Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

  • "3 Ways to Get Water From a Modern Well if the Grid Goes Down"--Outdoor Life. (1) Generator (to power the pump); (2) hand-pump; or (3) sleeve bucket.
  • "Build a Live Trap"--Sensible Survival. For live trapping an animal. Note: the instructions are for making one out of wood, so it is a trap you would want to check often so an animal can gnaw or scratch its way out.
  • "Original:Yeasts for Baking"--Appropedia. This a reprint of an article from Bittersweet, Volume VI, No. 3, Spring 1979. It explains how to make yeast using hops, or making your own "everlasting" yeast starter.
  • "Hornady 10th Edition Handbook of Cartridge Reloading Available as eBook"--Ammo Land. It is $20 for the Kindle version.
  • "Red Bandana"--North American Hunter. Larry Weishuhn explains why he always wears a bandana, and it is because of everything it can be used for: protecting his neck from the sun; keeping his neck warm; pulled over his face to protect from dust; pulled over his face to conceal his white beard from deer; as a sweat band; tied around his head to keep his ears warm; and so on.
  • "Defense – Obstacles Part I: Introduction"--The Lizard Farmer. This is the first part of a multi-series sets of articles on using obstacles are part of the defenses for a retreat. As an introduction, the author briefly covers some topics covered in more detail in later articles and gives an overview of the topic. He notes that there are three types of obstacles: natural (e.g., a stream or a ravine), man-improved (a natural obstacle that has been modified in some way, but not necessarily made better), and man-made obstacles (e.g. barbed wire entanglements). I would note that obstacles don't necessarily need to deny access, but can be used to canalize movement or redirect enemy movement.
  • "How to Use Lemon Juice Powder in Cooking"--Preparedness Mama. I hadn't heard of this product before reading this article. Essentially, it is powdered lemon juice and can be used where you might otherwise use lemon juice or lemon zest.
  • Something for my UK readers: "Minecraft Geology"--The Knowledge. "The British Geological Survey has recreated several of their geological maps as 3D landscapes within the MineCraft game." Link to the BGS here.
  • "The nuclear bunkers designed for luxury living"--BBC News. The BBC tours a bunker facility built using old ICBM silos. I see several issues with these bunkers. First, and foremost, I don't believe that the caretakers of these facilities will actually let the purchasers in when SHTF. Second, I don't know if I would want to be riding out an international crises in a facility that might still be a target for a ground-burst nuclear warhead.

Other Stuff:
           Study co-author Elizabeth Broadent said: "Compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts.
            "Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.”
             ... Roofers, siding installers, brick layers, lawn services, janitorial services and other such services routinely beat out competition from American workers.  Builders have to hire Mexicans or go out of business because the home buyers are only going to pay so much for homes.
               So hire they do.  And then these same workers are paid in cash – and only cash – in order to live in a cash-based system of life separate from the tax paying workers in America who foot the bill for everything from national defense to the very SNAP payments, welfare and other services used by Mexicans.  Those people who come across the border for “love” sure do love their families, but not America.
                 The largest cost by far is health care.  For those who make the unfortunate trip to the hospital, they sit in the ER waiting room with hundreds of Hispanics and Latinos who cannot be refused service, and so the Nurse Practitioners in ERs become their primary care physician. They don’t go without medical services.  We all pay.  Since we all pay, the government passed the so-called affordable health care act, which makes it affordable for just about no one and certainly not people who make a wage just above the poverty line.  So in order to get medical care, Americans sustain thousands of dollars in penalties if they cannot afford insurance, and are thrown into the same pool as those who live in the cash-based society and pay no taxes at all.
            He goes on to discuss the negative impact on skilled and white-collar workers. Read the whole thing.
            Niceness isn’t really a virtue, Lawler says. It’s more of a cop-out, a moral shrug. “A nice person won’t fight for you,” he points out. “A nice person isn’t animated by love or honor or God. Niceness, if you think about it, is the most selfish of virtues, one, as Tocqueville noticed, rooted in a deep indifference to the well-being of others.” Trump’s lack of niceness, so horrifying to Clinton voters, registered to his acolytes as a willingness to fight for what’s good, particularly American jobs and American culture.

            Video: "Did President Trump Just Save Western Civilization?" from Stefan Molyneux

            Link (23 minutes)

            Molyneux discusses the impact of Pres. Trump's immigration order. In doing so, he makes some great points about why it is more humane to care for refugees in their home countries than to bring them here, including that it is more cost effective (i.e., you can help more refugees with the same amount of money) and you are not forcing these already traumatized individuals to deal with an alien culture.

            This goes along with what I, and many others have maintained, that the liberals pretend that they want to help people, but are actually acting selfishly. They seek public recognition for their acts, and therefore want to perform their acts of "kindness" (i.e., virtue signal) in public. As Christ noted: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matt. 6:5).

            Monday, January 30, 2017

            January 30, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

            • "Firearms Safety: Startle Fire"--Blue Sheepdog. The author discusses two recent incidents where an LEO discharged their firearm after being startled. Which gets us back to the issue of whether one should keep your finger off the trigger until you are taking the shot (which seems to be the majority position) or whether it is okay to be ready beforehand as Gabe Suarez argues. The article doesn't really get into this debate, considering that the additional reaction time is only a tenth of a second and that superior training will make up for a delayed response. Rather, the author examines the role of different team members to increase safety. Anyway, give it a look see.
            • "A Thought on 'Deterrents'"--McYoung's Musings. McYoung discusses the erroneous belief that having a deterrent (whatever it is) will magically keep you from being the victim of a crime; that is, that the deterrent is all you need or that it will necessarily keep someone from attacking you. He notes that for many people, the deterrent is, in reality a bluff (or bluster), and is, therefore, ineffective because the person lacks the willingness, knowledge, awareness, ability and commitment to actually deter or defend himself. Coupled with this is that the decision whether an attack will occur is up to the attacker, not you. And he will make his decision based on his "reading" of you and whether he is willing to go further than you.
                   McYoung also goes on to discuss the danger of a lack of willingness, knowledge, awareness, ability and commitment to a potential victim because, to make up for the lack, many people will resort to belligerence. The danger here is that by being belligerent, the victim will probably make the issue personal for the attacker, leaving it difficult for the attacker to withdraw without saving face, and giving him an additional motive to not only make the attack, but make it more violent. 
                   Read the whole thing.
            • "Is Slide-to-Frame Fit Important for Accuracy?"--Shooting Times. Yes. The author notes that even with a loose slide to frame fit, he can generally get useful accuracy as the barrel and slide will typically return to a center position after each shot. But, occasionally it won't. Then the loose fitting can lead to a flyer. 
            • "Skill Set: Avoid and Escape"--Tactical Wire. The author notes that "[a]nytime you fight there are great risks. Avoiding or escaping allows you to win the 'fight' without risk." He goes on to discuss the need to practice techniques to avoid or escape a fight or situation building to a fight. He doesn't mention the "count to 5" tactic, unfortunately.
            • "A Handy Chart"--Blue Collar Prepping. A link to a PDF or high resolution image of a one-page chart setting out the phonetic, morse, semaphore, and maritime flag codes for the alphabet.
            • "‘Lone Wolf’ Life Expectancy…?"--SHTF School. The author warns that there is only so much you can do, and only so many hours you can stay awake, on your own.
            • "Gunsmithing the AR: 3 Tips for Buffers & Recoil Springs"--Gun Digest. A guide to the different buffers and springs between the carbine and rifle variants of the AR.

            Other Stuff:
            57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided.
            Not surprisingly, Obama is still out of touch with most Americans: "Obama speaks out against Trump's refugee ban"--Boston Herald.
            • Shepherds say "to hell with the flock": "Christian groups oppose Trump's preference for Christian refugees"--Politico. The signers of a letter to Trump requesting resuming the flow of refugees regardless of whether they have been persecuted or not include the Accord Network, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Korean Churches for Community Development, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the Wesleyan Church, World Relief and World Vision. Interestingly, even The Atlantic notes that these "Christian" leaders are out of touch with their congregations, writing:
            If so many prominent Christian leaders reject the notion that their fellow Christians should get preferential treatment, why has this become Trump’s policy? One possible answer is that these leaders don’t necessarily reflect what their flocks believe. Even if they think an open refugee policy is in line with the teachings of Christianity, lay Americans don’t necessarily feel the same way.
            • Trump to end slavery: "Trump targets tech's H-1B visa hiring tool"--USA Today. I've noted before the hypocrisy of technology companies laying off American engineers and programmers, while claiming that there is a shortage of American engineers and programmers in order to justify importing foreign STEM workers for lower wages and whose ability to remain in the U.S. is tied to their keeping their jobs with the sponsoring employer--essentially a form of indentured servitude. Trump appears willing to go to bat for Americans with STEM degrees and end the abuse of the H-1B program.

            Proximity + Diversity = War (Quebec Edition)

                   It appears that the backlash against Muslims that the left has been wishing for has finally occurred, but the media coverage seems rather muted on the topic. Perhaps because the backlash was in Canada.

                   As most of you are probably aware, yesterday evening, one or two gunmen entered the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center (a mosque) in Quebec City and opened fire, killing six men and injuring 17 others. The Canadian government has designated the incident as a terrorist attack, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated that "Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear."

                   However, it may have been the very diversity that Trudeau extols that lead to this attack. Two suspects, Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohamed el Khadir, a Moroccan, were taken into custody after the attack. Only one of the two men (Bissonnette) is currently being treated as a suspect; Khadir is currently considered as only a witness. Nevertheless, early reports from witnesses seemed clear that there were multiple attackers. One witness reported: "It seemed to me that they had a Québécois accent. They started to fire, and as they shot, they yelled, 'Allahu akbar!' The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head."

                   Police also reported that the attacker used an AK-47, a weapon that is banned under current Canadian law. Interestingly, Bissonnette had two AK-47 style weapons and an handgun in his possession, and his vehicle was rigged with explosives.

                   For sake of argument, I will assume that Bissonnette was motivated by an anti-Islamic animus, although whether from a general dislike of Islam or due to particularized incident(s) we do not know. (I would note that the shooter attended University not far from the mosque). As Islam pushes further into the West, there is going to be stronger push back. Given the violence that Islam perpetuates wherever it spreads, it should be no surprise that some of the push back will also involve violence. Because conflict is the ultimate fruit of diversity, the contagion of Islam will reach a point where a similar incident of push back will trigger a preference cascade instead of the dhimmitude we currently see.

            Sunday, January 29, 2017

            Pruitt-Igoe -- A Cautionary Tale

            The Daily Mail has an article about the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, and its failure.
                   Pruitt-Igoe was devised as part of the massive urban renewal projects of the 1950s and 1960s.  
                    Previously, the working class residents of St. Louis had been living in dangerous squalor with communal bathrooms and unreliable electricity. 
                   The city commissioned what they thought was the solution: a 33-building modern complex designed by the future architect of the World Trade Center Minoru Yamasaki.
            Originally envisioned as segregated housing—the name Pruitt came from a Tuskegee airman, while Igoe was a white man—the complex became all-black once segregation was outlawed and the whites began fleeing the inner city. 
                   Pruitt-Igoe opened in 1956 to the wide-eyed awe of residents accustomed to far less from their housing. Green spaces invited their children to play and clean contemporary décor made residents feel, according to a woman quoted in the documentary, like they were in ‘a big hotel resort.’ 
                   Marketing footage from the time of the complex’s opening called it a reprieve from the ‘crowded, collapsing tenements’ that many of the new residents had grown up with.
            And for the first few years, things were good at Pruitt-Igoe and the community there thrived as 24-hour patrols kept watch and maintenance crews kept everything gleaming.

                   But by the 1960, things had taken a turn.
                   Occupancy started to drop as crime rose. Lower occupancy meant less rent going to the city to cover the building’s expenses.

                   Which, in turn, meant crime went up as fewer patrols were around to keep order.
                   It also meant nothing got fixed. The once revered project started to decay.  
                   The city responded by raising rents and the tenants who remained weren’t able to afford it.
                    They striked in 1969, refusing to pay rent until conditions improved and the city eventually gave in.
                    But a water main would soon break and flood many of the buildings and surrounding area with raw sewage. The whole thing was declared a disaster area.

                   Buildings were quickly abandoned by tenants and began to fill up with drug users, criminals, and the homeless.
                   By 1972, three of the buildings would be demolished. Two years later, the rest would go down, too.
                   When I lived in Japan, there were apartment complexes similar to Pruitt-Igoe--some much larger, in fact. They went by the nickname of rabbit hutches, because they were simply an attempt to cram the largest number of people into the smallest spaces.

                   The Wikipedia entry for the project notes the following theories about Pruitt-Igoe's decline:
                   Explanations for the failure of Pruitt–Igoe are complex. It is often presented as an architectural failure;other critics cite social factors including economic decline of St. Louis, white flight into suburbs, lack of tenants who were employed, and politicized local opposition to government housing projects as factors playing a role in the project's decline. Pruitt–Igoe has become a frequently used textbook case in architecture, sociology and politics, "a truism of the environment and behavior literature",. 
                   The Pruitt–Igoe housing project was one of the first demolitions of modernist architecture; postmodern architectural historian Charles Jencks called its destruction "the day Modern architecture died." Because it was designed by a leading architect and won a "building of the year" award (though no professional awards), its failure is often seen as a direct indictment of the society-changing aspirations of the International School. Jencks used Pruitt–Igoe as an example of modernists' intentions running contrary to real-world social development, though others argue that location, population density, cost constraints, and even specific number of floors were imposed by the federal and state authorities and therefore cannot be attributed entirely to architectural factors.
             However, it also notes:
                   The buildings remained largely vacant for years, although sources on exact depopulation rate differ: according to Newman, occupancy never rose above 60%; according to Ramroth, vacancy rose to one-third capacity by 1965. All authors agree that by the end of the 1960s, Pruitt–Igoe was nearly abandoned and had deteriorated into a decaying, dangerous, crime-infested neighborhood.... In 1971, Pruitt–Igoe housed only six hundred people in seventeen buildings; the other sixteen were boarded up. Meanwhile, adjacent Carr Village, a low-rise area with a similar demographic makeup, remained fully occupied and trouble-free throughout the construction, occupancy and decline of Pruitt–Igoe.
            * * *

                   Today, the site of the former projects is partially used as the site for Gateway Middle School and Gateway Elementary School, combined magnet schools based in science and technology, as well as Pruitt Military Academy, a military-themed magnet middle school. All schools are within the St. Louis Public School district. The rest is planted with trees. The former DeSoto-Carr slums around the Pruitt–Igoe have also been torn down and replaced with low-density, single-family housing.
            The buildings were dehumanizing in a Metropolis sort of way. The question that should be asked is why anyone would have wanted to live there.

            Saturday, January 28, 2017

            January 28, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

            "In this now dilapidated room was where Yahweh formed his gospel - that white people were the 'devil' and that African Americans, who the group saw as the original Israelites, would one day return to Israel."

                   There is a series of articles on DefenseReview.com that I have kept an eye on for the last few years called “Tactical AR-15/M4/M4A1 Carbine Aftermarket Accessories for Military Combat Applications: The Competition-to-Combat Crossover“ and part 1 was posted in 2012, part 2 in 2014 and part 3 in 2016.

                   What’s interesting is they’re all written by the same guy, Jeff Gurwitch, who has gone on multiple tours of duty in the “Sand Box”. The site says he is “Currently serving with U.S. Army Special Forces” and is a “Competitive shooter: USPSA, IDPA, and 3-Gun.”

                   I’ve found it really interesting to see how he setups up his rifle and how other guys are doing it … not to mention the “evolution” of these setups over time … because the Military Issue M4/M4A1/MK18 are all very similar to the civilian AR-15 platform.
            A few points jumped out at me about how Gurwitch and other soldiers set up their rifles. First of all, they borrowed very heavily from what worked for three gun. Second, they preferred the 11.5 inch length barrel (with a sound suppressor) for most of their work because, within the effective range of the firearm, it worked just as well as longer barrel lengths but was handier and lighter; Gurwitch only switched back to a 14.5 inch barrel in order to use the bullet drop compensator (BDC) for his telescopic sight. Which brings us to the third point: the optics for their weapons were so reliable that they didn't bother mounting backup sights (BUS) in most cases; Gurwitch's "backup" was a micro reflex sight set at 45 degrees.
            • "The VICE Guide to Getting Beaten Up"--VICE Magazine (warning: crude language in the article). The author advises that "[i]f a huge f[**]king Coke machine of a guy tries to attack you, that's it. You're dead." Well, not necessarily. The author, Eugene Robinson, of the rock-band Oxbow, and apparently experienced with both beating up others and getting beat up, gives some no-nonsense advice on how to save face should you get beat up, and a few tips that might actually give you a victory. For instance:
              THE HEADBUTT
                       Headbutts are great because they take almost no accuracy and the risk of accidentally hurting yourself is nil. The secret to smashing open his nose is to focus your attention on his two front teeth on the way in. If you’re in North America, he will be totally taken by surprise.
                         Drawback: As it is for sharks, you can’t see what’s going on as you hit him, so you’re never sure if you really got him.
                    THE KNEE TO THE HEAD
                             Most people never think of this, because most people haven’t taken the deadly Southeast Asian art of Muay Thai, and your knee seems too far away from his head for this move to come naturally. Wrap your hands around the back of his head, yank down with an authoritative snap, and leap upward knee first. As you leap your downward snap will meet the rising of your knee, and when his head and your knee meet? Well, it’s nothing short of magic.
                               Drawback: You have to do it fast because people tend to figure out something’s up when you grab the back of their head.
                          THE REAR NAKED CHOKE
                                   If, by any sheer luck, you end up standing behind him, it’s time to choke the f[**]ker. Wrap your right arm around his throat, and squeeze it closed by grabbing your left shoulder. Now with your other hand you can push his head into the hold thereby squeezing his neck even tighter. The best part of it is you can talk to him the whole time.
                                     Drawback: You could easily kill him, in which case there’d be “a whole lot of splaining to do.”
                                THE UPPERCUT
                                         If someone is delivering a knockout punch, nine times out of ten, it’s the uppercut. I don’t know whether it’s the sharp clicking together of the jaw or the stimulation of some sort of nerve bundle, but this punch is relatively easy to do and guaranteed to slip him into sleep. Throw your whole body into it and keep it tight against yourself at the beginning, like a jack-in-the-boxspring. A great way to administer this blow is to be waving your left hand in his face saying something like, “Whoa, whoa, I don’t want any trouble. This is all a big misunderstanding,” and then POW with the right.
                                           Drawback: If your hand speed is slow, don’t even THINK about trying this one.
                                      THE MAD COUNTER
                                               You are going to think this is strange, but it works every time. You tell the guy you’re going to count to five. You don’t say why. You just do it. “ONE,” then, while apparently inhaling for “TWO,” you f[**]king tear out of there and run as fast as you can. No idea why this works, it just does. There’s a three-second interval where he’s thinking, “Hey, he said he was going to count to five,” and that is all you need to make your getaway.
                                                 Drawback: You will be known as a pussy if there’s even a remote possibility you could have won.
                                            Read the whole thing.
                                            • "Barrel Length Studies In 5.56mm NATO Weapons"--Small Arms Defense Journal. A study of bore pressure and muzzle velocity for barrels ranging from 5 to 24 inches (at one inch intervals) using the M855 projectile. Velocity was highest at 20 inches, and fell below 2500 fps once the barrel was shorter than 10 inches. Bore pressure at 10 inches was basically twice that at 20 inches. On the latter point, the authors wrote:
                                                     Because these weapons are used more and more frequently with sound suppressors, it is interesting to note the uncorking pressure at the more common barrel lengths of 14.5 inches and 10.5 inches.  Pressure data for the 14.5 and 10.5 inch barrels was approximated by averaging the pressure between the two adjacent measurements (14 and 15 inches, etc.) yielding pressures of 8,150 and 11,500 psi respectively.  There is a passing interest in the non-serious user for suppressing the M16 with a 7-inch barrel, and the uncorking pressure at that point is 17,140 psi, approximately 50% higher than it was for the 10.5-inch barrel, which is itself approximately 50% higher than the 14.5-inch barrel.
                                                       One of the authors has measured port pressures in the entrance chamber of one of his company’s 5.56mm suppressors with both a 14.5 inch and 10.5 inch barreled HK416, and there was a 50% increase in suppressor chamber pressure of the 10.5 inch barreled weapon as compared to the longer 14.5 inch version. This correlates well with the difference in bore pressure at the instant of bullet uncorking.
                                                         Billionaires in the world's tech capital Silicon Valley are reportedly preparing for the apocalypse by buying underground bunkers, guns, ammo and motorcycles.
                                                           Fearful that artificial intelligence will displace so many jobs that there will be a revolt against those responsible for the technology, the are [sic] entrepreneurs readying themselves for doomsday like scenarios. 
                                                             Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of the professional social network, LinkedIn, told The New Yorker that he believes more than 50 per cent of billionaires in the Californian tech hub are preparing for the worst. 
                                                               “I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time,” he said. 
                                                                 Others are investing in bunkers and large swathes of land. Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook product manager, recently purchased five acres on an island in the America's Pacific Northwest. His island home features generators, solar panels, and weaponry, Business Insider reported. 
                                                          Who is to say the AIs won't be hunting them down?

                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                          Ironically, other than Syria (which is the only country named in the executive order), the other nations on the list were selected by the Obama Administration pursuant to the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.
                                                          • Related: "Libs Who Want To Move To Canada Blocked By Its Strict Immigration Policies"--The Daily Caller. "A top law firm known for obtaining Canadian visas for U.S. citizens says there are three main ways to get in: by having in-demand job skills, by owning a business or having a high net worth, or by having relatives already there." It sucks being the only child of an only child with nothing but a degree in women's studies.
                                                          • "From a Muslim Reader"--J.R. Nyquist comments on a note from a reader--a former Islamist--who calls for the West and Islam to find common cause against Russia and China. I disagree with Nyquist's concurrence on that point, but he makes an important observation that the West and Islam cannot forget their histories and their differing cultures. Nyquist's thoughts make sense:
                                                          ... Why should Muslims be allowed to move into Germany in large numbers? It is not a Muslim country. In fact, it frightens me to think that Germany will become, one day, Islamic. For as I am of the West, I cherish the culture of the West. I cherish the legacy of Greece and Rome, of ancient Scandinavia and Germany. Islam is not my heritage, but the heritage of an alien civilization. It is normal and right that I should oppose the colonization of Europe by Muslims, just as a Muslim would be right to oppose the colonization of Arabia by Europeans. The Muslim does not wish to see heathens flooding into Mecca. The Western conservative does not want Muslims flooding into Berlin and Stolkholm.

                                                          Friday, January 27, 2017

                                                          From the Archive: The Collapse of Arab Civilization

                                                          Originally posted January 5, 2014:

                                                                  Browsing the web the other day, I came across an article from the September 2005 Naval Institute Proceedings you will find an article called "The Impending Collapse of Arab Civilization" by Lieutenant Colonel James G. Lacey, U.S. Army Reserve. A few interesting points:
                                                                 Interestingly, on the Arab League's website there is a paper that details all of the contributions made by Arab civilization. It is a long and impressive list, which unfortunately marks 1406 as the last year a significant contribution was made. That makes next year the 600th anniversary of the beginning of a prolonged stagnation, which began a dive into the abyss with the end of the Ottoman Empire. Final collapse has been staved off only by the cash coming in from a sea of oil and because of a few bright spots of modernity that have resisted the general failure.

                                                                 Statistics tell an ugly story about the state of Arab civilization. According to the U.N.'s Arab Human Development Report:

                                                                 There are 18 computers per 1000 citizens compared to a global average of 78.3.

                                                                 Only 1.6% of the population has Internet access.

                                                                 Less than one book a year is translated into Arabic per million people, compared to over 1000 per million for developed countries.

                                                                 Arabs publish only 1.1% of books globally, despite making up over 5% of global population, with religious books dominating the market.

                                                                 Average R&D expenditures on a per capita basis is one-sixth of Cuba's and less than one-fifteenth of Japan's.

                                                                  The Arab world is embarking upon the new century burdened by 60 million illiterate adults (the majority are women) and a declining education system, which is failing to properly prepare regional youth for the challenges of a globalized economy. Educational quality is also being eroded by the growing pervasiveness of religion at all levels of the system. In Saudi Arabia over a quarter of all university degrees are in Islamic studies. In many other nations primary education is accomplished through Saudi-financed madrassas, which have filled the void left by government's abdication of its duty to educate the young.

                                                                  In economic terms we have already commented that the combined weight of the Arab states is less than that of Spain. Strip oil out of Mideast exports and the entire region exports less than Finland. According to the transnational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), regional economic growth is burdened by declining rates of investment in fixed capital structure, an inability to attract substantial foreign direct investment, and declining productivity — the economic trinity of disaster.

                                                                 Economic stagnation coupled with rapid population growth is reducing living standards throughout the region, both comparatively and in real terms. In the heady days of the late 1970s oil boom, annual per-capita GDP growth of over 5% fueled high levels of expectations. GDP per-capita grew from $1,845 to $2,300. Today, after adjusting for inflation, it stands at $1,500, reflecting an overall decline in living standards over 30 years. Only sub-Saharan Africa has done worse. If oil wealth is subtracted from the calculations the economic picture for the mass of Arab citizens becomes dire.

                                                                 Things are indeed bad in the Arab world and will get much worse.
                                                                 The author's primary argument is that we are not seeing a collapse of Islam, nor witnessing a war between Islam and the rest of the world--refuting the thesis advanced by Bernard Lewis and Samuel P. Huntington--but a collapse of Arab Civilization, which is casting back to the time of its peak of glory to try and find a solution to current problems. Lacey contends that the best option for dealing with this collapse is containment:
                                                                 The grand strategic concept that provides the best chance of success is the one that served us so well in the Cold War—containment. No matter what else we do we must position ourselves to contain the effects of the complete collapse of Arab civilization. Already 10 percent of the French population is from Muslim North Africa. Europe's ability to assimilate a larger flood of economic refugees is questionable. And mass migration is just one effect a total collapse will have. Containment will mean adopting and maintaining difficult policy choices, which include:

                                                                 --Working closely with the European nations to defend their southern border against the mass migration of tens of millions of destitute Arabs as well as armed confrontations with failing Arab states.
                                                                 --Renewing our close ties with Turkey and making that nation a bulwark against the effects of collapse.
                                                                 --Working to help modernize and integrate the Russian military into an enhanced European defense structure.
                                                                 --Ensuring China is a partner in this containment effort.
                                                                 --Propping up weak border states that are already dealing with the spillover effects of Arab collapse—such as Pakistan and the new Caucasus states.
                                                                 --Assisting the Iranian popular will to establish a government not based on a religious oligarchy. The Persian people may form an eastern bulwark against collapse.
                                                                 --Plan for the security of critical resources even during possible upheavals and regional turmoil.
                                                                 --Spillover effects such as terrorist groups already evident in places like Indonesia and the Philippines must be eradicated or reversed.
                                                                 --We need to be clear that this is not a failure of Islam. In this regard we must help Muslims outside of the Arab world find their own interpretations of their faith and not fall prey to those being espoused by the Arab world—Wahhabism.
                                                                 Lacey's argument for this being an Arab, rather than Muslim, problem, seems to rest on two primary points. First, that Islam continues to attract adherents, and that the problems that stymie growth in the Middle East have not had an impact in the Far East. With the advantage of hindsight, it is not clear that Lacey's two grounds for saying this is an Arab problem rather than a Muslim problem have withstood time. First, several scholars--including David Goldman--have pointed out that Islam is facing a crises of faith that has resulted in declining active participation in worship. The mosques of the Middle-East are rapidly becoming as empty as the Cathedrals of Europe. Second, we have seen the same fundamentalism raise its ugly head in Indonesia as much as any other part of the Muslim world. Moreover, geographic location does not nullify the fact that Islam is anti-scientific.

                                                                 Notwithstanding, it is clear that Bush's and Obama's strategy of engagement has failed and that we should have followed Lacey's strategy of containment. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has thrown away most of the opportunities to contain the problems of a collapsing Arab Civilization. Europe continues to open its doors to Middle-Eastern immigrants. Turkey has abandoned secularism. Russia has no interest in integrating with the rest of Europe--in fact, Putin increasingly wants to resurrect the Soviet Empire. China is likewise charting its own independent course. Pakistan has already fallen to fundamentalism. Obama shot down the Green Revolution in Iran. Obama has delayed construction of the Keystone Pipeline and reduced oil production on federal lands, which would have provided additional security of "critical resources"--i.e., oil. No Western government is willing to address Wahhabism head on, let alone push alternatives.

                                                                 There is also a certain irony to the Middle-East attempting to regain its former glory by becoming more hostile to Christianity and Judiasm, since its advancements and achievements were largely the result of its Christians and Jews. It is no accident that Arab technical achievements stopped once the Muslim nations had largely eradicated its Christian and Jewish populations.

                                                          Olympic Arms Shutting Down

                                                          According to the Company's website, February 28, 2017, will be the last day of operations. (H/t Maddened Fowl).

                                                          January 27, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                          "Introduction to Rifle Squad" - OE TSC G&V (about 9 min)


                                                          • This weekend's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. One of the articles that jumped out in particular is "Small Of The Back Carry: Easy Concealment Or Injury Waiting To Happen?" The article discusses the downsides to small of the back carry, including poor access and retention, poor concealment if you bend over, and the risk of serious injury should you fall onto your back. In my post, "Concealed Carry--No Elegant Solution," I noted some of my experience with small of the back carry, which was that you didn't even need to fall on the handgun; I discovered that just sitting in a chair through a movie at a theater was enough to cause significant pain.
                                                          • "Cargo Van Conversion Project: Part One"--Security and Self-Reliance. The author had picked up a used but well maintained cargo van (2005 Ford E-250), apparently used by an electrician, which he plans on converting to a camper or bug-out-vehicle with enhanced communications capability (per his experience with radio). There appear to be a lot of advantages to this particular van. As the author points out, it has a 110 Volt A/C system installed, apparently for powering equipment or tools, and multiple hookups for antennas. Although he is likely to remove most of them, there were internal storage (drawers and cabinets). I would also note that there are roof racks already installed for carrying equipment, and that their are windows on the cargo doors allowing better viewing of surroundings from inside the van. It looks to be an interesting project.
                                                          • "Liberated Manuals.com -- Free Military Manuals"--the site boasts nearly 4,800 manuals available for download. (H/t Active Response Training). 
                                                          • There seem to be a plethora of axes and tomahawks recently released or shown at SHOT 2017, ranging from the reasonably priced to the obscenely expensive:
                                                          • The Camillus Sin is a tactical tomahawk featuring a spike and a paracord wrapped handle that has an MSRP of $57.99. 
                                                          • Hogue has introduced its EX-T01, a new tactical tomahawk. The head has been skeletonized and there are holes allowing the attachment of accessories to the back of the head, such as a hammer, pry-bar or spike. The base price of the ax is $299.95, but each of the accessories will be $69.95.
                                                          • The Firearms Blog had noted the appearance at SHOT of the Wrath CrashHawk, which it claims "combines the best features of a tomahawk and a crash axe in a solid tool that is sure to be as useful as it is fun." According to the article, "[t]he Wrath is constructed of S7 steel, like jackhammer bits. It has an overall length of 16.5 inches and weighs just over 2 pounds. It retails for $564."
                                                          Of course, there are many more less expensive alternatives out there, including some recent entries to the market:
                                                          • "Push the Zone!"--Vox Popoli. A review of a book of the same title that will help you discover microclimates in your yard, use the thermal mass of walls to grow plants intended for warmer growth zones than that in which you live.

                                                          Other Stuff: 
                                                          • Diversity!
                                                          Relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would amount to a “declaration of war against Islam” that would require the formation of an armed group to liberate the holy city, said prominent Shiite Iraqi cleric and powerful militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr.
                                                                   ... Europe's deepest fear must be that he would succeed rather than fail. By bolting the post-War coalition structure and working frankly to maximize American national advantage, Trump leaves the other coalition partners facing an excruciating dilemma. Should they follow suit and maximize their own interests? Or should they try to sustain the PC multilateral world with their own resources?
                                                                     With America's closure to mass uncontrolled immigration the pressure inevitably be on Europe to accept the Middle Eastern millions. Can Europe stand by and watch as Trump strikes separate deals? Which country wants to be the last to maintain open borders AND welfare in a world where America is in frank pursuit of energy dominance, security and trade? Cecilia Malmstrom appears to be volunteering Europe.  Can it do it?
                                                                       ... The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions.
                                                                         Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for?
                                                                           Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.
                                                                              It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education, and health care. It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.
                                                                        * * *
                                                                                 By 1960, almost all of us shared the same heroes and holidays, spoke the same language, and cherished the same culture.
                                                                                   What those with memories of that America see happening today is the disintegration of our nation of yesterday. The savagery of our politics, exemplified in the last election, testifies to how Americans are coming to detest one another as much as the Valley Forge generation came to detest the British from whom they broke free.
                                                                                     In 1960, we were a Western Christian country. Ninety percent of our people traced their roots to Europe. Ninety percent bore some connection to the Christian faith. To the tens of millions for whom Trump appeals, what the wall represents is our last chance to preserve that nation and people.
                                                                                       To many on the cosmopolitan left, ethnic or national identity is not only not worth fighting for, it is not even worth preserving. It is a form of atavistic tribalism or racism.
                                                                                         The Trump wall then touches on the great struggle of our age.
                                                                                           Given that 80 percent of all people of color vote Democratic, neither the Trump movement nor the Republican Party can survive the Third Worldization of the United States now written in the cards.
                                                                                             Moreover, with the disintegration of the nation we are seeing, and with talk of the breakup of states like Texas and secession of states like California, how do we survive as one nation and people?
                                                                                               Old Europe never knew mass immigration until the 20th century.
                                                                                                 Now, across Europe, center-left and center-right parties are facing massive defections because they are perceived as incapable of coping with the existential threat of the age—the overrunning of the continent from Africa and the Middle East.
                                                                                                   President Trump’s wall is a statement to the world: this is our country. We decide who comes here. And we will defend our borders.

                                                                                            Petition to Revoke the National Firearms Act


                                                                                            Don't forget to sign the White House petition calling for the revocation of the National Firearms Act (NFA). (H/t The Truth About Guns)

                                                                                            Thursday, January 26, 2017

                                                                                            Diversity Is Not Our Strength

                                                                                             Diversity in action: "Firefighters battle a blaze set in a 
                                                                                            shoe store that collapses in flames during rioting in the
                                                                                             Watts district of Los Angeles on Aug. 14"
                                                                                                  Since we were wee lads and lasses in grammar school, it has been drilled into our head that racial and ethnic diversity is what makes America strong. Remember all the lessons regarding the American "melting pot"? Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream?

                                                                                                   What if it was a lie? As Kevin Williamson, writing at The National Review, muses, "[w]e’ve been told that diversity is our strength, but the unhappy truth may be something closer to the opposite."

                                                                                                  Our founding fathers knew that racial and cultural diversity was not a strength. In January 1802, Alexander Hamilton briefly discussed why open immigration was inimical to the young Republic. He noted that "[t]he safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common National sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias, and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family." Contrary wise, due to their foreign culture and attachments, "[t]he influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency." Thus, he concluded, "[t]o admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens, the moment they put foot in our country, ..., would be nothing less, than to admit the Grecian Horse into the Citadel of our Liberty and Sovereignty."

                                                                                                 Hamilton's honest assessment was born of common sense and real world experience. Alas, that is insufficient an argument today. Nevertheless, what little research that has been done on the subject supports Hamilton's conclusions. Williamson's article begins by noting that we tend to trust, share and cooperate with people that look like us--the closer the better (such as family or kin). Thus, homogeneous societies are high trust societies. Unfortunately, the exact opposite occurs where there is a large amount of racial or ethnic diversity.
                                                                                                   The obvious and unfortunate flip side of this is that we are less inclined to trust and share with people who are less like us. This has been a well-established fact in social-science literature for a long time: Ethno-linguistic diversity imposes costs on societies by reducing trust and undermining social cooperation. It isn’t a linear relationship, because diversity has real value, too. There are very happy homogeneous societies and miserable homogeneous societies; there are rich diverse countries and poor diverse countries. Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor, economists at Williams and Brown, respectively, have argued that there is in effect a point of diminishing return for diversity, finding that excessive homogeneity has held back the economic performance of Native American populations but excessive diversity has hobbled development in Africa. Their position is a controversial one, but research from around the world has produced similar results: Peter Thisted Dinesen and Kim Mannemar Sønderskov surveyed Danish municipalities from 1979 to the present and found that increasing diversity was correlated with diminished social trust. The effect seems to be general, at least at some level. 
                                                                                                   In their fascinating paper on the subject (“Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance,” Journal of Economic Literature, September 2005) Harvard’s Alberto Alesina and Eliana La Ferrara of Bocconi University lay out the challenges: “The potential benefits of heterogeneity come from variety in production. The costs come from the inability to agree on common public goods and public policies.”
                                                                                            He continues:
                                                                                                   The northern-European welfare states that many American progressives embrace as their ideal were, until very recently, very homogeneous places. Norway, for much of its modern history, had a small minority population of Sami in the north, a few immigrants from neighboring countries, and approximately a thimbleful of immigrants from elsewhere. It was historically not a liberal society on the subject of immigration and integration: Its policy toward the Sami was fornorskning, or Norwegianization, and its 1814 constitution banned Jews from entering the country (a provision revived after the events of 1942). But enjoying an economic boom and fearing a population decline that would undermine its social-welfare model, Norway, beginning in the 1960s, permitted an influx of job-seeking immigrants from Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. The result of that experiment was a general ban on economic immigration enacted in 1975, with an exception for a few coming from other Nordic countries. Norway’s experience with the cohort from the 1960s and ’70s has been problematic: Their employment rate has dropped from 95 percent to less than 40 percent, their dependency on welfare has increased. Subsequent non-Nordic immigrants, partly the result of chain migration from the first cohort, are less likely to work, earn much less money if they do, and are more heavily dependent on welfare than their native-born counterparts. Trust in Norwegian political institutions is, no surprise, on the decline.
                                                                                                   The resulting resentment makes problems worse. Tino Sanandaji, the Kurdish-born, Chicago-trained economist who serves as a fellow at Stockholm’s free-market Research Institute of Industrial Economics (and who of course is a National Review contributor) finds that immigrants in Sweden are eager to work but unable to find jobs. “International comparisons have shown that no other OECD country performs worse than Sweden in terms of integrating immigrants in the labor market,” he writes. “The unemployment rate is 18 percent among immigrants, compared to 7 percent among the native born. The explanation is hardly that immigrants enjoy being unemployed. Studies show that unemployed immigrants in Sweden search far more intensely for work than unemployed Swedes, but often have their job applications ignored. Due to low employment rates, 57 percent of welfare payments in Sweden in 2012 went to immigrant households.” 
                                                                                                   In Sweden, diversity is not their strength. Homogeneity is.
                                                                                            On the other hand, Williamson notes that Japan is a heterogeneous state that does not welcome immigrants--even Korean immigrants that have lived in Japan for generations. "Japan places a very high value on Japaneseness, and there is no self-evident reason for believing that it is wrong to do so."

                                                                                                   Similarly, Thomas Sowell, writing at The American Spectator, observes what should be obvious:
                                                                                                   Is diversity our strength? Or anybody’s strength, anywhere in the world? Does Japan’s homogeneous population cause the Japanese to suffer? Have the Balkans been blessed by their heterogeneity — or does the very word “Balkanization” remind us of centuries of strife, bloodshed and unspeakable atrocities, extending into our own times? 
                                                                                                   Has Europe become a safer place after importing vast numbers of people from the Middle East, with cultures hostile to the fundamental values of Western civilization?
                                                                                            Jared Taylor at the American Renaissance answers Sowell's questions: "Racial diversity is not a strength. It is a grinding, permanent source of conflict and tension, not just in the United States but everywhere in the world where there is racial diversity." He goes on to note that poll after poll reveals that people like to live around people that are like them. All races will self-segregate given the choice. Integration of schools, he observes, has led to white flight and riots. Integrated prisons leads to riots. Even in businesses and industry, racial diversity brings no benefits:
                                                                                                  Thomas A. Kochan, a professor at MIT has probably researched corporate diversity more thoroughly than anyone. The first thing he did was contact 20 major companies that brag about their diversity, and asked them to tell him what diversity had done for them. He was astonished to learn that not one company had done a study on how diversity might have increased profits or improved operations. They had nothing to show him. 
                                                                                                  After five years of studying corporate diversity, he found that the more diversity there was, the more conflict and tension there was, and the more likely people were to quit. His conclusion: “The diversity industry is built on sand.”
                                                                                            He cites other studies that have shown that diverse work forces fosters conflict and distrust.

                                                                                                   But it is not just limited to people in close proximity like work, school or prison (although, perhaps I repeat myself):
                                                                                                   In their own sheepish way, a few scholars have tumbled to the obvious about diversity. Have any of you heard of Robert Putnam of Harvard? He studied 41 different communities in the US that ranged from very homogeneous rural South Dakota to super-mixed-up Los Angeles. And what he found was that the more diversity there is, the less people trust each other. Well, Robert Putnam is a typical confused white man, and he just couldn’t believe what he found. He analyzed his data every possible way to find some reason other than diversity to explain why people in Los Angeles don’t trust each other. He couldn’t find one. 
                                                                                                   This was terrible for him, because he wanted to believe that diversity is a strength. So he just sat on his research for five years, and finally published it only because some of his findings leaked out. 
                                                                                                   So what did Robert Putnam found out? Diversity leads to: 
                                                                                                   * A lower expectation that people will cooperate to solve problems. 
                                                                                                   * Less voluntarism and less charitable giving. 
                                                                                                   * Fewer friends and more unhappiness. 
                                                                                                   * A lower likelihood to bother to register to vote. 
                                                                                                   * Less confidence in local government, local leaders, and local media.  
                                                                                                   * A lot more television watching. 
                                                                                            When you haven’t got friends and you don’t trust people you watch a lot of TV. 
                                                                                                   So, there it is, straight from Harvard: Diversity destroys trust. 
                                                                                                    Another study run by MIT and Tufts University summarized 15 different investigations of the impact of diversity on trust. The conclusion every time was: more diversity, less trust.* 
                                                                                                   By the way, there is a field of study called “happiness research” that analyzes what makes people happy. Prof. Michael Hagerty of UC Davis has surveyed decades of international happiness research and found that “for the most part, the top-rated countries are small and homogeneous.” He went on to explain that “they have a similar world view and a similar religion, so that it’s easier for them to communicate and to understand each other’s motives. And they don’t have race problems.” 
                                                                                                   Once again, here is the voice of research. Diversity destroys trust. Homogeneity makes you happy.
                                                                                                 Mike Conrad notes that Brazil is a case study of the failure of multiculturalism. Although it has world-class industries, its economic success is largely limited to the White-European southern provinces. The Globe and Mail notes:
                                                                                            At the last census, in 2010, 51 per cent of Brazilians identified themselves as black or of mixed race. But the halls of power show something else. Of 38 members of the federal cabinet, one is black – the minister for the promotion of racial equality. Of the 381 companies listed on BOVESPA, the country’s stock market, not a single one has a black or mixed-race chief executive officer. Eighty per cent of the National Congress is white. In 2010, a São Paulo think tank analyzed the executive staff of Brazil’s 500 largest companies and found that a mere 0.2 per cent of executives were black, and only 5.1 per cent were of mixed race.
                                                                                            With such diversity comes violent crime.
                                                                                                   In the most recent UN report on global homicide figures, Africa was overtaken by a surprise entrant: Latin America. One-third of all world’s homicides take place in a region that contains only 8 percent of the global population. And of the top 50 most dangerous cities, in terms of homicide, an astounding 19 of them are located in Brazil. 
                                                                                                   In the United States, Detroit has the worst murder rate: 44.9 murders per 100,000 people. For the Brazilian city of Ananindeua, it’s nearly triple that: 125.7. The murder rate overall in Brazil is 29, making it more dangerous even than Mexico. 
                                                                                            In the past decade, homicides among whites have decreased 24 percent. But among the black population they have increased 40 percentParticularly galling is the surge in murders of women--but again, these are murders of black and mixed race women. But, like the overall murder statistics, the murder rates for white women has actually fallen.

                                                                                                   But faced with a mounting economic crises, the fissures in the country are now exposed.
                                                                                            Although the region has not been spared the worst recession in Brazil’s modern history, its effects have been milder. The south’s unemployment rate has doubled to 8% since the recession began in 2014 but remains well below the national average of 11.8%. Sales-tax receipts have kept pace with inflation, a sign of resilient consumption. In São Paulo, Brazil’s industrial powerhouse, they have dropped in real terms. This strength has its origins in industrial history, but the region has lessons to teach the rest of Brazil, too.
                                                                                            Conrad writes:
                                                                                            For a while it was touted as the example that very diverse races could get along harmoniously and peaceably. Its prosperity - which only emerged among the whites - is now cracking; and if it breaks, Southern Brazil may split away, leaving a Northern Brazil as ethnically African and as poor as many countries in Africa itself, while Southern Brazil may end up as white and as prosperous as areas of Europe.
                                                                                            In that regard, it is notable that in an unofficial October 2016 plebiscite in the three southern states of Brazil, over 90% of voters indicated that they wanted to separate from Brazil and form their own nation.

                                                                                                 So is there any type of diversity that is good? Surprisingly, yes. But it is not racial diversity. In his book, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, Scott Page of the University of Michigan found that different points of view and problem-solving techniques were beneficial. Similarly, in a paper published in the Journal of Applied Economic Letters, economists Bala Ramasamy & Matthew C. H. Yeung found that that "ethnic diversity or fractionalization and values diversity are distinct and while the former has a negative effect on innovation, the latter contributes positively." Moreover, they also found that "countries that are ethnically homogenous but diverse in values orientation are the best innovators."

                                                                                                   Right now, as it stands, America has the worst of both worlds: the nation is highly diverse from an ethnic or racial perspective, magnifying distrust and conflict, but our "best and brightest" in our universities, our "captains of industry" and our highest government officials (collectively, the elite or ruling class) are homogeneous in their values orientation. As Angelo Codevilla observed in 2010:
                                                                                            Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. 
                                                                                            This does not bode well for our ability to preserve our technological innovation, or maintain a civil society and rule of law.

                                                                                            Draining the Swamp ...

                                                                                            ... with some help from the swamp dwellers. The Daily Mail reports: "Entire senior management of State Department quit in apparent gesture of defiance to Trump."

                                                                                            I'm reminded of "The Indispensable Man" by Saxon White Kessinger:

                                                                                            Sometime when you're feeling important;
                                                                                            Sometime when your ego 's in bloom;
                                                                                            Sometime when you take it for granted,
                                                                                            You're the best qualified in the room:
                                                                                            Sometime when you feel that your going,
                                                                                            Would leave an unfillable hole,
                                                                                            Just follow these simple instructions,
                                                                                            And see how they humble your soul.  

                                                                                            Take a bucket and fill it with water,
                                                                                            Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
                                                                                            Pull it out and the hole that's remaining,
                                                                                            Is a measure of how much you'll be missed.
                                                                                            You can splash all you wish when you enter,
                                                                                            You may stir up the water galore,
                                                                                            But stop, and you'll find that in no time,
                                                                                            It looks quite the same as before.  

                                                                                            The moral of this quaint example,
                                                                                            Is to do just the best that you can,
                                                                                            Be proud of yourself but remember,
                                                                                            There's no indispensable man.

                                                                                            Update (1/27/2017): It was not a voluntary termination. Sure, per tradition and as the same with other senior officials, they had tendered their resignation to the new President, who then was free to accept or reject their resignations. The President accepted these particular four individuals resignations by informing them that their services would no longer be needed. (Warning: video plays automatically).

                                                                                            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...