29 May 2011

Jet Planes and Helicopters, how irregular forces negate air power

The US had air superiority in Vietnam.  The USSR had air superiority in Afghanistan.  Victory through Air Power right?  Wrong.


Americans in 1950 rediscovered something that since Hiroshima they had forgotten: you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud. "
— T.R. Fehrenbach


T.R. was talking about Korea, but even by putting boots on the ground in Vietnam the wars were not decisively won.  Third generation warfare CANNOT be decisively won.  Third generation warfare is not won on the battlefield where decisive engagements take place, it is won on the political scene by the will of the people being represented by the government of their choosing (and while there are those who believe we are in 4th Gen or even 5th Gen warfare, the differences aren't enough to worry about).

I don't believe that the North Vietnamese wanted "communism" other than it represented their first real chance for a truly native government in CENTURIES.  I don't believe that the Mujahadeen were fighting Communists for anything other than the same view on self determination.  Man, self determination is a helluva reason to fight isn't it?

So how did the Muj in the desert and mountains and the VC/NVA in the jungles, deal with the worlds two most powerful Air Forces?  They didn't.  They hid whenever they could.  They fought the ground forces that they could, and slowly built capacity through OUTSIDE HELP to get heavy weapons capable of attacking LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT.  Fast movers were shot down as well, but at the time North Vietnam had more SAMS than any other place on the planet.

Guerrilla warfare ain't sexy.  Lots of people die.

In Vietnam three .51 caliber machine guns would be place into a triangle formation pointing inward, when a helicopter flew through the "kill zone" the ambush would kick off and the pilot would have to react to contact from three directions.  The idea was to "overwhelm" the pilots ability to process data, or "get inside his OODA loop".  What is funny is that I didn't learn about this technique from studying Vietnam, I learned about it from Iraq.  But the Iraqi insurgents were just recycling Vietnamese tactics.  Shame on me for not knowing that sooner.

So, don't have your cache of supplies and munitions out in the middle of nowhere.  A Predator or Reaper flying at oh damn feet above reality will call down the wrath of God quick fast and in a hurry.  Your cache sights need to be in a place where you have a reason to be so that you don't raise suspicion by being there, have overhead cover to mask your activities and normal traffic to and from so that your movement doesn't stand out.

You know who will have freedom of movement?  Appliance delivery trucks, plumbers, carpenters, and such in the service or skilled labor industries.  Need to move that SVD from Baghdad to Baqubah?  Why not break it into components and stuff it in the empty space of a washing machine between the drum and cover?  Need a new barrel for your Savage or AR?  Call a plumber to come and fix your leak or place a bid estimate on a bathroom remodel.  In Iraq large scale smuggling operations happened using gravel trucks (and are probably still happening).  But just like the French Partizans or other operating under an oppressive occupying regime, make sure your paperwork is in order for the inevitable "flash traffic control point" that will pop up. 

So you don't have to take the Chinese Spy Satellite out of the sky to deny the .gov any actionable intelligence.  You just have to be smart, accept that the Chinese can fly over Tibet with impunity, and build robust networks on the ground.  Once you have the ground networks in place to RECEIVE the munitions to destroy aircraft, DISTRIBUTE those munitions to the appropriate cells and destinations, and COORDINATE attacks and resupply, just like the Muj did against the Soviets.

To sum it up, when the big dog controls the skies it LIMITS but does not stop the underdog from conducting operations.  Stupid underdogs get spotted, and then they get killed.  The Big Dog tries to fight an intelligence driven fight, so not sticking out like a sore thumb from an overhead perspective keeps the under dog from providing the Big Dog intelligence.  Cause as the US and USSR learned the hard way, it isn't the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog that wins in irregular warfare.

Whiskey

Whiskey has an interesting history here in these United States.  The process of aging distilled grain spirits in oak barrels came across with Scot and Irish immigrants.  And shortly after the US Constitution was ratified the former war hero elected president gathered the Army and put down the "Whiskey Rebellion" setting a precedent that lead to "posse commitatus" after the unCivil War.

But enough about politics, and back to whiskey.  Whiskey is wood flavored vodka, for all intents and purposes.  Distillers like to talk about their mash recipe, so much corn to wheat to rye to barley, but the grain spirit that comes off the distilling column really doesn't care too much.  A perfect distilling column would have only water and ethanol coming off as a product, so any "impurities" from the mash that add to the flavor profile is simply a lucky accident.

Now what separates rotgut whiskey from to die for premium whiskey is all in the aging process.  Bourbon in Kentucky has to sit in the barrels for three years to be called bourbon.  The US standard is two years in the barrel.  Corn whiskey in the US can be aged in an uncharred barrel.

Scotch whiskey takes those once used American barrels and uses them to age Scotch whiskey.  One of the reasons why Scotch Whiskey is lighter in color and has a different flavor profile than the bourbon whiskey that came from the same barrel.

So, the big point is that the flavor of whiskey is all about the wood.  The quality of distilled spirit going in does have a say, but the vast majority is the barrel.  Now most Bourbon get the flavor solely from the charred white oak barrel, but I purchased a bottle of "Maker's Mark 46" which adds charred French Oak staves for the final aging of the whiskey.  This gives the whiskey a different character, it tastes (amazingly enough) like Maker's Mark, but with a little extra thrown in.  More "spice" a huge vanilla/honey/cinnamon flavor that lingers like spices at Christmas time.  It is a good whiskey.

But back to some interesting facts about whiskey, at some points it has been used for currency.  Alcohol remains such a profitable black market item that the ATF continues to hunt down moonshiners.  Distilling might be a useful skill to have if our currency collapses.  Because the .gov will never lighten up on taxes on alcohol, and people without a lot of money will get their drink on one way or another. 

Considerations for irregular warfare against a mounted threat

All government forces do it, they become "vehicle centric" or "road centric" in the application of force.

There are several reasons for this, the first and foremost is that a bad ride beats a good walk.  The increased mobility, and capability for firepower makes it a no brainer that if you have the ability to use vehicles to transport people and firepower you should make use of that ability.

So how did the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan prevail against the Soviets?  The same way the Viet Cong prevailed against the might of the US.  They won the public relations war by using whatever resources they had to stay in the fight.  And they died by the MILLIONS compared to the tens of thousands of US and USSR soldiers killed in battle.

So, say you are like the VC or the Muj and have decided that "enough is enough" and are willing to fight and DIE for your beliefs?  Well then you need to start thinking about how to negate the enemies strengths at a tactical level.

I will ignore air power for now, because that will require another post later.

But vehicles come in two basic varieties, "thin skinned" and armored.  Most police forces will only have one or two "armored" vehicles for use by their SWAT or SRT unit, so you can expect the ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria to be basically stock from the factory.

If you can, taking out the driver is the best way to stop the mobility advantage of any vehicle.  If you can't do that then a mobility kill is the next best.  The worst option against a thin skinned vehicle is a "total kill" because it requires so many resources.

So lets us talk about taking out the driver.  You need a heavy bullet going at moderate velocity to get through the windshield.  5.56 won't cut it.  308 is a good starting point.  Bigger is better.  I wouldn't say a 375H&H is overkill when dealing with a "barrier shot" and solid bullets get through barriers better than anything else.

If you just want to kill the vehicle but not the driver consider the ever popular "Molatov Cocktail" that can get those tires burning really well.  Imagine what a few balloons filled with diesel launched onto a vehicle parking lot and then ignited could do to the mobility assets of the government forces.  It is always easier to sabotage a parked vehicle than destroy a moving one.

And finally, the complete and utter destruction of a vehicle.  This means things like big guns, big missiles, or large amounts of explosives.  Since IEDs are simple to make I won't go into them here, and google will tell anyone more than enough to construct an effective IED.  Heck illiterate tribesmen can manage to cook up some Home Made Explosive (HME) big enough to take out vehicles in Afghanistan.

So, take a look at what you have.  To take out the driver you need something big and heavy going fast.  A 12 guage shotgun shooting sabot slugs is a great option for 200 meters and under.  Even if the government forces recover the slug, there are no rifling marks because of the sabot.  A heavy small bore or medium bore rifle is another good choice WITH APPROPRIATE BULLETS.  A rifle like Savage with the simple ability to swap barrels would be a good way to "hide" the evidence of from rifling signature to government forensic teams.  Of course if you are freedom fighter in Zimbabwe, forensics aren't much of an issue are they?

And lastly, to destroy a vehicle it is easier to burn it while parked than blow it up on the move.  But you can stop a vehicle on the move through impromptu roadblocks like the Somalis did in Mogadishu. 

Remember, when the people fight the government the dieing is usually on the peoples side, but with determination the people win.  And EVERY high tech advantage has some low tech negation or vulnerability.

28 May 2011

Two seperate problems that may solve each other.

Sometimes I have "pie in the sky" daydreams that make me look deeper into issues.

Two issues that have been on my mind; The "drainage of the Ogallala Aquifer" and the routine flooding of the Mississippi River.

Too much water in one place, not enough in another.  The real question becomes how to move millions of gallons of water.  The northeastern portion of the Ogallala is in Nebraska, so that seems to be the natural point of attack for putting water on the soil into the soil.

A pie in the sky solution would be thus...

A couple hundreds miles of large diameter pipe, say 8 feet (or even the huge 20'x10' flood control pipes used beneath Las Vegas), and some strong pumps (such as the type used to keep New Orleans dry), and you have a way of reducing the effects of flooding and refilling the aquifer...

A tougher but more realistic solution would involve some really expensive tunnel boring machines....

Anyways, I don't think anyone has ever tried to "refill" an aquifer before, so the real question would be aquifer absorption rate.  It doesn't do any good to move flood water if the aquifer cannot absorb it in a reasonable time span.  I guess maybe I'll have to wait for another planet before I start any real terraforming...

But anyways, it is more feasible than harnessing the power of earthquakes...

Human Network Analysis

One single targeting packet is good at planning an operation against one individual.

But what about targeting an organization?  What are the steps in the process to identify a whole network of humans, and how do you identify the weak points in that network to degrade effectiveness?

First off, you need to start with a big white space, either a whiteboard, butcher block paper, or even something as simple as Microsoft One Note.

Then you need to put EVERYTHING you know about that organization on the board.  Pictures of people, places, known meeting locations, known vehicles, known phone numbers, EVERYTHING.  Every picture you put on the board needs to have a folder of its own to put everything you know about it in one place.

Then you start drawing lines between things as you identify the relationships between them.  Remember how La Raza was targeting Sheriff Dupnik in the targeting packet example?  Well lets keep going and place Sheriff Dupnik in the center of our board.  Now lets place a picture of his house, and his car next to him.  Then place pictures of each of the three Sheriff's Offices on the board. 

One person is not a network, so we need to put another person on the board, lets assume that the comment left by "intel cell" identifying SGT Bob Krygier is accurate (a quick Google search confirms that it is), and do the same targeting packet workup on him that we did on Sheriff Dupnik.  Spokeo.com comes back with two addresses for "Robert Krygier", one of which, 4601 E Skyline Dr, Apt 1104 Tucson, AZ 85718, is on the northern portion of Tucson bordering the Saguaro National Park, which is a great opportunity for escape and evasion.  The other address, 6240 N Camino De Corozal Tucson, AZ 85704, gives a residential house with a wall located near the Air Force Base.  A harder target, but near a major freeway for ease of escape and evasion.

Once we do the basic online research, we can start doing the basic foot pounding intel gathering needed to flesh out the targeting packet.  Every time SGT Krygier is photographed with another individual, it becomes incumbent on the intel gatherer to identify that person and update the links on the whiteboard.

You can use social networking sights like myspace, linkdin, facebook, etc to help in your network link analysis. 

Once you have ENOUGH information on the board to IDENTIFY KEY LINKS you can begin to selectively target those key relationships to DEGRADE the effectiveness of the network.  This is how the FBI takes on organized crime, and this is how the military works on terror networks.

And what do you do when you find out that a piece of information on your board is not relevant?  You take it off and put it into the related targeting packet and erase the links.  Say the gray mini-van was relevant until Sheriff Dupnik sold it, or that the apartment associated with Bob Krygier was just where he lived when he moved from Ohio until he bought the house near the Air Force Base.

Intel gathering is never done, but having an 80% solution from open source intel allows you to focus your boots on the ground intel gathering to fill in the gaps.  But don't forget to continue to look for other people in the network, like Detectives Farmer and Tzystuck

There are toys available such as security cameras that anyone can use to set up surveillance, but the techniques remain the same, you have to know enough about your target to know where to place the toys. 

27 May 2011

Targeting Packet

If someone were to create a targeting packet, they would need information.  I would like to demonstrate how the use of "open source intelligence" is used to drive targeted operations by terrorist cells.

Say La Raza or Al Quaeda were interested in Sheriff Dupnik as a symbolic target.  A quick google search gives a first name, Clarence.  A quick check of the Pima County Sheriff's web page gives us a middle initial, W.  A quick search of spokeo.com gives us four addresses for Clarence Dupnik in Tucson, AZ

Plugging those addresses into google maps and the first address 1750 E Benson Hwy Tucson, AZ 85714 goes to the Pima County Sheriff's office.  Not a home address, obviously.  Second address, 4311 E Holmes St  Tucson, AZ 85711 points to a residential neighborhood and realtor.com gives us a streetview photo.  The second address is associated with the middle initial W.  The third address gives us another Sheriff Office.  The fourth address gives us a government building.

So we have the targets home address.  Big deal right?  Then you need to map out where that is, using OAKOC, for Obstacles, Avenues of Approach, Key Terrain, Observation and Fields of Fire, and Cover and Concealment.  A good way to do that is with Google Maps.

Overhead maps are fine for an initial recon of your objective, but considerations become very different depending on the method of targeting.  Is it "kinetic" like a "kill/capture/SWAT" mission?  Or is it non-lethal like Code Pink/SEIU/Progressive Zombie/Communist lawn demonstrations?  If it is non-lethal, you can start planning either demonstrations or dog shit throwing exercises now. 

If the objective on the more kinetic side then you need to start confirming this initial intel.  When does the target leave for work?  When does the target arrive at work?  What route does the target drive?  What stops does the target make along the way?

What kinetic options are you considering?  A direct shot would have to be short range because of the flat urban terrain.  Possibly a kitty corner shot from the southwest or west.  A quick search of homes on the market shows a few for sale that might have a clear loophole for a shot of the target at residence. 

However, the more you know the greater your options.  The Russians have killed with an umbrella modified to inject a pellet of poison.  If the target happened to have a favorite coffee stand a simple bomb attached to a car would do it.  To get the target on the move a Vehicle Born IED along his drive to or from work.  Google maps shows that the target's route to and from the main office crosses at least one freeway and two major arterial streets.

But this is almost as far as you can go with internet based open source intelligence.  From here on out you need to actively gather intelligence.  Drive by the target residence and photograph the vehicles in the driveway.  Then try to match the vehicle to one parked at the Sheriff's office.  Get a match, and observe from different positions along the suspected line of travel.  Not a lot of coffee shops in the targets neighborhood, but a dog walker wouldn't raise suspicion in the early morning or late evening.  During the day a house hunter or realtor wouldn't be out of place.

In Iraq the terrorists simply started mapping out common routes for IED emplacement, they didn't have any of this open source intel to start with.  Keeping your eyes and ears open for intelligence of opportunity will pay off.

What does this little exercise tell you?  First off you can start a targeting packet from open source intelligence but to make something go off without a hitch you need to do actual intel gathering.  The US military uses all sorts of expensive toys in addition to direct surveillance to accomplish this.  Terrorists rely mainly on specialty cells of intel gatherers who have no known ties to other cells.

For you?  Well if you aren't a conspicuous public figure you probably don't have much to worry about from La Raza or Al Quaeda, but changing up your driving routine is smart no matter who you are.  To avoid being a target you don't need to be invincible, just a harder target than someone else.  And if you don't think that some piddly terrorist group is looking for opportunities to conduct operations against Americans, well think again.

Time to start shooting

As I spend my last few days getting ready to get on the big iron bird and go to A'stan, I read Graybeard's comment that the death of the 4th Amendment means that we can't hide Jews in the Attic anymore.

And he is right.  While we made gains in the courts for the 2nd Amendment the death of the 4th has given the only recourse to citizens is to break the law by resisting unlawful entry.

I guess when there is no "unlawful entry" (and a recourse to the civil, not criminal courts ensures that) then all actions by the police become lawful, or at least "non-criminal."  So now the only recourse for moral action is to resist police officers who come to your door with no warrant or exigent circumstances.  And if a cop dies, you will be charged with murder.  But if you die, the cop will have no consequences.

But what if the cops were coming to take away the Jews in your Attic?  What if the law no longer allows you to be both law abiding and a moral person?  I would rather people choose morality over legality.  Everything the Nazis did was all perfectly legal by their own laws, and had they not lost WWII it would have been like the countless other government sponsored genocides throughout history that have never had anyone held accountable.

It is not moral for a swat team to shoot an innocent citizen 71 times and let him bleed out while an ambulance waits outside for an hour and fourteen minutes.  Not one of those murderers will face any sort of justice.  Lon Horiuchi is still walking around a free man. 

I'm sorry Mr. Ayoob, the days when the police were a source of security is long gone.  The "few bad apples" have managed to co-opt the system to protect themselves from consequences.  I can't see any other recourse than to conclude that anyone who shoots to resist is acting in a moral, if unlawful, manner.

But when laws allow the protection of one class of people over the detriment of another class of people, is it not time to change the system?  Soap Box, Ballot Box, and last is the cartridge box. 

26 May 2011

Ball Powder

So I've been contemplating what sort of complete setup I would need to start cranking out quality match rounds for an AR-15 to shoot High Power and EIC matches.

For a progressive press to work quickly you need to meter powder through a powder measure instead of individually weighing each charge.  Since extruded stick powders don't work so well in powder measures this means I need to pick a ball powder for better consistency.

After much research (as much as I could cram anyways) I came across good reviews of Accurate Arms 2520 powder, nicknamed the "Camp Perry Powder" by some.  It has a burn rate suitable for 223/308 and a look at the reloading manuals give excellent velocity with heavy 75~80 grain 224 caliber bullets with compressed loads.  I always try to find a powder that can work with compressed loads because it allows me to have a 95% case fill load without approaching dangerous pressures.

Anyone have any experience with AA2520?

24 May 2011

Clueless Celebrity

Jessica Alba wrote (or was credited with writing) this piece of scientifically illiterate nonsense.
Today I am excited to announce my partnership with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition to stand up for America’s moms and ask for common sense limits on toxic chemicals. I’m asking for your help today to send a clear message to Congress: toxic chemicals don’t belong in our homes, bodies and environment.
As I’m pregnant with my second child, I have been thinking back to the days when my husband and I decided to start a family, nearly four years ago. Just the thought of bringing a child into this world prompted a long list of things to think about: am I getting enough folic acid? Am I eating enough fruits and vegetables? What baby proofing will we need to do to ensure our house is the safest environment for our new baby?
I quickly learned that it is impossible to “baby proof” your house from toxic chemicals. They’re common ingredients in products we all use, even some that are designed especially for infants like cribs and nursing pillows. Just like you, I was alarmed to learn that it is perfectly legal to use these chemicals in our everyday consumer goods.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not ok with that. As a matter of fact, I think it’s time we take action together and stand up for a healthier tomorrow.
These concerns were the catalyst behind my partnership with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. Together we are fighting for a strong federal system to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals.
Take action today and ask your Senators to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. It’s a new bill that would increase the safety of chemicals used in your consumer products, increase public access to health and safety information, and protect vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.
Today, I am in Washington D.C. to meet with key Members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act. Will you join me in showing Congress that American moms care about this issue?
The road to change is sometimes long and we’ll need you to stick with us in this fight for safer chemicals and healthy families. We need a steady drumbeat of American moms telling Congress to fight for the safety of your family. Join me today in asking Congress for common sense limits on toxic chemicals.
Sincerely,
Jessica Alba”
 First off what the hell is a "toxic chemical" I hear many of you asking.  I don't know.  I know what a "toxic dose" is, but I have no idea what a "toxic chemical" is supposed to be.

Because ALL chemicals can kill you.  Just depends on the dose. 

But what about BPA?  Wasn't there a huge deal about BPA a while back?  Yes there was.  The same crowd of "consensus scientists" who brought you "endocrine disruption" raised enough stink about BPA to have companies change to non-BPA forms of plastic.  Do you know what is in those other plastics?  Does somehow not knowing make you safer?  Or do you just feel safer because that horrible BPA isn't in your babies milk bottle?

The "science" behind "Endocrine Disruption" invariably centers around estrogen.  The estrogen receptor (hint, all hormones are signaling molecules, so if you have a hormone it has to signal to a cell somehow) has a very "non-specific" binding affinity for a bunch of molecules that are shaped even remotely like an estrogen molecule.  Take a look at this graphic...


No matter which molecule you take, you see a "dose response" curve.  While low doses of plant compounds act as anti-estrogenic at low doses and estrogenic at high doses it remains the consensus of scientists and doctors that leafy green vegetables are good for you.  One of the claims of the "endocrine disruptor" crowd has always been that high dose studies cannot predict the effects of low doses of a chemical.  The good thing is that you can test, like these guys did, for the effects of low doses of chemicals on cultures of human cells.

I don't know if Jessica Alba simply means well but doesn't know enough to keep her mouth shut, or if she really believes the snake oil being sold by the "toxic chemical" crowd.  You want to explain to me how the "plant estrogens" in soy, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are supposedly good for you, but miniscule amounts of other chemicals are "bad" for you?  Get real. 

"Toxic Chemicals" do belong in our bodies and homes.  Modern life requires it.  And as much as everyone likes to romanticize the "organic, in tune with nature" lifestyle of savages, that life is nasty, hard, and short.  I guarantee you after a few weeks in the jungle you'll be happy to wolf down a Big Mac and fries with a chocolate shake.

23 May 2011

Privacy as a Physical Security issue.

There are all types of security; electronic, personal, physical, and home are some of the big ones that most people know.  Obviously "home security" is a type of "physical security" but can also include "electronic security" as well. 

But physical security, the process and activities that deny an exploiter direct contact access to your protected items is the very basis of good security.

Because we don't have "a right to privacy" according to the Constitution, we have "the right to be secure" from which the "right to privacy" was derived through interpretation and case law.

Consider that for a moment.  Consider the difference between "secure" and "private" and possibly you will come to a similar conclusion as I did.  If a man's home is his castle, the only way to have privacy is to truly have security.

Which means you need the ability to keep unwanted folks out.  Now this doesn't work for long if the unwanted folks are the .gov, just ask Randy Weaver or David Koresh.  But a hardened compound would serve to keep out the local murder SWAT Team at ten in the morning while you and your wife are enjoying each others company.

What you need.  A hardened door, the kind that takes a few good hits of the battering ram to open.  All doors can be defeated eventually, so like fire ratings I propose that your main entryway be rated for "Five SWAT minutes" to give you enough time to arm yourself, barricade yourself inside a secure room with a trap door escape (either up or down), and call 911 to cover your ass later in the courtroom when you are charged with murdering a cop who didn't announce himself on a "no knock" warrant.

Every door in your house needs to be "hardened" to resist "dynamic entry" and the frame reinforced to prevent it from simply being dislodged from the wall.

If a man's home is his castle, then by gum it needs to be a fortress.  Because to protect your privacy, you need security.

And while booby traps like mantraps and spike pits are a natural part of castles, I think it would be money well spent to upgrade external walls to brick facing and putting steel bars on windows.  You know those steel bars that let you know you were in a "bad neighborhood" only a few years ago?  Now the cops are the bad guys.  The big bad wolves who will huff and puff and blow your husband, dog, or grandmother away if you don't do exactly what they want (and sometimes when you do exactly what you want and officer dumbass can't keep his booger hook off the bangswitch).

And if you know they are coming for you?  Well then take a lesson from Iraq and turn your house into a "House Born Improvised Explosive Device" and take as many thugs with you as you can. 

About the only thing "progressive" that I buy off on...

is a reloading press.

When I get back from Afghanistan I plan to buy a progressive reloading press.  I've priced out the field, Lee, Hornady, RCBS, and Dillon.  Turns out that Dillon isn't so expensive that it is out of my reach.  A base model 550B can be had for less than a Hornady Lock'n'Load or RCBS 2000.  Evidently it is the accessories that really drive the price tag up.

I don't know how well my favorite powder, IMR 4064 will do with a progessive setup, so I might have to switch to a ball powder like TAC or 760 for loading 223.  This won't hurt my feelings much, as long as I can make ammo that shoots a tight group it doesn't do any good to get hung up on any single component.

I know enough machinists to realize that it isn't any single component in the ammunition chain that is "key" to supplying the needs of American shooters.  Brass is simple enough to make with a press and forming dies, just takes time to make the machinery necessary to mass produce.

The "chemical" propellant and primer are a little trickier, but the chemistry isn't that hard.  You know I have full confidence that I could manufacture gunpowder on my own if I could just get a steady supply of nitric acid (it is simple to make small quantities of nitric acid, but to make gunpowder in useful quantities you need a LOT of it).  Wouldn't be too hard to manufacture primers either if you didn't mind using a corrosive oxidizer like potassium perchlorate.  I sure as hell hope it never comes to that, unless particle beam technology moves forward enough to simply make chemical powered firearms obsolete.

21 May 2011

Hi Power Match experience

Today I shot my first Hi Power Rifle Match.  The equipment I used was as follows.

Colt HBAR upper with National Match free float tube on top of a Mega lower with DPMS parts kit.
A leather 1907 style sling, the old "claw and hook" type.
An ACU top with elbow pad insert for a shooting jacket.
A pair of gloves that the Army issued me, possibly Hatch brand but I don't remember. 
Kruger Optical 14-50x60 Spotting scope.
M855 green tip ammunition.

My scores?  Nothing to write home about. My lowest scoring string was 157 and highest was 171 (and while there were a few Xs in there, not enough to worry about).  I know that I can shoot better than the ammunition I was using, but I didn't have enough of any one type of ammo to shoot the match with except for M855 or M193 equivalent (and I ain't shooting 55 grain pills at anything but the 200 line).  Also I need to work on my standing off hand shooting, as it was most difficult for me.

What were other people shooting?  Well there were a lot of Rock River National Match AR-15s present, as well as a few "space guns" which did very well.  Only one crusty old shooter was using an M1A, so the order of the day was ARs. 

But the biggest difference between myself and others were the accessories such as shooting jacket and glove.  I paid less for my AR upper than my scorer paid for his shooting jacket.  But before I upgrade to an actual jacket I think I need to upgrade to an actual glove.  I don't know how much better equipment translates into better scores, but one Distinguished shooter said I needed to get a new trigger to get the most out of the rifle I have.  I can't really disagree, so that may be my next major purchase for my expensive hobby...

Things to add no matter what: more water (2 liters was mildly insufficient), sunscreen, and bug spray.  

19 May 2011

Sex.

People have sex.  Politicians are people.  Makes sense that politicians would have sex.  Just like porn is big business people love a good sex taboo.  So political sex scandals happen with human regularity.

The list of politicians who have been compromised by sexual misconduct is long and proud.  Bill Clinton, FDR, JFK, etc.  So it comes as no surprise that the head of the IMF is being rocked by a sex scandal.  Of course asking a french politician to keep it in his pants might be a losing proposition from the start.

So I think that Italy has the right answer in electing porn actresses to public office.  Might as well elect someone who isn't pretending to be Vanilla like most politicians.  And what the hell, a Congress full of porn stars couldn't screw up any worse than the current crop critters.  And then when the public gets screwed at least it would be by someone who knows the importance of lube...

16 May 2011

Happy Tax

I don't normally link to the Huffington Post, but this paragraph caught my eye.
Indeed, Zakaria's claim that "There Is No Alternative" is demolished by a piece of evidence he himself offers, in a few skimmed sentences he doesn't spot the significance of. He brags that the US has the most competitive economy in the world -- "slipping sometimes in recent years to small northern European countries like Sweden, Denmark and Finland." But -- wait. Is this the Sweden that takes 51 percent of GDP in taxes, and spends it on the most lavish welfare state in the world -- producing the most content population according to international studies? And it's more competitive than America? So it turns out There Is An Alternative course for the post-American world to pursue -- an extraordinarily impressive one -- but Zakaria just doesn't want to acknowledge it, because he would have to rethink some of his dogmas. When a poor country like Hugo Chavez's Venezuela tries to imitate this social democratic vision rather than Zakaria's, he abuses them as "trouble makers" prone to "insane rants."


Sweden's welfare state is huge, but Sweden has a largely homogeneous population.  In fact the biggest problem the Swede's are having with crimes such as rape are from Muslim immigrants.  Iceland also has a very homogeneous population and a successful welfare state.  The key to a successful welfare state is that EVERYONE plays by the rules and uses the social safety net only for the intended purpose.

On the other hand...you have nations where there isn't a homogeneous population of hardworking Scandanavians and you end up with generational welfare families.  Like in Britain.  Like in New Orleans.

Now if you want to turn Venezuela into Sweden, you need to do like Sweden has and make it easy to do business.  Sure Sweden has crushing taxes, but those taxes are offset by services provided.  Sweden enjoys a respectable 14th place on the index of "ease of doing business" scale.  Venezuela ranks 172 of all 183 nations ranked.

So while it is true that Scandanavian countries rank as "happiest" and have high taxes, there is no guarantee that implementing high taxes and a universal welfare state will translate into happiness for the US.  After all, we did beat out France and the UK for happiness in the same study.  Of course for some reason countries with high "happiness" ratings also have high SUICIDE ratings (death and taxes after all).

So, in the vein of making absurd conclusions such as Johann Hari, author of the linked piece at the Huffington Post, I say that the TEA Party is nothing but people trying to reduce the tragically high rate of suicide in the United States.  After all, high taxes means high suicide.

See, anyone can make absurd conclusions based on a few data points.  If I could be any stupider I could get into politics.

The Slippery Slope

The "Slippery Slope" or "Camel's Nose" argument is considered a classical logical fallacy.  Unfortunately I can think of no other argument that fully explains the raping of the fourth amendment.

The "war on drugs" has given police the right to conduct "no knock" operations.  Even the Supreme Court has spent long hours debating whether or not indoor plumbing is really the issue at hand.  Again and again police agencies and government attorneys have explained that "no knock" operations are all about "officer safety and security."

So how did we get from the Federal Government enacting law requiring "Knock and Announce" to all Federal Agents in 1917 to the Supreme Court of Indiana saying that no Hoosier has the right to resist unlawful entry by police?

We got it one court case at a time.  The slippery slope argument is valid in this case because it does not describe a potential for future abuses, but accurately describes the increasing history of abuses.  At this point it isn't an argument, it is fact.

The rise of SWAT teams to prominence in the 1980s has given state and local governments a paramilitary force to now legally kill individuals.  Even if the individual has done nothing more than the crime of living at an address vaguely similar to the one on the warrant.

From 1980 to 1993 it is claimed that warrants issued based solely on "confidential informants" tripled.  While I don't have hard numbers to back this up, this does not strike me as an unreasonable estimate.

So how do we fix the problem without resorting to Guerilla warfare against police agencies?  I don't know, but obviously we are so far down the slippery slope already that it seems impossible to go back.  Should people begin cheering when the headlines begin to read "local hero cop murdered in cold blood" as SWAT troopers start receiving head shots in their front lawn?  I don't know, but the only difference between a cop who shoots someone as he enters a house at the wrong address and a private citizen who shoots a murdering cop entering the house at the wrong address is how the laws are designed to protect cops and punish citizens.

Sure wish I had a better answer to this problem than "shoot the bastards" but unless someone can pull an Alan Gura and start propping up the Fourth Amendment I can't think of anything else.

15 May 2011

Labor

I know that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision to bring suit against Boeing on behalf of the IAM union over the establishment of a second 787 plant in South Carolina is "old news" at this point, but I've been unable to shake exactly how "wrong" it really is.  To explain myself, we have to delve back into the 1935 law that gives the NLRB authority.

Section 7 of the National Labor Act gives employees the RIGHT to strike and therefore makes it illegal for employers to retaliate.  This statement by the NLRB give the crux of their argument.
The NLRB launched an investigation of the transfer of second line work in response to charges filed by the Machinists union and found reasonable cause to believe that Boeing had violated two sections of the National Labor Relations Act because its statements were coercive to employees and its actions were motivated by a desire to retaliate for past strikes and chill future strike activity.


First this was not a "transfer" of the second line.  Boeing attempted to negotiate with the Union to set up a second line was unable to come to an agreement with the union.  Had Boeing chosen to set up the line at one of their many union out of state production facilities this would not be a problem.  In essence when the Charleston employees enacted their Section 7 rights to not be represented by IAM and South Carolina offered Boeing millions in tax incentives it made the decision to establish the second line outside Charleston.

No one is saying that this doesn't make business sense.  The whole NLRB suit is based on public statements by Boeing executives about the costs of dealing with the regular IAM strikes in Washington.  Those same strikes were the sticking point in negotiations, Boeing wanted a no-strike clause in the 787 contract, and IAM wanted to expand the negotiations to include other production lines.  So it is simple to see where negotiations failed.

So the only question before the NLRBs admin law judge next week is whether or not the decision to not establish a second line in Everrett is retaliation or simply a smart business decision.  Considering that a "no-strike" clause was one of Boeing's requirements for successful negotiation I think Boeing will win in court.  Especially since moving the line to Washington would put 1,000 workers in Charleston out of work (which would be a retaliatory move by the Union since the Charleston workers exercised their section seven rights to not be part of the IAM).

If the only leg to stand on for the NLRB is the limits on employer free speech put forth by NLRB vs. Gissele (which is the case law referenced by the current head of the NLRB) then this money quote is where all the drama comes from
As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn’t have “strikes happening every three to four years.” The union has shut down Boeing’s commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.


So workers have a right to strike.  Unfortunately a history of striking stops being an unpredictable event to a known business hazard.  And it becomes smart business to relocate to a place that doesn't have the known business hazard.  And it is all perfectly legal until someone catches you talking about it?

As far as being "coercive" I think that the judge would have to be blind to ignore the point that Boeing willingly opened negotiations with IAM in an attempt to open a second line in Washington.  That doesn't seem to be a bad faith move on the part of Boeing.  On the other hand, if the move were "retaliation" for past behavior, why would Boeing have entered into negotiations for so long seeking a "no-strike" clause for the new line that was independent of contracts for the other two lines in Washington?

It would be simply astounding for the NLRB suit to go anywhere, but in the age of Obama setting unions ahead of guaranteed investors I have no faith in the system of law.

14 May 2011

Time to start shooting I guess

Thomas Jefferson wrote "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government."

The Constitution of New Hampshire contains this passage.

Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

The Supreme Court of Indiana has ruled that the right of people to be secure in their home against unreasonable search and seizure is null and void. 

Which is funny because Indiana just went 6 for 6 on pro gun legislation.  Hoosiers have the ability to resist, but no legal recourse for doing so.  But when what is right and natural becomes illegal, it is the duty of all free men to resist.

I think that someone would do well to tap into the phone line of Justice Steven David and make a 911 call in order to bring the SWAT cops to his house at 3 A.M.  It would be illegal, but what is a matter of legality when the law benefits only those in power?  After all, there would be nothing illegal about the SWAT "dynamic entry" into Justice David's home.  Even if it were the wrong address and they killed someone doing so, Justice David's only recourse would be "civil suit."

What good does a "civil suit" do?  Absolutely none, at best you get a monetary compensation for being raped. 

Will I do this myself?  No, I don't live in Indiana.  I don't

13 May 2011

Big Red One

Today I hook and pile fastened a different patch onto my left sleeve (velcro for civies).

Out of TRADOC, back into FORSCOM.  Soon to be on loan to CENTCOM.  It's a living.

More on lethality

Lethality, such a hot topic. Over at Graybeard's place the “practice with what you carry” idiocy has come up. It is stupid to practice with ammunition that costs a buck a shot when other options can fly out the barrel for a fraction of that. Find a hollowpoint load that shoots close enough to where the cheap ball ammo hits (and most of them do in the same bullet weight/velocity range) then use that. I shoot 230 gr JHP in my 1911, which lets me practice with cheap 230 gr FMJ. But even the 185 gr +P JHP ammo I tried shot close enough inside 7 yards that is was lost in the “noise” of grouping. Nobody shoots one hole groups with pistols used for self defense (if you tell me you can you are a damn liar) at 7 yards. Maybe an Olympic Air Pistol or Rapid Fire competitor could have all holes touching, but there is a reason we measure in inches instead of millimeters.

So, that nonsense aside, on to “lethality.” Lethality is all about disturbing the processes that keep something in a living state so that something assumes a non-living state. This has more to do with biology than physics but firearms accomplish “lethality” in two ways. A quick Central Nervous System hit, or a slower “stoppage of oxygenated blood to the brain” manner. Both methods work.

When you aim for the head of a deer you are going for the quick CNS shot. When you aim for the heart/lungs area behind the connection of the front leg to the torso, that is a “stop blood flow to the brain” shot. So, are hollow point or premium bullets “more lethal” than cheap ball ammunition? Not really. What they are better at is deforming.

Lethality depends on three things, accuracy, penetration, and tissue disruption (which I will call expansion from now on). If you miss your target it doesn't matter how the bullet is constructed.

If you hit where you wanted, but the bullet immediately fragments causing a serious flesh wound you end up having to test your tracking abilities. This used to be a much bigger problem when really light soft pointed bullets were pushed really fast out of magnums or wildcats. Some bullets just couldn't hold together with that much velocity (energy) aiding in the expansion. Modern “controlled expansion” bullets such as Partitions, HotPour, CoreLokt, Solid Copper Hollowpoints, have all made this a relatively moot point. But pistols have never really had the velocity to cause bullet disintegration problems (hence all the designs for expansion inherent in pistol bullets), so I will focus on that from here on out.

So if accuracy and penetration is taken care of, only expansion remains to try to quantify “lethality”. And with accuracy and penetration being equal, the bullet that leaves the biggest hole is arguably the “more lethal” of the two.  If nothing else bigger holes bleed more, and bleeding is one of the ways to deny oxygenated blood to the brain.

Now, here is a trick question, what is more lethal a 45 caliber ball that makes a straight 45 caliber hole through your attacker, or a 9mm hollowpoint that expands inside your attacker and leaves a 45 caliber exit hole? The answer is that if you hit in the CNS region the attacker is already dead, and if you hit something vital you could flip a coin as to which would cause the attacker to bleed out first.

The “energy dump” theory of lethality has been seriously debunked by men and women much more articulate than I. The “temporary wound cavity” is nothing more than soft tissue temporarily displaced by the bullet passing through. If the “temporary wound cavity” is larger than the organism it is passing through, you get the prairie dog “red mist” chunk effect as the temporary wound cavity becomes permanent displacement. That same high velocity 22 caliber bullet will not produce the same results on a moose. Just sayin you shouldn't expect anything less than a 50 BMG hitting a midget to get the same effect with a human.

So, don't waste your money practicing with your carry bullets. Just find a hollowpoint that shoots close to where your practice ammo hits. Headshots are great if you have time to aim. But the triangle between the nipples and belly button should really be your instinctive target. Even if you don't hit anything truly stopping right away, odds are you perforated something important. When you have a hole in your chest life kinda sucks.

Now if your attacker is high on drugs, you can hit him in the chest with a 12 guage and he may not feel it. This is where there are no magic bullets and if you want to stop the attack now you need a CNS hit.

The point I'm trying to make is that hollow points are NOT any sort of magic bullet, nor are they any more “lethal” if you miss something that doesn't incapacitate the bad guy.  Hollowpoints do make bigger holes, and bigger holes do bleed more, which is good when you want to deny oxygenated blood to your attackers brain somewhere along the line.  But only a CNS shot stops the fight right then and there, and it doesn't matter if you are using 22lr or 50 GI hardball to accomplish a CNS shot.

12 May 2011

Ignore the Constitution...

Now that Michigan police are randomly searching peoples cell phones to conduct fishing expeditions, since SWAT teams have no problem kicking in the door of the wrong house at any hour of the day and never being prosecuted for home invasion (honest mistake, even when the resident happens to be a Mayor or Judge), and the TSA hasn't backed off of a single illegal search I propose a new slogan for the Department of Homeland Security.


Homeland Security: It's not like we needed the Fourth Amendment anyways.

Don't you feel safer already?  Knowing that it is just a "few bad apples" in the police killing dogs and grandmothers, or that even referencing the Constitution makes you suspect for domestic terrorism?

11 May 2011

The decline and fall of Detroit

Detroit is dieing because of a few things.  Since "anonymous" challenged my "critical reasoning" skills I figured I really ought to shed some light on the situation.  The major cause of Detroit's woes are,


The United Auto Workers union.
Bad business decisions by the Big Three.
Democrat management creating an unhealthy business environment.

The UAW story is well known.  Ever increasing benefits and pay, even demanding "job banking" to force the Big Three to hire people to sweep the floor at 53 dollars an hour.

The bad business decisions by the Big Three included, stock buyback campaigns to stuff the pockets of executives, failure to increase quality control standards to meet the Japanese threat, and failure to embrace efficiency.

The Democrats in charge of the city, well they may not be totally to blame as the state of Michigan has not done well in the rankings of business friendly states.  In 2004 Michigan even beat out California for the state most hostile to business.  But is there anyway to turn Michigan and Detroit around and create the growth of Texas or Utah?  Not with Democrats in charge.

Which is a good thing that Michigan's Legislature is controlled by Republicans.  Since 2004 a large number of business hostile taxes have been rolled back and current ratings put Michigan at #17 out of 50.  This is good news for Michiganders (and bad news for Democrats who have had their anti-business policies largely gutted).  But no matter what the State does, it can't control the Big Three, or undo decades of poor decisions.

Bottom line is that once it became unprofitable to work out of Detroit manufacturing left, market forces will not be denied.  Who is to blame for that?  Largely unions and Democrats.  Because even though Ford, GMC, and Chrysler made poor business decisions, they had to leave to maintain some sort of profitability.

Yup, I blame the teachers

Another Anonymous left a comment...

you like so many others blame teachers for everything. Don't you think that's being a little simple. do you have the ability to critically think? my wife is a teacher. a good one. she cares. she works at doing a good job. have you ever been forced out a job because you didn't agree with the pathetic little tyrant of a principal. my wife has. teachers and unions are not without blame, but currently many of the problems trickle down from the district office. most teachers are trying to maintain a standard of living that is eroding faster and faster, like everyone else.

You know if you had actually read what I wrote you would have figured out that I was blaming Democrats for driving Detroit into the ground.  But Teachers don't get a free pass for "trying" or any other feel good measure.

I blame teachers for being part of a union that protects that tyrant principle and seeks to maintain a monopoly on educational choices.  The collective bargaining makes it damn near impossible to either get rid of bad teachers or reward good teachers.  And in Detroit, like many declining urban centers in the US, the Democrats have had a free hand to implement their policies for decades and it has done nothing but bring ruin.

And who do the Teachers Unions funnel money to?  It sure isn't the TEA Party.  If your wife votes for someone with something other than a D behind their name it doesn't cancel out the campaign funds HER UNION donated to the Democrats. 

Look, the first order of business for any organization is the self continuation of that organization.  The Teachers Union exists with the number one priority of maintaining the Teachers Union.  That means the Teachers Union has no real incentive to teach students to be educated free thinkers who just might vote for something other than the Democrats.  No matter how well intentioned any individual is, in a place where Democrats rule ruin follows.  Look to Detroit.  Look to New Orleans.  Look to California, why is it that the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland is outperforming other public schools who have the SAME demographic of students?

If teachers cared solely about educating then there would be no need for a love affair with the Democrats.  Obviously teachers care more about job security than educating.  There is no other logical conclusion based on observed behavior. 

Oh, and your standard of living going down the hole?  Guess who is making your dollar worth less?

10 May 2011

This is my shocked face...

That after decades of Democrat leadership nearly half of Detroit citizens are functionally illiterate.


http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/05/04/report-nearly-half-of-detroiters-cant-read/

Evidently all a Detroit citizen needs in way of education is to know how to vote for those with "D" after their name on the ballot.  What a way to save on education costs, only needing to teach four whole letters A, B, C, and D for twelve years of public school in Detroit.  Got to love those collective bargaining rights for Teachers Unions.  Way to go Detroit!

Energy, momentum, and lethality

Velocity gets a lot press from the fans of long range ballistics and "energy = lethality" crowd.  Velocity is the largest single component of calculating energy (energy equals one half mass times velocity squared) and since you square velocity it becomes the dominant factor (duh, I know).

But what velocity and energy don't give you any clue about is "momentum", which is the ability of an object to KEEP GOING once it meets resistance.

Ever wonder why the classic Safari cartridges have heavy bullets at or below 2,400 fps?  416 Rigby, which is arguably the "Gold Standard" for a "stopper" has a 400 grain bullet at 2,400 fps, the 375 H&H the "Golden Standard" for medium bores has a 300 grain bullet at 2,400 FPS.  Now there are plenty of newer medium and big bore rounds out there, such as the 375 RUM and 458 Lott that have increased velocity over the old standards, but even the "new" wondermagnums are judged against the old standards.

So calculating momentum is pretty simple, mass times velocity.  Now that we are ignoring energy it becomes easy to see that by increasing either mass or velocity equals an equal improvement in momentum.  That 300 grain 375 H&H bullet has a momentum around 103 "slug feet/second", and that 400 grain 416 Rigby has around 137.  For comparison a 180 grain 30-06 bullet at 2,700 fps is 69.

Now between energy and momentum there is a third measurement which is even less intuitive than energy or momentum, sectional density.  Sectional Density is best demonstrated by how much pressure something puts on a single point.  An aluminum rod 1" in diameter 1 foot long will have much less sectional density than a lead rod 1" in diameter 1 foot long, however once you make them equal mass (and the aluminum rod would be much longer than the lead rod) they would have the same SD.  The greater the sectional density, the easier it will be for MOMENTUM to push through resistance.  The heavier a bullet is for caliber the greater the sectional density will be.  Which is why some old elephant hunters used 6.5mm bullets with very high sectional density, those bullets were able to efficiently tunnel through thick hide and bone to the vitals.

Not something that you can easily calculate is bullet expansion.  Bullet expansion radically decreases sectional density while also creating a larger wound channel.  So if you want deep penetration use a bullet with minimal expansion and hefty construction.  If you want a large wound channel use a bullet designed to deform and upset.  Obviously you don't need solids for whitetail, and you wouldn't want to use soft points for cape buff.

To sum it up, no matter what round you are using, heavier bullets are generally the better bet for lethality on large game.

Using force to get your way...

Is the basis for feudalism, which would be a step back in terms of civilization.

Our "modern" society depends on the Rule of Law enforced by an Impartial Government.  When those two conditions no longer hold, then I think that a descent into Feudalism isn't unlikely.  Whether that is with the Mexican model of drug cartels fighting for power and authority with each other and the Mexican government or even worse like the Warlords of Somalia I don't know, or really care at this point.

On the other hand, life in a feudal society sucks, just ask a Mexican or Somalian.

09 May 2011

Anarchism can work both ways...

I'm very very very tired of "activists" on the left causing property damage and intimidating individuals.  I see a business opportunity for individuals willing to break the law to silence the opposition.

I mean it has worked so well for the LEFT, that imagine how effective it would be if done by people on the RIGHT who have a professional work ethic.  If SEIU is "protesting" a Wal-Mart somewhere, a quick call to "Retribution LLC" or "Attitude Adjustment Inc" to provide "persuasion by other means" to get the Union Heads to back down....

Now I'm not ADVOCATING firebombs, bombs, assassination, kidnapping, extortion, or property damage, but it HAS WORKED for the LEFT.  And when someone does something and it works, well it changes the game doesn't it? 

I mean, when the Weather Underground (looking at you Bill Ayers) set out to bomb public servants they managed to kill and maim a few...but when Tim McVeigh set out to bomb public servants....So a fair warning to all Leftists, the good book says that we will reap what we sow, and those that sow the wind will reap the whirlwind...Now if only a Reduction In Force would put a few professional lifetakers and heartbreakers into the unemployment line...  How cool would it be to have a job to give a little payback?

Remember, all authority comes from naked violence or capacity for it.  Those on the right have been VERY reluctant to use violence because it would only lead to further restrictions on rights and liberties as proposed by the Turner Diaries.  Now the "Turner Diaries" are simply bad fiction, but the willingness of the LEFT to use physical violence and intimidation against corporations and individuals makes me think that it would be an appropriate tactic to the sufficiently ruthless right.  Now I'm not advocating violence, just saying that I'm damn tempted to make a hippie cry at any opportunity...

Is it time to be ruthless?

Preparing to build a society

Our current civilization is in decline, at least in terms of International Prominence.  Whether or not social and economic decline turns life into a third world hell hole remains to be seen.  Odds are that it won't, but odds are pretty good that something has to give.

In living memory "Stagflation" and "The Great Depression" didn't derail this nation.  But our little corner of civilization was fundamentally changed by those events.  "The Raw New Deal" set us on a date with fiscal ruin in terms of Social Security.  If it were JUST Social Security things would not be so bad but Medicare and Medicaid were tacked on in 1965.  This wasn't so bad when tax revenues covered the vast majority of Federal Spending.

Enter the "stagflation" period.  Carter screws up the country (doesn't support the Shaw in Iran, dumbass) and pisses everyone off so much that Reagan is elected.  The Reagan Administration works with Congress to turn the worlds largest LENDING nation into the worlds largest DEBTOR nation.  Because while the economy is in a slump someone had to pay for the Arms Race with the Soviets.  Anyways Tip O'Neill and Reagan pass a balanced budget just before Reagan leaves office.  But the lesson learned by both parties is that Deficits don't matter and Debt is just a number.

Unfortunately when a nations debt approaches 100% of GDP a few things happen.  I've written about it before, so have smarter and more articulate people.  But right now the business of Government, securing trade and military matters, has turned into "Payments made to individuals."

The very nature of our Government has changed from providing services to citizens to redistributing wealth from one citizen to other citizens.  And because both parties learned that deficits don't matter, they are doing it with borrowed money.  I know I'm preaching to the choir, but once this house of cards falls, what would we do differently to prevent it from happening again?

Should the next Constitution expressly forbid any Government entity the ability to make payments to an individual with taxpayer funds?  Every country that has gone down the Socialist Path has had to become increasingly intrusive into individuals lives and increasingly restrictive of freedom.

Shoulder recovery....

It has been over a month since I sprained my shoulder.  Last week I managed to do some "girl pushups" (from the knees) without pain or irritation.  Yesterday I did one single chinup without immediate pain or irritation.  However I've been paying for that all of today. 

So recovery has been slow, but relatively steady.  This getting older thing sucks.

06 May 2011

Market Manipulation

The link in my last post about the "Amaranth Kill Shot" is clear evidence of .gov and JPMorgan collaboration.  Evidence, but not proof of larger corruption.

But interestingly enough there is more evidence of market manipulation on the part of big banks, with the uncertainty in the dollar the precious metals markets have been interesting to say the least.  For years people have been looking at JPMorgan as a market manipulator because there has always been plenty of evidence.

Time to pull out the tinfoil hat...

Maybe the Current Administration is intentionally devaluing the dollar with the full cooperation of the "big banks" to stop the slide at the appropriate devaluation.  I can't think of any other reason to intentionally devalue the dollar.  If you can manipulate the currency without fear of hyperinflation then it makes sense in the trade war with China.

The mark of a good conspiracy theory is that it can never be proven.  And since the people who would prove market manipulation are the same folks benefiting from market manipulation then we end up with a perfect conspiracy theory here. 

05 May 2011

The Future is Uncertain

If the current Administration has a goal with the economy that goal is to destabilize the American Dollar and force the Chinese to stop undervaluing their currency.

If the current administration doesn't have a goal, then they are sure taking all the right steps to devalue the Dollar.

The problem with devaluation is that you don't always control the slide...  Markets dictate value, and there is little a .gov can do to stop the slide when the currency is where they want it to be. 

So it might not be the complete face colander Mad Max meltdown.  Anyone willing to place bets?  After all, that is what the markets will do, place bets on where the value of the Dollar will land.  Of course if there is someone big enough in the market to affect the market, that might be a different story. 

But seriously, it would be tinfoil hat time if large investment firms were working with the Administration to devalue the Dollar to force more favorable trade relations with China...

03 May 2011

Now that OBL is dead, lets get back to focusing on the BUDGET, mKay?

This nothing but a /rant on....

With the modern media having the attention span of a chihuahua on crack distracted by the latest "oooh, shiny" story to come along, the death of OBL, a few things have conveniently been forgotten by the empty talking heads.

The budget crisis.  It truly is a crisis.  Our debt to GDP ratio is passing the point of now return, and that means (historically) that we are going into insolvency.

Project Gunwalker.  I want to know the truth.  Who suggested it, who thought it was a good idea, and who ran with the ball once it got approval.

I want to know our exit plan from Libya.

But I am mainly concerned about the budget.  Yes China will have a blue water carrier group soon.  I don't care.  We have wasted ourselves on welfare spending and cannot afford to oppose China.  We cannot afford to oppose China.  We cannot afford to oppose China.  We could NUKE China, but only because the cost of ICBM's is already "sunk" so to speak.  But to anyone who can sit down and look at the numbers, China has already won simply by holding our debt.

Seriously, the most pressing issue in our nation for the last two decades has been the national debt.  Our debt payments to China already cover the vast majority of their military spending.  By 2015 our debt payments to China will cover 100% of their military spending (if they keep it at current funding levels).

Do you really think that there will be a huge market for American fighter planes when they can buy a Chinese fighter with the same capabilities for half the cost?  How many F-35 wunderplanes will we sell against Chinese J-20s?

Folks, the game is over the clock just hasn't run out yet.  As a nation we lack the will to do what is necessary to stay in the game.  What would it take?  We would have to cut spending and stop paying on the debt.  But more parasites care about getting something from "the rich" or "those evil corporations" than putting a check on Chinese aggression.  Don't tell me that 3% can make a difference when 52% voted for Obama.

We have become (formerly) Great Britain.  We have a generational welfare class that can trace it's beginning to FDR.  We have a highly professional military that is a fraction of what it once was (some traditions die harder than others).  We see free speech dieing to "tolerance" and "diversity".  We see the President getting involved in a "beer summit" over a local matter.

We no longer have rule of law.  Soon it will be more about "who you know" than whether you are right or wrong, and when law is not respected law will become worthless.  Which means that owning a gun will become a crime (because anyone who can resist lawlessness must be eliminated for the lawless to stay in power).

And I am a .gov employee, I know that I am as much a parasite on the system as any other.  I would love to delude myself and say that I serve the American people, but I don't.  I get a paycheck to enforce the orders of the President through funding appropriated by Congress.  I'm about as far removed from the will of the American people as you can get.

/rant off

I guess the real question is not whether or not you are prepared to survive the collapse, but are prepared to build something from the ashes?  Because right now the words of "Locomotive Breath" are coming back to haunt me..."Ol' Charley stole the handle, and the train it won't stop going no way to slow down." is a pretty accurate summation of our unstoppable Brownian motion towards collapse.  By the end of the song the chorus changes to "Thank God he stole the handle, and the train it won't stop going no way to slow down" as the inevitable crash approaches.

Maybe someday another Gibbon will write "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire."

02 May 2011

OBL is dead, nothing really changes

9/11 did not fundamentally change the world.  I remember where I was, in the chow hall at Fort Hood after my morning workout with the SF Recruiting team (I went to the October SFAS class that year).  What it did do is fundamentally change the way the US Government evaluated potential threats (and once that focus has changed, it becomes fossilized).  Unfortunately that will not prepare us for the next "Pearl Harbor", "President Kennedy" or "9/11".  Because China caught is with our pants down in Korea, Reagan got shot, and with the previous bombing of the WTC, USS Cole, and two embassies in Africa the writing was on the wall for 9/11.

Each "generation defining event" was completely predictable but the problem is that we live in a great big cradle of civilization where it is easy to separate our day to day reality from the broader international reality of life.

There are still plenty of pissed off Muslim males who want to see the US and Israel destroyed.  That won't change.  The Muslim Brotherhood has me worried the most, if there were ever a group of people who could play the "International Terrorist Cabal" it would be the Muslim Brotherhood.  Most of the other Radical Islamic groups have a more local focus (like Hamas and Hezbollah) but they all hate us.

What does this have to do with you?  Probably nothing.  The world is still going to go to hell in a handbasket with or without some tall pissed off Arab hiding from a fading superpower.