- If you haven't checked it out yet, remember to stop by the Woodpile Report to read this week's post. He makes an important point about the New Jersey ban on standard capacity magazines and a statement from the New Jersey State Police indicating that they haven't ruled out house-to-house enforcement:
The National Guard troops said they "felt bad about doing it", but they did it. They knowingly became part of the danger. They betrayed the people's trust and revealed what they'll do in the future. Thank you for your service, it's a valuable "ground truth".
- "Your Tactical Training Scenario- Castle Doctrine"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz explains the impact of Ohio's so-called Castle Doctrine law. Basically, it means that you do not have a duty to retreat from an attacker within your own home, even if you could safely do so. That does not mean, however, that you have a license to kill inside your home--you must still show that the use of force was justified to prevent serious physical harm or death. The Ohio law, at least, also shifts the burden of proof of establishing the intent to cause “serious physical harm or death” from the homeowner to the attacker.
- The Truth About Guns is reporting that the regulation banning bump-stocks is expected to take affect later this week. The Gun Owners of America (GOA) is already ginning up a lawsuit to challenge the ban. The NRA is backpedaling on the ban somewhat, now stating that they are "disappointed" there is no provision for an amnesty for people that already own the stocks (under the regulation, the banned items must be destroyed or turned in to the ATF).
- Related: Jeff Dunetz, who authors "The Lid" blog, has stepped into it now. After setting out his bona fides--i.e., that he is a member of the NRA--he then goes on to explain why he thinks the ban is a good thing:However, in this case, I believe the government did the right thing. If one agrees that banning machine [sic] is constitutional, they also have to agree that an accessory that turns a semi-automatic into a machine gun should also be banned. Honestly it wont really [sic] Beyond that, it takes away one weapon of the anti-gun crazies, and it won’t really change anything for most gun owners. I also like the fact that it was a rule made by the administration, they won’t use it as an opportunity to pule [sic] on more gun-ownership rules. If the bump stock ban was a congressional law, who knows what else they would ban with it.
I guess I come from a different perspective. I believe that the banning of machine guns does violate the Second Amendment. I understand the mechanics of the bump stock, and the definition of what constitutes an automatic weapon under the law, and that the bump stock does not make a rifle an automatic weapon. Allowing the banning of the bump stock to appease those who believe the state should have a monopoly on violence is like opening the tent door a little further so the camel can squeeze its fat hips into the tent. Contrary to Dunetz opinion, experience has shown that if the government can get away with stretching a law beyond its intended purpose for one thing, it will do it for others. If this rule stands, then in a few years, we will see another rule banning the Shockwave, Tac-14, and similar weapons because they break the "spirit of the law".
- "Suppressing the AR-15: The Good and Bad"--Garand Thumb at The Loadout Room. The good is that a suppressor can bring the decibels down below 140. The bad is that it adds to the length and weight of the weapon, it can gas blowback and increased bolt carrier velocity (which can lead to failures to feed), and suppressors can easily get hot enough to burn you ... badly.
- "State Your Case: .357 Magnum vs. .44 Magnum"--The Truth About Guns. Basically a click-bait type of article, but it does raise some points on why you might pick a .357 over a .44 Magnum. As you might expect, it comes down to recoil and weight.
- Me? I'll be a teddy bear. "What Will YOU Be Like When the SHTF?"--Organic Prepper. To borrow from Steven Pinker's book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, SHTF is going to mean the reduction or elimination of most of the factors that have led to the reduction in violence. Or, as this author points out, based on Selco's experiences, a lot of people's true personality will come out as constraints disappear, and other people will be forced to do things by circumstances. Some people will become monsters; some will join gangs or engage in prostitution just to survive; and most will tolerate or condone violence or other egregious behavior that would have been unthinkable to them before hand.
- "THE ROLE OF THE RIFLE IN ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENTS"--Gabe Suarez. This article poses the question rather than attempting to answer it. However, he raises an issue that I've addressed before, which is that in that type of event, you probably won't be relying on your rifle because you will be reacting to an event. Or as Suarez states: "It is a given that a fight is either reactive or proactive. In reactive, you find yourself there and must fight to win...and live. You have no time to evade, escape, or anything else, move. draw, shoot, etc. It is happening right now! I doubt that you will have anything to fight with other than your pistols...hopefully you have one." Assuming you have a rifle stashed somewhere, you will have to go retrieve it, and then choose to reenter the fray, knowing that police will soon show up ready to shoot anyone they see with a rifle.
- "Sheepdogs"--Rory Miller explains why he doesn't like the "sheepdog" metaphor:
Number one, there ain't no sheep. Humans are amazing predators. Tough, adaptable, capable of learning at a whole new level. It takes a metric shit-ton of brainwashing to convince children that they are supposed to be weak and that passivity is a virtue. That social conditioning has happened, and it has been successful, but it is not natural. If you want to look down your nose at anyone and think they are weak, that's your arrogance, not truth. If they find the right incentive and throw off their imaginary leashes, not only will the meekest person you know give you a fight, your will [sic] prevent you from seeing it coming.
And here's the big one (hat tip to Terry Trahan.) Sheepdogs aren't good guys. They don't work for the sheep. They work for the shepherd. They don't keep the sheep safe from the wolves because it is the right thing to do. They keep the sheep safe from the wolves so the shepherd can butcher them or shear them on a precise schedule for maximum profit.
- "Mystery Surrounding the Very First AK-47 Rifle"--The Firearm Blog. Some additional history of the development of the AK that you probably did not know. Basically, a couple of Soviet engineers tried to tweak the design in different ways to make it a little better, including changes to the stock, pistol grip and hand guard, and playing around with the mechanism to improve accuracy when shooting full auto. Not all of their tweaking were adopted into the production version, but can still be seen on the first AK-47 prototype.
- "Vanishing Act: 5 Tips for Surviving a Kidnapping"--Recoil Magazine. Someone with experience dealing with kidnappings in Mexico gives his advice. (1) Learn to recognize criminals/cartel members. (2) Try to keep escape tools (including a handcuff key) concealed but accessible. (3) Be prepared to improvise your tools (such as constructing some of them after you arrive in Mexico or whatever other vacation destination you have chosen). (4) The more time you are in the custody of the kidnappers, the more dangerous it will become. (5) Be prepared to fight for your life. He has some tips for concealing escape tools on (or in) your person.
- Now, at the end of the year, we are beginning to see some of the new products that will be released in 2019. One of these is Primary Arm's Foxtrot Mike Products FM9 Pistol which is a nice looking AR style 9 mm pistol. A few things that jumped out at me about this particular product is that it is designed to take Glock magazines, has a last shot bolt hold open, and a left side non-reciprocating charging handle (the handle is actually located near the front of the barrel). Like more and more pistols (and similar to what I decided on for my pistol build), it has a "blast diffuser" for a muzzle attachment, designed to direct the blast forward. MSRP is supposed to be $550.
- In New York, you now have the right to tie two pieces of wood together with a rope so you whack yourself in the back of the head while showing off to your friends. "Court Rules Second Amendment Protects Nunchucks"--Bearing Arms.
- "French 'Blue Vest' police protesters grind passport control to a halt at Paris airport as they align themselves with Yellow Vest demonstrators"--Daily Mail. Well, I don't see anything in the article that indicates an alignment. Instead, the police officers are protesting to get extra money for all the extra work they have had to put in to corral the Yellow Vest protesters.
- Remember to collect names: "ANTIFA LEADER RELIED ON ANONYMITY TO PUSH RADICAL, VIOLENT COMMUNIST AGENDA"--The Daily Caller. The leader of Smash Racism DC, the Antifa group that mobbed Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s home in November and ran Ted Cruz out of a restaurant in September, has been identified as Joseph “Jose” Alcoff, who sometimes uses the pseudonyms “Jose Martin”or “Chepe.” According to the article, "[h]e advocates for the violent overthrow of the government and for the murder of the rich and claims to have international involvement in left-wing movements." He has connections or has acted as a spokesmen for other militant communist groups. His daytime job is campaign manager for Americans for Financial Reform. His brother is Sam Alcoff, a producer for Democracy Now. His mother is Linda Alcoff.
- Rod Dreher recently cited to an article from the magazine, America: the Jesuit Review, on a "Study shows young adults leaving church start down that path at age 13." This seems to be the key point:
Robert J. McCarty, one of the study authors, told the audience that about a third of respondents left over church teaching, most often that on same-sex marriage and homosexuality.
"Young people see dealing with the gay community as an issue of social justice and human dignity, not an issue of sexuality," he said.
A consequence of the failure to teach that homosexuality is a sin, but attempting to be more "open and inclusive." It can be hard, especially if you have friends or family that are gay, to impress on your children that, no matter how much you love so-and-so, that person is living in sin, because there can be a cognitive dissonance that is hard to reconcile. They way past it is to get your children to understand that it is okay (nay, Christlike) to like a person or care for a person even if you don't agree with everything that person does, and that liking a person or caring about a person doesn't require you to accept or like what that person does.
Interestingly, according to the article, "About half of those who left Catholicism joined another religion, while 35 percent became 'nones,' unaffiliated with any particular religious tradition. Less than a fifth of respondents became atheists or agnostics."
- Sometimes it is better to sue in state court: "Cops and schools had no duty to shield students in Parkland shooting, says judge who tossed lawsuit"--Orlando Sun. The headline concerns a lawsuit filed before a federal court against the School District and police. You may remember, however, that a Florida state court recently refused to dismiss a suit from a different litigant against Scot Peterson (and, I believe, the Broward County Sheriff's Department), holding that there was a duty.
- Chinese innovation at work: The EU complains about companies having to transfer technology to China or Chinese companies in order to do business in China.
- Blood splatter analysis: "How a Dubious Forensic Science Spread Like a Virus"--Propublica. Right up there with bite mark analysis and "lie detectors". Excerpt:
In 2009, a watershed report commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences cast doubt on the whole discipline, finding that “the uncertainties associated with bloodstain pattern analysis are enormous,” and that experts’ opinions were generally “more subjective than scientific.”
Still, judges continued allowing spatter experts to testify.
Subsequent research, funded by the Department of Justice, raised questions about experts’ methods and conclusions. But little changed.
All along, attorneys like Bankston continued challenging the admission of bloodstain-pattern analysts. But they came to learn that a forensic discipline, once unleashed in the system, cannot easily be recalled.
The problem isn't that it can't be a useful tool, but that it is given more credence than it deserves, especially because the knowledge necessary for good analysis cannot be taught in a 40 hour class--things like "applied mathematics, significant figures, the physics of fluid transfer and the pathology of wounds."
In 2013, Attinger published his first blood-spatter paper in the journal Forensic Science International. One of his three co-authors was a now-retired Canadian police officer who had been an assistant teacher in MacDonell’s workshop.
The paper showed that the hypotheses that underpin bloodstain-pattern analysis remained largely untested. And, it said, analysts’ assumptions and errors could make their conclusions rife with uncertainty. Analysts failed to properly account for gravity when using bloodstains to calculate victims’ locations. They assumed things about how speed influences blood patterns that had never been scientifically proven.
But Attinger’s paper had a solution: It posited fluid dynamics research as a promising way to refine the accuracy of bloodstain-pattern analysis.
- "Who Is Michelle Obama? Read Her Princeton Thesis and She'll Tell You"--PJ Media. Among other things, she believes that it is black separatists who really care about the black community, whereas integrated blacks have turned their backs on it. In other words, by modern standards, Michelle Obama is a racist. Don't believe me? Go back to that statement of what she believes, and replace "black" with "white."
- "Billionaire Koch Brothers: ‘Serious Mistake’ to End Welfare-Dependent Immigration to U.S."--Breitbart. Apparently, according to them, it would cripple American industry if the labor supply were to tighten and drive up wages.
- British interference with American elections. First, from Forbes in January 2017:
A former British intelligence officer, who is now a director of a London private security-and-investigations firm, has been identified as the author of the dossier of unverified allegations about President-elect Donald Trump’s activities and connections in Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal. A Christopher Steele, a director of London-based private intelligence company, Orbis, purportedly prepared the dossier under contract to both Republican and Democratic adversaries of then-candidate Trump.
Last week we learned that Steele has now testified under oath that "he was hired by a Democratic law firm in preparation for Hillary Clinton challenging the results of the 2016 presidential election." Mr. Steele has also admitted that "his job was to find links between Trump associates and Moscow." He was hired in June 2016. Thus, the substance of the Forbes article appears to be confirmed. Strangely, however, and contrary to Steele's court statements, The Hill reports that Steele had first contacted the FBI on July 5, 2016. (The dossier, moreover, was dated June 20, 2016). And interestingly, though, the author of the Forbes article, Paul Roderick Gregory, a long time Soviet and Russian expert, believes that the dossier was written by someone with Russian intelligence based on the overall writing style and errors in the grammar and syntax that are at odds with Steele's background.
Next, The Guardian reported in April 2017 that GCHQ had become aware of contacts between Trump associates and Russian agents in 2015, which was passed on to American intelligence. The article also indicates that "[o]ver the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said." The article continues:
According to one account, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan. The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at “director level”. After an initially slow start, Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation.
In late August and September Brennan gave a series of classified briefings to the Gang of Eight, the top-ranking Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. He told them the agency had evidence the Kremlin might be trying to help Trump to win the presidency, the New York Times reported.
The most important ‘British connection’ is, of course, Christopher Steele, the former MI6 officer whose ‘dossier’ is the road map for the US inquiry. After he wrote it, Steele asked the retired head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove what he should do and was advised that the US authorities had to be told. Dearlove’s partner in a forum for intelligence professionals at Cambridge University was Professor Stefan Halper, apparently a long-standing CIA ‘asset’. Halper was used by the FBI to get close to George Papadopoulos, an aide on the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos was drinking in a Kensington wine bar with the Australian High Commissioner and told him that Russia had supplied ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. Hearing about the conversation, the then director of the FBI, James Comey, began a counter-intelligence investigation with the CIA.
That is the cover story, anyway: a US intelligence official told me there were ‘many gathering clouds’ in the summer of 2016. Among them might be GCHQ’s intercepts of Trump’s associates talking to Russians. Some reports say the head of GCHQ flew to the US to hand-deliver this incendiary material to the CIA director. Since publication, I’ve been told that this dramatic meeting did not in fact take place. There is no similar ‘guidance’ about whether Britain gave such material to the US under the normal Five Eyes intelligence sharing agreement — it’s a reasonable assumption that this is what happened. Later, Steele’s dossier was passed, in its entirety, to Comey, thanks to a former British ambassador to Moscow, Sir Andrew Wood.
And most recently, "MI6 SPY chiefs are urging the Trump administration not to publish secret documents from the ongoing inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election, which they fear could reveal secret British sources." The same article indicates that "[t]he wiretapping application is said to include allegations against Trump made by former senior MI6 figure Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier on the then Presidential nominee which was later leaked." Fortune has also reported on this:
British intelligence chiefs are reportedly desperate to convince the White House not to declassify more of the FBI wiretap application on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, because it would expose intelligence-gathering sources and methods.
According to a piece published late Wednesday in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, U.S. intelligence officials are also against the idea, as are those in Australia, another member of the intelligence-gathering club known as the Five Eyes (the group also includes Canada and New Zealand.)
Carter Page became a foreign policy advisor on Trump’s campaign team early in 2016. The FBI obtained a warrant to monitor his communications several months later, after they became aware that he may have been meeting with Russian officials in Moscow in mid-2016.
Over time, the investigation fed into the sprawling Russia probe that is currently being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. However, it did not spark the Russia probe, as some Republicans have alleged — the wider investigation was instead prompted by contact between the Russians and Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, regarding so-called “dirt” on Trump’s presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.
So, to summarize, in 2015 GCHQ and other British intelligence agencies apparently began collecting data indicating that the Russians were attempting to help Trump win the election. This information was passed directly to the CIA director at the time, John Brennen. In June 2016, Christopher Steele was hired to collect information to assist Hillary Clinton in challenging Trump's election. On June 20, 2016, his dossier was done (dang, that was fast). In the summary of 2016, Brennen passed the information from GCHQ to the top-ranking Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate in the summer of 2016. After consulting with MI-6, on July 5, 2016, Steele contacted the FBI to attempt to provide them with a copy of his dossier. The Republican convention was July 18–21, 2016, where Trump became the nominee. Several weeks later, the Steele dossier was given by a former British ambassador to James Comey, head of the FBI, who began an investigation with the CIA (i.e., Brennan). "Steele briefed Yahoo News and other reporters in the fall of 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS." But in an October 2016 FISA warrant application, the FBI denied that the information in a Yahoo news article (used to justify the warrant) came from Steele. In November 2016, Trump was elected president.
What I think is that British intelligence, Brennan and Comey started to pull all this together in June 2016 when they realized that Trump was going to be the nominee and as a means of undermining him in the event he won the election. Steele admitted in court documents that he was hired, in June 2016 mind you, "in preparation for Hillary Clinton challenging the results of the 2016 presidential election." Perhaps they had similar plans (and similar dossiers) no matter the nominee. What is clear, though, is that British intelligence is just as central to what is going on as is Hillary, Comey, and Brennan.