Monday, October 31, 2016

An Outsider's View of Prepper Fiction

     I recently came across an article reviewing prepper fiction. The article, "Ready for the End: Works of prepper fiction reveal a dark truth about American virtues" by Rebecca Onion at Slate, is not so much a review of a single book but a review of the whole genre of prepper fiction, which the author distinguishes from the larger body of apocalyptic fiction. In fact, the piece is primarily about the differences between the two styles.

     For instance, the author notes that one feature that distinguishes prepper fiction from the broader apocalyptic fiction are lists--details of what is being stored or carried, and why. "Apocalyptic stories," she writes, "sacrifice some details of characters’ survival tactics on the altar of narrative. But in prepper tales, lists are inevitable." Onion goes on:
The lists are a point of complaint for some reviewers online, but the authors of these books know that they’re writing something that’s a cross between a novel, a shopping list, a survival manual, and a field guide; this is a wholly experimental form, and the results can be awkward. After a while, though, I relaxed into it. Like a high school junior struggling through Moby-Dick’s whaling chapters, the new reader has to realize that prepper fiction’s blend of description and plot is meant to make the minute details of a supercomplex material phenomenon more visible. Those lists soothed me, since they spoke a language I—a cook, a sometime backpacker, and a committed cataloger of household goods—found easy to understand.
She also notes two of the common character types in the novels--the prepper and the sheeple.
But am I a prepper? Or one of the sheeple? In the books, the difference between these two kinds of people really matters. If you’re mapping the tropes of prepper fiction against contemporary American politics, here’s where things take a right turn. Even as these books revel in the virtues of self-reliance, they graphically condemn the uselessness of other people who refuse to help themselves. Inevitably, after a catastrophic event, a prepared protagonist encounters people who just cannot believe that their water isn’t going to come back on or that the government isn’t going to come to bring them their refrigerated insulin. 
These sheeple are unreasonable, fussy, picky, and stupid. Are there really people who still can’t understand that grocery stores don’t fill up by magic? In these books, they are legion. 
     However, the biggest difference that the author sees between apocalyptic literature generally, and prepper fiction specifically, is that the protagonists in the prepper literature begin the book already willing (and able) to use deadly force to protect themselves and their families. The author writes:
The latter [i.e., prepper fiction] starts where the former [apocalyptic fiction] only ever ends up. Books such as Edan Lepucki’s California or a television series such as The Walking Dead gradually point toward a set of dark realizations—you can rely on no one but yourself and your family and a carefully chosen group of likeminded allies; other people will try to take what you have, perhaps violently; you may compromise many of your ideals in defending what you have. Apocalyptic stories, in other words, make slow meals of discord and disillusionment. Prepper fiction, by contrast, takes this dynamic for granted, starting with the cynicism instead of landing there: People’s evil tendencies can only be mitigated by small alliances, like those between family members or comrades in military service.
Onion seems both drawn to and repulsed by characters that are willing to kill to protect themselves or their kin.

     While I understand why she makes the distinction, it is a necessary starting point both from the perspective of the story. A standard apocalyptic story is not so much a story of the actual disaster that changes the world, but a story of how the characters change in response. For instance, in certain stories, such as 28 Days and The Walking Dead, the story opens with the disaster already in the past. The focus is how the characters are going to survive and how they change. Thus, in The Walking Dead (which title actually refers to the protagonists and other survivors, and not the zombies), the story assumes a Lord of the Flies decent into savagery, and explores the characters' slow loss of their humanity. Conversely, in something like Lucifer's Hammer or, to a lesser extent, in Rawles books, the story is about the preservation and rebuilding of civilization. The individual characters are less important than the process.

     The reason that prepper fiction does not focus on the evolution of the main protagonists, however, is that they--being preppers--have already mentally and physically prepared for what happens. To focus on a prepper transforming his outlook from a state of ignorant bliss to one of embracing principles of preparedness or survivalism would be to look at the character long before the disaster occurs; a transformation that is already complete by the time the disaster arrives. The story from that point forward is either a morality tale (a la, the ant and grasshopper) or a look at how the protagonists overcome the obstacles placed in his or her path. Turning to the original prepper story--that of Noah and the ark--we do not spend time on how Noah became a prophet and learned to listen to God's voice: that is already in the past. Rather, we focus on what he does and what happens to those that failed to heed Noah's warnings. 

    I will agree, however, that certain attitudes presented in certain books are somewhat repellent. For instance, I had previously reviewed one of the books specifically mentioned by Onion, A Distant Eden, and noted my disappointment at how ready the characters (who were supposedly Christian) were to kill others. The primary incident that bothered me in the book was where one of the main characters kills a small family that had (unknowingly as far as I could tell from the story) poached a deer. Although there was some minimal attempt to make the killing of the father an act of self-defense, the deaths of the mother and child were, to my mind, a perfect example of unrighteous judgment and cold blooded murder. To compound the lack of morals, the same character encountered another poacher, but didn't kill him because they discovered he was a Christian--all too reminiscent of Islamic terrorists sparing those that can recite a Muslim oath. 

     In any event, it is interesting to see that people outside the prepper movement are beginning to take note of prepper fiction.

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

      Source: "When the fun stops: Eerie images show New Orleans theme park that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina and has stood untouched for 11 years"--Daily Mail.
      Self-Defense/Firearms/Prepping:
      • "6 Reasons the AK-47 Is the Most Reliable Rifle in the World: A Guide to Kalashnikov’s Magic for Aspiring Gun Designers" (Part 1 and Part 2)--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. A discussion of some of the finer points of the AK design that made it reliable, including what was borrowed from the Garand and what was improved upon. This merely underlines the fact that the AK was not a copy of anything, and particularly not a copy of anything that the Germans had done.
      • Dealing with stalkers: "Self-Defense Tip: Dealing with Your Worst Security Nightmare"--The Truth About Guns. Although obtaining a protective order from a Court is pretty much useless, it is helpful for preparing a case of self-defense if it should come to that. But, "[a]t the same time, plan for an attack," cautions the author. He goes on:
        Remember: it’s not random. It’s personal. They’re stalking you. Watching, waiting, planning. So think like they do. How, when and where would you attack you? As I’ve said before, transitions — when you’re entering or exiting a building or vehicle — are your most dangerous time.

            Change your patterns. Keep your head on a swivel. Layer-up your security with an alarm, a dog, a safe room, etc. Home carry. Extend your safety concerns to family members and significant others. If you can, show them a picture of your stalker and tell them to call the police if he or she ever approaches.

                It’s no wonder people upend their entire lives to avoid a stalker. Victims hide. They move. Some even change their name. Yes, but…the gentleman above followed his victim from Georgia. Disrupting your life to deal (or not) with a stalker is difficult, expensive, and traumatic. And there’s no guarantee it’ll work.
                In the news story the author recounts, however, the victim was attacked as part of a home invasion, which was only terminated by use of a defensive weapon. So, if you are being stalked, obtain a concealed carry license and firearm, if possible, and take some classes in self-defense. And remember, men are not immune to stalking: anywhere between 6 and 25% of stalkers are women, and the number of woman stalkers is increasing.
                The Tactical Fantasy Band Camp Choir Section suggestions to combat active shooters have been down right laughable to include home made pistol holsters to the notion that people are going to really carry their NPAP or SBR with them in a bag 24/7. And they will have it with them at exactly the right time, skin it out, and smoke check the guy with 2 well placed shots to the brain box. Or my personal favorite, Hondo Rolling into the nearest riot with a bayonet mounted Pump gun for anti-BLM Protest Ops.
                  Let’s just be realistic for one freaking second. It’s great to armchair commando every shooting you see on the news, but the odds of having a long gun on you day to day and stopping an active shooter event is slim to none. I’d submit most of the people offering these suggestions, probably don’t even have the consistency to #carryeverywhere as it is.
                    The most relevant thing in the tactical arena to most people’s daily life is a discreetly carried pistol along with the mindset and situational awareness to employ it. The FAL locked in your safe will not help you at the stick up at the local Stop ‘N Rob in the bad neighborhood you found yourself in to ask for directions. We can point to cases across the country every single day of interpersonal violence. But I’m drawing a blank on examples of Red Dawn in CONUS. 
                    All I can say is that I was roundly criticized for making the same point a few years back
                      Those migrating to the Redoubt are some of the most motivated members of what is known as the prepper movement, which advocates readiness and self-reliance in man-made or natural disasters that could create instability for years.

                          They are anxious about recent terrorist attacks from Paris to San Bernardino, California; pandemics such as Ebola in West Africa; potential nuclear attacks from countries such as North Korea and Iran; and the growing political, economic, and racial polarization in the U.S. that has deepened during the 2016 presidential race.

                            * * *

                              Many drawn to the Redoubt are former police, firefighters, and military. Most said they would vote for Donald Trump as the "lesser of two evils," and that Hillary Clinton would make an already bloated and ineffective government even bigger.
                              I'm not sure what the point of the article is except to paint preppers as paranoids and then associate them with conservatives (i.e., "look, the conservatives are crazy!"). 
                              One point, I will make (again) is that the American Redoubt concept is being oversold. Two-thirds of the land in Idaho is federal land. The state owns another substantial chunk of the land. The result is that property prices, especially in the larger markets in the state, is priced much higher than the overall population density would suggest. But so too is the population density actually higher than a strict comparison of land area versus population would suggest--again, because the population is squeezed into relatively small islands of private land among the national forest and BLM lands that comprise the majority of the state.

                              Other Stuff:
                              • "World's population is set to reach eight billion by 2024 and nine billion by 2038 as Africa and the Middle East sees huge increases"--Daily Mail. According to the article, Africa's population is expected to rise from 1.1 billion to 4.4 billion by 2100. I will note that the article is blowing the matter out of proportion. The Middle-East's population is already on the verge of falling due to low birth rates. Turkey and Iran, in particular, will soon be facing the same population dynamic as Western Europe. Africa will lag behind in population control, but it too will see its population begin to level off after the mid-century mark. The problem facing us is what happens until then. The influx of "refugees" to Europe and North America at the present time will be dwarfed by what is coming. Europe, unless it learns to machine gun boats of refugees instead of assisting them, will go the way of South Africa within a generation. North America is somewhat better protected from massive waves of boat people, but they will nevertheless come, whether by plane, ships, or via Central America. 
                              • "James Comey - As seen through the Persuasion Filter"--Scott Adams. Adams presents a different explanation of Comey's actions  vis-à-vis the investigations into Hillary's emails:
                                My movie says Comey had good evidence against Clinton during the initial investigation but made a judgement call to leave the decision to the American public. For reasons of conscience, and acting as a patriot, Comey explained in clear language to the public exactly what evidence the FBI found against Clinton. The evidence looked damning because it was. Under this interpretation, Comey took a bullet to his reputation for the sake of the Republic. He didn’t want the FBI to steal this important decision away from the people, but at the same time he couldn’t let the people decide blind. So he divulged the evidence and stepped away, like the action hero who doesn’t look back at the explosion.
                                  In the second act of this movie, Comey learns that the Weiner laptop had emails that were so damning it would be a crime against the public to allow them to vote without first seeing a big red flag. And a flag was the best he could do because it was too early in the investigation to leak out bits and pieces of the evidence. That would violate Clinton’s rights.
                                    But Comey couldn’t easily raise a red flag to warn the public because it was against FBI policy to announce a criminal investigation about a candidate so close to election day. So Comey had a choice of either taking another bullet for the Republic or screwing the very country that he has spent his career protecting.
                                      In this movie, Comey did the hero thing. He alerted the public to the fact that the FBI found DISQUALIFYING information on the Weiner laptop. And he took a second bullet to his reputation.
                                        On the day of Montenegro’s Parliamentary elections on October 16, a remarkable story emerged: Montenegrin security services had arrested some 20 Serbian nationals who were alleged to be preparing an attack on various state institutions that very evening, as the results were rolling in. Among those arrested was a retired Serbian general who was also the leader of a right-wing nationalist movement based in Novi Sad, almost 500 kilometers away in Serbia’s Vojvodina region.

                                          * * *

                                            Two days later, Montenegro’s special prosecutor Milivoje Katnic, insisted that he would be happy to share the evidence that his investigators had gathered, and that an “unprecedented massacre” had been prevented by the arrests. More details of the plot were revealed: The plan was for several individuals to enter the parliamentary building in the capital, Podgorica, wearing uniforms of Montenegro’s elite security services, and subdue the guards inside. They would then open fire on unarmed opposition supporters gathering outside the parliament awaiting election results. Finally, they would kidnap the Prime Minister, and either declare the election invalid, or somehow hope to throw it to the opposition.

                                              * * *

                                                But the story was far from over.
                                                  This past Monday, the Serbian PM held another presser. Looking shaken, Vucic confirmed that there had in fact been a plot to assassinate Djukanovic. Another set of special forces uniforms and €120,000 in cash had been found in Serbia, Vucic said, and several other Serbian nationals had been arrested. He added that no politicians, in either Serbia or Montenegro, were involved in the planning, but rather he vaguely gestured at “foreign services, both from the West and from the East”, and said that those that have been arrested would be dealt with.
                                                    On Thursday, another bombshell landed: the daily newspaper Danas, citing highly-placed sources in the government, reported that Serbia had secretly expelled several Russian citizens in connection with the Montenegro plot. Furthermore, the paper reported that the Serbs arrested earlier had in their possession several devices allowing for encrypted communication, as well as some unspecified sophisticated technology used to continuously track the location of Djukanovic. Some of the arrested Serbs had reportedly fought on the Russian side in Donbas, in Ukraine.
                                                      It just so happened that Nikolai Patrushev, the former head of the FSB and the current head of Russia’s Security Council, had just arrived in Belgrade. Could his visit be linked to the expulsions of what appeared to be Russian agents? An almost-forgotten story about electoral intrigue in a small Balkan country of 600,000 all of a sudden involved its larger neighbor, and even implicated Russia in a plot with potentially global ramifications.
                                                        One-sixth of all men of prime working age in America – men aged between 25 and 54 – are not just unemployed, but have stopped looking for jobs altogether. This is a time bomb with far-reaching economic, social, and political consequences.

                                                          Millions of men are becoming dependent, infantilized and sick.

                                                            ... Never before in American history have so many men done absolutely nothing. Millions are becoming dependent, infantilized and sick. According to a recent paper by Princeton economist Alan Krueger nearly half of the men who are not looking for work are on painkillers and many are disabled. They "experience notably low levels of emotional well-being throughout their days and ... they derive relatively little meaning from their daily activities," Krueger found. And there are 7 million of them. 

                                                              Consider these staggering statistics. Prime-age American men in employment spend 2,200 hours a year in work and work-related activity; employed women spend 1,850 hours; unemployed men spend 400 hours, mostly looking for jobs. But 7 million American men between 25 and 54 spent 43 hours a year working. That averages out to about 7 minutes a day.

                                                                And what did they do with their time? Learn French? Paint watercolors? Help at a local nursing home? Vacuuming? None of the above. They spent less time in volunteer and religious activities than the other three groups. They don’t read newspapers much. They don’t vote much. A third of them have used illegal drugs in the past year.

                                                                  Basically, they did nothing much. ...

                                                                   ... How do they support themselves? Eberstadt is scathing: “The short answer is, apparently they don’t.” They are supported by parents, wives, girlfriends and government handouts. “Whatever the reasons or the motivations,” he says, “they are essentially living off the rest of us. Social cohesion is a direct casualty of this development, and social trust could scarcely help but be degraded by it as well.”
                                                                  Known as the Great Hurricane of 1780, the storm is the deadliest Atlantic cyclone on record. Although sources vary, it is believed that between 20,000 and 22,000 people were killed as the Caribbean was battered for almost a week.
                                                                    Modern estimates claim that at its worst the hurricane’s winds may have exceeded 321.9 km/h (200 mph). ...
                                                                      The Antilles Islands of Barbados, Martinique, and Sint Eustatius felt the brunt of the ferocious hurricane. Barbados, the western most Antilles island, was struck on 9th October 1780. The storm obliterated almost all of the houses on the island as well as uprooting trees and hurling them across the sky.
                                                                        From Barbados, the storm moved northwesterly through the Antilles, continuing its path of destruction. In some places whole towns were wiped off the map, while accounts describe even the sturdiest stone buildings and forts being flattened in the hurricane’s wake. On Martinique, 9,000 lives were lost; on Sint Eustatius, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people were killed.
                                                                          At the time the Caribbean was dominated by the presence of European colonists and this was particularly the case in 1780, as the American War of Independence raged to the north. Both Britain and France had warships stationed in the region, ready for deployment in the conflict. The hurricane wrought heavy losses on both navies, over forty French ships were sunk, taking around 4,000 lives with them. Meanwhile, a British fleet off St. Lucia was also devastated, permanently reducing the British naval presence in the region. Several days later, as the hurricane continued its journey northward, it crossed into major shipping lanes, damaging or sinking vessels that were making the journey back to Europe.
                                                                          Combined with two other devastating storms the same year, 1780 marked the end of an era of prosperity in the Caribbean.  

                                                                          Sunday, October 30, 2016

                                                                          Sorting Brass

                                                                          It has been a rather rainy weekend, so I decided to get to sorting brass casings that I've picked up at the range. I've actually been pretty good during the past year with getting the brass I've collected sorted into at least the various calibers. (Plus, I've had enough previously sorted and cleaned that I haven't had to resort to the brass I've been picking up at the county range or in the desert). But I have a 5 gallon bucket pretty full of brass that I'd picked up over a period of several years prior.

                                                                          I have certain things I want to accomplish when performing an initial sort of the brass. First, and foremost, is to separate the brass into its different calibers. But I also use the opportunity to provide an initial evaluation of the brass as to its physical condition and suitability for reloading (i.e., whether it is dented, filled with debris, or an unsuitable material such as steel or aluminum). Obviously, I try not to pick up steel casings or the aluminum "Blazer" casings while at the range, but occasionally one finds its way into the bag or bucket I am using.

                                                                          For a long time, I did not pick up spent shell casings unless it was for a caliber that I used. However, about 10 years ago, I changed my practice so that I started picking up everything, since there was always the possibility that I might later acquire a firearm in a different caliber, or I could pass the spent casings to a friend or relative that also reloaded ammunition. With that it mind, it was interesting going through the bucket, because each "strata" represented a different season of shooting and provided some insight into what people have been shooting.

                                                                          As mentioned, I don't gather steel casings. Thus, the Russian calibers are underrepresented: although there are plenty of steel casings from 7.62x54R and 7.62x39 to be seen at the county range or various popular shootings spots in the desert, it is rare to find spent brass for those calibers. Also, large rifle calibers, in general, are rare to find; probably because those shooters are more careful to pick up their spent brass.

                                                                          The most numerous calibers represented are 9 mm and .223/5.56 mm, as would be expected. .45 ACP was consistently represented as well, but in much lower quantities. Interestingly, though, in digging through the bucket, it was at least a couple years back before I started coming across .40 S&W in any number. Either people shooting .40 S&W have become more diligent about picking up their shell casings, or it lost a lot of its popularity recently. Equally interesting, however, is that in the same layer without any .40 S&W, I came across a relatively large number of casings for .38 S&W. If you are not familiar with that cartridge, it is an obsolete caliber that was mostly replaced by .38 Special in the early 20th Century (with the exception of the British, which adopted it as the caliber for their military revolvers in the 1930's). The casing for .38 S&W is similar in size and length to the 9mm Luger, except for having a rim, of course. There were small quantities of .30-06 and .308 (7.62 NATO), 7.62x54R, and .300 Win. Magnum, and a small number of .380 ACP and other miscellaneous pistol calibers also represented.


                                                                          Various 9 mm calibers: .380 ACP (aka 9 mm Kurz or 9x17 mm) on left; 9x18mm in middle; and 9 mm Luger (aka 9x19 mm or 9 mm Parabellum) on right.
                                                                          Most of the time, it is fairly easy to sort for the specific calibers. Most of the casings will generally have the caliber as part of the head stamp. However, not all do, which may require a more careful examination.

                                                                          One caliber, in particular, which can present some difficulty is the 9 mm Luger (also known as 9x19 mm and 9 mm Parabellum) because there are other calibers (the .380 ACP and Russian 9x18 mm) so close in size (see photograph above). If I have a casing that appears to be 9 mm Luger, but the caliber is not indicated on the head stamp, I will compare it against a known 9 mm casing before putting it into a container.

                                                                          Some .40 S&W casings in various shape. 
                                                                          On this initial sorting, I also consider the physical condition of the cases. The primary concern is whether the casing is dented or deformed. A common source of damage to a casing is during ejection, especially from a semi-automatic firearm. Some models are more likely to damage a casing, depending on force of the ejection and the specific mechanism of ejection. Other times, a casing may be dented or bent by someone stepping on it or a vehicle driving over it.

                                                                          If a casing is too damaged, I will discard it. However, in many cases, deformities can be corrected during the reloading process. For instance, the photograph above shows three .40 S&W casings. The right-most is an intact casing, while the mouths of the casings on the left are slightly bent. This type of deformity can be corrected by the sizing and necking dies when reloading the cartridge.

                                                                          A .308 shell casing. The striations on the outside of the casing show that this particular cartridge had been fired in a firearm using a fluted chamber, such as an HK 91. 
                                                                          Even multiple deformations to the neck or mouth of a cartridge do not necessarily require a cartridge to be discarded so long as the sizing and necking dies can fit into the neck. For instance, the .308 casing above, despite the damage to the mouth and neck of the cartridge, is probably still a good candidate for reloading (at least for plinking ammunition).

                                                                          A couple .223 shell casings with damaged mouths.
                                                                          On the other hand, damage to the lip of a casing is more serious. I've seen instances where the dent is so sharp that a reloading die will actually catch on damaged portion and crumple or tear the neck of the casing. The photograph above shows two .223 (5.56) casings where the lip of the casing is bent in fairly sharply, and the left is actually curled down slightly. I would expect the casing on the left to be further damaged during the reloading process. The casing on the right might be salvageable, but not really worth the hassle. I will be discarding both.

                                                                          Other types of damage
                                                                          Although the photograph above is not very clear, it is focusing on other types of damage you might (going left to right) see to the neck, shoulder or body of a spent shell casing.

                                                                          One defect that I sometimes see is a slight dent--almost a crease--running vertically along the neck of the cartridge. Such damage is going to weaken the case neck, possibly resulting in a ruptured neck, so discard it.

                                                                          Sometimes there will be dings on the shoulder of the casing. If very slight, the case may be salvageable; but in many cases, such dings are sharp and distinct (such as the case striking a thin piece of metal), which probably would result in the metal being weakened. Unless such a ding is hardly more than a surface blemish, I believe it is better to play it safe and just discard the casing.

                                                                          In other instances you may see dents or dings to the body of the casing. Although hard to see, the third casing from the right has been dented and slightly flattened on one side, probably from being stepped on or driven over by a vehicle. Throw it out!

                                                                          The two cases on the far right have sharp dents to the middle of the cases, probably also from a rough extraction process, perhaps hitting the shell deflector on an AR style rifle. Again, there is the risk of the metal being weakened, so just throw it out.

                                                                          Both these cases are marked .30-06. The left is a case that has been resized for a different caliber, while the right is a normal .30-06 case.
                                                                          If that was not enough, you may also come across cases that have been deliberately reshaped for a different caliber or chambering. For instance, the photograph above shows two cases, each of which is headstamped as being .30-06 caliber. The one on the right is a correctly shaped .30-06, while the case on the left with the sharply defined shoulder has obviously been reformed for a different chambering: perhaps a wildcat or an obsolete cartridge based off of the .30-06 case. I don't know what caliber, though, so it, too, will go into the discard pile.


                                                                          Some loaded ammunition I found.
                                                                          Sometimes you will come across loaded ammunition, whether dropped by accident, ejected after a malfunction, or simply forgotten. I've come across single rounds, such as shown above, and even partial boxes that were left behind. I suppose it is up to you to decide whether you would chance using it. I, personally, would never use an unknown person's hand-loaded ammunition because I don't know if it is within normal specifications or limits for that cartridge. Since I cannot tell if the middle cartridge was a hand-load or not, I would not use it; I will probably pull the bullet, dump the powder, and reuse the case, though. The other two--the aluminum cased Blazer and the steel cased 5.45--would probably be safe to use. Nevertheless, out of caution, I will probably discard them as well.

                                                                          The Road Goes Ever On...


                                                                          Friday, October 28, 2016

                                                                          The Unraveling of the Political Establishment

                                                                               Martin Gurri believes that this election shows that the "establishment" is already in the process of unraveling. In fact, according to Gurri, this campaign is part of a larger global conflict between an "alienated public and the institutions and elites that manage the established order," with Trump being the weapon in the hands of the alienated public, and Clinton acting as the representative of "the elites and the old order." But, Gurri argues, whatever establishment had been in place has already fallen apart.

                                                                               Writing about the Republican establishment, Gurri observes:
                                                                          The “establishment,” if it ever existed, had cracked to pieces before Trump arrived:  we just hadn’t noticed.  Jeb Bush’s risible impersonation of an establishment candidate only proved the point.  Bush lacked a following, barely had a pulse at the polls, and could claim nothing like an insider’s clout.  He was endorsed by a crowd of gray-headed seniors who averaged 11 years out of office.  That was what passed for an establishment.
                                                                          Ditto as to the Democrats:
                                                                          The Democratic Party has endured a similar collapse in authority.  Barack Obama crushed a true establishment – fronted, as it happens, by Hillary Clinton – back in 2007.  Since then, the president and his immediate circle have felt no debt and little allegiance to the party hierarchy.  In the 2016 Democratic primaries, more than 40 percent of the vote, and all the militant passion, went to Bernie Sanders – an old, white, dull, marginal Independent.  Many of his voters view Clinton as a cog in the system they despise.  Any untoward event after her election will propel them to the streets.

                                                                          In somewhat slower motion than the Republicans, the Democratic Party is unbundling into dozens of political war bands, each focused with monomaniacal intensity on a particular cause – feminism, the environment, anti-capitalism, pro-immigration, racial or sexual grievance.  This process, scarcely veiled by the gravitational attraction of President Obama and Clinton herself, will become obvious to the most casual observer the moment the Democrats lose the White House.
                                                                          He does not see anything responsible replacing them, what with the Democratic party being overtaken by what he terms "identity rage," and the "white identity politics" gaining favor on the Republican side of the fence. According to Gurri, "[t]he voices of moderation and keepers of our political traditions have been cowed into silence.  They have nothing of interest to say in any case."

                                                                               While Gurri does not use these terms, he describes a low-grade, "cold" civil war. He writes:
                                                                          The quarrel between public and elites will not pause for Inauguration Day.  While the future direction of the struggle is uncertain, we do know what is at stake:  every aspect of the democratic process, of economic activity, of our place and power in a fractured world.

                                                                          The twenty-first century, in brief, is up for grabs.
                                                                               Gurri wrote this thinking that Hillary would win the election. If she does not? Well, as he noted, "[a]ny untoward event ... will propel them to the streets." Whether Hillary wins or not, the left will double down on its present tactics of vilifying any and all opposition and "agitating" for "reform," and attempting to shame political opponents. But if Hillary wins, they will have the full force of the State to back them up. But if Hillary loses, the support of the State will weaken until the only tactic remaining to the left will be to bully and scare the public into line. There will be more Fergusons; the unvoiced threat to "give us more money and political power or we burn the cities to the ground." This will have, and is having, the opposite effect intended as it impresses on conservatives and, eventually, moderates that it was never the dream of the left to see black and white children peacefully playing together.

                                                                          "Russia Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Glider Warhead"--The Diplomat

                                                                          Source: "Russia’s Hypersonic Weapons: Dismantles the
                                                                          Myth of the American Navy’s Invincibility
                                                                          "
                                                                          --Global Research

                                                                          The Diplomat magazine has an article discussing Russia's latest nuclear missile tests. The significance is not the missile system--the RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile--but the warhead. It is somewhat of a misnomer to characterize the missile as a ballistic missile because, in fact, the warhead is a new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), the YU-71, also known as Project 4202. The warhead is touted as capable of defeating any anti-missile defense system because, as the article explains:
                                                                          Once it reaches near space and is ejected from the missile booster, the YU-71 HGV begins to glide in a relatively flat trajectory by executing a pull-up maneuver and accelerating to up to ten times the speed of sound, or around 7,680 miles per hour. 
                                                                          The gliding phase enables the YU-71 HGV not only to maneuver aerodynamically – performing “extreme maneuvers” and evading interception – but also extends the range of the missile.
                                                                          Further:
                                                                          [U]nlike conventional reentry vehicles, which descend through the atmosphere on a predictable ballistic trajectory, hypersonic glider vehicles are almost impossible to intercept by conventional missile defense systems, which track incoming objects via satellite sensors and ground and sea radar. 

                                                                          We Need To Get Out Of Syria--A Warning

                                                                          The Whore of Babylon riding on the back of the Beast (Source)
                                                                           And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
                                                                          --Revelation 17:16.

                                                                          Daniel Greenfield recently wrote about the current proxy war in Syria, and how the end result will favor neither Russia nor the West. From his article, "It's A Mad, Mad War":

                                                                          Russia and the NATO countries suffer from low birth rates and rising Muslim demographics, but are in a senseless competition to determine which emergent Caliphate will be able to draw its borders in territories it can’t populate. It’s a battle over a pittance taking place in a burning building.

                                                                              Moscow has around 2 million Muslims. London has over 1 million. Both sides are at risk of losing their own capital cities to real invasions. The EU and Putin’s Eurasian dreams are both built on the Roman notion that the barbarians can be integrated and will make good foot soldiers and laborers.
                                                                                * * *
                                                                                  The Cold War has become reborn as a strange farce in which two failing power blocs are fighting an old war that no longer has any purpose or meaning. Russia has reinvented its brand, but not its ambitions. Its clumsy alliance with Iran will fall apart once the Shiite terror state has gotten what it wanted and boots the Russians out of its backyard. America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia may one day be described by historians as the cause of our downfall. 

                                                                                      The West and Russia are reliant on Muslim demographics to power faltering empires whose ideological ends stand in sharp contrast to their Islamic means. Putin claims to want to protect Christendom with an army that is increasingly Muslim. The EU asserts that it is defending secular democracy, but it’s betting its future on a citizenry whose Islamic religion mandates theocratic Sharia jurisprudence. 

                                                                                          A Muslim citizenry will not maintain secular democracy. A Muslim army will not protect Christians. The West used to be dependent on Muslim oil. It has since become addicted to the much more dangerous supply of Muslim demographics. Societies with low birth rates are relying on Muslims to make up the gap in manpower and maintain nations that are not expanding or even replacing their own numbers. 

                                                                                              Oil dependency was dangerous. Demographic dependency is lethal. 

                                                                                                  Russia and the West can make jets that casually break the sound barrier. What they aren’t doing is making people. European welfare states and Russian expansionism are built on Muslim populations. 

                                                                                                      As imperial strategies go, that’s a suicide pact. 
                                                                                                        * * *
                                                                                                          Russia and the West are there as pawns of their Islamic allies. Putin and NATO aren’t protecting their influence because the influence goes entirely the other way. The West does not dictate anything to the Saudis nor does Russia get to tell Iran what to do. Instead the old empires are called in when the wannabe caliphates want a power with a big military machine to do their dirty work for them. 

                                                                                                              Russia and the West are obsessed with a factional struggle in the face of a civilizational struggle. Their failure to recognize the civilizational threat of the caliphate is the greatest threat to their future. 

                                                                                                                  Familiar wars and familiar enemies are easier to fight. It is easier to recreate the Cold War as farce than to recognize that a far older war has come around again. Russia and the West are replaying the tragic history of the Byzantine–Sassanid wars whose ultimate victors were the Mohammedan invaders. 

                                                                                                                      The only thing that the wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire accomplished was to weaken them enough to allow Islam to conquer both of the proud empires. Both sides courted the Arab tribes and made use of them in their conflict with each other. They did not consider the possibility that the prolonged conflict would not end with either a Persian or Byzantine victory, but that the barbarians they had been using as pawns would end up claiming everything. It’s a familiar story replaying today. 
                                                                                                                        The end result, Greenfield notes, is that "[t]he only certain winners of this war, once the dust has settled, will chant 'Allahu Akbar' and call for the death of the infidels."

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

                                                                                                                        Video: "What They're NOT Telling You About Sweden" by Paul Joseph Watson. Sweden is rapidly becoming an Islamic country.

                                                                                                                        Firearms/Self-Defense:


                                                                                                                        Election:
                                                                                                                        MogIA was developed by Sanjiv Rai, the founder of Indian start-up Genic.ai. It takes in 20 million data points from public platforms including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the U.S. and then analyzes the information to create predictions.
                                                                                                                          The AI system was created in 2004, so it has been getting smarter all the time. It had already correctly predicted the results of the Democrat and Republican Primaries.

                                                                                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                          • Never let a crisis (or tragedy) go to waste: "Leaked Clinton Email Following Shooting of Black Teen: 'This Is Great'"--The Truth About Guns. "... a newly leaked email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign reveals her staffers literally rejoicing that a black teenager was shot and killed because they could use his death to advance the cause of gun control."
                                                                                                                          • "Roosh On The Future of the K-shift"--Anonymous Conservative. Commenting on a Roosh post that we are at a point of no return, AC goes on to provide a warning to those who favor more direct action:
                                                                                                                            The one thing Roosh left out was that you should wait to do anything until amygdalae develop sufficiently and the nation is sufficiently K-ified. Those who will die quickest will be those who act early, while their localities are filled with rabbits. The key will be surviving until the nation is ready to act.

                                                                                                                                Going violent at the outset, even in self defense, will not be an optimal strategy. ...

                                                                                                                                    Where this happens, we can clearly see how rabbits manipulate the entire machinery so that even Police officers see their lives ruined as they merely try to stay alive while protecting others. Even their own departmental machinery, manned by their fellow officers, is turned against them and used to treat them as a criminal. That is the entire plan, as it will play out for civilians. It is just beginning early now as rabbit instincts meet the early stages of resource restriction, and officers find themselves filling that role in the rabbit’s strategy. Notice how it appears to not be a logical strategy – grassroots rabbits actually think Police are murdering innocent blacks. That is how rabbitism infects cognition.

                                                                                                                                        ... Wait until it is just your average, run of the mill K-strategist conservative civilian who killed a savage on his way home from work. The destruction to his life will be total.

                                                                                                                                            The key will be keeping your head down and avoiding the battle, until the entire nation is K-ified enough that everyone is motivated to band together, clean out the rabbits at the top, and begin the rebuilding.

                                                                                                                                                Be inconspicuous, avoid conflict, stay away from dangerous areas, and know that the savages will be killing the low-level, grassroots rabbits at a far faster rate than the K-strategists. Also know that those intrepid souls who jump into the battle early will not last long. Be patient.

                                                                                                                                                    Sit by the river long enough, and enough dead rabbit bodies will float by that the nation can begin rebuilding.
                                                                                                                                                      The study, which appeared in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, analyzed the odd beams of light from 234 stars — a fraction of the 2.5 million that were observed.

                                                                                                                                                          The bizarre beacons led the paper’s authors, Ermanno F. Borra and Eric Trottier from Laval University in Quebec, to conclude that it’s “probably” aliens.
                                                                                                                                                            The authors believe that the odds for a naturalistic explanation is low:
                                                                                                                                                            “Although unlikely,” the study notes “there is also a possibility that the signals are due to highly peculiar chemical compositions in a small fraction of galactic halo stars.”
                                                                                                                                                            • A must read article: "Great Chain of Contempt: Intellectuals left and right have lost faith—and mercy."--F.H. Buckley at The American Conservative. The author discusses the social stratification of American society under modern progressives (both of the left and right), and observes that America now consists of two societies--the elite (who he terms "the Big Brains") and those who are not ("the Little Brains")--that, to quote Disraeli, "between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws."
                                                                                                                                                              One of the points I have a problem with in regard to many of these "elites v. commoners" articles is the tacit assumption or acceptance that the elite are, in fact, superior. We are, for the large part, no longer a nation of an intellectual elite whose position is due to merit--philosopher kings, if you will--ruling over "the great unwashed masses." There is plenty of evidence to indicate that not everyone admitted to Yale or Harvard are extraordinary, nor is it true that all (or even many) of those attending so-called "lesser institutions" (or pursuing other career paths) are mediocre. Rather, in most cases, the elites are mediocre men and women with patently obsolete or stupid ideas, lecturing to those that are their equals or their superiors when it comes to intelligence, education, or ability. The laws of science, mathematics, economics, and so on, do not change merely because they are delivered from a lectern at a state university instead of one at Harvard or Yale. The elites have no special monopoly on intelligence, education, understanding or ability, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. 

                                                                                                                                                              Wednesday, October 26, 2016

                                                                                                                                                              This Says It All

                                                                                                                                                              From a CNBC news story about the presidential race:
                                                                                                                                                              Wall Street is heavily invested in a Clinton victory.
                                                                                                                                                              Securities and investment firms have poured nearly $65 million into her campaign coffers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Goldman Sachs employees have donated $284,816 to Clinton and just $3,641 to Trump, who has received $716,407 from Wall Street.

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

                                                                                                                                                              Video: "Duke Suture Skills Course - Learn Best Suture Techniques" Tips from a plastic surgeon.


                                                                                                                                                              Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                                                                              • Cobra 19 Ultra CB radio with microphone and power cord with 12V lighter plug… $4.00 (used)
                                                                                                                                                              • A Harbor Freight 1.5 watt 12V solar battery maintainer with 12V lighter plug… $10.00
                                                                                                                                                              • A 12V Sealed Lead Acid AGM (gel-cell) Rechargeable Alarm system battery..$12.74
                                                                                                                                                              • 12V clamp-on socket, adapted with spade connectors… $6.99
                                                                                                                                                              • 12V Plug adapted with spade connectors. Plug was scavenged from an old heated coffee cup… $0.00
                                                                                                                                                              • Two short bungee cords… about $1.00
                                                                                                                                                              • Custom made CB dipole antenna …. around $10.00.
                                                                                                                                                              • 40 feet of cord to suspend and tie out the antenna…. $1.00 (?)
                                                                                                                                                              • Padded Shoulder bag, this bag held some sort of medical device. It was purchased at a thrift store for 80 cents.
                                                                                                                                                              • Small camera pouch with belt loop… 10 cents at a garage sale.
                                                                                                                                                              The author then provides instructions on how to fit it all together and make the modifications for hooking the radio up to the battery, so read the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                              Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                                                The protest organization, Laundry Workers Center — which was using the hashtags #WeAreVisible and #SomosVisible on social media — was already planning a rally in Union Square Park Wednesday night. 
                                                                                                                                                                  "We are a Grassroots Autonomous Movement campaigning for the right of every member of our communities to be visible, to be able to take part in the decision making process that affect our communities in our 'democratic' system, and for the ability to determine our destinies," the New York-based nonprofit said on its Facebook page. 
                                                                                                                                                                  In other words, they are agitating for the right of non-citizens to vote in American elections.
                                                                                                                                                                    The videos, shot by ACORN slayer James O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas Action, show Foval on camera saying his agents “infiltrate” Trump events. “It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherf****er.” He adds, “we’re starting anarchy here.”

                                                                                                                                                                        Creamer, previously convicted of felony bank fraud, has visited the Obama White House more than 300 times. In one of the videos, he says Hillary Clinton personally knows about the false flag operation. Her campaign “is fully in it,” Creamer confirms. “Hillary knows through the chain of command what’s going on.”
                                                                                                                                                                          In a March 2015 interview, President Obama said that he had learned about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.”

                                                                                                                                                                              But that assertion concerned aides of Mrs. Clinton, who knew that the president himself had received emails from the private address, according to a hacked email made public on Tuesday by WikiLeaks.

                                                                                                                                                                                  “We need to clean this up — he has emails from her — they do not say state.gov,” Cheryl D. Mills, a top aide, wrote to John D. Podesta, another senior adviser, on March 7, 2015.
                                                                                                                                                                                    The Times try to spin it as harmless, completely ignoring that the fact that "between March 25-31, just a couple of weeks after Mills said 'we need to clean this up,' Bleachbit was used to wipe Hillary's private server clean."
                                                                                                                                                                                      Several exchanges illustrate fears among some top advisers that Clinton and other aides were demonstrating the very traits that polls suggested made her vulnerable: a penchant for secrecy and a hesitancy to admit fault or error.

                                                                                                                                                                                          “We’ve taken on a lot of water that won’t be easy to pump out of the boat,” Podesta wrote to Tanden in September 2015, at a time when Clinton’s campaign feared that Vice President Biden was about to enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. “Most of that has to do with terrible decisions made pre-campaign, but a lot has to do with her instincts.”

                                                                                                                                                                                              Tanden responded, “Almost no one knows better [than] me that her instincts can be terrible.”

                                                                                                                                                                                              Tuesday, October 25, 2016

                                                                                                                                                                                              Something Happening To Clinton Campaign? (Updated)

                                                                                                                                                                                              Scott Adams famously endorsed Hillary Clinton solely for reasons of his own safety. He later withdraw his endorsement from Clinton, but refused to endorse Trump. Today, he has endorsed Trump and, moreover, is predicting with a 98% certainty that Trump will win by a landslide. His reasoning?
                                                                                                                                                                                              Today I put Trump’s odds of winning in a landslide back to 98%. Remember, I told you a few weeks ago that Trump couldn’t win unless “something changed.”  
                                                                                                                                                                                              Something just changed.
                                                                                                                                                                                              But what changed? Adams doesn't say, and a review of the mainstream news outlets, and even the larger conservative news outlets, are silent. Sure, there are additional emails from Wikileaks, but nothing stunning.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm wondering if what Adams thinks is a game changer are rumors that Eric Braverman, the former CEO of the Clinton Foundation, is seeking asylum from the Russians.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Update: I suppose it could be the Pedosta email showing that when Obama said he only learned of Hillary's use of a private server from the news reports, he had received emails from Hillary that were not from "state.gov" addresses. But it just doesn't seem enough to counter the trashing of Trump's reputation.

                                                                                                                                                                                              What We Have Lost

                                                                                                                                                                                              If you haven't read Albert Jay Nock's classic Our Enemy The State, I recommend that you read it. One of the more interesting portions of the book is a discussion of how the State accumulates power at the expense of personal liberty, with an example. Nock wrote:
                                                                                                                                                                                              It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power; there is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power. 
                                                                                                                                                                                              Moreover, it follows that with any exercise of State power, not only the exercise of social power in the same direction, but the disposition to exercise it in that direction, tends to dwindle. Mayor Gaynor astonished the whole of New York when he pointed out to a correspondent who had been complaining about the inefficiency of the police, that any citizen has the right to arrest a malefactor and bring him before a magistrate. “The law of England and of this country,” he wrote, “has been very careful to confer no more right in that respect upon policemen and constables than it confers on every citizen.” State exercise of that right through a police force had gone on so steadily that not only were citizens indisposed to exercise it, but probably not one in ten thousand knew he had it.
                                                                                                                                                                                              That is where we stood in 1935 when Nock wrote his book.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Think of that while you read the article "Defending Innocent Life: A Perilous Choice At Best" at The Truth About Guns and the comments (particularly from those who believe the legal risk is too high to intervene and defend someone that is not a member of your family), and compare what will happen to you versus the suggested guidelines for handling an officer-involved shooting in "Lethal Aftermath – Are You a Second Class Citizen?" at Ammo Land. And I will add my own anecdote: in a conversation with an assistant city prosecutor several years ago, she indicated her belief that a person could not legally use force to expel a trespasser from his or her property, but was required to call the police. The point isn't whether she was correct or not, but that it shows the general attitude of many of those tasked with enforcing our laws.

                                                                                                                                                                                              October 25, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web



                                                                                                                                                                                              Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • "Shot Placement, Incapacitation And Conventional Wisdom"--Massad Ayoob at Guns Magazine. Yesterday, I had posted a link to an article discussing the fact that even good hits to the center of mass will not necessarily disable an attacker, so I thought it was fortuitous to come across this article by Mas Ayoob which discusses the effectiveness of a shot to the pelvic girdle. He writes:
                                                                                                                                                                                              Jim Cirillo was a good friend of mine from the early 1970’s until his death, and I learned a great deal from him, his partner Bill Allard, and other members of the legendary NYPD Stakeout Squad. In Jim’s Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights (Paladin Press) he said, “We found that whenever we shot gunmen in the pelvis or butt, they were knocked off their feet. They could still be dangerous, but at least their aim would be disturbed.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                Obviously, an offender wielding a knife or club would be out of action at that point since—without mobility—they could no longer approach to stab or strike. And even a downed gunman would now be stabilized and much easier to hit with a (hopefully) fight-stopping brain shot if he tried to shoot from the ground. More recently, a retired SEAL with extensive combat experience told me pelvic shots worked dynamically for him and his colleagues.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can the pelvic hit fail? Of course. A mere hairline fracture of the pelvic girdle—or just a neat, round hole drilled through it—can’t be expected to have much immediate effect. A bullet that merely chips the top off the ileac crest is about like shooting the tail fin off a 1959 Cadillac, it simply won’t break down the whole machine. But put a powerful handgun bullet close to where the pelvis joins the femur, and instant collapse is highly likely. Ditto a bullet that smashes the sacrum. Pelvic shots may not guarantee “1-shot stops,” but neither do head or center chest shots. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Remington is releasing new polymer framed, striker fired handguns in 9 mm (the RP 9) and in .45 ACP (RP45). They look to have an ambidextrous slide release and a magazine release that can be switched from one side to another. It also sports an accessory rail with 3 slots (unlike Glock's one slot).
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Getting the balance right."--Survival UK. Skean Dhude writes about the knowns and unknowns of prepping, and trying to strike the right balance between competing priorities. He notes, for instance:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The issues for me are simple;
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I know that my preps are only to enable a smooth transition from the current situation to the new situation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I do not know what the event will be.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I do not know when the event will occur, if at all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I am not rich but I am reasonably well off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  This means that;
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I do not know what I need to put aside.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I do not know how long I have to prepare.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I must prepare slowly and make best use of my resources, time and money.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Storing Eggs for Survival, by J.D."--Survival Blog.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "8 Snow-Hardy Vegetables You (Really) Can Grow During Winter"--Off The Grid News. The crops the author mentions are: spinach, leeks, kale and collards, parsnips, lettuce, cabbage, turnips, and chard. The author notes others: surrey, arugula, rhubarb, beets, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts and scallions. The author then goes on to discuss specific tips for winter gardening.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Washing Clothes"--Dirt Time. The author writes: "Washing machines are another of those devices that modern man seems to believe that life could not go on without. Yet for the vast stretch of human life, there were no washing machines. People just washed with hot water and soap and worked the garments by hand. Sometimes smooth rocks were used, sometimes not. In fact, sometimes it was just cold running water in the stream and no soap at all."
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Buyer’s Guide: The Best Headlamp"--All Outdoor. "After three years of continually testing headlamps, and adding 12 new models to our test pool this time around, we still think the Black Diamond Spot is the best headlamp for most people." The author explains why and discusses some other headlamps that are more suited for certain types of users.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Is TEOTWAWKI Really That Far-Fetched?"--M. Edwards at the Survivalist Blog. The author notes that the majority of people (including preppers) don't really believe a large long-term disaster--economic, natural, or due to war--is possible. The author not only discusses why he believes that such upheaval is more likely than we would like to believe, but is inevitable. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Creepy surveillance footage of home invasion shows armed burglars tiptoeing around sleeping children as they steal a handgun, credit cards and a cell phone"--Daily Mail. It looks like the entry was via a patio door. As one perp is stepping around the room, using a flashlight to spot items to take, another person is mostly out of sight in the doorway with only a hand and a pistol visible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The weapons are smuggled overland into Yemen via the neighboring country of Oman. “What they’re bringing in via Oman are anti-ship missiles, explosives… money and personnel,” a U.S. official said. An Iranian diplomat confirmed that his government has stepped up its support for the Houthis, which are fighting a Saudi-backed coalition. “The nuclear deal gave Iran an upper hand in its rivalry with Saudi Arabia, but it needs to be preserved,” the diplomat explained. Critics of the nuclear deal with Iran, including regional American allies, have long expressed their concern that it gives Iran more leeway to support destabilizing proxy forces throughout the region, such as in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Monday, October 24, 2016

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just something fun to watch--nothing serious

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Firearms/Self-Defense:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • In case you didn't already go and check it out: "Weekend Knowledge Dump- October 21, 2016"--Active Response Training. As always, a selection of self-defense and prepping related articles, plus a few just to make you think.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Pistol Malfunction Due To 'Stovepipe' Round"--Captain's Journal. An incident that occurred because a novice shooter was limp wristing the firearm. But, even after improving his grip, the problems cropped up again because the shooter simply lacked the forearm strength to keep a firm grip on the firearm.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Shooting Through Glass with Kyle Lamb"--Breach Bang Clear. A link to a video and some questions for Kyle Lamb. One of the questions had to do with three points regarding shooting through glass or automobiles. Lamb's response:
                                                                                                                                                                                                   1. One of the greatest myths when shooting around vehicles is that cars are poor cover. Smell the coffee; if it is the only piece of concealment you have near you, use it. 2. The front glass is extremely hard to shoot through effectively unless you use a bonded or solid bullet that doesn’t have a jacket that can be ripped from the bullet. Hornady GMX and Barnes TSX are examples of superb glass shooting projectiles. 3. “P”for plenty, when shooting through glass you must engage until the threat is neutralized.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do fast shooters, throwers and musicians get fast by starting fast? Did they get faster by adding speed to sloppy form?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    No. They developed and perfected their form at a much slower pace, and then speed came naturally. Ideally, they practiced at a speed that allowed them to do the same motion with perfect efficiency and form — exactlythe same way, every time — until it became automatic and required no conscious thought to do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      You might be thinking combat skills are different. They're not. In fact, the faster you intend to execute a given skill and the more stress you think you might be under when you execute it, the more critical it is that you practice slowly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's because of a principle called the Weber-Fechner law. Basically, as stimulus increases, the brain's ability to pick out details drops.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • "The 'Center Mass' Myth and Ending a Gunfight -Triggernometry"--Guns America. The author writes: " If you expect to win your gunfight, you have to make sure that you have effectively ended the threat of your attacker.  One, two or even several well placed “center mass” shots may not do what you think it will, and learning to recognize this before you gunfight may save your life." He goes on to cite some examples of center of mass shots that failed to stop the person hit, and notes that this principle applies even if using a rifle.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • "Does Gun Control Work?" (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)--American Conservative. This three part series examines conclusions reached by three different sets of researchers as the efficacy of gun control, particularly looking at whether the researchers used correct statistical analysis to support each of their conclusions. Although he notes some deficiencies in data (which is not necessarily the researcher's fault), he seems to find John Lott's research to be the most rigorous. The basic takeaway, however, is that most gun control measures don't work (some even increasing gun crimes), but that a thorough background check prior to purchase may actually work. My problem with the series is that the author, when faced with the obvious connection between crime and race just doesn't seem to see the connection. The background is that one of the research papers concluded that a permit-to-purchase program would reduce crime. However, Lott cast this into doubt by examining two states that had such a program: Missouri and Connecticut. Connecticut enacted such a program and saw essentially no changes to its gun related homicides. Missouri, on the other hand, repealed its permit-to-purchase law and saw gun related homicides increase. Hmm, what could be the difference between Connecticut and Missouri?


                                                                                                                                                                                                        Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vasectomy parties can be compared to baby showers, except instead, they celebrate the babies that will never be. Guests are invited to live it up "in a house with sharp furniture and exposed outlets.” They can plan on games such as The Price is Right "where they talk about what they can buy now that they’ve saved money by not having kids.” In lieu of suggesting baby names, party attendees can help name the new (not family) car or boat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        On Friday, multiple distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks hit the Internet services company Dyn. The cyberattack prevented many users on the U.S. East Coast from navigating to the most popular websites of Dyn customers, which include Twitter, Reddit, and Netflix.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dyn detected the first attack at 7:10 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, and restored normal service about two hours later. Then at 11:52 a.m. ET, Dyn began investigating a second attack. By 2:00 p.m., the company said it was still working to resolve “several attacks” at once.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                The interruptions inconvenienced many Internet users, and the daily operation of Internet giants in entertainment, e-commerce, and social media. There still aren’t many details available about Dyn’s predicament, and the company did not immediately respond to an interview request. But we do know from Dyn’s posts that the first two assaults on its network were DDoS attacts. Its customers’ outages again show that major Internet companies remain vulnerable to this common hacker scheme—one that has plagued networks since 2000.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A denial-of-service attack aims to slow or stop users from accessing content or services by impeding the ability of a network or server to respond to their requests. The word “distributed” means that hackers executed the Dyn attacks by infecting and controlling a large network of computers called a botnet, rather than running it from a single machine that they own.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hackers can assemble a botnet by spreading malware, which is often done by prompting unsuspecting users to click a link or download a file. That malware can be programmed to periodically check with a host computer owned by hackers for further instructions. To launch an attack, the hackers, or bot-herders, send a message through this “command and control” channel, prompting infected computers to send many requests for a particular website, server, or service all at once. Some of the biggest botnets in history have boasted 2 million computers, capable of sending up to 74 billion spam emails a day.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The sudden onslaught of requests quickly gobbles up all the network's bandwidth, disk space, or processing power. That means real users can’t get their requests through because the system is too busy trying to respond to all the bots. In the worst cases, a DDoS can crash a system, taking it completely offline.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The hell-fire clubs arose from a convergence of 18th-century trends: curiosity and reason; boisterous mockery and satire; and urban consumption, leisure and sociability. Their members were mostly young, male and moneyed, united by 'an enduring fascination with the forbidden fruit offered by the Devil, and a continuing flirtation with danger and the unknown'. Temptation led naturally to rampant hedonism; no appetite went unsated. Thumbing their noses (or worse) at church, state and civil society, they drank to excess, leered at pornography and egged each other on. The hell-raisers may not have been lovable, but they were certainly clubbable and they knew how to have a good time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, for all of you out there who still aren't convinced that the polls are "adjusted", we present to you the following Podesta email, leaked earlier today, that conveniently spells out, in detail, exactly how to "manufacture" the desired data. The email starts out with a request for recommendations on "oversamples for polling" in order to "maximize what we get out of our media polling."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mid-fifteenth-century Byzantium was facing endemic corruption, a radically declining birthrate and shrinking population, and the end of civic militarism—all the last-gasp symptoms of an irreversible decline. Its affluent ruling and religious orders and expansive government services could no longer be supported by disappearing agrarians and the overtaxed mercantile middle class. Returning to the values of the Emperor Justinian’s sixth-century empire that had once ensured a vibrant Byzantine culture of stability and prosperity throughout the old Roman east remained a nostalgic daydream. Given the hardship and sacrifice that would have been required to change the late Byzantine mindset, most residents of Constantinople plodded on to their rendezvous with oblivion in 1453.   


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We seem to be reaching that point of stasis in postmodern America. Once simple and logical solutions to our fiscal and social problems are now seen as too radical even to discuss. Consider the $20-trillion national debt. Most Americans accept that current annual $500 billion budget deficits are not sustainable—but they also see them as less extreme than the recently more normal $1 trillion in annual red ink. Americans also accept that the Obama administration doubled the national debt on the expectation of permanent near-zero interest rates, which cannot continue. When interest rates return to more normal historical levels of 4-5% per annum, the costs of servicing the debt—along with unsustainable Social Security and Medicare entitlement costs—will begin to undermine the entire budget.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Count up current local, state and federal income taxes, payroll taxes, property and sales taxes, and new health care taxes, and it will be hard to find the necessary additional revenue from a strapped and overtaxed middle class, much less from the forty-seven percent of Americans who currently pay no federal income taxes. The Obama administration has tried to reduce the budget by issuing defense cuts and tax hikes—but it has refused to touch entitlement spending, where the real gains could be made. The result is more debt, even as, paradoxically, our military was weakened, taxes rose, revenue increased, and economic growth remained anemic at well below 2% per annum.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Illegal immigration poses a similar dilemma. No nation can remain stable when 10-20 million foreign nationals have crashed through what has become an open border and reside unlawfully in the United States—any more than a homeowner can have neighbors traipsing through and camping in his unfenced yard.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Likewise, there are few multiracial societies of the past that have avoided descending into destructive ethnic chauvinism and tribalism once assimilation and integration were replaced by salad-bowl identity politics. Common words and phrases such as “illegal alien” or “deportation” are now considered taboo, while “sanctuary city” is a euphemism for a neo-Confederate nullification of federal immigration laws by renegade states and municipalities.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Illegal immigration, like the deficits, must cease, but stopping it would be too politically incorrect and painful even to ponder. The mess in Europe—millions of indigent and illegal immigrants who have fled their own failed states to become dependent on the largess of their generous adopted countries, but without any desire to embrace their hosts’ culture—is apparently America’s future.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Race relations pose comparable paradoxes. Inner-city Chicago has turned into a war zone with over 500 murders so far this year alone. As tragic as occasional police shootings are of African-American suspects, they do not occur at an incidence higher than the percentage of African-Americans who come into contact with law enforcement or who commit violent crimes. Yet when an African-American officer, in a department overseen by an African-American police chief, shoots an uncompliant but armed African-American suspect, a full-scale urban riot ensues, well beyond the ability of police to control.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A demilitarized military simply won’t fight. It will collapse at a touch, as so many militaries throughout history have. We may not have reached that point in the U.S., but we will do so soon if ideologically driven decisions such as putting women in combat arms are allowed to stand. Unless a military has an aggressively male culture, which is “uncomfortable for women,” it will not fight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, keeping women out of combat won't matter, he goes on to discuss, if the "men" are coddled, feminized weaklings lacking all necessary aggression.