Friday, May 26, 2017

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

James Reeves tests a Ruger Precision Rifle in 5.56 mm versus what he termed a budget built AR (approximately $700 build with a heavy barrel that was free-floated) using identical ammunition. Shots were at 100 yards, using a variety of ammunition with a variety of bullet weights. Although Reeves tries very hard to play it down, the fact of the matter is that--at least at 100 yards--the AR did just as well or better than the Ruger Precision rifle. Three possibilities: (1) Reeves just wasn't capable of shooting any better with the two rifles; (2) that the Ruger rifle he received for testing was not up to par; or (and I believe the more likely) (3) manufacturing processes have improved so much that the differences between barrels from reputable manufacturers, notwithstanding the price, are insignificant. I believe the latter is the case since we see an increasing number of budget (sub-$500) hunting rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy. The overall finish may suck, the stock may be cheap (and look it), but the machining processes for the barrel are the same as the expensive rifle.


Firearms/Prepping/Self-Defense:
  • TGIF: A new Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Lots of good articles on self-defense topics. One thing I want to mention is, in a comment about an article on a night-stand firearms, Greg Ellifritz comments:
... the gun closest to me when I sleep is not my Glock.  My bedside gun is a revolver.  If I am attacked in my sleep, it’s likely to be a very close range physical confrontation instead of fighting a home invader who is on the opposite side of my house.  Revolvers are much more reliable in an extreme close quarters gunfight when considering weapon retention, out of battery issues, and getting tangled up in bedclothes.
        Layers, layers, layers……. Starting with our property’s perimeter, we made our existing fencelines and hedgerows less penetrable by adding thorny plants, mostly raspberry. ... Our raspberry lined perimeter now serves as a food source and a DNA collector. The raspberry plants were collected from the neighbor’s yards and vacant lots. ...
            A secluded back entrance to our property is now chained and blocked with a large tree stump. Foot traffic onto our property either has to endure thorns and fences or come directly into our line of sight and motion sensors.
             Layer 2: Wireless motion detectors were placed on vehicle entry points and a few other key spots on the property. ...

               Layer 3: Dogs….. The more the better…I’d have a dozen of them if it we could. It doesn’t matter to me how big they are as long as they are attentive. ... Their hearing and night-vision is much better than mine. [Note: If you can stand them and keep them around, geese can be one of the best animals at alerting you to intruders].
                 Layer 4: Lighting and obstacles…..
                   We’ve placed several physical deterrents outside our home. Lights, fences, bushes and noise making devices are in every path that could be used to gain access.
              Of course, there is a lot I didn't include because of length, as well as a discussing of active defense (i.e., self-defense), so read the whole thing.
              • "Secure This House"--SHTF Blog. The author suggests taking a look at your home from the perspective of a home-invader and see what you can do to protect the house. Of course, he discusses the standard advice of hardening the house through better locks (although, the real key to hardening your house is strong doors and lag screws for the plates and hinges that do deep into the frame) and discusses the possibility of shutters. 
                    One thing I want to point out, however, is that modern houses are not designed to be fortresses. Absent heavy stone work (for instance, I know a man who built his house using 3-foot blocks of sandstone) or concrete, modern houses are not going to stop bullets, battering rams, or sledge hammers and axes. The best you can hope for, in most cases, to delay the attackers with passive defenses until you have time to respond and resort to your active defenses. 
                       “They are throwing rocks at the house and are coming through the walls – please hurry,” the panicked voice of a woman, speaking Afrikaans, shouts into a two way radio.
                         Minutes later her home was in flames after being hit by petrol bombs.
                           The attack on the Rietvlei maize farm, on the outskirts of the remote South African town of Coligny, came just half an hour after two white farmers were granted bail for the alleged murder of a 16-year-old black teenager.
                              Pieter Doorewaard, 26 and Phillip Schutte, 34, are accused of throwing Mathlomola Mosweu off a speeding pick up truck on April 20 after catching him picking sunflowers.
                               An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of Mathlomola’s death, but the facts of the case have mattered little in Coligny, where the case has inflamed long simmering racial tensions.
                        • "7 Mistakes That Burglars Love You To Make…"--Modern Survival Blog. (1) Leave the burglar alarm off; (2) leave back doors unlocked; (3) hiding valuables in the bedroom; (4) windows blocked from site due to shrubbery, allowing them to work at opening windows unseen; (5) leaving lights on all of the time when away; (6) having mail delivery stopped (in the fear that someone at the post office may leak the information); and (7) advertising your plans on social media.
                        • "How To get Started With Fishing"--Apartment Prepper. A nice article on getting started into sport fishing. However, the problem with fishing with a rod and reel is that it is inefficient. Yes, I know there are people out there that can pull a fish out with every cast of the line (I have a friend who can do it), and there are times and places where the fish are biting onto anything near them. But for the majority of us, it is too inefficient. Rather, survival fishing--especially if you are trying to catch enough fish to feed a family or group--requires a different method of fishing: net fishing. Here is an article from Secrets of Survival that discusses different fishing methods post-SHTF, including drift net fishing. This article from the Wild Salmon Center discusses the use of one-man cast nets (PDF). And if you don't have materials for a net, you probably have the materials to build several cage fish traps. Even spear fishing might be more productive than the old rod and reel. 
                        • Yes. "Do You Need a Headlamp?"--Everyday Commentary. A look at the current status of headlamp technology and the differences from flashlights. Interestingly, the top flashlight manufacturers are not the top headlamp manufacturers, and vice-versa. For survival purposes, I think a good headlamp is more important than a flashlight because it allows you to shine a light where you need it, while leaving your hands free for other tasks. I use a headlamp not just for moving around in the dark, but when I'm working up close on things where I need light, or if I'm working under a cabinet or car hood. 
                        • "Food Storage: Rotation"--Dreaming Of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. The author acknowledges that he is not a devoted storer of foods, but nevertheless points out some common mistakes made by people with food storage: stocking up on foods you don't or won't eat; and cheap (likely because it is being sold just before the "best use by" date). And that is where the second part of his article (and title) come into play. You need to rotate your food stock as you use it, so you don't end up with a bulging can of hideous death in the back corners of your pantry.
                        • Glock Perfection: "Top 3 GLOCK Modifications – Making Perfection Even Better"--The Truth About Guns. You've seen these recommendations before: a new trigger connector (or even full trigger replacement), better sights, and (at least for pre-Gen 4 weapons) better texturing of the hand grip.
                        • "Video: Azithromycin as Survival Antibiotic"--Survival Medicine.  Using Bird-Zithro.
                        • And for those of you with penicillin allergies: "Sulfa as a Survival Antibiotic"--Survival Medicine

                        Thanks Obama! 
                                 For instance, a ruling declassified this month by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) chronicles nearly 10 pages listing hundreds of violations of the FBI’s privacy-protecting minimization rules that occurred on Comey’s watch.
                                   The behavior the FBI admitted to a FISA judge just last month ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight the bureau promised was in place years ago.
                              Note that former FBI-director Comey had lied under oath to Congress, stating that no activities or violations like this was going on.
                                       During the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law. 
                                         The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States. While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
                                  • "Iranian President: ‘We Need Missiles’ to Confront Trump Admin, Enemies"--Washington Free Beacon. According to the article, "[t]he remarks came as Iran announced the construction of a third underground ballistic missile production factory, helmed by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC."
                                  • And a flashback at the delusion that existed concerning Obama when he was elected. From "History and Hope" published in November 2008 at the Archdruid Report with the author's thoughts on the election of Barack Hussein Obama.
                                           That is an achievement of immense scope. It may just turn out that this nation has at long last begun to heal the old wound of racial hatred that has riven America right down to its core since the first days of European settlement. So deep a wound will not close at once; as Wendell Berry pointed out some years ago in a book too rarely read, the scar tissue of the racial divide reaches all through our national psyche, on all sides of the various color lines that still wall us away from each other – and from ourselves. Still, it’s no little thing that a majority of voters in Virginia, the heart of the old Confederacy; in Indiana, where a quarter of all adult males belonged to the Ku Klux Klan a mere seventy years ago; and in this nation as a whole, voted for the first time in history to send a black man to the White House.
                                               We have no way of knowing in advance what kind of president Barack Obama will turn out to be, or how history will regard his tenure. He’s proven himself in a difficult campaign to be resourceful, energetic, thoughtful, and almost superhumanly cool under pressure, but many people have arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with abilities like these, and some of them have crashed and burned. Many of the cards in the hand he’ll have to play will be dealt him by decisions made months and years beforehand, or by circumstances nobody can control.
                                                  Still, a door has been opened, and I can’t help but think that America will be better off from the simple fact that the highest levels of its political system are no longer exclusively reserved to the fraction of its population that happens to be white. Nor is yesterday’s impact limited to issues of race; I think it almost certain that America’s first woman president will be inaugurated within a decade, and it’s even odds which of the two major parties will nominate her.

                                        Other Stuff:
                                                 There are growing concerns about the arrest of two brothers with ties to the Middle East who authorities say had an arsenal with bomb-making materials, guns and ammunition in their car.
                                                    Twenty-seven-year-old Abdullah Alrifahe and 26-year-old Majid Alrifahe were arrested on May 11 in north Minneapolis.
                                                       Abdullah is being held in the Hennepin County Jail. His brother, Majid, has been released and is facing minor charges.
                                              • Diversity is our strength: "Denver Decriminalizes DOMESTIC VIOLENCE To Protect Criminal Immigrants"--True Pundit. Denver has reduced sentences for domestic violence or decriminalized several other formally criminal acts so that convictions for said activities cannot be used as grounds to deport illegal aliens.
                                              • "Means And Ends"--Anti-Dem. The author discusses how many political and economic theories and -isms describe a means rather than an end; and are remarkably silent on what the end will be. Probably because the ends that it produces are unpalatable. For instance:
                                                       Let us start by considering a test case: the issue of ethnic diversity. Is it a means, or is it an end? If it is a means, what are the ends, and do our observations of the world around us indicate that it is actually producing those ends? If it is an end, then what are its inherent benefits, and do our observations of the world around us indicate that those benefits are actually accruing? Does what we observe in reality around us square with what we were promised by those who supported increased diversity, without any appreciable amount of unintended bad consequences?
                                                           My own observation of reality tells me this: I see no end to which increased diversity is acting as an effective means except for increasing the power of leftist political parties who want the guaranteed votes provided by the importation of millions of dirt-poor immigrants, and the profits of businessmen who want the cheap labor of illegal scabs. Since I do not support these ends, I must reject diversity as a means to anything beneficial. As for diversity as an end with inherent benefits, I say this: If diversity was working as advertised, with no serious bad side effects, then I would have no objection to it. But it visibly is not: the loss of social cohesion, the erosion of freedoms (such as freedom of association and even freedom of speech), the increased risk of crime and terrorism, the slide into socialism based on untenable debt brought about by the increased power of these leftist parties, the “slipping and sliding into Third Worldism” that the great Bob Grant so presciently warned us against – all of these and more present themselves to me in reality as disastrous effects of diversity that those who supported it did not describe as part of the bargain. Weighed against this are benefits – “enrichment” and “vibrancy” – the very unquantifiable vagueness of which testifies to their effective meaninglessness.
                                                  • "China’s imperial overreach"--The Strategist. Remember what I've said about China's new Silk Road program, and how it would drag China into conflicts it doesn't want. Well, this article articulates some additional concerns:
                                                           ... Xi has set his sights much higher: he aspires to become modern China’s most transformative leader. Just as Mao helped to create a reunified and independent China, and Deng Xiaoping launched China’s ‘reform and opening up,’ Xi wants to make China the central player in the global economy and the international order.
                                                             So, repeating a mantra of connectivity, China dangles low-interest loans in front of countries in urgent need of infrastructure, thereby pulling those countries into its economic and security sphere. China stunned the world by buying the Greek port of Piraeus for $420 million. From there to the Seychelles, Djibouti, and Pakistan, port projects that China insisted were purely commercial have acquired military dimensions.
                                                                 But Xi’s ambition may be blinding him to the dangers of his approach. Given China’s insistence on government-to-government deals on projects and loans, the risks to lenders and borrowers have continued to grow. Concessionary financing may help China’s state-owned companies bag huge overseas contracts; but, by spawning new asset-quality risks, it also exacerbates the challenges faced by the Chinese banking system.
                                                                      The risk of non-performing loans at state-owned banks is already clouding China’s future economic prospects. Since reaching a peak of $4 trillion in 2014, the country’s foreign-exchange reserves have fallen by about a quarter. The ratings agency Fitch has warned that many OBOR projects—most of which are being pursued in vulnerable countries with speculative-grade credit ratings—face high execution risks, and could prove unprofitable.
                                                                     Xi’s approach is not helping China’s international reputation, either. OBOR projects lack transparency and entail no commitment to social or environmental sustainability. They are increasingly viewed as advancing China’s interests—including access to key commodities or strategic maritime and overland passages—at the expense of others.
                                                                       In a sense, OBOR seems to represent the dawn of a new colonial era—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the East India Company, which paved the way for British imperialism in the East. But, if China is building an empire, it seems already to have succumbed to what the historian Paul Kennedy famously called ‘imperial overstretch.’
                                                                         And, indeed, countries are already pushing back. Sri Lanka, despite having slipped into debt servitude to China, recently turned away a Chinese submarine attempting to dock at the Chinese-owned Colombo container terminal. And popular opposition to a 15,000-acre industrial zone in the country has held up China’s move to purchase an 80% stake in the loss-making Hambantota port that it built nearby.
                                                                             Shi Yinhong, an academic who serves as a counselor to China’s government, the State Council, has warned of the growing risk of Chinese strategic overreach. And he is already being proved right. Xi has gotten so caught up in his aggressive foreign policy that he has undermined his own diplomatic aspirations, failing to recognize that brute force is no substitute for leadership. In the process, he has stretched China’s resources at a time when the economy is already struggling and a shrinking working-age population presages long-term stagnation.

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