Friday, April 30, 2021

And Now For Something Completely Different: The Sonora Aero Club

 

Source: "Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club" by John Foster, Design Observer

I don't just read about firearms, prepping, or politics. I recently came across an article describing a secret society of aeronautical pioneers that supposedly was active in California in the mid-1800s. The group called itself the Sonora Aero Club. It interested me enough that dug a little deeper.

    The existence of the club only came to light after several folios authored by Charles Dellschau (d. 1923) describing and illustrating the exploits of the group were discovered following a house fire in the 1960s and which came to the attention of an art student in 1969. The folios were extensively illustrated, and you can view a number of the pages here.  Most of the illustrations seem to show lighter-than-air craft of various configurations.

    There are various gases that can be used for such craft, but the best and safest--helium--had not been discovered when the group was active. The gas used by the club is not known, only being described by Dellschau as "lifting fluid". Apparently, the secret of producing this fluid or gas was only known to one member of the group, Peter Mennis, who died in the 1860's without passing on his secret, after which the group slowly withered away. But based on the description of the substance and the mechanisms employed by the members of the group, it is believed that Mennis had discovered a method of mixing ammonium chloride and sodium hydroxide in water to produce ammonia gas on the fly, as it were. I found it interesting in reading the article that the manner in which a couple members of the group died could be attributed to either the heat produced by the reaction (one member died when his contraption caught fire) or the effects of long term exposure to the gas (Mennis's death). 

    Of course, all of this presumes that the group actually existed, which has been contested by some historians. Much of the doubt is driven by a lack of evidence placing the named members in California at the relevant time period as well as other incongruities. Others, however, believe that the group, or something like it, could have been responsible for a series of airship sightings in the late 1800s. Parts of the folios are written in a code that has not been broken, so perhaps more information that could establish the veracity of Dellschau's account might come to light if the codes are ever cracked.

POTD: Earth and the Lunar Lander

 


This is a famous photo of an Apollo-era lunar module descending to the surface of the moon with the earth in the background taken by Michael Collins. I'm looking forward to our pending return. Source: "90 excellent years"--Daily Timewaster

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Docent's Memo (4/28/2021)

VIDEO: "Garand Gear Ported Gas Plug: Fact or Fiction"--hrfunk (11 min.). This seemed to be appropriate in light of the CMP's warning about using stout loads in surplus rifles which it emailed out recently. Tested is a ported gas plug from Garand Gear which reduced gas pressures enough to cause functioning problems with standard M1 ammo, but not enough to make Funk believe that it would prevent damage to the operating rod when using standard .30-06 hunting loads.

Bonus VIDEO: "Is 30-06 Really as Versatile as They Claim?"--Ron Spomer Outdoors (19 min.)
Short answer: Yes.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

[A] study conducted by a team of scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara has found that a mechanism exists within the human brain that enables people to determine with uncanny accuracy the fighting ability of men around them by honing in on their upper body strength. What's more, that assessment can be made even when everything but the men's faces are obscured from view.

Also:

The researchers suggest that the ability to judge physical strength and fighting ability serves different, but equally important, purposes for men and women. In men, the mechanism is a barometer for measuring potential threats and determining how aggressive or submissive they should be when facing a possible enemy. For women, the mechanism helps identify males who can adequately protect them and their children. Men have a lot more experience with rough and tumble play and direct experience with fighting, yet women are just as good at assessing these variables. The authors also point out that neither men nor women fare as well in assessing women's strength. This is entirely expected because, ancestrally, inflicting violence was mostly the province of men. 

  • "Shotguns for Home Protection" by Greg Ellifritz, Active Response Training. Greg notes that, based on the classes his students are asking for, the interest in shotguns as a defensive weapon is increasing and he welcomes it. In his article, he discusses the effectiveness of the shotgun versus other weapons for home defense. He sums it up this way:
I like the AR-15 rifle/carbine better than most.  It’s a great weapon, but it isn’t my choice for home defense.  Even though I have eight different AR-15 pattern carbines (and a whole bunch of AKs and other rifles), my home defense guns are Benelli and Remington shotguns.  They make it easy to hit bad guys and drop them quickly when hit.  Isn’t that what most people are looking for in a defensive weapon?
  • "Practical Guide to Buying Your First AR-15"--Everyday Marksman. Writes the author: "The question I want you to ask yourself before you go down this path is simple: Why do you want an AR-15? I don’t mean that in the judgmental way a disbelieving friend or family member might say it. Rather, I want you to think about the role you want it to fill." The author takes you through a process of determining what type of rifle you need--defensive, hunting, competition, long range--and practical advice on what features to look for. 
  • "Dud Lessons"--The Revolver Guy. The author relates his experience with a dud round during a recent pistol competition--turned out that the primer had been pressed in upside down. He goes on to observe that during ammo scares, like now, with manufacturers running production lines around the clock, quality control tends to decline. (I can attest to that--out of some .22 ammo I purchased during the post-Sandy Hook period, about half in the box were duds). Accordingly, he advises that you carefully inspect any ammo you intend on using for defensive purposes when you load the firearm. This also takes him into a discussion of pluses and minuses to the revolver versus the auto loader.
  • "The Tactical Chest Rig: What You Need, and What You Don’t"--Everyday Marksman. The author gives a brief history of the chest rig before going into the pros and cons, and finishing up with what he uses and his recommendations. The basic takeaway is that for the majority of us, less is more. We don't need the load that a soldier or Marine is going to take when heading into a battle.
  • "Ask Josh: Why Are The Rifle Barrels So Short?" by Josh Wayner, The Truth About Guns. The author observers that "there is nothing that says a 20-24” barrel is 'better' than a 16” in terms of accuracy. I feel like I write this all the time, and this is another instance: it’s not what cartridge and what barrel length you use it’s what bullet at what speed." Wayner further points out that there is generally little difference in speed between a 24-inch and 16-inch barrel (see also "223 Remington/ 5.56mm NATO barrel length and velocity: 26 inches to 6 inches") and that a short barrel makes a rifle more handy in dense undergrowth or if you are mounting a sound suppressor. There are other trade-offs, though, which Wayner does not discuss, such as increased muzzle blast and recoil from many rifle cartridges, e.g., the standard .303 Enfield rifle versus the shortened Jungle Carbine.
  • "MRAD vs MOA"--Ammo To Go. An excerpt:
    The MRAD scopes are built on a 10-base system. This system was originally developed for artillery purposes in the late 1800’s, and it offers a precision system that is often more useful and understandable to many shooters.

    MRAD is short for milliradian, which is usually the preferred method for military and law enforcement purposes. This system is gaining popularity in the civilian market.

    This system is based on a radian, a unit of angular measurement that is equal to roughly 57.3 degrees. A milliradian is one thousandth of a radian. (There are 1,000 milliradians in a radian.) Because of it’s background in artillery and not circular geometry, this system does not come out to make a perfect circle; there are, however, roughly 6283 milliradians in a full circle.

    MRAD scopes mostly use a one-tenth system. This means that for each click of the turret, you’re adjusting the sights one-tenth of a milliradian. This represents a smaller unit of angular adjustment than one-fourth of a minute (used in the MOA system.) So, MRAD scopes are usually more precise and you can adjust them in smaller increments.
  • "Homemade Booby Traps: Enter At Your Own Risk"--Skilled Survival. This article discusses a couple alarm type systems (a trip wire/air horn system, and an alarm that activates when a door is forced open), several different types of injurious and/or lethal booby traps, and ways to strengthen doors and windows. I would remind readers that you cannot legally do something with a booby trap that you wouldn't be able to do in person, which pretty much means that lethal and injurious booby traps are illegal and will result in criminal charges and civil liability if someone is injured or killed. Save these for war.
  • "I Survived an Economic Collapse" (Part 1) (Part 2) by Siempre Listo, Survival Blog. The author describes his experiences living through a major (50%) currency devaluation in Mexico in 1982, including lessons learned. Of course, the elites did just fine because they were warned before hand what was going to happen, and go their money out of Mexico, but everyone else suffered bank runs, the banks changing rules, a jump in crime rates, etc. The author's advice:
Buy land, buy non-perishable food, buy gold and/or silver, buy anything but keeping your money locked up in a bank or investment house where the future rules are bound to be broken, and you end up paying for it. When it comes to the government, banks and other institutions, trust no one! Take care of yourself and your family now, instead of kicking yourself later on for not taking action sooner!
    Martial law is simply speaking a military assumption of control over typically civilian functions of law enforcement and government. Under martial law, military rule and law will typically apply to civilians, and so will military legal proceedings.

    The reasons that martial law may be declared vary, but it simply means that the military is now formally in charge. Perhaps the most important change in legal proceedings for U.S. citizens will be the suspension of habeas corpus and subjection to military courts martial instead of the civil court system we all know and (ostensibly) enjoy, as well as suspension of civil liberties for the duration.

The rest of the article discusses what life will be like under martial law, including curfews or other restrictions on movement, restrictions on assembly or speech, and similar. Of course, how normal life will be will depend on why martial law was declared and how much the civilian government still operates. For instance, after the invasion of Iraq, the coalition forces disbanded the Iraqi military and police because they were dominated by Baathists. The result was an almost complete lack of law enforcement with, as you would expect, a concomitant increase in crime. Other government functions such as provision of utilities also suffered.   

    Any nuclear weapon detonated in outer space, 30 kilometers or higher, will generate a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) damaging all kinds of electronics, blacking-out electric grids and collapsing other life-sustaining critical infrastructures.  No blast, thermal, fallout or effects other than HEMP are experienced in the atmosphere and on the ground.

    Russian military doctrine, because HEMP attacks electronics, categorizes nuclear HEMP attack as a dimension of Information Warfare, Electronic Warfare and Cyber Warfare, which are modes of warfare operating within the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Russia has “Super-EMP” weapons specialized for HEMP attack that potentially generate 100,000 volts/meter or higher, greatly exceeding the U.S. military hardening standard (50,000 volts/meter).

    As a result of its HEMP nuclear tests, the Soviet Union, and today Russia, probably knows a lot more about HEMP effects than the United States.
  • "EMP or Power Outage? How to Tell the Difference"--Urban Survival Site. The author shares 5 things to do to determine whether you have suffered a mere power outage or an EMP. Obviously, you will want to check for common causes of a power outage: checking your circuit breaker box. He also suggests listening for explosions (loud bangs or pops): a power outage will generally not involve multiple transformers blowing, but an EMP will probably destroy many at the same time. Where I live, the power company has a web page and telephone line you can visit or call to that will give information about outages. I would expect in an EMP that none of this will be available. The author suggests checking your electronics or trying to start your car as a regular power outage would not effect those items, but an EMP very well might. The author continues:
    If after going through the above checklist you determine that an EMP is to blame for the power outage, you’ll need to act fast. A major EMP will throw the country into chaos in a matter of hours.
 
    Within a matter of days, almost all of the available food in the country will have been raided, and panic due to the likelihood of mass starvation will ensue. Here is a list of actions you must take after an EMP attack.
 
    The widespread devastation that an EMP strike would cause cannot be understated. It has been estimated that without electricity, up to 90% of the US population would be dead within a year.
    The notion is horrendous to contemplate. 

    A nuclear torpedo drone creeps along the ocean floor, slipping under coastal missile defences and detonating with catastrophic effect close to New York.

    A vast wall of water rises from the sea, tearing through the city, obliterating all in its wake and leaving the area flooded with toxic radioactivity.

    When he unveiled plans for his latest military nightmare a few years ago, everyone thought Vladimir Putin was bluffing. 

    Capable of devastating a huge stretch of coastline with a multi-megaton warhead, the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo would set off a chain of deadly radioactive tsunamis that would smash into towns and cities leaving them uninhabitable for decades.

    This 'doomsday nuke' or 'apocalypse torpedo' seemed just the sort of super weapon that the sabre-rattling Russian leader would dream up to scare the wits out of opponents and bend them to his will. 

    At the time, U.S. officials and defence experts dismissed it as fantasy.

    But now the grim truth has emerged from the melting Arctic ice: Russia really is developing the Poseidon, sending a chill through the West. 

    The article notes that the Russians have adapted 3 submarines to carry the weapon, describes in the article as "More than 6ft in diameter and 65ft long, the remotely-controlled weapon is 30 times the size of a standard heavy torpedo and estimated to weigh 100 tons" and being both nuclear armed and nuclear powered. The weapon was originally intended to carry a 100 megaton warhead, but is now armed with only a 2 megaton warhead. 

    The article mentions that the U.S. had looked into such weapons during the Cold War, but determined that much of the energy would be dissipated when a wave struck the continental shelf. However, the reality is that the U.S. had started looking at tsunamis created by explosions in World War II (see article, "Tsunami Bomb"). I also looked into early research on the effect of underwater nuclear explosions, and a modest sized underwater nuclear blast tested in the Pacific was able to inundate the nearby atoll with 10-foot waves. 

    As I read the articles on this, it appears to me that the weapon is designed to be launched and stealthily approach a coast from perhaps as far as thousands of miles away, then increase its speed to its maximum speed of 80 to 120 mph as a last dash into shallow water before detonating. Depending on the depth of the detonation, the result could produce a wave, produce a giant plume of radioactive water, or both. 

    Launched by a submarine, it would create "wide areas of radioactive contamination", the document says.

    The "oceanic multi-purpose Status-6 system" is designed to "destroy important economic installations of the enemy in coastal areas and cause guaranteed devastating damage to the country's territory by creating wide areas of radioactive contamination, rendering them unusable for military, economic or other activity for a long time", the document says.

Also:

    According to state-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the destructive power attributed to the new torpedo's warhead would fit the description of a cobalt bomb.

    That would be a type of thermonuclear warhead with a layer of cobalt-59, which on detonation would be transmuted into highly radioactive cobalt-60 with a half-life longer than five years.

    Such a weapon would guarantee "that everything living will be killed", the paper said - there would not even be any survivors in bunkers.

    A cobalt bomb has never been tested because of the devastating radiation it would unleash.

    "But it can be considered as a means of deterrence - like the Perimetr system, which is on combat readiness, which guarantees retaliation with all of Russia's nuclear forces even if command posts and the country's leadership have been annihilated".

VIDEO: "Dear Earth, It Has Begun!"--Lion of Judah (13 min.)
How society increasingly worships celebrities and the implication this has for worshipping the Beast in the Last Days.

The Pseudo-Religions of the Left:

"Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice. For being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that — call out for your mom, 'I can't breathe,'" Pelosi said. Floyd's name "will always be synonymous with justice," she said.

The group receives more than $3 million a year directly from the city, along with getting funding from philanthropies. It gave out $4.3 million in grants to 37 arts and culture organizations last year, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The nonprofit group has an endowment of nearly $40 million.
    Critical race theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s and built on the intellectual framework of identity-based Marxism. Relegated for many years to universities and obscure academic journals, it has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions over the past decade. It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human-resources departments, in the form of diversity-training programs, human-resources modules, public-policy frameworks, and school curricula.

    Its supporters deploy a series of euphemisms to describe critical race theory, including “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Critical race theorists, masters of language construction, realize that “neo-Marxism” would be a hard sell. Equity, on the other hand, sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with the American principle of equality. But the distinction is vast and important. Indeed, critical race theorists explicitly reject equality—the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. To them, equality represents “mere nondiscrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.

    In contrast to equality, equity as defined and promoted by critical race theorists is little more than reformulated Marxism. In the name of equity, UCLA law professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth, and redistributing them along racial lines. Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others deemed insufficiently “antiracist.”

    One practical result of the creation of such a department would be the overthrow of capitalism, since, according to Kendi, “In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” In other words, identity is the means; Marxism is the end.

    An equity-based form of government would mean the end not only of private property but also of individual rights, equality under the law, federalism, and freedom of speech. These would be replaced by race-based redistribution of wealth, group-based rights, active discrimination, and omnipotent bureaucratic authority. Historically, the accusation of “anti-Americanism” has been overused. But in this case, it’s not a matter of interpretation: critical race theory prescribes a revolutionary program that would overturn the principles of the Declaration and destroy the remaining structure of the Constitution.

I question whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was ever intended to buttress equality. But even if it was, it's interpretation by government agencies and courts, as well as subsequent amendments, has resulted in it being used, instead, to force equity by, for example, limiting the use of ability or proficiency tests designed to make sure hiring is based on merit, pushing affirmative action programs that favor minorities over whites, creating liability even if racial animus played only a minor role in whatever action is being complained about, and increasingly pushing liability onto companies for acts of employees occurring outside the workplace. 

One of the most astute observers of contemporary politics, [Christopher] Caldwell argues that the United States now has two constitutions. The first is the one on the books. The second arose in the 1960s and replaced the old liberties with new, incompatible ones based on group identities. “Much of what we have called ‘polarization’ or ‘incivility’ in recent years is something more grave,” he writes. “[I]t is the disagreement over which of the two constitutions shall prevail.” More bracing still, he puts the blame for this crisis on the most sacred totem in American politics: our civil rights legislation.
    ... In 2004 Daedone founded a group called OneTaste, disseminating (it is hard to go far in this tale without stumbling inadvertently across a double entendre) the practice of what she called orgasmic meditation, or OM.

    At its peak, OneTaste was reported to be making $12 million a year; it had centres in nine cities, including New York, San Francisco and London, and was endorsed by no less a personage than the high priestess of the vagina, Gwyneth Paltrow.

    But the organisation has now shut down following accusations by former members of the group, with the FBI reportedly investigating allegations of sex-trafficking, prostitution and violation of labour laws.

    Those of a delicate disposition may choose to turn away at this point. For this is a story of idealism and desire, of Californian sex communes and three-hour orgasms, of the search for Eden and the worms in the apple of power and money.

    It is also very, very bizarre.

    I believe that we live in a post-Christian and increasingly anti-Christian society and culture, one that is rapidly making it harder for faithful small-o orthodox Christians (that is to say, Christians who do not agree with the party line on sexual issues) to exist meaningfully in the public square. Nobody is going to cancel a Christian for his or her traditional beliefs and practices regarding luxury, avarice, gluttony, or any of the other so-called “deadly sins”. But resist the world’s view on lust, and you find yourself in a world of trouble.

VIDEO: "The Crisis of the 21st Century"--Whatifalthist (34 min.)
The author believes that we are entering crises phases similar to 1350, 1610 or 1850 that saw widespread famine, war, and the world political order upset if not turned over. Be sure to watch this analysis.

Miscellany:
    As domestic concerns are predominant — the COVID-19 pandemic, the invasion across our Southern border, soaring crime rates, race relations as raw as they have been in decades — it is time for U.S. statesman to look out for America and Americans first, and let the world look out for itself.

And, as for the foreign entanglements that George Washington warned against:

    Let Republicans openly reject the Biden administration’s unilateral commitments to fight China for tiny reefs claimed by the Philippines in the South China Sea and Japan in the East China Sea.

    And, surely, it is time for that “agonizing reappraisal” of NATO promised by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in the 1950s.

    Why are we still committed, under NATO, to go to war with Russia on behalf of Germany, when the Germans, with their Nord Stream 2 pipeline, are doubling their dependency on Russia’s natural gas?

    According to the Atlantic Council President Richard Haas, the U.S. should abandon its policy of “strategic ambiguity” as to what we would do if China attacks Taiwan — and make a commitment to defend Taiwan.

    But why should the United States commit to a war with China for an island President Richard Nixon conceded in 1972 was part of China?

    Among the reasons Trump won in 2016 is that he offered a foreign policy of easing tensions with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, getting us out of the endless wars of the Middle East, and making free-riding allies pay the cost of their own defense.

    Yet, though, currently, we have commitments to fight for 29 NATO nations, there is a push on among our foreign policy elites to add new nations, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Finland and Sweden.

    But, again, why surrender our freedom to decide whether to fight?

    As for South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, each could build a nuclear deterrent, as Israel, Pakistan and India have done. If a war were to be fought with China that could go nuclear, why would we want to be a mandatory participant?

“One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that ‘vast swaths’ of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics,” the New York Times reported.

    Overlord DVD claims that a source communicated to him that the tune out time stamp (TOTS) for the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier revealed viewers stopped watching the show before the episode ended.

    As explained by Overlord DVD, TOTS “is logged on Disney+ whenever a viewer stops watching a particular movie or television episode. It’s useful to the bean counters at Disney+ to note when they lose a particular viewer because this can give them valuable data about how the show is doing and what that viewer thinks about it.”

    He goes on to state, “This source claims that around 5 p.m. on Saturday across the board, the time out tune stamp numbers for the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier went crazy with people turning the show off in droves all at around the same part of the show within seconds of each other.”

    Overlord DVD then quotes his source as to what the cause could be for all of these viewers tuning out at the same time. The source says, “My jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. All the turn out was at the cop scene where it clearly shows they were ready to pull their guns on a black guy who was arguing with a white guy. It’s clear that this was the message.” 

    The YouTuber then states, “So, in other words, Disney felt like sticking a black lives matter message smack dab in the middle of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode two, and what do you know, apparently fans who are sick to death of bad news and tragic headlines decided they had had enough and turned off the episode.”

The articles that discuss this rumor question whether this is true, but I find it curious that Disney has yet to release viewership numbers for Episode 3 or later. All that has been released are the numbers for who tuned in for Episode 1 and 2 (i.e., started watching the show). 
Everyone, including these jurors, knew exactly what would happen to them at the hands of mobs like this if they expressed a reasonable doubt about whether a man who died while overdosing and with a serious heart condition was actually killed by a police officer kneeling on him after he had struggled with police repeatedly. Reasonable doubts about whether the jury’s decision was justice or politics seem fully justified.
The “guilty on all counts” verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd was probably a fait accompli. The media had become something of a lynch mob. Before the jury returned their verdict, the President of the United States publicly prayed with Floyd’s family for “a just verdict,” and it’s understandable what verdict the family of the deceased was praying for.  Congresswoman Maxine Waters called for more confrontation in the streets if Chauvin was not convicted. . Newspapers – in the hole for “impartial” news, not the opinion pages – continually referred to Chauvin killing Floyd when in fact autopsy showed enough fentanyl to be fatal three times over, a very serious pre-existing cardiovascular condition that could have killed him by itself, and more…but no artifacts of injury to neck, throat, or chest.
    • Related: "Chauvin Defense Forensic Expert Targeted By Maryland A.G. and Colleagues"--Legal Insurrection. "Dr. David Fowler was an effective witness for Chauvin, and now Maryland will review his work as the state’s Chief Medical Examiner looking for errors, as an open letter signed by fornensic [sic] colleagues call for his medical license to be investigated." If the Chauvin trial was fair and honest, there would be no need for the Left to resort to intimidation tactics. 
  • "Pakistan PM Imran Khan urges the Muslim world to unite and use trade boycotts to force the West to pass blasphemy laws to protect the Prophet"--Daily Mail. As far as GDP goes, Muslim countries are almost as irrelevant as African countries, with the exception of the oil producing states and Indonesia. Khan does raise a good point, however: "Khan said insulting Islam's Prophet should be treated in the same way as questioning the Holocaust, which is a crime in some European countries." But just as Leftist leaders don't understand human nature--as evidenced by laws prohibiting questioning the Holocaust--Khan misses the fact that forcing someone to think a certain way acts as a challenge or dare to do the contrary. Laws prohibiting people from questioning the Holocaust merely invites people to do so; similarly, a law prohibiting insulting Mohammed will just encourage people to do so. 
  • "Horror at sea: 130 migrants drown in Mediterranean after rubber boat heading to Europe capsizes off the coast of Libya"--Daily Mail. The modus operandi of the human smugglers/traffickers is to have so-called "migrants" take a raft into international waters off the coast of Libya, whereupon the rafts would then rendezvous with a ship that would "rescue" them and then take them hundreds of miles to a European port and drop them off; or, in this case, an NGO would send the coordinates of the raft to European authorities so a coast guard or navy ship could "rescue" them. Whatever the case here, it didn't work. From the article:
    Alarm Phone, a crisis hotline for migrants in distress in the Mediterranean, said that it had been in contact with the boat in distress for nearly ten hours before it capsized. 

    The organisation said in a statement that it had notified European and Libyan authorities of the GPS position of the boat but only non-state rescue groups actively searched for it.

    Alarm Phone accused European authorities of refusing to coordinate a search operation, leaving it solely in the hands of the Libyan Coast Guard.

The rescue vessel Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranee, only came upon the scene after the fact. So, whether the Ocean Viking was supposed to have rendezvoused with the raft or Alarm Phone assumed that there would be a European coast guard or naval vessel in the area and for that reason didn't have the raft turn back, the NGOs should bear some of the responsibility for the deaths. 

  • Consequences: "Ex-model says she’s a victim of disturbing ‘e-whoring’ trend online"--New York Post. Basically, it involves people gathering nude photos of women posted to social media and then selling or trading them. "These social-media bottom feeders then disseminated the snaps across the internet for use in fake media profiles to porn sites, and even ads for escort services." I would think by now that people, like the model in this story, should expect that any image posted online could be downloaded or shared.
  • "Couples say this new bedroom trend is saving their marriage"--New York Post. That trend being sleeping in different beds or, even, separate bed rooms. 
  • "Pennsylvania kids playing dangerous ‘Assassin’ game with drive-by BB shootings"--New York Post. Assuming that this is the traditional "Assassin" game, it works by a group signing up for the game, and each person being given the name of another person in the group--this is your target who you have to "kill". If you "kill" your target, you then collect the name of his/her target and that person becomes your next target. Last man (or woman) standing wins the game. The article makes it sound like using BB guns for drive-by shootings is the only way to play the game. It's not. When a large group in my high school played it, yes, there were those using rubber band guns or the ever popular disk guns, but we also had people using flour or Vaseline as "poison" or packages that, when opened, would have a message indicating that you had been killed by a bomb. I, for instance, was killed when someone surprised me between classes and blew flour in my face from a tube, which was to mimic a poison dust. The school tolerated the toy guns until the principal got caught in the cross fire between a couple kids using rubber band guns, after which the toy guns were banned on campus. It was a lot of fun.
  • "The American deep state is going to plunge America into World War III, and most cities in America will become nuclear wastelands."--Metallicman. This isn't really any great secret: the Democrats and neo-cons have been pushing for war with Russia since the Obama Administration while simultaneously pursuing a strategy of appeasement with China that mirrors that taken with the Nazis prior to WWII. But the article also includes a long list of CIA misfeasance, including its long involvement (at least since the 1960s) in the drug trade in order to fund its shenanigans. In this regard, the author has some quotes from various politicians warning of the CIA's growing power.  For instance, he quotes from Harry Truman:
“Those fellows in the CIA don’t just report on wars, they go out and make their own (wars), and there’s nobody to keep track of what they’re up to. They spend billions of dollars on stirring up trouble. The CIA has become a government all of its own.”

Those quotes are 60+ years old, so imagine what power and wealth the CIA has amassed by now. 
    By 1966 the two surges into outer space and “inner space” were at their flood tide. While NASA gathered ever more momentum with monthly Gemini flights and a new Mission Control, the success of Sealab II and the CONSHELF III underwater habitat led to a presidential commission on oceanography and a bigger undersea commitment.

    The Navy’s efforts to recover a lost hydrogen bomb off the coast of Spain that year and the loss of the attack sub USS Thresher three years before had brought new funding and discipline to deep submergence systems. In such heady times, dreams of colonizing the continental shelf within a generation seemed like sober predictions.

    It was in this environment that C.F. Austin of the China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station proposed the Rock-Site concept: manned undersea installations excavated into the rock of the seafloor. By applying well-understood principles employed for decades by the mining industry, Austin proposed that large bases could be constructed and operated anywhere suitable bedrock occurred in the ocean, at any depth.

    Austin realized that even with mid-1960's technology, it would be possible to sink a wide shaft into the sea floor, seal and drain it, then use it as a staging area for further excavation. A tunnel-boring machine could be lowered into the shaft in pieces and then assembled to bore out more tunnels, including one for a small modular nuclear reactor much like those used at Camp Century in Greenland and McMurdo Base in Antarctica.

    There’s very little hype in Austin’s report; the bulk of it is taken up with documentation of tunneling methods and mining operations conducted under the sea floor. These often follow seams and drifts underground as they continue offshore.

    According to Austin, one Nova Scotia mine, Dominion Coal’s Cape Breton operation, consisted of “a complex of many consolidated undersea mines ranging in depth from 200 to 2,700 feet below the sea floor, with a water cover of 60 to 100 feet. These mines span an area of approximately 75 square miles and presently employ some 4,100 men in the undersea workings.”

    Among the benefits of Rock-Site, Austin noted its immunity to weather and currents, its shirt-sleeve environment and its (very) controlled access. And Austin was not thinking small. “Structures within the sea floor can easily be made large and comfortable enough to permit the quartering of crews and their families for extended periods of time,” he wrote, “and can be made large enough to serve as supply and repair depots for large submersibles.”

    Recent research on hardened missile basing concepts have proven various techniques for creating submarine-sized structures in hard substrates. The Air Force’s development of underground silos, subways and central commands produced real-world hardware and experience with construction techniques.

    In the 1970s the Los Alamos National Lab investigated an atomic rock-drilling concept called the Nuclear Subterrene, which like Rock-Site sounds like something out of Johnny Quest, but also really happened. One wonders what might have happened had the Navy put its nuclear expertise to work drilling holes in the ocean floor.

The author notes that by 1971, all research into man-in-the-sea development was classified. Thus, it is unknown whether the Navy ever went ahead with such projects.

Monday, April 26, 2021

VIDEO Review: "Craft Holsters Double Magazine Pouch and Belt Review - Glock 22 Gen 4"

 

VIDEO: "Craft Holsters Double Magazine Pouch and Belt Review - Glock 22 Gen 4"--The Cosmic Freight Train (11 min.). In this video, my friend Matt reviews a gun belt from Craft Holsters as well as a double magazine pouch. 

VIDEO Review: 2018 MRE Menu #16 - Chicken Burrito Bowl

 

VIDEO: "2018 MRE Menu #16 - Chicken Burrito Bowl"--The Cosmic Freight Train (21 min.)
My friend Matt has been reviewing MREs. Most of his prior reviews have been of old MREs, but this time he is reviewing a fairly new one. Needless to say, this one was fully edible.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Some Weekend Reading (4/23/2021)

 Greg Ellifritz has published another of his Weekend Knowledge Dumps crammed full of links to good articles on firearms and self-defense topics. Some of the topics that jumped out at me include: a Brenda Learns article on how the author gathers real time information about protests; a pistol-training.com article on why that handgun you just bought might not be as reliable as you think; an excellent piece on common concealed carry errors including a mindset error; Massad Ayoob explains why some of the largest police departments in the country insisted on double-action-only (DAO) revolvers and semi-auto pistols; and Civilian Defender discusses his quest for a holster and stocks for an N-frame .357 snubby with 8-round capacity, which is worth checking out just for a look at the revolver. 

    And now for some long reads that are worth your attention:

  • "Truth: Never Give Up"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. Self-explanatory.
  • "Let Me Be Anything but White" by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance. This one needs to be read in the context of Peter Turchin's thesis set forth in his book, Ages of Discord; and, in particular, his positing that social discord is largely driven by competition among elites due to an overabundance of elites relative to the number of elite government/business/education positions.
  • "We Can’t Police These People" by Gregory Hood, Unz Review. It begins with this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mini-Review: Walker's Behind the Neck Game Ear w/ Bluetooth


Product: Walker's Game Ear Behind The Neck Bluetooth Hearing Enhancer, Black (Model No. GWP-BTN-BT) -- $109.99 at Amazon as of the time of this writing.

Features (per Amazon):

  • Retractable digital ear bud.
  • Hi-gain omnidirectional microphones for clear sound enhancement.
  • Earbuds in improved position for less cord interference.
  • HD Walker's in earbuds for wide range audio quality.
  • Integrated micro USB port and Micro USB charging cable included.

    I purchased this product through Amazon and had the opportunity to try it out this past weekend while shooting some handgun and shotgun. I liked it. It effectively reduced the noise level of the gun blasts while still allowing you to carry on a conversation or keep an ear out for other noises such as approaching vehicles. My oldest son had also purchased a set of these (it was on his recommendation that I decided to try these), and my youngest son was then able to use my older sound enabled ear muffs. I have to say it was nice to be able to communicate while shooting without having to yell. 

    Because the device is able to sync with a smart phone via Bluetooth, you can listen to music (as my son did) or have calls come through which you can take while still wearing the device. I need to better learn the controls, because when I heard the ringing, I couldn't remember how to answer using the headset, so I turned it off so I could answer the phone normally. But it has a microphone so you can just go through the headset--my oldest son has used his set that way.

    There is independent volume controls for ambient noise and sound through the Bluetooth connection. 

    I had four main reasons for getting this particular model. First, I wanted to try it as a hearing enhancer while watching television. I didn't like it as much for that because the sound quality and level was not quite up to snuff. The sound filter has different settings for different environments, but it also limits the volume of the ambient sound. So, the more I tried to limit other extraneous noise, the harder it was to hear the television; conversely, if I set the filter for say a quiet environment like if you were out in the woods, it gave me more volume but didn't filter out extraneous noise as well.

    Second, I wanted sound enhanced hearing protection that I could use with a variety of headgear. The older ear muff style I had basically limited me to a baseball cap. With this one, I was able to wear a full brimmed hat. 

    Third, when shooting louder firearms, I wanted the ability to double up on hearing protection without loosing the sound capability. With my older earmuffs, to double up on hearing protection would have meant using an ear plug of some sort, which would have course left me without the ability to hear normal conversation. Similarly, an in-ear design would do the same if wearing ear muffs over them. Since these use buds that connect to the device around the neck which is contains the microphones, I can wear earmuffs over the buds and still have full sound.

    Fourth, I wanted a hearing protection device that would still allow me to hear while hunting. That test will have to wait for hunting season, however.

    All in all, I liked the device. My biggest complaint with it is that the dust plug for the micro-USB port doesn't fit tight enough, and pops out. I plan on trying it out while using motorized tools such as the lawnmower, trimmer, grass blower, etc.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New Bombs and Bants Podcast

 


The Docent's Memo (4/21/2021)

 

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

  • If you didn't hear about it or see, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) sent out an email Tuesday with the following warning:
The CMP advises to not use .30/06 ammunition in M1 Garands, 1903s, and 1903A3s that is loaded beyond 50,000 CUP and has a bullet weight more than 172gr. These rifles are at least 70 years old and were not designed for max loads and super heavy bullets. Always wear hearing and eye protection when firing an M1 Garand, 1903 and/or 1903A3 rifle.

Anybody that knows anything about shooting a Garand knows that regular hunting loads, particularly using slow burning powders, can damage the operating rod or cause other problems. There are aftermarket gas regulators that allow you to shoot commercial .30-06 hunting ammo in a Garand without damaging the operating rod, but otherwise you should stick with loads (or handloads) specifically intended for the Garand. As for the 1903 Springfields, there were problems with the heat treating of receivers back when production first started. Most of these were recalled and the problem corrected but I would always be a little suspicious of the pre-WWI era 1903s. I suspect that the World War II era 1903A3 models are probably fine even with hot loads, but I understand why the CMP is being overly cautious. 

  • "Gear: Get Real and Be Prepared"--Max Velocity Tactical. MV has long recommended lighter loadouts for patrols and fighting ... and the need to get in better physical condition because even a light loadout is still going to have some heft to it. He notes that you will--if you have followed his advice--have a helmet with night vision gear, and a plate carrier and battle belt with 7 rifle magazines between them, IFAK and tourniquet, handgun and magazines for it, radio, water and some minimal food (e.g., energy bars), various flashlights, extra batteries, a basic cleaning kit, etc.
  • TC- 3-22.69 "ADVANCED SITUATIONAL AWARENESS" (April 2021) (PDF). (H/t Marcus Wynne).
  • "Mechanical Sequence of Events During the Firing Cycle"--Bev Fitchett's Guns. This has to do with AR pattern rifles. 
  • "Witness Protection 870: The 12.5-Inch Short-Barreled US Marshals Shotgun"--Tactical Life. What I think of when I hear or see people suggesting that there is no use for firearms such as the Remington Tac 13 or Mossberg Shockwave.
  • "Is The Revolver Dead? Is That a Trick Question?" by Luis Valdes, The Truth About Guns. The author begins:
That was the question asked back in 1989 [citing to a 1989 issue of Guns & Ammo]. The Era of the Wondernine was upon us. Higher capacity 9mm semi-autos that held 15 or  17 rounds was becoming the new standard. Technological wonders from Smith & Wesson, Ruger, GLOCK, SIG SAUER, HK, Beretta, and others were hitting store shelves and could been seen in police holsters.

He continues on to discuss why revolvers are still relevant as well as some of his favorite types, with a 3-inch barreled .357 Magnum his favorite all around choice for defense. 

    When an officer first learns to draw their pistol, it may require intense focus to defeat the holster’s retention features, secure a proper grip, maintain a safe orientation, and efficiently draw and capture a sight picture. However, with sufficient practice, this process will be performed with little cognitive effort or awareness. This ability to draw a weapon or perform any skilled task without the need for focused attention or “cognitive control” is referred to as “automaticity.”

    For police, automaticity frees up their “cognitive load” for more effective decision-making and allows them to remain externally focused on threat assessments, changing environmental conditions, and communication efforts. Unfortunately, the repetitive performance that leads to automaticity can also play a role in a common performance error known as a “capture error.”

    A “capture error” can occur when an infrequent action like drawing a Taser is non-consciously substituted by a similar, more familiar, and more practiced action—like drawing a firearm. Research has shown that people are particularly susceptible to this type of error when they are occupied by other mental processes. For police, these processes might involve time-compressed threat assessments, the need for immediate action, or simultaneous efforts to communicate—including verbal warnings and de-escalation attempts.
  • "Why So Many People Fail To Prepare Even Though They Have The Money"--Modern Survival Blog. A long list of possible reasons as it most likely varies from person to person. The problem is that people don't see an immediacy of a risk and so, although the harm is high if something occurs, the perceived chance of it occurring is so low that it doesn't even show up on people's radar, or perhaps they believe that there is nothing that can be done to mitigate the risk, so why bother.  
  • "Maps For Preparedness"--Common Sense Home. The author explains that paper maps are helpful "[i]f you need to evacuate, you can plot alternate routes to avoid congestion and problem areas. If you need to hunker down in place, you can mark local resources and friends and neighbors, as well as high risk areas." On the latter topic, the author suggests:
    Piece together nine of the USGS 15-minute maps, with your camp, house or property on the center map.

    Mount that map on an oversize map board. Draw in the property lines and owner names of all of your surrounding neighbor’s parcels in at least a five mile radius.

    Get boundary line and current owner name info from your County Recorder’s office. Study and memorize both the terrain and the neighbors’ names.

    Cover the whole map sheet with a sheet of heavy-duty acetate, so you can mark it up just like a military map. It will help you get to know your neighbors. When you are introduced to one of them, you will be able to say, “Oh, don’t you live about two miles up the road between the Jones place and the Smith’s ranch?” 

    Make up an emergency contact list with phone numbers/e-mails that corresponds to all of the names marked on the map, plus city and county office contact numbers for quick reference. Tack  the list upright next to the map board, and keep an extra copy in your emergency information binder.

    As you get to know people, you can make notes on the phone list or the map about resources they may have for barter or sale.

She admits that something this might not be possible for a city environment, but you should still have an area map and have the addresses of allies (friends and families) at hand. 

  • "Prepper’s Emergency Dental Kit Checklist (and Why You Need One)" by Jacob Hunter, Primal Survivor. Remember the scene from the movie, Castaway, where the character played by Tom Hanks is trying to pull out his tooth? Don't get into that situation. This article touches on the health issues posed by poor or painful teeth, provides a list of items to have for a dental emergency, points you to sources of information for dealing with dental issues, and finishes with DIY toothbrush and toothpaste substitutes. 
  • I want: "The Ek Model 4 By KA-BAR – Made For Killing Nazis" by Travis Pike, Gat Daily. This knife was originally developed and became popular with soldiers during World War II. KA-BAR apparently bought the Ek brand and decided to re-release an updated version:
The Ek Model 4 keeps the core design that made the knife so famous. This includes the dual-edge design with an aggressive spear point. The blade is 6.625 inches long, and at the time, that blade length was rather standard. The idea was that the length of the blade allowed you to reach a vital organ regardless of where you stabbed someone in the torso. 
    The developed world, accustomed to safety, convenience, and comfort, is facing a slow-burning SHTF called Thirdworldization by some. Each time humankind faces some tribulation like the one we’re currently going through, it feels like the world is coming to an end. In many senses, the threat is present: a pandemic is a serious SHTF. It IS the end for many. 

    But the real SHTF isn’t just the pandemic – it’s the effects on the system that Selco warned us about from the very beginning.

    The ramifications of such events as Covid-19 and government responses are real and long-lasting. Despite theories surrounding COVID-19 (conspiratorial or not), the fact is real damage has happened to the economy and our lifestyle. To those who say we’ve been through a lot since March 2020, I’d argue we haven’t yet seen the full range of consequences. Objectively, we’re not even out of the pandemic.



Welcome to the Revolution:
    Andrew Branca talks about the intimidation of the jury in the Chauvin trial, and he made some points that struck a chord with me. First, let me start with the relevant quote from the esteemed Mr. Branca:

If it cannot be expected that Chauvin can get any fairer a trial elsewhere in Minnesota than he can in the rage-mob surrounded Hennepin County Courthouse, the solution consistent with the “justice” any of us would want for ourselves or anyone we care about is not to compel him to endure an unfair trial where he is.

    That is the point- if a person who is accused of a crime cannot receive a fair and impartial trial under the law, then the law has become nothing more than a codified lynch mob, and we can forget about calling our legal system a “justice system” because there will be no justice of any kind to be had.
    • Related: Jury intimidation. "Maxine Waters urges Minnesota protesters to 'stay on the street' if Chauvin acquitted in Floyd case"--Fox News. This is obviously from a few days ago. "Asked about the Derek Chauvin murder trial in Minneapolis, Waters told reporters if the former police officer isn't found guilty of murdering George Floyd, 'We've got to stay on the street and we've got to get more active, we've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business.'"
  • "Welcome to Medellín, Minn., Where Elected Officials and Cops Are Afraid of BLM and Antifa Race 'Cartels'"--PJ Media. Victoria Taft points out that after the Brooklyn Center police shooting of Daunte Wright, the mayor decided that everyone involved--the officers and the police chief--should be fired, but that City Manager Curt Boganey, a black man, remonstrated because the officers were entitled to their due process rights. The city council was having none of that and voted to fire Boganey "based on fear of retaliation from the Black Lives Matter radicals[.]" Taft observes: "When antifa and BLM stir as much fear as Pablo Escobar and his henchmen, which prevents you from doing your damned job and following the Constitution, we’ve arrived at Banana Republic status."
  • "The Future of American Policing" by Greg Ellifritz, Buckeye Firearms Association. He discusses four trends in policing: (1) the hatred toward police and constant second-guessing has made it harder to become a police officer and enforce laws, with the result that fewer people will want to be cops; (2) the effects of the pandemic will be lower revenue to local, state and national governments with the consequence that funding for law enforcement will be slashed; (3) distrust of government and the judicial system will discourage new recruits; and (4) just like the trend in the military, future policing will rely more heavily on drones and surveillance systems.
  • The government and media were lying to you: "Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Died Of Natural Causes"--Law Officer. He suffered a couple of strokes the day after the protests of January 6, 2021--not from being struck with a fire extinguisher or poisoned with bear repellant as the media and government kooks were splashing all over the news. So, the only person that actually was killed during the protest was Ashley Babbitt.
  • More lies of the left: "The Myth That the US Leads the World in Mass Shootings"--Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). This 2019 article notes that the mantra of the U.S. having the most shootings came from the so-called research of one man--University of Alabama associate professor Adam Lankford. But Lankford, at the time, would not release his research so no one could check it directly. Conversely, John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center showed that even using Lankford's definition of a mass shooting the US trails many other advanced nations in mass shooting frequency and death rate, and did so notwithstanding having the highest gun ownership rates in the world.
  • "Duping the ‘woke’—a new kind of criminality in America. And a new kind 'woke supremacy' Stockholm Syndrome..."--Law Officer. The author of this op-ed contends:
Undeniably, criminals and politicians are selfishly ignoring the realities of crime and criminal behavior for their own advantage. And they’re exploiting the kindness of “woke” folks to create an ignorant, dangerous, and even criminal form of incivility in America. And while the woke believe in speaking out against “systematic racism” and “over-policing,” they’ve obviously been duping into ignorance about some of the basic facts about crime in America.

And the primary bit of ignorance has to do with interracial crime. For instance, the author notes that "In 2019, the latest year of Uniform Crime Data available from the FBI, blacks killed more whites (566), than whites killed blacks (246)," notwithstanding blacks representing a much smaller proportion of the population. The author goes on to discuss other areas where blacks excel in crime over other racial groups and adds:

If crime statistics are any indication, America does not have a racial crime problem; it has an intra-racial crime problem. And that 9 out of 10 black murder victims were killed by other blacks—should be all the urgency we need to scrutinize how “systematic racism” may not be the problem we think it is, and that woke-minded people have been duped into scapegoating law enforcement under false pretense.

In short, the author argues that the current "wokeness" and all the prattle of "white privilege" and "defund the police" merely serves to dupe the public into not looking at the real problem of black crime and instead place the blame on other groups, be it white Americans or the police.

    Politically sanctioned violence has changed the self-defense landscape in the United States, and the sooner we accept this and modify both our behavior and training accordingly the more likely we are to stay out of the teeth of the beast.

    For the most part, we have seen self-defense as binary, the defender versus the aggressor. That is consistent with the language we used on THE BEST DEFENSE; it is the language used in virtually all of the self-defense courses I have ever taken, and it makes perfect  sense, “us versus them,” good versus bad.

    But what if the aggressor we face is a member of one of the politically sanctioned groups? Well, you might ask Kyle Rittenhouse, who’s life — whatever the outcome of the murder charges against him — is ruined. Without going into a huge analysis of the incident, I suspect that a lot of us would say we were legally, morally and ethically able to respond with potentially lethal force if we were attacked by an aggressor with a “deadly weapon,” whether that weapon be gun, knife, a hammer or an improvised  impact weapon, say, a skateboard. After all, that’s what we have taught and been taught.

    But what if the aggressor is a member of one of the politically sanctioned — protected — groups? Here’s the Cliff Note’s answer: You are at fault, regardless of the circumstances; you are the one who will pay the price. The aggressor probably knows in advance that if he or she is actually arrested, a small likelihood, either there will be a legal team in place to spring them or they will face a “woke” district attorney elected by floods of money from globalists like George Soros, who were put in place specifically for this reason. There are no legal consequences to their actions.  

    And what do you think those committed, “woke” DAs will do to you? Short answer…they will destroy you.

    If that doesn’t scare you enough, consider that the aggressor you face will very likely know or will have been taught just exactly how far they can go to push you into an escalating reaction. In fact, they want that escalating reaction on your part, because it will play well in the wildly biased media reports…you will be the “thug;” the aggressor will be the “victim.” That is how this particular game is played.

Read the whole thing. 

    Last week, as Americans on the left and right were brawling on social media over mass shootings ..., a genuinely important story sailed under the radar. Remember Younes Abdullah Mohammed? He was the al-Qaeda recruiter who in 2010 tried to solicit the murder of the South Park guys because they were going to depict Mohammed as a cartoon (Comedy Central prohibited the portrayal in response to the threats). Younes served time in federal prison, and now—using his birth name, Jesse Morton—he lectures about the process of Islamic radicalization.

    On March 22, documentarian Andrew Gold interviewed Younes/Morton on his podcast. And the former jihadi outlined a principle regarding radicalization that has relevance beyond just Muslims. He explained that as a professional al-Qaeda recruiter, he never had a more effective tool than the Mohammed cartoons. “We must stop the infidels from blaspheming our sacred prophet” ignited radicalization-prone Muzzies more than anything else in his recruiter toolkit. Yes, more than “The Americans are bombing your babies.” More than “The West sells arms and sponsors wars against you.” More even than “The Zionists are occupying our land!”

    Those issues, as important as they are in the radicalization process, simply did not “motivate” as the Mohammed cartoons did.

According to Younes/Morton, imams who knew that there’s nothing in Muslim law or theology that commands believers to kill infidels who depict Mohammed, purposely spread the lie that such a commandment exists, because it was a falsehood that could spawn a deeper hatred of Westerners, a greater willingness to kill, than something banal like “Their generals are bombing some villagers.” ... It spoke to a common identity shared by all Muslims, be they Sunni, Shiite, Arab, Asian, black, or white.

    ...

    “Something sacred to you—the thing that is the very core of your identity—is being profaned and disrespected by people who value their ‘free speech’ rights over your right to protect what is hallowed. Your identity commands you to take up arms.” That’s an argument that stirs passions and engenders hate.

    And there you go; now you have a “clash of civilizations.” More important, now you have decentralized person-to-person warfare, as opposed to centralized government-to-government warfare. A white guy in France or the U.K. can say, “I support bombing Syrians,” and he’ll be fine. But if he draws Mohammed, some individual Muslim, acting on conditioning rather than direct orders, will murder him (or try to). Guaranteed. No centralized command but countless autonomous radicals, all on the lookout for blasphemers to eradicate.

    Once you understand that principle, everything we’ve seen in the U.S. regarding blacks over the past few decades becomes instantly explicable. Black Americans have the highest levels of self-esteem of any racial or ethnic group in the country, yet arguably (on average) they have the fewest accomplishments to back up that narcissism. What a perfect group for leftist “imams” to target with the message that it’s your skin that’s sacred. Your holy skin makes you valuable, not your accomplishments. Those who speak disrespectfully of that skin are blasphemers; it’s your duty to eradicate them.

    Essentially, blacks are their own Mohammed. They are their own sacred icon, their own holy prophet. They may be Christian, Muslim, secular, whatever. But they must all fight to protect their hallowed skin from disrespect from infidels.

    This is the talking point that crafty race-hustlers are using to radicalize as many blacks as possible. ... Once you grasp the Mohammed analogy, it makes total sense that a Dr. Seuss book with an African caricature must be banned. And any white person who speaks improperly of blackness must be canceled. And any white professor or service industry worker who speaks anything but worshipful praise of black students or customers must be fired. They profaned the holy; the ummah must be appeased.

    This is why it’s pointless when a white person says to a black, “Hey, I get pulled over too! I get bad service in restaurants too! Whites like me get shot by cops more frequently than blacks!”

    Yeah, but you’re not sacred. Disrespect to you is not blasphemy.

    So what do you get in the end? A demographic group that considers outsiders—infidels—unworthy of speaking to or about the ummah. A group whose images must not be drawn, whose history is not to be discussed but in hushed tones of awe; a group whose music, appearance, clothing, and lingo must not be appropriated by the unclean. Forty million Mohammeds, vigilantly on the lookout for disrespect from the sea of heathens among them.


VIDEO: "Crimea is running out of water"--Caspian Report (12 min.)
To understand the situation in Crimea and why the Russians appear to readying an invasion, you have to understand that the immediate trigger was Ukraine's threats to invade the Crimea, but behind this is the more consequential strategic err on the part of the Ukraine to cut water to the Crimea and force a confrontation. 

Miscellany:
    In recent weeks the military forces under Kiev’s command have stepped up violations of a shaky ceasefire in the conflict with separatists in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). The shelling of civilian centers has raised concern that the Kiev authorities are deliberately winding up tensions with Russia by placing the ethnic Russian population in Donbas in danger of an offensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government have failed miserably to implement the 2015 Minsk peace accord which obligates Kiev to grant political autonomy to the Donbas region. The region objected to the NATO-backed coup d’état in 2014 which ousted an elected president and ushered in a new anti-Russia regime.

    Kiev’s failure to implement Minsk and to end the seven-year civil war has been emboldened by the indulgence of the United States, the European Union, and NATO, all of which lend credence to the preposterous and cynical narrative that Ukraine is facing “Russian aggression”.
  • Karma: "China Mulls Deploying Troops to Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout"--Legal Insurrection. Afghanistan sits on trillions of dollars worth of mineral resources, and, so far, China has been enjoying the protection of the U.S. military as Chinese companies move in to exploit those resources. If the U.S. leaves, China may well have no other choice but to shift troops into Afghanistan. This may be a win-win situation for the United States. First, China will be much more brutal when fighting the Taliban, so there will be a certain amount of justice for all the blood and treasure the U.S. has expended. Second, China will no more be able to successfully defeat the Islamic hill tribes than the Soviets and probably because of the same reasons: the U.S. can start arming the Taliban! Thus, Afghanistan will also prove to be a money pit for the Chinese--perhaps even result in an Islamic insurgency in Western China. 
Afghan citizens therefore are trapped in a quagmire of politics in which they remain defenseless. In such circumstances, the rearming of factional groups is one possible outcome as Afghans look to fill the gap to provide human security. The international community, particularly humanitarian organizations, must engage regional powers, regardless of the U.S. troop withdrawal, and step up to a moral obligation to ensure that stability, justice, and peace take root in the country through a long-term engagement with the civil society. This should include a more genuine intra-Afghan dialogue for processing trauma and reconciliation, and not only through engagement of the powerful actors on all sides.

Interestingly, the author never mentions China in the article. 

    One of the more disturbing pieces of research to appear in Australia in recent weeks has shown an increased likelihood of domestic violence when women earn more than their male partners. Researchers from the Australian National University indicate that this perceived violation of gender norms is proving emotionally confronting to some men, who sense a loss of power and feel the need to use violence to reassert it.

    Their research highlights what should be considered Australia’s most pressing social and political problem: male resentment.

    These trends are not unique to Australia, as a similar problem has been identified in the Nordic countries. The phenomenon is known as the “Nordic Paradox” because these countries consistently rank as some of the most gender equal in terms of education, economic opportunity, pay, and political representation, yet also maintain disproportionately high levels of violence against women.

    The working theory of the Nordic Paradox is that female advancement creates a male backlash.

I'm not convinced that men are more physically abusive than women based on the research I've read on the subject. But, assuming arguendo that it is true, I wonder if it could be related to fighting over finances. It seems that there is a general rule in a relationship that what a man earns is "ours" but what the woman makes is "hers".

Orthodox Judaism has, throughout, maintained both a belief in the future resurrection of the dead as part of the messianic redemption, and a belief in some form of immortality of the soul after death. ... Reform Judaism has, however, given up any literal belief in the future resurrection of the dead. Reform theology concerns itself solely with the belief in a spiritual life after death and has modified the relevant liturgical passages accordingly.

Interestingly, the article explains, "When a man dies his soul leaves his body, but for the first 12 months it retains a temporary relationship to it, coming and going until the body has disintegrated. Thus, the prophet Samuel was able to be raised from the dead within the first year of his demise." This would likely explain why a large number of Hollywood films dealing with the newly departed have a period between when the person dies and when the person goes to heaven (or hell) and is instead just sort of hanging around (e.g., the 1989 film, Always, or the 1990 film, Ghost).

They Really Do Hate You: The Left's Double Standard and Virtue Signaling

      Glenn Reynolds likes to point out that with the left, if it weren't for double standards, they'd  have no standards at all. An...