Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web -- December 31, 2015

Source: Daily Mail, "Shocking aerial photographs show devastation caused by historic Mississippi flooding that has killed at least 20 - and officials warn there are more deaths to come." I'm interested in seeing how far south the flooding will spread, since there are worse things that could happen.

  • "Swiss Army Chief Warns Of Social Unrest, Calls Upon Citizens To Arm Themselves"--Zero Hedge. "Swiss army chief André Blattmann warned, in a Swiss newspaper article on Sunday, the risks of social unrest in Europe are soaring. Recalling the experience of 1939/1945, Blattman fears the increasing aggression in public discourse is an explosively hazardous situation, and advises the Swiss people to arm themselves and warns that the basis for Swiss prosperity is 'being called into question.'" (H/t Vox Popoli).
  • "All You Americans Are Fired"--Buzz Feed. "The H-2 guest worker program, which brought in 150,000 legal foreign workers last year, isn’t supposed to deprive any American of a job. But many businesses go to extraordinary lengths to deny jobs to U.S. workers so they can hire foreigners instead."
“Obama is transferring the jobs and salaries of Americans to foreign nationals, including illegal aliens… [who will be] licensed to take middle class jobs,” said one Hill staffer. The pending rule “highlights the unholy alliance between progressive Democrats, progressive Republicans, and the Obama administration… [so] when it comes to finding a job in America, being native-born in America is a disadvantage,” the staffer said. 
The 181-page rule focuses primarily on giving work-permits to foreign college-grads who will compete against Americans for white collar jobs, despite the large number of American graduates now stuck in lower-wage positions and struggling to pay off college debts. The rule will also make each foreign graduate much cheaper for U.S. employers to hire than many U.S.-born college grads.

The big lie in the West is egalitarianism. ... [That] [e]veryone is equal, and if one group doesn’t appear equal, it’s because they’re being oppressed by another group.


For a number of reasons, there will be no improvement to the American K-12 educational system. First, there is no imperative for America to improve its own public school system so long as it can continue to rely on external talent. The United States will continue to reap the fruits of the far superior preparatory educational systems of other countries (China, South Korea, India). If America can import foreign talent, it has no need to cultivate domestic talent.
    Second, demographic trends dictate that American student performance will only worsen. There are now more minority students than white students at the Kindergarten level. This numerical superiority will propagate like a wave along a jump rope held at both ends, through the elementary school, then middle school, and finally high school level. With many students coming from a background that is often staunchly anti-intellectual and deeply resentful of any attempts to academically uplift them, average student performance will plummet.
      The wealthy will continue sending their children to private schools and preparatory academies and will be insulated from this trend. White children of poor and middle class backgrounds will suffer the most: unless they summon the self-discipline to challenge themselves by supplementing what they learn at school through independent learning, they will not be able to compete and will be condemned to meager university and job prospects.
      •  Related: "The Two Empires We Must Defeat"--Sultan Knish. "These two types of imperialists are incapable of representing native workers or communities because they are transnationalists. Their vision is cosmopolitan, rather than representative. They are entranced with a byzantine international arrangement and uninterested in the lives of the people they are ruining." He continues:
        An empire may begin by conquering other countries, but it invariably ends by conquering and consuming its own. The empire we are part of isn't, despite the left's rhetoric, a conquering empire. American territorial expansionism ended long before we became part of an empire. Instead we are part of an empire of systems, an empire of principles, an empire of internationalism, of trade and of pieces of papers, legal and financial, being moved through the bowels of our endless systems.
          This is the thing that we call international law. And it has to die for us to live.
            This is the empire that feeds armies of foreign immigrants through our countries. It's also the empire that pays allegiance to Islam because empires have to diversify to expand. Diversity isn't the source of our strength. It is the source of imperial expansionism which has to absorb many more peoples.
              To empires, people are interchangeable. If the natives have a low birth rate and a long lifespan, then workers with high birth rates and lower lifespans are brought in to replace them. If the natives are reluctant to pay higher taxes, immigrants from countries that are fine with voting for high taxation are imported. That is how empires, not nations, do business.
                This is what the political establishment in most countries believes. This is what tearing them apart.
                  The only way for the nations to survive is for the empire, in all its forms, the ideological revolutionary empire of the left and the centrist empire of international law, to to be cast off.
                    Every political revolution that fails to take into account the power of these two empires on our national politics is doomed to fail. To win a conflict, you have to understand what you are fighting.
                      We are fighting against two variations on the same set of ideas about the importance of transnational institutions over national ones. We are fighting against the entrenched loyalty to systems and ideology over people. We are fighting empires that have displaced people for ideas.
                        The only possible revolution that can succeed against these two empires is populist. It must emerge from the needs of the people of a country to be free, to be prosperous and to manage its own affairs. It must proceed by showing the people how they have been victimized and how they are being victimized. And it must show them that they reclaim what their grandparents had if they take back controls over their own countries and destinies. 
                          So perspective is in order as we look at the world in late 2015. The fateful rupture between the US and China that many feared has not in fact happened. Washington has so far managed the rise of a rival superpower more or less benignly.
                            China has just been admitted into the governing elite of the Bretton Woods financial system with the backing of the US Treasury. To wide consternation, Barack Obama and Xi Jinping steered through a sweeping climate change accord in Paris, the template for a new G2 condominium.
                              * * *
                                Yet the Chinese hubris that seemed so alarming four years ago has faded with the dawning realisation that they are not magicians after all - and America is not in decline after all - and that they risk the middle income trap soon enough if they make any further mistakes.
                                  Russia's Vladimir Putin has gained little by overthrowing Europe's post-war order, and seizing a piece of recognized Ukrainian territory by armed force. He has kept Crimea but his attempt to foster revolt in the Donbass through agitators and proxies has fizzled, and in the process he has transformed what was previously a neutral Ukraine into a hostile rampart of the West.
                                    His hopes of dividing the Atlantic alliance have come to nothing. Europe has just renewed sanctions. They are biting deep. The country is shut out of Western capital markets. Unless oil recovers, the Kremlin will have exhausted its reserve fund by 2016, and will face a fiscal crisis by mid-2017.
                                      There are grounds for hoping that the world economy is at last starting to free itself from a low-growth trap. The global savings rate has peaked at 25pc of GDP and seems to be trending down very slowly as China switches to a consumption-led growth model. Or put another way, the underlying imbalance of capital over spending that has bedevilled us for so long is finally correcting.
                                          Icing the cake, we have the net global stimulus of the oil slump. It is a windfall gain in spending power for importers in Asia and the West. Yet the petro-powers are not cutting their spending pari passu: they are running down their wealth funds to prop up their welfare states.
                                            * * *
                                              The underlying deformities of the eurozone have not been corrected. There is still no fiscal union. The tensions will return in the next global downturn. But for now the quadruple stimulus of a cheap euro, cheap oil, quantitative easing and the end of fiscal austerity are all combining in a "perfect positive storm", enough to give the eurozone another cyclical lease of life.
                                                The one great disorder we have in the world right now is the collapse of the century-old Sykes-Picot dispensation in the Middle East, made more combustible by the Sunni-Shia battle for regional mastery.
                                                  It is certainly a humanitarian tragedy, but in hard-headed geostrategic terms it is a regional problem, a particular struggle within Islam to come to terms with modernity. It is sui generis and of no universal relevance.
                                                    Nor should we overestimate the staying power of the Wahhabi caliphate as it attempts to hold fixed ground against a world now seriously roused in wrath, and without fixed ground, constant infusions of money and the allure of rising momentum, Isis does not add up to much.
                                                      Yes, the world is a mess, but it has always been a mess, forever climbing the proverbial wall of political worry even in its halcyon days. So let us drink a new year's toast with a glass at least half full.

                                                      Wednesday, December 30, 2015

                                                      Hatchet and Tomahawk

                                                      Traditional Hatchet and SOG Tomahawk
                                                      I had posted a review of the Gerber "Bear Grylls" Parang a few days ago, where I tested it against some other chopping tools. I decided to add a couple other tools to the mix: a standard, traditional hatchet; and SOG's tactical Tomahawk (see photo above).

                                                      In my initial test, I was actually surprised and disappointed with the performance of my Gerber camp ax--essentially a lightweight hatchet. One of the distinctive characteristics of the Gerber axe is that the cutting edge is straight. I wondered if a typical hatchet, with a slight curvature to the blade, would work any better. Putting it to the test, it did indeed work better. Cutting a branch, this time, it took some 11 strikes to chop through an approximately 2-inch thick branch. For the test of chopping wood on the block, I used a segment from my earlier tests that was about 1.5 inches in diameter. It took 3 chops to cut through.

                                                      I borrowed the Tomahawk, just to see how it might compare since it has a shorter blade than the Gerber ax, but a longer handle. It made short work of taking a 1.5 inch diameter branch off of a poplar stand: 8 whacks. However, it took 15 chops to cut through the wood segment (again using one from my earlier tests) when placed on the block. Thinking that there was something wrong, I tried another section of the wood, which this time took 11 chops to get through. So, still somewhat surprising of a result since none of the other tools took more chops to get through the wood on a block than when chopping it down in the first instance. I can only surmise that the branch cut off the stand of poplar was softer than the wood used in the block test.

                                                      Tuesday, December 29, 2015

                                                      Some Thoughts About "On Assault Rifles"

                                                      This week's Woodpile Report contains a guest post entitled "On Assault Rifles" by B. Chandler, from Australia. I recommend that you read the guest post first, but for those who don't want to, Chandler's basic thesis is that a ban on assault weapons in the United States would be accompanied by a buy-back and amnesty period (which would be extended numerous times) until the protesters are tapped out and the manufacturers and sellers have shut down; there will be the occasional arrest, but the majority of weapons remaining in circulation will be buried or hidden in closets, until "[t]he odd AR or AK will turn up in grand-dad's wardrobe after he shuffles off this mortal coil and the lawful ownership of such weapons in the USA will end not with a bang but with a whimper."

                                                      Chandler offers up his scenario from the perspective of what happened in Australia. Perhaps it would work out that way here. However, Chandler, I believe, forgets that the United States did have an "assault weapon" bill that, while not requiring confiscation, did prohibit the importation, manufacture and sale of "assault rifles." I think he also underestimates the position that firearms occupy in the national psyche.

                                                      The United States' assault rifle ban took effect in 1994. At that time, in the eyes of even most gun-owners, such rifles were truly fringe: I think it would be safe to say that even a majority of gun owners at that time would have agreed that only criminals and survivalist wanted "assault rifles." Liberals on both sides of the aisle thought that the ban would be easy to pass. However, even though very few people owned or even wanted an "assault rifle," there was a growing grass-roots opposition to gun control in any form. Enough gun-owners saw the "assault rifle" ban as a precursor to a ban on handguns that the "assault rifle" ban was only able to be passed by including a sunset provision. The belief on the political Left and from the Moderates was that the ban would be easily renewed.

                                                      It didn't work out that way. The primary result of the ban being passed was a political backlash that resulted in, among other things, Speaker of the House Tom Foley losing re-election. He was the first presiding Speaker of the House to lose reelection since 1862. The backlash was also credited with the Republicans gaining control of the House of Representatives.

                                                      Something else happened. The ban popularized modern rifles. People that previously had no interest in "assault rifles" suddenly wanted one. Demand (and prices) for pre-ban rifles went through the roof. Firearms manufacturers and importers went to ridiculous lengths to get around the ban. So-called "assault rifles" went from being fringe firearms in 1994, to the most popular models of rifles being sold during the last decade.

                                                      The 1994 ban also prohibited the manufacture and sale of magazines of more than 10 rounds. Magazine manufacturers went into overdrive to produce magazines before the 10-round limit went into effect. Because of the pre-ban surge in production, the larger-capacity magazines could still be readily found and purchased up through the expiration of the ban in 2004. The public also responded to the magazine limit, at least in the realm of handguns, by shifting from 9 mm to larger rounds such as .45 and .40 S&W under the perception that if they couldn't own a gun with a large magazine capacity, then they would own one using deadlier rounds.

                                                      The biggest consequence of the 1994 ban, though, was the increased political and social resistance from gun owners. Politicians learned that gun owners are dedicated and do not forgive or forget.

                                                      So, getting back to Chandler's scenario, what would happen if the federal government banned "assault rifles," but this time required such rifles to be turned over or destroyed. I don't believe that the reaction would be an armed civil revolt, but a repeat of what happened in 1994 writ large. There would be lawsuits: not only over the constitutionality of the ban, but whether or not the amounts being provided for the buy-back provided just compensation for a government taking. Worst case scenario for the federal government would be that the ban was upheld, but that each firearm confiscated had to be evaluated as to its worth. I could easily see the federal courts grind to a standstill attempting to deal with appeals of such decisions.

                                                      There would also be a political backlash--but stronger this second time around. It wouldn't just be Democrats losing; it would be long sitting RHINOs. The Tea Party movement is only a pale shadow of what would happen in the aftermath of a new "assault rifle" ban.

                                                      But let's say that the ban wasn't declared un-constitutional or repealed by a new host of politicians. Past experience also provides guidance here: Manufacturers would quickly develop work-arounds. Parts would still be made and sold. Businesses that appeared to work with the government would be boycotted and blackballed (remember the fall of Smith & Wesson after it voluntarily agreed to demands from the gun-control organizations). Some states and localities would prohibit their law enforcement from participating or cooperating with federal authorities to enforce the ban, with the result that it would, for all intents and purposes, not be enforced in those locales. We might even see something similar to the sale of marijuana or "sanctuary cities," where certain States or locales specifically permit "assault weapons" in defiance of federal law.

                                                      And, because of the impossibility of enforcing the whole thing, my prediction is that there would arise a growing contempt for not only such a ban, but for federal laws in general. There wouldn't be armed revolution, but there would be wide spread indifference to obeying and enforcing the ban. Just as with the 1994 ban, it would be the ban, not the ownership of such weapons, that would end with a whimper.

                                                      Monday, December 28, 2015

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



                                                      The West Baltimore rioters of 2015 didn’t call for more LBJ-style antipoverty projects, but for less policing. In a “keep off our turf” version of belligerent multiculturalism, the rioters see police as both to blame for black criminality and as an embodiment of bourgeois white values. The old riot ideology referred to mostly white urban police forces as occupying armies; the new version sees even Baltimore’s integrated police force, under the leadership of a black mayor and (until recently) a black police chief, as an occupying army. Withdrawing the police from black neighborhoods is the only acceptable solution. 
                                                      * * * 
                                                      The cops, complains Coates, “lord over” young black men with “the moral authority of a protection racket.” There is a touch of truth in this. But, Coates goes on, the problem with the police “is not that they are fascist pigs but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.” The solution, he implies, is a black population released from the ideals of the American dream and from the “false morality” of white Americans.
                                                      So, in other words, this new Black movement seeks to develop ghettos, enclaves, reservations, city states, fiefdoms--whatever term you prefer--that are politically (but not necessarily, economically or physically) independent. (I don't believe for one minute that Coates seek to terminate welfare support for the inhabitants of these enclaves). Is this where the breakup of the country begins?
                                                      • "Seeing the West as Worse"--by Joel Kotkin at the Orange County Register. The article is primarily about how, on one hand, Western civilization has created mass affluence and prosperity, which attracts immigrants who want the affluence without assimilating into the culture; but, on the other hand, an elite that want to rid the world of mass affluence, reserving it only to themselves. But I particularly like this bit:
                                                      As the great 15th century Arab historian Ibn Khaldun observed, societies that get rich also tend to get soft, both in the physical sense and in the head.
                                                      Such is Spengler's theory of decline, summed up in one sentence. And, as the Anonymous Conservative explains, it is because prosperity sets the conditions for the survival and proliferation of the r-strategists. 

                                                      Sunday, December 27, 2015

                                                      Duck

                                                      A couple recent videos from Survival Lilly:





                                                      A Quick Run Around the Web--December 27, 2015 (Updated)


                                                      About 8 p.m., authorities started to advise stores in the mall to close their doors, but those involved in the brawls were refusing to leave. "Businesses were in the process of closing their doors, steel grates, and you had juveniles that were not allowing businesses to close up — [they were] climbing on the grates," McDonald said.
                                                      "This was a riot," McDonald added. "It was crazy."

                                                      Police received reports of shots fired within and outside the mall, but investigators haven't confirmed those reports, McDonald said.

                                                      Restaurants and shops surrounding the mall also closed their doors as the teens and young adults flooded out, McDonald said.
                                                      However, there were no arrests.
                                                      I was intrigued by the vague description of the rioters and that there had been no arrests. I read several other news reports that similarly only described the rioters as "teens," although they obviously were not limited to teenagers, and give no explanation as to the cause of the riots. It was also interesting that none of the reports seemed to have actual footage of the perpetrators. Of course I was suspicious--I'm familiar with how media in Europe will go out of the way to obfuscate the identities of perpetrators that are Middle-Eastern, African, or similar ethnicity. Such is the situation here. I finally found an report which showed footage of the "teens" fleeing from the mall after police began to arrive--it showed young blacks--mostly males--running from the mall. So "teens" is now the acceptable code-word for young black men?
                                                      • A couple stories from Watts Up With That about the myth of the "Pacific garbage patch" and oceans choked with plastic:
                                                      • "An Ocean of Plastic"--detailing the myth and why there is so little plastic (spoiler: it breaks down and is eventually consumed by bacteria).
                                                      • "The Rise in Violent Crime: Reasons and Excuses"--Powerline. When faced with evidence of a "Ferguson effect" on violent crime, the media suddenly starts explaining that violent crime is much lower now than 20 years ago--something that they assiduously ignore when gun control is the topic.

                                                      Saturday, December 26, 2015

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


                                                      Up to 600 French protesters desecrated a Muslim prayer hall in Corsica in a revenge attack prompted by the wounding of two firefighters and a police officer.

                                                      The furious mob smashed the prayer hall's glass door, ransacked the interior and left around 50 partially-burned Korans littering the street overnight.

                                                      Chanting 'Arabs get out!' and 'This is our home', protesters marched through the streets of the French Mediterranean island's capital, Ajaccio.
                                                      * * *
                                                        The violence began on the night of December 24, when two firefighters were 'ambushed' by 'several hooded youths' in the low-income neighbourhood of Jardins de L'Empereur.
                                                          It escalated when several hundred people gathered in front of police headquarters in the capital city, before marching through the streets to the housing estate where the attack on the firefighters took place.
                                                            They then launched the violent assault on the local prayer room.
                                                              Interior Minister Bernard Cazaneuve insisted the perpetrators of both incidents would be tracked down and arrested, adding that there was no place for 'racism and xenophobia' in France.
                                                              Islam is not a race; and being upset at the coddling of violent gangs comprised of young Muslim men is not an irrational fear. The authorities should instead be looking at why hundreds of Corsicans felt it necessary to take the law into their own hands.
                                                              The potential move puts an even greater spotlight on immigration in the 2016 campaign that has already been infused with anti-immigrant rhetoric, originating largely from Donald Trump.
                                                              In other words, the point of such an exercise (whether or not it actually goes forward) is to get out the vote for Hillary by emphasizing what could happen under a Republican presidency.

                                                              Review of the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang

                                                              One of the basic tools for wilderness survival is a good chopping tool. I received a Gerber Bear Grylls Parang for Christmas. According to Gerber, the Parang boasts a 13 inch long blade, with an overall length of 19.5 inches. Its weight is 19.4 ounces; 25.4 ounces with the sheath.
                                                              Parang - front side
                                                              Parang - back side
                                                              As you can see from the photographs above, the Parang comes with a padded nylon sheath. The Parang is secured with a nylon strap that fastens closed with velcro. The belt loop is right at the width of a typical belt. Like many other of the Gerber Bear Grylls products, it comes with a water resistant sheet of instructions on certain basic survival skills. On the back of the sheath (see second photograph above) there is a small label with emergency signaling instructions printed on it. I appreciated that it was only stitched on three sides, making a small pocket for the survival instructions to fit into it when folded. Finally, there is a lanyard that is intended to fit around the handle (see above)--you slide your fingers underneath the lanyard when gripping the handle.

                                                              I'm not someone in the financial position to torture test a tool to failure. Besides, it is not in my nature to abuse my tools. I thought, however, that a performance test was in order. I decided to compare the Parang to other chopping tools: a Gerber camp axe (essentially a hatchet), a Kukri, and Cold Steel's Kukri machete. (See below).

                                                              Cold Steel's Kukri Machete

                                                              Kukri and Gerber camp axe
                                                              The Kukri features a 12 inch blade, with a 1/4 inch thick spine. The Cold Steel Kukri machete has a 13 inch blade that is 2 mm thick. The Gerber camp axe is the original model, which has been discontinued. However, other than a slightly thicker head and polymer/fiberglass handle, I thought it would be representative of a traditional hatchet.

                                                              My test subject - a stand of poplar
                                                              I decided to test the various tools against a stand of poplar, featuring shoots/branches of between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. The first test would be to chop a free standing shoot down. The second test would be to chop through the shoot while resting on a stump. Obviously, such a test is inherently subjective since it depends on my ability with using the tool, and the fact that there will be some variance between the thickness of the poplar shoots. I decided on this test because this size of wood was a size that might be used as poles for building a shelter or spear, or for wood for a fire (keeping in mind that wood used for fueling a small fire should generally be no thicker than a man's wrist).

                                                              The Camp Axe/Hatchet


                                                              Axe - the wood after being chopped down

                                                              Cutting the wood on a stump
                                                              The poplar shoot I cut down with the axe ended up being two inches in diameter at the point it was cut down. It took 40 chops to cut through it, although I believe that part of this was because the wood split about half-way through the process, allowing it to flex more readily, absorbing the energy. Also, I didn't alternate directions like I should have, which probably slowed the process.

                                                              On the stump, it took 4 chops to cut through the wood. However, it measured as 1 inch in diameter at that point. I subsequently tried a different piece, which was about 1.5 inches in diameter, and it took 5 whacks to chop through it.

                                                              Traditional Kukri


                                                              Kukri -- after chopped down


                                                              Kukri--chopping through the wood on a stump
                                                              The shoot I used for the traditional Kukri was approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Cutting it down took 42 chops. Cutting it on the stump into a shorter piece took 10 chops.

                                                              Cold Steel Kukri Machete

                                                               Cold Steel Kukri machete -- after chopping down the shoot

                                                              Cold Steel Kukri machete -- chopping on the block
                                                              The Cold Steel Kukre machete has a much thinner blade than the traditional Kukri. It took 25 chops to cut down a shoot that measured 1.75 inches thick. When cutting it to a shorter length on the stump, it took 12 chops, and the wood measured about 1.5 inches thick at that point.

                                                              The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang


                                                              Parang -- after chopping down shoot

                                                              Parang -- after cutting the wood to a shorter length
                                                              The Parang performed much better than the other tools. It only took 8 chops to cut down a shoot that measured 1.5 inches in diameter. It took 5 chops to cut through the poplar shoot when placed on the stump. Obviously this was excellent performance. I would also note that I was very impressed with the handle on the Parang that allowed a good grip while wearing light-weight gloves, and seemed to absorb the shock of each blow better than the materials used on the other tools.

                                                              I must confess that I was surprised by the results. I already knew from prior use that the traditional Kukri was not as good of a chopper as other tools. I thought that the machete would be less effective than the axe, but seemed to work better for chopping down the free-standing shoots. I expected that the axe would have difficulty with chopping down the flexible shoots, but thought it would perform better than it did. I expected the Parang to perform about the same as the machete, but it actually worked much better and, overall, was the best of the tools on this particular test.

                                                              Update

                                                              Traditional Hatchet and SOG Tomahawk
                                                               I decided to add a couple other tools to the mix: a standard, traditional hatchet; and SOG's tactical Tomahawk (see photo above).

                                                              In my initial test, I was actually surprised and disappointed with the performance of my Gerber camp ax--essentially a lightweight hatchet. One of the distinctive characteristics of the Gerber axe is that the cutting edge is straight. I wondered if a typical hatchet, with a slight curvature to the blade, would work any better. Putting it to the test, it did indeed work better. Cutting a branch, this time, it took some 11 strikes to chop through an approximately 2-inch thick branch. For the test of chopping wood on the block, I used a segment from my earlier tests that was about 1.5 inches in diameter. It took 3 chops to cut through.

                                                              I borrowed the Tomahawk, just to see how it might compare since it has a shorter blade than the Gerber ax, but a longer handle. It made short work of taking a 1.5 inch diameter branch off of a poplar stand: 8 whacks. However, it took 15 chops to cut through the wood segment (again using one from my earlier tests) when placed on the block. Thinking that there was something wrong, I tried another section of the wood, which this time took 11 chops to get through. So, still somewhat surprising of a result since none of the other tools took more chops to get through the wood on a block than when chopping it down in the first instance. I can only surmise that the branch cut off the stand of poplar was softer than the wood used in the block test.

                                                              Friday, December 25, 2015

                                                              Merry Christmas


                                                              Above is a short (approximately 2 minute) video from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the meaning of the birth of Christ.


                                                              This second video, The First Christmas Spirit, is slightly longer (6:41 minutes) but interesting as it explores how Joseph may have reflected back on raising the Christ Child. The language is in Aramaic, I presume, but anyone familiar with the scriptures about Christ's early life should be able to follow the events without trouble.

                                                              From Chapter 2 of Luke, we read:
                                                               1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
                                                                 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
                                                                   3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
                                                                     4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
                                                                       5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
                                                                         6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
                                                                           7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
                                                                             8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
                                                                               9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
                                                                                 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
                                                                                   11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
                                                                                     12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
                                                                                       13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
                                                                                         14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
                                                                                           15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
                                                                                             16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
                                                                                               17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
                                                                                                 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
                                                                                                   19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
                                                                                                     20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
                                                                                                     In Timothy Stoner's book, Crucify! Why the Crowd Killed Jesus, the author explains that Christ's earthly ministry was not one that brought peace--as in an absence of war or sin--to the world, but brought a message and way for an individual peace to his or her own soul. "[T]he Messiah's primary mission will be to free people from internal chains, not political bondage." Stoner also writes:
                                                                                                    ... He had not come to Israel for judgment. They were currently in that season of growth and development in which "fruit" will manifest the reality of what is in the heart. But though judgment is not yet at hand, it is inescapable. He has not come to eradicate judgment, but to help people survive it. Everyone will face divine scrutiny. His mission is to show how to avoid the calamity of severe punishment and be granted access into His heavenly kingdom.
                                                                                                    In this season of exchanging gifts, remember that the gift or sacrifice that The Lord seeks of each of us is that of "a broken heart and a contrite spirit."  (See D&C 59:8; Psalms 51:17).

                                                                                                    Merry Christmas, and may God's blessings be upon you all.

                                                                                                    Thursday, December 24, 2015

                                                                                                    John C. Wright: "Defy the Devil: Celebrate Christmas"

                                                                                                    Some advice from author John C. Wright:
                                                                                                    The time for submission is past.

                                                                                                    Christians have been slandered, libeled, demeaned, and buffaloed by a very small and very patient group of Leftwing zealots who have somehow convinced the world that there is no place for us in the this world: no place for our nativity scenes at Christmas, no place for Christian marriage, no place for the Ten Commandment in our courthouse decorations, no place for historical accuracy, reality or truth in our lives, and no prayers in our schools.

                                                                                                    Enough is enough. We outnumber them. It is time to drive them from our midst, and return our civilization to being civilized.

                                                                                                    Let us be Christendom again.

                                                                                                    * * *


                                                                                                    That time is not yet, but soon, when we must take further steps to prepare for the storm that is coming.

                                                                                                    * * *


                                                                                                    ... God is on our side. Peace is on our side. Love is on our side. Truth is on our side. ...

                                                                                                    It is time to be witnesses. It is time to oppose the princes of this world. It is time to expunge the barbarians among us, the filth who corrupt our children, the vermin who prey on our goodwill, who cannot even be trusted to put on something as small and insignificant as a children’s school play without thought-policing it in the vain and hateful attempt to remove Christ from our lips, our deeds, our hearts.
                                                                                                    Read the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                      A Quick Run Around the Web--December 24, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      Source: "Amazing chart shows thanks to capitalism, global poverty is at its lowest rate in history"--Washington Examiner.

                                                                                                                                                                      • I've come across a couple references recently to the amazing decline in poverty in the past 200 years. Glenn Reynolds discusses this decline in his USA Today op-ed, "Actually, things are pretty good." He writes: "A new study by the World Bank estimates that less than 10% of the world’s population is living in what it calls poverty — an income of less than $1.90 per day. Twenty-five years ago, over a third of the global population was living on less. The biggest changes have come in East Asia and around the Pacific, but even sub-Saharan Africa, the worst place in the world for incomes, has improved significantly, with poverty dropping from 56% to an estimated 35.2% since 1990." Max Roser has compiled data on this topic, and more graphics and data is available from him at Our World in Data
                                                                                                                                                                      Ironically, it is our current prosperity that spells our doom. Although I intend to explore this issue in more detail in later posts, the Anonymous Conservative has published a book called The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics which explores how human psyche, and,thus, politics, has been shaped by competitive (K) and mass reproduction/deceptive (r) strategies. He further demonstrates an overlap between conservationism and K strategies, and modern liberalism/leftism and r strategies. His book fills in many blank spaces in Spengler's and Tainter's works on the collapse of civilizations. The basic point to understand for purposes of my comments today, though, is that the K strategy is supreme during times of resource scarcity, while r strategy is favored by resource rich environments. It is the very prosperity we enjoy (created by K-strategists) that has allowed leftists (r-strategists) to expand both their numbers and socio-political power. 
                                                                                                                                                                      • Related: "Will Connecticut's High-Tax, Union-Friendly Policies Turn Out GE's Lights?"--Investor's Business Daily. Instapundit notes that GE has long been a supporter of leftist/non-competitive causes and government regulations, so there is a certain justice to it now being faced with high the costs of such an environment. The problem is that if GE moves to a more business-friendly (i.e., conservative) state, so too will many of the liberal Connecticut voters that caused the problems in the first place. It is a spreading contagion.
                                                                                                                                                                      U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed to CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues on Wednesday that the incident occurred, but disputed allegations that all eleven family member were denied permission to board the flight.
                                                                                                                                                                        A DHS source tells CBS News that one of the brothers was refused entry into Israel two years ago, and his teenage son's Facebook account has links to terrorist websites.
                                                                                                                                                                        What really holds a civilization together, is the act of prioritizing human cooperation above violence. At some point in time, we started to realize that other people were more valuable to us personally if they were alive, even if we didn’t like those people. We’re all proficient at different tasks, and when there are more people working together, there are more opportunities (and prosperity) for everyone. That is the real linchpin of civilization.
                                                                                                                                                                        • "COIN In Chicago"--Captain's Journal. Herschel expresses some scorn for an article that describes policing in Chicago as a COIN (counterinsurgency) operation. He believes the more proper description would be a stability operation. However, he goes on to observe that spreading riots could result in the adoption of actual counterinsurgency activities. He writes: 
                                                                                                                                                                            While we aren’t dealing with millennia-old problems, we are in fact dealing with at least fourth or fifth generation entitlement, with fatherless families, SNAP payments, welfare, “free” medical care, and so on.  Just enough government largesse to keep the inner city blacks on a leash, not enough (yet) to create revolution against it.  And therefore the elites get their voting bloc, which is the intended outcome all along.
                                                                                                                                                                              But the monster this created is ugly and difficult to control.  I’ve read comments about the rioters in Ferguson, to the extent that any protest against “the man” (or the state) is a good thing and they must be our ally (I’m not sure who “our” is).  Such a view is a sign of lack of attention to detail, immaturity and weakness of mind.  Most of the rioters in Ferguson would sooner gut you groin to throat with a knife and then rape your wife and daughter as to look at you.  Anyone who feels an alliance with the rioters in Ferguson is a fool.
                                                                                                                                                                                This is a monster the government and effete urbanite elitists created.  The hive is coming apart at the seems, and the only way to keep it together is harsher and harsher stability operations.  Make no mistake about it.  The Chicago Mayor knows all about the tactics in use in Chicago and approves of them.  The firing of the chief of police was a sacrifice to the masses.
                                                                                                                                                                                  The lesson for us is that police departments are more and more using stability operations as a model or paradigm for their work, with the approval of those in charge.  As these tactics want to work their way into the fabric of American society like a cancer, one goal will be to kill the cancer before it takes over the host.  This battle will be gradual, fought initially on the fields of town hall meetings, boards, blogs, and so on.  If the battles are lost there, it will expand, and if lost entirely, dystopia (and maybe insurgency) will come to the American countryside.
                                                                                                                                                                                    The wars for the inner city cannot be won.  America is going broke and the largesse cannot continue forever.  Sooner or later, the riots will expand.  The more important thing will be what happens to the medium and smaller towns of America?  Stability operations can lead to COIN if not successful (and couple this with Islamic terrorism and the influx from South of the border, and the potential for success seems bleak), and neither COIN nor stability operations is an acceptable model for this country.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wednesday, December 23, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                    NYT: "N.B.A. Lends Its Name and Its Stars to Campaign Against Gun Violence"

                                                                                                                                                                                    The article from the New York Times indicates that the National Basketball Association is partnering with Bloomberg's misbegotten "Everytown for Gun Safety" lobby, and "putting the weight of its multibillion-dollar brand and the prestige of its star athletes behind a series of television commercials calling for an end to gun violence." The article continues:

                                                                                                                                                                                    The N.B.A.’s involvement suggests that a bloody year of gun deaths — in highly publicized mass shootings and countless smaller-scale incidents — may be spurring even some generally risk-averse, mainstream institutions to action.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Players who appear in the first 30-second ad, which will run five times on Friday, speak in personal terms about the effects of gun violence on their lives. ...

                                                                                                                                                                                    The N.B.A. said it held little internal debate about working with Mr. Bloomberg’s group. “We know far too many people who have been caught up in gun violence in this country,” said Kathleen Behrens, the league’s president of social responsibility and player programs. “And we can do something about it.”
                                                                                                                                                                                    The deal was brokered by Spike Lee, who pitched it to John Skipper, the president of ESPN, who then took it to Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner. Apparently it was done without consulting team owners or executives.

                                                                                                                                                                                    So, a government sanctioned monopoly has decided to involve itself into a domestic political movement intended to leave the Middle-Class helpless before criminals and the government (although perhaps I repeat myself). The proper response would be legislation to remove its monopoly status--something on which it depends for its profits--followed by anti-trust prosecution. Or boycott the NBA. Or both.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Video: TFB's "Top 5 Concealed Carry Guns"


                                                                                                                                                                                    This is a fairly recent video from The Firearms Blog called the "Top 5 Concealed Carry Guns." The hosts are Patrick R. and Alex C. The firearms discussed are the H&K P7, NAA .22 Magnum "mini" revolver, Ruger LCP (with Lasermax), S&W Bodyguard, and S&W Model 642 J-Frame. Honestly, the video is not so much what are the "Top 5"--which would normally be something based on sales or some other indicia of importance--but rather a look at the 5 weapons that the two hosts use.

                                                                                                                                                                                    However, there is an interesting point about the video and presentation to which I want to direct your attention. The H&K is apparently the only weapon carried by Alex C., who admits that he only carries when he thinks he will be going somewhere where there is a heightened danger. The other 4 weapons belong to Patrick R. (except the LCP which apparently was appropriated by his wife), who carries most of the time, and admits that he uses different weapons depending on clothing and other factors. He also emphasizes a couple times that his choice of weapons is somewhat constrained due to his stature.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I've raised the point before that concealed carry is actually very subjective to circumstances, requiring different modes of carry and, perhaps, even different firearms at times--there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. My own observations, including from reading articles, blog and forum posts, and watching videos on concealed carry, is that it is probably rare for someone who is dedicated to concealed carry to use the same weapon and same method of carry all the time, especially if they normally carry a full-sized  or "mid-sized" (e.g., Glock 19) handgun. Yes, there are a few dedicated souls out there that do. But even when a dedicated "carrier" discusses a preferred weapon or carry method, it is generally followed by an admission that "sometimes I just drop a J-frame" or other small handgun "into my pocket when I am just quickly running to the store"; or switch to something smaller in hot weather or engaging in sports; and so on.

                                                                                                                                                                                    This video seems to confirm my thoughts. The one that carries only intermittently, Alex C., is the one that has settled on the one gun; the one that carries frequently, Patrick R., has different methods and different firearms for different situations.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: "Apocalypse Damascus: Bombed-out houses and rubble for as far as the eye can see... this shattered landscape is all that remains of one suburb in Syria's capital"--Daily Mail.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • "The Russians have stopped playing nice. They're bombing Aleppo back to the stone ages..."--SNAFU. Solomon writes: "Russian airpower is doing what the combined forces of NATO's air arms couldn't. Its really amazing how quickly you can end a conflict if you decide that you're in it to win it....rules of engagement are loosened and your theory of war is to end it quickly instead of taking two decades because a short, sharp campaign in the end saves lives." I don't think the Russians care about savings lives (except for their own troops); rather, they realize that the only way to win a war is to destroy the enemy's will to fight. Think the end of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • "The Logic of the Police State"--The American Conservative. The author writes:
                                                                                                                                                                                    If you’ve been listening to various police agencies and their supporters, then you know what the future holds: anarchy is coming—and it’s all the fault of activists.
                                                                                                                                                                                    * * *
                                                                                                                                                                                    Beyond the storm of commentary and criticism, however, quite a different reality presents itself. In the simplest terms, there is no war on the police. Violent attacks against police officers remain at historic lows, even though approximately 1,000 people have been killed by the police this year nationwide. ...
                                                                                                                                                                                    * * *
                                                                                                                                                                                    Indeed, a closer look at law enforcement arguments against commonsense reforms like independently investigating police violence, demilitarizing police forces, or ending “for-profit policing” reveals a striking disregard for concerns of just about any sort when it comes to brutality and abuse. What this “debate” has revealed, in fact, is a mainstream policing mindset ready to manufacture fear without evidence and promote the belief that American civil rights and liberties are actually an impediment to public safety. In the end, such law enforcement arguments subvert the very idea that the police are there to serve the community and should be under civilian control.

                                                                                                                                                                                      And that, when you come right down to it, is the logic of the police state.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                      • "Living with the Muslim Hum"--by David Solway at PJ Media. "Those of us who are still sentient know that Islam is a foreign body among us and that it is inherently destructive, irrespective of reformist efforts to achieve the impossible and which result only in creating an eidolon that Stephen Kirby has called 'Fantasy Islam.' Islam itself cannot be fixed and to complicate matters, as Diana West writes in a fascinating Breitbart article, it is undergoing a 'recurrent cycle of…expansionism into the wider West.'" However, the author acknowledges that this is not just an issue with Islam, "But we must look to the people who elected the rash and short-sighted Liberal establishment that has abetted this expansionism."
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Is this why Obama likes Hawaii? "Bullying in Hawaii: A State of Denial"--Hawaii Reporter
                                                                                                                                                                                        Does the Aloha State actually have a bullying problem? If you are Caucasian and from the Mainland, you will certainly think so.
                                                                                                                                                                                          It doesn't matter how long you live here, or if you were even born here. If you are white, locals will still call you a “haole”, a derogatory term that is Hawaii's equivalent of using the "N-word".
                                                                                                                                                                                            And the prejudice goes beyond name calling. White people are often treated with scorn. “Go back to where you came from”, seems to be the message. “You don't belong here.” Sometimes it results in violence.
                                                                                                                                                                                              White children in our schools are harassed, intimidated, and physically abused. The last school day of the year in Hawaii, for example, is traditionally called “kill a haole day”.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Racism is as ugly in Hawaii as anywhere else, and is the cause of much of the bullying of school children and adults alike. Unless this underlying racist cause of bullying is addressed, efforts to stop bullying are doomed to fail.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "2,887 Shooting Victims In Gun-Controlled Chicago Year-To-Date"--Breitbart. "Nearly 3,000 shooting victims in a city with an 'assault weapons' ban, a 'violence tax' on every gun and bullet sold, strict limitations on the number of gun store and on the locations of said stores. and numerous other gun controls ubiquitously instituted to keep law-abiding citizens safer, but which actually make it far more difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire the guns they need for self-defense." It's not a drug problem; it is a minority gang problem exacerbated by the fact that the city and state government is corrupt, and the city is the major hub for narcotics trafficking in the United States.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "New York Looks to Cap Ammo Purchases to Twice A Gun’s Capacity Every 90 days"--The Truth About Guns.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "The Great Republican Revolt"--David Frum at The Atlantic. "The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description." (Italics in original). Having diagnosed the problem, like a good liberal, Frum then goes on to advise the Republicans on what to do: double down on ostracizing these Middle Americans. And some conservatives are actually buying it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "Alfred Kinsey, Child Sexuality, and Rabbitism"--Anonymous Conservative. Discussing Kinsey (whose research is used in child sex education curricula) and the liberal mindset, the author observes this about liberals: "Kids having sex is normal, mating with anything up to and including animals is normal, as is women having affairs behind their husbands’ backs, if you have an r-selected reproductive strategy. So to them, none of this is wrong, nor should you question any research which proves it right. Rabbits [i.e., liberals] never even think about it."
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Last, but not least, Ol' Remus has a new Wood Pile Report up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Survival/Prepping:
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "Survival Gear"--Captain's Journal. "As I’ve implied, with 550 cordage and a poncho or tarp, along with trekking poles, you can have shelter in under two minutes if needed.  With redundant means of fire starting along with charcoal or char-cloth, you can have fire even when everything is wet.  With a parka and mylar blanket, you can have warmth when you need it (I have many parkas, my all-time favorite is Simms).  With a handgun (and an additional magazine or a few loaded moon clips) you have protection, and with a good tactical knife, you have a cutting tool or a chopping tool.  I carry a heavy folder, such as a Ka-Bar Mule, or CRKT M16-14DSFG-Tanto, always something with serrated edge.  Otherwise I carry a Ka-Bar straight edge fighting/utility knife, again, with a serrated edge."
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "Knitting Cables"--...For Dummies. The basics of knitting using knitting cables.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "goTenna Portable Off-Grid Communication Device Review"--More Than Just Surviving. A product that allows you to use your cell phone as a portable transceiver (at least between phones with the goTenna attached). From the article: "Out of the box, you get two lightweight (1.8 ounces/52 g) nylon and aluminium sticks, similar to those over-sized “wifi” sticks your local cell phone provider may provide. It’s small enough that you can carry it pretty much anywhere, and as per the advertising it’s designed with ruggedness in mind. The listed dimensions are 5.8 inches x 1 inch x 0.5 inch, which is pretty remarkable considering this packs in enough oomph to power communications up to 4 miles in radius (in the outdoors) for up to 24 hours of continuous use. Mighty impressive." Looks interesting. The author notes that the device has the option of secure communications with another particular device, or openly communicating with any device attached to a goTenna. Anyway, it looks like an interesting piece of equipment. Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "Zero Like A Hero Pt 2: How It All Works"--Blue Collar Prepping. A follow up on a prior article (to which I had previously linked), this one discusses the hardware--i.e., the sights.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "Gun Ownership in Ukraine and Shopping in Venezuela"--Fer Fal. Some discussion of the situation in Venezuela, and photographs from Ukrainians showing them posing with their self-defense arms. As to the latter, Fer Fal adds:
                                                                                                                                                                                                Keep in mind that in such a complex situation there are no simple, black or white solutions. Remember the posts not that long ago about how Ukrainian refugees said getting caught in a checkpoint when entering or leaving the Russian occupied region with a firearm, even a radio, maps or binoculars, could get you detained for days for some very unpleasant questioning. A scoped rifle turned you into a sniper, maps, binoculars or a radio turned you into a spy. These two assumptions could easily get you killed. So, while its wise to be armed and capable of defending yourself as a general rule, it may not be as good an idea when escaping and going through checkpoints. We go back to a long held concept in this website, that the handgun is the survivalists main firearm, easy to carry, easy to conceal, easy to dispose of or hide if necessary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                (Underline added).

                                                                                                                                                                                                Tuesday, December 22, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                A Quick Run Around the Web -- December 22, 2015 (Updated)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: "A Historical Perspective on Homicide"--Powerline Blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Security researcher Brian Wallace was on the trail of hackers who had snatched a California university's housing files when he stumbled into a larger nightmare: Cyberattackers had opened a pathway into the networks running the United States power grid.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Digital clues pointed to Iranian hackers. And Wallace found that they had already taken passwords, as well as engineering drawings of dozens of power plants, at least one with the title 'Mission Critical.' The drawings were so detailed that experts say skilled attackers could have used them, along with other tools and malicious code, to knock out electricity flowing to millions of homes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wallace was astonished. But this breach, The Associated Press has found, was not unique.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ... the Hegelian Dialectic is a mechanism to arrive at a final truth or conclusion. Right now you probably use the Aristotelian method for arriving at truth, which is to observe all the facts of the situation and then make the most logical conclusion based from those observations. Hegel explained a process where truth is instead arrived through the friction and conflict between one force (the thesis) and its opposite (the antithesis). The final result from that clash, the synthesis, is the best conclusion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          In all likelihood, the synthesis is not the final and absolute truth. It becomes the new thesis where a new antithesis forms to oppose it. The conflict between them leads to a second synthesis. This process repeats until the final synthesis is revealed, which theoretically is absolute truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            * * *

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hegel proposed his dialectic as a natural way of arriving at the truth, but had in mind that the nation itself was the vehicle to create new syntheses. Like most Enlightenment thinkers, he threw god away and made the nation-state god instead. The modern elite has taken this a step further by pre-determining a synthesis (a specific agenda) and then developing events that arrive at that synthesis through artificial means.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                If the elite has a result they would like to have, whether it be increased authoritarian rule or a war that solidifies their power, all they have to do is devise an anti-thesis that will lead to the outcome they want. This is commonly done through false flag attacks, where the government of a nation attacks itself so that it can respond in the way that it had wanted to all along, because it’s only through that attack would citizens agree to the planned synthesis. False flag attacks are in fact a common way for governments to fulfill their goals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                What must also be considered is the fact that terrorist groups are displaying the same capabilities as conventional forces.  ....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The problem is this. Special Operations Forces are good. They even have their own mafia and fan club on the internet.  But everyone forgets the truth. You don't send Special Ops against a decently trained conventional force. Special Ops are vulnerable to conventional forces....and now terrorists groups are starting to show the signs of morphing into conventional forces! The Special Ops raid of the past might be fading right before our eyes. We've already seen a growth in unit size from platoon equivalent to now Ranger type battalion sized ops.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Update: "Germans Arming Up In Response To Migrant Crime"--Anonymous Conservative. After noting various articles indicating that Germans are buying more weapons because of the exploding crime rates from the immigrants invading the country, the author goes on to predict:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Next the stories will be about why they are arming themselves, and all the awful things that the refugees are doing. That will comes as the nature of the people’s cognition changes, and the media adapts to meet it. As this stress wears on the Germans, day to day, their amygdalae are growing stronger, and more practiced at applying the pain of aversive stimulus to the brain. As they grow more practiced, the stimulus grows stronger, and less able to be ignored. As the stimulus is less able to be ignored, it will become more bothersome, be focused on more, and be exercised even more, in a constant feedback loop of increased sensation —>increased awareness —>increased sensation —>increased awareness. Eventually, the least irritation will provoke an uncontrollable urge to eradicate the source, be it an imperfection in a work product, or a leftist demanding that they import violent foreigners.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Read the whole thing.