Monday, April 30, 2018

April 30, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Yellowstone Pressure Release | Long-Term View"--Suspicious Observers (2-1/2 min.)
The producer explains that the hydrothermal events and small earthquake swarms are good news indicating that the Yellowstone caldera is releasing pressure rather than letting it build up.


  • Typically I try to start these run around the web columns with gun and self-defense subjects then move into the current events. However, this one deserves to be front and center because it represents either thinking with blinders in place or a devious attempt to mislead readers. The article is "Why Fascism Won’t Come To America," in which the author reviews 'Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America.', purporting to be a collection of essays by various academicians explaining why fascism specifically (or a tyrannical government more generally) would be impossible in the United States. Most of the reasoning is laughable.
         For instance, one essayist argues:
“American fascism cannot happen anymore because the American government is too large and unwieldy. It is simply too hard for the fascists, or for that matter other radical groups, to seize control of. No matter who is elected, the fascists cannot control the bureaucracy, they cannot control the judiciary, they cannot control semi-independent institutions such as the Federal Reserve, and they cannot control what is sometimes called ‘the deep state.’ The net result is they simply can’t control enough of the modern state to steer it in a fascist direction.”
However, even if he never had full control over the German bureaucracy, which was as well entrenched as ours, Hitler was able to get it to accede to his wishes using a variety of tactics ranging from arrest, to patronage, to replacing key democrats bureaucrats, or setting up parallel institutions. (See, e.g., this article from The Nation). Basically, when faced with losing their jobs and/or pensions, the bureaucracy took the easy road.
           Another essayist apparently argues that the Constitutional separation of powers would save the Republic. However, the separation of powers is mostly a joke. With the passage of the Administrative Procedures Act, Congress passed much of its powers and the powers of the courts to the Administrative branch: agencies supposedly run by dispassionate experts would make regulations with the force of law, and administrative law judges would oversee disputes arising under those regulations. Besides which, again looking at Hitler as an example, he simply ignored court decisions until he'd had the opportunity to undermine the court system with enough of his own appointments and otherwise intimidate the judges.
          The author also dismisses references to Hungary and other former Warsaw Pact nations as examples of nations moving away from representative government by the fact that they don't have the historical or cultural roots in democracy. The author writes:
          America is different, and exceptionally so. Our predecessors had a head start in that they lived in colonies founded by Great Britain. While Britain was by no means a democracy in those days, it was the most democratic of any of the eighteenth-century European nations, with the possible exception of Poland-Lithuania (which had no colonies and was conquered by illiberal powers before the century’s end). Britons also had a clearer sense of their natural rights than most Europeans did, owing to the enactment of the Magna Carta in 1215 and the 1689 Bill of Rights that followed their ouster of a king bent on absolutism.

           Added to that was America’s good luck to be led by a generation of leaders who practiced what they preached. Our system of government may have been devised to divide power and resist tyranny, but had we elected a would-be tyrant in those early years, the task of preserving the Constitution might have seemed less important to a people who had not grown up with it.

         Instead, we had George Washington, a man popular enough to become a dictator like Napoleon or Toussaint Louverture, but who instead denied himself powers not granted him and retired peacefully after two terms in office. With the weight of two centuries of liberal democracy, our national character has evolved to resist tyrants, even those who promise things we might like. Foreign analogies are interesting, but the shoe will never quite fit.
    That probably would have been true if U.S. demographics were primarily composed of descendants of the early English and Dutch settlers. But that is not the case. Increasingly, our electorate is composed of people that are not the descendants of British jurisprudence and political philosophy; people, who in fact, come from traditions of rule by tyrants. These immigrants don't carry "the weight of two centuries of liberal democracy," but instead come from societies with a history and culture of corruption, dictators, and political violence. 
Netanyahu concluded by saying "Iran lied about never having a secret nuclear program. Secondly, even after the deal, it continued to expand its nuclear program for future use. Thirdly, Iran lied by not coming clean to the IAEA," he said, adding that, "the nuclear deal is based on lies based on Iranian deception."
Some thoughts from Anonymous Conservative here and here
Also, from The Times of Israel
             Netanyahu says Iran’s secret nuclear files reveal that Iran’s nuclear program was designed to “test and build nuclear weapons.”
               In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran’s “nuclear archives.”
                 “These files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program,” he says at a press conference in Tel Aviv. “The files prove that.”
                  He says the US has vouched for the authenticity of the secret archive obtained by Israel, and that it would make the documents available to the UN atomic agency and other countries.
          • "Is Free-Floating an AR15 Barrel Worth It?"--The New Rifleman. The author of this piece decided to conduct an experiment: he took a 20-inch AR with standard A2 stock and front sight post/gas block, and free floated it using a system that used the existing barrel nut. Comparing performance from before and after, he found significant improvements in accuracy (measuring the mean radius of groups) in most loads tested. However, there were a couple loads (both Hornady, by the way), where the group sizes opened up.
          • "Koreatown Twenty-Six Years Ago: The Guns of the L.A. Riots"--The Truth About Guns. The 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles saw shops and other businesses in black neighborhoods and adjoining areas looted and burned ... except for Koreatown, where the owners took up arms to protect their livelihoods. The author looks over photographs of these Korean merchants and discusses the weapons shown. One thing that the author notes is the scarcity of AR15 rifles. He notes: "Colt, Bushmaster, and Olympic Arms all made AR-15s, but prices for those were closer to $1,000. A Mini-14 cost around $250-$300 and 20- and 30-round magazines were easy to get." Well, I don't know if that is realistic. I started purchasing firearms about that time (1991 and 1992), and remember Mini-14's running about $350 to $400 depending on the particulars (blue steel versus stainless), and ARs running for around $800. In any event, the author also goes on to note how California law would have largely disarmed these Korean businessmen if the there were riots today.
          • "LEAKED: USMC Test Calls M27, M38 DMR Into Question"--The Firearm Blog. Nathaniel F. reviews a 2016 test of these systems that found that the weapons could not run reliably with suppressors attached, exhibiting "bolt over base malfunctions indicating an extremely high cyclic rate" when using suppressors.  He also notes that those tests used the Mk. 262 ammunition, but "USMC forces abroad are now using the M855A1 EPR round, which typically produces much higher cyclic rates than Mk. 262." Thus, the system, at least as configured for those tests, would not be reliable in a suppressed role.
          • "Solar Activity Flatlines: Weakest solar cycle in 200 years"--Watts Up With That. The author notes that the current solar cycle (24) is weak, and that solar cycle 25 will probably be similar. So, we should not expect the Sun's activity to start to perk up to more normal levels until at least 2031 when Solar Cycle 26 is expected to start. The article ends: "The good news is that it is highly improbable the sun will enter a Grand Minimum, such as the one that occurred from 1645 – 1715, the period known as the Little Ice Age."
          • "Seismic Upgrade, Moral Hazard and Gentrification"--Chicago Boyz. The author warns that Portland is chock full of “unreinforced masonry” or URM buildings that offer little protection during an earthquake--in fact, they are the most likely to suffer catastrophic failure. The article links to an interactive map showing where these buildings are located in Portland.
          • Ever Again: "Keep assault weapons in the military"--Times Union. The author of this op-ed is Sol Wachtler, a former chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, and professor at Touro law School. For those of you not versed in the New York court system, the Court of Appeals is New York's highest court--what would in most states be called a supreme court. So, this former chief of New York's highest court is calling for another national assault weapon's ban. However, reading between the lines, he does not appear to be calling for a ban on just new weapons, but a ban all weapons that would fall within the nebulous classification of "assault weapon."
          • No. "Can Islamization Be Rolled Back Without Eroding Civil Liberties?"--Gates of Vienna. A back and forth discussion on whether the Islamization of Europe can be contained and rolled back without martial law. Well worth the read.
          • "France to boost security on Alps border with Italy after far-Right 'block' migrant route"--The Telegraph. You might remember the Lauren Southern video to which I linked recently showing the European young men and women working to block a pass used by illegal aliens seeking to enter France from Italy. There actions (as well as an attack by pro-immigrant group on border police) have worked: France will be increasing border security.
          • "SYRIAN ARMY SAYS 'ENEMY' ROCKET ATTACKS STRIKE AT MILITARY BASES"--Jerusalem Post. Israel attacks and destroys Iranian military bases in Syria. 
                    As Venezuelans began resettling across Latin America in large numbers in 2015, for the most part they found open borders and paths to legal residency in neighboring countries.
                      But as their numbers have swelled — and as a larger share of recent migrants arrive without savings and in need of medical care — some officials in the region have begun to question the wisdom of open borders.
                        Ms. Campos [governor of the northern Brazilian state of Roraima] said she took the “extreme measure” of suing the federal government because the influx of Venezuelans led to a spike in crime, drove down wages for menial jobs and set off an outbreak of measles, which had been eradicated in Brazil.
                          At least 93 people were killed during the first four months of this year, already exceeding the 83 violent deaths recorded last year, Ms. Campos said. And law enforcement officials say drug trafficking in the region has increased as destitute Venezuelans have been drafted into Brazilian smuggling networks.
                            The population of Boa Vista, the state capital, ballooned over the past few years as some 50,000 Venezuelans resettled here. They now make up roughly 10 percent of the population. At first, residents responded with generosity, establishing soup kitchens and organizing clothes drives.
                              By last year however, local residents in Pacaraima, the border town, and Boa Vista, the state capital, which is 130 miles from the border, felt overwhelmed.
                      • Of course, the New York Times would never characterize our border situation as an invasion, although it has all the hallmarks of one:
                              On Saturday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement saying that in the past 24 hours 'several groups of people associated with the Central American Caravan have illegally entered the U.S. without immigration documents by climbing over the dilapidated scrap metal border fence on either side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry'. 

                               'In several of these incidents, children as young as four-years-old, and in one case a pregnant female, were detected entering the United States illegally through a dark, treacherous canyon that is notorious for human and drug trafficking,' the statement added. 

                               CBP San Diego Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said of those crossing illegally: 'As a father myself, I find it unconscionable that anyone would expose a child to these dangerous conditions.' 

                                The agency did not give an estimate of how many people associated with the group have crossed the border illegally or whether any were apprehended. 
                                The US, while a nation, possessed of territory, like all nations, is something quite new in the history of the world, as our founding principles are a radical departure from past countries and an effort to create a citizenship of belief.
                                  Because I am quite devoted to our founding principles and the liberty which they secure us, I don’t believe in immigration simply for economic necessity or to escape this or that.  While those are valid motives to immigrate anywhere – including here – you should come here with the intention of becoming an American, or as my friend, Dave Freer, himself an immigrant to Australia, puts it, FIFO: Fit in or F**k off.
                                   This “caravan” coming to “test” our borders is the very antithesis of FIFO, and in fact, if we do not find a way to turn it away, and ship these people back where they came from, we might as well consider our borders non-existent.  And you know what you call a country with non-existent borders?  Not a country.  To study the fate of such a land, read up on the tragedy of the commons.
                                      If we are open land whom anyone may come and settle in, first we need to stop the welfare system because pioneers by definition don’t get welfare.  And second, we can kiss our culture and our founding principles goodbye, because, in the face of a massive invasion by another culture, there is no way to make anyone acculturate (a painful process at best) or fit in.

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