Tuesday, November 30, 2021

New Weekend Knowledge Dump ...

 ... from Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training. Plenty of good stuff here, but let me focus on a few.

    Greg links to an article from Breach Bang Clear that describes a drill or practice for developing your situational awareness. 

    He also includes an article from Tier Three Tactical that evaluates the ability of a variety of pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition to penetrate an interior wall (i.e., sheetrock).

    And he cites to an article from Imminent Threat Solutions listing some 35 different places or ways to hide a firearm (generally a pistol) in plain sight. This focuses on having a place where you can readily get to a firearms but that isn't going to be apparent to a criminal. And speaking of staging weapons, Greg also includes an article from Recoil Magazine providing tips on preventing and protecting your family from a home invasion.    

    Finally, Greg includes a video from Active Self Protection which examined an incident in Utah that appears to have exemplified the bystander effect. The surveillance video takes place at a gas station and mostly focuses on what one man gassing his truck did, or rather, didn't do. A small statured woman is seen running from a red SUV in one corner of the picture up to the man pumping gas, apparently asking for help. A man, also from the red SUV, chases her, and so the woman tries crawling under the pickup, but her pursuer hauls her out, throws her over his shoulder, takes kicking and screaming back to the red SUV, and then drives off. The man gassing the truck just kept what he was doing, finished gassing his truck, and left without even calling the police. Fortunately for the woman, other people at the gasoline station, although they didn't intervene, took down information and called 911, resulting in the woman's captor being arrested and charged with several felonies.

    Greg notes that his general attitude is "not my people, not my problem," but acknowledges that the man gassing his truck could have at least been a good witness and called 911. 

    I've expressed a similar attitude, including in my article on "The Dangers of White Knighting" which discussed an incident in Portland where three men intervened in a situation without ascertaining the facts of the situation (including the aggressor was armed with a knife) with the result that all three men were slashed in the neck, with two of them dying. 

    There are also lessons to be learned from police experience in domestic disputes where it is not uncommon to have the battered spouse violently attack police as they arrest the abusive partner. It is also not uncommon for a female criminal to feign distress in order to lure a victim into a place or position where one or more accomplices can then rob them. And then there are the stories where someone goes in guns blazing and kills the wrong person, like one recounted by Massad Ayoob of a trucker that went to the rescue of a woman screaming "rape" and shooting the "attacker" who, it turned out, was a vice cop attempting to arrest the woman for prostitution.

    On the other hand, it is a morally poor society where criminals can operate with impunity because people, generally, are unwilling to do something. This leads to a criminal class that will become increasingly brazen, just as we are seeing in San Francisco and other large cities where shoplifting has morphed into gang looting. 

    So is there a balance between being so cautious to studiously ignore the crime and getting involved in a situation where you are placing your own life, liberty, and fortune on the line for a stranger?

    At a minimum, as Ellifritz points out, you can be good witness and call 911 or contact the police. That is what the other people at the gas station did. 

    Whether you can or should do more is going to depend on the circumstances of each situation. Several years ago there was a video that circulated of a brutal stabbing where an ex-boyfriend had tracked his girlfriend down, attacked her on a busy street in a European city, and basically kneeled on her as he stabbed her repeatedly. There were one or two people that tried to intervene, but being in Europe, lacked any means of effectively doing so. I would hope that if faced with a similar situation here in the U.S. that a concealed weapon carrier would intervene.

    But what about the situation in the ASP video? I have to wonder how things would have turned out if the man pumping the gas had simply pulled out his phone right then and there and dialed 911 to report an assault and kidnapping? Or told the man from the red SUV something like, "Hold it right there. I don't know what is going on but I'm calling the police to sort it out."

Monday, November 29, 2021

Chicago's Gun Control In Action: Automatic Weapons Fire

I think the saying that "when guns are outlawed, only criminals will own guns" has finally moved from a truism to an axiom. Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation and so, of course, it also has one of the highest gun crime rates. But the violence has clearly moved beyond just Chicago's restrictions to federal restrictions on gun ownership.

    When it was enacted in 1934, the creators of the National Firearms Act were frightened that the law would be struck down as unconstitutional for violating the Second Amendment because it banned the unorganized militia (i.e., the citizens) from owning military weapons, including fully automatic weapons. To try and avoid such an outcome, the NFA creators decided against an outright ban and settled on a tax (ostensibly under the Congress' taxing authority) to make the weapons so prohibitively expensive that no one but the rich would be able to afford them. Even so, the creators were correct in their fears: in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), the Court came close to striking down a provision of the NFA taxing the purchase or possession of short-barreled shotguns and only siding with the U.S. attorney general because the U.S. argued that short-barreled shotguns had no military purpose and, therefore, were not protected by the Second Amendment. Presumably, if someone had challenged the restrictions on owning an automatic, military style weapon, the Court would have struck down that portion of the NFA because such a weapon had a military purpose.

    But the NRA had supported the NFA and no else apparently pursued such a case, so in the face of numerous bans on classes of firearms, there still remains the anomaly that a person can purchase a fully automatic weapon provided that they can pass the background checks and pay the tax on such weapons. But just as inflation reduced the amount of the tax to something that would make such weapons affordable to the middle-class, the anti-gunners decided to once again make them too expensive to afford, but this time they attacked the supply side of the equation by making the manufacture of automatic weapons illegal. So, just as demand was beginning to increase, the supply was cut, and prices quickly climbed to the point that the rich are still the only ones that can afford the weapons. 

    But how has that worked out? Not very well. We've seen an increasing number of accounts of automatic weapons fire between criminals. The most recent I came across was an article from the Daily Mail reporting that "'Chicago is a war zone': Terrifying video shows machine gun fire erupting on the streets in bloody Thanksgiving weekend of gun violence as three are killed in [sic] and another 40 are shot." The story includes the video and describes it as showing "a man, who does not appear to have a gun, running through the streets of Chicago as machine gun fire erupts nearby." It doesn't show the weapons, but you can definitely hear a couple bursts of automatic weapons fire. So, yes: if you make a class of weapons illegal, whether de jure or de facto, only the criminals will have them.

The Realist: Hand Tools for Common Home Repairs

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and weekend. I am pleased to announce that we have a guest post written by The Realist on basic hand tools to keep on hand. Enjoy ....

From left to right: Irwin 9-in-1 screwdriver, 9-in-1 screwdriver disassembled, Klein Tools 4-in-1 electronics screwdriver, 4-in-1 electronics screwdriver disassembled, Channellock model 317 long-nose pliers, 8-inch adjustable wrench, Channellock model 420 water pump pliers, and 7-inch Vice Grip locking pliers.

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this article were purchased by myself. I did not receive samples, evaluation models, or other compensation from any manufacturer or retailer. I have no formal relationship with any manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this article - I have only been an arms-length customer. All brand names and product names used in this review are the trade names, service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. I am not a licensed or certified tradesman. Further, this article reflects my unique circumstances and subjective opinions with regard to performance and other characteristics of the products being discussed. Your mileage may vary.

    Growing up, my father taught me how to fix many things around the home and on our vehicles. Since then, my repair skills have continued to improve. Besides having the knowledge of how to fix things, having the appropriate tools is necessary to fix many things.

    As the economy gets more dicey every day, being able to fix things yourself rather than pay someone else to make repairs or buy a replacement item (if you can find it for sale) will become increasingly important. I have no idea how much money I have saved by being able to fix things myself. Certainly, being able to make repairs around the house has saved me a bundle of money. Even though I dislike working on automobiles, I have made many automobile repairs over the years. Further, I have occasionally purchased non-working or "needs repair" items, and usually been able to repair them, saving money over purchasing the item new.

    You learn how to repair things by doing repairs. Although, now there are many excellent YouTube videos that explain how to perform various repairs, and you can dramatically shorten the learning curve by watching a few videos on a specific repair topic.

    There are three tools I use for probably eighty percent of the repairs I make: a 9-in-1 screwdriver, a 4-in-1 electronics screwdriver, and long-nose pliers.

9-in-1 Screwdriver

    The 9-in-1 screwdriver has three hex-nut sockets and six different screwdriver bits. There are numerous manufacturers selling this type of screw driver. I just happen to have picked up the Irwin brand

    This screwdriver meets the overwhelming majority of my needs. The hex-nut sockets are really handy when doing appliance repairs, and in my experience negated the need to use a socket set or traditional nut drivers. The straight screwdriver tips are ground such that they are parallel, which reduces cam-out when tightening or loosening regular slotted screws.

4-in-1 Electronics Screwdriver

    The 4-in-1 electronics screwdriver, has two small straight tips (1/8 and 3/32 inch) and two Phillips tips (#0 and #00). In the past, I have used other small multi-bit screwdrivers, and would recommend them, except they are no longer sold. I am currently using the Klein Tools screwdriver. There are sets of individual screwdrivers that accomplish the same purpose, but they are not as compact as this screwdriver.

    I use this screwdriver a lot when repairing small appliances and small electronic devices, which frequently use smaller sized screws.

Long Nose Pliers

    The long-nose pliers I use are the Channellock model 317 . I have been using these pliers for
several decades. Harbor Freight sells similar pliers under their Doyle brand that seem to be well made.

    Long nose pliers, as opposed to needle nose pliers, have the strength to squeeze or grab things, yet are thin enough to reach into many tight spaces. They also have wire cutters.

Other Tools I Use Frequently

    While the three tools above address eighty-percent of my tool needs, an adjustable wrench (Crescent wrench), adjustable water pump pliers (grove joint pliers), locking pliers (e.g. Vice Grip pliers) round out most of my tool needs, meeting ninety-percent of my tool needs.

    The adjustable wrench is handy for many tasks. My go-to wrench is 8-inches long. It is small enough and light enough to be used in many tight areas, yet offers more leverage over a smaller wrench. It is the perfect size for assembling many things that come unassembled.

    The water pump pliers are a necessity when doing many plumbing repairs, such as working on the various drain pipes under a kitchen sink.

    The locking pliers are necessary when dealing with a rounded bolt head or grabbing something round that needs to be twisted. (I found the pictured Vice Grip locking pliers along the side of a road several decades ago, cleaned them up, and have been using them ever since.)

Tools You Should Have

    The above tools do not eliminate the need to have other common hand tools, such as a quality socket set, box and open-end wrenches, several different sizes of adjustable wrenches, hammers, pry bar, handsaw for wood, hacksaw for metal and plastics, files, hex wrenches, a Torx bit set, and an electric drill or manual drill. While I don't use these tools as frequently, they are also necessary for a variety of repairs I do perform.


    Not mentioned in the tools above is a pocket knife. I always have a pocket knife on me, and it gets used for all kinds of tasks.

    Six tools address ninety-percent of my tool needs for household repairs. I regularly use two different sizes of multi-bit screwdrivers, three different types of pliers, and an adjustable wrench. You will note, I didn't include a hammer in this list because I usually use screws for many applications where nails are traditionally used. But yes, I do have several hammers for various tasks.

Friday, November 26, 2021

They Really Do Hate You: The Left's Double Standard and Virtue Signaling

      Glenn Reynolds likes to point out that with the left, if it weren't for double standards, they'd  have no standards at all. An example of this earlier this year was The New York Times hiring of Sarah Jeong notwithstanding her very publicly avowed hatred of all things white. In fact, the author of the cited article reviewed her vile tweets and concluded that "[i]n fact, she seems rather pathologically obsessed with white folks."
One of Jeong's less offensive tweets

      Of course, the far left seemed either outraged or puzzled that anyone would find Jeong's tweet's racist.  Aja Romano, writing at Vox, thought the whole backlash was unfounded and, she believed, perpetrated by the Alt-Right. Romano defended Jeong's tweets as sarcasm, jokes, or "counter-trolling." She explained that "Jeong’s tweets were, at best, mean to some white people, and were written in a context reasonably understood to be a sarcastic response to people who were perpetually harassing her on the basis of her gender and race." She had no problem with what Jeong had written over the course of many years.

       Libby Watson penned an op-ed for Splinter News that also characterized Jeong's tweets as jokes. Moreover, Watson explained, "[t]he tweets were not racist; they were jokes about white people, which is a different thing that is not racism." She elaborated:
         Making jokes about white people isn’t the same as making racist jokes about black people, or Asian people, or Jews, or gay people, or any other historically oppressed minority. This is a very simple principle, but one that many aggrieved whites find difficult to accept. You can’t say, “Well, imagine if you replaced ‘white’ with ‘black’ in those tweets,” because those two things are not equally replaceable. As much as you might find it desperately oppressive to not be able to use the n-word when you sing along to rap songs, there has never been a government-endorsed legal or societal campaign of oppression against whites. White people can be oppressed by other means, such as through gender or economics, but whites in the U.S. have never been systematically oppressed on the basis of their race alone.
         In fact, white people in the United States have had it comparatively super good in large part because of their oppression of other races; when you, a white person, express or act upon your prejudice towards oppressed groups, you are taking part in that oppression. You contribute to the project of belittling, keeping down, otherizing, and exploiting historically oppressed minorities. When a member of an oppressed community complains about white people, that is different, because it is the whites who are doing the oppression. It is just different, which things often are.
In short, she contends that racist tweets are okay when they are about white Americans because whites deserve it, and if any white Americans object, they are just being racist.

     However, the rank hypocrisy has even bothered some of those on the left--but not enough for them to condemn Jeong. For instance, Bret Stephens, a columnist for The New York Times acknowledges that many of Jeong's tens of thousands of tweets are, in fact racist.
We should call many of these tweets for what they are: racist. I’ve seen some acrobatic efforts to explain why Jeong’s tweets should be treated as “quasi-satirical,” hyperbolical and a function of “social context.” But the criterion for racism is either objective or it’s meaningless: If liberals get to decide for themselves who is or isn’t a racist according to their political lights, conservatives will be within their rights to ignore them.
Nevertheless, he believes her tweets should be overlooked and that The Times made the right decision in retaining Jeong.

       Compare this with the reaction to commentary on Fox News by Laura Ingraham, in which she stated that "[i]n some parts of the country it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” and crediting it to massive demographic changes "that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like." Ingraham was immediately labeled a racist or worse. MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace said Ingraham’s comments were “articulating and embracing a racist ideology.”

      Others questioned whether Ingraham really loved America--America being, in their minds, merely a proposition.Sarah Quinlan, writing at Red State, stated:
       I love this country because it recognizes “that all men are created equal” and “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” I love this country because it is based on the belief that the people should be safe from tyranny and their rights should be protected. I love this country because of the ideals that America was built upon. 
       I love my country because of what America represents, not because of the background of her people.
Conor Freidersdorf, writing for the Atlantic, similarly proclaimed that "[w]hat I love about America is its animating idea: 'That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness'," and chastised Ingraham for loving America's "former demographic profile." Rick Moran found Ingraham's comments "puzzling," because, "these demographic changes that we've managed to absorb over the centuries are, in large measure, what make America so exceptional."

     Of course, we know that Moran, Quinlan, Freidersdorf are wrong: there is substantial research showing that diversity reduces social capital and trust. And, even if America is an idea, not a people, that idea arose from and is rooted in the cultural backgrounds, philosophies, practices and civilization aspirations of Western Europe--specifically Great Britain, Denmark, Holland, and certain of the Germanic states. Ideas completely alien to the third world. It may be possible to admit a small number of aliens and have them assimilate, but alien peoples bring their alien ideas and culture, and in large numbers, those alien ideas can erode the America aspirations and replace it with something else. For instance, the founders thought of equality as being "equal" before the law--i.e., no special privileges for any particular group. However, the import of immigrants with socialist or Marxist leanings have attempted to twist that credo of "all men are created equal" to be "all are entitled to equal outcomes." This, in turn, has morphed into the concept of "social justice" founded on the resentment of the white middle class and a lack of gratitude for the civilization that they bequeathed to us.

       And if this is not enough, Moran, Quinlan, and Freidersdorf are wrong because they presume to ignore identity politics--or, rather, implicitly argue that whites should ignore identity politics. To people like them, "that white Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that they don’t really want to get pushed around by newcomers just for being white merely proves that whites deserve their fate." And they don't want  whites to react to the fact "that the Left has declared war on straight American white people for decades."

       So, what motivates this current hatred of all things white? Although concentrating on the Jeong affair, Reihan Salam, in an article at The Atlantic, believed that much of it came down to virtue signaling:
        ... What I want to do, though, is look beyond the particulars of Jeong’s remarks to better understand why anti-white rhetoric is, in some communities, so commonplace as to be banal. 
       To state the obvious, Jeong is hardly alone in colorfully expressing anti-white sentiment, and it is this broader phenomenon I find most interesting. ... The people I’ve heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who’ve proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent. 
       One reason I’ve been disinclined to take this sort of talk seriously in the past is that it has so often smacked of intra-white status jockeying. It is almost as though we’re living through a strange sort of ethnogenesis, in which those who see themselves as (for lack of a better term) upper-whites are doing everything they can to disaffiliate themselves from those they’ve deemed lower-whites. Note that to be “upper” or “lower” isn’t just about class status, though of course that’s always hovering in the background. Rather, it is about the supposed nobility that flows from racial self-flagellation.  
     But many of the white-bashers of my acquaintance have been highly-educated and affluent Asian American professionals. So why do they do it? ... 
      ... In some instances, white-bashing can actually serve as a means of ascent, especially for Asian Americans. Embracing the culture of upper-white self-flagellation can spur avowedly enlightened whites to eagerly cheer on their Asian American comrades who show (abstract, faceless, numberless) lower-white people what for. And, simultaneously, it allows Asian Americans who use the discourse to position themselves as ethnic outsiders, including those who are comfortably enmeshed in elite circles.

        Think about what it takes to claw your way into America’s elite strata. Unless you were born into the upper-middle class, your surest route is to pursue an elite education. To do that, it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want. By setting the standards for what counts as praiseworthy, elite universities have a powerful effect on youthful go-getters. Their admissions decisions represent powerful “nudges” towards certain attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and I’ve known many first- and second-generation kids—I was one of them—who intuit this early on.
These people have no moral compass, other than what finds them favor with the "in crowd."

    But that is only part of the story. There is a now dominant political-legal philosophy called Critical Race Theory (CRT) which, at its heart, casts whites in the role of Satan: the corrupter of all things good. Below is a short video from American Uncovered which covers the main points of CRT.

VIDEO: "What Is Critical Race Theory?"--America Uncovered (25 min.)

In short, however, the 6 basic tenets of CRT are:

(1)    Racism is the norm. Keep in mind that to fully understand this, you have to understand that per CRT's pundits, only whites are racist. That is, blacks cannot be racist.

(2)    Colorblindness is disguised racism. In other words, equality of opportunity, judging people based on the quality of their character and not their skin color, etc., is racist. Yeah, who knew the Martin Luther King Jr. was promoting racism. This concept postulates that white people will only help black people if its advances their (the whites') interests. 

(3)   Race is an unscientific social construct. Although CRT recognizes that people of common origins share physical traits. And this tenet is ignored, of course, when it useful under CRT to use race. Thus, CRT judges whites by the color of their skin, and is therefore itself racist, because it claims that all whites and everything whites do, is racist.

(4)    Liberalism is racism. That is, traits held in esteem in Western liberal thought like reason, rationalism, due process, equality before the law, etc., are all processes that advance the interests of whites. That is why you can come across comments like "math is racist" or that rationality and hard work is racist.  

(5)    CRT is intersectional. This point seems rather benign at a basic level because it postulates that everyone has unique mixtures of past experiences, values, and judgments. But in application, it divides people into "oppressor" and "oppressed classes" with white people (or anyone appearing to be white) falling into the "oppressor" class.

(6)     Voice of color. That is, "oppressed" people have unique viewpoints that need to be shared with "oppressors." In other words, it trains POC (particularly blacks) to only think of themselves as "oppressed" and to dwell on that point.

    All of this leads to strange outcomes. For instance, violence and crime as we witnessed last year in the rioting and looting is considered appropriate because it is a means of blacks expressing their displeasure at the inherently racist system around them. Conversely, for white people to not actively support black insurrection (i.e., be "anti-racist") is a form of violence--the source of the term "silence is violence."

    It is also why the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict has been decried as "rascist" or the result of a corrupt justice system: it didn't take into account the feeling of blacks in reaching a decision (blacks supposedly wanting a guilty verdict).

    It is also why white violence against blacks is blasted across media, but black violence against whites is largely ignored. For instance, the incident just a few days ago of a black supremacist plowing a vehicle through a crowd of white people killing 6 and injuring dozens is already being memory-holed by major media outlets.  

    This philosophy is also invading and subverting all our institutions. As you know from the news, it has infiltrated our school systems and is being indoctrinated into our kids, leading to revolts. In fact, the recent Virginia governor's race likely turned on this issue. But it is infiltrating all of our institutions, including our churches. Thus, CRT concepts are now official policy in the Salvation Army, reports the Daily Wire

    “The desire is that Salvationists achieve the following,” the Army says in an online “resource” titled “Let’s Talk About Racism,” listing several goals including  to “lament, repent and apologize for biases or racist ideologies held and actions committed.”

    The resource claims Christianity is inherently racist and calls for white Christians to repent and offer “a sincere apology” to blacks for being “antagonistic… to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.”

    “Many have come to believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racism is very real for our brothers and sisters who are refused jobs and housing, denied basic rights and brutalized and oppressed simply because of the color of their skin,” one lesson in the resource says. “There is an urgent need for Christians to evaluate racist attitudes and practices in light of our faith, and to live faithfully in today’s world.”

    “And as we engage in conversations about race and racism, we must keep in mind that sincere repentance and apologies are necessary if we want to move towards racial reconciliation. We recognize that it is a profound challenge to sit on the hot seat and listen with an open heart to the hurt and anger of the wounded. Yet, we are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary,” said the resource.

    In an accompanying Study Guide on Racism, the Salvation Army says whites are racist. “The subtle nature of racism is such that people who are not consciously racist easily function with the privileges, empowerment and benefits of the dominant ethnicity, thus unintentionally perpetuating injustice,” it says.

    “We must stop denying the existence of individual and systemic/institutional racism. They exist, and are still at work to keep White Americans in power,” the lesson says.

      What does the future hold? Over the short term, probably not much. As I indicated, CRT philosophy--in actuality, a form of religion--has infiltrated almost all of our institutions. Since one of the purposes of pushing CRT is to shame and discourage whites, to make whites feel unworthy, it is unlikely that we will see any sort of organized resistance against CRT and its philosophies except in certain limited circumstances, and such resistance will not be exclusively white.

    The most serious opposition may, ironically, come from Hispanics and Latinos. Reihan Salam, mentioned earlier, suggests in different article, that the next populist revolt will be by Latinos. According to Salam, the Left's strategy for the past few decades has been to rely on minority voters, including blacks and poor Latino immigrants, looking forward to "the fullness of time, [when] a unified coalition of college-educated white liberals, African Americans, and working-class immigrants and their descendants will vanquish the aging rump of reactionary whites." Salam observes that "[t]he logic of rainbow liberalism says that the anger of working-class Latinos and other marginalized minorities ought to be directed at hateful working-class whites in the heartland. But it’s not hard to imagine second-generation Americans choosing a different target for their ire: the white overclass of coastal America." He explains:
        A key principle of rainbow liberalism is that the solution to working-class woes is hiking taxes on the rich to finance a generous suite of wage subsidies, social services, and, for the truly ambitious, basic-income grants. But will white liberals be as enthusiastic about sharp increases in their taxes if they become something other than theoretical? Immigrants in New York, for instance, live in a state where the Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently championed a tax reform designed to sharply reduce the total tax burden facing his state’s wealthiest residents while stymieing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to raise taxes on the city’s ultrarich. Cuomo did so as New York’s transit infrastructure was in crisis and rising rents were exposing tens of thousands of families to the risk of eviction.

         These betrayals sting in the present. But in the near future, such efforts will be undertaken in the midst of “the Great Wealth Transfer”—in which trillions of dollars in accumulated cash, homes, and other assets will be transmitted from disproportionately white, native-born, college-educated Baby Boomers to their long-waiting heirs. In this context, a brown populism might emerge, one that is sharply to the left of today’s rainbow liberalism. Just as Donald Trump appeals to the ethnic self-interest of rural whites, a tribune of working-class Latinos could call attention to the dearth of Latinos in the uppermost echelons of American society and promise to do something drastic about it, such as redistributing the inherited wealth of privileged whites. In the post-civil-rights era, many charismatic African American politicians—and activists like Fred Hampton—promised to redress the racial injustices plaguing majority-black cities by confronting an ostensibly liberal white elite. Brown populism would pledge to do the same, but from a position of far greater electoral strength. Latinos already outnumber whites in California, and aren’t far behind in Texas; the electorates of the two most populous states will soon have a Latino plurality.
But Salam also predicts that Latinos will likely favor restrictions to immigration in coming decades. Again, from his article:
        According to the historian Brian Gratton, America’s major restrictionist movements have emerged in response to a dramatic increase in immigration levels coupled with a change in the ethnic origins of new immigrants. Both factors are important. If a dramatic increase in immigration levels occurs but natives by and large see the newcomers as their cultural kin, the reaction might be muted, as cultural affinity overrides other considerations. If a dramatic increase occurs and the newcomers are culturally distinct, however, intergroup tension is all but inevitable. Gratton’s thesis partly captures why older whites have been so resistant to Latino immigration.

        But as Latino immigration slows, and as working-class Latino Americans come into their own politically, Gratton’s work leaves us with an irony-laden prediction about what is to come: A coalition of cosmopolitan whites, Asian Americans, and blacks may well fight to open the U.S. labor market to growing numbers of desperate people from Asia and Africa, whether out of class interest, ethnic loyalty, or devotion to rainbow liberalism as an ideology—but these new immigrants could be met by a coalition of working-class whites and Latinos who favor closed borders.

    For Christians, it is a time to look to our scriptures. Christ is no respecter of persons or races, including blacks. The Bible is replete with the admonition that the son should not be judged for the sins of his father. God expects us to abide by his commandments, not act according to our will or emotions. CRT is the exact opposite of this and is, therefore, anti-Christ. In matter of fact, that CRT identifies Christians as an "oppressor" class, is proof positive that it is an anti-Christ philosophy. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving to you all. We have no power today, so I wasn’t able to put out a longer post.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Ahmaud Arbery Killers Found Guilty

The Daily Mail is reporting that all three of the men involved in the shooting Ahmaud Arbery have been found guilty of murder. The actual shooter, Travis McMichael, was found guilty of "malice murder" as well as several other felonies. His father, Gregory McMichael, and the neighbor that helped them, William 'Roddie' Bryan, were found guilty of felony murder in addition to other felonies. 

    If you don't know, felony murder is, according to Black's Law Dictionary, where "one whose conduct brought about an unintended death in the commission or attempted commission of a felony [is] guilty of murder (e.g., a homicide committed during an armed robbery)." It is a common law doctrine, but may be limited in its application by statute in certain states. The death doesn't need to be one of the victims of the felony; it is not uncommon to see one of a group of felons killed in self-defense and his co-conspirator(s) charged under the felony murder doctrine.

    Any thinking person with knowledge of the facts will know that Arbery was casing the neighborhood where he was shot. But the mere casing of the neighborhood does not create a situation where anyone is under an imminent danger of grave bodily injury. Imminent danger does not mean "a half-hour from now," "later in the day," "tomorrow," etc. It means "immediate danger, such as must be instantly met, such as cannot be guarded against by calling for the assistance of others or the protection of the law." 

    As always, I'm not your attorney and this is not legal advice

Rittenhouse Used His Forward Assist

Last night I watched part of Rittenhouse's interview with Tucker Carlson wherein he described how he came to be guarding a couple of car lots and came under attack. Being the gun nerd, it caught my attention that Rittenhouse mentioned that when Gaige Grosskreutz raced up to him, he (Rittenhouse) noticed that his bolt was open slightly and he used his forward assist to close the bolt prior to shooting Grosskreutz. 

It is impossible to know for sure, but it may be that the all of the movement while shooting may have resulted in the bolt not fully cycling, or a cartridge catching (it is a push-feed system, after all). But I suppose this should put to rest the idea that the forward assist is completely useless.

The Docent's Memo (Nov. 24, 2021)

VIDEO: "Paramedics Debunk 12 First Aid Myths | Debunked"--Science Insider (13 min.)


    Should you draw and then take off your seatbelt? Or take off your seat belt and then draw? Decisions, decisions.

    Make the decision now before you have a threat standing at your car door. As a tactical instructor, I intend to give sound advice, but at the end I sometimes wonder if I have made the right decision as to what I teach. My background is from an offensive mindset. So, what does this mean to a law-abiding citizen? I believe having an offensive nature allows us to keep the tide of success carrying us in the right direction. If you were always in a defensive posture, you’re behind the eight ball.

    Being offensive doesn’t mean cruising the streets of small-­town America ready to shoot someone; it means being prepared for any situation that might present itself. If you are conducting your life in a righteous manner, being offensive is not only fine in my eyes, but it should also be the sought-­after mindset.

But he moves back to the practical and presents a scenario where you might be forced to draw your handgun while in your vehicle rather than being able to drive away. His scenario is based around civil disturbance, but it could have easily have been a carjacking or attempted kidnapping. 

    ... Now the question is, do you attempt to draw and then remove the seatbelt, or remove the seatbelt and then draw? There are really only two options.

    Fellow instructor and former U.S. Army Special Forces veteran SGM Craig “Chili” Palmer prefers to release the seatbelt and then draw. I, on the other hand, prefer to draw and then release the seatbelt. We are both correct because this is an individual decision to make. You have to figure out what works for you. If you carry a handgun in such a manner that you can’t access it without releasing the belt, of course, you need to get the seatbelt clear immediately. I carry with an appendix holster, so there isn’t a need for me to get the belt off before drawing my gun.

    Other Considerations It is important to be prepared before an incident, such as the one described, ever occurs. Step one: Have a prepared mindset at all times. This is especially important if you have your family with you. We are the guardians of those who can’t protect themselves, so get your mind right.

    Next, I prep my clothing and holster for such a scenario. If I am wearing an overgarment, I ensure that it is clear of the seat belt and I can simply lift the clothing out of the way with my support hand to access the pistol. If I am carrying behind the hip, the same is true. Don’t let your clothing impede getting to the gun quickly. Put some thought into what you’re wearing.

    As you work these scenarios also consider how you would draw with one hand. What if an attacker grabbed your support arm and is trying to pull you from the vehicle? Can you make the same draw with your support hand only? (This is another reason I prefer appendix carry; I have access with both hands.)

    Now, practice! ...
  • "What we can learn from Second Call Defense Member Incidents" by Sean Maloney, Second Call Defense Blog. The victim was working in a restaurant when two armed robbers entered the building and produced weapons. The victim shot one of the robbers, killing him, while the other fled on foot. The article describes the aftermath (the victim was not charged and the second robber is being charged with felony murder) as well as the primary takeaway: "Time, or rather lack thereof, and immediate access to a firearm were the most important factors in the SCD Member’s survival." The victim had already made the choice to use lethal force in that type of situation, so he didn't need to pause and think about it once the robbers started threatening people with their weapons. Also:
    He didn’t have time to retrieve his firearm from the car, his backpack, briefcase, or other room. Carry your firearm on your person, the same location on your person, the same firearm. Sometimes you must “dress for defense,” your clothing dictates your firearm and choice of carry position but no matter what you carry, and where on your person you carry, it must be second nature for you to quickly access your firearm.

    He didn’t have time to “rack” a round into the chamber, or God forbid insert a magazine into the pistol. Never, ever, ever, carry your firearm with an empty chamber. ...
  • "Guest Shot: The Four Modes of Combative Pistolcraft" by Dave Spaulding, Tactical Wire. Spaulding, over his years of training and teaching pistolcraft, has observed that how pistol shooting is taught and what skills are emphasized depend largely on the background and experience of the instructor. Not a surprise to me: I've previously lamented that when I first started into concealed carry, most of the articles on the subject were written by people with a law enforcement background, and what they taught or suggested didn't necessarily transfer over to civilian carry.

    In any event, Spaulding has identified four major "modes" of training and tactics--that is, four major groupings based on the background and experience of the instructor: (i) military; (ii) law enforcement; (iii) the armed citizen; and (iv) felons. The latter isn't so much about training but about how the weapon will be used:

They are not “trained” in combative pistolcraft per se and do not concern themselves with “legalities,” after all, they are already committing multiple crimes. Thus, if gun play is involved, they will not worry about shot placement, who is hit, where their bullets go and will likely spray the area with bullets in order to assist their escape. While they may not be traditionally trained, many have been involved in gunfights...some have been shot…thus they will have NO APPREHENSION about shooting at you, your loved ones or anyone in the area. Fortunately, many choose to flee instead of shoot, but one cannot count on this…some offenders just like violence.

He discusses the goals of the training and use of pistols for each category. The main takeaway, however, is (ellipses in original):

As we proceed through this “journey of discovery” that is training and preparation, we must all decide what our real world of work and play is and proceed accordingly. Does that mean we cannot “dabble” in military style training? Of course not, I believe we should seek training from a wide variety of sources. But when it comes to building skills, mastering and anchoring them to a level of “automaticity” (a longer process than many understand), we need to use critical thought and choose wisely…not be sucked into the world of tacti-cool and fantasy. The reality of conflict is awful…you don’t want to make it worse by preparing incorrectly… 

  • "Is the 10mm Enough Gun for Bear Defense?" by Joseph von Benedikt, Petersen's Hunting. I sort of hate articles like this. An examination of handguns used for self-defense against bears (primarily talking about brown bears or grizzly bears) show that almost any common handgun caliber can and has been successful in stopping a bear attack because stopping a bear attack doesn't necessarily mean killing the bear, although that is often a consequence.
    The good part about this article is that it does emphasize that success will often depend on the shooter: i.e., whether you panic and can't connect on the bear, or whether your training will kick in. I also have to admit that I liked that the honest assessment was that no common handgun rounds, including the 10 mm, can be counted on to drop a bear (at least, not with one shot). 

    I think that the emphasis on a handgun for defense against bear is that you be able to easily and quickly be able to access the weapon, and be able to make accurate and quick successive shots; and that you have ammunition that will give you the right combination of penetration (recognizing that the FBI standard is going to be inadequate against a big bruin) and tissue damage. Thus, you might want to switch out your standard defensive ammo for something shooting a FMJ or hardcast bullet with a flat ogive, preferably in a +P load or greater.  Buffalo Bore makes "bear loads" for many different calibers, or you might be able to find some flat point loads from other manufacturers (or roll your own if you reload). Just remember that you need to be able to shoot it accurately and make quick follow up shots, so don't get too carried away with power. A lot of people think that .44 Magnum is the low end for defense against a bear. But for a pistol, I think the .44 represents the high end; the larger magnums, I suspect, would generate too much recoil to permit quick follow up shots, besides being so heavy as to discourage constant carrying.

The peak of 10mm popularity came in Alaska. The state’s super-trooper Jeff Hall — gunfight winner, master martial artist and top-level firearms instructor — once said with tongue only slightly in cheek the Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum was the official Alaska outdoorsman’s handgun, but today, gun dealers in Alaska tell me the GLOCK 20 autoloader in 10mm has taken over the role. The deep penetration harming the 10mm’s performance in its original police/self-defense loads turns out to be just what you need when attacked by giant bears. It has proven itself such in some documented human-against-raging bruin shootings. 

The engraver also did a werewolf hunter version (photographs here). This isn't the first time something like this has been done. The NRA Museum has a "Vampire Hunter" silver-plated Colt .38 Special Detective Special revolver, pictured below:

The description given states that the revolver "is fitted within a coffin-shaped ebony case that holds holy water, mirror, a wooden stake and silver bullets cast in the shape of miniature vampire heads.  The gothic engraving by Francolini includes bats on the cylinder, a cross at the muzzle, and a rampant colt on a coffin." (More photos here).

    When I was high school age--so back in the mid-1980s--I remember flipping through a gun magazine and finding an interview with a gun engraver. One of the questions to him was what was the most unusual engraving request made to him. His response was a handgun for hunting, I believe, werewolves and which was engraved with those motifs and even included silver bullets--all prepaid by the customer. But, he said, the customer never came back to pick it up. I've tried finding that article but have never been able to, and I don't even remember what magazine it was from.
  • "Why a Revolver?" by William Lawson, The Mag Life. The author lays out three reasons and explains each:
    •  It is conceivable that magazine-fed handguns could be banned in the future. Unlikely, perhaps, but possible.
    • Revolvers are easier to train a new shooter with if you find yourself in a pinch.
    • Reliability. Like I said earlier, they will go “bang” when you need them to.
I would add a couple more: (i) they are interesting and fun; and (ii) there is generally a size and mass advantage to the revolver over a semi-auto in the same or comparable cartridge when you get into the magnum power range such as .357 Magnum or greater power. 
  • Some good tips if you are trying to help someone select a handgun for self-defense: "The Top Four Factors In Handgun Selection" by William Starnes, GUNS Magazine. The four factors are listed in the order that you should proceed through them: (i) how the gun fits in your hand ("You must be able to establish a proper grip and operate the controls efficiently."); (ii) how the gun points (i.e., so you are not having to fight the weapon to get on sight); (iii) caliber selection (again related to accuracy); and (iv) affordability. 
  • If you are a hunter or target shooter, this should interest you: "CZ-USA Announces New 600-Series Rifles"--GUNS Magazine. Two of the models aimed at hunters (and $800 and $900) boast a guaranteed sub-MOA accuracy. Another model--a long range shooter for $1,200--is advertised as having a guaranteed 0.7 MOA with factory match ammunition.
  • A retro gun brought back: "Review: Wilkinson Arms Linda Carbine"--Shooting Illustrated. Although the magazine well is in the pistol grip rather than forward of it, this weapon has a Tec-9 look, what with the perforated heat shield around the barrel and the tubular receiver. From the article:
    The Linda is blowback-operated, hammer-fired and feeds from a detachable magazine housed in the pistol grip. It is 31.5 inches long with a 16.5-inch barrel and weighs 6.25 pounds unloaded, which is lighter than most 9 mm AR-15s. The Linda comes with a 31-round, double-stack magazine. Two models are offered: the standard and the LE-3. The LE-3 has shallow recoil slots on a portion of the receiver’s integral top rail and comes with an AR-15-style collapsible stock. You can also attach a side-folding stock like the STAP from Midwest Industries or the one used on the SIG Sauer MPX using an optional 1913-rail adapter.

The standard model comes with a fixed T-shaped stock reminiscent of older styles of submachine guns.

    The receiver is made from 6061 T6 extruded aluminum and contains the bolt and recoil-spring assembly. It is joined to a cast-aluminum grip frame by two Allen screws. The fixed stock on the standard model is quite sturdy and made from .75-inch-diameter tubular steel with a walnut buttplate that matches the fore-end, contrasting sharply with the black plastic grip panels and grip backstrap. The barrel has a 1:10-inch twist rate, is covered with a ventilated aluminum shroud and can be ordered with a muzzle threaded ½x28 tpi for common accessories or sound suppressors.

While the standard model only has traditional iron sights, the LE3 sports a Picatinny rail to which optics can be mounted. The author also explains:

Like the Uzi and the Beretta CX4, the Linda uses a “wraparound” or telescoping bolt where its forward section covers about 5 inches of the barrel when in battery. This feature, along with a recoil spring that surrounds the forward section of the bolt instead of being placed behind it, puts the ejection port close to the rear of the receiver. It also gives Linda the illusion of being a short-barreled rifle (it isn’t), because only 83⁄8 inches of barrel protrudes from the front of the receiver. 

    The FIST Grip is a polymer forward grip that attaches to any rifle or shotgun rail section, on the side, vertically. The grip portion is not a straight stick, or a triangle hand stop. It’s an oblong shaped knobbish kind of thing that fits in your hand. It doesn’t sit flush with the rail, it stands proud a few inches.

    The end result: your supporting hand reaches much more straight forward from your shoulder, making a vertical fist. It’s exactly like having a good, two-handed high grip on a pistol. Your support hand is farther forward of your firing hand, and to the side a bit.

The primary purpose is to put less strain on the elbow and wrist of the support arm and more easily hold the weapon up for longer periods of time. Even not considering the biomechanical benefits, it looks like it would be useful as a method of adding a forward grip to a weapon mounting a bayonet. Anyone used it?

VIDEO: "Smelting Iron from ROCKS (Primitive Iron Age Extraction)"--How To Make Everything (20 min.)

  • "Prepping For In Between" (Part 1) (Part 2) by Noah C., The Survival Blog. An article on finding a healthy balance between prepping and living your life. 
    Being overly aware can certainly cause some potential problems.

    If you saw a person who looked “jumpy” and seemed constantly distracted by trying to observe everyone in a public place, what would you think about that person?  Is that a person that you would trust?  How do you think he would perform in a crisis?

    My guess is that you would judge that person somewhat negatively.  David Deida, one of my favorite authors, writes a lot about how the quality of being in touch with the present moment is a masculine virtue that inspires trust and relaxation.  This is true in both a romantic scenario and a business context.  Presence creates trust.
    A general rule of first-aid states that victims need to be left in the position they are found until professional medical help arrives. However, that may not always be possible, and you need to decide if you can treat the patient on the spot or if you have to move them to another location where they can receive proper medical care.

    If you decide to move the patient, you first stabilize the victim as best as possible. This means that you need to stop all bleeding, you have to make sure airways are open, you have to splint orthopedic injuries, and so on. If you can’t do that with the available supplies and materials, have someone from your party bring you anything you need to prepare the patient for transport.

I like to think of it in the context of you do not want to make things worse, so if you decide to move the patient you need to make sure that you do not aggravate the injury.  Thus, you may need to immobilize broken limbs or even strap the person down to avoid shifting the back in a suspected back injury. For something more mild, such as a sprained ankle, removing constrictive footwear, wrapping the ankle, and providing some type of support to keep weight off the ankle may be enough.

    We will deal with two types of food gardens hidden in plain sight, both revolving around the idea of permaculture. Permaculture simply refers to a system of gardening that requires almost zero input or maintenance. In other words, gardens that look after themselves.

    In permaculture, you are working alongside nature, and not in opposition to it. This is partly what you want because irrigation systems will be a dead giveaway and pumping water is energy-intensive. Also, permaculture gardens look natural, like part of the landscape, and will thus not stand out.

The first type is what the author calls a "Food Guild" which is a form of permaculture based around a tree (generally a fruit tree, but other types can work) where plants are planted next to or near the tree. "These plants all support each other and work together to create a 'micro-climate' and 'micro-ecosystem' in which they all will thrive." The second type is a food forest which is based around a woodland setting. "You create systems within that ecosystem that incorporates fruit-bearing trees and other plants, but that does not disturb the original ecosystem but works within it."

    1. Is Bugging In The Right Solution For You? E.g., bugging-in may not be the best solution for someone in a high-rise apartment building for anything other than a short-term loss of power or other regional disaster. 
    2. Have You Cut Off Your Options? Even if you are planning on bugging-in, you still need a plan for bugging out.
    3. Are You Really Self Sufficient? Make sure that your food storage can sustain you and provide all the nutrients you will need.
    4. Did You Plan For The Worst? Have you planned for something truly catastrophic like a nuclear attack?
    5. Who Knows You’re Prepping? Basic OPSEC considerations.
  • "How to Create a Bug-Out Motorcycle"--Doomsday Moose. Some suggestions on things to look for in a bugout motorcycle, as well as a couple suggestions on packing. In some ways, a bugout motorcycle makes sense because it is nimble enough to squeeze between cars or ride down a sidewalk and, if you follow the author's advice and get one capable of off-road travel, you can go many places a car would not. If you have a cabin or farmstead you are trying to reach within driving distance, you shouldn't have a lot to carry anyway. But I have to say that if you are looking at something less than a full-out nuclear war or other global catastrophe, a motor scooter may be a better choice: easier to drive, it sips fuel compared to the larger motorcycle engines, and you can more easily bring it onto a patio to keep it from being stolen or vandalized. There is a reason they are so popular in crowded Asian cities.
  • "SteriPEN vs LifeStraw – Their Strengths and Weaknesses Examined"--Ready Lifestyle. The key difference is that the LifeStraw relies on a filter, so it filters out protozoa and most bacteria, and it doesn't rely on electronics; but, the author notes, it does not filter viruses, including those that cause Hepatitis A which can be spread via human feces. The SteriPEN uses UV light to kill protozoa, bacteria and viruses, but doesn't filter anything out, so you may need to pre-filter water to get rid of particulates. This suggests to me that the SteriPEN may be better for the urban or suburban environment where you are more likely to encounter fecal contamination, and the LifeStraw may be better for wilderness or urban settings (assuming sewage and animal waste is not getting into the water source). 
    • Related: "That Water is Unsafe to Drink" by Ron Fontaine, Survival Topics. Fontaine warns that you should consider ALL sources of drinking water as contaminated with disease causing organisms until you properly treat it. The bulk of the article is on what type of contaminations you may have to deal with and how to treat water.
  • "Preparedness Storage – Finding Room and Keeping it Safe and Sound" by Laurie Neverman, Commonsense Home. Some really good advice on how and where to store food when space is at a premium. She has seven major points, the first of which is to Optimize Existing Storage Areas, writing:

    Clean and organize existing storage areas such as kitchen cupboards, pantries, closets and garages. Get rid of badly out of date food items. Take a hard look at what you have and decide if you *really* need it. If not, re-home it and make more room for the things you do need. Clutter is a daily time eater and the enemy of functional storage.

    Look for ways to maximize storage through well-thought use of dividers, shelving and other organizers. Can you place boxes or bins in a closet under hanging clothes? Would additional shelving fit high on a garage wall or in a closet? Can kitchen shelves be subdivided with stacking organizers? (They have these for drawers now, too.)  If you're handy you can build your own, or you can visit your local home improvement store and do some ogling of the latest options for pre-made storage helpers. There are some really creative solutions now available. My husband put in sturdy storage shelf around the perimeter of our garage that works great for spare lumber, extra charcoal bags for an emergency and seasonal items (and occasionally small boys). Cabinets or simple shelves along the ceiling give you storage options also.

Be sure to read the whole thing. 

In many of these survival fishing articles, you’ll often see people talk about traps and Trotlines — I’ll talk a little bit about that — but the main thing I’m going to cover here is fishing behaviors and patterns. If you understand the fundamentals of how fish behave, and how things like weather patterns and time effect them, then you’re going to have a much easier time procuring food when you really need it!
  • "Hardtack The Modern Version vs. Traditional Version" by Sara Tipton, All Selfsustained. The author begins by observing that "hardtack is a hard biscuit made of flour, water, and salt. This is the traditional recipe but you can also add some herbs and spices to help out with flavor if desired. Adding any ingredients above and beyond the simple list will decrease the life of your hardtack, so bear that in mind if you decide to try the modern version. But the traditional hardtack will be good forever as long as it’s kept dry.  You cannot beat that!" She links to a recipe for traditional hardtack, but the majority of the article is about preparing, storing and using modern hardtack which uses yeast and Sorghum flour to make it more nutritious and edible. If you have ever tried hardtack, you will understand that it would be easy to break a tooth or otherwise injure yourself trying to eat it dry--it needs to be soaked (e.g., in soup or coffee) to make it edible.
  • "Food Storage Staples: How to Cook with Pasta & Feed a Whole Family"--Survival Mom. The author begins by relating: "My food storage journey started years ago with just a few humble packages of pasta and some big containers of Prego spaghetti sauce from Costco. That’s it. I had to start somewhere and cooking with pasta was the simplest and cheapest route I knew."
  • Toot, toot! "30 Baked Beans Recipes for Preppers" by Jeanie Beales, The Survivalist Blog.
  • "Dry Flush Toilets vs. Composting Toilets for Preppers" by Bryan Lynch, Survival Cache. The author begins by noting:
Why am I bringing this up? Because as a prepper you spend your time and resources to be prepared for bad times. And let me tell you if your toilet becomes inoperable due to some type of emergency, or for any reason for that matter, and you don’t have a backup plan, then you will be going through some bad times. 

The author explains how each type of toilet works and the pros and cons of each. 

    Getting a UV-5R today and then not being afraid to practice and put it through your toughest training will be what will help you to know what to do when it counts. You’ll already have the skillset. With a more expensive radio, you may be afraid to use it and it’ll just sit on the shelf and collect dust.

    You don’t have to worry about this with the UV-5R. It’ll get you on the air this week, and should something happen to it, you’re only out $30.

Tate recognizes that there are downsides to the radio, and it certainly lacks the power and range of a base station, it is an analog system and doesn't have bluetooth compatibility. If you want a digital radio with bluetooth, he recommends the Yaesu FT3DR; but a quick check on Amazon shows it being close to $700. For a base station, Tate recommends the Yaesu Original FT-991A, which is over $1,200. 

    If you are only going to get just one radio, Tate suggests the Yaesu VX-6R which run between $250 and $300. His reasoning? It has the following features:

      • Good shock resistance
      • Ability to handle rain without getting fried
      • Easily portable
      • Dual/Tri-band capabilities
      • User friendly
      • Easy to program
      • Economically friendly
    • Related: "HAM Radio for Preppers: The Complete Guide"--SHTF Preparedness. Well, I don't know about complete, but it does discuss the advantages to HAM radio, what you need to do to get licenses, the different types of licenses, and even links to test questions that have been used by the FCC for the qualification test.
    • Related: "BAOFENG BF F8HP – Review and Recommended Accessories" by August Neverman, Commonsense Home. This is an upgrade to the Baofeng UV-5R but still reasonably priced, starting at around $70 on Amazon for the basic model. He sums up:

    This is a powerful, inexpensive, versatile handheld radio. This two way radio is great for hunting, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, sailing, long caravan car trips and camping. It is NOT waterproof/water resistant.

    It also doubles as a g0od [sic] prepper radio. It is probably the cheapest handheld emergency radio giving you the ability to listen to FM, NOAA and listen or transmit (broadcast) on FRS, GMRS and HAM frequencies. As noted it is also compatible with Baofeng UV-5R accessories.

    If you use this radio for a construction site or team, get the FRS or GMRS licensing and set the max wattage to the legal limit to remain legal.

He also discloses how to tell the real thing from counterfeit copies that have been showing up. 

VIDEO: "Narrative CONTROL & YouTube's DISLIKE BUTTON"--Felix Rex (10 min.)

Covid News:

  • The slippery slope: "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps"--Zero Hedge. "The Australian army has begun forcibly removing residents in the Northern Territories to the Howard Springs quarantine camp located in Darwin, after nine new Covid-19 cases were identified in the community of Binjari. The move comes after hard lockdowns were instituted in the communities of both Binjari and nearby Rockhole on Saturday night."
    "Residents of Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their homes," said Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, referring to the country's five allowable reasons to avoid lockdown (buying food and supplies, exercising for up to two hours, care or caregiving, work or education if it can't be done from home, and to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location).

    "They can only leave for medical treatment, in an emergency, or as required by law."

    "It's highly likely that more residents will be transferred to Howard Springs today, either as positive cases or close contacts," he continued, adding "We have already identified 38 close contacts from Binjari but that number will go up. Those 38 are being transferred now."

    "I contacted the Prime Minister last night. We are grateful for the support of about 20 ADF personnel, as well as army trucks to assist with the transfer of positive cases and close contacts – and to support the communities.

    We are doing an assessment today of what extra resources we might need from the Feds, and the Prime Minister is ready to help further – I thank him for that."

This obviously isn't anything huge--there were only 20 ADF personnel involved. But it is disturbing because it might mark the beginning of a trend.  

    Brook Jackson, a former boss at Ventavia, said the firm did not always test patients with symptoms, which potentially masked how well the jab performed.
    She told a British Medical Journal probe that as well as 'falsifying' data, Ventavia hired underqualified staff as vaccinators and failed to follow-up on side effects. 

    The whistleblower has provided 'dozens' of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings and emails to back up her claims.

    Two other former Ventavia employees, who wished to remain anonymous, have both 'confirmed broad aspects of Jackson's complaint', the BMJ said.

    The Texas-based contractor was responsible for 1,000 participants at three sites in the state, or just 2 per cent of all participants in Pfizer's phase three trials.

    But there are concerns that similar problems may have crept into other arms of the trial, given the pressure researchers were under to produce results.

    Pfizer has since rehired Ventavia to work on four other trials of its jab, including for children and young adults, pregnant women, and as booster doses. 

But the article goes on to assure us that the vaccines are safe. 

The authors write (translated into English): “The correlation is + .31, is amazingly high and especially in an unexpected direction. Actually, it should be negative, so that one could say: The higher the vaccination rate, the lower the excess mortality. However, the opposite is the case and this urgently needs to be clarified. Excess mortality can be observed in all 16 countries…”

    But there is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said.

    Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.

    Some researchers say the continent’s younger population -- the average age is 20 versus about 43 in Western Europe — in addition to their lower rates of urbanization and tendency to spend time outdoors, may have spared it the more lethal effects of the virus so far. Several studies are probing whether there might be other explanations, including genetic reasons [ed: racists!] or past infection with parasitic diseases.

    On Friday, researchers working in Uganda said they found COVID-19 patients with high rates of exposure to malaria were less likely to suffer severe disease or death than people with little history of the disease.

    “We went into this project thinking we would see a higher rate of negative outcomes in people with a history of malaria infections because that’s what was seen in patients co-infected with malaria and Ebola,” said Jane Achan, a senior research advisor at the Malaria Consortium and a co-author of the study. “We were actually quite surprised to see the opposite — that malaria may have a protective effect.”

Or maybe it's because they take anti-malarial medications like Chloroquine? Nah, that would be crazy. 

Our group has been using the PLUS Cardiac Test (GD Biosciences, Inc, Irvine, CA) a clinically validated measurement of multiple protein biomarkers which generates a score predicting the 5 yr risk (percentage chance) of a new Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). The score is based on changes from the norm of multiple protein biomarkers including IL-16, a proinflammatory cytokine, soluble Fas, an inducer of apoptosis, and Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)which serves as a marker for chemotaxis of T-cells into epithelium and cardiac tissue, among other markers. Elevation above the norm increases the PULS score, while decreases below the norm lowers the PULS score.The score has been measured every 3-6 months in our patient population for 8 years. Recently, with the advent of the mRNA COVID 19 vaccines (vac) by Moderna and Pfizer, dramatic changes in the PULS score became apparent in most patients.This report summarizes those results. A total of 566 pts, aged 28 to 97, M:F ratio 1:1 seen in a preventive cardiology practice had a new PULS test drawn from 2 to 10 weeks following the 2nd COVID shot and was compared to the previous PULS score drawn 3 to 5 months previously pre- shot. Baseline IL-16 increased from 35=/-20 above the norm to 82 =/- 75 above the norm post-vac; sFas increased from 22+/- 15 above the norm to 46=/-24 above the norm post-vac; HGF increased from 42+/-12 above the norm to 86+/-31 above the norm post-vac. These changes resulted in an increase of the PULS score from 11% 5 yr ACS risk to 25% 5 yr ACS risk. At the time of this report, these changes persist for at least 2.5 months post second dose of vac. We conclude that the mRNA vacs dramatically increase inflammation on the endothelium and T cell infiltration of cardiac muscle and may account for the observations of increased thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, and other vascular events following vaccination.

VIDEO: "Why Modern Movies Suck - Destroying Our Heroes"--Critical Drinker (12 min.)

The War Against Us

    The hindmost leaders are following a script that leads to our genocide. In the past, before it became popular in a different usage, I liked to use the term "memes" to represent ideas that could spread, reproduce, and even mutate. But instead of being a physical virus, they were a mental virus. Each person infected with a meme was like a compromised cell, reproducing the meme and spreading it to other persons (cells). To see the dominant memes today, you only need to turn on the television and watch the advertisements and note the dominant race and/or sexual orientation. Does it reflect the reality of a country that is only 13% black or where only 1% are LGBT? No. But there is no denying that it reflects the preferences of the elites backed up by their armies of useful idiots as to how they want the country to be. 

    Maybe someday the genocide will involve being loaded onto a bus or train headed to some sort of "quarantine" or "re-education" camp, but today it is being committed by demoralization. Earlier this week I saw a headline at my usual news site that proclaimed that "44% of American adults say they don't want a child because the future seems too bleak as the US experiences the biggest decline in births since 1973." As I've related many times, having a child today is an act of faith (which is why the most religious groups have the largest families). That faith has been and continues to be eroded over time. That is the purpose of tearing down our statues and memorials, for attacking the nuclear family, for calling us "racists," for attacking Christianity (we see no comparable attacks on other religions). It is to destroy our faith in ourselves, our future, our God, and thereby terminate our nation. 

    I've recently been reading the book, Mohammed and Charlemagne by Henri Pirenne which presents an alternative view to Edward Gibbon's dominant theory of how and why the Roman Empire was destroyed. He makes some important observations as to how nations go into decline, including this:

As a matter of fact, a minority can transform a people when it wishes to dominate it effectively, when it has only contempt for it, regarding it as fit only for exploitation; as was the case with the Normans in England, the Musulmans [Muslims] wherever they appeared, and even the Romans in the conquered provinces.

And, in discussing why the Empire finally acquiesced to admitting barbarian tribes:

And there was no longer any question of closing the Empire to the Barbarians. The population was diminishing; the soldier had become a mercenary. The Barbarians were needed, as soldiers, and as agricultural labourers. ...

We are experiencing the same here and now, but this time it is deliberate.

    Now on to the examples:

  • As you are probably aware, this past Sunday a black man named Darrell Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing five people and injuring 48. All of the dead are white. He is criminal career, and had only been released on bail under the auspices of Milwaukee County Prosecutor, John T. Chisholm, who is one of a group of prosecutors and DAs that believe the racial equity requires lower bails and not charging criminals for "minor" crimes. In this case, "[o]n November 2, [Brooks] was arrested on domestic violence charges after trying to 'run over' his ex, the mother of his child, at a gas station. His bond was set at $1,000 and he posted it on November 11th." He has a long criminal history going back to 1999 with charges including weapons offenses, domestic battery, resisting arrest, drugs charges, concealed carry charges, and sex with a minor. Another article indicates:

    A social media video of him taken before Sunday's incident shows him trying to explain that the victim was the mother of his oldest daughter who he 'didn't know was 16' when they had sex.  
    Police sources told The Washington Post that Brooks he was fleeing the scene of a knife attack on Sunday when he smashed into the crowds at 4.39pm at the Waukesha parade. 

          The Daily Mail also reports:

          Milwaukee County Attorney John T Chisholm previously spoke of trying to reduce his county's prison population. He even let a progressive criminal justice nonprofit called Vera perform an 'audit' on his office. 

          Vera, which is based in New York, opposes cash bail, with the implementation of that measure partially-blamed for a crime spike in NYC. Milwaukee saw murders spike by 95 per cent between 2019 and 2020, with 2021 currently recording as many homicides as there were by the same stage of 2020.  

          At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said: 'This is not a terrorist event.' ...

      Except that it appears that it very well could have been a terrorist event.  For instance, the same article relates:

          Chief Thompson said one officer fired at the vehicle in an unsuccessful bid to stop it, with witnesses saying it sped along the parade route and did not slow down even as it hit a schoolgirls' dance troupe and elderly members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, along with families sitting by the side of the road.

          Dozens of pieces of footage - intended to capture joyous scenes from the annual event - ended up capturing the carnage instead, revealing the car traveled at least three blocks down the parade route before breaking through barriers and speeding away. 

      Another article relates that BLM Activist Vaun Mayes claimed the Waukesha Christmas parade attack was linked to the acquittal of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse and called it the "start of a revolution". And unlike the mostly uncurious press of the major media outlets, Laura Loomer has discovered that Brooks was a member of a black supremacist sub-sect of the Nation of Islam called the Five Percent Nation, otherwise known as the Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE or NOGE). According to Loomer, Brooks' "social media was littered with anti-white and anti-Jewish posts that encouraged the killing of White people and posts that celebrated Hitler for being 'right about the real Jews'." Brooks was also an aspiring rapper whose lyrics were littered with references to killing people and calling for the killing of police.

          Now the comedy unfolds as the lying intensifies. First, the official forces have used official definitions, interpreted creatively, to decide that this is not terrorism:

      At a press conference this afternoon, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said police believe the suspect acted alone, and that there is no evidence of terrorism.

      Notice the sleight-of-hand: if they act alone, they cannot be terrorists, by definition. Glad to know that Anders Breivik — who attacked Leftists, not the diversity, in his attempt to stave off the coming race war and collapse of the West — is off the hook.

          It turns out, however, that Darrell Brooks was clearly motivated by racial hatred in his attack:

      One post features a black man whipping white men who are enslaved in a cotton field.

      Another post from during the George Floyd riots encourages black to commit random violence against white people.

      Another post referred to white people as “the enemy.”

      Another post expressed anti-police sentiment.

      A leopard does not change its spots, and someone with a long history of anti-White hatred who drives a car through a crowd of White people is trying to kill them for reasons of racial hatred.
          Jessie Daniels, a self-described “expert on race,” began her tweetstorm this weekend by declaring that “what I’ve learned is that the white-nuclear family is one of the most powerful forces supporting white supremacy.”

          “I mean, if you’re a white person who says they’re engaged in dismantling white supremacy but…you’re forming a white family [and] reproducing white children that ‘you want the best for’ - how is that helping [and] not part of the problem?”

          While she argued that the white nuclear family was a key perpetrator of racism, she also argued that multiracial families can be “part of the problem” too, if the white person in the relationship fails in “dealing [with] your own racism or systemic white supremacy.”

          A Brooklyn principal purged her staff of white teachers and retaliated against a Hispanic whistleblower who flagged grade fraud and other misconduct, according to a federal lawsuit filed this month.

          Plaintiff David Rivera claims World Academy of Total Community Health High School Principal Claudette Christie — who took the reins in 2013 and retired this past August — exiled him to a rubber room and crippled his career.

          Rivera, who served as an athletic director at WATCH and three other schools at the Thomas Jefferson Campus in New Lots, said Christie began excising white employees several years after her arrival.

          “Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, Principal Christie instituted a pattern of disparate treatment towards non African-American staff members,” he asserted in the suit.

          Those efforts, Rivera alleged, led to a demographic makeover of the school’s staff.

          “As a result, the Caucasian teaching staff at WATCH High School, which represented 25 percent of the school’s teaching staff in September 2016, represented zero percent of the faculty by October 2019,” Rivera alleges in his suit.
          The U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland issued an Oct. 4 memorandum directing federal, state and local law enforcement to look for parents to prosecute nationwide who may have made "threats" and made "harassing" phone calls to school board members nationwide, equating such parents to domestic terrorists.

          Now a mother, Sheronna Bishop of Grand Junction, Colorado, has felt the brute force of the FBI's heavily armed SWAT unit used against her family.

          She was at home with her three children Tuesday morning when she heard someone pounding on the front door. She said the officers "manhandled" her 18-year-old daughter, pulling her up the stairs by her hoodie, while another officer put her in handcuffs. They proceeded to search the entire house.

          Besides being a frequent attendee at her local school board meetings, Bishop has also been active in the voter integrity movement in her state and locality. She runs the website Americasmom.net, and on that site she features an article and video under the title We the Parents: How Did We Get Here?

          She said she has not been guilty of anything but speaking her mind in accordance with her First Amendment rights.

      Nichols’ account is detailed in an appalling new court filing that confirms what American Greatness has reported for months: on January 6, D.C. Metro and Capitol police assaulted nonviolent protesters with explosive devices, rubber bullets, tear gas, and in some cases, their own fists and batons. A tunnel on the lower west side of the Capitol building became a dangerous—and, likely for at least one protester, deadly—battle scene as police viciously attacked American citizens on the “hallowed” grounds of the U.S. Congress.

      Rosanne Boyland was attacked without provocation by an as-yet unidentified Capital Police officer and beaten on the head with a baton multiple times. 

          Jacob Chansley, the "QAnon Shaman" whose face became fodder for front-page news spreads when he broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 while wearing patriotic face-paint and a horned headdress, was sentenced to 41 months in prison yesterday.

          The punishment, handed down by Judge Royce C. Lamberth in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was widely covered. But almost every news outlet skirted over the most insidious part of the proceedings.

          "You were facing 20 years, Mr. Chansley," said the judge, telling him he was "smart" for not going to trial. "You did the right thing."

          The "right" thing. At first glance, I'd posit most readers wouldn't think much of that; plea bargains are a core part of the U.S. criminal justice system. Yet in being frank with Chansley, Lamberth laid bare why those "bargains" are raw deals: Had Chansley insisted on his constitutional right to a trial by jury, he would have been staring down more than 16 additional years in prison. That's not because the government believes such a stratospheric sentence would serve public safety. It's because prosecutors routinely inflate hypothetical prison sentences and dangle them over defendants in order to bully them out of going to trial, where outcomes are both costly and uncertain.

          In plainer terms, Chansley could have received almost 6 times a higher sentence solely for exercising his constitutional rights—something the judge here not only acknowledged but celebrated. 

          This is in no way unique to the January 6 defendants.

          "The way the modern criminal justice system is structured, we punish people if they try to go to trial, which is sort of an astounding thing to say out loud," says Carissa Byrne Hessick, a professor of law at the University of North Carolina and the author of Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining Is a Bad Deal. "And yet it's entirely commonplace….Judges are quite explicit that they impose heavier sentences on people who go to trial."

          Lamberth said the quiet part out loud yesterday. But judges are not where the plea-bargaining problem begins or ends. For years, tough-on-crime legislators have passed laws that allow prosecutors to hit defendants with multiple charges for the same offense, giving the government leverage to threaten the accused with grotesquely inflated punishments. The escape hatch: Agree to waive your constitutional right to a trial by a jury of your peers, and accept whatever the authorities will give you.

      Maybe we are already at war. For more, see "10 Explosions in One Week? Mysterious Blasts Rock China" from China Uncensored (9 min.)


          Gas explosions occur frequently throughout China. The first half of the year saw an average of three per day, according to official data.

          In the first six months, 544 gas explosions took place around China, resulting in 71 deaths and 412 injuries, said Sohu, a Beijing-based media, quoting a report released by the Safety Management Committee of the China Gas Association.

       And these are just the official figures. Some of the more recent explosions:

          The latest gas accident happened in a residential area in Shanghai on Nov. 9, the time of the CCP’s Sixth Plenary Session, but was not reported by the Chinese media.

          Only the Yangpu District Fire Brigade in Shanghai, where the accident occurred, said on its official Weibo social media account that the explosion resulted in one death and three injuries.

          “At the slanting opposite side of my house, [I saw] all the windows [of the building] were blown out,” posted one resident eyewitness.

          On Oct.24, a flash gas explosion took place in a residential building in the Tiedong Wenshing community of the Wafangdian city, Liaoning Province, killing two people and injuring seven others, as confirmed by the municipal committee’s publicity department.

          The northern province’s other gas accident occurred on Oct. 21 in a BBQ restaurant in Heping District, Shenyang City. The accident killed 5 people and injured 47 others, damaged over 3,000 homes, and affected nearly 100 stores.

          On Sept. 10, an explosion occurred at a home in the Pulandian district of Dalian city, Liaoning Province, allegedly triggered by a leak from a liquefied gas tank, that killed eight people and injured five others. Sina, a Chinese media portal, quoted witnesses as saying that the explosion was about 800 meters away, felt “like an earthquake,” and shattered the windows of many nearby residential buildings.
          It’s taken decades of work, but a former aide’s campaign to clear Richard Nixon’s name in the 1972 Watergate scandal has finally reached the Justice Department, with the aide seeking an investigation into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and a “deep state” conspiracy to take Nixon down.

          But first, he needs people to open up to the idea that the most scandalized president in modern history might not have done what he was accused of, leading him to resign in 1974 amid an impeachment threat.

      * * *

          Shepard’s credibility is hard to challenge. He was an insider who turned on Nixon after hearing one of the most critical secret tape recordings in the Watergate case. In fact, he is credited with dubbing the tape the “smoking gun” because he believed it tied Nixon to the Watergate cover-up.

          Only later did Shepard change his mind when he realized that Nixon was running through options in the scandal, not approving a hush payment in the case.

          And more recently, he forced the release of the secret prosecutor’s “road map” used to convince a grand jury to indict key Watergate figures and egg on the impeachment inquiry that turned out to be a hoax, somewhat similar to the “dossier” used to spark the FBI investigation of former President Donald Trump.

          “They knew it was a lie, and they made it up,” Shepard said. That road map, however, was never revealed to Nixon’s defense team and was sealed until 2019, when Shepard got it released. It is a central piece of his latest book, published by Bombardier Books.

          He also found out that several members of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, then headed by prosecutor Archibald Cox, improperly left the group with their documents. In some, they described how they worked with the anti-Nixon judge in the case, John Sirica, to get Nixon — a big legal no-no.

          Shepard is asking the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate his allegations and hopes it will lead to reversals of the convictions of key Nixon aides. He cited a similar case of prosecutorial misconduct that forced a court in 2009 to set aside the conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
      • "Islam caused the Dark Ages"--Universal Human Rights Alpha and Omega. A review of the book Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: An Introduction to the History of a Controversy by Emmet Scott. 

          Theories about the fall of the Roman Empire as a political institution have of course been thick on the ground for centuries; but the present study is not so much concerned with this event as with the fall of the civilization associated with the Roman Empire. That civilization – more properly called “classical civilization” – survived the fall of the Empire and was not, in any case, a creation of the Romans at all, but of the Greeks, which the Romans imbibed wholesale, and which they proceeded, with their conquests, to spread throughout the western Mediterranean and northern Europe. This Graeco-Roman civilization may be described as largely urban, literate, and learned, and characterized by what could be called a rationalist spirit. It was a society which, in theory at least, respected reason and the pursuit of knowledge, and which was not given to religious extremism or fanaticism. We know that this civilization did not come to an end with the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It survived in Constantinople and the Eastern Empire, and it survived too even in the West, a region administered, from 476 onwards, by “barbarian” kings and princes. The rulers of the Franks, Visigoths and Ostrogoths – and even of the Vandals – tried hard to preserve the culture and institutions they found in place when they crossed the Imperial frontiers. Yet, in spite of all this, Graeco-Roman civilization did indeed die in the West, and it died too in the East. In both regions it was replaced, eventually, by a society and civilization that we now call “medieval,” a society whose most outstanding characteristics were in many ways the precise opposite of the classical; a society that was overwhelmingly rural, generally illiterate, had a largely barter economy, and tended to be inward-looking rather than open and syncretic. (The latter of course is a clichéd and formulaic view of medieval civilization, but it does contain important elements of the truth).

          It is the purpose of the present study to examine the causes of this, or, more precisely, to examine a highly controversial thesis about it which appeared in the early years of the twentieth century. This was the thesis of Henri Pirenne, a Belgian historian whose specialism was the early medieval period. Pirenne maintained that the real destroyers of classical civilization were the Muslims. It was the Arab Invasions, he said, which broke the unity of the Mediterranean world and turned the Middle Sea – previously one of the world’s most important trading highways – into a battleground. It was only after the appearance of Islam, claimed Pirenne, that the cities of the West, which depended upon the Mediterranean trade for their survival, began to die. With them went the entire infrastructure of classical culture. Pirenne found that from the mid-seventh century onwards a host of luxury products, which had hitherto been common in Gaul, Italy and Spain, disappeared, and that with them went the prosperity upon which classical culture depended. Towns shrank and society became more rural.

          Essentially, what Pirenne was saying was that Islam caused the Dark Age in Europe. This was, even in the 1920s, when the thesis was first published, an extremely controversial idea, and went quite against the grain of contemporary opinion: for the tendency over the previous century had increasingly been to see Islam as the harbinger of medieval Europe’s civilization; as the great preserver of classical knowledge and learning; as an enlightened and tolerant influence which reached Europe in the seventh century and which commenced then to raise the continent out of the darkness into which it had sunk. This had been the default mode of thought amongst perhaps the majority of academics for almost half a century before the appearance of Pirenne’s thesis, a view of history deeply rooted in contemporary European thinking. And then along came Pirenne to claim the precise opposite!

      Read the whole thing. 

      VIDEO: "Combat Combos"--Blood & Iron HEMA (3 min.)

      Bright Points

          NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity, originally expected to make five flights during 30 days on the Red Planet, has outlasted all projections for the length of its mission, which now is nearing seven months and a 16th flight.

          NASA had planned that flight as early as Saturday. The rotorcraft and its cameras have helped the space agency plot the path of the Perseverance rover as it explores the Jezero Crater, drilling rock samples to hunt for signs of ancient life.

      This is the more amazing as the rotorcraft uses many off-the-shelf drone components. 

          One of Ingenuity's off-the-shelf parts is an altimeter from Boulder, Colo.-based SparkFun Electronics, which is a device that measures altitude. Use of such commercially available electronics in the aerospace industry has grown in recent years, said Kirk Benell, chief technology officer at SparkFun.

          NASA's team for such missions "is the best on the planet ... and Ingenuity adds to their history of bold missions with dramatic results," Benell said.

          NASA even created an open-source flight database online, f Prime, to help anyone in the world use similar hardware and software to create aerial drones, said Jahnell Pereira, chief business development officer at SparkFun.

          "One of our creative technologists used it to build her own drone utilizing a similar hardware-software framework as Ingenuity," Pereira said.

          A technique capable of converting human stem cells into insulin-producing cells could hold huge promise for future diabetic treatments, if results seen in a recent experiment with mice can be successfully replicated in humans.

          In a 2020 study, researchers figured out a new way to coax human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into pancreatic beta cells that make insulin. When these insulin-producing cells were transplanted into mice induced to have an acute form of diabetes, their condition was rapidly cured.

          "These mice had very severe diabetes with blood sugar readings of more than 500 milligrams per deciliter of blood – levels that could be fatal for a person," explained biomedical engineer Jeffrey R. Millman from Washington University in February last year.

          "When we gave the mice the insulin-secreting cells, within two weeks their blood glucose levels had returned to normal and stayed that way for many months."

      The Docent's Memo (May 23, 2022)

        VIDEO: " The US Army’s new Service Rifle - The SIG SPEAR / NGSW XM5 "--Garand Thumb (25 min.). He likes the rifle, very much, bu...