Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 1, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

Video: "Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs" - NumbersUSA.com. Why allowing a large influx of immigrants harms both the U.S. (or Europe) and the countries from which the immigrants are drawn.

Firearms/Self-Defense:
  • "Total US Firearms: Not 300 Million, but 412-660 Million?"--The Weapons Man. I would say that is a conservative estimate. The 300 million figure has been cited for several years--at least since 2014--and was based on a 2007 Geneva based Small Arms Survey that concluded that there 270 million civilian firearms in the U.S. at that time. A 2009 study by the Congressional Research Office estimated, at that time, that there were 310 million civilian owned firearms in the United States. The problem with those studies is they relied on household surveys which are going to be inaccurate when it comes to a sensitive topic such as firearms. In 2014, Dan Griffen noted that during the period of 1986 – 2012, over 164 million new firearms were manufactured or imported and sold in the United States. The numbers sold per year have climbed each subsequent year, though.
  • Apparently the right to defend yourself is not a human right: "Gun ownership is not a human right"--an opinion by SE Smith at The Guardian. The author of the piece argues:
A human right has to do with something intrinsic to who you are as a human being, and your most basic needs. Healthcare, food, housing, and water are human rights. They are all critical things that human beings need to stay alive. Access to reproductive health services is a human right. The ability to participate freely in society regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or disability status is a human right. These are things society is supposed to guarantee to us because we are part of society, and these things are integral to our very identities.

      Owning a gun does not place one in a protected class of society. It’s not integral to the inextricable identity of a human being. You can put a gun down and no longer be a person holding a gun. You cannot become unMuslim for an afternoon, or take off your black skin to walk through the streets. While a gun owner may participate in gun culture, may enjoy interacting with guns and fellow gun owners as a recreational activity, may even integrate that activity heavily into daily life, gun ownership still isn’t about identity.

          And a gun is not a basic necessity for survival. Some guns can be useful for hunting food, but not most, and there are alternatives to hunting for most people. They can sometimes be helpful for self-defense, but not nearly as often as people like to claim. More commonly, they are used to inflict violence, which is an abridgment of other people’s human right to remain alive. Nothing about a gun is intrinsic to identity or survival. Comparing a gun to something like the right to maternity care is patently absurd, and that’s just one example of a basic human right.
          The absurdity of her arguments is clear from the text. By her own metric--"A human right has to do with something intrinsic to who you are as a human being"--healthcare is not a human right: you can not be seen by a doctor and still be a human being. Likewise, you can be required to purchase or obtain your own food, housing, and water and still be a human. Of course, to get around this, the author expands her definition to include basic needs. Well, if someone is breaking down your door and the police are minutes or hours away, you need a means of defending your life, the most effective of which with modern technology (without being overly destructive) is a firearm. And the argument that firearms are more commonly used to inflict violence is also patently wrong. The United States literally has hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation, yet only an infinitesimally small number are used to commit crimes. Most are peaceably used by people as a form of recreation or hobby--something intrinsic to how they act and view themselves. Something that makes them human.
            The competitions, held nearly every weekend, are called war games, but are not intended as fun. The Estonian Defense League, which organizes the events, requires its 25,400 volunteers to turn out occasionally for weekend training sessions that have taken on a serious hue since Russia’s incursions in Ukraine two years ago raised fears of a similar thrust by Moscow into the Baltic States.

                Estonia, a NATO member with a population of 1.3 million people and a standing army of about 6,000, would not stand a chance in a conventional war with Russia. But two armies fighting on an open field is not Estonia’s plan, and was not even before Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, said European members of NATO should not count on American support unless they pay more alliance costs.

                    Since the Ukraine war, Estonia has stepped up training for members of the Estonian Defense League, teaching them how to become insurgents, right down to the making of improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s, the weapons that plagued the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another response to tensions with Russia is the expansion of a program encouraging Estonians to keep firearms in their homes.
                    • "Hands-On With The Springfield Armory SAINT"--The Truth About Guns. Springfield has apparently decided to jump into the AR market with what the author describes as a solid, basic carbine. My concern is with the polymer handguard: it uses Key-mod attachments, which, as we all know, does not work well with polymer. That is why Magpul was forced to develop the M-Lok system. It also seems to be an odd choice for an entry level AR because Key-mod accessories are generally priced for the higher-end buyer.
                    • "Review: Masterpiece Arms’ MPA BA “Lite” PCR in 6.5CM: Low-Cost Precision at 1600 yards!"--The Firearms Blog. A $2,000 rifle (not including cost of the optics) that, according to the author, can easily place shots on target at 1,000 yards and farther. 
                    • "The Return Of The Wilkinson Arms Linda 9mm Carbine"--The Firearms Blog. A small, lightweight 9 mm carbine. It might be of interest to those wanting a small carbine that can fit unobtrusively in a get-home bag.
                    • "Gun Review: Smith & Wesson Model 19-3"--The Truth About Guns. The author observes that "[t]he Smith & Wesson Model 19 'Combat Magnum' was one of the most beloved handguns ever made. Produced continuously from 1957 to 1999, tens of thousands of police officers carried a Model 19 on their hip, including US Immigration and Naturalization Service and the US Border Patrol agents." Like the Ruger Security Six, this is a smaller framed .357 Magnum that is not heavy enough to handle regular and frequent use of full magnum ammunition: as the author advises, use .38 Special for most practice and plinking, and reserve the .357 for hunting, self-defense, and occasional practice.
                    • "UK seeks to increase penalties for carrying knives"--The Truth About Knives. As the author notes, "[u]nfortunately, the UK government is so afraid of offending people who have no wish to comport themselves as civilized beings (see Rotherham Rape Scandal), that they fetishize the common tools, instead of dealing with the social problems underlying the spike in violence."

                    Other Stuff:
                    • To dissolve the people and elect another: A Podesta email from Wikileaks has an attached Power Point presentation entitled "Building A Permanent Progressive Majority." One of the slides sets out specific goals, to-wit:
                      1. Create the conditions for a tidal wave against the right wing.
                        2. Keep the President’s numbers down and brand all conservative candidates as “Bush Republicans.”
                          3. Ensure that demographics is destiny. 
                            4. Control the political discourse.
                              5. Set the stage for future progressive actions.
                                6. Leave something behind. 
                                  (Emphasis added).
                                    In a study of white Americans’ attitudes and candidate preferences, we found that Trump’s success reflects the rise of “white identity politics” – an attempt to protect the collective interests of white voters via the ballot box. Whereas racial prejudice refers to animosity toward other racial groups, white identity reflects a sense of connection to fellow white Americans.

                                        We’re not the first to tie Trump’s candidacy to white identity politics. But our data provide some of the clearest evidence that ongoing demographic changes in the United States are increasing white racial identity. White identity, in turn, is pushing white Americans to support Trump.
                                        Also from the article:
                                        Recent research in social psychology suggests that when whites engage in discrimination based on their perceived collective interests, it’s hard to convince them that such discrimination is wrong. After all, doesn’t every group have a right to prioritize its own members? We believe our results portend increasing difficulty in achieving the democratic aim of getting race out of American politics.
                                          "During the first six months of 2016, migrants committed 142,500 crimes, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office. This is equivalent to 780 crimes committed by migrants every day, an increase of nearly 40 per cent over 2015. The data includes only those crimes in which a suspect has been caught.

                                              "Thousands of migrants who entered the country as 'asylum seekers' or 'refugees' have gone missing. They are, presumably, economic migrants who entered Germany on false pretences.

                                                  "Many are thought to be engaging in robbery and criminal violence."

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