Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Docent's Memo (9/15/2021)

VIDEO: "How America Learned to Fight Dirty"--Dark Docs (10 min.)

Firearms/Shooting/Self-Defense:

Q: Can you talk about common mistakes you see?
 
    Alex Hartmann, Ridgeline: The most common mistake we see is improper setup of the gun.  If you don’t start there, you’re swimming against the current for everything else you’re trying to do with it.  Then basically making sure when you mount the gun, you’re mounting it consistently every time without you having to work for it. 

    The second thing we see which is something where we veer from most other people in this space is the speed at which you shoot it.  Most long-range training is very slow, very deliberate and that’s where you need to start, but you can’t stay there.  If you stay slow and you give yourself all the time in the world, you never learn to grab that next gear, to solve that firing solution at speed and deliver the hit.

    We break sniping down doctrinally.  From zero to 600 yards is that urban sniper doctrine.  The speed that you need to be able to problem solve and get your hit inside of 600 is faster than most people think.  When you get beyond 600, especially from 800 to 1,200…you’ve got a little bit more time.  Then when you get to 1,500 and out, you’ve got a lot more time to sit there and play and figure out your firing solution, because typically they don’t know you’re there, or it’s far enough out that you’re not under the threat of being directly suppressed yourself. 

    But that’s probably the biggest thing we see.  People training for slow, very precise stuff…whether it’s PRS or it’s the professional end-user, this game is just about as much about speed and performance on-demand as anything else.  We just have to be able to do it from farther away.
... in the long run, Biden shutting off ammo from Russia will have the same unintended result as Clinton shutting off ammo from communist China in the 1990s: It will force Americans to purchase pricier, but superior ammunition made in this country and in countries allied with us, rather than from our adversaries, and incline gun owners to think about how to improve their skill while firing fewer rounds, instead of burning through larger numbers of rounds just for fun.

He also notes that:

...  it makes only slightly worse the limited availability and higher cost of ammunition that has been going on for the last year and a half, so it’s less a problem for people who need a relatively small amount of ammunition in case they have to defend themselves—against common criminals, at least—than for packrats who hoard ammunition they will never use and profiteers who hoard it to sell at inflated prices to people who don’t know they’re being ripped off.


A look at how to charge your electronics for a backpacker or someone bugging out.

Prepping/Survival:

  • "Seed Saving and Seed Storage For Survival"--Skilled Survival. The article discusses why you would want to harvest seeds, tools or equipment, how to harvest seeds, and how to wash, dry and store them. An excerpt on harvesting seeds:

    The first step to saving tomato seeds, saving cucumber seeds, saving pepper seeds, or any seeds that you may decide to save, is, of course, harvesting your seeds.

    Harvesting starts with the proper dissection of the fruit or veggie that you are going to save seeds from.

    For tomatoes, you have a very large amount of water to deal with. With wet vegetables like tomatoes, you first want to get a basic idea of where the seeds are.

    Tomato seeds, for example, are housed in chambers inside of the tomato.

    You first need to cut your tomato in half to access the seeds. A quick way to harvest them is to give the tomato halves a gentle squeeze into a collection dish.

    You then need to clean your seeds thoroughly and get ready for the next step.

    With other wet vegetables like cucumber, you may have a little bit harder time.

    When saving cucumber seeds you need to access the interior of your cucumber.

    Once you have split it open you can use a spoon to help scoop out the seeds. After you have removed them, again wash and get ready for step two.

    For vegetables like squash and pumpkin, the process is a bit different.

    When saving squash seeds and saving pumpkin seeds you have much less flesh to deal with and a much larger abundance of seeds.

    Much like a cucumber, once you have accessed the interior of the squash you can use a spoon to hollow out the seed cavity to harvest your seeds.

    With pumpkin, anyone that has ever carved a pumpkin knows that pumpkin seeds come in the hundreds and that they are encased in a mucus-like substance that is known as a membrane.

    When removing pumpkin seeds you can simply chop off the top and remove the seeds with a scoop. Then, wash thoroughly and get ready for the next step.

    Harvesting pepper seeds are much easier than any other vegetable.

    Pepper seeds grow in bunches in the center of the pepper attached to the stem. If you cut out the stem and essentially core your pepper, you will have all your seeds in one place.

With a polyester outer shell and liner, these boot shields are windproof, water resistant, lightweight and packable. Heat, meanwhile, is kept in by "Retain" technology: an aluminized polypropylene core layer in the fabric, designed to return up to 90% of body heat to the source. To keep a low profile, these insulators are available in RealTree Edge, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, or basic Black. Sizes, which cover all shoe sizes from 6-13 in mens', and 8-14 in womens', are Small, Medium, Large and X-Large

  • "Safest Inexpensive Medicines for the World"--Dr. Sircus. A look at why baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3)), magnesium, iodine, selenium, potassium, sulfur, zinc, and boron are so important to maintaining health and recovering from various diseases. The author also recommends Spirulina which is described in the article as "the ultimate survival food as well as one of the most useful medicinal items a person can have in their home."

Spirulina is a super-food that has been shown to be effective in cases of radiation exposure as well as cancer. Spirulina offers advantages over most other foods. Comprised of over 65% vegetable protein, it has everything the body needs to survive and thrive.

  • "Let's say you've gone back in time - Fixed"--Rebuilding Civilization. You may have seen an infographic going around that discusses how you could kickstart civilization if you found yourself having traveled back in time. The author of this piece found numerous problems with the infographic and so has updated it to make if more accurate (e.g., updated the explanations of how an airplane wing works) and alternate suggestions (e.g., making a hurricane lantern over a light bulb). Anyway, an interesting read.
  • "Cast Iron Myths"--Lodge Cast Iron. This FAQ addresses common myths about using and caring for cast iron cookware. For instance, before coming across this, I had heard that you shouldn't use cast iron on glass top stoves, but this states that it is safe as long as you take care not to damage the glass surface.
  • "Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready for a Disaster?"--National Safety Council. This is a web page at the NSC that links to articles on emergency preparedness, including: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, emergency supplies for the car, and emergency supplies for the home. In addition, the NSC advises on this page:

The National Safety Council recommends the following general precautions that apply to many disaster situations:
    The stark message from Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, came as customers continued to share pictures of gaps on shelves and a farmer warned staff shortages were 'killing small businesses'.

    Addressing the supply chain issues, Mr Wright said: 'It's going to get worse, and it's not going to get better after getting worse any time soon.'

    Speaking to listeners at an event organised by the Institute for Government, he added: 'The result of the labour shortages is that the just-in-time system that has sustained supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants – so the food has arrived on shelf or in the kitchen, just when you need it – is no longer working.

    'And I don't think it will work again, I think we will see we are now in for permanent shortages.' 

    Industry figures have pinned the problems on a shortage of lorry drivers and food processing staff due to Brexit and Covid, which has seen foreign workers go home to be with their families and increased waiting times for receiving HGV licenses.  

 

VIDEO: "SECRET DOCUMENTS Reveal Coronavirus Mysteries"--China Uncensored (9 min.)
The Intercept released 900 pages of documents obtained under a FOIA request showing that the NIH and its subcontractor, EcoHealth Alliance, were much more involved in discovering Covid viruses from bats and performing gain of function research on those viruses than previously revealed. Moreover, the NIH was aware of the dangers of such research. China Uncensored's Chris Chapel is not saying that Covid-19 came from a lab, but it came from a lab.

 COVID News:

    In every age group from 20-79, the percentage of the confirmed Covid cases are “fully vaccinated” exceeds the percentage of the population that is “fully vaccinated”.

    This means the fake vaccines are literally worse than nothing. And remember, the Antibody Dependent Enhancement that is created by the “vaccines” don’t merely enhance Covid-19, they will enhance all similar viruses, including the common cold virus.

    This isn’t just logic applied to scientific data anymore. This isn’t just theory. This is now the published medical reality from a sample size of 18,678 confirmed Covid cases. The fake vaccines will not protect you, and contrary to the government and media propaganda, they will render you more susceptible to infection, hospitalization, and possibly, death, than simply doing nothing.
    The researchers who authored the paper found widespread vaccine failure and high rates of Covid transmission under tightly controlled circumstances in a hospital lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

    The scientists studied healthcare workers who were unable to leave the hospital for two weeks. The data showed that fully vaccinated workers — about two months after injection with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine — acquired, carried and presumably transmitted the Delta variant to their vaccinated colleagues.

    “They almost certainly also passed the Delta infection to susceptible unvaccinated people, including their patients. Sequencing of strains confirmed the workers transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to one another,” McCullough noted.

    Some U.S. scientists have made the same observations. The CDC has confirmed the Covid vaccines have failed to stop transmission of the virus.
In Stage 1, the anointed declare a negative societal situation a crisis while with Stage 2 there is an unconstrained solution that purports to solve the crisis. Those who have the tragic vision criticize the proposed solution, warning that instead of giving a solution to the so-called crisis, it will instead cause unintended and detrimental consequences. The inevitable Stage 3 comes after the policies of the anointed go into effect, and the tragic results occur. When the anointed are confronted with the detrimental results, their response in Stage 4 is two-fold: First, the benighted are accused by the anointed as being simplistic and ignoring the complexities involved, thus placing the burden of proof on the benighted critics to demonstrate with certainty that these policies alone caused a worsening of the crisis. Second, the anointed claim that the situation would have been worse if not for their bold and wonderful actions. 

Purdy then applies the 4-steps to the Covid-19 response from the anointed, including the anointed-in-chief Fauci, and discovered that it fits the 4-steps and validates Sowell's theory.

 

Since the Bronze Age Collapse involved the near simultaneous collapse of several civilizations closely tied by trade and alliances and located around the Mediterranean and the Near and Middle-East, I think there are lessons for what we may be facing should things get too bad in our time. Notably, the Bronze Age populations blamed the ruling elite for what happened to bring down their civilizations, so the collapses were accompanied by civil unrest; the elites and their cities largely did not survive.  Epimetheus also has a longer (60 min.) version of this video if you are interested in more details.

The War Against Us

    “This proposal would create a comprehensive financial account information reporting regime. Financial institutions would report data on financial accounts in an information return. The annual return will report gross inflows and outflows with a breakdown for physical cash, transactions with a foreign account, and transfers to and from another account with the same owner,” the memo states.

    “This requirement would apply to all business and personal accounts from financial institutions, including bank, loan, and investment accounts, with the exception of accounts below a low de minimis gross flow threshold of $600 or fair market value of $600.”

    This proposal will also “apply to crypto asset exchanges and custodians.”

Nine gunmen and suicide bombers struck within minutes of each other at several locations around Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, leaving 130 people dead and spreading fear across the nation. It was the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II and one of the worst terror attacks to hit the West.

But here is the key point:

    France changed after that night: Authorities immediately declared a state of emergency and now has armed officers constantly patrolling public spaces. And it transformed forever the lives of all those who suffered losses or bore witness to the violence that night.

    “Our ability to be carefree is gone," Kielemoes said. "The desire to go out, travel — all of that’s gone. Even if we still do a number of things, our appetite for life has disappeared.” 

    And nothing — nothing — is more sacred to the left than abortion. Having long shed the “safe, legal and rare” lie of the 1990s, the abortion of children has achieved an Arc of the Covenant-like status, with all who touch or even approach it becoming worthy of pitiless destruction. Simply speaking of it without active celebration is heresy.
     
  • "The Day They Drove Old Dixie Down" by Rod Dreher, American Conservative. Dreher writes about Virginia taking down the statute of General Robert E. Lee and replacing the time capsule in the base with various sundry items including "a photo of a Black ballerina taken by a local Richmond photographer in front of the statue, Kente cloth worn at the 400th commemoration of 1619, a 'Black Lives Matter' sticker, 'Stop Asian Hate' fliers, an LGBTQ pride pin, and an expired vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19vaccine" and other pro-LGBTQ items. In explaining why the Left has to do this, Dreher quotes from an article by John Daniel Davidson which states:
For the Left, the Confederacy is just a small part of a much larger problem, which is the past. Iconoclasm of the kind we’ve seen this week is native to the Left, because the entire point is to liberate society from the strictures of tradition and history in order to secure a glorious new future. That’s why Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China torched temples and dug up ancient graves, why the Soviets sacked Orthodox churches and confiscated church property, and why various governments of France went about de-Christianizing the country during the French Revolution.

Dreher adds (emphasis in original):

    That we take down a statue of a great but tragically flawed American like Robert E. Lee, and replace it with a time capsule containing these items (check out the list — it includes an LGBTQ walking tour of Richmond, a Teen Vogue article, and a copy of verses titled “Post-Colonial Love Poem”). The whole list signals that the Democratic governor of Virginia and the woke Left wants to rub the noses of cultural conservatives in our defeat. You might not have had anything good to say about Robert E. Lee, but if you are unwoke, you need to understand that the attack on this monument was aimed at you too. If you are a Virginian who is not part of a minority sacred to the Left, then there is nothing in this new time capsule for you, or about you. You are erased. This is the base upon which the new ruling class is constructing a new American identity.

    After the Civil War ended, Lee worked hard for the cause of national reconciliation. Still, we should not pretend that the statue of Lee in Richmond was regarded by all Virginians, black and otherwise, as something positive. But its removal, and replacement within its base with a time capsule that can only be read as a triumphalist act by the Left, signals the renewal of hatred. And for what? The message from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and all those who support this is: hate your fathers, hate your people, damn them in your memory

But this is probably the money quote: "This will not end soon, or well. They won the culture war, and are bouncing the rubble."


Dan Davis writes fantasy novels including a series set in the early bronze age and this is one of several videos he has made to share what he has learned in his research for his novels. I am currently reading one of his novels--Godborn--and enjoying it very much.

Miscellany:
  • "How a Great Power Falls Apart: Decline Is Invisible From the Inside" by Charles King, Foreign Affairs (reprinted in Africa Horn Now).  A look back at Andrei Amalrik, a Soviet dissident, and his predictions of the collapse of the Soviet Union. One of Amalrik's key observations is that governments are terrible at analyzing their own problems.
Governments are good at recognizing the faults in other places and times, but they are terrible judges of the injustices built into their own foundations. Thiswas especially the case for great powers such as the Soviet Union, Amalrik believed. If a country could sail the seas unrivaled and put humans into outer space, it had little incentive to look inward at what was rotten at the core. 

Moreover, "Citizens tended to take their government as a given, as if there were no real alternative to the institutions and processes they had always known." 

Up to this point in his argument, Amalrik was following an analytic line that would have been familiar to Sakharov and other dissidents. Stability and internal reform were always in tension. But he then made a leap by asking a simple question: Where is the breaking point? How long can a political system seek to remake itself before triggering one of two reactions—a devastating backlash from those most threatened by change or a realization by the change makers that their goals can no longer be realized within the institutions and ideologies of the present order? Here, Amalrik warned, great powers’ proclivity for self-delusion and self-isolation puts them at a particular disadvantage. They set themselves apart from the world, learning little from the accumulated stock of human experience. They imagine themselves immune to the ills affecting other places and systems. This same predisposition might trickle down through society. The various social strata could come to feel isolated from their regime and separated from one another. “This isolation has created for all—from the bureaucratic elite to the lowest social levels—an almost surrealistic picture of the world and of their place in it,” Amalrik concluded. “Yet the longer this state of affairs helps to perpetuate the status quo, the more rapid and decisive will be its collapse when confrontation with reality becomes inevitable.” 

He identified four main drivers of collapse:
      1. "[T]he 'moral weariness' engendered by an expansionist, interventionist foreign policy and the never-ending warfare that ensued."
      2. "[T]he economic hardship that a prolonged military conflict—in Amalrik’s imagination, a coming Soviet-Chinese war—would produce." King noted that the predicted war did not come about, but that "one might say the Soviet-Afghan conflict was a good stand-in: a drawn-out, exhausting war, prosecuted by decrepit leaders, which drained the Soviet government of resources and legitimacy". One might, in the case of the United States, similarly point to the Global War on Terror (GWOT), especially the invasions and attempted pacification of Iraq and Afghanistan.
      3. "[T]he fact that the government would grow increasingly intolerant of public expressions of discontent and violently suppress 'sporadic eruptions of popular dissatisfaction, or local riots.' These crackdowns were likely to be especially brutal, he argued, when the suppressors—police or internal security troops—were 'of a nationality other than that of the population that is rioting,' which would in turn 'sharpen enmities among the nationalities.'" The Jan. 6 so-called insurrection, anyone? Opposition to the vax? Disapproval of BLM, Antifa? Disapproval of the LGBTQ+ agenda or lifestyle? Anyone believing that it is okay to be white?
      4. The most important, in King's mind, however, was "the calculation, by some significant portion of the political elite, that it could best guarantee its own future by jettisoning its relationship to the national capital." In the Soviet Union, it was the peripheral states abandoning the Empire: first those outside the Soviet Union such as East Germany and Poland, and then those non-Russian ethnic states within the Soviet Union such as the Baltic States and the Ukraine. We are already starting to see this happen with the U.S. as both NATO countries and certain states like Texas are becoming increasingly noisome and critical of Washington.
Overlooked in much of the mainstream analysis of Ida’s impact, however, is the critical role southern Louisiana plays in the United States’ agriculture industry. The various terminals (Image 3) in the lower Mississippi River (the 250-mile stretch of river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico) are responsible for some 59% of US corn exports and 60% of US soybean exports, as of 2020.

The article continues:

    Now, what does this have to do with China and the immediate future of the Transpacific power struggle?

    In short - China is desperately short of crucial grains and oilseeds needed for domestic human and animal consumption. Understand, food security is not an unknown issue in China. So too is it widely known that CCP media organs and official ministries routinely lie about a range of food-related issues, from grain and oilseed production to hog population and slaughter figures. The CCP even went so far as to engineer the collapse and takeover of Swiss agriculture and chemical conglomerate Syngenta several years ago to short-path China’s rise to being a tier one agriculture research powerhouse alongside the United States, Japan, and the European Union.

    The immediate causes of China’s food security woes are twofold:
  1. An ongoing, multi-year outbreak of African Swine Fever
  2. Two consecutive years of reduced grain and oilseed production due to widespread catastrophic flooding
    Despite China’s rosy claims about its 2020 production, its year-long buying binge for available global inventory of grains and oilseeds indicates significant flooding-related production woes in several major agricultural reasons in the Yangtze River and Amur River basins. 2021 is shaping up to be potentially as bad. Notably, the critical crop-producing province of Heilongjiang (16% of China’s total corn production, and 40% for soybeans) is showing significant excess moisture stress during the critical corn development stages between pre-tassel and silking, with excess moisture also being a major factor in yield drag for soybeans during seed-fill. The general time period for both crops to reach these reproductive stages are July through end of August.

    Closely related to the trade indicators for grain production, import, and consumption is the issue of animal feed. Contra its massive buying spree throughout 2020 and early 2021, China’s imports have now slowed a touch, ostensibly due to hog growers feeding cheaper available wheat in lieu of pricier soybeans, corn, and their various co-products. But as indicated by the article from The Economist linked above, it’s more likely a signal that pork production is falling dramatically due to the re-emergence of African Swine Fever. Note that at its peak in 2018-2019, ASF was estimated to have forced China to cull at least 50% of its hog population and store the infected carcasses in freezers all over the country.

    Bringing it full circle to the devastation to US agri export capacity wrought by Hurricane Ida, there is now an imbalance of supply and demand such as we have not seen in a long time. Whereas before, China was able to make up shortfalls in domestic production by sourcing from the US, Brazil, Ukraine, Europe and others, that optionality is gone. The US’ primary grain and oilseed export hub of southern Louisiana lies in disrepair, with US yields expected to be basically at trendline, with unknown impact to grain and oilseed quality due to drought stress in some regions. Early indicators of crop quality are a bit worrisome, with the most recent USDA Crop Progress Report released on 30 Aug 2021 showing corn conditions at 60% Good/Excellent (62% last year) and soybeans at 55% Good/Excellent (66% last year). What is available to China will likely be of reduced quality and more expensive to transport from alternate US origins.

As John Wilder has noted, the U.S. and China stand in much the same position to each other as Germany and the Allies stood in the lead up to WWI. One of the key points about that pre-WWI relationship was how closely Germany and the Allied countries were tied by international trade. That is, the trade relationship exacerbated the poor relations between the countries making war more likely. In the Cold War, if the Soviet Union had a poor crop harvest, it could only blame saboteurs for shortages as it came hat-in-hand to buy U.S. wheat, but China can blame the United States for withholding wheat and other food stuffs.

Trump was hated for the qualities that made him an excellent president, for “Making America Great Again,” and for being a towering, if controversial, figure. He was hated for not sinking to the indescribable ineptitude of Joe Biden and for not being on the take. He was hated for his efforts to clean up the political swamp. He was hated for his endorsement of the free market and for championing a prosperous citizenry. He was hated for his opposition to crony socialism and bureaucratic bloat. He was hated for all the wrong reasons.
  • This is what tolerance gets you: In "Soft Totalitarians Vs. Semi-Christian Schools," Rod Dreher notes a recent court decision against a Catholic School that fired a substitute English and drama teacher who came out as homosexual.  The court granted summary judgment to the gay teacher, ruling against the School's attempt to invoke the religious exemption under under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The reason the School could not avail itself of the religious exemption?
Importantly, Charlotte Catholic discourages teachers of secular subjects from instructing students on any sort of religious subject. The school asks that teachers who teach secular subjects refrain from instructing students on Catholic Doctrine. Secular teachers do not have to undergo religious training, do not have to be Catholic, and do not have to be Christian. The administration at Charlotte Catholic does not know the percentage of teachers at the school who are Catholic and does not ask if candidates are Catholic
during job interviews.  [Citations omitted].

Apparently the School also knew that the teacher was gay when he was first interviewed but hired him anyway. 

  • "Is It Racist To 'Call A Spade A Spade'?"--NPR. This expression, meaning "tell it like it is," goes back at least 500 years in the English language and is, itself, derived from a much older expression from Classical Greece. The "spade" referenced is, of course, the garden implement. In the 1920s, based on the playing card suit being black, "spade" began to be used to refer to blacks. The author of this 2013 piece, however, suggests that because of the racial "spade" reference (referring to the deck of cards) we should be careful of using the expression "call a spade a spade" (referring to a digging tool) because some ignoramuses (e.g., Ivy League graduates who probably couldn't tell you the difference between a spade and a hoe) might interpret it as racist. We probably also want to jettison the expression, "a tough row to hoe" because it might insult sex workers.
  • "'Catastrophic' supervolcano eruption could be much more likely than previously thought, scientists warn"--Sky News (h/t Marcus Wynne).  The gist is: "Existing knowledge about the likelihood of eruptions is based on the presence of liquid magma under a volcano, but new research warns 'eruptions can occur even if no liquid magma is found'." We should be more worried about more frequent, less powerful volcanoes that have the ability to temporarily alter the climate. For instance, in the 19th Century, there was one eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 7 -- the Mt. Tambora eruption of 1815 that caused "the year without a summer" in 1816 -- and two eruptions with a VEI of 6 -- an 1808 "mystery eruption" which is believed to have occurred in the South Pacific, and the Krakatoa explosion of 1883. Conversely, there were no VEI 7 eruptions in the 20th Century, but three VEI 6 eruptions. It isn't just how powerful the volcano is, but also where the eruption occurs that can be important. For instance, the June 1783 and February 1784 eruptions of the Laki volcano in Iceland disrupted food production on a global scale although it appears to have only been a VEI 4 eruption. By comparison, the largest 20th Century eruption was that of Novarupta, Alaska, in 1912 (VIE 6) that apparently had little or no effect globally.
  • It wasn't that long ago that a video went viral of a deer rushing out of the brush to attack and kill a hawk that had caught a rabbit, and now this: "Butt out! Moment goat and rooster rush to save chicken from hawk attack"--Daily Mail. Reminds of the line from Pink Floyd's song, Sheep: "Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream...." 

2 comments:

  1. Well, calling a thing what it is flies in the face of all Leftist thought.

    China/food article is very good.

    ReplyDelete

The Docent's Memo (October 26, 2021)

  VIDEO: " Move to Cover (Suppressive Fire) with Army Ranger Dave Steinbach "--Tactical Hyve (3 min.) Firearms/Shooting/Self-Defen...