Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019--A Quick Run Around the Web

"A Huge Tip For Using Cover and Concealment"--Active Self Protection Extra (4 min.)
A demonstration of why standing back from cover/concealment makes it harder for a bad guy to see you.
           Firearms instructors out there, have you noticed how many shooters these days have fat butts?
             I’m sorry—I meant their pistols have fat butts. The proliferation of pistols with high capacity, double column magazines has created problems for many shooters, who have handguns that simply do not fit their hands. This makes proper performance difficult, especially when attempting to shoot at speed or under stress. Unfortunately, both of these circumstances are likely in a defensive situation. 
      After discussing what can go wrong with a pistol that is not the right size for the shooter, the author continues:
            So, how do we determine whether a particular pistol fits our student’s hand? First, with a verified unloaded pistol, have the student grasp the pistol correctly, with the backstrap of the grip frame in contact with the length of the palm, and the wrist bones and forearm bones directly behind the grip, in line with the barrel. Now, have him place the pad of the trigger finger on the trigger.

           From above, you should be able to see a clear air gap between his trigger finger and the frame of the pistol, behind the trigger guard (see photos). Next, have the student try to cycle the trigger straight to the rear. Next, see if he can access the controls (safety/decocker, magazine button) without excessively compromising his master grip on the pistol.
      • Related: "ADOPTING A NEW CONCEALED CARRY PISTOL…"--Civilian Gunfighter. The author discusses his difficulties over the years with Glock 19 pistols of various generations because they were just not quite the correct size for his hands--it was just slightly too long for the trigger reach. He has now switched to the S&W M&P9 M2.0. 
              The skills triad is way more simple than that, yet are absolutely the key to handgun shooting success.   Without understanding and mastering them, nothing else matters.   They are:
        1. Recoil Management (gripping the handgun)
        2. Trigger Management (making it go bang without moving it)
        3. Sight Management (keeping the gun aligned on target)

              Think about it for a second. If you can’t hit the target, It doesn’t matter if your draw is blindingly fast, or if you can reload quicker than The Great One – Rob Leatham, or even if you can shoot on the move as well as World Champion Eric Grauffel!   Managing those pesky three things is everything when it comes to actually hitting something.  
              • "Frank Hamer’s Sweetwater Fight: Lessons Learned"--Shooting Illustrated. Hamer was one of the lawmen that tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde. Long before then, in 1917, he was involved in another gunfight over accusations that he had helped murder his wife's ex-husband. He and his wife were ambushed when they stopped at a service station:
                      As Frank Hamer walked back out of the station, he came face to face with Gee McMeans, who had a .45 ACP pistol in his hand and quickly shot Hamer in the shoulder. Hamer slapped the gun down and it went off a second time, hitting him in the thigh. His blow to the 1911 caused it to malfunction, probably causing a failure to feed. With one hand holding the .45, Hamer used his other hand to beat McMeans about the face.
                        As this was going on, McMeans’ henchman, H.E. Phillips, ran up to the struggling pair with his shotgun. He fired at Hamer’s head from close range and missed his whole head, but shredded Frank’s Stetson. As Hamer dropped to the ground, stunned, both of his attackers ran to their nearby car.
                         Recovering somewhat, Hamer drew his .44 Spl. and turned to see McMeans pulling a shotgun from the car. Hamer fired one shot from fairly close range and hit McMeans in the heart, dropping him instantly. Phillips ran for it.
                    • Another case study: "The Medina, North Dakota Shootout"--Tactical Professor. "Thirty-five years ago today, on February 13, 1983, a violent gunbattle took place in Medina, North Dakota. Although less well known than the Miami Massacre in 1986, it was every bit as bloody and violent. Something it had in common with the Miami Massacre was preparation for conflict and the decisiveness of long guns at pistol ranges." Interestingly, the bad guys in both this gun battle and the Miami shooting both used Mini-14s. 
                    • Que the world's smallest violin: "Spanish Police Issued with Obsolete Rifles"--The Firearm Blog. The officers were using the CETME L, probably one of the worst 5.56 assault rifles ever issued. The L models were withdrawn, and the soldiers were issued older CETME C rifles--a 7.62 NATO rifle that is essentially a wood-stocked HK G-3. 
                    • Magpul has announced a few new products for HK weapons, including handguards for MP5s and clones, and a lower receiver (the Navy Style) for HK91s, 93s, and 94s and clones. They are not yet being sold, and prices are still unknown. But soon.

                    "One in the Chamber is Dangerous!"--Four Guys Guns (6 min.)
                    I hope that none of you are carrying a semi-auto with an empty chamber. But if you are, this video may disabuse of that notion. As the host/narrator notes, carrying on an empty chamber is like riding in a car without a seatbelt with the hope that you can put it on before a collision. They use moving targets to demonstrate how little time you may have and how hard it is to get the gun out, rack the slide, and fire ... without something going wrong with the firearm.

                            The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has formally accused Google of scanning billions of personal files of users at the request of the U.S. government. EPIC recently filed a “friend of the court” brief alleging that Google is helping the U.S. government conduct warrantless searches by scanning user files in search of potentially illegal content or evidence of crimes.
                             The brief came in response to United States v. Wilson, a case where Google scanned images of billions of users files in an attempt to track images of missing children reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). After scanning the images contained within users files, Google contacts law enforcement to share information on individuals who may have images of missing children. However, this entire process happens without permission from users or a warrant issued by a court. EPIC’s brief argues that “because neither Google nor the government explained how the image matching technique actually works or presented evidence establishing accuracy and reliability, the government’s search was unreasonable.”
                                 Mark Domingo, 26, a U.S. Army infantryman who fought in Afghanistan and later converted to Islam, was arrested by an undercover officer on Friday after he was allegedly given what he thought was a live bomb to use in the attack. 
                                    Domingo, who wanted retribution for the recent deadly New Zealand mosque attacks, allegedly had plans to plant the bomb at a Nazi rally on Sunday in the Los Angeles suburb of Long Beach.
                                     He was charged in a federal criminal complaint with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and was scheduled to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles later on Monday.   
                              • Related: "Kevin Shipp – Arm Yourself, Dark Left Violence is Coming… Trump Coup Biggest Violation of Constitution in History"--Investment Watch (h/t Anonymous Conservative). He's predicting a lot of violence from the Left as we get closer to the 2020 elections. For some background on Shipp, you can read this article from the New York Times. Short version, though: he is ex-CIA and has sued the government after being posted to Camp Stanley, Texas, when he and his family became sick due to chemical and/or radioactive substances leaking into their home. He was subsequently transferred to Langley, but later left the CIA. The feds invoked "states secrets" as to his claims, meaning that he could not discovery or present evidence, and so his suit was dismissed by the court. Of course, the case is also sealed. This is similar to what happened in a lawsuit against the Air Force leveled by workers at Area 51 that were exposed to hazardous waste. Their suit was also dismissed after the Air Force invoked the states secret doctrine, which dismissal was upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Anyway, whether this makes him any better or believable of a source is up to you.
                                      Witnesses said at least six men armed with guns and knives boarded the rig at 9:30pm and proceeded directly to the third floor to wake up the crew. After locking up workers in the cafeteria, the thieves wandered freely, looting equipment, materials, money and anything of value they could carry.
                                       The pirates departed at 4:00 am on Monday, when the rig’s captain sent an emergency alert to authorities. The navy responded 4 1/2 hours later. The crew and company lawyers have spent this week in interviews and taking inventory of damaged or stolen items, which have still not been fully identified.
                                       It was not the first heist of this kind in the Gulf of Mexico, where pirate attacks are becoming a growing threat to oil rigs. On March 12, President López Obrador announced that the navy would maintain permanent operations off the coast of Dos Bocas, Tabasco, to protect against pirates that have in the past attacked Pemex oil rigs.
                                  • "Meet Julio Santana, the world’s deadliest hitman — with 500 kills"--The New York Post. The headline is not quite correct: Santana began killing for hire when he was 17, and logged his kills until he reached 492, and then just stopped keeping further count. "Hitman" also isn't quite the right word either. Santana was more like a hired gun from the Old West, performing vigilante justice (his first hit was to kill a rapist) for a price in a remote part of the Amazon and, later, for the Brazilian government. Most of his contracts came through his uncle, a police officer.
                                  • Clown World: "Judge Finds Father Guilty of ‘Family Violence’ for Not Using Transgender Teen’s Preferred Pronouns"--Breitbart. A British Columbia judge has issued an order authorizing police to arrest a father if he calls his daughter by her given name, refers to her natural gender or uses "her" instead of "he" when referring to her directly or to third parties. 
                                    •      In February, the BC Supreme Court ordered that Maxine undergo hormone treatments, against the consent of her father. As a result, the teen has since begun regular testosterone injections at BC Children’s Hospital.
                                             The teen’s school counselor reportedly urged her to identify as a boy while in seventh grade. When she was 13, Dr. Brenden Hursh at BC Children’s Hospital encouraged her to begin the injections to enable her to gain a more masculine appearance.
                                      Considering what the judge, the doctor, and the counselor have done, Julio Santana doesn't seem so bad.
                                      • "Keynote speaker at Harvard diversity conference says Christians should be ‘locked up’"--The College Fix. The article indicates that the speaker, Tim Wise, has previously written that "[i]f you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up...detained for your utter inability to deal with reality..." His talk at Harvard focused more overcoming white privilege. At one point he described his teen daughter as “militant, straight and cis-gendered ally to the struggle against transphobia, cisnormativity, and heterosexism and heteronormativity.” While complaining about Wise's speaking Harvard may seem trivial, you need to keep in mind that for several years now various universities have been canceling speaking engagements featuring conservative speakers, not because of the content of the speech per se, but because of the speaker's previously expressed views. Thus, universities allowing a particular speaker has virtually become an endorsement of the speaker's views, even on topics outside of his or her speech. 
                                      • Related: "Liberal Media Tries to Remake Christianity In Its Own Image"--PJ Media. The Reverend Franklin Graham has been viciously attacked in the media for comments he recently made condemning homosexuality and gay marriage. The author relates several of the comments regarding Graham, but then turns to addressing some of the arguments raised by the left. From the article:
                                               [I]t is blatantly false to suggest that Graham was cherry-picking verses to condemn homosexual activity, or to suggest — as Joe Scarborough did — that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, so it must not have been important to Him.
                                                Jesus wholeheartedly embraced the Old Testament law, and the book of Leviticus clearly condemns homosexual activity as sinful. The Bible defines marriage as the union of man and woman, idealized in the story of Adam and Eve. Jesus upholds this sexual morality by quoting Genesis while discouraging divorce (Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7).
                                                   If Jesus had departed from the Old Testament sexual morality, it would have been noteworthy and the gospel writers would have commented on it. As it stands, the letters of Paul clearly condemn homosexual activity, suggesting that the early church, just like the Old Testament, considered homosexual activity sinful.
                                                     During the conversation, my buddy explained how despite persuading his friend against becoming MGTOW, he was still sympathetic to his friend’s excuse for doing so. In his words “Men are disgusted with women in almost every way today and are finding happiness in just cutting them out of their lives.” He continues, “And I can’t really argue against anything they (MGTOW) say because I relate to it all myself.”
                                                       I pressed harder to ask if he could elaborate on exactly what he meant by that. “Look around you. Every girl acts like a dude and has to have more guy friends than her actual boyfriend. Relationships are no longer partnerships. They’re just mutual debauchery based on meaningless sex and fickle mind games. And in most relationships, I see the women being an overbearing * constantly humiliating their dudes.”
                                                         I stood in momentary silence because I was unsure of how to respond to that. I wanted to hear the uncensored truth from him because he (unlike the women hating MGTOWs, Incels, and PUAs) had never viewed women in this way before. He was brought up in one of those traditionally wholesome, family oriented, Christian household, whereby the reverence for women was ingrained in him since a young age.
                                                          His father and male relatives were his role models for they knew exactly what it meant to be a protector and a provider. Consequently, the women in their lives (like his mother and grandmother) cherished and respected their men for that. It was then that I realized we’re in a turning point of history where men no longer held a reverence for women like they did in a previous generation.
                                                    (Underline added). Read the whole thing.
                                                    • Interesting: The U.S. Navy filed a patent for a "Craft using an inertial mass reduction device." Too bad that the Patent Office no longer requires inventors to submit a working model of their inventions. In any event, if you read the description of the device, it seems to include features similar to those of the Em Drive, although much more advanced.
                                                    • An inconvenient truth: "A new 200‐year spatial reconstruction of West Antarctic surface mass balance"--JGR Atmospheres. Basic point is that the West Antarctic ice massively increased between 1900 and 2010.
                                                    • Spoiler Alert! Some quick thoughts about the movie Avengers: End Game. As you may know, End Game is setting some new box office records, taking in an estimated $1.2 billion in box office sales worldwide during its first weekend. My kids and I helped contribute to that. I took them to a Saturday morning showing which, despite it being fairly early in the morning, was still pretty crowded. All in all, I thought it was one of the stronger Marvel films and worth the time and money to see in the theater if you like the genre. If you have been following the build-up to this movie over the last 6 or 7 years, you definitely should see this movie as it wraps up some of the careers of certain of the Avengers. It is also, on the whole, a very well made movie with good plotting and writing. (Of course there are plot holes--there are always plot holes in super-hero movies). If you've read this far, I'm assuming that you don't mind minor spoilers. So, in the last installment, Infinity War, Thanos snapped his fingers in the Infinity Gauntlet, thus snuffing out half of all living beings in the universe. This movie is about the Avengers (or what remain of them after the snap) attempting to rectify that. But first the film tries to give us a feeling of what the snap did for the common person. The film opens with Hawkeye (he's pretty close to normal) playing with his kids at a family barbecue, when they all suddenly disappear, and he frantically runs around trying to find first his daughter, and then his whole family. Another character, somewhat later in the film, walks through a park where there is a memorial consisting of stones engraved with the names of the missing. Even though there is no action in these scenes, they create an important emotional feeling for the audience.
                                                            The rest of the film pretty much lives up to mood created at the beginning. 
                                                            But there are bad parts to the film, and they are completely driven by the SJW propaganda coming out of Disney. First is the inclusion of Ms. Captain Marvel in the film because she merely serves as a deus ex machina. Worse yet, in order for her to serve that role, the powers of Thor and the Hulk are dramatically reduced in the film. Second, and on a related note, is a short scene showing all the female superheroes grouped together to save the men. Grrl power!
                                                            Third, is the obvious message that POC and women are the future and white men are the past. Thor abdicates in favor of the African "Valkyrie" from Thor: Ragnarok.  Similarly, Captain America passes his shield on to Falcon, who is played by a black actor. And, once again, Wakanda comes to the rescue: apparently the U.S. military is unable to mobilize to fight off aliens, but Wakanda's army is always on hand. And while Valhalla must have black citizens in order to be inclusive, there were still no whites among the citizens of Wakanda. 

                                                    Sunday, April 28, 2019

                                                    A Sunday Medley of Videos

                                                    "The Neurology of Hate" - World War 2 (9 min.)
                                                    A look at how the amygdala (controlling emotions and impulses) and the insular cortex (governing the disgust response) can act to create an "othering" response in the brain. The host is so emphatic about painting the Nazis as evil, however, that he goes to the opposite extreme and asserts that there are no biological differences between races ... which must be why professional basketball teams, just like the general population, are mostly white. All sarcasm aside, the function of the amygdala is central to r/K political theory. Bill Whittle has a good video on r/K theory


                                                    "THE HUMAN LANDSCAPE: The Unexpected Power Behind the U.S. Military"--Bill Whittle (10 min.). Whittle explores what sets the United States military (with a focus on the Navy) apart from our near peer competitors.


                                                    "The Art of Making a Tapestry"--Getty Museum (9 min.)
                                                    An interesting overview of tapestry making, from dying the colors, to loading the bobbins, to the equipment used and the basic process used by the weavers. While the technical proficiency is still there, note the difference in the details and thematic structure of the older tapestries from the modern piece that is showcased in this video.


                                                    "Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?"--The History Guy (16 min.)
                                                    An interesting history of chickens and their domestication, as well as the origin of many of our favorite expressions.


                                                    "2020 Census: Nightmare Fuel for Democrats"--Black Pigeon Speaks (9 min.)
                                                    The census used to have a question about citizenship, which was removed several decades ago. Now the Trump Administration wants to again include questions regarding citizenship and it has the Democrats in a tizzy because, well, it threatens their money and power. If answered accurately, it could mean a reduction in federal assistance to Democratic strongholds (i.e., money) and a shift in the allocation of Congressional seats (i.e., power). 


                                                    "Mini-14 vs AR15: Which is Better?"--Paul Harrell (51 min.)
                                                    A very thorough comparison between the Mini-14 and AR15. To keep it fair, Harrell compared his '80s era Mini-14 with a '80s era A1 style AR rifle. Accuracy was comparable to 100 yards, but the Mini-14 was less accurate at longer ranges. Harrell attributed this, however, primarily to the better sights on the AR. At close ranges, because of the Mini-14 sights having a much lower height over the bore, it performed better than the AR. He also compares the Mini and AR as to loading and reloads (the AR, as expected, did better), and discusses maintenance issues. Similar to what others have said on the subject, Harrell agreed that the AR required more TLC than the Mini-14, but if that care was provided, the AR was just as reliable. He also discussed the issue of the Mini-14 being more socially acceptable because of its benign appearance. However, similar to my review of the Mini-14, he noted that the primary reason for the Mini-14's popularity in the 1980s was its lower price--an advantage it no longer has.  Thus, with improvements in the AR as well as the AR's lower prices, his conclusion was that the AR is probably the better rifle for most people.

                                                    Friday, April 26, 2019

                                                    April 26, 2019 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                    "GEAR: HELMETS - The Why, What, How for Day & Night Tactical Operations"--Max Velocity Tactical (19 min.). This is a follow-up to the recent video on gear (belts, load vests, etc.) to which I linked. This one looks at the different types of helmets, whether you need a helmet, and setting up night vision and/or communication or ear protection equipment with a helmet or head gear.

                                                    • Be sure to check out this week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. He has links to articles on the best respirators/gas masks for preppers, a list of mass shootings stopped by concealed carry license holders, and why jogging is actually one of the worst activities for health and fitness.
                                                    • "How to Properly Mount a Rifle Scope"--The Truth About Guns. Good advice on using a level and plumb bob to make sure everything is lined up correctly (although I just use a small spirit level rather than something specific for firearms). Also read the first few comments for additional tips and suggestions from readers on adjusting your focus.
                                                    • "Idaho P.O.S.T. Patrol Rifle Familiarization Course - 2009" (PDF, 180 pages, approx. 3.8 mb). The focus is mostly on the AR style of rifle, but they also have short sections on the Mini-14 and AK style rifles. It also covers methods of carrying or slinging a rifle, shooting positions, principles of marksmanship, as well as training drills. 
                                                    • Marlin has moved the lever-action into the 21st Century with the Marlin Dark 336 (.30-30) & 1895 (.45-70). The rifles have a black parkerized finish with a black hardwood stock/forend. They also come with a threaded barrel, big-loop lever, and a rail system for optics. The rear iron sight that comes with the weapon is a peep ghost-ring style sight.
                                                    • "Avoiding the .300BLK AR-15 ‘ka-boom!’"--NRA Blog. It is possible, especially with the lighter, shorter bullets, to chamber .300 Blackout in a .223/5.56 chamber so that the firearm goes into battery. Some tips offered by the author is visually inspect the ammunition when you load it into the firearm, carefully label ammunition boxes, and use different magazines (or differently marked magazines) for each caliber, and perhaps not shoot the two calibers during the same outing. I take the latter two routes: I don't take both calibers to the range at the same time, and I use different styles or colors of magazines. 
                                                    • "Civilian-legal Flashbang Grenades?"--Recoil Magazine. As the article notes, actual flashbang grenades are classified as destructive devices and are not available to the general public. But IWA International makes a facsimile that is considered a "firework." The article continues:
                                                    There are currently three models available from IWA – the M11 multi-burst, the M12 Distraction Device, and the M13 Thermobaric Canister. The M11 gives off a single loud bang followed by two smaller bangs. The M12 is a single charge, and the M13 Thermobaric produces a single loud bang and a “mild overpressure” as described by the folks at IWA. Fortunately, they sent us a couple of each for testing. All three models sport OD green cardboard bodies and pull-ring fuses with a safety spoon that flies free when the safety ring is pulled. Each grenade is individually labeled and, though the bodies look identical, the labels are large and clearly marked so you know what you’re getting when you pull the pin. They are roughly the same size as an actual flashbang and seem to fit in most nylon pouches made for the real deal.
                                                    The sound level is not as high as an actual flashbang: 125 dB for the IWA product versus 175 dB for the real deal. Price for the IWA product is $29.99 each.
                                                    • I think the author of this piece, Chelsey Kivland, has spent too much time in Haiti and gone native, inasmuch as she ascribes a voodoo-like power to firearms: "WHAT GUNS DO TO OUR STATE OF MIND"--Pacific Standard (h/t Captain's Journal). She writes about a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver that passed through the hands of three Haitian men, who were all killed in shootings. She explains:
                                                              Yet when neighbors relayed how the deaths happened, they offered explanations involving a different kind of occult transformation: the supernatural potency of the .38 to change people into unethical agents. With each subsequent death, lore intensified around the gun, with people surmising that "touching" this gun could portend death. "Ever since they touched the gun, those poor young boys were not the same," said one community member. Residents spoke about the gun as if it were an amulet that could change otherwise good people and what they did in the world.
                                                               It would be shortsighted to dismiss these claims as the misguided logic of a "superstitious people." That racially inflected trope, long used to marginalize and demonize Haitians, among others, blinds observers to the way in which guns do exhibit a power akin to magic: the power to create a change in someone's state of mind.
                                                                Taking seriously the supernatural effects of guns has broad relevance for understanding and addressing gun violence globally. In the U.S., gun advocates tend to view the gun as a value-neutral tool. As they say: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." On the other side are gun control advocates who argue that guns do indeed kill people: Without their lethal power easily at hand, as in other countries, far fewer deaths occur. But the anthropological lesson from Haiti is that the truth is more complex. It isn't just the technological lethality of guns that makes them dangerous: They also exert a power on human agency. They change us. It is both the technology and the symbolism of a gun that can encourage someone to shoot.
                                                          Ah, yes. To the fevered mind of a leftist, firearms are fetishes (in the anthropological meaning of the word). Of course, like other areas with similar demographics, homicides are high in Haiti. Crime statistics for Haiti are unreliable and it is believed that crime rates are severely underreported. Nevertheless, based on the information available, the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, has a murder rate of 60.9 per 100,000, which is considered low for the Caribbean. Fortunately, "white people [are] not vulnerable to witchcraft and [can] neither feel it nor understand it." That must explain why murder rates are so much lower among Western nations. 
                                                                   An authoritative paper in the American Medical Association Journal Surgery has added independent weight to the assertion long made by United States military officers, officials and politicians that US troops wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq had the best survival rates for any wars in US military history. Perhaps more significantly, it has also for the first time assessed combat casualty care statistics over the period of military operations in both campaigns, from 2001 to the end of 2017, to show how mortality rates were reduced in both Afghanistan and Iraq over time by some 44%.
                                                                      The authors conducted an analysis of medical data for all 56,763 US casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq wounded between October 2001 and December 2017. This showed that in the early years of the Afghanistan conflict the fatality rate for casualties was 20%. By the beginning of 2018, this had fallen to 8.6%. Over the same period, the fatality rate for US casualties in Iraq decreased from 20.4% to 10.1%. These were the best-ever survival rates for US military casualties. ...
                                                                        The study points to three primary factors in these improved survival rates: better measures to control bleeding, more rapid blood-loss replacement and reducing the time from injury to reaching a field hospital (to 60 minutes or less, known as the ‘golden hour’).
                                                                          In the case of the first, greater use of anticoagulant bandages, complemented by more rapid use of tourniquets, was of significant benefit. Traumatic amputation as the result of an improvised explosive device emphasised the importance of the fast application of tourniquets. Coping with and replacing blood loss was made easier by the extensive deployment of military paramedics, both with front-line troops down to platoon level and in land-based and helicopter ambulances.
                                                                           In terms of the third factor, in Iraq, a combination of dedicated ambulance vehicles and helicopters meant that most US casualties reached hospital within an hour. ...
                                                                              If police show up at your door, are you really going to fight to the death to resist instead of submitting to a(n admittedly wrong) short-term inconvenience? That doesn’t make sense. Especially if you’re a normally well-balanced individual who, when you appear in court, will show up reasonably well-dressed, well-groomed, calm, cool and collected. Seeing that, the judge will probably throw out the original order.
                                                                              After all, if a judge sees you don’t have a tail, horns or fangs and you appear mentally and emotionally sound, the claims against you will look unfounded at best, and maliciously defamatory at worst.
                                                                                Yes, it will cost you a thousand bucks or more to hire a decent attorney to fight the bogus accusations. Is your life worth a thousand bucks? Mine sure is. Yours is too.
                                                                            Of course, are you and your neighbors as organized and trained as were the Minutemen? 
                                                                                    Twenty-five years ago today, FBI tanks smashed into the ramshackle home of the Branch Davidians outside Waco, Texas. After the FBI collapsed much of the building atop the residents, a fire erupted and 76 corpses were dug out of the rubble. Unfortunately, the American political system and media have never faced the lessons from that tragic 1993 day.
                                                                                      Fifty-one days before the FBI final assault, scores of federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents launched an attack on the Davidians’ home spurred by allegations that they had converted semi-automatic rifles to full-automatic capacity. The ATF’s lead investigator had previously rejected an offer to peacefully search the Davidians’ home for firearms violations. Four ATF agents and six Davidians were killed in the fracas on February 28, 1993. At least one ATF agent told superiors that the ATF fired first, spurring an immediate end to the official shooting review. But the media trumpeted the ATF storyline that its agents had been ambushed, entitling the feds to be far more aggressive in the following weeks.
                                                                                        What lessons can today’s Americans draw from the FBI showdown on the Texas plains a quarter century ago?
                                                                                    According to the author, the lessons are: 
                                                                                      (1)  Purported good intentions absolve real deadly force (e.g., "we had to kill the children in order to save the children").
                                                                                        (2)  It is not an atrocity if the U.S. government does it.
                                                                                          (3)  Orwellian language will vaporize federal aggression (e.g., as the ATF assaulted the building, they had loudspeakers blaring out the message that "this is not an assault").
                                                                                            (4)  Truth delayed is truth defused (e.g., if you can drag the investigation out long enough, no will care anymore).
                                                                                              (5)  Don’t trust Congress to expose federal misconduct.
                                                                                                (6)  Media favorites can perform rhetorical magic tricks.
                                                                                                  And I think that the author missed one lesson, which is that the whole point of the raid wasn't to enforce gun laws or rescue children from abuse, but to remind the Deplorables of their place.

                                                                                                  CMMG has developed a "full size" AR magazine that feeds 9 mm. You can buy their magazine, or a kit to convert PMAGs you might already have. The purpose is to allow you to shoot 9 mm using a standard lower without the issues that can come with using magazine well inserts.

                                                                                                          The Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission has directed their inspector general to examine secret societies within the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. Most of the commissioners say they fear deputy subgroups have become a pervasive problem. 

                                                                                                    * * *

                                                                                                            Deputies are accused of acting more like gangsters. The group the Banditos have reportedly controlled the East L.A. Station for years. Last fall, the Banditos allegedly attacked several younger deputies after a department party. In a government claim, one deputy said he was "beat, hit and choked into unconsciousness." 
                                                                                                               The secret societies were recently highlighted when Sheriff Alex Villanueva reinstated Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan. Mandoyan admits to being a member of the Reapers. Last month, Villanueva said he was addressing cliques within the department. 
                                                                                                        Courts have sought to overcome concerns that scrutiny would diminish the effectiveness of the software for law enforcement or infringe on intellectual property rights by ordering only secret and monitored third-party review processes. But federal prosecutors have rejected even these compromises, drawing worry that it's not legitimate concerns driving their secrecy but a lack of confidence in the software's efficacy or some other more nefarious reason.
                                                                                                        But, according to the article, "[p]rosecutors say they can't share any details about it 'because it is proprietary and not in the government's possession.'" Does this mean that investigators believed (or still believe) that they can bypass Fourth Amendment considerations by using a non-government entity to perform the searches?
                                                                                                        • "Rheinmetall seeking to gobble up BAE Global Combat Systems????"--SNAFU. And Germany (aka, the EU) looks to buy up one of Britain's largest defense contractors.
                                                                                                        • "Therapists may have inflamed Parkland shooter, lawyer claims"--South Florida Sun Sentinel. The criticisms seem to primarily be that the therapists recommended that Cruz be allowed to play violent video games and use a punching bag to focus and work off anger issues, that he be allowed to use an airsoft gun (of course, he actually owned an AR), and recommended that he be allowed to join the JROTC program. Just more fuel to theories that Cruz may have been "programmed" to conduct the shootings. 
                                                                                                        Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is a craft-art for the achievement of “mutual understanding.” It is all the same whether the case against children is the American lady’s who would not miss a season for anything, or the Parisienne’s who fears that her lover would leave her, or an Ibsen heroine’s who “lives for herself”—they all belong to themselves and they are all unfruitful.
                                                                                                        It helps to understand what Spengler means if you are familiar with Ibsen's work or, at least, the social message he was trying to convey. Ibsen was a famous playwright in the latter half of the 19th Century. His plays were very influential in the nascent feminist movement. In one of his most famous plays, A Doll’s House, the protagonist, Nora, is "a woman in need of a fulfillment that she cannot achieve while she is trapped by marriage, motherhood, and the ghosts of received ideas about truth and virtue." The play ends with her abandoning her husband and children in order to "discover herself," as we might phrase it today. As Robert W. Merry explained Spengler's ideas on feminism: "Whereas the advent and success of feminism in the West is heralded in our time as a sign of civic progress, Spengler’s study of other civilizational cycles convinced him that it was just the opposite—a reflection of cultural decline, largely because it curtailed the production of children." (See also my earlier posts on "The Decline of Civilization--Part I" and "Part II").
                                                                                                        Migrants generally pay smugglers and smuggling networks anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 per person to get to America. A portion of that money ends up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels—TCOs—even though the cartels don’t directly participate in the smuggling.
                                                                                                        If you do the math, even at the high estimate of $7,000 per person, that would be 328,571 illegal immigrants ... from Central America (not Mexico) ... just in 2017!
                                                                                                                   With leading academics and professionals in architecture generally being hostile to building or restoring anything in styles predating the infamous Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret) and the Bauhaus school, they were quick to pounce when President Emmanuel Macron’s prime minister announced there would be a competition to “ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived… Or if, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre-Dame with a new spire”.
                                                                                                                   The Telegraph published an article claiming it would be a “travesty” to restore Notre Dame as it was just a day after the fire, while Rolling Stone quoted a Harvard architecture historian as saying that the burning of a building “so overburdened with meaning… feels like an act of liberation.”
                                                                                                              One group wants a glass roof with a stainless steel and glass spire (or, rather, shard)Another group of architects propose replacing the roof with a greenhouse filled with plants. The issue is whether to restore the cathedral to what it was, or to make it more "modern". As one article explains:
                                                                                                                       According to Taliesin School of Architecture president Aaron Betsky, the question is whether to re-create its classic design or "try to do a better job not only in reconstructing the roof but also in finishing the twin towers and other elements of the medieval design (at least as far as we can know it). If the choice, on the other hand, is to invent something new, what should that be?”
                                                                                                                        Betsky points out many factors that go into any rebuild of a historic structure. With today's social climate it would be almost impossible to make every group pleased. However, perhaps that is not the goal. What makes this rebuild different from any other Notre Dame reconstruction is time. This is a rebuild of the 21st century, not the 17th century — and with 21st-century approaches comes 21st-century discussion heightened by media and public opinion. Technology, intention, and money are what will shape the future of the structure. “We have to ask what not only Catholicism but the notion of an iconic object in a multicultural and therefore multi-religious city such as Paris means for architecture, and how current technologies and materials influence the development of form. If anyone can answer that knot of questions, they might come up with a design that continues the work of faith that has made Notre Dame such a majestic object, tested by time and now fire, that keeps acting as a symbol and a fact of faith,” he explains.
                                                                                                                    I don't believe it is possible for Notre Dame to be restored. Not because it is technically impossible, but because it is spiritually impossible. We are in the winter of Western Civilization, as Spengler would have adjudged, and so disconnected from our roots that a Medieval cathedral might as well be the artifact of an alien civilization. Spengler distinguished societies by whether they were a culture (i.e., still young), or a civilization (matured but disconnected from the root culture). Notre Dame was the product of a Western culture which has long since disappeared. As Andrew Sullivan wrote:
                                                                                                                              But it also reminded me of the question of beauty in modernity. By which I mean: Can our civilization ever create anything of comparable beauty to Notre-Dame, or indeed the archipelago of cathedrals across Europe, stemming from the middle ages? I can’t see it. The core criteria for creating modern architecture — even if it is not brutally ugly or mediocre — are usefulness and cost. Beauty — even if it is formally considered in architecture — is usually subordinate. Even if you survey modern cathedrals, there is a lack of detail, and an absence of the kind of skill that enabled the twelfth century to construct marvels beyond our capacity. We have technique in abundance; we have technology that would have appeared as magic to the designers of Notre-Dame; we have wealth beyond measure in comparison. But even the architectural baubles of our new religion — think of Apple’s new headquarters, for example — contain nothing as complex or as overwhelming or as awe-inspiring as the rose stained glass window of an eleventh century masterpiece.
                                                                                                                               I’m not saying I want to go back to the Middle Ages. We have gained a staggering amount of peace, security, freedom, health and knowledge. Theocracy is no longer an option. But they had something we don’t, didn’t they? A unifying vision of the whole of life and death, a common, metaphysically-rooted faith, and an enchantment modernity has banished. I think of these cathedrals as they must have appeared at the time to peasants on a pilgrimage, looming on the horizon like a space-ship compared to the misery and brutality of life in that era, overwhelming the senses, commanding awe and devotion, reifying faith in an almost unanswerable way. When we see Notre-Dame burn, we see the reality of our time: that this exquisite kind of architectural beauty is never going to be summoned up again, nor the souls who imagined it, nor the human beings who crafted every inch of it with love.
                                                                                                                          The writer known by the  nom de plume "Jesse James" at American Partisan also captured the conundrum.  He notes that the cathedral took between 4 and 6 generations to build--a devotion that is unfathomable now, and, for that reason, he questions why most Westerners should even care about the building:
                                                                                                                                    So why should anyone but conservatives care about what was valued by an alien culture, created by alien men for an alien God? We didn’t care about the dozens of other churches desecrated in France or the religious cleansing of the Middle East and central Africa. American’s rejected the concept of cultural, genetic or intellectual differences in mankind in 1776. We rejected God in the same breath, settling for a benevolent cosmic intelligence, placated by platitudes but ignoring that which we actually did. In short, the Notre Dame may as well be the Great Pyramid of Giza for all it represents of our current culture. If that bites, it should. The reality is we are not those men who built the Hagia Sophia, St. Peter’s Basilica or Notre Dame. We couldn’t even keep our seminaries from turning into Ivy League champions for atheism and overt enemies of our culture and people. Silicon Valley is our Notre Dame, a vacuous mix of decadence, worship of the obscene, a black hole churning out broken people and magnifying the worst in us.
                                                                                                                                     Take from this what you will, but do not insult me with mourning an idea which you do not believe, a culture you do not subscribe to and a society for which you will not fight. The burning of the Notre Dame, whether arson or happenstance is indeed an excellent representation of the West. What once was is gone. The fact it lasted this long is a testament to a feat better men than us accomplished. None of us have known that level of brotherhood or national and religious identity. We have absolutely no frame of reference to get back there. Notre Dame is tragic to those of us who embraced the social and religious constructs that got us those monuments to Western Culture. We look back and pay homage to the products of that system, but we are intellectually honest enough understand that you cannot have the fruit without the tree.

                                                                                                                              Thursday, April 25, 2019

                                                                                                                              April 25, 2019 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                              "Fire Kit Perfection JMHO"--David Canterbury (18 min.)
                                                                                                                              Canterbury presents a fairly compact fire kit that not only has several different ways of making fire, but also would allow you to make additional char cloth or similar.

                                                                                                                              • If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out this week's Woodpile Report.
                                                                                                                              • Related to the topic of the video above: "Make Your Own DIY Fire Starter Kit"--Simply Preparing.
                                                                                                                              • "Shooting Drill- Diminishing Dots"--Active Response Training. There is always a trade-off between accuracy and speed when shooting for self-defense. Too fast, and you risk missing the critical zone of your target or, worse yet, missing altogether. Slow down too much to get the perfect sight picture and trigger squeeze, and you might not have time to get a shot off before the attacker shoots you or moves to contact. Fortunately, a large target (e.g., an attacker up close) takes less accuracy to hit than a smaller target (e.g., a target farther away and/or behind cover). Greg Ellifritz offers this drill and an accompanying target to get you used to shooting at both larger and smaller targets.
                                                                                                                              • Speaking of time used in shooting: "Spend Your Time Wisely: Economy Of Motion In Action Shooting"--Shooting Sports USA. The author advises against dropping the gun between targets or groups of targets, or when reloading:
                                                                                                                                      Experienced shooters don’t drop the gun. They keep it up, and in the shooting position as they move. When they hit their next position the gun is up, in their field of view, and ready to shoot. This can save over a second (or more) in breaking the first shot. That can be over three seconds for a stage requiring three new shooting positions. Multiply that by four or five stages in a match, and the time factor gets big! It takes no more effort to run with the gun up instead of down, and “Time is money.”
                                                                                                                                       The same theory applies to reloading a semi-automatic. Why drop the gun to the waist to reload and then have to bring it back up, find it and the targets? With the gun in the shooting position it’s a simple matter to eject the mag, roll the magwell inward, slap in a new mag and go. The time savings aren’t as significant—but split seconds add up.
                                                                                                                                • "M1152 & M1153: The Army’s New 9 mm Luger Loads"--American Rifleman. The rounds are produced by Winchester. The M1152 uses a 115-gr. full-metal-jacket, flat-nose (FMJ-FN) bullet, while the M1153 uses a 147-gr. jacketed-hollow-point (JHP) bullet similar in appearance to Winchester's Ranger T-series. According to the article the FMJ cartridge is intended for use against "enemy personnel, for training, and for force protection," while the hollow-point cartridge is "for use in situations where limited over-penetration of targets is necessary to reduce collateral damage." It seems pretty clear that the two rounds will shoot to different points of aim, so I don't see where training with one is going to translate well to the other.
                                                                                                                                • "Home Invasion! Grab The Defensive Rifle- Dead Trigger….What The Hell Do You Do Now??"--Shooting Performance. The author suggests that in a home invasion, you don't have time to tap, rack, and ready, but should transition to a secondary weapon if possible. He writes:
                                                                                                                                • If you are likely to be armed with a handgun when you deploy your rifle, then train the handgun transition as your immediate response.  No need to look at the rifle or think about it, simply go to the next weapon system.  If the distance and circumstance limits your ability to hit with the handgun, then obviously stick with the rifle and fix it if possible.  Set up drills that mimic these needs.  For example, practice the transition at distances from 3-10 yards, and set up a secondary drill with a piece of cover (like a barricade) and practice ducking behind cover and reloading the rifle or clearing the malfunction.
                                                                                                                                • If you are likely to be armed with a rifle ONLY (like I was during my career in the U.S.M.C) then train yourself to respond accordingly.  For example if you are training in the 3-10 yard range, your response to a dead trigger while under fire might be an immediate muzzle strike to the target if you are in range, then a reload.  If you are a bit farther away, sprinting offline to another position (like a room or piece of cover) would be your response.  So the stimulus response might be: dead trigger – strike the target (0-3 yards) or dead trigger – sprint offline (4-10 yards).
                                                                                                                                • "Coming Rise of the 1911? Part I: Safety"--Revolver Guy. The author has observed a resurgence of interest in the DA/SA handgun and firearms with manual safeties, which he attributes to appendix carry. He explains:
                                                                                                                                Appendix carry has a ton of benefits ... But it also comes with a downside. The gun’s muzzle is pointed at some pretty critical areas, including one’s genitalia and perhaps a femoral artery, especially when the wearer is seated. The longer, heavier trigger of the traditional DA pistol offers a perceptible margin-for-error when reholstering. So does the ability to check and/or control the movement of the gun’s hammer.
                                                                                                                                • "Spices for Long Term Storage"--Survival Blog. Spices are highly dependent on international trade. In fact, for much of history, the spice trade drove international trade, and many spices were literally worth their weight in gold. Christopher Columbus didn't risk having to sail from Spain across a trackless ocean all the way to the Far East because pepper was cheap. In any event, in a serious SHTF situation, spices will probably again become an important and valuable good. The author of this piece discusses some of the more commonly used spices (including where they are grown), as well as some methods for storing spices. The author recommends storing "– per person/per year – one pound of cumin, cinnamon, and paprika; 8 ounces of vanilla, ginger, allspice, mustard seeds and turmeric; 4 ounces of nutmeg (about 20 nuts), cloves, cardamom, coriander, bay leaves, celery seed and cayenne pepper."
                                                                                                                                • "MAKING THE CUT: KUKRI HISTORY & PRACTICAL USE"--Recoil Offgrid. A look at the history of the Kukri, how it can be used for common camp and field tasks, and its application in combat. Although the prices have gone up since I got one many years ago, a traditional Kukri can still be had with a 12" blade (1/4" spine) from Atlanta Cutlery for $50. While a Kukri can serve as a machete, I prefer a machete ... or, better in my opinion, the parang. As a weapon, the machete is designed for chopping and therefore is very intuitive for most people; yet is still has a point allowing a thrust. But other than sweeping motions, it isn't much for parrying or blocking an attacker's blows. Like the article describes, the best option would be to step in and counter an attack with your own attack before your opponent is able to complete his attack, or to strike immediately after a failed attack while your opponent is (hopefully) still off balance or vulnerable. Timing and distance is everything.
                                                                                                                                • "Fighting or shooting...which are you practicing?"--Handgun Combatives. The author explains:
                                                                                                                                But shooting is not the problem, its teaching students to fight…to be combative… which is much more difficult as many instructors really do not comprehend the concept. Now, I am not bashing on our nation’s Firearms instructors, conflict should be avoided at all costs because every time one enters conflict, they run the risk of loosing no matter how well trained.  If an instructor does not understand the dynamics of conflict its easy to focus on splits, draw times, speed of reload and other skills that can be improved with practice. But does such skill make one better prepared to fight? Ahhh…is that not the million dollar question?  Skill certainly makes on more confident, but does it make one more ruthless? As the author of THE SHOOTIST so clearly pointed out…and it has been born out by history…the winner of a fight is not necessarily the person with the fastest draw, most bullets, most accurate, best gear…it’s the more ruthless of the two combatants…the one who will not hesitate to inflict harm on an opponent. 

                                                                                                                                "Armed Escorts Drop Off Migrants Near Ajo, Arizona"--Ultimate Military Archive (2-1/2 min.)
                                                                                                                                They weren't planning on letting Border Patrol or militia interfer with them.

                                                                                                                                • "Trump is sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the border after Mexican military disarmed U.S. Army troops on the AMERICAN side of the border"--Daily Mail. I really doubt that the DoD will allow American troops engage Mexican troops, even if there is an incursion by Mexican troops. But, we've had shooting wars with Mexico before, and it will happen again. One thing to consider is what happens on this side of the border if some conflict erupts with Mexico. Do you think that all the immigrants and illegal aliens that wave Mexican flags at soccer games, march and shout "La Raza," speak Spanish at home, and have lots of close family living in Mexico are going stand up to defend the United States? I don't. Instead, there would be riots, crime, and perhaps some sort of insurgent actions.'
                                                                                                                                         The land, cut by mesquite and cactus, lies nearly 90 miles from the Mexican border but only 4.5 miles from a US Border Patrol checkpoint.
                                                                                                                                           Traffickers want to avoid this interior checkpoint — located on the only highway in this part of the state — so vehicles crammed with drugs or migrants from Central America and even China drop off the migrants and smugglers south of the checkpoint.
                                                                                                                                            Smugglers and their human cargo jump fences onto private ranches to traverse the vast expanses on foot.
                                                                                                                                              The mesquite canopy is ideal cover, allowing them to hide from drones and National Guard helicopters that patrol the area.
                                                                                                                                                 “You never know what’s under that next tree,” said Vickers, whose 1,000-acre spread is one of the area’s smaller ranches.
                                                                                                                                                  The mission is dangerous for the Volunteers, and the journey is deadly for the migrants.
                                                                                                                                                    There is an emergency call station in the middle of one ranch where migrants can summon the Border Patrol for help, Vickers said. The call station has messages in Spanish and Mandarin, as well as a tank with jugs of water.
                                                                                                                                                       “We always investigate a buzzard or a bad smell,” Vickers said, adding that since it began patrolling in 1988, his group has found more than 100 bodies of migrants who died crossing the terrain.
                                                                                                                                                • Nothing to see here, move along... "Another French Church Burns on Easter Sunday, Probable Arson"--Breitbart. From the lede: "Police have confirmed that a fire in the French church of Notre-Dame de Grâce on Easter Sunday appears to have been intentionally set, making it the latest in a string of desecrations of Christian churches in the country."
                                                                                                                                                         Because these atrocities mostly occurred during World War I, so the argument goes, they are ultimately a reflection of just that—war, in all its chaos and destruction, and nothing more.  But as Winston Churchill, who described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust,” correctly observed, “The opportunity [WWI] presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race.”  Even Adolf Hitler had pointed out that “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”
                                                                                                                                                          It’s worth noting that little has changed; in the context of war in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, the first to be targeted for genocide have been Christians and other minorities.
                                                                                                                                                           But even the most cited factor of the Armenian Genocide, “ethnic identity conflict,” while legitimate, must be understood in light of the fact that, historically, religion accounted more for a person’s identity than language or heritage.   This is daily demonstrated throughout the Islamic world today, where Muslim governments and Muslim mobs persecute Christian minorities who share the same race, ethnicity, language, and culture; minorities who are indistinguishable from the majority—except, of course, for being non-Muslims, or “infidels.”
                                                                                                                                                             As one Armenian studies professor asks, “If it [the Armenian Genocide] was a feud between Turks and Armenians, what explains the genocide carried out by Turkey against the Christian Assyrians at the same time?”
                                                                                                                                                              These attacks form part of a long-running war, one of some 1400 years, of Islam against Christianity and Judaism. This war takes place in Western places such as New York, San Bernardino, Tampa, Boston, Ft. Hood, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Nice, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, Sydney, and Ottawa; let us not forget, however much the press might want us to, that it also occurs even more violently and often with much higher death tolls in places such as Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, India, and, now, Sri Lanka.

                                                                                                                                                              As I noted long ago, "We should be at war; instead, we are under attack." Let's be very clear: these murderers were not "radicalized" by the internet, nor do they comprise some crazy 1% fringe that have misinterpreted the teachings of Islam. They are Islam.

                                                                                                                                                             When you look in front of your nose you will see, it is the Islam.

                                                                                                                                                              Islam is not a religion like the others. It is a creed of conquest and destruction. We see that, again, this time in the churches, hotels, and streets of Sri Lanka.
                                                                                                                                                      • Related: "Denmark's richest man's children killed in bomb massacres"--Ekstra Bladet. This is a link to the Google translate version, but, essentially, billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen lost 3 of his 4 children in the attacks. Islamic bombings can be overlooked when they don't impact the elite, but when someone from the top 0.1% gets killed, things tend to happen.
                                                                                                                                                              Mainline churches are tanking as if they have super-sized millstones around their necks. Yes, these churches are hemorrhaging members in startling numbers, but many of those folks are not leaving Christianity. They are simply going elsewhere. Because of this shifting, other very different kinds of churches are holding strong in crowds and have been for as long as such data has been collected. In some ways, they are even growing. This is what this new research has found.
                                                                                                                                                               The percentage of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more, right up to today. These authors describe this continuity as “patently persistent.”
                                                                                                                                                                 The percentage of such people is also not small. One in three Americans prays multiple times a day, while one in 15 do so in other countries on average. Attending services more than once a week continues to be twice as high among Americans compared to the next highest-attending industrial country, and three times higher than the average comparable nation.
                                                                                                                                                                   One-third of Americans hold that the Bible is the actual word of God. Fewer than 10 percent believe so in similar countries. The United States “clearly stands out as exceptional,” and this exceptionalism has not been decreasing over time. In fact, these scholars determine that the percentages of Americans who are the most vibrant and serious in their faith is actually increasing a bit, “which is making the United States even more exceptional over time.”
                                                                                                                                                                    This also means, of course, that those who take their faith seriously are becoming a markedly larger proportion of all religious people. In 1989, 39 percent of those who belonged to a religion held strong beliefs and practices. Today, these are 47 percent of all the religiously affiliated. ...
                                                                                                                                                                “This astonishing confirmation, made under oath by the FBI, shows that the Obama FBI had to go to President Obama’s White House office to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “No wonder Hillary Clinton has thus far skated – Barack Obama is implicated in her email scheme.”
                                                                                                                                                                         Now let’s think about part one of the Mueller report: the finding of no collusion. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. It was all a hoax — paid in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign. And yet . . . and yet! A vast concatenation of journalists, public officials, and public intellectuals have been screeching from the top of their lungs for more than two years about the dire threat to the republic. They even managed to jawbone the tech companies into restricting speech on social-media sites to combat this insidious threat.
                                                                                                                                                                           Have they ever been more wrong?
                                                                                                                                                                            Why yes! Yes they have!
                                                                                                                                                                              The Russia hoax was only the latest in a long chain of grievous errors. In the past 20 years, the number of times that our civic betters have royally screwed up is astounding. They missed 9/11. They wrongly thought Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons. They didn’t see that Iraq was sliding into chaos by late 2005. They allowed Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden to steal our secrets. They didn’t see the 2008–09 economic crisis coming until it hit them square in the jaw. They missed how a vast array of government policies and decisions contributed to it. They told us that the stimulus would reduce unemployment. They assured us that if we liked our health care we could keep it. They couldn’t even get a website running. They let Libya and Syria fall into chaos.
                                                                                                                                                                                 That works out to be about one massive screw-up every 20 or so months. That is insane. The array of mistakes is bipartisan, and it has been committed collectively by journalists, bureaucrats, and public intellectuals. There is one, abiding constant: The people tasked with the day-to-day management and oversight of our government have an arrogance-to-excellence ratio that is shockingly high.
                                                                                                                                                                                   These people are a testament to the failure of our higher-education system over the last generation, which has produced an untold number of second-raters who are convinced they are first-raters. They are also a shining monument to the virtues of federalism — for all the many problems with returning power to the states, at least these dummies won’t have as much influence. These middlebrow poseurs are a better argument for libertarianism than F. A. Hayek could ever conjure up.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I am now more discomfited by them than I am by Trump’s tomfoolery. At least we will be rid of Trump eventually. Despite literally decades of egregious errors, this class of “leaders” remains steadfastly in place, waiting to take charge once more when Trump exits the political stage.
                                                                                                                                                                                      God help us.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Around the world in the postwar era, power was taken up by unelected professional and managerial elites. To understand what’s going on with President Donald Trump and his opposition, and in other countries as diverse as France, Hungary, Italy and Brazil, it’s important to realize that the post-World War II institutional arrangements of the Western democracies are being renegotiated, and that those democracies’ professional and managerial elites don’t like that very much, because they have done very well under those arrangements.  And, like all elites who are doing very well, they don’t want that to change.