28 June 2008
General Shinseki of the black beret fame was the driving force behind the "medium wheeled brigade" concept. Defense contractors protested that the trials for vehicles were "stacked against them" because of Gen. Shinseki's use of the word "wheeled" to describe the concept. That particular contractor was peddling an upgrade to the existing m113 APC fleet.
The m113 is a relic that is half the tonnage of a Stryker, slower, and a whole lot louder. There is not a tracked vehicle out there that can compete with a wheeled vehicle for stealth. It's crazy scary how quiet a Stryker can be, I've had them sneak up on me just driving down a road. A 113 or Bradley on the other hand, you will always know they are coming.
Right now there are 7 Stryker brigades in the US Army, and the current plan is to keep two of them in Iraq until soldiers are no longer deployed to that theater. Whatever failings Gen. Shinseki had about giving every soldier a beret are more than made up for by the fact that he was dead to nuts right about the need for a medium brigade and the capabilities that they bring to the table.
Gen. Petraeus is currently the man with the vision for transforming how the Army does business in Iraq, and all that remains to be seen is whether the next President of the United States will listen to him or not. No matter what some journalist may think about all the fruit salad on his chest Gen. Petraeus is capable and what he should be heard, because it may be that we don't get the real benefit of his vision until a few years after he's retired.
1st is that the Heller decision settles that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, not a collective right. 2nd, that outright bans on firearms are unconstitutional.
Now for the bad parts.
The 2nd Amendment hasn't been "incorporated" to the states, which means another court battle is likely. This is specifically mentioned in the decision.
The Heller decision does not protect against bans on specific classes of firearms, for example Washington DC classifies semi-automatic pistols as "machine guns" and therefore only revolvers or other manually operated pistols will be licensed.
The Heller decision does not apply to quantity, DC is licensing only one pistol per applicant.
The Heller decision does not apply outside the home. This means that onerous restrictions can be placed on transporting firearms from location to location, and that "gun free zones" still remain legal victim disarmament areas.
Clearly this leaves a lot of work to be done for freedom.
26 June 2008
The gun is the equalizer, but civilization is what makes the need for equality. At the bottom line civilization is about resource dominance. Having more than the other tribe/nation/state is a recipe for the other tribe/nation/state to try to conquer you.
The gun isn't civilization, it is the guardian of civilization.
In every environment there are two factors that guide groups, competition and cooperation. There is direct competition for resources; land, food, mating partners, etc. There is also cooperation, hunting in packs, farming in groups, also increases resource yield.
What the gun does is shift the balance from the "competitive" model to the "cooperative" model. If you happen to be the biggest baddest babykiller in the valley, what is your driving force for cooperating to get what you want when it is just easier to take it?
This is why victim disarmament zones don't work, they guarantee that the one who breaks the rules and has a gun is the biggest baddest babykiller. They become an apex predator and everyone else is prey.
Not committing a crime is a form of cooperation because it benefits everyone. That is why the gun is the guardian of civilization. If there was something else that could effectively equalize the population regardless of; size, strength, skill, or intelligence then that would also be a guardian of civilization. But nothing else currently exists that empowers the individual as much as a gun.
Nanny cams haven't worked in Britain, disarmament hasn't worked anywhere. The goal of making everyone equally LESS powerful has never worked. The sheep never become less of a meal for the wolf by being dehorned and shackled.
25 June 2008
So when I shot off some Prvi Partizan surplus 8x57 (machine gun ammo I delinked) I didn't clean until today, because it is supposed to be "non-corrosive". And low and behold it is!!!
If you shoot 8x57 and come across a 250 round ammo can of PPU marked linked 8x57 from the early 1980's snap it up in a hurry.
That is all.
22 June 2008
To get back into the swing of things I loaded up 40 rounds of 308. I used a mix of brass; Remington, Federal, and even a 243 Win that I necked up to 308. 43.7 grains of IMR4064 will be a mild load underneath the 168 grain HPBT. Since my max range isn't even three football fields I have no need for max velocity.
Maybe tomorrow I'll load up some 8x57 or 30-06. The sore shoulder will be bruised tomorrow according to my wife. A small price to pay for a day at the range.
The Turk mauser is an m38. It's a large ring small shank action, 29 inch barrel, and chambered in the venerable 8x57. I paid a real gunsmith to bend the bolt, but I installed a weaver rail, recrowned the barrel, and replaced the trigger. Topped it off with a 6x42 IOR scope. With my handloads she shoots 2 MOA easily. Today I wasn't shooting handloads but Yugoslavian machinegun ammo. So I had an interesting experience watching groups tighten up as the barrel heated up. My shoulder is slightly tender. I could buy a slip on buttpad, but I think I'll make one from a pair of flip-flops instead.
The AK was a hit with some boys at the range. Their dad took them out shooting (good job Dad!!!) and I offered to let them shoot my last 20 rounds. They took pictures of each other holding the rifle so that they could prove to their friends that they did in fact get to shoot an AK.
Good times were had by all.
21 June 2008
According to Liberals the precautionary principle is enough of an argument to completely change our way of life in the name of "Global Warming" or "Climate Change". But the precautionary principle just isn't enough to go to war, after all Saddam didn't have those WMD's now did he (but he MIGHT have)? The precautionary principle should not be a guiding force in national politics, either for war or for policy. Doing something to prevent an outcome that MIGHT happen is how we lose our civil rights one by one.
Let's also talk about "consensus science". There is no such thing. The consensus once thought that "phlogiston" was the vital element that caused fire to well, burn. The consensus also thought that the world was flat, and after that that the earth was the center of the universe. Who was that that had to drink hemlock for putting forth a heliocentric model of the solar system? Oh yeah, that dangerous heretic Galileo.
Consensus science is not science. This is why the global warming crowd really pisses me off. Instead of having a decisive body of evidence that backs up their claims, they have computer models and a consensus of scientists. This is not science. It is Geia worship with Al Gore as the charlatan in charge preaching fire and brimstone as a possible outcome if we don't change our ways based on the "precautionary principle".
Science is the search for the truth, not the search for political policy. The truth is that we cannot affect the climate of this planet in any meaningful way without first making it uninhabitable for ourselves.
Conservatives have worked hand in hand with Democrats paving the way for sustainable forestry, agriculture, and environmental protection. Conservatives understand "resource management".
Somehow Democrats have succeeded in painting Republicans as the party of "Big Oil", "Big Business", and "Big Pollution" when the facts simply don't match up. Air quality improved more under GWBush that it did under Bill Clinton. This is from the EPA's own numbers.
Conservative pastimes include hunting and fishing, two sports that are instrumental in ecology conservation. Conservation means "wise use" not "non-use". If the Hippies had there way it would be "non-use" and a complete disaster. Non-use leads to animal population explosions, rampant disease among wildlife, uncontrollable wildfires, and other problems that are easily solved by simple management practices.
Conservatives need better spin doctors to fight the socialists in the free market of ideas and ideology. We have a proven track record on everything from the environment to the economy but you wouldn't think that from how we are painted by our opponents.
20 June 2008
Just as important to having an open mind is having a framework to do the analysis.
This means a sense of morality, and an understanding of history. There is a huge difference between the theory of socialism and the practice of socialism. Socialism initially passes the moral test because it seems fair, equitable, and at first glance a reasonable argument. But history tells us that the outcome is opposite of the intention.
This is where personal experience and learned experience (from studying history) gives us the framework to judge the "new idea" that we are pondering in our open mind.
Would you rather live under Stalins purges or Mao's "Great Leap Forward"? Two of the most disastrous socialist programs ever in terms of lives lost. Would you rather live in Mugabe's Zimbabwe with out of control inflation and unemployment?
When Mugabe took over in Zimbabwe it was the breadbasket of Africa. Socialism ruined that countries economy.
On the flip side of the house nations that embrace capitalism and democracy have a much higher standard of living. History tells us that the most equitable and fair societies are those unfair capitalists. In America even our poor can own a car and watch TV.
Lyle wrote a piece I read on Joe Huffman's blog that compares socialists with an inventor seeking perpetual motion. Perpetual motion is another one of those ideas that is beautiful, and seems right, but that framework of experience and learning in our open mind rejects. The law of entropy doesn't just apply to chemical reactions. Entropy explains why systems lose energy and therefor perpetual motion can not work.
Socialism has always failed, and will always fail. History tells us so, and a moral compass tells us that risking lives and livelihood for a failed idea is an immoral act.
I went to The Evergreen State College, an ultra liberal institute of learning. When I was asked to "have an open mind" what was really asked was "presuppose this idea to be valid". And that is not scientific or logical. In science the evidence must point to the truth, not the hypothesis. The hypothesis is the stimulus asking "Is this true?" and the experiment confirms or denies it.
An experiment that disproves a hypothesis is every bit as important as an experiment that proves the hypothesis. And there is an old misquote, "The exception proves the rule".
The real quote should be (translated from French), "The exception proofs the rule". Proofing is the process where the rule is tested, and if there is an exception then it isn't a rule. There aren't exceptions to gravity or any of the other laws of nature.
Our founding fathers knew this, and they believed that the power lied with the people and individual rights. History has proofed their ideas and they have rang solid and true. History has also proofed the ideas of Marx, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Carter, Obama, and Mugabe. They have been found wanting.
That puts it on equal footing for abuse as the Buck Nighthawk, Kabar Heavy Bowie, Cold Steel Bushman, Strider BT, Cold Steel GI Tanto, Cold Steel SRK Carbon V, Gerber LMF II, and the Red Scorpion Six Blades WSK.
That's pretty good company to keep, all things considered. Noss's scoring system reflects his belief in how much crap it will take to destroy a knife, not whether it is a good knife or not. He doesn't rate on ergonomics or edge retention under normal use, ease of sharpening or anything else but how long it takes to totally destroy a knife.
Four blades isn't a stellar rating, but when you consider that most of the knives in the category cost between 30 and 100 dollars you are really getting a lot of knife for the money. Only the Cold Steel Kukri Machete gets more blades (and also costs around 12 bucks). The top scorers are the Scrapyard Scrapper 6, Gransfors Bruks Wildlife axe, Busse Combat Battle Mistress, and Cold Steel Kukri Machete. The Sog Seal 2000 gets 5 blades and can be had for under a C note if you shop around (but Noss changed his destruction test for the Seal 2k and did it underwater so it isn't judged by the same standards as the other knives tested).
Bottom line is that the Ranger RD series of knives are tough and dependable. If you can snap one up used do so, but don't be afraid to pay full price either. You will get your moneys worth.
For those in the Southern Hemisphere, snuggle up with a warm drink and a nice book. Try not to hate that the weather is finally starting to feel warm for those of us on the top of the world.
19 June 2008
Simple enough plot. A veteran is harassed by police because they think he might be a problem, and because of that treatment he becomes a problem.
I couldn't help but think of that when I read this:
Montes was arrested and incarcerated for assault, public drunkenness and other charges. He says he mouthed off to a Hartford police officer who told him to move his car.
"I think I said the f-word," Montes says. "Not at him ... just saying like, 'Right, right, we'll f'ing move.' "
At the police station lockup, Montes handed over his wallet and keys. He was taking the laces out of his shoes when one of the officers saw his military ID and said, "'This is not Baghdad anymore. There's no dead babies here,'" Montes recalls. "It took every ounce of strength in me to not clock him."And you'll just have to forgive me for not being a little offended by this. Imagine if a crisis negotiator had said this about black men, or Koreans.
Connecticut crisis negotiator Brian Killany says it is important for law officers to understand these guys, especially if it comes to a worst-case scenario, like a hostage situation.
With the horrors a lot of these men have seen, especially young men without any life experience, Killany says, "the chances of them becoming a target group for us to have to deal with as a negotiator is probably better than 50-50."Statistically you are safer around veterans than any other demographic. But don't tell a liberal that, it might mess up the cherished myth of the psycho veteran put forth by Hollywood in films such as "Taxi Driver", "Rambo", and "Apocalypse Now".
18 June 2008
I found this out at CNN.COM after digging for it.
When I first logged on the headline was about prisoner abuse, with a photo of a detainee cowering from dog team.
Makes me wonder whose side the Main Stream Media is on?
They call soldiers and contractors "Mercenaries" and call terrorists "Militants". Seems like CNN is the propaganda arm for all muslim terror organizations. Maybe we should call it "CN Jazeera" or "Al CNN"?
16 June 2008
More than one Soldier is also a musician. The concepts of ensemble performance may not have much similarity with soldiering on the surface, but a deeper look will reveal teamwork, timing, and dedication. Soldiering is a team activity. The state of being a warrior is a solo activity, like painting or writing.
This is why the fine arts are important to education, because they touch so much that isn't art. The nitty gritty part of being human takes from art what was put in. And it makes sense that you can't withdraw from an empty account.
Fundamentally that is what separates the illiterate conscripts of the USSR or China from the US Army. Education, and the refinement that it brings. Not refinement like manners, but the tools of mental, emotional, and philosophical discipline that allow us to do what needs to be done effectively and creatively.
15 June 2008
So that fan got uninstalled and taken back to Home Depot, and we couldn't find what we wanted so we headed to Lowes. We debated back and forth for fifteen minutes until we decided on a compromise, purchased it, took it home and cursed while installing it, because at some point in uninstalling/installing the first purchase I threw out my lower back.
Slowly but surely the house is coming closer to a home.
14 June 2008
Hence the "no atheists in foxholes" quote.
Everyone believes in a "highest power" but not everyone believes in a "higher power". A hardcore Atheist believes that humanity is the highest power, and personally that they are the highest power in their own life. An agnostic believes that humanity is the highest observable power, but there might be a higher power yet to be observed.
All of us bitter people clinging to our guns and religion believe in a higher power. One of the things that we have to learn is that we serve the Higher Power, the Higher Power does not serve us. This is why "foxhole prayers" usually aren't prayers, but bargaining. "God if you get me out of this...I'll do/not do something for ever and ever".
Unfortunately if said atheist does get out of said situation and they don't honor their bargain with the Higher Power then that really does reduce said Higher Power to nothing more than "occasional pocket genie". And that doesn't sound like a Higher Power now does it?
One of the hallmarks of Atheist thought is that God doesn't exist because He/She ISN'T an occasional pocket genie who grants wishes.
We have religion not to get something physical, but to get something spiritual, emotional and even philosophical.
In his series, "The Childe Cycle" Gordon R. Dickson covers a character who lacks the ability to feel God. He is raised in a society that values the spiritual connection to the divine, but he simply cannot achieve a relationship with the Higher Power.
I suspect that there are many who cannot feel and know what I feel and know. That is just fine. But I am not some unintelligent redneck who clings to God and Guns out of bitterness. And attacking me and mine the way Obama did is quite similar to the Fred Phelps crowd attacking everyone else as immoral and damned to hellfire. It's stupid and a waste of energy.
If someone who alternates between atheist and agnostic occasionally finds comfort in talking to a Higher Power, I am fine with that. Part of what got me through Ranger school was believing that I could get through it without a miracle from God. Belief in myself was a rather new concept for me.
13 June 2008
If we captured them, and we have evidence that they are guilty of a crime against us, then charge them, try them, and if found guilty, lock them up or execute them. If there’s no evidence that would warrant charges, let them go. It’s a fundamentally American thing, and if we sidestep that pesky procedure, we turn precisely into the kind of people we’re fighting. I will not have those chickenshit fearmongers turn my country into a fucking banana republic. The term “enemy combatant” is a legal expedient designed to create a status which neither affords the legal rights of a criminal defendant nor the rights of a prisoner of war.
Do I want to see an American city go up in a mushroom cloud? Fuck, no. But I also don’t want to see America turn into East Germany with Starbucks and McDonald’s, and if we let the “The Constitution is not a Suicide Pact” folks determine our course, we’ll be there sooner than you think.
You can find ways to kill Johnny Jihad without killing the Constitution and the rule of law in the process. It’s a shame that the left-leaning members of the court have to tell this to the “strict Constitutionalists” like Scalia.Normally Marko doesn't fall into the trap of "everyone is entitled to Constitutionally Guaranteed rights", but this time he screws the pooch. If he was writing solely about Jose Padilla then I would be in complete agreement.
Unfortunately he is talking about the scum disguised as humans detained at Gitmo.
The Constitution guarantees rights to US Citizens. It does not guarantee rights to the citizens of other nations.
Currently no treaties exist to define any legal protections for citizens of Country A who go to Country B to fight against Country C without being a member of a recognized military organization. You know, uniforms, ID cards, some sort of actual training....
Calling these detainees "Unlawful enemy combatants" isn't a cheap trick, it is precisely what they are. If they can be prosecuted in their home nation (Country A) it falls on that nation to request extradition for prosecution.
A Prisoner of War is a special status, and historically only Western Nations play by the rules. Marko spent 4 years in the Army (German) and knows that if he was captured by US Forces he would be treated humanely in accordance with the Geneva Convention. He should also know that if he was captured by the goat screwing bastards of Islam he would be tortured and likely decapitated for propaganda purposes.
These detainees are NOT soldiers which would give them POW status. These detainees are not citizens who were picked up at random. These detainees are Saudi's, Pakistani's and others that traveled to another country to take part in a fight.
I understand Marko's frustration about detainees being well, "detained", for an indefinite amount of time. But if we go by the POW standard there is no obligation to free a POW before the end of the conflict. Since troops are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan the war is not over, so indefinite detention isn't a legal problem.The Supreme Court decision in this case really isn't judicial activism simply because it is new legal territory. But it does undo several years worth of work by Congress to define a legal system to deal with the detainees.
If Marko wants these dudes let go, I wonder if he would want them let go in New Hampshire?
12 June 2008
Complex systems are not designed to be complex. Often times they are designed to meet a simple need across a broad spectrum. In machine terms this means that you would design a computer to display different languages or accept different keyboard layouts, or design adjustments to fit people of varying body types. These are straightforward and reasonable complexities to a system.
But when it comes to a legal system, the complexities quickly become exceptions instead of modifiers. It is illegal to use marijuana, except in certain areas (Indian Reservations) or the legal age of consent, or tax loopholes that you need a large amount of money to tap into.
It becomes pretty obvious that lawmakers and lawyers do not possess the same mentality required for good engineering.
Wouldn't it be nice if law was designed with the same concepts behind whole systems engineering? From start to finish with a clear goal, and if you fail you don't try to patch it up, you abandon that idea and try something else?
You know we would have a crisis with social security if we didn't have social security to begin with. The benefits for SS are not worth the economic pain that we put into it, and the engineer in me knows that there is no way SS will be around for my generation when we reach retirement.
09 June 2008
Also the urge to buy a spotting scope has hit me pretty hard. The new Kruger Lynx with the first focal plane mildot reticle might be too cool to pass up.
Today I swapped scopes on some of my rifles. The 10x40 Bushnell Elite 3200 Mildot went on the Savage 10 Tactical with the Timney Trigger and B&C Carbelite stock. The IOR 6x42 went on the m38 Turk Mauser in 8x57, timney trigger, B-Square base and rings. Boresighted the Savage, just need a trip to the range to get a 100m zero.
Right now the 2.5-10x42 IOR SSG is waiting to go on Grandpa's pre-64 Winchester m70.
Definately need to get the reloading setup going again.
07 June 2008
In the Army we have the traditional hand salute that we have all been told dates back to the knights of the middle ages who would raise their visors to show their face, proving they were not an enemy. We have the drill and ceremony, first codified by Baron Von Steuben for the Continental Army, who turned from a rag tag militia into a drilled military unit over the winter at Valley Forge.
All the "frippery", "Fruit Salad", or "Chest Cheese" actually means something, the Blue Cord of the Infantry, the Regimental Insignia, the left shoulder patch that shows the unit we belong to, and the right shoulder patch to show the unit we fought with. The qualification badges will tell you how well someone shoots, and how many schools they've successfully completed. It all means something, it is the history of the wearer.
A military funeral also has specific ritual. The handling of the flag, the rifle salute, the precise and choreographed movements of the soldiers in the honor guard are rehearsed not until they get it right, but until they can never get it wrong.
Others have expressed the sound of rifle reports only increased their anguish at losing a loved one. The sharp crack of the rifle sounding the final nails into the coffin and confirming that their loved one is gone forever. They have the right to feel that way, but maybe if I say what that symbol actually means it might help.
When an officer of sufficient rank visits a post they are to be saluted with a rifle or cannon salute commiserate with their rank. From visiting Generals all the way up to the President of the United States there is a prescribed number of guns and volleys.
The highest honor, given only to the President of the United States, is the Twenty One Gun Salute. Seven guns will fire three volleys. This also happens when the President leaves the post.
When one of our own leaves the land of the living, it is only fitting that they be sent off with the highest honor for a job well done.
All traditions are inherently conservative because they connect us with the past. I hope that the next time you come across a day filled with symbolism that you can reflect on what it all means, to you and to the rest of us.
The truth is that it's a very rare event for someone under the age of 12 to die from an accidental/negligent discharge of a firearm. It isn't uncommon for gang warfare to kill off the 13 to 22 year olds though. I'm ok with that. Young fools should pay just as great a price for their foolishness as old fools.
I think this is a disturbing trend at disenfranchisement. By classifying someone as a child they are not adults and therefore under different legal restrictions. Once is coincidence, twice is suspicious, three times is enemy action. Only one more incident of liberals trying to raise the age of a "child" and it will clearly be enemy action.
05 June 2008
The furthest target on the range was 1,440 meters out by laser range finder. I hit it.
Now hitting a 10'x40' (that's feet, not inches) target isn't particularly hard, but when it's almost a mile away I am justifiably proud. It took a lot of turns on the old scope elevation dial to get it out there. At that range the round is more dropping on the target than hitting it horizontally.
This nearly triples my previous maximum range hit of 550 meters with a 5.56.
Got to push some 7.62 out to 700 as well.
A most awesome experience. I turned out to be a much better spotter than my partner, I got him much more accurate dope than he gave me. I can't hold it against him, I've been doing this sort of thing just a tad longer. He did seem interested in going shooting with one of my personal rifles on a weekend.
Life is good.
03 June 2008
Others have heaped (much deserved) disdain upon said Mall Ninja.
I only have one thing to add. I dearly hope that Johnny Jihad takes our "Elite Team Fighter" training to heart.
01 June 2008
I wonder if some part of this attitude might be from the military brass that thinks they need to have a war that lasts long enough for training/experience, R+D, and resume' enhancement for those looking to move up the ladder.
Actually, the war experience is always a useful thing for keeping a military competent. Unfortunately, social engineering is not a proper use of a military, and we are paying a price for this misuse.
Possibly the most revolting piece of drivel I've ever heard. Everything he wrote is so completely ass backwards that it boggles the mind.
The "brass" has us fight as long as our elected leadership tells us to, that is the only deciding factor. As far as the military being used for "social engineering" I'd like to find out exactly what "Will" means by that.
The "resume enhancement" doesn't do anyone any good because a larger portion of our junior officers and NCO's get the heck out instead of staying in. I lost a very good NCO because he spent the last 5 out of 7 years deployed to some hotzone or another.
The "war experience" doesn't keep a military competent, TRAINING keeps a military competent. Do you think the mighty Third Infantry Division somehow turned from hopeless to hardcore on Thunder Run up to Baghdad? No, they were already competent, trained and proficient in their warrior tasks and drills.
As far as "assassinating" enemy leadership goes, they are correct we don't "assassinate" ANYONE. Assassination has no part of warfare. We will snipe, ambush, bomb, destroy, reduce, or kick the holy living crap out of any enemy, to include their political leaders.
The only problem is that we have to be at war to do this. If you want somebody killed in peacetime then you need to get some other government agency to do it.