Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Quick Run Around The Web (9/10/2020)


Shooting/Firearms/Prepping:
  • "Four Dead Men in Five Seconds" by Will Dabbs at Guns America. A look at the life and career of Dallas Stoudenmire, an old west gunslinger and marshal. 

    The day after the inquest [into the death of two Mexican ranch hands by an American cattle rustler], Constable Krempkau entered a local El Paso saloon to retrieve his rifle and pistol. Inside the rustler, Johnny Hale was unarmed, intoxicated, and despondent. An armed friend of Hale’s named George Campbell made a disparaging comment about Krempkau’s performance as an interpreter at the hearing the previous day.

    Johnny Hale then snatched up one of Campbell’s two handguns and shot Krempkau. Marshal Stoudenmire was eating at the Globe restaurant across the street and rose to investigate. He came out shooting and killed an innocent Mexican bystander named Ochoa in short order.

    Johnny Hale took cover behind a thick adobe pillar. Stoudenmire spotted him peering around the edge and shot him in the face. Campbell, for his part, wanted nothing to do with these proceedings and shouted his innocence to Stoudenmire. Krempkau, now rapidly bleeding out, mistakenly thought Campbell had been the one to initially attack him and shot Campbell twice before losing consciousness. One round struck Campbell’s handgun and broke the man’s wrist. The other round passed through Campbell’s foot.

    Campbell shrieked in pain and reached for his dropped gun with his uninjured left hand. Stoudenmire whirled reflexively, saw the man go for his gun, and shot Campbell through the belly. Now hit three times, Campbell shouted, “You big SOB! You’ve murdered me!” Both Campbell and Krempkau bled out within minutes. Witnesses attested that the entire exchange took some five seconds.

If you are in a situation in which you may have to defend yourself, it’s important that you understand what the threat really is. 
  • Are you just being yelled at or mocked?
  • Are people just trying to intimidate or embarrass you? 
  • Are they trying to have an actual discussion or just shout over you? 
  • Are you outnumbered? 
  • Are they threatening to physically attack you? 
  • Are they capable of physically attacking you?
  • Are they armed with firearms, items that could be used as bludgeons, or knives?
While all of these things may make you angry, if you are not in physical danger, you have to temper your response accordingly.

You have to keep in mind is that one of the tactics being practiced by the rioters and protesters, against both police and ordinary people, is to try and provoke an attack by getting as close as possible without crossing over the line into where the use of force (especially lethal force) would be justified. The protesters want you (or the police) to cross the line into unjustified use of lethal force. Don't fall for their trick.   
    In the last entry we established a focus area to narrow down our intelligence gathering efforts on four types of threats which gave us our “Where”.  Those four types of threats and a little research gives us our “Who”.  Now we need to look at the “What” aspect of it.  There are some very simple questions we’re going to use that may not necessarily have simple answers.   Something along the lines of:

1.  What is the primary basis for any given groups existence/function?

2.  What violent actions or patterns of actions has each individual group been known to conduct?

3.   What type of offensive capabilities do we know/assume the threat has?

4.  What is the probability that we’ll eventually have to deal with “X” group?

5. What is our tribes visibility and impression to the threat?

    Those are four simple questions  that are going to have some complex analysis applied to them.  I’m not going way into the weeds with this one but my goal here is to get you to think in an analytical manner when looking at your threat.
  • "Entrance Versus Exit Wounds"--Bev Fitchett's Guns. Excerpt: "Most entrance wounds, no matter the range, are surrounded by a reddish, reddish-brown zone of abraded skin — the abrasion ring (Figure 4.16). This is a rim of flattened, abraded epidermis, surrounding the entrance hole. Fresh entrance wounds have an abrasion ring with a moist, fleshy appearance. As the abrasion ring dries out, however, it assumes the more familiar appearance." Also:
    There is usually no difficulty determining that an entrance wound without an abrasion ring is truly an entrance. With the exception of the palm, sole, and elbow, these wounds are oval to circular with a punched-out clean appearance to the margins, totally unlike that of exit wounds. The exceptions to this are reentry wounds of the axilla and scrotum, which may be slit-shaped and resemble exits. Fortunately, these latter wounds are virtually all penetrating rather than perforating.

    In rare instances, a circular punched-out entrance without an abrasion ring is associated with an exit that also has a circular punched-out appearance, leading to confusion as to which wound is the entrance and which the exit. In such an instance a determination as to entrance versus exit may not be possible. ...

    Distant gunshot wounds of the head may have a stellate [looking like a star or asterix] or irregular appearance simulating a contact wound. This phenomena is seen with both handgun and rifle bullets. It is most common over bony prominence such as the orbital ridges. The author has seen this phenomena in other areas of the head as well, e.g., at the hairline; between the eyebrows; over the cheekbone; along the edge of the mandible; on the top and on the back of the head (Figure 4.22). These wounds may be incorrectly interpreted as contact wounds or exits.
  • I Saw an Opportunity and I Took It.”--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz discusses the complete lack of empathy or remorse exhibited by most criminals.
  • Knock on wood, I've never had this problem: "How to Remove a Bullet Stuck in a Firearm Barrel"--Shooting Illustrated. Short version: "A Delrin [a type of plastic] rod, some lubrication and the proper application of a mallet will help remove a bullet stuck in your barrel."
  • "Has India Sealed the Deal? 770,000 Kalashnikov AK-203s for Indian Armed Forces"--The Firearm Blog. The AK-203 is a newer model AK with the railed and hinged top cover and an adjustable stock and, in this particular model, shooting 7.62x39mm. The selector lever and internals are largely the same as the historic AK. India had previously required that any new assault rifle be in 7.62 NATO, so the change in caliber is also interesting.
  • "Head to Head: Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 vs. Model 642"--Shooting Illustrated. A comparison of the newer polymer framed 5-shot concealed carry revolver versus the classic J-frame. "Some of the differences include the frame design, location of the cylinder release, improved sights and a significantly longer extractor rod." The primary advantages to the new model, the author feels, is a slightly longer grip allowing him to get all fingers wrapped around the grip, better sights, and the longer ejector rod allowing for more positive ejection of spent cartridges. As a right-hander, moving the cylinder release to the back of the handgun was not any real advantage, but would be a "game changer" for a left-handed shooter.
  • "How to Reduce Recoil with Shotguns"--Shooting Illustrated. Methods discussed are: using a low recoil round; using a heavier shotgun; mechanical reduction methods such as a butt-pad or muzzle-brake; and making sure that the shotgun correctly fits the person using it.
  • "The Invisible Step"--Art of the Rifle. Most instructions for the steps to taking an accurate shot focus on the purely physical aspects: trigger control, aligning the sights, body position, etc. But the author wants his readers to consider the equally (if not more important) mental step of taking the shot. It isn't an aggressive mindset, but, rather, the clearing of the mind just before taking the shot. I see it as a type of being in the moment. Anyway, read the whole thing and watch the embedded video.
  • "When No Help Is Needed"--Blue Collar Prepping. First aid classes are focused on providing aid to someone who is injured until the injured person is transferred to a person with greater medical knowledge and/or a hospital. Those classes don't teach you when rendering first aid is pointless because the person is dead or too far gone for help. This article looks to fill in that gap. Important knowledge for triage. 
  • "How Long Does Gasoline Really Last?" by Tom Marlowe at The Survivalist Blog. "Average gasoline you obtain from a gas pump will last anywhere from three to six months depending on its age and ethanol content. Higher ethanol content shortens lifespan, while purer gasoline will last longer. Other factors that can greatly degrade or extend the shelf life of gasoline are the conditions it is stored in, the container that holds it and any additives or contaminants that will improve shelf life, or reduce it respectively." He goes into greater detail about the reason for degradation, and has some advice for storage, so read the whole thing.
  • "Fears grow that the Black Death could spread into China as neighboring Mongolia reports third bubonic plague death"--Daily Mail. Another case of plague caught from eating marmot meat. I don't think that this will go anywhere since it appears to be limited to direct marmot to person contact, but who knows? I've noted before that in order for the gospel to be preached in China, there will have to be a major change in government policy, and perhaps even a change in government; and that change will probably come from some great disaster or loss of a war that causes the CCP to lose power.
  • "How To Avoid Sore Feet: Ten Tips For Comfortable Hiking"--Survival Common Sense. Tip #3:
    Waterproof or not? IMO, most sore feet start when the feet start sweating and soak the socks. If you’re hiking in soggy socks, this softens the skin, making the feet more vulnerable to blisters and chaffing. This is exacerbated with a waterproof shoe. In most hot weather summer hiking, you won’t need a waterproof, insulated shoe. The shoe needs to breathe, so the moisture can leave.

    What about those waterproof liners that breathe while still staying waterproof? I haven’t found one yet that works well. Yeah, they may keep the water out, but they will also keep the sweat-generated moisture in. ...


Because Conservatives have more fun.

Civil Unrest:
  • "Civil War 2.0 Weather Report: 56 Days To The Last Election Ever In The United States"--Wilder Wealthy & Wise. Wilder has pegged us at 9 on this scale of 10, where 9 is "Common violence that is generally deemed by governmental authorities as justified based on ideology," and 10 is "Civil war." He notes that of the 5 criteria recognized by academics as constituting a civil war, the only criteria we are yet lacking is that of having 1,000 or more deaths. Also:
    I firmly believe the United States has had stolen elections in the past.  But the nice thing about the Electoral College is?  It makes it really, really hard to steal an election.  Impossible?  No.  Hard?  Yes.

    Every single person in every graveyard in Chicago, California, and Queens can vote for a Democrat, and it doesn’t matter.  The Electoral College adds legitimacy to an election by breaking corruption at the state lines.  That’s one reason the Left hates it.  It makes elections hard to steal.  In my state, my vote doesn’t really matter – my state will go for Trump even if every person in every grave, ever, votes Democrat.

    Mail-in voting changes all of that.

A lot more there, plus a ton of links to other articles discussing the possibility of civil war, so be sure to check it out.

    During the final months of the Obama presidency, Ford Foundation gave prominent leaders of the communist Workers World Party (WWP) funding to form the Southern Vision Alliance (SVA), a collective of activists that includes members of the group raining down terror in Charlotte last week at the RNC convention.

    Shortly after getting $200,000 from the Ford Foundation in 2016, these activists performed one of the first violent and illegal teardowns of a historic monument in the country, in Durham, North Carolina. After the activists were arrested and charged for rioting and property damage, they are being defended in court, for free, by lawyers from another Ford grantee: the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

    Flush with Ford Foundation cash, these activists continue to promote property destruction and violence during demonstrations.

As I've discussed before, underground movements separate tasks among independent organizations to insure plausible deniability and protect against everything being rolled up in one criminal investigation. There will be legitimate charitable organizations and foundations that collect and distribute money, which are separate from the political organization(s) which are separate from the activist organizations which are separate from the group(s) organizing and carrying out the violence. What these stories show us is a glimpse of the legitimate financial arm of the underground movement.

    Sanders is also going to lay out in his message to his supporters a series of steps that should be taken now to prepare for the election. He will say news organizations need to alert people that the election results may not be known on Nov. 3. Social media companies “must finally get their act together” to ensure that election officials are not harassed and disinformation is not spread on their platforms, he said….

    Sanders said he is worried about what some Democratic strategists have called a “red mirage”: The appearance of a Trump lead on the night of the election in some battleground states, even if he lost, due to the fact that Republicans are more likely to vote in person, whereas many Democrats are planning to vote using mail ballots, which will take longer to count.

    This rolling campaign of anti-police street violence is killing Biden’s bid for the presidency — just look at private polling in crucial swing states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where law and order has become a decisive issue.

    So why don’t Democratic leaders do more to condemn the violence and call for calm?

    To understand their inaction, you need to step back and see street violence as one element of a coordinated “playbook” to dislodge President Trump, regardless of the outcome of the election.

    This is the thesis of political theorist Dr. Darren Beattie, a former Duke University professor and White House official.

    The playbook is straight from the strategies the US government has deployed in so-called “Color Revolutions” in Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine or Belarus, to remove “authoritarian” leaders deemed hostile to American interests.

    In a series of articles at Revolver.news, Beattie’s thesis provides a compelling comparison between Deep State efforts to remove President Trump and techniques used by the State Department, covert agencies and allied NGOs to influence, or overturn, elections in foreign countries.

    BLM-Antifa’s “mostly peaceful protests” are America’s version of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, where civil unrest was fomented on the streets to oust a Kremlin-backed authoritarian.

    In an interview, Beattie noted “strong parallels” between “color revolutions” overseas and the “sustained coordinated coup against Trump” — from the Russia collusion hoax to his impeachment over Ukraine.

    “The very same regime change professionals … assigned to overthrow ‘authoritarians’ in Eastern Europe are the ones running this operation against Trump. It is the same playbook run by the same people.”

    The Color Revolution playbook starts by creating the narrative of an authoritarian, illegitimate leader. Then you foment unrest on the streets, aimed at provoking an authoritarian crackdown that can be used to mobilize further unrest.

    You undermine people’s faith in the election process, setting up a contested outcome that turns into street fighting.

    At the same time, you wage relentless “lawfare” to contest ballots. Ultimately the military may be called upon to dislodge the incumbent.

    An added twist for America is that Democrats have used the pandemic to institute mass, unsolicited mail-in ballots, which historically are open to fraud and coercion, an experiment which will leave the election result undecided on Nov. 3.

    A "Color Revolution" in this context refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be "authoritarian" and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.

* * *

    On the one hand it is tempting to look at this as just another case of Democrat operatives falsely representing themselves as bi-partisan and getting away with it due to a compliant media. There is of course some truth to this, but in a deeper sense this interpretation misses the plot completely. The domestic Color Revolution framework hints at something far more dangerous and sinister. George Soros and his Open Society Foundation have played key roles in the Color Revolutions in Eastern Europe, including the famous Orange Revolution and Euromaidan Revolution in the Ukraine, in which mass demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience were organized in order to overthrow the target regime helmed by Russia-aligned Yanukovich. Setting aside the question of whether the overthrow of Yanukovich was justified or in American interests, what is crucial here is the similarity not only in method but even in vocabulary. Mass demonstrations are part of the Color Revolution playbook, especially when they can incite crackdowns that can then be used as further pretext to escalate demonstrations against the target regime.

 * * *

    Just in case Biden isn’t able to win fair and square, they have introduced a mail-in voting system that dramatically increases the likelihood of some type of contested election scenario. If that occurs, the outcome of the election will no longer be in the realm of democratic choice, where perhaps the forces against Trump have a disadvantage. Instead, the election becomes an issue of sustained mass mobilization of demonstrators capitalizing on every opportunity for escalation, a full court press by media demonizing every effort by Trump to restore order as authoritarian, and a transmission of the electoral process to court battles which disadvantage Trump.

    There is of course one scenario, a very dark one, that remains unexplored. If the Color Revolution against Trump frames him as an authoritarian unwilling to leave office, the only alternative is to remove him by force. Both Al Gore and Joe Biden have already taken the extremely irresponsible and dangerous step of floating a military role in removing Trump should their Color Revolution not turn out the way they plan.

Read the whole thing.

    Over the course of two hours, participants broached the question of what the progressive political ecosystem can functionally do in a series of election scenarios. They began charting out what it would take to stand up a multi-state communications arm to fight disinformation, a training program for nonviolent civil disobedience, and the underpinnings of what one official described as “mass public unrest.” And they pored over a report from the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan group formed in 2019, that analyzed various election-season scenarios and made clear the type of ratfuckery, corruption, and chaos that potentially was ahead. 

    “The potential for violent conflict is high,” the report noted.

     Some of the hurdles were straightforward: how you “occupy shit, hold space, and shut things down, not just on Election Day but for weeks,” explained one source familiar with the Democracy Defense Nerve Center operations. Others are more complicated, like what quick transportation options can be in place should poll locations mysteriously close. Others have been simply impossible to plan out. 

    “I don’t know what the strategy is when armed right-wing militia dudes show up in polling places,” the same source said. “This [Kyle] Rittenhouse guy is being lionized on the right, right now. If it is being unleashed that you can shoot people and be a hero, I don’t know what preparation we can possibly do for that.”

    Those involved in the conversation say this wide an array of groups has never coordinated so closely on these matters before. And the fact that they were sitting down some two months in advance of the election, was a testament to how seriously they take the complications and threats Election Day poses. 

One of the scenarios that the Leftists were particularly interested in was Pres. Trump or Attorney General Barr taking some action to terminate the counting of mail-in ballots to bring some closure to the election, and what the Left could do if that happened:

Beyond demonstrations, Team Biden was also able to recruit 1,000 influencers, all living presidents, moderate Republican governors, and, eventually, some Republican senators to denounce Trump’s refusal to keep counting ballots or to leave office. From there, more hardball tactics followed. The simulation saw Team Biden work with “local Democratic elected officials to call on the Adjutant General of the National Guard, along with representatives from the technology sector, to monitor vote counting.” They also attempted “a capital strike and a work stoppage as part of an overall effort to push corporate leaders to insist that all ballots be counted.”

    For all of their frightening predictions of what Trump might do if he loses, the one thing we ­already know is that it is the Democrats who will, as Clinton advised Biden, never concede defeat. Though some of Trump’s trolling of the media and the left is interpreted as ­betraying his plans to overturn the results, Democrats have ­already shown us outright how they react to losing.

    This time, Democrats won’t be relying on conspiracy theories or politicized investigations. Instead, they are counting on a strategy ­intended to scare Americans into voting for Biden — even if they have misgivings about handing over the government to a confused figurehead and his radical supporters.

    After a summer of (ahem) “mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter protests that unleashed violence and looting in American cities, most recently in Rochester, is there a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that the same combination of elite liberals, criminal thugs and Antifa Marxists would be deployed to burn and destroy the moment it appears that Trump might be winning?

    Behind all that high-minded talk from pompous columnists about virtuous patriots stopping Trump from cheating is a brazen threat. They’re saying in effect: The same forces that have wreaked havoc in the name of a false charge that America is an irredeemably racist nation may well inflict even worse damage in order to ensure that Trump’s re-election is thwarted.

    That’s the subtext of the talk from Biden supporters about democracy. Their ace in the hole isn’t an accurate count of the votes but the certainty that America’s cities will burn ­unless the electorate bows to their demands.

Consequently, in examining the question of when white people started hating Black people, it can be reasonably deduced as having started as early as the 1600s. when the wealthy white landowners used their common skin color for no other reason than to mollify poor and “regular” whites by differentiating them from the enslaved by color and status of “free” and “slave,” separating them, and then by encouraging animosity, even going through extreme lengths, to promote contempt for Black people.

The reality is that the vast majority of white Americans don't hate blacks. They are, for lack of a better term, indifferent or neutral toward blacks. But that doesn't suit the Leftist worldview, nor the vanity of black Leftists. They want white Americans to care about or consider blacks (or, at least, pay attention to their blackness) even if only to hate blacks. That is, black Leftists would rather that white people hate blacks than be neutral and color-blind.


VIDEO: "Crisis in Cosmology | 2020 Updates"--Suspicious Observers (5 min.)

Miscellany:
  • "Geopolitics: How Maps Help Us Understand History, Predict the Future, and Go Beyond Politics"--Ammo.com. While the term "geopolitics" has become a synonym for global or international politics, it actually has a more specific meaning of the study of the intersection of geography and politics. As the author notes, "when the hidden power of geography is appreciated – especially as it relates to the state’s imperatives – conflicts between competing states as well as the relationship between the state and the individual begins to make more sense." The bulk of the article looks at the history of the study of geopolitics, how it fell out of favor following World War II, and its application today. Rather than summarize the article or post long-excerpts, I'm going to give an example of geopolitics. 
    In The Next 100 Years by George Friedman and The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington, geopolitics are front and center. Friedman, for instance, believed that the key to United States power this century wasn't going to be merely due to technological advancements or industrial power, but because of America's geographical position between Europe and Eastern Asia. That is, the United States was in a key position to trade with both Europe and Eastern Asia because of its access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Although China is attempting to mitigate this by its belt and road initiative, the fact is that sea trade is always going to be more important than by railway because of the limits on the volume of goods that can be trafficked over a rail line versus by sea. Similarly, Huntington Friedman predicted that the United State's greatest geopolitical rival will not be the East Asian powers, but Mexico, and for the reason that it occupies essentially the same geographic sweet spot as the United States.

    Huntington's book is likewise interested in maps and the borders between civilizations. His thesis is that as the Pax Americana fades, conflicts will arise along the borders between the great civilizations--particularly between Islam and the rest of the world (Islam has, as he described, "bloody borders").
Very early on in the course of this pandemic, Michael Pakaluk made the acute observation that the people most enthusiastic about the shutdown were, disproportionately, the same people who believe that mankind is ruining the ecosystem, that population control is an imperative, that our economic system is driven by greed, that the government is more reliable than the individual, and—above all—that staying alive and healthy is the greatest possible good. With those core beliefs already locked into their thought processes, they were quick to embrace the plan to shut down our economy, our schools and churches, our social lives. They were slow to notice the enormous social and economic costs of the shutdown, because to their way of thinking those costs could actually be benefits.
    To Feinstein, China always has been more than a geopolitical competitor. After the U.S. normalized relations with China in 1972, Feinstein was one of the first mayors to set up sister-city agreements with Chinese communities. She linked San Francisco, where she was mayor at the time, to Shanghai, whose mayor then happened to be Jiang Zemin, later president of China.  

    They became fast friends – Zemin spent a Thanksgiving at Feinstein’s house in San Francisco and even danced with her in the evening – and the relationship between Zemin and her investor husband, Richard Blum, grew significantly. 

    She worked with Zemin to establish corporate partnerships, to eliminate the link between most-favored-nation status, which the Chinese coveted so they could join the World Trade Organization, and China’s serial human rights abuses. Zemin helped Blum raise $150 million for an Asia-focused fund for his venture capital firm, Newbridge Capital.  

    The firm would go on to invest more than $400 million in China, including in ventures such as Northwest Airlines, then the only airline with direct flights to all major Chinese cities, and the Shenzhen Development Bank, the first time the Chinese would allow an American firm to take control of such a group.  

    She blocked Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, from moving to rename a Washington, D.C. street for Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel-winning human rights activist jailed for speaking out against the regime. She blocked the bill twice, and Xiaobo died in custody. She forced the Obama administration to abandon a $6 billion arms deal with Taiwan. In the early 1980s, she also got the organizers of the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco to stop displaying Taiwan’s flag. She even worked to get meetings for Chinese officials so they could explain the missile tests they performed near Taiwan to frighten the island nation. 

    Feinstein also was heavily involved in the scandal in which John Huang, a Chinese businessman, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by contributing the campaigns of Bill Clinton and other top Democrats to curry favor on other matters. Feinstein had to return a $12,000 contribution as a result of the investigation. 
    • Related: "Chinese researcher charged with destroying evidence relating to illegal transfer of US tech"--ZDNet. The spy is Guan Lei, a researcher working at UCLA. Lei claimed he was innocent after dumping a hard-drive he had erased and physically destroyed in a dumpster, and being stopped just as he was attempting to flee to China. If you have ever tried to physically destroy a hard-drive, even with firearms, you know that it is difficult. The things are built like tanks.
  • "Woman wrongly calls cops on unarmed black man sitting in his car in Ohio parking lot where he was drinking tea and talking on his cellphone because she was 'pretty darn sure' he had a gun"--Daily Mail. Several years ago, one of the local high schools was locked down because a Karen thought she saw someone carrying a rifle into the school. It turned out to be a folding shovel that looked nothing like a rifle. There have been many cases of people calling police because they couldn't tell the difference between a rifle and an umbrella. Under American jurisprudence, mistakes like that are typically not actionable because public policy is to make such calls to the police privileged from suit in order to encourage people to report crimes. But perhaps there should be some legal recourse under tort law--maybe a gross negligence standard--when a person makes an accusation that is so obviously wrong.
  • Sad but not surprising to me: "BYU student starts petition to bring back 'Christ-centered education'"--Campus Reform. According to the article, "Hanna Searic and Tristen Mourier, both students at BYU, have started a petition to bring back 'Christ-centered education' at the institution" and "prevent BYU from drifting from its Latter-day Saints influence and oversight, particularly towards academic secularization." "Searic’s [sic] and Mourier say that one of the motives of their campaign was a lack of encouragement and sponsorship from faculty members for student organizations which were either attributed to conservative activism or affiliated with the LDS Church." When I was attending there in the early 1990s, the English department had resigned the signs for restrooms to read "womyn" instead of "women." It's not clear how much of BYU's funding is from tithing funds donated to the Church, but I expect there will be a reckoning at some point that will either result in the Church eliminating funding or further opening up slots (and financial aid) to LDS members.
  • "Christians, Come Back" by Tal Bachman at Steyn Online.
    As the years roll by, contemporary Christian churches increasingly abnegate their scripturally-prescribed role as fortified beacons of divine truth, and instead transform themselves into vehicles for a social justice pseudo-gospel completely incompatible with Christian (or Jewish, for that matter) scriptural teachings.

    This has been going on for decades, of course, but its most striking manifestation of late has been the near-total failure of the Christian church to expose and reject the destructive fraud that is Black Lives Matter.

    That kind of failure requires extraordinary ignorance, extraordinary cowardice, or both. After all, it's not like the veil hasn't come off Black Lives Matter, if it was ever there in the first place. Its founders openly profess their allegiance to Marxism, history's most genocidal ideology. Its members repeatedly encourage violence, destruction, and even murder. Its website calls for the "disruption of the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure", the end of accepting heterosexuality as normal, and the avoidance of "environments in which men are centered".

    At least two of its leading lights—Patrisse Cullors and Malina Abdullah—practice a Yoruban zombie religion in which they may, or may not, sacrifice animals to invite the spirits of the dead to possess their bodies during their nightly riot activities. (Abdullah says she's become very friendly with the spirits of the dead, and has had a lot of laughs with one named "Wakeesha").
    To walk with Christ means to be concerned about your salvation. As Christians we are encouraged to sanctify our souls to prepare for the next life. This means turning away from all sin—fornication, lust, greed, pride, gluttony, and so on. I was addicted to fornication, and through God’s grace, I was able to stop it. Masturbation is never acceptable, since it’s a form of self-abuse, and I don’t intend to have sex again unless I get married. “You’ve gone off the deep end! You’ve gone from one extreme to the next!” To the faithless, chastity is extreme. To men of the world, following the basic commandments of Christianity is fanatical.

    I follow only the absolute minimum of Christianity. I’m not going above and beyond and I’m not inventing my own rules. Praying daily, corporate worship (in church), and avoiding sin is Christianity 101, and for people to attack that shines a light on the darkness they allow to enter into their own lives. If someone thinks abstaining from fornication is extreme, we know what they treasure. If someone thinks taking twenty minutes out of the day to glorify God through prayer is too much, we know the sort of distractions and entertainments that occupy their mind. If someone thinks spending two hours with fellow Christians on Sunday is excessive, we know how actively their worship at the altar of sportsball, brunch, hangovers, and gossip.
    The law of chastity is an eternal law, given by our Heavenly Father to all His children in all ages. It remains in force and is as applicable today as it was in earlier times in history. As with other commandments, the law is given by Heavenly Father to bless and help His children achieve their divine potential. Obeying the law of chastity includes abstaining from all sexual relations before marriage and remaining completely faithful and loyal after marriage. Sexual relations are to be limited to marriage between a man and a woman.1

    Heavenly Father intends that sexual relations in marriage be used to create children and to express love and strengthen the emotional, spiritual, and physical connections between husband and wife. In marriage, sexual intimacy should unite wife and husband together in trust, devotion, and consideration for each other.
The Moon is mostly a dry, airless rock, but it does have traces of water ice near its poles. This was discovered by the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 orbiter team in 2008. The team has also located various minerals on the lunar surface, but finding hematite was a surprise. Hematite is a form of iron oxide that typically forms when the iron is exposed to oxygen and liquid water. While other processes can form hematite, these would be hindered by the presence of hydrogen. Hydrogen is present on the lunar surface due to solar wind. So how is hematite forming on the Moon?

  • A reminder we live in the 21st Century: "Japanese company successfully tests a manned flying car for the first time"--CNN. It's not a flying car in the sense of a car that converts into an aircraft, but a small personalized VTOL aircraft that would facilitate personal air commuting; e.g., an air-taxi that comes to your home and picks you up. It is obviously based on the technology from the development of personal quad-rotor drones. 
    • Related: "Airline Pilots Landing At LAX Report A Guy In Jetpack Flying Alongside Them"--The Drive. The important part of the story isn't that the person seen was in a jetpack, but that he was seen in a jetpack at 3,000 ft altitude, which suggests some major improvements over known fuel/power use in jetpacks/flying suits. I understand from other articles that the FBI is investigating.
  • "Preconscious Processing and Training Design"--Marcus Wynne. He explains that when we perceive the world (receive data), that data goes through preconscious filters which "create either familiar patterns, fragments of familiar patterns, or new patterns," the "patterns are recognized or fit into the schema," and "then the human brain makes up a narrative, or story, about the pattern." and, then, when "we act on our narrative, and rely on our perception, pattern recognition and the evolving narrative to PREDICT the next step in the story and act accordingly." There are a few general ways to develop or change these preconscious filters, according to Wynne; and one of the examples he gives is as follows:
    One way to shape desirable attributes and preconscious filters is to create learning experiences to shape new cognitive pathways. The SEAL BUD/S training program Hell Week does an excellent job of that. It’s the SUCCESSFUL completion of that week that creates a different preconscious filter for what is possible under extreme stress.

        I've been wanting to post about the purpose of our mortal existence, for it truly has a purpose in God's plans. But I've been sort of hung up on trying to effectively convey that purpose. 

        Of course, there is the general plan of salvation as I learned in my youth at Church--we were spirits prior to our existence, we are born in this mortal world and thus receive a physical body, we die, and eventually we will be resurrected (i.e., our spirits will be reunited with our bodies) and be judged. However, this is a road-map showing the legs of our journey and not really a statement of purpose.

        The holy scripture teach us that this life is a test. Which is well and good, as far as that goes, but it doesn't tell us why we have to be tested and the purpose of the test. Other teachings indicate that this life is also a time of learning and growth, and I think that brings us a bit closer to understanding, but still doesn't answer the "why?" of it.

        But going through some scripture, I think we can intuit much of the purpose. Although Christ is the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, we are all children of God in the spirit. See e.g.Romans 8:16-17, 21Act 17:29Psalm 82:6See also Luke 11:2 (Christ instructing us, when we pray, to say: "Our Father which art in heaven ..."). We were formed in His image. See Gen. 1:26. And, as Paul explains, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Romans 8:17.

         Christ is, of course, preeminent. As Paul describes in Chapter 1 of Hebrews:
    1 God [speaking of the Father], who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

    2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he [the Father] hath appointed heir of all things, by whom [speaking of Christ] also he [the Father] made the worlds;

    3 Who [speaking of Christ] being the brightness of his [the Father's] glory, and the express image of his [the Father's] person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he [Christ] had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty [the Father] on high;

    4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he [Christ] hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

    5 For unto which of the angels said he [the Father] at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

    6 And again, when he [the Father] bringeth in the firstbegotten [Christ] into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

    7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

    8 But unto the Son he [the Father] saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

    9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

    10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

    11 They [the heavens and the earth] shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

    12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

    13 But to which of the angels said he [the Father] at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

    14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
    We, of course, are those "who shall be heirs of salvation" through Christ's sacrifice, "[f]or we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end," Heb. 3:14, "know[ing] that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." 2 Nephi 25:23.

          We can obtain additional insight by examining why Christ had to partake of mortality in order to become our judge. Turning again to Hebrews, Chapter 2, we see essentially two reasons given: to overcome physical and spiritual death. Heb. 2:14-18. And, more relevant to the point here, we read in verse 18: "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." And, later, in Chapter 5, verses 8 and 9: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him[.]" In other words, going through a mortal existence allowed Christ to perfect the empathy and understanding needed to be our Savior and Judge.

          But Christ is also our example. For instance, we read in the scriptures that man was made a little lower than the angels, yet all things were to be made subject to man. [1] Heb. 2:6-8Psalm 8:4-6Genesis 1:26. Obviously, this has not yet happened, but is something still in the future. But if we are to be joint heirs with Christ, it is logical to conclude that we will also share in His power and authority.
          We get a sense of how great this power and authority might be from certain of the scriptures. For instance, turning to the Septuagint, Exodus 7:1 we read: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Behold, I have made thee a god to Pharao, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet." The Old Testament prophet Elijah was given power to call down fire from heaven, and Elisha performed numerous miracles including separating waters so he could cross on dry land and healing waters. In Revelation, Chapter 11, we read of two latter-day prophets that will have the power to send fire "out of their mouth, [to] devoureth their enemies," and "have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." We also saw examples in the Old Testament of the power of angels, including the angel of death that killed all the first born of the Egyptians, and the angel of  2 Kings 19:35 which killed 185,000 men of Sennacherib's Assyrian army.

          Obviously, then, we must be tested to see if we will be obedient to God and learn the necessary empathy, understanding, and self-control to hold and exercise such power and authority without abusing it or using it contrary to the Father's will. 

        Earlier this year, Greg Ellifritz posted an article with the title "Cops: The Young versus The Old" which actually helped to express this point. Ellifritz laments the fact that the experienced cops generally are not the ones on the street, and the lack of experience results in a lack of empathy and understanding. Looking back at his own history as an officer, he writes:
          We hire young guys and gals in their early 20s. They have essentially zero life experience. They possess a college degree and have generally lived a pretty smooth life. They haven’t ever been arrested, they have no substance abuse problems, and they don’t have an unreasonable amount of debt.


     * * * 

           Our new cops have generally never experienced the crushing loss of a loved one or a friend’s death. They don’t know anyone who is addicted to pain pills or who drinks a bottle of vodka every night to keep the demons at bay. They’ve never dealt with schizophrenia or autism or paranoia. They’ve never been in a romantic relationship that has gone so badly that one party or the other resorts to physical violence.

            What do you think cops deal with on a daily basis? Drug addiction. Alcoholism. Mental illness. Crushing poverty. Family problems and dead bodies. Lots of poor judgement.

            Because our young cops haven’t directly experienced such things, they lack a certain perspective when it comes to dealing with those problems. Without such perspective, they default to making arrests. Young cop sees a person breaking a law. Young cop arrests the law breaker. Problem solved, at least from the perspective of the young cop. In reality, arrests seldom really solve any problems. But it takes 15 or 20 years of arresting people before a cop realizes that fact.

           I was the same way. I got hired as a cop when I was 22 years old. I had graduated college three months before and was still living with my parents. For my first few years, I led the department in numbers of arrests. I arrested every law breaker I found and thought I was doing the right thing.

          I remember the first time I recognized that all my arrests might be less productive than I had originally believed. I had a couple years of experience and was working the midnight shift. I found two guys who were shit-faced drunk and staggering in the middle of a busy roadway at 2 a.m. I immediately arrested the two guys for public intoxication. They were legitimately in danger of being run over by a car in their drunken condition and I thought I was doing the right thing by pulling them out of the roadway and taking them to jail.

         When I got them to the station, they told me their story. The two men were brothers. Their father had died earlier in the week. Their deceased father wished to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in a nearby river where he liked to fish. The sons wanted to honor their father’s wishes, but didn’t want to get in any trouble for scattering the cremains in the water.

          They chose to do the deed under the cover of darkness when they were less likely to be seen. They passed the evening by drinking beer, talking about their dead father, and waiting for the level of darkness they needed to conceal their illegal dumping.

           They were really drunk by the time they thought it was best to scatter the ashes. They didn’t want to hurt anyone by driving in that condition, so they carried the ashes to the river on foot. They were walking home when they encountered the young cop who arrested them.

           I remember the desk officer (who had about 25 years experience) looking at me after these guys told their story. He told me: “You made a bullshit arrest.” I didn’t understand him at the time. I thought I was saving these guys from getting hit by a car. Now I realize I was being a dick. Those guys didn’t need to go to jail. They needed to be treated with compassion during a difficult time.

           Unfortunately, the police academy doesn’t teach compassion. That can only be learned through a lifetime of experience and practice. The police academy teaches young recruits how to arrest criminals so that’s exactly what I did.

          Now if I encountered the same dudes in a similar situation, I’d probably give them  a ride home instead of a set of steel bracelets. That’s the value of a couple decades worth of perspective.
    I would contend that our mortal existence is mostly to learn self-control and empathy, compassion, charity, or whatever name you want to give it. Obviously, some people will be dealt better hands than others in the game of life, but all of us will have to pass through hardships and trials. The test is how we deal with these trials. To those that pass the test, they will be told "thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things." See Matthew 25:14-30 (the parable of the talents).

        Falling back on my inner nerd, I initially compared our mortal existence as being like the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek II--The Wrath of Khan which was a no-win test designed to test the character of those being trained to be commanding officers. But, as I discussed above, life is more than a test, but an opportunity to learn. Wynne's article fills in a missing piece of understanding the why of life. It alters us, for the better if we choose it.

        With that, the initial training and selection of SEALs, culminating in Hell Week, is actually a much better analogy to the purpose of life. By rejecting Satan and not joining with the one third of the heavenly hosts that rebelled against God, we essentially made it through the initial selection and training and merely needed to move on to our "Hell Week," so to speak, of mortal life. As Wynne notes, "[i]t’s the SUCCESSFUL completion of that week that creates a different preconscious filter for what is possible under extreme stress." The SEALs that get through Hell Week go on to additional training and deployment, trusted and depended on by our country to use expensive equipment and training to solve difficult problems. Successful completion of life, I believe, will allow us to go on to additional growth, learning, and responsibilities with which God will entrust us. 
Notes:
    [1]  The wording is somewhat confusing because it discusses both "man" (i.e., humans generally) and "son of man," which is typically a reference to Christ. So, it could just be referring to everything being made subject to Christ. But for it to only refer to Christ makes the reference to "man" (generally) void and of no purpose, as well as contradicting Genesis 1:26: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

3 comments:

  1. Might be your best one ever.

    Roosh's path from hedonism to Christianity is a good one, after he realized that hedonism is, essentially, meaningless (at best). Excellent article.

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    1. Thank you. I started reading Roosh when he had become one of the main red-pilled bloggers at his web-site, The Return of Kings, and saw over time as he came closer and closer to the realization that Christianity provided more meaning. I'm glad to see that Roosh had the intellectual and moral honesty to make his conversion.

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    2. Funny, me too! I was surprised when he shut it down, but understand now, especially after reading that excellent article you linked to.

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