Thursday, October 31, 2019

Global Warming Update

Is This Why The Deep State Is So Sad To Leave Syria?

I'm being snarky, but still....

     The National reports that "Drug lords cash in on Syria’s collapse." From the article:
      Out of the misery and human cost of the Syrian conflict comes a new danger that could threaten the whole region.

      While most economic activity in the country has collapsed, hundreds of millions of dollars are reportedly being made through making and trafficking an illegal, addictive amphetamine.

      Reuters has revealed that the breakdown in law and order over the past few years has opened up a market for criminals to make and sell “captagon” tablets.

      The drug provides revenues that could be used to pay for weapons for the rebel forces, and is reportedly helping their fighters to keep up their energy levels during long hours of battle.

      Cheap and easy to make, captagon’s use has spread far beyond Syria’s borders, into the Arabian Gulf.

       More than a third of the world’s amphetamine seizures happen in Saudi Arabia, and last month in Dubai police uncovered a smuggled consignment of nearly five million tablets.

      What makes the drug so unusual is that it is almost unknown outside of the Arabian Gulf. Its origins are unclear, although a prescription drug called Captagon first went on sale in the 1960s.
This 2014 report from The Guardian observed that the civil war was, in part, "being fuelled by both the export and consumption of rapidly increasing quantities of illegal drugs," also mentioning the Captagon pills. The article continues:
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Syria has long been a transit point for drugs coming from Europe, Turkey and Lebanon and destined for the wealthy Gulf states. But the breakdown of law and order, collapse of the country's infrastructure and proliferation of armed groups have now turned it into a major producer, Reuters says. Production in Lebanon's Bekaa valley – a traditional centre for the drug – fell 90% last year from 2011, with the decline largely attributed to production inside Syria.
     But this is hardly anything new. As this 1985 CIA report (PDF) makes clear, Syria has long been a source and distribution hub for heroin. Much of the narcotics trafficking is linked to the Kurdish terrorist group, the PKK, with documentation of its involvement stretching back to the early 1990s.

A Couple Articles For You Ballistic Nerds

Both are from Shooting Sports USA:

Article: "The advanced ways criminals steal cars in South Africa"

From My Broad Band (h/t KA9OFF):
Diagnostic key readers
     Since the 1990s, many cars have used transponder or chip keys linked to their onboard diagnostics computers.

      These keys contain a computer chip which is used for authentication. Once plugged into the ignition, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) transmits a code to the key.

      A key with the correct code will respond with a message to the ECU that allows the car to start.

     To program these keys, a number of diagnostic devices have been developed, which can be used to extract data from the vehicle’s computer box.

     Variations of the devices are used by locksmiths to copy keys for customers who need to replace a lost key or remote.

     It is worrying to note, however, that these devices can easily be purchased online.

Computer box hot-swapping
      A security company based in Gauteng told MyBroadband that car thieves in the province have been caught using similar techniques.

      One of these techniques involves using old onboard diagnostic computer boxes.

      The thieves pull these boxes from old vehicles in scrap yards or grab them from cars stolen in an earlier incident.

      They then use the diagnostic key reader to extract data from the computer box and use this information to recode a stolen or purchased programmable key to link with the particular box.

      When the criminals head out to find potential targets, they take the reprogrammed key and linked computer box with them.

      Once they break into a car, they quickly switch out the installed computer box with their reprogrammed hardware.

      After this is done, the reprogrammed key can be used to start the ignition, lock or unlock doors, and control the alarms.

Ignition switches
       If the criminals struggle to replace the computer box, they also often have a set of different ignition switches on hand.

      Replacing the car’s ignition switch with their own simply allows them to use a key that already fits into the switch.

Coup Update

Some recent news about the Democrats' continue coup attempt:
     Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
         Further, Ciaramella (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
    But that is not all. Gateway Pundit is reporting that "CIA 'Whistleblower Eric Ciaramella Worked with DNC Operative Alexandra Chalupa in Creation of Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax

    Horror Babble Halloween Sale

    Horror Babble is having a Halloween sale at 80% off through November 8 on their audio books. Use BC PROMO CODE: HALLO19 (https://horrorbabble.bandcamp.com)

    Pasteurizing Your Water

    The general answer given for killing the germs in your water is to boil the water for a period of time. But I came across an interesting article at Blue Collar Prepping which pointed out that you can actually do the same through a pasteurization process. The article explains:
          The boiling point of water is 212° F or 100° C, but the pasteurization point of water is 149° F or 65° C. That's a tremendous amount of savings of both time and energy, and can be easily achieved through solar cooking techniques as well as the traditional "pot on the fire" method.

         However, a significant drawback to pasteurization is that, unlike boiling,  there is no visual indicator for when water has reached that point. This is easily corrected with the purchase or manufacture of a Water Pasteurization Indicator, or WaPI.
    The remainder of the article discusses how the WaPI works and how to use it.

         This is an intriguing idea because bringing water to boil requires far more energy than what the difference in temperature would indicate. The boiling comes from the water going through a phase change from liquid to gas; phase changes take a lot more energy than simply heating the water. It is also helpful to those living at higher altitudes, because the boiling point of water is lower at higher altitudes, and so the recommended boiling times are longer--meaning you are using even more energy to boil the water.

        In looking for more information on the topic, I came across this article, "A SUMMARY OF WATER PASTEURIZATION TECHNIQUES" (PDF) by Dale Andreatta, Ph. D., P. E. The author writes:
          Contrary to what many people believe, it is not necessary to boil water to make it safe to drink. Heating water to 65° C (149° F) for 6 minutes, or to a higher temperature for a shorter time, will kill all germs, viruses, and parasites. This process is called pasteurization.

          In this document we describe several pasteurization techniques applicable to developing countries. Pasteurization is not the only technique that can be used to make water safe to drink. Chlorination, ultraviolet disinfection, and the use of a properly constructed, properly maintained well are other ways of providing clean water that may be more appropriate, particularly if a large amount of water is needed. Conversely, if a relatively small amount of water is needed, pasteurization systems have the advantage of being able to be scaled down with a corresponding decrease in cost. In other words, if you have only a little money, you can use pasteurization to get a little clean water, perhaps enough for a family but not a village. As always, the selection of the right system should be based on local conditions. 
    The article also describes how the Water Pasteurization Indicator (WaPI) works, and describes several improvised methods to pasteurize water including using a solar box cooker, a flow-through pasteurizer, and "solar puddle" which can be scaled up to provide water for a large number of people.

    Happy Halloween!

    A Halloween wish from 1912:


    TTAG: "Hunter Killed by Deer He’d Shot that Got Back Up and Attacked Him"

    Hunting is actually one of the safest sports in which you can engage. But that does not mean it is without its risks. You after all are deliberately attempting to kill a wild animal that has been created with various defenses against natural predators. TTAG reports on one such unfortunate incident:
          Authorities and wildlife officials with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have reported the death of 66-year-old Thomas Alexander, who shot a buck near Yellville with a muzzleloader.

    * * *

         When the hunter approached the downed deer he’d just shot, it apparently attacked him, inflicting a number of puncture wounds. Alexander was able to call his family after the attack, who called emergency responders, but the hunter died later at a hospital.
    It isn't unknown for a deer to recover from the initial shock of a wound and fight back. It could even make for a humorous story.  But you should be careful when approaching any downed animal and be ready to administer the coup de grâce.

    Wednesday, October 30, 2019

    The Elusive K-Frame Snubby

    Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training is showing some love for revolvers with his article, "K and L-Frame Snub Revolvers." Most of you probably familiar with the 5-shot J-frame revolvers from Smith & Wesson. They are popular with concealed carry folks as well as serving as back-up guns for those in law enforcement. But S&W, as well as other manufacturers, have produced snubbies in larger frames sizes capable of holding 6 or 7 rounds of .38 Special or .357 Mag., depending on weapon. And these are what Ellifritz discusses.

    Article: "Over 40 skulls found at altar in den of Mexico cartel suspects"

    Reuters reports:
    "the head of a goat with a hexagram between its horns"
           Police found more than 40 skulls, dozens of bones and a fetus in a glass jar next to an altar in the den of suspected drug traffickers in Mexico City during a raid this week, authorities said on Sunday.

          Four of the skulls were built into the altar in the central Tepito neighborhood, where police arrested 31 people on Tuesday on suspicion of drug cartel activity, the city government said in a statement. A judge ordered 27 of the suspects released.

          A photo distributed by the Mexico City attorney general's office showed skulls clustered around the altar, which had a cross behind it adorned with a horned wooden face mask.

          To the right of the altar was a painted wall full of symbols that included a pyramid topped with a hand, celestial bodies and the head of a goat with a hexagram between its horns, according to photos of the room published by local media.

          In front of the wall stood a variety of objects, including dozens of wooden sticks with colored markings.
    Coming soon to a location near you.

    Student Loan Forgiveness: What's Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

    The Left has been throwing around the idea of student loan forgiveness and voiced the vague outlines of some plans. And what they have in common is that it will be paid off using other people's money: namely, taxes raised from taxpayers generally. But that sword can cut both ways, as Tucker Carlson proposes. Carlson explained the basic problem:
    "Go to college, you’ll be successful if you do." But too often, that advice is outdated, if not an utter lie. Huge numbers of our kids wind up impoverished by the experience of college, their dreams thwarted forever. The reason for that is debt. 45 million Americans now labor under student loans. The average debt burden is $37,000 per person. That’s the price of a brand-new car. Imagine starting your first job with that hanging over you, and keep in mind, college debt isn’t like ordinary debt thanks to well-funded lobbying campaigns, student loans cannot be erased by bankruptcy. They last forever. Many of today’s college freshmen can expect to spend their working lives paying interest on loans in the end that didn’t help them at all.
    But then he turns to the real beneficiaries of the student loan program, stating, “the only people benefiting from this current system are on the far left: the smirking college presidents with multi-million dollar salaries. The authoritarian university administrators and the suddenly ubiquitous diversity and inclusion officers. The tenured professors of non-binary feminist poetry and other perverse and pointless fake academic disciplines.”

         His solution? Debt forgiveness, but using money from a different group of "other people."
           Instead, Carlson called for making the higher education institutions that had perpetuated “this scam” foot the bill.

          “Harvard’s endowment is $40 billion. Yale’s endowment is $30 billion. Let’s start there,” he explained. “What’s clear is we need to move the crushing financial burden of student debt off the shoulders of middle-class families and 22-year-olds and back to the people who have gotten rich from it.”

          “That’s an idea that every sensible person can support. In fact, there’s a big political payoff for any politician wise enough to adopt it. The candidate who promises to make colleges ease the student loan burden, without question, will be the next president of the United States.”

    "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."

    The quote in the title is from Genesis 6:3, where God imposes an upper limit to a man's age, in contrast to earlier figures in the Bible that lived several hundred years. It came to mind today because I saw an article reporting that the "World's oldest woman dies aged 123." From the article:
          Russia's Tanzilia Bisembeyeva, who was listed as the world's oldest living person in Russia's 2016 book of world records, has died at the age of 123.

           Bisembeyeva was born on March 14, 1896 in the village of Islamgazi in the region of Astrajan in southern Russia. Her son,  Shintas Bisembeyev, informed Russian news outlet Interfax on Wednesday of his mother's death.
    The prior record holder was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment who reportedly lived a total of 122 years and 164 days. But her age has been disputed as it is claimed that the woman known as Jeanne Louise Calment was actually the real Calment's daughter who had assumed her mother's identity.

    Marcus Wynne Is Having A Halloween Giveaway ...

    ... on his novels. You can get the details at his blog (and get a preview of a new novel he is working on), or just go straight to Amazon after midnight tonight (Oct. 30). If you like action, suspense, or novels with accurate representations of firearms and their use, you should like his books. Long time readers should know that I've read and posted reviews of several of his books--including the Wylde Trilogy,  No Other Option, and Warrior in the Shadows--and really enjoyed them, so this is a great opportunity for you to finish your collection of his books, or get a free introduction to his novels.

        The Wylde Trilogy is basically an action-adventure, shoot-em up book for those of you that just want a fast and wild ride. No Other Option is more of a psychological thriller with some interesting trade-craft and a very disturbing villain. The description of Warrior in the Shadows describes it as somewhat akin to Silence of the Lambs, and that is actually a valid comparison: it has a serial killer, but with a bit of Australian black magic ... and, of course, trade-craft and firearms thrown in as well.

    Kyle Lamb On Using A Flashlight With A Pistol

    My knowledge of using a flashlight with a firearm is probably antiquated because most of what I learned first came from Massad Ayoob's excellent book, "Stress Fire, Vol. 1" or are based on those same techniques. Great techniques and still foundational. But flashlights have gotten smaller, the layout is slightly different (i.e., a tailcap switch is now normal instead of a side mounted switch), and there are some items or accessories that simply were not available before. In the video below, Kyle Lamb discusses some variants on older techniques and some new techniques for running a handheld flashlight with a handgun.

          I personally like the one where he uses a flashlight with a bit of bungee cord to search, but just simply turns his hand down to get a solid two-handed grip on the handgun and resorts to the pistol light when there is a threat. He suggests that this is a technique for law enforcement, but it should work well for anyone that has a "nightstand" gun with a weapon mounted flashlight. Enjoy!



    China Woes

    No, I'm not talking about their having to destroy over 100 million pigs because of African Swine Fever. No, I'm talking about the warnings for over a decade that China had systemic problems with its economy that would eventually cause an economic crises. China has been kicking the can down the road by various means: a rapidly expanding economy, creative loans and accounting, and similar. But the time of reckoning may be approaching.

        First, I would recommend watching the video below from China Uncensored, titled "Is China Going Broke and Taking the World With It?"


    The video features an interview with economist and China expert Christopher Balding, and discusses China's lowest GDP forecasts in 27 years, the tremendous debt load carried by Chinese consumers (among the highest in the world), off book debts, the impact of the China/U.S. trade war and more. The prediction is that as China's economy gets worse, China will become more jingoist and more closed off to foreign investment.

         As a follow up, check out the article, "The United States Should Fear a Faltering China" from Foreign Policy magazine. An excerpt:

          The defining geopolitical story of our time is the slow death of U.S. hegemony in favor of a rising China. Harbingers of Beijing’s ascent are everywhere. China’s overseas investments span the globe. The Chinese navy patrols major sea lanes, while the country colonizes the South China Sea in slow motion. And the government cracks down on dissent at home while administering a hefty dose of nationalist propaganda.

          Beijing’s newfound assertiveness looks at first glance like the mark of growing power and ambition. But in fact it is nothing of the sort. China’s actions reflect profound unease among the country’s leaders, as they contend with their country’s first sustained economic slowdown in a generation and can discern no end in sight. China’s economic conditions have steadily worsened since the 2008 financial crisis. The country’s growth rate has fallen by half and is likely to plunge further in the years ahead, as debt, foreign protectionism, resource depletion, and rapid aging take their toll. 

          China’s economic woes will make it a less competitive rival in the long term but a greater threat to the United States today. When rising powers have suffered such slowdowns in the past, they became more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad. China seems to be headed down just such a path. 

        One of the red flags is the GDP growth numbers reported by China. These are the lowest in decades, standing at 6%. But that figure is misleading. Again, from the article:
          A growth rate of six percent could still be considered spectacular. By way of contrast, consider that the U.S. economy has been stuck at a rate of around two percent. But many economists believe that China’s true rate is roughly half the official figure. Moreover, GDP growth does not necessarily translate into greater wealth. If a country spends billions of dollars on infrastructure projects, its GDP will rise. But if those projects consist of bridges to nowhere, the country’s stock of wealth will remain unchanged or even decline. To accumulate wealth, a country needs to increase its productivity—a measure that has actually dropped in China over the last decade. Practically all of China’s GDP growth has resulted from the government’s pumping capital into the economy. Subtract government stimulus spending, some economists argue, and China’s economy may not be growing at all.
           The signs of unproductive growth are easy to spot. China has built more than 50 ghost cities—sprawling metropolises of empty offices, apartments, malls, and airports. Nationwide, more than 20 percent of homes are vacant. Excess capacity in major industries tops 30 percent: factories sit idle and goods rot in warehouses. Total losses from all this waste are difficult to calculate, but China’s government estimates that it blew at least $6 trillion on “ineffective investment” between 2009 and 2014 alone. 
    And China's debt has ballooned: "China’s debt has quadrupled in absolute size over the last ten years and currently exceeds 300 percent of its GDP. No major country has ever racked up so much debt so fast in peacetime." The article goes on to note other problems, including that the country, which was once largely self-sufficient, now must import much of its food and fuel, is running out of water, and will see its population of retirees outnumber the number of its young workers. As a consequence, the authors predict, China will be forced to become more totalitarian at home to keep control of a restive population, but look to expand--i.e., harvest the wealth of other nations. The latter expansion may well be a mix of territorial expansion or control, protection of its industries, and increased industrial espionage to steal intellectual property. In short, the author does not believe that China will go gently into the night.

         But this is where the author goes sideways, in my opinion. He believes that the path to maintaining peace may be a watered down version of appeasement, including ceding control of the South China Sea to China (or, at the least, no longer sailing navy ships through contested waters), and admitting China as a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Biden's New Gun Control Threats

    Based on current polls, Biden seems to have the strongest support among Democrats (see here and here), although the media establishment seems to favor Warren. In any event, Biden has thrown down the glove to owners of AR and AK style rifles. From Neon Nettle:
    According to Biden's campaign site, he will give those who “possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.”
    Well, we know that registry would entail paying a tax ... on each magazine and weapon. So, for some (perhaps most) owners, the only viable legal option would be to surrender their weapons and magazines just because of the prohibitive expense of registry.

         But I suspect registration will be impossible. I suspect that the weapons (and possibly the magazines) will be considered machine guns under whatever gun control scheme finally passes. And we know that Democrats would rather cut off their right arm than open the machine gun registry. So we are back to the weapons having to be surrendered.

           And, based on what we are seeing with the bump stock ban, there may be no compensation for the surrendered weapons and/or magazines (see "COURT: NO COMPENSATION FOR DESTROYED BUMP STOCKS" (h/t Captain's Journal)).

    Tuesday, October 29, 2019

    Two Different Takes On The Threat Posed By CMEs

    You may not have realized it, but on July 23, 2012, scientists witnessed a massive flare and CME discharge from the Sun that was probably as big as that of the Carrington Event of 1859. As Modern Survival Blog notes, we missed bearing the brunt of the 2012 CME by 9 days, and "UC Berkeley research physicist Janet G. Luhmann and their colleagues reported their analysis of the magnetic storm, and determined that the huge outburst (of the July 23, 2012 CME) resulted in release energies equivalent to that of about a billion hydrogen bombs."

         The article goes on to discuss the dangers of CMEs. Quoting information provided by NASA:
          Extreme solar storms pose a threat to all forms of high-technology.

          They begin with an explosion–a “solar flare”—in the magnetic canopy of a sunspot.  X-rays and extreme UV radiation reach Earth at light speed, ionizing the upper layers of our atmosphere; side-effects of this “solar EMP” include radio blackouts and GPS navigation errors.

          Minutes to hours later, the energetic particles arrive.  Moving only slightly slower than light itself, electrons and protons accelerated by the blast can electrify satellites and damage their electronics.

          Then come the CMEs, billion-ton clouds of magnetized plasma that take a day or more to cross the Sun-Earth divide.

           Analysts believe that a direct hit by an extreme CME such as the one that missed Earth in July 2012 could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket.  Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps. 
    The two primary effects of the CME, according to the article, will be the loss of the electrical grid and damage to electronics, and fires resulting from shorting or damaged electrical equipment or electronics.

         But will it be as bad as all of that? I came across the video embedded below ("Should We Fear The Next Big Solar Storm") at the Real Engineering channel on YouTube and it doesn't seem to paint such a scary picture. According to the video, the electrical currents set up in power lines from CMEs is due to the CME distorting and pushing on the Earth's magnetic field. As the field flux moves through power lines, it generates a DC electric current. There is a potential for damage to transformers, but there are also protective mechanisms that have been incorporated into the most vulnerable portions of the power grid in countries in the extreme north such as Finland and England. Also, because of satellites that are now in place to warn of solar weather, we would have up to an hour's warning which might allow the opportunity to preemptively shut down sections of the grid to protect against damage.

    "Should We Fear The Next Big Solar Storm"--Real Engineering (13 min.)

        A 2018 article from CNET summarizes the most likely problems we face from a CME:
          The basic problem stems from electrical currents that solar storms generate in the Earth's ionosphere. Those, in turn, induce currents in the power grid that can lead to two unfortunate outcomes. One is voltage collapse — a type of power blackout that can affect entire electric grids. The other is transformer failure.

          Transformers change one voltage to another — increasing it for long-distance power transmission and decreasing it for household use. Solar storms could destroy power grid transformers, which can be as big as a house, cost more than $10 million and take 12 to 18 months to replace. It's one reason a science and engineering firm called Metatech warned in 2008 that a massive solar storm could cost the US economy between $1 trillion and $2 trillion and take four to 10 years to recover from.

          That projection is too dire, though, say transformer experts at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as well as Scott Backhaus, an expert in grid resiliency at LANL.

          "Of the potential impacts, the one everybody is concerned about is a large power transformer overheating," says Backhaus. "What would probably happen before that would be voltage collapse."

          While not as devastating, voltage collapse can still cause regional problems. And the more widespread the blackouts, the harder a recovery becomes because broader outages require power plants to initiate a "black start": using their own power sources, like diesel generators, for the electricity needed to restart the whole plant.

          Solar storms cause other problems, too. Satellites beam navigation radio signals to everything from your phone and your car's sat-nav system to oil rigs and airplanes. Massive bursts of charged particles can hobble those services, as well as phone calls and internet data transfers.

          Space weather also can expose aircraft to high levels of radiation. The Earth's magnetic field ordinarily provides protection except near the north and south magnetic poles, but CMEs push that radiation down toward the equator. That means transcontinental flights that usually travel over a pole must detour to less direct routes.
    The article also notes that, in addition to early warning from satellites, our power grid is becoming more resilient:
    We're adapting our electrical grid in North America — helped politically by the fact that those fixes also help ward off attacks involving high-altitude nuclear weapon explosions. A 2016 rule, for example, requires utilities to test transformers for vulnerabilities to big disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field and replace problematic hardware within four years.

    If you prick us, do we not bleed?


    The video explores the various flavors of fascism that arose during the interwar period all around the world. Of course, "fascism" is so broadly applied that it becomes meaningless. While the host is aware of this, he nevertheless applies the term to at least include the various forms of authoritarianism that become popular in many countries that had previously been liberal republics. He also makes the classic mistake of viewing fascism as a politically right wing movement, which can only be true if you believe the distinction between left and right as being between globalism and nationalism, respectively. I don't know, maybe that is how it works in Europe, but that is not how most Americans define the left-right divide, and under the American definition, the Nazis were quite definitely part of the Left. Notwithstanding the foregoing, he does a good job of summarizing the various movements and theories.

         My interest, however, was piqued when the narrator discussed antisemitism, particularly as it developed in Germany. (Starting about the 11 minute mark). It is just a short bit, but it notes how the Nazis used antisemitism as a type of myth to unite their ranks. "Thus they transpose all of the things they see as corrupt, derelict, and decedent in society to the Jewish faith." There is, to me, an eerie similarity between this and the othering of white Americans, the so-called "Deplorables", by the American Left. At least the Nazis had the sense to demonize a group that was only a small percentage of the overall population, however. The Left wants to demonize one of the largest voting blocs in the country!

         My guess is that the Left were so confident of their control and the meekness of the Conservatives that there would be no opposition. Charles Krauthammer had famously stated that to understand the political divide in America, you had to understand that the conservatives think liberals are stupid while liberals think conservatives are evil. So long as that was the case--that conservatives only thought of the Left as misguided or stupid--conservatives would never take a determined stand. But the right has begun to revolt. As Angelo Codevilla stated in a recent interview: "The basis of the revolt is simple. We realize that you hate us and therefore we hate you back." Thus, as Ol' Remus points out in his post for this week, a Rasmussen Poll from 2018 showed that 31% believed that the U.S. would see a Civil War in the next 5 years, but in a Georgetown survey from this year, that number had risen to 67%. Keep in mind that in 2017, Foreign Policy ran an informal poll, and "the informed public" (i.e., its readers) put the odds at about 18% (although national security experts were much higher).

    New Woodpile Report

    Link here. Last week, Ol' Remus discussed how food could be used as a weapon. In describing food preps, he apparently used terms that were not familiar to some of his readers, so this week he defines his terms.

    Monday, October 28, 2019

    History: The Assassination of German Jimenez Panesso

    An interesting article at Guns America, "Drugs, Guns, and Money," that describes the 1979 assassination of drug kingpin German Jimenez Panesso in Miami. Panesso was a Columbian who headed a drug smuggling syndicate in South Florida. As befits an article in a gun magazine, there is particular attention to the firearms used in the "hit": a silenced .380 Beretta Model 70S, and a Mac 10 machine pistol. Check it out.

    Was There Some Truth To The Allegations In The McMartin Preschool Case?

    Back in the 1980's there was a panic about the sexual abuse of children as part of Satanic rituals. One of the main cases that prompted the public panic involved allegations of the abuse of hundreds of children at the McMartin preschool in Manhattan Beach, CA. As Wikipedia describes it:
    The McMartin preschool trial was a day care sexual abuse case in the 1980s, prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner. Members of the McMartin family, who operated a preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, were charged with numerous acts of sexual abuse of children in their care. Accusations were made in 1983. Arrests and the pretrial investigation ran from 1984 to 1987, and the trial ran from 1987 to 1990. After six years of criminal trials, no convictions were obtained, and all charges were dropped in 1990. When the trial ended in 1990, it had been the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history. The case was part of day-care sex-abuse hysteria, a moral panic over alleged Satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s.
    And to be sure, the case presented some very strange accusations that were too incredible to believe, like something from a bad LSD trip. There was also evidence that the investigators had used leading questions and other techniques to get the "information" they wanted from the children.
    Videotapes of the interviews also showed that MacFarlane and other therapists relied heavily on leading questions and subtle pressure to persuade children to join the chorus of accusers. The defense played tapes that showed therapist Shawn Connerly telling a child interviewee that 183 kids had already revealed "yucky secrets" and that all the McMartin teachers were "sick in the head" and deserved to be beaten up.
    Some of the children's accounts included being taken into tunnels and hidden rooms beneath the school.
    No evidence was found of the "secret rooms" where massive instances of sexual abuse were said to have taken place. In March 1985, a group of nearly fifty McMartin parents, determined to unearth the fabled secret tunnels, began digging at a lot next to the school. A few days later, the parents were joined in their efforts by an archeological firm hired by the District Attorney's office. Still, no secret rooms were ever discovered.
    (Source).

         But was that true? Brian Niemeier reports on files released by the FBI about a cult called "The Finders" that indicate that tunnels were, in fact, found. (H/t Western Rifle Shooters Association). The FBI file contains a report stating that large hand dug tunnels and subterranean room were found beneath the McMartin Pre-School's structure. (You can download a copy of the FBI file here--the report is on page 49 of the PDF). The inclusion of the material also suggests that someone at the FBI thought that the McMartin pre-school incident might be connected to The Finders.

         As Vox Day writes about this, "[t]he world is not only more evil than you believe, it is more evil than you probably imagine."

    Fuel Related Crime Increases in Latin America

    The article is "THIRD GENERATION GANGS STRATEGIC NOTE NO. 20: FUEL THEFT IN BRAZIL—GANGS AND MILITIAS TARGET PETROBRAS" from Small Wars Journal. Summary:
    Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has been increasingly targeted from 2014 onwards by fuel thieves (ladrões de combustível). The gangs (gangues) involved include the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC or First Capital Command) and milícias (militias). A similar pattern of large-scale petroleum theft has been taking place in Mexico since at least 2006.
          The discussion of fuel reminded me of a recent article from Chicago Boyz, "Ayiti Pa Nimewo Yo" (h/t Western Rifle Shooters Association)  which relates current conditions in Haiti. As the article describes, one of the most debilitating aspects of life in Haiti is the expense of fuel and unreliable sources of fuel. The author spends considerable detail on how this impacts life, including the ability to travel longer distances. At least in Haiti, this means that people live increasingly cheek to jowl, with densities in the population centers as great or greater than Manhattan, but in a city without tall buildings.
    So while the ability to physically access a six-digit number of one’s fellow citizens ordinarily means lots of amenities—and even in Haiti’s present circumstances, continues to fulfill the ancient function of cities as concentrations of information (p 503 ¶ 2)—hobbled motorized transport creates spot shortages of necessities literally overnight (again, in the absence of the sort of logistical planning we are used to). As I will explain below, this is much worse in the countryside.
    But Haiti does provide an example of what SHTF could look like. The author explains:
          I have elsewhere criticized the flash-cut nature of disaster scenarios as favored by novelists—and preppers; everything “on” is turned “off,” by some kind of large, metaphorical, offstage knife-switch (the preferred diabolus ex machina being nuclear EMP). I encourage careful observation of real-world examples, in which only some things are turned off, and only intermittently. The people in Haiti in the most precarious position now are in the countryside—at the edge of the network, to use a 21st century expression. Fleeing to your hideout far from concentrations of population is not indicated, to put it mildly. What you want is the largest possible community, ideally one with excellent infrastructure connecting it to as much of the country as possible.

          More broadly, beware single-root-cause analysis; all this is massively multifactorial. Familiarization with the Lewis Model, mentioned above, is helpful. That said, there seem to be two major factors at work in this situation, one internal and one external.

          The internal factor is endemic low cooperation in politics, going back to the cultural founder effect of a slave-plantation colony successfully revolting and then not quite knowing what it wanted next. See Acemoglu and Robinson on extractive vs inclusive institutions. Haiti has no tradition of political compromise and has experienced at least 32 coups since its founding. At the moment it seems to be lurching toward its third delayed election in a row due to parliamentary gridlock and widespread distrust of its current president.

          The good news is that the Haitian Revolution was won by the Haitians (and the good news for the US is that we immediately got the Louisiana Purchase out of it, and the first curbs on the slave trade shortly thereafter). Enabling the development of, eg, functional institutions is something else again.

          The external factor is the collapse of Venezuela and its effect on the PetroCaribe fund, which was providing subsidized fuel. This unraveled last year, and much of the money associated with the program seems to have disappeared somewhere along the line in any case. Perhaps not coincidentally, the gourde’s value relative to the dollar has dropped from 41:1 to 93:1 over the eight and a half years I have been going to Haiti, and most of that decline has occurred since the spring of 2018.

          The effects of the above are a good deal of public frustration, escalating to significant disruption in daily routines. As noted earlier, Haitian topography and limited road infrastructure combine with sociopolitical elements to practically guarantee that buffers become depleted, margins are always precarious, processes are not so much stiff as nonexistent (or hopelessly corrupt), and squeezes are always tight. A single relatively modest manifestasyon can close a chokepoint for an entire day.
     Read the whole thing.

    A Monday Medley of Videos (10/28/2019)

    Harrell had received inquiries from people living in jurisdictions that did not allow hollowpoint ammunition for recommendations as to self-defense ammunition. He tested three types of ammunition in 9 mm in his "meat target": Underwood Xtreme Defender, Winchester Super Clean (a flat nosed FMJ), and Magtech Soft Point. The latter two rounds had excessive penetration and little damage. The Xtreme Defender seemed to perform similar to a hollow point (i.e., good tissue destruction and did not over penetrate) and, of the three, was clearly the best choice.


    "The Hearse Song (The Worms Crawl In)" - Harp Twins, Camille and Kennerly (3 min.)
    Since Halloween is nearly upon us. I wonder if kids today could sing this on a school yard without being suspended.



    The host tested two Springfield Armory rifles and found that the accuracy left a bit to be desired on both--even after both were returned to the factory and looked over by Springfield's own armorers. 



    "What Did Pangaea Look like?"--Atlas Pro (13 min.)
    The author takes an outline of what the super-continent would have looked like around 190 to 230 million years ago, and then makes some educated guesses as to where mountain ranges would have been, and the type of flora and general rainfall patters would have been. Keep in mind that the planet was much warmer and so there were no ice caps.



    "Self-Defense Ammo for Pistol Caliber Carbines"--Lucky Gunner Ammo (9 min.)
    Most modern hollow point ammunition is designed to work well within a certain window of velocity but not so well outside of that window. The host in this case tests some ammo in ballistic gel shot from various platforms, including a 16-inch barrel Ruger carbine, to look at both velocity as well as the impact of the higher velocities on the effectiveness of the round. One thing to note is that the velocity out of the barrel lengths of the weapons he has show the same or less velocity at 16" versus 12", which supports what I've learned elsewhere that best velocity from 9 mm tends to be from an 8" to 10" barrel.



    "Diversity Is Not a Strength"--American Renaissance (11 min.)



    "Task Force 34 and The Battle of Leyte Gulf"--The History Guy (15 min.)
    The last major ship-to-ship battle of World War II



    Because Germany had failed to invade England, Spain was reluctant to jeopardize its grain imports from England and the United States; and Vichy France and Italy were not amenable to German plans. World War Two wound up being a war of attrition with victory going to whichever side had the most troops and industrial capacity. It was clear by the end of the Battle of Stalingrad that Germany could not win the war, but I wonder if that tipping point had been reached much earlier, when Germany failed to capture the British troops at Dunkirk. If Germany had done so, Britain might have been forced to accept a peace, and the United States may not have entered the war. Whereas, once it was apparent that Britain was going to stay in the war, the United States was more willing to provide assistance and, eventually, Hitler would declare war on the USA allowing Roosevelt to bring the full might of the United States to bear. 

    Are Revolvers Obsolete?


         The host, Andrew (who also does videos for AR15.com and his own channel, the Chopping Block) is normally a straight shooter, which is why this video puzzles me: it is pretty much click bait.

          Of course, we know why why revolvers gained a reputation for reliability, which was mostly an issue of poorer quality ammo in past years and poor design/manufacturing of semi-autos and their magazines. I'm old enough to remember when buying a new pistol meant at least 200 rounds to break it in before you could expect it to shoot reliably, and even then, many designs were intended to only function with ball ammo. And I have books from before my time that discuss how a factory 1911 would need to have an experienced gunsmith to work on it before it could be counted on to shoot reliably. Now we are spoiled, to a certain extent, because handguns typically work reliably straight out of the box. But in the past, out-of-the-box reliability was typically limited to revolvers.

         So, are revolvers more reliable than modern semi-auto pistols? Andrew argues "no" and demonstrates as much by burying a semi-auto and a revolver in some sandy soil and then attempting to shoot them. Both choked up on the sand and grit, but the revolver, arguably, did worse. And even then, Andrew was able to get the semi-auto running reliably again with a bit of oil in the right places. (He didn't attempt to the same with the revolver, assuming without explanation that he would have to remove the sideplate to perform any lubrication and maintenance). From this, he made the leap that revolvers are less reliable and then, from there, the further leap that revolvers are obsolete.

        It is true that revolvers have largely been supplanted by semi-auto pistols among police and citizens alike. Yet revolvers still hold on in two major areas: the small snub-nose revolvers and larger revolvers for hunting and backwoods. And, just based on what I see at gun stores and read online, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in compact and mid-size (i.e., duty) revolvers.

        So what advantages do revolvers hold? Well, on the small end, a fully loaded S&W Airweight or similar is lighter than most 9 mm. semi-autos, even those with similar magazine capacity. They are much thinner in most respects (other than the cylinder) and, in my opinion, tend to conceal a bit better. On the large end, they can handle much larger and more powerful rounds at smaller sizes and weights than semi-auto pistols. A S&W N-Frame or Ruger GP100 is not a small gun, but they are a lot smaller than a Desert Eagle.

        But are there other advantages? Well, I would say that their insensitivity to ammunition is still a plus for some shooters. With the revolver, you have the option of using different types of ammunition and/or ammo with different power (due to different charges of power). For instance, you can load shot rounds for dealing with a snake, you can load light weight round-nose or wad-cutter for small game, rounds intended for self-defense against a human, or more powerful rounds for dealing with a larger animal, without any worry as to whether it will function. If you, as a prepper or survivalist, think that you might someday be forced to scavenge for ammunition, the issue of reliable ammunition may again be relevant.

        Revolvers are more reliable when shot with imperfect holds or presentation of the firearm. Have you ever seen someone limp-wrist a revolver and have it fail to function properly as a result? (In fact, the Bisley style of revolvers were designed to be shot with the arm bent). Have you ever seen a revolver get pushed out of battery when shoved up against a target or other object? Do you think you could fire a semi-auto from inside a pocket and have it function from one shot to another?

        I'm not arguing that revolvers are generally superior to semi-autos. I'm just saying that firearms are tools, and there are circumstances, situations and times that a revolver may be the better tool than a semi-auto pistol.

    Sunday, October 27, 2019

    Jackie Clay: "Put Your Garden to Bed for the Winter"

    An article from Backwoods Home Magazine on the end of season harvest (right before the first hard freeze), and what to do with the blackened remains of the plants killed by the first freeze. Surprisingly for many, the author generally recommends destroying the old plants (e.g., burning them), to kill pests (or their eggs or spores) rather than tilling them into the soil or composting them. Leaves are a different matter, and she recommends saving your garbage bags and simply till the fallen leaves into the garden bed (multiple times, if necessary). This is also a good time to fence in your garden, enlarge the garden, and do other maintenance work that you couldn't do earlier for fear of damaging the plants. Anyway, she covers a lot of other topics and ideas for preparing your garden for the winter and getting ready for next spring, so check it out.

         The same author has another article on the topic of "Garden Seeds — A Great Winter Pastime." She likes to review the seed catalogs and plan her garden in the winter, order her seeds early, and get the plant starts going before the planting season. 

    Alan Korwin: "Armed with Weapons of Sport"

    Korwin makes short work of those that think the Second Amendment is somehow limited to sporting arms or muzzle-loading muskets.

          Our forefathers fought our British oppressors with weapons of war. The “Nicknamed Candidate” for president, this Beto fellow, thinks the Founders couldn’t imagine us armed properly with weapons of war. We had the most sophisticated weapons of war imaginable in the late 1700s, weapons capable of fighting and defeating the most powerful army on the planet. That was the plan. It still is. The Second Amendment codifies this for the Militia -- our People.

          This person running for president as Beto must be a fool. His understanding of history stops short of any comprehension of why we are armed. We are armed as a balance of power, a threat to the existing order if it gets out of line. It keeps us free. You don’t do that subarmed, with weapons of sport, or weapons of hunting ducks. Americans must have parity with police and infantry. To the extent we do not, we are subject to subjugation and frankly, that balance is slipping, and so tyranny creeps closer. Any careful observer can see that’s true, and frightening.
     (H/t Massad Ayoob)

    "Spy & Counterspy"

    I came across a resource that I thought I would share. It is a site called "Spy & Counterspy" which has a collection of articles on recognizing and neutralizing surveillance, particularly focusing on techniques of those organizations that can roll out large scale surveillance against a subject.

         If you find the articles useful, there is a link that allows you to download a .zip file of all of the articles as well as a couple well-known books on the basics of lockpicking.

         This information seems to pair well with the series of articles on "Dark Arts for the Good Guy" at Matthew Allen's blog.

    Those Who Vomit Up The Teachings Of The Left

    There is a short colloquy in the movie Dragonheart that has stuck with me over the years. In the movie, Bowen is a knight that lives and breaths the code chivalry; and Einon is a prince, a former pupil of Bowen, who has become evil. In a fight between the two, Bowen tries to remind Einon of the noble code he had been taught.
    Einon: Lay down, Bowen! You're the sad remains of dead systems and dead beliefs!
    Bowen: They were your beliefs!
    Einon: Never! Never mine!
    Bowen: [heartbroken] But... you spoke the words...you spoke them from your heart!
    Einon: I vomited them up because I couldn't stomach them! Because I knew it was what you wanted to hear!
    Bowen: Lies! Liar! I taught you!
    Einon: You taught me to fight, that's all! I took what I needed from you. You taught me to fight! [stabs Bowen in the shoulder, disarming him] You taught me well.
    I think of Einon's words whenever I hear or read about the Alt-Right: that the Alt-Right is the result of Leftists and the Cuckservatives forcing a non-reality down the throat of the younger generations, and these younger generations have vomiting it up, but they don't believe it.

         I've written before of the insidious influence presented by the Cultural Marxists and the Frankfort School of moral relativism. In a June 2018 post, I noted that in the past the Cultural Marxists had relied on our passivity and goodness--essentially a "live and let live" attitude--to advance their cause.
    But today, with the march through the institutions complete, we are seeing a shift from appealing to our goodness and generosity, to threatening us should we speak out. Thus we see social justice warriors attempt to shame us into acquiescence and passivity. Don't speak up, or you will be labeled a bigot, racist, deplorable, or some other label. 
    I concluded:
          The left has mostly won: abortion is firmly the law of the land, two-parent families and stable marriages are so far in the past that most of us cannot remember when it was the norm, Christianity has been driven from the public square and most Christian religions are now in the process of self-destructing in order to avoid the "sin" of offending a special snowflake or victim group. The left can shame the right all it wants, but the opposite is denied. The only thing left for the cultural Marxist is to destroy "whiteness"--the vestiges of Western civilization and the hold-outs among Christians. And to ensure continued passivity, we that are of European descent are told we are guilty of some irredeemable sin, and that we just need to shut up and listen ... and confess our guilt.

           The first step in this is to reject the idea of white guilt. There is no such thing. One of the basic Biblical teachings is that the child is not answerable for the sins of the parents. So, even if Western civilization was not the second best thing to have ever arisen (Christianity being the first), there is still no need for guilt, apology or reparations. SJW's always lie, as Vox Day has written, and its time to stop passively accepting their lies, but actively reject it and defend rightness.
        Philip Carl Salzman, writing at Minding the Campus, asks the question, "Where Does the Impulse to Vilify America and the West Come From?" He notes that it seems to go back "to the idea of 'cultural relativism,' first articulated in the 1930s by foundational anthropologist Franz Boas and his student Ruth Benedict. Instead of judging other cultures in terms of one’s own values, the anthropologist should suspend his or her own value perspective in order to understand the world in terms of the culture studied." It didn't stop there:
    But the idea of cultural relativism did not remain static. Rather, it was taken up and expanded to mean moral relativism, in which someone from one culture cannot make a valid moral judgment about someone or a culture with a different morality. In 1946, the American Anthropological Association went so far as to reject the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that it reflected Western values and was thus ethnocentric. Then relativity was expanded to epistemological relativity, which means that a way of knowing in one culture is not more valid than a different way of knowing in another culture. Thus, for example, science is deemed to have no more validity than individual subjectivity, or prophets, or witchcraft doctors, or chicken oracles. Cultural relativism was a major step in undermining our cultural basis for judgment
         A second source, according to Salzman, was feminism. He explains:
         The Women’s Movement of the 1960s, consequent to the arrival of the birth control pill, modestly strove for equality for females. ... But in less than a decade, the Women’s Movement became second-wave Feminism. Along with a change in label came a change in orientation, from striving for a universal value to partisanship on behalf of females vis a vis males. Quickly that feminist partisanship became female supremacism and a war against men. ... Men were characterized not as supportive fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, employers, and mentors, and fellow citizens, but as insensitive, brutal, toxic, and evil. The most recent slogans of feminism are “men are trash,” now set to music, and “kill all men,” also set to music.
    More importantly, for our discussion here was the rise of a "feminist ideology":
    ... Feminist ideology generated feminist strategies, which included special consideration and benefits for females. For example, women were to be given preferences in college and university admissions, in employment, and in government, as well as disputes over child custody. Feminist law professors championed laws benefitting females, at the expense of males, such as redefining both undesired advances and violent rape as “sexual assault.” Feminists argued that any consensual sexual congress that a female regretted was rape. Males, as always, hoping to curry favor with females, supported or remained silent about the feminist attacks on equality and fairness.

          The feminist view of American culture ignored its basic values of freedom, equality, and democracy, claiming that American culture was a “rape culture.” Nor was American society deemed to be one of free citizens enjoying equality of opportunity to gain standing and prosperity. Rather, feminists adopted the Marxist model of society featuring a hierarchy of classes in which the higher class exploits and oppresses the lower classes. Feminists exchanged the Marxist economic classes with sex classes, the male patriarchy oppressing the subordinate females, discriminating against females at every opportunity. The alleged sexist American society was thus characterized as fundamentally unjust and corrupt, and salvageable only through the overthrow of the patriarchy and its replacement by feminist supremacy. As females make up half of all Americans and half of all voters, a movement claiming to represent all women could not be ignored, and, as we have seen, could not be resisted.
     According to Salzman, this same ideology was adopted by other interest groups:
          The Marxist feminist model of American culture and society was quickly adopted by minorities aiming to improve their positions by claiming victimhood. African American activists replaced the feminists’ claims of sexism with racism, and patriarchy with white supremacism. ...

          The campaign of homosexuals, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and other varieties, for acceptance and equal legal status framed American culture as heteronormative, and bigoted against LGB++ individuals. It, too, adopted the Marxist model, with heteronormative oppressors and LGB++ victims. Trans activists claim to be victims of oppression by the biologically literate, and demand that they could be whatever sex they wanted to be, and that this become sanctioned by law.

    Native American and [especially] Canadian First Nations activists claim to be victims of non-natives. ...

          All of these minorities claim discrimination against them because of their origin or characteristics and identity. As proof, they point to “underrepresentation” in relation to their percentage of the population. Their argument is that in every field or organization, they should be represented at least in the same percentage as their percentage in the general population. The cover label for this demand is “diversity and inclusion.” The justification is labeled “social justice.”

         These claims reinforce the Marxist identity politics vision of America as a bigoted, sexist, racist, oppressive society run by evil white male supremacists. The white majority is thus regarded as tainted, and the rights of individual members of the white majority are disregarded in favor of benefits for the “underrepresented.”
    * * * 
         While feminist and minority claims have not been ignored, because equality is a central value of American culture, feminists and minority activists have greatly exaggerated their victimhood and the evil oppression by men and by the white majority. Partisan activists and their supporters strive to gain power for their group, as well as power and status for themselves. Those on the political left see the campaign for “social justice” as a path to greater government centralization and power. The call for “social justice” is often joined by a condemnation of capitalism and a plea for socialism. The left’s tendency for totalitarianism is seen in the increased control of thought and speech, for example, in universities’ “diversity and inclusion” apparatus, including “bias detection” committees and re-education committees, a la Communist China.

           The great success of “woke social justice” ideology can be attributed in part to the capture of America’s education system by grievance partisanship. From the grievance fields of women’s studies, black studies, indigenous studies, Chicano studies, etc., “woke” ideology and virtue signaling spread rapidly to anthropology, sociology, political science, English, and other “humanistic” disciplines, social work, and education. From radical “social justice education faculties, “woke” feminist, anti-American teachers spread across the land to shape the minds of America’s children. But no one was quicker to adopt grievance “social justice” than university administrators, who have hired thousands of “diversity and inclusion officers,” including at the highest levels of administration for salaries up to half a million dollars a year, to police thoughts and speech among students and faculty. A sideline is enforcing Obama administration Title IX demands that they persecute male students that any female complains about. With their “social justice” police force in place, administrators have gone on to establish racial segregation in housing, eating facilities, and university salaries, and well as to admit, fund, hire and promote on the basis of sex, gender, race, and ethnicity. Every American criterion of merit, universal values, democracy, and due process has been thrown out by just about every university administration.

           Thus, in order to advance partisan interests, feminist and minority activists have distorted facts of history and sociology to portray America as a wicked and evil country. At the same time, educationalists have striven to divide Americans according to sex, race, sexual preference, and ethnicity, while canceling the rights of members of the American majority.
    But even as the Ctr-Left more tightly squeezes its fist, the more dissenters are squeezed out between its fingers, and this is apparent in the phenomena--and, perhaps, new paradigm--sometimes termed the "Alt-Right."

        The Alt-Right has been demonized by the Left as "racists" and "bigots" because they recognize it as a legitimate counter-culture force, and want to place it beyond the pall so that it won't be the subject of legitimate study or interest. But the Left's efforts have only had mixed success because, as a cultural phenomena, there is no specific leader or certain set of beliefs. I have referred to it previously as "evidence based politics" because of the general Alt-Right belief in "truth" as obtained by rigorous scientific evidence and/or past experience. The latter characteristic is what casts the Alt-Right as a form of conservatism, although it has nothing to do with the modern Conservatism Inc. of Rockefeller or Buckley.

        One of the first serious attempts to understand the Alt-Right was Allum Bokhari's and Milo Yiannopoulos's article, "An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right." The pair dismissed the connection to Neo-Nazism, noting that one of the characteristics of the Alt-Right was its intellectualism: "The alternative right are a much smarter group of people — which perhaps suggests why the Left hates them so much. They’re dangerously bright."
    The origins of the alternative right can be found in thinkers as diverse as Oswald Spengler, H.L Mencken, Julius Evola, Sam Francis, and the paleoconservative movement that rallied around the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan. The French New Right also serve as a source of inspiration for many leaders of the alt-right.
    But, perhaps not unsurprisingly, the Alt-Right is also associated with the "[t]he so-called online 'manosphere,' the nemeses of left-wing feminism," and Red-Pilled philosophy. But Yiannopoulos was demonized and demonitized (the same thing in these days of social media), and since then, no serious attempt by the broader media to objectively report on the Alt-Right has been attempted. Until recently, that is.

        In August 2019, The Claremont Review of Books published an article by Michael Anton with the title, "ARE THE KIDS AL(T)RIGHT?". Anton's focus was the book, Bronze Age Mindset ("BAM") by an author calling him or herself “Bronze Age Pervert” ("BAP"). As Anton observes:
    Self-published in June 2018, BAM quickly cracked the top 150 on Amazon—not, mind you, in some category within Amazon but on the site as a whole. This for a book with no publisher and no publicist, whose author is not even known. 
    Anton gives a lengthy review of the book which I won't repeat or even attempt to summarize here. I would recommend that you read the review. But some of his concluding thoughts are worth repeating:
          The reason this book is important is because it speaks directly to a youthful dissatisfaction (especially among white males) with equality as propagandized and imposed in our day: a hectoring, vindictive, resentful, levelling, hypocritical equality that punishes excellence and publicly denies all difference while at the same time elevating and enriching a decadent, incompetent, and corrupt elite.

          BAP would say—indeed does say—that this is where the logic of equality inherently and inevitably leads. He even goes so far as to deny that the American Founders meant a word of their rhetoric. I think this is impossible to sustain as a historical matter, but on the larger philosophical question it is possible that the founders meant every word but were still wrong. It’s fair to say, however, that BAP’s followers take for granted that the idea of equality is false. They even have a derisive term for it: “equalism.” They dismiss the language of the founders, of rights, of the American political tradition as “Enlightenment,” which—rest assured—they don’t mean as a compliment.

         And I have more bad news for my fellow conservatives: the talented kids who’ve found this book aren’t listening to us. It doesn’t matter whether they aren’t listening because they found the book, or they found the book because they aren’t listening. The fact remains that all our earnest explanations of the true meaning of equality, how it comports with nature, how it can answer their dissatisfactions, and how it’s been corrupted—none of that has made a dent.

          This—of course—doesn’t mean that we should abandon our understanding. Truth is truth, and if we’re right, we’re right. But it does mean that we need to acknowledge a serious rhetorical deficiency that we’ve not even begun to learn how to overcome. In the spiritual war for the hearts and minds of the disaffected youth on the right, conservatism is losing. BAPism is winning.
       In an interesting course of action, BAP has publish a response to the review. If you want the highlights, read "Bronze Age Pervert: Response To Michael Anton" at Malcolm Pollack's site, but the whole of BAP's response is published at The American Mind under the title, "America’s Delusional Elite Is Done." Again, you need to read Anton's review to get the most out of BAP's response.

       I'm not going to try and provide a full summary of BAP's response (you can read Pollack's post if you want a summary) nor reproduce his article. But here are a few of the important point. First, BAP asserts that:
    What you are witnessing, I would like to tell the readers of Claremont, is the unraveling of the postwar American regime—or what is mendaciously called by its toadies the “liberal world order”—in a way that is far more thorough than the disturbances of the 1960’s, and with consequences that will be far more dire.
    He also notes that:
    The “altright” doesn’t exist and has nothing to do with the media representations of it—really attempts to redefine it and control it—as a form of “white nationalism,” “skinheads,” the various public figures they’ve tried to anoint as its leaders (only to make them ridiculous and tear them down), or even—and here is what is crucial to understand—just “white males” or the just “right wing.” The same phenomenon is taking place on the left, and there is much more crossover than older people realize: there is much more involvement also by nonwhite youth and particularly by Latino, Asian, and multiracial youth in this phenomenon than people want to admit. I’m not saying this to run away from a charge of “racism,” but to try to show you that you can’t, and won’t be able to, contain what is happening now by typecasting it as an “angry young white male” thing. That is wishful thinking on your part, if you believe it.
    And this makes sense if you have ever followed the discussions from Red Pilled sites. Rather, BAP explains:
    What is going on now is a widespread rejection of the ruling authorities and their beliefs, on the part primarily, but not only, of the American youth at large. This is similar to the rejection of communism by dissidents and youth in the Soviet bloc in the 1970’s and 80’s, and driven by similar causes.
    For instance, BAP writes, "The anti-male and anti-White rhetoric of the new left is extreme. The racial attacks on whites in particular approaches exterminationist propaganda seen only in, e.g., the Hutu against the Tutsi in 1990’s Rwanda." And he gives numerous examples. And this is also where he damns the main stream Conservatives:
    Whether out of loyalty to the generally leftist social sphere in which the conservative intellectual establishment lives, or out of simple fear, mainstream and traditional conservatives have completely discredited themselves by failing to oppose the violent racial hatred and other forms of unprecedented insanity coming from the new left. I haven’t even yet touched the conservative powerlessness when it came to stopping the destruction of the family; or the new push for the sexualization and grooming of children on behalf of transsexualism and other supposed “sexual identities.” This one crucial matter extends the appeal of the “frog people” far beyond that of any one racial or ethnic group.
    And worship of the God of GDP isn't cutting it either.
    Many seem to think that success for example in a white collar job is the key to solving this problem of discontent with the new American regime. But strangely enough today it is the large corporations, Big Tech, high finance and other white collar institutions that promote the most restrictive and aggressive leftism. 
     He continues:
           The problem Anton or other conservatives must face isn’t that my audience, or the “youth” in question doesn’t accept the principles of the American Founding, but that the left and thereby a large part of the establishment rejected these principles long ago. The left has been saying exactly what they plan to do for decades. They want to destroy your country, instill a death wish in the white population, set majorities against market-dominant minorities, atomize everyone: the British plan in Malaysia and a few other places but now applied domestically within a country. 
          But the conservatives didn’t do anything, or anything effective, to counter the left—this is the problem. Many conservatives would rather blame people who point out the left’s explicit intentions. If Hillary Clinton says that Merkel is her role model a year after Merkel made the youth of Germany a minority in their own country, and if we point this out and support any candidate who might prevent this unprecedented madness, it is mainstream conservatives who call us Nazis and worse simply for pointing out the left’s stated goals. 
         I would be ready to concede that I wouldn’t have an audience, or a much smaller one, if this was the America of the Founding or even that of the 1980’s. Your problem isn’t my audience, but that your analysis and words and ideas are so far from reality that you don’t even see the reasons why I have this audience in the first place. 
         The left completely abandoned Americanism in the 1960’s; at this point they’ve also abandoned biological reality. Vitalism is all that is left against their demented biological Leninism. Encouraging health, normality, and physical nobility against their celebration of deformity, obesity, and sexual catamitism must be one of the basic functions of conservatism in our time. It is one of the reasons my message is powerful among many who are fed up with the left’s gospel of wretchedness: what is your plan to take that on?
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    They Never Thought Hillary Would Lose

    The Bookworm Room blog has a good article discussing how the Deep State bureaucrats are getting more careless in their lies as they begin to panic over the investigation on how the Russian Collusion tale got started. And he provides a succinct summary of how we got to where we are:
          Here’s what really happened: The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement saying they were confident that the attacks on the DNC and other sites came from Russia. It was an official statement from the top of a combination of 16 agencies (plus the DNI). These 16 agencies are:

    • Air Force Intelligence
    • Army Intelligence
    • CIA
    • Coast Guard Intelligence
    • Defense Intelligence Agency
    • Office of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence for Energy Affairs
    • Office of Intelligence and Analysis
    • Bureau of Intelligence and Research
    • Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence out of the Treasure Department
    • Office of National Security Intelligence
    • The Intelligence Branch of the Justice Department
    • The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
    • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
    • National Reconnaissance Office
    • The National Security Agency/Central Security Service
    • Office of Naval Intelligence
    No one can tell me that the Coast Guard or the Navy or the National Reconnaissance Office or the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency were looking into the hacked DNC server. And, indeed, you don’t have to try spinning those lies to me.

          That’s because we know what happened. The FBI showed up at the DNC and asked to look at the hacked server. The DNC refused, telling the FBI that a private company called Crowdstrike had looked at the server and fingered Russia — and that the FBI would have to live with that. The FBI, usually so zealous about protecting its territory, meekly acquiesced.

           Crowdstrike, of course, has Ukraine ties, which is why President Trump, when talking to Zelenskyy, the new President of Ukraine, about the incredibly corrupt administration before Zelenksyy came on board, asked for Ukraine to look into Crowdstrike to help determine its connection to the claimed Russian collusion issue that roiled the Dems for three years. In other words, Trump is doing the work the FBI never did but lied about, and that the intelligence community lied about, and that Hillary then exaggerated and lied about, and that Wendy Sherman now lies about.
    Oh, and he predicts that Michelle Obama will likely be the "white knight" that will ultimately run against President Trump.

    The Collapse of Evergrande?

    Last Tuesday I wrote about the developing crisis around the Chinese real estate development and investment firm, Evergrande , and the risk i...