Wednesday, December 30, 2020

QOTD: The Original Deep State

Rating America’s Presidents recounts that no less a luminary than William Gibbs McAdoo, who was Wilson’s treasury secretary when the Federal Reserve came into existence, sounded the alarm about the Federal Reserve in his memoirs, which were published in 1931. Wrote McAdoo: “The fact is that there is a serious danger of this country becoming a plutodemocracy; that is, a sham republic with the real government in the hands of a small clique of enormously wealthy men, who speak through their money, and whose influence, even today, radiates to every corner of the United States.” -- "The Original Deep State" by Robert Spencer, American Thinker.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

E-Book Resources: Gunsmithing Pistols & Revolvers


So when I discussed some of the more general sources of info and put together my E-Book Resource page, I generally listed some major repositories with the warning that you would need to explore those repositories to find the books and information that might interest you. But I thought I would periodically post more specific links to a collection, library, or specific titles that would be of interest to the prepper/survivalist.

    Today's selection is Gunsmithing Pistols & Revolvers - 3rd Edition by Patrick Sweeney (PDF).

DisclaimerI'm not the author of any of the documents or things linked above and cannot vouch for their accuracy or completeness--use them at your own risk. I am not responsible for the posting or offering of any of the documents or things in the collections and/or libraries and have no control over whether they are posted or taken down.   

Latest Podcast With John Wilder, The Mrs. (Wilder), and Me

 


POTD: Blast Damage In Nashville

 

Source: "Downtown Nashville WARZONE: Stark images show how buildings and cars have been obliterated by Christmas Day blast as FBI says bomber bought explosive chemicals with a credit card"--Daily Mail. More photographs and video at the link.

Monday, December 28, 2020

VIDEO: "A Communist Christmas"

 

VIDEO: "A Communist Christmas"--AwakenWithJP (7 min.)
A funny, but accurate, take on what Covid lockdowns have done to our country.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (12/27/2020)

VIDEO: "Defending Against Mob Violence - Critical Mas(s) Ep. 04 with Massad Ayoob"--Wilson Combat (14 min.). One of the things that we have been seeing in the Antifa and BLM protests is the police, prosecutors and judges taking the position that a mob can no longer be treated as all having the same intent (and therefore all fair game), but someone defending themselves against a mob must now distinguish between those protesting, those merely banging on car or smashing windows, and those reasonably intent on causing harm. Ayoob takes you through this new legal morass. One thing he mentions, however, is that many states that have adopted the castle doctrine have, by statute, applied it to occupied vehicles. Thus, there may be certain presumptions in your favor if you are in a vehicle and attacked by an angry mob. Check your state laws to see if this might apply to you.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
  • First off is Jon Low's most recent roundup of articles, videos, and commentary from December 23. Lot's of good links and commentary as always on carrying a concealed weapon, and tips and advice for preparing for defending yourself. A couple articles that caught my attention in particular had to do with what to with your firearm when (a) driving or (b) using the porcelain throne. Mr. Low unequivocally states that you should never take your firearm out of its holster--bad things can happen if you do, including losing the firearm or having it stolen, or, even worse, a negligent discharge. As the author of the first article points out, if you can't comfortably carry your firearm and/or access it when seated, you need to look for a different method of carrying it. In the latter case of what to do with a firearm when using the toilet, I would note that I've read a number of accounts of people (including police) accidentally leaving a firearm behind after using the toilet and/or shooting holes into a wall due to negligent handling. And while I would not recommend the program as an example of best practices, one of the episodes of The Rookie has a training officer play a cruel prank on his rookie by taking her duty belt (with firearm) when she had taken it off to use the toilet, hanging it off the hook on the inside of the stall door--he simply reached over the top and grabbed it. 
    A couple other good points that stuck out to me: Mr. Low makes a point that you should not be cycling your carry gun, noting that "as my friend, Sheriff Jim Wilson, likes to point out, 'If you rotate your everyday-carry gun, you don’t have an everyday-carry gun.'" I recognize that you might want, or need, to carry different firearms or use different methods of carry at certain times. For instance, my EDC gun is not the one that I would carry while in the woods where I might fear being attacked by four legged predators in addition to the two legged types. But having found a workable solution to what to carry everyday and how to carry it, I tend to stick with that for years. I do mix things up a bit more since I've been doing some holster tests, but I generally do most of my testing on weekends rather than in my day-to-day carry. Similarly, Mr. Low recommends that you stick to home-defense/night-stand gun that is solely for that purpose: as he puts it, "It’s not your gun; it’s not your partner’s gun.  It’s your home’s gun.  It should be best configured to defend your home." 

    Anyway, a lot more, so check it out and read the whole thing. 

  • On a similar note, Greg Ellifritz posted a new Weekend Knowledge Dump yesterday. Lot's of good info, as always, but one in particular that I want to mention is that Ellifritz links to an online Emergency Trauma Response Course being offered free of charge by Mountain Man Medical. I've been putting together an actual IFAK/Trauma kit, so I'm sort of focused on articles and videos about that topic.
  • "Wheelgun Wednesday: What Makes a Great Pest Control Revolver?"--The Firearm Blog. The author is discussing dealing with everything from mice or snakes, to raccoon or beaver. The author arrives at pretty much the same point I do, but with different criteria. I think the overall best pest revolver is going to be in .22 LR. Why? Because you can shoot things other than standard .22 LR. That is, you can use bird-shot loads or low velocity rounds such as .22 Long or .22 Short that won't over penetrate against smaller critters and can be (not necessarily will be) quieter than .22 LR.
  • "Charles Askins’ .44magnum Kill"--Loose Rounds. From the article:
    Col. Charles Askins pitched up in Saigon in April, 1956, assigned as the chief firearms instructor for the entire Vietnamese Army which at the time consisted of 10 under-sized divisions of 5,000 men each. The hard-bitten colonel, a former Border Patrol officer and NRA National Pistol Champion, did not arrive unarmed. As a prominent gun writer, Charlie was given one of the first Smith & Wesson .44 Magnums, a five-screw N-frame, and he brought the big magnum with him.

    Charlie being Charlie, he immediately decided to accompany some patrols on the hunt for Viet Minh communists, and this led to the opportunity, which Charlie relished, to kill the first man with the new .44 Magnum: “Down the trail came a single Viet Minh. He had the MAS 49 over his shoulder and a bag of rice in his left hand. When he got even with me, he chanced to look down and there in the mud of the path were my big paratroop boot prints.

    I was watching him, not being more than three to four steps from the little bastard. I saw the wild look come in his eyes and he glanced around fearfully, meanwhile swinging the French 7.5mm off his shoulder. Instead of shooting this Viet Minh with the service rifle, I shifted the gun to my right hand [Askins was left-handed] and pulled out the big .44 Magnum.

    I let this ambusher have the first 240 grain slug right through the ribs on the left side. It was probably the first man ever killed with the .44 because it was quite new in those days. The effect of the bullet on this pint-sized Oriental was indeed impressive. It literally swept him off his feet. It lifted him off the ground like he had been struck with a huge club and dumped him four to five feet away. I had shot him double-action. I deliberately cocked the big revolver and put another bullet in him, this one aimed at the throat.
I found the “guidance” a bit odd from the start. Aside from beginning with the assumption that any brace was a buttstock until proven otherwise, it didn’t change anything. It left in place the usual “we know it when we see it” process of judging specific products instead of analyzing pistol stabilizing braces as a general class. I think that is coming.
    Seven people have been killed in a knife attack outside a sauna in northeastern China as the suspect is arrested and a further seven are left injured. 

    The attack in the city of Kaiyuan in Liaoning province occurred outside the sauna and bathhouse on Sunday, according to state media. 

    The suspect, identified by the media by his surname Yang, was arrested while the motive for the attack remains unknown.  
    Columbus police officer Adam Coy was dispatched around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday to a non-emergency call about a man who had been idling a car, repeatedly turning it on and off in the Cranbrook neighborhood.

    Shortly after the officers arrived, a black man later identified as Andre Maurice Hill, 47, who had been inside a garage, approached them on foot while holding a phone in his left hand and his other hand not visible.

    Footage from Coy’s body camera then showed him opening fire on Hill, just six seconds after Hill entered the frame.

    No audio is available since Coy did not activate his body camera until after the shooting, which only captured video due to an automatic “look back” feature.

    Without audio, it’s unclear whether Coy yelled any commands at Hill.

If you watch the video or look at the images, Hill had his left hand up, with his cell phone in it, which was the pocket of his coat. It looks to me like Hill was trying to keep his right hand hidden while distracting the officer with the left hand and cell phone.

  • Don't be this guy: "Authorities: Utah's Ty Jordan died in accidental shooting"--ABC News. The article states that Jordan shot himself in the hip, but also indicates that the cause of death was listed as an abdominal wound. No further details were given so it would be pure speculation whether he was attempting to holster the weapon, manipulate the weapon, just playing around with it, or testing for "less lethal" areas to shoot someone other than center of mass.
  • Given the Christmas morning bombing in Nashville which took out a major telecommunications hub, Greg Ellifritz's article on "Armed Citizen Response to the Terrorist Bomber" seems timely. Although he discusses bombs that might be left in packages, he is concerned that sooner or later we will suicide bombers strike at targets in the United States. Ellifritz writes:

    Sometimes you might be able to identify a suicide bomber before he detonates.  Here’s what to look for:

–          Clothing that is bulky or excessive for the weather (to hide the bomb)

–          Hands hidden (possibly holding the switch to detonate the bomb)

–          A strange chemical odor or excessive cologne to cover up that smell

–          The bomber focused, but unresponsive.  Suicide bombers often have the “1000 yard stare” and are usually  unresponsive to  questions or commands

–          Heavy luggage or backpacks that don’t fit the situation.  The average weight of a bomb used by a suicide bomber is around 20 lbs. The Madrid train bombers all had very heavy backpacks.  The Moscow bomber placed his bomb in a rolling suitcase.  Not all the bombers wear their bombs.

–          Nervousness, excessive sweating, or repeated mumbling of a prayer or mantra

–          Exposed wires anywhere on a person’s body

–          Repeated attempts to avoid security checkpoints and/or police officers

He also gives advice concerning typical lethal and wounding zones so you know how far to get away, and some advice should you decide to engage the bomber with a firearm, so be sure to read the whole thing.

    If you don't have time to get away, try and get behind some cover, lie down with your feet toward the explosion and your head away from the explosion; cover your head as best as you can paying special attention to protect your eyes and ears, and keep your mouth open (yelling is a good idea) to reduce the pressure difference as the shock wave passes over you and, hopefully, not get your eardrums blown out by the blast. Although it will be hard, try to be alert as you exit the area after the explosion as terrorists will sometimes plant additional explosive devices to explode where survivors and/or first responders will congregate. 

  • "Seven tactics for planning next year’s garden" by Kristina Seleshanko, Backwoods Home Magazine. She recommends that you (i) assess how your garden produced last year (what worked, what didn't), (ii) select seeds for what you want to grow this coming year, (iii) consider your garden plot (sunlight, drainage, etc.) and corrections or changes, (iv) amend (i.e., test your garden soil and add compost or other nutrients now), (v) map out your garden, (vi) prepare for planting by buying supplies sooner rather than later, and (vii) make an action list of what and when you have to accomplish certain tasks.
  • The Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You blog has been publishing a series of articles dealing with health issues and prepping:
  • "How to Purify Water Using the Sun and a Water Bottle"--Apartment Prepper. We all know that ultraviolet light can be used to kill microorganisms. So leaving water in a PET plastic (not glass) container in the direct sunlight is one way to kill the microorganisms in the water (you will still need to filter out particulate matter, and it won't do anything to remove chemicals in the water). The method described by the author is: (i) Fill the bottle with clear water; (ii) shake the bottle well; and (iii) set the filled bottle out in the sun (6 hours on a sunny day and two days if cloudy). Cody Lundin recommends using sealed bags (e.g., gallon Ziplock bags) and laying the flat as the thinner layer of water will more quickly be purified.
  • "Understanding Radioactive Fallout Resulting From Nuclear Detonation"--Nikealaska.org. The article briefly discusses the primary effects of a nuclear explosion--heat (thermal radiation), EMP (Electro-Magnetic-Pulse), initial nuclear radiation (e.g., gamma rays), blast, and radioactive fallout--before focusing on the latter topic. The author explains:
    In a nuclear detonation dirt and shattered debris are sucked up into the radioactive cloud where they are melted and infused with radioactive elements and on which radioactive elements condense. The majority of these particles take the form of gritty sand or dust. The larger particles fall to the ground fastest and emit radiation the longest. The smaller particles stay suspended in the air longer and therefore disperse over a much wider area - as much as hundreds of miles - but lose much of their radiation before they have a chance to fall to the ground. A high altitude detonation results in mostly smaller particles, but fallout will be present in any event.

    Smaller particles lose most of their radiation in 24 hours or so. Larger particles (sand-sized) may take 3 or 4 days or more for their radiation output to fall to safer levels. Bigger debris which falls closer to the blast area and in greater amounts may take much more time. Generally speaking, the first 24 hours after fallout begins to settle will be the most dangerous time for an area near or downwind from a detonation site.

Alpha and Beta radiation from radioactive fallout is easily blocked--Alpha radiation won't penetrate your skin and Beta can be blocked with heavy clothing--so the primary concern with that radiation is breathing in or ingesting particulate matter (e.g., dust or ash) that is emitting this type of radiation. Thus, you want to make sure that if you are outside, you have a mask or other way to filter the air you breath, and you want to wash off (decontaminate) clothing and yourself to avoid tracking contaminated matter back into your shelter or home. Gamma radiation will penetrate quite thick and dense material, and is the bigger risk. Remember the square of the distance rule applies to radiation exposure, so a child is going to suffer a greater radiation exposure than an adult when standing or walking through an area contaminated with radiation. The typical advice is that most of the radiation should be gone within 2 weeks following a nuclear detonation.

Layering your clothing is a cornerstone of staying comfortable in cold weather. You can’t depend on battery-heated socks or shake-up hand warmers. Your clothing needs to be insulated enough to use the heat your body produces to keep you warm. The colder the temperatures, and the less strenuous the activity, the heavier your clothing will need to be. To stay warm, you must regulate your body temperature by the layers you wear according to activity. If you’re going on a day-long snowshoe outing, you’re going to want to be dressed in minimal layers so you don’t overheat, but you need to bring additional layers to put on when you stop, otherwise you’ll freeze quickly.
  • "The Fine Art of Bribery"--Organic Prepper. While based on experience with travelling outside the United States (and most likely to be a skill needed in the second and third world countries), the author notes that it could be handy after a SHTF event even in the First World. One thing I would add is that in many cases, you are not bribing an official to break the law, but to simply do his or her job properly and expeditiously--what is more correctly termed a "grease payment". You should read the whole article, but I will quote the author's advice as to how to offer a "bribe" while still maintaining plausible deniability:
    When offering a bribe, the wording you use is extremely important. Suppose you’ve found that one honest guy in a corrupt group, you want to be able to brush aside your offer as definitely-not-a-bribe-of-course. If you’re not having this conversation in your first language, you will want to be even more careful lest you insult someone’s mother instead of offering them money.

    When offering a bribe, you want to be very careful to do it outside of the earshot of others. Figure out who is involved in the situation and has the power to make it go your way, and then try to get him aside so you can find your moment.

    You don’t want to say, “What will it cost to make this all go away? Subtlety is of crucial importance. All of the suggestions that follow have some plausible deniability built into them. Here are a few ways to offer a bribe that doesn’t really sound like a bribe, but the person you’re bribing will know it’s a bribe.
  • “Can I pay the fine to you now? I’m afraid I only have cash.”
  • “You’ve come all this way for no reason. Thank you for being so considerate. The least I can do is offer you some gas money.” (I said this to the guy that was about to cut off my water because I hadn’t received the bill. Thus, I hadn’t paid the bill.)
  • “Is there a possibility I can take care of this ticket right now? I’m from out of town and don’t want to have to come back and pay it.”
  • “Could I pay you to watch my car if I park it here?” I’ve done this when seeking parking in a busy town in Mexico in a parking lot for patrons only.
  • “Do you ever do any kind of consulting work to help people get their paperwork through a little bit faster?” A friend of mine paid a city inspector as a “consultant” to push through some paperwork on a building permit.
  • “I heard there was a fee I could pay to make X happen.”
  • “I’m in business too. I’d much rather settle this problem now than later when it will cost me more money. Is there anything we can do right now to fix this?”
    I prefer it when they tell me the amount they want so I can counter it if necessary or “gratefully” pay it if the price is reasonable. “How much is the fine?” “What is your rate for this type of consultation?” These are both good ways to get an idea of the amount they want. Some will shoot for the moon, and you’ll need to counter it. Others will shock you by how little they ask.

    Treat it like a private, quiet, and respectful business transaction because, in many places, that’s precisely what it is. Bribery is a way of life.

    • Related: "Dark Arts For The Good Guy Series: Bribery" (Part 1) (Part 2)--Straight Forward In A Crooked World.
  • "Transportation in Get Home Situations" by Jeanie Beales, The Survivalist Blog. Some advice on putting together a "get home" plan, including discussions of different types of transportation, alternate routes or meeting up places, and other challenges that you might face. In most cases, it is being aware of choke points and alternate routes home. I suspect that for most commuters, if you can't use your private vehicle to get home, you probably are going to have to walk or just stay where you are.
  • "How To Train A National Hostage Rescue Team" by Marcus Wynne. An excerpt:
Among those officers [in the South African Police Service] is the Special Task Force, the national level tactical unit tasked with duties similar to our FBI Hostage Rescue Team: hostage rescue, extreme high risk arrests, counter-terror and other special operations. The Task Force or “Takkies” do a full time month of CQB training during their squadron training rotation. CQB training encompasses empty hand striking, striking in conjunction with a live operating weapon, strikiing in the event of a malfunctioning weapon, weapons manipulation in the middle of a fight including clearing malfunctions, secondary transitions, knife transitions and empty hand techniques, handling prisoners, and going hands-on with non-comnpliant subjects.

Read the whole thing. 


VIDEO: "Wars of the 2020s and 30s"--Whatifalthist (26 min.)
A major source of conflict will likely be water. Another factor raised in this video, and one discussed in depth by David Goldman in his book How Civilizations Die, is that a lot of major powers are getting old before they get rich; and the number of old to young is so lop-sided that these countries face the prospects of rapidly declining populations of military age men. This means that if these countries are going to take military action, they have a limited window in which to do so. China and Iran are two countries that fall into this category. 

Miscellany:
    Anthony Quinn Warner is a 63-year-old Tennessee man who is a person of interest in the explosion of a parked RV in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on Christmas morning, according to Nashville’s police chief. An RV similar to the one used in the Nashville bombing was parked at Warner’s home address in images available on Google Maps and Google Earth, Heavy discovered.

    There was a first clue pointing toward a motive; WSMV-TV’s Jeremy Finley is reporting that “FBI agents spent the days at another location today besides searching the home of Anthony Warner, pursuing tips that he was paranoid about 5g spying on Americans.” Since the pandemic hit, conspiracy theories have raged that 5G cell phone towers spread COVID-19; scientists have found the claims baseless, according to BBC. In May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of the potential for attacks by 5G conspiracy theorists against cell towers and wireless providers.

    The song “Downtown” by Petula Clark was playing from the RV right before the blast, authorities said. That song’s lyrics start, “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown…”

    Authorities told CNN the explosion was likely a suicide bombing.

    Warner, who is unmarried and childless, is self-employed in the IT area, a neighbor said; state records show he once was licensed as an alarm contractor, with a specialty in burglar alarm installation. In recent years, he lost a father and brother, leaving him with few living family members. On Saturday, a Newsweek editor said DNA swabs were being collected from Warner’s mother, “possibly to help identify human remains.” Heavy reached a neighbor of Warner’s who confirmed that the FBI and ATF were at Warner’s longtime house along Bakertown Road in Antioch, Tennessee, which is a Nashville neighborhood. Documents show Warner transferred the home to a Los Angeles woman a month before the blast, however.
    The service outage has affected 911 emergency systems, hospital systems, and has reportedly caused issues with other systems such as ATMs and card readers.

    The issues are affecting a broad spectrum of not just AT&T services but also T-Mobile services in several southeast and Midsouth metropolitan areas including telephone, internet, and television service.

A guy flying out over the ocean in a jet pack at around 3,000 feet, especially one without any lifting surfaces, is a puzzling proposition, to say the least. Jet packs that do exist have very short ranges and are not equipped to be flying in dense airspace, especially thousands of feet in the air. 

There is some speculation that it might be a drone disguised or mocked up to look like a man, but that engenders its own questions and technical challenges. 

Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office. Though far-fetched, ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law. And military commands responsible for Washington DC are engaged in secret contingency planning in case the armed forces are called upon to maintain or restore civil order during the inauguration and transition period. According to one officer who spoke to Newsweek on condition of anonymity, the planning is being kept out of sight of the White House and Trump loyalists in the Pentagon for fear that it would be shut down.

    What’s triggering the second American civil war?  Trump’s unexpected election in 2016, and his four highly successful years -- despite implacable opposition and attempted subversion by the Democrat-led axis -- and the prospect of a final Trump term, when the president would not only consolidate his achievements, but push new initiatives to break the corruption and imperiousness that infects the nation’s “elite”… these were the Rubicon.  Anti-liberty forces have long been marching through the nation’s institutions.  But this became a double-time as they grasped Trump’s primal threat to their fortunes, present and future. 

    Liberty’s enemies have opted for brinkmanship to settle matters, once and for all.  They haven’t mustered armies to seize Washington, D.C. (would they have to anyway?) and occupy red states.  Give them credit.  They aim to achieve their coup without firing a shot.  Call it a velvet-gloved coup d’état.  Some are terming it a “Color Revolution.”  The war they’re waging to seize power is conspiratorial, innovative, multidimensional.  It relies on subterfuge, misinformation, misdirection, audacity, and a gamble: that while millions of patriots may now squawk and shake their fists, they will go no further… that when Biden is installed as president, and the cabal he fronts holds the levers of power, resistance will be futile, anyway.  Anger will give way to sullen resignation. 

. . .

    Antiliberty forces -- Democrats, leftists, Big Tech barons, monied interests of all stripes, Deep State players, and other establishment elements (and lurking in Great Oz-like fashion, Xi Jinping) -- underestimate patriots.  They regard working- and middle-class Americans as inferiors -- rubes to be had.  Anti-liberty forces occupy many -- if not most -- of the power centers in the nation.  And, as stated, they’re pursuing a highly complex silent coup.  The war being waged is far too sophisticated and devious for patriots to ever figure out, much less counter effectively, they reason.                        

Neither the societal shift away from traditional gender roles nor the downstream cultural consequences of that shift are anywhere near complete. As Rebecca Traister has incisively argued, the growing prevalence of singledom among America’s rising generation of women is one of the most potent forces in contemporary politics. In 2009, for the first time in history, there were more unmarried women in the United States than married ones. And today, young women in the U.S. aren’t just unprecedentedly single; they also appear to be unprecedentedly uninterested in heterosexuality: According to private polling shared with Intelligencer by Democratic data scientist David Shor, roughly 30 percent of American women under 25 identify as LGBT; for women over 60, that figure is less than 5 percent.

Dreher then writes:

    What’s behind this is primarily cultural. We have become an anti-natalist society. And further, we have become a society that no longer values the natural family. We see everywhere disintegration. Yesterday, on the Al Mohler podcast, I talked about going to a conservative Evangelical college a few years back, and hearing from professors there that they feared most of their students would never be able to form stable families, because so many of them had never seen what that’s like.

    And now we have 30 percent of Gen Z women claiming to be sexually uninterested in men. There is nothing remotely normal about that number. It is a sign of a deeply decadent culture — that is, a culture that lacks the wherewithal to survive. The most important thing that a generation can do is produce the next generation. No families, no children, no future.

    In 1947, Carle C. Zimmerman, then the head of Harvard’s sociology department, wrote a book called Family And Civilization. He was not a religious man; he was only interested in the cultural values that allowed civilizations to thrive, and those that caused civilizations to collapse. His general thesis is that family systems determine the strength and resilience of a civilization. Zimmerman wrote:

There is little left now within the family or the moral code to hold this family together. Mankind has consumed not only the crop, but the seed for the next planting as well. Whatever may be our Pollyanna inclination, this fact cannot be avoided. Under any assumptions, the implications will be far reaching for the future not only of the family but of our civilization as well. The question is no longer a moral one; it is social. It is no longer familistic; it is cultural. The very continuation of our culture seems to be inextricably associated with this nihilism in family behavior.

And:

The only thing that seems certain is that we are again in one of those periods of family decay in which civilization is suffering internally from the lack of a basic belief in the forces which make it work. The problem has existed before. The basic nature of this illness has been diagnosed before. After some centuries, the necessary remedy has been applied. What will be done now is a matter of conjecture. We may do a better job than was done before; we may do a worse one.

He wrote this in 1947. Zimmerman missed the Baby Boom coming, but otherwise, he was right on target.

Note that it isn't necessarily that women are completely writing off men, but instead is reflected in the rise of bisexuality. The two videos below discuss this trend of increased sexuality among women and where it is taking society:

This video discusses the results from a Finnish study on women's sexuality. Although it is from Finland, the results--at least as to the number of bisexual or lesbian women--seem to track what was found in the United States per the article cited above. What the study showed is that although men's sexuality and attitudes toward sex have remained fairly steady over the past 50 years, women have become more sexually active than men by most measures.


"The Future Is Polygamous (The New Feminism)"--Alexander Grace (20 min.)
This is a follow up to the earlier video. The author argues that due to hypergamy--women's desire to mate or marry someone of higher status (and why women complain that there are no longer good men to marry)--combined with feminist empowerment will eventually cause feminists to demand the right to marry men who already have a wife. We don't actually have to guess about this because, no matter how polygamy started among Mormons, at the end of that period it was women who fought the hardest to keep polygamy in place.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Some Tips On Replacing The Trigger Spring On A Security-Six Revolver (Updated)

 

(Source)

    I recently had a trigger spring break on my Ruger revolver. The symptoms were that the trigger would not reset without my manually pushing it forward with my finger, but the revolver otherwise functioned as normal. 

    I'm not going to go into details on how to disassemble the revolver. You can find a PDF of an older edition of Gun Digest's books on disassembling revolvers here which contains instructions. And here a couple videos covering the disassembly and reassembly:



Note that these instructions are for a complete disassembly--if you are replacing the trigger spring, you don't need to completely tear down the firearm; you only need to remove the trigger assembly. Basically, you just need to remove the stock, pull the trigger, capture the hammer spring by inserting a pin or paperclip through the handy hole on the plunger, and remove it as a unit. Remove the hammer and the pop out the trigger group. Then concentrate on disassembly of the trigger group.

Staring at the revolver wondering what to do.


First step: remove the stocks or grips.


Second step: At the bottom of the hammer strut is a small hole. Cock the hammer and put a pin through the hole to capture the spring for removal. I used a straightened out paper clip.


Step three: Lower the hammer and then lift out the spring and rod. Pay attention to the orientation of the main spring plate because it will need to be replaced in the same orientation.


Step four: Push out the pin holding the hammer and lift out the hammer.


Step five: I know this isn't the greatest picture, but if you look down inside where the hammer went, you will see a plunger at the very bottom. This holds the trigger group in place. Use a small screwdriver or punch to push it in (upward from this angle) while pulling down on the trigger guard. 


Step six: This is the trigger group. There is a pin above the trigger that needs to pushed out to remove the trigger from the trigger guard. The part sticking up on this side of the trigger is the transfer bar. The part sticking up on the other side is the pawl that turns the cylinder. Watch out--the pawl has a detent and spring underneath that can easily shoot across the room if you are not careful. If you are concerned, put the trigger into a quart or gallon plastic bag before removing those parts.


Step seven: Looking at the trigger, you can see one of the legs of the trigger spring sticking out to the left. This is the part that had broken off in my case (obviously, I'm taking these pictures after I'd made the repair). The next step here is to remove the bushing through where the trigger pin had fitted. If the trigger spring is broken, the bushing is probably not under tension and can easily be removed. It is putting the bushing back into place with the spring under tension that is going to be hard!


This is just another view of the trigger, showing the other side where the pawl connects.


Another view of the trigger, showing where the detent and spring for the pawl fits.


This is one way of locking the vice grips onto the trigger.


    Disassembly is easy because the trigger is not under tension. 
To remove the trigger from the trigger guard, push out the trigger pin and lift the trigger out of the guard. The pawl that turns the cylinder and the transfer bar are both attached to the trigger. These just pull off, but be careful removing the pawl because there is a detent and spring behind it. Remove those as well. To remove the old spring, push out the bushing through which the trigger pin goes.  

Trigger Spring (Source)

    Reassembly is more difficult because everything will be under tension. The trigger spring (see photograph) has two tails--the shorter tail fits into a slot to the rear of the trigger and the long tail fits into a slot on the front of the trigger and extending into the trigger guard piece. The trick is pushing the loop down far enough that you can insert the bushing and capture the spring. 

    Fortunately I had ordered a backup spring because I ended up partially flattening the loop on the first spring just trying a brute force method using a pair of vice grips to try and compress the spring and push it down.

    What worked was this: I used a pair of vice grips to hold the trigger. I clamped it with one jaw on the rear of the trigger piece, and the other jaw on the front of the trigger piece. When clamping it on, make sure it doesn't interfere with the long tail of the spring and that you don't mar the trigger. With your other hand, push the spring down into the trigger just enough to slide a punch through the opening to temporarily capture the spring. With that in place, it is much easier to push (actually, pull) the coil downward, using a screw driver to nudge the tails on the spring should they catch on the metal. Once it is pushed down far enough, you can slide in the bushing. With the spring captured, the rest of the reassembly should be straightforward. Just be careful with the detent and spring behind the pawl that turns the cylinder--it can and will shoot across the room if you aren't careful.

    One thing that helps with installing the detent and spring is to push the pawl forward enough to allow the detent and spring to be inserted in the detent hole, push the detent in with a small flat head screwdriver, and then swing the pawl into its correct orientation to capture the detent as you remove the screwdriver tip. 

    When replacing the hammer, pull the trigger fully to the rear. This seems to help getting the hammer correctly oriented. After it is in, slowly drop the hammer. Then you can insert the hammer pin.

Update (1/9/2021): I have included more photographs to show the disassembly process and some additional comments about reassembly.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas

 

(Source)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." --John 3:16

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ATF Backs Down On Pistol Braces



A Quick Run Around The Web (12/23/2020)

VIDEO: "The Great Earthquake in the Last Days before the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ"--Gospel Lessons (11 min.). While the author of this video contends that a large meteor strike could be the cause of the extensive natural upheavals, the micro-nova postulated by Ben Davidson of Suspicious Observers seems to me to be a more likely mechanism. Also, although the author supposes that the area around Liberty, Missouri will become mountainous, the term "mountain" is also used in the scriptures to refer to a country or kingdom.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping
:
  • "Your Tactical Training Scenario: A Pistol Whipping and Gun Disarm"--Active Response Training. Short version is that a man with a concealed handgun was attacked, pistol whipped and knocked to the ground, and searched by the robbers who found his handgun and fled with it. Greg Ellifritz observes that the man is lucky to be alive, and notes circumstances where compliance will probably not work and you need to fight for your life even against overwhelming odds:

1) A criminal tries to take you to another location

2) A criminal tries to restrain you

3) A criminal puts you on the ground

4) A criminal attempts to search you

The good news is that Vista Outdoor has purchased the ammunition factory in Lonoke, AR—formerly owned by Remington Outdoor—and churning it back toward production at or near full capacity. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports 300 employees furloughed by the former owner of the plant will soon be recalled to join nearly 400 still working at the facility.
  • One of the classic cartridge debates: "Head to Head: .308 Winchester vs. .30-06 Springfield" by Philip Massaro, American Hunter. As with other articles debating these two, the two are so similar that the determination of the winner comes down to which offers the advantage to the reloader: the .30-06 winning because of case capacity. This allows hotter loads and/or heavier bullets than in the .308. 
  • Speaking of cartridge debates: "Is the .40 S&W Dead?" by Richard Mann, Shooting Illustrated. Mann lists many of the reasons why demand for .40 S&W is declining, but doesn't go so far as to say that the .40 S&W is dead. Rather, he writes, "[t]he .40 S&W is an excellent cartridge for the defensive handgun, it has just proved to be not enough better than the easier-carrying, higher-capacity, and softer-shooting 9 mm to matter." I've always believed that the main reason that the .40 S&W saw the popularity it did was because of the 10-round magazine limit during the era of the federal assault weapon's ban. If you are limited to 10-rounds, you might as well make each round bigger and more powerful. But the sheer number of firearms made for .40 S&W will keep it around into the foreseeable future. In fact, due to the glut of low cost .40 S&W handguns that have hit the markets over the last few years--law enforcement trade-ins as well as companies offloading extra stock--I know shooters that have built up their defensive handgun collection around the .40 S&W. 
  • "What’s The Best Way To Clean Brass?" by Art Merrill, Shooting Sports USA. The correct answer is "it depends." The article looks at the pros and cons of vibratory tumblers, ultra-sonic cleaners, and stainless steel pin rotary tumblers. I've had several readers recommend the steel pin route. 
  • "What's the Fastest Way to Reload Your Revolver?" by Chris Christian, Shooting Illustrated. An explanation of how to perform reloads with both the strong hand method and the weak hand method.
  • "Rear Sight Tool Works at the Range"--Shooting Sports USA. The Rear Sight Tool (RST) is a product made by Eneko allowing you to install or adjust push adjustable rear and front sights on semi-automatic pistols. I purchased one after coming across this article this past summer and, so far, it has worked great. The article mentions an MSRP of $120, but I believe I paid $105 on Amazon if my memory is correct. In any event, the RST works by clamping onto the slide, and then using a drift screw to push the sight. It comes with three different push heads to match the angles of commonly available rear sights. They also sell a repair kit for about $25 which contains extra push heads and ram screw in case you break or lose one (which I almost did one day when shooting in the desert--I accidently dropped a push head on the ground). What I like about this is that you can easily use it at the range: just lock the slide back, tighten the RST onto the slide (making sure to adjust it so the ram screw and push head clear the top of the slide), and make your adjustments. It also avoids the danger of breaking a tritium vial using a brass punch to drift a sight.
  • "Marlin Lever Gun Furniture by British FORM Rifle Stocks"--The Firearm Blog. These are laminate wood stocks that feature a push button adjustable cheek riser for those who mount an optic on their lever action rifle.
  • "A few more notes on the AR-15 platform"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Peter Grant answers some common questions he receives about building an AR and/or buying one assembled by someone else. He also responds to a question of what happens if a Biden Administration (spit on floor!) is able to pass a ban on ARs. As to the latter:
I'm not going to tell anyone to break the law.  That's a personal decision each of us has to make.  However, I'll point out three things.
  1. For almost as long as the USA has existed, and particularly during the Civil Rights era, civil disobedience became part of the American political and legal lexicon.  Laws were deliberately defied if they were seen as oppressive or discriminatory.
  2. When New York passed its "NY SAFE Act" in 2013, requiring the registration of all so-called "assault weapons" (including AR-15's), civil disobedience was - and remains - massive.  "Based on an estimate from the National Shooting Sports Federation, about 1 million firearms in New York State meet the law’s assault-weapon criteria, but just 44,000 have been registered. That’s a compliance rate of about 4 percent."
  3. When Connecticut passed new gun control legislation in 2013, the same thing happened.  "The governor's new gun law is a dismal, unmitigated failure.  According to figures recently released by the state police, approximately 50,000 out of an estimated half-million "assault rifles" in the state of Connecticut were registered under the new gun law.  That is a compliance rate of only about 10 percent ... The figures are even more acutely low for large capacity magazines. The compliance rate for large capacity magazines appears to be considerably less than 1 percent of the estimated number of affected magazines."
  • "New KP-15 Polymer Lower Receiver For AR-15 Rifles From KE Arms"--The Firearm Blog. "The KP-15 is a monolithic polymer AR15 style receiver made from injection molded 30% glass filled nylon incorporating the buttstock, buffer tube, pistol grip, and trigger into the receiver design as integral components." The stripped lower is $109, but remember that this includes lower, pistol grip, stock, and buffer tube with no need for a castle nut. This seems like it would be good for an lightweight build or an inexpensive build.
  • "Importance of Sternum Strap on Backpack"--Tacticalogy.com. The author explains:
The primary reason to wear a chest strap for the backpack is it provides support for the rest of your body. As even long time backpackers will tell you, carrying a full backpack is going to put a lot of strain on your shoulders. By using a chest strap, you will be able to ease the pressure on your shoulders, essential when you’re trekking for long distances.
    No matter if you are going to the most peaceful protest ever, remember that ANTIFA in particular will attack. It's right there in their handbook. (Read the ANTIFA handbook. I did.)

    1) Always wear boots. Period.

    2) Wear ballistic eyewear. Rocket-type fireworks shot again Saturday in crowds of people. You will have zero time to react. I don't care if you are Bruce Lee. You ain't that fast.

    3) Do NOT bring anything you cannot afford to lose. This includes cameras with memory cards of family photos, off-record interviews, etc. Always format your stuff before taking in, and remember that formatting does NOT erase the data. If you have sensitive information that was on the memory card, either completely wipe it first, or use a new card. We are entering into a war situation. Loose chips sink ships.

The recommendation for boots is because they can't easily be pulled off and lost. He relates: "How many times last year in Hong Kong did I point the camera down at the ground and show all the abandoned shoes, iPhones, glasses, backpacks, and more? Blood. Shredded feet." He also warns that the longer the protest goes, the more dangerous it can become as people become irritable, tired, and hungry; and that 10 p.m. is a witching hour during which the chance of violence goes up exponentially. 
  • "12 Homemade Booby Traps When SHTF"--Online Barracks. I would characterize most of these as alarms, but they could easily be modified to activate something more dangerous than an alarm. The last several entries are for actual traps that could be used to harvest game or maim or kill a person.
  • "Gun Detection AI is Being Trained With Homemade ‘Active Shooter’ Videos"--Vice/Motherboard. The author begins by describing the process one company is using to digitize images of firearms from different angles and in different lighting or weather conditions. It continues:
    The point of creating this vast portfolio of digital gun art is to feed an algorithm made to detect a firearm as soon as a security camera catches it being drawn by synthetically creating tens of thousands of ways each gun may appear. Arcarithm is one of several companies developing automated active shooter detection technology in the hopes of selling it to schools, hotels, entertainment venues and the owners of any location that could be the site of one of America’s 15,000 annual gun murders and 29,000 gun injuries.

    Among the other sellers are Omnilert, a longtime vendor of safety notification software, and newcomers ZeroEyes, Defendry, and Athena Securities. Some cities employ a surveillance system of acoustic sensors to instantly detect gunshots. These companies promise to do one better and save precious minutes by alerting police or security personnel before the first shot is fired.

Also:

    Theoretically, the vast array of distortions and alterations in images feeding Arcarithm’s algorithm would account for ways a gun is obscured in real footage—by hands, by climate, or by distance. Through seeing so many common guns so many ways, the algorithm would supposedly become so familiar with guns, it could spot one instantly.

    To test if their algorithm responds to the intended stimuli, Arcarithm staffers have staged armed invasions of their own headquarters using airsoft guns, which use condensed gas to shoot tiny, non-lethal plastic pellets. They’ve also taken to a nearby field to record themselves. It is programmers and desk employees cosplaying as criminals or militiamen. “All the guys are doing it,” said Riley. “They usually work on the development end.” He adds that they warn the sheriff’s department, which usually sends an observer.

I'm reminded of a story my father related of some "clever" college students that decided to play a prank on a highway department's car counter. These use a hose that is draped across a road and counts each time it is driven over. The students thought that it would be funny to drive across the hose with the front of the car, then carry the backend over the hose so it wouldn't register, believing that the highway department would be puzzled by the 1/2 car registered. Except any person with a bit of common sense would realize that there are plenty of vehicles and trailers out their with an odd-number of axles. So too, in this case: a gun carried in a pocket or bag wouldn't register. A pistol that is painted in a dazzle pattern also might not register. 


VIDEO: "Why Arab-Israeli ties are normalizing"--Caspian Report (12 min.)
The author explains that two initiatives, the Tracks for Regional Peace and Neom city, seek to  physically connect Israel to the Arab world, and in the process normalize those ties.

Miscellany:


Unfortunately, running to about 5,600 pages, no one will know what is in this monstrosity of pork until after it is passed.
    Congress is likely to pass the big COVID “relief” bill like the world’s second-largest kidney stone. My colleague Victoria Taft already highlighted some of the most egregious spending included in the bill, such as the horseracing regulations and the new cars for HIV/AIDS workers overseas. That one’s worth more than $193 million, begging the question of just how many restaurants, movie theaters, and other small businesses in these United States might have been helped with that money.

    A lot, I’d venture. Enjoy your $600, America. Don’t spend it all in one place!

    In addition to the $10 million for gender programs in Pakistan and the lavish spending on receptions that Victoria noted, there’s more.
... $135 million to Burma, $85.5 million to Cambodia, $1.4 billion for “Asia Reassurance Initiative Act,” $130 million to Nepal. $700 million for Sudan too. And $10 million for “gender programs” in Pakistan, which you know is a racket somehow. Might have all been necessary to get other things, like Border wall funding. Still, imagine how much cheaper everything would be if the anti-Americans and those lining their own pockets off foreign aid were to be gotten rid of. UPDATE – the bill also makes meme-sharing illegal, and supercharges copyright trolling. 
    During a special session of the Oregon legislature called by Democrat Gov. Kate Brown, protesters descended on the building to attempt to enter. Several police agencies responded with officers in riot gear, MRAPs, and pepper spray to enforce the governor’s order to close the building due to concerns about the Wuhan CCP coronavirus pandemic. Patriot groups organized a gathering to protest the continued draconian lockdowns across the state, as well as the unconstitutional legislative session that excluded public oversight.

    State Rep. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) tweeted that keeping the people of Oregon out of the session violates the state constitution [provision requiring that the meetings be open to the public].
    In Japan, more people are dying of suicide than from COVID-19. National statistics show suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, marking the fourth straight month of increase. More than 17,000 people have taken their own lives this year in Japan. Suicide rates among men are up 20%. Suicide rates among females, often the ones dealing with the brunt of the issues caused by the lockdown have risen by 80%.

    The same trend is being seen here at home. Experts warned from the outset of the lockdown that the stay-at-home measures and disruptions to daily life would likely lead to increases in suicides, drug overdoses and domestic violence. All those warnings appear to be coming true. 
 
    “There is a mental health wave to this pandemic,” Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, told ABC News. “We as a species don’t do well with uncertainty.”

    The opioid epidemic has also worsened since the virus outbreak. More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related deaths since the pandemic struck, according to the American Medical Association. Overdoses have increased 20% over 2019.

    Reports of domestic violence are also on the increase. In New York City calls to the domestic violence hotline are up 76% over a year ago. The United Nations has issued a warning that lockdown measures will likely undermine its efforts to reduce domestic abuse worldwide.

    Concerns about these kinds of impacts and the broader effect on the physical well-being of individuals kept under extended lockdown have prompted a growing number of physicians and scientists to call for an end to the measures. Literally tens of thousands of physicians and hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens have signed onto a document called the Great Barrington Declaration demanding an end to lockdowns.

    “As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists, we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies,” the declaration states. “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

    The website on which the Declaration is posted adds, “There are many physical harms from lockdowns. Medical care visits have plummeted, with people avoiding needed medical care. This includes lower childhood vaccination rates, less cancer screening, skipped cancer treatments, fewer preventive cardiovascular disease visits, just to name a few. Many of the consequences of these missed visits will not show up in the mortality statistics for this year but is something that we will have to live with over a long period of time.
    Millions of Chinese residents have been left without heating in the middle of winter as cities ration electricity amid a blockade on Australian coal. 

    Australia provided 57 per cent of China‘s thermal coal imports in 2019, which is used to generate electricity in power stations. 

    But last month, Beijing blocked Australian coal imports, which has resulted in 80 ships carrying more than $1.1billion in blacklisted cargo being stranded off the Chinese coast.  

This is not a rational decision. This is a what an enemy would do to a nation, not what that nation would do to itself.

    I know a lot of conservative or prepping bloggers scoff at the idea of China weakening, pointing to past predictions of China's real estate market collapsing or other systemic weaknesses in the government and military that failed to materialize. What they are skipping over is that most of these past "predictions" were not predictions per se--that is, saying that China's real estate bubble would pop on thus-and-thus date--but identifications of structural problems. China can paper over these structural weaknesses and problems as long as it continues to experience a certain level of growth. It might even be able to reform them given enough time, but a reversal in fortune could bring these structural weaknesses to the forefront. 

    The United States is similarly beset by severe financial weaknesses that promise to cripple the nation going forward, as well as other factors and trends that promise increased domestic tribulation. If China and the United States were to be severely weakened, I could easily see growth shift to modernizing Middle-Eastern countries, particularly as new peace deals open up and normalize trade within the Near- and Middle-East. Saudi Arabia is expending vast sums on modernizing its economy and expanding its infrastructure. Israel and Egypt will become key to transporting energy products (gas and oil) and other products to Europe. Israel will likely become a new Silicon Valley, while the planned economic zones and new cities planned for Saudi Arabia may well become financial and banking hubs to compete with or even replace New York and London--a new civil war in the United States would likely push most American Jews to emigrate to Israel. One development to keep your eye on is the planned economic region and city of Neom (meaning "new future"):

    Saudi Arabia recently announced plans to construct this new mega-city near the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba in the northwestern corner of the nation. An investment of around 500 billion dollars, the ambitious city of Neom hopes to link to neighbors Jordan and Egypt.

    The name itself — meaning “new future” — is a reference to the country’s drive to prepare itself for a post-oil economy. The new city will host an array of industries to fulfill this goal, including biotechnology, digital services, advanced manufacturing, entertainment, water and food. Automated technology will be used in public transportation, and the city will harness the power of solar and wind energy to provide power.

    In addition to these economic changes, Neom will also further the goals of the nation’s 2020 program and Vision 2030 through social reform, increasing women’s participation in the workforce and role in the economy. With these goals and projects will come immense business opportunities in this key development region

It is of some interest that this area is just to the south of Mount Sinai where Moses was given the tablets containing the 10 Commandments. Some scholars of Bible eschatology believe Neom will be the City of Babylon destroyed at the Second Coming.

    To many, the notion that China is a faltering power is laughable. It has not only risen meteorically to the commanding heights of the international pecking order, it now looks poised to ascend to the very apex of that order.

    But appearances can be deceiving. While it has not yet quite peaked, all the signs are that China’s relative power is nearing the high-tide mark and will soon begin to ebb.

    Whether as a result of the “middle-income trap,” the imminent prospect of “growing old before growing rich,” the suffocating effects of the ever-more intrusive and pervasive surveillance state, or all three, China will soon peak. Soon thereafter it will sputter, then fade, all long before it is able to muscle the United States aside and remake the international order in its own image.

    While from an American perspective this might seem like good news, a faltering China might also be a dangerous China. For one thing, a China that realizes that its reach has exceeded its grasp is likely to do everything in its power to lock in whatever geopolitical advantages it currently enjoys, before its ability to Sino-form the world begins to wane. This includes redrawing the map in the South China Sea and Himalayas; transforming international organizations to reflect Chinese values and interests; and generally working to reorder the global balance of power in its favor.

    Perhaps even more ominously, a China that sees the brass ring of global supremacy begin to recede may well respond as Germany did when facing a similar situation in 1914. German leaders saw their Russian adversary growing demographically, developing industrially, and building the kind of rail and road infrastructure necessary for rapid mobilization in time of war. This terrified them.

    It terrified them so much they decided to trigger a war sooner, because then they might have some chance of defeating Russia and its allies, whereas later, after they entered a period of relative decline, they would simply be at their adversaries’ mercy. Peak China today, like peak Germany in 1914, might feel its hand similarly forced.
    A Google presentation also said if the company couldn't 'avoid competing with' Facebook, it would collaborate to 'build a moat,' the draft states. 

    According to the Journal, the lawsuit said that Google and Facebook were aware that their agreement could trigger antitrust investigations and discussed how to deal with them.

    The companies agreed to 'cooperate and assist each other in responding to any Antitrust Action' and 'promptly and fully inform the Other Party of any Governmental Communication Related to the Agreement,' according to the draft suit. 

    A Google spokesperson told the Journal that such agreements over antitrust threats are extremely common.

    The unredacted draft version of the lawsuit, which the Journal said it reviewed, also said that Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg signed the deal with Google.  
Recently concluded investigations and preliminary hearings for the cadets resulted in two cases being dismissed for lack of evidence and four dropped because the cadets resigned. Of the remaining 67 cases, 55 cadets were found in violation of the honor code and enrolled in a program for rehabilitation Dec. 9. Three more cadets admitted cheating but were not eligible to enroll in what is called the Willful Admission Program. 

So, there is toleration of cheating as long as the cadets can get into the Willful Admission Program and write an essay about their experience.

    "Hibernators may suffer from rickets, hyperparathyroidism, and osteitis fibrosa if they do not possess sufficient fat reserves. These diseases are all expressions of renal osteodystrophy consistent with chronic kidney disease."

    The researchers believe this may have been the fate of some human ancestors whose remains were discovered in a Spanish cave called Sima de los Huesos – the chasm of bones. This deep shaft in the Cave Mayor of Sierra de Atapuerca is home to an incredible number of fossils, with archaeologists having discovered thousands of hominin skeletal remains that are around 430,000 years old.

    This is long before Homo sapiens walked the Earth, and although there's some debate about which human ancestor the fossils are from, at least some are H. heidelbergensis.

    Working out if human ancestors once possessed a form of a hibernation-like state thousands of years after the fact sounds like an impossible task, but the team thinks they have found some tell-tale marks on the fossils.

    "The evidence of annual healing caused by non-tolerated hibernation in adolescent individuals [points] to the presence of annually intermittent puberty in this population," the researchers write, explaining that other signs of vitamin D deficiency from lack of exposure to sunlight are evident in bone defects like the 'rotten fence post sign'.

    "The hypothesis of hibernation is consistent with the genetic evidence and the fact that the Sima de los Huesos hominins lived during a glacial period."

    The idea is that these ancient hominins might have been trying to sleep through the colder months, and so their bones show the scars of months of sleeping without enough fat stores, a lack of vitamin D, and - in teenagers - weird seasonal growth spurts.
  • I thought the science was settled: "Unknown species of whale 'as big as a horse' that may have been on the planet as long as humans is discovered living off the coast of Mexico"--Daily Mail.
  • "Learning To Love God"--Roosh Valizadeh. Roosh V. notes that "[a]s a new believer, a big part of my faith was to avoid the pain of eternal punishment, but this book helped me understand that it’s better to love God as a son instead." He then lists and explains several tips he found for learning to love God. One thing that has helped me not only keep a more positive attitude but also, I hope, come closer to God is to replace a negative thought with "God loves me".
  • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "Researchers Have Achieved Sustained Long-Distance Quantum Teleportation"--Vice-Motherboard. Per the article, "[l]ed by Caltech, a collaboration between Fermilab, AT&T, Harvard University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Calgary reports the successful teleportation of qubits, basic units of quantum information, across 22 kilometers of fiber in two testbeds: the Caltech Quantum Network and the Fermilab Quantum Network." The article also reports that "[t]he researchers say their experiment used 'off-the-shelf' equipment that is compatible with both existing telecommunications infrastructure and emerging quantum technologies." "Quantum teleportation does not involve the actual transfer of matter," the article explains. "Rather, quantum particles are entangled (dependent on each other, even over long distances) and somehow know the property of their other half."
  • "Obama’s Secret Stay Behind Army"--St. Paul Research. From the article:
    ... on December 15th, 2015, six months after Donald J. Trump declared his candidacy for president and began to rise in the polls…

    Former President Barack Obama signed what at the time, appeared to be an innocuous executive order.

    However, Obama’s intentions were much more complex and sinister.

    Because with that single executive order, Barack Obama launched an accelerated purge of thousands of American patriots from virtually every government agency — including our intelligence services and the military —while replacing them with party loyalists and political operatives loyal not to the country and the Constitution, but to him and his globalist and progressive-socialist agendas.

    It was a purge of patriots and a takeover of government that began early on in his first term…

    A purge that began by transforming an obscure federal agency hidden deep within the bowels of government, into what soon became a private, stay behind army.

    An army of political operatives committed to two things:

    The complete political, cultural and economic transformation of America as promised by Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.

    And the overthrow of a Donald J. Trump presidency should he be elected.

The group is called the Senior Executive Service, or “SES,” created on September 19, 1979, under the Carter administration.

    It was originally formed to professionalize career civil service, while attracting the nation’s best and brightest in an effort to improve and modernize the management of the federal bureaucracy.

    A position within the “SES” is considered the equivalent to general officer or the flag officer ranks in the U.S. Armed Forces.

    For that reason, they are often referred to as our “civilian generals.”

    Their pay scale starts above the top level of civil service (GS-15), with base salaries ranging from a minimum of $127,914 to a maximum of $192,300.1

    Ostensibly, the SES was to be a corps of non-partisan, career managers who serve as the executive management of federal agencies…

    Their job being to implement policy, not create it.

    At least it was until then President Barack Obama changed that with a mere flick of his pen…

    Making SES members nearly impossible to fire, once hired.

Read the whole thing. 

    The latest Republican to say he will do so is Rep.-elect Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), who will be a part of the House when it convenes in early January.

    He implored other Republicans to also challenge the results in a video message.

    “I have a message for all other Republicans across the country,” Cawthorn said. “If you are not on the record calling for fair, free and just elections now and in the future, I will come to your district and I will fund a primary opponent against you.”
    The eruption of the suspected supervolcano underneath the Aleutian Islands, also known as the Islands of the Four Mountains, could have severe global consequences as seen in the past with the Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming and the Okmok Caldera in Alaska. 

    ... The eruption of the Okmok volcano in 43 BC disrupted the Roman Republic.

    Now it is believed that the suspected caldera underneath the Islands of Four Mountains could be larger than the Okmok, which suggests how destructive its possible eruption would be.

    Six stratovolcanoes make up the Islands of the Four Mountains. These six composite volcanoes are Carlisle, Cleveland, Herbert, Kagamil, Tana and Uliaga.

    Of the six composite volcanoes, Mount Cleveland was the most active one in North America for about 20 years. Mount Cleveland alone spewed ash as high as 15,000 and 30,000 feet above sea level in the past.  

    A group of scientists believes that the suspected massive volcano is the one responsible for the continuous activities seen from Mount Cleveland. They concluded that if the supposed hidden massive caldera would erupt, the consequences would be catastrophic not just in the Alaskan region, but worldwide as well. Its possible explosion could even affect the Earth's climate and cause dangerous upheaval by releasing a huge amount of ash and gas into the atmosphere.
    My purpose here is not to cast aspersions on this woman because of her weight, though. I, certainly, am not one who could honestly cast the first (or last) stone in such case. Besides, casting stones is too much work! We, unfortunately, live in a time when it is easy to get fat and hard to get thin, even ignoring other health issues a person may have that contribute to weight gain. It seems clear that diets lacking in iodized salt, but rich in corn syrup, vegetable oils, soy proteins, and whatever else the medical community has deemed "healthy" over the last 50 years, cause obesity.
 
   What interests me is the push to embrace "body positivity." We live in a time when we get to see the literal fulfillment of Isaiah 5:20, which states: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Or, I would add, deem what is ugly to be "beautiful" and beautiful to be "ugly." But that is where we are at. It started long ago--the first time someone decided that a Picasso rated as high (or higher) than a Rembrandt. But at least there seemed to remain a shared aesthetic as to what constituted human beauty. No more. Pray that John Wilder does not use this woman in his next bikini graph.
  • Speaking of Wilder: "America: Walking The Razor’s Edge"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. A great discussion of the knife edge America walks with national ruin or tyranny on either side. An excerpt:
    What people misunderstand is that Trump isn’t at all the cause of our problems today.  Trump is a symptom.  Without Trump, the answer would have been (yet another) Bush, this time Jeb, versus (yet another) Clinton, this time Hillary.  Oh, the excitement for electing ¡Jeb!

    The difference between another Clinton and another Bush?  Nothing, really.  And America didn’t want that – so America elected Trump.  If anything, Trump cleared the fog, and made the knife edge we were walking clearer.

    And now, we are walking, and the knife-edge is sharper and narrower than the one that I walked to get to the top of that mountain on July 4th a couple of decades ago.

    We have left the bounds of Constitutional governance some time ago – people think it’s quaint when I bring the entire idea of the Constitution up.  Is there a path back to an actual Constitutional government?

    Sure.  It’s narrow – a knife-edge.  But so was getting that Constitutional government in the first place.  But getting that original Constitution depended upon men climbing a mighty steep mountain several hundred years ago.  Were they afraid when they saw the cliff’s edge, the price of failure?

    I’m sure they were.  But yet they continued.  And when it was time to thread that final few steps to the summit?

    They did, and damn the dangers on either side.

    We face the same knife-edge.  Where are we going? 

    Consent-based political systems require shared, fundamental “ends.” In his 1957 study of democracy, Anthony Downs wrote: “A two-party democracy cannot provide stable and effective government unless there is a large measure of ideological consensus among its citizens.” The “means” may sustain dispute, but foundational assumptions must be shared.

    The American nation has a unique identity, in which values and principles play a central role. We do not all share blood, soil, or a thousand years of common history. True, we are not solely an idea. We do share some blood, soil, and centuries of history in complicated, varied ways. But Gunnar Myrdal wrote in 1944 that Americans had “something in common: a social ethos, a political creed.” He called it the American Creed. Jack Kemp called it The American Idea. A combination of liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and free markets created a “civil religion,” a “nation with the soul of a church.”

    For older Americans (like me) this was a civic inheritance. The World Wars and the Cold War provided all-too-real storybook villains who made explicit by contrast what America stood for. America’s education systems, grade school to university, supported the Idea. Homo Americanus shared a political genome.

    But what if the American Idea lost its power? What if it came to seem antiquated? What if it was even an outright lie? When America asks, “who are we?” the problem is not that we cannot answer. The problem is we hear two answers.

    In my lifetime, America shared basic ends. One issue, abortion, created sharply drawn camps driven by unappealable convictions. These are “ideological oppositions,” and they create division that, in the words of Vox’s Lee Drutman, “devolves into a pure contest between ‘us’ and ‘them’—[where] there is no bargaining, because there are no negotiable principles, just team loyalties.”

    Today, many issues divide us just as starkly as abortion. Is America exceptional, a rare gift, or a systemically racist abomination? Are the police murderers or under-appreciated, trustworthy public servants? Will climate change immolate mankind or is it a hysterical overreaction? Do all the guns in America reflect an embarrassing anachronism or a natural right? Should we retain an “old nationalism” or a borderless, multicultural world? The truth the mind knows, or the truth the spirit knows?

    According to Drutman, “over the past half century or so, partisan identities have become much more closely aligned with other social identities. Partisan divides now overlay religious divides, cultural divides, geographic divides and racial divides.” Already in After Virtue (1981), Alasdair MacIntyre noted that “patriotism cannot be what it was because we lack in the fullest sense a patria [ed: i.e., native country or homeland--something impossible once the doors to immigration where thrown open in the 1960s].” He foresaw that a lack of shared foundational values would lead to unresolvable conflicts between fragmented communities within what had once been one nation.

    The vehemence of that conflict is exacerbated by the hypertrophy of government. The side in power controls a gargantuan fiscal and administrative apparatus that shapes our livelihoods, health, religion, education and family itself.  For anything not touched by the bureaucracy, the winners appoint the judges that shape everything else.

    Sociology and technology also conspire against us. Democracy is interpersonal. But, to cite one example in the genre, we now “bowl alone.” Technology has accelerated an atomizing, individualizing transformation. I comprehend this firsthand. Facebook cultivates rage; the algorithm is for division. Technology is a delivery with a “no return” policy.

    Washington is a standoff.  Yes, conflict is part of our political history. Brooks caning Sumner in the Senate is the favorite “it has been worse” anecdote. But it is worse. In decades observing the House and Senate, I have never seen today’s pettiness, enmity, and dysfunction.

    When the Article III branch legislates for the Article I branch, the Supreme Court assumes unintended powers. Nominations to the Court become national un-maskings, not of our worst selves but our true selves. The lesson from the Kavanaugh confirmation was cautionary: America listened to simple testimony and reached precisely opposite conclusions. With respect to Amy Coney Barrett, on both sides we heard, “they would do the same thing to us.”  This sounds like a rationale for genocide, not republican government.

    Our Constitution created a republic designed to protect the “natural rights” of individuals.  The rights precede even the will of majorities. The Progressive movement, old and new, harnesses majoritarianism to expert administration to achieve its positivist goals. Individual rights are often a hindrance.

    The difference is essential. The gridlock we see today does not reflect a failing Constitution but one performing as designed. The Progressive agenda is grinding against inalienable rights. We hear the rumbling in the pillars of our system; why should North Dakota get two senators? Why shouldn’t the District of Columbia be a state? The Electoral College should be abolished. A “packed” court looms.

    There is commonality among our partisans today. Watch CNN or Fox News: “Liars,” “hypocrites,” “unstable,” “totalitarians bent on destroying democracy.” Change the proper nouns and the outrage is identical.

    Historically, a report from someone like Robert Mueller held non-partisan sway. But we are in a post-truth era. Counselor Durham could find almost anything, the tally of Hunter Biden’s largesse keep mounting, and half the country will dismiss it all. According to Pew, 72% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans agree that the sides “cannot agree on basic facts.”  We now speak “my truth.” This is not cognitive dissonance: it is cognitive division.

Basically, the author argues, the nation has reached a point where finding an agreed upon middle-ground is impossible. 

    We feel like two people because we are two people. The signs are unmistakable. Our most divisive issue is our symbol of unity. Factions like BLM and blue lives matter have their own flags. Our heritage, revered by half of America, is being vandalized and toppled by the other half. Our most popular sport now begins with two anthems.

    America is like an old married couple. The kids are gone. In a long, imperceptible process, we have grown apart. We do different things, like different things, and have become different people. Habit, inertia and memories of our past obscure the implications. Clear eyes see what we do not—a separation is as sad as it is inevitable. The hard question is not, “how do these two Americas live together?” They don’t. The hard question, the right question, is: “how do they live apart?”

But the author also offers a solution. The author goes on to argue for a Separation: "an orderly agreement allowing Red and Blue America political living space while acknowledging the practical bonds of geography, commerce, currency, debt, diplomacy and military force." This Separation would be a return to principles of federalism and limiting the power of the federal government by amending the Constitution via a Convention of States: 

The Separation can be effected with a limited number of amendments to the Constitution: 1) a new amendment circumscribing the federal mandate to conform with the core functions above [national military, foreign policy, and a national treasury], 2) adjustment of the 16th Amendment to tie the taxing power to these functions, 3) elimination of the 17th Amendment so the state legislatures again elect Senators, 4) a new amendment formally providing the Supreme Court the power of judicial review but focusing that power on matters related to federal and interstate issues (i.e., the final word on the right to bear arms, free speech and abortion would be in state courts), and 5) a new amendment providing federal term limits.

And then there is the bad. In this regard, the first thing that struck me were the arguments why Blue and Red states should agree to a separation. The author describes Red America thusly: "Your base is older, less educated, poorer, and barely growing." While, in regard to the Blue states: 

You have the momentum; you are winning the strategic battle. You have marched through the institutions and are closing on Ideological Hegemony. Your enemies are in general retreat. But advances have roused your opponent, and the easy victories are in the past. They now feel Silicon Valley constricting their political oxygen. For some time their leaders seemed uninspired, complacent, sheepishly mumbling lines about tax cuts. But Donald Trump is evidence this has changed. They will fight like people who understand they have everything to lose.

This is a load of bull crap. The dynamics of Blue regions--particularly California--is simple inertia from when those states actually encouraged business innovation. These states are slowing, and we see more and more technical and innovative industries fleeing Blue states to escape to Red states, e.g., Tesla and Space X. Similarly, the trope of the Democrats/Left being more educated versus the Republicans/Right. What is that based upon? Surveys and polls of voters. As the Christian Science Monitor "reported" back in October:

    The polarization among white voters by educational levels has since grown wider, putting more pressure on Republicans to turn out non-college-educated white voters, a demographic that is shrinking within an increasingly diverse and educated electorate. To gain a second term, President Trump likely needs to get even more of these voters to the polls, as well as win back some disaffected college grads.  

    The “diploma divide” in U.S. politics predates Mr. Trump. But like many partisan fault lines, from gender to religion, it has gaped wider under his presidency – sending into hyperdrive a decadeslong realignment of the Democratic and Republican parties. These shifting partisan coalitions, in turn, are scrambling everything from long-standing party policy positions to traditional advantages and disadvantages when it comes to campaign cash and the electoral map. 

What does this great divide look like? The Brookings Institute released exit poll data from this year's elections that includes information on education level. 9% of female college graduates favored Biden over Trump, but only 3% of male college graduates favored Biden over Trump. That is not a huge amount. And it should be noted that "college graduates" necessarily includes college degrees in social work, women's studies, political science, education, and other non-academically rigorous programs. You know, the people that work as baristas in Seattle and San Francisco, and asked all the stupid questions in your college history classes. (Yes, there are stupid questions). "Credentials don’t make an incorrect argument right, and the lack of them can’t make a correct argument wrong." Thus, to suggest that this proves that the Left is more educated, let alone more intelligent, than the Right is ludicrous. I would, in any event, contend that the person that has gone through an apprenticeship in the trades or been trained in mechanics or electronics is more intelligent and better educated than the majority of liberal arts majors.

    In addition, the plan is unworkable. Our federal government is the result of special interests who determined it was easier to buy politicians at a national scale rather than doing the same state-by-state. Lost tax revenue would impoverish countless firms and consultants that benefit from huge quantity of money that the federal government shovels into its gaping maw each year. Vast federal bureaucracies would have to be eliminated (and those jobs are considered by the law to be "property" to those that hold them!), along with all the statutes and public laws that created those bureaucracies. Linear miles of regulations would need to be abandoned. Nearly the whole of the Supreme Court Reporter would have to hauled off to landfills having been deemed null and void. Most importantly, the Left would have to agree to let the Right alone. Even if you could get a majority of states at a convention to agree to make such changes, and get the opposing states to accept such changes, there is no way that the elites and the Deep State would give up that power and the money that comes with it without a literally bloody fight. As William Briggs sums up: "It will never happen. The people of the gods would never let us go, for the gods of those people are themselves, and they are jealous gods." Indeed.

    It is better to try and fail than to fail to try, but I see no realistic way out of this logjam while keeping the country united short of a Sherman's march through the Blue cities and states. 

    The curious case of Texas v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was a short-lived but portentous controversy. Forty percent of the states joined forces to challenge the presidential election results maintained by roughly another 40 percent of states, with roughly 20 percent of states caught somewhere in the middle. The Supreme Court punted the case. 
 
    The Supreme Court seems to have made peace with its own irrelevance vis-à-vis the irremediable schism between two halves of the country. The Texas-led half is not, despite some people’s surface reading, a resurrection of the confederacy. Territorially the states that joined Texas’s case form a column reaching from the Mexican to the Canadian border, including the northernmost state, Alaska, and Indiana. Georgia and North Carolina, obviously, are not aligned with Texas anymore, while several northern states like Ohio are moving toward alignment with the red camp. 

    In cultural terms, the California-led states have reversed their historic position on civil rights and now oppose the fundamental purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment and equal protection under the law (which I review in some detail here.) In their successful pleading to the Supreme Court, they rejected the notion that outside forces can intervene in a state’s voting or judicial process, thereby resurrecting the arguments from former confederate states about their right to block African Americans from suffrage through practices like a poll tax, literacy test, or KKK-style voter intimidation. 

    “But the courts said so!” is a cold argument to raise given the history of Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Korematsu v. United States.

    Similarly, the California-led states continue to claim that hundreds of sworn affidavits by allegedly disenfranchised Trump supporters are not real evidence. Most 19th century slave narratives were written by African Americans who fled to the north. Many slave narrators detail how southern courts would not permit black people’s eyewitness accounts as testimony in any case. Even though the narratives usually included authenticating documents as an appendix. White people had to attest to the truthfulness of black people for their accounts to be accepted as proof of anything. 

    Because Trump supporters haven’t been enslaved or, in most cases, descended from people who have, the blue states seem to believe that it is acceptable to treat their testimony as weightless, but the basic inequality of due process nonetheless undoes much of the civil rights movement.

    The nation’s current divide is partly geographic but mostly cultural and juridical. The Texas-led states, despite including parts of the former confederacy, now stand for the rule of law and the civil rights protections of the 1868 14th Amendment. The California-led states now seek to undo over 150 years of human rights laws so that they can override the suffrage and petitions of a “suspect class” (Republicans).

    Polling indicates that neither side is budging on the question that best serves as a litmus test: whether the election of Joe Biden is legitimate. About half the country believes it was not because they share Texas’s understanding of what citizen rights are and what constitutes evidence. Half the country believes the election was legitimate because they share California’s understanding of citizen rights as framed by context and by goals, with any means being justified by the right goals, depending on the group involved. 

    For the first time in anyone’s living memory, we have to contend with the real possibility that the United States will split into separate nations. The split will not look like the 19th century Civil War and may not even be a war at all. Looking at history, I’ve come upon the following possible precedents in history that may help us understand the potential outcomes.

The author then looks at two historical examples--the split of the Roman Empire into east and west and the division of Israel into northern and southern kingdoms--and compares them to what is happening now.

    I would again point out that a geographical split will not be so easy. The Roman Empire was split at the voluntary direction of Roman emperor into two large administrative zones; Solomon's kingdom split along easily demarcated tribal zones. In this case, we are looking at the split of two (or more) intermixed peoples. Like in Yugoslavia.

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...