Friday, October 7, 2016

October 7, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

  • TGIF: "Weekend Knowledge Dump- October 7, 2016"--Active Response Training.
  • "Modern Rifles: How Much Better Are They?"--Field & Stream. The author, who has been keeping records of his shooting since 1980 (including firearms provided for reviews) decided to go back and see if rifle accuracy had improved. He had records from 116 different rifles, which included a variety of off-the-shelf, semi-custom, and custom jobs. He notes that for most of the 1980's and 1990's, rifles of all prices, generally shot between 1 and 1.5 MOA. In 1985 and 1986 a few rifles showed up that could shoot sub-MOA groups, but this was the exception and were from custom rifles. He indicates, however, that starting in the late 1990's the price-point for MOA or sub-MOA rifles began to drop below $2,000, and now MOA or sub-MOA guarantees are common, even on fairly inexpensive offerings. 
  • "Dislocated Shoulders: Identifying Them & Popping Them Back In"--More Than Just Surviving. (H/t KA9OFF).
  • "The Legal Brief – Carrying a Modified Gun"--The Firearms Blog. Some information from  Attorney Adam Kraut on whether modified firearms can be a problem in front of a jury if you have to defend after a shooting. Short story: he is unaware of any cases where it was an issue. 
  • "EDC - The Urban"--Le Survivaliste. The blog's author shows and lists his everyday carry, which includes a knife with glass breaker, cell phone, handcuff keys, a button compass, small flashlight, pepper spray, and duck tape (to forestall any comments, "duct tape" is incorrect--the original tape used duck cloth in its manufacture; hence the name).
  • 'Tis the season: "Composting and Mulching Fall Leaves"--Go Garden Club. From the article, the 3 basic steps to creating the mulch:
    1. Add Leaves to a compost pile. Use a rake to gather the leaves into a central location so that the composting process can begin.
      2. Stir the compost pile often. The compost pile should be turned even during the cold months of winter to ensure that the compost decomposes properly.
        3. Keep the compost pile moist because it accelerates decomposition. Watering the compost insures that it will deteriorate in the manner that makes it most beneficial to a lawn.
        It goes on to discuss how the mulch can be used for lawns or in gardens.
        • "Got Cache?"--Blue Collar Prepping. The first part of a series discussing caching. This particular article discusses some basic issues, such as whether to cache on your own property or outside your property. 
        • "Numbers & Letters"--The Cast Iron Collector. What do those letters and numbers on your cast iron cookware mean?
        • "The mylar emergency blankets you love SUCK – but there’s hope"--Graywolf Survival. The author discusses the many disadvantages and problems with the common mylar emergency blankets, but also how to use them to best effect. 

        The New Normal:
        • "America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution"--Angelo M. Codevilla at The American Spectator. His now classic essay explaining the difference between the ruling class and the "country" class (i.e., the rest of the country).
        • "Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons"--Washington Post. From the article:
          • Recently, Johns Hopkins University political scientists Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg conducted a study of the unglamorous D.C. bureaucrat. These are the people who keep the federal government humming — the Hill staffers, the project managers and all those desk workers who vaguely describe themselves as “analysts.” 
              As Bachner and Ginsberg argue, civil servants exercise real power over how the government operates. They write and enforce rules and regulations. They might not decide what becomes law, but they have a hand in how laws are drawn up and how laws are implemented.
                For all their influence, though, nearly all of these technocrats are unelected, and they spend most of their time with people who are just like them — other highly educated folk who jog conspicuously in college tees and own a collection of NPR totes. 

                  * * *
                  “Many civil servants expressed utter contempt for the citizens they served,” they write in their book, “What Washington Gets Wrong.” “Further, we found a wide gulf between the life experiences of ordinary Americans and the denizens of official Washington. We were left deeply worried about the health and future of popular government in the United States.”

                    * * *
                    ... On a wide range of issues, bureaucrats believe that Americans are ignorant. For instance, over half of them say that the public knows little to nothing about government crime programs, child care programs or environmental programs.  
                      Predictably, the bureaucrats also think that the government should not take what the public says too seriously. Mostly, they believe that officials like them should use their best judgment instead of following public opinion.
                      • "After the Republic"--Angelo M. Codevilla at the Claremont Institute. This is his update to his prior essay on America's ruling class (above). He writes:
                        What goes by the name “constitutional law” has been eclipsing the U.S. Constitution for a long time. But when the 1964 Civil Rights Act substituted a wholly open-ended mandate to oppose “discrimination” for any and all fundamental rights, it became the little law that ate the Constitution. Now, because the Act pretended that the commerce clause trumps the freedom of persons to associate or not with whomever they wish, and is being taken to mean that it trumps the free exercise of religion as well, bakers and photographers are forced to take part in homosexual weddings. A commission in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reported that even a church may be forced to operate its bathrooms according to gender self-identification because it “could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.” California came very close to mandating that Catholic schools admit homosexual and transgender students or close down. The Justice Department is studying how to prosecute on-line transactions such as vacation home rental site Airbnb, Inc., that fall afoul of its evolving anti-discrimination standards.
                          This arbitrary power, whose rabid guard-dog growls and barks: “Racist! Sexist! Homophobic!” has transformed our lives by removing restraints on government. The American Bar Association’s new professional guidelines expose lawyers to penalties for insufficient political correctness. Performing abortions or at least training to perform them may be imposed as a requirement for licensing doctors, nurses, and hospitals that offer services to the general public.

                            * * *

                              Because Republicans largely agree with Democrats that they need not take seriously the founders’ Constitution, today’s American regime is now what Max Weber had called the Tsarist regime on the eve of the Revolution: “fake constitutionalism.” Because such fakery is self-discrediting and removes anyone’s obligation to restrain his passions, it is a harbinger of revolution and of imperial power.
                                The ruling class having chosen raw power over law and persuasion, the American people reasonably concluded that raw power is the only way to counter it, and looked for candidates who would do that. Hence, even constitutional scholar Ted Cruz stopped talking about the constitutional implications of President Obama’s actions after polls told him that the public was more interested in what he would do to reverse them, niceties notwithstanding. Had Cruz become the main alternative to the Democratic Party’s dominion, the American people might have been presented with the option of reverting to the rule of law. But that did not happen. Both of the choices before us presuppose force, not law.

                                  * * *

                                    The consequences of empowering today’s Democratic Party are crystal clear. The Democratic Party—regardless of its standard bearer—would use its victory to drive the transformations that it has already wrought on America to quantitative and qualitative levels that not even its members can imagine. We can be sure of that because what it has done and is doing is rooted in a logic that has animated the ruling class for a century, and because that logic has shaped the minds and hearts of millions of this class’s members, supporters, and wannabes.
                                      That logic’s essence, expressed variously by Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, FDR’s brains trust, intellectuals of both the old and the new Left, choked back and blurted out by progressive politicians, is this: America’s constitutional republic had given the American people too much latitude to be who they are, that is: religiously and socially reactionary, ignorant, even pathological, barriers to Progress. Thankfully, an enlightened minority exists with the expertise and the duty to disperse the religious obscurantism, the hypocritical talk of piety, freedom, and equality, which excuses Americans’ racism, sexism, greed, and rape of the environment. As we progressives take up our proper responsibilities, Americans will no longer live politically according to their prejudices; they will be ruled administratively according to scientific knowledge.
                                        Progressivism’s programs have changed over time. But its disdain for how other Americans live and think has remained fundamental. More than any commitment to principles, programs, or way of life, this is its paramount feature. The media reacted to Hillary Clinton’s remark that “half of Trump’s supporters could be put into a ‘basket of deplorables’” as if these sentiments were novel and peculiar to her. In fact, these are unremarkable restatements of our ruling class’s perennial creed.
                                        * * *
                                         How far will our rulers go? Because their network is mutually supporting, they will go as far as they want. Already, there is pressure from ruling class constituencies, as well as academic arguments, for morphing the concept of “hate crime” into the criminalization of “hate speech”—which means whatever these loving folks hate. Of course this is contrary to the First Amendment, and a wholesale negation of freedom. But it is no more so than the negation of freedom of association that is already eclipsing religious freedom in the name anti-discrimination. It is difficult to imagine a Democratic president, Congress, and Supreme Court standing in the way.
                                          Above all, these inflictions, as well as the ruling class’s acceptance of its own members’ misbehavior, came about because millions of its supporters were happy, or happy enough, to support them in the interest of maintaining their own status in a ruling coalition while discomfiting their socio-political opponents. ...
                                          * * *
                                          We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.
                                          Read the whole thing.
                                          Several weeks after a court ordered Ohio to stop cleaning its voter rolls from dead voters, likely raising the specter of voter fraud in the key battleground state, a new report reveals how Virginia and Pennsylvania — two other critical states — have seen hundreds of cases of non-citizens voting. That raises the question: Is the foundation of our democratic republic and national sovereignty no longer secure? 
                                          * * *
                                          ... couple non-citizens voting with general voter fraud and the number of House seats Democrats gain thanks to illegal aliens being counted in the Census (states like California gain an extra five seats), and we are strangers in our own land! The average American citizen who wants to continue following our own system of governance, history, and traditions is left helpless while federal and state executives refuse to follow the statutes passed by legislatures to preserve the franchise. Meanwhile, the courts are preventing the people from reclaiming their sovereignty. We are suffering from a collective social transformation without representation. 
                                          Donald Trump will probably lose the election. But he is a final warning. Unless political elites of both the left and the right become more humble, unless they once again ask themselves how their agendas will play in Peoria, the next rough beast might slouch over the corpse of the republic.

                                          Other Stuff:
                                          • More clown hysteria: 
                                          • "Clowning dad charged after tailing school bus"--Boston Herald. "An Auburn dad who followed his kid’s school bus with a scary clown mask is being charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace for terrifying the middle school students, whom he followed from the their bus stop, police said." 
                                            A total of 8,985 mosques were built between 2005 and 2015 by the Turkish government over the last decade in Turkey, according to statistics released by Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).


                                                While the Turkish government has built so many mosques across the country with state funds, it has banned Orthodox Christian liturgy in the Sumela Monastery, a historic site in Trabzon.
                                                Newly analyzed observations by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope show that the star KIC 8462852 — whose occasional, dramatic dips in brightness still have astronomers scratching their heads — has also dimmed overall during the last few years. 
                                                * * * 
                                                The weirdness increased in January 2016, when astronomer Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University reported that KIC 8462852 also seems to have dimmed overall by 14 percent between 1890 and 1989.
                                                To understand the possible significance, watch the video "Should We Build a Dyson Sphere?"-- Space Time | PBS Digital Studios.

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