Wednesday, August 31, 2016

And Now It Becomes Clear ... (Updated)

Today we learned that the ATF has decided that wetted nitrocellulose (wetted for safe shipping) is a high explosive with disastrous consequences for powder and ammunition manufacturers and distributors. Ammo Land reports:
ATF’s sudden and unexpected change in policy on wetted nitrocellulose will likely have a significant impact on industry’s ability to deliver products to the military and commercial markets. Industry members have relied on the exemption for wetted nitrocellulose for many years and are aware of no accidental detonations or diversion of this product into illicit channels. Consequently, it is unclear why ATF believed it necessary to change its policy and, more importantly, why ATF announced the change in a newsletter article with no advance notice to industry.
The Truth About Guns provides a clearer explanation:
The key component in modern smokeless gunpowder is nitrocellulose. This quick and efficient burning compound is the cornerstone upon which the various blends of gunpowder are built and without it the majority of ammunition you see on the wall at your local sporting goods store would disappear. Since time immemorial the ATF has held that wetted nitrocellulose (a mixture of the explosive compound and water or alcohol, designed to reduce the probability of explosion during shipping) destined for small arms ammunition manufacturing was not an explosive and therefore exempt from the usually onerous requirements of logging the material in a bound book (like firearms) and storing it in an approved explosives magazine. Until just a few weeks ago, that is, when the ATF threw all that out the window.
Not to stoke conspiracy fears, but it makes one wonder if this is why federal agencies have been ordering such large amounts of ammunition in recent years.

Update (9/1/2016): As one of my readers pointed out, Ammo Land has updated its article with a letter from the ATF indicating that they have received comments from ammunition makers and importers that have"brought to our attention issues that were not fully addressed in the Newsletter and require further consultation and consideration with the industry. Accordingly, ATF has and will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry  practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will not be affected."

2nd Update: "ATF Backs Off on Wetted Nitrocellulose, Smokeless Powder Production Uneffected"--Ammo Land.

August 31, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

Video: "Why I Don't Like Lever Actions"--Alex C. at The Firearm Blog. To fully understand the author's position, you have to keep in mind that Alex C. is a militaria aficionado, and so he is evaluating lever-actions as a military weapon, rather than as a "working gun." In that regard, he is correct that a lever action is definitely inferior to the AR, for instance, or even most of the older bolt-action military firearms. However, that is not why the lever action has remained popular. The lever action is popular because it offers a light, handy rifle that works very well as a brush gun or for hunting from horseback. In hunting, or home defense, shots will rarely be taken from a prone position, thus negating any objection that the lever interferes with the prone position. It is more intuitive for most people than a bolt-action, and therefore (for most people) quicker for follow-up shots. (Besides, the rapid bolt work possible with a military configured bolt-action is much more difficult to accomplish on a scoped hunting rifle). Since hunting bolt-actions are not loaded using chargers or clips, the difference in speed of reloading is not a significant factor. And, besides, lever actions are fun to shoot.

As Venezuela prepares for nationwide protests calling for the recall of its wildly unpopular President Nicolas Maduro scheduled for this Thursday, its socialist government is arresting activist leaders and opposition politicians.
Glenn Reynolds, commenting on the foregoing report, suggests that "protesters should have a contingency plan for such arrests, and it should involve killing mid-level security officials and their families." But it is ever the curse of freedom loving men to act honorably even while their enemies do not.
  • Signs of the K-shift: "'Go naked in Saudi Arabia and see what will happen to you': French mayor vows to ignore burkini ban court ruling"--Daily Mail. The ruling was from France's highest court, so this would be like a mayor in the United States ignoring the Supreme Court. In any event, this particular mayor went on to express a modern heresy, telling immigrants that "If you don't want to live the way we do, don't come."
  • The Praetorian Guard Gestapo Department of Homeland Security will be monitoring elections: "Homeland eyes special declaration to take charge of elections"--Washington Examiner. I wonder: will they require erstwhile voters to show a valid photo identification in order to enter a polling place?
  • "Why 'One Gun' or 'Three Guns' for TSHTF Is a Bad Idea"--All Outdoor. The author suggests that as we go through various stages of a collapse, we will want or need different firearms (and skills). For instance, he notes that in Phase 1 ("Martial Law and Trigger-Happy Authorities"), authorities will attempt to maintain order, including arresting anyone openly carrying a firearms; during such times, he suggests that a handgun (perhaps with silencer) will be the best choice of firearm. (I would note that this matches with what FerFal has stated based on his experiences from Argentina). It is possible that a society could dip in and out of Phase 1. In any event, the Anonymous Conservative warns:
Do not do anything in the Apocalypse because you think the system has broken down, and you are now allowed to simply act according to your morals. You will never know who or what is watching and recording your every move.
Phase 2 ("Lawlessness and Die-off") is the stage where law and order has completely collapsed, and where openly carrying an AR or other defensive rifle would be wise. 
Phase 3 ("Long-Term Survival") is where traps, snares, or primitive weapons may come to the fore.
  • "What Life Will Be Like After an Economic Collapse"--Survival Sullivan. The author writes that, like the death of Detroit, it may come so slowly that you do not realize it until it is too late.
  • "What Comes Next"--The Z Man. He predicts that Trump will lose the election and the Progressives will clamp down hard on the opposition, including the alt-right. (He suggests that even if Trump were to win the election, it would not be enough to destroy the will of the Progressives, but that they would still double-down on the opposition). But it is that repression that will bring the next round. He writes:
Just as the Persian Awakening was crushed, the alt-right will probably be crushed, but these things don’t go away. They go underground and regroup. They learn from the defeat and come back better and more prepared to take the fight to the enemy. What comes next is always worse than what the ruling class imagined the first time. In retrospect, they always wish they had taken the first offer and loosened their grip every so slightly. Whether of not the Cloud People recognize what is on offer is hard to know, but the way to bet is they invest everything them have in crushing their opposition.

    What comes next, however, will be much worse.
      Some call it "gun violence," a definition greatly appreciated by Democratic politicians like those at City Hall. They can point to guns and take that voter anger over homicide numbers and channel it into a safe space.
        But there are plenty of guns in the suburbs, and suburbanites aren't slaughtering each other.
          It's the gang wars.
            Politicians know that the gangs are reason for the deaths. Calling it "gun violence" is much safer, especially in wards where gangs often provide political muscle.
              "Have you ever heard a Chicago alderman call out a street gang by name?" O'Connor asked. "No? Me neither."
                The "real police" are cops who make arrests and don't live out their careers as house cats. And those I interviewed for this column see stark differences between this August and the one of 1991.
                  Now, the police force is smaller in real terms, meaning the number of officers available to patrol. One North Side district had only three cars working during a shift the other day, police sources said.
                    Manpower shortages combined with too much overtime lead to exhaustion. And loss of morale from the mayor's botched handling of the Laquan McDonald fiasco have wreaked havoc with command, with street stops down markedly. Yet taxpayers don't have a true picture of how thin that thin blue line has become.
                    Kass also contends that dissolution of the old gang units has impacted the effectiveness of the police forces: residents of the affected neighborhoods knew the old cops and would talk to them, while they don't know the officers in the reformed gang units.
                    The New York high court called Alison D.’s [an older case on the same issue] rigid standard of parentage “unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familial relationships.” The court emphasized that hard-and-fast rules on parentage “inflicted disproportionate hardship on the growing number of nontraditional families” across the state.
                    This is nothing more than the imprimatur of the state on dysfunctional families and a further declaration that children belong to the State and not the parents.
                    • "Ebola Virus Genetic Material Can Remain in Semen for 18 Months, New Study Shows"--ABC News. "More than 450 men from Liberia were screened in the months after they contracted the disease and officials found that 24 men had evidence of Ebola in their semen 12 months after they had recovered from the virus, according to the new report. One of the patients had virus particles in his semen 565 days after his illness. Previously, the longest time Ebola was documented to be present in semen was 6 months." Also: "Researchers found that older men over the age of 40 were more likely to have viral genetic materials found in semen 90 days after they left treatment centers."
                    • "Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Strawberries From Egypt"--ABC News. Most of the strawberries were distributed in Virginia.
                    • "The Same Microbe That Led to Black Death Also Caused a Huge Plague Centuries Before"--Gizmodo. Genetic confirmation that both the Black Death of the late Middle-Ages and Justinian's Plague of the 6th Century A.D. were both outbreaks of bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis or Y. pestis for short). Interestingly, though, the researchers indicated that the two plagues were caused by genetically different strains of Y. pestis. Interestingly, the strain from the Justinian victims also originated in China. The article goes on:
                    Naturally, more research is needed into these newly detected unique genetic features. At least some of those mutations might be linked to the virulence of Y. pestis. And this particular strain turns out to be much more diverse than scientists previously thought.
                    Frankly, to me, this is suggestive that Russian theories of varying virulence of bubonic plague may be correct. According to Russian researchers, different strains from different reservoirs have varying virulence: i.e., the more deadly strains coming from marmots in Central Asia and China, and the less deadly from rats.

                    Tuesday, August 30, 2016

                    August 30, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

                    Video: "How To Build a Basic AR-15"--Iraqveteran8888 (42 minutes).

                    Firearms and Self-Defense:

                    The gang-banging Sorells brothers are part of a feral subculture within the larger American society that is predatory and nearly primal in how they view the world. In this instance, they decided to try to murder a man for being a stranger that made eye contact, which they took as a sign of challenging their dominance over what they viewed as their territory.
                      This is the sort of behavior we often associate with wild animals, but it is in fact the norm for much of human history, and is a current problem in many parts of the world even today.
                      • "Garage Gunsmithing: 101"--The Arms Guide. More of an explanation of why you might want to try your hand at DIY gunsmithing than how to do any particular project. However, it does have a list of basic tools you will need.
                      • "Quality is in the details."--Oleg Volk. While using infrared in a recent photo shoot, Volk noticed that an inexpensive camouflage sling showed up bright white in the infrared spectrum--potentially a problem if facing an opponent using night vision equipment. He notes that there are manufacturers that specifically make products that will appear camouflaged even in the IR spectrum. And, as some of the comments point out, any hunters need to be aware of how their clothing or gear may show up in the UV spectrum, since deer (among other animals) have limited UV vision.
                      • AR15.com has a thread on an interesting project--an M249 clone using an AR lower and a bump-fire stock.

                      The Coming Conflict:
                      Some 18 years ago, India and Pakistan conducted successive nuclear tests, joining China as Southern Asia’s three overt nuclear powers and transforming the region into a nuclear trilemma. Both India and Pakistan have developed their arsenals at a measured pace, at least compared to historical standards. Today, however, there are concerns that we could be witnessing a potential slow-moving, but cascading, arms competition in the region following China’s deployment of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), or multiple-warhead missiles, in 2015. 
                      • A few from the SNAFU blog:

                      Other Stuff:

                      • "Russia reveals world's first test of radical pulse-detonation 'super-rocket'"--Daily Mail. From the article: "The Russian Advanced Research Foundation has announced the construction and testing of a pulse-detonation rocket engine, which uses high thermodynamic efficiency to allow spacecraft to achieve much greater capabilities. The researchers say this type of engine could enable rockets to carry a heavier payload and reduce the cost of shipping cargo into orbit."

                      Diversity + Proximity = War

                      Video: "APA Convention Keynote 2016"--American Psychological Association featuring Jonathan Haidt, PhD, New York University, "What Is Happening to Our Country? How Psychology Can Respond to Political Polarization, Incivility and Intolerance" (54 minutes). His Power Point slides can be found here.

                      DIVERSITY + PROXIMITY = WAR: I'm sure that most of my readers have previously seen the title I have used for this post. The basic concept is that it is impossible to maintain peace among diverse populations living in close and unrestricted proximity to one another. Diversity does not solely relate to race, but also to ideology and culture. Many people are beginning to recognize this truth. Some have advanced ideas to correct the problem, others have declared the problem so intractable to be unsolvable, and yet others appear to just want to follow the formula to its natural conclusion. Here are some recent articles that I have come across addressing these issues:

                      • "A Slow Drifting Apart" (Page 1) (Page 2)--Taki's Magazine. The author, James Miller, is where I came across a reference to the video I've linked to above. Miller writes:
                      Should America fall apart (God forfend!), Jonathan Haidt will be the doom merchant who rang the alarm bell the loudest.
                        The social psychologist just gave a remarkably prescient—and depressing—keynote speech on the state of our country heading into prime election season. Speaking before the American Psychological Association, Haidt dissected the cause behind political strife in America.
                          His diagnosis on our national health? Not good; maybe even terminal.
                            It’s more cliché than buntings on July 4th to say that we’re living in a politically divisive age. But facts are facts: The country is more polarized than ever. Haidt provides reams of data showing that half the nation looks at the other half with unbridled contempt. Not since the Civil War have voters, and their elected representatives, viewed their political rivals with such malice.
                            Miller continues:
                              Sadly, I’m not as sanguine as Haidt about our ability to rally around a common cause. The West, I believe, is too far gone. In America, most native citizens have accepted the notion that their country is a propositional nation, and not one of common kin, faith, and ethnicity. So they are susceptible to the pull of uncompromising ideologies.
                                Just think: Will gays ever accept religious believers who believe them damned to hell? Will Black Lives Matter and its allies ever get over their grievance with white supremacy? Will illegal immigrants ever self-deport peacefully as long as public officials bait them into coming here and domestic employers hire them?
                                  I see no scenario where these differences can be overcome. What we require is more viscosity. What we’re seeing is heightened tension.
                                    If this rising anxiety doesn’t soon abate, we will be headed toward what Terry Teachout calls a “soft disunion.” Grown tired of living next to each other, Red America and Blue America will agree to an amicable split. There will be no civil war; just a slow drifting apart.
                                      Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history.
                                        The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls and myriad other African, Asian and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.
                                          Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish or Vandal identities.
                                            The propaganda of history's multicultural empires -- the Ottoman, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian, the British and the Soviet -- was never the strength of their diversity. To avoid chaos, their governments bragged about the religious, ideological or royal advantages of unity, not diversity.
                                              Nor did more modern quagmires like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Rwanda or Yugoslavia boast that they were "diverse." Instead, their strongman leaders naturally claimed that they shared an all-encompassing commonality.
                                                When such coerced harmony failed, these nations suffered the even worse consequences of diversity, as tribes and sects turned murderously upon each other.
                                                  For some reason, contemporary America believes that it can reject its uniquely successful melting pot to embrace a historically dangerous and discredited salad-bowl separatism.
                                                  Hanson goes on to discuss the current destructive political climate of victim-hood and identity politics, asking if we will see whites (who he acknowledges are fast becoming a minority) begin to assert white identity politics. He calls for everyone to step back from the precipice of identity politics (i.e., tribal politics), and return to the "melting pot." 
                                                  Although Hanson is a professor of history, what he seems to have ignored is that America's "melting pot" was a myth. From its inception and until the 1960s, the United States has tried to strictly control immigration to ensure that the people entering the United States were compatible with the existing culture. The "melting pot" worked because the similarities between the various Western European nations/cultures were sufficient to allow for a common culture; and the numbers of immigrants that were not Western Europeans was sufficiently small to never threaten the status quo. That is no longer the case, and is only going to get worse. For instance, Hillary Clinton has called for a 550 percent expansion of the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the country; that is, potentially importing 620,000
                                                  • "Milwaukee"--Fred On Everything. Fred Reed begins his article by noting that, however the media tries to hide it, we are in a race war. However, he sees no way out of it, and no return to the mythical "melting pot" even if it ever could have worked. He writes:
                                                    I can think of no way to solve the country’s racial disaster. Can you?
                                                      Ritual chantings about racism, discrimination, white privilege, institutional racism, and so on are neither a program nor a solution. (Incidentally, why is “Kill Whitey” not racist?) Neither is documenting the intense racism of blacks, interracial-rape ratios, crime, and low scores on promotional examinations.
                                                        For the moment, let us assume that all of the complaints of blacks and their allies are correct. All right. We have done that. Now what?
                                                          There seems to be no solution. The underlying problem that will not go away is that blacks as a race have not shown themselves able to function in a modern society. Degrees and exceptions yes, but the central fact remains. One is not supposed to say this, and would that it were not true, but it is.
                                                            In particular they have lagged far behind academically. Attribute causation as you wish. The condition remains. It has proved impervious to every conceivable social program. For this reason affirmative action has become an entitlement rather than an entry point. For this reason the blacks in the blighted cities will never be employable. Everything works against them, most potently  their own attitudes. Joblessness rises among better qualified whites. Obama brings in more Latinos to compete with blacks.
                                                              Further, those in the ghettos show little disposition either to study or to work. This also is an obvious truth that one must not utter. A Mexican woman will work as a maid until she figures out something better; a black woman will not. A young Salvadoran man will make his way up Central America, through Mexican police likely to beat him, ride the Train of Death to the US border, and sneak into a country whose language he does not understand to work construction and send money back to his family. A black in Chicago won’t buy a Greyhound ticket to the same job. Yes, there are reasons. A condition does not go way merely because there is a reason for it.
                                                                It isn’t working.
                                                                  Does anyone, black or white, man or woman, Left or Right, see any hope of change? Apparently not, since discussion consists entirely of vituperation. Squalling about conservative racism or liberal hypocrisy does nothing at all to change anything at all. Blacks, the only ones who could render their schools orderly, or make their children do their homework, or persuade their women to essay matrimony, do not.
                                                                    The cultural divide appears unbridgeable. Blacks are a self-aware, aggrieved, and angry people widely apart from the civilization of whites. They have little desire for assimilation and indeed actively reject it. In Mexico, blacks speak normal Spanish and, in France, normal French. In America, Dat be actin’ white. They give their children strange names, Latoyota and Keeshawn, to maintain distance from whites. Their music is both frequently obscene and frequently hostile to whites. “Acting white,” as for example by studying, is punitively disdained. This is not headed for comfortable multicultural commensalism.
                                                                      The core of blackness seems to consist of, first, a belief that all of their travails spring from the malignity of whites and, second, that whites owe it to them to solve their problems.
                                                                        In politics, the focus is entirely on cosmetics. For example, Obama has ordered the Justice Department to use “justice-involved youth” instead of “juvenile delinquent,” and to cease using the word “Negro.” How this will improve literacy in the ghetto is not clear. He wants schools to suspend black and white students proportionately, being unhappy that blacks are suspended at higher rates. His is the quintessential black point of view:  Everything springs from racism, of which blacks don’t have any, and the solution is a federal regulation.
                                                                          Obama never says that black kids ought to study more or that black women ought to behave responsibly in childbearing. He clearly believes them incapable of it, a position is indistinguishable from that of the KKK. They both seem to be right.
                                                                            Why should things be otherwise? Blacks have no roots in European civilization, nor in African, if any[.]  Slavery decultured the slaves, leading to a free-floating miasma of American blacknism. This is unfortunate, which changes nothing.The denomination “African-American” serves more to separate them from whites than to link them to Africa. American African might be more realistic.
                                                                              The racial experiment has failed. We must not say so, but I suspect that most of us know it. To admit it would be to concede the unspeakable. The horrible question arises again: What now?
                                                                                It is apparent that nothing of any use in going to be done and probably that nothing can be done. The police? Pulling all police out of black neighborhoods would end complaints of racism by cops. It would also leave the ghettos utterly controlled by criminals. Take your choice.
                                                                                  The calls for the burning of white neighborhoods do not bode well. Whites often are well armed. Gun sales are way up. Men I know have no desire to shoot anyone but will do so if their homes are threatened.
                                                                                    What now? The Fergusons, Baltimores, and Milwaukees may calm down, but if they do, the underlying situation will not change. Nobody seems to have any more idea than I do what to do about it, which is no idea at all.
                                                                                      What now?
                                                                                      •  "What Will Happen After November 8th?"--Zero Hedge. The author of this piece (apparently a comment left at Western Rifle Shooters Association) discusses how Trump supporters have been relatively peaceful in responding to verbal provocations and physical attacks in order to avoid a media feeding frenzy, but that this will all change after the election, no matter who wins. From the piece:
                                                                                      But what happens after the election? It matters not who wins. If Hillary Clinton is elected, by hook or by crook, the mass movement harnessed by Donald Trump will be free to respond to physical attacks. If Donald Trump wins the Presidency, there will similarly be no reason to continue to endure physical attacks and humiliations by the street thugs of the Democrats. Whether Trump or Hillary Clinton is in the White House, there will be no reason to hold back.
                                                                                      ... Whatever happens after this Presidential election, it will have been unleashed by the corporate elites and their servants in the media and elsewhere. They will be responsible for blood in the streets.

                                                                                      And many will cheer it.
                                                                                      •  And a warning that the real race war may not be black versus white: "L.A.’s Dirty Little Brown Secret"--Taki's Magazine. The article begins by noting a recent civil rights indictment against the Big Hazard gang (the Hazard Grande), a Mexican gang that has successfully expelled and kept blacks from living in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood in East L.A. Specifically, "[t]he gang embarked on a campaign of hurling Molotov cocktails at the homes of black residents who didn’t get the message that they weren’t welcome." But, like the famous Sherlock Holmes line about the most significant thing being that a dog did not bark, is the lack of reaction--of outrage--to the racial violence. The author of the article writes:
                                                                                      ... Outright racism by Latinos against blacks gets little coverage in the liberal press and no outrage from SJWs, and black “civil rights leaders” are scared shitless to confront it with the same merciless, take-no-prisoners attitude they reserve for every perceived “microaggression” from whites.

                                                                                      We all know this.

                                                                                      What I’d prefer to concentrate on is the fact that the Big Hazard story, and the (non)reaction to it from the usual suspects, slightly, just slightly, lays bare one of L.A.’s dirtiest little secrets: Most nonblack Angelenos are probably rooting for what the gang is doing (the goal if not the methods). I’m neither celebrating nor defending that notion; I’m simply presenting it as the learned observation of a guy who was born in L.A. 47 years ago, and who has always kept his primary residence right here in this city. Among L.A.’s white and Asian residents (for the purpose of this piece, Jews, Persians, and Armenians are counted as white), Mexican neighborhoods are seen as preferable to black neighborhoods.

                                                                                      Mexican neighborhoods, while still not the best places to go jogging at 1 a.m., are generally safer and more productive than black neighborhoods. Again, I’m not celebrating that fact. But it is a fact. As formerly all-black neighborhoods like Compton and Watts have become majority Latino, the crime rate has gone down excepting the increase in crime that comes from localized battles between black and Mexican gangs. That problem will dissipate once one group achieves its desired hegemony, and given the choice, most white Angelenos will root for the Mexicans.

                                                                                      There are several reasons for this. The first is a simple desire for self-preservation. Yes, members of both the black and Latino communities bring crime to the city. Burglaries, car thefts, gang activity, etc. But the black community is an exceptionally angry community. There’s a hatred there, specifically against whites, that leads to an entirely different type of crime…unreasonably, unnecessarily violent crimes targeting whites. Now, you can say what you will about black rage. Hell, call it justified if you want (I’m directing that at my leftist pals). But don’t call it fictional. It exists, and I’d rather not have it in my backyard. The black community has been growing more and more irrational each year, and less willing to get along. Damn near every slight seems to lead to a riot, and there’s seemingly nothing whites can do to mollify the rage. If you’re white and you try to help the black community, you’re a patriarchal racist. If you’re white and you don’t try to help the black community, you’re a neglectful racist. Regardless, you’re already a “privileged” racist anyway by virtue of your skin color.

                                                                                      On the other hand, the Mexican community here is not really all that angry at whites, owing in large part to the fact that so many California Hispanics consider themselves white. Sure, you’ll get a bunch of loud young Mexis who’ll go downtown occasionally to protest immigration laws, but Mexicans here are not race rioters like blacks. 
                                                                                      Folks, we live in interesting times.

                                                                                      Monday, August 29, 2016

                                                                                      August 29, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                      Video: "Merkel's Migrant CRISIS: One YEAR ON"--Black Pigeon Speaks.


                                                                                      Deaths that exceed births might sound like science fiction, but they are now Europe's reality. It just happened. During 2015, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, while 5.2 million persons died, meaning that the EU for the first time in modern history recorded a negative natural change in its population. The numbers come from Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), which since 1961 has been counting Europe's population. It is official.
                                                                                        There is, however, another surprising number: the European population increased overall from 508.3 million to 510.1 million. Have you guessed why? The immigrant population increased, by about two million in one year, while the native European population was shrinking. It is the substitution of a population. Europe has lost the will to maintain or grow its population. The situation is as demographically as seismic as during the Great Plague of the 14th Century.
                                                                                          This shift is what the British demographer David Coleman described in his study, "Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition." Europe's suicidal birth rate, coupled with migrants who multiply faster, will transform European culture. The declining fertility rate of native Europeans coincides, in fact, with the institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the "re-Islamization" of its Muslims.
                                                                                          And, the r-select traitors? They are there as well:
                                                                                            Demographic suicide is not only experienced; it appears to be wanted. The xenophile European bourgeoisie, which today controls politics and the media, seem imbued with a snobbish and masochistic racism. They have turned against the values of their own Judeo-Christian culture and combined it with a hallucinatory, romanticized view of the values of other cultures. The sad paradox is that Europeans are now importing young people in large numbers from the Middle East to compensate for their lifestyle choices.
                                                                                              An agnostic and sterile continent -- deprived of its gods and children because it banished them -- will have no strength to fight or to assimilate a civilization of the zealous and the young. The failure to counter the coming transformation seems to come down on the side of Islam. Is what we are seeing the last days of summer?
                                                                                              According to Spengler, Europe saw its summer in the 17th and 18th centuries. The 19th and early 20th centuries was its autumn. We are now well into winter.
                                                                                              • "The secret history of the EU, written on an Italian prison island, reveals why the project is doomed"--The Telegraph. The concept of a United Europe that gave rise to the current EU was the brainchild of a communist theorist, Altiero Spinelli, who had been imprisoned by Mussolini during World War 2 (ironically, the same time that Hitler was trying to create a United Europe). According to the article, "Spinelli’s Ventotene Manifesto proposed that his future government of Europe should be quietly assembled by its supporters over many years; and that only when all its pieces were in place would those supporters summon a convention to draw up a 'Constitution for Europe', which would finally reveal to the European people just what they had been up to." Also:
                                                                                              The point is that, exactly as envisioned in their different ways by Spinelli and Monnet, the “project” has only ever had one real agenda in all it has done: to promote a supranational government for Europe, based on eliminating national self-interest: what Monnet called “national egoism”. There could only ever be one direction of travel: ever more integration; whatever the question, the answer is always “more Europe”.
                                                                                              • "When Belief Fades, Civilizations May Fade, Too"--PJ Media. The author notes that the United States, which long has resisted the non-religiosity of Europe, has seen a sudden drop in church attendance. A recent Pew poll found that "49% of American adults now attend religious services just a few times a year, rarely or never." The author then goes on to note:
                                                                                                Unrelated to the Pew study, but by happenstance concurrent with it, noted Catholic writer George Weigel last week penned a warning along just such lines. Writing of the "God deficit" evident in Europe, Weigel posited that for reasons both religious and secular, the decline in the practices and understandings of Christianity leads to cultural decline as well.
                                                                                                  Weigel wrote that as Christianity declines, so too does the commitment to the particularly Christian (especially but not exclusively Catholic) "social-ethical principle of 'subsidiarity:' the idea that decision-making should be left at the lowest possible level (as in classic American federalism). 'Subsidiarity' is a check against the tendency of all modern states to concentrate power at the center."
                                                                                                    (This is far from the only problematic result of declining faith, of course, but it is an important one.)
                                                                                                      Among the benefits of subsidiarity, Weigel explained, is that it militates against the ultimate and deadly centralization of totalitarianism and that it also "implies respect for cultural difference" by letting local communities operate in particular ways best suited to them, as long as they abide by the basic laws and broad civic understandings of the larger society/nation.
                                                                                                        Weigel says the European Union's heavily centralized, heavily bureaucratized system runs afoul of subsidiarity -- and that its stultifying regulatory regime (recently rejected dramatically in the United Kingdom's "Brexit" vote) is a natural result of the decline in principled subsidiarity that is part and parcel of declining faith. Summarizing and endorsing the theories of other writers, Weigel argues that "it takes a certain kind of people, formed by a certain kind of culture to live certain virtues, to keep liberal democracy from decaying into new forms of authoritarianism."
                                                                                                          Weigel concluded: "It would be very foolish to think ourselves immune to a similar crisis of political culture."
                                                                                                          This has not gone unnoticed by other thinkers. Ed Driscoll observes:
                                                                                                          [T]he idea of a Godless church has been woven deep into the firmware of "Progressivism," ever since Friedrich Nietzsche and the men whom historian Martin E. Marty dubbed "The Bearded God-killers" (Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin and Freud) had their heyday in the late 19th century. However, man is hardwired to believe in something, and the following century could be viewed as one long attempt at finding an alternative God via totalitarian regimes (Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.), and the nature-worship of radical environmentalism. Not to mention drugs -- recall Tom Wolfe exploring the religious motivations of '60s drug users in his seminal mid-1970s essay "The 'Me' Decade and the Third Great Awakening," which as the second half of its title implies, is a lengthy treatise on all sorts of ways to build alternative religions that replace God with the self.
                                                                                                          The point is that Western Civilization (and the benefits it brings) is reliant on Western Culture, including its religion. Take away the Culture (including the religion), and the Civilization will also leave or die. A good example (posted in relation to unrelated topic) can be found in this bit of non-PC history from 2005: "A Morsel of Goat Meat"--New York Times. Writing about Zimbabwe in 2005, the author related:
                                                                                                            The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970's.
                                                                                                              "If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we'd do it," said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. "Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job."
                                                                                                                Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.
                                                                                                                  An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: "I want the white man's government to come back. Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today."
                                                                                                                    His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. "I miss the days of white rule," she said.
                                                                                                                    • "Church of England parishes consider first step to break away over sexuality"--The Telegraph. "A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new 'shadow synod' vowing to uphold traditional teaching." The LGBT dispute will be the force that tears many churches and congregations apart. Since LGBT is high r, it should be clear what will be the consequences of supporting the LGBT movement.
                                                                                                                    • "SC school bans American flag from football games"--EAG News. "On Friday, Travelers Rest High School principal Lou Lavely banned students from carrying American flags into a football game against Berega High School, because a lot of students at Berega are Hispanic. Lavely contends the American flag could have been used to taunt those students, WNCN reports." Another example of the lack of in-group loyalty shown by an r-select individual.
                                                                                                                    • "Surprise: Gun ownership rises to 44% of all homes"--Washington Examiner. "After a steady decline in gun ownership in recent years, more homes are reporting having a weapon inside, according to a new survey. Pew Research Center, in a poll on guns released Friday, showed that 44 percent of the country has a gun in the house. Some 51 percent don't." While more people may be willing to trust a pollster from Pew, this probably still understates the number of households with firearms. I know that I would never admit to a pollster that I owned any firearms, and I'm sure that I am not alone in that regard. By the way, I would note that if firearms were as dangerous as the anti-gun types maintain, the United States would be such a locus of violence that it would make Syria a Sunday picnic by comparison.
                                                                                                                    A week ago in Minneapolis, Republican donors attending a Trump fundraiser were assaulted, robbed and spat upon by a violent leftist mob as they were leaving the event. Attendees say that even though there was a strong law enforcement presence at the convention center downtown where the fundraiser was held, they were not afforded any police protection when coming to and leaving the event -- and even more incredibly, there were no arrests.
                                                                                                                    It used to be that you wanted a firearm for self-defense because the police couldn't always protect you. However, it seems more and more it is an issue that the police won't protect you, even if they could.
                                                                                                                    • "Video shows incredible heroics of airman who died fighting Al Qaeda fighters with his BARE HANDS after he was left behind by SEAL Team Six in Afghanistan"--Daily Mail. Sgt. John Chapman was an Air Force computer technician who served as radioman for Navy SEAL Team 6 and died in fierce combat against Al Qaeda gunmen on an Afghan mountaintop on March 4, 2002.. He apparently was knocked unconscious and left for dead. However, he was not dead. Video from a drone appears to show him fighting off Al Qaeda fighters for an hour, killing two of them in hand-to-hand combat, before he, himself, was killed. 
                                                                                                                    • "Guns For Beginners: The GLOCK 43…Not For Noobs"--The Truth About Guns. The author recommends against purchasing a Glock 43 for concealed carry--at least for someone that is not an expert--primarily because of the excessive felt recoil due to the low weight. The author also considered the firearm to be too big as a true "backup gun." The author ended up selling his. Anyway, a different take than you normally hear about Glocks.
                                                                                                                    • "Lightning Review: Sticky Holster LG-2 for Glock 19 (and Other Pistols) – The Best 'Universal' Holster There Is?"--The Firearms Blog. The author, Nathaniel F., discusses that he likes having a holster for a firearm that does more than just concealed carry. He carries a Glock 17, and likes to have something that keeps the trigger safe from an accidental pull whether its concealed carry, the pocket of a car seat, in the night stand, etc. In that regard, he found the Sticky Holster for the Glock 19 to work well. I also have found that I tend to use my DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster in much the same way for my S&W J-frame.
                                                                                                                    • Just a reminder that we live in the 21st Century:
                                                                                                                    "NASA's Juno Probe Buzzes Jupiter in Its First (and Closest) Flyby"--Space.com.

                                                                                                                    Applying r/K Theory to the Book of Mormon

                                                                                                                    The Cycle of Righteousness and Wickedness, sometimes referred to as "The Pride Cycle" (Source)
                                                                                                                    I've found the Anonymous Conservative's r/K theory as described in his book, The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans, and at his blog to be a useful analytical tool to help explain the decline and collapse of civilizations. Basically, it explains social and moral issues of decline that Tainter does not address in his treatise The Collapse of Complex Societies and which, although described by Spengler, is not fully explained by him. (I would note that Gibbon's also describes the moral decline of the Romans in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but did not have a clear model to explain it).

                                                                                                                    I highly recommend that you read the Anonymous Conservative's book. However, he does provide a brief overview of key points at his blog which describe the basics of the theory. Essentially, however, "r and K come from evolutionary ecology, where they describe two fundamental psychologies seen in nature, designed to adapt an organism to either a glut or a shortage." Basically, r is a reproductive strategy for times of plenty that focuses on producing as many offspring as possible, with little or no concern in the quality of the offspring and minimal conflict with others of your species. The Anonymous Conservative (AC) refers to those that tend to follow the r strategy as "rabbits," since it is an animal that accurately reflect that strategy. K is reproductive strategy that focuses on quality over quantity, with the result there is more parental investment in offspring, and long-term pair mating. Because it is a strategy designed for environments where resources are scarce, K-strategists are highly competitive. AC refers to those following the K strategy as "wolves."

                                                                                                                    The different strategies produce very distinctive differences in social behavior. AC sums up the differences:
                                                                                                                    Rabbits are r-strategists, designed to exploit free resources, like fields of grass. The five psychological traits inherent to the r-strategy are docility/conflict-avoidance, promiscuity/non-monogamy, single-mom'ing, early sexualization of young, and no loyalty to a competitive in-group. All help this glut-exploiting psychology to out-reproduce everyone else. 
                                                                                                                    Wolves are K-strategists, designed for when resources are too limited for everyone to survive. The five traits of a K-strategist are competitiveness/ aggressiveness/protectiveness, competitive mate monopolization/ monogamy, high-investment two-parent rearing, only mating when mature, and high loyalty to one's competitive in-group. All these traits either help you win, or produce fitter offspring, so they will win.
                                                                                                                    AC's basic thesis is:
                                                                                                                    Our political battle is one between a glut-exploiting reproductive strategy of rabbits and a shortage-surviving reproductive strategy of wolves. The swings between conservatism and liberalism at the societal level are not the result of logical argument or reasoned debate. They are the result of psychological shifts produced by perceptions of K-stimuli in the environment such as conflict, danger, and shortage, or r-stimuli, such as safety, pleasure, and abundance. These perceptions trigger ancient mechanisms in the brain that adapt psychology to environment. All of politics and much of history are r vs K.
                                                                                                                     As an initial matter, I would note that while not a perfect match, many of the traits that are ascribed to K-strategists are the same or similar to traits ascribed to someone that is "righteous"; while the traits of the r-strategist represents that of the wicked. For instance, in Matthew 22:37-38, Christ indicates that the greatest commandment is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." This is a perfect embodiment of the K-strategy in-group loyalty--particularly owed to the head of the pack. (For instance, if you have a loyal dog that looks to you as the alpha, think of the love and devotion expressed by that dog). Then, in Matthew 22:39, the Lord states that the second great commandment is "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Yet another expression of the intense in-group loyalty we are supposed to have.

                                                                                                                    Many of the 10 Commandments follow a similar patterns. Many of the commandments, such as having no other god, honoring one's mother and father, the prohibition against bearing false witness, the prohibition against murder, are representative of the protectiveness and in-group loyalty of the K-strategist. Similarly, the commandments against adultery (in fact, the whole slew of commandments against sexual immorality) and coveting a neighbor's wife tie in with the K-trait of monogamy.

                                                                                                                    On the other hand, the traits of rabbits--early and extreme sexualization, multiple and frequent sexual partners, impulsive behavior (which is at the root of sexual immorality, crime and violence), betrayal of one's religion and country, careless attitude toward resources and finances (manifested by incurring debt, lavish spending and taxes), and inability to deal with stress or conflict--are hallmarks of the wicked.

                                                                                                                    This is not to say that r/K exactly equals wickedness versus righteousness, but it is close. While it is possible for a K-strategist to be wicked, I would suggest that it is impossible for an r-strategist to be righteous.

                                                                                                                    Another aspect of r/K theory is a cycle between r and K dominance in a society. During times of scarcity, societies are K dominant. In such times, r is not a helpful strategy, and those that possess the r traits must hide their true natures. However, the competitiveness and societal trust that arises in a K-select society give rise to the strength, innovation, and prosperity that produce an abundance of resources. As the society becomes more prosperous, r rises in dominance (while the lack of loyalty and trust, promiscuity, selfishness, etc., weaken the society over time) until some event occurs (war, natural disaster, disease, etc.) that weeds out the r-select and re-introduces a period of resource scarcity giving rise, once again, to K dominance.

                                                                                                                    Those familiar with The Book of Mormon will see same similar cycle described in terms of wickedness and righteousness (see the illustration above). Time and again, Mormon recounts from Nephite history a period of righteousness that leads to great prosperity. But the period of prosperity eventually produce a period of increasing pride and growing wickedness. In some cases, the wickedness is seemingly general among the Nephite people until nearly all the Nephites become wicked. Thefts, violence (i.e., crime), and whoredomes increase, just as would be expected in a time of high r. At other times, the wicked group will dissent from the body of the Nephites, and seek to overthrow the government or, in many cases, go to rival governments (the Lamanites) to convince them to attack and overthrow the Nephite government. In all this, we see the lack of loyalty and honor that is the hallmark of the r-strategist. In fact, AC makes a point in his book of discussing how r-strategists will go to great lengths to try and get one group of K-strategists to fight and destroy the K-strategists of their own people or nation, whether it is using the law and law enforcement to attack K-strategists, importing immigrants that will fight with and destroy K-strategists, or even assisting foreign powers with invading and destroying the in-group K-strategists. This is an example of the extreme disloyalty that lies at the heart of the r-strategist.

                                                                                                                    Of course, the usefulness of r/K theory does not end with The Book of Mormon, but can be applied to much of the scriptures. In doing so, it provides additional insight into understanding the scriptures and the purpose of the Lord, including why we are subject to such an intense test as our mortal existence.

                                                                                                                    Additional Reading: "Lesson 34: How Could You Have Forgotten Your God?"--Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999).

                                                                                                                    Friday, August 26, 2016

                                                                                                                    August 26, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                    "Uzkon Announces UNG-12 Semi-Auto Shotgun Bullpup"--The Firearms Blog. The article notes that the picture is a computer rendering, but includes a video showing someone shooting an actual working prototype. 

                                                                                                                    • TGIF: Another Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. A few articles that caught my eye in particular:
                                                                                                                    • Greg had also linked to an article on why small calibers were acceptable 100 years ago (part of the reason being that people were smaller), and an article from Marc McYoung talking about civil unrest and the LA riots.
                                                                                                                    Life in Venezuela is now built around waiting in lines. As much as the lines have become the key to survival, they are also hotbeds for violence. Crimes are often committed in broad daylight, with assailants meeting little resistance. For other people in line, the risk of leaving their spot to intervene is just too high. Their dependence on government has literally robbed them of their ability to help others in need.
                                                                                                                      “These days, you have to put the line above everything,” said pharmacist Haide Mendoza, who witnessed a murder in the line at her store, CBS News reported.
                                                                                                                        The hyperinflation currently affecting the Venezuelan currency, the bolivar, is undermining every function of the government and economy. The inflation rate is now the highest in the world and is expected to hit 1,600% by next year. Despite the government raising the minimum wage three times to appease workers, the move has only fueled a rise in prices. In a highly controversial move, the government imposed forced labor policies to keep food production going. Maduro’s emergency decree promises severe punishments for those who refuse to work in the fields without pay. The social contract appears to have no end when it comes to the ‘greater good.’
                                                                                                                          There are hundreds of similar stories of persecution against early Mormons in America, many far more brutal and heinous than this one. This unique history of oppression has imbued modern-day Mormons with a deep conviction that individuals should be free to worship how, where, and what they may. This commitment to religious liberty is not feigned or imagined; it is ingrained in our DNA.
                                                                                                                            So it should come as little surprise that most Mormons were deeply troubled when Donald Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. We know what it is like to be singled out by the government for “special treatment.” Once you give the government power to treat people differently based on their religion, it’s only a matter of time until that power is turned around and used on you. This is one of the many reasons Trump has had such difficulty attracting Mormon support, an issue The Donald himself acknowledges.
                                                                                                                            I think it rather presumptuous of Garner to speak for a group of people as diverse as found in the Mormon church, and I suspect that it is the author projecting his own thoughts onto the members. Certainly other prominent members, such as Ronald W. Mortensen with The Center for Immigration Research, has taken a stance quite opposed to illegal immigration and critical of some of the Church's leadership. Since I have as at least as great of knowledge of Mormons as does the author of the foregoing piece, let me give my thoughts on the matter. I suspect four factors working here: First, Utah's economy has not been hit as hard as other parts of the nation, so the populism that is driving the Trump campaign is not as strong in Utah as other parts of the country. Second, prominent Mormon politicians, such as Mitt Romney, have been negative toward Trump. Third, because of the history of excluding African-Americans (but not other races) from holding the priesthood, Mormons are still very sensitive to being labeled or thought of as racist or bigoted. Finally, as I've mentioned before, the poison of political correctness has sunk deep into the membership and leadership in various forms. 
                                                                                                                            That's my opinion. But here is what we know: 
                                                                                                                            A Pew Research Poll published in January 2012, about Mormons and their viewpoints on political and social issues found that "Mormons are divided as to whether immigrants strengthen the U.S. because of their hard work and talents (45%) or burden the U.S. by taking American jobs, housing and health care (41%). On this question, Mormons’ views closely resemble those of the public as a whole." 

                                                                                                                            Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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

                                                                                                                            Source: "The abandoned fortified town of Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco"--Deserted Places. More information about the site, and more photographs, at the link.
                                                                                                                            China and the Far East:
                                                                                                                            • If you thought our government's chicanery with unemployment statistics was bad, check out China's: "China Is Grappling With Hidden Unemployment"--Bloomberg. Actual unemployment and underemployment may be 13.2%. Officially, unemployment is at 4.1%, but this figure is misleading because, to be counted as unemployed, workers have to register in the province in which they officially reside, which means that workers that moved to the cities from other regions are not included. Also, the article notes that many companies, rather than lay their workers off, are simply idling them--not laying them off, but not having them work, either.
                                                                                                                            • "China's Best Bank Called 'Mirage' of Shadow Lending"--Bloomberg. From the article:
                                                                                                                            The best-performing bank in China is in a struggling city in the northeast where weeds sprout alongside the concrete skeletons of high rises in an industrial zone that mostly looks like a ghost town.
                                                                                                                              Steel plants have laid off tens of thousands of workers. Cranes stand idle on construction sites. Wipe away a spiderweb on a dirty glass door at an empty complex with smashed windows and there’s a notice from the local government demanding rent unpaid since November 2014.
                                                                                                                                Yet the Bank of Tangshan’s financial statements hardly reflect these realities. Instead, this small lender reports the fastest growth of 156 Chinese financial institutions and the lowest level of bad loans, a mere 0.06 percent. Its profit jumped 436 percent in two years and assets soared almost 400 percent since the start of 2014 to 177.9 billion yuan ($26.7 billion).
                                                                                                                                  It’s largely driven by shadow lending. The bank is the most prominent example of the off-loan-book wizardry that’s turbo-charging some of China’s small and mid-sized banks, creating opaque risks that could lead to failures, bailouts or liquidity shocks that jolt the nation and global markets in the years ahead.
                                                                                                                                  •  "Ten Minutes To Tokyo"--Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. Fernandez discusses two recent arms developments: the upgrading of low-yield, highly accurate tactical nuclear weapons, and North Korea's successful launch of a short-range ballistic missile from a submarine. He goes on to argue that faced with a possible nuclear attack by North Korea, the temptation will be strong to resort to nuclear weapons to destroy such a submarine. I would add, too, China's threats to use force against Japan over disputed islands. (Warning: video plays automatically). The Chinese are fortifying certain islands and building airstrips to essentially have fixed "aircraft carriers." What easier way to eliminate the threat than to use a tactical nuke on such facilities. In short, the Far East is on a short fuse to nuclear conflict.

                                                                                                                                  Firearms and Self-Defense
                                                                                                                                  :
                                                                                                                                  • "The terrifying moment a woman bystander is caught in the crossfire of terrifying machine gun shootout at Atlanta gas station"--Daily Mail. Another example of don't do stupid things, with stupid people, in stupid places. This rule is disjunctive, not conjunctive. The woman was a passenger in a vehicle driven by one black gang member, who apparently stopped to gas up. The black gang member driver then got into a confrontation with another black gang member, resulting in an exchange of gun fire. During the gun fire around and through the car, the passenger was struck by one of the bullets.
                                                                                                                                  • "Guatemalan Gangs Are Now Crafting Remote-Detonated Bombs"--War Is Boring. The author relates that "[g]angs such as the Barrio 18 and their rivals in the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) systematically extort buses. It is one of their few regular sources of income, and when payment does not arrive on time, there are repercussions, normally in the form of a dead bus driver." In this case, however, the lack of payment was followed up with a remotely detonated bomb on the bus.
                                                                                                                                  • "Lightning Review: Midwest Industries Gen2 AK Handguard"--The Firearms Blog. Looks interesting. If I hadn't already invested in Magpul's MOE system, it would be tempting....
                                                                                                                                  • "Review: ReCover Tactical 1911 Grips"--The Firearms Blog. This is a review of a couple products from ReCover: a basic replacement of the grip panels, and then the replacement that incorporates an accessory rail ahead of the trigger guard. I have one of the original ReCover grip replacements for the 1911, and thought it was pretty good. The only reason I took it off was because I'd read that the original GI grip panels can shrink if they are not mounted. I don't know if that is correct or not, but I didn't want to take the chance.
                                                                                                                                  • "Changing Your Carry Gun"--The Firearms Blog. Video and transcript. Alex C. offers some thoughts on issues you should consider when getting your first carry gun, or switching to a new one, including testing the reliability of the gun, and having a proper holster/carry system. I'm in that process right now with the R51 I purchased, so I'm still mostly using my older carry gun until I get the issues of holsters squared away to my liking.
                                                                                                                                  • "Alaska Outfitter Defends Fishermen from Raging Grizzly with 9mm Pistol"--American Hunter. A compact pistol, at that. However, he wasn't using standard 9 mm defensive loads. Instead, he was using Buffalo Bore 9mm +P Outdoorsman 147-grain FN hard-cast loads.
                                                                                                                                  • "Telluric Training Drill of the Day – I See Dead People"--Jerking The Trigger. A drill where you practice/test your ability to engage two targets simultaneously by alternating shots between the targets. Telluric has other drills for your enjoyment at their "Drills of the Day" page.
                                                                                                                                  • "Why Should I Care About Ham Radio?"--Home Defense Gun. The author points out:
                                                                                                                                  We often think about home defense in terms of guns, bullets, and fighting but the probability of actually being in a firefight in your home is incredibly remote. What is far more likely, to the point of being almost certain, is that there will be power outages, storms, maybe even an extended period without services. It is not at all uncommon for the power to go out for a few days at a time in some areas.


                                                                                                                                  The Religion of Peace Strikes Again:


                                                                                                                                  Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                  • "We Have Been Warned"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. Citing a column written by David Gushee and another at the New York Times, Dreher warns that if you are a Christian who does not welcome LGBTs and/or their "lifestyle" with open arms, you should expect to be the target of increasing levels of persecution. He quotes the following from Gushee:
                                                                                                                                  It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed. This is true both for individuals and for institutions.
                                                                                                                                    Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.
                                                                                                                                    Dreher goes on to cite further points from Gushee that social liberals have won the cultural wars, and that tolerance for religious exemptions is declining. Dreher observes:
                                                                                                                                    He is absolutely right in his read on the situation in American society. There is no intention on the cultural left of being tolerant in victory, and never was. They are going to bounce the rubble and tell themselves that they are virtuous for doing so. This past week, I saw a Facebook comment in which a liberal said that Livingston Parish, where nearly everyone lost their home to the flood, was once the headquarters of the Louisiana KKK, so to hell with them, they deserve what they get. This is how it’s going to be with us.
                                                                                                                                    It is the use of force to compel participation in an LGBT lifestyle that led to the destruction of Sodom. We are warned that the last days--our time--would be like the days of Noah and Lot. We know how both of those turned out: cataclysmic destruction. The Anonymous Conservative discusses at length how we are heading for what he terms the K-shift: a violent collapse of our r-selected society followed by a resurgent shift to a conservative K-select culture. But what is coming is not an ordinary collapse and K-shift such as followed on the decline and fall of Egypt to foreign rulers, or the subsequent fall of classical Greece to a more masculine Rome, or Rome's decline and fall to barbarians. This will be a super-K shift; one backed by divine wrath. But before that time, we will face dark times that will try our faith and our souls.
                                                                                                                                    Where I disagree with Dreher is his suggestion that Christians can somehow escape this by adopting what he calls the "Benedict option"--building and strengthening ties between members of a congregation and between congregations and different Christian sects to build a semi-hidden community of believers. It will not be sufficient. In The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died by Philip Jenkins, Jenkins described how Christian communities in the Near and Middle-East survived for centuries by using similar tactics to that described by Dreher, but that these tactics have failed during the past 100 years. In the First Millennium A.D., Christianity was the dominant religion in the Near and Middle-East; and, in fact, the center of Christian thought was in the Middle-East. But after coming under Muslim rule, there were purges and pogroms that greatly diminished the number of Christians over the following several centuries. However, until the past century, large numbers of Christians still survived throughout the Near and Middle East. They survived primarily because of isolation and poor communications. However, these Christian communities are nearly extinct now in their native lands because they are no longer isolated, they can't hide. How much more easily will authorities in industrialized countries be able to identify, isolate and destroy Christian holdouts today? There is no reason to expect that Christians in America will fare any better than Christians in Iraq. Rather, I suspect our shelter will of necessity be a Christian "homeland." The tares and the wheat are to be separately gathered, one to salvation and the other to destruction, and why not a physical separation and gathering?
                                                                                                                                    The warning signs have been there for some time now – persistent failures of the wheat crop in Norway for example. The North Atlantic is cooling. The cooling trend was evident at the time of an expedition to investigate this phenonemon three years ago. The rate of cooling has now steepened up since then based on the latest data collated by Professor Humlum of the University of Oslo.
                                                                                                                                    The author suggests that the cooling correlates with reduced sun activity, which is extremely worrisome since there will likely be a large decline in solar output in the late 2020's and 2030's.