Friday, August 28, 2020

Life Imitating Art - Kenosha, Wis., Edition

 ART...

Source: "Powerful: Protesters Spell Out 'Love' With Burning Homes And Businesses"--Babylon Bee.

LIFE...

"Police Break Up Apparent Antifa Plot To Light Kenosha On Fire"--The Federalist. From the article:

    ... As Empower Wisconsin reported, Kenosha police and U.S. Marshal agents stopped a caravan of vehicles filled with fuel cans and illegal fireworks  — thanks to a citizen tip.

    Officers located a black school bus, bread truck, and minivan and took up surveillance, according to the incident report. Police then followed the vehicles to a gas station where they observed the occupants of the black bus and bread truck fill multiple cans of gas.

    Police say the vehicles contained various items, including helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks, and suspected controlled substances. Nine individuals were arrested for disorderly conduct and are awaiting charging decisions by the Kenosha County district attorney, according to the incident report.

    “They clearly prevented more tragedy in the Kenosha area. We’re grateful for their presence,” state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) said of the federal agents working with local law enforcement.

    The vehicles reportedly were connected to Seattle-based Riot Kitchen, a group of radical left protesters that claims to “feed the revolution.” They were portrayed in several mainstream media accounts as friendly helpers. What the stories couldn’t explain is why members of the organization were loading up so many cans of gas, and why the Riot Kitchen crew in the minivan fled from police.

Article: "Survival Fishing: How to Catch Fish When SHTF" by Coty Perry

 I once read that if you wanted to know how to hunt big game post-SHTF, just read through the hunting regulations and do what it says is illegal. I guess the same must apply to fishing. Coty Perry, in his article "Survival Fishing: How to Catch Fish When SHTF" at Your Bass Guy warns his readers that "[b]efore we continue, know that some of the techniques I’m going to share are illegal in the United States. I’m sharing them so that in a true survival situation, you’ll know what to do." 

    I have to admit that I haven't put a whole lot of thought into survival fishing because I don't fish and, therefore, don't have the equipment. (I've a couple cheap rods and poles from when my kids were Cub Scouts and I was trying to help them, but that isn't real equipment). I've poured over many outdoor survival books since I was a wee lad, so I know the rudiments of making an improvised fish hook and how to make simple fish traps, but I also know that there is a lot of work and skill that goes into fishing that I don't have. (I have a friend, on the other hand, that the couple times he was fishing literally was able to throw in his lure and regularly pull a fish out every minute or two while I couldn't even get a nibble). Fortunately, Perry's article seems aimed at people like me. 

    For instance, he begins by telling the reader:

    When catching fish in survival mode, you need to think a little differently about fishing. Sure, you can fish with a rod and reel, but for the long-term, you’ll want something that doesn’t require so much of your time. Called passive fishing, it involves you setting the stage and coming back to reap the harvest. We’ll discuss these different methods in a moment.

    In long-term survival, you also want more than a reliable fishing spot. You want a place where you can collect fish and keep them alive until you want them. Lastly, when you’re in a survival situation, you need to maximize your chance of catching fish. That means implementing more than one strategy and continually monitoring them for success.

The two basic methods that he starts with are setting multiple lines from poles (improvised or not) and a trot line (dropping lines from a rope or cord suspended across a stream). He goes on to discuss some other non-sport fishing methods of catching fish, including using a gorge hook or net fishing, hand fishing, spear fishing, knocking them out with a club, fish traps, fish weirs, and "stunning" fish using a poison.

    Perry then turns to trying to advice on where to fish, different factors that impact how and when fish feed, and how to approach a fishing hole without spooking the fish. For instance, about some of the factors that influence fishing, he writes:

    Fish feed most before dawn and within the first hour of daylight, making it the prime time to have a line in the water. The second most productive time of day to fish is right after dusk when they again feed heavy.

    In the spring, fish are easiest to catch, especially if you live somewhere that has a cold winter. In these areas, the fish are hungry and active due to the warmer water. Many are also laying their eggs near shore in the spring, so opt to drop your line in covered, shallow water.

    In summer, fish often prefer the deeper waters where it’s cooler. Move away from the shore and try to hit the deep holes or still water in the shade. In the fall, the water temperature starts to drop, spurring fish to increase their food intake.

    This means they may be more interested in your bait. During winter, fish stay in deeper waters, away from the ice on the surface. Be sure to have a deep enough line that the fish can find your hook.

    Barometric pressure also impacts fish and many go into a feeding frenzy before a storm. When the storm includes a cold front, the amount a fish eats can slow down until after the cold snap passes. On this same note, a bit of wind can increase your odds when you’re fishing for survival.

    Strong winds make waves that interfere with the fish’s ability to see out of the water. Windy weather also stirs up sediment, making the water cloudy and the fish less likely to spook.

Experienced fishermen are probably reading this and saying, "well, duh," but for someone like me that is not a fisherman, it is all good to know, and not something I've seen in survival manuals. 

    Anyway, Perry concludes his article by going over what gear to have on hand for a survival situation, putting together a SHTF fishing kit (both for home and a bug-out bag), where to look for bait, and cleaning and cooking fish. 

    Read it and print it up for your survival notebook.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

POTD: Abandoned Cars

 

Source: "Mesmerising photographs show once-gleaming vehicles abandoned and transformed by nature into eerie artifacts in strange and isolated parts of Europe and America"--Daily Mail. The photographs are apparently from a book, Lost Wheels - The Nostalgic Beauty of Abandoned Cars, by photographer Dieter Klein.

Jury Nullification

Disclaimer: I'm not your attorney and this is not legal advice.

    This is just a quick post, but something that I wanted to address because I'm seeing some discussion of it on the Internet. In many jurisdictions, people are faced with a situation where laws are being applied unequally: mobs are allowed to riot and loot with impunity but anyone that would stand against them is being prosecuted. Moreover, self-defense law is somewhat murky when it comes to riots and mixed crowds of rioters and protesters. What to do?

    One possible response is jury nullification. Simply put, "[j]ury nullification occurs when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the government proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." United States v. Kleinman, 880 F.3d 1020, 1031 (9th Cir. 2017). However, as the 9th Circuit went on to explain, while "[i]t is well established that jurors have the power to nullify, and this power is protected by 'freedom from recrimination or sanction' after an acquittal", "juries do not have a right to nullify, and courts have no corresponding duty to ensure that juries are able to exercise this power, such as by giving jury instructions on the power to nullify." Id. (italics in original). If you want a longer explanation, rather than reinvent the wheel, I will include farther below a longer discussion of jury nullification from a judge in the Eastern District of New York in the case of United States v. Polizzi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 308 (E.D.N.Y. 2008), vacated and remanded sub nom. United States v. Polouizzi, 564 F.3d 142 (2d Cir. 2009).

    While most Americans detest the idea of being "stuck" on a jury--many people even joke about jury pools being filled with people "too stupid" to avoid jury duty--there are very good reasons why it was included as a fundamental right in the Bill of Rights. As Alan Chwick and Joanne D Eisen so eloquently explain, "[t]he fact remains that each one of us, in the jury room, has the right to decide what the outcome of the trial is to be, no matter what the judge, the prosecution, or the written law says. Every juror who goes into the jury room has the Constitutional right and power to nullify a law in question. The juror can decide if the law has been applied properly, and even if the law is just. Each and every juror can help change the path of an individual life, and the path that society follows." It is as important a power to preserve our freedom against a tyrant as our ultimate fail-safe implicitly protected by the Second Amendment. 

    I can't encourage nullification and won't since it would be dependent on the individual facts of the case. What I can say, however, is if you happen to have the opportunity to serve on a jury overseeing the trial of someone being tried for attempting to protect themselves and their livelihood from a rampaging, leftist mob, don't try to shirk your duty and avoid serving on the jury. You are in a position to restore justice if the situation warrants it. 

* * *

    And now, on to United States v. Polizzi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 308 (E.D.N.Y. 2008). As an initial explanation, the district court in this case ultimately granted a new trial in the case, but was reversed on appeal. The district court was not faulted on its analysis of a jury's power of nullification; rather, the reversal seems aimed at the district court's decision that the jury had a right to instructions telling it of its power to nullify. United States v. Polouizzi, 564 F.3d 142, 162–63 (2d Cir. 2009). Well, that and the district judge was trying to overturn the conviction of a defendant whose crime is of a type particularly despised by the vast majority of judges.

    The Polizzi decision is long and I won't try to reproduce it all here; and, frankly, most of it is irrelevant to our discussion. But the district court discusses the jury's broad power to refuse conviction:

The American petit jury is not a mere factfinder. From the time the right to trial by jury was embedded in the Constitution as a guarantee to criminal defendants through the Sixth Amendment in 1791, it has been expected to bring to court much of the wisdom and consensus of the local community. ... It has, when jurors deemed it necessary, stood as a guardian of the individual against the sometime cruel overreaching of government and its menials. ...

United States v. Polizzi, supra, 549 F. Supp. 2d at 322. 

    That juries do have the power to refuse to convict or to convict of a lesser offense has been fully established. ... see, e.g., Neder v. United States, 527 U.S. 1, 33, 119 S.Ct. 1827, 144 L.Ed.2d 35 (1999) (Scalia, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (“A court cannot, no matter how clear the defendant's culpability, direct a guilty verdict.”); United States v. Pabon–Cruz, 391 F.3d 86, 95 (2d Cir.2004) ( “The power of juries to ‘nullify’ or exercise a power of lenity is just that—a power” (quoting United States v. Thomas, 116 F.3d 606, 615 (2d Cir.1997))); Thomas, 116 F.3d at 615 (characterizing right of juries to deliver unreviewable, general verdicts—thereby allowing jury nullification to occur, albeit infrequently—as a form of “jury lenity”). Where nullification is suspected, courts may not “intrude upon ‘the sanctity of the jury's deliberations' because of their ‘strong policy against probing into [a jury verdict's] logic or reasoning.’ ” United States v. Mahaffy, 499 F.Supp.2d 291, 296 (E.D.N.Y.2007) (quoting United States v. Zane, 495 F.2d 683, 690 (2d Cir.1974)).

    Pre-Booker, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had “categorically reject[ed] the idea that, in a society committed to the rule of law, jury nullification is desirable or that courts may permit it to occur when it is within their authority to prevent.” Thomas, 116 F.3d at 614. Both before and after Booker, courts are, we assume for the purposes of the instant case, under no obligation to tell the jury that it can nullify. See United States v. Carr, 424 F.3d 213, 219–20 (2d Cir.2005) (“Our case law makes clear, as Carr concedes, that a trial court is not required to inform a jury of its power to nullify.”); see also Thomas, 116 F.3d at 616 n. 9 (“[C]riminal defendants have no right to a jury instruction alerting jurors to this power to act in contravention of their duty.” (citing United States v. Edwards, 101 F.3d 17, 19 (2d Cir.1996))); Edwards, 101 F.3d at 19 (“While juries have the power to ignore the law in their verdicts, courts have no obligation to tell them they may do so. It appears that every circuit that has considered this issue agrees.”); cf. Essay, Considering Jury “Nullification”: When May and Should a Jury Reject the Law to Do Justice, 30 Am.Crim. L.Rev. 239, 250 (1993) (noting that nullification instructions should probably not be given routinely because such an “instruction is like telling children not to put beans in their noses. Most of them would not have thought of it had it not been suggested.”). Courts may still affirmatively tell the jury “it has a duty to follow the law, even though it may in fact have the power not to.” Carr, 424 F.3d at 219–20 (disagreeing, post-Booker, with appellant that the district court's suggestion to the jury that nullification was not an option was prohibited).

Id., 549 F. Supp. 2d at 444.

Jacob Blake Was Armed With Knife When He Was Shot

 Although it is too late to stop the violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and perhaps would not have made any difference, more information is being released that indicate that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife at the time he was shot. 

    Second City Cop had this still photograph taken from a video of the lead-up to the shooting:


It looks like Blake had a Karambit style knife on his person when he was shot. Moreover, during the investigation following the initial incident, Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession, and investigators recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s vehicle.

    It is also relevant that Blake had been fighting with two of the officers prior to the shooting, and the officers had been informed that Blake had an outstanding arrest warrant (a warrant was issued on three charges — two misdemeanors and one G-class felony — on July 7). The officers weren't hassling Blake, but had grounds to arrest him independent of whatever had happened at the scene between Blake and the person that had called 911. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

WROL: Young Man Defending His Life Is Charged With Murder

The Daily Mail reports that Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17 year old young man that shot three rioters with an AR-15, killing two, is to be charged with first degree murder. There are a lot of videos and articles showing portions of the whole incident. (See, e.g., this from Vox Day, and today's news brief from Anonymous Conservative). 

    If you haven't watched the videos or read the news accounts, it appears that Rittenhouse was part of a group that was in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to try and protect businesses from the looting and arson being carried out by the BLM mob. Apparently he was attacked at a used car lot--the video of this first shooting shows Rittenhouse being chased by a rioter who throws something and appears to strike Rittenhouse, continues to chase Rittenhouse, and then you can hear several shots. The rioter apparently was shot in the head. Rittenhouse then proceeded to run from that location. A group of the rioters chased (continued to chase?) after him. Rittenhouse then stumbled and fell to the ground. A rioter leaped and kicked Rittenhouse in the head while Rittenhouse was still on the ground. Another rioter struck Rittenhouse with a skateboard. It appears that Rittenhouse shot at these two, and struck one in the chest. A third rioter attacked Rittenhouse with a pistol in hand, and was shot in the arm. At that point, the crowd had backed far enough away from Rittenhouse that he was able to regain his feet and continued running down the street toward the police. 

    Now, finally, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (Dem.) has ordered the National Guard to come into the town to help restore order. 

    This incident demonstrates something that I wrote the other day about the absence of the rule of law, that I want to repeat. We tend to think of "without rule of law" as a state of anarchy where no laws are applied as to anyone. But "rule of law" refers to a state where laws are applied in a (mostly) predictable and even-handed manner. Or, as the United States Courts explain:

Rule of law is a principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws that are:

  • Publicly promulgated
  • Equally enforced
  • Independently adjudicated
  • And consistent with international human rights principles.

The Oxford dictionary defines it as "the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws." Black's Law Dictionary explains that "[t]he rule of law, sometimes called 'the supremacy of law', provides that decisions should be made by the application of known principles or laws without the intervention of discretion in their application." 

    So when the laws are not applied against one group or population--that is, they are not equally enforced-- there is no rule of law. This is so because, in those cases, the population which is still held accountable has no recourse under the law, because the law is not being enforced, nor outside the law, because they still face punishment.

A Time of Choosing: Marxism and the Transformation of America

A couple articles you should check out from John Wilder (the Wilder, Wealthy and Wise blog) and from Sam Jacobs (Ammo.com).

    Wilder lays the background by describing how the communists intended to destroy America, as explained by Yuri Bezmenov (a Soviet defector) in the 1980’s. Bezmenov was a KGB agent, and the strategy he described was the one being followed by Soviet intelligence. The steps to be followed were demoralization (removing the moral underpinnings of the society), destabilization (economy, social relations, defense), a crises forcing acceptance of a new government, and normalization (or consolidation of power). Each step was anticipated to require a different amount of time to accomplish, and Wilder explains each step and the time frame in more detail in his article.

    The article by Jacobs, "Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political Radicalism," is a fascinating read in its own right, but it ties in here because it discusses the demoralization and destabilization phases. I'll just quote from Jacob's article:

    Before going any further, we should spend some time defining what “wokeness” means.

    Wokeness is a kind of shorthand for an area of the American political left that is obsessed with identity politics. This is, as the name would imply, the politics of identity. Thus, people are not rational actors, nor are they necessarily economic units. Rather, they are little more than a collection (or, in the parlance of this ideology, the intersections) of skin color and séxuality.

    Socioeconomic class might enter into this, but if it does, it’s generally as an afterthought. While Marxism might play some influential role, the wokeists are far more likely to locate the revolutionary subject in, for example, trans-identified black men than it is the working class.

    One can understand the hostility of the “woke” to the Bernie Sanders campaign in this context: it is much more revolutionary under the guidelines established by wokeism, to put more racial minorities with unusual séxual identities on the board of Lockheed-Martin and Goldman-Sachs than it is to provide for greater economic equality on behalf of their workers.

    The bedrock of wokeness is not classical Marxist socialism, but something called “critical theory” and in particular its variant “critical race theory.” This has its roots in the Frankfurt School and an early 20th-century Italian philosopher and politician named Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci’s big idea was that cultural power preceded political power. Thus, to have a Marxist political revolution, one first needed a Marxist cultural revolution. This was to be accomplished by a “long march through the institutions.” What this means is that leftists were to infiltrate every institution of significance and gain power within them.

    We can see the result of this idea today. While American leftists bear little, if any, resemblance to Marxists of old, they have penetrated our institutions and dominate culturally – in academia, in entertainment and increasingly in the economic sphere as well. If one were to read the Communist Manifesto, there are a series of demands at the end, most of which have come to fruition such as universal public education, a progressive income tax, a national bank, and the industrialization of agriculture.

    This isn’t to say that there is a massive Gramscian conspiracy with thousands of members. Such a thing would be completely impossible to prove or disprove. However, the kernel of the idea has taken root, in part thanks to bona fide promotion in academia, and in part because it simply seems to have largely been a successful operation.

    Thus “critical theory” is effectively a sociological philosophy and method that involves constant ideological attacks on Western civilization. Its guiding principle is that Western civilization is based on subjugation, dominance and tyranny. This takes many forms including “racism,” “patriarchy,” “heteronormativity” and “cisséxism” – all of which are predicated upon weaponized guilt.

    Weaponized guilt is essentially taking those elements of Western and Anglo-Saxon culture, which prize even-handedness and “fair play,” and turning them against the culture itself. Indeed, the selection of the name “Black Lives Matter” is a masterstroke in weaponizing guilt: The only possible disagreement (or so say the advocates and allies of the movement) is that you don’t think black lives do actually matter. But, of course, except for extremely isolated, marginalized and numerically insignificant pockets, virtually everyone agrees that all lives have the same value. Indeed, it is a cornerstone of Western civilization and Christian teaching that this is true. It is nearly axiomatic. The Declaration of Independence declares that the basic equality of men is “self-evident.” No one would even know where to begin “arguing” this, simply because it is so accepted as a fact.

He continues by discussing how and why large corporations spread wokeness, and it has nothing to do with bettering humanity, but is another way of grabbing power and enriching themselves. As Jacobs observes, "woke capitalism is very much the free market in action. There is a benefit to the erosion of certain social values that have maintained Western civilization for hundreds of years. Woke capitalism is an attack on the nuclear family and Western civilization while providing nothing in its place. After all, who makes for better consumers than childless atoms whose only values are the prevailing cultural diktats of the day?"

    But, Jacobs explains, the results will not be pretty:

Inflaming racial animosity between whites and everyone else will have dire consequences for the nation as a whole, especially during a time of declining wages, increased political instability and eroding social solidarity. The end result of goading the American public into viewing their problems as largely stemming from race, rather than economics, might well have profoundly dire consequences for both the social fabric and for the individuals that constitute it.

    And that takes me to Rod Dreher's article this morning, "If It Can Happen In Kenosha…". Taking the riots to smaller communities can have a purpose. "The point," Dreher writes, "is that the 'At least Trump will keep us safe' meme is not working for the people of Kenosha. And how do you know it’s going to work for you in your city, should things kick off there?" In other words, it is a type of coercion to get people to vote for Biden in order to stop the pain (i.e., the riots). Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. But what will voting for Biden get us? Although Dreher doesn't say it phrase it this way, it looks like it will bring us the mark-of-the-beast style economic system (see Rev. 13:17):

    I’ve had this working theory, for as long as I’ve been thinking seriously about the arrival of soft totalitarianism — basically, since just before I started writing my forthcoming book Live Not By Lies — and trying to figure out how it is likely to arrive in full force here. As you will be able to see in my book (it comes out September 29; pre-order it at that link), the progressive left has been moving steadily to conquer American institutions, especially cultural institutions. This is not something that politics can really stop. But it has been happening for some time, and it has accelerated this year.

    If Trump wins, I’m not sure how this will play out. If Biden wins, he will face a lot of pressure to restore calm and order. Because he will already have the buy-in of institutional elites, who are not only progressive, but who also are so grateful to him for not being Trump, Biden will move aggressively to implement the rudiments of what James Poulos calls “the Pink Police State,” and I call soft totalitarianism. Put simply, the state will begin to use technological means to manage discontent via something like China’s social credit system. Major corporations and financial institutions will cooperate with the state to marginalize and ban right-of-center groups and individuals — and the usual civil libertarian groups, having gone totally woke, will not object. 

Am I exaggerating that the end of this is a mark-of-the-beast system? Well, the mark on the hand or forehead is analogous to the mark that a devotee of a particular god might have carried during the Roman period, and is a display of alignment with that particular belief. It is, in fact, the antithesis of the followers of Christ bearing His seal on their foreheads (see Rev. 7:1-8). Remember, the purpose of the woke campaign today is not merely to obtain tolerance of Leftist positions, but to obtain your support. That is what "silence is violence" and "it's not enough to not be racist, but you must be anti-racist" means. You will be forced to adopt and support their positions ... or else. As Jacobs observes, "wokeism does not simply operate in the background of the rest of society." 

You cannot simply ignore the cringe-inducing woke commercials on your television and not click the frankly hateful and racist articles of the woke online. Your compliance is a required aspect of wokeism. Think back to the social media phenomenon of large companies denouncing alleged “white supremacy” with a black square. Compliance with this was required, as if one were painting blood over their threshold to avoid the plague of the firstborn in ancient Egypt.

    And the current Leftist's have engaged in some ingenuous marketing by naming their group "Black Lives Matter." Of course the lives of black people matter. But that isn't the purpose of getting you to say the phrase. It is to coerce or trick you into acknowledging or affirming support of the Black Lives Matter group and its social and political stances; because if you don't agree that "black  lives matter" you must be a racist. And what do they believe? According to their website, they believe in critical theory: 

    We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.

    We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.

    We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

    We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.

    We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

    We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.

    We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

    We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

Just this morning, we heard of a Washington D.C. BLM mob harassing white diners and demanding that they (the diners) raise their fists in solidarity. Is raising your fist a harmless action? No, because the raised fist denotes a certain belief system--international communism. Sarah Hoyt, writing about this incident, noted that she has been through this before, in a different country. And she stated:

I’m not going to lift aloft the fist that’s the symbol of the regimes that killed at least 100 million human beings. Yes, the fist means communism. Even if they tell you it’s because they care so much about black lives. To me it is the equivalent of being told to give a Nazi salute.  So this happens to me, I die with both middle fingers aloft.

And she adds: "Telling you the fist is black power or concern for black lives, is like telling you the nazi salute is because you want to pet kittens. I will not sully myself with either gesture."

    So you'd better be prepared to choose whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15).

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

For What Do Conservatives Stand?

Rod Dreher, at the American Conservative, suggests that the Republican party is lost because it has no guiding principles or consistent philosophy other than opposition to the Democrats. Like it or not, the Republican party is, for now, the home of conservatives. So I thought I would explain the basic principles and philosophy of conservatism. I posted the following as a comment, although I have no idea if it will be posted:

In no particular order, conservatives stand for: equality of opportunity with outcomes determined by merit and competition; monogamy with marriage between a man and a woman; high-investment two-parent rearing of children instead of the welfare state; loyalty to one's God, family and nation; protection of the young (including defending unborn children from abortion or protecting children, more generally, from the early sexualization pushed by progressives); and the protection and defense of the nation whether from external enemies (e.g., a strong-enough military) or internal threats (e.g., supporting police and law & order, gun rights, etc.). I'm sure I'm missing some points, but this is a start. And if conservatism seems at times to be reactionary, it is because so-called liberals take opposing positions.

 And, yes, this was based on the principles set out in the Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics.

Hillary Clinton Urges Biden to Not Concede Under Any Circumstances

A Constitutional crises in the making. The Hill reports:

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a new interview that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden "should not concede under any circumstances" because she believes the final results in November's election are "going to drag out" due to mail-in voting.

    "Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually, I do believe he will win if we don't give an inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is," Clinton told former aide Jennifer Palmieri on Showtime's "The Circus."

I think the plan is to drag out the determination of the election in order to force the matter before the Supreme Court and/or past January 20, 2021, thus allowing Nancy Pelosi to assume the presidency as of that date and until the matter is resolved.

A Quick Run Around The Web (8/25/2020)

VIDEO: "Ruger Mini 14 Is it Obsolete?"--Sootch00 (18 min.)
A look at the newer model Mini-14 and discussion of the platform.

SHOOTING/SELF-DEFENSE/PREPPING:

  • "Gun Review: Beretta 3032 Tomcat Inox .32 ACP Pistol"--The Truth About Guns. A review of this pocket/hide-out pistol, including a discussion of the several advantages to the tip-up barrel system used in this and similar Beretta pocket pistols. One of the advantages is that it does away with having to rack the slide, which can be a difficult proposition at best with some of the small pistols. The author explains:
    It may seem silly to some, but the best feature of the Tomcat is its “tip-up” or tilting barrel design. While tiny guns often get recommended to small people — women, those with small hands, older folks, etc. — that’s usually ill-advised. A tiny gun has a tiny slide allowing minimal purchase and typically has a stiff recoil spring. That can make racking a challenge for some.

    In fact, semi-automatic pistols in general can be difficult to manipulate for anybody with less grip strength or dexterity. Just ask the guy I bought my HK P7 from; an older gentleman selling off his entire semi-auto pistol collection due to arthritis that made it too difficult to rack a slide.

    On the Tomcat, there’s potentially no reason to ever rack the slide. Push the barrel release lever forwards and the barrel pops up, providing full access to the chamber. Simply drop your +1 round into it, click the barrel closed, and you’re good to go.

    This whole process can be done with the safety lever engaged, making it safer than chambering a round in most semi-autos. Plus there’s no fear of bullet setback. Heck, it even allows you to clean the chamber, bore, and breech face without disassembling the firearm at all.

I had, at one time, a Beretta .22 with the tip-up barrel. I really appreciated the feature. However, concerns with the reliability and effectiveness of .22 cartridges for self-defense led me to sell it in order to upgrade to my J-frame revolver.

  • "Dry Practice Safety"--Tactical Professor. He notes that reading police incident reports can be useful, including for descriptions of negligence discharges. He quotes the following from an LAPD report:
    Officer A brought his/her back-up service revolver home with the intention to clean it.

    With the muzzle of the revolver pointed toward the ground, Officer A held the revolver with his/her right hand and used his/her right thumb to push the cylinder release button, disengaging the cylinder from the revolver. Once the cylinder disengaged, Officer A placed his/her left hand under the open cylinder and used his/her left index finger to depress the ejector rod, releasing the live rounds into his/her left hand. Officer A did not count the live rounds and placed them on top of the kitchen counter directly behind him/her. Officer A then closed the cylinder.

    Officer A held his/her revolver with two hands in a standing shooting position. He/she raised his/her revolver and pointed it in the direction of the vertical blinds covering a sliding glass doors, which led to an exterior patio. Officer A placed his/her finger on the trigger and pressed it to dry fire the revolver. Officer A conducted two dry fire presses of the trigger.

    According to Officer A, he/she normally conducted dry trigger press exercises approximately three times per week, on his/her days off. However, Officer A stated that he/she usually practices with his/her semi-automatic service pistol, and this was the first time that he/she practiced with his/her revolver.

    According to Officer A, believing his/her revolver was still unloaded, he/she placed his/her finger on the trigger and pressed it a third time, which caused the revolver to discharge a single round. No one was injured by the discharge.

This actually isn't as hard to happen as you might think. Particularly with the smaller J-frames--which this probably was--the cartridge in the chamber closest to the grip may not always fall completely free if all you do is tip the firearm up and let gravity pull the rounds out. Combined with its proximity to the frame and often being shaded or just blending in, it is easy to overlook that cartridge. And, yes, I speak from experience, having almost started to engage in dry-fire when I noticed that I was one cartridge short in the pile I had dumped out. After that, I was much more cautious and made sure to not only count cartridges, but also rotate the cylinder against a lighted backdrop of some sort to make sure that I could easily verify that all chambers were empty.
  • "Necessity vs. Luxury"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You. The author relates a discussion at a survival Facebook group about what to do if the air conditioning went up, with many of the responses being "suck it up" or in a similar vein. The author thinks that people need to have a little more realism and empathy in their responses, writing: "Sure, human beings survived millions of years without A/C, but for someone with COPD, heart disease, or other chronic health issues, high heat can be a serious issue. While it is just a comfort issue for most folks, for some it could truly be life or death." As the author points out, humans survived millions of years without steel knives, yet how many would consider a steel knife to be a luxury?
  • "Is Old Ammunition Safe to Shoot?"--The Truth About Guns. Generally yes, although as the article points out, you need to be aware that if you get ammunition that is old enough (and not too far back, actually, for East Bloc countries), the powders and/or primers may be corrosive. The author also warns against using reloaded ammunition since you don't know anything about the care used in loading it, or to what pressures. I regularly shoot without issue surplus ammunition that dates from the 1980s, which makes it almost 40 years old. I've shot ammunition dating back to World War II and the 1950s without issue as well. As long as there are no obvious problems such as bulging, corrosion, dampness, there generally won't be an issue. Be sure to take a look at the container that the ammunition came in to make sure that there is no evidence that the ammunition has been wet.
  • "Cold Open - Part 1: Cold-Weather Survival Tips & Techniques"--Off Grid Web. This is an interview with a cold survival expert covering misconceptions, tools and equipment and much more, packed with good information. For example, this bit about hydration in cold weather:
    One thing people never talk about is hydration in the cold. People talk about how you shouldn’t drink cold water, but you need to stay as hydrated as you can in extreme cold — it’s just as important as hydrating in extreme heat. Blood regulates body temperature. When you’re too hot, it takes the heat from your organs; your blood vessels dilate and radiate that heat off the surface of the skin. When you’re too cold, it constricts on the surface of the skin and to the extremities like your ears, nose, and fingers, which is why your hands get cold first. The body restricts blood flow to those areas when you’re cold and focuses it on the internal organs so you don’t get hypothermia. If you’re dehydrated at all, you’re going to get colder faster and have much less blood on the surface of your skin, so you’ll be much more prone to frostbite. Pre-hydrate for a few days before you go on any cold-weather expeditions as if you’re going on a hot-weather expedition.

    The quickest way to absorb water is if it’s at room temperature and an isotonic solution, which is 0.9-percent salt. Your body works on what’s called the sodium-potassium-electrolyte pump. We don’t run out of potassium the way we do salt, because we don’t sweat it out like salt. Salt opens the door to the cell to let water in, so if your drink is too salty it pulls water out of the cell. If it’s just salty enough it lets it into the cell. An isotonic solution matches the salinity of our body’s cells naturally so you can hydrate the quickest and safest. When you get an IV of saline, that’s what they’re giving you.

    Caffeine dehydrates you, and it’s a vasodilator, so it affects your blood pressure. When you’re really red-lining, like when I was a firefighter and working on the fire line, it’s not a good idea to have caffeine. What we’d do is after we drank 2 liters of water, our third liter would always have an electrolyte replacement in it. That’s so we don’t become hyponatremic. If the salt level in your body gets too low, that’s called hyponatremia and it can kill you. That means your body can’t absorb water anymore. You’ll drink a liter of water, and urinate it right out. If you’re hyponatremic and drink water without salt, you’re hurting yourself. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. There’s that old belief that drinking alcohol makes you warmer, but that’s because it makes the blood vessels on the surface of your skin dilate and is radiating away heat.
    Since mask wearing effectively takes away our ability to observe other’s facial expressions what are some other things we can watch? Perhaps one of the most important things to watch when trying to read someone’s emotions or intent are the hands. Many people have developed the ability to control facial expressions, but our hands seem to have a mind of their own. Are the other person’s hands balled into fists? This is a good indicator of anger or that they intent to hit something or someone. Are their hands in their pockets? This could indicate the presence or a weapon or a relaxed state depending on the presence of other indicators. Open hands with palms facing out is a calming gesture indicating the person isn’t looking for a fight.

    Feet can be another good indicator. Pay attention to what direction the feet are pointing.  Are they standing in a fighting stance? If their feet are turned away from you, they may be planning to flee either to avoid conflict or after attacking. Shoulders are another important thing to pay attention to. Are they relaxed or tense? Is the person trying to flex and make themselves look bigger? Are they squared up for a fight? Also watch for indications that the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Are they shaking or have slurred speech? If the person is looking around excessively, they may be looking to see if there are witnesses present before doing something harmful.

He also notes that "Masks give people a certain level on anonymity. This seems to embolden some people and make them more aggressive. It’s similar to the anonymity we see with comments on the internet. If someone is trying to start trouble with you your best option is to not engage or to disengage if things escalate."

VIDEO: "BLM protesters use baseball bats to intimidate, assault man walking away from Portland riots"--Teetron 9000 (1 min.). A reader pointed to me this video of an incident on August 15, 2020. He (the reader) also had some more detailed background from one of the three men that were the target of the crowd's ire. But two things stuck out. First, the men had no intention on going into a riot situation--they thought that it was still at a "peaceful protest" stage. So, it shows that conditions can quickly change on the ground, and, per Farnam's rules, don't go to stupid places. Second, and probably more important, was the tactics employed by the BLM rioters: the men were being pummeled with large rocks thrown from the crowd, but because (i) those throwing the rocks were further back in the crowd, (ii) the protesters had immediately pepper-sprayed the men, and (iii) were shining bright lights in the men's faces, the men could not see who was throwing the rocks. Although the specific actions are not ones I've seen before, the general tactic--the ones throwing crap hiding behind a screen of "peaceful protesters"--is a standard modus operandi of BLM and Antifa. 

THE COLLAPSE:
  • Reminder: what we are seeing now is a form of the Cloward–Piven strategy in action. Cloward and Piven envisioned starting a revolution by overloading the welfare system causing a national crises: 

They stated that full enrollment of those eligible for welfare "would produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments" that would: "...deepen existing divisions among elements in the big-city Democratic coalition: the remaining white middle class, the working-class ethnic groups and the growing minority poor. To avoid a further weakening of that historic coalition, a national Democratic administration would be constrained to advance a federal solution to poverty that would override local welfare failures, local class and racial conflicts and local revenue dilemmas."

    The supposed goal was "to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income," with a national level socialist government apparently being a feature rather than a bug. Thus, in reality, "the Cloward-Piven strategy would lead to the complete control of citizens through Socialism/Communism." 

    Piven denied this, of course, writing in 2010:

“A Strategy to End Poverty,” which I wrote with Richard Cloward, was influenced by the changing focus of the [Black Civil Rights] Movement. We tried to think through the institutional context in which the minority poor found themselves, from the distortions of the New Deal welfare programs that denied them assistance, to urban fiscal constraints and intergroup conflicts that paralyzed local governments, to the possibilities that locally-based movements could provoke reform by creating problems that reverberated upward in the federal grant-in-aid system. Our objective was not, as later critics of the Glenn Beck variety later charged, to propose a strategy to bring down American capitalism. We were not so ambitious. But we did think that the minority poor and their allies might create sufficient disturbance to force reforms in the American income support programs. And we were not entirely wrong.

Although, she also wrote that:

Protest movements are necessarily local, whether in Ferguson or Athens, because that is where people are concentrated, where they form relationships and experience their grievances. But to score victories, these local protests have to create disturbances that threaten sometimes far away centers of economic and political power. That is how we sometimes win deep reforms.

(Underline added). In their original 1966 article, the two explained:

    By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some institutional sphere. Crisis can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest, which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognizable eruption to public attention. Public trouble is a political liability, it calls for action by political leaders to stabilize the situation. Because crisis usually creates or exposes conflict, it threatens to produce cleavages in a political consensus, which politicians would ordinarily act to avert.

    Although crisis impels political action, it does not itself determine the selection of specific solutions. Political leaders will try to respond with proposals, which work to their advantage in the electoral process. Unless group cleavages form around issues and demands, the politician has great latitude and tends to proffer only the minimum action required to quell disturbances without risking existing electoral support. Spontaneous disruptions, such as riots, rarely produce leaders who articulate demands; thus so terms are imposed, and political leaders are permitted to respond in ways that merely restore a semblance of stability without offending other groups in a coalition.

    When, however, a crisis is defined by its participants–or by other activated groups–as a matter of clear issues and preferred solutions, terms are imposed on the politicians’ bid for their support. Whether political leaders then design solutions to reflect these terms depends on a two- fold calculation: first, the impact of the crisis and the issues it raises on existing alignments and, second, the gains or losses in support to be expected as a result of a proposed resolution.

* * *

    As to the impact on existing alignments, issues exposed by a crisis may activate new groups, thus altering the balance of support and opposition on the issues; or it may polarize group sentiments altering the terms, which must be offered to insure the support of given constituent groups. In framing resolutions, politicians are more responsive to group shifts and are more likely to accommodate to the terms imposed when electoral coalitions threatened by crisis are already uncertain or weakening. In other words, the politician responds to group demands, not only by calculating the magnitude of electoral gains and losses, but by assessing the impact of the resolution on the stability of existing or potential coalitions. Political leaders are especially responsive to group shifts when the terms of settlement can be framed so as to shore up an existing coalition, or as a basis for the development of new and more stable alignments, without jeopardizing existing support. Then, indeed, the calculation of net gain is most secure.

    The legislative reforms of the depression years, for example, were impelled not so much by organized interests exercised through regular electoral processes as by widespread economic crisis. That crisis precipitated the disruption of the regionally based coalitions underlying the old national parties. During the realignments of 1932, a new Democratic coalition was formed, based heavily on urban working-class groups. Once in power, the national Democratic leadership proposed and implemented the economic reforms of the New Deal. Although these measures were a response to the imperative of economic crisis, the types of measures enacted were designed to secure and new Democratic coalition.

They argued that the civil rights movement had acted to break down old Democratic coalitions and form new political coalitions within the party. They also noted that Democrats were already at that time (1966) increasingly reliant on black urban voters in order to prevail at the national level, and believed that their plan would not only keep blacks loyal to the Democrats on a national level, but also would motivate them to continue to turn out to vote. Thus, even if Piven is to be believed that the goal was not a socialist government, it was clear that the goal was to bring about the dominance of the Democrat party.

    Generations of community organizers made sure to enroll as many on welfare as possible. And, blacks have remained a solid voting bloc. But an unconditional right to a guaranteed income never came about, nor did the Democrats achieve electoral dominance on the national level. Instead, as one critic put it, the plan merely "created generations of black people for whom working for a living is an abstraction." Moreover, as the Wikipedia article points out, "Michael Tomasky, writing about the strategy in the 1990s and again in 2011, called it 'wrongheaded and self-defeating', writing: 'It apparently didn't occur to [Cloward and Piven] that the system would just regard rabble-rousing black people as a phenomenon to be ignored or quashed.'" Oops.

    The solution? The number of people on welfare had to be expanded. Immigration accomplished this, but still didn't lead to the desired outcome. 

    Suddenly, however, whether by accident or plan, we had a pandemic that caught the imagination, and fear, of the public. What years of community organizing hadn't been able to accomplish, the reaction to the pandemic could. The shutdown of whole economies has stressed systems of welfare and unemployment insurance, requiring the federal government to inject money into the unemployment program as additional benefits, plus led to at least one round of stimulus checks without regard to qualifications (except income), and promises from both parties of additional checks. If there were to be further long term shut downs on a national scale, those stimulus checks would quickly morph into a guaranteed income.

    On top of the foregoing, we have also seen some of the worst rioting since the 1960s and 1970s. Whatever else the rioting is accomplishing, it has refocused attention on black Americans; or, as Cloward and Piven put it, "determine[d] the selection of specific solutions." Reparations for slavery and "defunding the police" (i.e., crime without consequences) is suddenly on the table. Undoubtedly, it was believed that the protests would motivate black voters to turn out for Democrats. It certainly has caused corporate America to bow down to wokeness, and hastened the removal of white men (the kulaks of the present revolution) from the public sphere.

    Dozens of armed 'anarchists' descended on the Denver Police Headquarters late Saturday and damaged buildings, set fires and injured an officer, city officials said Sunday. 

    The group, consisting of between 50 to 75 demonstrators, were said to be wielding a varying degree of weapons - from axes to guns - during the incident yesterday evening.  

    Fireworks were shot at officers, an American flag and a tree outside a courthouse were set ablaze, windows were shattered and fast-food restaurant was broken into during the unrest, news outlets reported.
    A group of about 200 people, dressed mostly in black and masked, rioted in Northeast Portland in residential areas where they pointed lights into the windows of homes and chanted “Out of your house, into the streets.”

    “What Lives Matter? Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter,” the crowd chanted, embracing the idea that land in the United States was stolen from Native Americans.
    'We can't control what happens with the police, but we can control what happens in our school systems,' said Michael McFarland, head of the National Alliance of Black School Educators and a superintendent of the Crowley Independent School District in Texas. 

    After a summer of teacher workshops focused on updating curricula, millions of students will return to U.S. classrooms in coming weeks - virtually or in person - that focus more on black history and experiences, according to interviews with teachers, officials, publishers and others.

    John Marshall keeps a picture of Breonna Taylor in his office at the headquarters of Kentucky's largest school district, a visual reminder, he says, of the need for curriculum changes that better honor and focus on black stories.

* * *
    Some of the changes don't necessarily involve new material, but rather teaching the same material from a new perspective.

    In the Jefferson County schools, for instance, teachers discussing the Space Race of the 1960s plan now to focus on the black women mathematicians whose computations underpin modern rocket science.

    In Houston, teachers at YES Prep public charter schools will dissect James Baldwin's iconic book of essays 'The Fire Next Time' less as a history of racial struggle and more as a guide for black students to overcome injustice.

    These and other recommendations came after school districts spent summer months updating educational materials because most public school textbooks are only updated by publishers on a fixed schedule.

Just a note on the movie and book, Hidden Figures, about the black female mathematicians:

"You might get the indication in the movie that these were the only people doing those jobs, when in reality we know they worked in teams, and those teams had other teams," author Margot Shetterly explained. "There were sections, branches, divisions, and they all went up to a director. There were so many people required to make this happen. ... But I understand you can't make a movie with 300 characters. It is simply not possible."

The movie also fictionalized other aspects to make the discrimination seem worse that it was actually.

     Just recently, the publisher Springer Nature retracted a paper “Poverty and Culture” by Lawrence Mead of New York University, from the journal Society [Society, 2020]. Mead’s crime: simply arguing that black culture differs from white culture and this may be a contributory factor to greater black poverty in the U.S. This provoked the Woke mob and publisher caved, overturned the careful peer review system in the process [Springer Nature retracts paper that hundreds called “overtly racist,” Retraction Watch, August 6, 2020].

    An even more disturbing case occurred back in June. American psychologist Cory Jane Clark is an assistant professor of psychology at Durham University, in the northeast of England. She is also “Director Academic Engagement” at the Heterodox Academy, which claims to promote “diverse viewpoints” and be “open inquiry are critical to research & learning.” She has even published an article demonstrating that “Liberals” are more biased, and resistant to evidence that questions their biases, than non-Liberals [Equalitarianism: A source of liberal bias, By Bo Winegard et al., SSRN, 2018].

    But Woke pressure is now so strong on academics that even those who have previously been inclined to question its dogmas are feeling the need to conform.

    Consequently, Clark tweeted, that she and her colleagues had decided to withdraw one of their scientific studies. 

    An insider at Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s biggest advertising and PR companies, exclusively shared screenshots from a “diversity” training day in which employees received instructions by proponents of radical politics of race, which included the corporate wokeness indoctrination such as the idea that the slogan “Make America Great Again” is a form of “covert white supremacy.”

    During the online day of training, which the insider described as an “insane Maoist jubilee,” employees received instruction on how to favor people in hiring and promotion on the basis of their skin color, that people who don’t feel guilty about racism have “white privilege,” and were advised to direct company money to far-left causes as part of “corporate social responsibility.”

  • "This Is How We Get Them To Bend The Knee"--Captain's Journal.  Herschel offers as further evidence of the Marxist revolution we are experiencing a series of Tweets about the riots and destruction in Wisconsin, including one from an apparent activist, Iola Ella, which reads: "Thank you to the people of Kenosha. This is how we get them to bend the knee. This is an essential part of the path to our Freedom Dreams. Leftists who claim this limits our ability to win lack a meaningful understanding of movement history and the politics of insurrections." The phrase "Freedom Dreams" is a reference to a book of the same title by Robin D.G. Kelley about black Marxist radicals and black nationalism.

VIDEO: "Robbery Victim Uses Vehicle To Get Even"--Active Self Protection (5 min.)
Armed robbers stop a car and rob the occupants. Then, as the robbers walk away, the driver runs into them with his car. A reminder that just because one party thinks the fight/conflict is over, it doesn't mean that the other person will agree.

MISCELLANY: 
    On Tuesday, August 11th, in what appears to be a pre-planned attack, a 1000-strong mob of Muslim men, raising the Islamic chants of 'Nara-e-Taqbeer' and 'Allah-hu-Akbar’, descended on the streets near DJ Halli and KG Halli police station. The violent mob was armed with iron rods, sticks, petrol bombs, and other sharp objects.

    It was alleged that a Hindu Dalit boy had made a derogatory post about the Prophet Mohammad; the subsequent madness sprang from it. The mad mob had gone berserk and barged into the residence of a local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). A separate mob of armed Muslims proceeded to attack the local police headquarters. They locked the gates from outside and pelted stones, damaged the lined-up vehicles, and then set the police station on fire. They didn’t spare the local ATMs, nor the public or private properties either.

    Shopkeepers were intimidated to pull down the shutters and run for their lives. The house of the MLA was set ablaze. It turns out the Hindu Dalit boy who had made the derogatory Facebook post was the MLA’s nephew. The uprising claimed two lives, leaving at least sixty police personnel severely injured. The situation could only be brought under control after imposing section 144 throughout the riot-affected area. For the uninformed, imposing Section 144 is like calling a curfew in India.
Two black Maryland teenagers found guilty of killing a middle-aged white man via sucker punch at the county fair were let off by the presiding female judge with shockingly lenient sentences of probation and anger management. The teens punched the man after asking him for a dollar. After the first teen landed the knockout blow, the other one spit on his lifeless body. The small crew then proceeded to dance around the lifeless man, 59-year-old John Weed, like a bunch of maniacs.

We tend to think of "without rule of law" as a state of anarchy where no laws are applied as to anyone. But "rule of law" refers to a state where laws are applied in a (mostly) predictable and even-handed manner. When the laws are not applied against one group or population, that too is a situation where rule of law has broken down. It is just that in those cases, the population which is still held accountable has no recourse under the law or outside the law because they still face punishment. That is why we see the rioting and looting going on for night after night is because the rioters are not being subject to the law. 
    Clinesmith, who served as an assistant general counsel in the National Security and Cyber Law Branch of the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, admitted in his plea agreement that he had added the phrase “was not a source” to an email from an unidentified governmental agency, most likely the CIA, concerning Page’s “operation contact” with that agency.

    Clinesmith admitted that he had altered the email after a Crossfire Hurricane FBI supervisory special agent (SSA) had asked him to determine if Page had ever been a source for that agency, and wanted something “in writing.” Clinesmith forwarded the altered email to the SSA. That cleared the way for the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain the final FISA surveillance order on Page.

    Significantly, the plea agreement also noted that “[o]n August 17, 2016, prior to the approval of FISA #1, the [other governmental agency] provided certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team a memorandum (‘August 17 Memorandum’) indicating that [Page] had been approved as an ‘operational contact’ for the [other governmental agency] from 2008 to 2013 and detailing information that [Page] had provided to that [agency] concerning [Page]’s prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers.”

So, the question is who were the certain members? The article goes on to discuss who might be those members, as well as other things that the group failed to do in order for the FISA warrant to be approved. 

    The meetings first began when he was recruited while studying as an ROTC student at the University of Minnesota in Russia in 1996, although he had first visited the country as a 19-year-old in 1994. 

    It all started with him handing over the names to his Russian handlers of four Catholic nuns he had visited while in Russia. 

In fact, according to the article, he applied to be a Green Beret was after his GRU handlers told him that he was of little use to them as an infantry captain. 

  • Ditto: "It’s Happened Again – Professor, NASA Researcher Accused Of Collaborating With China"--Hot Air. The researcher is Zhengdong Cheng of College Station, Texas.
  • "Study: Remdesivir doesn't boost outcomes in moderate pneumonia from COVID-19"--UPI. According to the study, which will be published by JAMA, "[p]atients given a 10-day course of the antiviral drug fared no better than those who didn't receive it [but were treated with corticosteroids], and were just as likely to die, the data showed." Also, "[t]hose that were administered a five-day course of remdesivir saw an improvement, 'but the difference was of uncertain clinical importance,' according to the researchers." And these are researchers that work for Gilead, the manufacturer.  This contradicts earlier research that suggested statistically significant benefits to giving Remdesivir to patients with severe cases. 
  • The cure has turned out to be worse than the disease: "4 Life-Threatening Unintended Consequences of the Lockdowns"--FEE. They are: (i) a massive spike in suicide rates and a mental health crises; (ii) an increase in drug overdoses and substance abuse; (iii) higher incidents of hunger due to the loss of jobs/income; and (iv) a surge in domestic violence.
  • "Spain to Build 30-Foot Walls Around Its African Cities to Stop Illegal Migrants"--Breitbart. Doesn't matter much if they don't defend the walls. I don't think they need something as drastic as the defenses in Deathworld, but they are going to need some form of active defense.
  • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "The Rise of Sky-Net"--Marcus Wynne. You may have heard in the news about DARPA's contest that pitted an AI against an experienced fighter pilot (and another AI in the competition) in a dog-fight in a simulator, and the AI beat the pilot 5-0. Marcus Wynne has some more information to put this into context:

    Fighter pilots go through an exhaustive selection, assessment and training process that identifies the best candidates with the genetic predisposition (superior cognition under stress, superior visual/kinesthetic processing at the neurological level, aggressiveness coupled with a level of pre-conscious perceptual processing that can’t be taught as a baseline unless you go all Crispr). They must progress through arduous training and eventually combat with its infinite variables to achieve the 1% of the 1% that defines fighter pilot instructors.

    For an artificial intelligence to beat a human at that skill level, decisively, 5 out of 5 times, is a defining moments in AI and the evolution of warfare.

He goes on to discuss the implications that this has for other fields of combat, as well as the question of whether an AI could "escape" its box, and would we even know. Read the whole thing.

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...