Friday, December 11, 2020

A Quick Run Around The Web (12/11/2020)

VIDEO: "Ed Calderon's first hand accounts with the Portland and Atlanta Riots"--Vigilance Elite (22 min.) (h/t Marcus Wynne)
Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

    Without such threats of all out war where you annihilate your enemy into oblivion, it is becoming harder and harder to negotiate to fulfill our political will, since the enemy real or perceived does not believe that we will ever use such options. Yet we have an arsenal more than capable of doing so and a quick intense history-making event of the ultimate in destructive power to show strength has yet been seen in the last 5 decades. We are seeing un-negotiable thoughts of our foes, middle fingers high in the air and treaties that these folks have no intention on fulfilling as a matter of fact they are laughing at us and some of the larger more potentially deadly foes in our future are being trained by us and are already finding ways to counter our Future War Strategies of net-centric, blue force tracking and combat scenarios.

    Why, because we are teaching them, they are helping us design ours and we are allowing loose lips to sink future ships. When we allow students to come learn nuclear physics, IT, modern materials, fluid dynamics, frequency energies and modern business tactics, they are not going back to their countries to make paper dolls and we both know it.

    Thus with this said, the power struggles are lasting decades instead of swift changes to set mankind back on course, including the god forsaken horrible attributes and consequences of nuclear weapons. Surely it is not pretty or even something you want to think about. In Colonel Boyd's model which has since been adopted by our war time leadership observe, secure options and eventually act, we have in fact failed to act and failed to achieve the goals set forth to stabilize regions. Fear Factor is being replaced. We are choosing targets via military lawyers and allowing the same non-reality based thinking which has stagnated American Industry with over regulation and incessant litigation to enter the realm of wartime.

THEY AREN’T AFRAID OF US. Not one little bitty-bit. They do whatever the hell they want to us and sleep well, because they have no fear of us whatsoever.

And you know what? They’re right. “But we have guns!” Seriously, who gives a shit? Weapons only have two values: their ability to deter or their ability to destroy. Their deterrent value is only based on their ability to destroy – and the willingness of those who possess them to wield them to destroy. And if there’s anything that’s obvious by now, it’s that “our side” won’t wield those weapons.
  • Ok, this is just poking the bear: "FACTR USA Stiffy"--Jerking The Trigger. It is an insert intended to fit in the SB Tactical SBA3 to make the brace rigid--supposedly for storage purposes.
  • "Review: Holosun HE509T-RD Closed-Emitter Red Dot"--Shooting Illustrated. The design is intended to prevent dirt, mud, water, etc., from obscuring the emitter. Solar backup power; runs 50,000 off its battery; has the shake-awake technology; don't have to remove the device to replace batteries. Sounds like a nice optic.
  • "New Wilson Combat Multi-Caliber Polymer AR-15 Magazine"--The Firearm Blog. The magazine is supposed to feed reliably and work equally well with 5.56/.223, .300 Blackout, and .300 HAM'R.
  • "PHLster City Special Review: Neo-Noir Concealment"--Primer Peak. The author relates that "[t]he PHLster City Special is a purpose made [kydex] revolver holster. Available for both Smith & Wesson J-Frames with 2.125" barrels, and Ruger LCRs in 1.87" barrels across all calibers." Also:
    The City Special attaches via a single Pull-the-Dot loop, similar to other PHLster holsters. A TuckStrut is included to increase concealment. No wedge is molded into the holster, but plenty of room is available for users to add their own.

    The holster is completely reversible. Users can adjust retention; mine was perfect on arrival but loosened over time. There are two places to adjust ride height, allowing for ultra-deep concealment or easier access to the gun. While there are no provisions for adjusting cant, my Tuck Strut rotates as it loosens, changing the cant of the holster.

    The most interesting aspect of the City special is the Reload Cut. This is a portion cut out of the top of the holster to facilitate single-handed reloading. ...
Harry's Holsters' Icon has solidified its place in my carry rotation. Originally planning on carrying this setup for a week or two, I am closing on my fourth month exclusively carrying the Icon. While a J-Frame certainly has less firepower than my typical G34, the ability to simply throw a gun on and go is a luxury I had forgotten. The clip stays firmly in place both with and without a belt, making this my go-to solution when in athletic gear or pajamas.

    On Wednesday, Portland’s police chief reported that antifa has fortified barricades, stockpiled weapons, set up armed guards, and threatened to kill police officers. Both the police chief and the mayor have urged the rebels to lay down their arms, but it appears they are refusing to do so.

    “We want a peaceful & safe resolution to the occupation of public space on N Mississippi Ave. We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists & threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space,” Chief Chuck Lovell tweeted on Wednesday. “I encourage those involved to reach out to our demonstration liaisons so we can discuss a peaceful outcome.”

    “We are aware of the stockpile of weapons and the presence of firearms. We are aware of the threats to the community, to media, to police. We’ve seen the attacks. The Portland Police will enforce the law and use force is necessary to restore order to the neighborhood,” Lovell added in a brief speech about the autonomous zone.

    A Michigan homeowner says he was targeted in a middle of the night bomb attack which left a hole in his living room likely because he is a well-known Trump supporter. He also has multiple pro-Trump signs and banners on his front yard.

    Police and media have interviewed the St. Clair Shores resident, just outside of Detroit, after the bombing was caught on tape. He wishes to remain anonymous for fear of further reprisal as police investigate.
  • "Nonrecoverable Methods of Number Removal"--Bev Fitchett's Guns. Because of the compression of the crystalline structure of the metals when a serial number is stamped into the metal, the article explains, you must eliminate that underlying structure to get rid of all traces of the serial number; and the only two methods to reliably do so are drilling out the metal, or welding the area (which melts and resets the crystalline structure).
  • It's hard to maintain full situational awareness when you are focused on a specific threat: "Tragic moment hero cop and father-two is killed by an armed robber who sneaks upon him in Brazil"--Daily Mail. The officer was focused on one-suspect that he was holding at gun point, and the robber's partner approached from the flank and shot the officer.
  • Only cops should have guns: "Off-duty Chicago cop 'shoots dead his 23-year-old son at home after an argument'"--Daily Mail.
  • "Concealed Carry Training Without Ammo"--U.S. Concealed Carry. A compilation of articles related to training without using ammo, such as using a SIRT pistol, strengthening your grip, dry fire, using an air soft pistol, etc.
  • "Choosing the Right Buffer for Your AR-15"--AR Build Junkie. "The rule of thumb to follow is that you want the heaviest that will allow your rifle to fully cycle, extract and eject the spent casing, and load a new round in the chamber."
  • "A CB Shopping List, by Henry Bowman"--Brushbeater. If you have been ignoring communications, this article tells you what to buy (and links to where to buy it) to set up a basic mobile CB unit.
  • "Upgrading the Kel-Tec KS7 Bullpup Shotgun"--Range 365. The author replaced the factory carry handle/sights with a Picatinny rail, added a Steel Defender muzzle brake from Hi-Tech Custom Concepts to mitigate recoil (and tells you how to do this), upgraded the magazine follower with a hi-viz one to make it easier to tell how many rounds you have left (the shotgun has witness holes on the tube magazine), added a recoil pad, and a 7-shell Velcro card carrier on the stock for carrying extra shells.
  • I was digging around in the land of forgotten bookmarks when I came across this article: "Rep. Scalise's Injuries: Why a Bullet in the Hip Can Be So Damaging", from Live Science in 2017. It explains:
    A gunshot wound to the hip can be life-threatening because there are many important structures in that area of that body that could be injured.

    "There are a lot of arteries and vital organs that live either in the hip, or in the pelvis [area] itself," said Dr. David Evans, an associate professor of surgery at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who has not treated Scalise. These include the iliac arteries, which are major arteries that carry blood from the torso to the legs, as well as organs such as the bladder, rectum and reproductive organs, Evans said. A bullet could also cause bone fractures in the hip or pelvis. 

    One of the first things that a surgeon would determine when treating a patient with a bullet wound to the hip is which direction the bullet traveled across the body, Evans said. Doctors may use X-rays or look for an exit wound to determine the bullet's trajectory. If the bullet traveled down the leg, doctors would be worried about injuries to the femoral artery, a large artery in the thigh, which could cause major bleeding.

    If the bullet traveled across the hip and entered the pelvis, doctors would typically operate to determine exactly which organs or arteries were injured, he said.

    Initially, the most serious complication from a gunshot wound is bleeding, said Dr. Daniel Margulies, director of Acute Care Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who is not involved in Scalise's care. A person who's been shot "could bleed to death within a matter of minutes," Margulies said. In fact, most deaths from gunshot wounds are from hemorrhagic shock, meaning there's not enough blood remaining in the body for the heart to pump, Margulies said.

    Indeed, Scalise was in shock when he arrived at the hospital, and was at "imminent risk of death," Sava said.

    For treating trauma patients, doctors have learned that it's often better to perform several, shorter operations to repair damage, rather than a single long operation, because long surgeries can be "too much for the patient to tolerate," Evans said.

    Doctors will first perform "damage control" to stop any bleeding, and address other critical problems, like preventing leakage from the bowel. Then, in later operations, they may address injuries to other organs. For example, doctors may need to stitch the bowel back together, or address injuries to the bones, Margulies said.

    It's important to note that the bullet itself doesn't necessary cause all of the injuries that occur in gunshot wound patients. In a phenomenon known as "cavitation," the energy from a bullet spreads and can damage structures near the path of the bullet, Evans said. "It may be that there's damage in a wider area, not just the narrow tract the bullet went through," Evans said.

    The longer a person survives their initial injury, the better their chances of survival overall. "As the time goes on, if they're surviving, their chances of survival get better and better," Margulies said.

    Still, as time goes on, other complications may arise. For instance, if a person initially loses a lot of blood, organs such as the kidneys and liver could be damaged from not receiving proper blood flow, which could later lead to kidney or liver failure, Margulies said.

    With an injury like the one Scalise endured, a patient is very likely to have long-term complications, although the complications would depend on exactly which body structures were injured, Evans said. For example, injuries to the pelvis or femur bone could result in impairments in musculoskeletal function, he said. If a patient has an injury to the colon, Margulies said, they may need a colostomy, or a procedure to bring part of the large intestine out through an opening in the abdominal wall, while the other part of the colon heals.
    The rifle needs to be fully functional and ready to shoot without preparation. It should be clean and lubricated and any ancillary devices you rely on—like lights, electro-optics and laser-aiming devices—must also be fully operational. You should be capable of making accurate shots at whatever distances you feel comfortable. Whether you manage your elevation and windage “dope” through a cheat card taped to your rifle, a ballistic app on your phone or good old-fashioned rote memorization, the time to sort that out is now, not when you shoulder the rifle in earnest for the first time.

    Remember to also prep your supporting gear and keep it near your main defensive gun. If your family protector is magazine-fed, load primary and spare mags now. If they have been loaded for longer than you can remember, rotate them now. Have at least a minimal cleaning kit handy, even if it holds nothing more than a pull cord, chamber swab and small bottle of cleaner/lubricant. This is also a good time to replenish any critical spare parts or batteries raided from your pistol grip, trapdoor buttstock or general-purpose pouch over the past few range sessions. If you use a vest, pack or belt for supporting equipment, know where everything is and ensure it fits well without restricting movement. Finally, operating your rifle—including dealing with malfunctions—should be second-nature. Practice now until you can safely and efficiently work every piece of your equipment by feel alone.

At this point, I'll put in a plug for Grant Cunningham's book, Protecting Your Homestead: Using a Rifle to Defend Life on Your Property which goes into detail on setting up and using a rifle for defense of your life and your livestock. But he has written several articles on the topic, including "Retrieving the rifle: an overlooked skill." He begins:

    It’s quite popular in rifle classes these days to shoot from a slung-in-front configuration — with the rifle hanging in the perfect position, hands pre-placed and, very often, with the buttstock already on the shoulder. This makes it fast and easy to simply swing the gun up and into a shooting position, decreasing the time it takes to fire a shot (and giving the guy holding the shot timer some reason for existing.) 

    Despite the ubiquity of the practice, I consider it so unrealistic as to be laughable, because it assumes you already have the gun with you, and slung just so, when the problem starts!

    In reality, when an incident occurs for which you need the rifle it’s very unlikely that you’ll be “on patrol”, with the gun conveniently slung where you can simply raise it and shoot. ...

    The more likely scenario is that you’ll suddenly become aware that you need a rifle. You’ll run to the rifle’s storage place, grab it (and a magazine, if necessary), get the gun into a condition to be used, make your way to the point where you can/will employ it, then (if necessary) shoulder it and make the shot.

    That’s a very different set of skills.

Cunningham is not a big fan of the sling on a home defense rifle. In the article, he writes that most people are not going to take the time to sling up (and notes that when he has had to use his rifle, he hasn't done so). In his book, he also makes the point that in most cases, the sling will simply be in the way. I think of that now every time I try and take a rifle with a sling out of storage and the sling gets caught up on something--sometimes under or around the butt of the rifle next to it. If things are such that I need to get a rifle, the rifle I plan on using does not have a sling attached to it--I have a sling which I can attach to it via quick detach sling points in case I take the rifle into the field for practice, but the sling normally resides in a pocket on the rifle's case.

VIDEO: "How to Parry with a Sword - Edge or Flat?"--Skallagrim (16 min.)
While it is preferable not to use the edge of the blade so it is not damaged, Skallagrim notes that (like many questions) the answer is: it depends. 

Miscellany:

    The CIA's Special Activities Center carries out covert operations and has its own paramilitary force that carries out counterterrorism operations. While they act as an independent force, they often rely on the military for transportation and logistical support.

    Sometimes that means that military personnel end up being detailed to support the CIA's counterterrorism operations.

* * *

    The online defense news outlet cited multiple officials as saying the intent behind the move is to see if Defense Department personnel "detailed" to the CIA should be diverted from counterterrorism missions and toward missions related to competition with Russia and China. Multiple former and current administration and military officials confirmed this to ABC News.

    That diversion from counterterrorism missions would be in line with the National Defense Strategy that pushes the military's focus away from the regional wars in the Middle East towards near-peer competitors like Russia and China.

As he rose through the ranks — serving in 10 countries, including Senegal, Uganda and Pakistan, and becoming chief of the CIA’s Africa division — he did not hide his affection for Judaism. In Senegal, he hung an Israeli flag in his house.

    If you watch the above clip, what you’ll see is a Beijing-based professor bragging about China’s ability to settle affairs with the United States in their favor. But it’s his admission that that’s only possible because the CCP has people placed he calls “old friends” in upper positions of power across the influence sectors in the country. He’s obviously talking about government inroads, but he also specifically mentions someone being the vice president at a major Wall Street firm. At another point, he notes an American woman who now has dual Chinese citizenship and lives part of the year in Beijing. Why that’s important is that the communist nation does not allow dual citizenship. You do the math on that.

    Things got more damning, though. The professor goes on to talk specifically about President Trump and how he’s blown up China’s ability to control American interests and bend them in their favor. The trade war is specifically mentioned here, with it being noted that Wall Street “tried to help” but couldn’t do much because Trump held an adversarial position against the financial institutions in question. Unsurprisingly, we hear about how easy Barack Obama’s administration was to manipulate in comparison. The professor even brags about having so many people near the levers of power during that time, but they couldn’t “fix Trump” in his words.

    That’s when things get really explosive, though. Carlson plays one final clip in which the professor, obviously relieved, says that now Joe Biden has been elected. That leads him to say that Trump has claimed Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, ran some kind of “global foundation.” He then makes a stunning admission that yes, the Chinese are the ones who funded that and that there are many “deals” in all of it.

    Foreigners have been buying off – or at least renting – America’s ruling class probably since the Republic was founded.  In modern times, Saudis, Japanese, South Koreans, and Israelis – to name a few – have all managed to purchase influence.  One might shrug it off as “the way things work.”

    But suppose a country helps pour illicit drugs into America that kill tens of thousands of Americans a year.

    And suppose American elites do absolutely nothing about it?  

    Now THAT is influence.  

    The country?  The People’s Republic of China (PRC).   

    The numbers are staggering.  In 2017, 28,000 Americans died of overdoses involving the synthetic drug, fentanyl.  Nearly all of it originating in the PRC.

    In a 2018 meeting with President Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to restrict all fentanyl-like substances.  Trump declared this a “game changer.”  Not surprisingly, the drugs kept coming.

    In 2019, over 37,000 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses. That’s nearly five times the number of American troops killed in the post 9/11 war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Covid-19 lockdowns have helped bump up the death totals.  In the state of Georgia, fentanyl deaths have increased 60% since March 2020.

    Yet, even as the death toll mounts U.S. business and financial titans never mention it.  The think-tanks are mostly silent.  Academia?  Can’t be bothered.  And on Capitol Hill there’s bold talk about taking on the PRC, but when it comes to fentanyl and the American “butcher’s bill,” one hears little.  Even the Trump administration – the best ever in standing up to China – has not made much of the fentanyl issue – which should in fact be a casus belli.

    Until recently, the U.S. media too often – downplayed or ignored the fentanyl bloodbath – seemingly afraid to mention the ‘C’ word – China.

    In its Bill of Complaint, filed along with its Motion for Leave, Texas presents three constitutional challenges. Count 1 alleges the defendant states violated the Electors Clause of the Constitution.

    The Electors Clause of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides “[e]ach state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” As Texas notes, this clause “makes clear that only the legislatures of the States are permitted to determine the rules for appointing presidential electors.”

    But, as Texas reveals in its detailed summary of the facts, each of the defendant states, through non-legislative actors, nullified legislatively established election laws in violation of the Electors Clause. For example, several large Wisconsin counties used drop boxes in direct violation of the Wisconsin Election Code that provides detailed procedures by which municipalities may designate sites for the acceptance of absentee ballots. Wisconsin election officials also ignored the statutory certification requirements for absentee ballots, counting votes that the state legislature defined as illegal because they did not include a witness signature and address.

    Michigan election officials likewise violated the statutory mandates established by the state legislature, with the secretary of state mass mailing absentee ballots in contravention of state law. And in Wayne County, the home of Detroit’s Democratic stronghold, election officials ignored the state’s signature verification requirement. Georgia also violated the legislature’s requirement for signature verifications, according to Texas’s complaint.

    The most egregious violations alleged came from Pennsylvania, where election officials ignored the statutory bar on inspecting ballots before election day, then illegally provided voter information to third parties and allowed illegal curing of the ballots. Significantly, in Pennsylvania these illegal practices only occurred in Democratic strongholds, with Republicans following the law.

    These and other practices, Texas alleges, establish a clear violation of the Electors Clause, because that clause makes clear that it is the state legislature—and not administrative agencies, election officials, or even courts—charged under our constitutional system with selecting electors. (This argument finds support in the three-justice concurrence authored by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Bush v. Gore.) From there, Texas’s Count 1 argues that “electors appointed to Electoral College in violation of the Electors Clause cannot cast constitutionally valid votes for the office of President.”

I haven't read the court documents, but another news report states that among the factual allegations is one asserting that, in Pennsylvania, 400,000 mail-in ballots suddenly appeared in the public record the day after the election

  • "Reasonable Doubt"--Motis Mentis. Malcom Pollack writes about the apparent (and obvious) signs of fraud in the recent Presidential election, including this:
    ... the people telling us “nothing to see here” — the political operatives of the Democrat Party, and its foot-soldiers in the press — are the same ones who perpetrated the four-year operation to remove Donald Trump from office, by any means necessary. They subverted our most powerful institutions of justice, national security, and intelligence to do so. They created a truly audacious hoax, using a fraudulent opposition document paid for by the Clinton campaign, as the basis for surveillance of Mr. Trump’s campaign, legal harassment of his allies, and a relentless smear campaign in all media. When it came to light that the whole thing was a pack of lies, they insisted as one that its critics had all been taken in by a crazy conspiracy theory. To this day, we are still waiting for justice to be done. (Spoiler alert: it won’t.) At every turn, these powerful and implacable enemies of the President have done everything they can, again and again and again, to defeat, slander, and remove him from office. Anyone who questions this sustained assault is censored, cancelled, doxxed, shouted down, and excluded from polite society.

    Given all that we have seen of these people, how can any intelligent person not assume that they would do everything they can to steal this election? Do we think they are too scrupulous, too dedicated to honesty and fair play? Given that they know they will get the faithful and absolute support of the press to erect a stone wall against any scrutiny, why wouldn’t they do the very best they could to prevent Donald Trump from winning a second term? We know that they have pressed constantly, in advance of the election, for everything that might undermine the security of the system. They have introduced mail-in ballots on an unprecedented scale, when voting by mail is known to be so ripe for error and abuse that it is scrupulously avoided in most other countries. They have further reduced the security of voting-by-mail by sending unrequested ballots to many millions of voters, many of whom have turned out to be dead, or no longer at their previous addresses, or use two different names, both of which were sent ballots. They have permitted “vote-harvesting”, which interrupts the vitally important chain of custody. They have resolutely resisted the most basic tool of election security — voter ID — which is such an obviously necessary measure that it is the law pretty much everywhere else on Earth. They have altered mail-ballot rules (in some cases, in clear violation of the Constitution) to weaken the security of the mail-in vote, by discarding requirement for timely receipt, for making sure that signatures match, and for ensuring that ballots are correctly filled out.

    So let’s go back to the questions that many posed to themselves months ago, and to the never-contradicted contents of my two Open Letters to President Trump: a world plan appears in its disconcerting reality. The architects of the plan, creating an unjustified social alarm about an alleged pandemic — that today we see is no more serious than a normal flu, as confirmed by official data from all over the world — has been used to create a tremendous global social and economic crisis and so to legitimize the drastic reduction of the basic rights of the population. It is what its authors themselves call the Great Reset: the global reset of the economy, of society and of masses of people.

    In this project, the Covid virus plays a fundamental role, as an alibi that justifies — in the face of the “totem” of a science that has prostituted itself to the interests of an elite after having abdicated its mission to save human lives — the deprivation of freedom, the interference of governments in the private life of its citizens, the establishment of a pseudo-health regime in which, against all objective scientific evidence, the number of diners, the distance between people, the possibility of buying, selling, breathing and even praying, is decided from above.

    Someone, in the deafening silence of the Catholic Hierarchy, has imposed the closure of churches or the limitation of religious celebrations, considering the House of God as a cinema or a museum, but at the same time declaring abortion clinics “essential services.”

    These are the paradoxes of a misguided power, managed by people corrupt in the soul and sold out to Satan, a power which, after obsessively repeating the mantras of “democracy” and “power belongs to the people” is now forced to impose a dictatorship on the people themselves, in the name of the achievement of objectives aimed at protecting the political and financial interests of the elite.

    The rich are getting richer and richer, while the middle classes that constitute the social fabric and the very soul of nations is being cut down.

    The French Revolution wiped out the Western aristocracy.

    The Industrial Revolution obliterated the peasants and spread the proletarianization which led to the disaster of Socialism and Communism.

    The Revolution of ’68 demolished the family and the school.

    This Great Reset, desired by the globalist elite, represents the final revolution with which to create a shapeless and anonymous mass of slaves connected to the internet, confined to the house, threatened by an endless series of pandemics designed by those who already have the miraculous vaccine ready.

    In some ways, it shows how freedom threatens those in authority. Since power depends on the consent of the governed, when the people withhold their consent, there’s precious little those in power can do. They can frighten them into obeying — shooting them down in the streets or arresting them and making them “disappear.” Dictators have found those tactics work very well.

    But in America, if you start shooting people, they’re likely to start shooting back. That’s “American exceptionalism.”

    So the governors, mayors, and other wannabe dictators post their edicts, tell people to obey, and they don’t. Now what? You depend on the army of social media squawkers to “tsk-tsk” and wag their fingers at the rebels. “Shame on you. Are you trying to kill your neighbor?” That may work with some people. It probably worked on a few citizens in 1776. Otherwise, not so much.

    If you’re concerned about getting sick, wear a mask, keep your distance, and stay at home as much as possible. Those who aren’t worried about falling ill won’t. That’s how it is now and how it’s going to be until this cursed pandemic is over.

    Long live the rebels.

As a friend on Facebook noted in a related context, Americans under 40 or so think relatively orderly, low-crime cities are a natural phenomenon. Those of us who came of age in the 70s and 80s know better. Unfortunately, a lot of young urbanites are about to learn how easy it is for a hip, “edgy” neighborhood to turn into a hellhole of crime and disorder.

I'm not sure when I read this--probably late '80s or early '90s, but it was an article from a bleeding heart liberal reporter that had decided to help gentrify a traditionally black neighborhood in whatever large city he lived in by moving there and renovating a house. He put up with some petty crime, including being mugged a couple of times, but finally gave up after a mugging where he was gut shot multiple times with a .22 handgun but was able to run and get help.
  • Heh! "Get Woke, Go ---"--Daily Time Waster. A series of Tweets from Chloe Angyal bragging about how the HuffPo Opinion site was succeeding in making its work force more POC and gender ambiguous, followed by news that the entire site was shut down and she was looking for work. So, if you have need of a writer with 10 years experience writing about gender politics and a PhD in romantic comedies (!?!), you might want to reach out to poor Chloe. Or maybe she can learn to code.
  • On a related note: "Useful idiot no longer useful"--Confessions of a Street Pharmacist. Passing on the report that Grandmaster J, leader of the "Not F*cking Around Coalition" (NFAC) has been arrested for interfering with and threatening federal law enforcement back in September. The author adds: "So it took them three months to figure this out? Of course it didn't. They needed him around to make headlines and stoke fear, and now they don't."
  • "Nick Gillespie on What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster"--Reason.com. This 2013 post is a review of Jonathan V. Last's book, What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster
    It's an interesting, extremely well-written book that starts out by rightly mocking Paul Ehrlich and other early '70s doomsayers for fretting over a "population bomb" that had already been effectively defused by the time they were predicting massive starvation around the globe. Which isn't to say that Last doesn't stint on what he considers to be the real apocalypse: a horrifically underpopulated planet.

    He's totally convincing on two points. First, fertility rates are declining and will likely continue to. Second, that there's very little that can be done to reverse that.
    The Ravn X fleet, with aircraft at 80 feet long and 60 feet wide, can deliver satellite payloads with precision accuracy every 180 minutes around the clock. Best of all, company officials say, it can be done safer than current space delivery systems because the crafts are unmanned.

    "Aevum is completely reimagining access to space," said Jay Skylus, founder and CEO of Aevum. "The current definition of rocket science doesn't work for us. With Aevum, everyone will be able to say, 'It is rocket science and I can do it.' Aevum is pushing logistics to the next generation with software and automation technologies."

    The Ravn X does not require a runway longer than one mile, allowing it to take off and return to remote areas lacking formal airports. The drones take off and land without human assistance.
    "Quantum computational advantage is like a threshold," Lu Chaoyang, professor of the University of Science and Technology of China, told China's state news agency Xinhua.

    "It means that, when a new quantum computer prototype's capacity surpasses that of the strongest traditional computer in handling a particular task, it proves that it will possibly make breakthroughs in multiple other areas," Chaoyang said.

    Last year, Google's quantum computer became the first to achieve quantum supremacy, performing calculations in a matter of minutes that scientists estimated would take a supercomputer 10,000 years to complete.

    Unlike Google's Sycamore computer, which used superconducting materials to manage qubits -- bits of quantum information -- the new Chinese computer, called Jiuzhang, is photon-based, using light to move and store quantum bits.

    To prove the computer's quantum supremacy, researchers used it to carry out a type of calculation called boson sampling. The researchers described their success in a new paper published this week in the journal Science.

    Gaussian boson sampling is a classical simulation algorithm that's difficult for classical computers to perform. Boson sampling calculates the distribution of outputs from a straight-line optical circuit featuring multiple inputs and outputs.

    Jiuzhang was able to perform the calculations by sending photons through a series of optical circuits guided by mirrors. Moving through the circuits, the photons encounter beam splitters, sending photons simultaneously down different paths.

    During their repeated trips through the circuitry, photons are split and merged -- interfering with one another as dictated by quantum mechanics.

    The photons spit out the other the end of the circuits provide a quantum calculation -- qubits that translate to the distribution of outputs.

    Jiuzhang completed the boson sampling calculations in just a few minutes. Scientists estimated the same calculations would take some of the world's fastest supercomputers more than half-a-billion years.

    The researchers responsible for Jiuzhang's design claim the quantum computer could be adapted to perform calculations useful to graph theory, machine learning and quantum chemistry.

While details are difficult to make out, the image appears to depict an inverted bell-shaped object, which is not readily identifiable given the photo's context. The object appears to possess ridges or other protrusions along its lateral edges, extending toward its base.

Research balloon? Nope.

Two defense officials we spoke with said pilots who encountered the object described that, unlike a balloon under similar conditions, the object was completely motionless and seemingly unaffected by ambient air currents.

No city in Turkey has suffered more pain from earthquakes over the centuries than the ancient metropolis of Antioch. In A.D. 115 the Emperor Trajan blamed an earthquake that destroyed the city on the presence of Christians and had the bishop, Ignatius, thrown to the lions. Walls fell again in A.D. 458. In 526 an earthquake killed 300,000 people, according to the historian Procopius. His figures are exaggerated, but other crushing earthquakes occurred the same year. Plague hit in 542, Persian armies in 573. Another earthquake in 588 closed a devastating century.

    ... The beam quality that came out of the fiber-laser, meaning the ability for that beam to be focusable, to provide a high-intensity spot to do things, like melt metal and drill holes, the beam quality was very high. So, all of a sudden, the industrial space really opened up and the development of high-power fiber-lasers really, really took off. 

    That was particularly interesting, except for the fact that the power out of a fiber-laser doesn't scale to a weapons class, right? It's one thing to cut metal that's centimeters away, it's another thing to take out a mortar at two kilometers. So, the innovation that changed the game in the last five years or so, Lockheed Martin was a real leader or the leader in this innovation, and the innovation involved bringing together the technologies from fiber-optic communications and the technologies of high-power lasers for industrial applications to figure out a way to scale fiber-lasers to weapons class power.

    The way that's done is, instead of just building a single laser at 50 kilowatts or 100 kilowatts or something like that, we are actually taking individual fiber-lasers and combining the outputs of the beams into a single high-power beam, and we do that using a technique we call Spectral Beam Combination... Fundamentally, what we did was we took something, if you're familiar with wavelength division multiplexing in telecommunication—how to break up the spectrum that's available to you into many different laser-lines and send all that light down a fiber to increase your communications bandwidth. So, all of a sudden, we took a large number of fiber-laser channels, all closely spaced in wavelength or in frequency, and then by reflecting those beams off an object. We could call it a grating, or you can think in your mind of it like a prism, the beams all combine into a single output beam. Patty always loves this analogy I use, which is Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon record cover.

The researchers found four factors that were pretty much always there with the insufferable losers:
  • Moral Elitism
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Need for Recognition
  • Unable to Stop Thinking About Their Problems
This wasn’t sometimes there – it was always there.  Imagine living a life where you were torn by these sorts of feelings on a consistent basis.  Certainly, I’ve written about it before – these traits are 100% the traits of . . . a Leftist.
  • "America Is Having a Moral Convulsion" by David Brooks, The Atlantic. Ignoring the obligatory attacks on Trump and white men, the article raises some good points and should act as a warning on where the country could easily go. Brooks begins:

    American history is driven by periodic moments of moral convulsion. The late Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington noticed that these convulsions seem to hit the United States every 60 years or so: the Revolutionary period of the 1760s and ’70s; the Jacksonian uprising of the 1820s and ’30s; the Progressive Era, which began in the 1890s; and the social-protest movements of the 1960s and early ’70s.

    These moments share certain features. People feel disgusted by the state of society. Trust in institutions plummets. Moral indignation is widespread. Contempt for established power is intense.

    A highly moralistic generation appears on the scene. It uses new modes of communication to seize control of the national conversation. Groups formerly outside of power rise up and take over the system. These are moments of agitation and excitement, frenzy and accusation, mobilization and passion.

    In 1981, Huntington predicted that the next moral convulsion would hit America around the second or third decade of the 21st century—that is, right about now. And, of course, he was correct. Our moment of moral convulsion began somewhere around the mid-2010s, with the rise of a range of outsider groups: the white nationalists who helped bring Donald Trump to power; the young socialists who upended the neoliberal consensus and brought us Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; activist students on campus; the Black Lives Matter movement, which rose to prominence after the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice. Systems lost legitimacy. The earthquake had begun.

Later, he continues, by referencing the destruction caused by the Boomer generation although he can't bring himself to point to specific moral or political errors in Boomer outlooks and philosophy:

    We can already glimpse pieces of the world after the current cataclysm. The most important changes are moral and cultural. The Baby Boomers grew up in the 1950s and ’60s, an era of family stability, widespread prosperity, and cultural cohesion. The mindset they embraced in the late ’60s and have embodied ever since was all about rebelling against authority, unshackling from institutions, and celebrating freedom, individualism, and liberation.

    The emerging generations today enjoy none of that sense of security. They grew up in a world in which institutions failed, financial systems collapsed, and families were fragile. Children can now expect to have a lower quality of life than their parents, the pandemic rages, climate change looms, and social media is vicious. Their worldview is predicated on threat, not safety. Thus the values of the Millennial and Gen Z generations that will dominate in the years ahead are the opposite of Boomer values: not liberation, but security; not freedom, but equality; not individualism, but the safety of the collective; not sink-or-swim meritocracy, but promotion on the basis of social justice. Once a generation forms its general viewpoint during its young adulthood, it generally tends to carry that mentality with it to the grave 60 years later. A new culture is dawning. The Age of Precarity is here.

    One question has haunted me while researching this essay: Are we living through a pivot or a decline? During past moral convulsions, Americans rose to the challenge. They built new cultures and institutions, initiated new reforms—and a renewed nation went on to its next stage of greatness. I’ve spent my career rebutting the idea that America is in decline, but the events of these past six years, and especially of 2020, have made clear that we live in a broken nation. The cancer of distrust has spread to every vital organ.

    Renewal is hard to imagine. Destruction is everywhere, and construction difficult to see. The problem goes beyond Donald Trump. The stench of national decline is in the air. A political, social, and moral order is dissolving. America will only remain whole if we can build a new order in its place.

I don't like the sound of that--"America will only remain whole if we can build a new order in its place"--because it sounds too much like what is being termed the Great Reset. In fact, later in his piece, he states: "The culture that is emerging, and which will dominate American life over the next decades, is a response to a prevailing sense of threat. This new culture values security over liberation, equality over freedom, the collective over the individual." But if he is arguing for a Leftist led future, it is in the latter part of his article that such an argument must collapse. Because of social trust. Brooks elaborates:

High-trust societies have what Fukuyama calls spontaneous sociability. People are able to organize more quickly, initiate action, and sacrifice for the common good. When you look at research on social trust, you find all sorts of virtuous feedback loops. Trust produces good outcomes, which then produce more trust. In high-trust societies, corruption is lower and entrepreneurship is catalyzed. Higher-trust nations have lower economic inequality, because people feel connected to each other and are willing to support a more generous welfare state. People in high-trust societies are more civically engaged. Nations that score high in social trust—like the Netherlands, Sweden, China, and Australia—have rapidly growing or developed economies. Nations with low social trust—like Brazil, Morocco, and Zimbabwe—have struggling economies. As the ethicist Sissela Bok once put it, “Whatever matters to human beings, trust is the atmosphere in which it thrives.”

And, as Brooks points out, America is becoming a low-trust society:

In America, interpersonal trust is in catastrophic decline. In 2014, according to the General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, only 30.3 percent of Americans agreed that “most people can be trusted,” the lowest number the survey has recorded since it started asking the question in 1972. Today, a majority of Americans say they don’t trust other people when they first meet them.

He continues:

Thus the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam argues that it’s a great mistake to separate the attitude (trust) from the behavior (morally right action). People become trusting when the world around them is trustworthy. When they are surrounded by people who live up to their commitments. When they experience their country as a fair place. As Vallier puts it, trust levels are a reflection of the moral condition of a nation at any given time. I’d add that high national trust is a collective moral achievement. High national distrust is a sign that people have earned the right to be suspicious. Trust isn’t a virtue—it’s a measure of other people’s virtue.

He contends, then, that the groups that have the lowest trust are the most marginalized. He starts off listing Blacks, pointing out that they have much lower trust of outside groups than other Blacks, but also includes the lower-middle class and the working poor, and, finally, young adults. Brooks argues that the reason for declining trust is because of a lack of financial, identity, social, and emotional security. He explains:

    First, financial insecurity: By the time the Baby Boomers hit a median age of 35, their generation owned 21 percent of the nation’s wealth. As of last year, Millennials—who will hit an average age of 35 in three years—owned just 3.2 percent of the nation’s wealth.

    Next, emotional insecurity: Americans today experience more instability than at any period in recent memory—fewer children growing up in married two-parent households, more single-parent households, more depression, and higher suicide rates.

    Then, identity insecurity. People today live in what the late sociologist Zygmunt Bauman called liquid modernity. All the traits that were once assigned to you by your community, you must now determine on your own: your identity, your morality, your gender, your vocation, your purpose, and the place of your belonging. Self-creation becomes a major anxiety-inducing act of young adulthood.

    Finally, social insecurity. In the age of social media our “sociometers”—the antennae we use to measure how other people are seeing us—are up and on high alert all the time. Am I liked? Am I affirmed? Why do I feel invisible? We see ourselves in how we think others see us. Their snarkiness turns into my self-doubt, their criticism into my shame, their obliviousness into my humiliation. Danger is ever present. “For many people, it is impossible to think without simultaneously thinking about what other people would think about what you’re thinking,” the educator Fredrik deBoer has written. “This is exhausting and deeply unsatisfying. As long as your self-conception is tied up in your perception of other people’s conception of you, you will never be free to occupy a personality with confidence; you’re always at the mercy of the next person’s dim opinion of you and your whole deal.”

    But how and why did this lack of trust arise? Is it a cyclical problem like the Pride Cycle or that old saying of "good times produce soft men, soft men produce hard times, hard times produce hard men, hard men produce good times..."? 

    Frankly, it is the result of liberal/leftist policies and trends during the 1960's and thereafter: the destruction of churches (particular Christianity) as sources of moral value; the denigration of patriotism; the destruction of the family; globalism and immigration. In addition, our civilization is old--its creativity has dried up and, absent a new frontier, will go into decline.

    One of the key findings from Robert Putnam's research--which didn't even merit a mention by Brooks--is that low and declining social trust is inversely proportional to diversity. That is, more ethnic diversity leads to lower social trust. Peter Turchin, in his research, has linked public immiseration with high immigration depressing wages and driving up living costs. Thus, just one factor--immigration policy--has been linked to financial and social insecurity. I would argue that the affects are even more widespread, for if it were not for stagnating wages among men beginning in the 1970s due to increasing immigration, fewer woman would be in the work force, and we would see more stable families.

    Globalism--or more specifically--the export of American jobs and manufacturing jobs to overseas competitors, similarly has reduced the supply of jobs (and, thereby, the value of labor) in the United States. It too, then, is a source of public immiseration and all the downstream problems it creates. 

    Brooks offers no real solutions. He regards it as a fait accompli that "[t]he culture that is emerging, and which will dominate American life over the next decades, is a response to a prevailing sense of threat. This new culture values security over liberation, equality over freedom, the collective over the individual." In other words, he sees the United States becoming socialist, which is not a solution but a death sentence. 

     He supposes that one way to build trust is for Americans to build (or rebuild) those post Civil War institutions that contributed to greater social trust. Organizations, he suggests, that "put tremendous emphasis on cultivating moral character and social duty—on honesty, reliability, vulnerability, and cooperativeness, and on shared values, rituals, and norms." I see three problems with this.

    First, if Brooks had read Turchin's work, he would have realized that the stability he longs for did not come about until after immigration was reduced--nearly shut off, in fact--allowing the vast body of immigrants newly arrived from Europe time to acclimate and become part of the American social fabric (to the extent they ever could). But immigration is a sacred cow to the elitists and the Leftists--nothing will be done about it.

    Second, half of the organizations listed by Brooks were fraternal type societies: a mixture of social club and charity. These are the very organizations that Putnam said were dying due to diversity. The other half are professional organizations that arose in response to the Progressive movement to create an elite ruling class based on science and reason--Plato's philosopher kings, so to speak. These organizations are controlled by the very elite that have brought us to ruin. And some small change to these organizations will be nothing more than sticking lipstick on a pig.

    Third, many if not most of the social good produced by these organizations is now under the control of the government. Sure, there are still private charities, but the majority of charity in the United States is extracted at gun point in the form of taxes, and spent on social welfare programs. Similarly, standards for professionals is now the purview of State boards. Civil rights organizations typically exist only to act as foils for government agencies that want to take action, but need someone to file a lawsuit to do so.

    Philipp Oehmke, writing for Der Spiegel offers a leftist critique of Brook's article in "Where Did America Go Wrong?" Like me, he places blame on Baby Boomers, but for different reasons. Unfortunately, he does not even attempt to outline remedies; just regaling his audience with tales of how America is descending into a slum of unemployed drug users where social trust has long been dead.  

4 comments:

  1. "Thus, just one factor--immigration policy--has been linked to financial and social insecurity. I would argue that the affects are even more widespread, for if it were not for stagnating wages among men beginning in the 1970s due to increasing immigration, fewer woman would be in the work force, and we would see more stable families."

    Yup. And who would be against stable families . . . hmmm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are in a time when good is called evil and evil is held up as good.

      Delete
  2. I just read the article referencing slings on rifles. I have a nylon sling on my AR15 and keep it folded up, secured by two thin rubber bands tied around the sling. I pick up the rifle from the gun safe and a quick yank on the sling frees it up for use when needed. I used to have the same problem when I got the rifle from the safe, seemed the darned sling managed to get tangled up in something, not a problem now though. Just a thought to pass on. I enjoy and appreciate your blog. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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