Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 28, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

"History's Deadliest Bullet..."--Iraqveteran8888
The Minié "ball" used during the American Civil War. (14 min.)

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
           “The reason why you can’t be married to your cover is that your opponent is still mobile,” Jon asserted. “If your opponent can still change positions and is willing to agress, your cover becomes your coffin.”
             Being generally coffin averse, I asked Jon how to avoid making that mistake. “You need to change your focus,” he said. “Stop focusing on yourself. Focus all your attention and energy on eliminating the threat.”
               Jon counsels anyone involved in a defensive gun use to think of it as an offensive gun use. If you adopt a passive survive-at-all-costs attitude you’ll have a very hard time leaving the safety of cover. Or, for that matter, moving towards the bad guy — which is an excellent way to improve your accuracy.
                 If you think of a gunfights as aggressive threat elimination, you’re more likely to move out from behind cover — as you should — to attack and put the bad guy(s) out of commission. You’ll be more willing to move towards the threat, or do whatever else is necessary to end the encounter.
          The basic lesson, in my mind, is that you should either be retreating to a position of absolute safety (e.g., leaving the scene), or acting aggressively to stop the shooter.
          • "The Dangers of 'De-Escalation'"--Law Officer. Discussing the fatal shooting of James Robert Richards, Jr., 28, of Fairbanks, Alaska, by law enforcement, the author observes:
                 Here is a suspect that has fired his weapon and violently assaulted citizens and in the name of ‘de-escalation’ he is permitted to walk the streets with a gun and even take a hostage before he was killed by police.
                   In this situation, the hostage was not hurt but in the next we may not be so fortunate.
                     In this situation, the attempt of the police to ‘de-escalate’ caused further danger to the community and while they went above and beyond to not use deadly force (to the point a hostage was taken), what did that get them?
                       They were still accused of being racists.
                • Too little, too late? "Gun Review: Beretta APX Full-Size Striker Fired Pistol"--The Truth About Guns. A look at the new Beretta polymer framed striker fired pistol. Like the Sig P320, it uses an internal serialized chassis that, in theory, would allow you to swap different sized frames.
                • "Safety Question"--The Shooting Wire. Question: Why is it safe to carry a pistol with a chambered round, but not a rifle or shotgun? Answer:
                         Look at currently available handguns and you'll see that, as a class, they tend to be drop safe – and we're not just talking about being dropped, but rough handling generally. The multiple redundant safeties one sees in service type handguns give us the indication that the intent of the designers is that they be carried loaded.
                           And shotguns or rifles aren't? Well, no. One loads up at the blind or the stand or at the outset of the stalk – not riding around in the truck. As to law enforcement applications, note the policy for carry of long guns in so-called "cruiser-ready" – magazine loaded, chamber empty.
                              Chamber a round of ammo in an AR, then rack it out. When you check it later, there's a small dimple in the primer from the firing pin coming forward along with bolt and bolt carrier group – how many times do you want to chamber that round?
                                 As to shotguns, even a manufacturer of a shotgun that had been approved for use by Department of Defense after passing its tests will say they don't consider that shotgun "drop safe." Most shotguns have a safety that blocks only movement of the trigger: it doesn't lock the hammer, sear or firing pin.

                        Other Stuff:
                        • "What Two Religions Tell Us About The Modern Dating Crises" by Jon Birger at Time. The two religions that are the subject of the article are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("LDS" or "Mormons") and Orthodox Jews (particularly Yeshivish Orthodox). Birger's larger interest is dating and, although he does not use the term, hypergamy (or, at least, a refusal to marry down). Writing generally about the population, he observes:
                               Multiple studies show that college-educated Americans are increasingly reluctant to marry those lacking a college degree. This bias is having a devastating impact on the dating market for college-educated women. Why? According to 2012 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, there are 5.5 million college-educated women in the U.S. between the ages of 22 and 29 versus 4.1 million such men. That’s four women for every three men. Among college grads age 30 to 39, there are 7.4 million women versus 6.0 million men—five women for every four men. 
                        * * *
                               Lopsided gender ratios don’t just make it statistically harder for college-educated women to find a match. They change behavior too. According to sociologists, economists and psychologists who have studied sex ratios throughout history, the culture is less likely to emphasize courtship and monogamy when women are in oversupply. Heterosexual men are more likely to play the field, and heterosexual women must compete for men’s attention.
                        He goes on to regard the situation in the two religions he has chosen to discuss, and possible causes.
                               Of course, it is not like a sudden plague has reduced the number of men in society. Rather, it is the reduction in what woman would call "good men"--i.e., those that provide the economic and social status for which women are looking. Thus, with fewer men than women attending and graduating from collage, the pool of "good men" is automatically less than the pool of similar status women. This is exacerbated within a tight religious community such as the Yeshivish Orthodox Jews and Utah Mormons (the study cited by Birger focuses on only Utah Mormons; the gender parity is fairly well balanced outside of Utah) because men are more likely than women to leave a religion. I've read, in discussions of the dearth of men following the Civil War, that many women at that time preferred to not marry rather than to "marry down." Today, where marriage is largely optional, there is even less pressure for women to "settle" for less than they believe they are due. Thus, the situation is partly a result of women's expectations and subjective valuation of their own self-worth.
                               In addition, although controversial, there is some evidence to indicate that men have gone on strike, rejecting dating and marriage and the concomitant responsibilities and risks associated with it. Thus, as the author of The Rational Male blog sums up: "The dearth of ‘marriageable’ men is both a reflection of men’s unwillingness to participate in their own indenturing and women’s unrealistic expectations of men prompted by an unrealistically exaggerated sense of personal worth."
                        • An inconvenient truth: "Polar bear populations continue to grow and thrive"--Behind the Black. And have been doing so for the past decade.
                        • "Progressives: the New Race Realists"--Those Who Can See. Actions speak louder than words, we are told, and that certainly proves true when it comes to how progressives and liberals see "persons of color." After noting statistics on lower mean intelligence and academic achievement among blacks, the author notes that the most segregated schools are in those bastians of so-called liberal progressivism, New York City and San Francisco, and how no liberal dares send their children to public schools in Washington D.C. He also cites several liberals who have voiced that it is discriminatory to hold blacks to the same expectations as whites and Asians. In fact, this lack of expectation is locked into the requirements under certain mandatory testing requiring fewer blacks to reach proficiency and the lowered admission requirements for blacks into college, law school and medical school. 
                        The author goes on to address this same difference in relation to expectations in the job market, crime and judicial system, and even immigration (noting, for instance, that progressives believe it is inhumane to send an African back to his country of origin).
                        • "The Ageless and the Useless"--L.M. Sacasas. We are fast approaching two singularities: (i) "the moment when the first artificial general intelligence (AGI) becomes a superintelligence and introduces change to this planet on a scale and at a speed which un-augmented humans cannot comprehend"; but before that, (ii) an economic singularity when improved robotics and artificial intelligence eliminates most jobs. The latter will certainly result in a very small elite that are extremely wealthy and the rest who are no longer needed economically or militarily. Based on research we are seeing today, it is not farfetched to believe that medical science and computer science (using the latter term broadly) will result in some form of extended life span or even immortality ... for the wealthy. But what about the rest? Quoting historian Yuval Noah Harari:
                                 “I don’t have a solution, and the biggest question maybe in economics and politics of the coming decades will be what to do with all these useless people. I don’t think we have an economic model for that. My best guess, which is just a guess, is that food will not be a problem. With that kind of technology, you will be able to produce food to feed everybody. The problem is more boredom, and what to do with people, and how will they find some sense of meaning in life when they are basically meaningless, worthless.
                                   My best guess at present is a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for most … it’s already happening. Under different titles, different headings, you see more and more people spending more and more time, or solving their inner problems with drugs and computer games, both legal drugs and illegal drugs. But this is just a wild guess.”
                              However, that is not a given. For instance, Sacasas also quotes Harari as admitting that once the economic singularity is reached, and you have masses of "useless people", it is not a given that mass medicine will continue. It is not a given that the "useless people" will even be kept around. In fact, given the current state of environmental ideology and its hostility to any environmental impact by humans, I can see the immortal elite deciding to eliminate the "useless people" for the sake of the planet. It may not be Skynet that we should fear, but the likes of Bill Gates or Elon Musk.

                              Monday, February 27, 2017

                              February 27, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

                              Lucky Gunner Ammo

                              Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                       The Chicago Police Department report at least 33 gang related shootings in Back of the Yards and Brighton Park over the past nine months have been tied to semi-automatic rifles as several gangs boost their firepower. At least 46 people have been shot in the attacks, 13 fatally.
                                         Police say this is the only area of the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s are regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.
                                           It’s unclear how many of the high-powered rifles are on the street, but police suspect they are being passed around by members of four Hispanic gangs in the Deering police district, which covers parts of the South and Southwest sides.
                                             Police have seized at least three rifles and have recovered rifle casings at dozens of crime scenes. There is also surveillance video showing rifles being used, according to investigators.
                                               From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

                                                 These crops were grown surrounded by massive "fruit walls", which stored the heat from the sun and released it at night, creating a microclimate that could increase the temperature by more than 10°C (18°F). Later, greenhouses built against the fruit walls further improved yields from solar energy alone.

                                                   It was only at the very end of the nineteenth century that the greenhouse turned into a fully glazed and artificially heated building where heat is lost almost instantaneously -- the complete opposite of the technology it evolved from.


                                              Other Stuff:
                                                       Univision senior anchor Jorge Ramos declared on Friday that the United States belongs to Latino migrants, emphatically stating to a Spanish-speaking audience that “it is our country, not theirs.”
                                                         Ramos took an unusual tack, pivoting from talk of diversity and togetherness into boasts of conquest. Mass immigration, particularly illegal immigration, was a fait accompli. There is nothing the U.S. can do about it, and they must accept that America is “not their” country and that illegal aliens, particularly Latinos, “are not going to leave,” he said.
                                                  Just another example of what happens when you let the camel put its nose into the tent.
                                                           The Saudis already outsource much of their labor to millions of foreign guest-workers from India, Pakistan, and around the Arab world. Their numbers are huge — it’s estimated that about 31% of the Saudi population of 27 million is made up of expatriates. The wages those workers repatriate help keep their home economies afloat. If Son is correct, that cashflow is about to be diverted away from the Third World, and towards Japan, China, the U.S., and other makers of automated systems.
                                                             Those workers getting the boot and that money drying up could create the next big disruptive wave to come out of the Middle East and South Asia.
                                                      • "Can critical thinking actually be taught?"--Isegoria. "You can teach students maxims about how they ought to think, but without background knowledge and practice, they probably will not be able to implement the advice they memorize. Just as it makes no sense to try to teach factual content without giving students opportunities to practice using it, it also makes no sense to try to teach critical thinking devoid of factual content."
                                                      • "A god we must obey."--Dalrock. A discussion of why "[t]he message is that women become more moral by casting off obligation and following their own desires," is morally wrong using scripture and satire, and analyzing the underlying lie.
                                                      • "Leaning in"--Alpha Game. Citing a study showing that a large percentage of mid-level women have affairs with senior executives to get promotions, Vox Day sardonically concludes that "[t]his explains why technology executives are so determined to get more women in tech."
                                                      • "Silver Blaze"--West Hunter. A discussion of a then-recently released paper on the ancestory of modern Europeans. From the article:
                                                      They conclude that in most parts of Europe, it looks as if modern populations inherited the three  EEF/WHG/ANE groups ( Levantine farmers, West Hunters and Sibermen) via only two proximate ancestral populations.  Europe at the time was almost entirely occupied by Sardinian-like farmers – then another population moved in, one that had about 3 times as much West Hunter as Sibermen.  
                                                      The author goes on to explain:
                                                               This means that the WHG fraction you see came with along the ANE guys – it is not a comeback by the descendants of the original hunter-gatherers of central and Western Europe, who were somewhere between much diminished and extinct,  but an invasion (from farther east, probably) by a group that is somewhat related to those original hunter-gatherers and also has a fair amount of ancestry from Sibermen- a population that also contributed to Amerindians.  You could see hints of this in the haplotypes and uniparental lineages – I talked about it earlier.
                                                                 This also means that the change in ancestry around 3000 BC was not small – it’s much bigger than the ANE fraction.  The suddenly-appearing component accounts for half or more of the ancestry of all the populations of northern Europe, all the way from Belorussia to Scotland.  That population might also have had some EEF, in which case the population replacement factor would be even bigger.
                                                                   The WHG + ANE fraction is about half in France, lower than that in the South of France.   It’s much lower in southern Europe. The Albanians, Ashkenazi Jews, Greeks, Maltese and Sicilians have essentially no WHG ancestry, while a decent fit is possible for the Basque, French_South, Bergamo, Pais-Vasco, and Sardinians using no Siberian component.    Using another estimation approach you get a nonzero but lower Siberian component in Basques, and almost none in Sardinians.
                                                                     This last wave can only have come from a region that had both WHG-like and ANE-like ancestry. That rules out the Middle East: they don’t have WHG.  You see quite a lot of ANE in the northeast Caucasus and the northern Near East – the high is in Chechens and Lezgin.
                                                                       All this is pointing to a big wave of genetic change around 3000 BC,  a wave that did not originate in the Near East (including Anatolia). Perhaps the strongest hint is what they don’t say in this paper.  Although they mentioned such possibilities in an earlier related paper, they make no mention of the Indo-Europeans.  They don’t even use the word language anywhere in the supplement.  All this while they’re clearly working out the origin and scope of the Indo-European invasion!

                                                                Sunday, February 26, 2017

                                                                February 26, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                The video is focused on competition (and relies heavily on the equipment), but the positioning of the weapon and general technique may have some application to self-defense or combat.

                                                                Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                • "Tactical Pens"--Modern Survival Online. The author discusses some characteristics he believes are useful in a tactical pen, offers some thoughts on particular brands/models, and discusses the use for self-defense.
                                                                • "Foam Armor Defeats 30-06 AP Rounds"--Anonymous Conservative. The foam was 1 inch thick foamed metal.
                                                                • "Emergency Water Filtration"--Dreaming Of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. Ingenious method using a strip of fabric. Easier to show with a photograph than explain, but you put a strip of cloth leading from the container with the contaminated water (which is at a higher level) to the container to collect the filtered water (sitting somewhat lower than the other container). Capillary action and gravity work to move the water from one container to the other.
                                                                • Video: "Bow Drill Lesson Learned The Hard Way"--Survival Lilly (about 7 min.). Don't use too hard of wood. Watch the video to see technique, and note that she uses a wheel from on inline skate to help hold the upright stick in place.
                                                                • "CDC: Bullets Can Cause Lead Poisoning"--The Truth About Guns. If left in the body for a substantial period of time.
                                                                • "Didn’t Col. Colt And John Moses Browning Take Care Of This Over A Century Ago?"--Instapundit. Glenn Reynolds points out a technology prize is being offered for the development of a device to protect women against sexual assault. The problem? “The winning team’s solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert while transmitting information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds.” 
                                                                • "What’s The Number One Prepper Mistake?"--Prepper Journal. The author writes:
                                                                From my perspective, the single biggest mistake made by people engaging in disaster preparedness is they follow the wrong advice and adopt a bunch of tactics and related equipment simply because people are chatting/blogging about them. But that’s not how it’s done; you must adopt a survival strategy first, and then comes the tactics, equipment and supplies that support the strategy, not the other way around, as I see done all too frequently by a lot of misinformed people.
                                                                For those that saw my post yesterday that included links to articles on using a sailboat for prepping, the author of this piece also discusses some of the advantages he sees in using a boat as a mobile "retreat."
                                                                • "Deconstructing 'Assault Rifle': The Quest for Universality in Modern Infantry Warfare"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog discusses how the modern select-fire rifle became a universal or generalist weapon with its primary benefits being described as standardization of training and simplifying logistics. As I've discussed before, that was not its original intention, which was to allow infantry to lay down automatic fire while assaulting or storming an enemy position. This dream of "assault" seems to have stayed strong notwithstanding the lessons of the First World War. My father related his training in the Army (Korean War era) that included advancing while firing the Garand from the hip, and I would note that the AR-10 was originally touted as allowing automatic fire while advancing (presumably, this would be advancing under cover of a rolling artillery barrage). That is not how the ultimate use turned out, at least in the West, but we are nevertheless still left with the phrase "assault rifle."


                                                                Other Stuff:
                                                                • No, not a sick joke: "It’s Time To Stop Talking About A Border Wall And Start Stabilizing Mexico"--The Federalist. The author contends that out border problem with Mexico is because of "the decay of civil society in Mexico and the virtual absence of the rule of law," and that the solution is not a wall or expelling illegal aliens, but military intervention in Mexico--in other words, nation building as we've attempted in Iraq and Afghanistan (the latter, in particular, being an abject failure). Incredulously, the author actually cites to General Pershing's 1916 expedition into Mexico to apprehend Pancho Villa (which, itself, was a complete failure). Yet the author has the gall to seriously propose:
                                                                The cartels won’t be deterred by a wall, but they might be deterred by U.S. forces on their side of the border. Trump reportedly mentioned the possible deployment of American troops to Mexico in a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto earlier this month. But of course troops alone wouldn’t be enough. The U.S. would have to get serious about investing in Mexico’s long-term stability. That means more trade, not less, and better coordination with Mexico’s military and law enforcement agencies. After all, a stable and secure Mexico is in America’s best interest.
                                                                I don't know if the author knows anything about Mexico, but despite the drug trade and rampant corruption, Mexico is not a failed state; and being the 11th largest economy in the world, it does not need the United States to rebuild it. 
                                                                • "Support: MOUT For The 21st Century"--Strategy Page. Training for near-peer combat in cities. It should be interesting: mega-cities could literally swallow up the entire armed forces of the largest nations, let alone smaller army, battalion, or brigade sized elements. Think of the Russian plains that swallowed up the German army compressed to one or two hundred square miles.
                                                                • "Tom Cotton: ‘The Powerful and Elite Reap the Benefits of a Constant Influx of Low-Skill Labor’"--Breitbart. Well, who else will they get to mow their lawns or clean their houses. More seriously, though, the problem is not low-skill labor but low-cost labor, whether low skilled illegal aliens or the modern "indentured servents" brought in via the H1b visa program to fix the non-existent STEM crises.
                                                                • "Would Jesus Scold Trump on Refugees?"--American Thinker. The author sums up:
                                                                To say that Christians have a duty to care for widows, orphans, the impoverished, and the endangered is unquestioned (by anyone) Biblical truth. To say that such care can only be provided by enacting open-door refugee policies that may or may not compromise the security of citizens (including widows, orphans, and the impoverished here at home) is an entirely different proposition. It’s a proposition that, to this point, does not appear to be supported by Scripture.
                                                                • "Why Are Women in Combat?"--American Conservative. The author suggests it is so the DoD has enough recruits to sustain our current practice of endless war. Perhaps. But the simpler explanation is that the Pentagon has succumbed, to some extent, to the same stupidity that cultural Marxism has introduced to other government institutions.
                                                                • The purpose of war is to destroy the will of the enemy to fight: "War and the reshaping of societies" by Donald Sensing--a repost of a 2002 article at the Sense of Events. The article discusses the role of mass terror bombing of the populations of Germany and Japan during World War II and the subsequent occupations had in "reshaping" German and Japanese public attitudes toward war and militarization. 
                                                                • The science is never settled: "Most scientists 'can't replicate studies by their peers'"--BBC. I've posted before how the majority of social science experiments can't be reproduced; and, of course, some of the fake science that underlie nutrition studies in the 1960s and '70s. The same problem has cropped up in landmark cancer studies.
                                                                • "The Danger of Metastasis"--Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. He writes:
                                                                       The imminent expulsion of ISIS from its geographical strongholds in Syria and Iraq may signal not its excision but metastasis.  Michael Flynn, before his resignation, used to show "visitors a map predicting what will happen to the Islamic State after its stronghold in Mosul is captured. It shows menacing black arrows reaching west toward other, future battlefronts in Iraq, Syria and beyond." He feared metastasis.
                                                                         After Raqqa, some jihadis will head back to Europe, which thinks it can absorb them. "A programme to rehabilitate former Isis fighters and other extremists with housing, employment, education and financial support is being trialled in Sweden. Local authorities in the city of Lund say the controversial measures aim to reintegrate returned jihadis into society and prevent them reverting to their former networks." Others are going back to Muslim majority countries where they are rather less welcome.

                                                                    * * *

                                                                             Still others are headed for African failed states where their skills, ruthlessness and ideology will make them the new Dogs of War. But as John E. McLaughlin of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University explained before Congress, history itself may be preparing the soil for ISIS to take root. It will encounter extraordinarily favorable conditions in the next decades as burgeoning non-Western populations flock to megacities in the Third World, if not to Europe, perfect for their style of fighting.
                                                                        Read the whole thing.

                                                                        A Review of Revelations--Part 11--The Two Witnesses

                                                                        "Two witnesses to be unbound"

                                                                        [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10]

                                                                               This is a continuation of my series reviewing The Book of Revelation: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass by G. Erik Brandt. Today, I will be discussing Chapter 11 of Revelation.

                                                                               Chapter 11 reads, in the King James Version:

                                                                               1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 
                                                                               2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 
                                                                              3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 
                                                                              4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 
                                                                              5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 
                                                                              6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 
                                                                              7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 
                                                                              8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 
                                                                              9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 
                                                                             10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 
                                                                              11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 
                                                                              12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 
                                                                              13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 
                                                                              14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 
                                                                              15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 
                                                                              16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 
                                                                              17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 
                                                                              18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 
                                                                              19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
                                                                               Initially, I would note that we are still discussing the period before the third woe (see verse 14), and the location is Jerusalem (see verse 8). In this chapter, we finish the sidetrack into what is happening in heaven or spiritually, begun in Chapter 10, and pick up the chronological earthly narrative left off in Chapter 9.

                                                                               First, to finish up the spiritual:

                                                                              John is handed a reed and commanded to measure (i) the temple of God, (ii) the alter, and (iii) those who worship therein. Brandt explains that, historically, a measuring reed was a slender rod generally about 10 feet in length. It was used by surveyors and, when cut to length, became the standard in construction and restoration projects. Brandt suggests that the measuring of the temple, the alter and the worshipers "symbolizes that preserving the faithful during the second woe will require divine intervention." That is, the symbolism is not only that the Lord will be measuring up his faithful as to their righteousness, but He is also laying out boundaries to demarcate the faithful from the worldly.

                                                                               Brandt compares the language here to that used in Isaiah 28:17 where the Lord uses the metaphor of a plumb bob to ascertain the straightness of the children of Israel. It suggests that the Lord has established standards that apply to on Earth. (See Isaiah 34:16, discussing the entry of the names of the righteous into the book of the Lord). The implication is that, contrary to what many preach today, the Lord is not going to be "tolerant" or "inclusive" and preserve everyone; there will be standards and those not conforming to those standards will be at peril.

                                                                               This is taken up by reference to the temple. As Brandt notes, the temple under Mosaic law was split into several parts: the temple (containing the Holy of Holies), the inner court, and the outer court. Only priests were admitted to the temple (and the High Priest only entered the Holy of Holies once per year); the inner court were limited to people of Israel; but foreigners could be admitted to the outer court. Brandt explains:
                                                                        One purpose for laying out the temple in this manner was to represent the post-mortal kingdoms of glory. The outer court represented the world or the telestial kingdom where those who make no covenant with God were allowed. The inner court represented the terrestrial kingdom, and the temple itself, the celestial kingdom. Each kingdom has its standards and laws (1 Cor. 15:40-41).
                                                                        This again serves to support the interpretation that the Lord will establish and enforce standards:
                                                                        By commanding John to measure the temple, the inner court, and the altar, the angel pronounces the standard or law by which a person may qualify for divine protection in the great conflict. The inner court and the temple represent the terrestrial and celestial laws respectively. The altar symbolizes the great sacrifice, the Atonement, and the sacrifices of the individual. Those whom the Lord preserves in the great conflict, whether physically, spiritually, or both, include individuals whose lives have conformed to the terrestrial or celestial laws. They are often referred to as “honorable”and “just”men and women (D&C 76:50, 75).
                                                                        Brandt adds:
                                                                        The standard should come as no surprise, for the same “lines”have been established for all who desire divine preservation during the calamities preceding the Second Coming (D&C 88:85). All other’s, those in the outer court and the proud and wicked, are left to themselves to suffer from the desolations of war, and the famine and pestilence that follows.
                                                                               Returning to the earthly, we learn that, apparently following the invasion of Gog and Magog, the armies shall occupy "the Holy City" for forty-two months (3-1/2 years). But during that time, the Lord shall send two prophets.

                                                                               Brandt views the two prophets as serving two missions: protecting or defending Israel from the invading armies, because Israel will be unable to defend itself (see Isaiah 51), and defending Jerusalem from invading armies; and, according to Brandt, after their deaths, Jerusalem shall be taken, citing to Zechariah 14:2. However, while this may be correct, that conclusion does not necessarily flow from the words of the text. Just as Christ's mission was to spiritually deliver Israel, not physically free them from Roman rule, so to the text here indicates that the two witnesses will serve the purpose of preaching to the Jews. That is, "[a]s defenders and messengers their mission is to turn the Jews to the true and living God and lead them to believe that their Messiah is Jesus Christ, and not look forward to another Messiah (2 Ne. 25:16)." I would also note that the words of Zechariah, indicating that Jews would remain after Jerusalem was captured, would be consistent with the two witnesses preaching after the taking of the city.

                                                                              In any event, Brandt explains the meaning of the two being referred to as olive trees and candlesticks:
                                                                        John identifies the two prophets as “olive trees”and “candlesticks”who stand as representatives of God. They Lord carry the sustaining oil of the Spirit and bear testimony that the Lord of Heaven has not forsaken them, but has sent light and truth to guide all who will hear and believe. The reference to candlesticks draws meaning from the writings of Zechariah, who spoke of two ancient candlesticks: Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the descendant of David, who was the heir to the throne of Israel. These ancient leaders were charged with the responsibility of bringing the exiled Jews out of their captivity in Babylon and building the temple. Like the ancient “candlesticks,”these two modern prophets will be commissioned with the same responsibilities of restoring the gospel blessings among the Jews, and of preparing the way for the building of the millennial temple.
                                                                         They will, through the miracles they perform in sealing up the heavens, or calling fire down on their enemies, serve as a testimony of the Lord and his power to both the Jews and the whole world. At the end of their 3-1/2 year mission, the two prophets will be overcome and killed by the armies that have invaded the land. (See also Dan. 7:25). We do not know how they will be killed; only that they will be overcome by the beast--i.e., the anti-Christ.
                                                                        The fact that their bodies remain in the street without proper burial exemplifies the contemptuous attitude of the invaders toward their fallen foes. Middle Eastern tradition has long required swift and proper burial as a sign of respect for the dead. By leaving the two prophets unburied, neither retrieving nor allowing their retrieval, the brutal-murderers will demonstrate their utter contempt for the two who have caused so much trouble to their efforts to conquer and destroy.
                                                                               The joy of the invaders at killing the two prophets will be short lived: “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:3). The two prophets will rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. Now the Lord will come to fight for the Jewish people remaining (see Zach. 14:2 and 12:3). There will be a great earthquake, "such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." (Rev. 16:18).
                                                                        "His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zech. 14:4).
                                                                        The nations of the earth will mourn, and the wicked shall be overcome and consumed. (See D&C 45:48-50).

                                                                               According to the Revelation, 1/10 part of the city shall fall, and 7,000 shall die. Brandt suggests that these numbers should not be taken literally, but are figurative: the number 10 represents a full portion, and the number 7 signifies completeness.  At the same time, Gog and his forces will be destroyed; only a fraction of the original army will survive (see Ezek. 39:2), and Gog shall die. The dead will be buried in the valley of Hamon-Gog. (Ezek. 39:11).
                                                                        But the destruction is not limited to Jerusalem or the surrounding region. For the Lord promises, “I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem”(Zech. 12:9). President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that the great earthquake would encompass the entire earth, “There will be the great earthquake. The earthquake will not be only in Palestine. There will not be merely the separation of the Mount of Olives, to form a valley that the Jews may escape, but the whole earth is going to be shaken.” The quake's reverberations extend globally, affecting the neighboring nations and distant lands. The kingdoms who allied together against Israel will be shaken violently, collapsing buildings in many cities to the ground (Rev. 16:19). Other cities will sink into the sea or be covered by giant waves and “every mountain and island [will be] moved out of their places”(Rev. 6:14).
                                                                         Brandt continues:
                                                                               Other punishing calamities are sent forth with the great quake. Fire descends upon the land of Magog, where Gog’s evil alliance was celebrated. Storms of punishing hail rain down on those who “dwell carelessly in the isles,”referring to supporters and sympathizers who deemed themselves safe from the conflict because of their distance from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Ezek. 39:6). These areas would include the Americas, eastern Asia and the many isles of the sea. These harsh judgments are so far-reaching that no corner of the earth is unaffected. 
                                                                               Great lightnings and thunders accompany the tempests and hailstorms with such unimaginable fury and magnitude that they carry away men and destroy the crops of the earth (D&C 29:16; see also: Ezek. 38:22). Some atmospheric storms are of such magnitude that hailstones tumble in the winds until they reach the weight of a “talent”(about 70 lbs) before crashing to the earth (Rev. 16:21). During these terrible events, men’s hearts will fail them and many will run to the mountains into caves and crevices and call upon them to cause the rocks to tumble down and hide them from the fury of the Lord (Moses 7:66; D&C 45:26; Luke 21:26). 
                                                                               As the calamities subside and relative calm is restored, the Savior shall speak to the nations “and all the ends of the earth shall hear it,”and the wicked “shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly”(D&C 45:49, 47-50; see also: D&C 29:15). The Lord’s rebuke will reveal why he has unleashed these horrific natural catastrophes. His words will echo the rebuke given to the children of Lehi after the cataclysmic events on the promised land. Cries throughout the world will rend the air as the survivors mourn their fate. It will be very much like the period after the destruction described in the promised land: And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: 
                                                                        O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared, and not have been buried up in that great city Moronihah, And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible”(3 Ne. 8:25). 
                                                                        The inhabitants of the earth will cry at this sorrowing tragedy because of their loss. But the judgments were sent “that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them (3 Ne. 9; Rev. 16:6).
                                                                                During the earthquake, the Jews remaining in the city will flee toward the Mount of Olives which, as mentioned, will split in two. In the crevice, the survivors will encounter the resurrected Christ, who will show then the prints of the nails in his feet and hands, and lament what their ancestors did to the Christ. (See D&C 45:51-53; Zech. 12:10 and 13:6). But the Lord will comfort them as a mother comforts her child. (See Isa. 66:13).

                                                                               Brandt indicates that these Jews that have witnessed the Christ will, in turn, share their testimony to the other surviving Jews upon the earth, and that the House of Judah will be restored, and the Jews will once again become a righteous branch of Israel. (Isa. 60:21).

                                                                               And yet this is not yet the end, for the third woe is still to come. It is also important to note that this appearance by Christ is not what we think of the Second Coming--when Christ returns in all his glory. There will yet be much to happen before that:
                                                                        Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and the water come out of the temple and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and of the temple, and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. 

                                                                        Saturday, February 25, 2017

                                                                        February 25, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                        Chris Bartocci (35 min.)

                                                                        Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                        • "CCW Holder Wrongly Convicted in 5 Minutes, for Defending His Life from BLM Thugs"--Ammo Land. Yesterday, I commented on an article in which the author suggested that a person should always call the police if they have to draw their firearm in self-defense even if they don't actually fire the weapon. I questioned this because of the risk of being prosecuted for brandishing or aggravated assault. After publishing my post, I came across the Ammo Land article, which seems to support my concern. From the article:
                                                                                Mike [Strickland] is an independent journalist/videographer who was covering a progressive anarchist “demonstration” in Portland, Oregon when he became surrounded by a mob of radical, anarchists. You know the types, the one in masks that throw bottles and break things, otherwise known as peaceful Democrat “protestors” supported by the former president “What’s His Face.”
                                                                                 As the mob continued to surround and outflank him, they chanted “get him” and other nasty garbage. Mike did what any expert would teach any student to do; he retreated as best he could before being surrounded and overwhelmed by the ever growing mob. Realizing he was now nearly surrounded and in fear for his life, Mike drew his lawfully concealed firearm and used it to keep the crowd at bay. He never fired a shot, and in fact, his finger never touched the trigger.
                                                                                   Law enforcement finally arrived, and after some investigation, Mike was charged (wrongly in my opinion) with misdemeanor menacing.
                                                                            According to the article, the charges were later expanded to include 10 counts of unlawful use of a weapon, 10 counts of menacing and one count of disorderly conduct. Strickland was found guilty of all 21 counts and "now faces fifty years in an Oregon penitentiary for drawing his lawfully concealed weapons to defend himself from an advancing mob of progressive, anarchist, Obama/Clinton Democrats while trying to retreat to safety."
                                                                            • "Jim Corbett's Rigby Returns to India"--Outdoor Life. If you like to read accounts by big game hunters of a century ago, you've probably come across books by Corbett of his adventures hunting down man-eating tigers in India. Amazingly, he used a relatively light weight caliber: .275 Rigby (aka 7×57mm Mauser). He also generally hunted with no assistance other than a dog. In any event, the article gives a bit of background on Corbett, if you don't know about him.
                                                                            • "3 First Aid Tools Every Shooter Should Have In Their Range Bag"--The Truth About Guns. The author recommends (1) a triangle bandage, (2) a pressure dressing, and (3) a Combat Application Tourniquet. As some of the commentators suggest, you might also want some quick clot and/or a chest seal.
                                                                            • "Loose AR Receivers? JP Enterprises Fixed Them with MicroFit Pins"--The Firearms Blog. The pins are manufactured at standard size, 0.001 inch oversized, and 0.001 undersized.
                                                                            • "Herniated Disc – Prepper Treatment"--A Survival Plan. Ah, back injuries. Herniated disks can be debilitating when the disk bulge impinges on the nerves or spinal cord. The author discusses what a herniated disk is, and some home remedies to help with recovery. The best treatment is time--most herniations will heal by itself with rest--but the healing time can be 12 to 18 months.
                                                                            • "Sailboats, survival, and SHTF"--Graywolf Survival. While the author thinks it a great idea, it appears to me to be a very high maintenance proposition. You will have to be a jack-of-all-trades to maintain the boat and its accouterments. If you are interested further in this topic, here are a few articles I've found that discuss sailboats in the context of survivalism or bugging out:
                                                                            Of course, there are a plethora of resources, websites, and magazines on sailing, but I thought a few articles about living on a sailboat might be of interest:
                                                                            And, I'm sure, there are plenty of blogs by people living on boats.
                                                                            • "How To Prep Pepper Seedlings"--Go Garden Club. Time to be thinking about planting.
                                                                            • "Best Canned Meat For Your Deep Pantry Food Storage"--Modern Survival Blog. "The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) for daily intake of protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women." The author provides recommendations on several commercially canned meats, but keep in mind that you can also can your own meats, or pre-made meals such as stew or chilli which will also provide animal protein.

                                                                            Other Stuff:
                                                                                    Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States.
                                                                                       Liberty is rarely lost overnight. The wall of tyranny often begins with benign building blocks of safety — each one lying on top of a predecessor — eventually collectively constituting an impediment to the exercise of free choices by free people, often not even recognized until it is too late.
                                                                                * * *
                                                                                      The surveillance state regime today permits America's 60,000 military and civilian domestic spies to access in real time all the landline and mobile telephone calls and all the desktop and mobile device keystrokes and all the digital data created and used by anyone in the United States. The targets today are not just ordinary Americans; they are justices on the Supreme Court, military brass in the Pentagon, agents in the FBI, local police in cities and towns, and the man in the Oval Office.
                                                                                Read the whole thing. I would note that secrets--and secret agencies--are antithetical to a government by the people. 
                                                                                         ... Overgrazing led to soil erosion. A lack of wood—Greenland has very few trees, mostly scrubby birch and willow in the southernmost fjords—prevented them from building new ships or repairing old ones. But the greatest challenge—and the coup de grâce—came when the climate began to cool, triggered by an event on the far side of the world.
                                                                                           In 1257, a volcano on the Indonesian island of Lombok erupted. Geologists rank it as the most powerful eruption of the last 7,000 years. Climate scientists have found its ashy signature in ice cores drilled in Antarctica and in Greenland’s vast ice sheet, which covers some 80 percent of the country. Sulfur ejected from the volcano into the stratosphere reflected solar energy back into space, cooling Earth’s climate. “It had a global impact,” McGovern says. “Europeans had a long period of famine”—like Scotland’s infamous “seven ill years” in the 1690s, but worse. “The onset was somewhere just after 1300 and continued into the 1320s, 1340s. It was pretty grim. A lot of people starving to death.”
                                                                                             Amid that calamity, so the story goes, Greenland’s Vikings—numbering 5,000 at their peak—never gave up their old ways. They failed to learn from the Inuit, who arrived in northern Greenland a century or two after the Vikings landed in the south. They kept their livestock, and when their animals starved, so did they. The more flexible Inuit, with a culture focused on hunting marine mammals, thrived.
                                                                                      However, archaeologists now believe that the story is more complex. The Norse established two primary settlements on the island, feeding themselves by annual seal hunts and produce that they produced on their small farms. But the real reason they were in Greenland, it is now believed, was to hunt walrus for their ivory tusks. 
                                                                                               Many ivory artifacts from the Middle Ages, whether religious or secular, were carved from walrus tusks, and the Vikings, with their ships and far-flung trading networks, monopolized the commodity in Northern Europe. After hunting walruses to extinction in Iceland, the Norse must have sought them out in Greenland. They found large herds in Disko Bay, about 600 miles north of the Eastern Settlement and 300 miles north of the Western Settlement. ...
                                                                                          * * *
                                                                                                 Then, in the 13th century, after three centuries, their world changed profoundly. First, the climate cooled because of the volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Sea ice increased, and so did ocean storms—ice cores from that period contain more salt from oceanic winds that blew over the ice sheet. Second, the market for walrus ivory collapsed, partly because Portugal and other countries started to open trade routes into sub-Saharan Africa, which brought elephant ivory to the European market. “The fashion for ivory began to wane,” says Dugmore, “and there was also the competition with elephant ivory, which was much better quality.” And finally, the Black Death devastated Europe. There is no evidence that the plague ever reached Greenland, but half the population of Norway—which was Greenland’s lifeline to the civilized world—perished.
                                                                                                   The Norse probably could have survived any one of those calamities separately. After all, they remained in Greenland for at least a century after the climate changed, so the onset of colder conditions alone wasn’t enough to undo them. Moreover, they were still building new churches—like the one at Hvalsey—in the 14th century. But all three blows must have left them reeling. With nothing to exchange for European goods—and with fewer Europeans left—their way of life would have been impossible to maintain. The Greenland Vikings were essentially victims of globalization and a pandemic.

                                                                                            Friday, February 24, 2017

                                                                                            I Thought The Science Was Settled: Are P-MAGs the Best or Not?

                                                                                                  Greg Ellifritz linked to an article at Primary & Secondary explaining "Why PMAGs Are Better Than Aluminum USGI Mags." The author of that piece gives several reasons, but basically comes down to:

                                                                                            1. Better reliability, particularly M885A1 ammunition, because of the improved geometry of the follower;
                                                                                            2. The feed lips are more resistant to deformation (e.g., bending) than the USGI magazines, and if the magazine is damaged, it will be clearly broken;
                                                                                            3. The ability to quickly disassemble the magazine for maintenance and cleaning, whereas the aluminum magazines are more difficult to disassemble, and it is easy to bend the tabs that hold the floor plate in place;
                                                                                            4. The windows on the Gen 3 make it easy to estimate remaining ammunition;
                                                                                            5. The need to download the GI magazines to 28 rounds to allow seating the magazine with a closed bolt, but that the PMAG allows sufficient compression to allow a full 30 rounds; 
                                                                                            6. The PMAG is more reliable in the M249 SAW; and,
                                                                                            7. The better reliability and geometry of the PMAG allow it to be used as an impromptu monopod, whereas putting pressure on the bottom of the aluminum magazine can induce a malfunction.
                                                                                                   Since the USGI magazine was intended to be disposable--only used once--the ability to tear down the magazine is probably not something that concerns military planners, but is very important to a civilian shooter who does not have the U.S. taxpayers buying his magazines. On the other hand, some of the points raised are not relevant to the civilian shooter, including feeding using the M885A1 ammunition and compatibility with the M249.

                                                                                                   Ironically, however, compatibility with different weapon systems may be a reason not to select the PMAG. In the video, below, Alex C. with The Firearms Blog explains why he won't buy PMAGs is because they do not work with other firearms he owns which, nevertheless, use STANAG magazines.


                                                                                            He specifically notes that PMAGs generally won't drop free from most of his other weapon systems that use STANAG magazines, and won't seat in some of them (e.g. the FN 2000); and using a PMAG can actually result in damage to the FN SCAR. He also notes that the standard GI magazine is less expensive and weighs less.

                                                                                                   Although not mentioned by either of the foregoing, I would also note that some of the older magazine pouches will not accept PMAGs (at least if you are trying to put two in the pouch and still want to snap the cover closed).

                                                                                                   In short, if you are using the AR system, the PMAG is a great option, but if you have other rifles that use STANAG magazines, you may have compatibility issues.

                                                                                            February 24, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web (Updated)

                                                                                            Sargon of Akkad (21 min.). A debate on whether Islam
                                                                                             and suicide bombings are related.

                                                                                            Firearms/Self-Defense/Firearms:
                                                                                            If SHTF, there are going to be a lot of people with guns and no food.  That’s not a good recipe as PJF has already stated.  Me thinks if emergency services are unable to respond in the event of disaster, there will be a lot of “preppers” turned marauder.
                                                                                            Well, I don't know about "a lot," but it is axiomatic to beware the prepper with lots of guns and ammunition, but no food storage.
                                                                                            • "You Draw Your Firearm In Self-Defense But Don’t Fire A Shot. Do You Call Police To Report The Incident?"--Concealed Nation. The author contends that you should always call the police after every firearm related incident, even if the firearm is not discharged, but not necessarily immediately. He warns that, above everything else, make sure you are in a safe place before calling police. There are also other circumstances (such as if your actions were witnessed by other people) where you may want to speak with an attorney first. 
                                                                                            The correct answer to most legal questions is: it depends. Thus, I am automatically suspect of anyone saying that you should always do this or that. Realize that if you call the police, you will also be the subject of an investigation, and could be charged with a crime such as brandishing or aggravated assault. It will likely also be an effort in futility: with little or no evidence, it is unlikely that the suspect will be identified, let alone caught.
                                                                                            • "XS Sights Big Dot Xpress Tritium Set | Review"--Loadout Room. This system uses a large front dot over a line on the rear sight which is a shallow V. The author of this review really liked it, both for daytime shooting and at night.
                                                                                            • "The Value of Adjustable Sights"--Priority Performance. The author changed defensive rounds to a lighter, higher velocity offering and had to adjust his sights.
                                                                                            • "Encryption Update ** UPDATED **"--Combat Studies Group. The NSA recently released guidance on minimum encryption required for transmitting secret information. The author discussed the guidance and recommendations for updating your encryption, if you use it.
                                                                                            • "Shoot the Terrorist Gun Game"--The Box of Truth. A drill for rifle shooters, including a target, times and scoring.
                                                                                            • "Smokeless Powders: Cordite"--Firearms History, Technology and Development. The invention of cordite--the UK's first smokeless powder.
                                                                                            • "Proposed Executive Order Designating Certain Rifles for ‘Militia Purposes’"--The Truth About Guns. Due to the recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a ban in AR rifles and their standard magazines, the Trump Administration is looking at issuing an executive order designating ARs, M-1As, and M-1 Garand rifles with their ammunition and magazines as suitable for militia purposes. A copy of the proposed order is included in the article.

                                                                                            Other Stuff:
                                                                                                   ... Unlike Europe, the American Left has never been about economic equality. It was always about spiritual equality. The radicals on the Continent were always obsessed with busting up the class structure. The radicals in American have always been focused on saving the immortal soul of the nation. Economic equality was never anything more than a a political tool for the reformers to use as a way to get control of the culture in order to impose their moral vision on the nation.
                                                                                                     In order for this to work, the Left has always needed victims and oppressors, saints and sinners. In the 20th century, they could champion black civil rights and women’s issues. Then it was onto gays and now foreigners. ...
                                                                                              • "Anti-Trump Hysteria: What is the Establishment Afraid Of?"--Emmet Scott at Gates of Vienna. Scott begins my noting that "most of the opposition to Trump has nothing whatsoever to do with traditional left-wing concerns, such as working-class poverty, and is almost entirely driven by sexual and sex-related issues. His opponents fear losing the culture-war gains they made under Obama." He continues, though:
                                                                                                       ... However, I would suggest that many members of the establishment have, in addition, something very personal to fear from the Trump administration: For it would appear that some of America’s most powerful people have been involved in activities which if brought into the public forum would utterly destroy them, not only professionally, but also personally.
                                                                                                          For many years now rumors about a massive pedophile ring operating among the upper echelons of the Hollywood elite have been rife. That such a network does exist has been confirmed by several of the world’s most respected child (or former child) actors. The televised testimony of Corey Feldman, for one, can be viewed by anyone on YouTube; whilst similar statements have been made by Elijah Wood and several others, and it is fairly clear that sexual abuse of children in Hollywood has been a problem for many years — one that has been continually brushed under the carpet by an extremely powerful elite. Only occasionally have perpetrators been accused in public — as was Roman Polanski in 1977 — and even less commonly have such persons been brought to justice.
                                                                                                           But the Hollywood elite, it would seem, are only one part of the establishment up to their necks in this kind of behavior. We know that Bill Clinton made twenty-six journeys on Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious ‘Lolita Express’ — the aircraft which brought Epstein’s guests to parties on his Caribbean island and other destinations where underage girls were regularly on the menu. Recent revelations about Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant Huma Abedin, point in the same direction. Then of course we have the leaked Podesta emails and the whole ‘Pizzagate’ affair. If there is any truth at all in the idea that the coded language used in these emails refers to the sexual abuse of underage children, then it would appear that a substantial segment of the Democratic Party (as well apparently as some members of the Republican Party) are active pedophiles.
                                                                                                    • "Church, State, and Melania Trump"--American Thinker. The author discusses the Left's fury over Melania Trump's recent recitation of the Lord's Prayer at Pres. Trump's recent rally in Florida. Of course, the Left reflexively cites to the First Amendment and its supposed "separation of church and state." However, this modern view is diametrically opposed to the actual history and intent of the First Amendment. Yes, the Founders wished to prevent a State sponsored religion, but, no, they did not intend to create a purely secular state let alone drive religion from the public square. The author of this piece observes that "[t]he Constitution mandates government’s neutrality to religion, but its alleged desire to avoid any endorsement of religion has mutated into an unmistakable hostility." That is, the government has ceased being neutral and now is antagonistic against religion and its practice:
                                                                                                             ... People are no longer free to apply their religious beliefs to their businesses, as the vendetta against Hobby Lobby demonstrates. The Obama administration went to court to force the Little Sister of the Poor to provide contraceptive coverage to their workers. Bakers were forced to bake cakes for gay weddings in violation of their religious beliefs. 
                                                                                                               As the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, former head of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, once observed, President Obama’s idea of religious liberty, an idea shared by many liberals, differs little from Josef Stalin’s:

                                                                                                                 Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union," Chicago's Francis Cardinal George recently wrote.
                                                                                                                   "You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship -- no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society."
                                                                                                              As I've noted before, this is rooted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964: once you agree that the government can require you to associate with and labor for someone you do not want to associate with or labor for because of that person's skin color, national origin, gender, and so on, it is but a short step to forcing you to associate with or labor for people in violation of your religious consciousness. That is, once you allow the government to force people to associate or labor for another for any reason, it is thereafter merely an issue of drawing the line on how far the government will exercise its authority. 
                                                                                                                       Life expectancy in the United States is already much lower than most other high-income countries and is expected to fall even further behind by 2030, new research published today predicts.
                                                                                                                         According to the most recent government figures, life expectancy at birth in the United States is 76.3 years for men and 81.2 years for women.
                                                                                                                           Using a number of forecasting models, researchers from the U.K. predict life expectancy in the U.S. will improve to 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men by the year 2030.
                                                                                                                             But despite these modest gains, the United States is still lagging behind other developed countries.
                                                                                                                               A Chinese-American businessman at the center of a Clinton campaign finance scandal secretly filmed a tell-all video as an 'insurance policy' - because he feared being murdered.
                                                                                                                                 In footage provided exclusively to DailyMail.com, Johnny Chung spills details on how he illegally funneled money from Chinese officials to Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election bid.
                                                                                                                                   The Chinese-American Clinton fundraiser recorded the 'elaborate videotaped testimony' while in hiding in 2000.
                                                                                                                                     He smuggled it to trusted friends and family with instructions to release it to the media in the event of his untimely death because he believed he was at risk of being assassinated. 
                                                                                                                                       Chung is believed to still be alive and living in China. 
                                                                                                                                  Unlike the fake Russian influence of the latest election, the 1996 illegal campaign money from China was a real example of a foreign power attempting to influence American elections.
                                                                                                                                     Europe has many fine traditions. Its newest tradition is the burning car. Why burn cars? Because, as George Mallory once said of mountains, they're there. There are lots of cars around and if you're a member of a perpetually unemployed tribe that wandered up north and forages on social services, you might as well do something to pass the time.
                                                                                                                                    • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "Kids Will Soon Be Able to Write Code With Lego"--Fortune. "The Danish-based toy maker ... debuted a new toy called Lego Boost, a hybrid building and coding set that the company says combines the play experience of a traditional Lego set with an app-based coding play experience." The story continues:
                                                                                                                                      The hope is that Lego Boost can help kids learn to code using a downloadable app and the physical toy set. Lego Boost comes with building instructions and coding commands to create five possible Lego creations, including a robot and a cat. The app also includes more than 60 activities related to building and coding. The bricks also come with built-in sensors that can detect color.
                                                                                                                                       Update: Corrected typo.