Friday, July 7, 2017

July 7, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT)"--SkinnyMedic (3-1/2 min.)

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
  • Check out this week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. A lot of good articles, as always, but one that jumped out at me is "Why the AR-15 Stomps the Mini-14," for the reason that I've seen some articles and videos reviewing the Mini-14 lately, and I wrote an article reviewing the Mini-14 and discussing its pros and cons a couple of months ago. Although the author of the article cited above is much harsher (and succinct) about why he dislikes the Mini-14, most of his points agree with the downsides I'd pointed out, particularly the lack of after-market parts and accessories and the cost of the magazines. I will stand by my original comments about the stainless steel Mini offering some advantages in the marine environment. Yes, it is true that there are fantastic finishes available for the AR, but I've never seen a finish (except for Meloniting, which technically isn't a finish) that can't be chipped or worn away, exposing the bare metal. (By chance, I came across this article at Ammo Land discussing whether it is worth while getting Cerekote or using stainless in context of a concealed carry pistol). 
       However, this does raise a point I've been thinking about when considering defensive rifles. To step back a bit and explain, Timothy J. Mullin has written some books reviewing various firearms, including one entitled The Fighting Submachine Gun, Machine Pistol, and Shotgun: A Hands-On Evaluation. One of the submachine guns he rated highly was the venerable Sten manufactured in the UK and Canada and widely used by Commonwealth forces in World War II--there were literally millions manufactured. He thought that not only was it a pretty good submachine gun, but it was also very cheap: the manufacturing cost in WWII got down to $10 or less per copy, and, according to Mullin, they were still pretty inexpensive in the international weapons market at the time he wrote his book (circa 1998-99). Thus, as he evaluated various post WWII submachine guns, he asked the question: is it appreciably better than a $10 Sten. In the end, while there were many post-War designs that did well, they almost universally failed the test of whether they were appreciably better than a Sten.
       At the time I'm writing this, AR rifles and carbines are fairly inexpensive: base models can be had for $500 or less, and you can build a pretty good quality AR with a free-floated barrel for $700 to $800. So, to me, in discussing defensive rifles, AR style rifles occupy the same position as the Sten did in relation to submachine guns: a well developed design of proven effectiveness and good economics. Consequently, consideration of a defensive rifle invites a similar comparison as Mullin did with the Sten: is there something that a rifle under consideration can do that makes it appreciably better than an AR, either in some desirable features or characteristics, or as to cost?
        It is hard to look at other rifles in the defensive role (or even expensive AR variants for that matter) and answer in the affirmative. Back when I built my AKs, fully assembled AKs were cheap, and building one from a kit was even cheaper. Now, not so much: prices are comparable on entry level weapons. For instance, looking at Centerfire Systems web-page today, I see Del-Ton M-4 style carbines (with a rear BUS included--it has a standard front post sight) for $400, and a Ruger M-4 style carbine for $500. In comparison, the AK style rifles they list are between $500 and $580. Even a lowly Yugo SKS is $380. And the best prices I've seen lately for AK parts kits are $300. A barrel and receiver, by themselves, would easily exceed $200.

       As I noted in my article on the Mini-14, at one time the Mini-14 was approximately 2/3 the price of an AR rifle. Now the price of a base Mini-14 is higher than comparable ARs, and factory magazines are considerably more expensive. So, comparing both rifles and considering today's prices, it is apparent that, all things considered, the Mini-14 is not appreciably better than the AR, but rather stands at a distinct disadvantage to the AR. 
       I believe that the same can be said of other defensive rifles on the market, such as the Tavor or Robinson Arm XCR rifle, just to name a couple. The Tavor is a bullpup rifle, but other than that feature, it is inferior to the standard AR in price, availability of parts and accessories, trigger, etc. The XCR is a very fine looking weapon and seems to combine the best features of the AR and AK; but other than a gas-pistol operating system, true folding stock and a side mounted cocking handle, does it offer any advantages over the AR? And are those features really that important or worth the extra one to two thousand dollars you might pay? Even among different AR style rifles, the same can be asked. For instance, HK offers a piston driven gas system on what is otherwise a standard AR style rifle. But one of those rifles will run $2,500 or more for what, in reality, will be slightly easier cleaning and maintenance issues. 
       The same reasoning can apply if you are thinking of getting a different weapon than what you have now, no matter what it is: does what you are considering offer any appreciable benefit over what you already have given the cost? For example, if you were upgrading from an SKS or Mosin-Nagant to a modern defensive rifle, the option of a detachable box magazines by itself would probably be worth it. But if you have an AK and were thinking about a fairly basic AR, the benefit to an upgrade is not so clear, particularly if you already have a substantial amount of money sunk into magazines or ammunition for the AK. On the other hand, if you decide that you need something offering a bit better accuracy at longer ranges (300+ yards), upgrading to an AR with a free-floated heavy barrel may be worth the money and hassle. 
       Obviously, if you are collecting firearms, or just want the latest and greatest, these questions are irrelevant. But if you are looking for a self-defense firearm, and you don't have an unlimited budget, you should be pragmatic in your approach. 
  • Related: "Indian 7.62x51mm Ordnance Factory Board Rifle Fail Trials"--The Firearms Blog. India has been attempting to design and build a domestically manufactured combat rifle, and repeatedly failing at it. The latest offering "had excessive number of faults and stoppages to the extent of more than twenty times the maximum permissible standards, the sources said." Other than national pride, is it really worth trying to develop a domestic design over licensing a proven design from another manufacturer? 
  • "Can Anything Defeat a Level IV Plate Body Armor?"--The Firearms Blog. Level IV plate is rated to stop anything up to and including .30-06 M2 Armor Piercing ammo. This article indicates that "[t]he Wound Channel have determined that .300 Winmag is no match for level IV and only one really hot .338 RUM load was able to get through an Armour Wear Level IV." But M993 AP 7.62x51mm NATO was easily able to penetrate it.
  • "Skill Set: Justified"--Tactical Wire. The author warns that "[i]t's important to recognize that all your actions – from the time you touch your weapon, draw it or if necessary fire – will have to be justified. It will be necessary to explain why you did what you did." He then discusses the three elements necessary to justify drawing or using your weapon.
  • Priorities: Although there are thousands of jihadists living in the UK for which law enforcement lacks to the resources to monitor or investigate, British law enforcement has announced that it foiled an attempt to smuggle 79 BB guns into the UK.


Other Stuff:
           In the first line of the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson speaks of “one people.” The Constitution, agreed upon by the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia in 1789, begins, “We the people…”
             And who were these “people”?
               In Federalist No. 2, John Jay writes of them as “one united people … descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs…”
                  If such are the elements of nationhood and peoplehood, can we still speak of Americans as one nation and one people?
                    We no longer have the same ancestors. They are of every color and from every country. We do not speak one language, but rather English, Spanish and a host of others. We long ago ceased to profess the same religion. We are Evangelical Christians, mainstream Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.
            Read the whole thing.
                     Forest service regulations require that all non-commercial groups of 75 people or more obtain a group use permit in advance of their gathering. The USFS says the Rainbow Family has not applied nor obtained the permit and therefore participants and spectators involved in the gathering are in violation of federal regulations.  The Rainbow Family contends they don't need a permit, because they are not an organization.
                         "We are not an organization, we're not a group, where a bunch of people who happen to come to the same place at the same time,” said one man gathering.
                China does not permit the private ownership of land. Instead, private parties may obtain the right to use property for up to seventy years. These parties own the structures on the land but not the underlying real estate. China’s recent economic boom hinges on the success of its real estate market, but the government has not yet addressed three critical questions it must answer soon: Does the holder of a land use right have the ability to renew that right when it expires? If the holder has this ability, must it pay to renew the right? And, if the holder must pay, how much?
                         Neither Buffet nor Newsweek nor CNBC (the link about China) ever mention the central reason (pun intended) for the widening separations between the top and bottom earners: the central banks.  In the US, the Federal Reserve has deliberately and very actively worked to raise stock and housing prices.  In an honest stock market, a process called "price discovery" takes place: buyers and sellers determine the true price of assets.  That died in the 2008 recovery measures.  They may have believed they were helping and not hurting, but the results are the same: they've broken the information pathways in the economy.  (It's illegal, by the way, to manipulate securities prices, but nobody screamed as the Fed goosed up stock and bond prices, boosting total capitalization of both assets by as much as $20 trillion.  Well, nobody screamed except those of us who believe in real money and are opposed to Keynesian, centrally planned economies.)
                           ...  As long as there's a firehouse-supply of money available, [buying stocks] becomes a momentum game.  Buying causes more buying.  Excitement causes more excitement.  Millisecond trading algorithms and "Flash Boys" trade on nothing else; they don't know or care if the company is going to be returning dividends in six months, they just care if the price is higher later.  ... 
                               This frenzied trading is part of the hypertrophy of finance I talked about last May; the situation created by the central banks in which the GDP of the US is traded every three days; $600 Million per second.  This is where the wealth transfer "from main street to Wall Street" (God, I hate that term) is taking place.  When you can show that since 2007 trade in physical goods and services increased 36 % while currency trading increased 160 %, it's easy to see which sector is making money.  
                                The reason I hate the term "transfer of wealth from main street to Wall Street" is that it hides what's really going on.  It implies Wall Street is taking money from the people on Main street.  To begin with, Wall Street isn't benefiting from this at all, if "Wall Street" is used in the sense of the stock markets.  A handful of very big banks are benefiting from this, and it's all being carried out by the central banks at the behest of the governments.  If those banks are traded on Wall Street, their share price may go up because of this, but aside from brokerage fees, higher bank share prices are the only benefit Wall Street gets. 
                                 Experts said that incurable gonorrhoea has started to spread after becoming resistant to antibiotics, which has been partly caused by oral sex and a decline in condom use.
                                   The sexually transmitted bacteria can live at the back of the throat and, because of this, has been evolve [sic] immunity to antibiotics used to treat common throat infections.
                                     The WHO issued a warning after it confirmed that three people had contracted the superbug.
                                The three cases detected are in Japan, France and Spain. And the reduced use in condoms? The scientist interviewed in the article indicated it was "caused by misguided fears that they cause HIV in the developing world." By "developing world," she likely means Africa. And I would lay odds that the three cases are in or will lead back to the homosexual population.
                                         The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century. 
                                           Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s. 
                                             You would be hard-pressed to find as many ghetto riots prior to the 1960s as we have seen just in the past year, much less in the 50 years since a wave of such riots swept across the country in 1965. 
                                               We are told that such riots are a result of black poverty and white racism. But in fact — for those who still have some respect for facts — black poverty was far worse, and white racism was far worse, prior to 1960. But violent crime within black ghettos was far less. 
                                                 Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, down — during the much-lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families. 
                                                  Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read Life at the Bottom, by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood.
                                                     Minority communities and low-income Americans have many problems today. Some are the result of historical injustices whose consequences continue to ripple throughout our own time. Some are the result of medical problems and disabilities. Some result from family tragedies. Some are the result of personal choices.
                                                       But a surprisingly large number are either caused by or substantially exacerbated by the consequences of well-intentioned government action: urban renewal projects that have destroyed livable communities, public housing projects that have created dysfunctional crime factories, living wage laws that drive low-skill jobs to the suburbs, sanctuary city policies that attract unskilled illegal immigrants to compete for jobs at the low end of the labor market, rent-control policies that reduce new housing construction, zoning and environmental regulations that make it impossible to build businesses that could hire low skill people where they live, the war on retailers like Walmart that provide cheap goods to people who need them most, pro-public sector union policies that drive up the cost of vital city and community services while entrenching “jobs for life” bureaucrats regardless of poor performance. Increasingly, the cost of retiree pensions is diminishing the amount of money available for badly needed public services in American cities and states.

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