Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (12/16/2020)

Most of the video is about adjusting the shoulder holster harness and system, but starting at 9:14, it enters a discussion of a couple methods of drawing from a shoulder holster that gets your non-dominant hand out of the way for a safe draw. I have set the video to begin at that discussion. One of the techniques is to put your non-dominant hand behind your head when you draw, and the other is to put your non-dominant hand on the opposite shoulder. I like the second method for a couple reasons: (i) it pulls the holster over a bit more making it easier to reach the weapon, and (ii) I think it puts your off-hand and elbow in a better position to use them for defensive purposes.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

  • "All Human Traffickers Must Die, or The Backstory of THE REVENGERS Series" by Marcus Wynne. The Revengers series is a series of novels (or novellas) of a couple retired Marines that decide to make the world a better place by eliminating some of the bad guys. Each of the stories has focused on eliminating bad guys that are human traffickers or serial rapists. The most recent book (fourth in the series) is Macon. Although chronologically it follows the third book, it picks up some of the threads left at the end of the second book, Ariel. I've read all four books and enjoyed them. They are short and to the point, so not a long read, but the action is good and there are tips on surveillance and weapons throughout the books. So, in short, I recommend them. And Wynne is donating a portion of the proceeds from his Revengers series this month to the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), so buying his books will help out a good man with a good cause.

    In this article, Wynne explains his motivation for writing the books and how he obtained the background, based on his actual experience tracking down victims of human trafficking:

    A long time ago, when I was a young gunslinger that needed something to do between paying gigs, I worked with a private investigator who found missing and exploited children. The only way to maintain a legal concealed weapon permit, at that time, was to be employed by an agency licensed to provide armed protection and/or investigation services. This agency was staffed by retired Minneapolis PD cops, including a few former chiefs. They were glad to bring on a guy with an eclectic skill set and proven expertise in finding people who didn’t want to be found. Missing person cases are expensive. Families with a missing child often either ran out of money or didn’t have any to start with. The earliest version of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children had a program where they would assist with money for private investigation. Our agency offered our services pro bono.

    I’m good at hunting evil people.

    And there were no shortage of them involved in “missing children” back in the 80s. Just like today. Minneapolis was and remains one of the top cities for human trafficking, especially children. Why? There’s a demand for blond, fair skinned, blue eyed young children among the sick in the world. Looking for them was a harsh education in the dark underside of the world.  ...

* * * 

    We had bluffed our way into a “temporary employment agency” that fronted for prostitution with underage women and boys. I’d tracked the girl I was looking for by going through her list of likely references for a “straight job” as the word on the street  was that she was trying to get out of the life — but had been dragged back into it. When we met her there, we were surrounded by a large number of “security” people and “friends” who didn’t want to let her leave. We did. With her. In the car, my partner said, “That’s the last time I carry a .44 revolver to a fight.” I got him hooked up with a “wonder nine” — at the time a Beretta 92FS I had laying around after a .gov contract.

    All of it was worth it to see her reunited with her mother, who had been searching for her for over a year.

    That one ended well.

    Most did not.

Read the whole thing and watch the embedded videos at the link. 

  • I've noted many times before that America does not have a gun problem, it has a black violence problem. "Race and Crime: Who Attacks Whom?" by Jared Taylor at the American Renaissance is the latest look at the issue of crime and race using the most recent statistics from the National Crime Victimization Survey (which does not cover homicides because the victims are, after all, dead and can't respond to surveys):

    The single best source for interracial crime data is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). It is an annual survey of more than 200,000 Americans, carefully chosen to represent the whole country. Each person lists the violent crimes of which he was a victim during the previous six months, including the race, sex, and approximate age of the attacker. The crimes are rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. The findings are then converted into annual figures, most of which are for single-offender/single-victim crimes only. The NCVS does not ask about murder because the victims are dead. However, the number of murders is relatively small: 16,214 in 2018, or not even 0.3 percent of the 6,386,000 people calculated by the 2018 NCVS to have been victims of violent crime.

    NCVS findings are not biased by police or justice system “racism,” because they are a direct survey of crime victims. Many people think statistics on arrests, convictions, and imprisonment reflect “systemic bias” and therefore cannot be trusted, but these survey data reflect the actual experiences of crime victims, unfiltered by any contact with police or the courts. The NCVS is also the only national source for crimes that are not reported to the police. Victims tell the NCVS about all crimes, and the survey finds that Americans file reports on only about half of all violent crimes.

Some of the findings:

    • When whites committed violent crimes, they chose white victims nearly 90 percent of the time, and blacks only 2.36 percent of the time. However, violent criminals of every other race chose whites as victims more often than people of any other race, including their own. Violent black and Hispanic criminals choose whites almost half the time, and Asians choose white victims 62 percent of the time.
    • The 2018 NCVS found approximately 608,000 crimes of interracial violence involving blacks and whites. Of this number, blacks were the aggressor in 90 percent of cases, and whites in just 10 percent. The NCVS gives the percentages of the US population of each race (white: 62.3, black: 12, Hispanic: 17, Asian: 6.3, other: 2.4), so we can calculate the odds of any given black person attacking a white or vice versa: The odds of a black person attacking a white were 48 times greater than the odds of a white attacking a black. Blacks were more likely to attack people of every other race more often than they were attacked by them: 47 times more likely to attack an Asian than vice versa, and 3.6 times more likely to attack a Hispanic.
    • As expected, men were more violent than women, at a ratio of 4.5 to one. Women were reported as the attackers in just over 1 million incidents of criminal violence, while the figure for men was 4.2 million.
    • Both sexes attacked women more often than men. Women chose women as victims 61 percent of the time; men did so 51 percent of the time. A man was 5.8 times more likely to attack a woman than was a woman to attack a man.

But Taylor also warns readers not to misinterpret the data, explaining:

The rates of white victimization by people of other races are dramatic, but they should not be misinterpreted. They are high because whites rarely attack non-whites. If, for example, whites attacked only one Asian but Asians attacked 10 whites, there would be only 11 Asian/white crimes, but there would still be 10 times as much Asian-on-white as white-on-Asian violence.

Thus, in crimes against whites, the attacker will be white 69.2% of the time. In fact, with the exception of Asians, other races predominantly attack members of the same race (blacks attack Asians at a slightly higher rate than Asians attack Asians). For instance, 79.1% of attacks on blacks were committed by other blacks.

  • "Check Your Six"--Blue Collar Prepping. For those that have not developed the habit of looking around for potential dangers, the author suggests using an interval timer application on a cell phone to buzz or beep to remind you to look around. My concerns about this are two-fold: (i) that people will become too conditioned on the phone to remind them; and (ii) that even if they look around, they won't actually make the effort to see things.
  • "Fortifying Your Home: How To Guide for 2021 (Updated)" by Joel Jefferson, Survival Cache. Recommendations and tips on how to make your home less inviting to a criminal and, if that doesn't work, make it harder for a criminal to break in without alerting you. He looks at warning systems, besides alarms, such as security cameras, peep holes, motion activated lights, and perimeter warning units. He also looks at hardening the home from intrusion, such as better locks and lock plates, longer screws to secure hinges, external bars to augment locks, etc., and providing cover inside the home. It's a lengthy piece, but worth the read.
  • "Fundamentals of dry practice"--Tactical Professor. Video at the link.
  • "Skill Set: Never Say 'Never'" by Tiger McKee, Tactical Wire. From the article:
    There’s been a lot of things I said I’d never do, and ended up changing my mind. It’s strange that we often become more flexible as we age. But, it’s not only age – the software side of things – but also hardware, and the advances we’ve seen in gear. And so after saying, “I’d never …,” we sometimes end up doing that very thing.

    Maturity requires time to gain the required knowledge necessary for change. For example, although I grew shooting revolvers – also my first carry handgun - I couldn’t wait to get a semi-auto. “I’ll never go back,” I thought after getting a Browning Hi Power for high-school graduation. Next, I drank Col. Cooper’s Kool-Aid and began a twenty-five-year relationship with the 1911 - .45 ACP of course. “I’ll never go back,” right? Today I carry revolvers, except when I’m teaching. Then, it’s a Hi Power. (My hands don’t work exactly right these days, and it’s difficult to get the grip safety on the 1911 depressed.) After a lot of “never” I’m back where I began.

    It wasn’t too long ago that the common, collective stream of thought was that the .380 was never adequate for defensive use. Recent developments in both the platform and ammunition have changed a lot of thoughts on that. There are now many semi-autos that are ultra-reliable for the .380 cartridge. And, you can get them in compact to full size platforms. There have been great advances in ammo design, especially for the .380 caliber. A 90-grain bullet exiting the barrel at 1,000 FPS is not a bad round, especially when it’s a well-designed defensive bullet especially designed for defensive purposes.
... I believe that someone that goes through around five hours per week total training (and this excludes mental training) could spend around 8-12 months and be very, very close to reaching the Master/Grandmaster level.   Of course, if you are starting as a higher level shooter (like A class), there is no doubt in my mind we can reach that goal.

The rest of the article lays out a specific plan and rules to abide by. 

  • "300 Blackout Vs 5.56 NATO: There’s Really No Comparison" by Elwood Shelton, Gun Digest. Short take is that the author argues that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges because the two serve different roles: the .300 Blackout is great for short barreled weapons and/or silenced weapons, and the 5.56 is a better infantry round due to lower weight (and cost) and giving higher velocities and performance at range out of a longer barrel.
  • "Behind the Bullet: .416 Remington Magnum"--American Hunter. The history of this 1989 African big-game round. The author notes that it has gained a small following among Alaskan bear hunting guides as well.
  • "Which Type of Shotgun Load is Best for Home Defense?" by Jeff Johnston, Shooting Illustrated. The fundamental problem with this article--and many like it--are that the authors do not clearly articulate what criteria they believe to be important. But I have the impression from the subject of the article--which is penetration through wall--that the author believes that the ideal home defense round is one that doesn't or barely makes it through a standard interior wall. He is, after all, testing penetration into ballistic gel after penetrating two layers of sheet rock. The problem is that sheet rock is such a poor barrier to projectiles that anything that has difficulty penetrating sheet rock is also going to have insufficient penetration to be a reliable man-stopper. 
  • I want: "Review: Heckler & Koch SP5K-PDW" by Andy Massimilian, Shooting Illustrated. "... HK USA is now importing two pistols, the SP5 and SP5K-PDW that are patterned on the MP5 and MP5K submachine guns, respectively. This article will address the SP5K-PDW which is the shorter model designated by the letter 'K' that stands for 'kurz', which means short in German. PDW stands for Personal Defense Weapon." Also:
    The SP5K-PDW retains the operational features of HK’s legacy arms the most salient of which are a left side non-reciprocating charging handle and a bolt that does not hold rearward after the last round in the magazine is fired. The trigger pack, however, is HK’s current design which uses a roller trigger sear which makes the trigger stroke smoother  and ambidextrous safety levers that are better shaped and far more ergonomic than earlier iterations that are still used on the imported clones.

    The stamped steel receiver is made using the same materials and finish as the martial version of this firearm with a parkerized base finish followed by electrostatically applied satin black paint on the outside.

    The SP5K-PDW uses the trademark iron sights of HK legacy weapons which consist of a fully protected front post and an adjustable rear drum style sight. Because the SP5-PDW is a pistol with much longer eye relief from the rear sight than the shoulder stocked MP5 submachine gun, HK equipped it with the same sights as the MP5K. Thus, the rear sight offers four different width square notches arrayed on the edges of a rotating drum instead of four different sized apertures used on the MP5. The operator can rotate the drum to select small notches when finer sight alignment is needed, or wider notches for low light and rapid front sight acquisition. Windage and elevation adjustments to the rear sight are made using the supplied tool.
  • "410 Revolvers Suck – And I’ll Tell You Why"--Travis Pike, The Mag Life. He's looking at revolvers that can fire both .410 shotshells and .45 Colt ammo such as the Taurus Judge and S&W Governor. Basically, per Pike, the revolvers are too big and heavy relative to the power of the .410 or .45 Colt, buckshot patterns are inconsistent and too large at short distances, and the accuracy with .45 Colt is also sub-par.
  • "36 Survival Books to Add to Your Library"--Modern Survival Online. A list of survival books with a brief description of each. Most are "how-to" or reference, but he throws in a few fiction books to get you in the mood.
  • While I'm not big on the idea of bugging out on foot, this would work for a get-home-bag: "How to Test Your Bug out Bag on Your Next Hike"--The Survivalist Blog. The purpose of such tests is to make sure that you use your BOB and, therefore, replace or update expired items; and discover and address issues of inadequate or inappropriate gear. The author writes:
    You don’t need an elaborate plan to test out your BOB. The best way to test your BOB is to get out and use it. It’s that easy. Take a few hours and go for a walk. Mow the lawn. Even a few miles walking downtown is a test.

    Is it comfortable to wear for an extended time? Can you go 6 hours while on asphalt or concrete? Where are the spots that rub?

    If your planned route takes you through the woods, then spend a few mornings on the trail. Log the miles and see what’s comfortable and what’s not.

    My bugout friend and I used to hit the trail every Saturday at 6 am. We would do 3 hours and I’d be home when the rest of the family was just getting ready to start the day. It was a fantastic way to build in a routine without significantly affecting the rest of my life.

    I then highly recommend setting a reoccurring date, and NOT changing it. Hike every other Saturday morning. If you don’t change, it will eventually run into challenging conditions. Fog, cold, rain, snow, sleet, cats, and dogs.

    By working for the schedule and not letting it work for you, you will get exposed to the negative side of bugouts. Ever wonder if your bad is waterproof? Log 3 miles during a downpour. That will let you know.

    As you progress through your BOB testing, test the individual components in your pack. I drink a fair amount of tea. I never developed a liking for coffee, so tea is my thing. If I can make a cup of tea on the trail, then I’m a happy prepper.

    Making tea requires fire, water, and time. Fire is self-explanatory. For water, I need to find a source of it, and purify about 8 ounces of water. Sometimes this can be difficult. Unless I have to, I don’t use my canteen.

    This simple act exercises your BOB in several ways that will be critical on the trail. There are other tests, but let’s make them more interesting with a little help.

There is a lot more, so be sure to read the whole thing. 

    If you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, taking a daily dose of yeast can improve the body’s cognitive central nervous system function. This can lessen the symptoms of this disorder and promote healthier daily performance.

    In addition to helping fight CFS, yeast can also improve people who suffer from insulin sensitivity by regulating blood sugar levels. The chromium in yeast acts as a glycogen stabilizer, which can be beneficial for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes.

She goes on to provide recipes for creating potato yeast, fruit yeast, and sourdough bread starter. 

    The good thing about a wheel bearing is you’ll know when it goes bad, thanks to a few obvious symptoms. These are the tell-tale signs you need to inspect yours: 

Irregular Noises
    The most common symptom of bad wheel bearings is the weird noise they produce when something is off. You might hear humming, whirring, rumbling, grinding, or clicking, depending on how the wheel bearing is failing.

Uneven Tire Wear
    As the ball bearings wear down, they will start to loosen up within their housings and/or lose some of their effectiveness. Because of this, the tires could wear down unevenly. 

Loose Steering Feel
    No, the steering wheel itself won’t feel loose, but the steering feel might. If a bearing goes bad, it might create a bit of play within the wheel assembly. If this occurs, your steering might feel more vague than normal. 

Vibrations
    If a wheel bearing seal is broken and the insides become contaminated with hard particles, or it has simply worn down over time, it could cause a rougher-than-usual ride and vibrations.

Wheel Lock
    Most modern wheel bearings are sealed and for good reason. If any dirt, debris, or other contamination gets into the bearings, it could reduce lubrication and increase friction. If it gets too hot, or there’s too much debris in the bearings, they could start to lock up or grind. If the bearings lock up, the wheel could lock up.

Traction Control or ABS Malfunctioning
    Pretty much all new wheel hub assemblies come equipped with built-in sensors that inform the traction control, ABS, stability control, and other driver-assistance systems. If something within the wheel bearing isn’t functioning in proper form, it could cause the systems to malfunction, or throw and code and warning light.
  • "GSM Outdoors Acquires Cold Steel"--Shooting Illustrated. More often than not, these acquisitions and mergers end up not being very good for the consumer because the acquiring company generally focuses on cutting costs to quickly recover their investment--typically resulting in poorer quality control and concentrating on fewer products. I hope this instance proves the exception.
  • "If You Want to Understand America’s Gun Culture, Start by Listening"--The Truth About Guns. The article points out how the MSM and Left mistakenly conflate gun culture with hunting culture and assume that objections to gun control are based on "figurative" rather than real or practical objections.
  • "Biden Aide Promises 'Big, Bold' Executive Actions On Guns"--Bearing Arms. The article suggests that "a ban on the importation of semi-automatic rifles is one of the first moves that Biden could make, but Gottlieb says he’s also concerned that Biden could try to ban the importation of ammunition and ammunition components as well." According to The Independent, Biden has stated that firearms are a health crises and wants to "ban ... AR-style rifles and high-capacity magazines as well as implement[ ] universal background checks, clos[e] 'loopholes' allowing gun sales to at-risk individuals, and hold gun manufacturers accountable for their products."

He also has been pressured by gun control advocates such as Everytown for Gun Safety and the Human Rights Campaign to issue a series of executive orders related to gun control, including tracking so-called “ghost guns” manufactured by owners at home, and mandating gun dealers notify the FBI when they make a sale, among others.

    What exactly are Law Enforcement going to do? When this nightmare of the Civil War kicks off, how do they factor in? It really all depends on whether or not they obey unlawful orders – if they do, they are part of the problem. However, right now, what LEO is doing, by their presence, is acting as a brake on any action – the FBI, for example, terrifies Patriot groups simply by their track record of infiltration of agent provocateurs – so much so, that they are one of the reasons that Patriots cannot organize. Also, at this time, no one wants to begin shooting (to be first to do so), because that will be seen by local and federal LEOs as a threat, not Civil War, and it must be eliminated. (Simply because we are not there yet, and it is not a free-fire zone in the streets). Unless of course you are Antifa, and are quite happy to riot, or bomb Trump supporters homes…..whatever.

    You see the guys in the photo above, leading the women to slaughter? Holding them in place and pulling the trigger? That is the essential question. What will the LEOs do under socialist tyranny?

* * *

    The potential problem with law enforcement is that, they will do exactly what it says on the can, which is simply enforce the ‘law.’ Given what appears to be coming tyranny, the problem is that they will also enforce that. Or lose pay and pensions. Hopefully many would quit rather than obey unlawful orders, but you only have to look at State Troopers in Virginia, doing what Governor Northam wants them to do, to see that State Troopers are, basically, gonna Troop.

    Many conservatives have a deeply held positive view of Law Enforcement. But those conservatives are also the Deplorables, the same ones that the Socialists want to send to reeducation camps. So, how does that work then? I may be a little confused….? After all, who is it that people expect to come for our guns when Kamala orders it? Someone has to do it. Probably State Troopers, except for the ones that put conscience and the desire not to obey unlawful orders over pay and pensions. National Guard? Possibly, but I think many wouldn’t do it. Some would. It will be a shit show.

Read the whole thing.

    On the morning of May 18, 1927, a school board treasurer named Andrew Kehoe blew up a schoolhouse in Bath Township, Mich., killing 44 people (38 children and 6 adults). Another 58 people were injured.

    Eyewitnesses later said they could hear the explosion more than a mile away.

    The bombing would have been much worse if one timing device had not failed to trigger another 500 pounds of dynamite in the basement of another wing of the schoolhouse.

    Kehoe, who murdered his wife shortly before the bomb went off and also firebombed his farm, had lost an election for town clerk and was facing foreclosure. It’s believed he plotted the attack as a sort of revenge killing against the town.


Miscellany:

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled today that Governor Tony Evers and other state and municipal officers did not have the legal authority to expand the definition of “indefinitely confined” citizens to permit absentee voting without showing a state ID.

    The ruling appears to open the door for the Trump campaign to challenge any absentee ballot cast in Wisconsin that was outside the legally defined rules to receive them.  This judicial decision was reached at the same time Wisconsin legislators voted to affirm their electors. The sad irony is thick.
This was not a legitimate election, and there is a shocked and angry cohort of Americans, scores of millions strong, who will never accept the result. They will believe, instead, that the institutions that sustained this Republic for centuries have failed and abandoned them, that they are no longer governed by consent, and that they are now on their own — despised and rejected by the powerful factions who brought this about. 
    Meanwhile, Durham’s investigation dragged on, taking much longer than expected, putatively because of COVID.

    But was that so?

    Certainly the pandemic caused some inconvenience, but couldn’t grand juries be convened with social distancing and masks? So many other institutions found ways to muddle through.

    Some people, we are told, have actually been more productive working from home offices. Surely there was some way of making Zoom secure or other telecommunications as well for Durham’s purposes.

    Apparently not enough. The delay continued and continues to this day.

    And then the Hunter Biden affair broke into the headlines with the discovery of Hunter’s laptop and the so far uncontested testimony of Biden family business partner Tony Bobulinski, implicating Joe as the “big guy” in dealings with the communist Chinese.

    More news broke shortly thereafter that the FBI had had the laptop in its possession for over a year.

    This was followed by a leak a couple of months later, interestingly after Joe Biden had “won” the presidential election, that Hunter and James Biden (Joe’s brother) had been under investigation by the IRS and presumably the DOJ for tax evasion and money laundering for some time, much of this involving those same Chinese communists.

    William Barr had been mum throughout.
    The judge ruled that the report can be released, although certain exhibits, described as “code,” must be redacted and Benson’s office must have a chance to review the redacted document before it is publicly released.

    The report was released shortly afterward from Russell Ramsland Jr., a former Republican congressional candidate and the co-founder of Allied Security Operations Group, members of which were present for the forensic audit earlier this month. The security group also said that it visited Central Lake Township, Star Township, and Mancelona Township on Nov. 27 to examine Dominion tabulators and tabulator roles.

    We conclude that the Dominion Voting System is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results," Ramsland said. "The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors. The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail. This leads to voter or election fraud. Based on our study, we conclude that the Dominion Voting System should not be used in Michigan. We further conclude that the results of Antrim County should not have been certified."
    • More: "Forensics Report on Mich. County's Voting Machines Claims Dominion 'Intentionally and Purposefully Designed' for 'Fraud'"--PJ Media. A couple of points from the report:
      • "The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors. The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication.The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail.This leads to voteror election fraud. Based on our study, we conclude that The Dominion Voting System should not be used in Michigan. We further conclude that the results of Antrim County should not have been certified."
      • "It is critical to understand that the Dominion system classifies ballots into two categories, 1) normal ballots and 2) adjudicated ballots. Ballots sent to adjudication can be altered by administrators, and adjudication files can be moved between different Results Tally and Reporting (RTR) terminals with no audit trail of which administrator actually adjudicates (i.e. votes) the ballot batch. This demonstrated a significant and fatal error in security and election integrity because it provides no meaningful observation of the adjudication processor audit trail of which administrator actually adjudicated the ballots."
    Last night the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a rare Emergency Directive 21-01, in response to a KNOWN COMPROMISE involving SolarWinds Orion products.

    This was only the fifth Emergency Directive issued by CISA under the authorities granted by Congress in the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.

    CISA reported a breach of the SolarWinds Orion products.

    This Emergency Directive called on all federal civilian agencies to review their networks for indicators of compromise and disconnect or power down SolarWinds Orion products immediately.
Just days after the presidential election, a new investment firm called Pine Island Acquisition Corporation quietly began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, with the prospect of becoming a notable player in the $2 trillion defense and aerospace industry. The company’s greatest asset was not its relatively modest bankroll goal of $200 million, but its connections — deep ties to policy establishment figures shaping the incoming Biden administration.

As food becomes more difficult to acquire, people are becoming desperate. Hunger in the United States has reached a level that hasn’t been seen in decades. Much of the additional aid from the government expired months ago and our elected officials are too busy playing games to pass a bill that will actually assist the people who are suffering without lining the pockets of big businesses.

Also:

Shoplifting is up markedly since the pandemic began in the spring and at higher levels than in past economic downturns, according to interviews with more than a dozen retailers, security experts and police departments across the country. But what’s distinctive about this trend, experts say, is what’s being taken — more staples like bread, pasta and baby formula.

That is, "[i]tems being stolen the most frequently are diapers, formula, ground beef, rice, pasta, bread, milk, and winter clothing." She continues:

    The fact that retail theft has continued to increase so dramatically is an incredibly important warning sign for us to heed. While some people seem to be stealing out of a sense of entitlement, others are stealing in order to survive. No longer are people able to put together meals from food banks, government assistance, their jobs – they are stealing in order to feed their families.

    If you look at economic collapses, historically the thefts start small. You see the things we’re seeing now. A mom trying to feed her toddler. A broke young couple trying to replace the things they can no longer afford to buy. But don’t expect things to stay at the current level.

    Where do we go next? Well, hopefully, it won’t get this bad, but consider Venezuela – a country whose path to economic disaster we are parallelling at a rather unsettling level.

    Remember in Venezuela when people began attacking trucks carrying supplies? Or how hungry people have stolen cows and horses from farms? Or how they’ve raided the zoos in search of meat? Remember the videos and photos you’ve seen of hungry people looting – not for televisions and expensive sneakers – but in order to eat?

For all of modern medical history, Christakis writes in Apollo’s Arrow, vaccines and cures for infectious disease have typically arrived, if they arrive, only in the end stage of the disease, once most of the damage had already been done and the death rate had dramatically declined. For measles, for scarlet fever, for tuberculosis, for typhoid, the miracle drugs didn’t bring rampant disease to a sudden end — they shut the door for good on outbreaks that had largely died out already. This phenomenon is called the McKeown hypothesis — that medical interventions tend to play only a small role compared to public-health measures, socioeconomic advances, and the natural dynamics of the disease as it spreads through a population. The new coronavirus vaccines have arrived at what counts as warp speed, but not in time to prevent what CDC director Robert Redfield predicts will be “the most difficult time in the public-health history of this nation,” and do not necessarily represent a reversal of the McKeown hypothesis: The country may still reach herd immunity through natural disease spread, Christakis says, at roughly the same time as the rollout of vaccines is completed. ...
    In December last year, as patients started showing up at Wuhan hospitals with unexplained pneumonia symptoms, doctors noted many had worked at the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Chinese officials later ruled out the market as the place where the virus first infected humans, citing medical investigations of the facilities.

    But China has released sparse details about its studies of the market, which at the time employed more than 1,100 people at hundreds of food stalls over an area the size of about four soccer fields. Beside seafood and vegetables, it also sold varieties of wild animals.

    A World Health Organization (WHO) investigation that kicked off in October will now look again at the market to try and reconstruct the outbreak, as Beijing promotes a view that the virus could have originated outside China. Researchers say the mission will need access to information that has not been made public about what was found at the market.

    As the WHO embarks on its review, the South China Morning Post has obtained a never-before-published floor plan of the Huanan market used in those first investigations that provides a rare public glimpse into what took place.

* * *

    Scientists broadly agree the virus is likely to have come from a bat, before infecting humans via an intermediary animal and unleashing a pandemic that has so far claimed more than 1.6 million lives.

    This transmission path is believed to be the route taken by Covid-19’s sister disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which broke out in 2002. It was linked by scientists to a bat virus circulating in live civet cats sold at markets similar to Huanan, in Guangdong province in southern China.

    Wuhan’s market was linked to about two-thirds of the first 41 Covid-19 cases identified in the city, according to a study in The Lancet medical journal. As live animals such as bamboo rats, badgers and deer were sold in the market, it seemed a likely place for a pathogen to leap species. 

    But records published in the same article show that three of the first four Covid-19 patients had no evident ties to the market. This and a lack of genetic evidence linking the virus to animals in the market prompted a shift in focus to other potential transmission pathways.

    A major leak containing a register with the details of nearly two million CCP members has occurred – exposing members who are now working all over the world, while also lifting the lid on how the party operates under Xi Jinping, says Sharri Markson.

    Ms Markson said the leak is a register with the details of Communist Party members, including their names, party position, birthday, national ID number and ethnicity.

    “It is believed to be the first leak of its kind in the world,” the Sky News host said.

    “What's amazing about this database is not just that it exposes people who are members of the communist party, and who are now living and working all over the world, from Australia to the US to the UK,” Ms Markson said.

    “But it's amazing because it lifts the lid on how the party operates under President and Chairman Xi Jinping”.

    Ms Markson said the leak demonstrates party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies and even inside government agencies.

    “Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members - who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” she said.
    Academics on the membership list include some living and working in the UK. They include a research fellow in aerospace engineering at a leading university who also works for a private company.

    Aerospace engineering is designated by the British Government as among the seven most militarily sensitive university subjects.

    Students from countries that are not in the EU or the 'Five Eyes' network of Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are required to have an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

    During the application process, they are asked to declare any state-linked funding, although some security experts fear the vetting process is not stringent enough. The research fellow did not respond to a request for comment last night.

    The US security services have been increasingly concerned about the threat of Chinese espionage on campuses.

    In the nine months to September, 14 Chinese nationals were charged over alleged spying offences and the Trump administration last week changed its visa rules so members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families can stay or get travel documents for only a month.

    Last week, John Ratcliffe, the US Director of National Security, warned that China posed the 'greatest threat to democracy and freedom' since the Second World War and was striving to dominate 'the planet economically, militarily and technologically'.

    Australia revoked the visas of two professors from China in September amid suspicions they were involved in espionage. One of the men appears on the leaked membership list.
While several current and former intelligence and security officials and experts interviewed by Fox News said that it was impossible to put a number on just how many honey trap scenarios might be in motion at present, one former defense and intelligence operative noted that it could be well into the hundreds – if not thousands. Such spies are assumed to be at top universities, known to speak perfect English, and routinely use social media platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook to connect with their prey.
A list of “key domestic contacts” for a joint venture involving Jim and Hunter Biden and now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co. included former Vice President Joe Biden‘s current running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, among other prominent Democrats, Fox News has learned.An email exclusively obtained by Fox News, with the subject line “Phase one domestic contacts/ projects” and dated May 15, 2017, Biden’s brother, Jim Biden, shared a list of “key domestic contacts for phase one target projects.”The email is unrelated to the laptop or hard drive purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son.
    One of the more alarming suggestions from the organization’s proposal concerns accreditation for religious schools and universities, stating:

Language regarding accreditation of religious institutions of higher education in the Higher Education Opportunity Act could be interpreted to require accrediting bodies to accredit religious institutions that discriminate or do not meet science-based curricula standards.

The Department of Education should issue a regulation clarifying that this provision, which requires accreditation agencies to ‘respect the stated mission’ of religious institutions, does not require the accreditation of religious institutions that do not meet neutral accreditation standards including nondiscrimination policies and scientific curriculum requirements.

    From the sound of it, the Human Rights Campaign essentially is calling for faith-based education—from K-12 schools to colleges and universities—to adopt the campaign’s positions on gender identity, same-sex marriage, transgender transitioning, and more, or fail to be accredited.

Like all western NGOs, green groups are only allowed to operate in China so long as they bite their tongues and toe the party line. But Beijing is also able to influence their behaviour through funding bodies like Energy Foundation China, a US-based body that distributes money from American billionaire foundations.

    Many social commentators have argued that an emerging "victimhood culture" incentivizes people to see themselves as weak, traumatized, and aggrieved. In higher education, this has been associated with increased demands for specific accommodations like trigger warnings (which don't work) and the policing of microaggressions (which is ill-conceived).

    But what if this is not merely a trend but an entire personality type? A new paper in the scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences posits a Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood (TIV), an archetype defined by several truly toxic traits: a pathological need for recognition, a difficulty empathizing with others, feelings of moral superiority, and, importantly, a thirst for vengeance.
    Hundreds of years ago, the Aral Sea and its major rivers were the centre of advanced river civilisations that used floodwater irrigation to farm. 
 
    The region's decline is often attributed to the devastating invasion by the Mongol Empire in the early 13th century, led by the ruthless and legendary Khan.  

    However, the new research into the long-term river dynamics and ancient irrigation networks shows that a changing climate and dryer conditions was the real cause. 

    The experts reconstructed the effects of climate change on floodwater farming in the region, partly using radiometric dating of irrigation canals.

    They found decreasing river flow – caused by drier conditions – was 'equally if not more' important for the abandonment of these previously flourishing civilisations.
  • It's sad that liberals and Leftists are so stuck in the past that they can't see the evidence beneath their noses: "The End of the World as We Know It?" by Glenn T. Stanton, Quillette. An excerpt:
    How is the world going to end? Polls consistently show that most believe the cause will be environmental. “Climate anxiety” has reached such a fevered pitch among young people across the globe that the Lancet recently issued a special “call to action” to help with the problem. Clinicians have even created “climate anxiety scales” to measure the runaway angst spreading through our children, and the rest of us.

    But what if the best, emerging science is actually telling us quite firmly that such fears are not only deeply misplaced, but that the most realistic cause of our collective human demise is likely the precise opposite of what most assume? This is the conclusion of a very interesting body of highly sophisticated and inter-disciplinary research. The greatest threat to humanity’s future is certainly not too many people consuming too many limited natural resources, but rather too few people giving birth to the new humans who will continue the creative work of making the world a better, more hospitable place through technological innovation. Data released this summer indicates the beginning of the end of humanity can be glimpsed from where we now stand. That end is a dramatic population bust that will nosedive toward an empty planet. New research places the beginning of that turn at about 30 years from today.

    This means that Thomas Robert Malthus, and his many influential disciples, had it precisely wrong. More people are not only not the problem, but a growing population is the very answer to a more humane future in which more people are living better, healthier, longer lives than they ever have in our race’s tumultuously dynamic history.

We are not killing the planet

    Pop voices like those of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg and countless Hollywood celebrities have warned that unless drastic action is taken at once, we face irrevocable global catastrophe. The Climate Clock in Manhattan’s Union Square pegs the start of the Earth’s deadline at a little more than seven years from today. But this is not science. The most sophisticated examination considering the Earth’s eco-deadline was just published in August in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Drawing upon 36 meta-analyses, involving more than 4,600 individual studies spanning the last 45 years, nine ecologists, working from universities in Germany, France, Ireland, and Finland, explain that the empirical data simply does not permit the determination of any kind of environmental dooms date, or “thresholds” as scientists call them.

    These scholars state frankly: “We lack systematic quantitative evidence as to whether empirical data allow definition of such thresholds” and “our results thus question the pervasive presence of threshold concepts” found in environmental politics and policy today. They explain that natural bio-systems are so dynamic—ever evolving and adapting over the long-term—that determining longevity timeframes is impossible. Talk of a ticking eco-clock is simply dogma. Two major books published in 2020 serve as carefully researched and copiously documented critiques of environmental scaremongering. Both are written by pedigreed progressive environmentalists concerned about the irrationally wild rhetoric of late.

    The first is Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All  by Michael Shellenberger, who TIME magazine has lauded as a “hero of the environment.” Shellenberger explains that not only is the world not going to end due to climate catastrophe, but in very important ways, the environment is getting markedly better and healthier. He adds that technology, commerce, and industry are doing more to fix the Earth’s problems than Greenpeace and other activists. As an environmentalist, he is strongly pro-people and pro-technology, explaining counter-intuitively that the scientific “evidence is overwhelming that our high-energy civilization is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilization that climate alarmists would return us to.” He is right.

And more about the birth dearth:

    Using a more sophisticated analysis than the United Nations and other leading global think tanks have employed to date reveals the world’s population shortfall will be markedly more dramatic, and sooner, than anyone anticipated. The BBC described it as a “jaw dropping global crash.” And none of these demographers see this as a good thing. Quite the opposite. No fewer than 23 leading nations—including Japan, Spain, South Korea, and Italy—will see their population cut in half by 2100. China’s will drop by a stunning 48 percent, knocking it out of contention as the world’s economic super-power. This precipitous decline will not be caused by disease, famine, or any kind of natural disaster. The missing population will simply never have been born. Their would-be parents are simply forgetting to have them.

    Imagine any of these countries getting a military intelligence report that a foreign enemy was set to reduce their population by more than half over the next 60 years. But in this case, the dramatic act of war is self-inflicted by each country’s growing cohort of non-parents. Another 34 countries will see dramatic population declines by 25 to 50 percent by 2100. Beyond this, the projected fertility rates in 183 of 195 countries will not be high enough to maintain current populations by the century’s end. That is called negative population growth and once it starts, it probably won’t stop. These scholars predict that sub-Saharan and North Africa, as well as the Middle East, will be the only super regions fertile enough to maintain their populations without dramatic immigration policies.

Read the whole thing. And I would note that the demographic data out of the Middle-East isn't all that rosy either. Many Islamic countries are seeing drops in population as women become more educated and have more economic freedom; the only Middle-Eastern country likely to see a boom is Israel because of the large families among the conservative Jewish believers. Also, the boom-to-bust cycle is actually faster now than in the past. The decline in births occurred over several generations in the industrialized world, but it is taking only a couple generations for poorer countries to similarly fall. So, while Africa currently has the highest fecundity rates, that could quickly change. 



  • "Gut Check"--The Burning Platform. An excerpt:
    What do I owe to my country?  Its central government is thoroughly and irredeemably corrupt. It is bankrupt both fiscally and morally. As of this writing, its judiciary has shown itself incapable of defending the Republic against the depredations of leftist rabble. The tentacles of its bureaucracy reach into the lives and wallets of the productive class “eating out the substance of the people” exactly as Jefferson warned.  Yet still, with the stench of corruption and theft pervading the country, this government  assumes my loyalty.

    What, pray tell, has it done to deserve it? Mobs of the indoctrinated expect that we should all just “get over it” and “come together to heal” as if the gangrenous clot of necrotic tissue that is the political culture of this nation will ever heal.  Our rulers, our media, and half our “countrymen” piss down our backs and still insist it’s raining. The fealty of helots is what the Lords of Washington expect. They will not get it from me.

    In “The Storm Before the Calm,” I wrote of two crises coming to a head in the 2020s: a socio-economic crisis and an institutional crisis. The latter has hit us like a hurricane.

    There is a distrust of American institutions that crosses ideological lines. A quarter of voters, including half of Republican voters, believe the election was stolen from Donald Trump. In 2016, there was a widespread belief that Russian meddling helped Trump win the election. Other parts of the theory held that Trump had made a deal with the Russians or was being blackmailed by them. This seems to derive from claims by the losers and so was dismissed by the other side. But they argue the same thing: that democratic institutions are corrupt and are not to be trusted.

    * * *

    This is what an institutional crisis looks like. The most extreme claims of corruption become readily embraced by one faction and condemned by another. The belief that the presidency is corrupt becomes the framework of political life.

    This goes beyond the political. I have written about the crisis of expertise, of experts who know their own field brilliantly but cannot comprehend the consequences of their actions beyond that field. The American government after World War II was built on the sanctity of expertise. That principle has since come under challenge in many areas, where the myopia of the experts undermined its depth.

    The COVID-19 pandemic drove the point home. There were those who invoked the authority of medical experts as paramount. There were those who argued that, absent a cure, the solution the experts submitted – masks and social distancing – was only marginally effective and ignored the devastating economic and social consequences of the solution. There was no clear institutional authority that could strike a reasonable balance.

    The institutional crisis inevitably generated a political one. The political system split between those who accepted the rigors of the medical solution and those who were unwilling to pay the price for the medical solution. One faction saw the threat of the virus as cataclysmic. Others saw the short-term cure as worse than the disease. The first side demonized the second, the second began to see a deliberate assault by federal institutions on individual liberty. Politicians naturally jumped on one side or the other, thereby intensifying the mutual hostility between factions, and made this an overriding political issue.

    The two theorists, Larry Silverberg and Jeffrey Eischen, suggest that fragments of energy, rather than waves or particles, may be the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

    The bedrock of their theory is the foundational idea that energy is always flowing through space and time. The authors suggest thinking of energy as lines that enter and exit a region of space, never crossing each other, and with no beginning or end point.

2 comments:

  1. I think of Space and Time as a matrix.

    Where is Neo?

    Oh, wait, they wrote that book nearly 2,000 years ago . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love stories like this because the Left is always screaming that the science is settled about global warming and many other things, but the reality is that science is never settled.

      Delete

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