Sunday, January 15, 2017

Will the ATF cook up another Waco to save itself?


The Patrick Henry Society warns that it might.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has introduced legislation to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Gun-running, Explosives, and Childkilling, also known as ATF or BATFE. According to his proposal, he thinks the ATF’s ‘duties’ (I use the term loosely) could be absorbed by the FBI and DEA. If the bill passes, then the ATF has six months to come up with a plan for how it’ll dissolve.

While a lot of folks are cheering because Drain The Swamp and Take Our Country Back and all of that stuff, they’re missing a whole other layer to this situation.

Remember last time the ATF was up for dissolution? That was in 1993. When Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) proposed back then that ATF needed to be dissolved, the agency scrambled to find a way to justify its own existence. Surely, if they had a big bust, a big save, the government would see how very important and necessary they were. But who could they arrest? What could they do to prove they needed to stick around?

They decided to go after a guy in Texas, named Vernon Howell–known to his church as David Koresh. The rest, as they say, is history; a bloody, horrifying, charred and craven piece of history that proved only the depravity of the ATF and the greater federal government.

There's more at the link.

I share the author's concern.  I served as a chaplain with the Bureau of Prisons (part of the Department of Justice).  I had (and sometimes still have, in retirement) occasion, professionally and privately, to discuss federal law enforcement with members of the FBI, the US Marshals Service, and other agencies.  Their opinion of the ATF was and is unanimous - and frequently unprintable.  The individuals concerned regarded it as unprofessional, politicized, and actively seeking to aggrandize itself at the expense of other agencies, to so great an extent that they tried to avoid having to cooperate with it in joint investigations.  I've never forgotten one agent's reaction.  He shook his head at having to go on a raid with ATF agents in attendance, and said disgustedly, "If they're guarding my back, I'm gonna double up on back body armor!"  Everyone else in attendance indicated their emphatic agreement, some in words of approximately one syllable.

I found it telling that when the disbandment of the ATF was last discussed, back in 1993, it was mooted that ATF agents might be transferred to the FBI.  I was told (by an FBI Special Agent in charge of a field office) that the agency flatly refused to even consider accepting them.  The words "not professional enough" were bandied about when the matter was discussed, along with sundry other, less polite expressions.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the ATF try to justify its continued existence by staging some major operation in the full glare of publicity.  Given their past efforts - which have included Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Operation Fast and Furious, the latter leading to the deaths of at least two federal law enforcement officers so far, plus hundreds of people in Mexico - the prospect does not fill me with confidence.

I don't know the Patrick Henry Society.  It appears to be a one-man-band operation, as far as I can tell, and the article cited above has some extreme views with which I disagree.  Nevertheless, on this issue, I fear the author may be correct.  We'll all do well to keep our eyes open for any sign that the ATF may be at it again.

Peter

You'd never think he was a criminal . . .


Readers may remember the video clips I put up last week, showing two robbers trying their luck (and failing) against an armed, alert gun shop owner in Georgia.  One of them was killed on the spot, the other fled.

It turns out the deceased was one Donovan 'Dula' Chopin, from New Orleans.  His obituary doesn't say a word about his prior criminal tendencies (although both he and his mother are featured on Mugshots.com).  You'd think it was describing an angelic youth who never put a foot wrong.  Examples:  "Donovan "Dula" Chopin was called home on Monday December 26, 2016 at the age of 30 years. Beloved son ... talented brother ... Donovan will be forever loved and missed...".

The tributes on his guest book page at Legacy.com are similarly sanitized:  "I know for sure now because you will be guiding her steps from Heaven. I promise you your music, your spirit and your hustle will live in us forever" ... "My star you don't have to struggle anymore!!"  There's even a GoFundMe page for him, claiming he was "called home on December 26, 2016. This is a very tragic and unexpected blow for the family. He was very loved by the community and family."  It's trying to raise $8,000 (presumably for funeral expenses), and has already raised $1.4K as I write these words.

Yeah. Right.  Whatever.  Clearly, the late 'Dula' was a dindu (do a quick search on the word if you're not familiar with it).  I'm sorry for those he left behind . . . but the rest of us are probably better off without his presence.  By busting into a gun shop armed with two firearms, trying to rob it, he proved beyond any shadow of doubt that he was already a hardened criminal.  Amateurs, or those just starting to tiptoe over the edge of the law, don't commit that sort of crime as their first effort.  That's the harsh reality of crime.  I never met him, but I've met his type all too often.

Nevertheless, I'll pray that, if it is possible, he may receive mercy from God for his sins and his crimes, and that his loved ones may receive what comfort they can.  I hope they, and those who attend his funeral, learn from his less-than-stellar example, and live better lives henceforth because of it.

Peter

Your feel-good story of the week


A man in Michigan was probably saved from death by the loyalty of his dog.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, the man -- identified only by his first name Bob -- was watching football when he decided to run outside and get a log for his fireplace, television station WPBN in Traverse City reported.

When he got outside, he slipped and fell, breaking his neck.

Not able to move, Bob laid in the snow for nearly 20 hours. As temperatures dropped to the mid-20s, his golden retriever, Kelsey, stayed by his side, licking his face to keep him warm.

“She kept barking for help but never left my side,” he said. “She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive.”

On New Year's Day, Bob's neighbor found him and called 911.

There's more at the link.

It looks as if Bob will make a full recovery - and I bet his dog is going to get a steak dinner or three out of this!

Peter

No, veterans aren't homicidal, suicidal maniacs!


Chris Hernandez, author, blogger and veteran of military service, has written a scathing denunciation of the most recent insinuation that veterans are somehow less stable or more dangerous than citizens in general, particularly when it comes to the risk of terrorism.  Here's an excerpt.

NBC New York published an article on January 8th, two days after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. The article is headlined “Mental Health Effects of Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.” ... The clear inference is that simply serving in war causes mental problems, and some veterans are so distraught by the transition to civilian life that they carry out acts of unimaginable violence.

The only problem I have with NBC’s article is that it’s a load of absolute nonsense.

. . .

After examining each veteran mass shooter, I don’t see any reason to believe that their military service caused the shootings. In Dionisio Garza’s case his experience sure made him more deadly, but nothing suggests military service was a the proximate cause or even a contributing factor. The truth is, some veterans have mental problems unrelated to their service. Some are criminals. Some are just evil people. The fact that a veteran committed a crime doesn’t mean they committed it because of their military service, just like if a former professional athlete commits murder that doesn’t mean he committed murder because he was a professional athlete.

Besides that, the stats show that veterans are actually underrepresented among mass shooters. A 2014 FBI report on mass shootings counted 160 mass shooting incidents between 2000 and 2013. 93 of those shootings occurred between 2009 and 2013, the time frame included in NBC New York’s article. Only three of those 93 active shooters were military (assuming NBC’s reporting is accurate), and those three shooters never even deployed to a war zone. I found reports of one more veteran active shooter during the 2009-2013 time frame, which means vets comprised 4 of 93 shooters, just over 4%.

But America’s roughly 22 million veterans comprise just over 6% of our population. Which means vets are statistically less likely than civilians to carry out a mass shooting. Is NBC going to publish an article showing that civilians are the more dangerous threat?

. . .

Military service doesn’t make people insanely violent; if it did, 22 million veterans in America would be murdering a hell of a lot of people every day. People commit mass murder because they’re mentally ill or just plain evil. They don’t do it because they served in the military, went to war, or don’t like civilian life.

There's more at the link.  Good stuff, and worth your time.  Use it to debunk the arguments of those who see veterans as more of a threat than an asset.




Peter (yes, I'm a veteran too!)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Heh


Received via e-mail, origin unknown:




Reminds me of H. L. Mencken's famous definition of puritanism: "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."




Peter

More on the 'deep state' versus President-elect Trump


Following on from my post about the subject earlier this morning, here's a discussion between Fox News' Tucker Carlson and independent journalist Glenn Greenwald about the nature of the conflict.  It's very interesting.





I wonder what the next development will be?  Mr. Trump's not known as a quitter, and I daresay the 'deep state' won't give up without more of a fight.  Who will win?

Peter

It's all in the length


Some years ago, I recommended a shotgun as a primary home defense weapon for those who were novices at the shooting sports or the use of firearms for defensive purposes.  My recommendation still stands.

I've heard objections from some people over the years that a shotgun - or a rifle, for that matter - is simply too long to use effectively inside a building.  "You won't be able to go around corners without exposing yourself!"  "A bad guy will simply reach out from cover, grab the muzzle and push it down - then you can't hit him!"  My response has always been that with proper training, those aren't problems at all.

Now Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch, whom we've met in these pages before, and with whom I've trained when his establishment was still based in Texas before it moved to Oregon, has produced this video illustrating that a long gun isn't all that long in practice.  It's worth watching.





That shows the reality very clearly.  A long gun is perfectly adequate for home defense - in fact, more adequate than a handgun, more often than not - if one knows what one's doing.  If one doesn't, no firearm will be particularly useful.

Peter

Maybe John Robb had a point . . .


On December 15th last year, John Robb, writing at his blog 'Global Guerrillas', postulated that the CIA was trying to topple the US government.

There's an electoral coup underway.

. . .

The stealth effort, led by liberals who believe Trump is a danger to the US, has been underway since the election.

That effort only gained traction with Republican electors when the CIA leaked that Russia had intervened in the US election to help Trump win.

Of course, the timing of the CIA's leak wasn't random.

It was something much more sinister.  It was an opening salvo by the CIA to actively influence the Electoral College and stop Donald Trump from becoming President.

In other words, the CIA is trying to topple Trump.

Why?  Self preservation.

The real reason is that Trump was working with Peter Thiel to corporatize the intelligence gathering of the United States around companies, like Palantir, that can adopt and employ technology much faster and with more efficacy.  In other words, Trump is planning to turn the CIA and the NSA into peripheral collection systems.

That was unacceptable to the CIA, an agency with a strong sense of self-importance.

There's more at the link.

At the time, I dismissed Mr. Robb's concerns.  Frankly, I thought he'd gone way off into la-la land.

After the events of this past week, with Buzzfeed's 'revelation' of the damning (and completely false) allegations against Mr. Trump, and CNN's barely-disguised support of those allegations, and Mr. Trump's revelation that it was intelligence agencies who were leaking details of his meetings with them, rather than his staff, and Glenn Greenwald's assertion that the 'deep state' has gone to war with President-elect Trump . . . one has to wonder.

Was - and is - Mr. Robb, in fact, correct?  Are we seeing an active conspiracy by at least some intelligence professionals to overturn the results of the elections, and prevent Mr. Trump from taking office - or, at least, have him do so with a seriously tarnished and diminished reputation, that will prevent him from acting against those who have inflicted the damage?  And is that why Mr. Trump has maintained his own security team, over and above the protection provided by the US Secret Service?  Is his own team there to protect him against the machinations of 'deep state' agencies and individuals?

It looks increasingly as if I may owe Mr. Robb an apology.

Peter

EDITED TO ADD:  I've done a follow-up post with a video of a discussion between Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, and Glenn Greenwald, on the conflict between the 'deep state' and President-elect Trump.  It adds more fuel to the fire.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bollywood again


Here's another set of over-the-top action sequences from Bollywood.





Let's hope Hollywood never decides to emulate them . . .




Peter

Surviving the fall of the Soviet Union


Those interested in how people cope in a crisis situation should go read a long, detailed, and very interesting thread on AR15.com about the experiences of a Russian man during and after the collapse of communism in that country.  Here's just one excerpt from his recollections.

There were multiple money "reforms" after the collapse. Ruble was artificially tied to a dollar before the collapse. I believe the artificial exchange rate was a around 0.90 rubles per one dollar but ruble was technically considered as a non-convertable currency. I could't go to a bank and exchange rubles for dollars. Actually it was highly illegal to own any foreign currency. Only the special people who did travel abroad could exchange money and it was very limited too.

Also, before the 1991 collapse, prices on many goods, especially food, were much lower than what it actually cost. I remember reading that meat products actually cost around 8 rubles per one kilo, production cost but were sold at around 3 rubles per kilo. ALL prices were set by the government and were often printed on a box. This means, I could buy a kilogram ( about 2 lbs) of sugar for the same price anywhere in the country, Same for everything else.

I remember one money reform where they printed new 25 and 100 rubles banknotes. I think it was before the USSR collapse. This was done in an attempt to catch or to hurt all illegal businesses. People could exchange their old 25 and 100 ruble banknotes but up to a certain amount. Anything over that amount required an letter explaining where the money came from.

Something similar may happen here in the US, in the name of national security or the war on drugs. I keep my money in the bank but I try to keep a few hundred dollars on hand. for emergencies. If you do the same, it's best to have it in $20 bills or less . I know several hardcore preppers who keep most of their savings in cash. If you are one of them, don't keep it all in $100 bills.

What happened to the economy after the USSR collapse was called - "Shock Therapy". It was an attempt to fuse russian economy with the rest of the world. A rudimentary form of Market Economy was also being developed. This meant that everything was tied to a real market price, tied to the real currency exchange rate. Prices skyrocketed. People were walking around in shock and disbelief after they saw new prices on food and everything else. It was like 10, 100 or 1000 times more than a month earlier. Yes, food was readily available but people could not afford much because they were still getting paid very little.

I remember one day, one of my university professors walked in the class, all upset. He just got his monthly wages (everyone was paid in cash only) that equaled to 360 rubles. That day a dollar was selling at it's new high of 350 rubles per dollar, at Moscow currency exchange market. So he just got paid ONE DOLLAR for a month of teaching at a prestigious university. Now, keep in mind that teachers in Russia were like doctors and lawyers here in the US. Being a teacher was prestigious back then, before the USSR collapse.

Inflation was also getting out of control. Prices were getting higher and higher, almost daily. It was best to spend money as soon as you get paid. Most family incomes were spent on food.

I'm not talking about buying frozen pizzas or eating out. Heck, I never ate out or visited a restaurant until I was about 18 years old. Money was spent on things like sugar, rice, potatoes, tea, salt and maybe some meat products.

We had a small summer shack (Dacha) with a small garden out in the country. This helped a lot before and after the collapse. Everything the garden produced was eaten or canned for the winter. It was nearly impossible to buy fresh fruits or vegetables during winter months, especially during the soviet times. Most apartment buildings had basements that were partitioned to have small storage cells, about 10x15 ft, where temperature never got below freezing. We had one too and stored all of our canned goods and potatoes for the winter. Many people would not have survived without it. We canned tomatoes, pickles, fruits like apples and strawberries. We also stored about 500 lbs of potatoes in the cellar. every September we made a trip to a country side and bought the potatoes from small (often illegal) farms. Potatoes store very well in dry, cool and dark place.

Food was number one priority back then. Like I said previously, people were not really starving but they were not eating as good as what's considered normal here in the US. I often laugh when I hear on the news about people who "starve" here in the US. How is this possible when food is so cheap and available everywhere? Perhaps they call it starving when they can't afford to eat out everyday? Obviously they have no clue about basic things like cooking. Yes, it's nice to have pork chops or a steak every day but it costs a lot too. Why not make soup? It's relatively cheap and will feed a family for several days. A 50 lbs. bag of rice can be purchased at Costco for around $15 and will last for a long time. You can make a lot of mouth watering dishes from potatoes only. How can you go hungry in this country???

There's much more at the link.  Very interesting to all 'professional preppers', as well as to those of us who aren't fanatical about it, but believe in being prepared for life's less palatable moments.

Peter

The perils of multitasking


CNBC points out that people who multitask are less focused, and do less well than, people who concentrate on one task at a time.

You may have heard that multitasking is bad for you, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Every time you multitask you aren't just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that's critical to your future success at work.

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.

There's more at the link.  Click over there to read the whole thing.

I used to pride myself on being able to multitask when I was in the commercial workforce;  but looking back, I have to admit that I was completing each task in a 'good enough' sort of way, instead of doing it as well as I possibly could.  Now, when I'm focused on writing books, I find that I can't do them justice if I'm working in the midst of distractions.  I need to concentrate on the creative process.  Even research needs to be done beforehand, with notes compiled and ready, so that when I have to write about what I've researched, everything's at my fingertips and I don't have to concentrate on looking up something.  I can simply write what I already know, with occasional sideways glances at notes or another window on my computer screen to verify that what I'm writing squares with the facts.

It's an interesting article, and bears consideration.

Peter

Gun fu with the Dalai Lama


Over at Recce Room, blogger Usagi has assembled a great collection of Dalai Lama memes centered around self-defense and firearms.  They're a hoot!  My personal favorite:




There are plenty more at the link.  Click over there and enjoy them.

Peter

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sorting books, with cat assistance


Regular readers will recall that shortly before we moved to Texas, I cut down my library very substantially.  I made a rule for myself at the time that I would not add more bookcases to our new home.  Instead, if I bought more books and wanted to keep them, I had to discard others, to make space for them in our existing bookcases.  As I've gathered research materials for my Western novels, and added a few books here and there that I want to read, that's become problematic;  so it's time for another sort-through and discard of books I haven't read in the past year, and am unlikely to get around to anytime soon.  I've already accumulated enough new and new-to-me books to fill in the space thus made available.

It's going OK so far.  I've been able to maintain a 10%-15% discard rate as I work my way along my bookshelves.  However, packing the books into boxes for disposal is another matter.  You see, Ashbutt, our kitten, insists on helping.




When not jumping into boxes and getting in my way, he brings springs and other toys to me to be thrown for him.  I've had to fish them out of half-empty bookshelves several times already this morning.  If I don't pay him what he considers to be sufficient attention, he's not above ambushing my ankles, biting gently at them as if to say, "Hey - remember your priorities here!"

I'm going to have fun when all the boxes are packed for disposal.  You see, I'm going to invite Old NFO, Lawdog, Phlegmmy and ae_pilotjim to come over and pick through them, taking what they'd like to read, before I donate the rest to a local library and/or thrift store.  I'll have pistols and sabers on standby for the inevitable duels over who gets what!




Peter

Yes, we waste an awful lot of money


I'm intrigued by the experience of a British woman, Michelle McGagh, who decided to stop spending money for a year on anything but essentials.

... in September 2013, my husband Frank and I bought a big ‘doer-upper’ house in north London with a hefty mortgage, in attempt to climb the property ladder. We couldn’t afford to keep on our old house as well as renovate so we put most of our possessions in storage.

For six months we lived on a building site while we replaced the electrics and plumbing, stripped the walls and extended the house. Trips to the storage unit were few and far between and I was surprised just how easy it was to live without most of my stuff.

It made me think about my outgoings (we had to tighten our belts now our mortgage repayments were higher) and reconsider which of my belongings I actually needed. Frank had been feeling overwhelmed by our sheer amount of stuff too, and over the next year we got rid of 80 per cent of our possessions. Crates of vintage dresses, 1950s and 1960s crockery, rugs, lamps, chairs, pictures were all sent to our local charity shop.

I started reading about minimalism on American websites and learnt about Buy Nothing Day, an anti-consumer movement, which falls on Black Friday, and encourages people to spend nothing on the most frenzied shopping day of the year.

It gave me an idea: I could easily manage a Buy Nothing Day but could I manage a Buy Nothing Year?

Spending nothing for a whole year would do wonders for my wallet and stop me from refilling my empty shelves with more possessions. It sounds extreme, but I’d set myself budgets and spending plans in the past and they’d always fallen by the wayside on my next night out.

A full year of no spending seemed the only way of resetting my relationship with money completely.

. . .

I totted up what I’d spent that year, compared to the previous one, and the result was extraordinary. I'd saved enough money over the year to pay £22,439 off my mortgage. I’m now a step closer to getting rid of our debt instead of being beholden to a bank.

. . .

One year on, I’ve reassessed my spending priorities and found a balance. I buy the essentials, put aside a little for holidays, pub trips and fun, but I’ve cut back on the takeaway coffees no end. Ultimately, those longer-term goals, security and the feeling of contentment with what I have are important to me and make me far happier than anything I can buy in the shops.

There's more at the link.

Ms. McGagh has written a book about her experiences.




It'll be available shortly in the USA, and is already available in the UK.  Looks like it might be interesting.

Peter

Doofus Of The Day #948 - or, NOT more cowbell!


Today's doofus is from Switzerland.

Nancy Holten, 42, moved to Switzerland from the Netherlands when she was eight years old and now has children who are Swiss nationals.

However, when she tried to get a Swiss passport for herself, residents of Gipf-Oberfrick in the canton of Aargau rejected her application.

Ms Holten, a vegan and animal rights activist, has campaigned against the use of cowbells in the village and her actions have annoyed the locals.

The resident’s committee argued that if she does not accept Swiss traditions and the Swiss way of life, she should not be able to become an official national.

. . .

Ms Holten ... has also campaigned against a number of other Swiss traditions like hunting, pig races and the noisy church bells in town.

She was previously rejected for citizenship in 2015 after residents voted to block her initial application.

There's more at the link.

Can't see a problem here.  If you clearly don't fit in to the local community, why should they want to recognize you officially as a part of themselves?  Wouldn't it make more sense to go to a community where you fit in better?

(Yes, that applies to the current 'refugee' crisis in Europe and the illegal alien crisis in the USA, as well - and no, the fact that you fit into a US neighborhood that's teeming with illegal aliens is no reason to legalize your presence, much less grant you a path to citizenship!)

Peter

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A head-on confrontation explodes . . .


. . . and explosions look set fair to continue for a long time to come, with no end in sight.

The release of scurrilous, made-up-out-of-whole-cloth allegations about President-elect Trump by Buzzfeed (and, to a certain extent, CNN) is so over-the-top, even for those organizations, that it was clearly nothing more or less than an organized, deliberate attempt to discredit Mr. Trump before his inauguration next week.  It was callous, unfeeling, cold and calculated.  I'm absolutely certain those in charge at both organizations knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the allegations were not true.  Their own fact-checking (such as it was) must have revealed that to them, as it would to any objective observer.  However, they didn't care about the facts;  they cared only about doing as much damage as they could to a man they despise, even if that damage also hurt the country he will shortly lead.  Their conduct was despicable.  I think Mr. Trump's promise of 'consequences' for Buzzfeed is entirely appropriate and legitimate, and I hope and trust he has similar 'consequences' in mind for CNN as well.  Both organizations deserve it.

I found Glenn Greenwald's comments very interesting.  (Remember that Greenwald is the primary conduit through which we've learned much about the Snowden affair.)  He's no fan of Mr. Trump, but he nevertheless openly claims that the allegations are the latest manifestations of a 'war' against President-elect Trump by what he calls the 'deep state'.  Here's an excerpt.

All of these toxic ingredients were on full display yesterday as the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.

. . .

It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it. Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow, while Trump wanted improved relations and greater cooperation. In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decadeslong international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump — through a still-uncertain mix of instability and extremist conviction — posed a threat to it.

Whatever one’s views are on those debates, it is the democratic framework — the presidential election, the confirmation process, congressional leaders, judicial proceedings, citizen activism and protest, civil disobedience — that should determine how they are resolved. All of those policy disputes were debated out in the open; the public heard them; and Trump won. Nobody should crave the rule of Deep State overlords.

Yet craving Deep State rule is exactly what prominent Democratic operatives and media figures are doing. Any doubt about that is now dispelled. Just last week, Chuck Schumer issued a warning to Trump, telling Rachel Maddow that Trump was being “really dumb” by challenging the unelected intelligence community because of all the ways they possess to destroy those who dare to stand up to them ... And last night, many Democrats openly embraced and celebrated what was, so plainly, an attempt by the Deep State to sabotage an elected official who had defied it: ironically, its own form of blackmail.

There's more at the link.  Highly recommended reading, from someone who knows whereof he speaks.

Confirmation of Mr. Greenwald's suspicions appears to come from Mr. Trump himself, who claims that intelligence agencies themselves were leaking information about him and his briefings with them.  If his claims are correct (and one assumes that immediately upon taking office, he'll be doing everything within his power - which will be considerable - to verify them), those responsible must know that there will be consequences.  I hope and trust that will be the case, because dishonorable men and women of that ilk deserve nothing less.

Those on the far Left who celebrated and supported and trumpeted these 'revelations' have, as far as I know, not yet retracted their affirmation of them or apologized for their statements.  Two examples, out of probably hundreds, if not thousands, out there:






Again, such commentators dishonor themselves and everything for which they stand by such ill-considered, gleefully nihilistic outbursts.  They should be ashamed . . . but they won't be, of course.  I doubt very much whether they know the meaning of the word.

If Mr. Trump should suffer another assassination attempt - whether upon his character, as in this matter, or even upon his person - I'll automatically suspect the 'Deep State' of at least approving of it enough to step back out of the way and allow it to occur, if not actually condoning and encouraging and even - God forbid - aiding and abetting it.  That's a horrifying thought, but this latest imbroglio is so outrageous that one can't help thinking the unthinkable.

Please God, I'm wrong.

Peter

Cdr Salamander hits one out of the park


The always interesting Commander Salamander has an outstandingly good post on what's happening in Europe right now with the so-called 'refugee' crisis.  He compares it to our experience in the USA, and ends with a grim warning.  I'm going to quote extensively from his article, but you really need to click over there and read the whole thing for yourself.  It's worth your time.

The post-war global Western liberal consensus is being torn apart by its own internal contradictions that keep its political mechanisms paralyzed to inaction.

. . .

Why did this come to pass?

It starts with more than a little willful disregard for human nature and history in the modern era's governing class. In a strange alignment with various socio-political power centers - lessons learned by previous generations' blood and treasure is ignored.

This disregard is driven by three well meaning mental aspirations, and four malignancies.

First of all there is simply a desire not to address uncomfortable questions driven out of "polite conversation" by the same people who caused the discomfort.

Second, we have a certain narcissism in our governing class who feel they are better than those generations that came before. They can shape things better because they are smarter. With just enough money and virtue signaling, they can make it so that we can all live in a rainbow world powered by unicorn poop.

Third, tied in with that narcissism of virtue, is a narcissism of the now. "What are people saying about ME now? What support am I getting NOW?"

. . .

That leads to the malignancies.

Those three aspirations all have to do with a desire for social acceptance and popularity - an adult version of middle school social positioning. There are also reasons that have to do with a darker side of the psyche that lead to the four malignancies.

First, as you have here in the USA, there is the cultural self-loathing from the left and those seduced by the social capital that comes from being on the "good right" (see David Brooks). They want to pull themselves up as separate from their host culture by doing all they can by bring that culture down to a lower level. For whatever reason, they hate the nest they were born to. Unable to find self-worth in themselves, they can only hope to destroy that which they blame for their own inadequacies. All the good of the West is ignored or smeared - every mistake or bad point brought in to focus, exaggerated and used as a club to beat to a pulp all that is good.

Second are the grasping seekers of cheap labor. Squeezing every possible bit of margin to compete against the sweat shops of the world. Industries can gain only so much by automation in the face of a developed society's wage pressures. As such, they use their influence to bring in "guest workers" who will do for low wages what native born will not do. They never leave, and their children won't do that work, so more imports need to come. That is easier to do than attacking unfair trade practices - and is easier to get allies that will support for other reasons than economic ones.

Problem is, these low-cost, unskilled labor come from cultures that are not compatible with their host nations, they do not assimilate, and are not encouraged to.

. . .

Third is something related to cultural self-loathing, and that is compassion pimping ... the compassion pimps want to show how much they care about others far away, while ignoring those already in their care ... Better to show how much you care by inviting in masses of problems that will live in "other people's" neighborhoods, go to school with other people's kids, go to public swimming pools - not in your gated community, not to your private school, not in your personal pool, not dating your daughters and sons.

Fourth and most cynical is voter replacement. One of the best ways to control populations is to keep them distinct. Give them something arbitrary that keeps them in a box, and then have that box as a reliable part of your voting block ... Keep them isolated, but make them citizens as soon as you can so they can vote. Or, in the USA - like California - issue them drivers' licenses even before the become citizens so they can vote. In all cases, bring them in from cultures that see the government as a source of patronage - and reinforce that fact. Make sure you are seen as the party of government. Make sure they know who is on their side - and who is not.

History shows this never ends well - but if no one is encouraged to look at history and you don't teach in anymore - who is going to warn you? How will you know?

Of course, none of this happens in isolation. Eventually there is a reaction. The original inhabitants will, if ignored by mainstream and responsible politicians long enough, look to other places. They will begin to radicalize if they feel they need to in order to have their concerns addressed. Pressure will build and can only be contained so long.

. . .

The solution is not going to be pleasant for anyone - and the bad stuff hasn't even happened yet. Anyone who thinks this has a happy ending is a fool.

You can have your liberal welfare state, or you can have mass 3rd World immigration. You can't have both.

There's more at the link.  As I said earlier, click over there and read the rest.  It's worth it.

This is the dilemma facing us in the USA as well.  I think President-elect Trump has the right of it.  We've got to get rid of our illegal immigrant problem, preferably by persuading them to self-deport, deporting them forcibly if they won't do it themselves, and securing our borders to stop more of them submerging our culture and civilization in a flood tide of - literally - aliens (see, in particular, definitions 7 and 8 at the link).

I wish Mr. Trump well in his efforts.  I'll do all I can to support them, and oppose those of the people and organizations who want to confound them.  I strongly suggest that we all do likewise.

Peter

Biodegradable ammunition? Firing seeds?


I'm somewhat taken aback by the US military's latest request for proposals.

The U.S. military on Tuesday began soliciting bids from companies interested in developing biodegradable ammunition carrying projectiles — as well as seeds that eventually sprout into plants.

. . .

The type of projectiles are not rifle rounds, but rather larger munitions including low-velocity 40mm grenades; 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars; shoulder launched munitions; 120mm tank rounds; and 155mm artillery rounds, the notice states.

“The projectiles, and in some circumstances the cartridge cases and sabot petals, are either left on the ground surface or several feet underground at the proving ground or tactical range,” it states. “Components of current training rounds require hundreds of years or more to biodegrade.”

The proposed solution, then, is to develop a biodegradable material to replace the current training rounds — and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already conducted research that shows bioengineered seeds can be embedded into biodegradable composites, according to the announcement.

This effort “will make use of seeds to grow environmentally friendly plants that remove soil contaminants and consume the biodegradable components developed under this project,” it states. “Animals should be able to consume the plants without any ill effects.”

There's more at the link.

This raises all sorts of issues, that should occupy military experts in various fields (you should pardon the expression) for years to come.  For example:
  • I'm familiar with the British slang expression, used when one has an accident or suffers injury, that one has 'come a cropper'.  Does that apply if hit by ammunition that produces crops?
  • Surely being hit by a shell filled with seeds constitutes biological warfare?  One would think it could be described as an im-plant . . .
  • Will the seeds be regionally appropriate?  For example, would a shell fired into the Alaskan tundra be considered effective if it contains seeds more suited to the arid semi-desert environment of New Mexico or Arizona?  How will users be able to tell?
  • What if a shell strays into farmland, so that the poor farmer suddenly finds (say) a plot of prickly pear growing in the middle of his cornfield?  Try explaining that to crop insurers!

The possibilities are endless . . .




Peter

Bollywood strikes again


Here's another weird Bollywood fight scene - this one on motorcycles.





Quite what they thought they were doing, I have no idea, but I'm sure the intended audience enjoyed it.

Peter