30 June 2010

Alan J's Comment

In reference to my post about Chinese technology Alan J. said...

I have to say that our way is better. Yes, there are flaws to our patent system, patenting human genes comes to mind, but overall I think its better. Just think, how torked off would you be if someone just copied everything you'd labored over writing, and then sold it as their original work? Yes, I'm glad for cheaper generic drugs - but I still remember that it's the money from the patented brand drugs that funds the research to develop newer ones. Without that, it would take significantly longer to see new medicines. As for the cheaper goods made in China, do you really want the kind of pollution and slave labor wages that they have to be the standard over here?


There is one glaring problem with Alan's assertion. The money from on patent drugs does not pay for research into new drugs.

Taxpayers pay for research into new drugs. Grants from the National Institute of Health normally fund the research, but the intellectual property that comes out of that research belongs to the researcher or the higher education institution that conducted the research.

Once a researcher gets to the point where they can patent a new drug, a Big Pharma company buys the rights to that patent. Taxpayer funded research is transferred to the private sector.

Once Big Pharma has the rights to the drug they begin the process of bringing the drug to market. This means double blind control studies to get FDA approval. This is the only form of "research" that Big Pharma does to bring a drug to market. Although it is expensive to conduct large scale clinical trials, the profit margin for bringing an on patent drug to market is huge, so Big Pharma has no problem footing the bill for clinical trials. These clinical trials do not have to show that a new drug is better than an older drug, just that the new drug is better than a placebo.

Now here is the tricky part, the patent for the drug that was given to the original researchers at the university starts the timeline for the patent to the drug. This means that Big Pharma has to rush quickly through clinical trials and FDA approval if they want to maximize their monopoly through the patent. This also means that any time they can slap a different patent on the same drug (such as coating, shape, color, etc) they can renew the on patent life for the drug.

It is cost effective for Big Pharma to put ridiculous patents on drugs, even if they know they will lose in court, because lawyers will extend the on patent monopoly of the drug as long as the case is in court. Big Pharma doesn't have to win in court, they just have to stay in court long enough to make money.

This is why Chinese companies are making the "HiPad" and "aPad" using similar hardware and Google Android OS. It is not an iPad, it is simply a tablet PC that fills the same role as an iPad. They don't have to worry about going to court with Apple. The idea of a tablet PC has been around for decades, it is nothing new. But Apple can go to court in the US and get a legal injunction to cease and desist, or get awarded royalties, because they brought the first commercially successful tablet PC to the market in the US.

Patents exist so that people who do original work can enjoy a market monopoly. Unfortunately the guy who invented the airbag never saw a dime for his invention, because by the time airbag installation was mandatory his invention was in the public domain. The wheel of fate rewards some, punishes others, and success may be 95% hard work, but the rest of it is simple luck.

I have an iPhone. It's a good phone, and a fun little toy. Do I think I'll buy another? Maybe, they get pretty cheap with the upgrade plan from AT&T. Am I tempted to buy a "hiPhone" that runs Android? Oh hell yes, because I really don't like the closed software model that Apple has. Is Android any better because it is Linux based? That is an individual decision to make, but I am a big fan of open source solutions.

28 June 2010

Heller, McDonald, what does it mean?

Heller and McDonald do not mean squat to a state like Washington that recognizes the right to keep and bear arms in the state constitution, is a "shall issue" state for concealed pistol licenses.

States like California are in the same boat, at least for now. The legislation making its way through the Senate would make open carry a crime, and California is a "may issue" state.

Heller says you have a right to a firearm for self defense in your own home.
McDonald says you can't be denied the right to own a firearm based on geography.

Will the next "landmark" firearms case come out of California that says the state has to allow either concealed or open carry or both? I don't know, but I do know that the technique of banning by taxing is alive and well.

27 June 2010

If it aint broke...

Politicians have been using a "crisis" to advance their agenda since time began.

Hitler, FDR, various Caesars, all used various events to advance their individual power.

On the flip side, there are politicians who have to create a perception of a crisis to advance their agenda. Kim Jong Il has the North Korean people convinced that the evil Americans are imminently ready to attack and rape, pillage, and burn.

One of the more common complaints against the Bush administration was that GWBush was "ruling by fear" and creating straw man monsters to keep the American people in line.

So, if things are rolling along fine, and the people are content, there is no hope for progress in moving your agenda forward.

So what scares me isn't that the Democrats control the legislature and the executive branch, what scares me is that the Dems have abandoned the "emergency" excuse for pushing their agenda.

It can mean a couple of things, but I think it means that the Dems realize that no emergency can excuse the budget, medical, and financial changes. So they are just going to do it anyways, and they are going to do it because they have the power.

Chinese one party rule... the party knows best. Remember, if it ain't broke, you aren't trying.

Technology

So I've been delving into the Chinese "knock-off" technology sector. It is amazing.

My brain happened to stumble across an interesting thought; here in the US pharmaceutical companies will often patent absurd aspects of a drug such as the color, shape, or some other aspect in order to bring lawsuits against generic drug companies in order to maintain their monopoly longer than the original patent for the drug allows.

Technology is similar, what makes an "iPad" an "iPad"? Is it "the look" or "user experience"? American Tech firms do the same thing as Big Pharma, putting patents on things like "appearance" or "interface" or even "color scheme", in order to bring lawsuits against other tech companies.

You will not see another American tech firm bring out a product that too closely resembles any Apple product. Because they know even if they do win in court, will cost them a crap load of money, and there is no guarantee of a win.

In China, those patents have no force, so Chinese companies can make the "iPed" or "aPad" and use whatever hardware they want, and whatever operating system they want.

This is why China is kicking our ass, Chinese manufacturing firms have more freedom to bring products to market. Weird huh?

25 June 2010

Guerilla or Insurgents?

Guerilla warfare was the defining battlefield of the Cold War. We try to preserve democracy, the other side funds, arms, and trains the guys who don't want to preserve democracy. The other side invades a worthless landlocked nation, we fund, arm, and trains the guys who want to kick out the other side.

Insurgent warfare is a little different. Instead of being a proxy clash for superpowers you have a situation more in line with a "true" revolution or popular uprising. In the history of the world, only Russia and China had "communist" revolutions, the rest have been takeovers by proxy through guerilla action and/or puppet governments.

Contrasting and comparing the American, Irish, and French Revolutions with the Russian and Chinese Communist Revolutions gives us a pretty clear understanding of success. First all were against Monarchist forms of government. Second, the Monarchs in question were all weakened by foreign wars. Third, the revolutions took a dang long time. Fourth, the revolutions were BLOODY and RUTHLESS. Fifth, and here is a crucial part, leadership and selling a vision. The Founding Fathers, Michael Collins, Robespierre, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, all provided a vision of the future that people willingly sacrificed their lives to achieve.

We Americans like to romanticize our Revolutionary War, but bear in mind that it was war. It may have been pre-industrial warfare along the classic model, but still the term "Hessian" rings a particularly bloody bell, doesn't it? But don't piss off an American, cause we'll cross a river at night to attack you on Christmas.

Before anyone mentions the Phillipines and Indian "revolutions" I have to point out that it was the Empire that chose to leave in each case. The dismantling of the British Empire will probably be a blog post all it's own at a later date.

The French Revolution's failure, in terms of not setting up a lasting Democracy, is really the story of Napoleon. A new governement taken over by a militaristic dictator. But, alas, that really needs to be it's own post.

So to sum up, successful revolutions happen when; an aristocratic government is weakened by a foreign war and guerrillas/insurgents are able to outlast the aristocratic government by selling a vision to the populace to gain support and ultimate victory.

Now Mike Vanderbough, Dutchman6, says that I need to understand the founding fathers, REALLY understand the founding fathers, to know when it is time to fight. Unfortunately the period of classical warfare is gone, modern Warfare from the Civil War through Korea is over, and we are now into a "post-modern" model of warfare.

The power of the state is such that we cannot form an effective defense against creeping restrictions on freedom. A true post-modern revolution would resemble nothing so much as terrorist cell activity, part of Mao's doctrine. Unfortunately as history progresses, governments get better and better at identifying, infiltrating, and dismantling cell structured organizations.

If three militia men are together, you can be one of them is a fed? Maybe? How do you spot the fed in the militia? Cause he pays his dues on time.

So, if we cannot form militias as we did in the American Revolution, we would have to form terrorist cells first. Coordinating terrorist cells is HARD. Because by their very nature you don't want to have a lot of connections in case an individual cell is compromised. That makes things like conducting a coup next to impossible to do. If you can't make a coup happen, then you are stuck with attempts to de-legitimize the current government.

And that leads us back to "The Turner Diaries" fantasy. Somehow selling the idea to Patriotic American's that by killing enough of their fellow American's that the FedGov will oppress EVERYONE enough that people will finally get fed up with it.

That will not happen. Terrorists do not kill for the cause of freedom, they kill to cause terror. And anyone who kills my fellow Americans in order to make this country less free is an enemy, foreign or domestic.

So unless Vanderbough or some other Threeper can school me as to how my understanding is all wrong, I am convinced that we who are prepared are like Don Quixote charging windmills. We fight giants in our mind whilst riding with other fools who support our delusions.

24 June 2010

Leadership

"Leadership is getting people to do what they do not have a natural urge to do." Some Tac Officer said that to me a while back. And it remains true. Firehand got me thinking about leadership.

While the left absolutely hated GWBush, he effectively lead this nation, getting congress to authorize military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In stark contrast with the current administration, GEN McChrystal wanted to win the war in Afghanistan, GOV Jindal wanted to stop the pollution of oil on LA shores, and GOV Brewer just wants federal immigration laws enforced. Each of those people are/were in leadership positions that required them to act in ways that were natural to them.

The FedGov has been a hindrance to each of their efforts.

So what is the quality that is defined by stopping people from doing what comes naturally? Is it defined as leadership? Stopping people from doing something constructive?

I am a soldier and I have no idea what success in Afghanistan looks like, but we have a published withdrawl date. I have no idea what success in the Deep Horizon spill looks like, but it's ok to extort money from BP and interfere with state efforts to protect state shorelines. I have no idea what a successful border security plan looks like, but the current administration has publically considered the option of refusing to process illegal immigrants caught by Arizona LEO's and has directed that a lawsuit be brought against the state.

Is this leadership? Or is is bullying? Getting someone to do something they are not inclined to do is leadership. Forcing someone to do things your way is thuggery, or even tyranny.

If you want to know the difference. Churchill was a Leader, Stalin was a tyrant. Hitler was a leader (and a monster, but he slid his way into power through political maneuvering and selling his vision), and Mao was a tyrant. Leaders aren't always right, George Custer was a leader. Tyrants aren't always wrong, Pinochet comes to mind. But it is harder to be a leader than a tyrant, and it is harder to be right than wrong.

23 June 2010

The McChrystal conundrum

Pundits have compared McChrystal to MacArthur. This is a poor comparison because MacArthur was being insubordinate in pursuing a seperate course of action in a public forum than his boss.

With the hubbub of McChrystal's resignation, and the buzz that GEN Petraeus will be demoted from Centcom Commander to Afghan Theater Commander, it's two snubs for the price of one.

First, it looks like the President takes himself so seriously that Rolling Stone Magazine can cause him to fire a four star general.

Second, it looks like the President will positionally demote another four star general to replace the general he just fired.

Whether or not GEN Petraeus takes over Afghanistan remains to be seen, and if I were GEN Petraeus I would not take the job. With an announced pullout beginning in July of next year there is no good way to end this. Which makes it look like the President is saying, "This is a no win situation, and I'm putting you in it because your surge proved me wrong."

Better now to positionally promote a general than demote one. This means that GEN Petraeus' leadership of CENTCOM would continue. There is plenty of talent from which to draw.

I'm not a political analyst, but the response from the administration seems petty. It would be a powerful symbol of humility and wisdom if the President had publicly come forward with his support for McChrystal and his efforts in Afghanistan. Recalling him to Washington for a face to face talk over a Rolling Stone article makes it seem that the charge of narcisism is true.

22 June 2010

Picking a fight with Billy Beck

Over at saysuncle Billy commented about my last post about .50 Caliber sniper rifles taking down aircraft...
I left a remark over there and we’ll see, but I say that that’s a very cavalier take on the subject.

Air war history is one of my specialties. There are a lot of people in the literature who would dispute a lot of what he says, and they had real ass-in-the-seat experience to prove it.

I am not a fighter pilot. Never claimed to be one. The title up top says I soldier and rant. Unfortunately Billy, you are not a fighter pilot either, so we are both stuck with "argument from authority" which is the weakest argument of all. But I like to argue, so here goes:

What nation still uses 50 caliber machine guns as anti-aircraft weapons? What current fighter aircraft uses a 50 caliber machine gun? Where has a sniper shot down a helicopter outside of a war zone?

Even IF Mr. Beck can point out an isolated case, it then becomes a question of rarity.

Is the threat of a 50 caliber rifle enough to worry about? Is it on the order of "lightning strikes" and "mutant zombie invasion" or "Godzilla Rampage"?

We use 50's on the Kiowa Warrior (Bell Jet Ranger) Helicopter only because we can't put a 25mm Chain Gun on it like we have on the Apache. Also we don't expect Kiowa's to kill tanks, only thin skin targets and enemy dismounts.

the Sabre's six 0.5 cal MGs, while having a faster rater of fire, lacked the range and hitting power necessary for jet combat. On the plus side, the Sabre had the marvelous K14 radar gun-sight, which gave enormous assistance to our pilots, particularly in derivative movement information of enemy aircraft, which gave invaluable lead-time in dog-fights.

Colonel Hinton fired a long burst from his six .50 calibre machine guns hitting the second MiG-15 in its right wing and fuselage. Leaks were seen from the MiG which began smoking. Colonel Hinton then fired a long burst and saw fire exit the MiG's tailpipe as smoke was seen coming from the rest of the enemy plane. He fired another long burst, and fire covered the entire rear of the MiG's fuselage. As the MiG slowed, Colonel Hinton opened his dive brakes and throttled the engine back. The MiG was given another long burst. Pieces flew off as the MiG rolled on its back and went down. The stricken MiG-15 crashed ten miles southeast of the Yalu River. Colonel Hinton fired 1,200 rounds on his attack.

But after one circle and two low yo-yos, Hinton was able to shoot two short bursts, hitting the MiG. Smart enough so to know when he should quit, the skillful MiG-15 pilot disengaged and crossed the Yalu before Hinton could catch him.

Getting hard numbers for aircraft losses in the Korean war is difficult, however the numbers given here seem reasonable.

The bottom line is that the Mig-15 was a marginally better plane, the Sabre had much better pilots and aiming systems. Even when Red China and Nationalist Taiwan had a spat in 1958 it was pilot skill and not aircraft technology that ruled the skies:

In spite of several victory claims, there’s no evidence that any Sabers were shot down by the MiGs, although one Saber was lost in a collision (a “Fox four”) with a MiG-17 that also went down. Nationalist Sabre pilots are credited with downing 25 MiG-17s
.

And I still can't find a case of a single 50 caliber round being used to disable an aircraft. Heck, it's much more reliable to use mass fire with RPG's, or make like the Chechen's and turn RPG-7 warheads into flying shrapnel bombs.

Dutchman6's Timeline

. . .here is the formula of the Founders with a dollop of Michael Collins and a Twenty-First Century 4th Generation Warfare twist:

Government oppression is met by passive resistance, a refusal to obey. This refusal makes the tyrants initially irritated and eventually crazy enough to escalate to the next level — you WILL do what we say or we will kill YOU. Then we continue until they do. After they cross the line, we respond by evading the arms, legs and sinews of their tyrannical beast, and striking directly at the heart, eyes and brains of the monster.

This way requires stoic patience. It requires brilliant planning. It requires trained competence at the art and science of war. It requires the tools to execute all of those things. And most importantly, it requires the moral purpose and indomitable will to bring it about
.


I titled this post "Dutchman6's Timeline" as satire. This formula, is most definitely NOT a timeline. Nor is it a plan.

What it sounds a lot like is a rehashed version of "The Turner Diaries". Where increasingly oppressive Federallism turns into tyranny and sparks a popular revolt...

It is fiction. Michael Collins had NATIONALISM on his side. We American's do not.

Why do you think the British have no guns, fewer knives, no legal standing for self defense? It is because they did it to themselves, they gave up their power, they made themselves part of a system that is corrupt and morally bankrupt.

Michael Collins had an outside invader. The Founding Fathers had a distant, cruel and capricious King to direct their anger. The citizens of (Formerly) Great Britain have only themselves to blame for their sorry state.

And that is the future for the US. We voted for Obama (I didn't, but he won the popular vote). We chose to have the direct election of Senators (so that a few cities could dominate the politics of any given state). We chose to not repeal the 1934 National Firearms Act, 1968 Gun Control Act, or 1986 Gun Owners Protection Act.

The present state of the United States has come about by our own choices, we have no one to rebel against. We have no enemy to fight. A Coup will only work if we destroy the rule of law, and if we destroy the rule of law, we will not be the United States.

We would have to erase eight decades of Judicial Precedent. We would have to erase gun control laws going back to the reconstruction period. As clean as an idea as that sounds here in black and white, it is foolishness. Those cancers are as a part of the American culture as knarls in a dieing oak tree.

The proof is in the UK. The proof is in France. The proof is in Norway, Sweden, and yes even revolutionary Ireland. When the people themselves become the tyrants, as Benjamin Franklin feared, then we are truly a Democracy, and no longer a Republic.

The death of the Republic has already happened. The revolution has not come, nor will it.

Cut your tofu steak with a spoon New Yorkers

Hat tip to Firehand for the news story.

Ever heard of the "Superknife"? It is simply a lockback knife that holds a disposable razor knife blade. You know the same type used in carpet knives.

According to New York State law, A "gravity knife," one of the proscribed objects, is defined as: ". . . any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device." Penal Law § 265.00(5). http://www.mcacp.org/issue53.htm

It's the "or the application of centrifugal force" part that makes most one hand open knives that you can open with a practiced flick illegal in New York. Including folding utility knives such as this one

But, however, a utility knife that doesn't fold that uses the same blades is perfectly legal, like this one.

These idiots in New York must have forgotten that 9/11 hijackers used simple box cutters. No more or less dangerous than any other knife.

I guess it was cheaper for HomeDepot to cave in and surrender close to two million dollars of inventory than to actually fight it out in court.

20 June 2010

CPL William "Chris" Yauch

On 11Jun2010 a suicide vehicle born improvised explosive device detonated in a joint US/Iraqi patrol in the town of Jalula, Iraq.

Today CPL Yauch's funeral was held in Batesville, Arkansas. Batesville is a moderate sized town, official population just under ten thousand. The local WalMart sold out of American Flags yesterday.

Today those flags lined the road from the church to the cemetery. I could not count the people lining the sreet in the 102 degree weather, but after the graveside ceremony was complete an older gentlemen said to me, "Those people in Iraq will not defeat the people of Batesville."

CPL Yauch was 23 years old, and he leaves behind a wife of two years. His awards include; The Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

He was not a hero because he died in combat. He was a hero long before, when he chose to serve his country in a time of war. It is easier to get into college than it is to get into the Army, and knowing full well the hazards of his chosen profession he pledged to serve, no matter the cost.

18 June 2010

Dutchman's Reply

This Mike Vanderbough's comment to "Fort Sumter". I believe it deserves it's own post instead of being buried in comments.
I am sick as a dog at the moment, and I seriously thought about giving this a pass. But the issues raised, along with the invocation of my name, calls for a response.

If you want to know WHEN, you must study the Founders -- and I mean really study them. Did they go to arms with the Boston Massacre? Have you ever studied the build-up of the colonial militias immediately pre-war? Have you heard of the Powder Alarm of 1774? Or of all the other many provocations that the Founders withstood before the active presence of colonial militia met the Regulars on Lexington Green?

No one is asking YOU to receive the first shot, or the second, or the fifth. When the time comes, it will be our active but non-violent resistance that will maneuver the enemy into firing first.

In addition, there is one other small point. Are YOU ready for civil war? Is anybody on our side ready for civil war, beyond a few isolated units that have prepping and training for years?

A little common sense goes a long way. Or, it is supposed to.

Yes, DD. Each time so far the answer has been "no." Are you really ready for it to be "yes"?


The answer to Dutchman6's questions is this, yes I have studied history. A soldier who doesn't study history is a fool.

We have had Federal atrocities as far back as Kent State if you are a leftist, Waco and Ruby Ridge if you are rightwing. We had Jose Padilla held without charge for years. We have seen the rule of law destroyed by the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

During the Revolutionary War severing ties with the British was as simple as an ocean. During the Civil War severing ties was much more difficult. The North and South were hopelessly interconnected by railways, waterways, and sea traffic lanes.

If we war game the civil war, it IS possible for the Confederacy to win, but only if they act aggressive enough quickly enough. Had the South seized Washington DC, holding Congress and the President hostage while peace treaties were signed recognizing the legitimacy of the Confederacy, the South could have survived.

Hindsight being 20/20 we know that the South's plan to win the war by involving other world powers backfired, Sec of State Seward was successful in politically isolating the Confederacy. From that point on the outcome of the war was inevitable.

Just like wargaming WWII, Germany could have won if it was aggressive enough, fast enough, and didn't divide it's forces between east and west. We didn't win WWII just because we were good (and for the most part very good), we won because Germany screwed up.

The model of the Revolutionary War is not an applicable model for a modern Patriot Movement. We don't have the home field advantage, our enemies don't have long supply trains, and we have a population that is largely hostile to the cause of freedom because of media brainwashing.

Wargaming this, if we really did have to fight for our freedoms, it has to be a coup. A small strikeforce killing politicians and beuracrats quickly and in synch so that the leviathan does not wake in time.

Because if it comes to civil war, we'll lose. Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion while the Revolutionary fervor still pounded through the American consciousness. The plains indians will tell you that no matter how good a warrior you are, Little Big Horn always ends with a Wounded Knee.

And no, I am not ready for civil war. I am prepared, with more rounds of ammunition than you would find at Lexington or Concord (but hey, who doesn't have a stockpile of food, ammo, and medical supplies?) but I am not ready to kill Americans.

17 June 2010

Zombie Apocalypse.

Found this game at William the Coroner's place.

1. Pick three US Civil War generals to fight by your side in the Zombie Apocalypse.

2. Same, but WWII generals.

3. Same, but US Presidents.

4. Same, but actors (living or dead)

5. Same, but writers.

6. Same, but rock musicians.

7. Same, but fictional characters.

Here are my selections.

1. Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant, W.T. Sherman
2. Irwin Rommel, George Patton, Matthew B. Ridgeway
3. George Washington, Ike Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt
4. Audie Murphy, James Earl Jones (Ranger), Kris Kristofferson (Ranger)
5. Larry Correia, Anthony Herbert (Ranger), David Hackworth (Ranger)
6. Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Ted Nugent
7. The Human Torch, Pyro, Owen Z. Pitt

Obviously some of these guys fit more than one category; Teddy Roosevelt, Irwin Rommel, and Audie Murphy all authored books. Eisenhower was also a WWII general, Elvis Presley was an actor as well as rock star.

However my criteria was pretty simple, the vast majority are veterans. We don't get to a non-veteran until category 5, and then two of 6 are vets. For fictional characters I chose two "mutants" who could control massive amounts of flame and pretty much burn the zombie horde into the ground, and OZP to get my back.

I thought about using Kris Kristofferson as a rock musician because he earned the Ranger tab, but that would just be too much of a stretch.

I wanted to list Hal Moore as an author to get a trifecta of Ranger authors, but you can't fight off the zombie apocolypse without Larry Corriea.

One rule for thee, another for me...

Things I have learned in the last year.

Taxes apply to John Q. Public, not Obama's cabinet.

Immigration laws apply to people who can't sneak across the border. Screw the Poles and Chinese, let the reconquista continue!

Violent Weather Underground terrorists who blow up police stations are ok, especially if you are a good friend of the President. The Hutaree joke about killing cops and the government moves to deny bail.

It's ok to divert water from farmers to save a non-native fish and milk is oil according to the EPA.

It's all Bush's fault.

The "anything goes as long as it advances our cause" school of politics is really starting to raise a stink.

When is enough enough? Will there be a straw that breaks the camels back? Or will the camel just lay down and die?

16 June 2010

Some animals are more equal than others...

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iuYztkfrDc_f76DaA40jU-IXWS9AD9GC57BG2

"Residents get 6 votes each in suburban NY election" reads the headline.

The key passage is this: Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. He rejected a government proposal to break the village into six districts, including one that took in heavily Hispanic areas
.....
But Randolph McLaughlin, who represented a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the goal was not merely to encourage more Hispanics to vote but "to create a system whereby the Hispanic community would be able to nominate and elect a candidate of their choice."

That could be a non-Hispanic, he acknowledged, and until exit polling is done, "it won't be known for sure whether the winners were Hispanic-preferred."
.
This is "outcome based" instead of "process based" thinking. If everyone has the same right to vote in the district, but NOT EVERYONE CHOOSES TO EXERCISE THAT RIGHT, then there is no problem. Ensuring the process is fair and equal is REALLY DAMN IMPORTANT because someday the boot will be on the other foot.

Of course since Obama refuses to let the DOJ prosecute the Black Panther Party for voter intimidation, it is pretty clear that you have to have dark skin to be a victim of racism.

Just for ease of math, if there are 30,000 residents, and if we assume that geographically the population is not homogeneous, then by repartitioning the town into six districts it would guarantee one seat for hispanic representation. If half the town is hispanic, and half the town isn't, and the population is uneuqally mixed by geography then there MUST be at least one distric dominated by hispanic voters, although there could be up to three of the six (if the population was clearly divided). From a purely mathematical standpoint districts seems a better outcome based solution that doesn't violate the process in place.

15 June 2010

Fort Sumter

The "cold civil war" became the Civil War at Fort Sumter.

No other act could have defined the conflict. There would have been no action possible by the Union that would have started the Civil War, because only a deliberate resistance to the Federal Government would have declared separation.

So with Mike Vanderbough advocating to let the FedGov make the first shot, how can the the three percent ever know when to fight?

Waco didn't do it. Ruby Ridge didn't do it. Oklahoma City didn't do it, although if it had we might see McVeigh as a hero instead of a terrorist. However killing civilians has never been a palatable option for anyone but fascists and environmentalists (scratch a green find a red).

So that really is the question isn't it? When does the fedgov become so tyrannical that Fort Sumter becomes justified? Then again, what made Lexington and Concord justified?

Had the British Regulars behaved themselves, had a single shot not rang out, had the officers of the King's Army understood the possibility of a political compromise, then perhaps our history would be different.

But studying the differences between Lexington and Concord with Fort Sumter makes a good case as to why we'll need to see the FedGov as an invading force before resistance is justified. In the Civil War the "invaders from the North" were seen as an invading force, that state identity was still very important to individuals.

Now with our "American Identity" there will be no resistance, because we will not see fellow American's as invaders. We will not see our own elected officials as distant foreign powers.

In the end, the three percenters, the Oath Keepers, will not stop the slide of freedom. The worst that could happen is another Oklahoma City, the best that could happen is nothing.

12 June 2010

Stoopid

This is an actual comment reply to an article supporting microstamping requirements for firearms:

RILLA
This technology is common sense and law enforcement is asking for it. Microstamping is not a panacea, it is simply another tool to help law enforcement solve gun crimes faster and help criminals off the street before the strike again. The technology will only be required on new semi-automatic handguns manufactured after January 1, 2012. While it will not be on every gun right away, why should we continue to make it easy for criminals to get away with crimes? In regards to defeating the technology, that is why the microstamping is required on 2 locations, the firing pin and the breech face. If you are able to file down the firing pin (and have the gun still operate properlfy, which is unlikely) it will still microstamp the shell casing from the breech face. Plus the legislation clearly states that this can’t cost anymore than $12 per gun. If you truly read the legislation and understand the technology, there is no reason to oppose microstamping.


This isn't common sense. If you are arguing about it then it is clearly not common sense. If it is a contentious debate then declaring your position "common sense" means that you lack common sense.

The author, "rilla" notes that you can file the firing pin, and then fails to make the grasp that you can also file the breech face. Just for the record, you can file both without even taking the pistol apart. No "mechanical skills" required, just access to sandpaper and a pencil.

Another idiotic argument continually used by leftists is this "you just don't know the issues, if you truly understood the situation you would agree with me". And "rilla" resorts to this lame duck If you truly read the legislation and understand the technology, there is no reason to oppose microstamping. Remember kids "argument from authority is the weakest argument of all".

But then again, history teaches us from Prohibition, the Children's Crusade, Communist Revolutions, that we should never underestimate the power of large groups of stupid people to do harm.

Abrupt transitions

Sometimes you have really crappy days. June 10th was fine, we celebrated the Army birthday, 235 years of service. My wife won a smoker as a door prize. We got home a bit after 2200 and were asleep shortly after. It was a fine end to a good day.

When your wake up call happens at 0200 because there was an incident in Iraq, you know it's a bad start to a crappy day.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20100611/wl_mcclatchy/3533216

Right now there are two very devastated families. On Monday I will go back to work and continue the process of bringing our fallen home. I'll send two NCO's to Dover AFB to bring them home.

The two NCO's I have chosen are both combat vets, both having been touched by IED's themselves. One is slowly going blind in one eye because of shrapnel that was recently removed, the other has been undergoing reconstructive surgery over the course of the last two years to repair the damage to his face.

Both are snipers who served in BN scouts. Both are men I trust with my life. I wish that I didn't have to send them to escort home fallen heroes.

And the news article will not tell you about the bravery of a medic, himself wounded by the blast, selflessly providing medical treatment to his fellows. For some reason only accusations of murder or criminal activity on the part of soldiers makes headlines.

If you pray, please pray for those still living, for those who have lost their loved ones. Pray that a young Lieutenant doesn't lose his drive by second guessing his decisions. Pray that the families of the fallen find peace.

09 June 2010

Military Jargon

We all use the same language, but phrases have different meanings depending on which service you belong to.

For example, "Movement to Contact"

Navy = "move the ship to a point where we will offload Marines"

Marines = "Get off of a big ship and hit the beach"

Army = "Go outside the wire and draw fire"

Air Force = "Help the CO find the lens that fell out of his eye"


And when it comes to "Securing a building"

Army = "Occupy and set up defensive positions"

Marine = "Kick in all the doors and kill everyone that don't look like us"

Navy = "Turn off the lights and lock the door when you are done for the day"

Air Force = "Negotiate favorable terms for a lease"

08 June 2010

Aircraft and rifle fire

There is a strong belief that a 50 caliber "sniper rifle" can bring down an aircraft.

This is partially true. The Violence Policy Center points out that the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan shot down approximately 300 Soviet military grade helicopters using small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. http://www.vpc.org/graphics/50helicopters.pdf

Having done a wee bit of study of warfare, I'd like to point out that the terrain of Afghanistan made is possible for the Muj to emplace "Dishka" heavy machine guns on mountain tops to FIRE DOWN from ABOVE at Soviet helicopters. It is telling that the VPC would have to get their data on small arms taking down helicopters from a war that lasted over a decade.

So yes, you can bring down an aircraft small arms fire. Is it likely? Hell no. Even using this tactic it wasn't until the Stingers came in that took air superiority away from the Soviets.

Remember the US Military abandoned quad mounted M2 50 caliber machine guns, a system capable of spewing between 1600 and 2200 rounds a minute into the air, as anti aircraft weapons because they were not effective enough. The F86 Sabre had 6 50 caliber machine guns, and it proved inadequate over the skies of Korea. Why do you think our fighters and air defense artillery all use 20mm or larger ammunition?

I guess the real cool news is that with enough money you can buy a 20 mm rifle.

The VPC has a page listed for all the times they can find a 50 caliber rifle even associated with a crime, and it is here and they only have 36 listings over a 21 year period. Including two listings for shit that happened in Mexico. Evidently the VPC is populated by morons who will do anything at all to pad their data (the vast majority of the listings are for possessing a weapon by a felon) and then use that data to support a position that somehow an event THAT HAS NEVER OCCURED OUTSIDE OF A WAR ZONE is an imminent threat.

That'll do VPC, that'll do.

07 June 2010

Burning question...

If you get caught smuggling condoms to Tehran and had to tesify before Congress would that be the "Iran ContraCeptive Scandal"?

06 June 2010

Do historians laugh at dated cultural references?

So my wife flipped on the pilot episode of "Charles in Charge" on Netflix on demand and Willie Aames character said to Scott Baio's character, "Are you Sebastian Cabot?" and neither my wife nor I had any idea who Sebastian Cabot was.

A quick check of the internet and it turns out that Sebastian Cabot was a sitcom actor in the 60's. Which explains why my wife and I, having been born at the tail end of the 70's (the very tail end) couldn't place the reference.

That got me thinking about a play I attended several years ago, "The Lady is Not for Burning" by Christopher Fry, and I laughed when the female lead asked the male lead if he had "the orbs of creation under his hat" (reference to Shakespeare) and he replied "Only Bedlam" (referring to the infamous insane asylum).

I'm not a historian, not even a real history buff, but I found myself laughing at cultural references that the playwright intended for the original audience, back when it was expected that a theater goer would be familiar with "The Tempest" and Bedlam was still fresh in the public memory.

This goes hand in hand with a discussion I had with a fellow officer who has an English degree. He spoke highly of a core requirement for his degree titled "Critical Reading". Instead of being that guy/gal in class who says "I feel that this means this" a truly critical person would study the author to know at what point in their life the author wrote the book, what major trends where going through the world at that time, basically becoming educated on the historical setting of the work before reading the work.

I replied that studying the Bible was a very similar undertaking, trying to understand God's message to the reader at that time, in those circumstances, and then applying THAT lesson to the here and now. This keeps a person of faith from ending up like the bigots of the Westboro Baptist Church who are simply using the Bible as an excuse for the hate they already hold in their hearts.

If you critically read the Koran, would you be scared? What it meant to them, then and there, and what means to Muslims here and now? It scares me.

05 June 2010

Scopes part two, Tacticool

There has been a rise in "tactical shooting" in recent years, which means everything from 3gun, fclass, and various civilian sniper/sharpshooter courses.

For the close range stuff, see my previous post and go with irons or quality low magnification glass. A no magnification red dot or halo sight is just fine for that too.

For the "sniper" crowd, glass becomes another matter entirely. And this is where the market confuses people. Light transmission, scope body diameter (bigger is better right?), objective diameter (bigger is better right?), parallax adjustment on the side or on the objective (both of which do the job just fine) or fixed parallax.

The market is crowded with cheap scopes chalked full of features. Ignore "waterproof, shockproof, fogproof" because everyone on the market uses that line.

For true sniper work a fixed 6x scope is the real minimum, although some nations do use very high quality 4x optics. This is for getting lead on target. This magnification is useful for target acquisition but not so much that mirage blurs the target or the field of view is too greatly reduced.

But what about observation you ask? Well you usually do that through binoculars or a spotting scope when you are identifying targets for your partner behind the sniper rifle. The "lone wolf sniper" crawling through the battlefield exists only in Mack Bolan novels or teenager fantasies, but I repeat myself.

Now, higher magnification IS useful for some purposes. Fixed 16x scopes have been used for years on SOCOM 300 win mag m24's. This is to make a dedicated rifle for dedicated long shots. Nothing wrong with this. A 4-16 variable would be every bit as useful IF the glass is rugged clear and repeatable.

Because you are going to be turning knobs, a lot. If your scope does not track well you will be unhappy. Leupold recommends turning one click further than your dope and then coming back, to account for slop in the adjustments. This is from one of the top end scopemakers talking about their tactical line.

So to sum it all up. Quality glass and quality adjustments are your first priority. Magnification and objective size shouldn't even blip on your radar until you are comparing between two quality models.

Objective size determines how much light can get in. But do the math. a 50mm objective that has 80% light transmission will be dimmer than a 44mm objective with 95% light transmission.

Scope body diameter has nothing to do with light transmission. Don't worry about the diameter of your scope. The humble Bushnell Elite 3200 has a 1 inch tube and more adjustment available than some 30mm tubes. It is a great buy for the money, I know.

Remember, quality glass, quality adjustments. The ranging reticle is a nice feature too, but if you don't know how to use it then it doesn't do you any good right?

Good shopping.

04 June 2010

Scopes

I am somewhat of an "expert" on scopes in that people continue to ask me for advice.

However, my opinion is worth every bit you paid for it, so if your expert opinion is different, then so be it.

Your great grandpa was right, iron sights never fog.

Your grandpa was right, a fixed 4x scope does everything a hunter needs. Although a 6x for those really long shots would have been acceptable.

Your dad was right, a quality 3-9 variable will handle everything from those LONG shots at antelope to close in woods hunting for mule deer.

Do you know why they were all right? Because they were probably a better shot than you are. They spent TIME with their firearm, getting to know it in and out, using THE SAME load over and over again. Your forefathers knew that it didn't matter if they had a 1 minute gun or a 4 minute gun, they knew when the range was appropriate to take the shot, and worked in closer if need be.

The deer haven't gotten any tougher, the elk haven't turned bulletproof. Old men (and women) with a 30-30 bring home the venison.

So, if you have your hunting scope set to more than 4x you are a fool, and probably a bad shot too boot. Remember, in the words of COL Cooper, "Good shooting makes up for poor gear, good gear will not make up for poor shooting."

So there is my expert opinion, iron sights or quality low powered glass and LOTS of practice.

Post PRK

So the surgery was routine.

I spent the remainder of that day, plus the next day in a semi-conscious state brought on by valium and percocet. I briefly lost consciousness while using the bathroom, and the resulting fall (and subsequent fall when I tried to stand up again) caused my wife to make frantic phone calls.

When I regained my senses I was sitting in the hallway, sweating profusely. I crawled back to bed, and my Aunt (who is an R.N.) dropped by to check on me. She figures it was a "vaso vagal" (not sure of the spelling) response, but basically is is just a drop in blood pressure.

All I remembered was the initial fall then coming to sitting in the hallways.

My eyesight is slowly improving. Right after the procedure I saw double in one eye, and fuzzy in the other. Now things are just fuzzy, but slowly getting more clear with each day.