Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Police Seize Military Weapons Being Smuggled to Islamists in Sweden

The Local reports: 
Six people have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling weapons to radical Islamists in Sweden, Bosnian Serb authorities said on Friday.

Five of the suspected weapon smugglers were seized in the towns Gradiska and Laktasi in Republika Srpska, according to its interior ministry. Authorities further stated that another person had "previously" been arrested in Sweden, while another two remained at large.
 
Five arrests were made by Bosnian-Serbian anti-terrorism officials on Thursday, said officials, after large quantities of military-grade weapons were found during police raids. 
A spokesperson said the arrests were carried out as part of Swedish-run operation called 'Varg RS', but Swedish authorities would not confirm nor comment on the police raids. 
"We have no comments to this information at present. We await more information from Bosnia," national police spokesperson Carolina Ekéus told the TT news agency. 
A spokesperson for Sweden's security police Säpo also declined to comment. 
According to claims in Bosnian Serb media cited by TT, police suspect that the smugglers had intended to deliver the weapons to a group in Sweden called 'Muslim Brothers'. 
It was not immediately known whether or not the group was linked to the islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood, which has its roots in Egypt.
(H/t Anonymous Conservative)

3rd Circuit Ruling on Machine Guns and the Second Amendment

Last week I discussed the question of "How Will They Come For Our Guns?" I noted that if you believed that the Second Amendment was created to ensure that Americans would be able to possess the arms necessary to keep them free from tyranny (i.e., military weapons), those weapons were seized a long time ago with the passage of the National Firearms Act in 1934. 

Well, it has been just over 80 years since the NFA was passed, and its corrosive effect on the Second Amendment has shown up again in a new decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Truth About Guns has the story, and reports:
A panel for the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court ruling and sided with the government against a man who was authorized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to manufacture a post-1986 machine gun through a trust, only to have the permission rescinded and his property confiscated. ...

[The Court wrote:]“We reiterated that ‘[a]t its core, the Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to possess non-dangerous weapons for self-defense in the home,’ and thus, under Heller, ‘restrictions on the possession of dangerous and unusual weapons are not constitutionally suspect because these weapons are outside the ambit of the amendment,’” the opinion states. “[G]overnments may restrict the possession of machine guns.”
In 1934, they knew such weapons fell within the ambit the Second Amendment; that is why the law did not outright "ban" machine guns, but "merely" imposed a tax on the sale of machine guns (permitted under the taxing provisions of the Constitution). Now, according to the 3rd Circuit, machine guns are not even protected by the Second Amendment. If this ruling stands, there is nothing to stop the government from simply outlawing any weapon falling within the "dangerous and unusual" category.

May 31, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Race abandoned! Eerie pictures show the slow decline of an deserted NASCAR track as nature reclaims the once-popular speedway"--Daily Mail.

  • A new Woodpile Report is up. Many interesting links and commentary, as always. Out of them, there is one in particular that stood out to me: an article by Pat Buchanan entitled "The Great White Hope." The article touches on the controversial subject of white demographics, with Buchanan discussing that although white males only account for 31 percent of the population in the United States, it is not only legally permissible to discriminate against them, but mandated. He explains:
The world has been turned upside-down for white children. In our schools the history books have been rewritten and old heroes blotted out, as their statues are taken down and their flags are put away.

    Children are being taught that America was “discovered” by genocidal white racists, who murdered the native peoples of color, enslaved Africans to do the labor they refused to do, then went out and brutalized and colonized indigenous peoples all over the world.

      In Hollywood films and TV shows, working-class white males are regularly portrayed as what was once disparaged as “white trash.”

        Republicans are instructed that demography is destiny, that white America is dying, and that they must court Hispanics, Asians and blacks, or go the way of the Whigs.

          Since affirmative action for black Americans began in the 1960s, it has been broadened to encompass women, Hispanics, Native Americans the handicapped, indeed, almost 70 percent of the nation.

            White males, now down to 31 percent of the population, have become the only Americans against whom it is not only permissible, but commendable, to discriminate.

              When our cultural and political elites celebrate “diversity” and clamor for more, what are they demanding, if not fewer white males in the work force and in the freshman classes at Annapolis and Harvard?

                What is the moral argument for an affirmative action that justifies unending race discrimination against a declining white working class, who have become the expendables of our multicultural regime?
                  A vast area of at least 800,000 hectares is currently being affected as the swarms of insects, each measuring about 8 centimeters long, annihilate fields of corn and other crops.
                    It's been more than 30 years since this part of southern Russia suffered such a dense plague of locusts, according to local officials.
                      Officials say at least 10% of crops have already been destroyed, and the locust feeding frenzy is far from over, threatening to devastate the livelihoods of local farmers.
                      • "America’s ‘recovery’ is baloney — we’re actually broke"--New York Post. The author references a recent report from the Federal Reserve that found that the average American had less than $400 available to cover emergencies, and concludes that what the report really is saying is that Americans are broke. If true, then the current international trading system is in serious trouble, and the economies of China and other cheap manufacturing economies hang in the balance.
                      • "Venezuela Enters Phase II Of Apocalypse"--Anonymous Conservative. According to the author, this second phase is when the government, itself, runs out of money and resources to keep the government employees paid and fed. The author then projects what would happen in a similar situation in the United States:
                        ... An r-strategist nation needs the government. An r-strategist nation will sacrifice to keep the government, in the hopes it will spread the misery equally. An r-strategist nation will do anything to have a government protect them from freedom.
                          I suspect large swaths of America will be different. Large swaths of America have no need for the government. Large swaths have begun to see the federal government as a refuge of scoundrels, and a producer of misery. From healthcare, to surveillance, to environmental regulations, to firearms restrictions, to government targeting based on political beliefs, to forced settlement of Muslim foreigners, much of the federal government these days is at best, a costly non-entity, and at worst a net-negative to freedom and happiness. ...
                            There was a Russian political scientist who postulated that America would eventually see a debt crisis, and that this would produce a sudden dissolution of the federal government akin to what happened to the Soviet Union in the late eighties. The federal government would not have the money to pay it’s employees, and thus the employees would have to drift away to seek a means of support elsewhere. Once it lacked employees, the authority of the federal government and its ability to act would disappear, and the government would dissolve, replaced by loose amalgamations of states into several regional mini-nations. I crossed paths with an American who lived in Russia for a long time, and he said the Russians all took this ultimate outcome for granted, having seen it themselves from the inside. Looking at Venezuela, and the magnitude of the collapse to come, it doesn’t look as if they were that far off.
                              This is the problem the r-strategists face. The more the rabbits panic as things head downhill, and the more onerous they make the government as the Apocalypse approaches, the more the nation will embrace its dissolution as the Apocalypse approaches phase two.

                              Video: Rapier v. Longsword

                              Those of you interested in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) may find this video of sparring between someone using a longsword and someone else using a rapier to be interesting:


                              I don't know the skill levels of the men involved, but it seems that the two weapons are fairly evenly matched which somewhat surprise me because I would have expected the rapier to, overall, be a quicker weapon.

                              Saturday, May 28, 2016

                              May 28, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                              "Disfiguring tropical bug spread across Syria after ISIS turn the streets into a filthy wasteland is now eating its way across the Middle East as millions flee terror"--Daily Mail.

                              • "ATN BinoX HD DAY + NIGHT VISION Binoculars Review"--The Firearms Blog. These are a purely digital binoculars/camera/video camera--the image you see is projected on a display, and it uses a digital zoom. The night vision requires an infra-red emitter to see anything--it is not passive. Nevertheless, the reviewer thought it gave good performance out to 100 yards for the night vision aspect and up to 10x for magnification. Lots of photos at the link. MSRP is $479. 
                              • "Hiroshima as Gun Control"--PJ Media. Richard Fernandez writes:
                              President Obama's speech at Hiroshima, widely criticized as an indirect apology for the A-bomb, is shown in the text of his speech to be something else.  It is an interpretation of recent human history not as a contest between good versus evil, as the World War 2 generation saw it, but an indictment of poor global human governance. The tragedy of Hiroshima, Obama argues, lay in technology escaping regulation to an intolerable level.
                              Spurred by the initiative and a desire to cut down on labor costs, Foxconn has reduced its workforce by a whopping 60,000 people thanks to the introduction of robots. Foxconn's headcount went from 110,000 down to 50,000 (adding to the mass layoffs that we have warned will cause further social unrest in China).
                                Chicago police are using an algorithm to detect the likelihood that someone will become the perpetrator or victim of the stubbornly high gun violence that has plagued the city.
                                  The Illinois Institute of Technology has developed software that weighs a variety of factors, such as a person’s arrest history, gang affiliation and social network, to decide whether someone will go on the Strategic Subject List (SSL). Each person is assigned a number from one to 500, with higher scores indicating greater danger.
                                    “There’s about 1,400 individuals that are driving most of Chicago’s violence, and they score in the top numbers of the SSL,” Anthony Guglielmi, director of communications for the Chicago Police Department, said in an interview with Yahoo News.
                                      According to police, it has proven remarkably accurate so far in 2016. The majority of people involved in the city’s violent crime have been on the list: over 70 percent of people arrested for murder, more than 80 percent of people arrested for shootings and more than 74 percent of shooting victims. Furthermore, over 60 percent of murder victims had an SSL score of more than 201.
                                      When Dr. Martin Luther King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard,” he captured generations of experience: When people feel powerless, they can act out violently and in ways inscrutable to others. ...
                                      * * *
                                        Conservatives instinctively reply, “Show personal responsibility!” when social forces are blamed for individuals’ challenges. But the gumption of blue-collar workers can’t unwind the advantages the “creative class” enjoys in today’s economy. No amount of elbow grease will stop the national trend of “assortative mating,” marriage patterns that are consolidating wealth and power. A laid-off worker’s moxie can’t stop well-off families from cosseting themselves away in “Super-Zip” communities.
                                          These forces have had a disproportionately adverse effect on Trump’s base of working-class males. In “The End of Men,” journalist Hanna Rosin lists some of the ripples. Parents now favor having girls over boys. Men suffered the vast majority of Great-Recession job losses. Women now occupy a majority of managerial and professional jobs and acquire most undergraduate and graduate degrees. Marriage rates are falling at least in part because a husband is seen by some as superfluous.
                                            But what has continuously aggravated this sense of powerlessness is that the government has proven impotent or worse. The limits of state power have been on full display—the inability to prevent the financial crisis, police our borders, understand ISIS, or administer Obamacare. Just as 1970s leaders reigned over Vietnam, Watergate, stagflation, and a “crisis in confidence,” our era has suffered a “Decade of Mistakes by Experts.” But the unhumbled state’s appetite for power swells: growing budgets; expansive new proposals on climate change and preschool; and, perhaps most insidiously, a rapacious administrative apparatus.

                                            Friday, May 27, 2016

                                            How Will They Come For Our Guns?

                                            The Truth About Guns has posed the question to its readers asking "Question of the Day: HOW Are They Coming For Your Guns?"

                                            First, the government has already come for our guns. If you believe that the Second Amendment intended to safeguard the people's right to own arms capable of resisting government tyranny, then the government has already confiscated (or at least made it nearly impossible to obtain) the most useful weapons in the 1930s when the National Firearms Act was passed. World War I unmistakably demonstrated that the era of massed riflemen was over, and that explosives (however projected or directed at a target), large caliber cannon, and machine guns would rule future battlefields. (The importance of aircraft was not as clear at that point, but became apparent within the next decade). And so the National Firearms Act was born to make sure civilians could not own those types of weapons. And by the time inflation had eaten away at the cost of licensing an automatic weapon in the late 1980s, the law was amended to prohibit the manufacture of new automatic weapons for sale to the public. Most of our Second Amendment rights were eliminated long before most of us were born.

                                            As for the remaining weapons, the answer is that it will proceed just as it has been done in the past. Such weapons will be outlawed slowly--in the name of public safety and controlling crime, of course--or ownership will require onerous fees or licensing process.
                                            Example: Hey, everyone should have to take a $300 dollar safety class before they get a firearm. That is reasonable. And don't forget the licensing fee and the fingerprinting fee. And your ex- needs to sign off....
                                            There will be the occasional small sprints forward, such as banning a whole class of firearms (for example, assault weapons, "Saturday Night Specials"), but overall it will be a creeping ban.

                                            And when it is illegal to own firearms (or a class of firearms), people will either turn in the weapons, or hide them for fear of confiscation. They certainly won't use them.

                                            Raids will be made on occasion to make sure that those weapons still hidden will remain unused and hidden. Of course, the raids will be against a "bad" person: a drug user, a person with a history of mental problems, someone with a restraining order against him or her, someone selling unpasteurized milk, raising rabbits for meat, or perhaps in the course of a search based on some other pretext. (If you own a banned firearm, you are by definition a "bad" person). The point is that the raids don't necessarily need to be based on or conducted for the purpose of arresting someone for possession of the banned weapons, but through raids or searches for firearms or other reasons, there will be a fairly constant, albeit, small number of arrests and prosecutions for possessing banned firearms. And a trickle of arrests for possessing the banned firearms will tend to keep the sheep in their place.

                                            The government will also outlaw or make it onerous to buy other things needed for shooting. Background checks and taxes or outright bans on ammunition. Bans on magazines. Bans on lead. Hazardous materials fees on gun powder. Limits on the quantity of ammunition or components that a person may own, store, or buy.
                                            Example: You know lead is toxic, right? No more casting bullets unless you pay a fee, obtain a license, and put in ventilation hoods.
                                            And, of course, don't forget the social stigma that will amass against owning or using a firearm.
                                            Example: Only a criminal needs a gun, right? Only a cruel person would hunt Bambi, right?
                                            It will be piecemeal and never enough to spark general outrage.

                                            It has been facilitated by indifference (e.g., the attitude that I'm a hunter, so I don't care about a ban on military firearms, or handguns) and wanting to compromise (e.g., we should consider common sense restrictions, or engage in dialog). The way to stop it is to be politically engaged and have an attitude of no compromise, ever.

                                            (Update: 6/1/2016: minor correction).

                                            Plague Warning for South West Idaho

                                            Ground Squirrel 
                                            The Idaho Statesman reports that plague has been detected in ground squirrels in southwestern Idaho. From the article:
                                            Ground squirrels found dead in the desert in Ada and Elmore counties have initially tested positive for plague, prompting a warning from public health and wildlife officials for the second year in a row. 
                                            Authorities are still confirming the diagnosis. But people out and about in the desert southeast of Boise and Kuna should take precautions for both themselves and their pets, including not feeding rodents and not handling sick or dead rodents. This year, the area in question runs as far north as Interstate 84 in Boise, including the Boise Airport. 
                                            A bacterial disease, plague can be spread by the bites of fleas or by direct contact with infected animals. The plague is believed to have reached Idaho in about the 1930s and has likely been in the ground squirrel population for decades.

                                            May 27, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                            Self-Defense/Firearms:
                                            • It's Friday, so time for another "Weekend Knowledge Dump" from Active Response Training.
                                            • "Say NO to ‘Favorite’ Weapons"--Ammo Land. The gist of this article is that you should be able to pick up any firearm--even one that is unfamiliar to you--and be able to use it effectively.
                                            • "The NEW UPDATED Army Rifle & Carbine Training Circular, FREE for Download"--The Firearms Blog. The article has photos/excerpts of the circular, but you can download it as a PDF here.
                                            • "Real Facts About School & Other Mass Shooting Defense Tactics"--Ammo Land. Basic take away is that in most cases, the shooters know they are on a short time table, and will generally shoot for about 10 minutes before killing themselves. Thus, anything to disrupt the shooter's plans will save lives as they run out of time.
                                            • "Quick Magazine Tip"--Arctic Specter. The author writes, "when you’re spending 24-72 hours laying in a dark hole, you won’t always be able to find that next magazine you need quite as easily.  In fact, you likely have removed your rack system altogether and have it layed out in front of you.  That being the case throwing a little bit of luminescent tape on the floor plate of your magazine can go a long way." He then demonstrates what to do using a PMAG.

                                            Other Stuff":
                                            Now for the weirdness. None of the ancient DNA samples have any descendants or close relatives today. Zip. “no ancient haplotype shares a common ancestor with a modern haplotype more recently than ~9,000 years ago. Their samples were mostly taken from large population centers along the western coast of South America: apparently those people went extinct after Columbus.

                                            Thursday, May 26, 2016

                                            Got Tribe?

                                            The need to build or belong to a "tribe" is a common refrain among prepper and survivalist instructors and advocates. In this context, is generally refers to building a close and strong social network of friends and family from which you can seek help, or to which you will provide assistance, in times of emergency and need, up to and including physically defending one another. This is not the topic of this post. Rather, my topic is that whether you like it or not, you probably belong to a tribe--perhaps more than one, depending on how the term is used. And if this tribe is targeted for some reason, you, also, will be targeted because of your membership in that "tribe."

                                            There are several definitions of tribe.  One definition is "a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest." Thus the modern "urban tribe" consisting of groups of friends or roomies that hang out with each other, as exemplified in various popular sitcoms over the past 25 years including Seinfeld, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory. The term "urban tribe" was originally coined, however, as reference to "young city people that gathered in relatively small, fluid groups" with "shared common interests that [are], in general, different from the interests of mainstream culture" such as Goths, Skinheads, Metalheads, etc. Thus, in this sense, it exists at a level above gangs.

                                            But there are other, more primal, tribes. The definition of tribe includes "a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs." But it can be more expansive than this definition allows, and to get a clearer understanding of the term, it is best to study the etymology of the word. According to Wikipedia: "The word is from Old French tribu, in turn from Latin tribus, referring to the original tripartite ethnic division of the Ancient Roman state: Ramnes (Ramnenses), Tities (Titienses), and Luceres, corresponding ... to the Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans, respectively." Thus, the word may be, in certain contexts, nearly synonymous with ethnicity. (I use ethnicity in the official definition, which is that "[e]thnicity represents social groups with a shared history, sense of identity, geography and cultural roots, which may occur despite racial difference"). Thus, for instance, in history we might discuss German tribes, Celtic or Pictish tribes, Indian tribes (referring to the indigenous population of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries), Pushtun or Uzbek tribes, and so on.

                                            Supposedly we live in a post-tribal world--at least in industrialized countries--but it isn't actually true. We look around us and we see not only "urban tribes," as that term is used above, but clear and stark differences between ethnicities. This is the diversity of which we are told we should celebrate because it is necessary to a vital and developing country or civilization. I'm not attempting to address the issue of whether diversity is necessary or even desirable, but merely wish to address the issue that the "identity politics" is pushing the United States into different "tribes"--and the globalists (at least the neo-cons) are concerned that white Americans may begin to think of themselves as "white Americans" rather than simply "American."

                                            Vox Day linked to an article at The Federalist entitled "How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism" and written by David Marcus. While Marcus apparently has no issue with non-European ethnicities celebrating their "tribe," the author does not feel the same warm glow of "celebrate diversity" when he refers to "white nationalism," but uses the term in its pejorative sense as being synonymous with neo-Nazi or similar movements. And he views it as a palpable threat, writing:
                                            What is new is the direct indictment of white people as a race. This happened through a strange rhetorical transformation over the past few years. At first, “white men are our greatest threat” postings tended to be ironic, a way of putting the racist shoe on the other foot. They were meant to show that blaming an entire race for the harmful actions of a few individuals is senseless. 
                                            Then the tenor changed. What started as irony turned into an actual belief that white people, specifically white men, are more dangerous and immoral than any other people. Loosely backed up by historical inequities and disparities in mass shootings [ed.: apparently gangland shootings don't qualify as "mass shootings"], this position has begun to take a serious foothold. 
                                            Strikingly, this shift in rhetoric undermines what was once the core of anti-racist efforts. Treating people equally has given way to making all of us ambassadors for our race. This is a classic theme in critical race theory, that people of color carry a burden of representation that white people do not. But foisting the baggage of representation onto white people doesn’t solve that problem. It makes it worse. 
                                            Treating people equally has given way to making all of us ambassadors for our race.
                                            White people are being asked—or pushed—to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more. This is a remarkably bad idea. The last thing our society needs is for white people to feel more tribal. The result of this tribalism will not be a catharsis of white identity, improving equality for non-whites. It will be resentment towards being the only tribe not given the special treatment bestowed by victimhood.
                                             
                                            A big part of the reason white Americans have been willing to go along with policies that are prejudicial on their face, such as affirmative action, is that they do not view themselves as a tribe. Given the inequality of resources favoring whites in our society, it is a good thing that white people view themselves as the ones without an accent. Should that change, white privilege (whatever one views that to be) will not be eviscerated—it will be entrenched.
                                            Marcus goes on to discuss and address where he believes educators have gone wrong in attempting to teach "white privilege" to young white males* because, as he sees, the vilifying of white men and Western history has created a backlash. Marcus observes that:
                                            [Whites are] upset at having to confess guilt for events [they] had no control over. ... Moreover, many resent the pedagogical transformations that their history and culture are undergoing. White historical figures once held in too high esteem have swung the other way into utter disrepute. Also, the histories of no other peoples are being held to these lofty standards.
                                            The problem, as Marcus views it, is that "[t]he combination of the confessional and universal aspects of white privilege and the reconstruction of white history has opened the door for white racial grievance-mongers." He also points out that "[t]he result of these societal double standards is for many a desire to lash out against it." What Marcus fears happening is that young white men will embrace not only a victim attitude--similar to that seen in the identity politics of other groups--but may embrace the ultimate crimethink: white superiority.**

                                            Interestingly, Rod Deher tapped into a similar theme in his article "Re-Tribalizing America" at The American Conservative. He begins by noting the recent violent protests outside a Trump event in New Mexico, and the attack on Milo Yiannopoulos at a speaking event at DePaul University. Deher brands Trump and Yiannopoulos as provocateurs, but also admits that "they are proving something important about the militant left: that it is often racist against whites, and has no intention of allowing any opinions other than its own to be voiced in the public square. And whether in the streets or in a university lecture hall, it will use violence to impose its will." Similar, but more plainly than Marcus, Deher warns that the militant left will drive a lot of people into the arms of the militant right. He also writes:
                                            The answer to this racist SJW garbage is not to embrace white supremacy! But without a forceful, effective, unambivalent response to the unhinged militant left, sooner or later the forces of white supremacy are going to organize the dispossessed, demoralized, chaotic white rabble, and the SJWs, as well as the Washington elites, aren’t going to know what hit them. God knows I’m not saying I want this to happen, but I think it probably will happen if we continue on this current trajectory. Slouching rough beasts and all that. It’s Weimar America.
                                            (Emphasis in original).

                                            I don't believe that people rejecting the left's racist socialism are going to run into the arms of national socialists (i.e., Nazis). But there probably will be a backlash, or should be. It will be necessary for the survival of our children and grandchildren.

                                            We've been told over and over for at least a decade that the United States is becoming less white. For instance, in 2011, more minority babies were born than were white babies, and the Census Bureau estimates that whites will be a minority by 2045. Not only is this shift occurring, but we are told it is a good thing (although no one can, or will, explain why). But as whites become a minority, they will suffer more discrimination, not less. The leftist race-mongers will not suddenly stop because they "have won," but will press the advantage to eradicate their foes. While Marcus fears to go there, Deher concedes this point, relating an anecdote from a reader, who wrote to Deher:
                                            Here’s a true story. When I was in medical school there was a group of 20-40 students who were self-defined “progressive brown people” (their words, not mine). I was once told by one member of this group that eventually brown people were going to “outnumber white people” and when “Texas goes Democratic” it is going to be “game over for white people”—they will end the hegemony of white culture and tax me so much there will be no privilege left to give my children. 
                                            Here is the thing: whites represent to the leftist race-mongers what the Jews represented to the Nazis--scapegoats for all their perceived slights and deficiencies. And there is no guarantee that these soon to be majorities will treat whites any better than the Nazis treated the Jews. The issue is whether whites will go quietly to the gas chambers (which, frankly, given how much "law and order" and "white guilt" is so beat into our heads, is a real possibility) or not.

                                            This article is not intended to be a political or cultural analysis, but a warning. If Matthew Bracken and many others are correct, the United States will see interracial conflict (i.e., a civil war). You won't be completely free to choose sides. You can choose to distance yourself from a particular racial group, but it will not have any significant impact on how the enemies of that group will view you. You can choose to not be involved in your tribe, but others tribes will still view you as being a part of your tribe. And you will be targeted for that reason.

                                            Bracken has postulated that a loss of welfare benefits would trigger a civil war. It's one possibility. But it could also slowly build up, violence slowly escalating, like the spreading charring and smoke just before a pile of tinder bursts into flame. And then there is flame. I've noted before that we are in a civilizational collapse--have been for several decades--but we just can't see it because we are too close to the matter. The same applies to the civil war. In my opinion, it has already started; the flame may not be there, but the smoke certainly is.

                                            Footnotes:

                                            *It is interesting to me that Marcus singles out "white males." There are reasons why this is significant, but such are beyond the scope of this post.

                                            ** Frankly, Marcus' essay is fairly transparent in its goal. It is primarily a screed against the Alt-Right, a nascent political and cultural movement that has overwhelmed the Republican old-guard in this current presidential campaign. Marcus is simply too afraid to openly admit that his article is an attack on the Alt-Right.

                                            Wednesday, May 25, 2016

                                            The Realist: Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit

                                            This is a guest post from The Realist:

                                            Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit -- Packaging

                                            Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit

                                            If you have ever spent any time searching for a product on Amazon, you can't help but notice their suggestions for other items to buy. One of their suggestions looks interesting, and the next thing you know you're looking at items you hadn't even considered before. In my case, I started out looking at the folding titanium Vargo wood stove (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042J2PL2/), and the next thing I knew, Amazon was suggesting Zombie Apocalypse survival items.

                                            Oh, I'm a Walking Dead fan and, in general, a fan of modern zombie movies.

                                            Anyway, I ended up ordering the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit in a Sardine Can (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083IZFDI) just to satisfy my curiosity. (Also available directly from the manufacturer at http://www.zombiesurvivalsardinecan.com/.)

                                            The kit is described as containing "25 unique survival items." It contains a compass, whistle, matches, first aid instructions, razor blade, pencil, non-aspirin pain reliever, fire starter cube, adhesive bandage, energy nugget, wire clip, reflective signal surface, fish hook, fishing line & spool, duct tape, note paper, sugar, salt, gum, re-closable bag, antibiotic ointment, tea, safety pin, and alcohol prep pad.

                                            When you peel back the lid of the sardine can, the first thing you see is a small ziplock plastic bag with an instruction sheet face up inside the bag. In addition to the instruction sheet, the bag contains a large paper clip, a book of 20 paper safety matches, a Lipton tea bag (drink or "soothing compress"), a 3-3/8 inch long piece of 2-inch wide duct tape on wax paper, a small salt packet, and some of the first aid supplies. The non-aspirin pain reliever (acetaminophen) and antibiotic ointment have an expiration date of about two years in the future.

                                            Loose in the can you will find one fish hook, whistle, spool of thread, fire starter cube, pencil, 12 millimeter (approximately 1/2 inch) diameter button compass, razor blade, safety pin, adhesive bandage, packet of sugar, stick of gum, and a small Tootsie Roll (the "energy nugget").

                                            The instruction sheet is 8-1/2 by 3-5/8 inches in size (one-third of an standard 8-1/2x11 sheet of paper). The front side contains a terse discussion about possible ways to use the contents of the kit. The back side contains some basic first aid instructions. The bottom third of each side of the instruction sheet is blank, and is identified to be used for notes.

                                            With all the loose pieces, the first thing you should do after opening the kit is put everything in the ziplock bag to reduce the risk of losing items.

                                            The can is intended to be used as a container for scooping and boiling water. The manufacturer intends for the lid to be used as a reflective surface for signaling. Good luck using the lid as a reflective surface, although in a zombie apocalypse you probably don't want to be noticed.

                                            The first-aid items, such as they are, seem reasonable, and the quality is reasonable.

                                            The manufacturer recommends using the paper clip as "a binding or animal snare." The paper clip, when unwound, would provide a roughly six inch piece of thick wire. I just don't see how six inches of heavy wire could be used as an animal snare. But, in the past I have fashioned paper clips into a variety of useful tools.

                                            The "fishing line & spool" is a sideless prewound bobbin of light brown synthetic fiber thread. There is no indication of how much thread is supplied, but various searches suggest it could contain 80 to 100 yards of thread. I measured the tensile strength of the thread and found it to be around eleven pounds. There is a sufficient quantity of thread that it could be braided into stronger cords.

                                            In light of the quantity of thread provided, I'm surprised a sewing needle wasn't provided to facilitate repairs of clothing or other equipment, or to be used to stitch up gaping wounds.

                                            The safety pin is a standard one-inch closed size. The manufacturer recommends using it for mending, which is pretty obvious. The manufacturer also recommends using the safety pin as an "emergency suture" - no kidding.

                                            While the piece of duct tape is surprisingly short, it can be cut into narrower strips to do various things. The manufacturer suggests using smaller strips for repairs and to use as secondary bandages.

                                            I was actually quite pleased with the button compass. Most button compasses I see are liquid filled and the fluid will inevitably develop bubbles, which makes the compass unreliable. Since it was not liquid filled, it will never form bubbles or leak.

                                            Contents of the Kit
                                            All the packaging of various components, including the wax paper backing for duct tape, the gum wrapper, the Tootsie Pop wax paper wrapper, and the tea bag envelope could be used as tinder to help start fires. So, all packaging associated with the kit should be retained for later use.

                                            Conclusions

                                            In general, I see two problems with a sealed survival kit like this. First, you cannot open it to inspect the contents (both to verify the presence of items and to determine their quality). Second, you cannot add items to address deficiencies (e.g. the absence of a sewing needle in this kit). There are many inexpensive survival kits on the market, typically stored in a clear vinyl pouch, that can be easily opened for inspections and updates.

                                            If you are serious about wanting a small survival kit that can live in a pocket or purse, put together one to fit in an Altoids tin. There are numerous sources for ideas on what to put in such a kit, but expect it to cost a lot more than the ten-ish dollars of this and similar sardine-can survival kits.

                                            Would this kit help you survive a zombie apocalypse? Maybe, but probably not. This survival kit is not a magic talisman that will ward off zombies. There is really nothing in the kit that will help you fight zombies, except perhaps the matches for starting fires. As Walking Dead has taught, zombies are attracted to fire, which can be used as a diversion to draw zombies away. If you otherwise possess a lot of survival skills and are dressed appropriately for the weather/season/environment, this survival kit might make a short survival event a little less unpleasant.

                                            I bought this survival kit for the "zombie survival" novelty factor. It would be a great Christmas stocking stuffer for the Walking Dead fan in your family. I do not consider it to be a serious survival product because of its limitations.

                                            Tuesday, May 24, 2016

                                            May 24, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                            Source: "Lockheed Martin joins the race to the red planet: Military firm reveals base camp concept that will orbit Mars in 2028"--Daily Mail.

                                            • Venezuela update:
                                            • "Sugar shortage, economic crisis in Venezuela halt production of Coca-Cola"--Fox News Latino. "The Atlanta-based company said in an emailed statement Friday said that its production of sugar-sweetened beverages will be suspended in the coming days after local suppliers reported they had run out of the raw material. Sugar-free beverages are not affected and the company said its offices and distribution centers remain open in Venezuela."
                                            • Middle-East Update:
                                            ... China looks like it is entering another period of extreme political instability. The Cultural Revolution, marked by the killings of high-level officials, has been followed by an era of relative calm brought about by Deng Xiaoping, who grabbed power from Mao’s designated successor, the hapless Hua Guofeng. Among other things, the canny Deng lowered the cost of losing political struggles, thereby reducing the incentive for cadres to fight to the end and tear the Communist Party apart.
                                              Xi, however, has been raising the cost with an unprecedented campaign, which he has styled an attack on corruption. China’s ruler has in fact been jailing the venal, but only those who were his political enemies. The miscreants who are family and those who are supporters remain free. In short, Xi launched a purge.
                                                The purge continues to this day, a sure sign that Xi still has not consolidated power.
                                                  Another indication that he is on shaky ground is that critics have come out into the open, now calling his audacity to rule like Mao a symptom of “new Caesarism.”
                                                    What makes Trump so appealing to so many voters is that the establishment does seem unusually clueless these days. The great American post-Cold War project of seeking peace and security through the construction of a New World Order based on liberal internationalism and American power doesn’t seem to be working very well, and it’s not hard to conclude that neither the neoconservatives nor the Obama-ites really know what they are doing. When it comes to the economy, it’s been clear since the financial crisis of 2008 that something is badly awry and that the economists, so dogmatic and opinionated and so bitterly divided into quarreling schools, aren’t sure how the system works anymore, and have no real ideas about how to make the world system work to the benefit of ordinary voters in the United States. With the PC crowd and the Obama administration hammering away at transgender bathroom rights as if this was the great moral cause of our time, and with campus Pure Thought advocates collapsing into self parody even as an epidemic of drug abuse and family breakdown relentlessly corrodes the foundations of American social cohesion, it’s hard to believe that the establishment has a solid grip on the moral principles and priorities a society like ours needs.
                                                      Trump appeals to all those who think that the American Establishment, the Great and the Good of both parties, has worked its way into a dead end of ideas that don’t work and values that can’t save us. He is the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete. His election would sweep away the smug generational certainties that Clinton embodies, the Boomer Progressive Synthesis that hasn’t solved the problems of the world or of the United States, but which nevertheless persists in regarding itself as the highest and only form of truth. . . .
                                                        Myself, I don’t think the system is quite as corrupt as some Trump supporters believe or, perhaps more accurately, I lack their confidence that burning down the old house is the best way to build something new. But it would be equally wrong and perhaps more dangerous to take the view that there is nothing more fueling his rise than ignorance, racism and hate. The failure of the center-Left to transform its institutional and intellectual dominance into policy achievements that actually stabilize middle class life, and the failure of the center-Right to articulate a workable alternative have left a giant intellectual and political vacuum in the heart of American life. The Trump movement is not an answer to our problems, but the social instinct of revolt and rejection that powers it is a sign of social health. The tailors are frauds and the emperor is not in fact wearing any clothes: it is a good sign and not a bad sign that so many Americans are willing to say so out loud.
                                                        I think that Mead has missed the basic point, though. The reason that the left and the neo-cons have not sought "policy achievements that actually stabilize middle class life" is because they don't care about the American middle-class. They have moved beyond national borders into a realm of globalism and transnationalism. They support a middle-class in theory, but, to them, it may just as well be a middle class in China or Mexico. They mouth the words about helping the American middle-class or the working class, but do everything within their power (and what the public will tolerate) to undermine these same middle-class and workers. 
                                                        Pulling together fishery data and previous scientific surveys, the team managed to assemble a time series of population information on 35 species or genera of cephalopods, spanning all major ocean regions from 1953 to 2013. While there was substantial year-to-year variability, and a small number of species declined, overall, many cephalopod populations in many parts of the ocean have increased in numbers. (The giant Australian cuttlefish has also begun to recover.)
                                                          So, why are cephalopods kicking butt when pretty much everything else in the oceans is dying? Doubleday and her co-authors are still investigating, but they suspect it has to do with rapid population turnover rates. “Cephalopods tend to boom and bust—they’re called the weeds of the sea,” Doubleday said. “If environmental conditions are good, they can rapidly exploit those conditions because they grow so fast.”
                                                            One reason environmental conditions might have improved is that humans are picking off cephalopods’ main competitors—predatory fish. Other large-scale changes like global warming could also be playing a role. “I don’t think it’s any one single factor,” Doubleday said. “But something’s changing on quite a large scale that’s giving cephalopods an edge.”

                                                            Monday, May 23, 2016

                                                            Juxtaposition This: Weather...


                                                            • "India braces for more heat after temperatures break records"--Reuters. "Temperatures in parts of the western region breached 50 Celsius (122°F) last week, causing a spike in cases of people suffering dehydration and heat stroke, and triggering widespread power cuts as surging demand overwhelmed supply grids."
                                                            • "D.C.’s worst May ever, explained"--Washington Post. "So far this May, D.C. has had a record number of rainy days (19 of 23) and the coolest high temperatures since 1882. This May’s afternoon highs are running an incredible 15 degrees cooler than last May’s. And we still haven’t hit 80 degrees."

                                                            May 23, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


                                                            It is impossible for us to imagine a world where people who worked their whole lives, and contributed to a pension fund, could just have all their contributions wasted away, and end up in their golden years with nothing – unable to even afford housing or food.
                                                              That day is already here, and we have not even begun the official Apocalypse. When the real Apocalypse begins, so will the misery, and it will be unlike anything we can presently imagine – and government will be helpless to stop it.
                                                              • "What is China’s Goal?"--Chicago Boyz. The author states: "Perhaps most worrying, China is engaging in a prolonged domestic campaign of anti-American rhetoric and propaganda. The only possible purpose for that, from my point of view, is to ideologically prepare its populace for war. And seeing Glasnost as a dangerous example of a loss of political control leading to societal breakup, it is redoubling political conditioning in its military, including an expansion of political commissars and checkists inside the chain of command with a  purpose is to ensure ideological purity and loyalty."
                                                              • "Primed to Fight the Government"--Washington Post. A scare piece from the Post that, boiled down to its essence, states that all militia organizations, or those sympathetic to them, are racist, domestic terrorist groups...and if you support Trump or the Tea Party conservatives, you also are a racist and potential terrorist. Just more agitprop from the left.
                                                              • "IBM says it's designed a molecule that could fight off any human virus"--Science Alert. The article describes it as "a macromolecule – a giant molecule made up of smaller units – has now been developed that could have the potential to block multiple types of viruses, despite the many variations involved." Still in the development stage, but it would be a welcome development to have something as effective against viruses as antibiotics are (mostly) against bacterial infections. 

                                                              The Perversion Underlying Hollywood (Updated)

                                                              This past weekend, The Daily Mail ran the following report: "Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood says Hollywood is gripped by a powerful pedophile ring and Tinseltown is covering up a 'seedy' underbelly full of predatory 'vipers'." This is not the first hint of such activity, of course. As the article notes:
                                                              Shocking allegations that top Hollywood figures have been protecting child abusers have circulated widely in recent years. 
                                                              Several industry figures have been convicted following claims of sex abuse and former child actors - including The Goonies actor Corey Feldman, 44 - claimed he was 'surrounded' by molesters when he was a teenager. 
                                                              Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparentz - a group to help young actors - said that Tinseltown is currently sheltering around '100 active abusers'.
                                                              And, of course, one of the most notorious cases involves Roman Polanski, a director revered by Hollywood.

                                                              Reading this reminded me of an article from Roosh V. from a couple months back: "Does The Hollywood Elite Use Rituals And Sexual Blackmail To Keep Its Stars In Line?" He suggests that "[e]very major actor in Hollywood has made a deal with the devil, and has had to trade things that you wouldn’t, often starting when they were children and passed around to pedophiles, as Corey Feldman revealed." Roosh admits that it is the stuff of conspiracy theories, and yet we seem to be living in an age where such theories increasingly are coming true. We live in interesting times, indeed.

                                                              Related: "Glenn Reynolds: When leaders cheat, followers ... follow"--USA Today.
                                                              But, of course, the CIA’s “accident” was only the latest in a long rash of “accidental” losses of incriminating information in this administration. The IRS — whose Tea Party-targeting scandal is now over 1,100 days old without anyone being charged or sent to jail — seems to have a habit of ”accidentally” destroying hard drives containing potentially incriminating evidence. It has done so in spite of court orders, in spite of Congressional inquiries and in spite of pretty much everyone’s belief that these “accidents” were actually the deliberate, illegal destruction of incriminating evidence to protect the guilty. 
                                                              Then there’s Hillary’s email scandal, in which emails kept on a private unsecure server — presumably to avoid Freedom of Information Act disclosures — weredeleted. Now emails from Hillary’s IT guy, who is believed to have set up the server, have gone poof.

                                                              Update (5/24/2016): "Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood backtracks on comments about Hollywood pedophile ring as he claims his words were taken out of context and insists he has 'no first hand experience' of predatory 'vipers'"--Daily Mail.

                                                              Friday, May 20, 2016

                                                              May 20, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


                                                              • It's Friday, and time for another "Weekend Knowledge Dump" from Active Response Training.
                                                              • If you haven't purchased and read Rory Miller's book Facing Violence, I recommend that you get it and study it carefully. Miller details different types of common patterns of violence (why and how they can arise) and how to recognize and, in many cases, diffuse or avoid a fight. One of the attacks he describes is what he calls an "educational beatdown"--essentially, a violent altercation which sole purpose is to teach the victim a lesson, generally because the victim is violating some rule of social behavior for that sub-culture or location, or is just plain being rude and annoying. Of course, it is one thing to read about such incidents and another to see one. Greg Ellifritz has found a video showing a near perfect example of an "educational beatdown," and provides a thoughtful discussion of it. Check it out.
                                                              • "Police Refining Active Shooter Response Strategy"--The Truth About Guns. This is apparently a reprint or series of excerpts from an article or presentation by Force Science. Although there are multiple issues raised, several pertain to teaching police to rescue people (i.e., focus on helping survivors of an attack) and working in environments with smoke or fire since EMTs and firefighters will normally be excluded from such scenes for a period of time.
                                                              • "Male and Female Still Matter in Combat"--Breitbart. Another call to not require women to register for selective service because women are less physically capable of serving in combat roles. The author notes that "[t]he purpose of our military is to field the finest troops possible to defend our nation and win wars. The goal of feminists, however, is to impose a mindless equality, regardless of how many people it hurts." I disagree; the goal of the military is to obtain the greatest amount of money possible from Congressional appropriations. That aside, however, what the author does not seem to realize is that allowing women in combat units will negatively impact the efficacy of those units whether the women are there because of a draft or voluntarily. The only way to get this issue out in the open--to force the feminists to retreat--is to require women to be part of the draft. That way, there can be an honest discussion of women in combat that will hopefully lead to keeping women--voluntarily or as draftees--from being including in combat units.
                                                              • "The Creeping Militarization of American Culture"--National Interest. Eisenhower's warning of a “military-industrial-congressional complex” has come true as we now declare "war" on every social problem and transform into a police state.
                                                              • "State Senate approves sweeping new gun control laws for California"--Los Angeles Times. Most prominent among the changes mentioned in the article is that any semi-automatic weapon capable of accepting a detachable magazine of more than 10 rounds (even those using bullet buttons) are now considered "assault weapons"; purchasers of ammunition will have to show identification for purposes of a background check; and apparently there are limitations (not explained in any detail in the article) as to whom a person could loan a weapon.
                                                              • "Security Guard Arrested For Removing Man From Women’s Bathroom"--The Daily Caller. Police are reportedly investigating it as a hate crime because the man self-identified as a "woman."
                                                              • "Identity Politics Are Ripping Us Apart"--National Review. From the article: 
                                                              ... We’re left with the odd reality in which white kids who live in trailer parks are “privileged,” while the sons and daughters of wealthy black doctors are “oppressed” — in which the legitimate concerns of white working-class and middle-class Americans are dismissed as misguided at best (after all, they’re privileged) and racist at worst. 
                                                              Here’s the problem: Progressives don’t like to admit this, but identity politics work as the mirror image of white supremacy — compressing the extraordinarily rich and complex histories of nations, continents, and cultures into one characteristic: skin color. For the white supremacist, white people are natural-born victors. For the identity-politics leftist, white people are natural-born predators.
                                                                Nobody rings a bell at the top of the credit supercycle, to misuse an old adage. Except that this time somebody very powerful in China has done exactly that. 
                                                                  China watchers are still struggling to identify the author of an electrifying article in the People's Daily that declares war on debt and the "fantasy" of perpetual stimulus. 
                                                                    Written in a imperial tone, it commands China to break its addiction to credit and take its punishment before matters spiral out of control. If that means bankruptcies must run their course, so be it. 
                                                                      Fifteen years ago such a mystery article would have been an arcane matter, of interest only to Sinologists. Today it is neuralgic for the entire global - and over-globalized - financial system. 
                                                                        China's debt is approaching $30 trillion. The fresh credit alone created since 2007 is greater than the outstanding liabilities of the US, Japanese, German, and Indian commercial banking systems combined. 
                                                                          Moody's warned this month that China's state-owned entities (SOEs) have alone racked up debts of 115pc of GDP, and a fifth may require restructuring. The defaults are already spreading up the ladder from local SOE's to the bigger state behemoths, once thought - wrongly - to have a sovereign guarantee.
                                                                            To put matters in context, leverage rose by roughly 50 percentage points of GDP in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990, or in Korea before the East Asia crisis in 1998, or in the US before the subprime debacle. This gauge is an almost  mechanical indicator of a future credit crisis. 
                                                                              As we all know, China is in a class of its own. Debt has risen by 120 to 140 percentage points. The scale of excess industrial capacity - and China's power and life and death over commodity markets -  mean that any serious policy pivot by the Communist Party would set off an international earthquake. 


                                                                                ***

                                                                                  The latest stop-go credit cycle began in mid-2015 and has since accelerated to an epic blow-off, with the M1 money supply now growing at 22.9pc, by the fastest pace since the post-Lehman blitz. 
                                                                                    Wei Yao from Societe Generale estimates that total loans rose by $1.15 trillion in the first quarter, equivalent to 46pc of quarterly GDP.  "This looks like an old-styled credit-backed investment-driven recovery, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the beginning of the 'four trillion stimulus' package in 2009. The consequence of that stimulus was inflation, asset bubbles and excess capacity," she said.
                                                                                      House sales rose 60pc in April, despite curbs to cool the bubble. New starts were up 26pc. Prices jumped 63pc in Shenzhen, 34pc in Shanghai, 20pc in Beijing, and 18pc in Hefei. Panic buying is spreading to the smaller Tier 3 and 4 cities with the greatest glut.