Friday, October 30, 2020

Gridlock As People Flee Paris

I saw this article, "Escape from Paris: City is gridlocked as tens of thousands flee, stations are packed, violent protests break out and shelves are stripped ahead of month-long lockdown that BANS travel" yesterday evening. Here are a few of the many photographs included in the article:




The article doesn't offer any estimates on the number of people--simply claiming tens of thousands--but it surely does not include even a majority of the population. Imagine how bad things would be if everyone was trying to flee. 

Open Borders Is A Suicide Pact

"Tunisians take part in a protest against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in France"--Daily Mail.

In his PJ Media article, "Manchester Massacre Inquiry: Security Could Have Stopped Bomber But Feared Being Branded 'Racist'," Rick Moran writes:

    Suicide bomber Salman Abedi could have been stopped by Manchester Arena security before he detonated his homemade bomb that killed 22 mostly young concertgoers in 2017, a British inquiry into the terror attack found.

    The witness, security guard Kyle Lawler, who was 18 at the time, told police that he was “conflicted” because he thought something was wrong with Abedi but couldn’t describe it. He was standing about 15 feet away five minutes before a smiling Abedi detonated his bomb.

    Lawler and security steward Mohammed Ali Agha watched Abedi for several minutes, troubled about his all black-clad appearance and the knapsack he was carrying. They exited the arena before the bomb was detonated.

According to a BBC report Moran quotes, the security guard testified:

    “It’s very difficult to define a terrorist. For all I knew he might well be an innocent Asian male.

    “I did not want people to think I am stereotyping him because of his race.

    “I was scared of being wrong and being branded a racist if I got it wrong and would have got into trouble. It made me hesitant.

    In related news, the Daily Mail reports that "[o]nline jihadists celebrated the latest terror attack on France today after three people were murdered by a knifeman in Nice on a day which also saw a gunman killed in Avignon and a guard attacked at a French consulate in Saudi Arabia." Also, Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime-minister of Malaysia, stated that "Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past," allegedly because the French have killed millions of people in the past (presumably Muslims, although I don't know when France would have done anything like this). 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (October 29, 2020)

 

VIDEO: "Connecting the Dots: Why They’re Doing This"--Computing Forever (37 min.)
Never let a crises go to waste: this video examines "The Great Reset" plan urged by the World Economic Forum. Or, as Time Magazine describes it, "[t]he COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to think about the kind of future we want." Funny enough, though, the plan pre-existed the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

     Do not fight.  Kill quickly and efficiently.  It is then a judgment call: 
 
     In a civilized society where the rule of law prevails, you might want to stick around and claim self defense.  
 
     In a lawless society, probably best to leave.  Worldwide, very few killings turn into criminal cases.  Of those, few cases are actually closed.  Of those, very few result in prosecutions.  Of those prosecuted, most result in conviction.  You might have noticed that the liberal prosecutors are prosecuting law abiding citizens who defend themselves and intentionally neglecting to prosecute the rioters and looters who are burning down Democrat controlled cities.

     That's just reality.  

Also:
     How do you surreptitiously search the person in the parking lot?  Extend your right hand to shake hands.  
 
     If he takes your hand to shake, grip warmly and don't let go.  Place your left hand on his right hip to feel for a concealed weapon.  If you feel a pistol, hang onto his hand and ask him if he has a permit for it and ask to see the permit.  If he can't produce a permit, ask him to leave the pistol in his car.  Keep watching him.  Be polite.  
 
     If he refuses to shake hands, ask him if he is carrying a weapon.  

     How do you interdict?  Ask him a question.  Ask another question based on the response to the previous question.  Dig deep for detail.  Keep digging.  Watch for pre-assult cues.  

And, discussing when you want to use countervailing force:

 ... once you are incapacitated, you can't apply force. You just lie there while the bad guys stomp you to death.  So, you have to apply the force before you get incapacitated.

     So, the choice is yours, until you fail to make the choice.  Because, failing to choose is choosing to lose.  

That's enough for now. Read the whole thing, as well as the articles. Particularly the "Criminal Mindset – Make Yourself Harder to Kill" by Travis Pike.

I believe that the 9mm vs. 38 Special argument is settled not by the cartridges, but rather the guns. I think the .38 Special is still very relevant today, despite the fact that the 9mm easily dominates virtually every single field of the market from pocket pistols to duty guns. Snub-nose revolvers are very popular for the fact that they’re so simple and many people go that route regardless of what’s available in semiautomatics.
  • "Advantages of a Concealed-Carry Revolver" by Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated. The points he raises is increased reliability over pocket-sized autos, the various sizes of revolvers and the ability to get various sized grips provides a better opportunity to get proper fit, and wide range of caliber choices. "You'll notice that I haven't mentioned ammunition capacity," he adds. "An examination of scenarios where a firearm is used for personal defense will show that ammunition capacity is rarely an issue." 
    • Related: "Five Reasons Why Your Carry Gun Should Be A Revolver" by S.H. Blannelberry, Guns America. His five points are (i) durability, (ii) quality revolvers generally appreciate over time, (iii) the potential to use more potent cartridges (e.g., .357 Mag.) than from a similarly sized autoloader, (iv) reliability, and (v) concealability (at least with a hammerless snubby).
    • Related: "Revolvers – The Advantages as a Self Defense Gun"--Ammoland. The author here lists a similar but different list of advantages: (i) the silhouette of a revolver makes it easily identifiable as a firearm, (ii)  they are quick and easy to operate, (iii) they require less training to reach competency, (iv) fast to get into action, (v) the double-action trigger adds an extra measure of safety, (vi) more affordably prices than semi-autos [ed: I would agree on certain models, but not overall], and (vii) the ability to digest and shoot various types of ammunition.
    • Related: "When Revolvers Might Be The Better Choice" by Steve Moses, CCW Safe. This article focuses on the training issue: 
One concern that I have for new gunowners that are purchasing handguns but have no intention of investing in training or are willing to practice on a routine basis is that the manner in which a semi-automatic handgun operates is more complex than that of a double-action revolver. I can say from the perspective of a defensive firearms trainer who has taught basic defensive handgun classes for decades that many students did not initially understand the physical actions required to load, chamber, press-check, and unload a semi-automatic pistol, and it was not uncommon for it to take several hours before some of them were able to operate one competently. My concern here is that many new gunowners will not seek training and quickly forget what they must do in order to properly and, equally as important, safely operate a semi-automatic pistol.
    • Related: "When A Revolver Trumps A Pistol"--Concealed Nation. This article looks at situations when a revolver is a more useful tool than a semi-automatic pistol. The author specifically looks at extreme close quarter shooting (i.e., contact distance), when you need to carry and possibly shoot from a pocket, and when you want to keep ammo weight to a minimum (e.g., backpacking).
    • Related: "A Case for the Modern Revolver"--Scott Wagner, The K-Var Armory. An excerpt:
    First and foremost, the double action revolver is pretty hard to screw up as long as it is reasonably maintained. Its reliability in undeniable. The old advertising slogan “six for sure” is no joke. It is easy to know if your revolver is loaded simply by looking at the side of the gun for the gap between the rear of the cylinder and the frame for the cartridge rims. Unless you are VERY careless, you likely will not unknowingly face someone with an unloaded gun. This characteristic of the revolver also works in reverse—there should be no reason that you accidently fired a revolver because you didn’t know it was loaded!

    Speaking of accidental discharges, there is also little excuse for having one with a DA revolver due to the 10-12 pound trigger pull, which also acts as the primary safety for the gun. It would be EXTREMELY difficult to accidentally catch and pull the trigger of a DA revolver. The same thing can’t be said of modern trigger safety pistols.

    Unlike semi-automatic pistols, revolvers are not particular about the cartridges that are loaded into the cylinder—as long as the caliber is correct. Anything from flat wadcutters to polymer tipped hollowpoint bullets will run—and the .357 Magnum revolver is the most versatile defensive revolver of all because it can fire both .357 Magnum and .38 Special cartridges.

    The revolver has advantages over the automatic when it comes to close-quarter combat. The revolver is not as sensitive to being fired from odd (read that “any”) angles, nor will it jam from being fired with an unlocked wrist. In CQB, there is a very high probability that you will not be able to fire from the good two-hand firing position you practice with at the range.

    Perhaps the most important CQB advantage of the revolver over the semi-automatic pistol is in the area of contact shots, i.e., when the muzzle of the handgun is actually pressed against the body of the attacker because the fight has become a hand to hand affair. Pressing the muzzle of an autoloader against the body of an attacker is likely to result in the slide being moved into an “out of battery” state, meaning that it won’t fire and is likely jammed. Not good. The revolver barrel is fixed and does not move, which also makes it more intrinsically accurate than the average semi-auto.
    • Related: "The Revolver: Unappreciated Advantages" by Grant Cunningham, Personal Defense Network. Short list:
      • Malfunctions: almost non-existent
      • Practice: operates without ammunition, making dry fire useful
      • Concealed carry: easier to conceal and more stable to carry on your body
      • Economical: lower initial cost plus no cost for magazines
      • Tactical: resistant to induced failures
    • Related: "Revolvers in the Coming Pandemic" by Greg Ellifritz, Buckeye Firearms Assocation. From the article:
    I think a lot of people who don’t currently own guns will be looking for a home defense weapon in the near future. What kind of gun would be a good choice for that person?

    One could make the argument that a mid-sized revolver is ideal for an amateur gun owner.

Keeping in mind that Ellifritz is a well-known and well-respected trainer in firearms and combatives:

The reality of the matter is that I can get an untrained person to a level of basic proficiency faster with a revolver than I can with an autopistol. That’s an important factor that few people in the gun world consider. 

    • Related: "Which Handgun Should You Use for a Murder?"--Mulholland Books. Daring to mention an advantage to the revolver that most gun gurus shy away from: the fact that revolvers don't eject empty casings with each shot.
One of my earliest posts compared, generally speaking, the revolver versus the semi-automatic pistol. I had presented a table in that post that was adapted from a copy of Jane's Infantry Weapons, 1980-81, that summarized the main advantages and disadvantages of each (and I added a couple of my own) which I believe is still accurate, even after the advent of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols which had not yet appeared when that particular Jane's was published. The points from the Jane's book were:

Revolver
Semi-Auto Pistol
-Simple mechanism-Complicated mechanism
-Ammunition in chamber visible-Ammunition concealed
-No applied safety needed-Applied safety may be required
-No misfire problem-Misfire requires hand operation to clear
-Single-action firing produces smooth trigger action leading to improved accuracy-Trigger action rarely as smooth
-Bulky-Can be flat and unobtrusive
-Generally limited to 6 rounds-Higher capacity, with 10-15 rounds typical
-Long time to reload cylinder-Simple to replace magazines
-Generally has lower muzzle velocity-Generally has higher muzzle velocity

Jane's went on to conclude that, in short, “[t]he self-loading pistol produces a greater volume of fire in a given time, is less reliable, is not so safe except in expert hands, and its stoppages take a lot longer to clear. In small calibres it is easily concealed. The training time is lengthy if the user is to be capable of firing and maintaining the pistol under all conditions.” On the other hand, “[t]he pistol revolver is safer and more reliable and training time is greatly reduced. It contains fewer rounds, fires at a lower muzzle velocity and is more bulky.” 

    I would note, before anyone comments on the topic, that the simple versus complex mechanism is not a comment on the number of parts or fitment--obviously the revolver is more complicated in that sense--but the manner or steps of the operation of firing. That is, the revolver turns the cylinder one position and fires; while the semi-auto has the firing of a cartridge, the slide going back and, in many cases, the barrel moving slightly back and tilting, the magazine having to push a new cartridge into place, and the slide then picking up and correctly guiding the new cartridge into the chamber. There is a lot more to go wrong in the firing process of a semi-auto pistol than in that of a revolver. The consequence, as the Jane's article pointed out, was--at that time, at least--semi-automatic pistols were generally reserved to the military while police forces (especially in the U.S.) tended to issue revolvers. 

    Obviously, within the decade following the publication of that Jane's, American police had almost completely abandoned the revolver in favor of the pistol, mostly due to issues of capacity and ease of reloading. As was noted by many gun writers at the time, this process was driven (or helped along) by the drug war, including cartel members armed with semi-auto and automatic weapons (although I remember a few cynical comments that it was less the drug war and more the popularity of Miami Vice that pushed the switch to semi-auto pistols). 

  • "Shootout: Glock 42 versus Kahr CW 380"--Active Response Training. He liked both guns, but since most of his testing was with steel-cased Tula ammo, the Glock 42 had a lot of feeding or ejection issues. Also, while he liked that the Glock came with good sights, "it shot a little high and to the left." Which pretty much describes every Glock. Both the Glock 42 and Kahr CW carry 6 + 1 rounds. If you are in the lookout for a small .380 pocket pistol, may I suggest you take a look at the Sig 238. It has a 6-round magazine standard, and a 7-round is available (my recommendation because it gives your pinky somewhere to rest), but is smaller than the Glock 42 or the Kahr. It has great sights and very accurate for its size.
  • "Concealed Carry for Women of All Body Types" by Carrie Lightfoot, The Well Armed Woman. The detailed article splits women into three basic body types--Thin, Average, and Heavy--and reports on surveys of women in each category about what worked or didn't work for each of them. It also provides a brief summary of the problems and recommendations for each body type if you just want to skim the results.
  • "Preparing for the Boogaloo"--Gates of Vienna. Matt Bracken reviews the two-volume Civil Defense Manual by Jack Lawson. And he seems to like it. An excerpt:
    The CDM is not just another long list of expensive survival gear and equipment, nor is it advice to move to a remote mountain in Montana. The CDM is much more practical than that. In fact, Lawson’s most essential idea, the Neighborhood Protection Plan, or NPP, can be adapted to any location and situation, from the urban high-rise, to apartment complexes, to single-family homes in the suburbs, and to rural areas. The critical concept behind the NPP is that the inhabitants of an individual home, townhouse or apartment building cannot stand alone and successfully defend themselves against determined attacks by roving gangs of armed predatory thugs. It will be too late to defend your single domicile when your neighbors’ homes are going up in flames.

    A Neighborhood Protection Plan is not a glorified Neighborhood Watch, which is a passive arrangement whereby neighbors communicate with existing local Law Enforcement. Nor is an NPP a “militia” or any other kind of independent paramilitary force. In the first case, the activation of an NPP is predicated upon the inability or even the unwillingness of local LE to protect a neighborhood or other area during a crisis. In the second case, forming a militia or other paramilitary force implies that this group is planning to undertake proactive operations extending beyond the defense of a neighborhood and its immediate surrounding area. The Civil Defense Manual does cover the entire range of defensive options from existing Neighborhood Watch programs, through Neighborhood Protection Plans, and ultimately to coordination between separate NPPs for the mutual protection of wider regions, with the ultimate goal of restoring pre-SHTF civility, public safety, and restarting any disrupted infrastructure.

    Lawson provides a sample command structure for his NPP concept, as well as methods to organize the NPP well in advance of a catastrophic series of events that might require a self-defense force to be stood up in days or even hours, instead of in weeks.
    We don’t seem to be too bothered by the essentials of survival when discussing the boog. It’s all Night vision, more night vision, own the night, and “Oh sure do you have night vision”? We can discuss gear until the cows come home, but many new gun owners have never even overnighted outdoors. Camping is icky. Wet weather is icky. During the boog, how many people will be prepared with proper weather essentials and be able to adapt to changing conditions? A cold front blows in and will you need to call a time out and go home? You’re out in the woods and a rainstorm happens? You escaped the city and now you’re in farmland and suddenly its freeze balls?

    Welcome to unplanned weather. Today we are going to discuss the wet weather poncho, its uses, and how important it is to pack since it doesn’t take up much space and has multitudes of uses.
  • "When The Fight Comes To You: Why The Pump Is Primed For A Rural Conflict" by NC Scout, American Partisan (h/t WRSA). A warning that just because you live in a rural area does not mean that you will be safe from civil disturbance. The author notes not just the waves of drug addiction that have swept over rural areas, and the increased government dependency, but also the rise of rural left-wing groups such as Redneck Revolt.
  • "When Deplorables Fight Back"--Normal American. Everyone is talking about civil war. An excerpt:
Angelo Codevilla, a former U.S. Navy officer, Senate staffer, and Boston University professor, warned his readers last week they are “living in territory controlled by enemy tribes” and should form armed “self-defense groups.” Retired U.S. Army Infantry colonel turned lawyer Kurt Schlichter says the left is “co-opting the ingrained sense of duty in our cops and warriors as a means to manipulate them into being the enforcement mechanism for the tyranny the elite left dreams of imposing.” A Chicago Sun-Times opinion article predicts a “full-on purge of ‘deplorables’ by any means necessary.”
    Lisa Mayo owns Flashpoint Firearms in Comstock Park, Michigan, just a few miles north of Grand Rapids.

    She said her biggest sales day occurred after rioting in downtown Grand Rapids the night after a George Floyd protest took place. WOOD TV reported that the Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters was tagged with expletives. Storefront windows were smashed. Properties were destroyed. Police cruisers were torched. An estimated $2.4 million in damage was done, according to Mlive.
 
    Mayo said her new customers “were scared” after the riots in May. “There was a lot of single mothers that were coming in, never would have believed in their whole entire life that they would own a firearm, and they came to my store and said they need to protect themselves, but more importantly, their children.”

    Mayo said a “significant portion” of her customers are from the city of Grand Rapids and poor.

    “They’re fearing for their lives, and their budget is around that $200-$350 price range,” she said.
  • On that note, Jon Low notes that, observing the huge number of new shooters, Smith & Wesson has put together a series of videos aimed at teaching beginners the basics of firearms safety and using a firearms. Link is here
  • "6 Best Self Defense Handgun Training Drills" by Richard Mann, Shooting Illustrated. The author reached out to 5 shooting instructors to get from each the one drill that they thought offered the most bang (learning) for the buck (time and ammunition). Mann collated that together and added his favorite, so now you have 6 drills from which to pick. Mann's drill is brutally simple:
With the handgun concealed, on signal attempt to put five shots in a 5-inch circle, at 5 yards, in less than 5 seconds. Essentially, it simulates an adrenalin dump, something that commonly happens in real-world gunfights. Each hit is worth four points. Your score is the total points minus the time. Fifteen is qualifying, 15.5 is Marksman, 16.5 Expert and 17.5 Master. If you can score 18 or more, you’re probably not human. Scoring aside, the goal is to get accurate hits, quickly.

My concern with this drill is that it emphasizes speed over observing and evaluating; as others have discussed, it is possible to shoot so fast as to outrun your OODA loop and that can get you in trouble in a situation where you are planning on relying on a claim of self-defense but shoot someone that has stopped aggressing or, even, started to retreat. 

Ituri province, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has notified an upsurge of plague cases in the health zone of Rethy. From 11 June to 9 August 2020, a total of 73 cases with 10 deaths (CFR 13.6%) were notified in 5 out of 22 health areas of Rety health zone.


VIDEO: "SCRUM BOARD for PREPPERS to Plan, Organize, and Track Prepping Projects"--The Urban Prepper (14 min.). A good idea for organizing and managing your prepping efforts.

The Current Unrest:
Ready or not, here they come. The ground troops of the anti-Donald Trump resistance aren't just biding their time until Election Day for Hidin' Joe Biden. Hell no. They're making their direct action checklists and checking them twice. They're training for instigating.

She goes on to explain:

    ShutDown D.C. anticipates that 10,000 protesters from a motley assortment of affinity groups will converge at Black Lives Matter Plaza to engage in "civil resistance" if President Trump tries to "steal the election." A "Flying Bike Squad" is "coming together as a rapid response team," according to organizers. If it's anything like the skateboard squads and soup can squads who've used everyday items as weapons to beat Trump supporters, look for more blood to spill in the name of "peaceful protest." Mass disruptions are planned at train stations and airports, on highways and in residential neighborhoods for at least the first full week after Election Day.

    "We'll keep it going until Trump concedes," ShutDown D.C. threatens in its outline of a "No More Business As Usual" blockade across the country. "We could be in the streets throughout the fall and into the winter — maybe as lots of rolling waves of action or possibly as a few major tsunamis! In other parts of the country, as vote counts conclude, our focus will turn from protecting the vote counts to themselves being ungovernable."

    Here's what has me especially concerned: The "deep state" Trump-haters are openly gearing up to do everything they can from inside the federal government to assist the resistance. ShutDown D.C. is conducting online training this week with public employees in the nation's capital to undermine election integrity and the day-to-day work of the Trump administration. A protest guide lists the following subversive federal worker groups as key partners: Takoma Park Mobilization, Alt National Park Service, Alt Ed, AltFDA, Alternative NOAA, Alt U.S. Forest Service, AltEPA and BadHombreLands National Park Service.

    The ShutDown D.C. crew is schooling its forces in intentional slowdowns to "reduce the pace" of activities they oppose ideologically and on how to participate in "nonviolent direct action protests/rallies" (which serve as cover for violent riots and assaults by antifa and Black Lives Matter brethren). Another tactic: "Fed Flu" actions by U.S. government workers to "coordinate sick days across workforces." More "tools in the toolbox" of "Never Trumpers" employed in federal police enforcement, research and development, the U.S. Armed forces, administrative management and political appointments:

—Refuse orders.

—Strike in coalition.

—Slow-walk enforcement and gum up bureaucratic processes.

—Publicly denounce "attacks on democracy."

—Leak information.

—Publicly resign.

If this is how they will act when they lose, imagine how they will act should they win.
    Germany’s Social Democrats have remained quiet for months as their coalition partner, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, have tackled this pandemic. But it seems as if some have had enough. Social Democrats are fed up with how the federal government has relied on decrees and executive orders during the epidemic, rather than using the proper legislative procedures. Critics believe Merkel and her cabinet have effectively neutralized Germany’s national parliament and now govern in whatever way they want.

    A law proposed by Merkel’s health minister Jens Spahn could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Spahn’s advisers have drafted an update to the Infection Protection Act — which has already given the minister vast executive authority since the early stages of the pandemic. The updated version would not only extend the period in which these special rights are granted, but would also expand the minister’s powers considerably. The draft was leaked to the media a few days ago, revealing that Spahn would like to have the authority to mandate companies that operate public flights, trains and buses to deny passage to people from risk areas where the infection rate has passed a certain threshold. Moreover, Spahn wants to force these companies to hand over any data they have on passengers who may have been infectious.

As you may remember from your history classes, Germany was, like the United States, formed out of formerly independent countries, and it uses a federal system of government similar to that of the United States. Up to now, the article relates, the individual states have generally charted their own course on how to respond. This proposed bill, however, would transfer that authority to Germany's federal government.
    Two international studies show there is no direct correlation between in-person classes and the spread of coronavirus. 

    Anecdotally, the findings tally with data crowdsourced and compiled from 2,000 schools. 

    Kate Phillippo, an associate professor at Loyola University Chicago's School of Education said 'kids are hurting in all kinds of ways.' 

    'They're worrying about their safety, worrying about their loved ones' safety, worrying if they were going to be sick, wondering what was going to happen to them, to their schools,' she said to the Chicago Tribune.

    Some pediatricians are now hoping conversations will shift from the risks of reopening to the risks of keeping schools closed.

    'As a pediatrician, I am really seeing the negative impacts of these school closures on children,' said Dr. Danielle Dooley, a medical director at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C. 

    'Going to school is really vital for children. They get their meals in school, their physical activity, their health care, their education, of course,' she told NPR.

    Dooley says apart from missing out on their education, children are suffering mental health problems, hunger, obesity due to inactivity, missing routine medical care and some are at a greater risk of being abused. 
    Even more nightmarish for government policy, our genetic makeup also seems to affect our propensity to get severely ill and die. One study by the Covid-19 Host Genetics Initiative found that for some Covid patients with a particular set of genes, being in blood group A seemed to be associated with a higher risk of respiratory failure, whereas being in blood group O had the opposite effect. Another study from the Max Planck Institute in Germany looked at those with especially poor Covid outcomes and found they disproportionately possessed a set of genes inherited from Neanderthals. What’s more, these mutations are especially prevalent in people of South Asian origin, who have been so severely affected by Covid, and almost non-existent in those from East Asia.

    The genetic picture is extremely complex, however. Like South Asians, black Britons and African Americans have suffered especially bad outcomes from Covid, yet Neanderthal DNA is largely absent from African populations. A study by scientists at Regeneron, a biotech company, found that there may be another gene also associated with poor Covid outcomes and more prevalent in people of African origin. So it isn’t just down to one killer gene, but a person’s susceptibility could well be profoundly affected by her genome and such genetic factors may be just as important as social problems like poor health and poverty in explaining why certain countries and populations seem to be so much more vulnerable than others.
    But several experts said these worries were overblown. It is normal for levels of antibodies to drop after the body clears an infection, but immune cells carry a memory of the virus and can churn out fresh antibodies when needed.

    “Some of these headlines are silly,” said Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Declining antibody levels after the acute infection has resolved “is the sign of a normal healthy immune response,” Dr. Hensley said. “It doesn’t mean that those people no longer have antibodies. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have protection.”

    This addiction to debt has developed over five decades. Encouraged by the tax system, and perhaps with an eye on their own pay, corporate leaders were quick to embrace the trend. Pension funds and insurance companies bought the debt in bulk, while private equity firms — including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which acquired Hertz in 2005 — put together leveraged buyouts as if they were running an assembly line.

    The result has been a dramatic change in how the US economy channels savings into the financial capital that fuels growth. Arguably, it made America more competitive, as public companies have slimmed down or gained focus, while private equity firms perfected the art of eliminating fat from company payrolls — as well as equity from their balance sheets. Yet critics believe that the huge focus on financial engineering in recent decades also contributed to the weak productivity of the US economy.

    The pandemic has underscored the fragility of an economy built on corporate debt in a time of crisis. Many companies now risk digging themselves a deeper hole: new loans might help them through the worst period of lockdowns, but it means they will be entering a potentially weaker phase of economic growth with even higher debts.

The article also notes:

Even before the pandemic, the level of corporate leverage was beginning to cause alarm. At the end of last year, the IMF issued a striking warning: as much as $19tn of business debt in eight countries led by the US — or 40 per cent of the total — could be vulnerable if there were a “material slowdown” in the economy, a scenario that, if anything, now seems tame.

And the way out? 

The authorities are effectively betting that a revival in the economy will allow many companies to grow out of their new debts. “By subsidising the debt markets, we were able to avoid a liquidity problem becoming a solvency problem,” says Mr El-Erian. “That’s exactly what central bankers will tell you: we’re going to keep finance going through higher debt — and we hope that higher debt will be validated by growth coming back.”

Under Trump this might be possible, but Biden has promised job and industry killing laws, regulations, and initiatives.  We've seen what higher energy costs have done in the past, and, at the best, it leads to a recession. But that is exactly where "Green Energy" will take us.

    Obamacare had hit rural hospitals hard, forcing many of them to shut down. By Obama’s last year in office, 4% of rural hospitals had closed down, and hundreds more were on the brink. And the Bidens had figured out a way to profit from the devastation caused by Obama-Biden.

    "His brother was very interested in rural health care and very interested in veterans’ health care, and it was something he really wanted to get behind," an Americore executive recalled Biden telling him. "This would help his brother get elected."

    After Americore took over the Ellwood City Medical Center, it racked up over 40 citations from the Department of Health. Cardiovascular services were cut, the wound unit was closed, and access to its MRI machines was sidelined.

    In 2018, James Biden was renovating his Americore office and demanding expensive furniture as part of an office that was described as a “little shrine to him and his brother and Obama.”

    Utilities threatened to turn off the gas and the water at Ellwood. Instruments weren’t being sterilized because there was no equipment, and the hospital couldn’t even afford to order tests.

    Things got so bad at the hospital that hazardous waste was just piling up in garbage bags.

    Hospital patients might have been able to get basic care and supplies, but the money wasn’t there. Meanwhile, James Biden had allegedly made off with $650,000.

The article also mentions that even though the hospital had shut down in December 2019, and lost its license to operate, it somehow obtained $1.8 million in coronavirus relief funds.
    Tony Bobulinski was very clear with Tucker Carlson. Based upon his personal experiences with the Biden family, he believes that they, especially Joe Biden, have been compromised by China.

    Bobulinski calmly laid out details of all his interactions with the Biden family concerning Sinohawk Holdings and the efforts to put together a profitable business deal with a Chinese energy company, CEFC. The sole beneficiaries of that deal? The Biden family.
    ... Tucker Carlson of FOX News reported Wednesday night that a potentially ‘damning’ set of ‘confidential documents’ related to the Biden family business dealings went missing while in transit with an overnight carrier between New York and Los Angeles this week.

    The shipping company conducted an internal investigation and was unable to recover the contents of the package which was discovered by an employee to be opened and empty.

(More here). 

  • "2020 Isn’t Over: The 2020’s Are Just Starting"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. John makes his predictions for the coming few years: (i) a dollar collapse; (ii) decline in U.S. oil production causing an oil crunch (guaranteed under a Biden Harris presidency); and (iii) skyrocketing health costs (at least for those of us with a job).
  • "How the Left Is Using Americans' Empathy and Decency to Destroy Us"--Sarah Hoyt. She makes a good point which is easily forgotten in the Left's relentless efforts to demonize the United States, and that is that Americans are, for the most part, decent people:
    Yeah, I know, foreigners tell us we’re rude, brash, self-involved. But as someone who was a foreigner, and who’s been and lived many places all over the world, foreigners are wrong. Yes, American tourists can be annoying, but having lived in a country that got tourism from all over the world, all tourists can be/are annoying.

    Moving to the U.S., living here, even before I naturalized, the one thing that stood out about America was its innate decency.

    It’s not just the fact that the culture – except for those places and people who have gone utterly feral – generally respects property, but that in America people will go out of their way to help other people.

    Look, one of my first shocks as an exchange student was that Americans put lights and ornaments outside their houses for Christmas. And no one steals them. For that matter, most houses don’t even have fences around them, not even a symbolic fence. And yet things, by and large, don’t walk away.

    Even more amazing, though, are events like blackouts, which in the last 20 years happened without untoward incident, and with a great deal of mutual help. People don’t set out to attack or demand money for lodging from stranded office workers in NYC, say, and instead do their best to help them get home.

    Or if you have a private emergency of any sort, there’s always someone willing to help. (Which often becomes a way to set a trap for the unwary traveler.) For instance, when our four-year-old lost his hat as we entered a grocery store and was crying his eyes out over it, the staff of the grocery store came over to ask what was wrong and ended up giving him a hat.

    I can’t even begin to explain how unusual this is, even if we and the kid were known by sight to the staff. You’d have to live other places in the world to realize how strangely helpful and giving Americans are.

One of the things I observed living in Japan is that while the Japanese are polite, it has a different source than when politeness is exhibited by Americans. In Japan, politeness is the result of not wanting to lose face or be shamed, and fear that you might anger a person so they would attack you. That is why Japanese would get alarmed if two Americans started to snap at one another or openly disagree with one another. Conversely, Americans are more likely to be polite out of concern or kindness.


VIDEO: "Your Guide to the Great Reset"--Corbett Report (1 hr. 12 min.)
A more in-depth look at "The Great Reset" plan.

Miscellany:
"The Chinese government's brazen attempts to surveil, threaten and harass our own citizens and lawful permanent residents while on American soil are part of China's diverse campaign of theft and malign influence in our country and around the world," FBI Director Christopher Wray said.
    The sale of gasoline in socialist-controlled Venezuela is increasingly being controlled by socialist warlords in a similar manner to drug trafficking, Argentinian outlet InfoBae detailed in a report Friday.

    Amid chronic gasoline shortages across the oil-rich nation, socialist militias and military officials have taken advantage of the unmet demand by gaining preferential access to supplies and selling them at markups of up to 1000 percent.

    One of the groups also taking advantage of the supply and demand is the People’s Liberation Army (ELN), a communist terror group based in Colombia and supported by Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime. According to one community leader from western Táchira state who spoke with InfoBae, the illegal sale of gasoline has become one of the group’s most important revenue streams.

Keep in mind that Venezuela has one of the world's largest oil reserves.
    On October 23, 1086, the Christians finally charged at the frontlines of the Muslim army, where Yusuf had placed the Andalusian emirs, while he and his African warriors held the rear.  The battle soon "became fiercer than ever, and the furnaces of war burned with additional violence; death exercised its fury."  As expected, it was not long before the Moorish frontline began to crumble and retreat before the Christians, who "repeated their attacks with increasing fury."

    Yusuf's unperturbed reaction underscored the contempt he held for his "moderate" Muslim allies: "Let the slaughter continue a little while longer," he told a concerned general; "they no less than the Christians are our enemies."  Moreover, the Christians would tire themselves out, added the shrewd sheikh, "and we shall vanquish them without great difficulty."

    Before long, Alfonso and his knights had penetrated to the rear of the Muslim encampment.  Yet Yusuf was nowhere to be found.  He had divided his forces into three: one (finally) to aid the nearly routed Andalusians, and one to engage Alfonso; the last, led personally by the wily emir, had circumvented the field of battle.  "Advancing with drums rolling and banners flying," they went straight to and put the Christian rear camp to fire and sword.

    Realizing he had been outflanked, Alfonso, rather than continuing to rout his foes, ordered an about face back to his own camp.  This was a mistake.  The Christian knights crashed into their own fleeing men, even as "the Moslems began to thrust their swords into their backs and their spears into their flanks."

The author also notes that the Muslims used a new form of psychological warfare--marching to the beat of drums--which apparently greatly disturbed the Europeans.

    Let me just say that the contempt held by Yusef for the Moors is typical among Muslim nations. That is why, in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the feet of the statue of the various empires is made of mixed iron and clay, to represent the disunity among the latter-day Muslims. (Daniel 2:41-43).

    Police responded after a man was seen with a handgun shouting threats in Avignon in Provence on Thursday morning a little after 1100 Paris time (0600EST). French newspaper Liberation reports the would-be assailant shouted “Allah Akbar” and was shot dead in an exchange of fire by officers.

    Police are investigating the circumstances of the shooting and have not yet declared it to be a potential terrorist attack.

In other words, we may never know what inspired the shooter. 

    Fresh analysis of Europe's earliest known battle has thrown up the possibility the 1,400 people who died at the site, in Germany's Tollense Valley, were not warriors engaged in a brutal melee, but ambushed merchants who were ruthlessly slain. 

    The identity of the assailants remains unknown but it is thought they surprised the entourage and killed their guards before looting and murdering them. 

    Human remains at the site in North East Germany, near today's border with Poland and 80 miles north of Berlin, were first found in 1996. 

    Experts have since tried to explain how 1,400 people perished in this one event, when the region was sparsely populated throughout the Bronze Age.

    Previous theories centred around a great battle for control of a bridge over a river near the Baltic sea.

    But Detlef Jantzen, chief archaeologist for the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, says he site is more likely that of a merciless slaughter. 

    He now believes that the victims were made up of diverse vendors passing through the region, likely to set up a market, and some were travelling in a large caravan.

    He says they were likely set upon by bandits, who robbed and murdered them. 

  • "New Data Shows Climate Change Hysteria Isn’t Grounded In Science"--The Federalist. The climate alarmists are constantly trying to scare the public with fake deadlines and tipping points. Who doesn't remember, for instance, the claim that there would be no snow falls in England after the year 2000 because of global warming? And if you regularly watch the Suspicious Observers daily videos, you know that most climate scientists are still using outdated UN climate models--3rd generation models--rather than the latest gen 5 models, probably because the newer models rely less on CO2 than the earlier models because they have included cloud cover, solar and, in the latest model, particle forcing influences into the model. But even beyond the long record of being proven wrong, one only has to look at Earth on a time scale of thousands of years to know that it is all false: the Earth has been warmer off at different times over the past 5,000 years (including, but not limited to the Medieval Warming Period), and much warmer 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. On a longer time scale we see that life on the Earth has thrived under conditions far hotter and with 20 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere. Quite simply, climate alarmists are either stupid or lying. A few scientists have tried to set the record straight as to the false deadlines and tipping points. From the article:
    Nine leading climate scientists from Germany, France, Finland, and Ireland have, indeed, questioned whether anyone can reliably determine how much time remains between now and an irreversible trajectory toward environmental ruin.

    Drawing from 36 different meta-analyses on the question, involving more than 4,600 individual studies spanning the last 45 years, their findings were recently published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. They conclude that the empirical data doesn’t allow scientists to establish ecological thresholds or tipping points. As natural bio-systems are dynamic, ever-evolving, and adapting over the long-term, determining longevity timeframes is currently impossible.

    These scholars write that frankly, “we lack systematic quantitative evidence as to whether empirical data allow definitions of such thresholds” and “our results thus question the pervasive presence of threshold concepts” in environmental politics and policy. Their findings also reinforced the contention that “global change biology needs to abandon the general expectation that system properties allow defining thresholds as a way to manage nature under global change.”

    The site — once a key source of water for the ancient Maya — contained crystalline quartz in coarse sand and zeolite imported from 18 miles north-east of the city. 

    Quartz and zeolite, a compound containing silicon and aluminium, together serve to create a molecular sieve — and are both still used today in modern filtration systems.

    The ancient filter would have removed heavy metals, harmful microbes, nitrogen-rich compounds and other toxins from the Maya civilisation's water, the team said. 

  • "New Nuclear Engine Concept Could Reach Mars in 3 Months"--Interesting Engineering. Note that this is just a concept, not even in development. The basic idea is that of a nuclear rocket--using a nuclear reactor to heat the exhaust gases. The main difference is in the nuclear fuel:

    UNSC-Tech's concept uses a Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel, based on High-Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU), to power the engine's reactor. The fuel is encapsulated into particles coated with zirconium carbide (ZrC).

    The company says this fuel can operate at higher temperatures, allowing for safer reactor designs and a high thrust and specific impulse that was only previously obtainable with highly-enriched uranium. What's more, the fuel can be produced with current supply chains and manufacturing plants.