Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Docent's Memo (8/25/2021)

VIDEO: "M1 Carbine versus SKS: Milsurp Showdown"--Lucky Gunner (21 min.)
This video is not a comparison of their merits as a combat weapon--although he does go over the history of both--but rather a look at which one a collector or shooter might prefer. But, as he notes, the SKS is some 3 lbs. more than the M1 Carbine which merely underscores what I've said before which is that the SKS is too heavy for the cartridge it uses.


  • "INSPIRED: Rifle Types for Regular Guys" by Frank Woods, Mag Life. Although we often are drowning and nomenclature and abbreviations for firearms, proper use of nomenclature can aid in clarity of thinking and planning. In this case, the author has attempted to define certain classes of popular defensive and sporting rifles (all based on the AR platform) to not only assist in distinguishing one class from another, but to also help clarify what are appropriate roles for certain classes of weapon. The author explains what and why he has made his classifications, as well as how specific characteristics or accessories could change as technology improves, but I will limit myself to just laying out his general classification scheme. 

    First, he has four classification of AR-15 style rifles primarily distinguished by barrel length and optic. He assumes that they are 5.56 caliber, although this get a little fuzzy with his last category. He settled on their all being AR-15 style for commonality of magazines, ammunition and manual of arms.  They are:

    1. The Special Purpose Rifle (SPR): As he explains, it is a weapon that is "[a]ccurized for distanced precision fire at max effective range, in exchange for maneuverability" but "[r]etains commonality/standardization at the squad level." This is essentially a weapon using a longer, free-floated barrel (more than 16-inches) and an optic (an LPVO, an HPVO, or a Combat Optic) to maximize velocity and accuracy at long range.
    2. The General Purpose Rifle (GPR), which typically has a barrel of 12 to 16 inches and an optic (e.g. a combat optic or LPVO) that allows the weapon to be a bit of a jack of all trades: more maneuverable than the longer, heavier SPR, but not quite having the umph at longer ranges.
    3. The Close Quarter Rifle (CQR) with a barrel of 10.3 to 11.5 inches and using a red dot sight, LPVO or combat optic which is optimized for use in, you guessed it, close quarter battle (CQB). More maneuverable than the GPR, it nevertheless lacks the muzzle velocity to be used at longer ranges. 
    4. The Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) using a barrel of less than 10.3 inches and, possibly, in .300 BLK. It's optic will be similar to that of the CQR. This weapon's primary purpose is concealment (or, at least, low visibility).

The author next discusses the .308 weapon systems (although 6.5 Creedmore would also be acceptable). These are:

    1. The Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS). As the name implies, these are rifles with longer (18-22 inch), heavier barrels to maximize range and accuracy coupled with a high power scope  (with a maximum power of 10x or more) and other features suitable to the sniper role such as a fixed stock and bipods. They are not maneuverable enough for many combat tasks, but are intended for an over-watch role.
    2. The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS). Of this classification, the author says: "Same exact job as a SASS, but shorter on both ends." So, barrels of 14.5 to 16 inches, same HPVO scope, but with a collapsible stock. In fact, it is basically the same as the DMR (below) but with an HPVO scope instead of the LPVO.
    3. Next is the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) sporting a shorter barrel (of 14.5 to 16 inches) and an LPVO capable of at least 6x. "The point is basically to do the same job as the SPR in the hands of the squad’s Designated Marksman, with a large frame AR-308 weapon," the author explains.
    4. The Battle Rifle (BR), which is your .308 version of the general purpose rifle featuring barrels 12.5 - 20 inches in length and employing iron sights, an LPVO or a combat optic of approximately 4x. This would include not just AR-10 style rifles, but could include such venerable arms as the FAL, M-1A, CETME/G-3. 

This is a good article and I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

    The BolaWrap shoots a 7-foot-6-inch tether at a person with a bang, just like a gun. That's because it uses gunpowder, earning it a designation as a firearm by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Kevlar tether then wraps around the target's legs or arms and small metal fishhooks at the ends of the tether are designed to grab clothing to keep it in place.

    The tether shoots out of the handheld device at a speed of 350 mph and can travel up to 25 feet, according to the company.

Under new State Department sanctions, there will be no Russian ammo or firearms coming into the US beginning on September 7th of this year. The Department of State published a fact sheet today regarding new sanctions imposed on Russia. The relevant text of the sanctions includes:

Restrictions on the permanent imports of certain Russian firearms. New and pending permit applications for the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia will be subject to a policy of denial.

  • Those of you interested in military reenactment or collecting war memorabilia may find these two articles interesting: "Load Carriage: WWI to the GWOT" (Part 1) (Part 2). The author does not attempt to cover every type of load carriage or set up, but just what was considered standard per manuals or regulation. He includes lots of photographs.
  • "L1A1 7.62mm Rifle vs. CETME Modelo C Rifle"--Firearms News. The author compares the performance and ergonomics on both these rifles, giving the nod to the L1A1 (the British version of the FAL). The two main criticism he had of the CETME was that it had a worse trigger than the FAL and it was more awkward to remove the magazine. But, I would note, his test model did not come with the paddle mag release which is far superior to the FAL. I'm confident that if he'd had the paddle mag release he would have called it a draw.

VIDEO: "My revenge with Olight flashlights 👎 🚮🚫 - I don't want to support that"--Wild Woman Bushcraft (21 min.). This vlogger starts out with complaints about various Olight products she has received for review that have ceased functioning after a while, but then moves on to how Olight (and other companies) essentially buy good reviews either by providing free products and/or (if you have enough of an audience) paying an influencer to provide a good review. 


  • "Combat Grade Flip Flops?"--Guns America Blog. The author relates that part of taking care of your feet includes allowing them to air out and dry after they become wet. This is where a good pair of sandals come in. And the one's that the author recommends are the Teva Hurricane XLT2. I remember back when Teva sandals became popular and I purchased a pair and loved them. Several years later (ok, probably more like 10) they wore out and I purchased another pair of Teva. But the quality had declined remarkably and, with very little use, those sandals fell apart. I though it was a fluke, but a replacement pair also fell apart. I changed to Keen and never looked back. 
  • "Start a Self-Sufficiency Garden Even in a Cramped Apartment"--Backwoodsman Magazine. First of all, I would warn you to not delude yourself: you will never even come close to being self-sufficient with what you can grow on a patio deck or in pots around your apartment. But you can grow plants or small trees that will provide you with some fresh produce to supplement your diet or that you can trade or sell. The author writes:

    You dream of growing your own fresh, pesticide-free, organic vegetables. So do it. Go dumpster diving and trash mongering and collect all the free containers you can find that will hold soil and that you can poke a few holes into. Wash and disinfect the containers thoroughly. Then get some potting soil suitable for veggies.

    Make your own compost to add to your potting soil in a dark corner (or under the sink) by putting shredded newspaper, kitchen wastes (not meat or grease), and coffee grounds in a large container and adding a few earthworms (which you can either buy or collect for free after a rain at the nearby park). Maybe you can get some leaves and grass for your compost bin at the park too. Keep the composting materials moistened.

    While you are waiting for your earthworms to make the fertilizer, you can order your seeds. Here, I can give you another shortcut. Since I’m stuck in an in-town situation myself at the moment, I’ve already done the research to find which vegetables are best for small space and container gardening, and where to get them. Here are a few recommendations to get you started. (Keep in mind that this list is by no means all-inclusive. It is only meant as a suggestion.):

  • Small miracle broccoli, from Park Seed are little beauties that can be planted as close as eight inches apart so you can fit many in a small space. Broccoli is a heavy feeder so compost well and maybe add a sprinkling of blood meal as a side dressing once or twice during the season.
  • Early sunglo corn is also from Park Seed. This corn grows on small stalks so they can be planted close together. Enrich your soil with lots of compost and a sprinkling of bone meal and blood meal. You should then be able to plant the seeds about four to six-inches apart each way. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked. The ears will be small but tasty.
  • Dynamo mini cabbage, from Johnny’s Selected Seeds can also be planted close together like the broccoli. The same planting instructions apply.
  • Kinko mini carrots, from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, grow only four-inches long but you will need a pot at least six-inches or more deep. If you don’t have a pot that deep, Bountiful Gardens offers Parisian rondo heirloom which is a little, round, bite-sized carrot which doesn’t need much space at all. You can plant your carrots two- to three-inches apart each way.
  • Superb super bush container tomatoes, from Shepherd’s Garden Seeds, promise to yield abundantly on 2½- to 3-foot space-saving plants. They also boast “firm, juicy fruit with a full tomatoey flavor.”
  • Park’s creamy hybrid yellow squash are a straight-necked squash which grows on 18-inch plants. Park Seed also has green magic II zucchini which grows on an 18-inch compact plant as well.
  • Sweet pickle peppers, from Park Seed, are the ones to try for an abundance of sweet salad peppers, although most any pepper can be grown in a pot.
  • Little gem lettuce, from Park Seed, or little diamond gem lettuce, from The Cook’s Garden, both produce lovely, tiny, sweet, space-saving heads. Each head makes an individual salad.
  • Pole (green or yellow) beans of any kind can be grown in a tub. Just make a bean tepee using three or four bamboo poles sunk into the outer edge of the soil in your bean tub. Tie the poles together at the top. Plant four bean seeds around each pole. Emerite, from Cook’s Garden is an “incredibly productive and easy to grow” green, stringless pole bean which should suit your purpose well.
  • Pronto baby beets, from The Cook’s Garden is a good beet choice for container growing, because they are small. So, you can fit a lot into a small space. They are also reported to be sugar sweet and are said to retain their tenderness as they mature.
  • The Cook’s Garden is also famous for their lettuce mixtures. They offer cutting mix lettuces, fall mix lettuces, and winter mix lettuces. Plus they offer Cook’s tangy mesclun mix and Cook’s mild mesclun mix. Wouldn’t Peter Rabbit be in seventh heaven?
  • Most types of radishes and scallions (little green onions) can be grown in pots.

And don't forget the tomatoes!

  • "Best SHTF Watch for Preparedness – EMP Proof"--Modern Survival Blog. The author is talking about watches that use a mechanical movement. It doesn't have to be a Rolex, though. Seiko makes relatively inexpensive mechanical/automatic watches. The author also lists some reasons why you would want a timepiece after SHTF:
– Coordinate a time when to meet (for whatever reason). “After 90 minutes, let’s meet back here”. Accurate meet-up time.

– Use as a compass. Point the hour hand in the direction of the sun. Halfway between 12 and the hour hand (in the smallest angle) will indicate which way is south (in the northern hemisphere).

– Tactical & Security – coordination. (e.g. knowing when your night shift is up.)

– Night time. It’s difficult to perceive the time during the night.

– Medical: Timing one’s pulse. Or, take medication every 6 hours.

– Kitchen (timing anything) Baking, cooking. Boil an egg for three minutes?

– You wake up in the middle of the night and wonder, how long until sunrise – just check your watch.

– Estimate speed: If you hiked 6 miles and it took two hours on your wrist watch, you were traveling 3 miles per hour.

– Home canning; time required for canning recipes (important regarding food safety!)

– Meetings: it might be difficult to round up half a dozen people for a meeting without everyone carrying a watch (lets meet at “such and such” time… Or perhaps several people are asked to give a hand with a task and having everyone arrive within a couple of hours just won’t work.

– How long does each person take to walk a perimeter?

– Communication: You are supposed to communicate on a ham radio at 8:00 pm. Sorry, I missed your call!

The author had considered solar powered watches--which would be less apt to lose or gain time inasmuch as they use a quartz movement--but decided that the risk of their failing in an EMP event was too great. I don't think that they are big enough for a sufficient current to be induced by an EMP event, but that is just my supposition based on the results of testing by the EMP commission which suggested that household electrical devices not plugged in at the time of an EMP event would probably not be destroyed.
  • "China: Bubonic plague case reported in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region"--Outbreak News (h/t KA9OFF). Not much information here other than that the Health Commission of Ningxia has reported a confirmed bubonic plague case in a 55-year old man from North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Per the article, "Related areas and organizations have initiated emergency protocols in accordance with laws and regulations, conducted strict classification and prevention and control measures on related areas and personnel." Don't know what this means. It could be the burning of villages to kill any and all transmission vectors such as lice and rodents, such as the Russians would do, or something less drastic.
  • "Palantir Buys Over $50 Million Of Gold Bars: 'Preparing For A Future With More Black Swans'"--Nation & State. Palantir describes itself as: "We build software that empowers organizations to effectively integrate their data, decisions, and operations."

VIDEO: "Why You Should Be Worried About China's Debt Crisis"--Economics Explained (18 min.)
For years--more than a decade now--various experts and pundits have made arguments about why China's economy is inherently unstable and risks a major, shall we say, correction. The fact that China keeps kicking the can down the road does not mean that a correction will not occur. As this video explains, a lot of the problem is tied up with China's overpriced real estate market and that much of China's population is involved in real estate speculation because they expect China's economy to continue to expand. It won't. Even the CCP's current push to redistribute wealth from the wealthy to the workers can only delay the inevitable for a short time. And when the house of cards comes tumbling down, the CCP will be blaming foreign powers for the consequences. 

The War Against US:
    Australia's New South Wales has gone stark, raving mad.  Eleven days ago, it renewed complete lockdowns, including barring people from speaking to each other, thanks to a few hundred new cases and the deaths of two men in their 90s.  These new cases were on top of the 12,588 cases and 91 deaths since last February, out of a population of 5.3 million — in other words, numbers that aren't even a statistical blip.

    That, it turns out, was the beginning.  The state shepherded tens of thousands of children into arenas and injected them with vaccines, it's arresting people for leaving their homes, and it's shooting dogs.  No wonder Australians are starting to riot.

    On August 12, I wrote about the decision in New South Wales (which is the most populous state and home to Sydney, Australia's largest city) to reinstate lockdowns.  For a disease with a >98% survival rate, people were told they could leave their homes only to get food, go to work, or get medical treatment.  Even worse, aside from telling people to refrain from all social interactions, the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, told people to inform on each other, a classic totalitarian move that destroys familial and social bonds.

    Meanwhile, Canberra, Australia's capital city, has announced that there's a goal for the lockdown: it will continue until the virus is gone.  Of course, viruses are never gone, especially viruses that have been manufactured in a lab to go directly to a human host, without the necessity of an intervening animal.  Even if Canberra temporarily gets to zero cases, the moment people from the outside world enter (and they will), COVID comes right back again.

    Believe it or not, it got worse after that.

Read the whole thing. 

As Australians take to the streets to protest the country's lockdown measures - most recently clashing with police over the weekend, Aussie truck drivers are planning to shut down every major highway across the country and have advised people to 'stock up on groceries.'
The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

But you knew there had to be a catch somewhere: "FDA Ignores New UK Study Showing Pfizer Vaccine Destroys T Cells, Weakens the Immune System."

    The Francis Crick Institute, in collaboration with the British National Institute for Health Research, released a study that showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine produced fewer neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19’s variants. (Related: Spanish study finds Pfizer vaccine contains high levels of TOXIC graphene oxide.)

    The scientists analyzed the antibodies from the blood of 250 healthy adults who have received either one or two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine up to three months after their first dose.

    The researchers used a test specially developed by the Francis Crick Institute to figure out the ability of the neutralizing antibodies to prevent the entry of the COVID-19 variants.

    It found that only 50 percent of the people who received a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine had a quantifiable neutralizing antibody response against the alpha variant of COVID-19. This number decreased even further to just 32 percent and 25 percent for the delta and beta variants, respectively.

    The situation gets worse for older individuals who have weaker immune systems. The researchers found that older vaccine recipients generated even fewer antibodies. Coupled with the vaccine’s ability to destroy T cells and weaken the immune system even further, getting vaccinated could spell disaster for many people.

    The United States has been dominant in the mathematical sciences since the mass exodus of European scientists in the 1930s. Because mathematics is the basis of science—as well as virtually all major technological advances, including scientific computing, climate modelling, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and robotics—US leadership in math has supplied our country with an enormous strategic advantage. But for various reasons, three of which we set out below, the United States is now at risk of losing that dominant position.

    First, and most obvious, is the deplorable state of our K-12 math education system. Far too few American public-school children are prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This leaves us increasingly dependent on a constant inflow of foreign talent, especially from mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, and India. In a 2015 survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Graduate Record Examinations Board, about 55 percent of all participating graduate students in mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering at US schools were found to be foreign nationals. In 2017, the National Foundation for American Policy estimated that international students accounted for 81 percent of full-time graduate students in electrical engineering at U.S. universities; and 79 percent of full-time graduate students in computer science.

    That report also concluded that many programs in these fields couldn’t even be maintained without international students. In our field, mathematics, we find that at most top departments in the United States, at least two-thirds of the faculty are foreign born. (And even among those faculty born in the United States, a large portion are first-generation Americans.) Similar patterns may be observed in other STEM disciplines.

    The second reason for concern is that the nationwide effort to reduce racial disparities, however well-intentioned, has had the unfortunate effect of weakening the connection between merit and scholastic admission. It also has served (sometimes indirectly) to discriminate against certain groups—mainly Asian Americans. The social-justice rhetoric used to justify these diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs is often completely at odds with the reality one observes on campuses. The concept of fighting “white supremacy,” in particular, doesn’t apply to the math field, since American-born scholars of all races now collectively represent a small (and diminishing) minority of the country’s academic STEM specialists.

    Third, other countries are now competing aggressively with the United States to recruit top talent, using the same policies that worked well for us in the past. Most notably, China, America’s main economic and strategic competitor, is in the midst of an extraordinary, mostly successful, effort to improve its universities and research institutions. As a result, it is now able to retain some of the best Chinese scientists and engineers, as well as attract elite recruits from the United States, Europe, and beyond.

    In a 2018 report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), China ranked first in mathematical proficiency among 15-year-olds, while the United States was in 25th place. And a recent large-scale study of adults’ cognitive abilities, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, found that many Americans lack the basic skills in math and reading required for successful participation in the economy. This poor performance can’t be explained by budgetary factors: When it comes to education spending per pupil, the United States ranks fifth among 37 developed OECD nations.

Of course, we can't ignore the role of teacher's unions and Ed.D. holders like Biden's wife:

    There are numerous underlying factors that help explain these failures—including some that, as mathematicians, we feel competent to address. One obvious problem lies in the way teachers are trained. The vast majority of K-12 math teachers in the United States are graduates of programs that teach little in the way of substantive mathematics beyond so-called math methods courses (which focus on such topics as “understanding the complexities of diverse, multiple-ability classrooms”). This has been true for some time. But the trend has become more noticeable in recent years, as curricula increasingly shift from actual mathematics knowledge to courses about social justice and identity politics.

    At the same time, math majors—who can arrive in the classroom pre-equipped with substantive mathematics knowledge—must go through the process of teacher certification before they can teach math in most public schools, a costly and time-consuming prerequisite. The policy justification for this is that all teachers need pedagogical training to perform effectively. But to our knowledge, this claim isn’t supported by the experience of other advanced countries. Moreover, in those US schools where certification isn’t required, such as in many charter and private schools, math majors and PhDs are in great demand, and the quality of math instruction they provide is often superior.

VIDEO: "Egypt flexes military muscle at Ethiopia"--Caspian Report (15 min.)
A war over water in the making.


  • "How U.S. Elites’ Focus On Afghanistan Helped China Become Our No. 1 Threat" by Chuck DeVore, The Federalist. Although the author blames Bill Clinton for beginning the mass transfer of technology to China, I would note that it was George H.W. Bush that put everything in place for that to happen; and George W. Bush did nothing to stop it. But back to the main subject of the article:
    Al-Qaeda’s successful 2001 terror attack required a U.S. response. The Bush administration issued a demarche to the Afghan Taliban that it deliver al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and expel the terror group. It refused. The United States and the United Kingdom then launched Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001. About 10 weeks later, the Taliban was driven from power and back into the hills and mountains of Afghanistan.

    Initially, the U.S. response took the form of a punitive expedition to kill or capture those responsible for 9/11, hitting them in their bases in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, in what should have been the decisive battle at Al-Qaeda’s mountain redoubt at Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan, some seven miles from Pakistan’s tribal territories, al-Qaeda elements exfiltrated through allied lines by negotiating a truce with a local Afghan militia commander. Thus, al-Qaeda remained intact, but was denied its freedom of operation in Afghanistan.

    It was at this juncture that the project of trying to transform Afghanistan from a pre-modern tribal society into a modern democracy took hold. The fear was that without a stable and friendly central government in Kabul, al-Qaeda would easily return to begin plotting deadly terror attacks as soon as the United States withdrew.

    Yet after the Taliban’s rout, would the Afghans, or any other nation or warlord, have risked their own lives to provide safe haven to al-Qaeda? A nation that allows itself to be used as a platform to attack America confers no obligation on America to leave that nation in better shape than it was before the punitive expedition to destroy the threat it hosted.

    American mission planners should be under no obligation to occupy and then economically and politically develop terror-hosting nations. This frees resources for more punitive expeditions — a virtuous circle — as well as more dollars for R&D and procurement to deter or defeat China.

But to add to the strategic errors in Afghanistan, the Bush and Obama administrations decided to pursue a war against Iraq followed by a lengthy and largely fruitless (at least for the American people) occupation.

    Thus, from the fall of the Taliban in late 2001 to its triumphant and chaotic return almost 20 years later, we temporized in Afghanistan. But while we borrowed and spent $2.3 trillion, the Chinese modernized their military, vastly enlarged their nuclear weapons arsenal, and extended their reach, both in the South China Sea and abroad, with extensive predatory infrastructure projects in strategic locations. By 2020, China’s GDP was $24,143 billion, eclipsing American output at $20,933 billion.

    Had our Afghan adventure been limited to punitive strikes, saving $2 trillion, it’s possible that an additional $500 billion might have been invested in military R&D and procurement, rebuilding the Navy, bolstering missile defense, and developing entirely new capabilities. Chinese adventurism would have been easier to deter. Instead, a large-scale war is more probable than the elites who brought us Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and others would like to admit.
    There’s a glorious moment in the life of a certain kind of politician, when either because their careers are over, or because they’re so untouchable politically that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they finally get to remove the public mask, no pun intended. This Covid bash was Barack Obama’s “Fuck it!” moment.

    He extended middle fingers in all directions: to his Vineyard neighbors, the rest of America, Biden, the hanger-on ex-staffers who’d stacked years of hundred-hour work weeks to build his ballyhooed career, the not quite A-listers bounced at the last minute for being not famous enough (sorry, Larry David and Conan O’Brien!), and so on. It’d be hard not to laugh imagining Axelrod reading that even “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Kim Fields got on the party list over him, except that Obama giving the shove-off to his most devoted (if also scummy and greedy) aides is also such a perfect metaphor for the way he slammed the door in the faces of the millions of ordinary voters who once so desperately believed in him.

    Obviously, getting rich and not giving a shit anymore is the birthright of every American. But this wasn’t supposed to be in the script for Obama, whose remarkable heel turn has been obscured by the Trump years, which incidentally were at least partly his fault. The history books and the still-starstruck press will let him skate on this, but they shouldn’t.

    Obama was set up to be the greatest of American heroes, but proved to be a common swindler and one of the great political liars of all time — he fooled us all. Moreover, his remarkably vacuous post-presidency is proving true everything Trump said in 2016 about the grasping Washington politicians whose only motives are personal enrichment, and who’d do anything, even attend his wedding, for a buck. Trump’s point was that he, Trump, was already swinishly rich, while politicians have only one thing to sell to get the upper class status they crave: us.

    Obama did that. He sold us out, and it’s time to start talking about the role he played in bringing about the hopeless cynical mess that is modern America.
    But what I took the most from this presser is this: Biden is sick.

    As I said, his eyes were bloodshot and glazed over. It was difficult to even see the whites of his eyes at times. His presentation was cold, with no empathy to be found. Upon finishing his teleprompter reading, he simply stumbled out, taking no questions, clearly unable to physically and mentally do so. It was obvious why he was five hours late for this presser. Something is bad wrong with the president, and there’s no way it can be ignored anymore.

The Afghanistan crises will break whatever is left of Biden. You may recall from last year's presidential race that whatever cocktail of drugs were being used to energize Biden for some short period typically required at least a few days of down time afterward. But over the past week, he has been rolled out ever other day or so. He cannot recover and, I would guess, his handlers are having to use greater and greater doses to revive him for these short pressers. Last week I said that I thought the Dems would not try to remove Biden for at least another year: that is, not until after the mid-terms. But if Biden keeps being rolled out like this, in his poor health, I would expect that Harris will be president very shortly. 

  • "SpaceX Thinks it can Send Humans to the Moon Sooner Than 2024"--Universe Today. The author, Matt Williams, mostly discusses how SpaceX seems to be winning the race to the moon against domestic competitors and foreign nations (Russia and China). But due to the delays thrown up by Bezos' Blue Origin challenging the award of the Artemis contract to SpaceX, Elon Musk was asked whether SpaceX would be ready by 2024 and he responded by saying they would be ready sooner. The article adds:
    The SpaceX HLS concept is a modified version of the Starship, which is currently undergoing rapid development (along with the Super Heavy booster) at SpaceX’s launch facility near Boca Chica. According to the latest mockup (shown above) and previous statements by Musk, the HLS Starship will have a higher payload capacity since it will not require heat shields, flaps, and large gas thruster packs (all of which are needed for atmospheric reentry).

    It also comes with wider landing legs, which future Starships may do away with entirely now that SpaceX is building the “Mechazilla” launch tower. In any case, concerns about potential delays and fulfilling the 2024 deadline go beyond the four months lost due to the GAO’s stop order. In addition, there are reported issues with the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Units (xEMU) spacesuits, leading to fears that they won’t be ready in time.

    Here too, Musk offered SpaceX’s help, claiming that they could have this other crucial mission element ready sooner. And of course, there are the highly-publicized delays that have plagued the Space Launch System (SLS) from the beginning, as well as the Orion capsule. This has led to speculation that NASA should farm the task of sending the Artemis astronauts back using the Starship and Super Heavy.

    So to summarize, NASA is still trying to make it back to the Moon by 2024 (as directed by the previous administration). They’d had to expedite everything, reprioritize certain missions elements, and have turned to contractors (overwhelmingly to SpaceX) to pick up the slack. The ESA and other space agencies are partnered with them to see this through, while Russia and China have partnered to launch a competing lunar exploration and settlement program.


The Docent's Memo (August 8, 2022)

  VIDEO: " IRONS vs. OPTIC | Which one is better? "--Armed & Styled (4 min.) One person's comparison between red-dot and i...