Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Docent's Memo (Oct. 6, 2021)

VIDEO: "THIS Is The Gun Most Returned By Gun Panic Buyers!"--God Family & Guns (5 min.)
Glock pistols.


“We looked at Tables 14 and 15 in the FBI’s new report that apply to justifiable homicides by law enforcement and private citizens, respectively,” noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Last year, according to the data, armed citizens killed 343 criminals during the commission of a felony while police fatally shot 298 felons.
  • "Leads on Moving Targets With Pistols"--Dry Fire Training Cards. The first part of the article is about the warrior ethos in the Bible and is worth reading for that alone. But the second part of the article is on some practical pistol shooting skills: how to shoot moving targets (or stationary targets if you are moving) with a handgun. He has a nifty little table that tells you the offset for different speeds of the target at a distance of 7 yards. You will note that the lead may only be 5 inches or less for most defensive handguns. Doesn't seem like much, but since shot placement is so important with a handgun, those few inches may have significant consequences. In any event, the author doesn't want you to memorize the chart, but use it to give a rough idea of how the lead varies. Rather, he suggests the following rules of thumb:
        Walking target:  Hold even with the edge of the front sight.

        Mover in a competitive match:  Aim over the middle of one side of your rear sight.

        Running/sprinting target:  Hold even with the edge of the rear sight.

        Running/sprinting animal:  Increase hold as necessary.

        You can also do this by aiming at the leading edge of your target or between the leading edge and center mass.

        When I’m shooting while running…I just aim center-mass and run the gun.  When I’m running laterally while shooting airsoft or paintball, it depends on the size of the target and distance, but for the most part, I don’t have to lead or reverse lead because the unfortunate reality is that my “full speed” doesn’t get over 5mph unless I’ve got a few yards to build up speed.  Most people hit top speed at around 40 yards.  Elite sprinters hit it about 10 yards in.
      1. You must always use a front sight focus.
      2. You definitely won’t be able to see your front sight in a high-stress situation, so you shouldn’t waste your time practicing with your front sight.
      3. Front-sight focus is too slow.
      4. I am focusing on the front sight!”
    Rule number one

        The closer to the ground the more stability with all shooting sticks. Always shoot from the steadiest position from which you can see the target.

    Rule number two

        The more legs your rest has the more solid your shooting stance.

    Rule number three

        Always create triangles with your body stance.
    • "Hodgon Announces Closing of Their Camp Minden, Louisiana Black Powder Plant"--The Truth About Guns. The facility manufactured the GOEX and Olde Eynsford brands of black powder. The closing means the end of black powder production in the United States.
    • "Is the .357 Magnum the Best Option for Personal Defense?"--Shooting Illustrated. If you are just looking at the terminal ballistics of common defensive pistol rounds, the answer would be yes. But the author goes into the pros and cons of .357 for defense, the biggest con being the recoil from a small, concealable revolver. But a duty sized revolver in .357 is probably the best all round outdoor handgun, and a good self-defense option for a home defense handgun for a homeowner who has no plans on becoming a shooter.
    • "Get the Most Out of the .30-06"--Shooting Times. The .30-06 was designed for military use, not hunting or target shooting. Nevertheless, because of its ability to do a lot of things very well, it has long been one of the most popular hunting rounds in the world. This article discusses reloading for the .30-06, including discussion of some of the latest in bullets and powders, to maximize your performance. One example given in the article is a Nosler 190-grain AccuBond Long Range (ABLR) launched at 2,700 fps out of the barrel will still be travelling at 2,160 at 400 yards--more than plenty velocity to reliably expand--and will stay supersonic out to 1,350 yards.
    • "Temperature Effects on Gunpowder Explained"--Guns & Ammo. Basically, the hotter the ambient temperature, the faster the powder burn (and pressure)--particularly from the so-called double-base powders using nitroglycerin. This can have some fairly substantial impact on bullet velocity leading to missed shots at longer ranges. However, as the article explains, advancements in powder designs has yielded new powders that are less sensitive to temperature. 
        The article also discusses long term affects on powder is stored in too hot of conditions, including the more rapid deterioration of powder. The article includes a table showing the impact on powder stored at different temperatures over long periods of time. In that regard, the author advises:

    Do not store your propellant or ammunition in your car or garage during the summer. The explosive mix in your primers suffers from the same effects as propellants. Always keep propellant, primers and ammunition in a cool, dry place for long-term storage as much as possible. Several months of exposure to high temperatures (above 100 degrees F) can substantially shorten the life and the expected performance of propellant. Cold temperatures have little effect on propellant. In fact, the best possible place to store your propellant would be in a freezer. 

    VIDEO: "The 'Long Winter' of 1880/81"--The History Guy (15 min.)

    • If you are living in an apartment or, like me, a small home, it can be tough to find space for food storage--particularly the one year's worth of food that should be everyone's goal. Daisy Luther at Organic Prepper discusses one possible solution: "How and Why to Create a Storage Unit Survival Cache." First she goes into the why: that it is a good way to preposition supplies (e.g., near your work if you need to try and get home), or if you don't have the space (e.g., a child living in a dorm, someone living in an apartment or smaller home), or simply to have supplies in other locations so if one location is lost, you still have supplies somewhere else. Of course, if you are storing perishable items like food, you can't just use any storage unit. She lists some criteria for a such a storage unit: (i) climate controlled, (ii) humidity controlled, (iii) indoor entrance, and (iv) on a middle floor (if applicable). I would also add 24-hour access. Anyway, she has a lot more on the topic including OPSEC consideration, what to put in such unit, and some other considerations, so read the whole thing.
    • Chaplain Tim at Blue Collar Prepping warns of lean times ahead:
    In case you haven't been paying attention to the "other" news sites, our global supply chain is being stressed by various factors. The Covid-19 mess and some of the government (over-)reactions to it are slowing or stopping the flow of key components to our daily life. 
    • Check the inventory at any new car dealership, and you'll see that the lack of certain electronics has curtailed the production of new cars and truck for a year now.  Used pickups are selling for more than they were worth last year because of the lack of new ones coming to market.
    • Repair shops are having difficulty getting parts. I deal with a couple of parts stores that have always been able to find bearings and such for the old crap I have to fix at work, and their suppliers are having a hard time getting things. 
    • I've noticed a shrinkage in the variety of brands on several store shelves, grocery stores especially. The food aisles are being replaced with sundries and seasonal crap. Even Wal-Mart is showing signs of slow or low supply, with empty shelves becoming more common,
    • Every trucking firm within 100 miles is hiring and not getting enough drivers. I hate to say it, but >90% of everything you eat is delivered by truck. No drivers = no food on the store shelves. Time to check the pantry and add a few more day's worth of supplies.
    • Fuel prices have gone way up this year. Between the politicians and the storms down south, our fuel infrastructure is not meeting demand and that means limited supplies will carry higher prices. Check your winter fuel supply and top it off ASAP.

    We are already seeing gasoline prices as high as under the Obama Administration. A friend of mine was recently in the market for a new 1-ton pickup truck and discovered that the pickings are very slim or none at various dealerships in the area.  Some base models are being shipped in small numbers to dealers to stock their inventories, but those featuring high-end electronic packages were sitting at the factories waiting for chips. He was told that GM is prioritizing special orders by customers over fleet orders from dealerships.

    • "Replacement Accessories for Electronics and Computers to Buy NOW"--Organic Prepper. The primary concern is that what with chip shortages and supply chain disruptions, you may want to see about purchasing some items:
      1. A new laptop, tablet, or desk top computer if your is reaching the end of its expected lifespan.
      2. New chargers for tablets or phones.
      3. Higher performance webcams than what comes in your laptop.
      4. Microphones and headsets.
      5. New smartphone.
    • "Getting Home And More" by David Blackard, Blue Collar Prepping. One of the tips he includes is from Tony Nestor's book Surviving A Disaster:
    ... As noted during recent disasters, some evacuees had to walk forty miles or more out of their city before supplies were available! [...] Low profile and inconspicuous are key here- avoid the camouflaged, commando-style gear. You want to blend in and look like a student with a book bag and not like a Navy SEAL. Also, avoid the orange packs with 'Survival Gear' stamped on it unless you want those less prepared to know that you are stocked with supplies.
        ... We couldn’t support the billions of people here on Earth without this tech.  But each part of this tech leads to a vulnerability.  Hundreds of varieties of seeds?  Not a disease on Earth takes ‘em all out.  One variety of seed?  We’re one disease away from an “eat your neighbor” level famine.

        The rest of the vulnerabilities brought about by the technologies bullet-pointed above is left to the reader.  N.B.:  there are more vulnerabilities than bullet points.  Many more.

    He continues:

        If New York City lost electricity for a week, it would look like a place where Mel Gibson in a leather jacket would flourish.  The damage that would be done by violent rioters would take decades to fix, and would make our exit from Kabul look like a graceful military triumph.

        But what if, say, Haiti lost power for a month?  They’d call it “August” or any other name you would call a month.  Haiti wouldn’t fall far, because Haiti in 2021 is already the next best thing to not having civilization at all.  And with places that are a bit shy on efficiency, you’d think Africa, which has 60% of the land in the world that can be farmed would be a great place.

        Nope.  They’re so inefficient that they’re a net food importer.  Africa, like Haiti, and like Afghanistan, and like Pakistan, would feel a collapse not because they’re super-efficient, but because they rely on imported food and other “stuff” from efficient economies to run theirs.  They don’t have as far to fall, but there is still a cliff.  Afghanistan went from 19 million in 2000 to 36 million today.  It’s not double, but it’s close.  To get down to “real” post-technology carrying capacity numbers in Afghanistan probably only requires 80% of their population to die off.

        Technology has created a far greater carrying capacity on Earth for people than has ever existed.  It’s estimated that around 1 Anno Domini that the world could only support between 170,000,000 and 400,000,000 people.  Oh, sure, it would suck to make that many pairs of underwear.  But there are roughly 170,000,000 people in Bangladesh alone, which reliable sources inform me all live on acreage roughly the size of a ping pong table.

        A collapse in carrying capacity, even a small one, would have an impact greater than the disappointment that was the last season of Game of Thrones.

        Understand this:  being prepared for the absence of the things that make your life convenient and easy now is something I’d recommend.  If even a small number of the things that I’m hearing are true, we may be on the brink of a hard winter, indeed.

    Some areas require more technology than others to increase the carrying capacity: something that preppers should keep in mind. New York and London were large cities before high technology existed. Phoenix was small until the advent of abundant electricity and air conditioning, and large civil engineering works to dam and divert water to it from hundreds of miles away.


    VIDEO: "Why Life Jackets Should Be Mandatory!"--Awaken with JP (6 min.)
    Applying the vaccine mandate logic to wearing life jackets in swimming pools.

    COVID News

    • Look how effective are the vaccines: "COVID-19 Surge Hits New England Despite High Vaccination Rates"--Time Magazine. The article points out that "According to the AP data, full vaccination rates across the six New England states range from a high of 69.4% in Vermont to 61.5% in New Hampshire." Nevertheless, the tone of the article is to blame the unvaccinated. But it also quotes a Rhode Island health official saying that instead of needing 70% vaccination rate to stop the virus, states will need to look at 90% vaccine rates.
    Many then joined a protest, with thousands of people protesting outside the Education Department building in Brooklyn and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge. They chanted “The system is corrupt,” “F**k Joe Biden and de Blasio,” “Hold the line,” and “We will not comply!” They also carried signs like “My Body My Choice,” “We gave everything and now we’re nothing” and “Choice not Mandates.”
        ... I hear other customers express some version of the same, sensible thought: “Why would I get vaccinated against something I already had?”

        Why, indeed? Why get vaccinated, when, as a recent large and widely publicized study of 32,000 people in highly vaccinated Israel reported, “the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 was 27 times higher among the vaccinated, and the risk of hospitalization eight times higher” than for those with natural immunity resulting from a Covid infection; this, in itself, being an instance of the common phenomenon that “[f]or many infectious diseases, naturally acquired immunity is known to be more powerful than vaccine-induced immunity and . . . often lasts a lifetime”? Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, our national gadfly on all things Covid, who is never at a loss for words (even when they conflict with his prior words on the same subject), seemed stumped when asked recently by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta about this natural immunity research: “You know, that’s a really good point, Sanjay. I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that,” he said.

        Why, given this research, moreover, get vaccinated when the risk of vaccine side effects is significantly higher in those who were previously infected? As much as our elite mandarins have been protesting (too much) that the vaccines are “safe,” even they have to admit that the risk of short-term side effects with these vaccines is higher than with other vaccines. Nearly all of us associated with this small business are personally familiar with a disturbing number of cases of serious short-term side effects, ranging from stroke-induced partial loss of vision, to cardiac issues, to tinnitus, to erectile dysfunction. Moreover, they cannot conceivably rule out the risk of long-term side effects, as I have explained elsewhere, especially when it comes to the entirely novel mRNA vaccines.
        In an open letter on Wednesday, the workers groups warned that fragmented and inconsistent pandemic restrictions around the world have thrown global shipping into chaos.

        The warning comes as supply-chain backlogs leave scores of cargo ships idling outside US ports, exacerbating shortages caused by a national truck driver shortage that threatens to derail the Christmas shopping season.

        United Airlines Holdings Inc. is moving ahead with plans to terminate close to 600 employees who didn’t meet its Covid-19 vaccination deadline, company officials said Tuesday.

        United in August said it would require all of its 67,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated—the first major U.S. airline and one of the first large U.S. companies to do so.

        Now the Sept. 27 deadline has passed, and while most of the airline’s employees complied, United is starting the process of firing 593 employees who didn’t get the shots, company officials said. Those workers can still save their jobs if they opt to get vaccinated in the coming days before their official termination meetings, airline officials said Tuesday.

        “We know for some, that decision was a reluctant one,” United Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote in a letter to employees Tuesday. “But there’s no doubt in our minds that some of you will have avoided a future hospital stay—or even death—because you got vaccinated.”

        The potential terminations apply to United employees who chose not to get vaccinated. Another roughly 2,000 United employees have sought exemptions for religious or medical reasons, company officials said.

        United had planned to put employees who received those accommodations on unpaid leave starting Oct. 2, but has postponed that until Oct. 15 while it contends with a lawsuit challenging the accommodations it has offered to such employees. Six United employees sued the airline last week in federal court in Texas, alleging that by only offering unpaid leave, the company was discriminating against employees who have a religious objection to receiving the vaccine, or who qualify for accommodations on medical grounds.

        The airline is disputing the lawsuit, and a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8.

        U.S. airlines have taken different approaches when it comes to employee vaccinations. Starting in November, Delta Air Lines Inc. will require unvaccinated employees to pay an extra $200 a month for their company health insurance. The airline has said its vaccination rate had been climbing since it rolled out the policy, with 82% of its workers now vaccinated, up from 72% in July.

        Carriers including Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc. so far have tried to encourage workers to get vaccinated voluntarily, but they haven’t required it. That could change; the Biden administration this month laid out plans for new rules governing vaccination for large companies and government contractors. It isn’t known whether airline workers would have the option of undergoing regular testing in place of vaccination under the administration’s plans.

        Pilots at both airlines have said they oppose vaccine mandates. In a letter last week to federal officials, the union that represents American Airlines pilots said labor shortages and operational problems could arise for airlines during the holiday-travel season if vaccinations were strictly required. They asked that unvaccinated pilots be allowed to keep flying if they are tested regularly. The union has said about 70% of American’s pilots are vaccinated.

        The former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman is worried that the impact of energy price spikes on China’s struggling supply chain will be the tipping point.

    Crude oil topped $80 a barrel this week for the first time since 2018 before settling to the mid-$70s.

        “We’ve had supply chain issues really now for the past year and a half. They’ve afflicted many commodities, inputs like semiconductors and now there’s energy and power related shortages in China,” Roach told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday.

        He started sounding the alarm about China’s supply chain problems last year as the country was trying to cope with Covid-19 shutdowns.

        “We were sort of one supply chain glitch away from stagflation,” said Roach, a Yale senior fellow and leading authority on Asia. “That seems to be playing out, unfortunately.”

        Stagflation refers to pressures that push prices higher during periods of slowing growth.

        “It’s worrisome for the overall economic outlook and raises serious questions about the wisdom of central bank policies — especially that of the Federal Reserve,” he said.

        Roach is critical of the Fed’s historic easy money policies, questioning the need for excess stimulus amid sharp and likely long-term inflation.

        Angry protesters at school board meetings may be guilty of “domestic terrorism” or “hate crimes,” the National School Board Association (NSBA) believes.

        In a letter to President Joe Biden, the group asked for federal enforcement against crimes and violence targeting school officials, reports Andrew Ujifusa in Education Week. The group also asked for the U.S. Postal Service to investigate “cyber-bullying and threatening letters that have targeted students, teachers, administrators, and others.”

        In addition to controversy over mask mandates, the NSBA “cited anger about critical race theory as another factor fueling disruptions and venom toward educators,” reports Ujifusa.

        “What we are now seeing is a pattern of threats and violence occurring across state lines and via online platforms, which is why we need the federal government’s assistance,” NSBA CEO Chip Slaven said in an email to Education Week.

        Among the incidents mentioned was a rowdy meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia. Two people were arrested after the school board closed public comments on teaching about race and a policy on transgender students. Would-be commenters, told to leave or be arrested for trespassing, sang the Star-Spangled Banner before exiting.

        The U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is directing the FBI to investigate violent threats against school officials and teachers for backlash to the overtly racist Critical Race Theory being taught in public schools across the nation.

        On Monday, the attorney general released a memo: “Justice Department Addresses Violent Threats Against School Officials and Teachers.” It provided details on the DOJ’s operations.

        “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,” the DOJ said. “These sessions will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response by law enforcement.”

    Here's the thing. If you treat people as pariahs and terrorists for expressing their disagreement with how their kids are taught, someone, somewhere, will eventually take the "terrorist" label to heart.

    The Eastern Front.


        There have been multiple reports of military planes arriving at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, just hours after images emerged showing that power was restored to the base for the first time since US forces evacuated the stronghold in July.

        Images circulating on social media appear to show the airbase's floodlights blazing in the distance, amid reports that several military planes have taken off and landed at the base in recent hours.

        Several sources suggest that the aircraft are Chinese, given the Taliban are not thought to possess the expertise needed to power the base or maintain and fly several military aircraft. 
        China power problems are affecting 20 out of China’s 34 provinces. Cement production has been reduced by 29% and aluminum production capacity has been reduced 7%. Heavy industry has seen the most cutbacks.

        Coal prices are up but China’s utilities have energy price controls. There were quotas on coal mining. Coal mining quotas have been lifted as of last week.

        The rolling blackout and other power shutoff is also hitting hospitals and street lights. The power shutoffs are very broad and the facts do not align with various excuses and stories coming from China.

        China’s leadership has not been on top of the power shortage problem and has been months behind on reacting to the power emergency.

        The shortage of hydroelectricity is dues to a widespread drought which has caused 30% less hydroelectric power generation.

        TipRanks uses an algorithm to sort through the torrent of SEC filings, filter out what it calls “uninformed” transactions—that is, those that don’t seem to have predictive value—and come up with a rolling list of the top 25 insiders. As well as looking at win rate, the service factors in how much, as a percentage, insiders are making per trade. Those with long track records, such as [Jimmy] Filler, also score better. “Someone might pick heads five times in a row, but to do it 20 times or 50 times is really hard,” Gruenbaum says.

        Besides Filler, other TipRanks stars include Steve Mihaylo, the CEO of telephone services company Crexendo Inc., where he owns a $60 million stake. Mihaylo has turned a three-month profit on 83% of his trades over the past five years even as Crexendo’s shares have seesawed. His 1,985 followers understand that when the CEO is buying, there’s a decent chance the stock is about to go up. Then there’s Snehal Patel, CEO of pharmaceutical company Greenwich LifeSciences Inc., who’s made only five purchases but has earned an average 488% return on them, because four of the trades preceded the announcement of promising results from a cancer drug trial. Filler says he’s a long-term investor in Century and has never been affiliated with the company; he also says he’s never sold a share in either Century or ServisFirst. Patel points out that the success of the Greenwich LifeSciences trial was referenced on the company’s website and IPO prospectus before he traded. Mihaylo declined to comment.

        It’s not just those at the top of the rankings who constantly beat the market. Purchases made by U.S. executives outperformed the S&P 500 over the ensuing 12 months by an average of five percentage points between 2015 and 2020, according to a TipRanks analysis. The gap might seem scandalous to those with only a passing acquaintance with U.S. insider trading rules, which make it illegal for insiders to trade using material—or financially significant—nonpublic information. And yet on Wall Street it’s long been an open secret that insiders trade on what they know. In 1962, Perry Wysong, a bow-tie-sporting investor from Florida, started a newsletter identifying opportunities based on insider trades. Years later, a young stockbroker in Florida, George Muzea, set up a consulting firm to advise George Soros, Stanley Druckenmiller, and other hedge fund managers, often over games of tennis. “We used to call the best prospects studs,” he recalls. In 2008 a group of quants from Citigroup Inc. published a paper that found a portfolio mirroring insiders’ trades could yield an astonishing 23.5% a year, more than all but the most profitable hedge funds.

        No one is claiming to know if Filler or any of the other TipRanks stars are taking advantage of nonpublic information. Poker legend Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson made five final tables in his career, after all, and it’s possible to get lucky enough to flip a coin and hit heads a bunch of times in a row. Plus, insiders will always have a better general sense than others about how their company is doing. But a growing body of research suggests that many insiders are trading well thanks to something more than luck or judgment. It indicates that insider trading by executives is pervasive and that nobody—not the regulators, not the Department of Justice, not the companies themselves—is doing anything to stop it. “There is a lack of appreciation for the amount of opportunistic abuse that exists under the current system, the amount of egregiousness,” says Daniel Taylor, a professor at the Wharton School and the head of the Wharton Forensic Analytics Lab. “Most Americans today believe the stock market is rigged, and they’re right.”

        News came out this week that high officials of the Federal Reserve® were allegedly caught front-running trades.  I use the word “allegedly” because that’s the word you use when you are dealing with people who might be allegedly low-life allegedly stinking allegedly thieves.

        What’s front-running?  Well, if you know that a client is going to buy a LOT of stock, you buy at the price before the big news.  Why?  Well, when the price goes up, you benefit from the price increase.  Duh.

        Why was the Fed™ buying stock (or bonds), anyway?

        The quote was that the Fed® was buying securities to “help markets function smoothly.”

        Huh.  I thought, you know, actual people buying and selling stuff was supposed to do that.  Silly me.  I missed that part in Econ 101 where the professor said, “Oh, and if the market doesn’t do what the government wants it to do, it can cheat on a massive scale with money it printed just because.”

        When the “Plunge Protection Team” was originally formed by Federal Reserve® in the late 1980s, it was secret.  It would (in theory) see a down day on the stock markets and swoop in late in the day with well-timed purchases to keep the market from going down.

    * * * 

        Regardless, because it’s 2021, the Fed™ is out there buying stuff willy-nilly on a regular basis to manipulate markets.  And the big dogs at the Fed© know what the Fed® is buying.  So, for one of them to buy stocks in a company whose assets the Fed® is purchasing?

        That’s what is normally called criminal.

    In short, there exist secret combinations to obtain power and wealth, and you aren't part of it. Read the whole thing.

        It is no mystery why such a situation would have developed. Secret cliques or cabals will spring up anywhere where power is to be had and money to be made. Adam Smith declared that "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some contrivance to raise prices." The same should be said of almost any other field or endeavor where the players primary purpose is the acquisition of money or power. Government and high level government and corporate bureaucracies seem to attract psychopaths and sociopaths like a carcass attracts flies. Combine this with an elite class that has nothing but disdain for the people over which it exercises power and we get Washington, D.C., the greatest, most wretched hive of scum and villainy in the world.

        In any event, from the article in question:

        I am going to explain how the Intelligence Branch works: (1) to control every other branch of government; (2) how it functions as an entirely independent branch of government with no oversight; (3) how and why it was created to be independent from oversight; (4) what is the current mission of the IC Branch, and most importantly (5) who operates it.

        The intelligence branch is an independent functioning branch of government, it is no longer a subsidiary set of agencies within the executive branch as most would think. To understand the intelligence branch we need to drop the elementary school civics class lessons about three coequal branches of government, and replace that outlook with the modern system that created itself.

        The intelligence branch functions, much like the State Dept, through a unique set of public-private partnerships that support it. Big Tech industry collaboration with intelligence operatives is part of that functioning; almost like an NGO. However, the process is much more important than most think. In this problematic perspective of a corrupt system of government, the process is the flaw – not the outcome.

        There are people making decisions inside this little-known, unregulated and out-of-control branch of government that impact every facet of our lives.

        None of the people operating deep inside the Intelligence Branch were elected; and our elected representative House members genuinely do not know how the system works. I assert this position affirmatively because I have talked to House and Senate staffers, including the chiefs of staff for multiple House & Senate committee seats. They are not malicious people; however, they are genuinely clueless of things that happen outside their silo. That is part of the purpose of me explaining it, with examples, in full detail and sunlight.

    Read the whole thing. 

        I take this term ["deadly indifference"] from the new book from Catholic writer and editor Eric Sammons who explains how the church went from being a large, influential community of practicing Christians to a hollowed-out cultural relic run by out-of-touch Boomers. In short, he argues that church leaders in the 1960s took radical measures to “open up” to different viewpoints and practices. In effect, they became “indifferent” to frequently incompatible systems of thought.

        As Sammons points out, Catholic teaching itself stayed the same, but the emphasis of that teaching changed in important ways. No longer would Catholics proclaim their faith to the world; they would now foster two-way dialogues with everyone.

        No longer would they set themselves apart from other faiths and things of the world; they would now seek common ground in the interest of world peace and mutual understanding. No longer would they insist on being disciples of Christ to attain salvation; they would insist on following one’s conscience and trust in a loving (and remarkably indulgent) God.

        Like clockwork, this emphasis shift precipitated a relativistic mindset that continues to corrode the Catholic Church more than six decades later. If any religious practice basically leads to heaven, every person is basically good, and all religions are basically true, then there is really no point in changing one’s behavior or even taking a serious position on anything. Consequently, religious vocations and missionary activity has dwindled, church attendance has plummeted, and the majority of Catholics who actually do practice are often misinformed about much of their own faith.

        As it stands, the Catholic Church is hardly different from most generic philanthropies and nongovernmental organizations. Its leaders and representatives raise money, parrot leftist globalist narratives, and pursue the nebulous goals of being nice and “making the world a better place.” Like most modern philanthropies, it tends to enable more than empower the victims it seeks to help.


        ... Being perpetually open-minded sounds nice until one realizes that it prevents the mind from closing in on anything meaningful or substantial. As G.K. Chesterton said nearly a century ago, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

        This is how a stance of conciliatory indifference becomes deadly. After so much dialogue, tolerance, and compromise, the majority of people now lack the capacity to defend themselves against oppressive systems. Any radical who is loud or powerful enough can tell them to act against reason and morality, and they will obey because they have never known a time or occasion when it was okay to do otherwise. After saying yes and adopting so many clashing ideas, they don’t know how to say no and close the door.

        In order to restore the wherewithal to resist, it becomes necessary for individuals and institutions to recover a certain degree of exclusivity. They must adopt ideas that accord with the good, the true, and the beautiful while they explicitly reject ideas that do not conform to those standards.

    In 1960, Science published a paper by Heinz von Foerster predicting that on Friday, 13 November 2026, the "human population will approach infinity if it grows as it has grown in the last two millennia." Just a few years after this preposterous doomsday alarm, the annual growth of global population peaked at about 2.1 percent and immediately began to decline. By 2020 the growth rate stood at just a bit more than 1 percent, the result of the steadily declining total fertility rate (TFR), the number of children born to a woman during her reproductive period.

    Even Africa's TFR peaked in the 1965-1970 time period. Africa's current TFR is at the same place that Latin America's TFR was in the late 1970's, so it probably will see its TFR decline to around 2 in the next two decades.

    Marriage is an intensely personal decision, but also has economic and social dimensions. The dramatic high point in the marriage rate followed the end of World War II, while the Great Depression caused a notable decline in the early 1930s. More recently, reviewing marriage trends by region shows that states that previously had higher rates of marriage, including those in the West and South, have converged to the lower levels which have been normal for decades in the Northeast.


    Over the past 18 years, the national marriage rate has fallen by about 20 percent, with the decline concentrated among states in the South. At the same time, the divorce rate fell by about 30 percent nationally, possibly a result of self-selection out of marriage by lower-educated or low-income individuals and fewer marriages occurring in the first place. States with the smallest declines in divorce were predominantly located in the northeast, while some states in the South saw divorce rates fall by a third. 

    Although part of the decline can be explained by a decline in the number of people in the prime marriage age bracket (18 to 54 years), "rates have particularly declined among minorities and those in middle and lower economic quintiles. Decreased marriage is associated with increases in unwed childbearing over the last several decades, particularly for these groups." 

    • The tribe comes first: "In latest woke war against acting, Sarah Silverman says only Jews should play Jews" by Kyle Smith, New York Post. As the article points out, Silverman apparently has no problem with appearing in black-face or dressing up as a German Nazi. She also has no problem with the vast number of Jewish actors and actresses that have portrayed "goyim". 
    • Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out: "Pennsylvania Democrat Wants 'Inseminators' to Undergo Mandatory Vasectomies"--PJ Media. By "inseminators" he means men. Specifically, he wants men to have to undergo vasectomies at the earlier of the birth of their 3rd child or turning 40 years of age.
    • "Objects at the Solar System’s Edge Are Being Influenced by Something Mysterious"--Vice: Motherboard (h/t Marcus Wynne). Per the article, the 6-year Dark Energy Survey (DES) didn't find evidence of dark energy, but "[t]he survey was especially adept at spotting 'dynamically detached' objects and 'extreme TNOs' located 150 times farther from the Sun than Earth." In fact, "[t]he researchers have used the survey to discover a total of 815 trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), which are minor bodies beyond Neptune, 416 of which are reported for the first time...." The article further recounts: "These objects have been the subject of much speculation in recent years, because it looks like something in the outer reaches of the solar system is gravitationally tugging at them, causing a clustering effect in their orbits." The article goes on to discuss the possibility of an unknown "9th Planet" could be causing the effect--something I would observe has been rejected by many scientists because the perturbations from a planet would be different than what we see. In any event, Marcus Wynne had an interesting suggestion concerning the phenomena, which is that it might be further evidence of the influence of the galactic current sheet, similar to how waves can cause ridges of materials to form on the side of the ocean or edge of a lake or river.


    1. RE: Replacement Accessories for Electronics and Computers to Buy NOW.

      Don't forget more mundane things light bulbs (incandescent and/or LED), extension cords, wall plugs, and light switches. These items may last for years, but will eventually fail, and their failure will at least add unnecessary inconvenience.

      1. I hear you. Over the past 5 or 6 months I’ve had to replace several outlets, and just had a light switch go wacky. Most of these are probably original to the house.

    2. That poor, benighted female gun store clerk is so hopelessly lost in the world of firearms.
      She obviously did not educate the returning customers as to the safety of any firearm: it is the human brain.
      If one does not pull the trigger, the gun will not go "boom"!
      Most striker-fired pistols come sans a manual safety. Many consider that a plus. Less things to think about or fiddle with when the time comes to shoot. She was probably financially motivated: "well, sure we can take it back, but not for the price you paid. It is used now." So sad.

      1. And that raises an interesting point: what should gun buyers expect in way of guidance from a gun store clerk? Frankly, I've never wanted a clerk's opinion as to what type of gun I should get because by the time I have decided to pick up a firearm, I've already researched the issue to death. (And perhaps this is hubris on my part, but I also feel that I know as much or more about firearms generally than most gun store clerks). But do we want the salesmen to try to educate the buyer--even if the buyer doesn't ask for advice?


    Latest Bombs & Bants (streamed 5/18/2022)

      VIDEO: " Bombs and Bants Live! Ep 36 " (43 min.)