Thursday, March 31, 2016

Marriage and the Fate of Nations

I recently read an article noting the inverse relationship between women's earnings and the rates at which they marry. The article, entitled "How Earnings Influence a Woman’s Decision to Wed" was published in The Atlantic, and reports:
Between 1980 and 2010, the proportion of American women who were married declined from 74 percent to 56 percent. There are plenty of trends during that 30-year span that can help explain the shift in women’s decisions to marry or not: increasing college attendance, growing labor-force participation, increasing rates of incarceration, and changing cultural norms, to name a few. A new study suggests that as their wages increase relative to men’s, female workers become less likely to marry.
There are many explanations as to why this is so, but its seems that, just as a man cannot have two masters, a woman cannot have two husbands: many women are married to the State (welfare dependents) or their careers.

But that is not the issue I want to address. Rather, it is the obvious inference that if women are marrying less, then so are men. Moreover, I would suggest that because of decreasing marriage rates, the number of men without sexual partners is going to exceed the number of women without sexual partners. The result of this imbalance will not just be a demographic issues of fewer children and more broken homes, but increased violence and risk of civil war.

I'm going to actually take these issues in reverse order because it will make it easier to understand my point. Perusing an article on what motivates young Muslim men to become terrorists, I followed a link to an article from The Economist entitled "Of men and mayhem." The general thrust of the article is that "[y]oung, single, idle males are dangerous. Work and wedlock can tame them." The article makes a particularly interesting point, though, about polygamous societies:
Any system that produces a surplus of single men is likely to be unstable. Polygamous societies suffer “higher rates of murder, theft, rape, social disruption, kidnapping (especially of females), sexual slavery and prostitution,” note Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson in “The Puzzle of Monogamy”. 
The article expounds on the "idle hands are the tools of the devil" theme further:
... It is not simply a lack of money that spurs young men to rebel, he explains; it is more that having a job is a source of status and identity. 
Throughout history, men have killed men roughly 97 times more often than women have killed women. The reasons are biological. In all cultures, the appetite for mayhem peaks in the late teens or early 20s, “just when males are competing more fiercely for mating opportunities, as in other mammals”, notes Matt Ridley in “The Evolution of Everything”. In “Homicide”, Martin Daly and Margo Wilson put it like this: “Any creature that is recognisably on track towards complete reproductive failure must somehow expend effort, often at risk of death, to try to improve its present life trajectory.” Wars, alas, give young men a chance to kill potential rivals (ie, other men) and seize or rape women. From Islamic State to the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, rebel forces often let their troops treat females as spoils.
(Underline added).

For instance, as the author of the article on the motivation of Muslim terrorists observes, if you have 10 women and 10 men, and one man has 4 wives, that immediately means that three other men will not have wives (sexual partners); if two of the men each were to have 4 wives, you would have 6 men without wives (sexual partners).

Our culture has programmed us to see this "polygamous" sorting (multiple female sexual partners to a particular man) as unusual, but it is, rather, natural. Because a woman's hypergamous nature draws her to the highest status male, males of high status have a choice of multiple female sexual partners. Males of a lower status, conversely, may have limited or no opportunities to find a sexual partner. (High school is a perfect example of where this natural sorting occurs: e.g., the high school football team captain with many girls pining after him, and the nerdy boy who couldn't get a date to save his life).

Many societies, and Western society in particular, solved the issue of surplus men through the carrot and stick approach of the institution of monogamous marriage, thereby limiting a man to one wife no matter his status, coupled with shaming women that sought sex outside the marriage. Simple economics and the harsh realities of life ensured that a woman had to seek the protection and support of a man to provide for her and her offspring. Laws and social mores that deemed a woman, by being married, to have consented to sex with her husband ensured that the husband would have his wife as a sexual partner.

Now all bets are off. Because of enhanced educational and career opportunities, and/or government benefits, women are no longer dependent on a male for support. Sex outside marriage is not only tolerated but practically expected in this day and age. Divorce is rampant. In short, monogamous marriage is in a dangerous decline, and the natural sorting of multiple females to a smaller number of high status men is reasserting itself. Even if a man is married, there is no guarantee that he will have a sexual partner. We are increasingly moving toward what, in effect, is a polygamous society, with the concomitant result that an increasing number of young men will be without sexual partners and, as the articles above note, will be idle hands to commit crimes and engage in violence.

I would suggest that we are beginning to see the breakdown of social stability--it certainly has long been apparent in black communities, and is rapidly spreading among lower and middle-income whites. And we have also seen the resultant rage and violence demonstrated by the so-called mass-shooters, which have a commonality of being males with low sexual status. The lure of the video game console can only delay things so long, before disaffected young men in the United States and Europe begin to act like disaffected young men around the world and throughout history.

In 1995, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints released its "The Family--A Proclamation To The World," which included this statement: "Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets." These calamities are beginning to happen right before our eyes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The HK G-3 As A Big Game Rifle

Source: "A brutal, bloody end for the king of the jungle who refused to be imprisoned: Lion is shot dead after escaping from Nairobi National Park and attacking a man"--Daily Mail.
More photos and a short video at the link above.

Invite a Refugee to Dinner ... Or Not.

Or not: "Liberal Teacher Takes In Muslim Refugee, His Colleague Finds What’s Left Of Him"--Mad World News. From the article:
A leftist professor decided to put into practice his own liberal “open doors” policy, feeding and housing a poor Muslim refugee in his own home. However, when his colleague showed up to find out why he wasn’t at work, he found a stomach-churning trail that’s enough for anyone to abandon their progressive “multicultural” beliefs. 
A high school math teacher from Celle, a city near Hanover, Germany, foolishly bought into the propaganda that Muslim asylum seekers can be won over with Western hospitality and tolerance. Mehdi Hushmand was not only popular with his students, but he had become an active volunteer in the refugee movement. 
Mehdi, a 55-year-old migrant himself from Iran, sympathized with the flood of Muslim asylum seekers flocking across the borders. He began bringing food, aid, and supplies to refugee centers, but he still felt he wasn’t doing enough. So, he made friends with the male refugees, even letting a few of them stay with him in his house. 
Celle Heute reports that when Mehdi didn’t show up for work, one of his co-workers went to check on him. After searching the home in February, he discovered what looked like a trail of blood leading to the basement. It was there that the colleague found Mehdi butchered and lying dead in a pool of his own blood. 
Murdered by the very migrant for whom he cared, Mehdi’s tolerance for the 58-year-old Afghan refugee came “full swing” when police say they got into an “argument,” according to Bild. Upset that Mehdi, the man who gave him everything, simply disagreed with him, the unidentified asylum seeker took a rock and a large metal instrument and bashed the teacher’s head to a bloody pulp. He then dragged the mutilated body down to the basement in an attempt to cover up his gruesome crime.
Let me first fend off some potential critical comments by stating that I'm aware that the feel-good video came from my own church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). I'm also aware that what happened to the teacher, Mehdi, is an unusual outcome.

But I also understand that charity and missionary outreach do not require you to abandon your common sense. The person or persons you invite to your home will know where you live, see the property you have, know who lives there and what age, and so on.

They come from a different culture that may have very different outlooks as to honor (and what constitutes violation of honor), how to respond to perceived slights, ideas of proper/improper conduct and hygiene, different expectations as to gender or familial roles, and so on. What, to you, may be nothing more than a harmless difference of opinion might be a significant insult to their honor or otherwise inappropriate in their culture. Small talk between genders (such as a woman conversing with a man, or vise versa--especially if a man is talking to another man's spouse) may be discouraged or inappropriate. What are common courtesies in the West may be misconstrued. (For instance, when I was in Japan in the late 1980's, I was told by natives there that a man did not hold a door open for a woman unless there was a romantic relationship between the two).  And because of political correctness and multiculturalism, and its attendant contempt of Western Civilization, you cannot be sure that your refugee guests will respect your culture.

You likely will know little or nothing about their background. If they are here illegally, you are already dealing with someone that has violated the laws of the United States, and must consider whether there are other laws that may not matter to them.

Because of your overtures toward them, they may want to drag you into their problems as well, asking for financial assistance, assistance with immigration issues, sponsoring other friends or family members that want to come to the U.S. (or whatever country in which you live), wanting you to take sides in family disputes, and so on.

In short, if you want to invite a refugee to dinner, do not disengage your brain and admit a total stranger into your home. Find out about them, and try to build at least some bit of a relationship with them first. Finally, be careful of being sucked into issues and problems that do not concern you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Work and home life has been crazy busy the last week, so I don't have as much as usual to offer today. But here are a few things that caught my attention over the weekend and past couple of days:

The voltage spike damaged electrical components in certain train cars and took about 50 cars out of service. BART crews have inspected every inch of the tracks in the area and the electrical systems serving it, but have so far not found the source of the problem.
    A similar problem damaged cars between downtown Oakland and San Francisco starting in February, but BART crews didn't get to the bottom of that problem either -- it just went away and its cause remains unclear.
    What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.
    The benefits flow both ways--at least for the large and powerful industries--because they receive special privileges and protections from the government. There was a reason that the big economic interests (banks and large industrial firms) supported Hitler.
    Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.
    • "Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle"--Science. Evidence of those pesky pre-Classical European civilizations keep showing up. From the article: "Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology." (Underline added).
    (Update: took care of some typographical errors).

    Sunday, March 27, 2016

    "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5)--Happy Easter!

    John 20:11-18

    Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. With His sacrifice, the Lord atoned for our sins and shortcomings and, consequently, ransomed our souls from death and damnation. It was not an easy task, even for Deity. But while we naturally tend to think of Christ's sacrifice for us, we must not forget why He did so. I don't mean, by this, the purpose of the atonement or resurrection, but His motivation: deep and abiding love. The Lord suffered this because of His love for us; He wants to help and comfort us. We merely need to look to Him for assistance. (Of course, the Lord will not necessarily prevent or deliver us from our challenges and trials. These serve not only to help us develop, but also act as a sieve to separate the faithful from those that are not; and, by maintaining our faith in the face of adversity, establishes our testimony of the living Christ).

    As we know, "it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." It is the gift of this grace which we celebrate today.

    Happy Easter.

    Friday, March 25, 2016

    Garbage In, Garbage Out -- Progressives and the Response to Islamic Terror

    It is disheartening, after the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Europe (Belgium stopped yet another bomb attack this morning), that the only solution being offered by the Eurocrats and other elites in American and Europe is more of the same old navel gazing of "what did we (i.e., Europe) do wrong?" For instance, an MSNBC terror analyst blamed Belgium society for the attacks. An article at The Conversation, "The bitter fruits of alienation: Belgium’s struggle is the problem of our age" argues:
    There is indeed a police problem – one above all of capacity and coordination – but the solution to Europe’s security crisis can never simply be more security. That has to be combined with more imaginative efforts to look at the origins of the problems. And that of course means that Europeans need to look at themselves and the societies they inhabit.
    But no word of blame is attached to the cultural or religious background of the terrorists or those that harbor them (and let there be no mistake, these terrorists are evading capture because there is a larger corps of sympathizers willing to hide, feed, clothe, and otherwise support them). The same explanations that the terrorists acted only because of feelings of alienation came after the Paris attacks, as well.

    If there is alienation, it is because of the political correctness strangling the world. Assimilation requires that the immigrants become more like Europeans: adopting customs, world views, language, dress, and other aspects of culture. In the past, this would largely have been forced on the immigrants through social pressure and direct government action (for instance, not allowing use of native tongues or dress while at school; requiring language ability and citizenship tests). Public expression of the immigrants' culture would have been limited. There would have also been some effort to weed out those simply seeking free and easy resources, such as requiring employment before allowing entry.

    This was not done ... because it would not have been politically correct.

    But I question the basic premise that alienation lies at the root of the problem. In a separate article entitled "Brussels attacks: how radicalization happens and who is at risk," the author writes:
    A recent report published by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University provides troubling statistics on Islamic State (ISIS) support in America:

    As of the fall of 2015, US authorities speak of some 250 Americans who have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria/Iraq to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
    The report goes on to say there are some 900 active investigations against ISIS sympathizers in all 50 states. As a result of these active investigations, 71 suspects have been charged for terrorism-related activities – and those charged share some interesting characteristics.

    The average age of the suspects is 26 years, and the vast majority of them (86 percent) are male. About 27 percent were involved in a plot to carry out violence on U.S. territory. The suspects are diverse in terms of race, social class, education and family history. Forty percent of those arrested are converts to Islam. A large majority – 58 out of 71 – are American citizens.
    (Underline added). The underlined portion is significant because, historically, left-wing terrorist groups have largely drawn from middle and upper-middle class, while right-wing groups are typically made up of working class or the working poor. This suggests that, at least in the United States, ISIS terrorists are not the socially or economically dispossessed, but must have another motivation. In this case, the obvious motivation is the tenants of Islam and philosophy of jihad.

    In any event, Europe faces a choice, and it does not include the useless soul searching of what could have been. The reality facing Europe is "Jihadi Musab al Suri's strategy for fanning the flames of insurgency along the classic playbook. Kill the infidel and so provoke a response which can be used to recruit even more adherents. Create a European intifada, in a united front with the old continent's well-established Leftist radicals, and rip the continent apart." Also, "European security has collapsed, perhaps irretrievably. So many prospective terrorists are now operating in Europe that security services have lost the capacity to monitor potential threats. There is no historical yardstick against which to gauge the breakdown of law enforcement in Europe." David P. Goldman believes that the choice facing Europe, now, is "allowing humanitarian disasters to occur on its borders, or losing control of its own security." Which is just a nice way of saying that Europe has a choice of keeping the foxes out of the hen house, even if it means letting the foxes starve to death, or letting the foxes come in and suffer the slaughter of the hens.

    In the case of Germany (and most of the rest of Western Europe, I would add), the choice has already been made: to let the foxes in. Now the foxes are in, to shut the door to trap the hens in with the foxes is only an incomplete solution. The foxes will have to be hunted and destroyed. Those that supported them, provided aid and comfort to them, will have to be hunted as well. Because Europe was lenient in the past, it now faces a future where it will have to be brutal. How brutal? Maybe something in line with the mass deportation of peoples from various countries at the end of WWII, which, distasteful as it was, probably was instrumental in establishing the long peace that followed.

    I've noted before that liberals don't care about the consequences of their actions so long as whatever they are doing makes them feel good about themselves--part of their general addiction to "virtue signaling." Bringing millions of refugees into Europe made the liberals (especially the elite) feel good about themselves. But now the consequences of their thoughtlessness and selfishness have arrived.

    Europe's political correctness has left them with horrible choices. Maybe the situation can be diffused without resort to the ugliness which seems to be approaching--I pray that it can--but I am not hopeful.

    Thursday, March 24, 2016

    The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Is Going To Collapse And Destroy Civilization ... Or Not

    The Atlantic has published an article entitled "The Struggle of Clear Climate Communication." A somewhat innocuous title that, ironically, serves to obfuscate the author's real message that we are all doomed unless something drastic is done now! In particular, the author focuses on a paper published by James Hansen, a climate scientist and the former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who claims that even a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures will cause the shut down of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) current. The article states: "Once this current is shut down, then the Atlantic near the Arctic will stay cold and heat will build up in the southern latitudes, creating the potential for extreme weather of mythical proportions." 
    [The paper] warns that, by 2100, the planet’s natural system could change so dramatically that enormous “superstorms,” sometimes powerful enough to hurl ocean boulders hundreds of feet into the air, will form in the Atlantic Ocean. Seas could also rise so quickly that they will inundate coastal cities—including New York, Washington, and San Francisco—rendering them unlivable before the end of the century.
    However, Hansen adds:
    “Have we passed a point of no return? I doubt it, but it’s conceivable,” he adds. “But if we wait until the real world reveals itself clearly, it may be too late to avoid sea-level rise of several meters and loss of all coastal cities.”
    Hansen's predictions are based on computer models. But, as they say, garbage-in, garbage-out (GIGO). Anthony Watts reports on a study showing "There is no real evidence for a diminishing trend of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation." That study notes that accurate measurements of AMOC are only recent, but even using other proxies, there is no evidence that variations of the strength of the currents are anything but normal variations.
    Every approach proposed so far for the AMOC has indices that may or may not represent the long term trend in the AMOC depurated of the variability. Every approach interprets changes in the indices as supporting either no AMOC slowdown or a clear evidence for a slowdown. Either may be right or wrong, but they cannot both be right. Here we argue that there is no unquestionable evidence of any change in the AMOC signal if not variability. 
    The long-term sea level variations along the east coast of North America appear to be different north and south of Cape Hatteras. And the differences in north-south sea level change can be argued to reflect changes in the AMOC which then adjust the sea surface temperature (SST) patterns that make up the Atlantic Multi Decadal Oscillation (AMO). A stronger AMOC should lead to warmer temperatures in the Atlantic marking a positive AMO so the AMOC and AMO should be linked. Long-term AMO oscillations then argue for an oscillating AMOC over the past 50 years without a long-term trend. 
    There is no reliable measure of the AMOC direct or based on proxies that covers a sufficient time window to show a clear trend beyond inter-annual and multi-decadal variability. Claims of strengthening or reducing of the AMOC are therefore pure speculation.
     (Underline added).

    March 24, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

    A video from Bill Whittle reminding conservatives that, whomever you support in the primaries, to set aside differences and remember the real enemies of America and individual liberty (Hillary and Sanders) when it comes to the general election.

    • The American College of Pediatricians has released a statement that "Gender Ideology Harms Children." In the statement, the group observes that "[h]uman sexuality is an objective biological binary trait," and that "[w]hen an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such." The group also states that "[c]onditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse."
    • Greg Ellifritz, at Active Response Training, has republished a couple of articles related to recognizing and surviving a bomb attack:

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    There Will Be War

    Solomon at the SNAFU blog has been warning that Europe will burn because of the immigration issues there. Yesterday's bombing, he believes, is the beginning of the end of the European Union, writing:
    Drink it in men. 
    You're witnessing the end of the dream that was the EU.  Free trade and people moving across borders without restriction?  Dead.   One contiguous Europe with laws that applied across the board?  Dead.  The idea that liberal societies could freely accept refugees that not only didn't accept the views of the nations that they were fleeing to, but despised them despite their hospitality?  That's setting the stage for open combat in the streets. 
    The govts are and have failed their people.  Europe will burn.
    Although not as succinct as Solomon, John R. Schindler makes the same point in his article, "Europe Is Again at War." Schindler states:
    Simply put, Europe has imported a major threat into its countries, one that did not exist a couple generations ago. It can be endlessly debated why this problem has grown so serious so quickly—for instance, how much is due to Europe’s failures at assimilation of immigrants versus the innate aggression of some of those immigrants (and their children)?—but that the threat is large and growing can no longer be denied by the sentient. 
    What, then, is to be done? Admitting the extent of this threat is the necessary first step, albeit one that the EU’s political class seems congenitally unable to address. Instead, the public is treated to the now-customary clichés about religion having “nothing to do with terrorism,” combined with ritual admonitions about “Islamophobia.” One wonders how much more of this organized dishonesty the European public can take. 
    Europe is now at war again. The threat today is less terrorism than a low-grade insurgency, a guerrilla war of sorts, that hangs over much of the continent as thousands of jihadists, made proficient killers by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, return home with visions of killing “infidels,” their former neighbors. There will be no parley or negotiation with such mass murderers. Parsing the death-cult ideology that drives ISIS fighters, with the hope of making it less noxious, makes as much sense as trying to divine the finer political points of the Manson family. 
    We should expect more guerrilla-like attacks like Brussels yesterday: moderate in scale, relatively easy to plan and execute against soft targets, and utterly terrifying to the public. At some point, angry Europeans, fed up with their supine political class, will begin to strike back, and that’s when the really terrifying scenarios come into play. European security services worry deeply about the next Anders Breivik targeting not fellow Europeans, but Muslim migrants. “We’re just one Baruch Goldstein away from all-out war,” explained a senior EU terrorism official, citing the American-born Israeli terrorist, fed up with Palestinian violence, who walked into a Hebron mosque in 1994, guns blazing, and murdered 29 innocent Muslims. 
    When that violence comes, a practically disarmed Europe will be all but powerless to stop it.  ...
    While on this point, I would note an article from David French on "In the Aftermath of Brussels, There Is a Mistake We Shouldn’t Make." The mistake is not recognizing jihad for what it really is:
    ... jihad is an eternal, all-encompassing unholy war against the unbeliever. It is waged in the mind of the believer, to fortify his or her own courage and faith. It is waged online and in the pages of books and magazines, to simultaneously cultivate the hatred and contempt of the committed for the kafir — the unbeliever — while also currying favor, appeasement, and advantage from the gullible West. Jihad is the teaching in the mosque. It is the prayer in the morning, the social-media post in the afternoon, and the donation to an Islamic “charity” in the evening.
    There is jihad in predatory, coordinated sexual assault, there is jihad when Western camera crews are chased from Muslim neighborhoods, and there is jihad when Muslim apologists invariably crawl from the sewers of Western intelligentsia, blaming Europeans for the imperfections in their life-saving hospitality.
    ... [So] [w]hile not all Muslims are jihadists, jihad is so deeply imprinted in the DNA of Islam that the world will confront it as long as Islam lives.  
    And so combatting [sic] jihad isn’t simply a matter of firepower — though that is certainly vital to the work — nor is it a matter of perfecting intelligence and police tactics. It’s the spiritual and intellectual effort of generations. And while the West currently enjoys unmatched military superiority, its mind and spirit aren’t just grotesquely decayed, they’ve been intentionally vandalized. Unless we can reverse that decline — and rediscover the eternal truths that defined our civilization — our guns, bombs, and magnificently-trained troops will merely constitute the rear guard, the force that delays the inevitable.

    March 23, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

    Video: "Sanatan Shastar Vidiya - The Chakar /Chakram"--the Chakram is a throwing weapon that is basically a sharpened metal ring; it can be of various diameters.

    • "The Passport Card"--Blue Collar Prepping. A federal identification card that you can use in lieu of a regular, booklet passport when entering or leaving the United States via border crossings on land, or via sea ports (they can't be used for international air travel). The author suggests it may be useful in a SHTF situation to definitively prove U.S. citizenship.
    • "The True Price of Free Corn"--Advanced Survival Guide. A parable of how accepting free handouts can lead to slavery.
    • "25 Emergency Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags"--Apartment Prepper. I'll add another use. When I served as a missionary in Japan, we were on our bicycles for most of the day. To prevent wearing holes in our suit pants, we would put two of the plastic bags (printed side down) over the seat to reduce the friction and resultant wearing of the fabric.
    • "Improvised Block And Tackle: The Poldo (Horizontal lift)"--Neo Survivalist. "There comes a time in every persons life when you need to lift something heavy and need it to stay at the same height you lift it." The author provides instructions on one solution.
    • "A Connoisseur’s Guide To Modern Rifles"--Return of the Kings. A nice primer of modern rifles, including discussions of different types of actions available, cartridges, military style rifles available to civilians in the U.S., and accessories.
    • "Puerto Rico Braces for Its Own Zika Epidemic"--New York Times. From the article:
    The outbreak is expected to be worse here than anywhere else in the country. The island, a warm, wet paradise veined with gritty poverty, is the ideal environment for the mosquitoes carrying the virus. The landscape is littered with abandoned houses and discarded tires that are perfect breeding grounds for the insects. Some homes and schools lack window screens and air-conditioning, exposing residents to almost constant bites.
      The economy is in shambles, and thousands of civic workers needed to fight mosquitoes have been laid off. The chemical most often used against the adult pests no longer works, and the one needed to control their larvae has been pulled from the market by regulators.
        A quarter of the island’s 3.5 million people will probably get the Zika virus within a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and eventually 80 percent or more may be infected.
        • "China Goes on a Global Shopping Spree"--American Interest. The author notes that Chinese companies have been very aggressive, as of late, in purchasing companies outside China. Part of this, the author suggests, is simply a result of the growing clout and wealth of these Chinese enterprises. But the author also warns:
        Chinese firms can invest elsewhere because of China’s decades of success, but that doesn’t explain why they’re doing so with such urgency now.
          Chinese CEOs know what’s happening inside the country as well as anyone except, probably, government officials. If they’re looking to do more business in foreign countries—particularly in North America, and particularly on such a large scale—that’s a sign that they’re not happy with the opportunities they’re seeing at home. And another sign that people around the world should be worried about China’s future economic potential.

          How Angry Are Americans?

          Sigmund Freud is credited with the idea that depression is merely anger turned inward. Recent studies indicate that Americans are more depressed than they have been in decades. While I'm sure that there are many possible causes of depression, is the sharp increase merely the result of repressed anger?

          Tuesday, March 22, 2016

          March 22, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web (Updated)

          The big news story today is, of course, the terrorist attack in Belgium. Will Europe draw the connection between certain of the powerful Islamist sects (particularly Wahhabism) and terrorism? (Obviously not all Islam is implicated--we don't see, for instance, Yazidi terrorists). Also, Zika spreads to Bangladesh.

          Brussels Attack:
            At least 31 people have been killed and many seriously injured in attacks at Brussels international airport and a city metro station.
              Twin blasts hit Zaventem airport at 07:00 GMT, killing 11 and injuring 81, Belgium's health minister said.
                Another explosion struck Maelbeek metro station an hour later with 20 people killed, the Brussels mayor said.
                  A series of deadly terrorist attacks struck Brussels on Tuesday, with two explosions at the city’s main international airport and a third in a subway station at the heart of the city, near the headquarters complex of the European Union.
                    At least one of the two airport explosions was touched off by a suicide bomber, officials said. At least 34 people were killed — 14 at the airport and 20 at the subway station — and many more wounded, including 92 at the airport and 106 at the subway station.
                      “We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium said at a news conference, calling the attacks “blind, violent, cowardly.”
                        On Twitter, he called on the population to “avoid all movement,” as the authorities braced for the possibility of additional violence.
                        * * * 
                          The Paris attacks showed that the scale and sophistication of the Islamic State’s efforts to carry out operations in Europe were greater than first believed, and analysts have also pointed to Europe’s particular vulnerabilities. They include the huge flow of undocumented migrants to the Continent from the Middle East last year, the movement of European citizens between their home countries and Syria to fight with the Islamic State, and persistent problems with intelligence sharing among European countries and even between competing security agencies in some nations.

                            Few countries have been more vulnerable than Belgium. It has an especially high proportion of citizens who have traveled to Syria or Iraq, insular Muslim communities that have helped shield jihadists, and security services that have had persistent problems conducting effective counterterrorism operations, not least in its four-month effort to capture Mr. Abdeslam.

                              The attacks on Tuesday put the Belgian capital in a state of virtual lockdown, with the threat level raised to its highest possible level. Frédéric Van Leeuw, the Belgian federal prosecutor, said that border controls had been strengthened and extra police officers mobilized.

                                All flights to and from Brussels Airport were canceled indefinitely, with flights scheduled to land there diverted. Subway, tram and bus travel was shut down. Eurostar canceled its trains connecting Brussels with London. Thalys, which runs high-speed trains linking dozens of cities in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, suspended service. Cellphone lines were jammed as panicked travelers and Belgians tried to make calls.

                                Other News and Items:

                                Update: Some more stuff:

                                Monday, March 21, 2016

                                Alert: Critical Update for Older Kindle Readers

                                Amazon has warned that older Kindle's that do not have updated software may stop accessing the books saved on the Cloud, the Kindle store, or other services as of tomorrow (March 22, 2016). According to the notice, if you have synced your Kindle since October of last year, it is probably okay, but you may want to double check that you have the correct software version.

                                Thoughts On Unarmed Defense Against A Knife

                                There has been a recent spate of slashing attacks in New York City which piqued my interest in strengthening my knowledge of unarmed defenses effective against a knife attack. There are various techniques that are taught in martial arts or self-defense classes, or that can be found in books, articles or videos.  I decided to test/practice some techniques or common defenses to determine their effectiveness. Now, still with very sore wrists and forearms, I have some thoughts about unarmed defense against a knife attack.

                                The effectiveness of a knife is often dependent on surprise and/or being able to confine the victim. Since it is a contact weapon, simply keeping one's distance seems the best defense. However, backing away or retreating ("run away!" as King Arthur yelled in a Monte Python movie) may not be possible if the attack is sudden or if, for some reason, you are constrained against leaving. (It may not be a physical barrier that keeps you from leaving, but the need to protect a loved one. I would refer you to this article of an attack and attempted rape of an example of the latter situation).

                                For our tests we used training knives manufactured by Cold Steel, one being a facsimile of Cold Steel's Recon Tanto and the other was of a K-Bar style knife (the Leatherneck S/F trainer).

                                Initially, we practiced with basic stabbing attacks, holding the knife in a saber grip. The intent of the attacker was to deliver a stab to the midriff at approximately waist level (i.e., between the pelvis and the sternum), although it varied up to stabs at the area of the heart.

                                The first defensive technique we attempted was one that I had been taught many years ago. In that case, to defend against a stab with a forward grip, the instructor had taught a technique that required you to slap the back of the knife hand with one hand (your left hand if the attacker was using his right hand), while simultaneously slapping the attacker's wrist from the other side. The theory was combination of impacts would flex the hand, and cause the knife to fly out of the hand. Although not perfect, it worked well enough in the dojo with students using Sharpies and highlighters to stand in for knives. However, as expected, it did not translate well to the training knives and an aggressive opponent. Not only is the technique somewhat complex to successfully accomplish, but it requires you to place your body in line to the advancing knife. So a failed defense leads to a disastrous outcome. I would recommend against using this technique.

                                Next we tried standard blocks. The problem with these, we discovered, is that it is simple to disengage from the block, dip the knife hand under the blocking arm, and continue the thrust or initiate another attack. Not too surprising since this is a basic maneuver in fencing.

                                Next we tried various techniques for grasping or trapping the attacking arm. These showed more promise, but almost always degenerated to a "catch-as-catch-can" wrestle for the knife. Moreover, a grip on the knife arm using but a single hand was easily broken. Even if an arm was trapped, it was generally possible for the attacker to transfer the knife to his other (free) hand.

                                What seemed to consistently work the best was to use the hand opposite the attacker's hand (e.g., if the attacker was using his right hand, the defender would use his left hand) to grab the wrist of the attacker (grab slightly underneath so you can more easily twist the attacker's arm). This does two things: it requires the defender to move his body out of line of the stab (so even if the defender failed in the defensive maneuver, the knife would probably still miss the defender), and initiates control of the knife hand. Simultaneously, the defender grabs the attacker's arm with his other hand about the wrist of the knife hand. The attacker and defender are essentially, at this point, standing almost side by side. During the same maneuver, the defender's arm first used to grab the knife hand (in this example, it would be the defender's left arm) goes over the knife arm of the attacker (in this example, the right arm), with elbow into the side of the attacker's chest. The defender drops down which should drive the knife straight into the ground. At that point, the defender has a good lock on the attacker's right arm, the attacker probably cannot get his left hand over to the right hand, and the defender can force the attacker fully to the ground, remove the knife from the attacker's hand, or jump back up and run away.

                                So, in summary, assuming an attacker using his right hand as his knife hand:
                                1.  Attacker stabs with right hand;
                                2. Defender uses left hand to grasp the attacker's right wrist, sidestepping;
                                3. Defender's left arm goes over attacker's right arm, with the Defender's elbow going into the side of the attacker's chest (very painful if you happen to strike the right spot); 
                                4. Defender's right hand is also used to grab the attacker's right wrist;
                                5. Defender drops, diverting the attacker's forward momentum, and driving the knife into the ground. 
                                With an attacker using the left hand, the sides are simply reversed (i.e., the defender uses his right hand and arm).

                                We tried this technique against other types of attacks, such as slashing attacks where the knife was held in a reverse grip (edge out), and a reverse grip (edge in). In these, we tested it against a horizontal slashing attack, such as might be made against the torso, neck or face. The defense described above seemed to work well against the attack where the hold was a reverse grip (edge in), but appeared to be less successful against one where the hold was a reverse grip (edge out). In the latter case, we could successfully drive the attacker to the ground, but it was apparent that were a real knife used, the defender would likely suffer cuts to his arm or hand.

                                This technique was not well suited to an overhand, reverse grip stab straight downward. In that case, the classic technique of using both hands to grab and redirect the thrust was effective--actually, very much so since the natural arc described by the attacker's arm means that the trajectory of the knife will generally be into the attacker's own leg, groin, or abdomen.

                                I have not had an opportunity to test the technique against a diagonal slashing attack.

                                What I liked about this technique was that it was actually fairly forgiving of errors. As noted, even if you have failed to grasp the attacker's wrist, you have stepped out of line of the attack. If you don't get your arm over the attacker's arm, it is not as strong a lock but will still work. If you don't get your second hand around the wrist, you still very well may have enough momentum to drive the knife down into the ground or throw the attacker off balance.

                                I know that I've seen this technique illustrated before in books or in a video, but I cannot remember the source. Anyway, I welcome any comments, criticisms or suggestions.

                                March 21, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                Video: "Vox Rebuttal: Gun Control Propaganda Debunked." A response to a video released by Vox arguing for further gun control. The video is about 20 minutes, but worth the time.

                                • "Supreme Court Gives Boost to Stun Gun Owners"--NBC News. According to the article, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a Massachusetts court ruling that "found that Second Amendment protection applies only to weapons that were in common use at the time of the nation's founding." The U.S. Supreme Court held, instead, that "the Second Amendment applies 'to all instruments that constitute bearable arms,' even those not in existence at the time of the founding."
                                • "A Primer on Pistol Calibers for Self-Defense, Part 1: The Basics"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. This part basics of what factors or mechanics of bullet wounding to lay the groundwork for later discussion.
                                • "The Flaw of Averages"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. The author explains that no one is truly "average," which is why adjustable sizes of grips or stock lengths are desirable in a firearm.
                                • "The .41 Magnum Cartridge: Underrated and Unappreciated"--The Truth About Guns. "It is a far better big game cartridge then the .357 Magnum and a better defensive cartridge then the .44 Magnum." But is it a better defensive cartridge than a .357 Magnum, or a better hunting cartridge than the .44 Magnum? I suspect that the reason the .41 Magnum has never gained the popularity it probably deserves is that, during the time the revolver was popular for self-defense, it didn't provide any significant advantages over .357 Magnum for that purpose; and, for the person interested in hunting, it was not quite as good as the .44 Magnum. 
                                • "Homemade Carlo Submachine Gun Plaguing Israel"--The Truth About Guns. The author begins his article by observing: "Guns aren’t difficult to make. Submachine guns are some of the easiest to construct with simple tools. Add a $100 electric welder from Harbor Freight and they become a project for a few weekends. Once the templates and jigs are produced for a small shop, they can be turned out with a few hours of labor."
                                • "Half of U.S. May Endure ‘Lost Decade’ of Depressed Employment"--Wall Street Journal. From the article:
                                At the current pace of improvement, employment rates across the U.S. won’t return to normal levels until the 2020s, “amounting to more than a relative ‘lost decade’ of depressed employment for…half of the country,” University of California, Berkeley, economist Danny Yagan wrote in a working paper posted this week on his website. He said the research paper soon will go through peer review.
                                  Recessions hit some places harder than others, and recovery doesn’t necessarily mean every place recovers all the jobs that it lost. Instead, unemployment rates can come down to prerecession levels as job seekers leave distressed regions and move to economically healthier areas of the country. “A state typically returns to normal after an adverse shock not because employment picks up, but because workers leave the state,” economists Olivier Blanchard and Lawrence Katz wrote in a 1992 paper.
                                    This time might be different in some ways. Three economists wrote in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper last year that compared with the prerecession years, mass layoffs after 2007 prompted a “muted” migration response and many workers instead dropped out of the labor force. Falling labor-force participation has been a worrisome hallmark of the U.S. economy in recent years, though the recession’s damping effect on workforce participation appears to be fading as the economy gains strength.
                                      Mr. Yagan adds to the debate about the 2007-09 recession’s ground-level effects by analyzing Labor Department data and tax records. He studied regional outcomes and the consequences of living in areas that experienced worse-than-average employment losses during the recession versus similar workers who lived in regions that took a lighter-than-average hit. Hard-hit areas included cities like Phoenix, Ariz., while lightly hit places included San Antonio, Texas.
                                        People seem to have moved around the country as expected, he wrote, and unemployment rates have generally converged over time toward their normal levels. (Different regions generally exhibit higher or lower employment and joblessness than the national averages, even during economic expansions.) But in a change from the years following recessions in the early 1980s and early 1990s, he found that local employment rates—the share of the population with a job—have remained far from normal, with diverging workforce participation.
                                          People who lived in a harder-hit area in 2007 were experiencing significantly lower employment as of 2014, he wrote. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those workers were especially damaged by the recession. He wrote there is “suggestive evidence” that areas hit hard during the recession were “continuing to depress their current residents’ employment.”
                                            In other words, underlying damage may be continuing to hold down employment in regions most affected in 2007. Based on the current trend, he wrote, employment rates won’t converge to their normal levels until sometime in the 2020s.
                                            • "Core Education"--Stephen Green at PJ Media. Green muses that once California has been "fundamentally transformed" into a social and cultural branch of Mexico, it may no longer consider itself part of the United States.
                                            • "Ideologies Have Consequences"--Quadrant. Explaining ttransnational progressivism. The fault lines of future civil unrest are pretty clear: 
                                            At home, global progressives focus on promoting what they call “marginalised” groups, such as women, LGBT people, racial minorities, linguistic minorities, immigrants, particularly Muslims. For example, the Western Left calls for “gender parity” (imposed proportional representation) across the board in all institutions of civic life, by fiat if necessary (violating the tenets of a free society). They tout an adversarial multiculturalism or identity politics that problematises national patriotic cultures, traditional institutions (religion, family), the concepts of free speech, individual citizenship and equality under the law (because the marginalised groups are awarded special rights). Despite the recent popularity of Thomas Piketty’s neo-Marxist writings an with its cod Bernie Sanders’s speeches, the general trajectory of today’s Western Left is (as both Daniel Bell and his critics predicted) away from class conflict and towards new antagonisms. These new (post-1960s) fault lines are based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration, language, religion, globalism and other issues that are even more divisive for national cohesion than traditional class struggle.

                                            Abroad, Western Leftists promote (in varying degrees and where politically possible) what they call “global governance”, meaning the building of supranational institutions and policies that diminish the role of the nation-state, including the democratic nation-state. The ultimate goal of this grand ideological project is the creation of an increasingly integrated global order with laws and institutions that are superior to those of the nation-state.

                                            Friday, March 18, 2016

                                            It's Not A Theory If It There Is An Actual Conspiracy


                                            Pat Buchanan, in his article, "The Sea Island Conspiracy" describes a secret meeting between top liberals and Republicans to control the outcome of the nomination:
                                            Over the long weekend before the Mississippi and Michigan primaries, the sky above Sea Island was black with corporate jets. 
                                            Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Napster’s Sean Parker, Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, and other members of the super-rich were jetting in to the exclusive Georgia resort, ostensibly to participate in the annual World Forum of the American Enterprise Institute. 
                                            * * * 
                                            As revealed by the Huffington Post, Sea Island last weekend was host to a secret conclave at the Cloisters where oligarchs colluded with Beltway elites to reverse the democratic decisions of millions of voters and abort the candidacy of Donald Trump.
                                            Among the journalists at Sea Island were Rich Lowry of National Review, which just devoted an entire issue to the topic: “Against Trump,” and Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the Trumphobic New York Times.
                                            Bush guru Karl Rove of FOX News was on hand, as were Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, dispatched by Trump in New Hampshire and a berserker on the subject of the Donald. 
                                            So, too, was William Kristol, editor of the rabidly anti-Trump Weekly Standard, who reported back to comrades: “The key task now, to ... paraphrase Karl Marx, is less to understand Trump than to stop him.” 
                                            * * * 
                                            What we see at Sea Island is that, despite all their babble about bringing the blessings of “democracy” to the world’s benighted, AEI, Neocon Central, believes less in democracy than in perpetual control of the American nation by the ruling Beltway elites. 
                                            If an outsider like Trump imperils that control, democracy be damned. The elites will come together to bring him down, because, behind party ties, they are soul brothers in the pursuit of power. 
                                            Something else was revealed by the Huffington Post—a deeply embedded corruption that permeates this capital city. 
                                            The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a 501(c)(3) under IRS rules, an organization exempt from U.S. taxation. 
                                            * * * 
                                            This special privilege, this freedom from taxation, is accorded to organizations established for purposes such as “religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary ... or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.” 
                                            What the co-conspirators of Sea Island were up at the Cloisters was about as religious as what the Bolsheviks at that girls school known as the Smolny Institute were up to in Petrograd in 1917. 
                                            From what has been reported, it would not be extreme to say this was a conspiracy of oligarchs, War Party neocons, and face-card Republicans to reverse the results of the primaries and impose upon the party, against its expressed will, a nominee responsive to the elites’ agenda. 
                                            And this taxpayer-subsidized “Dump Trump” camarilla raises even larger issues.
                                             Read the whole thing.

                                            March 18, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                            I'll start off with a bit in the self-defense department, but the rest are general interest or current events stuff for today.

                                            And now some current events and political commentary:

                                            When politicians want to import tens of millions of new immigrants it can look like Washington is trying to remake the electorate. This isn't pure fantasy. In 1996, Bill Clinton's White House instructed the Immigration and Naturalization Service "to streamline the naturalization process and greatly increase naturalizations during 1996." Sure enough, Hispanics more than doubled as a portion of the electorate for Clinton's 1996 reelection, according to exit polls.

                                              Conservatives won't win any fights — over guns, marriage, taxes, spending, health care, or anything — if the U.S. electorate is remade in the image of California.

                                                Deeper than the issues, and even deeper than the structural political questions, is the nearly existential question that Trump raises. "IF WE DON'T HAVE BORDERS," Trump tweeted in November, "WE DON'T HAVE A COUNTRY!"
                                                [S]ooner or later, as the globalist elites seek to drag the country into conflicts and global commitments, preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States, manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people, and disregard or diminish our national interests and national sovereignty, a nationalist reaction is almost inevitable and will probably assume populist form when it arrives. The sooner it comes, the better… [Samuel Francis in Chronicles]
                                                  ... New initiatives are hard to push through. But it is not so difficult to undo things. One simply has to turn off the spigot by refusing to appropriate money for them, and that is what Mitch McConnell and his colleagues promised and failed to do.

                                                    One could respond that they could not risk a government shutdown (though they claimed, while running for office, the opposite). But this response makes no sense. It is the President who shuts down the government by vetoing the budget. “Never mind that,” one could then reply. “They would get the blame. They have gotten the blame every time they tried.”

                                                      This, too, is true – but it ignores one thing. Every time they tried they lost their nerve and backed down. Cowards who back down always get the blame. Think about it. Can you think of a single instance in which a man has taken a bold, brave stance and then later backed down in which he did not become an object of contempt?

                                                        This matter is more important than it might seem. The truth is that modern liberty depends on the power of the purse. All of the great battles in England in the 17th century between the Crown and Parliament turned ultimately on the power of the purse. The members of Parliament were elected at least in part with an eye to achieving a redress of grievances, and that redress was the price they exacted for funding the Crown. Our legislature has given up that power. Our congressional leaders claim – once the election is over – that they have no leverage. If that is really true, then elections do not matter, and a redress of grievances is now beyond the legislature’s power. Absent that capacity, however, the legislature is virtually useless. Absent that capacity, it is contemptible — and let’s face it: the President and those who work under him have showered it with contempt.

                                                          There is a lesson to be learned from the current mess: Congress needs to reassert in a dramatic fashion the power of the purse, and the Republicans need to start keeping their promises. To do that, however, they will have to show a bit of backbone.

                                                          And, finally, some other stuff:

                                                          Thursday, March 17, 2016

                                                          March 17, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                          Video: "ARES SCR Generation 2 Review"--The Firearms Blog channel. A positive review.


                                                          • ".380’s Sales Surge…Again"--The Truth About Guns. Quoting an article at Fox News: “Production of the super-small handgun is at a 16-year high, with nearly 900,000 made in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.”
                                                          • "Choosing the ‘pool gun’ for your family and home defense: what’s best?"--Grant Cunningham. Some tips and suggestions for selecting a firearm that could be picked up and used by anyone in your family. One tip: "When picking a gun to fit all family members, remember that in general it’s easier for someone to deal with a too-small firearm than one which is too large; this is especially true if the person using the smaller gun is more highly trained or skilled."
                                                          • "Detecting Hidden Cameras: A Basic Introduction To Counter Surveillance"--Schafer's Self Defense Corner. First, deal with the obvious: "The first thing you should do is go over to the desk and find that notepad they leave for you, normally over by the phone, and tear off the top piece.  Take a piece of tape and tape that paper over top of the peephole in your door, if you don’t have any tape you should be able to ball it up and jam it inside, just make sure it doesn’t fall out." Next cover cameras on your smart phone, tablet, or computer, and unplug the television. Then move on to the less obvious. Read the whole thing.
                                                          • "The MAS-49 Was the Foreign Legion’s Favorite Rifle"--War is Boring.


                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                          In 2005, John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, published a paper, “Why most published research findings are false,” mathematically showing that a huge number of published papers must be incorrect. He also looked at a number of well-regarded medical research findings, and found that, of 34 that had been retested, 41% had been contradicted or found to be significantly exaggerated.
                                                            Since then, researchers in several scientific areas have consistently struggled to reproduce major results of prominent studies. By some estimates, at least 51%—and as much as 89%—of published papers are based on studies and experiments showing results that cannot be reproduced.
                                                            • "The 30% solution — when war without end ends: Spengler"--David P. Goldman at the Asia Times. "Nations do not fight to the death, but they frequently fight until their pool of prospective fighters has reached a point of practical exhaustion. In most cases, this involves reaching the 30% mark where casualties are concerned." The implications is that rather than attempting to reduce casualties among the enemy forces, the goal should be to inflict as heavy of casualties as possible.
                                                            • "Betting on Gray Sludge: What Fun"--Peter Grant. Grant considers and then discounts the idea that Americans will attempt to secede, start a civil war, elevate a dictator, or otherwise attempt to take back control of the government. Instead:
                                                              That leaves gray-sludge-and-twilight. The cultural level will continue to fall as waves of intellectually illiterate graduates pour from the universities. Schools of engineering and science will mostly resist enstupidation–the definite integral will prove an absolute barrier to affirmative action–but liberal studies, the heart of civilization, will remain dead. Hostility and perhaps mini-wars will erupt between Americans and the Somalis, Moslems, and Guatemalans brought in by the DC-NYC axis, but these will probably be inconclusive. Christianity will be reduced to a low level, though Judaism and Islam will flourish as their adherents have the will to prevent suppression.
                                                                The economy will continue its slide while the rich, no longer attached to any particular country, will become stupefyingly rich. (Someone recently paid $172 million for a Modigliani). If things go bad in Manhattan, they can easily move to the south of France.
                                                                  I do not see how civil unrest (it won’t be civil) can fail to arise. Comfortable people, which white Americans still barely are, do not readily clash with others. But comfort dwindles. The young now often have to live with their parents. People with advanced degrees work as baristas at Starbucks. Universities use “adjunct professors,” academic migrant workers, to lower pay and avoid providing benefits. Many companies hire people as “individual contractors,” likewise to avoid paying benefits. Large numbers who want to work are on food stamps and unemployment.
                                                                    Not parenthetically, I remember being in Italy at breakfast with a tour group. The restaurant had not ordered enough food for the buffet. These sophisticated and civil people began grabbing, reaching over each other, to get the yogurt and doughnuts. Civilization is a veneer, and not a thick one. Nationally, we are running out of doughnuts.
                                                                      One thing is clear: America is no longer “one nation under God” (who is, I suppose, an undocumented alien).It is an unhappy land of warring tribes, of peoples who have nothing in common and do not like each other. Blacks, whites, browns, Syrians, Somalis, Southerners, Yankees, Christians, mostly detesting each other. The battle lines are drawn. The question is what kind of battle it will be.
                                                                       Updated: A couple additional items:

                                                                      Wokeness is War

                                                                           I post a lot about the decline of our civilization, including topics about declining morality, the war on fathers and the traditional f...