Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Five Tool Rule"--David Canterbury (11 min.)
Five basic tools for wilderness living.


Prepping/Self-Defense/Firearms:
          In between the extremes of carefully aimed slow fire with a textbook sight picture and indiscriminate rapid fire point shooting with no sights at all, there is the concept of the flash sight picture. Understanding the flash sight picture is what allows some handgun shooters to use the sights to get effective hits on target, even when they’re shooting very quickly. There are unsighted point shooting or hip shooting techniques that can yield similar results, but the learning curve tends to be incredibly steep, and those techniques were developed at a time when pistol sights were generally tiny little nubs you could barely see. Most handguns today have generously-proportioned sights by comparison, and by taking advantage of that fact, we can use the flash sight picture to get fast and accurate hits.

             The flash sight picture is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a very quick visual impression of the sights, usually not in perfect alignment, but it gives us just enough information to confirm that the gun is pointed at the target before we press the trigger. This can be the first sight picture we see when we present the gun to the target or it can refer to the brief glimpse of the sights that we get in between shots as the gun recovers from recoil.
          In the context of responding to a violent deadly threat, the flash sight picture is most useful between about 3 and 10 yards when we’ve got a wide-open target with no obstructions. Inside of 2 or 3 yards, we probably don’t need to see the sights at all to hit the target. Beyond 10 yards, we need something closer to the ideal “equal height, equal light” clean sight picture if we want to get good hits. Between 3 and 10 yards is where we can use a sight picture that’s just “good enough.” Let’s take a look at an example.
    Check it out.
    • "When 'Anti-Gun' Equals 'Anti-Police'"--American Cop Magazine. Massad Ayoob takes a look back at the 1973 book, The Saturday Night Special, by Robert Sherrill. The book was an anti-gun book arguing for the banning of small handguns (the so-called "Saturday Night Special"), which was the primary focus of the anti-gun movement at that time (having failed to get a complete handgun ban in the 1968 act). Ayood had previously read the book, but admits that he "had forgotten how much hatred he had espoused there against America’s police; and his opinion of African-Americans and those lower on the totem pole than Sherrill’s own elite status as regular contributor to the uber-liberal magazine The Nation." Ayoob focuses on this anti-police theme, writing:
             But, it’s America’s police for whom Sherrill reserved his most potent vitriol. In an entire chapter titled “Protect Us From Our Protectors,” he wrote: “… it is much more reasonable to suggest that in any gun-control movement, the police should be the first required to lay down their arms. When they were bucking for a pay raise in 1972, Chicago cops suggested they be paid $1 a day just for carrying a gun; better they and police everywhere be paid $10 a day to stop carrying their weapons. At least that’s my suggestion, and I have reasons for it. But before sketching them out, let me admit that I have a Shanty Irish loathing for the men in blue and my reasoning tends to be somewhat warped as a result. My bumpersticker reads: ‘DEPORT YOUR LOCAL POLICE.’ However, that confession made, I still think there are Five Splendid Reasons for disarming the police before we disarm ourselves.”
                 Sherrill then goes on to list his “splendid reasons.” The italics, like the caps above, are his and not mine. “1: Cops are morally inferior to the rest of the community… 2: Cops are unnaturally fond of, one might even say queer about, guns… 3: Cops generally range from mentally odd to mentally unbalanced… 4: Cops are too quick on the trigger… 5: Cops don’t deserve to have guns because they usually avoid dangerous situations where guns could be justifiably used.”
        • "Extraction Is Essential: It’s Only 'Self Loading' If The Fired Case Comes Out…"--Guns Magazine. This is in a column on the AR, so it focuses on extraction issues in those weapons specifically, but the information is transferable to most any other firearm that uses a bolt. He also discusses signs (marks on the casing or primer) that can help you diagnose extraction problems. Sometimes, the extractor gets a good hold on the cartridge, but slips off because the cartridge is too firmly stuck in the chamber, and this can happen when there has been too much chamber pressure (part of the issue I was having with my first .44 Magnum reloads with my lever action).
        • I may be a little late with this one: "Seed Starting"--Urban Farm Hub. Instructions on the sprouting seeds indoors for later transplant to an outdoor garden (or larger containers if you do vertical gardening or container gardening). One thing that was interesting to me is that the author does his or her sprouting in two stages. First, he or she plants the seeds in a cake pan (with holes for water drainage) to get them started, and when she can see which ones are going to do well, then picks those out and transfers them to a more standard seedling pan with the individual cells for each plant.
        • "Lever-Actions for Personal Defense"--American Rifleman. I agree with the author that lever action rifles and carbines can be great rifles for self-defense if someone cannot buy or does not want a modern sporting rifle. While the .30-30 can be a great cartridge, there is the issue of limited capacity, which is why I believe that some of the pistol calibers (.44 Magnum or .357 Magnum) offer a bit more to the person looking at a lever-action for self-defense. Carbine versions generally hold at least 6 rounds in the magazine, and the longer rifles will generally hold 10 in the magazine (or 11, if you use .44 Special or .38 Special). 
                   One point I disagree with, though, is the author's discussion about quickly reloading the carbine by loading a round through the loading gate on the side of the rifle. First, not all lever actions use side-loading gates: the Henry models, for instance. Second, it takes practice, and perhaps even some gun smithing work, to get fast reloads through the loading gate, and some bullet shapes are harder to load than others (meaning, even if you get fast with one type of ammo, you might not have the same speed with a different type of ammo). Finally, while that is good for topping off a partially used magazine, if you were to actually expend the whole magazine, it is both faster and more reliable to feed a round into the open action (similar to how you would with an empty shotgun) and chamber it, rather than attempting to load a round through the loading gate and then work the action. Then, if you have time, you can fill the magazine by loading through the side-gate.
          • Related: "Handloading The .44-40 Win."--American Rifleman. A detailed article about this venerable cartridge, including loading data.
          • In case someone yells "fire" in a crowded theater: "How to Survive a Human Stampede"--The Art of Manliness. It is not uncommon for people to be trampled in a panicked crowd, resulting in serious injury or death. This article also notes that a crowd can get so packed that people can get squeezed so hard in the press that they literally can't breath and will pass out or die. In the latter instance, the author recommends raising your arms so you can keep your elbows up. I learned this during the period when I lived in Japan. Many of you have probably seen video of people literally be crammed into trains. In such cases, the crowd presses so tight that if your arms are down by your side, you literally won't be able to pull them up if for some reason you need to use your arms or hands--you might as well be tied up. Not only does this make your vulnerable for the reasons cited in the article, but it also leaves you vulnerable to somebody else picking your pocket or groping you (while it is generally women that get groped, men are also victims). By keeping my arms up, I had the freedom to grab a pole or handle (such as if the train suddenly braked), but I could also push people away from me, or respond to someone acting inappropriately. 
          •  "DIY: Kydex Press"--Baugo Blades. If you decide to make a kydex sheath for a knife, this article describes how to shape the sheath to your knife.
          • Question to my readers: Do you prefer my splitting these "Quick Run Around the Web" posts into discreet sections on "Firearms/Prepping" versus "Other Stuff" or does it even matter? Let me know in the comments.

          Other Stuff:
          The [Congressional] investigators say the information provided to Fox News “strongly” suggests coordination between former President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and CIA Director John Brennan — which they say would “contradict” the Obama administration’s public stance about its hand in the process.
          I find Reid to be particularly odious because he is a member of the LDS Church, and so I expected better of him. Instead, he has and will continue to drag the Church's name through the mud.
          • "Anonymous Conservative, take a victory lap"--Vox Popoli.  Vox notes recently published research that found a direct correlation between the size/development of the amygdala and "conservatism" (or, as the article put it, "support for the existing social order."), which, as long time readers of this blog know, is one of the foundational aspects of Anonymous Conservative's theory applying r/K theory to politics.
          • North Korea chose ... poorly: "China Makes Shocking Announcement About North Korean Denuclearization"--Daily Wire. Basically, Kim Jung Un has pledged to get rid of his nuclear weapons in exchange for the Chinese committing to protect his regime. So Kim will become a Chinese puppet, with all that entails. 
          • The continued collapse of the British Empire: "South Africa may become the next big promoter of terrorism and piracy"--AEI.org. The article starts by reflecting on Nelson Mandela's efforts to maintain peace within South Africa by not driving out whites. But continues:
                  Alas, Mandela was unable to make his changes permanent. After his five-year presidential term ended in 1999, and especially after his 2013 death, the leaders who followed Mandela—Thabo Mbeki, and especially Jacob Zuma and now Cyril Ramaphosa—have spent South Africa’s moral capital shilling for increasingly radical regimes, terrorist groups, and causes.
                     In December 2017, for example, the ANC both downgraded its embassy in Israel and invited representatives of Hamas to its party conference. While the Palestinian Authority exist because it in theory foreswore terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to exist, Hamas opposes the two-state solution and seeks not only the eradication of Israel, but also genocide against Jews. South Africa has also proven itself a central location for the acquisition and smuggling of sensitive technology to Hezbollah, another terror group. Students affiliated with the ANC’s student union at the University of Witwatersrand praised Hitler and waved Hezbollah flags. Bilateral ties between South Africa and Iran are at an all-time high and Iran has recruited Palestinians in South Africa in order to conduct terrorism against Israel.
                      South Africa’s new radicalism has now spilled over into piracy. Nearly a year ago, a Marshall Islands’-flagged cargo ship carrying phosphate made an unscheduled stop in Port Elizabeth. At the request of activists from the Polisario Front, an autocratic Marxist group which claims both to lead the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and refuses to allow an U.N.-mandated referendum to determine what people living under its control really want, the South African government impounded the ship and its cargo. The Polisario claimed that phosphates mined in the Western Sahara should really belong to it. When the Polisario Front tried the same tactic in Panama, a Panamanian court rejected it outright.
                       But South African officials now favor terrorist groups and radical causes over international law. On March 19, it began to auction the cargo and transfer the proceeds to the Polisario Front, the same group which during the Cold War forcibly separated children from their parents in order to train them in Cuba and which continues to embezzle humanitarian aid. In effect, South Africa’s government and courts now signal they are willing to seize ships belonging to nationals of countries they dislike in order to seize cargo.
                  Read the whole thing.
                            Neoliberal policies have worked well for those in the upper economic, academic, bureaucratic classes and the cosmopolitan places where they predominate. But what works for Manhattan or Palo Alto, as well as Goldman Sachs or Apple, does not help so much residents of declining industrial cities, small towns and villages which suffered millions of lost jobs due to China or NAFTA.
                              Trump’s support in these locations reflects a broader global phenomenon. Like the Midwestern and southern towns recently denounced by Hillary Clinton as looking “backward,” neoliberal policies have been rejected by similar geographies in the United Kingdom, as seen in the Brexit vote, and powered nationalist parties in such varied places as Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands. Most recently Italians, including in the impoverished south, voted largely for anti-immigrant, nationalist and populist parties.
                                Neoliberal embrace of draconian climate change policies represent one irritant. These tend to hurt natural resource and industrial pursuits that power many smaller city economies. Establishmentarian intellectuals tend to have little regard for the prospects of such places and those who remain in them. Neoliberalism is also associated with uncontrolled mass immigration, which threatens both more conservative cultural norms and the economic prospects of those outside what urbanist Saskia Sassen calls the urban “glamour zone.”
                          He goes on to observe, however, that in combating any backlash or resistance to their vision of the world, neoliberals on both sides of the political aisle are increasingly turning to autocratic means of controlling thought and populations. Thus:
                                    Despite initial economic success, President Trump is unlikely to succeed, as much a reflection of his unappealing personality and ideological incoherence than policy failures. Over time, opposing forces like the media, much of Wall Street, the tech oligarchy and academia will likely turn back right-wing nationalism. But neoliberalism as we have known it seems largely finished.
                                     So what will replace neoliberalism? Most likely the next iteration will be an increasingly autocratic one, reflecting the increasingly concentrated nature of the world economy, and facilitated by the growing control over information by a handful of tech oligarchs. For many, China may prove not just an alluring market, but a role model for a capitalism that, notes analyst Sami Karam, is ever more dominated by rent-seeking and “cronyism.”
                                       Immigration may turn out to be an even greater challenge for the old neoliberal coalition. To combat what they see as nativism, including any unfashionable attachment to western civilization, the progressives who run Facebook and Google have allied with the politically correct left’s thought police. Kumbaya values will be packaged in schools, the media, the arts and fashion, shaping the views of the next generation while the last America-centric generations die off.
                                         Ultimately the successor to neoliberalism will not be the resurgent nationalism of Steve Bannon’s fantasies but an autocratic one manufactured in Beijing, Manhattan, Silicon Valley and the academy. Largely unappreciated today, we someday may look back at the waning neoliberal era with some nostalgia, lamenting the failure of a noble idea that failed.
                                          In the world today, eight men control as much wealth as the poorest half of the globe–that’s around 3.5 billion people. Those 3.5 billion people live in abject poverty and face horrifying human security issues despite over seven decades of “expert” development advice from the West and trillions of dollars in foreign aid. This profound inequality has existed in the developing world for most of the modern era, but it is increasingly found in the developed world as well. In the United States, the middle class has been in decline for nearly five decades. By 2015, nearly twenty-five percent of all income in the US was earned by the wealthiest one percent of the population–and this elite group controlled forty percent of the nation’s wealth. As recently as 1990, however, these numbers had been twelve percent and thirty-three percent, respectively.
                                             Some might argue that these successes of the ultra-rich have trickled down to the middle and working classes; the data simply does not support such notions. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz finds that from 2005 to 2015 the income of the ultra-rich increased by eighteen percent, while the middle class saw slight declines in income and men with high school degrees experienced precipitous falls in income. This income inequality is similar to the levels seen today in Russia and Iran. The brutal truth is that most citizens in the United States are doing worse economically year after year, and our income disparity is now on par with authoritarian regimes. What should be concerning to all Americans is the likelihood that this situation continues to worsen given recent developments in the republic.
                                                Over the course of Fanti’s work with the shroud, he discovered the man it covered suffered 370 wounds inflicted by flagellation, was approximately 5 ft. 11 in. tall, and sagged downward to his right at the moment of his death due to a severe shoulder dislocation that damaged his nerves, he said. The total number of the man’s flagellation wounds was likely closer to 600, since the shroud only fully enveloped his front and back but not his sides, Fanti added.
                                                  The allegedly accurate depiction of Christ showed Jesus was an incredibly handsome man with noble features and above average height, Fanti claimed.
                                                    “According to our studies, Jesus was a man of extraordinary beauty. Long-limbed but very robust, he was nearly 5 ft. 11 in. tall, whereas the average height at the time was around 5 ft. 5 in. And he had a regal and majestic expression,” Fanti said, according to Vatican Insider.

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