conflicts and the growth of terrorist organizations in an Arab country, and it is wrong to think that these conflicts have no direct or indirect repercussions in other Arab countries,” he said.

Wednesday’s meeting will make proposals to the Arab heads of state that are expected to be ratified within three months.

Egypt, the most populous Arab country, appears set to become the backbone of the force.

Cairo sees it as imperative to intervene in Libya against the local branch of Daesh that is gaining ground in the country.
 This is a de facto acknowledgement that they cannot rely on the U.S. militarily, and that the fight against ISIS has spread beyond the confines of Syria and northern Iraq.

A Quick Run Around the Web: April 23, 2015

File:The Color Run, Grand Prix Edition (Melbourne 2014) (12869502993).jpg
2014 Melbourne Color Run (Source)

A few interesting or useful articles:

The Ruins of Cleveland's Variety Theater

Looking Toward the Stage

Dated equipment: Most of the building's machinery has been languishing for years since the venue's unfortunate closure
The lighting room
Built in 1927, the venue has been closed since 1984. More photos and story at the Daily Mail.

The Missing Link ... (Updated)

... between the StG 44 and the CETME/G-3: the StG 45 delayed rollback. I've collected some photos to show the evolution from StG 44 to the G3.

MP44 - Tyskland - 8x33mm Kurz - Armémuseum.jpg
StG 44 (MP44) using the 7.92 Kurz (Source)

Munster Sturmgewehr 45 (dark1).jpg
StG 45 (M) -- A more easily manufactured firearm using a delayed roller block system (Source)

File:Sturmgewehr 45 reproduction.png
Another view of the StG 45 (Source)
Spanish CETME Mod. A (Source)

assault rifle (automatic) cetme a / cetme b (modelo 58) / cetme c
Spanish CETME Mod. B (Source)


The Spanish CETME Mod. C (7.62 NATO) (Source) (Note, this may have been made from a parts kit, since the triple frame at the front appears to be from a G3--it is somewhat slanted on the front and lacks the tab for the bayonet--and the finish is black, rather than the brown used on the CETME rifles)


CETME rifle, 7.62x51 NATO
An interesting variant with a a wooden pistol grip. However, it is lacking the paddle magazine release and front pin on the lower receiver, so appears to be built on a semi-automatic receiver. (Source)

assault rifle (automatic) cetme a / cetme b (modelo 58) / cetme c
Another photograph of the CETME Model C (Source) (Note: Although the stock and bayonet appear correct, the cocking handle is extra large--probably from an HK 21--the cleaning kit is German, and the magazines are German G3 magazines). The CETME cleaning kit fit into a small tube inserted into the front of the cocking tube.

An early model HK G3. Note the similarity to the CETME Mod. C (Source

A replica of the HK G3 with the narrow front stock and carry handle (Source)


An HK G3 sporting the Navy lower and wide forestock (Source)


The whole HK line based off of the G3 (Source)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Terrorist Attack on Paris Churches Thwarted

The Associated Press (via the Miami Herald) reports:
An Islamic extremist with an arsenal of loaded guns was prevented from opening fire on churchgoers only because he accidentally shot himself in the leg, French officials said Wednesday.

The 24-year-old computer science student, who was also suspected in the death of a young woman whose body was found on Sunday shortly before his arrest, had been flagged as a risk for intent to travel to Syria but there had been no specific reason to open a judicial investigation, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the suspect – an Algerian who had lived in France for several years – was arrested in Paris Sunday after he apparently shot himself by accident and called for an ambulance.

He was waiting outside his apartment building for first aid when police arrived. They followed a trail of blood to his car, which contained loaded guns, and notes about potential targets.

A search of his apartment in southeastern Paris turned up more weapons including three Kalashnikov assault rifles along with phones and computers that police used to establish that he’d been in communication with someone “who could have been in Syria,” Molins said at a news conference.

This person “explicitly asked him to target a church,” Molins said, declining to answer questions about the investigation into what he termed “an imminent attack.”
So many things spring to mind about this article: how our greatest protection from terrorists is often their stupidity; the ineffectiveness of gun control; the fruits of European immigration policy ... and the last bit of the article (not included above) indicating that European authorities are working with Google and Twitter to increase electronic surveillance.

Saudi Arabia Resumes Air Strikes in Yemen

The Independent reports:
Yemenis are wondering if the 28-day Saudi bombing campaign is really over or whether the war has simply entered a new phase. Air strikes were still taking place in Aden, Taiz and other Yemeni cities hours after they were supposed to have ceased.

And nobody in Yemen supposes that the war the Saudis escalated when they started bombing on 26 March can be concluded just because the bombs have stopped falling.

The Houthis, the Shia militia whom the Saudis are supposedly trying to displace from power, overran an armoured brigade headquarters in Taiz after heavy fighting as the air war ended. Whatever else Saudi bombing has done, it has not broken the Houthi’s grip on power.

The course of the air war has been very similar to successive Israeli bombardments of Lebanon and Gaza over the past 20 years. First, there are bloodcurdling claims how the enemy will be defeated by airpower alone. Then, it becomes clear that air strikes are doing a lot of damage to civilians – 944 Yemenis have been killed and 3,487 wounded so far, according to the World Health Organisation – but are not having a decisive impact on opposing military forces. Finally, there are mounting demands that air war ends from foreign countries, notably from the US, which has aided the Saudi airforce with intelligence and logistics.
The lack of success of the Saudi Air Force should come as no surprise. The Saudi Air Force is trained by the United States Air Force and has become imbued with the same misconceptions and errors as to the effectiveness of bombing campaigns.

Although the United States never fully succumbed to Britain's theory in WWII that carpet bombing enemy cities for the express purpose of killing civilians would lead to strategic victory, the U.S. did fall victim to the idea that, rather than being an operational tool, aerial bombing campaigns were strategy--that is, aerial bombing could win a war. U.S. theories on the use of aerial bombing evolved in small ways since WWII, but still focus on the destruction of key infrastructure necessary to the enemy's command and control. In fact, this and air-superiority are the primary mission of the U.S.A.F., and dominate and explain the programs and equipment sought by the Air Force.

This type of strategic bombing can be extremely helpful when facing an enemy that is centralized and dependent on a command and control infrastructure (e.g., Saddam's Iraq in both wars). However, it is much less useful when facing an enemy that is decentralized and/or not particularly dependent on infrastructure, as shown by every insurgency in which the U.S. has been involved. Yes, you can destroy a weapon's depot or artillery position, but, after a while, all an air force is doing is uselessly pounding the rubble. And in today's world, strategic bombing can be less than useless when the enemy cowers behind the skirts of women and children, or in bunkers beneath schools and hospitals.

The reality of war is that air power is most effective when employed in support of ground forces. Saudi Arabia has not realized any benefit from its air campaign because there is nothing important for it bomb on a strategic level. It needs boots on the ground, and an air force willing and able to provide close air support.

Manufacturing Cartridge Cases

The Firearms History, Technology and Development blog recently concluded a short series of articles on how cartridge cases are manufactured:

  1. Manufacturing Cartridges in the 19th Century;
  2. Manufacturing Cartridges in the 19th Century - Part II;
  3. Manufacturing Cartridges in the 19th Century - Part III;
  4. Manufacturing Cartridges in the 19th Century - Part IV; and,
  5. Manufacturing Cartridges: More Modern Methods.

Continued Concerns that Ebola May Become An STD

I've written before about concerns that Ebola may become a sexually transmitted disease (STD). (See here, for example). From an April 19, 2015, New York Times article:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines on Ebola transmission on Sunday night, urging survivors to abstain from all forms of sex or use condoms every time “until more information becomes available,” rather than three months as previously recommended.

The World Health Organization and Liberia have issued similar recommendations in recent weeks. They were acting on evidence suggesting that a Liberian man who recovered from Ebola might have transmitted the virus to his female partner many months later.

Ebola genetic material was found in a semen sample the man provided 175 days after he developed symptoms, 74 days longer than ever before found in a survivor. Scientists in Liberia have compared the genetic sequence of the virus found in the woman, Ruth Tugbah, 44, to partial sequences obtained from the virus in her boyfriend’s semen and in blood samples taken months ago from his potential contacts with Ebola, and found that they matched at several key points.

Thus far, the information is consistent with sexual transmission, scientists said, but not conclusive, and the study is continuing. Researchers at the C.D.C. were also trying to establish whether the sample the man provided contained infectious virus, rather than only harmless genetic material or RNA.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Yemen and the U.S. Fleet

There has been speculation (myself included) that the purpose of the U.S. carrier group being moved to waters off Yemen was to prevent the Iranians from delivering weapons. Some feared it could lead to open conflict between Iran and the U.S. This would, though, have flown in the face of the Administration's history of taking a conciliatory stance toward Iran.  SNAFU! thinks the purpose of the U.S. ships isn't to counter Iran, but Saudi Arabia. He writes:

Based on past behavior by this administration, I believe that we're not seeing US ships move to intercept these Iranian ships....I think they're moving to try and prevent a showdown between the Iranians and Saudis. 
I'm really getting the impression that the US got intel that the Saudis along with their allies were about to go medieval on the Iranian convoy and the last thing the administration or the world needs is this proxy war to go hot.  
What we're actually seeing is the US Navy sticking itself between two fleets that are spoiling for a fight. 
My prediction? 
The Iranian ships will deliver their cargo.  The US will do nothing to intervene and the Saudi govt will be pissed.
His theory would also explain Saudi Arabia's sudden cessation of its bombing operations. According to the New York Times article on the subject, the Saudis ended the bombing campaign under pressure from the U.S., supposedly because of too much collateral damage.  

Paddling from Minnesota to D.C.

Canoe & Kayak magazine has a six-part series of a canoeing trip from Minnesota to Washington, D.C., that gives some tips and ideas. The articles are:

  1. Paddle to D.C. Dispatches: Lessons From the Grand Portage;
  2. Paddle to D.C. Dispatches II: Superior Paddling Destinations
  3. Paddle to D.C. Dispatches III: Upstream Travel advice;
  4. Paddle to D.C. Dispatches IV: Destination Mattawa River
  5. Paddle to D.C. Dispatches V: Canoe Cart Portaging Tips; and,
  6. The Final Paddle to D.C. Dispatch: Urban Paddling Advice.

UK Survival Wiki Site

UK Survival has announced a Wiki site providing a glossary of survival terms. (Here is the link to the Wiki).

Storage Hacks for a Small Apartment

24 Storage Hacks
(Source: Solent Plastics)
Open the picture in a new tab, or go to the Solent Plastics website to see it full sized.

The Shoe That Grows

green design, eco design, sustainable design, The Shoe That Grows, shoe donation, Kenton Lee
Source
An organization that has developed a shoe (really more of a sandal) that can be adjusted through 5 sizes so that the shoe grows with the child. It comes in two sizes--small (intended for kindergarten to 4th grade) and large (5th to 9th grade). If you have children, and are planning for a long-term grid-down type of disaster, these might be some good back-up shoes to put aside.

More Info on Warka Water

Source: Warka Water

About a year ago, I posted a bit about a moisture farming device called the Warka Water, which was designed to collect condensation from the air. It's creators claim it can collect between 13 and 26 gallons of water per day, on average. Here is a link to the creator's website, providing more information on the design and construction of the device.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Four Barrel Pistol

reliant_38ammo_DSC4447web

Last week I commented on the Reliant, a 4-barrel Derringer type pistol from Signal 9 Defense. It is a 4-barrel, break action pistol in .38 or .32 calibers.

Last night, I was watching an old episode of Special Unit 2, and was surprised to notice that a couple of the characters sporting four barrel pistols. Since the episode aired in 2001, I can only assume that the handgun was a COP .357 Derringer.

Cop 357 Derringer.jpg


School Shooting in Spain

From The Telegraph:
A teacher has been killed and four people wounded after a 13-year-old boy entered his secondary school in Barcelona and began shooting a crossbow. 
* * * 
According to witnesses in Barcelona’s El Periódico newspaper, the student knocked on the door of a classroom on arriving late for his lesson and fired point blank into the face of the female teacher who opened it.

Those sources then said the boy attacked the female teacher’s daughter, who was in the same classroom.

On hearing the commotion, a male teacher from a nearby classroom approached the scene and was stabbed in the chest with a large knife, causing him an injury which proved fatal. The suspect is then said to have entered another classroom and attacked a male student with the knife.
 
A further teacher is also reported to have been injured. All four wounded, three of whom were taken to Barcelona’s Sant Pau hospital, are said to be stable. 
The attacker was also found to have materials apparently intended for use as a petrol bomb in his rucksack.
According to the article, Spain requires a license in order to obtain a crossbow, which license must be renewed every 5 years.
 

Germany Not Happy With Its Share of Illegal Aliens

From the Washington Post:
For tens of thousands of migrants who survive the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean, the journey often continues as they slip through cracks in Italy’s border controls and head north.

With Italy’s unemployment at 13 percent, many new arrivals would rather settle in the wealthier welfare states of northern Europe where there are better job opportunities and more established refugee communities.

Helped by a blind eye from Italian authorities and visa-free travel inside Europe, migrants can relatively easily make it all the way to Scandinavia before they apply for asylum — even though European Union rules state they should do so in the first EU country they enter.

Of the 435,000 people who applied for asylum last year in the 28-nation European Union, nearly half did so in Germany and Sweden.
That disparity is not sitting well with Germany and Sweden, with The Telegraph reporting that Germany has called for a strict quota system to distribute the illegal immigrants among EU countries. According to the latter article, Britain is opposed to a quota, but instead thinks that throwing more money at North African countries will solve the problem.

Greece Imposes Monetary Restrictions

Zero Hedge is indicating that Greece has ordered that public sector entities transfer all cash reserves to its central bank.

U.S. Navy to Blockade Yemen or Not?

Contradictory news articles on this subject. Fox News, citing a Navy official, says that the the USS Theodore Roosevelt left the Persian Gulf on Sunday en route to the Arabian Sea, to help enforce a blockade against Iranian ships allegedly carrying arms to the Houthis rebels in Yemen. However, Reuters reports that the official Pentagon position is that the ships are only to conduct maritime security operations, not intercept Iranian arms shipments.

Looks Like Germany Will Be Adopting the AR

Both The Truth About Guns and The Firearms Blog are reporting that a German government investigation has concluded that HK's G-36 is irredeemably flawed due to accuracy problems. German forces will apparently be transitioning to the HK416--basically a copy of the U.S. M4, except with a gas piston system.

"How to Survive in the West--A Mujahid Guide"

PJ Media discusses a recently released ISIS manual for jihadists living in the West, noting that the booklet "urges followers to train with Nerf guns and watch Bourne films as part of their under-the-radar preparation for terrorist attacks." While this may be laughable, some of the recommendations are not. The article goes on:
They’re told to alter their first name — “Al instead of Ali, or a neutral name like Adam” — or make up an alias, as jihadists in the Islamic State “are not allowed to tell their real name to anyone in case their friends are captured and interrogated and reveal the real name of the brothers to the tyrants.” Plus, they argue, an alias with a non-Muslim name would come in handy if they want to get an “important position” such as work in a power plant.

Then comes the question of cold, hard cash: “Before any real Jihad can be fought, Muslims require money.” Conveniently, “in cases of necessity and for survival, Muslims are permitted to get money from ways which are not normally allowed.”

“If you are an expert in credit card fraud, paypal/ebay scams, Phishing, hacking, or you know the secrets of a big company, then take advantage of your skills,” the book advises, emphasizing the crimes in bold. “If you can claim extra benefits from a government, then do so. If you can avoid paying taxes, then do so.” Taking out a loan you’ll never repay and using the money to immigrate to the Islamic State is encouraged, but if you get caught doing this or other scams don’t say you were raising dough for jihad, the guide cautions.
For those interested in what ISIS thinks a budding terrorist should know, the booklet--"How to Survive in the West--A Mujahid Guide"--can be downloaded via the Black Flags Series website.

Update: The Black Flags website is down. But a copy is currently available here.

There Is A Storm Coming

If you have ever watched a business blow up, you know that there are signs of impending doom. A slow decline in revenue and morale, gradually accelerating (this is when those in the know suddenly start leaving--the rats fleeing the sinking ship, so to speak), and then a sudden break up or collapse. As I've noted before, the collapse of Western Civilization began a century ago. We are, I believe, on the cusp of the sudden surge toward break up. The past weekend was full of news stories painting an outline of some of what is coming down the pike.

I'll start with the cultural war. Not the "abortion" or "gay marriage" topics, but something even more fundamental--the gender wars. Instapundit posted the following message from feminists to straight-white-men:

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 8.57.12 AM
"Sit down & let us abolish you."
Breitbart reported that "[a] Liberal Democrat activist who sits on two national party committees has been suspended from her regional party after a string of sexist comments on social media. The activist in question, Sarah Noble, made multiple tweets of a disturbingly hateful nature, including 'kill all men', 'fuck men', and 'die cis[gendered] scum'." Nothing new in all this, other than feminists are becoming more public and brazen about the topic. It is easy enough to write off the foregoing as some radical fringe, except the attitude infects society as a whole. Men are denigrated throughout our society. And the response is declining marriage rates. As this article points out, "men need marriage like a fish needs a bicycle." I think what we are going to see is an sudden, exponential decline in birth rates and social stability as more young men choose their X-Box over sex and marriage.

Iran. It is developing (if it has not already developed) a nuclear weapon. Obama's negotiations were nothing more than stalling tactics while Iran widened its proxy wars, hardened its military program, and upgraded its missile defenses. In fact, according to the Washington Free Beacon, Obama expressed surprise that Iran hadn't purchased air defense missiles from Russia earlier:
President Obama said that he was “not surprised” Russia sold an advanced missile system to Iran in the midst of his negotiations with the Ayatollah to prevent Iran’s nuclear facilities from making a bomb. He went even further to say that he expected the deal to happen a lot sooner than it did. 
“I’m frankly surprised that it held this long given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons,” President Obama said on Friday.
"Defensive weapons," which will be used to shield Iran from any military action should it not abide by the not yet existing treaty to forestall its nuclear weapons program. Oh, but that is not all that has been happening during the kabuki theater of the negotiations. North Korea has been transferring missile components to Iran in violation of international sanctions--a fact that Obama kept secret from the U.N. agency responsible for enforcing the sanctions.  And don't worry about the convoy of ships from Iran to Yemen to openly resupply the Shia Houthi rebels. I mean, maybe you should worry, but Iran evidently does not need to. Even the Arab Gulf nations have begun to publicly question whether Obama secretly supports the Iranian regime specifically, and Shiite Islam in particular.

Last week, Judicial Watch reported on the existence of an ISIS base in northern Mexico, near the border with the United States. The Administration denies that there is any such base. In fact, the information is so baseless, that the FBI is now conducting an investigation into who leaked the information to Judicial Watch. I'm sure that this has nothing to do with the theft of radioactive material last week in Cardenas, Tabasco, Mexico. But some future theft will be for the radioactive material and not scrap metal.

I don't want to forget Ragnarok, which began as an armed uprising in Ukraine and now has the U.S. and Russia stumbling toward war:
COULD A U.S. response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine provoke a confrontation that leads to a U.S.-Russian war? Such a possibility seems almost inconceivable. But when judging something to be “inconceivable,” we should always remind ourselves that this is a statement not about what is possible in the world, but about what we can imagine. As Iraq, Libya and Syria demonstrate, political leaders often have difficulties envisioning events they find uncomfortable, disturbing or inconvenient.

Prevailing views of the current confrontation with Russia over Ukraine fit this pattern. Since removing Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Muammar el-Qaddafi from power had limited direct impact on most Americans, it is perhaps not surprising that most Washington policy makers and analysts assume that challenging Russia over Ukraine and seeking to isolate Moscow internationally and cripple it economically will not come at a significant cost, much less pose real dangers to America. After all, the most common refrain in Washington when the topic of Russia comes up is that “Russia doesn’t matter anymore.” No one in the capital enjoys attempting to humiliate Putin more than President Barack Obama, who repeatedly includes Russia in his list of current scourges alongside the Islamic State and Ebola. And there can be no question that as a petrostate, Russia is vulnerable economically and has very few, if any, genuine allies. Moreover, many among its business and intellectual elites are as enthusiastic as the Washington Post editorial page to see Putin leave office. Ukrainians with the same view of former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych successfully ousted him with limited Western help, so, it is argued, perhaps Putin is vulnerable, too.

Nevertheless, Russia is very different from the other countries where the United States has supported regime change. First and most important, it has a nuclear arsenal capable of literally erasing the United States from the map. While many Americans have persuaded themselves that nuclear weapons are no longer relevant in international politics, officials and generals in Moscow feel differently. Second, regardless of how Americans view their country, Russians see it as a great power. Great powers are rarely content to serve simply as objects of other states’ policies. Where they have the power to do so, they take their destiny into their own hands, for good or ill.

WHILE MOST policy makers and commentators dismiss the possibility of a U.S.-Russian war, we are more concerned about the drift of events than at any point since the end of the Cold War. We say this having followed Soviet and Russian affairs throughout the Cold War and in the years since the Soviet Union’s implosion in 1991. And we say it after one of us recently spent a week in Moscow talking candidly with individuals in and around the Putin government, including with many influential Russian officials, and the other in China listening to views from Beijing. We base our assessment on these conversations as well as other public and private sources.

There are three key factors in considering how today’s conflict might escalate to war: Russia’s decision making, Russia’s politics and U.S.-Russian dynamics.
(Read the whole thing).

And nature can still deal some blows. ABC Australia reported over the weekend a mysterious deadly outbreak in Nigeria that killed its victims within 24 hours. Probably too deadly to spread very far, but that was what was thought about Ebola a couple years ago. And this article from the Seattle Times is ostensibly about how global warming is increasing the length of the growing season in more northern climes (at the same time as it brings colder winters and more precipitation to the same localities), but that California, the American Southwest, and the Rocky Mountain states are seeing declining rainfall. 

We live in interesting times.

(H/t Instapundit and Weasel Zippers)

Friday, April 17, 2015

What Does Gun Safety Say About You?

The Daily Mail has an article about a pair of bank robbers in the Pittsburgh area. What made me chuckle is that authorities reportedly believe the robbers are current or former police and/or military because they use holsters and keep their fingers off the triggers of their weapons. 'Cuz, only police and military know to do that....

South African Immigrants Form Militias

The title of the article says it all: "South Africa descends towards a new apartheid: Immigrants create armed gangs and patrol the streets in the face of violence from black locals aimed at foreigners." The story begins:
Immigrants wielding machetes have clashed with police as they hunt for locals that attacked foreign shop owners as violence continues to spread across South Africa. 
Police fired rubber bullets and a stun grenade today to disperse a gang of immigrants who had armed themselves with machetes in a run-down district in Johannesburg.  
The country has been hit by a wave of violence against immigrants in the past fortnight. 
The foreigners have complained about a lack of protection and some have started to arm themselves and fight back. 

The Purpose of Gay Marriage is to Make Marriage Irrelevant

Daniel Greenfield writes about "The Deconstruction of Marriage," observing:
The deconstruction of marriage is not a mere matter of front page photos of men kissing. It began with the deconstruction of the family. Gay marriage is only one small stop on a tour that includes rising divorce rates, falling childbirth rates and the abandonment of responsibility by twenty and even thirty-somethings. 
Each step on the tour takes apart the definition and structure of marriage until there is nothing left. Gay marriage is not inclusive, it is yet another attempt at eliminating marriage as a social institution by deconstructing it until it no longer exists. 
There are two ways to destroy a thing. You can either run it at while swinging a hammer with both hands or you can attack its structure until it no longer means anything.
The left hasn't gone all out by outlawing marriage, instead it has deconstructed it, taking apart each of its assumptions, from the economic to the cooperative to the emotional to the social, until it no longer means anything at all. Until there is no way to distinguish marriage from a temporary liaison between members of uncertain sexes for reasons that due to their vagueness cannot be held to have any solemn and meaningful purpose.
* * *

Every aspect of marriage is deconstructed and then eliminated until it no longer means anything. And once marriage is no longer a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, but a ceremony with no deeper meaning than most modern ceremonies, then the deconstruction and destruction will be complete. 
The deconstruction of marriage eroded it as an enduring institution and then as an exclusive institution and finally as a meaningful institution. The trendy folk who claim to be holding off on getting married until gay marriage is enacted are not eager for marriage equality, they are using it as an excuse for an ongoing rejection of marriage.  
Gay marriage was never the issue. It was always marriage. 
In the world that the deconstructionists are striving to build, there will be marriage, but it will mean nothing. Like a greeting card holiday, it will be an event, but not an institution. An old ritual with no further meaning. An egotistical exercise in attention-seeking and self-celebration with no deeper purpose. It will be a display every bit as hollow as the churches and synagogues it takes place in. 
Greenfield explains that the deconstruction of marriage is just part of the larger attempt to deconstruct gender and family. First, destroy the separate gender roles, then marriage, and then gender, so that gender becomes meaningless--like a costume one puts one or takes off at will. He notes that the same thing happens to voting rights: let anyone vote as many times as they want, and the act of voting becomes meaningless.
The left's deconstruction of social institutions is not a quest for equality, but for destruction. As long as the institutions that preceded it exist, it will go on deconstructing them until there is nothing left but a blank canvas, an unthinking anarchy, on which it can impose its perfect and ideal conception of how everyone should live. 
Equality is merely a pretext for deconstruction. Change the parameters of a thing and it ceases to function. Redefine it and expand it and it no longer means anything at all. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but if you change 'rose' to mean anything that sticks out of the ground, then the entire notion of what is being discussed has gone and cannot be reclaimed without also reclaiming language. 
The left's social deconstruction program is a war of ideas and concepts. Claims of equality are used to expand institutions and ways of living until they are so broad as to encompass everything and nothing. And once a thing encompasses everything, once a rose represents everything rising out of the ground, then it also represents nothing at all. 
* * *
As Orwell understood in 1984, tyranny is essentially about definitions. It is hard to fight for freedom if you lack the word. It is hard to maintain a marriage if the idea no longer exists. ...
The left's greatest trick is making things mean the opposite of what they do. Stealing is sharing. Crime is justice. Property is theft. Each deconstruction is accompanied by an inversion so that a thing, once examined, comes to seem the opposite of what it is, and once that is done, it no longer has the old innate value, but a new enlightened one. 
To deconstruct man, you deconstruct his beliefs and then his way of living. You deconstruct freedom until it means slavery. You deconstruct peace until it means war. You deconstruct property until it means theft. And you deconstruct marriage until it means a physical relationship between any group of people for any duration. And that is the opposite of what marriage is.
Read the whole thing.

Cheating at all the Best Places

A couple months ago, in "Our Not So Best and Not Quite Brightest," I had noted that the Ivy League schools discriminated against smart, middle-class and poor whites--particularly from rural states--as well as Asians. Today, I would note this article from the Tax Prof Blog about the culture of cheating at the nation's top universities. The conclusion:
As students see business leaders, athletes and their peers cheating — in many cases with impunity — the practice no longer carries the social stigma it once did, according to the research. With competition at elite institutions especially intense, high-achieving students are as likely to cheat as those who struggle academically.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Cooling Trend

In his article "Green is the New Red," J.R. Nyquist discusses how the environmental movement--particularly "global warming"--has been turned to the purposes of tyranny. As part of his essay, he discusses the issue of global cooling:
John L. Casey is a former NASA engineer. His book, Dark Winter, discusses climate science in terms of solar cycles. According to Casey, “Major changes taking place in the climate have already pulled the rug out from under the idea that mankind controls the climate.” The scientific evidence, if looked at properly, shows there has been no global warming for the last 17 years. Casey also says that “the actual record of global temperature trends shows the oceans and the atmosphere have actually been cooling for most of the last 11 years.” The sun passes through cycles, and according to Casey, we are headed toward a cold cycle, with the lowest temperatures predicted to occur between 2031 and 2037. “It is important to note,” says Casey, “that the … 1990-2010 warm period will be the last record warm period for the next 206 years….” 
In November 2008, Prof. Don J. Easterbrook of Western Washington University wrote an article titled Global Cooling is Here. In this article he flatly stated, “Global warming is over. The minute increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere was not the cause of the warming – it was a continuation of natural cycles that occurred over the past 500 years.” Last month Michael Bastasch published a piece at the Daily Caller about Jurgen Lange Hein, a physicist with the German-based European Institute for Climate and Energy who says that solar radiation since 1998 has diminished, “and could reach values similar to those of the early twentieth century. A drop in global temperatures of the next few years is predicted.” Bastasch wrote another piece back in 2013 titled “Scientists predict a century of global cooling” in which he stated, “Scientists … have been increasingly turning against the global warming consensus and arguing that the world is actually in line for a colder century.” 
Two years ago 125 scientists sent an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stating that, “We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions [that global warming is proven].” These scientists went on to state that there has been no global warming during the previous 16 years. In fact, the letter says UN officials should be more worried about global cooling than global warming.
(Underline added).

Historically, cooler weather has resulted in lower precipitation and increased desertification in many parts of the world. (See "Climate Change Catastrophes in Critical Thinking", "Global Cooling, Not Global Warming, Doomed the Ancients" and "The Upside to Global Warming"). In Europe, on the other hand, it can lead to longer winters and/or increased rainfall and more violent storms. In any event, shorter growing seasons and disruptive weather can be expected to impact food production and increase food prices. (See "The Little Ice Age In Europe").

From an eschatological perspective, I find it interestingly that the lowest temperatures (and presumably the worst climate/weather related disasters) will fall 2,000 years after Christ's triumphal entry to Jerusalem.

Related Posts: "The Coming Ice Age"