Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Docent's Memo (6/30/2021)

Firearms/Self-Defense:

  • Don't get too excited: "Bump Stocks are NOT Machine Guns – 6th Circuit Vacates GOA v. Garland"--The Firearm Blog. The headline and explanation in the article are a little overblown. Yes, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld the ban on bump stocks. Yes, the 6th Circuit issued an order vacating the three-judge panel decision. But this is only as part of an order for the case to be heard en banc--that is, by all the judges in the 6th Circuit. The en banc panel could still rule to uphold the ban.
  • "Mythbusting: Shooting A Tire"--Wideners. Basically, what it comes down to is that if you want a quick deflation, you need to shoot through the treads; hits to the sidewall just result in slow leaks, like a nail stuck in the tire. I watched a video from another source on this same issue, and if you really want to blow out the tire, you want to shoot through the treads so that it strikes the inside of the rim and punches a hole in the rim.
  • "Barrel 'Clocking' Issues"--Revolver Guy. By clocking, the author means the barrel not being fitted perpendicular to the frame (not at 12 o'clock) but pointing slightly in one direction or another. He explains:
When a barrel is installed on a revolver frame, the timing of the threads on the barrel extension and the frame itself has to be just right for everything to line up in the right place. A small difference in the thread pattern, or a frame or barrel shoulder that’s not properly dimensioned, can result in a barrel whose shoulder bottoms out against the frame too early or too late. This results in a front sight that’s angled off to one side, instead of being perfectly centered and perpendicular to the topstrap of the frame, at top dead center (TDC).

He goes on to discuss how you can identify the problem, how to fix the problem (hint: this is a job for a gunsmith) and why this is not something to put up with but can cause long term functional problems. 

Federal has recently released two new loads for the .380, and while they will not deliver terminal performance on par with a 9 mm, the terminal performance they do offer is a substantial improvement over current loads for this cartridge. The first is the inexpensive 85-grain Punch load. It will expand to around 1.4 times its original diameter and penetrate about 10 inches in 10 percent ordnance gelatin. The other is the 99-grain Hydra-Shok Deep. This is one of only two .380 Auto loads I’ve found that will meet the FBI’s minimum penetration depth of 12 inches.

    When discussing iron sighted handguns, the optimal, fundamental sight picture is:
  • the tip of the front sight aligned with the top of the rear sights
  • equal light on either side of the front sight post
  • a crystal clear focus on the front sight
  • a blurry target
  • the tip of the front sight where you’d like the bullet to impact
That’s the picture perfect bullseye, NRA-and-Jesus-basic-course-approved sight picture. Assuming your gun is sighted in correctly, if you pull the trigger and don’t disturb this sight picture, you’ll hit what you’re aiming at.

    Once a shooter has mastered the basic sight picture, they can move on to more advanced concepts. This is best exemplified by Brian Enos‘ famous zen koan: “see what you need to see.” What the hell does that mean? It means that you should see as much or as little of the sights as you need to see in order to make the shot at hand.

    For example: if you’re shooting a giant USPSA target at 3 yards, do you need to have a perfect sight picture? No. But what if you’re taking a head shot at 25 yards with a pistol? Now do you need a well refined traditional sight picture? Yes. At 3 yards, you can use the back of the slide as “sights” and throw that over the target, stay target focused and blast away. At 25 yards you need to see the sights in relation to each other, and see their relation to the target.
  • Only police should have guns: "Man Who Shot Arvada, CO Cop Killer Was Shot and Killed by a Responding Officer"--The Truth About Guns. The article relates that "Johnny Hurley was hailed by police as a hero for shooting and killing a gunman they say had killed one officer and expressed hatred for police in a Denver suburb. But when another officer rushed in to respond and saw Hurley holding the suspect’s AR-15, he shot Hurley, killing him, police revealed Friday." At least the responding officer was able to safely go home at the end of his shift. The article continues:
    In the video posted Friday, Police Chief Link Strate described Hurley as a hero whose actions likely saved lives. He didn’t offer an apology but called Hurley’s death by a responding officer “equally tragic” to Beesley’s killing.

    “The threat to our officers and our community was stopped by a hero named Johnny Hurley,” Strate said. “Johnny’s actions can only be described as decisive, courageous and effective in stopping further loss of life.”

Except that Hurley's actions wasn't effective in stopping further loss of life because a police officer shot and killed our hero. Consider the fate of the average CCL holder if he shot an innocent person who had just gunned down a mass shooter--it certainly wouldn't be an information blackout and a muted response stating that the event was "tragic". It would be all over the news and used as an example why private citizens shouldn't be allowed to own or carry firearms.

    In response to this shooting, Greg Ellifritz has published his "Post-Shooting Procedures for the Active Killer Gunfight" which provides guidance on how not to be shot by police. He goes into greater detail and breaks down the steps/issues further, but it boils down to this: Don't be standing over the mass killer with a firearm in your hand. So, Greg advises, "If you think you need to cover the downed killer with your pistol, the killer probably needs to be shot again." Otherwise, don't draw or reveal your gun until you need to use it, and then holster it immediately when you are done; don't secure the suspect's weapon, but leave that to the police. Read the whole thing.

  • Mass shooting in Africa: "CHILD soldiers aged 12-14 carried out Burkina Faso massacre which left more than 130 people dead in the country's worst attack in years"--Daily Mail.  In the movie Full Metal Jacket, there is a scene where the main character asks a helicopter door gunner how he can shoot women and kids, and the door gunner replies: "Easy! Ya just don't lead 'em so much!" It shows the dichotomy between the person wrestling with the problem as a moral issue, and one who knows women and children can also be combatants and so it has become merely a technical issue. A book I read about the Vietnam War (I don't remember the title) related an experience of an American officer new to the country on a search and destroy mission that had come under fire while investigating a village. A Vietnamese interpreter was accompanying the officer. During the fighting, a young child started walking toward the two. The interpreter was instantly agitated and started yelling at the officer to shoot the child. Finally, with the interpreter practically grabbing at his weapon, the officer made the shot, and the child exploded! The child had been carrying a satchel charge, the VC sure that the Americans would not do anything until it was too late. My point here is that if we ever see a serious SHTF, TEOTWAWKI event, children will be used as human shields, combatants and weapons. Just something to think about.
  • Gun control in action: "Suspect in Daytona Beach officer-involved shooting could be in Georgia, police say"--Fox 35 Daytona. A white police officer was shot during an investigative stop of a black man, Othal Wallace. Police later searched Wallace's apartment and found "at least three ballistic vests, multiple ammo magazines, firearms like a rifle and semi-automatic handgun, and boxes of rifle rounds." "FOX 35 looked into Wallace's background. He has five previous felony cases in Volusia County and at least one arrest in Brevard County." In other words, it was illegal for him to own or possess any firearms. 
    Wallace was arrested in Georgia, Redstate reports, while hiding out at a black nationalist paramilitary encampment. The Redstate article further elucidates:
 
    Wallace was captured at a black nationalist, paramilitary campground, further pointing to the idea that the shooting of the officer was motivated by hate of police and possibly racism, as well. When he was arrested in what is being described as a treehouse, the suspect had multiple guns on him, but guns were also found in the surrounding structures of the campground.

    The shooting of Raynor pushes back on an assertion made by AG Merrick Garland recently that “white supremacy” is the preeminent “domestic violence extremist threat” in the nation. By the numbers, that never made sense, as drug cartel violence, which clearly includes people with extremist views, is a bigger domestic violence threat by many magnitudes. Yet, Garland’s words were propagated throughout the media — despite the lack of evidence for his claim.


Prepping/Survivalism:
        You’re sitting at home, then all the sudden you see a news broadcast saying the economy has collapsed. You’re shocked, not quite sure what exactly is about to take place. Then, you change the channel and see mass panic in cities. There’s riots in the streets, people looting to get supplies, stealing electronics, absolute chaos.

        This is it, this is what you’ve been prepping for. You’re nervous, but excited to see all of your hard work finally put to good use. You call your family and tell them to meet you at the house.

        You start getting your gear ready, bringing it out to your car. All of your BOBs, INCH bags, and medical bags, all piled into your BOV. Your family arrives, and once you finish gathering all of their necessities, you head out to your BOL. You can see your beautiful BOL as you pull up, and you tell your family to wait in the vehicle as you stop. You get out, walk cautiously up to your BOL as you get ready to clear it, then you hear a loud bang. You’ve been shot in the chest by a looter who’s already claimed your BOL as his own.

        Now, you must watch your family scream and cry from the vehicle as they try to run to help you. What happens to them is now at the mercy of the looter that’s set his defense up in your BOL. All of this could have been avoided if you had saved money and invested in body armor, instead of that $5 coffee you get on your way to work every day. There’s a saying when it comes to body armor in the Infantry, “it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it”.

    The remainder of the article dispels some common misconceptions regarding body armor, discusses plate carriers, SAPI plates, helmets, and gloves, before moving on to unnecessary body armor (i.e., stuff that will unnecessarily weigh you down without little or no added benefit), different types of pouches, war belts, first aid kits, etc., for rounding out your set up. The author has also provided recommendations as to specific products he likes.

        ReadyMan Challenge One, Mike Simpson of Phoenix, Arizona showed up with his BugOut bag and his BugOut kit. True to his training and practice, Mike went into the challenge with the exact stuff he’d take into the Apocalypse.

        Part of his kit was ceramic body armor plates and Mike faithfully wore them for two days, going up and down some serious mountain terrain. Ultimately, they “saved his life” in a shooting scenario where a sniper got the drop on him. 

        But, Mike paid the price to have those plates. He trekked over hill-and-dale cooking inside his ceramics like a cup of coffee.

        Tye, his opponent in the Challenge, ran around footloose and fancy free, with just his tie-dyed T-shirt and his six-gun. But, in the end, when he and Mike came together to fight, Tye had to hang back, since any “hit” on Tye would be the end of him.

        Without a clear answer on body armor from the ReadyMan Challenge, we decided to put it to the ReadyMan cadre. Is body armor worth the cost, weight and hassle if the SHTF?

    The rest of the article are the thoughts and opinions of four people (three of them SOF) who had used body armor in combat. 

  • "9 SURVIVAL LESSONS From a Serial Killer MANHUNT"--The Organic Prepper. The inspiration for this article is an ongoing manhunt in Brazil for an escaped convict with a long history of murder, robbery, torture and rape, with many of his crimes committed in rural areas. At the time the article was written, the man had evaded hundreds of law enforcement and military personnel looking for him for three weeks. The author attempts to take some lessons from both the history and success, if you will, of this criminal. The lessons are:
    1. An unarmed population is hostage to criminality.
    2. No one is safe, not in the city and certainly not in rural areas. The author relates, in this regard, that "Smaller towns in rural settings tend to be safer indeed, among other things, because people know each other better, and there’s usually a stronger sense of community. But distant rural properties, like farms, plantations, and remote locations generally present some challenges when it comes to safety and defense." Or, as one of my long time readers put it: In the country, no one can hear you scream.
    3. It doesn’t take a big group or gang to terrorize the population of an area.
    4. Knowing your area or neighborhood is an excellent advantage for survival (as evidenced by the criminal's success in evading capture).
    5. Buschcrafting skills are a huge differential in the wilderness, and perhaps even in the city.
    6. Takes a hunter to hunt down another.
    7. Survival can become a war of attrition.
    8. Self-defense requires preparation and strategy.
    9. Radicalism and hysteria can lead to social breakdown (the author noting that a vocal minority are rooting for this criminal).
    Read the whole thing.
  • In a similar vein, check out this article at Vox Popoli, "A Balkan perspective" where the author gives some advice and warnings of what could happen in the U.S. based on the breakup of Yugoslavia. Some of the points raised in the article:
    1. There are no white hats.
    2. Your country is collapsing because there is not enough money to keep the system working.
    3. Nobody has a plan, good or evil. Nobody is in control.
    4. All foreign powers are helping accelerate the collapse.
    5. Your country will be robbed before, during and after the war.
    6. The robbing starts with hyperinflation.
    7. There will be international “peacekeepers” on your territory.
    8. Do not try to change the internal state borders, it does not work.
    9. Ethnic cleansing actually works
        The researchers investigated the theory that a comet struck Earth 13,000 years ago, analyzing geological data from the areas where they think it may have hit, namely North America and Greenland. They found high levels of platinum, evidence of extremely high temperatures that could have melted materials at the site and nanodiamonds, which scientists know can be created from explosions and can exist inside comets.

        This work builds on previous research that has suggested that a significant impact may have preceded the beginning of the Neolithic period, the first part of the Stone Age in which a number of major developments in human civilization took place, including notable steps forward in agriculture, architecture and stone tools. 

        At this time in history, humans in the "Fertile Crescent," which encompassed countries we know today as Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon, were moving away from nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyles to more permanent settlements. 

        "This major cosmic catastrophe seems to have been memorialized on the giant stone pillars of Göbekli Tepe [in Turkey], possibly the 'World's first temple,' which is linked with the origin of civilization in the Fertile Crescent of southwest Asia. Did civilization, therefore, begin with a bang?" Sweatman said in a statement.
        Two inexorable energy trends are underway in California: soaring electricity prices and ever-worsening reliability—and both trends bode ill for the state’s low- and middle-income consumers.

        Last week, the state’s grid operator, the California Independent System Operator, issued a “flex alert” that asked the state’s consumers to reduce their power use “to reduce stress on the grid and avoid power outages.”

        The California Independent System Operator’s warning of impending electricity shortages heralds another blackout-riddled summer at the same time California’s electricity prices are skyrocketing.

    And California is going to phase out the sale of gasoline or diesel passenger vehicles by 2035 in favor of electric vehicles.

    • "Inflation and the Fall of the Roman Empire"--Joseph R. Peden, Mises Institute. A lengthy read, but an interesting look at how monetary and spending policies doomed the Roman Empire. Essentially, the constant devaluation of the currency (inflation) combined with ever increasing costs to support a large military and bureaucratic state led to unbearable taxation (including payment in kind rather than with the debased currency) with a resulting loss of desire to be part of the Empire. 
        There was, obviously, flight from the land, massive evasion of taxes, people left their jobs, they left their homes, they left their social status. Now, Diocletian's final contribution to this continuing disaster was to issue his famous Edict on Maximum Prices, in 301 AD. This is a very famous instance of a massive effort by the government to limit inflation by price controls.

        You have to realize that there was a little problem: the Roman Empire was a vast region running from Britain in the West to Iraq in the East; from the Rhine and the Danube to the Sahara.

        It included areas of very sophisticated and very primitive economies, and thus the cost of living varied considerably from province to province: Egypt seems to have had the lowest cost of living; Palestine had a cost of living twice that of Egypt, and Roman Italy had a cost of living twice that of Palestine.

        "The Roman people, the mass of the population, had but one wish after being captured by the barbarians: to never again fall under the rule of the Roman bureaucracy."


    COVID News

        During the podcast, Malone said he sent 'manuscripts' months ago to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration claiming the spike protein used in the COVID-19 vaccine posed a health risk. 

        'And their determination was that they didn’t think that that was sufficient documentation of the risk that the spike was biologically active,' he said. 

    But of course the information was censored:

        The podcast was uploaded to YouTube which was flagged as sharing misleading information about the COVID-19 vaccine and removed.  

        In particular, YouTube flagged statements about how the 'spike protein' used in the COVID-19 vaccine, which is how mRNA vaccines work, are toxic.

    • "CIA-developed influence strategies kept showing up in the last 18 months" by Jack Wedam, American Thinker (h/t Marcus Wynne). The article looks at the fear sowed by authorities during the pandemic, mixed with the message to trust those same authorities. Wedam then discusses the CIA's history researching brain washing, a recent patent on influencing operations supposedly based on Mk Ultra research that wasn't destroyed, and then writes:
        According to a former CIA insider, “‘Everything you have in that cellphone,’ she says, pointing to an iPhone, ‘is what we were working on for our whole careers.’” It’s an interesting coincidence, to say the least, that the same smartphones that constantly pump information into us through social media and news apps came from the same CIA that created the original “influencing strategies.”

        There is absolutely no way of knowing whether Democrats across America – in the government, the social media arena, the mainstream media, etc. – know a single thing about MKUltra. It is, though, noteworthy that they’ve inundated America with “influencing strategies” that have succeeded in turning the gullible among us into fanatics. These fanatics often rage at others who dare to disagree with the information they’ve internalized – even when much of that information reliably proves to be wrong and the remainder can be intelligently and reasonably rebutted.
        A new data analysis from Harvard University, Brown University, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation calculates how different employment levels have been impacted during the pandemic to date. The findings reveal that government lockdown orders devastated workers at the bottom of the financial food chain but left the upper-tier actually better off.

        The analysis examined employment levels in January 2020, before the coronavirus spread widely and before lockdown orders and other restrictions on the economy were implemented. It compared them to employment figures from March 31, 2021.

        The picture painted by this comparison is one of working-class destruction.

        Employment for lower-wage workers, defined as earning less than $27,000 annually, declined by a whopping 23.6 percent over the time period. Employment for middle-wage workers, defined as earning from $27,000 to $60,000, declined by a modest 4.5 percent. However, employment for high-wage workers, defined as earning more than $60,000, actually increased 2.4 percent over the measured time period despite the country’s economic turmoil.
        In a new paper, economists from the University of Southern California and the RAND Corporation examined the effectiveness of “shelter-in-place” (SIP) mandates, aka stay-at-home orders, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states. The experts analyze not just deaths from COVID-19, but “excess deaths,” a measure that compares overall deaths from all causes to a historical baseline. 

        The authors explain that lockdown orders may have had lethal unintended consequences in their own right, such as increased drug overdoses, worsened mental health problems, increased child abuse, deadly delays in non-COVID medical care, and more. So, to find out whether stay-at-home orders truly helped more than they hurt, examining excess deaths, not just pandemic outcomes, is key. 

        The results aren’t pretty. 

        “We fail to find that shelter-in-place policies saved lives,” the authors report. Indeed, they conclude that in the weeks following the implementation of these policies, excess mortality actually increases—even though it had typically been declining before the orders took effect. And across all countries, the study finds that a one-week increase in the length of stay-at-home policies corresponds with 2.7 more excess deaths per 100,000 people.

        The lockdowns simply didn’t work.

        “We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies,” the authors explain. 
        McCullough is professor of medicine and vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University and also teaches at Texas A&M University. He is an epidemiologist, cardiologist and internist and has testified before the Texas State Senate related to COVID-19 treatments. He holds the distinction of being the most widely cited physician in the treatment of COVID-19 with more than 600 citations in the National Library of Medicine.

        In the video, recorded by Oval Media, McCullough said:

        “The first wave of the bioterrorism is a respiratory virus that spread across the world, and affected relatively few people—about one percent of many populations—but generated great fear.”

        He said the virus targeted primarily people over 50 with multiple medical conditions. It poses almost no risk to children.

        He said 85 percent of the more than 600,000 U.S. deaths could have been prevented with a multi-drug treatment given in the early to mid-point of the disease.

        Instead, people were told to stay home and not return to the hospital unless their symptoms got worse, such as severe breathing problems. By then it was too late for many. They were placed on ventilators and died.

        The vast majority of doctors jumped in lockstep to follow these erroneous “guidelines” handed down by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Those guidelines neglected to place any focus on the treatment of sick patients and, from the beginning, as early as April 2020, started emphasizing the need for a vaccine as the only real hope of beating back the virus.

        The federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System [VAERS] logged 5,993 reports of deaths of people injected with the COVID vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020, and June 11, 2021. That’s more than all the deaths reported to VAERS from all other vaccines combined over the last 22 years.

        But these numbers, as shocking as they are, don’t scratch the surface of the actual number of dead Americans, said McCullough.

        “We have now a whistleblower inside the CMS, and we have two whistleblowers in the CDC. We think we have 50,000 dead Americans. Fifty thousand deaths. So we actually have more deaths due to the vaccine per day than certainly the viral illness by far. It’s basically propagandized bioterrorism by injection.
    Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners (RSTP) was one of the main financial backers for a company called Metabiota, which partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Potty-mouthed Hunter Biden was one of RSTP’s co-founders and managing directors. He co-founded it with John Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz. Hunter’s company gathered $30 million for Metabiota in 2015. Both of their influential daddies have been linked to shady deals involving RSTP.

    It doesn't appear to have really been an impediment. 

    Miscellany:
    • Hear, hear! "The Wilder Response To Mr. Biden"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. A response to Biden's laughable comments that it would take nukes and F-15s to defeat the U.S. military (or fight them to a standstill which is the same thing). An excerpt:
        No, Mr. Biden.  The only one who needs F-15s and nuclear weapons for control is you, you disgusting pile of fake hair, fake teeth, Alzheimer’s degraded brain, who gets his only Father’s Day card encrusted in cocaine dust and whore DNA.

        The united States governs only, let me make this clear, only by consent of the governed.  As citizens, we’re generally pretty good.  But we are horrible, horrible at taking instruction from tyrants.  It’s in our DNA.

        No, literally.  This is not an exaggeration.  My family line came across an ocean to tame a continent.  That was their resume.  That was their job description as they rocked back and forth on little wooden boats in the midst of Atlantic storms.  We didn’t come here because we were weak.  We came here to fight and die and bleed and make this land our own.

        We came here because we were strong.

        We came here because we yearned for freedom.

        Mr. Biden, your butt-sniffing and shoe-licking parents and your degenerate sons and personal weaknesses are abhorrent to every fiber of my body.  Mr. Biden, you are disgusting.  Mr. Biden, your forefathers were horrible.  Mr. Biden, you and your weaknesses represent everything wrong with this country, and everything that has led to where we are today.

        How dare you threaten me?
        India has deployed another 50,000 troops on its disputed Himalayan border with China - a significant display of power to its nuclear rival.

        The two sides clashed in a high-mountain battle last year that left more than 20 soldiers dead in the bloodiest days since the Sino-Indian War of 1962. 

        Over the last three months, India has dispatched soldiers and fighter jets to the border, bringing its total up to 200,000 troops, an increase of 40 per cent on last year, sources told Bloomberg.

        It is not clear what numbers China has but it has bolstered its infrastructure across the tundra with runways, bomb-proof bunkers for fighter jets, howitzers and outposts.

        Beijing has also sent long-range artillery, tanks, anti-aircraft missiles and fighter jet squadrons over the last few months, Bloomberg reported. 

    The executive order “establishes an ambitious, whole-of-government initiative that will take a systematic approach to embedding DEIA [diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility] in Federal hiring and employment practices,” according to a White House fact sheet. In practice, it will ensure that federal agencies employ tenets associated with Critical Race Theory (CRT) within their hiring practices and day-to-day activities.

    Translating the Newspeak, diversity means a lack of ideological diversity, i.e., no conservatives; equity, as I've discussed before, means equality of outcome, which is just a nicer way of saying that people will be hired and promoted based on how many victim boxes they can check off; inclusion means that white people will be excluded; and accessibility means that there will be waivers for people unqualified or unable to meet the objective qualifications for the job.  

    Bail reform and lenient sentencing just weren’t enough “reparations.” Portland police are no longer pulling people over for expired plates, broken headlights, failing to signal, etc. Why? Because too many black folks are getting pulled over and searched.
    German authorities are baffled: a knife-wielding man, identified in the German media as “Jibril A.,” stabbed three people to death and injured five others in Würzburg, Germany, on Friday. Police and intelligence officials have no idea why he did it. Yes, he was screaming, “Allahu akbar!” during his attacks, and yes, he told police interrogators after he was arrested that he had now carried out his “jihad,” but really, what does that even mean? The German-language Tagesspiegel reported Saturday that “the motive for the fatal knife attack in Würzburg on Friday has still not been fully clarified.” Of course it hasn’t. After all, Islam is a religion of peace!
     
        Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter are abuzz this week with rumors that a vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei (董经纬) defected in mid-February, flying from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter, Dong Yang.

        Dong is, or was, a longtime official in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu. His publicly available background indicates that he was responsible for the Ministry’s counterintelligence efforts in China, i.e., spy-catching, since being promoted to vice minister in April 2018. If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.

    Also:

        RedState’s sources say that Chinese officials did demand [during the Sino-American Summit held in Alaska in March 2021] that the United States return Dong, but Blinken didn’t exactly refuse; at that time Blinken wasn’t aware that Dong was with the US government, the sources say, and told China that the US didn’t have Dong.

        It’s only in the last three to four weeks that anyone outside DIA knew about the defector, according to RedState’s sources. Prior to that time, DIA was vetting the information provided and confronting Langley officials with what they’d learned without divulging the source. 

    And some more:

    Dong has provided DIA with the following information:

    • Early pathogenic studies of the virus we now know as SARS-CoV-2
    • Models of predicted COVID-19 spread and damage to the US and the world
    • Financial records detailing which exact organizations and governments funded the research on SARS-CoV-2 and other biological warfare research
    • Names of US citizens who provide intel to China
    • Names of Chinese spies working in the US or attending US universities
    • Financial records showing US businessmen and public officials who’ve received money from the Chinese government
    • Details of meetings US government officials had (perhaps unwittingly) with Chinese spies and members of Russia’s SVR
    • How the Chinese government gained access to a CIA communications system, leading to the death of dozens of Chinese people who were working with the CIA

        Dong also has provided DIA with copies of the contents of the hard drive on Hunter Biden’s laptop, showing the information the Chinese government has about Hunter’s pornography problem and about his (and Joe’s) business dealings with Chinese entities. Some of the files on Dong has provided shine a light on just how it was that the sale of Henniges Automotive (and their stealth technology) to Chinese military manufacturer AVIC Auto was approved.

        Again, according to sources, Dong told DIA debriefers that at least a third of Chinese students attending US universities are PLA assets or part of the Thousand Talents Plan and that many of the students are here under pseudonyms. One reason for using pseudonyms is that many of these students are the children of high-ranking military and party leaders.  

    The billions that Soros, 91, still has are just a small part of the fortune he has amassed over the decades through his international investments and foreign-currency trading. Forbes calls Soros the “most generous” philanthropist of all the billionaires who donate to charity: He has given away 64 percent of his original fortune, distributing more than $15 billion to liberal organizations and initiatives largely identified with the left. He does this via the Open Society Foundations – formerly called the Open Society Institute – that he founded to promote peace, education, public health and an independent media.
        A company in Ireland is hoping to bring the world's tallest moving statue to 21 cities in 2021, including Phoenix.

        Called "The Giant" it's a programmable, moving statue that's 10-stories tall and covered with millions of LED pixels that allow it to take the form of any person — even Spider-Man.

        According to a press release, The Giant's arms and head can move in multiple directions and would change shape every hour as crowds gather below. The Giant can take on any image so you could even find yourself featured, talk about the ultimate selfie. The statue can also sing and speak.

        The project's website calls it an "exciting digital art gallery," "the world's most captivating billboard" and, of course, "fun for the entire family."
        Moyer said that even those who are straight can take steps to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Avoiding assumptions, speaking up, and being an advocate is important, he said.

        "Show your support openly with a commitment, encourage respect and dignity, so if you see something that is not respectful taking place in the community stand up and be a voice to that. Create a safe space for communication. That includes listening respectfully and invite open conversation," he said. "For example, if you are a parent talk to your children about sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression. What are those, what do they mean, and how are those potentially different. Educate yourself, learn how to talk to and advocate for the LGTQ+ community in language that is unbiased, non-discriminatory and non-judgmental. And lastly, put the person first. Choose your words carefully to ensure that you're respecting the individual and not just an aspect about their life. Your actions and words have meaning and are understood by others, so set a good example, lead with compassion and respect, and enjoy the warm weather in June and join in the pride celebration."

    I've spoken to my kids about sexual orientation and gender identity, but probably not in the way this man/woman/thing would like. 

        It’s difficult to read the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — without coming away thinking Jesus’ disciples were, before His resurrection from the tomb, dense, stubborn, lacking in faith, and outright cowardly on more than a few occasions.

        After all, Peter denied even knowing Jesus three times before the cock crowed as the Lord was suffering through his six trials that led to the cross, horrendous suffering and total humiliation. It also prompted all of the disciples, except Judas Iscariot whose betrayal led to his suicide, to hide in fear they would be crucified next.

        But all of that raises a crucially important question for anybody trying to sort out whether they accept the Gospels as credible: If, as skeptics often suggest, the disciples made up the whole Jesus-was-God thing after His death, why did they make themselves look so bad in fabricating the story?

        For that matter, why would they include material indicating Jesus’ brothers thought He was a nut case prior to the resurrection?

        Or that they would have women be the first witnesses of the Resurrected Jesus, at a time when women’s testimony was not viewed as credible. 
        Airspeeder says its electric “flying” race car, the Alauda Mk3, has had its first unpiloted test flights in southern Australia. The craft, an electric vertical takeoff multicopter (abbreviated eVTOL for electric vertical take off and landing) was remotely controlled and the test flights took place under the supervision of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

        The ultimate goal for Airspeeder and Alauda Aeronautics (the former is the racing series, the latter is the manufacturer), both founded by entrepreneur Matthew Pearson, has been to build flying vehicles for the purpose of racing them, which the companies say is the next step. According to Airspeeder’s website, the “successful execution of these flights means that uncrewed electric flying car Grand Prixs will take place in 2021 at three soon-to-be-revealed international locations.”

    Tuesday, June 29, 2021

    For My LDS Readers: Critical Race Theory As A Secret Combination

    PJ Media recently ran an article by Bryan Preston, "Leaked Docs: Critical Race Theory Seeks to Undermine Equality and the Constitutional Order," that lets the proponents of critical race theory (CRT) describe themselves and their aims. The documents weren't secret, but neither were they intended for public dissemination. What the documents state is of no surprise to anyone that has spent even a modicum of time studying the movement, but at least it is in their own voice. And, as Preston reports, "In its own words, critical race theory seeks to overthrow America’s system of government."

        The documents in question are from Iowa’s Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (MBAEA) but probably are similar to documents and lesson plans distributed to other educational agencies. Preston writes:

        The document clearly separates CRT from “traditional civil rights,” saying it “questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and principles of constitutional law.”

        This helps explain the sudden shift in rhetoric away from equality and toward “equity.” This massive moving of the goalposts is based on CRT’s principles.

        According to documents leaked to Benny Johnson of Turning Point USA and Newsmax TV, the MBAEA is forcing hundreds of teachers into this training at taxpayer expense. Not only is it designed to fracture and undermine our entire basis of law, it’s openly racist and it’s politically vindictive.

        Among the terms the MBAEA’s training insists are “white supremacist” are “colorblindness,” celebrating Columbus Day, believing that “we’re just one human family,” and, of course, “Make America Great Again.”

    You can view some of the slides from the training presentation here

        In October 1961, then Apostle Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk titled "Secret Combinations." He begins by noting that America and, more specifically, the United States, had been specially set apart by the Lord. Among the points he noted:

        Sixth: Having declared America to be a land of liberty, God undertook to raise up a band of inspired and intelligent leaders who could write a constitution of liberty and establish the first free people in modern times. The hand of God in this undertaking is clearly indicated by the Lord himself in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in these words

        “…I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose....” (D&C 101:80.)

        Seventh: God declared that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired for the specific purpose of eliminating bondage and the violation of the rights and protection which belongs to “all flesh.” (Ibid., 101:77-80.)

        Eighth: God placed a mandate upon his people to befriend and defend the constitutional laws of the land and see that the rights and privileges of all mankind are protected. He verified the declaration of the founding fathers, that God created all men free. He also warned against those who would enact laws encroaching upon the sacred rights and privileges of free men. He urged the election of honest and wise leaders and said that evil men and laws were of Satan. (Ibid., 98:5-10.)

        Ninth: God predicted through his prophets that this great gentile nation, raised up on the American continent in the last days, would become the richest and most powerful nation on the face of the earth; even “above all other nations.” (See 1 Nephi 13:15, 30; Ether 2:12.)

        Tenth: Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, worldwide “secret combination” which would not only threaten the United States but also seek to “overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, (Ether 8:25.)

    He continued:

        Where do we stand today? All over the world the light of freedom is being diminished. Across whole continents of the earth freedom is being totally obliterated.

        Never in recorded history has any movement spread its power so far and so fast as has socialistic-communism in the last three decades. The facts are not pleasant to review. Communist leaders are jubilant with their success. They are driving freedom back on almost every front.

        It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during “the war in heaven.”

    Benson's was famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for criticizing communism and socialism, but his antipathy was not without precedent. On July 3, 1936, the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement concerning communism:

    WARNING TO CHURCH MEMBERS

        With great regret we learn from credible sources, governmental and others, that a few Church members are joining directly or indirectly, the Communists and are taking part in their activities.

        The Church does not interfere, and has no intention of trying to interfere, with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of its members, under and within our Constitution which the Lord declared: “I established . . . by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose,”(D&C 101:80) and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever.”(D&C 109:54)

        But Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our government before Communism could be set up in the United States.

        Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.

        To our Church members we say: Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation, the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.

        Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. The United Order will be established by the Lord in His own due time and in accordance with the regular prescribed order of the Church.

        Furthermore, it is charged by universal report, which is not successfully contradicted or disproved, that Communism undertakes to control, if not indeed to proscribe the religious life of the people living within its jurisdiction, and that it even reaches its hand into the sanctity of the family circle itself, disrupting the normal relationship of parent and child, all in a manner unknown and unsanctioned under the Constitutional guarantees under which we in America live. Such interference would be contrary to the fundamental precepts of the Gospel and to the teachings and order of the Church. Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.

        We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

    First Presidency:

    HEBER J. GRANT

    J. REUBEN CLARK, JR.

    DAVID O. MCKAY

    Nevertheless, as D. Michael Quinn carefully documents in his article, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 1993), pp. 1-87, Benson faced considerable backlash from others for his anti-communist stance, including high ranking officials within the Church. Most notably among the criticisms leveled against him were his close ties to the John Birch Society and his claims that communism was active in the civil rights movement and was infiltrating academia, including student groups. 

        Quinn's piece certainly portrays Benson as almost paranoid and delusional about communism and its linkages to key social movements, and perhaps from the perspective of 1993 it may have seemed that way. Of course, now we know better. Benson has not only been vindicated by history, but in retrospect may not have been harsh enough.

        First, it is well established that communists were involved with the nascent civil rights efforts of the 1920s and 1930s and later. (See, e.g., these articles from WikipediaNPRCommon Places, and the Atlantic). In fact, the latter article from the Atlantic relates:

        ... In 1932, for instance, Dmitri Moor, the Soviet Union’s most famous propaganda poster artist, created a poster that cried, “Freedom to the prisoners of Scottsboro!” It was a reference to the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama, and then repeatedly—wrongly—convicted by all-white Southern juries. The case became a symbol of the injustices of the Jim Crow South, and the young Soviet state milked it for all the propagandistic value it could.

        It was part of a plan put in place in 1928 by the Comintern—the Communist International, whose mission was to spread the communist revolution around the world. The plan initially called for recruiting Southern blacks and pushing for “self-determination in the Black Belt.” By 1930, the Comintern had escalated the aims of its covert mission, and decided to work toward establishing a separate black state in the South, which would provide it with a beachhead for spreading the revolution to North America.

    Certainly the FBI believed that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Marxist or sympathetic to Marxist beliefsThe Communist Party USA proudly proclaims that "[t]hroughout the 1960s, Communists continued to champion the Black freedom movement—in the streets, workplaces, and campuses. Many Communists worked with and within mass civil rights organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party (BPP), while also building left-led formations such as the W. E. B. Du Bois Clubs." The post goes on to highlight the connections between the communist party and the BLM movement. 

        Second, as documented in Brian Burroughs's book, Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, radical student and black revolutionary groups of the 1960s and 1970s were, in fact, mostly populated by self-avowed communists that were primarily inspired by the writings of Mao and Ho Chi Minh, whose blue-print of revolution was the Cuban Revolution, and whose icon--their saint, so to speak--was Che Guevara. 

        Third, it is obvious to all but the most blind that the neo-Marxists have, in fact, taken over not only academia but much of our government, and is now working on the military--conducting a political purge, as Tucker Carlson puts it. This is all derived from "critical theory" which can be directly traced back to the Frankfurt School and its avowedly Marxist intellectuals. As Michael Walsh described them in his book, The Devil's Pleasure Palace:

    Don Quixotes of the mind, their philosophy giving unholy birth to the "sniveling brats" of the contemporary nasty, sneering Left, gibing at both the traditionally masculine and feminine virtues and appurtenances, desperately trying to relegate the ur-Narrative to the realm of secondary myth and legend, to bedtime stories for the gonzo Bones of postwar America: Such was the Frankfurt School. Having seized academia, they left a legacy in the cancerous growth of "studies" departments (gender, race, queer, whatever) that infest the modern university at the expense of classical learning. They have turned prominent institutions of what used to be called "higher learning" into reeducation camps of lower learning, populating them with "diversity" commissars and political officers, blunt fists in tweed jackets, sucking taxpayer money to fuel their own employment, forcing the larger population to subsidize their own theory of destruction. 

    In Jim O'Neill's article, "Liberal Treason Explained: 'The Kindergarden of Eden',” he relates:

        Moving right along, let me next touch on the decline and fall of American education—triggered in no small part by members of the Frankfurt School. Most readers are at least somewhat familiar with the Frankfurt School—that group of German Marxists who were welcomed into the United States during the Nazi’s rise to power in the 1930s. Members of the Frankfurt School repaid America’s largesse by stabbing her in the back and spreading an especially virulent form of anti-Americanism throughout US academia. Perhaps the most infectious carrier of their disease was Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979).                                         

        “Sex sells"is a well known advertising axiom, and Marcuse hit upon the diabolically clever stratagem of combining sex with soft-sell Marxism. In 1955 Marcuse published his book “Eros and Civilization,“which lit the fire that would erupt into “the sexual revolution"of the 1960s (aided and abetted by the bogus “scientific findings"of pervert extraordinaire Dr. Alfred Kinsey—“Marquis de Sade with a research team"as Selwyn Duke describes him).                           

        “Eros and Civilization“popularized the concept of polymorphous perversity (a term coined by atheist and hater of Judeo/Christian tradition Sigmund Freud). Polymorphous perversity was put into the vernacular in the 1960s as “If it feels good do it.“Skillfully hidden within the “if it feels good do it"camouflage, Marcuse included anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, anti-American Marxist propaganda.

    Another author, Pedro Blas Gonzalez, explains:

    In the twentieth century Marxism attempted to re-make itself by undermining emerging industries, technologies and new forms of work. The advent of critical theory and cultural studies is the brainchild of so-called neo-Marxists. In these disciplines of intellectual contortion, Marxist social engineers saw a powerful vehicle to showcase their perpetual slander of work, industry, and ultimately – human reality. Their program of misinformation, Marxists were confident, would be most effective if diligently applied to all aspects of human life. The media and cultural institutions would eventually be made to serve not as purveyors of what human reality is, but rather as a forum to forge the Marxists vision of what reality ought to be. This has proven to be a diabolically effective strategy. In the twentieth century, this is the story of the Frankfurt School.

    And he adds:

        At the heart of Marxism in the twentieth century, we encounter the work of social-engineers like Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), and many other self-styled cultural theorists. They insist that in order to destroy capitalism, it is necessary to influence the masses through their culture. This includes religious belief and family life. This also means that music, art, philosophy, sex, sports, agriculture, technology, health – education at every level – and the way that people communicate must become the target of Marxism. In other words, no aspect of human existence can be left out of the grasp of Marxism’s all-engulfing program. Spontaneity must be obliterated.  All aspects of human existence must be made political. In this fashion, metaphysical and existential aspects of man are made to be filtered through a social-political prism. Marxism hopes to organize society by creating a priestly caste of elite intellectuals who rule over their subjects with bureaucratic planning. This is one reason why Marxism must castrate man’s appeal to God on a moral and spiritual basis. God is an obstacle in the creation of the new Marxist man.

        The Frankfurt School, in turn, was heavily influenced by Antonio Gramsci, a Neo-Marxist philosopher and a founding member of the Italian Communist Party, who developed the theory of Cultural Marxism.

        Marx had argued that the owners of the means of production maintained their position primarily through political and economic force, though other elements in society such as religion also contributed to their control over society. Gramsci expanded on this idea, arguing that the bourgeoisie maintain power primarily through their cultural hegemony, that is, their control over all facets of the culture and the promulgation of their values, and this explains why the proletariat revolution that Marx predicted had not happened. In effect, the workers have adopted bourgeois values as their own, seeing them as common sense, even though they run counter to their own interests. For change to happen in society, the working class needs to develop its own culture based on its own self-interests. To do this, it needs to form alliances and compromises with other groups. The ideology it develops thus must extend well beyond narrow economic interests and address the moral and spiritual needs of people. Only when it develops such a counter-hegemony that can challenge and ultimately replace the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie will the communist revolution succeed. Gramsci further believed that meaning comes from the interaction between human activity and larger historical and social processes. Knowledge is fundamentally social, that is, it is based on the relationships between people who hold the ideas. This comes very close to the postmodern view that truth is a social construct. The bottom line here is that for social progress and the liberation of the worker to occur, the current culture and value system must be attacked and replaced with a new one that reflects the interests of workers and, more broadly, the oppressed. Establishing this new “truth” is critical to human liberation. It thus fits well with the trends we saw in the last article dealing with postmodernism. 

        Gramsci’s ideas influenced the Frankfurt School, an approach to social theory and critical philosophy originally centered in the Institute for Social Research at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. 

    Returning to Gonzalez's article, after discussing Gramsci, he turns to the Frankfurt School:

        The creation of the Frankfurt School is a significant turning point in Marxism’s attempt to destabilize Western culture in the twentieth century. The purported critical component of the Frankfurt School’s praxeology launched Western Marxist intellectuals into unprecedented territory. The secular messianism of the Frankfurt School declared war on God, truth and other objectives that were now re-packaged and vilified as being the tools of capitalism. The Frankfurt School made it fashionably expedient to disregard truth, data, information – in essence – any verifiable aspects of human reality that did not conform and promote Marxists causes and ideology. All members of the Frankfurt School were atheists.

        Historically, the Frankfurt School serves as the intellectual pillar of today’s cultural war. In order for Marxism to stretch its talons as a social-political theory of human reality, it needed to take command of the popular psyche. This meant the creation of popular, social-political myths that would encompass the whole of human life. Marxism is an ominous ideology because every aspect of human reality and the human person must be viewed through a social-political spectrum. This is why post-modernity’s destruction of objective values has no precedent in human history. Rather than paying heed to historical periods – what has worked and what great suffering bankrupted ideas have brought about in the past – post-modernity pretends that history begins with the life of every individual. If everything is relative and human existence is no more than a social-political power play – then everything is permitted.

        The legacy of Marxism that informs post-modernity circa 2018 is tantamount to a chameleon-like reworking of Marxism in the twenty-first century. The ability for Marxism to re-invent itself on demand is its great strength.  Because reason is only an illusion of Western thinkers, violence, both physical and intellectual, is condoned by Marxism. Post-modernity has proven itself to be infatuated with theoretical and intellectual violence, while decrying their physical offspring. Let us be cognizant of what is meant by post-modern:

    “Modern debates were over truth and reality, reason and experience, liberty and equality, justice and peace, beauty and progress. In the postmodern framework, those concepts always appear in quotation marks. Our most strident voices tell us that ‘Truth’ is a myth. ‘Reason’ is a white male Eurocentric construct. ‘Equality’ is a mask for  oppressions. ‘Peace’ and ‘Progress’ are met with cynical and weary reminders of power-or explicit ad hominem attacks.” 

        Kenny Xu, in "Critical Race Theory’s Poisonous Roots Trace Back To Harvard University," published in The Federalist, traces CRT's origins thusly:

        ... Critical race theory emerged from one of America’s foremost institutions: Harvard University. Tracing the history of critical race theory reveals just how intimately connected it is with America’s most prestigious university.

        In the wake of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legal scholars grappled with how the sweeping legislation would affect America’s racial struggles. By the 1970s, it was clear that anti-discrimination law and racial integration had not fully healed the nation’s race relations. This frustrated many civil rights advocates, who after Martin Luther King Jr. died in 1968 lacked a moral lodestar to underpin their faith in American democracy to solve racial problems.

        Borrowing from Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, who posited a theory of “cultural hegemony” by the capitalist ruling class, a group of Ivy League law professors developed a school of thought called “critical legal studies,” synthesizing Gramsci’s theory of hegemony with racial classification. The most important thinkers of the group of critical legal theorists were all Harvard Law professors: Derrick Bell, Roberto Unger, Duncan Kennedy, and Morton Horwitz.

        The main tenets of the philosophy included that justice is inherently subjective, the law is nothing but a political tool, and the system will only ever provide good outcomes for the wealthy and privileged. Their proposed solution was to overthrow Western liberal society. ...

        To sum up, CRT is derived from the Marxist theories espoused by Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. It is atheistic, seeking to supplant God and religion with worship of man and state, and to constrain human freedom and thought. It is, in short, "hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership."

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