Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Docent's Memo (10/13/2021)


VIDEO: "The VITYAZ, the MP5 of Russia. (SMOL AK47)"--Garand Thumb (23 min.)


Reasons these modern-day lever action carbines are worth a second look are many. Of course, there are long barrel rifle lever action rifles, but let’s focus on short barrel (16 to 18 inches) carbines. I prefer the carbine for maneuverability in and around tight spaces, such as in the home, around a vehicle (easily stored between seats in a vehicle because they are so flat-sided) or going through thick brush. Simplicity of operation in the areas of loading, working the action, and rare malfunctions are other notable considerations. How about the fact that in many areas now, you are much less noticeable with an old-fashioned lever gun than you are with what many consider to be an assault rifle. Make no mistake, I enjoy my “evil black guns,” but also quite appreciate a short-barreled lever gun, whether it be a rifle caliber or a pistol caliber model. You might also find one of these lever carbines on your retailer’s shelf long after the AR and AK platform guns have all but disappeared.

The author then takes a closer look at two examples: a Henry Big Boy Carbine in .38 Special/.357 Magnum, and a Henry Big Boy X Model in .44 Special/.44 Magnum. Both of these carbines have a 7-round capacity. What I find intriguing with the Henry design is the possibility of a relatively fast reload if you happen to not keep the weapon topped off. The Henry system, like some .22 tube magazine rifles, has a removable brass tube allowing you to load via a cutout in the tube shaped like the cartridge ... or you can pull the inside tube completely out and dump cartridges down through the end of the magazine tube. The Marlin 60 has such a set-up, and I've seen both DIY and commercial plastic tubes that you can pre-load with ammo, and then pull the brass tube insert out, dump the ammo into the tube from plastic "speed loader" and then insert the tube. Not fast compared to a box magazine, but faster than loading individual rounds through a loading gate. I assume that something similar could be done for the Henry carbines.

    With a multi-pin sight, you typically have three, five, or seven sight pins that you set as aiming references for different distances. On a bowhunting sight, the most common way to set pins on a five-pin sight is to position them for aiming at 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards, with the 20-yard pin being the highest aiming reference in the scope and the 60-yard pin being the lowest. Let’s assume that arrangement.

    For your first shot with a new sight, you’ll have no idea where that arrow is going to hit in relation to the bow sight pins, so start out shooting no farther than 10 yards. And shoot into a large target — one with lots of room up and down and left and right. A large target provides room for error.

    Place a bull’s-eye in the center of the target and shoot at it from a distance of 10 yards, using your top pin as the aiming reference. Note where the arrow hits the target in relation to the bull’s-eye. The general rule you’ll follow when adjusting your sight is to always move the sight in the direction your arrows are hitting. For example iIf the arrow hits high, move the pin up, and if the arrow hits to the right, move the pin to the right.

    Keep in mind you will need to have vertical room within your scope for however many pins your sight has. If you have five pins, you want that 20-yard pin near the top of the scope in order to have enough room in the scope for pins set at 10-yard increments out to 60 yards. So when you set your 20-yard pin, put the pin high in the scope and then adjust the whole scope up and down and left and right until your arrow hits behind the pin at 20 yards. Now lock the scope in position.

    Once you feel confident your 20-yard pin is on, back up to 30 yards and shoot at the bull’s-eye again, using your 20 pin to aim. Note where your arrow hits and move your second-highest pin into position. This time — and for every pin afterwards — you’re only moving the pin, as opposed to the whole scope. Keep shooting and moving that pin until your arrow consistently hits behind it.

    For your 40-yard pin, look at the gap between your 20 and 30-yard pins and move your third-highest pin until the gap between it and the 30-yard pin looks similar to the gap from 20 to 30. Now shoot from 40 yards away using that third pin to aim. Adjust until your arrow hits behind it. Repeat this process to set your 50 and 60-yard pins.

    If your scope is properly leveled before you start, you should only have to move pins vertically after you zero your 20-yard pin. For windage, the 30, 40, 50, and 60 pins all should simply sit directly under the 20 in a straight, vertical line.
  • "A Complete Guide to Riflescopes" by David E. Petzal, Field & Stream.  Some basics about the layout of a riflescope, eye-relief, typical adjustments found on scopes, reticles and lenses, and reasons why modern scopes are so much better even than scopes made only a decade or two ago. He also gives his top picks for various price ranges: high-end, mid-priced, and economy. 
    • Related: "Gear Review: Crimson Trace Brushline Pro 3-12X42mm BDC Riflescope" by Jon Wayne Taylor, The Truth About Guns. This scope probably falls into the "economy" range with an MSRP of about $360, but it made it through Taylor's testing, including repeatability of the zero after clicking the reticle around, and sitting in a sink filled with water overnight. No illuminated reticle, though.
  • Some firearms history: "Classics: Smith & Wesson’s Victory Revolver in .38 S&W" by Patrick Sweeney, Gun Digest. These are the old Military & Police revolvers that eventually were renamed the Model-10. The models for U.S. use sported 4-inch barrels and were chambered in .38 Special. The ones for the British Commonwealth forces sported a 5-inch barrel and were chambered in .38 S&W and, more specifically, intended to shoot the heavier British military rounds originally using a 200 grain bullet (sometimes referred to as .38-200 caliber).  Sweeney warns:
Now, a brief aside here: If you do find any actual, real, .38-200 ammunition, or the later FMJ version of it, do not—under any circumstances—fire it in a clanky old Iver Johnson or other top-break revolver … even a S&W top-break. The original .38 S&W is held to a paltry 13,000 psi, out of deference to the old top-breaks. The Smith & Wesson Victory Model and the Enfields can take full .38 Special pressures, which the .38-200 mostly reaches for. Oh, and it’s all rare collectible ammo, as well.

Sweeney also comments:

 I still haven’t found the answer to why, when they switched from 200-grain lead bullets to FMJ bullets, the British and their allies dropped the weight down to 178 grains. I mean, really? But if I do ever find out, I’ll let you know.

The answer to that lies in the Hague Convention and the tendency of the 200 grain lead bullets to flatten a bit on impact. Concerned about violating the Hague Convention, the British decided to replace the plain lead bullet with a jacketed bullet of the same size, resulting in an overall lighter weight.

Made in the traditional manner using machined steel forgings and a wood stock, the Fabrique Nationale (FN) Model 1949 self-loading rifle was one of the last elegant, old-world military rifles. Arguably the best self-loading rifle design of its era, production was delayed first by World War II and, later, by post-war events. By the time the FN-49—also known as the SAFN (Semi-Automatique Fabrique Nationale)—finally entered production in 1949, it was already becoming obsolete and was soon overtaken by a later generation of military rifles.

It was semi-automatic, using a "semi-detachable" box magazine that could be loaded with stripper clips--probably something similar to the British Lee-Enfield rifles where the magazine could, in theory, be removed and a new one loaded into place, but not really designed for it. FN did have some foreign sales of this rifle, and so it was offered in several calibers including .30-06, the 7.92 mm Mauser, 7.65 mm Mauser, the 7 mm Mauser, and finally, 7.62 NATO. 

The FN-49 saw extensive combat in the Congo in the hands of Belgian, Congolese and insurgent forces. Egypt used FN-49s in action in the 1956 Suez-Sinai war against Israeli, British and French forces, and undoubtedly in later conflicts against Israel. The rifles also equipped forces serving on United Nations peacekeeping missions. 

    This photograph is only a symptom of what I see as a much bigger issue, which is a general lack of both attention to detail and situational analysis when it comes to hunter safety in the field. In this example, a hunter-education instructor would suggest setting the bow on the ground (with no arrow nocked) and sliding it under the fence before crossing if you’re hunting solo. If you’re hunting with a buddy, you could hand him your bow, cross, then take both your bows while he crosses.

    Hunter safety is as critical today as it has ever been, and arguably more so with the influx of new adult hunters heading afield solo. Many lifelong hunters have had innumerable safety lessons and lectures before we attended hunter ed and after we passed. We had moms, dads, or mentors reprimand us when we made a mistake, or caught us before we made it. Hunter safety has become second nature to us lifelong hunters. We aren’t just following a set of rules—we know the “why” behind them. Safe hunters also have the ability to look at a situation, recognize potential hazards, and do their best to mitigate them.

    But not every hunter has that background and those lifelong lessons drilled into them. Many hunting-related injuries and fatalities are the result of complacency, sheer ignorance, or random happenstance. For example, a bowhunter in Colorado was killed by a muzzleloader hunter who didn’t properly identify his target last month. I know a brown bear guide here in Alaska who was making a stalk with a client. Without telling the guide, the hunter nocked an arrow as he walked closely behind the guide. When the guide turned around to tell his client something, the broadhead ran right through the guide’s arm. And a few years ago, bowhunter Dave Brinker was on an elk hunt when an arrow fell out of his quiver and impaled his own leg. He documented the experience on social media as a cautionary tale for other hunters. Hell, even as I type this, I have a nick in my thumb from a light tap on the corner of a razor-sharp broadhead. The reality is that hunting accidents happen even to the most experienced hunters. But the less cautious you are, the more likely they are to happen or to become deadly.

And the injuries are not just from weapons. The author observes that there are a surprising number of injuries from knives used to gut or clean game. 

Here’s what’s wrong with so many of these discussions: no matter what flavor of civilization-ending apocalypse you contemplate–meteor strike, supervolcano, global pandemic , EMP blast, etc.–a SHTF scenario is likely to play out in phases, and for each phase you’re going to need a different skill set and a different load-out. You’ll not just need a gun, but a complement of tools and skills.

The three phases he sees in a complete collapse are: (1) martial law and trigger happy authorities; (2) lawlessness and die off; and (3) long-term survival. Stokes believes that in phase 1 it will be all about stealth: a handgun and/or personal defense weapon (PDW), both suppressed. Phase 2 is what Stokes refers to as "the open-carry assault rifle phase," although he recommends both a carbine and a shotgun, with the handgun being relegated to a backup or secondary weapon. According to Stokes, phase 3 will involve using firearms for hunting, but you will also experience ammo shortages:

This is the phase where you get to bust out that double-barreled shotgun with the multi-caliber barrel inserts and go scavenging for ammo. If that shotgun was your Phase 1 weapon, then you probably didn’t make it this far, but it will make a fine Phase 3 hunting and home/farm defense gun.

This is also the phase where you will finally put to use all the .22 LR ammo you have been storing up.

    While I like Stoker's idea that you will tend to use a different set of firearms depending where you are in a SHTF collapse, I don't think you can necessarily expect to progress through all 3 phases in order. For instance, in the Jakarta riots and the Rodney King riots, there was either no martial law, or it was late or ineffective. Thus, people in affected areas went from 0 to 2 without going through phase 1. Similarly, if you live in a rural location, away from the large population centers, "marshal law" probably won't mean much. You will, again, being jumping from 0 to 2, being at 2 even if there is marshal law in the cities. 

    • Require FFLs, when their premises are closed, to secure all firearms in their inventory either by fastening them to an anchored steel rod or storing them in a locked safe or gun cabinet;
    • Require FFLs to store all paper records of firearms transactions in a secure location so the records can be preserved in case they are needed for crime gun tracing investigations;
    • Authorize the Attorney General to prescribe regulations with additional security requirements relating to alarm and security cameras, site hardening on FFL premises, and security of electronic records;
    • Provide that an FFL that fails to follow these security requirements would face a civil penalty for the first violation; possible FFL license suspension for the second violation; and possible license revocation upon a third violation; and
    • Add a new section to the FFL application for applicants to describe how they will comply with these security requirements, and direct the Attorney General to ensure that an applicant’s plan will be complaint before approving a license application.  

VIDEO: "Mark the swelling lines on bites!"--Skinny Medic (1 min.)

  • California preppers take note: "Gas-powered generators could be phased out because of new CA bill"--KSBW 8. This applies to all gas powered small engines, so it will extend to lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, etc.
  • "An energy crisis is gripping the world, with potentially grave consequences"--The Energy Bulletin. "Energy is so hard to come by right now that some provinces in China are rationing electricity, Europeans are paying sky-high prices for liquefied natural gas, power plants in India are on the verge of running out of coal, and the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States stood at $3.25 on Friday — up from $1.72 in April."
  • "Emergency Food Company Augason Farms Shuts Down for 90 Days: Can’t Fill Food Orders"--Offgrid Survival. According to the article, the reason given by the company was "'global raw-material shortages' and 'substantial delays' in procurement and production."
  • "3 Methods to Remove Heavy Metals From Water" by Tom Marlowe, The Survivalist Blog. Common methods of water filtration are not effective. This should be of especial concern to those in urban environments that might need to collect water because of the higher risk of heavy metal contamination: especially in industrial areas. The three methods discussed in the article is (1) using cilantro, (2) reverse osmosis filters, and (3) distillation. 
    The reason the cilantro works, according to the article, is because "[i]t turns out that cilantro contains a chelating agent that can bind and remove heavy metal particles. In the body, this allows them to be passed out with other wastes. In water the heavy metal will bind to the cilantro to be carried away." I would note, however, that the research is not particularly strong as to the efficacy of cilantro as chelating agent, and sources that support using cilantro tend to use it in tandem with chlorella--a type of freshwater algea. As one source explains
A few studies have shown that cilantro leaves can produce a chelating effect in water spiked with heavy metals and that cilantro can reduce absorption of lead when food tainted with it is fed to mice. But these effects are light years from a salad with cilantro accomplishing any sort of heavy metal “detoxing” in people. Such a claim would require a demonstration of there being a heavy metal problem in the first place and its reduction with cilantro. A PubMed search for “cilantro detox” yields zero entries. Similarly, there is no basis to some food faddists’ claim that “cilantro can reduce water weight, is a cancer fighter and can improve memory with its brain protecting vitamins and minerals.”
  • "Best Kerosene Lanterns"--Alpha Survivalist. The article discusses why kerosene lanterns are better than other type of oil or petroleum lamps. Then it compares and discusses a couple Coleman pressurized kerosene lanterns versus traditional hurricane lanterns. The main difference is that the Coleman lanterns have a much higher light output compared to the traditional lanterns: 1100 lumen for the two mantel lantern versus around 100 lumens for the traditional lanterns.
  • "How to Build and Stock a Prepper Pantry"--SHTF Preparedness. The author begins by first describing what is a prepper pantry:
    A prepper pantry is more than a pile of food, left neglected in a corner of your basement. A prepper pantry is a well-thought-out and maintained food pantry of shelf-stable goods. Further, the contents you specifically select should be suitable for use both in normal times and for times of disaster.

    These critical supplies include dry goods such as beans, rice, oats, flour, pasta, corn, and cornflour. Canned goods include vegetables, fruits, soups, and stews. Proteins for your prepper pantry can include canned meat such as beef, pork, ham, tuna, and chicken and also include chili and other mixes.

    Don’t neglect fats! Include oils, lard, and nut butter. Sugars can include white and brown sugar, honey, and jellies. Finally, there are a few miscellaneous items, such as potato flakes, dried milk, protein powders, electrolyte drinks, salt, and spices.

    Oh, and don’t forget the water!

    At its very core, a prepper pantry is a personal grocery store. Grocery stores have turned the maintenance of large stocks of food into a science. They select foods that are most appealing to their customers, will last on the shelves until they are needed, and rotate them, ensuring that they stock the shelves with the freshest product possible.

    This is your goal. Set aside space for food that you like to eat. Select foods that will last, e.g., that are nonperishable. Rotate those foods constantly and consistently.
This is a great article, very informative, so be sure to read the whole thing.
  • "Can You Really Sharpen an Axe with a Rock?" by Tim Makay, Modern Survival Online. Short answer: "Yes, it is entirely possible to sharpen an axe using a common rock so long as the rock is of sufficient hardness to remove metal from the edge of the axe." However, he also notes that a natural stone won't help an abused axe.
  • "The Best Sharpening Stone: Put a Razor Edge on Any Blade"--Outdoor Life. A look at some of the best sharpening stones and sharpening systems at various price points.
  • "Sexual Assaults After SHTF: Things You Don't Know About"--Ethical Preparedness. The link is to a video that, for obvious reasons, cannot be posted on YouTube. Nevertheless, it does cover a topic that may well be relevant after a regional, national or global scale SHTF event. There are a lot of sick people out there, and they may well see a WROL situation as giving them carte blanche to act out their sickest fantasies. Besides being aware of what can happen, you might also want to think about how you would deal with the perpetrators of these crimes. 

VIDEO: "Flattening The Curve In Singapore"--Tony Heller (2 min.)
Singapore has the highest fully vaccinated rate in the world, and an exponential increase in Covid cases to show for it.

Covid News:
    For a while now, we’ve had a mysterious jump in excess mortality in Europe. At first, nobody really paid any attention to it, with the exception of a handful of “right-wing populist anti-science conspiracy theorists”. At this point however, experts whose job it is to study trends like this are beginning to notice it too.

    You can see for yourself the excess mortality for much of the EU here. Few people realize that in 2021 we have had as much excess mortality, as we did in 2020. The difference is that the age profile has shifted: Whereas most of the excess mortality was in elderly people in 2020, in 2021 it’s increasingly showing up among younger people. The excess mortality has a peculiar characteristic, in that it starts showing up later in younger age groups, with the exception of children, in whom no excess mortality is observed.

    For the 29 participating countries as a whole, we have 4000 excess deaths among people aged 15-44. These deaths are hard to explain, because young people normally don’t die from COVID-19. Just 0.9% of COVID-19 deaths in the Netherlands are people under the age of fifty. The curve of excess mortality in this age category also doesn’t fit COVID-19. This is a seasonal virus that disappear in the summer, but the excess deaths among young people mainly show up during the summer.

    The problem with all of this excess mortality is that it doesn’t seem to be getting better, it seems to be getting worse. It’s now getting so bad, that even my own comparatively small country of 17 million, the Netherlands, is beginning to see the signal in its statistics. The Dutch demographic agency, the CBS, has reported that September was a month with significant excess mortality.

    What we notice in the most recent week, is that the mortality is most strongly elevated among the younger age groups. Last week we had 300 more deaths than we’re supposed to have. Twenty of those are COVID-19 deaths, the rest are mysterious and unexplained.


    So here’s the question to be asking ourselves: What’s causing the excess deaths? For this we can again turn to England. The excess deaths are found in the following categories: Ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart failure, other circulatory disorders and a small number of chronic respiratory disease cases. In other words, we’re seeing mainly cardiovascular problems. Almost all of the excess deaths can be attributed to this.

    So what could be the cause? Well, the canary in the coalmine are unfortunately our own teenage boys. In the period when the COVID-19 vaccines began to be administered to teenage boys in England, deaths among teenage boys were up by 63%, compared to 16% in teenage girls.

    And that gives us a clue. Teenage boys have a strong immune response to the vaccines, but they also have a low body fat percentage, much lower than girls of their age. The effect this has is that almost all of the myocarditis cases among teenagers who receive the vaccines are seen among the boys. And so, when we start giving these vaccines to teenagers and we see a sudden jump in mortality among boys, that should be reason for concern. In fact, it should have been enough to halt the whole vaccination program at once. That’s how they responded in Scandinavia, where they decided to stop giving the Moderna vaccine to teenagers. 

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

    After falling shipping demand in the first half of 2020, a surge at the end of that year led to delays, port traffic jams, and blockages across the supply chain. A lack of shipping containers and dock workers made it worse. Now, containers are getting jammed up in ports because of both rising demand and a continuing shortage of staff to unload them and take them to their destination.

    Around the world, other containers are stuck at sea on ships that are waiting to find a spot in port. Insider's Grace Kay reported earlier in October that nearly 500,000 shipping containers were stuck off the coast of Southern California.

VIDEO: "China’s POWER SHORTAGE Could Cause Economic Collapse"--China Uncensored (11 min.)

    Chaillan — who was the Pentagon’s first chief software officer — said China will dominate the future of the world by controlling everything from media narratives to geopolitics.

    He claimed that the US, like Beijing, should have prioritized artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities over traditional military spending like building new fighter jets.

Maybe, but what has the NSA been doing? Or DARPA? This isn't the whole story.

    A U.S. special-operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there, U.S. officials said, part of efforts to shore up the island’s defenses as concern regarding potential Chinese aggression mounts.

    About two dozen members of U.S. special-operations and support troops are conducting training for small units of Taiwan’s ground forces, the officials said. The U.S. Marines are working with local maritime forces on small-boat training. The American forces have been operating in Taiwan for at least a year, the officials said.

    The U.S. special-operations deployment is a sign of concern within the Pentagon over Taiwan’s tactical capabilities in light of Beijing’s yearslong military buildup and recent threatening moves against the island.

    Taiwan and U.S. officials have expressed alarm over nearly 150 flights near Taiwan in the past week by Chinese military aircraft. The Chinese aircraft have included J-16 jet fighters, H-6 strategic bombers and Y-8 submarine-spotting aircraft and have set a record for such sorties, according to the Taiwan government.

    The Chinese flights, while not entering the area Taiwan defines as its airspace, have been a reminder of the Communist Party’s view of Taiwan as a part of China. Beijing has vowed to take control of the island by force if necessary. Top U.S. military officials testified earlier this year that Beijing is likely to try to use force in its designs on Taiwan within the next six years. Other officials have said China’s timeline could be sooner than that.

    Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, warned Wednesday that China would be able to launch a full-scale attack on Taiwan with minimal losses by 2025.
  • "Americans sense China eclipsing U.S. economically and say protecting U.S. jobs should be priority, poll finds"--MSN. From the lede: "As competition between the United States and China intensifies, more Americans now say the Asian country is more powerful economically, a reversal from two years ago when a plurality said the United States had an economic advantage, according to a survey released Thursday by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs." It is possible that China will overtake the United States economically. But, as I remind myself, people had the same fears regarding Japan in the 1980s. Japan, at that time, had the second or third largest economy in the world. A combination of cheaper, educated labor with the acceptance of new business theory and practices gave it distinct advantages over U.S. based companies. On top of which, Japanese billionaires and companies were buying up U.S. property right and left. It was widely believed that Japan would surpass the United States economically and, for that reason, politically. 
    I was living in Japan in the late 1980s, and the Japanese were very sure of their eventual ascendance over the United States. They were proud of the fact that property values in Japan had sky-rocketed and that Tokyo's land values exceeded those of the entire United States. Their largest companies--NTT, Toyota, Mitsubishi--were far larger and worth more than their American counterparts. 
    It was not to last. The value of the Yen had increased dramatically in the 1980s, and by the time I was there, had almost reached parity with the dollar (One yen is roughly the same as a penny, and when I was there, $1 generally traded at about 130 yen). With that, plus the fact that all raw materials had to be imported, the cost advantage of manufacturing in Japan largely disappeared. And the high real estate prices? It was because of a property bubble. I was there when the bubble burst. Well, it didn't exactly burst, but started to deflate with a loud hissing noise. 

    There are differences between now and the 1980s. For one, the United States had not completely lost its industrial capacity. The U.S. automobile industry would bounce back as they improved the quality of their cars and as tariffs and restrictions increased the price of cars manufactured in Japan. The United States was also still a powerhouse in manufacturing computers. But many of the systemic problems that Japan faced are also faced by China, including an aging population.
    No matter how the Evergrande drama plays out – whether it culminates with an uncontrolled, chaotic default and/or distressed asset sale liquidation, a controlled restructuring where bondholders get some compensation, or with Beijing blinking and bailing out the core pillar of China’s housing market – remember that Evergrande is just a symptom of the trends that have whipsawed China’s property market in the past year, which has seen significant contraction as a result of Beijing policies seeking to tighten financial conditions as part of Xi’s new “common prosperity” drive which among other things, seeks to make housing much more affordable to everyone, not just the richest.

    As such, any contagion from the ongoing turmoil sweeping China’s heavily indebted property sector will impact not the banks, which are all state-owned entities and whose exposure to insolvent developers can easily be patched up by the state, but the property sector itself, which as Goldman recently calculated is worth $62 trillion making it the world’s largest asset class, contributes a mind-boggling 29% of Chinese GDP (compared to 6.2% in the US) and represents 62% of household wealth.
    Evergrande, which could trigger one of China's largest defaults as it wrestles with debts of more than $300 billion and whose troubles have already sent shockwaves across global markets, missed payments on dollar bonds, worth a combined $131 million, that were due on Sept. 23 and Sept. 29.

With Evergrande staying silent on dollar debt payments and prioritising onshore creditors, offshore investors have been left wondering if they will face large losses at the end of 30-day grace periods for last month's coupons.
    At the minimum, the Evergrande crisis is a test of the new Chinese model of governance ushered in under Xi Jinping. The relatively loose days of Chinese capitalism are coming to a close as the party imposes new rules on the economy and cracks down on its pirates. The focus is now on domestic growth, rather than cheap labor and exports. China is no longer the cheapest or most productive labor market in the world, so it cannot remain an export economy.

    No one really knows if China can successfully make the turn from export economy to one driven by domestic consumption. The breathtaking modernization of the country is impressive, but that required massive cooperation from the West. If the United States had a ruling class concerned with the welfare of the American people, for example, the Chinese miracle never would have occurred. The feckless American ruling class cannot help China transition to a domestic demand driven economy.
    Chinese coal futures rose to record levels as floods shut dozens of mines and displaced more than 100,000 people, throttling the country’s main source of fuel for electricity and compounding a global energy crisis.

    Coal futures traded on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange climbed 11.6 per cent to close at an all-time high of Rmb1,408.20 ($218.74) a tonne on Monday. The CSI Coal index of big miners listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 3-7 per cent, partly reversing losses from last week, when official orders to boost coal production sent prices tumbling.

    Flooding in the central province of Shanxi over the weekend piled further pressure on Beijing to contain a growing energy crisis that threatens to undermine the recovery of the world’s second-largest economy. China’s problems come as price volatility in global energy markets has sent countries scrambling to procure power supplies at ever-higher costs.

    The majority of China’s domestic coal comes from Shanxi, neighbouring Shaanxi province and the Inner Mongolia region. Other local factors, including an anti-corruption campaign in the coal industry and mine closures to reduce air pollution around national events, have led to power rationing for industrial and, in some cases, residential users.
  • "Casual wear shoppers may get fleeced! Cost of T-shirts and jeans expected to skyrocket as cotton hits 10-year high after extreme weather devastates US crop"--Daily Mail. The article reports that "[t]he commodity's price is up a whopping 22 percent in the past week and cotton futures spiked four percent to $1.09 - the highest since September 2011." The article also states that last year the price of cotton was nearly half--about 65 cents per pound.
  • "Workers at all of Kellogg’s U.S. cereal plants go on strike"--AP. The article relates: "The strike includes plants in Omaha, Nebraska Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee." According to the union, the company has reduced benefits and pay in past years, and has been threatening to move more of its production to Mexico unless the workers take further cuts. The company, on the other hand, "insists that its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees that it said made an average of $120,000 a year last year."
  • "Cultural Warfare in the 20th Century: How Western Civilization Came Undone"--Strategic Culture. The author asks the question: "HOW did the western nations… especially the United States, so deeply shaped by a love of freedom, wilfully relinquish its democratic institutions in favor of a new system of supranational governance and de-growth?" The answer is partially found by examining the writings of Aldous Huxley and the efforts of his brother, Julian. 
    While Aldous’ brother Julian was reshaping the global paradigm by re-packaging eugenics under several new costumes post-1945, Aldous’ creative juices were driven entirely by his role as a cultural warrior.

    Grand children of Thomas Huxley who was commissioned to re-organize the British Empire in the late 1850s, both grandchildren vigorously embraced the family business working closely with the elite Bloomsbury Group of Bertrand Russell, and John Maynard Keynes between 1914-1937.

    Among these creative misanthropes, Lord Bertrand Russell (another celebrated pacifist) had gone far in outlining the sort of bone chilling ideal that Darwinian laws of evolution demanded be humanity’s destiny under a scientifically managed priesthood. In his 1930 Scientific Outlook, Russell stated:

    “The scientific rulers will provide one kind of education for ordinary men and women, and another for those who are to become holders of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to produce it, all the researchers of psycho-analysis, behaviourism, and biochemistry will be brought into play…. All the boys and girls will learn from an early age to be what is called `co-operative,’ i.e., to do exactly what everybody is doing. Initiative will be discouraged in these children, and insubordination, without being punished, will be scientifically trained out of them.”

    “Except for the one matter of loyalty to the world state and to their own order, members of the governing class will be encouraged to be adventurous, and full of initiative. It will be recognized that it is their business to improve scientific techniques and to keep the manual workers contented by means of continual new amusements”.

Huxley would have Russell’s thesis firmly in mind when he began writing his Brave New World in 1931.

Aldous Goes to Work

    Having set up his base of operations in Hollywood in 1937, Aldous lived out his days in the USA writing scripts for Hollywood, exploring psychotropic drugs and coordinating a new cultural movement that would soon overtake the youth growing up amidst the insanity of the Cold War.

    In an infamous 1962 speech titled “The Ultimate Revolution”, Aldous Huxley outlined the principles of this new science of governance telling adoring fans amidst the wannabe alphas in the Berkeley auditorium:

“If you are going to control any population for any length of time, you must have some measure of consent. It’s exceedingly difficult to see how pure terrorism can function indefinitely. It can function for a fairly long time, but I think sooner or later you have to bring in an element of persuasion, an element of getting people to consent to what is happening to them. Well, it seems to me that the nature of The Ultimate Revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques, which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably always will exist, to get people, actually, to love their servitude.”

The movement found that it's biggest threat was Christianity, which it set out to destroy. It also came to believe, via the Club of Rome, that population size was the greatest threat to humanity and sought ways to persuade people to reduce the size of the population, or even take its own steps.

    In a report from Population Matters entitled Smaller Families and Ageing Populations, Lord Adair Turner, the chairman of the UK Energy Transitions Commission and former head of the FSA, argued that declining native populations will enhance prosperity.

    “The biggest reason to welcome this demographic shift is that it results from the free choice of empowered people, and in particular women,” Lord Adair wrote.

    “But ceasing endless population growth will also reduce humanity’s future press on the natural environment, ease the challenge of adequate housing provision, and make it easier to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while supporting prosperity growth in developing countries.”

But to militate against the impact on the tax base and the social welfare systems, he also encourages immigration.

    ... Anyone who has read Federalist No. 10 knows that our system of government was established with the idea of balancing out the various interests of different factions, and far be it from me to deny to anyone the basic right to judge their own interests and to advocate for policies favorable to their interests. That’s just normal politics.

    What we call identity politics, however, is something else entirely, involving activism and propaganda intended to incite collective resentment — the victimhood mentality — and to demonize others as perpetrators of oppression. Identity politics is simply organized hatred, and it follows a distinctly destructive pattern of logic.

    Anyone who has studied formal logic sees how claims of “systemic racism” incite antisocial attitudes. If racial minorities are universally victimized in a more or less automatic manner — because, it is claimed, “white supremacy” is ubiquitous and omnipotent — then nothing can end this oppression except the destruction of society itself.

    Such is the nihilistic syllogism embedded in the work of Ibram X. Kendi, et al., and students of history know where such hateful logic tends to lead: “Year Zero” in Kampuchea under the reign of Pol Pot.

    We might also mention in this context Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RLTM), otherwise known as “Radio Genocide” in Rwanda.

    What is so infuriating about those who incite this kind of genocidal hatred — the logical consequence of what we call identity politics — is that they do it for mere political advantage, to obtain power by “energizing their base.” That’s what last summer’s Black Lives Matter riots were really about — generating turnout to elect Joe Biden. And yet the “base” which Democrats seek to “energize” this way is so irremediably stupid that many of them actually believe the “social justice” propaganda.
    Since last December, a Douglasville, Georgia neighborhood has been gripped in fear due to racially charged messages that have anonymously been left in the mailboxes of residents of color, reports Fox News. But now police said they have made an arrest and the alleged culprit is not who the neighbors expected.

    Wednesday, the Douglasville Police Department confirmed that they had filed criminal charges against Terresha Lucas. Lucas is a 30-year-old Black woman who they believe threatened people in her community while posing as a Ku Klux Klan member. 

The DOJ said: “Citing an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools, today Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to meet in the next 30 days with federal, state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend. These sessions will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response by law enforcement.”

    The data, published in Bloomberg, show that the middle class — defined as 60 percent of United States households in the middle of all income brackets — has seen its share of national wealth plummet to just 26.6 percent.

    This represents the smallest share of wealth held by the middle class since the Federal Reserve started tracking the data. The middle class includes 77.5 million U.S. households with an annual income of $27,000 to $141,000.

    Meanwhile, the top one percent of U.S. income earners saw their share of national wealth grow to 27 percent, surpassing the middle class for the first time ever. The richest Americans include about 1.3 million U.S. households who earn more than half a million dollars annually.
  • How to fight the system: "War"--Twelve-Round Blog. The author explains:
The war is being fought on several fronts, one for every sort of soldier. This is where America in the 21st Century is better off than in the 18th, everyone with a computer, a phone and an internet connection can be a warrior. There’s battlefield preparation to be done, some direct action to be taken, but everyone thinking its going to be internally kinetic isn’t thinking it through. The civil war must be through politics and the culture. The reasons for this will be dealt with later in the piece.
    Powerful men in dark uniforms are standing on the Croatian side of the border on this hot June day. They are battering Afghans and Pakistanis who have come to Europe to apply for asylum.

    All of the men are wearing balaclavas; one of them has also donned black sunglasses. Their uniforms bear no insignia to ensure that they are completely unrecognizable. They are completely unaware that just a few meters away, hiding behind just a couple of bushes and trees, two reporters are filming their every move.

    The videos document how these masked men chase 22 refugees out of the European Union, forcing them back into Bosnia-Herzegovina. One of the masked men swings again and again with his club, aiming at the legs of the migrants and making them stumble into the chest-deep border river. He then raises his arm in a threatening gesture and yells: "Go! Go to Bosnia!"

Similar incidents are occurring in Greece. According to the authors of the article, these men are secret police groups charged with intimidating migrants without being traced back to their respective governments. 

    The caches - earmarked for US counter-terrorism “over the horizon” attacks against al-Qaeda and Islamic State - were hidden to help the US quickly attack terrorist organisations.

    Both warehouse-sized stores contained hundreds of thousands of bullets, heavy weapons, missiles, survival supplies and even spare helicopters parts.

    Sources told The Mirror the supplies contained spares for attack choppers as they would be essential for an on-the-ground mission against networks.

    It means President Joe Biden ’s threat of future “over the horizon” attacks launched against terrorists without having a permanent Afghan base are battered.
    The aesthetic first gained a foothold among Gen Z, who turned to TikTok to share their “old money” inspiration: polo, croquet, leafy parks, and Italian villages. These scenes became inspiration for both fashion and décor: riding boots, Gucci crossbody bags, floral wallpaper, and plenty of vintage clothing. Meanwhile, millennials have taken up recreational-grade hobbies like sailing and golfing during their quarantine “solitary rest” days.

    In some ways, this is a rejection of the new, casual financial look of the 2000s, showcased by both Instagram influencers and the hoodie-wearing millennial billionaire category. In other ways, it’s a practical consequence of how supply shortages and shutdowns are changing the economy in ways that will be permanent. In other words, it is an expression of escape: away from the traumatic events of the youth of 2020 and towards nostalgia for another time.

    Oxford shirts, tennis skirts, and tweed jackets have taken over social media. Gen Z plasters Ralph Lauren campaign ads from the ’90s and old tennis photos all over TikTok and Instagram — and they’re spending big bucks to recreate the look.

    Vox’s Rebecca Jennings first mentioned the “old money” aesthetic in fashion, writing that General Z craves after the “fourth cousin Kennedy’s Ivy League-Slash-Uxbridge ambiance.”

    TikTok users are rediscovering prep and they’re leading the trend, Morgane Le Caer, Lyst’s content lead, told Insider. The fashion search platform has seen an increase in demand for preppy styles. For the week ending September 24, searches for leather shoes rose 28%, pleated skirts 16%, Peter Pan collar shirts 23%, and pearl necklaces 29%.

Of course, not everyone is happy about this: In "The Gen Z Girls Repping The 'TradWife" Life," the authors are distraught at Gen Z girls becoming more interested in the 1950's traditional wife look and lifestyle.

For a swath of right-wing American men, that image is part of a fantasy of how things “used to be,” in the good ol’ days before antifa and Black Lives Matter and feminist YouTubers ruined everything. The tradwife symbolizes stability — at least for those who imagine social change as an attack on their identity and being. It is the “submissive and breedable” meme, made unironic by chauvinism. It is, ultimately, a hatred of women going their own way. 

Rather, according to the article, "these young women are filling a niche that’s a counterpart of young male extremism in the far right."

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The Docent's Memo (8/15/2022)

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