Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web - September 30, 2015

Frederic Remington: Scouts Climbing a Mountain

Survival and Self-Defense:
  • "Knife and Gun"--Rory Miller. He writes: "The serious knife guys are a different level.  Stay close, here, because my definition of serious knife guy may not match anyone else's.  Knife is not a precision skill, not at the serious level.  It is a matter of intent and will.  Knives are close range and messy and the serious knife guys I know focus less on motion than on the context.  They prepare themselves for the smells; the transition when things go from technical to slippery; the feeling of parting tissues transmitted up the blade."
  • "Concealed Carry - How To Protect Yourself At An ATM"--Alien Gear Holsters Blog. Discussing both drive-up and walk-up ATMs.
  • "An Emergency Slush Lamp Hack Using a Torch Plant Leaf"--Survival Sherpa.
  • "Could You Be a Hired Gun After SHTF?"--The Prepper Journal. My personal belief is that our culture is so hung up on certification that, without a military or police background, no one will put you in charge of anything related to defense and/or security. Most people would pick an Army cook over the Man With No Name merely because the cook had been in the Army.
  • "Migrant Crisis Validates Golden Horde Theory Fears"--The Prepper Journal. I understand the author's sentiment, but the migrant crises actually refutes the Golden Horde theory--that people will flee cities to the countryside. The migrants aren't seeking to settle in the abandoned rural villages of Greece, Italy, or Germany. They are instead seeking the metropolitan areas of the richest countries. It is FerFal that has been vindicated, not Rawles.
  • "How to Make an Emergency Survival Kit for Kids at School"--Mom With A Prep. While this article is a great starting point, you really need to consider the realities of the situation in your school district. For instance, my son's school prohibits the kids from bringing book bags into classrooms, so he would not have the kit available in the event of a lock down. There is also the issue of weight--because schools are oriented to teaching to the test, the amount of homework assigned had jumped tremendously. Many children are already hauling unsafe amounts of weight around as they travel to and from school. Is it worth it to add the additional weight? Do they have room to store it in their locker or, if in elementary school, their "cubby." I'm not discounting the idea of a school survival kit, but just that there are other factors to consider--it is not as simple as slinging a Get Home Bag into the trunk of your car.

Other Stuff:
These are the official population projections. My understanding of Africa is not great, but I don't think they're going to get away with this without running into fundamental Malthusian limits at some point.

If they are going to rely on a well-run agricultural economy in Africa to feed all these folks, that relies on political stability, which is historically in short supply in the post-colonial era. With the shifting geopolitical situation, that many desperate young African men, and continuing the historical trends of stability in Africa, agricultural production may be unreliable. A fluctuating malthusian limit produces really ugly scenarios.

With a declining and aging population in the West, increasing transportation and communication ubiquity, a decreasing willingness on the part of civilized people to callously stand by and watch billions of people starve or kill each other, and growing open-borders movements, this phenomenon is unlikely to stay contained in Africa, especially if it gets ugly.

Further, White Westerners are likely to be less and less willing to force their new neighbours to assimilate. Political divides over racism and multiculturalism and such are sure to complicate any effort to cope with the influx. Also relevant is the historical failure of all efforts to fully assimilate Africans in bulk into Western behavioural, cultural, and economic norms, presumably due to certain hard-to-change genetic and cultural factors.

So we might be looking at a billion unassimilated African migrants entering Western societies over the next century, which have a population of approximately a billion. They would become the majority in most cities, especially among the youth.

The influx of Africans into Western societies will likely lead to declining social trust as per Putnam, ethnic conflict, and Whites abandoning the commons as happened in Detroit and South Africa. The rich will retain the ability to live in pleasant gated and rural communities, and otherwise make sure the system stays functional as far as they are concerned.

Beyond that, it is hard to predict how things will go. There are a lot of things that can happen over the next century. Business as usual is the one outcome we can probably disregard.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--September 29, 2015 (Updated)

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day
Miscellaneous Stuff:
  • "One Cheer for Vladimir Putin"--by David P. Goldman. "The great task of diplomacy in the 21st century is a sad and dreary one, namely managing the decline of Muslim civilization. ... It is no job for the idealistic, namely the Americans, nor for the squeamish, namely the Europeans." Goldman warns that the Middle-East could become another version of the 30 Years' War, except with many millions more combatants; and that Putin is the only world leader that is realistic enough, and possessing the military capabilities, to avoid the outbreak of such carnage. From that prospective, the Middle-Eastern migrants may more correctly be viewed as the "rats escaping a sinking ship" and a warning of what is to come. 
  • "Almost All US Temperature Data Used In Global Warming Models Is Estimated or Altered."--Powerline. Which is a problem because (1) while the U.S. only represents 6.6% of the Earth's land area, it's temperature readings account for about half of the data used to determine changes in climate change (so, in fact, it is not "global warming," but U.S. warming), and (2) the adjustments are intended to skew the results to make it appear that the temperatures have been rising.
  • "Yugoslavia’s Warning to America"--The XX Committee. "While it is difficult for anybody who knows the Pentagon well to imagine American generals and admirals getting together to overthrow the civilian government — that would require obscene amounts of PowerPoint and might endanger top brass golden parachutes with Beltway Bandits — the notion of a Civil War 2.0, however terrifying it may be, needs to be faced squarely, if we wish to avoid that awful fate." With that opening comment, the author contends that Yugoslavia's collapse and civil war was the result of a toxic mixture of deficit spending and long growing racial resentment stemming from its own versions of "political correctness," "affirmative action," and fomenting a culture of victim-hood among the "aggrieved" ethnic groups. As the author writes, "the Communists went to great lengths to keep ethnic peace by banning what we would term 'hate speech' while mandating that the official doctrine that Yugoslavia’s diverse peoples really loved each other deeply be placed at the level of quasi-religious dogma." 
  • "Ahmed and the Art of the Psychodrama"--Victor Davis Hanson. How the narrative is crafted, including other suspicious details about Ahmed the Clock Maker and his explanations.
  • "China's Planned City Bubble Is About To Pop--And Even You'll Feel It"--New Geography. "If the last real estate collapse was created due to insanely easy lending policies aimed at the middle and working classes, the current one has its roots largely in a regime of cheap money married to policies of planners who believe that they can shape the urban future from above."
  • "It's Not Your Imagination, Single Women: There Literally Aren't Enough Men Out There"--Vice. Actually, what it is saying is that there aren't enough college educated men for all the college educated women, not that there is literally a shortage of men. In short, a story of when hypergamy collides with the dis-incentives of college misandry and Marriage 2.0.
  • "There Is Water Flowing on Mars As We Speak"--Popular Mechanics.
  • "Vicious, Unprovoked Attack on Elderly Man." (Video at link). More black violence. Pay especial attention to the fact that the attack was accomplished by pure surprise--a vicious predatory attack. What would you have done?
  • "Dueck Defense RBU"--Jerking the Trigger. A red dot mount designed to fit in the rear dovetail of a Glock, but also includes backup iron sights--all in one piece.
  • "BCM to Release KMR Alpha Rails"--Jerking the Trigger. Bravo Company is going to produce a less expensive, all aluminum version of its popular KMR free float tube/rail system.
  • "Your next Middle East crisis? How about regime change in Saudi Arabia!"--SNAFU!

Survival/Self-Defense Stuff:

Quote of the Day -- September 29, 2015

The trouble with [being] fiscally conservative and socially liberal is that the left is not a buffet. You don't get to pick a combo identity. Fiscally liberal follows socially liberal as day follows night. ...
 --Daniel Greenfield, "Rebuilding a Conservative Movement I."

A Portable Solar Power System

One of the more interesting magazines to me is The Backwoodsman. Its emphasis is on topics concerned with primitive or rustic living, but also includes many handy "how-to" or DIY articles on various topics. The most recent issue (Sept/Oct. 2015) contains an article entitled: "Small Solar System: Cheap, Portable, and Readily Available" by Dave Storm. The author sets out his idea for putting together an inexpensive, portable solar charging system intended to recharge small electric devices, such as a cell phone or tablet computer, batteries, and so on. The primary components are the Brief Case Solar Charger (Harbor Freight parts no. 68750) and 3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply (Harbor Freight parts no. 38391). Storm's recommendation is to use the solar charger to charge the battery in the power supply, which then can be used to recharge or operate other devices.

Storm also recommends a couple other devices to go with it that would be useful, such as as a rechargeable flashlight designed to charge from a car cigarette lighter, and a small inverter. He mentions specific models in his article, so give it a read if you track down a copy of the magazine.

Or, for about twice the price of the 3-in-1 Charger that Storm mentions, Harbor Freight also has a 5-in-1 Charger that includes the power inverter, with two 120 V A/C outlets and a USB port.

Not A Boy Scout Knot


I came across this rather unusual looking knot at Western Rifle Shooters Association. It might become quite popular someday ... for decorative reasons, of course.

Monday, September 28, 2015

More on Secret Combinations

I came across a couple other posts on what could be termed "secret combinations." The first is "The Mystery of Pope Francis: Was There A Vatican Coup?" from Powerline. There, the author notes two articles--a review in the National Catholic Register of a newly published authorized biography of retired Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels, and an article from the American Conservative--that indicate that Denneels was part of a cabal of cardinals (which Deneels refers to as a "mafia club") that opposed Benedict XVI and wished to push "modern" reforms on the Catholic Church. Since Deneels reviewed and approved the biography, this is not something simply made up by a lunatic fringe.

The other was prompted by a comment by President Obama reported in a Daily Mail article, "President Obama tells the UN that America is committed to eradicating global poverty and hunger by 2030 in 'one of the smartest investments we can make in our own future'" The comment? "He called it a 'moral outrage' that many children are just one mosquito bite away from death." Presumably Obama is referring to malaria. The refusal to address the problems with mosquitoes, and the resulting deaths from malaria, are based on a lie created by Rachel Carson and popularized through her book Silent Spring, and subsequently adopted and perpetuated by various governments and international agencies.

It has been noted that "[i]n Silent Spring, Carson crafted a passionate denunciation of modern technology that drives environmentalist ideology today. At its heart is this belief: Nature is beneficent, stable, and even a source of moral good; humanity is arrogant, heedless, and often the source of moral evil. Rachel Carson, more than any other person, is responsible for the politicized science that afflicts our public policy debates today." However, as Robert Zubrin discusses:
While excellent literature, however, Silent Spring was very poor science. Carson claimed that DDT was threatening many avian species with imminent extinction. Her evidence for this, however, was anecdotal and unfounded. In fact, during the period of widespread DDT use preceding the publication of Silent Spring, bird populations in the United States increased significantly, probably as a result of the pesticide’s suppression of their insect disease vectors and parasites. In her chapter “Elixirs of Death,” Carson wrote that synthetic insecticides can affect the human body in “sinister and often deadly ways,” so that cumulatively, the “threat of chronic poisoning and degenerative changes of the liver and other organs is very real.” In terms of DDT specifically, in her chapter on cancer she reported that one expert “now gives DDT the definite rating of a ‘chemical carcinogen.’” These alarming assertions were false as well.
The result? According to Zubrin, "[a]s a result [of the ban on DDT], insect-borne diseases returned to the tropics with a vengeance. By some estimates, the death toll in Africa alone from unnecessary malaria resulting from the restrictions on DDT has exceeded 100 million people."


The Singularity: The Next Arms Race

This past week I had the opportunity to peruse an article entitled "Two Singularities" by  Calum Chace at Singularity Weblog. The primary purpose of the article is to posit some issues that will need to be considered in regard to what he terms the "economic singularity"--the loss of jobs and concentration of wealth that will occur as we approach and reach the singularity. Of course, it helps to understand what is meant by the "singularity." Chace defines it as: "the moment when the first artificial general intelligence (AGI) becomes a superintelligence and introduces change to this planet on a scale and at a speed which un-augmented humans cannot comprehend.  The term was borrowed from maths and physics, and the central idea is that there is an event horizon beyond which the future becomes un-knowable." (Christians have our own version of the "singularity"--the point after which the future becomes un-knowable--and we call it "the Second Coming").

As noted, Chace goes on to discuss what happens to the luckless humans that are unemployable and not among the elite. He writes:
In which case, I think it [i.e., the term "singularity"] can reasonably be applied to another event which is likely to take place well before the technological singularity. This is the economic singularity. We are hearing a lot at the moment about AI automating jobs out of existence. There is widespread disagreement about whether this is happening already, whether it will happen in the future, and whether it is a good or a bad thing. For what it’s worth, my own view is that it’s not happening yet (or at least, not much), that it will happen in the coming three decades, and that it can be a very good thing indeed if we are prepared for it, and if we manage the transition successfully. 
A lot of people believe that a Universal Basic Income (UBI) will solve the problem of technological unemployment. ... 
But to my mind, UBI is not the real battle. ...
The real problem, it seems to me, is that we will need more than UBI. We will need an entirely new form of economy. I see great danger in a world in which most people rub along on state handouts while a minority – perhaps a small minority – not only own most of the wealth (that is pretty much true already) but are the only ones actively engaged in any kind of economic activity. Given the advances in all kinds of technology that we can expect in the coming decades, this minority would be under immense temptation to separate themselves off from the rest of us – not just economically, but cognitively and physically too. Yuval Harari, author of the brilliant Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, says that humanity may divide into two classes of people: rather brutally, he calls them the gods and the useless. [See the end of his TED talk http://snglrty.co/1XlhZ1r]
I don't think the risk is that "the gods" will wall themselves off from "the useless," to borrow the terms used by Harari, but that "the gods" will simply eliminate "the useless." If you think this unlikely, you haven't been paying attention to the goals of the environmental movement.

But Chace seemingly approaches this issue from the aspect that the "super-intelligence" will be the natural result of progress in an open market-place and/or an open scientific process, where every nation will potentially benefit equally. This, to me, is unlikely. A super-intelligence in the hands of one nation, corporation, or other group would instantly give that group a whole magnitude (or more) of an advantage over any other. There is no guarantee that a super-intelligence would be able to be sufficiently controllable to be useful, but the risk of a competitor developing such a super AI first--and being able to exploit it--is too great to ignore.

Obviously, I'm not the first to have thought of this issue, and I quickly found some additional articles addressing this issue. From an abstract of the book, Singularity Hypotheses: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment comes a similar assessment to mine:
Chalmers notes that even if it is technically feasible for humanity to produce an intelligence explosion, we may not exercise that capacity because of “motivational defeaters,” choosing to restrict, slow, and manage the development of advanced AI technologies to reduce risk. On the other hand, since a lead in AI technology may translate into overwhelming military advantage, an arms race dynamic may give states incentives to pursue even very dangerous research in hopes of attaining a leading position.
The authors go on to observe:
... the military impact of an intelligence explosion would seem to lie primarily in the extreme acceleration in the development of new capabilities. A state might launch an AI Manhattan Project to gain a few months or years of sole access to advanced AI systems, and then initiate an intelligence explosion to greatly increase the rate of progress. Even if rivals remain only a few months behind chronologically, they may therefore be left many technological generations behind until their own intelligence explosions. It is much more probable that such a large gap would allow the leading power to safely disarm its nuclear-armed rivals than that any specific technological generation will provide a decisive advantage over the one immediately preceding it.

If states do take AI potential seriously, how likely is it that a government's “in-house” systems will reach the the point of an intelligence explosion months or years before competitors? Historically, there were substantial delays between the the first five nuclear powers tested bombs in 1945, 1949. 1952, 1960, and 1964. The Soviet Union's 1949 test benefited from extensive espionage and infiltration of the Manhattan Project, and Britain's 1952 test reflected formal joint participation in the Manhattan Project.

If the speedup in progress delivered by an intelligence explosion were large, such gaps would allow the leading power to solidify a monopoly on the technology and military power, at much lower cost in resources and loss of life than would have been required for the United States to maintain its nuclear monopoly of 1945-1949. To the extent that states distrust their rivals with such complete power, or wish to exploit itthemselves, there would be strong incentives to vigorously push forward AI research, and to ensure government control over systems capable of producing an intelligence explosion.
Zoltan Istvan, writing at Motherboard, similarly states: "[N]ations should do all they can to develop artificial intelligence, because whichever country produces an AI first will likely end up ruling the world indefinitely, since that AI will be able to control all other technologies and their development on the planet."

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--September 26, 2015

Firearms/Self-Defense:




Immigration/Invasion:

One year in the making.
However, given the human dignity that is conferred by Christ on all men, it does not mean that because every man is my brother in Christ he gets to live in my house, or gets a place in the lifeboat. Or that he has the right to enter my country. Furthermore, if he is a risk to the stabilty of my country or has duties at home he should be performing I have a duty in Charity not to let him in. Christianity compels me to love but it does not compel me to be stupid. ...

Other Stuff:
    The Church encourages our members to be spiritually and physically prepared for life's ups and downs. For many decades, Church leaders have counseled members that, where possible, they should gradually build a supply of food, water and financial resources to ensure they are self-reliant during disasters and the normal hardships that are part of life, including illness, injury or unemployment.
      This teaching to be self-reliant has been accompanied by the counsel of Church leaders to avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events. 
        The writings and speculations of individual Church members, some of which have gained currency recently, should be considered as personal accounts or positions that do not reflect Church doctrine.

        The Realist: Thoughts on "Naked and Afraid"



        Guest post by The Realist....

        I've been watching Discovery's Naked and Afraid since it first started airing. This summer, Discovery aired a special Naked and Afraid XL series. Naked and Afraid is a show best watched in the background, while you are doing something else like reading news or answering email. The show emphasizes the drama over actual survival. But, even with all the drama, there are some lessons to be gleaned from the shows.

        The basic premise of the show is to drop a man and a woman who have never met before (along with a production crew) in a remote wilderness environment with no clothing and one survival item each. (For the prurient who may be reading this, the show carefully blurs out certain body parts and there is no sexual activity.) The two cast members hike to a location where they will set up camp for most of the period of time. Then as the end of the 21 day survival ordeal approaches, the cast members travel (usually involving a water obstacle to traverse) to an "extraction" point where they are picked up.

        Naked and Afraid XL takes a dozen "survivors" from prior Naked and Afraid episodes and drops them off in several small groups near each other in a wilderness area. Again, each cast member is allowed one survival item. The survival period is 40 days.

        Typically, the the location chosen is a tropical/jungle location of some sort, although several locations have been semi-arid.

        Cast members have the option of "tapping out" at any time if they feel they cannot make it to the end or they suffer a serious medical event.

        After the first season, it was apparent that cast members would prepare ahead of time for the ordeal by walking barefoot to toughen up their feet, and eating high calorie foods (peanut butter mentioned frequently) to add extra fat to carry them through the 21 days.

        The most common survival items chosen were a knife or small machete and a fire starting device (frequently a Blast Match). In the most recent season, a couple of times a cast member chose a metal pot in which to boil water and cook whatever meager food might be found.

        Lessons gleaned from the shows

        Fire. Fire is a life critical survival tool. Fire is important for a variety of reasons, including purifying water, providing warmth, cooking food, providing light at night, and usually keeping predators at bay.

        The Blast Match works pretty well when dry tinder is properly prepared. Although, the flint bar will break if too much side pressure is applied, which happened in one episode.

        Clothing. Obviously, clothing is important. The lack of shoes made walking difficult and unpleasant, and resulted in occasional injuries (e.g. infection caused by thorns breaking off under the skin). The lack of clothes resulted in sun burns, increased bug bites, and various other minor injuries. In a couple of episodes, the lack of clothing combined with unexpectedly cool weather resulted in cast members becoming very cold and at risk of hypothermia. When presented with the risk of hypothermia, a production crew medic would step in to measure body temperature.

        Food. There was never enough food. Women would typically loose around 15 pounds and men would typically loose around 25 pounds during the 21 day ordeal. Some cast members were more skilled than others at being able to catch fish and/or reptiles for food. Catching warm blooded animals was rare. Insects were frequently consumed. And, lots of plant food was eaten when found. A secondary issue with food was the difficulty in obtaining protein. Protein is necessary to physical and mental health. I was surprised to learn how important protein is to brain function.

        Animal flesh obtained for food should be cooked to kill worms and other parasites. In one episode where a lizard was caught, it had worms the size of night-crawlers inside it, and another animal caught that episode was full of tape worms. Snake meat must be cooked (but not overcooked) to be edible. Insects should be cooked because they can contain parasites.

        The early effects of starvation were educational to observe. The effects came on much quicker and were more dramatic than I would have expected. First, physical energy reduced dramatically. Second, many people became quite irritable, with some exhibiting depression. Third, the starvation impaired other mental functions like problem solving.

        Safe Drinking Water. Having enough safe drinking water was always a challenge. The first few days of the ordeal, cast members would become severely dehydrated as they searched for a water source and came up with some method of purifying water (usually boiling). Sometimes in desperation, a cast member would drink water that had not been purified. Sometimes they got lucky, sometimes they became gravely ill.

        Scavenging. In a couple of episodes, cast members found abandoned containers which gave them the means to efficiently boil water for drinking. In one instance, a cast member found a small glass jar near the beginning of their trek, which later became a bearing block/socket for a bow drill for starting a fire. Even when seemingly in the middle of nowhere, watch for items lost or abandoned by others that may be useful.

        Insects. Biting insects were a universal bane of the cast (and probably the production crew). In most episodes, cast members would be quickly covered in insect bite welts. Occasionally, the bites had more serious health consequences. Cast members would frequently cover their skin with a thin layer of mud in an effort to deter the insects.

        Use all senses. Using all senses is important. In one of the Naked and Afraid XL episodes, a cast member smelled a large snake before she could see or hear it. This smell was identified based prior encounters with large snakes. In a couple of cases, the smell of a fire allowed someone from one group to detect and find the camp of another group.

        Health. Medical issues can pop up unexpectedly. Besides waterborne illnesses and foot issues previously discussed, other injuries can occur. In one episode, a cast member became very ill from an allergic reaction to the sap of a tree they camped under. The other cast member was eventually able to find a natural antidote, that saved the ill cast member from having to tap-out. In another episode, a cast member injured themselves while chopping something with a knife. The cut on a finger went all the way to the bone. The production crew medic ended up suturing the cut without anesthetic - otherwise the cast member would have been evacuated (tapped out). Heat stress injuries, exacerbated by dehydration, were common. There were many other medical issues that popped up, requiring intervention of the production crew medic. Without the medic, or in a true emergency survival situation, those injuries could have been fatal.

        Realistic assessment of skills. With a couple of exceptions, most cast members severely overestimated their wilderness prowess and survival skills. Maybe their skills were good for North America, but not other environments.

        Team cooperation. Cooperation with team members was important. Where cast members got along with each other, worked together, and emotionally supported each other, their likelihood of success increased significantly over those who couldn't cooperate.

        Mental attitude. The survival ordeal was as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge. Many cast members who tapped out gave up mentally. A positive can-do endure-to-the-end attitude was immensely important for success.

        Summary 

        A new season of Naked and Afraid starts in a few weeks. The show is primarily about drama under contrived circumstances - traveling naked into a wilderness environment. Don't watch it expecting learn anything about wilderness survival. On the other hand, if you want to watch how people react to starvation and dehydration, it has some educational value.

        Thursday, September 24, 2015

        Quick Run Around the Web -- September 24, 2015 (Updated)

        Cole Thomas: The Course of Empire - Desolation (1836)
        Survival/Prepping:


        Other Stuff
        :

        Far from a dramatic three-day standoff, the assault on the Westgate Mall lasted only a few hours, almost all of it taking place before Kenyan security forces even entered the building. When they finally did, it was only to shoot at one another before going on an armed looting spree that resulted in the collapse of the rear of the building, destroyed with a rocket-propelled grenade. And there were only four gunmen, all of whom were buried in the rubble, along with much of the forensic evidence.

        During the roughly three-and-a-half hours that the killers were loose in the mall, there was virtually no organized government response. But while Kenyan officials prevaricated, an unlikely coalition of licensed civilian gun owners and brave, resourceful individual police officers took it upon themselves to mount a rescue effort. Pieced together over 10 months from more than three dozen interviews with survivors, first responders, security officers, and investigators, the following account brings their story to life for the first time since the horrific terrorist attack occurred exactly two years ago.
         Update: Added citations to IEEE Spectrum and Joel Skousen articles.

        Wednesday, September 23, 2015

        Proctor's Palace Theater in New Jersey

        Proctor's Palace Theater in New Jersey (more photos at the link)

        A Quick Run Around the Web -- September 23, 2015

        Cole Thomas : The Course of Empire - Destruction (1836)

        • "Bugging In: Setting It Up"--Blue Collar Prepping.
        • "Brand Analysis: Benchmade"--Everyday Commentary. A review of Benchmade's history, products, and prospects going forward.
        • "Name Brand and Generic Firearms cleaning, lubricating, and protecting products"--American Mercenary. A list of high-end gun cleaning products and lubricants, together with some less expensive alternatives.
        • "People Repellant"--Come and Make It. It's called "Bee Go". A couple sources (here and here).
        • "The Coming Storm"--Chicago Boyz. "And the anger is out there, certainly. It is a cold, watchful and mostly private anger, however – not the hot anger which erupts in riots and arson and looting, and which attracts the brief attention of the Island of Major Media Awareness. These ripples that I have listed – and I am certain there are others — are subtle signs of that cold anger, an anger too quiet for our major media organs to notice, save perhaps on those occasions when their comment threads explode."
        • "Stop Complaining – Life Isn’t Fair"--Mason Dixon Tactical. Or, to paraphrase a certain short, green, character from a famous movie: "Do, or do not. There is no use in peacefully protesting." 
        A lot of noise is made about the violent nature of Muslims and urban black culture. Whites think that pointing out that blacks are dysfunctional and commit a disproportionate amount of rape and violent crime is a victory of some sort. It’s not. It’s an admission of weakness. You’re admitting that blacks and Muslims ruin your countries and that you do nothing about it. That is weakness.

        Stop signing useless petitions. .... Stop talking like a victim. Life isn’t fair. Stop crying and do something about it.

        * * *
         
        Peaceful street protest simply isn’t an acceptable or suitable option any longer. It’s not proportional to the threat we face today. An uncountable number of European girls and women have been raped by Muslim aliens and the European man’s response is to mill about the town square and grumble about it.

        Those 25,000 Pegida protestors could have caused a national emergency. They could have occupied the town and shut down local government. They could have dragged the corrupt politicians out into the streets and hanged them from lampposts. They could have ignored the protest entirely, organised into small teams and made hundreds of criminal traitors disappear overnight. That would have been a proportional response.

        Peaceful protest signals that you’re not seriously interested in doing anything. Peaceful protest says you’re weak and afraid. Blacks and Muslims riot violently and spontaneously. Europeans apply in writing for permission to hold boring, peaceful protests that don’t scare anybody. Nobody in power cares about peaceful protests. Violence gets things done.


        Chinese officials have summoned top American tech executives to Seattle for a forum on Wednesday ....

        Beijing moved up the date of the annual event to coincide with President Xi Jinping’s U.S. visit and reportedly pressured major Silicon Valley players to send their chief executives to what is normally an annual summit for midlevel management, threatening regulatory scrutiny if they didn’t comply.

        * * *
        Business groups and Silicon Valley say they have no choice but to show up. Despite China’s rampant commercial espionage and onerous regulations for foreign firms, the Asian superpower’s market is too powerful to pass up.

        “It’s not about policy,” said Bay Area-based venture capitalist Ray Rothrock. “It’s about business.”

         It's not about business, per se, but fear. These same executives have no problem giving Middle America the finger because they do not fear Middle America.

        And It Begins...The Normalization of Pedophiles

        The automatic rejection of anything labelled a "conspiracy theory" as something foolish or crazy is actually relatively recent--1967 seems to be when the CIA officially started using the term as a tool to discredit theories. I had noted recently, in my article on "Secret Combinations," that secret combinations and conspiracies have played an important role in history, using the example of the conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar. However, not all conspiracies are as blatant in their outcome. Who can forget JournoList, where a select group of academicians and journalists decided what was "news" (and the spin to be given it) and what was not, and thereby influence public opinion. (Although the original JournoList closed down, a successor is up and running).

        Another example, and one that is somewhat better documented, is the story of Rosa Parks. The National Archives relates the Rosa Parks myth we all learned in school:
        On December 1, 1955, during a typical evening rush hour in Montgomery, Alabama, a 42-year-old woman took a seat on the bus on her way home from the Montgomery Fair department store where she worked as a seamstress. Before she reached her destination, she quietly set off a social revolution when the bus driver instructed her to move back, and she refused. Rosa Parks, an African American, was arrested that day for violating a city law requiring racial segregation of public buses.

        On the city buses of Montgomery, Alabama, the front 10 seats were permanently reserved for white passengers. ... When the bus became crowded, the bus driver instructed Mrs. Parks and the other three passengers seated in that row, all African Americans, to vacate their seats for the white passengers boarding. Eventually, three of the passengers moved, while Mrs. Parks remained seated, arguing that she was not in a seat reserved for whites. Joseph Blake, the driver, believed he had the discretion to move the line separating black and white passengers. ... [W]hen Mrs. Parks defied his order, he called the police. Officers Day and Mixon came and promptly arrested her.

        * * *

         ... Her arrest became a rallying point around which the African American community organized a bus boycott in protest of the discrimination they had endured for years. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 26-year-old minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, emerged as a leader during the well-coordinated, peaceful boycott that lasted 381 days and captured the world's attention. It was during the boycott that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., first achieved national fame as the public became acquainted with his powerful oratory.
        When I was a wee lad, the reason we were told that Parks didn't want to give up her seat was because she was tired and sore from a long day of work.

        Of course, the myth of Rosa Parks, while rooted in real events, does not relate the true facts, and I doubt we know all of them even now. The important point, though, is that the events were not as spontaneous as we are (or were) led to believe. A couple articles on the topic are here and here. Without going into the fine details, the salient facts are as follows: NAACP leaders had previously attempted to organize a boycott of the Montgomery bus system, and were looking for a case to test the law on segregated seating. The first attempt, made after the March 1955 arrest of Claudette Colvin for not vacating her bus seat, failed. A couple primary reasons are advanced for the failure: (1) lack of organization, and (2), probably more important, although Colvin was a member of the Youth Council of the local NAACP chapter, she was unknown to the black community at large. The subsequent arrest of another Youth Council member, Mary Louise Smith, in October 1955, also was deemed inadequate because Smith was too young and poor to generate the necessary sympathy. Although even the current accounts in circulation still make it sound as though Parks' decision was impromptu, it is likely that the NAACP turned to her to act as an agent provocateur prior to her arrest. Parks was the secretary to E.D. Dixon, the local NAACP president. She had been heavily involved in the NAACP and civil rights movement for over a decade, knew all of the important leaders, and was known to the larger black community. Certainly she would have known of the strategy and decisions involving Colvin and Smith. Moreover, there was probably a bit of personal revenge on Parks' mind: James Blake, the bus driver who ordered her to the back of the bus in 1955 had previously thrown her off his bus in 1943 for the same offense. In any event, when Parks was arrested, the NAACP's plan went into effect; within 10 hours, 15,000 flyers had been printed and distributed, and 50 pastors (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) met and agreed to urge their congregations to join in the boycott. The rest, as they say, is history.

        The point of the foregoing is that key events are not always (or even mostly) mere happenstance. There can be a lot of planning and thought behind what seems to be a random event or "grass roots" ground swell. Sometimes it takes years or decades of careful work. We have seen this with gay marriage, where first homosexuality had to be normalized through media exposure, so that people would tolerate, then embrace, the concept. This was done by downplaying the grotesque lifestyles previously associated with homosexuality and portraying homosexuals as, other than their orientation, being "normal" and committed to long term relationships; thus we are shown Will and Grace  and Modern Family instead of the San Francisco gay pride parade. With that accomplished, the push for gay marriage was advanced on the grounds that it was only fair that the "life partners" be entitled to the same rights as married heterosexual couples. At first, the "equality" sought was only in relation to insurance, or visitation rights when hospitalized, and so on. Policies extending such rights were first adopted by government and large private employers, before leading to the legal grant of "domestic partnerships," which was marriage in all but name. But even that was not enough, and so we now find ourselves with a de facto Constitutional amendment by the Supreme Court requiring recognition of gay marriage.

        Which brings me to the subject of the current post. Yesterday, Slate published an article entitled "I’m a pedophile, but not a monster," and subtitled, "I'm attracted to children but unwilling to act on it. Before judging me harshly, would you be willing to listen?" The specifics of the article are largely irrelevant. What is important is to recognize this article for what it is: the first step in normalizing pedophilia by presenting us with someone that is sympathetic; that is not a child molester; and, by sympathizing with him, begin to subconsciously question our revulsion of pedophiles generally. How can we know that this was the purpose of the article? Ask yourself how Slate came to publish this article, and why. The author is not a regular Slate contributor, but he is the moderator of the Virtuous Pedophiles forum. He has an agenda and so too must the editor(s) that chose his story for inclusion in the magazine. His voice is not the first. (See also here). But it is a sign of what is to come. And I'm confident that it was no accident that this article was published shortly after the Boy Scouts were shamed into accepting gay leaders.

        As C.S. Lewis wrote: "Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts...." And, so, the public will be gradually ensnared, and gently pulled in certain directions under the guise of advancing equity and human rights. "The path to hell is paved with good intentions." And so it goes.

        Monday, September 21, 2015

        How Did That Retreat Work Out? -- Further Information

        In a recent post--"How Did That Retreat Work Out?"--I noted a story of a triple homicide where the killer admitted that he had chosen his victims specifically because of their relative isolation. Here is another news story about the killer's confessions from The Idaho Statesman:
        Dees said he picked the house on Cartwright Road to rob in March because it wasn’t close to any roads or neighbors and it looked as though people who had money lived there, sheriff’s officials posted in a blog Monday evening. He wasn’t familiar with the residents, he said.

        * * *
        Dees said he used Google Maps to search for remote areas around Boise and Mountain Home for high-end homes to rob. He settled on the area near Cartwright Road and used satellite maps to pick some possible targets.

        He said he drove along Cartwright Road on March 8 and began looking around, dismissing some Foothills houses because they were too close to roads or other homes. Once he settled on the Welps’ residence, he said, he parked his car on a nearby street, hiked down a hillside and staked the home out while working on a plan.

        He then drove to his Nampa residence, waited until it got darker and drove back to Cartwright Road, he told detectives. Dees said he wore black clothes and armed himself with guns and knives. He parked his car far away and hiked down the hillside again.

        Dees said he first broke into a second house being built on the property and stole some power tools. He then moved over to the main house, where he found that a door to the garage was open, so he went inside and hid. He said he found a set of house keys inside a truck in the garage, which he used to get in the house. He saw a security system for the home was not armed when he went inside, he said.

        Dees told detectives that if the security system had been turned on, he would have left immediately. He also said he probably would have given up on his plan if the family had a bigger dog, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

        The Long War Journal: "AQAP’s Inspire magazine contains ‘military analysis’ of Charlie Hebdo massacre"

        The Long War Journal, an online magazine focused on the war against terrorism, has some analysis and discussion of the most recent edition of Inspire (i.e., the 14th edition). In particular, in this latest issue, AQAP (Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula) provides a break down or analysis of its selection and preparations for the Charlie Hebdo attack. Moreover, the attack seems to have been part of a loose collection of attacks specifically aimed at those insulting Mohammed. For those interested, the 14th edition of Inspire can be downloaded here (PDF). Links to other editions can be found here.

        As I mentioned in an earlier post, though, the most alarming part of this most recent issue was the focus on recruiting (or gaining the sympathy of) American blacks. The article begins by outlining the details of a couple of the events that inspired the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Then it moves on to a rather "creative" version of the settling of the Americas--one that would have made Stalin proud. Just for a flavor:
        The great discovery. A vast land rich in economic resources. A fertile and beautiful land, filled with all that is required in life. Full of different types of vegetation and animals. Rivers spread all over the country, beautifying the land, thus making different types of people to race towards it: to live a comfort, beautiful and stable life.

        Because of this, people from different countries migrated. ... For a long period, the white European rule had been stable in America. Immigration from the African community who were searching for livelihood, continued to increase. The white community enslaved the Africans and took them as laborers. ... In the year 1861, civil war broke out between the Southern Confederate States and the Northern Federal Union States, led by Abraham Lincoln. The initial cause of war was the decision taken by Lincoln to emancipate slavery. ...
        The rest of the "history" is just as fantastically false.

        After recounting all the "wrongs" visited on blacks in America (but without discussing what Islam did with its African slaves), the article makes some specific suggestions for African-Americans:

        1. It tells its readers that they are united in Jihad (characterizing it as a defensive war);
        2. It suggests that its readers form political groups to "pressurize [sic] your government to lift the general oppression against you and to stop aggression towards Muslims. And condemn the support your government gives to Israel," in return for which they won't target blacks;
        3. As a follow up to the second point, it encourages blacks to move out of the large cities;
        4. It encourages both civil disobedience and the formation of groups to carry out assassinations; and,
        5. It encourages blacks to learn military tactics, including those referenced in earlier additions of the magazine.
        Later, the magazine discusses fundamentals of planning and carrying out an assassination mission, and how to build a hand-grenade.

        AQAP understands that political correctness is the soft-underbelly of the West, and they are fully prepared to exploit it.

        A Quick Run Around the Web -- September 21, 2015

        Cole Thomas: The Course of Empire - Consummation (1835-36)

        • "U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies"--The New York Times. From the article: "Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally 'boy play,' and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records." A couple of points. First, this abuse is mostly of boys. Second, this is not limited to just our erstwhile "allies," but is also widespread among all Afghans, including the Taliban. Third, it is a universal sign of a culture or civilization that has reached terminal decay. Our civilization sure has fallen since the time of Charles James Napier, who, in stamping out the practice of Sati (the burning of widows with their husband's corpses) in India, explained to the Indians who contended it was a respected part of their culture: "Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."
        • "The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less in 2014 Than in 1973"--The Wall Street Journal. Adjusted for inflation. Nothing new about this: wages have largely been stagnant since the Oil Embargo.
        • "The Trouble With Kids Today"--The Federalist. A look at why the outcomes for certain cohorts of children is so bad. There are the general and time-honored mention of broken families, lack of money and opportunity (including the solution being to throw more money at the problem), and then this:
        ...the opportunity gap exists alongside a substantial ability gap. Most of the graphs in “Our Kids” show the results for parents with at least a college degree versus those for parents with no more than 12 years of school and a high-school diploma. What are the IQs of those two groups? In the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY), replicating Putnam’s assignment rules, the mean IQ of the college group was 23 points higher than that of the high school group.

        But sometimes these things turn into religious observances for the Fudds. Take for example “unload firearms when they’re not in use,” or “store firearms and ammunition separately.”
          An unloaded firearm does you no good in a home invasion or if someone attacks you when you pull over to put fuel in your car.  The government wants the criminals and idiots to be safe, and they want their LEOs to be safe.  The surest way to accomplish this is to effectively disarm you.
          • "We're Turning Japanese Now"--Sultan Knish. Daniel Greenfield discusses Japans declining demographics and what it portends for the West and China. 
            Depressed post-industrial economy, low birth rate, social disintegration and a society obsessed with pop culture and useless tech toys? A country that has embraced pacifism to the extent that it can hardly defend its own borders? A nation where materialism has strangled spirituality leaving no sense of purpose?
              We are Japan. And so is Europe. Or rather Japan is the place we all reach eventually.
              • And for some humor: "It's Not About the Nail" 

              The Curious Case of the Bomb That Wasn't

              Ahmed Mohamed is the 14-year old Muslim boy that caused quite the commotion in Irvine, Texas, last week, when he brought an electronic device into his class room in a very sturdy pencil box. CNN has the standard narrative on what happened:
              On Monday, the teen, who is Muslim, brought to school a clock that he was proud to have made on his own and was arrested for what police initially -- and falsely -- said was a hoax bomb.

              But by mid-week, his face and name were splashed across traditional and social media, and he'd received thousands of tweets and Facebook posts of encouragement. President Barack Obama invited him to the White House and praised his love of science. Leaders at Reddit and Twitter offered him internships. Google executives said they were reserving Ahmed a spot at their weekend science fair and MIT asked him to visit the campus.

              Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg invited him to visit the company's headquarters, posting, "Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed."

              The hashtags #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed garnered hundreds of thousands of posts and tweets.
              Ahmed is now crying racism and Islamophobia, and saying he has been forced to attend another school. It is important to note that the reason for Ahmed's detention was his plugging the device in, causing it to make noise, which led to the police being called; and the police detaining and questioning Ahmed as to whether it was a hoax bomb--there is no allegation that it was an actual bomb. Ahmed's explanation was that he invented the clock and had brought it to school to impress an engineering teacher. Thus, Ahmed's allegations rest on the truth of two facts: that it was a clock he had invented (or built, according to some stories), the raison d'etre for bringing it show a teacher; and that it was not a hoax bomb.

              I will admit that my initial reaction was that this was another example of the stupid "zero-tolerance" policies of many schools. Then more details leaked out, including a picture of the device:

              (Source)
              And then there was his strange behavior when questioned by the police. From an article by Robert Spencer:
              The principal, the school resource officer, and police questioned him, according to WFAA:
              [O]fficers said Ahmed was being “passive aggressive” in his answers to their questions, and didn’t have a “reasonable answer” as to what he was doing with the case. Investigators said the student told them that it was just a clock that he was messing around with.
              Irving police officer James McLellan remarked:
              We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock. He didn’t offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school.
              Why this reticence? Why didn’t Ahmed tell McLellan what he so readily told the international media: that he loved building things and had brought the clock to school to show to an engineering teacher?
              Well, perhaps the kid was simply scared and intimidated by the police--after all, that is the very atmosphere police are trained to create when questioning a suspect.

              But other parts of his story began to fall apart as well. First of all, he didn't invent the clock; he didn't even build it from a kit or set of schematics. Rather, he simply took the guts out of clock manufactured in the 1980's by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary (catalog number 63 765 in 1986). So, Ahmed clearly lied about it being a device he invented.

              (Source)
              Well, perhaps he was simply trying to fool his engineering teacher into thinking he was smarter or more clever, perhaps to finagle a higher grade or a letter of recommendation. This in itself was dishonest, and unfair to the kids that actually do come up with creative projects on their own.

              But then some background on Ahmed and his family began to appear. The Diplomad discusses this:
              His "cool" clock is a disassembled 1970s/1980s alarm clock (please go here and here for an excellent take-down of the "invention"). Simply put, he or his dad (we'll get back to him) took the guts out of an old alarm clock, scattered them inside a case, and off to school Little Ahmed goes with an unassigned, unsolicited project. The teachers, quite rightly, got worried and called the cops--as they are required--and reported what they thought to be a hoax bomb. They did not say a bomb; they said a hoax bomb. The police report that Little Ahmed was very "passive aggressive" and evasive in his answers--as though, perhaps, he'd been coached, hmmm?

              Now the plot thickens and sickens even more. Little Ahmed's Big Daddy is no less than--drumroll!--Mohammed El Hassan Mohammed, a Sudanese immigrant who has gone back and forth to Sudan and been mixed up in Sudanese politics for some time. A well-known Muslim activist, he has been in the news before for his stunts. Oh, yes, did I mention that he also owns a computer repair shop? Hmmm? All mere coincidence? You decide.
              And, from The Intercept:
              But Center for Security Policy vice president Jim Hanson argued on his organization’s podcast that the clock “looks exactly like a number of IED triggers that were produced by the Iranians and used to kill U.S. troops in the war in Iraq.” He said the clock “was half a bomb.”

              Frank Gaffney, the center’s founder and president, agreed with Hanson, while suggesting that there is reason to be suspicious of “what we’re told was a clock” because “the story is not being fully explored and explained.”
              In other words, perhaps Ahmed was engaging in a practice run. Perhaps, as the Diplomad observes, this incident was revenge because Irvine, Texas, recently rejected a Sharia court.  Whatever the reason, the Diplomad is correct that "[t]he next time we will have a real bomb that nobody reports for fear of getting stamped as a racist, or, even worse, an ISLAMAPHOBE!!!"

              Update (9/30/2015): The Blaze reports:
              Before he was put in handcuffs for bringing a “homemade” clock to school and became an overnight celebrity, Ahmed Mohamed “racked up weeks of suspensions” and clashed with authority while in middle school, the Dallas Morning News reported.

              While attending Sam Houston Middle School in Irving, Texas, Mohamed “mastered electronics and English, once built a remote control to prank the classroom projector and bragged of reciting his First Amendment rights in the principal’s office,” according to the report.
              Another indication that Ahmed the Clock Boy intended school officials to believe his clock was a bomb.

              Friday, September 18, 2015

              A Quick Run Around the Web -- September 18, 2015

              Cole Thomas: The Course of Empire - The Arcadian or Pastoral State (1836)


              Firearms and Self-Defense:

              Other Stuff: