Friday, June 25, 2021

"Have we been under attack from China and didn’t know it?"


That's the $64,000 question from American Thinker as it analyzes the recent defection of a senior Chinese official.  The article raises several critical issues.

Dong Jingwei is a Chinese defector working with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). He served as Vice Minister of State Security in the Chinese Ministry of Defense.  Before defecting, he was responsible for the counterintelligence efforts in China.  He was in a position to know about all things “espionage” in China and is perhaps the highest-level Chinese defector the U.S. has ever had.  Even though the legacy media is playing it down, this is a big deal.

It speaks volumes that the man who knows the identity of all the Chinese spies in our country chose to defect to the DIA and only the DIA.  Further, it’s reported that the DIA is not sharing the information it’s receiving with the FBI or CIA.  Now, why would that be?

Dong provided details of meetings between U.S. officials, Chinese spies, and Russian SVR agents.  He also provided details about how the Chinese government gained access to CIA communications, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of CIA assets.  Anonymous sources are also reporting that members of the federal law enforcement community (i.e. FBI) are “scared s**tless” about Dong’s information. 

Is it possible that the FBI and CIA are hopelessly compromised?  As we’d say in Minnesota -- you betcha!

Dong has allegedly provided the names of Chinese spies working or attending universities in the U.S.  He claims that a third of Chinese students in this country are actually PLA assets.  To validate his claims, Dong has provided financial records showing which businessmen and public officials have received money from the Chinese Government.

. . .

In 2015, the Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) acquired Henniges Automotive.  This acquisition is significant because Henniges Automotive provides stealth technology for the F-35 program.  AVIC’s U.S. partners in this acquisition were none other than Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz.  The acquisition was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  Secretary of State John Kerry was a member of the CFIUS during this decision.  He is also the stepfather of -- surprise, surprise -- Chris Heinz!  Dong provided details of how China was able to acquire stealth technology after the U.S. approved its purchase of Henniges Automotive.

. . .

Given what we’re learning about Dr. Fauci and his “gain of function” research, we may have paid China to develop a weapon that was used against us.

Further, the Chinese government changed the travel plans of Chinese students returning to the U.S. after the Christmas break. Their travel plans were advanced so that they returned much earlier than originally planned -- prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.  Dong reportedly claimed that they were tasked to gather information about the U.S. response to the pandemic ... The implication is that even if the Chinese government did not intentionally release the virus, they intentionally let it spread and used it as an espionage bonanza.

There's more at the link.

Given that President Biden and his family are known to have made millions (if not billions) of dollars from their past connection to China, one can only speculate about the extent to which China may control their current policies, decisions and actions.  However, I do find it very telling that Mr. Dong chose one specific agency to which to defect.  He ignored the "traditional" route for defectors of the CIA or the FBI.  I can only presume there were very good reasons for that . . . like, perhaps, that he knew which agencies were compromised, and which were not?  That may speak well of the DIA, and not at all well of the others.

There's also the question of what, if anything, will be done with Mr. Dong's information.  If the Biden administration can't be trusted to act upon it, who will?  And what if the powers that be insist that the DIA hand him over to another agency for further interrogation?  If I were Mr. Dong, knowing what he presumably does about those other agencies, I'd have insisted on ironclad safeguards before talking to anybody - including, perhaps, a location beyond their reach.  He, of all people, would know where that might be, and what might be feasible and realistic.

Hmmm . . .


"The ship that broke global trade"


That's part of the headline of a long in-depth report at Bloomberg about the Ever Given, the ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal a few months ago and caused a major disruption to already-disrupted global trade.

Transiting the Suez Canal is sometimes nerve-racking. The channel saves a three-week detour around Africa, but it’s narrow, about 200 meters (656 feet) wide in parts, and just 24 meters deep. Modern ships, by contrast, are massive and getting bigger. The Ever Given is 400 meters from bow to stern and nearly 60 meters across—most of the width of a Manhattan city block, and almost as long as the Empire State Building is high. En route from Malaysia to the Netherlands, it was loaded with about 17,600 brightly colored containers. Its keel would be only a few meters from the canal bottom. That didn’t leave much room for error.

After climbing aboard, the two Egyptian pilots were led up to the bridge to meet the captain, officers, and helmsmen, all of them Indian, like the rest of the crew. According to documents filed weeks later in an Egyptian court, there was a dispute at some point about whether the ship should enter the canal at all, given the bad weather—a debate that may have been hampered by the fact that English was neither side’s first language. At least four nearby ports had already closed because of the storm, and a day earlier the captain of a natural gas carrier sailing from Qatar had decided it was too gusty to traverse Suez safely.

Like airplanes, modern ships carry voyage data recorders, or VDRs, black-box devices that capture conversations on the bridge. The full recording of what transpired on the Ever Given’s bridge hasn’t been released by the Egyptian government, so it isn’t clear exactly what the pilots and crew said about the conditions. But the commercial pressures on Captain Kanthavel, an experienced mariner from Tamil Nadu, in India’s far south, would have been enormous. His ship was carrying roughly $1 billion worth of cargo, including Ikea furniture, Nike sneakers, Lenovo laptops, and 100 containers of an unidentified flammable liquid.

Several other corporate entities also had an interest in getting the Ever Given’s containers speedily to Europe. Among them was its owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., a shipping concern controlled by a wealthy Japanese family, and Evergreen Group, a Taiwanese conglomerate that operated it under a long-term charter. The crew, meanwhile, worked for Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, a German company that supplies sailors for commercial vessels and oversees their operations. Every day’s delay would add tens of thousands of dollars in costs, if not more.

Veteran captains say they often don’t have much choice about sailing into Suez in poor conditions. “Do it, or we’ll find someone else who will,” they’re sometimes told.

There's much more at the link.

It's a fascinating analysis of what went wrong, and how bureaucracy and fundamental ineptness complicated things after that.  Highly recommended reading.


Thursday, June 24, 2021



Cartoonist Stephan Pastis comes up with some truly groan-worthy puns from time to time.  (As an inveterate punster myself, I entirely approve.)  Yesterday he came up with one of his best.  Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the "Pearls Before Swine" Web page.

That's terrible!  In fact, it's so terrible I wish I'd thought of it myself . . .


Doofus Of The Day #1,082


Today's award goes to the Astronomy Department of Cornell University in New York.

Physicists at MIT and SUNY Stony Brook recently announced findings that the total surface area of two black holes was maintained after the two entities merged. While this research was a welcome confirmation of both Stephen Hawking’s work and the theory of general relativity, it failed to address a crucial matter: what were its racial implications?

That is a lacuna that an astronomy course at Cornell University aims to prevent. “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” asks the question, “Is there a connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness?” Anyone familiar with academia’s racial monomania knows the answer: of course there is! Though “conventional wisdom,” according to the catalog description of “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos,” holds that the “‘black’ in black holes has nothing to do with race,” astronomy professor Nicholas Battaglia and comparative literature professor Parisa Vaziri know better.

. . .

The humanities and much of the social sciences have been beyond parody and beyond shame for a long time. What’s different about “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” is its co-listing in an actual science department. The course fulfills Cornell’s science distribution requirement, touching as it does on such concepts as the electromagnetic spectrum.

. . .

Today’s academic charlatanism consists in part in mistaking rhetoric for knowledge and words for things. This sleight of hand is particularly prevalent in matters relating to race ... Seeing specters of racism everywhere, the racial avengers are tearing down every institution associated with Western civilization, simply because of its “whiteness.” Science had stood as a guard against such metaphorical, magical thinking. Bit by bit, it is succumbing.

There's more at the link.

Such a course may help racial activists become even more incompetent, irrelevant and incomprehensible than they are already, unlikely though that sounds.  However, I fail to see how it will help astronomers understand one whit more about their field of study, or make any meaningful contribution whatsoever to the study of the universe.  What are they supposed to do after taking this course?  Reclassify "black holes" as "rainbow-deficient voids"?  Demand that white dwarf stars be referred to henceforth as melanin-deprived and vertically challenged?  Hypothesize that spacecraft may one day be propelled by unicorn farts and sparkles?

However, I do have one scientific experiment to propose, linked directly to this new course.  Let's drop everyone at Cornell who had anything to do with designing, approving and presenting this course into the nearest black hole, and watch as their academic intersectionality takes on an appropriate gravitas - or, in this case, gravity.  That might be highly informative!


"Stay-At-Home Orders Lethally Backfired"


That's part of the title of a report about a new study of the effectiveness of COVID-19 lockdowns.  The short answer?  They weren't just ineffective, they probably made things worse.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

In a new paper, economists from the University of Southern California and the RAND Corporation examined the effectiveness of “shelter-in-place” (SIP) mandates, aka stay-at-home orders, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states. The experts analyze not just deaths from COVID-19, but “excess deaths,” a measure that compares overall deaths from all causes to a historical baseline.

. . .

“We fail to find that shelter-in-place policies saved lives,” the authors report. Indeed, they conclude that in the weeks following the implementation of these policies, excess mortality actually increases—even though it had typically been declining before the orders took effect. And across all countries, the study finds that a one-week increase in the length of stay-at-home policies corresponds with 2.7 more excess deaths per 100,000 people.

The lockdowns simply didn’t work.

“We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies,” the authors explain.

And their finding is no outlier. A number of other credible studies have similarly concluded that lockdowns were ineffective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Plus, other research now shows that most COVID-19 spread occurred at home, not out in the world, making stay-at-home orders all the more absurd in hindsight.

. . .

The takeaway here is not just that stay-at-home orders are an ineffective public policy. It’s that politicians will always claim they can solve our problems if just given enough centralized power.

There's more at the link.

Note that last sentence quoted above.  Read and re-read it, and then think about the public pronouncements, actions, incompetence and overweening arrogance displayed by governors such as Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Gavin Newsom in California, Andrew Cuomo in New York, and many others.  Not only did their policies and decisions help to destroy large parts of the economies of their states, they also very likely contributed, directly or indirectly, to the death of many of their citizens.  The astonishing thing is that many voters in those states will still support them, because their ideological commitment trumps the truth and overrides the facts.

Bottom line:  whenever a politician - any politician, from either side of the political spectrum - says "Trust me!" or "Do as I say, and everything will be all right!", don't you believe them.  There may be some honorable exceptions to the rule (very few, I'd say), but most of them aren't interested in us as individuals at all.  They care only about their powers, privileges and position.  They'll do whatever it takes to keep them, and blame anyone and everyone but themselves for any problems.  ("But we followed Dr. Fauci's/the CDC's/medical guidance!  We weren't to know it was bad advice!")  The buck stops anywhere but on their desk, where it properly belongs.

If that means we end up with the short end of the stick . . . well, sucks to be us, doesn't it?  (At least as far as they're concerned.)


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

My mother might turn over in her grave if this flies past


I was surprised to read this report.

The US Air Force (USAF) is funding development of a new pulsejet-powered decoy as it continues seeking cheaper and simpler forms of unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and cruise missile propulsion.

The USAF Armament Directorate awarded start-up Wave Engine a $1 million contract to build and demonstrate a “Versatile Air-Launched Platform (VALP)”, the company said on 22 June.

Wave Engine says the pulsejet-powered Versatile Air-Launched Platform is intended to be a decoy

Pulsejets have been in operation since World War II, powering Nazi Germany’s V-1 flying bomb, an early cruise missile launched in the thousands from sites in occupied France against the UK ... The British nicknamed the V-1 “buzz bomb”, a nod to the weapon’s noise.

Wave Engine says it has made improvements that give pulsejets advantages over jet turbines.

There's more at the link.

Mom endured the German bombing of Britain during World War II, from "The Blitz" of 1940-41 through the Vergeltungswaffen of 1944-45.  She spent many nights on top of buildings with a stirrup pump, a bucket of water and a bucket of sand, ready to put out incendiaries that might fall on the roof and cause a fire.  She'd have looked very much like this lady (image courtesy of Wikipedia).

She remembered, and described to her children, the sound of German V-1 "flying bombs" in 1944, their pulsejet engines reverberating and snarling as they flew overhead.  She told us that you only had to worry about them if the engine cut out.  That meant they were about to crash and explode, often with devastating results.

Here's what the engine sounded like from the ground.

I presume the modern version of the pulsejet will sound less "snarly" than the original.  Nevertheless, if anyone's still alive who remembers what they sounded like during the 1940's, it might bring back memories they'd rather not have . . .


Can we trust the authorities about COVID-19 vaccines? HELL, NO!!!


I'm sure many of us have been following the controversy over the Center for Disease Control's VAERS database ("Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System").  The CDC says about it:

  • VAERS is an early warning system used to monitor adverse events that happen after vaccination. VAERS is the frontline system of a comprehensive vaccine safety monitoring program in the United States. It is one of several systems CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) use to help ensure all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are safe.
  • VAERS gives vaccine safety experts valuable information so they can assess possible safety concerns related to vaccines, including new COVID-19 vaccines. It is especially useful for quickly detecting unusual or unexpected patterns of health problems (also called “adverse events”) that might indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine.
  • If a health problem is reported to VAERS, that doesn’t mean that the vaccine caused the problem. It warns vaccine safety experts of potential problems that may need investigation and alerts them to take further action, as needed.
  • Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines. Other than rare reports of severe allergic reactions, analysis of VAERS reports has not detected any patterns that would indicate a safety problem with COVID-19 vaccines.

Sounds excellent, doesn't it? - until one remembers that this program is run by the CDC . . . the same CDC that insisted on quarantines, shutdowns, mask mandates and other measures that have since been conclusively proven by multiple international studies to have been either useless, or of minimal effect, in stopping the spread of COVID-19, while helping to destroy the foundation of many economies around the world.  On the basis of that track record, if you expect me to believe the CDC's assurances about COVID-19 in future, you can think again.  My instant reaction to any CDC pronouncement will be suspicion and distrust, and a resounding "Prove it!"

I note that CDC itself says that incidents reported to VAERS are not necessarily caused by the vaccine;  that's for further investigation to determine.  Fair enough.  Nevertheless, there's so much obfuscation that it's dangerous, in my opinion.  Tucker Carlson pointed this out last month.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

Some critics have argued for a long time that VAERS undercounts vaccine injuries. A report submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 concluded that "fewer than one percent of vaccine adverse events are reported" by the VARES system. Fewer than one percent. So what is the real number of people who apparently have been killed or injured by the vaccine? Well, we don’t know that number. Nobody does, and we’re not going to speculate about it. But it’s clear that what is happening now, for whatever reason, is not even close to normal. It’s not even close to what we’ve seen in previous years with previous vaccines.

. . .

Most vaccines are not accused of killing large numbers of people. The Menveo vaccine, for example, is given to people around the world, often children, to prevent bacterial meningitis. In this country, only one person died from that vaccine in the entire period between 2010 and 2015. One. So, compare that to what’s happening now. In just the first four months of this year, the U.S. government has recorded more deaths after COVID vaccinations than from all other vaccines administered in the United States between mid-1997 and the end of 2013. That’s a period of fifteen and a half years. Again, more people, according to VAERS, have died after getting the shot in four months during a single vaccination campaign than from all other vaccines combined over more than a decade and a half ... We spoke to one physician today who actively treats COVID patients. He described what we’re seeing now as the single deadliest mass-vaccination event in modern history. Whatever is causing it, it is happening as we speak. So you’d think someone in authority might want to know what’s going on.

If the vaccine injury reporting system is flawed — and it clearly is flawed — why hasn’t it been fixed? And more to the point, why has there not been an independent vaccine safety board to assess what’s happening. And reassure people who stumble across official government numbers on the internet. But amazingly, none of that has been done. No one even mentions the numbers. And in fact, you’re not allowed to. You’ll be pulled off the internet if you do. The people in charge do not acknowledge them. Instead, they warn us about what might happen if we don’t take the vaccine.

There's more at the link.

Tucker Carlson's report was instantly pilloried by every left-wing, progressive outlet on the Internet and in the news media.  He'd dared to stand up against the "party line", so he had to be excoriated, denounced, vilified and discredited at all costs.  It didn't work, of course, because he could back up every allegation he made . . . but how many Americans never heard about that?  They were simply told by the mainstream news and social media that he was lying, or exaggerating, or perpetuating "fake news".  There were very few actual analyses of what he said (you can read one example here, which I recommend as a counterweight to his report - you'll have to decide for yourself who you believe).  In most cases, it was just a chorus of "Ignore him, trust the authorities, and do what you're told!"  That overwhelming reaction, in itself, tells me Mr. Carlson is on to something.

There are those who say, "Oh, death numbers aren't a valid comparison!  You need to look at the number of deaths versus the number of people vaccinated.  If you take the former as a proportion of the latter, it's minuscule."  That may be so - I'm not qualified to comment - but it doesn't alter the dreadful reality of the total number of deaths.  It's cold comfort to those who've already died, and even colder comfort to those who feel they're being forced to get a vaccine that they know full well may prove fatal.

Some of the medical reactions to the vaccine that are now being discussed - the spread of "spike proteins" to every organ in the body, effects on cardiac health, blood clots, etc. - are anything but comforting.  You can read up on them for yourself;  a simple Internet search will provide plenty of links.  Unfortunately, the CDC and other authorities are not responding vigorously to these reports.  Instead, they talk vaguely of "investigating" them, as if finding out after months or years that they're true or false is an adequate response.  To those of us under pressure to get vaccinated, that's hardly reassuring.

To make matters worse, the CDC's lukewarm response may be condemning more victims even as they dither.  Consider the alleged effects of vaccination on the heart muscle.  Young people - teenagers and early twenties - appear particularly vulnerable to this complication.  "Now there is a very real possibility we are going to see some percentage of the vaccinated who will need heart transplants in the next ten to thirty years."  Oh, great!  In that case, why not pause vaccinations until we know for sure whether there's a link?

There's also the issue that those of us who've already had COVID-19 are unlikely to benefit from being vaccinated.

A recent study finds people who have already had Covid-19 are unlikely to get any benefit from vaccination, because they already have immunity from their infection.

The study was conducted on employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System.

It's in line with the initial studies by vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer, which also did not find a benefit to vaccinating people who have already had Covid-19.

The findings directly contradict ... guidance distributed by CDC.

Again, more at the link.

In the midst of this blizzard of information, misinformation and disinformation, propaganda and counter-propaganda, who do we believe?  Who do we trust?  As far as I'm concerned, after the exposure of Dr. Fauci as a lying, deceitful bureaucrat who's deliberately conned the American public for well over a year, I'm not inclined to trust anyone who agrees with him.

I'm not going to get vaccinated unless and until there's clarity on all of these issues, and the ultimate safety of the vaccine is assured - and that can't be assured unless and until the manufacturers no longer insist on legal protection against liability for the consequences of using their product.

I refuse to be stampeded into doing something that might kill me.  It's as simple as that.


Doofus Of The Day #1,081


Today's award goes to the US armed forces in Europe, particularly those personnel involved with the security, storage and handling of nuclear weapons.  Bellingcat reports:

For US soldiers tasked with the custody of nuclear weapons in Europe, the stakes are high. Security protocols are lengthy, detailed and need to be known by heart. To simplify this process, some service members have been using publicly visible flashcard learning apps — inadvertently revealing a multitude of sensitive security protocols about US nuclear weapons and the bases at which they are stored.

. . .

... the flashcards studied by soldiers tasked with guarding these devices reveal not just the bases, but even identify the exact shelters with “hot” vaults that likely contain nuclear weapons.

They also detail intricate security details and protocols such as the positions of cameras, the frequency of patrols around the vaults, secret duress words that signal when a guard is being threatened and the unique identifiers that a restricted area badge needs to have.

. . .

Each flashcard set can contain new definitions and acronyms. Searching for these leads on to yet more new flashcard sets.

At first glance, many appear uninteresting. Virtually all the sets share the same generic textbook knowledge that soldiers learn to pass career development courses. These include definitions of terms, acronyms, forms to turn in, laws, procedures and radio protocols.

But in many cases, servicemen or women have added their own need-to-knows and highly specific security details.

For example, an individual at one base noted down over a 100 things to know related to their specific function. These included the location of modems that connect vaults to the monitoring facility, the procedures for duress signals for each area on base, the sight pictures of cameras aimed at the vault as well as the components and workings of their console. Details around the composition of passwords, usernames and whether they can include spaces were also detailed in the cards.

There's more at the link.

I'm sure the USAF and other bodies will be scrambling to redact all the flashcards concerned . . . but it's far too late to fix the problem.  With that sort of information so freely available, it's as if Russia or China or Iran (or any other enemy, like a sophisticated terrorist group) had been allowed to send their spies to walk around US bases freely and without restriction, to learn anything they wished about our nuclear weapons' location, security and access protocols.  We've handed over the information on a silver platter to our enemies.

I'm mind-boggled that anyone would be so catastrophically, unbelievably stupid as to think that using such open, third-party software was even vaguely in order for such sensitive material.  In my day in uniform (not US uniform, of course), if I'd breached security to such an extent, I'm not sure I'd have lived long enough to face trial.  We were fighting a "hot" war at the time, and I suspect the immediate reaction from infuriated superior officers might have been to summarily execute the guilty parties.  After all, their deaths could easily have been disguised as combat casualties, and they would no longer be capable of betraying national secrets of that magnitude.  (There are a couple of cases that I've always wondered about, in that regard.  As Voltaire famously put it, perhaps they died "to encourage the others" to do their jobs better.)

One can only hope that those responsible for these breaches of security are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Meanwhile, the US military may as well start building new storage facilities, and developing entirely new security protocols, not just for nuclear weapons, but for any and every other sensitive installation, device or function.  Given that similar protocols will apply across many areas, our enemies must surely have the existing ones firmly in their crosshairs by now.  In the event of war, I won't be surprised to see them, and the weapons, equipment and people they contain, wiped out before widespread hostilities began.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The ammunition shortage and what's causing it


Those who've tried to buy ammunition recently (particularly those millions of new gun-owners who purchased their first firearm over the last eighteen months or so) know that it's difficult to the point of impossibility to buy what they need in popular cartridges like 9mm or 5.56x45mm.  As stocks come in, they go right out the door, sometimes within minutes of being received.

A lot of people have conspiracy theories about why this is, but the reality is much more mundane - if no less frustrating.  It's simply that the demand far exceeds the supply.  What's more, the supply chain disruptions affecting all other business and commerce are affecting ammunition too, making the bottleneck worse.

"Emily Posts" recently interviewed the head honcho of Hornady about the problem.

“Everyone thinks it's a conspiracy not to ship more. They think we’re lying about not selling a box of ammo,” [Jason] Hornady told me on the phone while driving across Nebraska from a meeting to his home.  “We have two years on order today. I promise we are making more. Everybody is.”

. . .

The ammo shortage has been so dramatic — with empty shelves and online stores — that some people believe the manufacturers are holding back supply to increase prices and take advantage of people. Jason, who is vice president of Hornady Manufacturing, said that is not true. It’s just impossible for the industry to keep up with skyrocketing demand.

“It’s the same for all of us in manufacturing. No one has an extra factory sitting around waiting for that big of an increase,” he explained. “We were able to sell and ship 30 percent more last year from our plant by throwing more people and hours at it.”

Hornady said demand has tripled in just a year and a half. He said their business had been flat for four years until December 2019 when Walmart stopped selling guns and ammo due to the civil unrest around the country. Demand continued to increase when the pandemic began in early 2020 and has continued to increase since then.  

“Everybody has a subliminal low-level paranoia that they will have to fight for food and guns and gas,” he said about the COVID lockdowns and restrictions.

I said it seemed like people were panic buying ammo, like they did toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

“Exactly, throw that on top,” he replied. “The customers aren’t going in and buying one box or two. They buy cases. And now they buy whatever is there. They call it shortage, but it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.”

. . .

I asked him about the conspiracy theory that the federal government was buying all the ammo to keep it from people. He said that Uncle Sam is just 2 percent of all their business.

What about the primer supply issue that people keep asking me for reloading? “We too are having a hard time getting primers. And we’re trying to get more than ever before , while those guys are trying to keep up with their own ammo companies.” He explained to me that a manufacturer that also makes primer will try to fill the ammunition orders first, which is why primer is harder to get now.  “You can’t blame them,” he added.

There's more at the link.

In a second interview, this time with the President of Winchester Ammunition, she learned:

More than twice as many Americans have guns and do shooting sports than have golf clubs and putt on a green.

. . .

Demand for ammunition rose with the pandemic for people who wanted a safe, outdoor activity, but then stayed at record levels. Flaugher said there are a whopping 52 million people in the U.S. who participate in shooting sports. Flaugher said demand for ammo has more than doubled in the past year and a half. In particular, gun club recreational shooting is “off the charts right now.”

. . .

The reason for the ammo shortage is that all the inventory was depleted in the first three months of the pandemic, Flaugher explained.  The stock of ammo in the warehouses, wholesalers and retail shelves sold fast. The manufacturers can’t build it back up because people are buying whatever they can find.

“I'm highly disappointed we can't offer every consumer a good experience in buying ammunition. It’s not fun for us to have a situation where a customer wants to go out and hunt or shoot or buy ammunition for personal protection but can’t. It’s frustrating for us as well,” he said.

“What they need to really understand is that Winchester and every other ammunition manufacturer are doing everything we can to get more to that consumer. Just like they got caught off guard with this level of demand, we got caught off guard too. It just takes a lot of time to be able to get to the level of production based upon the level of demand today. So, hey, we’re frustrated as much as they are. We do not like disappointing our customers.”

Flaugher points to three factors that led to the dramatic increase in those early months that depleted the back stock of ammunition. The first thing that caused the supply chain to dry up was the increased level of concern that people have for their personal security because of the pandemic and civil unrest. 

The second factor was the increase in people doing shooting spots, hunting and outdoor activities. The third issue is the public’s heightened concern about new gun-control laws and actions by the Biden administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress that would limit their ability to buy what they want.

Again, more at the link.

I recommend Emily's Web site as a good place to keep up-to-date with trends in the firearms industry, and interesting articles about aspects of it that other correspondents and outlets don't always cover.



So much for the security of your personal information


Self-described "counter-violence specialist" and security consultant Darren Friesen recently conducted an impromptu experiment.  The results were startling.

So, here’s a social experiment I tried this morning. I decided to see just how much information I could find out on a random person. As the car in front of me had some interesting bumper stickers, I picked it. I did not see the driver whatsoever and only recouped the license plate. That was all the info I had to go on other than what was visual about the car and inside within eyesight.

Here’s what I found.

Through the National Registry, I found out the owner of the car, the make, model, year purchased, how paid. I found out his personal identification number, his mother’s maiden name, his married status (divorced), ex-wife’s name, and nationality. I already know that, since his license plate number ends in 3, that he's not allowed driving within city limits on Tuesdays due to the weekly vehicle-usage restrictions so I'll know when his car's at home unattended and when he'll be travelling by other means.

From there I searched him out on social media. I found pics of him, his girlfriend, and his children ... I found out the general area where they live and the exact areas where they go back-and-forth from points of work. I found both cell numbers and the company they’re subcontracted by, including their own offshoot companies.

From here I found him on a heritage/geneology site and, not wanting to open an actual account and pay money, I went the general synopsis route and scraped together info stumbled across pertaining to his family tree ... Had I paid for site-entry, I would’ve found out his last 2 known addresses for census and voting purposes, likely opening the door to find his new and current residency, had I been inclined and motivated.

So, what’s the point of all this? It took me one hour. From someone who’s generally quite guarded and has a restricted online profile, who pays attention to behavioral issues, who blocked out his personal information, children’s identities, and restricted his content. One hour. From a license plate number. Don’t think that total strangers can’t find out a ton about you that you don’t think they can, in a minimal amount of time, with the smallest of information. Orwell was onto something…

There's more at the link.

Most of us aren't interesting enough to others for them to want to investigate us to that extent:  but some of us are.  This experiment should come as a wake-up call to us.  In our electronic, digital age, it's virtually impossible to maintain effective privacy and keep our personal information secure.  It's not completely impossible, but it is very difficult, and it's likely to be very expensive.  (That's how some security companies and specialists make their living, by providing such services.  I know people who use them, and they're getting what they're paying for - but they all, without exception, complain about the loss of personal privacy to those they are paying.  To stop others ferreting out information, they have to reveal all that information to those who are safeguarding it, and be prepared for intrusiveness in the name of security on a scale that most of us wouldn't tolerate.)

This is also food for thought to those who are vocal in their opposition to the electoral fraud that stole last November's elections in this country.  Those who want to silence us can get at all this sort of information and more, particularly since they're likely to have access to (corrupted) official resources.  They won't be afraid to use it, either, spreading disinformation and rumors and innuendo about us to their media allies, or putting pressure on us by threatening to reveal things we'd rather keep confidential.

I'm old enough and I've experienced enough that I know what to expect.  However, if you have a lot to lose - and a family that has much to lose - you might want to think about that before you get too involved.  There will probably be a price to be paid for speaking the truth, as those trying to hide it try to crack down on those revealing it.  Are you ready, willing and able to pay it?  Are you quite sure about that?


(EDITED TO ADD:  The link to the source Web site appears to be down at the time of writing this, with an "Under Construction" notice popping up.  The Web site is in a South American country, so bandwidth from the USA may be an issue if a lot of my readers are suddenly clicking through.  Try again later if necessary.)

Electoral ducking and covering... why am I not surprised?


I note the following announcement from Colorado's Secretary of State.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office today adopted emergency elections rules prohibiting third-parties from accessing voting equipment in the state of Colorado.

“Colorado’s elections are considered the safest in the nation, and we must remain steadfast in our dedication to security,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “Along those lines, no third-party person or vendor will be permitted access to voting equipment in our state. We will not risk the state’s election security nor perpetuate The Big Lie. Sham audits have no place in Colorado.”

. . .

A third-party vendor with no election experience is currently performing a faulty, unsecure election audit in Arizona and calls for such sham audits have been spreading in other states. Several Colorado counties have been contacted by third parties offering to conduct audits.Colorado already administers post-election Risk Limiting Audits after every statewide election, which gives a statistical level of confidence that the outcome of an election is correct.

There's more at the link (if you want to waste your time reading such drivel).

So Colorado joins the many other "blue states" that are desperately trying to prevent a free, fair, open and unbiased analysis of last November's election, in an attempt to uncover the shenanigans that undoubtedly took place.  (The statistical evidence alone is more than convincing enough to prove that, let alone the physical and other evidence already uncovered in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan by such audits.)

Rule of thumb:  if someone wants to prevent light being shed on a subject, they have ulterior motives.  Light is a useful sterilizer.  It reveals reality, and destroys the lie.  Or, as one Gab user put it:

I couldn't have said it better myself.

(Oh - and speaking of electoral shenanigans, did you notice this report out of California?  Looks like LA County's Soros-funded DA may not have been validly elected after all - yet he's the one who is primarily responsible for investigating electoral fraud in that county.  Ain't we got fun?)


Monday, June 21, 2021

The 21st of everything!


Found on Gab (clickit to biggit):


Disco as a Scottish football anthem??? Verily, the mind doth boggle...


I had to laugh at this report from the BBC.

Thousands of Scotland fans are in London ahead of their Euro 2020 match with England - but the skirl of the bagpipes has largely been drowned out by a 1970s disco classic.

Videos of the Tartan Army belting out Yes Sir, I Can Boogie on the streets of the English capital have been all over social media.

So how did the song become the country's unofficial national anthem?

It started when a video of ecstatic players dancing to the tune went viral after Scotland clinched qualification for the tournament by defeating Serbia on penalties in November.

The song by Spanish duo Baccara spent a single week at the top of the UK charts in 1977.

But last year it got a fresh lease of life when it was used by the Keeping the Ball on the Ground podcast as a tribute to defender Andrew Considine.

The Aberdeen cult hero - who was called up to the Scotland team for the first time last year at the age of 33 - famously starred in a spoof video of the song on his stag do.

The player was unrecognisable as he dressed in drag to strut his stuff to the tune alongside friends and his father, with the professionally-produced video being played on his wedding day in 2015.

. . .

The boogieing began in earnest once more as Euro 2020 got under way, with the 12,000 fans who were allowed to be inside Hampden belting out the song ahead of Scotland's opening match with the Czech Republic.

The game - Scotland's first in a major tournament for 23 years - ended in a 2-0 defeat.

But the result didn't appear to have dampened spirits too much ahead of the eagerly awaited clash with the Auld Enemy at Wembley.

Videos of fans singing the song on planes and trains as they made their way south for the match have been racking up hundreds of thousands of view on social media.

And regardless of what happens in the game, a certain song will keep the Tartan Army boogie-woogieing all night long.

There's more at the link, including photographs of the stag (drag?) party that started it all.

For those of you too young to remember it, here's the 1977 hit.

And, for a giggle, here's the BBC's Scottish symphony orchestra - in makeup, drag and football gear - doing their thing with it.

Tartan Army, indeed!


Defending my thesis about South Africa and the Afrikaners


Last week I published an article titled ' No, the Afrikaners were NOT "The Heroic White Tribe of Africa" '.  I tried to demonstrate that the Afrikaners were, in fact, guilty of dooming themselves, because of their innate racism and refusal to share the wealth of their country with other groups, races and cultures.  (The article aroused a fair amount of controversy, if not outright racist replies.  I didn't censor any of the latter;  you can read them for yourself below the article.  I recommend you do, as an insight into the mindset of those who refuse to examine an issue objectively.)

Adam Piggott, whose views I generally respect, took issue with my thesis in his own article titled "There is no such thing as a black middle class".  Here are a few excerpts.

But this idea that the Afrikaners sowed the wind by being mean and nasty to the colored folk is completely incorrect. Rather, their biggest mistake was letting them into the country in the first place.

The Afrikaners settled what is now known as South Africa. They didn’t have to drive out any native population because there was none. But their success was attractive to the African tribes. Another article at American Renaissance which was written as a warning to Anglo nations, gives an indication as to the source of their fate.

. . .

Homogenous nations survive. Diverse nations perish. In layman’s terms this is also referred to as, pick your own damn cotton. The apartheid system to which Grant is so morally outraged was a last ditch attempt to correct the fatal mistake of letting in so many unassimilable outsiders in the first place. It was doomed to failure, not because of its barbarity, but rather because it didn’t go far enough. The Afrikaners sought a balance between controlling the uncontrollable while still benefiting from the vast labor source that the immigrants provided. Their greed was their downfall. Rather than seeking to retain the source of cheap labor, their only possible chance of survival was to expel them.

. . .

But it was another line from Grant’s article that really piqued my interest.

If Afrikaners had been willing to create a genuine black middle class, and open the economy to allow everyone to aspire to their fair share of it, earning their way to prosperity by the sweat of their brows, South Africa would be a very different country today.

This sort of nonsense seems to be so prevalent in the Boomer generation, no matter on what side of the political and religious spectrum they lie. This quote is buried up to the neck in the magic dirt theory that if only we treat everyone in a nice way then all of these incompatible blow-ins will magically adopt Western Civilization; after all, it’s just a value system.

This is completely false because everything is downstream from biology and culture, in that order.

The idea of a genuine black middle class is a complete fantasy. There is no native black country on the planet that has a natural middle class. That is because black culture is tribal, and tribal cultures have a few people on the top and everyone else on the bottom. The middle class is a feature of white culture. It cannot be grafted at will onto other races, which goes likewise for all of the other features of Western Civilization. Black middle classes that exist in white countries are parasitical and thus temporal in nature. If the whites disappear then so too will the middle class. One only has to look at countries where this has occurred to see it in action, with Rhodesia being the classic and deliberately forgotten example.

There's more at the link.  By all means, please read his response in full.  I don't agree with him, of course, but his arguments represent widespread opinions.

I'd like to respond to some of his points.

  • The Afrikaners did not settle an empty land.  The long, brutal history of clashes between white settlers and black tribes speaks for itself.  Black tribes were moving south and west;  Afrikaner "trekkers" were moving north and east.  They ran headlong into each other.  The situation was complicated by the so-called "Mfecane", the widespread (but temporary) depopulation of parts of the interior by clashes between black tribes (partly over land and resources, partly fueled by white commercial pressures such as the slave and ivory trades).  The so-called "Kaffir Wars";  wars during and after the Great Trek;  conflicts between various groups (including white-on-white, white-on-black, black-on white, black-on-black, etc.) between 1879 and 1915;  all demonstrate conclusively that the Afrikaner was anything but alone in an otherwise empty, deserted land.  (If they weren't, who were they fighting?)  Suffice it to say that they didn't "let anybody in" - they were already there.  Afrikaners tried hard to portray "empty land" as an historical fact, but they ignored, twisted or actively undermined real historical facts to do so.  Sadly, the myth they established lives on in certain quarters, despite its falsity.
  • The "other article at American Renaissance" to which Mr. Piggott refers is a piece of what I can only describe as racist propaganda.  The author remains anonymous, but confesses:  "Many of us knew that the dream of a non-racial democracy would end up as a black dictatorship. Many of us fought desperately to stop the takeover, but the West had a bizarre need to see black rule in this part of the world, whatever the consequences. Being right doesn’t mean you win. Giving 'democracy' a chance here was a death sentence for our country."  Uh-huh.  I talked about that some years ago, having witnessed at first hand the violent assault on a democratic solution in South Africa mounted by "conservative" (IOW, racist) whites.  You'll find an interesting video on the subject in an earlier article in these pages.  I highly recommend you watch it.  It's eye-opening.
  • "Homogenous nations survive. Diverse nations perish."  That's a nice sound-bite . . . but how many homogenous nations have also perished, ground down beneath history's inexorable onward march, or absorbed into a more powerful homogeneity that overwhelmed them and subsumed their culture into its own?  A hell of a lot of them have died like that.  Just look at most European nations today.  Besides, homogeneity can be measured in many ways.  Race is only one of them, and it's of minimal importance compared to culture.  I think South Africa is, indeed, an example of a multicultural society that failed.  However, I also believe that if there had been a real, serious attempt over decades to promote a common South African culture, rather than "divide and rule" on the basis of race, tribe, ethnicity and culture, that might have been avoided.  It was the all-out effort to prevent the establishment of a common culture, one that could unite diverse groups in at least some ways and lead to joint efforts to preserve the country rather than every group and individual fighting for its/their own benefit first, that doomed apartheid South Africa to what we see there today.
  • "The idea of a genuine black middle class is a complete fantasy. There is no native black country on the planet that has a natural middle class. That is because black culture is tribal, and tribal cultures have a few people on the top and everyone else on the bottom."  Uh . . . sorry, Mr. Piggott, but you're wrong.  Apply your statement to every European nation prior to the Industrial Revolution.  It fits all of them - and there wasn't an African tribe in sight.  It took the Industrial Revolution to gradually devolve power to the people and undermine the all-powerful aristocracy - that, and the wars that accompanied it.  The French Revolution started it, and many other revolutions, peaceful and violent, continued the process through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  There was effectively no widespread middle class until economic reality forced those in power to allow it to develop - just as would have happened in tribal society, had economic pressures been allowed to do their inevitable work.  You can equate aristocracy with tribal chiefs and leaders, if you wish - I think the similarities outweigh the differences.  By legally enforcing the dominance of old, outdated tribal systems and culture, which stymied the development of a black middle class, the Afrikaners effectively condemned themselves to oblivion when the inevitable backlash arose - just as the aristocracy was effectively removed from power in most of Europe when it lost control.
  • "Everything is downstream from biology and culture, in that order."  Culture?  Yes, I'll agree with that.  Biology?  Not so much.  The biological distinction between races is so tiny as to be infinitesimal.  The cultural differences matter far more, IMHO, and in the opinion of many who've studied the field in depth.  Race is only skin deep.  Culture is soul deep.  If we leave primitive cultures in place, and fail to provide education, example and opportunity for them to evolve, we end up with crippled countries.  How many colonial powers actually tried to educate the inhabitants of their colonies?  Almost none.  They wanted to exploit them, not develop them.  How might Islam be different today if the various nations that colonized Muslim lands had provided real education, real economic opportunity, real separation of church and state?  Because they did none of these things, we're stuck with an Islam that has yet to experience even a cultural Renaissance, let alone a Reformation.  The result is the widespread violence and terrorism that plagues the Islamic world and our own societies to this day.

I'm a Christian pastor, so my responses are shaped and formed by my faith.  From that perspective, I have to say that the situation in South Africa today seems to me to be a perfect illustration of the reality of the Biblical Golden Rule and its corollary passages in the New Testament.

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

"And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." (Luke 6:31)

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7)

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38)

Isn't that exactly what the Afrikaners did in South Africa?  They "did unto others";  and, in due course, what they did was "done unto them" in turn.  They sowed division, greed, oppression, injustice.  What are they reaping today, if not the harvest they sowed for themselves?  As they gave, so they are receiving, in "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over".

May God grant that we avoid the same mistake.  I hope and pray that Mr. Piggott, and the authors of the two articles in American Renaissance that have been referenced, will find food for thought in that.


EDITED TO ADD:  Just to demonstrate how racist attitudes dominated the Afrikaner 'tribe':  There are four dominant racial groups in South Africa:  whites, blacks, indians (dot, not feather) and so-called "coloreds", meaning those of mixed race.  The Afrikaner right-wingers were always hot under the collar about the latter, insisting that no, their existence didn't prove that Afrikaners had sexual relations with their slaves, or any other black people for that matter.  They blamed the British.  In fact, in the 1970's, an Afrikaner academic proclaimed loudly that the colored people were the result of "relations" between blacks and "visiting British seamen".  A Cape Town newspaper retorted that, given the millions of colored people, "they must have been very Able Seamen!"  Hilarity ensued.

It was around that time that another Afrikaner academic, this time of a liberal persuasion, calculated that almost every prominent Afrikaner family had between 6% and 9% of black ancestry, thanks to miscegenation over the years.  He was (literally) tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail by outraged, rather less liberal Afrikaners.


Memes that made me laugh 63


The last seven days' harvest from the Intertubes.  Click any image for a larger view.

More next week.