Sunday, September 30, 2018

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

"Paul's Top 5 Handguns for Beginners"--Paul Harrell (15 min.)
This video is aimed at people learning to shoot a handgun and so his recommendations are all .22 LR. He has some good points and caveats about this near the end of the video.

  • Active Response Training's Weekend Knowledge Dump for this weekend. A couple articles that jumped out at me were one on the AR pistol, and another on the pluses and minuses of revolvers. 
  • While you are Active Response Training, check out these articles by Greg Ellifritz:
  • "Friends Don’t Let Friends Open Carry"--Active Response Training. Whatever arguments there are against Open Carry, there is one thing in particular that stands out: By openly carrying a firearm, you make yourself a target for a criminal either for one wanting to steal your weapon, or targeting you first. 
  • "Flanking Tactics for Active Killer Response"--Active Response Training. Ellifritz contends that because police aren't taught to split up and use flanking movement it puts them at an unnecessary disadvantage when facing an active shooter. He relates the following experience from a training exercise where he played the role of the active shooter:
           I kept shooting until I saw the team (who was using a diamond formation). The team leader stopped, using the corner of a hallway for cover to engage me. I was out in the open and the team was behind cover. But, due to their positioning, only the team leader was able to fire on me. All the other officers waited impotently behind him, unable to shoot without hitting their leader. I ended up taking out four out of their six officers before I was hit.
             The only thing I could remember thinking was “why didn’t they just split up the team and send half of them around to get me from the other side of the room?” I would have been completely unable to counter that type of a tactic. I might have shot one or two people (if I was lucky), but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to take out 75% of their team.
      • "Speer Bullets Introduces Personal Protection Rifle Bullets"--American Rifleman. Speer is now offering Gold Dot rifle bullets for reloaders. Interestingly, they have two different 150 grain .380 diameter bullets, one for the .308/7.62 NATO and one for .300 Blackout. The only difference I can gather from the specifications is that the bullet intended for the .300 Blackout has a ballistic coefficient of .463, whereas the "standard" 150 grain bullet has a ballistic coefficient of .503 -- i.e., the .300 Blackout bullet is not as aerodynamic as the same weight bullet for the .308/.30-06. I presume (and this is what I'm reading) is that the difference is because the bullet intended for the .300 Blackout offers reliable expansion at lower velocities. While I'm seeing good reviews for it (see, e.g., these at Midway), it sounds like these are out of 16 inch barrels, but I would like to see what it does out of a shorter barrel.
      • "6.5 Grendel vs 308 – The Part Everyone Misses"--Abe's Gun Cave. The author makes the argument that you need enough power to get a bullet to the vitals and reliably expand doing so, and any extra energy is superfluous. He adds: "Truthfully, I think the 6.5 Grendel has three big advantages compared to the .308: Lighter weight, lower recoil and less expensive ammo." Also:
               Most deer are taken under 100 yards.  Virtually all the rest are taken under 200 Yards. Most shooters have ZERO business taking longer shots.  I’m a pretty good shot and I wouldn’t dream of shooting game farther for ethical reasons.
                  Since probably 90% of game are taken at those ranges, realize there is ZERO effective difference between the 308 and 6.5 Grendel’s ability to reliably anchor game…
          What I would be concerned about is whether the 6.5 Grendel has the power to take a quartering shot at an animal. It's one thing to take game that is presenting side-on to you, and quite a different issue if the bullet is going to need to penetrate through a shoulder. Certain loadings of the 6.5 Grendel do deliver over 1,000 foot-pounds of energy at 300 yards, so it is considered viable for antelope and white tail size game
          • "5.56mm Ammo Comparison: M193 vs. M855 and Equivalents"--Modern Survival Online. The M193 uses a 55-grain FMJ bullet, and was intended for use out of a 1:12 twist barrel. At velocities above 2,700 fps it can fragment violently, but has a poor reputation for barrier penetration. The M855 cartridge uses a 62 grain, boat tail, lead core bullet with a steel penetrator, with a specified muzzle velocity of 3,020 feet per second (out of a 22-inch barrel, I believe). It won't stabilize out of a 1:12 twist barrel, and may be problematic out of a 1:9 twist barrel. The author notes: "Where this round shines over the M193 is its more reliable fragmentation characteristics and improved performance through intermediate barriers. Light metal, brush and dense fabric will do little to disrupt the M855. Heavy masonry and automobile glass, as well as modern armor, will still greatly disrupt or defeat it, however. Remember, it is not a true AP round."
          • "The Smith and Wesson M1917 .45ACP: A Big-Bore World War Wheelgun (#3 – Allied Small Arms WWII)"--Guns America. When the U.S.A. was sucked (suckered?) into the First World War, it did not have enough 1911 pistols, so the Army turned to Smith & Wesson and Colt to produce revolvers using the .45 ACP. The .45 ACP was loaded using half-moon clips that held 3 rounds each. 
          • "Tsunami unleashes terrifying waves which tear through Indonesian city after 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes"--Daily Mail. The current death toll stands at 832, according to The Guardian, but could climb into the thousands. One thing of note with this disaster, is that there was an initial quake which prompted a tsunami alert, but after the tsunami alert was lifted, there was an aftershock more powerful than the original quake which produced the tsunami.


          You may have seen a video showing how to use two box wrenches to break open a padlock. In this video, the author explains that the method typically demonstrated attacks the lock at its strongest point, but turning one of the wrenches perpendicular to the other, you employ all your force against the weakest portions of the locking mechanism.

          • "Can We Trust the FBI?"--Roger Simon at PJ Media. President Trump has ordered the FBI to investigate Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh. But given the FBI's soft coupe against Trump, Simon asks if we can trust them to make such an investigation:
                  Peter Strzok.  Lisa Page.  AndrewMcCabe.  James Comey.
                    Sound familiar?
                       That's the FBI -- the folks who are being asked to investigate, apparently for one week,  the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.  Yes, that group is mercifully gone now, but who is behind them?  And what have we not yet learned of the internal conspiracy against President Trump currently being investigated by the inspector general?  Who else is involved and who then will be conducting and supervising this investigation? Will it be the same people?
                         In other words, can we trust the FBI with this when the institution itself is so tainted and deeply in need of reform?
                           This is the stuff of totalitarian cultures. If things were different, we could applaud an investigation into Judge Kavanaugh's activities and, I would imagine, so would he.  It would clear his name once and for all and he could go on with his life.  But no one would suggest an investigation by the NKVD or the Stasi would be fair.  What can we say about the FBI, given what we already know?
                    The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, bishop of Gloucester, the Church of England’s first female diocesan bishop, said: “I don’t want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as he,” adding that it was important to be “mindful of our language”.
                    The article also mentions that only 2% of young adults in England consider themselves to be members of the Church of England. What we are seeing is how a liberal religion responds to circling the drain, by doubling down.
                    Normally, impeachment is discussed as a remedy for offenses committed while in office, but there is precedent for removing a judge for acts that took place prior to confirmation. That 2010 situation, involving Judge Thomas Porteous–who was accused of corruption, taking bribes, and perjury–is relevant here. In the past, the House had declared that impeachment was meant solely for acts committed while in office, but Porteous’ actions included a cover-up during his confirmation process that could have made it easier for him to take office in the first place.
                    I frankly do not understand the Democrats hostility toward Kavanaugh since Kavanaugh hasn't marked himself as a judicial activist judge--he's not going to chart new territory or challenge past precedent such as Roe v. Wade. At least, he wasn't prior to all of what has happened. Part of me hopes that he has been red-pilled by all of this. In any event, some of the theories kicking around is that this is pay back for Kavanaugh's participation in the investigation against Bill Clinton when he (Kavanaugh) worked as part of Ken Starr's team
                    So it seems that humans evolved with a characteristic lifespan. Mortality rates in traditional populations are high during infancy, before decreasing sharply to remain constant till about 40 years, then mortality rises to peak at about 70. Most individuals remain healthy and vigorous right through their 60s or beyond, until senescence sets in, which is the physical decline where if one cause fails to kill, another will soon strike the mortal blow.
                    Moreover, "[t]he maximum human lifespan (approximately 125 years) has barely changed since we arrived." (See also Genesis 6:3, setting man's life span at 120 years).
                             ... And [printed circuit boards, or PCBs] with a good ground plane are essential for high-frequency circuits operating at more than a few megahertz. A ground plane is a large area of copper that’s used as a low-inductance electrical return path from components to a circuit’s power supply. It prevents parasitic capacitance from smearing high-frequency signals into noise, and the absence of a ground plane is why you can’t build a high-frequency circuit using a breadboard and expect it to work well, or at all.
                               But rapid prototyping with PCBs has drawbacks compared with the speed and ease of building a circuit on a breadboard. You can quickly make your own PCBs—as long as you don’t mind the mess and some stained clothing and are willing to drill your own through holes. Or you can send your PCB layout to be made by a commercial service, but this takes several days at least and is more expensive.
                                 So I began thinking about practical alternatives for high-frequency circuits that can provide maker-friendly prototypes that are fast to build, and easy to probe and alter. In this article, I’ll be presenting one key idea; some follow-on strategies will appear on the IEEE Spectrum website in the coming weeks. I should say that I make no claims of originality: Indeed I employ some oft-forgotten, decades-old techniques, but they turn out to be surprisingly useful in an age of surface-mount components operating at gigahertz frequencies.
                            He continues:
                              So how do you mount an integrated circuit on a board that’s mostly a single ground plane with no through holes? You bend the IC’s ground pins back so that they touch the surface, and solder them to the ground plane, holding the IC in place. You bend the other pins parallel to the board and solder connecting wires directly to them. Sometimes this is referred to as the “dead bug” method because of the way ICs look with their legs sticking out. As a bonus, the dead-bug method makes soldering surface-mount components easier than with a conventional PCB, as the contacts are more accessible. The ground plane also provided a convenient place to attach the heat sink of my comb generator’s power regulator.
                                Read the whole thing, if this type of thing interests you.

                                Thursday, September 27, 2018

                                September 27, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                "Battle of Marawi"--Army Special Forces (9 min.)
                                This video, apparently produced by the Philippines' Army Special Forces, puts together both military footage and footage captured from the ISIS-inspired Maute Group, to give a glimpse into the fighting necessary to liberate the city of Marawi from the Maute Group. A good look at what urban combat looks like.

                                • "Magpul RLS Sling Review: A Modern Shooting Sling"--Modern Rifleman. Shooting slings are designed to take much of the force needed to hold a rifle steady when shooting off-hand. You may have seen videos from WWII training films showing the sling being used to cinch tight against the upper arm. Magpul's has attempted to come out with a modern iteration priced at a very reasonable $19. The author thought that it was good enough that he replaced his standard G.I. sling on his AR with the Magpul sling. He writes:
                                I found the sling to be a well made product for shooters who still want to sling a shot. On my A2 rifle, I found the use of the product both intuitive and simple. It was possible to quickly mount the rifle with sling support by sliding into the large open loop. The second possibility is to slide the keeper down to the bicep to tighten up the sling. It will not get as tight as a 1907 (from my memory) or a nylon USGI (which acts as a noose), but it certainly is faster than older style slings. When utilized, the keeper squeezes the back and sides of the bicep which enhances the friction and keeps the sling in place that much better. The keeper slides down the sling smoothly. Installing the sling required re-threading the loose end of the sling through the keeper with a screwdriver. The keeper grips the sling tightly while still being easy to move up and down the sling.
                                I have a couple shooting slings, but they are both from Riflecraft, which makes very good rifle slings at reasonable prices. They offer a basic sling for under $40 which covers all the basics, an advanced rifle sling with some improvements, and a cross-body loop sling that is quickly tightened or loosened for use. I have a basic sling and the cross-body and am pleased with both.
                                • "How To Fix A Gritty Glock Trigger"--The Gun Rack. If you have the time, inclination, and an emery board, Patrick R. will tell you the one area on the trigger connector to smooth out the pull.
                                • "Tire Plugs"--Blue Collar Prepping. If you get a nail or screw through your tubeless tire, tire plugs offer an easy to fix the hole. Although advertised as temporary fixes, the author notes that the plugs can easily last months or years. In any event, if you have seen these kits, there is essentially a rubber plug, a round rasp for roughing up the inside of the hole, rubber cement to bind the plug to the tire, and a tool for inserting the plug. And they are cheap. I have had a kit for years (probably need to replace the rubber cement), but (thankfully) have never had to use it--I've been able to get the tires into a shop for repair. But in the woods or after SHTF you might not have the luxury. 
                                • "Featured Gun: The Remington 870 Wingmaster"--Tin Can Bandit's Gunsmithing. A short history of the Remington 870 pump shotgun, first introduced in 1950.
                                • "Politically Incorrect Preparedness: Immigrants and choosing where to live"--The Modern Survivalist. Although FerFal is an immigrant who currently resides in Spain, he gets the concern over immigrants and social disorder. So, in response to a question from a reader, he has to conclude that it is better to choose to live where there are fewer immigrants than not. He writes:
                                         Don’t get me wrong. I’m probably the least political correct person you’ll come across but I also believe that the majority of those people washing ashore lately are indeed desperate people that just want to survive and have good lives. But I also admit that there are evil people among them, and even among the “good” ones they are essentially very different people, with very different core values of what’s right and wrong compared to Christian/Western civilization cultures.
                                         So yes, I do take it into account and I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a city with a large percentage of “refugees”, no matter how much I may sympathize with the suffering they have endured.
                                  • This looks interesting: Serepick is offering an OSS Ceramic - Lapel Dagger for $40.00. It even comes with a plastic sheath with holes drilled to sew into the lapel of a shirt. 
                                  • "From the American Rifleman Archives: 'In the System:' M1 Garand Rebuilds"--American Rifleman. It is difficult to find a "correct" grade of M1--one with all of its original parts--because of repairs in the field, overhauls in theaters of the war and, later, by armories in the United States, and sometimes complete rebuilds by Springfield and Rock Island armories in the late 1940's and through the 1950's. In addition, if you happen to purchase an M1 that was part of a lend-lease program, it may have been repaired by a foreign armory. Anyway, this article gives interesting history of the M1 overhauls and refurbishments by U.S. armories, including the cartouches that would be stamped into the stocks to help identify where and (approximately) when it was done.
                                  • I saw a link to this over at Instapundit: "I Drove a Pickup Full of Supplies to a Town Flooded by Florence, and Here Is What I Saw"--Popular Mechanics. No media, but he reports that the Red Cross is there, and urges readers to donate a few bucks to it.

                                  "INCELS Spark CIVIL WAR in EUROPE"--Black Pigeon Speaks (12-1/2 min)
                                  BP begins this video by looking at the gender imbalance in countries such as China and India, where there are significantly more male children being born than females, and reviews the academic literature linking gender imbalance to increased crime and social unrest. He then notes that the influx of refugees into Europe, most of whom are military age men, is creating the same imbalance there. Throw in the inevitable backlash as local men start to protect their women against outsiders, and there are all of the ingredients for violent conflict. My thought after watching this is that anyone that supports massive immigration supports civil war.

                                         Researchers with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) conducted a longitudinal study of dating violence. While reports of physical abuse went down over time, they say there is a troubling gender-related trend.

                                         Five percent of teens reported physical abuse from their dating partners in 2013, down from 6 percent in 2003. But in the last year, 5.8 percent of boys reported dating violence compared to 4.2 percent of girls.

                                         “It could be that it’s still socially acceptable for girls to hit or slap boys in dating relationships,” says lead author Catherine Shaffer, a PhD student with SFU, in a release. “This has been found in studies of adolescents in other countries as well.”
                                    Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive scientist and law professor who has studied memory for more than 40 years, with a particular focus on how it unfolds in the courtroom, has advanced a number of illuminating studies over the years. One gathered information on 300 people in the United States who had gone to prison for crimes they did not commit, as proved by later DNA evidence. Of those 300 (some of whom were imprisoned as long as 30 years), three-quarters of the convictions were the result of the false memories of the accuser.
                                              When a relationship has become so toxic that you can’t stand to be around each other and are dreaming of being with someone else, it’s past time for a breakup. Don’t bother salvaging it for the small benefit of a few extra bangs and the continuity of your shared social circle, because you’ll pay more for it with your sanity and well-being in the long run.
                                               That’s where I am with America now. I no longer want to share a country with the dumbf[***] lunatics who believe a lying psychoyenta like swetnick and wave their rage against everything I hold dear, in my face, every day, all day long.
                                                 Break it up. America is overdue for a separation. Do it. It can be amicable now, or ugly later. But the breakup is coming either way.
                                            Wars are on the rebound. There are twice as many civil conflicts today, for example, as there were in 2001. And the number of nonstate armed groups participating in the bloodshed is multiplying. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), roughly half of today’s wars involve between three and nine opposing groups. Just over 20 percent involve more than 10 competing blocs. In a handful, including ongoing conflicts in Libya and Syria, hundreds of armed groups vie for control. For the most part, these warring factions are themselves highly fragmented, and today’s warriors are just as likely to be affiliated with drug cartels, mafia groups, criminal gangs, militias, and terrorist organizations as with armies or organized rebel factions.
                                                     Although the author doesn't use the term failed states, that is the gist of the cause: whether Mexico, Brazil, Libya, or other "hot spot," the fact is that the government is unable to exert control over certain regions or areas, with the consequence that gangs and militia's thrive and are spreading to other countries like a contagion. 
                                                       The author continues:
                                                         Today’s crime wars hark back to a pre-Westphalian era of perpetual conflict involving feudal kingdoms and marauding bandits.This partly explains why the norms developed to regulate armed conflict between modern states don’t really apply.
                                                            In the classical view, criminal groups (such as mafias, gangs, and cartels) are not political actors formally capable of waging war. This means they can’t be treated as enemy combatants, nor can they be tried for war crimes. Yet, increasingly, such groups do advance tangible political objectives, from the election of corrupted politicians to the creation of autonomous religious states. What is more, they routinely govern, control territory, provide aid and social goods, and tax and extort money from the populations under their control. They also often collude with corrupt soldiers, police, prison guards, and customs officials to expand their rule. Put succinctly, cartels and gangs may not necessarily aim to displace recognized governments, but the net result of their activities is that they do.
                                                      The author goes on to urge the UN and international community to determine whether these gangs are merely a domestic crime situation, or should be treated as insurgencies.
                                                               At this point, I would direct your attention to a post from Bayou Renaissance Man, which is my source for the Foreign Policy article. There, Peter Grant offers some experiences and lessons he learned from when he worked as an aid worker in Africa. He notes that "[i]n traveling through Africa for many years, I accepted as a fact of life that the authority of the national government was likely to be transient at best once away from the capital city." For that reason, he learned to travel with cash or precious metals to use as bribes. In one instance, because the bribe was too high, he refused to pay, and was nearly killed in a stabbing attack. He relates that he subsequently went to an attorney--a "fixer"--with whom he left money and instructions that the money should be used to put out contracts on anyone who attacked him, and obtained a "receipt" from that attorney to verify the matter to locals. Grant continues:
                                                          From then on, whenever I went into that area, I had an armed escort within a few minutes, one or two men armed with AK-47's showing up and shadowing my every footstep.  They weren't there to see what I was doing.  They were there to make sure no-one else bothered me or caused me any trouble.  Their bosses were under no illusions.  They knew that their safety was contingent upon mine.  We understood each other.  I was able to continue and complete my work there in as close to safety as it was possible to find in that part of the world, at that time.
                                                          • Feel good story of the day: "Texas Boy Thought to Be Nonverbal Can Speak After Dentist Discovers He's 'Tongue-Tied'"--Inside Edition. The 6 year old boy was thought to be developmentally delayed and had been to see numerous dentists and speech therapists since he was 1 year old--and none, until now, had ever thought to look under his tongue. Per the article, not only can the boy talk fine, but "[m]any physical ailments Mason had long struggled with have become manageable or have all but disappeared." It really takes parents willing to fight and work to deal with some of these issues. It took going round and round with doctors and therapists, and going from one to another, to get the correct diagnosis and help for one of our boys. And this was over a period of years, not weeks or months. 

                                                          Wednesday, September 26, 2018

                                                          POTD: Abandoned House In The Mountains

                                                          (Source) No information on the photographer or where it is located.

                                                          September 26, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                          The producer of this video "tests" out what a self-defense "expert" advises women for self-defense--getting on your back and kicking with both legs to fend off one or more attackers. I put the "tests" in quotes because it didn't look like Dewey and his crew were putting a lot of effort into it, but he does accurately illustrate that if you are on the ground and there are multiple opponents, you are going to get stomped into the ground. I put "expert" into quotes because there are a lot of people out there selling security theater to women, and this expert advised women to do one of the worst things you can do in a fight against multiple attackers. In any event, having been the subject of much ire from one of my older brothers growing up, I can tell you from personal experience that a two legged kick delivered while you are on your back can be effective against a single attacker. However, it is best delivered from an elevated position, such as a couch or bed, so it can strike the hips or torso; it must be both feet at the same time intended to push or knock the attacker back; and it must be sudden so that the attacker can't grab your legs ... and then, when they are off balance, get up and run like hell. 

                                                          • There is a new Woodpile Report. He has some discussion regarding the potential of a civil war and what it might be like which are worth an extra look.
                                                          • And, since it is Wednesday, Grant Cunningham has Your Hump Day Reading List including links to articles on keeping your family safe when you are in public, what to do if you arrive home and discover that your front door has been kicked open, using the lever action for self-defense, and more.
                                                          • "Why the .308 Sucks – And the Military Knew It"--Abe's Gun Cave. Similar to the video from the other day on the M-14, this article discusses why .308/7.62 NATO was a poor choice for a military rifle round, starting with the military knew that the .30-06 was overpowered, but selected a new round that was almost the equivalent weight and recoil. However, the positive point overlooked by the author is that .308 was designed for fire from automatic weapons, so it shorter and better able to handle the stress of feeding and extraction than the .30-06. And military considerations aside, it is a nice hunting cartridge, and anyone that uses a bolt-action rifle should appreciate the shorter action that the .308 allows over the .30-06 or .270.
                                                          • "10 Tips for Using a Generator"--The Family Handyman. Some of these should be self-evident, but, as the saying goes, common-sense isn't all that common. The points are: (1) never use a generator inside or too close to your house because carbon monoxide and other fumes; (2) never "backfeed" power into your home because it isn't nice to shock the linesman trying to repair power lines; (3) let the generator cool down before refueling because hot engine + gasoline; (4) store and pour safely because gasoline can be dangerous; (5) run the generator on a level surface; (6) keep enough oil and filters on hand to get you through an extended power outage; (7) don't use too long of an extension cord because Ohm's law, with the author recommending 100 feet or less; (8) adequately secure your generator so it can't be stolen; (9) don't let your generator run out of gas and shut off; and (10) make sure that you are using good fuel, which means either rotating your fuel or using a stabilizer.
                                                          • "Chicago Police Department Plan for Dealing With the Van Dyke Verdict Has Some Gaping Holes"--The Truth About Guns. Jason Van Dyke is a Chicago PD officer on trial for murder for shooting and killing a drug crazed, knife wielding black thug named Laquan McDonald. McDonald's family has been agitating for protests no matter the verdict. The Chicago PD plans on having more boots on the ground to deal with possible unrest, including longer shifts, but there are two gaping holes according to the author of the cited article: the two shifts planned do not overlap, and so there will be time around the shift changes when there will effectively be no police on patrol.
                                                          • "Shotgun Target Leads – Four Techniques Explained"--Guns America Blog. The author concludes:
                                                          In my opinion, the two most consistent types of leads are swing through and pull away. These two leads already have the gun speed and lead built into the shot and it is much easier for the shooter to recognize the angle and placement of the shot. They both work very well across all of the clay target sports as well as in the field. These also require the least amount of practice, which allows the weekend warrior and everyday outdoorsmen to have great success on the range and in the field.
                                                          • "8 Affordable Home-Defense Shotguns Under $200"--Shooting Illustrated. I appreciate the efforts to bring affordable firearms to the market, but I also think that if you are going to spend your hard-earned money on something like a firearm, you should get what you want, even if that means trying to find a less expensive, used version, or saving up for a longer time.

                                                          "FACTS | Part 4: Data Selection Matters"--Suspicious Observers (4 min.)
                                                          There is an old saying that the data will confess to anything if you torture it enough. This video covers some of the data "torture" for global warming, which is essentially that most climate "scientists" cherry pick their data set to confirm what they set out to prove--that there is recent global warming due to increased CO2 production. But, if you start looking at things longer term, like the last 1,000 or 2,000 years, the correlation doesn't hold up. In addition, we've had lower volcanic activity and, therefore, less cooling aerosols from volcanoes, over the past several hundred years.

                                                          • Related: "The Cost Of Protecting The Lavender Mafia"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. Key point: "It is entirely possible that law in the U.S. could move in directions that would undermine the bishops’ legitimate authority over their priests and their dioceses."
                                                                   What consequences do we impose on the Democrat Party for stooping to this level? Let’s understand that this isn’t just about Brett Kavanaugh — though if it’s restricted to him the events of the past week are destructive and outrageous enough. Who will consent to running for office now? Who will stand for a federal appointment confirmable by the Senate?
                                                                     Who will be willing to crawl through the mile of rancid sewer-pipe that is the American political process just to achieve a government job?
                                                                       The answer is the one the Democrats want it to be. Namely, that no conservative will tolerate what Kavanaugh is fighting through. In the future, as National Review’s Andrew McCarthy said, our options will be restricted to polite progressives or the Democrats’ pet RINO’s, if not the hard-core socialists and cultural Marxists the Left would like to impose on us. There is a stark choice — either to go gently into this good night of American dissolution, or fight. Hard. Now.
                                                                  Frankly, the actions of the Democrats and the Left remind me of Kyle Reese's warning in Terminator: "Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead." With the exception of fear, it pretty accurately describes the Left and its current war on all that is good.
                                                                         I think that what we are seeing is not just the normal conflict between opposite political viewpoints, or even the socialist revolution of which the Left has dreamt, but something civilizational and primal. I've tried to address in this blog some of the more prominent thinkers about comparative civilizations and the decline and fall of civilizations. Whether you focus on the natural life cycles of civilizations as espoused by Spengler, the breakdown of societies due to overwhelming complexity as theorized by Tainter, or other theories of civilizational collapse, they all point at our being at or near an inflection point. What has puzzled me is this: what comes next? For there ought to be some sign of the culture that will replace ours, but it just doesn't seem clear to me what it is. If Spengler's ideas have merit, the new culture will be vital, not stagnant, and rooted in the people and the land, not the dead world cities. 
                                                                         Today, at the Z-Blog, the author discussed that what is coming is revolutionary, not conservative--at least, not conservative in the sense of returning to the past. He writes:
                                                                           This age may be another such confluence. Like the interwar period, there are many forces in conflict with one another today. You have global capitalism, which is disrupting the normal functioning of western societies. There is the collapse of the Cold War political order, that is collapsing the domestic political arrangements within nations. There’s mass migration, where hundreds of millions seek to move from the fringe of civilization into the heart of it. Of course, there are the various reactions to these forces, as well.

                                                                      * * *
                                                                               For example, the alt-right is not about restoring an old order. To assume that misses the fundamental point. Richard Spencer has spoken for years about how the past is what caused the current crisis. To return to 1950’s America, for example, means replaying the 1960’s and 1970’s with the same outcomes. His concept of the ethno-state, even if it is limited to North America, results in an America that is completely different than anything imagined by conventional politics. His idea is a complete departure from the liberal past.
                                                                                I don't know much of what Richard Spencer stands for and, therefore, won't comment on it. However, I am familiar with Vox Day's Fourteen Points. And what stands out to me is that Day's summary of the Alt-Right positions suggests a return to biological reality, and, therefore, offers a glimpse of something that may represent a root culture with ties to the land and nature. If so, what we are witnessing may not be a war between the Left and the Right, but between the ossified world city civilization and the young culture that may replace it.  
                                                                               I don't look outside the United States for any such culture because there are no outside, dynamic civilizations currently extant. Arab Civilization, for instance, has been essentially dead for centuries, even if its carcass twitches now and again.
                                                                               China, I believe, is also a civilization that is on life support. The input of Western technology and industry gives it a semblance of vitality, but its just a veneer. The moral and religious base is long gone, its demographics are crashing, and it, too, depends on women being workers rather than mothers--all signs of civilization in its winter.  
                                                                               India has similarly been stagnant for centuries. While its birthrates suggest vitality, it is just a dead cat bounce resulting from Western technology; in particular, medicine and agriculture. 
                                                                               Like China, Russian civilization was killed off by Communism. Whether something new is shaping up remains to be seen. 
                                                                               Sub-Saharan Africa has never produced any civilizations of note, and I don't see that changing any time soon. 
                                                                               Looking to Spengler for guidance, the hallmarks of a new vibrant culture will be: a deep connection to the land and its people; man and woman fulfilling biological roles of provider and mother, respectively, together with a high fecundity rate; a vital and strong religion and faith; a confidence and hope in the future that disdains hedonism and nihilism.

                                                                        Monday, September 24, 2018

                                                                        Is Rod Rosenstein's Departure A National Emergency?

                                                                                David Frum seems to think so. In a piece entitled "Rosenstein’s Departure Is a National Emergency," Frum goes on a stream of consciousness tirade that Rosenstein's departure will somehow upend the rule of law. And, perhaps more worryingly to Frum, "[i]f the president can browbeat Rosenstein into resigning—or even plausibly misrepresent the firing as a resignation—Trump gains the power to bypass the Senate confirmation process under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. He can replace Rosenstein with any serving official previously confirmed by the Senate to any other job." The horror, the horror!

                                                                               I don't think that it is lost on Frum that senior government officials work at the pleasure of the Chief Executive, the President--he just doesn't want his readers to realize it. Trump would be within his rights--and in accord with the law--to terminate Rosenstein for any reason or no reason at all. Rosenstein works at the sufferance of the President, not the Senate, the federal bureaucracy, or newspaper and magazine columnists.

                                                                               What we see here is Frum defending the deep state (deep statists?): the unelected bureaucrats that have immunized themselves from the will of the people or their elected representatives, pressing forward with their pet policies and to hell with the citizenry.

                                                                               Pearl Harbor was a national emergency, the 9/11 attacks were a national emergency. Some statist flunky losing his job is not.

                                                                        September 24, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                        "Why I Despise the M14..."--Small Arms Solutions (31 min.)
                                                                        It was the best rifle for the Army's bureaucracy, requiring little innovation and keeping the Army's Springfield Armory busy.

                                                                                 The hunter, Corey Chubon, and Mark Uptain, the guide, had almost finished processing the 4×4 elk. Mark Uptain, the guide, was attacked first, as he was cutting off the elk's head.  The 250-pound sow grizzly gave no warning. She was first seen in an all-out charge downhill. As the bear mauled Uptain, Corey Chubon, the client, accessed a pistol at their packs, a few yards uphill from the elk.
                                                                                   The pistol involved did not belong to Chubon, the bowhunter who had shot the 4×4 elk.  It belonged to Mark Uptain. Corey accessed the pistol, but could not get it to fire. As he was attacked, he tried to throw the pistol to Mark Uptain.
                                                                                     The pistol never reached Mark. The pistol was a Glock....
                                                                                Glocks are the epitome of the point and shoot pistol, so the author speculates that, like many guides, Uptain carried his pistol with an empty chamber and that was why Chubon couldn't get it to work.
                                                                                •  "Classic Guns: French FAMAS Bullpup Rifle"--Shooting Illustrated. Yet for all of its positive points, France is replacing it with the HK 416F--an AR style rifle with a traditional lay out.
                                                                                • I don't think that this was something bought by a straw-purchaser at a U.S. gun store and then smuggled across the border: "Mexican Army Seizes Cartel’s Belt-Fed Machine Gun, Grenades near U.S. Border"--Breitbart
                                                                                • Time for common-sense doctor control? "Medical Malpractice Deaths over 500 Times Higher than Accidental Gun Deaths"--Breitbart
                                                                                • True colors: "It’s Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them" by Phoebe Maltz Bovy at The New Republic. Bovy argues that "It’s not about dividing society into 'good' and 'bad' gun owners. It’s about placing gun ownership itself in the 'bad' category." She never explains why gun ownership should be considered "bad," but I would expect that it is because she simply cannot stomach any hint of adversity, or perhaps she has a phobia about the goyim being armed. And in another fit of inadvertently telling the truth, she notes that guns laws are not governed by the Second Amendment, but by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment. This is a true statement. I've noted before that our Constitution can be amended by a majority vote of the Supreme Court--it is nice to see someone else acknowledge that, even if from the mouth of the enemy. In any event, watch out--she makes no exception for hunting or shooting sports. 
                                                                                • Killing some sacred cows: "9mm vs 40 S&W vs 45 ACP & 'Stopping Power'"--Abe's Gun Cave. The author contends that kinetic energy doesn't matter, stopping power is a myth, and the difference in the size of the hole made by 9 mm. v. .40 S&W v. .45 ACP is too minimal to worry about. He backs up some of this from the FBI's findings that prompted the FBI to switch to the 9mm from the .40 S&W. I may be biased because of my dislike of the .40 S&W, but I thought it was a good article and is worth your time to read.

                                                                                "Purpose & Existence"--Isaac Arthur (27 min.) 
                                                                                One of the obvious implications of the post-second coming Millennium, as described in Revelation, is that we will be living in a post-scarcity society. Even absent the religious angle, futurists recognize that we are close to achieving the technology for such a society. So, if the struggle for existence is past, what do we do when we have too much time on our hands? In this video, Arthur looks at these issues and suggests that we will still be able to live meaningful lives. We Christians are so wrapped up with the Second Coming and its attendant disasters that we often forget to look beyond it to the coming Millennium. So it is worth while to look at this video for what life and meaning might be like in such a world.

                                                                                • "The Perils of Our Liberal Hegemony"--The American Conservative. An argument that the current mess in much of the world is because of liberal progressives not in spite of. Main point: 
                                                                                The core of the problem, writes Mearsheimer, was America’s post-Cold War resolve to remake the world in its own image. The predictable result has been chaos, bloodshed, an intractable refugee crisis besetting the Middle East and Europe, increased tensions among major powers, curtailment of civil liberties at home, and generally an “abysmal record of failure.”
                                                                                • I thought there was something in the Bible about not being able to serve two masters .... "China's Catholic Church pledges loyalty to Party after Vatican deal"--Reuters. From the article: "China’s Catholic Church reaffirmed its loyalty to the country’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday, while welcoming a landmark deal struck with the Vatican on appointing new bishops." Also:
                                                                                         China’s around 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.
                                                                                           The Catholic Church in China said it would “persevere to walk a path suited to a socialist society, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”
                                                                                      Will camps and other outdoor activities be part of the new experience in 2020?
                                                                                        Yes. Camps and other outdoor activities will be an important part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ. Children and youth may participate in Primary day camps, Young Women camps, Young Men camps, and high adventure activities. Local leaders, youth, and parents will identify and provide outdoor activities that invite spiritual experiences and meet the needs of their children and youth.
                                                                                          What other types of activities will be part of the new experience?
                                                                                            Activities will be based on needs rather than requirements. Weekday activities, outdoor adventures, and youth conferences will continue as a vital part of helping children and youth learn, develop friendships, serve, and strengthen faith in Jesus Christ.
                                                                                              Still vague, but at least it shows that there is some planning in the works.
                                                                                              • "Do Not Leave the Savior"--a talk by Elder Kevin W. Pearson. He offers and explains 6 points for spiritual survival: (1) Love and obey God first; (2) hold personal prayer; (3) seek learning by study and faith; (4) search the scripture daily; (5) focus on the big picture; and (6) trust in Christ. I was watching a video recently that delved into the origin of the word prayer, and, according to the video, it traced back to a Sumerian word that meant "to work for." Thus, if the video was correct, praying to God means "working for" God. So, our prayers are not just what we say when we are on our knees in the morning or evening, but our very words and actions, especially those in service to God.

                                                                                              Glock Imperfection

                                                                                              "Glock 'Perfection'? You Keep Using That Word…"--Active Self Protection Extra (8 min.)


                                                                                                   Glock has announced a new pistol--the Glock 45 which, confusingly, is a 9 mm pistol. Essentially, it is a Glock 19X, except in black and eliminating some of the problems with the 19X--essentially the lack of forward slide serrations and getting rid of the 19X's "front toe" which supposedly was to make it easier to strip out a magazine.

                                                                                                     Glock likes to advertise its products with the phrase "Glock Perfection." But echoing The Princess Bride, John Correia of Active Self Protection notes in the video above that, although Glock keeps using that word, they don't seem to know what it means. First of all, as Correia notes, buying a Glock is not the end of the story, because to really get the weapon ready for street use, there are a lot of changes that need to be made. At a minimum, the crappy plastic factory sights need to be replaced, and most people opt for changes to lighten the trigger, whether a 3.5 lbs trigger connector, different springs, or whatever. Especially with some of the older generations, the frame could also use some modifications to make it better including a deeper undercut behind the trigger guard and stippling to make the grip more grippy. Other changes a lot of people opt for are a better slide stop lever (the standard is just a bit of bent over steel that is almost useless--although the extended lever that ships on the competition models, such as the Glock 34, is usable) and/or a better magazine release button. So, when you buy a Glock, you need to budget in at least another $150 to $200 dollars for upgrades--more if you want work on the grip. Not as bad as the older Colt 1911s which, essentially, had to be rebuilt by a gunsmith to work reliably, but still not perfection. (For the record, when I bought my Glock 34, the trigger was so atrocious that I had to not only purchase a 3.5 connector, but also change out the striker spring with something a bit lighter).

                                                                                                    However, sometimes there are larger problems that, while they don't make the firearm unusable, are annoying. One of those is the tendency for Glocks to shoot to the left. I can almost hear the comments now that it all has to do with stance or grip. In some cases--perhaps even most cases--that is true. But I think there are some mechanical issues at play in some instances. I can't find the post right now, and am not sure where I even read it--I think at The Captain's Journal or Gun Nuts Media--but the author had gone into a store and noted that all of the Glock handguns in the case had the rear sights set far to the right, and commented on the poor quality control. I'm sure that the author thought it was poor quality control in pressing the sights into place, but I suspect that the sights were accurately lined up for the pistols' points of aim--it was the barrel and/or slide that were to blame.

                                                                                                    The reason I suggest this is that my Glock 34 has persistent problems with shooting to the left. When I purchased it, I noted that the rear sight had also been adjusted far to the right. Since it was the display model and the 34 comes with adjustable sights, I just figured that someone had messed with the sights. However, that does not appear to be the case. No matter what I tried, if the sights were centered, the hits were always to the left. I finally gave up, and just readjusted the sights.

                                                                                                   Recently, I read a few articles and saw a couple videos discussing the problems with Glocks shooting to the left, and the authors again asserted that it was something to do with the shooter's hold or stance. One author made suggestions as to how to grip the pistol, and another suggested a simple test--shoot one handed from each hand.  It still bugs me that I have to have the sights so far to the right, so, this weekend, I decided to give the suggestions a try.

                                                                                                    I shot several rounds left handed versus right handed. The rounds did strike just slightly on opposite sides of the point of aim, but not enough to worry about. Then, carefully implementing the steps outlined to "correct" my grip, I shot two handed, resulting in the rounds striking in the middle right at my point of aim. And this is with the sight still adjusted far to the right. So, I give up. I don't have the issue with any other of my handguns, including a different Glock, so I will just leave my sights where they are.

                                                                                                   However, as an addendum, I would note that there is some visual indication that not all is right with the alignment of the barrel. The Glock 34, as you may know, has a long slide that has been lightened by cutting out a portion of the top of the slide near the front, exposing the barrel. As I line the weapon up to get a reflection from a light along the slide and the exposed portion of the barrel, it appears to me that the reflection along the barrel does point slightly toward the left, again suggesting that it may be a mechanical issue.

                                                                                              Saturday, September 22, 2018

                                                                                              Book Review: "The Chief Culprit" by Viktor Suvorov

                                                                                                     This is going to be a quick review of The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II by Viktor Suvorov. The book was published by the Naval Institute Press in 2008, but is an updated and expanded version of an earlier book by the same author.
                                                                                              (Source)

                                                                                                    Suvorov is a former Soviet intelligence officer who defected to the UK in 1978. According to the author, while studying as an intelligence officer, he became intrigued by the question of why all criticism of Stalin had been ruthlessly quashed with one exception: the failure to detect and prepare for the Nazi invasion during World War II--Operation Barbarossa. Although Suvorov did not have direct access to many of the key records, he was able to obtain access to other records that indirectly or partially illuminated the answer: that Stalin was unprepared to defend against a Nazi invasion because he was neck deep in preparing for a Soviet invasion of Germany. Stalin's plan was to encourage Germany to start a war with the Western European powers and, when Germany was exhausted and deeply involved in the European war on the Western Front, invade Germany in derogation of the treaties and agreements it had made to lull Germany into a false sense of security.

                                                                                                     In the first portion of the book, Suvorov spends considerable time detailing how technologically advanced were much of the Soviet equipment at the beginning of World War II compared to its peers--particularly as to tanks and aircraft. I won't bore you with details, but to just take one example was the T-34 tank, which served throughout the course of the war. According to Suvorov, it had superior armor, a more powerful engine, and better design of the tracks (e.g., an optimum width to allow it traverse a wide variety of terrain) than any contemporary tanks. I'm no tank expert, but even to the untrained eye, the configuration of the T-34 is certainly closer to modern tanks than what we see from Germany or any of the allied countries at the time.

                                                                                                    Additionally, according to Suvorov, the Soviets had aircraft, tanks, trucks and other equipment in vast numbers, and the industrial capacity to produce more in high quantities. But where did these disappear to when the Nazis invaded? If you have studied Operation Barbarossa, one of the facts that stick out was the shortage of military equipment and arms. For instance, histories of the beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad describe Soviet troops being rushed into battle without even adequate arms; many had no rifles and had to scavenge rifles from fallen comrades.

                                                                                                     This is where the documents Suvorov was able to access start to fill in the blanks. According to the records, reports, and even bits and pieces from various biographies, speeches and memoirs of senior Soviet officers, huge depots of arms and munitions had been moved up close the Soviet borders, many stockpiled in secret. The Soviets had torn down much of their border defenses, including fortresses and pillboxes, trenches and minefields, to allow the easy passage of their troops. Stalin's plan for invasion had been to make his initial thrust into Romania in order to cut off Germany's access to its oil supply, followed by thrusts elsewhere. Because of the mountainous nature of the terrain, the troops that had built up along the USSR's south-western border were mostly mountain troops; and many of the troops destined for the western border with Germany were still being moved when Hitler assaulted. Moreover, the Soviets were so focused on attack that they had not planned or trained for a defense from an invasion. Thus, when the Nazis attacked, they were able to quickly overrun or destroy the Soviet depots.

                                                                                                    There are some other factors that seem to support Suvorov's theory. First, and one that he spends time on, is that the USSR used similar tactics--guarantees of neutrality followed by invasion when the enemy was weak--on other occasions, including the USSR's invasion of Japanese held territory after Japan was already largely defeated by the U.S. In fact, according to Suvorov, the strategy was almost identical. The USSR had signed a neutrality agreement with Japan promising not to fight against it. It then secretly moved men and material close to the borders. It dismantled defenses to make it easier to cross the border. And then when it invaded, it was with overwhelming force with supplies already prepositioned near the advancing troops.

                                                                                                   Second, it explains the motivations of both Stalin and Hitler proceeding Operation Barbarossa. As we know, prior to WWII, the USSR and Germany had entered into a non-aggression pact and had agreed to splitting up Poland and establishing what other Eastern European countries fell within their respective spheres of influence. As part of the agreements between the USSR and Germany, the USSR promised to provide raw materials to Germany. It was these agreements, and Germany's invasion of western Poland, that enabled Germany to prosecute a war against Western Europe, and, in fact, sparked that very conflict. But, wrapped up with the war in the West, why would Hitler suddenly turn to strike the USSR? Was it because he thought that the war against Britain was a done deal? Or, as Suvorov suggests, did Hitler suddenly become aware of Soviet intentions to invade and realize that the only defense would be to strike first?

                                                                                                    Another point that Suvorov raises is that, notwithstanding the overtures of peace that Stalin publicly made, speeches made in secret to Soviet military leadership, planning, war games, and Soviet doctrine, all emphasized fighting on the enemy's territory, not defending the Soviet Union. That Stalin would take such a position should surprise no one--even when the Bolsheviks were engaged in the Russian civil war, they were still fomenting unrest in the West, and very nearly brought Western Europe to revolution during the 1920's. Moreover, Marxist doctrine--and the primary difference between Communism and National Socialism--was the belief that Communists had to "liberate" the world. It was an expansionist philosophy at its core. Thus, for Stalin to secretly plan to betray Germany and invade was wholly consistent with Communist teaching.

                                                                                                    The final issue that Suvorov discusses was how did the USSR fail to see German preparations for Operation Barbarossa. This is actually a quite extraordinary thing since it is well known that the USSR had intelligence sources high in the German government, and probably even Hitler's inner circle. Suvorov asserts that the USSR's intelligence assets did see the preparations and warned Stalin of the impending Nazi strike. Only, Stalin did not believe the reports because it seemed so incredible to him that Hitler would make such a suicidal decision to open a second front of the war when he didn't have the equipment to support such an invasion, including a complete lack of long-range bombers that could strike Soviet industry east of the Urals, inadequate supplies of fuel, and his troops didn't even have cold-weather clothing.

                                                                                                    In conclusion, Suvorov sets out what I believe to be a compelling case that Stalin had maneuvered Germany into a war with France and the UK for the purpose of weakening the West and opening it to Soviet invasion. If Suvorov is correct, Germany's strike was so crippling to the USSR because the USSR had moved much of its war material to the front allowing it to either be captured or destroyed in the early phases of Germany's invasion. But if it had not been for Operation Barbarossa, the USSR would have been able to deliver a crushing blow to Germany's back, and probably would have had the initiative and momentum to take the Continent.

                                                                                              Friday, September 21, 2018

                                                                                              September 21, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                              "Mantis Dry Fire Monday: More micro-drills" -- Active Self Protection Extra (13 min.)
                                                                                              Working on drawing the firearm from the holster.

                                                                                              • TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Articles include topics such as movement under fire, methods of carry when running or other sports/exercise, a look at a belly band holster that might actually be safe, preventing identity theft, tips from the homeless on how to survive on the street, and more.
                                                                                              • "Effects Of Wind And Weather"--Shooting Sports USA. From the article:
                                                                                                      Shooters are affected by the wind in two ways. The first kind of wind blows on you, the shooter, and affects you and your ability to perform well. The second type of wind blows on the bullet and affects the bullet and where it hits down range.
                                                                                                        Wind that blows on you and affects your ability to perform will probably become the most important factor you will have to face on a particular day. At that point, the wind that affects the bullet down range becomes a minimal problem. You really don’t worry too much about the effect of wind on the bullet because you are concerned with trying to break the shot so you can make a hit. Being able to break the shot on the target becomes your primary concern.
                                                                                                • "Remembering 9-11-2001 and 9-11-2012"--LDS Gunsite. Most of the article is on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, but he also addresses the Benghazi incident and how politicians have tried to sweep it under the rug. Interestingly, he mentions:
                                                                                                  There was an investigation of the Iran-Contra affair by the Tower commission, like Benghazi investigations, came up with a solution that was far from truth. Within that particular investigation aid to the Contras was stopped by Congress. That is a lie. I was at a small American Army made landing strip in Panama well after the aid was supposed to be stopped, and it was not. So, as a powerless ex-President who believes investigations ran by Congress or any other government entity would reveal truth, I know that they do not. Because of those impotent investigations the U.S. military was at a base in Panama and lost 4 good men to an attack. We should not have been there ....
                                                                                                    My first year of college, my circle of friends and acquaintances happened to overlap that of a guy who had been serving with the Rangers, and part of his deployment was to a camp just over the border from Nicaragua. The Russians had officers and troops there as "advisors" as did the United States, but they all participated in fighting. He recounted running into a Soviet officer while driving on a road, and the two spoke for a bit--the officer had attended a university in the United States and wanted to practice his English and catch up on things (if I remember correctly, college sports); a few weeks later, the Ranger's camp was attacked, and the Ranger could see the Soviet officer (among others) in the background helping to direct the attack. All of this was supposedly during a time that we had no troops assisting the rebels.
                                                                                                    • "Decline of Western Civilization"--Dirt Time. The author states that "[w]e aren’t sure exactly where we are as a people in the curve of the decline of a civilization, or whether or not we can affect that decline. However, there is always something that the individual can do – always." He suggests some books, including Morris Berman’s “The Twilight of American Culture," Jane Jacobs' “Dark Ages Ahead,” and his own book, “How to Survive Anywhere."
                                                                                                    • "Drawing From a Seated Position – Tips for Accessing Your Gun In a Hurry"--The Truth About Guns. The author has some tips on how to make it easier to access your handgun from a waist/belt holster when seated in a car or at a desk or table. He also suggests an ankle holster or cross-draw holster if you are seated a lot. Strangely (and this was brought up in the comments), he doesn't mention shoulder holsters. Anyway, an excerpt from the article discussing eating at a restaurant:
                                                                                                             Sitting in a chair at a table affords you much more mobility, making it easier if and when you have to go to your gun. You can easily kick your chair back and away or even push the table aside if necessary.
                                                                                                               As for situational awareness, even better than a vantage point of a restaurant’s entrance is a view of the largest avenue of approach toward your table. If you can see a suspect approaching, you’ll have more time to respond.
                                                                                                        • Strike Industries generally makes some pretty good parts/accessories for firearms. I have used several of their products for ARs and found them, for the most part, to be good quality parts and very innovative. They have just released a new set of "modular" sights for Glock pistols. The "modularity" is that you can switch out the insert in the front sight blade for different colors, fiber optic or opaque. Also, the rear sight uses a groove that narrows toward the bottom, to give you a mix of a wide sight for quick target acquisition and a narrow sight for precise shooting. A couple of articles: one at The Truth About Guns and the other at The Firearm Blog.
                                                                                                        • "Gear Review: SB Tactical SBA3 Pistol Stabilizing Brace"--The Truth About Guns. I've read and watched a lot of reviews about this brace and its all been good. There are three things that appear to set this brace apart from competitors or, even, SB Tactical's other braces. First, it has an adjustable length, using a standard carbine buffer tube (which is included with the brace). It was my understanding that for a "pistol," you had to use a buffer tube that wouldn't accept a stock, but that is apparently not the case. Second, it incorporates a mix of stiff plastic and flexible materials, which makes it less bulky and less likely to collapse or fold. (And, in the unlikely event that you should have to shoulder the brace, it makes for a much nicer cheek rest). Third, this brace weighs substantially less than other braces, including some of the minimalist braces. I had a chance to handle an AR pistol outfitted with this brace the other day, and was very impressed with it. Enough so that I ordered one. So, hopefully, I will soon be able to give you my thoughts based on my actual experience.
                                                                                                        • "Solve the Problem Before You Need Your Gun"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz uses a news report of a woman that was forced to draw a gun on a man that forced his way into her apartment and demanded sex to illustrate that you can often act to diffuse a situation before having to resort to a firearm. However, this involves being aware of pre-attack indicators and being assertive. As Ellifritz writes, "The woman had a bad feeling about her attacker.  Despite this feeling, she chose to ignore her intuition and continue on as if nothing was happening." For instance, in this case, the woman knew the guy was following her, but did nothing; the man followed her through the lobby door to her apartment building (don't know if the door automatically locked, but she might have been able to shut the door in his face); the man entered an elevator with her; he followed her to her apartment door, and then forced his way through the door when she entered; but she apparently did not act until after he was in her apartment. Ellifritz has some advice on how to train yourself to deal with these and similar situations--read it.
                                                                                                        "America in the Crosshairs of CHINESE IMPERIAL EXPANSION"--Black Pigeon Speaks (6-1/2 min.). This video examines some of the strategic considerations motivating China to seek dominance over the South China Sea. The video suggests that a historical corollary is Athens' aims and desires to dominate the Aegean Sea, Rome's efforts to dominate the Mediterranean Sea, or even the United State's actions to dominate the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. I think the analogy is somewhat flawed--the North Sea provides a more apt comparison--but it is a useful video to watch to better understand the situation in the Far East.

                                                                                                        • Heh. "Liberal Elites Are Even Ruining Hamburgers And They Must Be Stopped"--Kurt Schlichter at Town Hall. He begins by pointing out: "Let me be clear, to quote an awful ex-president: Nothing I write here is open to debate. I’m turning the epistemic closure thing back on the libs. It is impossible to disagree with my ground beef rantings, and if you do, you are racist, sexist, and a burgerphobic cisdinner hate criminal of hatred."
                                                                                                        • They are lying to you: "Cornell review finds academic misconduct by food researcher"--AP. The researcher, Brian Wansink, has been removed from all teaching and research duties. This is on top of many of his papers being withdrawn from publication. Wansink's research informed many of the federal government's food guidelines, and gave us Michelle Obama's infamous "healthy" school lunches.
                                                                                                        • Well, well: "Ford's Classmate Backtracks After Saying Attack 'Did Happen'"--Newser via AT&T. This is the classmate that claimed that the alleged attack was the talk of the school after it happened. Now: 
                                                                                                        "That it happened or not, I have no idea. I can't say that it did or didn't," Miranda says. "In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen]." 
                                                                                                        Let me mansplain it for you: she is an attention whore who felt important by making the accusations. 
                                                                                                        With the cooperation of the police agency of a small metropolitan community, 45 consecutive, disposed, false rape allegations covering a 9 year period were studied. These false rape allegations constitute 41% the total forcible rape cases (n = 109) reported during this period. These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations.
                                                                                                        Heartiste points to other studies showing similar results
                                                                                                                Journalists who report that Mike Pence has offered to take a polygraph (to prove that he was not the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed), or that Ford has taken one, without explaining that polygraphs cannot discern truth from falsehood are wasting an opportunity to educate their readers.  If you promulgate the idea that there’s a machine that can tell when someone is lying, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself living in a culture so hostile to science that kids go unvaccinated and measles break out in the First World.
                                                                                                                 A polygraph measures your heart rate, breathing, and galvanic skin response. There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological responses is unique to deception. Polygraphs are useful to investigators trying to elicit a confession, however: if you convince suggestible people that these measurements are associated with lying, they are more likely spontaneously to confess when you tell them, “The machine says you’re lying.”
                                                                                                            The research I've seen indicates that you would get more accurate results by flipping a coin.
                                                                                                            • "Germany: Stifling Dissent to Mass Migration"--Gatestone Institute. Do you remember the recent protests in Chemnitz, Germany, after a couple of cultural-enrichers stabbed a man to death? There were news reports and government statements afterward claiming that protesters where chasing down and beating anyone that looked foreign. Except ... it was all a lie. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, BfV, has come out and said that it never happened. Unfortunately, Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of those that claimed that the incidents occurred, which has landed Maassen in hot water. 
                                                                                                            • "How chivalry (and mamma’s boys) brought us women’s suffrage and feminism."--Dalrock. Harry Burn, a legislator who had adamantly opposed women's suffrage, suddenly and unexpectedly changed his vote after receiving a letter from his mother essentially telling him to be a good boy and vote in favor of suffrage. In Utah, the women's suffrage movement originally arose as an attempt to preserve the practice of polygamy by increasing the number of Mormons eligible to vote. Those hypergamous women that had the high-status males didn't want to lose their positions!
                                                                                                            • "Tragedy as tech company executive, 35, is stabbed to death while on an early evening jog near her home in Washington DC - just one week after getting engaged to be married"--Daily Mail. According to the article, "Police say [the] perpetrator was likely a stranger and it's believed [the] attack was random." Perhaps by coincidence, the victim, Wendy Martinez, worked for a company called FiscalNote, which works on methods to analyze disparate sources of government data in order to identify larger trends and patterns. Its website recounts that: "As we've grown, our mission has expanded beyond government affairs into digital advocacy and issues management, uniting the work of professionals across public, corporate, and government affairs." In any event, there was an arrest made in the attack. But, interestingly, I have yet to see any photographs of the alleged perpetrator, Anthony Crawford. Based on the fuzzy surveillance video that was released, he appears to be a black man, so this is probably another example of the self-censorship employed by the media when it comes to black-on-white violence. 
                                                                                                            • "The Nastiest Feud in Science"--The Atlantic. Well, I don't know about that. Feuds over evidence of human migration to the Americas prior to the "accepted date" generally produce intense fights and threats of censure or loss of jobs. Global warming disputes are pretty rancorous and have even been taken to court. But, back to the article in question, it discusses the dispute about whether the dinosaurs were wiped out by the strike of an asteroid at the edge of the present day Yucatan Peninsula (the Chiczulub crater), or, several million years later, by massive volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps.
                                                                                                            • "Why We Should Still Be Talking About Killing Communists"--The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse. They--communists and their next of kin, socialists--view the state as more important than people, and have no compunction of cutting out of society anyone that disagrees with them. Accordingly, we should talk about killing communists "[b]ecause human lives are more important than Communist lives."