Sunday, March 4, 2018

March 4, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Immigration and War"--Voxiversity (16 min.)

  • I recently finished reading the book Spec Ops--Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice by William H. McRaven. As the title suggests, the author develops some theories or principles and then illustrates them via a series of case studies of actual operations. One of the operations covered in the book was Operation Kingpin, being a U.S. Army raid on Son Tay prisoner of war camp on 21 November 1970. Basically, the mission required an air insertion of troops to take and briefly hold a POW camp deep in North Vietnam, striking from Thailand. A simultaneous diversionary attack would be made by Navy air forces against Hanoi and other North Vietnamese targets. McRaven counts the mission as a success because the plan work as intended and with only minimal injuries. However, in my mind, no matter how technically proficient was the attack, it failed at its primary objective of rescuing prisoner--they had been moved elsewhere at an unknown time. My point today is not to critique the mission or it lack of results, but address some of the technological adaptations used to make the raiding force more effective. One of these involved the use of a red dot type sighting system called the Singlepoint Sight. The Gunner's Blog offers a review and description of the device:
       By modern standards, though, it's a pathetic gunsight. It was a good try for its time, no doubt. It is an occluded eye gunsight (OEG), meaning you can't see through it. When you look in the end you see a black field with a red dot floating in it. You look at the target with your other eye and your brain merges the two images into one. Thus, you see the red dot superimposed upon the target.
             Well, sort of. It doesn't work perfectly. The effects of phoria make the dot wander off the target if you aim for any length of time. Obviously this makes slow deliberate aiming impossible. You must shoot quickly or not at all.
                Another problem with this sight is the dot is a whopping 16 MOA across. That is much too big--bigger than many targets I'd want to aim at. I find it necessary to sight in so that my point of aim is at the top center of the dot, right at the 12 o'clock position. I then use the dot as if it were a bead sight, placing the target atop it to aim.
                Despite its peculiarities, the Singlepoint was successful in getting riflemen interested in the red dot idea. Improved dot sights that you could actually see through were soon on the way. A sight tube you could look through eliminated phoria effects by giving both eyes a shared view of the target.
                   One problem the Singlepoint's design solved brilliantly was that of gaining sufficient contrast between the dot and the target. Because the dot is presented in a blacked out field, the eye looking into the sight sees plenty of contrast. Moreover, the Singlepoint needs no batteries. Enough ambient light to illuminate the dot is gathered by the small collector on the end. For a long while, see-through red dot sights needed to use polarizers to darken the target image so you could make out the dot, and they ate batteries like kids going through Crackerjacks. 
          While crude by today's standards, the system worked as intended, allowing much greater accuracy in low light than could be achieved with standard iron sight system. Although I can't find the article, I believe that The New Rifleman had discussed a similar impromptu device if you have a higher power illuminated scope, but needed to have something similar to a red dot for quick short-range work, you could close the front scope cover, but leave the reticle lit. With both eyes open, your brain would superimpose the image from one over the other, giving the illusion of a red dot site.
          • REI Decides to Drive More Business to Cabela's and Other Outdoor Stores: Outdoor sports retailer, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has decided to stop selling products from five brands owned by Vista Outdoors because it also owns several firearms brands, including Savage Arms. And this notwithstanding that REI doesn't even sell firearms or firearm related products. The brands included in REI's ban include CamelBak (maker of popular hydration packs), Bell (maker of bicycle helmets and other bicycle accessories/parts), and Giro (a ski goggle manufacturer). The cynical side of me sees this as a plan to draw marketshare to its own REI branded products.
          • "Narco-Terror: More Cartel Bombs Discovered On Another Tourist Ferry In Mexico"--Weasel Zippers (citing Breitbart). From the article:
                   The recent discovery of two bombs found attached to another tourist ferry on the island of Cozumel has sparked more fears of narco-terrorism in Mexico. The bomb discoveries come on the heels of a confirmed explosion caused by a bomb that ripped through a tourist passenger ferry last week in Playa del Carmen. A Mexican cartel claimed credit for the initial act of narco-terrorism.
                      The passenger ferry which suffered a detonated bomb blast was from the popular tourism provider, Barcos Caribe, which has been running a Playa del Carmen-Cozumel route since 2015. Breitbart Texas wrote about the previous bombing of the tourist ferry.
                        Confirmation that the blast that struck the Barcos Caribe Ferry last week was caused by an explosive device came from the U.S. Embassy Security Alert which was released on March 1, 2018 and was posted on the embassy’s website. It warned American citizens to exercise caution and said Mexican and United States authorities were continuing to investigate the blast. The Barcos Caribe Ferry blast left 25 injured, including seven Americans—none with life-threatening injuries, as reported by local media. Breitbart Texas also reported that the C├írtel de “El Pumba” y “Tata,” a criminal group believed to be aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, had claimed responsibility on a narco-banner which was left on a church property. The narco-banner also threatened the current sitting mayor of Playa del Carmen.
                  I caught several news reports of the initial incident of bombing, but all the news sources were repeating that the explosion was a result of mechanical problems--as if guard rails and panels stored violative fuels. At least the facts are now beginning to come out.
                  • "MOTIVATION OF INTRUDER ARRESTED AFTER TRESPASSING AT SEAN HANNITY'S HOME UNCLEAR"--Oxygen. The man--a 72 year old former dentist, gained access to the home by claiming that he was helping Hannity write a book and had important information. Later, after his arrest, the man stated: “There is a real reason, a valid reason, a superior reason and a fully confirmed reason, but I’m not going to be able to talk about it,” Gilbert said, disputing police accounts of the events, according to Newsday. “Someone misheard, fabricated or misunderstood.”
                  "At approximately 11:46 am, Burgess approached the vicinity of the North White House fence line and removed a concealed handgun and fired several rounds, none of which appear at this time to have been directed towards the White House," the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement Sunday.

                          A law enforcement source told CNN the shooter shot his phone before shooting himself. No suicide note was found, but incoherent sentences were found in a book recovered on the scene, the source said.

                         The man died from his injuries; no one else was hurt in the incident, a Secret Service spokesperson said.
                  The Sierra Nevada Mountains has seen two feet of snow and winds gusting over 100 miles per hour. Forecasters are expecting seven feet of snow in some areas of the mountain range. Meanwhile, more than 22,000 Montecito residents evacuated their homes as rain continued to pound the area — California’s weather comes as a nor’easter clobbers parts of the East Coast.
                  • The Truth About Guns has a daily feature--a question of the day--to attempt to get its readers discussing certain issues. A few days ago, the topic was: "How Do You Dress at the Office for Concealed Carry?" With these type of posts, the meat of the matter is in the comments where people offer ideas, comment or criticize ideas, and discuss the pros and cons of various pieces of equipment.

                  "Cows With Guns" (5 min.)

                  • "Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument"--Los Angeles Times. The article indicates that there is a herd of about 150 unbranded cattle making their home in the Sand to Snow National Monument, near the Pacific Crest Trail. The animals are tearing up the terrain, stomping on vegetation, and threatening those attempting to use the park. On top of it all, there are also packs of wild dogs in the same mountains. Don't expect a solution soon, though. In addition to the fact that the animals cross districts belonging to different federal, state, and Indian agencies, "any effort to remove the animals must comply with myriad state and federal wildlife regulations." 
                  • "Turkey Is Turning Into the Next Pakistan"--Bloomberg. Turkey apparently believes that American power is a thing of the past, and chafes on continued duties and restrictions imposed on it by organizations such as NATO. As this article relates, Turkey has undertaken actions intended to provoke the U.S. and its NATO members, including insulting American troops, making official pronouncements claiming for Turkey several Aegean Islands that belong to Greece, while at the same time pushing anti-Western speech and Islam.
                  • Fred Reed's column this week is entitled "The Future of the Jews: More of the Past?" Noting rising antisemitism in many areas of the world, and historical persecution of Jews, Reed tries to understand why people have historically hated the Jews. His answer is that Jews are easily and readily identifiable as "others" or "them" because of their tribalism: their different religious practices, mythology, world-view, rampant nepotism, etc. And they are easily prosecuted not only because they stand out, but that they generally excel, represented well above their percentage of the population in fields such as movies and TV, the arts, medicine, finances, etc. Most would attribute the latter to a strong push for education, higher than average IQ (but Fred doesn't believe in IQ, so he can't use that), and nepotism. Fred is quick to point out that the advantages that Jews are alleged to enjoy is mostly imaginary: there is no more a Jewish Privilege than there is a White Privilege would be one way to summarize his conclusion.
                          I suspect that a lot of the persecution suffered by Jews does come from a their own "us versus them" mentality combined with an overweening sense of rightness (chutzpah). That is, a sufficient number of Jews (not all, but enough) do not want to assimilate with the West and, in fact, hate the West. And this shows up in the gun control debates. The article, "After Newtown, Jews Lead Renewed Push on Guns" from Forward Magazine, noted that the position of prominent Jews in Congress, the Media, and Industry (specifically, the ownership of Cerberus Group which owned Freedom Group). But the article also notes cultural differences that tend to make Jews natural opponents to gun rights:
                    Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former head of the Reform movement, listed in a recent Haaretz article several reasons for Jews siding with supporters of gun control: the community’s affiliation with the Democratic Party; the fact that Jews are urban people and detached from the culture of hunting or gun ownership, and suspicion toward the NRA, which is “associated in the minds of many Jews with extremist positions that frighten Jews and from which they instinctively recoil.”
                      Haaretz similarly noted, following the Aurora movie theater shooting:
                                Americans in general may be divided about gun control, but Jewish Americans are not. They have always been among the most enthusiastic advocates of legislation that will regulate gun ownership in a reasonable way. ... 
                                  This is because most Jews are still Democrats, and gun control is more of a Democrat issue than a Republican one; this is because Jews are an overwhelmingly urban people who lack a culture of hunting and gun ownership; and this is because the NRA is associated in the minds of many Jews with extremist positions that frighten Jews and from which they instinctively recoil. 
                                   American Jews are probably more conservative on economic policy and foreign policy than they were a generation ago, and there is some poll data to support this.  But—lets tell the truth—the NRA supports the right of almost any terrorist suspect, wife-beater and crook to buy almost any weapon at almost any time, no questions asked.  And to Jews this just makes no sense.
                              History is repeating itself. Jews enthusiastically greeted the gun laws that led to their disarmament and demise in Nazi Germany, and they now call for the same here apparently thinking that they can control whatever government comes next. 
                               Update (3/5/2018): Correcting typos and clarification.

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