Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strange and Bizarre Stories From the Police State

"Offered for your consideration" is a handful of stories that are completely unrelated, at first blush. 

First: why is there a secret morgue near Joplin, MO?  Police railroaded a CNN crew away from the place in this video:

Everyone knows there were tornadoes in Joplin and everyone knows there were many victims.  Anyone who thinks about it, and puts in the context of other stories we've heard, knows that there's probably some amount of collecting body parts and trying to match them into sets of remains that can be given an identity.  I'm sure some of the bodies are in a condition that family members wouldn't want pictures of.  But I don't think people want to watch that; I think most people are just curious about the magnitude of the tragedy.  I can understand you don't want cameras in there in respect to the survivors, but to essentially make the entire thing secret?  Why not just have a spokesman outside or in a nearby place to talk with the news media?  This is the sort of total blackout secrecy tactics the CIA and NRO use: just make everything secret.

The next story is about the terrible crime of pruning your trees on your own commercial property
The church was fined $100 per branch cut for excessive pruning, bringing the violation to $4,000.
$100 per branch?  The "City of Trees" (Charlotte, NC, by the way) will get rid of the fine if they destroy the trees and replace them.  No, really. 
The fine will be dropped if the church replaces each of the improperly pruned trees, said Tom Johnson, senior urban forester for city of Charlotte Land Development Division.
I'm speechless.  So if you let the trees grow back the pruned branches, (which is why you prune a tree, after all) that's a $4000 fine, but if you kill the tree and buy a replacement, that's better?  Did a nursery write this law? 

As Borepatch says, North Carolina used to be a nice place, now it's doing its best to become the Massachusetts of Dixie.

Finally, the story about the Department of Fatherland Security's "Future Crime"-like FAST system is getting wider circulation and made "The Blaze" today.  This is the system that they plan to use at bowl games and other big sporting events that they think are terrorist targets.  Or places to round up Threepers, Bitter Clingers and other anti-regime groups. 

The system strikes me as a lie detector (polygraph) in different clothes.  The way they say it works is to examine your physiological responses and compare it to expected values, which is exactly what a polygraph does.  In other words, like all polygraphs, it works by intimidating you into thinking it works.   

It always struck me as funny that on one hand, the government gave polygraph tests to all sorts of employees, while on the other hand, the three letter agencies were teaching classes in how not to get caught by a polygraph.  "Lie detector" tests are inadmissible in courts because the technology has basically been discredited (summary here - but just Google or Bing "beat polygraph") for more. 

And what do all of these stories have in common?  The Government knows better than you, is there to protect you from yourself, and will send police to enforce that. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day of Remembrance

There has been a lot of talk lately, including here, about the police state we are becoming, or that we are.  Can we agree to put this aside today and pay respect to those who gave their all?  This feeling isn't universal; I even saw a reference - somewhere - that those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice didn't do that for us, they did it for the government.  They did what they were told.  And that observation was delivered in a way to diminish that sacrifice.

That war is "the extension of politics by other means" is credited to Clausewitz in  the 1800s.  It doesn't take a genius to see the author is right in assertion but terribly wrong overall.  

Yeah, I'm torn up by the murder of Jose Guereno, too.  And, as we've all pointed out, signs of the coming police state are everywhere.  But it's a simple act to pause, pay respect, remember the men of Omaha Beach, Chosin, and Operation Redwing.  That these men were conductors of US foreign policy does nothing to diminish their honor.  They gave their all for the men there with them.  But they gave more.  They gave us the chance to represent them. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

TSA To Oversee High School Prom??

I was just visiting the TSA careers web page, and I didn't see a single item that said you would provide security at high school proms - or, to put a more accurate description on it - not a single thing that said you would pat down high school girls at their prom.  That seems to be the job this month, though.  This is confusing, but apparently Candice Herrera and her sister went to the Capital High School prom and were treated roughly by the security officer at that prom
Candice Herrera said, "She grabbed my breast and grabbed the inner part of my bra and shook it and then picked up the front of my dress to like mid thigh." Herrera said. "She was patting down my bare legs which kind of didn't make sense."
So to ensure rough treatment of high school girls doesn't happen, the Santa Fe school board has hired the TSA to pat down the girls.  
On Friday, the court ordered Santa Fe Public Schools and the security company ASI to provide at least one TSA certified person at the Santa Fe High School prom and the Capital High School graduation.
Oh - the highly professional TSA is being brought in to provide a higher level of ... professionalismWhat could possibly go wrong?  Every single word there is a separate link, and I don't even scratch the surface. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Come To You With A Heavy Heart

I believe the recent abandonment of the fourth amendment is causing a cascade failure of the Bill of Rights.  Maybe that's not precisely right, maybe it has nothing to do with the recent court rulings because the BOR has been falling for quite a while now.  But there's a growing feeling it has started. 

John Venlet at Improved Clinch joins several who believe the next civil war has started, and it has come - not surprisingly - on jack boots.
The war of the United States government against the people is an ongoing and expanding action, the current preferred term being a kinetic military action, and this war is being waged on multiple fronts, with casualties on all fronts, though the highest body counts are currently on the domestic, or home front.
As Alan at Snarky Bytes said last week, you know we have problems when the police work under looser rules of engagement than our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  John continues:
Individual Americans are mostly silent in response to the war(s) being waged on them by the government, one could say complicitly silent, even as the war(s) death toll rises.  Why is this?  If Islamic terrorists were killing Americans in their homes, a hue and cry would resound throughout the land, marches would be held, politicians would righteously harrumph, and mainstream media sources would pour rivers of indignant words.  These things are not happening in America in response to the war of the United States government against the people because it is the police who are killing the people under the banner of law and order.  It is because America is become a police state. (emphasis added)
Professionalism fills American Mercenary as he goes through a couple of examples of how one can use open source intelligence to understand their Area of Operation.  Check out the Targeting Packet and the important field of Human Network Analysis

There are many open sources of information available today.  Many counties, including the Pima County, have the tax collector's records online.  It's a simple matter to look these up.   

One of John's comments links to this wonderful quote by Jeff Cooper:
“Not long ago it was easy to tell who the bad guys were. They carried Kalashnikovs. Now it is much more complicated, but one thing is sure - any man who covers his face and packs a gun is a legitimate target for any decent citizen.” - Jeff Cooper, June 1993

That cat's lucky they have such good trigger control, I tell you what! At least the cat didn't get shot at 71 times. 

How to Oppose the BATFE Long Gun Sales Proposal

No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money has put up a web page that will allow you to send a form letter to oppose the BATFE requirement that any sale of more than 2 rifles of "22 caliber or larger which use an external magazine" within 5 business days be subject to additional restrictions. 

While I think that a personally written letter has more impact, to quote the saying about automatic fire weapons, "quantity has a quality all of its own". 

My original post on this was missing the important detail of how to comment, so there it is.  Even better, it's an easy to fill out online form, so go do it, and get the word out to all your 2A friends and acquaintances.  Let's letter bomb these mofos. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's A Good Thing These People Weren't in Massachusetts

An hour or so south of the castle is sleepy St. Lucie county, where a unique story is reported.  If Massachusetts almost put TJIC away for a bad joke, these folks would be in solitary confinement. 
Officials are investigating a weekend incident during which a man indicated his wife fired an AR-15 rifle at a target inside a master bedroom closet, missing the target and blasting holes in a washing machine.
Now, I gotta tell you something.  I've got an AR or three, and I find the 35 or 40 minute drive to the rifle range somewhat annoying.  I really wish there was something closer, or Florida was like it was when I was 14, and I could just wander around past the end of the road with my rifle and plink at cans.  But I have never, ever thought of putting a target in my closet and shooting it with my AR.
A deputy learned they'd been in the bedroom shooting the target in the closet.
See, up till now, I never thought I would see the words "in the bedroom shooting the target in the closet" in a single sentence.  

"They had done this on multiple occasions," a report states, noting both had been drinking.
And they had been drinking while shooting targets in the closet.  Who would ever guess that alcohol could be involved?

But notice the article concludes this way:
Investigators spoke to a prosecutor and determined no charges would be filed at the time.
Well, to be fair, the LEOs confiscated the dude's three guns "for safe keeping", but I think I would expect that in pretty much every situation where a gun is discharged in a house.  Not saying it's right, but I think if this couple were in The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts or Callie-Fornia, they'd be hanging from a dungeon wall by shackles.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dual 1 W Laser? Set Two People on Fire at Once??

Seems like only yesterday, but actually a year ago, I posted about a one watt laser from Wicked Lasers.  It featured warnings it could burn through your skin, set you on fire or blind you instantly. Naturally, everybody wants one.

They're at it again.  This time, the "Sith" (what else?) laser that couples two of those same "Arctic" model 1W lasers into a "Darth Maul" style dual. 

A friend of a friend just ordered one of the Arctic models.  Hopefully, I'll get a look at one without burning off parts of either of our bodies. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Rabbit Foot Note

It appears the USDA is caving on the fines.

According to Bob McCarty on BigGovernment.com,
"I base that conclusion on the following e-mail I received late Tuesday afternoon from USDA/APHIS Spokesperson Dave Sacks:
We are working out an alternative to the $90K fine and plan to reach out to Mr. Dollarhite over the next week to discuss. We are hopeful he’ll be amenable to discussing it with us and let us visit his facility as we work the issue out."
Perhaps it was the personal touch of some elected officials (McCarty names a few).  Perhaps it was the planned Anti-tyranny protest this afternoon.  Perhaps it was phone calls or emails from all of the blogs that picked up this story.  Perhaps it was an interesting letter from lawyer Richard L. Anderson of West Branson, who wrote:
 "My client rejects that proposal. I note that a descriptive pamphlet ... that IES “now conducts more than 6,000 cases and collects approximately $ 2 million in civil penalties annually.” That averages a penalty of $ 333.33 per case, and yet you contend it would be appropriate my client tender a penalty of $90,643.00.

Near the end of the letter, he added the following:

I cannot imagine that the actions of Mr. Dollarhite would merit a fine or penalty that would be 272 times larger than what the “average” fine ($ 333) collected by the USDA, IES, APHIS would be, under the circumstances of this case, and would certainly hope that a reasonable hearing examiner would agree."
Good!  It ain't over until it's over, but the Fed.gov extortionists are backing off for now.

We use the name Leviathan for a reason: it's a giant.  More like a Hydra - you cut one head off and another can still kill you.   You have heard of the year long sting operation against an Amish farmer who was selling raw milk - to people who were going out of their way to find it, and paying high prices for it, right? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Small, Furry Story From the Police State

I shouldn't joke about this.  Facing a $4 Million dollar fine for selling a few (dozen) bunnies is not funny and could completely ruin this family.  It's not funny.  It's just that it's at least a little better than executing them on the spot, as the police state did with Jose Guerena in Arizona the other day or Erik Scott in the Las Vegas Costco last summer, or (you can insert a list here).

The story is from Bob McCarty on BigGovernment.Com (link just above).  It begins:
...John Dollarhite and his wife Judy of tiny Nixa, Mo., have been told by the USDA that, by Monday, they must pay a fine exceeding $90,000. If they don’t pay that fine, they could face additional fines of almost $4 million. Why? Because they sold more than $500 worth of bunnies — $4,600 worth to be exact — in a single calendar year.
At this point, my chin hits the floor.   Selling $4600 in bunnies warrants a $90,000 fine?  And enough penalties to raise that to $4,000,000 - almost $1000 fine per bunny?

The story continues:
By the year’s end, the Dollarhites had moved approximately 440 rabbits and grossed about $4,600 for a profit of approximately $200 — enough, John said, to provide the family “pocket money” to do things such as eat out at Red Lobster once in a while. That was better than the loss they experienced in 2008.
Let me get this straight: they sell 440 rabbits for $200 profit, or under 50 cents each, and somehow that warrants $1000 each in fines?  It's worth reading the whole thing.  Just another example of the worst of what this country has become.  As one commenter put it:
And this is how they do it. By going after the little guy because it's easier to go after a law abiding citizen than to go after a big factory farm with lots of money and lawyers at their disposal.
Another commenter posts the laws, passed in 1989, that stipulates selling over $500 worth of rabbits is a federal offense.   The insanity that is the police state.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

"This Is Freakin' Awesome!!!"

QoTD yesterday, from my number one shooting buddy, Mrs. Graybeard, on shooting her M1 Garand for the first time. 

Just getting a feel for them, loading the en-bloc clip, loading the clip into the rifle, working it for the first time, shooting it for the first time.  Getting a feel for how the sights work at 25 yards.  The whole experience. 
This is her first 8 round clip.  When you discount that one through the Caldwell logo (pushed a little more by the .30-06 then expected), all of them within 3" and progessing toward the center. 

And my first two clips.  Trying to see where the post lines up on the target, and refining POA. 

I'll call it benchrest shooting because of the front support we have for the gun.  No use of a sling, standing sitting or prone.  Sitting on something chair-like.  But not those fancy benchrests that immobilize the gun  The gun is capable of moving, so it's more like leaning the barrel on a tree branch.  One of these - doesn't clamp on, just a better thing to lean on than your arm. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thoughts I Didn't Get To This Week

I talked about Obama's stupid policy towards Israel the other day.  I see it as the US abandoning Israel.  Caroline Glick sees it as Obama's Abandonment of America and raises some interesting points.  Here's one we absolutely agree on:
AS FOR ISRAEL, in a way, Obama did Israel a favor by giving this speech. By abandoning even a semblance of friendliness, he has told us that we have nothing whatsoever to gain by trying to make him like us.
It's a final cutoff, telling Israel to go pound sand.

Something to bear in mind is that if this is truly God at work, it doesn't matter what we do - if the US is for or against Israel.  It's His call.  It may be that Israel needs to be sifted (Luke 22:31).  It may be that the US needs to be sifted.  The Bible is nothing if not a collection of stories of the Jews (as models of all of us) falling away, and having to be punished, then put back on the right track.

In the wake of the death of the 4th amendment (Indiana and then the Supremes themselves) something has been bothering me, and my wife put it into perspective.  There is now no way to pass the Jews in the Attic Test

I haven't commented on the murder of Jose Guerena, but Sheriff Douchebag, um, Dipshit,... um Dupnik in Arizona has really raised a lot of hackles.  I'd bet there's at least ten thousand people in this country who would take him out, given half a chance.   Yes, this is the same Sheriff Dipshit who blamed the shooting of Congress Critter Giffords on the "vitriolic rhetoric" of the right.  I'm sure his crack swat team shooting an innocent Marine veteran 70-frickin' times is someone elses' fault, too.  Gonna blame this one on Rush, too, Dipshit?  I'm with RTC on this one.

This case is bullcrap from top to bottom.  Kill a guy who never took his gun off safety with 71 shots, then deliberately keep the paramedics from treating him until he dies because everyone know "dead men tell no tales"?  And then try to frame him?  Screw impeachment or recall.  This sheriff needs to be in jail.  This is the worst of what America is turning into. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Adding Barterable Skills

Over the last week or so, I've made another knife.  It's a very easy kit, that I got from Premium Knife Supply, from a listing on eBay.  They call it their S11 "Hawkbill" or pruning knife.  Got the blade for considerably less than their buy it now prices - $6.50, if I recall correctly.  For a while, you can look at one here.  Visitors to the archives will have to go search eBay. 

When the blade arrives, it's abrasive-blasted or finished to something like 80 or 120 grit abrasive.  I decided I didn't like the look and wanted to sand it and polish it.  That was an intensive job!  The steel they use is very hard and the pits from the abrasive are very deep.  Although I got a decent finish on it, it still bears marks from the sandblasting.  Then I tried to drill a 3/16" hole near the big finger hole to run some cord through, and ruined some HSS drill bits.  They barely made a mark on the steel this is made from.  The only thing I had that would drill that steel was a carbide masonry bit, and you should have seen the smoking chips fly!  I imagine a good quality carbide steel drill, or perhaps really high cobalt steel, would do. 

Polishing it was a little tricky with the curved shape, but it came out wicked sharp. 

The paracord handle is the first time I've done anything with the stuff.  Nice thing about paracord is I can take it apart and try it again later.  At first, I was going to use stones, like the knife I did last summer, but thought I'd try to learn how use paracord.  I have made fishing rods before, and the ways you treat paracord are pretty similar to the way you treat the rod-winding thread.  Only paracord is about 100 times thicker. 

So color me still learning.  Always room to learn, right?  "I'll trade you a big Bowie knife for one of your chickens". 

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Is The Proper Role of a Patriot?

Anonymous commenter last night/this morning (1:45 EDT) posted this thought-provoking comment:

“Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong”

— Stephen Decatur

Elections have consequences. Obama won the Presidency. He is our President. Not saying that this shouldn't be an issue in the 2012 campaign. Sure it should be.

But until then America needs to support the President and this policy. EVEN IF IT IS WRONG!

To do less makes one a traitor!
One of the things I've always admired about the military is that when the president changes, they take down the old portrait, hang up the new one, and get on with the job.  I recall saying almost those exact words to a technician working with/for me just after the inauguration in '09.  I will salute the new guy, and get on with life. 

But is this correct?  Are we under no obligation other than "our country, right or wrong"?   Does all politics stop at the water's edge?  It was only a few years ago, under W Bush, that the left was saying "dissent is the highest form of patriotism".  Hillary Clinton famously gave a talk where she said just that in those legendary dulcet tones of hers...

Today, of course, dissent is treasonous.  I am not putting words into my commenter's mouth (or keyboard, as the case may be) and implying they're saying anyone who protests the administration is a traitor.  For all I know this person is to the right of Genghis, or even Sylvia, Kahn (obscure reference!) and believes the only proper response is to wait for the next election.

Perhaps the best illustration of how differently dissent is handled is how virtually identical political images of W and Obama were reacted to so completely differently.  In this image, the one on top was in Atlantic magazine and praised as brilliant, while the one on the bottom was condemned with every level of vitriol imaginable.

An analogy:  I've worked for my current employer for 15 years.  Over those years, I think I've demonstrated my loyalty to them.  But we make safety critical systems, where a bad design decision that gets out in a product could kill hundreds of people at a time, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  What if I see the project leaders making a decision that my years of experience says is dangerously stupid?  I have an ethical, moral and legal duty that exceeds loyalty to the company and I need to point out the mistake.  Let's take it farther: let's say I tell them they're doing something that can get people killed and the leader ignores me.  What then?  What if I go through every level in the company and nothing gets changed?  If I'm convinced by my analysis that they are doing the wrong thing, and the company will do nothing about it, I am obligated to either accept it (that is, be complicit) or leave.  Love it or leave it.

To drive home the point, it's the same thing with our nation.  I think it's our duty, when we see the servants we elect to do our work do that work in a patently stupid and potentially deadly way, we have an obligation to point out the mistake.  You can rest assured that my ramblings do not end here, when I believe bad policy decisions are being made.  Unlike my employer, the option to leave is not really there. 

In the wake of the police raid that took blogger TJIC off the net, I wrote:
The founding fathers, after all, were in armed rebellion against the legal government they were living under, right?  They were British citizens shooting British citizens.  Unless you are of the belief that no system of government is ever so oppressive or so tyrannical as to need to be overthrown, you must agree that (TJIC's) is not an unreasonable opinion. (emphasis added this time - GB) 
The word patriot has the Latin root patria - country or "fatherland".  The modern definition is "one who loves and zealously supports and defends his or her country".  The modern patriot movement may well love, and zealously support a country that doesn't exist anymore. In the words of this famous video, "This is America! - It Ain't no more".

Edit 2125  Inadvertently used an HTML tag in the quote and words disappeared!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Prez Smacks Down Israel - Abandons Another Staunch Ally

The same president that insulted and alienated Great Britain and has done his best to alienate and insult other allies just can't break his mind away from the anti-colonialist drivel  from his father and sides with the Palestinians over Israel. 

WSRA Links to Ann's latest, but she always said anything she posts is wide open to copy, so I could do worse than copy her here:

Obama Trying His Damndest to Start WW3
Posted by Ann Barnhardt - May 19, AD 2011 11:57 AM MST
Okay. Here's what you need to understand about what Obama just did. He said that there needs to be a Palestinian State based upon the pre-1967 borders. This isn't just throwing Israel under the bus, this is throwing Israel into the woodchipper. This is like saying that the U.S. needs to return to the 1802 borders. Wait . . . no one give him any ideas about that. I'm sure Obama would be tickled to death with that.

Benjamin Netanyahu is en route to the U.S. and is scheduled to give a speech to a joint session of Congress. Obama has just chop-blocked one of our staunchest allies. Further, what Obama is really doing is inciting and inflaming anti-Israel sentiment on the Muslim street, which is already wildly destabilized. He is throwing gas on the fire.

Here is what they are trying to do. If Israel does not now FULLY surrender to the pre-1967 borders, the muslims will use this as an excuse to riot and eventually attack - because they now have the EXPLICIT BLESSING of the POTUS to do so. Obama/Soros has given the Caliphate a central rallying point. In the name of "human rights", Obama/Soros is setting up a chessboard whereby a U.S./U.N. occupation of Israel will be "needed" to "enforce" the 1967 borders. If Israel tries to defend itself against muslim aggression - which remember has been agitated by Obama himself - or defend its sovereign territory, Obama/Soros will cast these actions of Israeli self-defense and self-preservation as "human rights violations" and move in. DO WE NOW FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PURPOSE OF THE LIBYAN ACTION WAS? It was simply to establish a precedent. Bishop to e6.

If I may be so bold, Netanyahu needs to take a page out of my playbook. He needs to give Obama the @$$kicking of a lifetime in his address to Congress. These Obama/Soros people are common gutter-scum street thugs, and need to be treated accordingly. TAKE OFF THE GLOVES AND BRING THE BEAT-DOWN. Because it is either that, or World War 3.

The extreme left: the Bill Ayers/Michael Moore/Ward Churchill types - all follow this script that every social interaction in the world is between oppressor and victim, never between equal independent agents acting in what they feel is, if not their absolute best interest, a reasonable exchange.  This is the toxic rhetoric they spew All The Time.  Naturally, the '50s-era anti-colonialist that Obama is channeling will see Israel this way, just as he sees the US this way.  If Ann got anything wrong in that, it was the reference to taking the US back to the 1802 borders.  I think they want to take the US apart.  Maybe back to the 1602 borders. 

To quote Dinesh D'Souza,

We are today living out the script for America and the world that was dreamt up not by Obama but by Obama's father. How do I know this? Because Obama says so himself. Reflect for a moment on the title of his book: it's not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father. In other words, Obama is not writing a book about his father's dreams; he is writing a book about the dreams that he got from his father. (GB - bold added )
Think about what this means. The most powerful country in the world is being governed according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s — a polygamist who abandoned his wives, drank himself into stupors, and bounced around on two iron legs (after his real legs had to be amputated because of a car crash caused by his drunk driving). This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son is the one who is making it happen, but the son is, as he candidly admits, only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is being governed by a ghost.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well, Isn't That Garand!

Yup.  They came today.  The Gods of the CMP and their acolytes at FedEx delivered two beautiful Service Grade M1 Garands today.  The setup for this was back around April 15th (Buy a Gun Day), actually almost a week later, and here they are, not a full month since we mailed off the forms.  On top of that, they are prettier than I thought they'd be.  I expected to have to do a fair amount of work, perhaps refinishing the stock and so on.  Instead, they look like we could take them shooting now, with no work.  Or maybe this weekend.

I know in today's world, "without pictures, it didn't happen", so less yappin', more double-tappin'!
As they arrive, nice hard plastic case, manual, chamber flag, one en-bloc clip, Certificate of Authenticity and a target.  Pretty sweet, huh?
Funny, I always got there by http://odcmp.com/Sales/rifles.htm but the one on the case works, too.

Eye candy or what? ...

Yup, I Photoshopped (well, Gimped) the serial number away.  I understand that's a good thing. A cursory search of some online serial numbers says these were made in 1955.  So post Korean War by a little while, way before Viet Nam. 

I have to say I'm really happy with the CMP - Anniston office.  They got the rifles here faster than promised, and they're in excellent condition.  Compared to the conditions and prices I see at local gun shows, I should have done this before!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You Know The Dollar is Trash

You know the dollar is trash when Zimbabwe wants to get out of the dollar and into a gold standard.

Srsly.  You can't make this stuff up. 
Topping off a weekend of surreal news is the announcement from the Central Bank of Zimbabwe that the country is now evaluating introducing a gold-backed Zimbabwean dollar, and, in keeping with the Salvador Dali feel to the past 48 hours, that the "days of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency are numbered." Yes. Zimbabwe, the same place that two years ago sported a brand new crisp Z$100 trillion bill.
H/T ZeroHedge via Survivalblog.

Toward Resilient Communities

When I first read Rob at Global Guerrillas talking about resilient communities, I didn't have the foggiest idea what he meant.  In the intervening couple of years, a picture has formed in my mind and then been gradually refined. 

I think the ideas in this video fit the concept quite well.  Check it out. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Congratulations, We're Officially Broke

So we officially hit the debt ceiling this afternoon, and are now officially not allowed to borrow any more.  I went to the debt clock to see if the numbers had stopped rolling up, but they haven't. 

So where does the Fed.gov leviathan get the money to keep spending?  Expect to see more headlines like "Treasury to tap pensions to help fund government".  This is the Federal Government Employees pension funds they're raiding, and they pinky-promise they're going to pay it back.  Actually, if there's one group you're sure they will pay it's themselves, so, yeah, I believe that.  That WaPo article has a great graphic showing the history of the debt ceilings and the national debt.  Golly, it sure has been effective at keeping the debt down, hasn't it?
As Beck likes to say, "In a totally unrelated story".... the acting Solicitor General for the US, Neal Kumar Katyal, said that the Federal government has absolutely no limits to its power.  If the Indiana "no right to resist illegal arrest" case destroys the 4th amendment, then Katyal destroys the rest of the nine enumerated rights.  In particular, in defending the government's "right" to force you to buy health insurance, he said they could force you to buy anything. 

The court asked if the mandate to buy insurance would apply to anything...
"You think if the court had required people to buy wheat, it would have turned out the same?'
Katyal didn't want to answer the question, so the court pushed him.  He said,
"Could they possibly require the purchase of wheat?" he said. "The answer is yes."
[opposition lawyer] Staver explained, for example, that everyone eats, so the precedent could allow the government to require consumers to purchase certain foods or ban them from purchasing others. Or, it could make them pay whether they eat those products or not. [emphasis added - GB]
Obviously a government like that, a government that can require you to do anything, buy anything, eat (or not eat) anything; a government without limits requires a budget without limits.  They can just make up money out of thin air to spend and it will have no drawbacks at all.

(h/t Improved Clinch

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Odds and Ends Round Up - An Occasional Series

While putting off some work I need to get started on, a few things to pass along:

Thanks to a link at Bayou Renaissance Man I've discovered a new blog worth reading, Curmudgeon With a Gun (whose real URL is pretty cool).  He, in turn linked to a place I go on occasion, Bare Naked Islam's story about an anonymous letter going around.  It pledges massive jihad attacks on June 8.   Probably trying to look scary, but, as always, keep armed and be prepared.  It's a long rant, but worth reading just to show what we're dealing with:

Since 2006 we have collected more than 6,236 tonnes of (now dried and finely pulverized) pure fuel rods and Pu derivatives.  With loyal cooperation of many Muslim technicians and truck driver teams we have perfected the ultimate deception. In only four years we have successfully coordinated the exchanged of identically welded and labeled stainless steel canisters containing beach sand of exact weight, for the original RBMK, CANDU, PWR, QUADRISO and BWR waste canisters being delivered to Sellafield, La Hague and Yucca Mountain. The techniques we still employ are derived from an incredible “disappearance” trick purchased from Muslim magic show professionals in Las Vegas in April 2005 and magiclegends online in 2010.  Holy Qur’an 20:[68]

Yeah, right.  All a snack bar - whatever.   Derka derka derka. 

More evidence the European Union is headed for the proverbial "dustbin of history".  Putting borders and passport checks back up.  Next will be currency.

The National Inflation Association has released a video they've been working on for quite a while, The College Conspiracy, currently on top of their video page.  We've chatted here and here about college turning into a bad investment, and some of the financial realities.  They spend much more time and go deeper. They get a neat phrase from Gerald Celente, "degrees in worthlessness" - the "insert-oppressed-minority studies" programs.  And more. 

The flood from the Mississippi are worsening.  The link I posted the other day shows the projected flood at Natchez is getting worse.  It is already the worst flood on record.  Pray for those folks.  It wouldn't hurt to stock a little more food.

Both silver and gold have basically had a net sideways move since we last talked about it.  Up then down then up.  Thursday morning it almost hit my "back up the truck" moment - $30/oz - but it didn't.  I still see this as a tremendous buying opportunity.   A time may be coming when there are two prices for silver; the spot price and what you really pay at any dealer.  Right now, for instance, a US silver eagle is going to set you back about $5 over spot - more than 10%.  The big traders are selling futures and may never actually get silver in hand.  The restrictions on traders appears to be the reason for the market correction.  I can't say strongly enough that I don't think paper trading is good for us 'normal folk'.

For another example, on Apmex's silver coin page, a roll of $5 worth of average condition junk silver dimes will cost you $157.23.  The way I figure it, spot price would be $126.95, so they're getting almost 25% more than spot.  Does this reflect a premium for the coin or condition?  "BU" (brilliant, uncirculated) dimes are more, but their pure random-selection $100 or more bags are closer to spot price.   

I say get silver you can keep your hands on, not paper.   And, as always, the four Bs. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

About the BATFE, "That bunch has a real corner on stupid" - Tom Edwards, County Attorney, Motley County, Texas.  

Seems the BATFE decided to blow up some old explosives. In Texas, where there's a bit of a wildfire problem.  To further quote Edwards,
"We had high winds, we're under a burn ban because of extensive prairie fires, brush fires, and in they rolled with the idea of blowing up things."
"Unfortunately, a fragment ignited some grass," Crowley said.
I assume you've heard that back in April, Governor Perry asked the Feds for Texas to be declared a disaster area for their wildfires, and aid was turned down this week.  But the same Fed.gov sent aid to Mexico for help with their wildfires.
The Obama Administration sent aid to Mexico to battle a 386 square mile fire but refused to consider the 2.5 million acre fire in Texas a disaster area.
A fine example of Obama politics.  Texas didn't vote for him in '08, so screw 'em, let 'em pay for their own damned fires.  Might interfere with another lavish White House party. 

The Spam I Get

I got this ad from Midway USA today - or so they want you to believe...  Personally, I think this is spam directed at the growing population of Whitetails online and they got my address wrong. 
Happens all the time.  I remember the day I got spam from the same seller offering to increase the sizes of both my p3nis and my brea5t5.

Edit: 1358  To change those two words and put numbers in them.  Let's try to head off the spammers as much as we can, o-tay?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Indiana's Supreme Court Kills the Fourth Amendment

Getting back to normal after the great blogger crash of May 2011.  The crash ate almost all of the comments to my post from Tuesday.  I see the same thing being said at a lot of blogs, so we all understand.

I see from John at Improved Clinch that the Indiana state supreme court has ruled the 4th amendment to the US constitution is no longer in effect. 
Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.  
In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry.
I knew the 4th amendment was on the ropes, beaten silly by the modern security state: the TSA invasive body searches of people not accused of any crime, including babies, the Homeland Security/Walmart  program to have you watch and report on your neighbors and more.  I just thought it had more life left in it. 

In a statement of stunning ignorance,
"Professor Ivan Bodensteiner, of Valparaiso University School of Law, said the court's decision is consistent with the idea of preventing violence." 
In reality, like gun control laws, this will increase violence against people who obey laws.  Think of it a bonus for any aspiring home invaders.  All they have to do is get something that passes for a police uniform and come to your door.  Do you really know exactly, to the detail of buttons, what your local police uniforms look like?  How about their SWAT teams?  Once inside, being a peaceful, law biding citizen, you'll assume the position, leaving them free to rape, torture, murder, whatever they want to do with minimal risk.  Folks trained in self-defense have long complained that the 3AM door-breaking raids police carry out are impossible to tell from determined home invasions.  You have milliseconds to decide if that person in a black ski mask pushing into your house is a home invader or a policeman at the wrong address.  Criminal gangs have used this attack pattern for years.  The dynamics of identifying them have just gotten worse.

William Grigg of Pro Libertate Blog writes here,
In the interests of brevity, these rulings should be consolidated under the name “Rapist Doctrine,” in recognition of the ... pseudo-scholarly versions of the advice once urged upon women enduring sexual assault: Don’t resist — it will only make things worse.
Watch this one.  Bad law decisions like this can sweep out of one state into the rest of the country.  There seems to be a few gun bloggers in Indiana; you guys need to try to get your legislature to overturn this.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back on Your Heads

Posts like the last several days worth are so much fun for me that it's easy to not look at the world outside.  Yes, I'm still reading the blogs and following the regular folks I visit (most of the list at right - I have a tendency to not visit every day if the author goes through a period of not posting everyday, and then can get really behind).  It's just more fun to talk about guns, space flight, and caliber discussions, even "hey, how messed up is that market?" than to talk about the approaching endarkenment (as Billy Beck so memorably phrased it). 

There are weird goings on in the market.  Look at the recovery in the dollar (from StockCharts.com):
The dollar is up (against this mixed basket of currencies) around 3.3% since its low.  Why?  I don't know, but it definitely looks out of place, doesn't it?  If you just continued that ramp to the right, the dollar should be in the low 72s or high 71s now.  That's territory it has never been in, so the world may be saying they don't believe the US is ready to collapse just yet.  Or the world could be buying dollars because of the old, "least disgusting girl at the dance" effect.  The EU is in trouble, Greece is talking about pulling out of the EU again, as Brussels is telling them to sell off part of the country to pay back their deficit, and more.  The Chinese economy is suffering from the inflation we're exporting to them, and the Shanghai Exchange is getting ready to do something big (from StockTiming.com). Stock indices can't stay in flag pattern wedges like that past the pointy part. 
Or the dollar could simply be having a dead cat bounce and the planned devaluation will continue soon.

Oil prices going down might not necessarily be a good thing - strange to say.  Part of the drop is the dollar getting stronger (that would take oil from $103 to $100 by that reasoning), part of the drop is that the $4/gal. average (within a few cents) does act to lower demand in the US as it makes life a bit more unpleasant here, and lower demand from the rest of the world can account for all of the drop, which is about 10%.  It's that last one that concerns me - it's saying the whole world is still economically shaky at best.   

We can debate for days whether or not the US economy is actually recovering.  I simply think that if you measure all of the parameters they do in dollars, inflating the number of dollars makes those things look better.  Unemployment (the real number, not the widely reported one) is still close to 20% nationwide, with pockets of worse than that.  Even liberal media (but I repeat myself) are now reporting on real inflation vs. what the Fed.gov reports.  When MSNBC, of all places, puts out a story like this, you know people are sensing the smoke being blown up their butts. 

Meanwhile, the Mississippi flood continues to expand, with the Weather Service (NOAA) predicting a flood level at Natchez about 4 1/2 feet higher than the previous record from 1937!  It's already above that level.
This has the potential to be a real SHTF event with national repercussions.  If those gasoline refineries on the Mississippi get taken out, $5 gas will be a "good old days" memory.   

When I look at these few things, the dominant thought I get is "it just can't last".  We seem to be in the calm before the next storm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More On That Unanswerable Question

American Mercenary has an interesting piece that relates to Sunday's talk about 9mm vs. 45, Energy, Momentum and Lethality.  He points out the problem with the energy plots like the one I used is that energy uses velocity squared so it gives more favorable results for fast bullets than it does for bigger, slower ones.  Momentum is mass times velocity, so it gives less emphasis on velocity.  Right behind "shot placement, shot placement, shot placement" is penetration, and he argues momentum from big bullets moving slowly has more to do with that:
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.
Of course, the FBI has standards for penetration tests when shot into ballistic gelatin.  There are places to go online to see gel test photos, videos, you name it.  It appears to me that all the major calibers, in modern hollowpoint designs penetrate adequately. Whether they behave adequately in a real self defense situation is the subject of endless discussions based on - thankfully! - few real measurements.
(image from a document I found online a couple of years ago, called, "Beginner's Guide to Carry" from concealedcarryforum.com)

AM concludes with this:
To sum it up, no matter what round you are using, heavier bullets are generally the better bet for lethality on large game.
Like overweight hippies on PCP.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Were You Planning to Buy Metals on the Dip?

If so, I think you might have missed it. 

You know all commodities got hammered last week, gold, silver and oil all down, and the dollar up.  The minimum appears to have been last week, with silver putting in a 38% retreat before starting back up. 
This chart shows silver vs the long term moving average, raw data on the bottom, normalized around that long average on the top.  The correction was similar in  magnitude to previous corrections, as shown.  On the scale of this chart, it looks even more abrupt than it was.  This chart, of the last few days, shows it a bit better, stripped of the intra-day highs and lows:
The actual low was apparently late on the 5th or on the 5th/6th transition.

The big question is: is it over?  My guess is yes.  The severity of the drop is at least partly due to the change in leverage laws that just went into effect, although Denninger says in that link leverage was all that, but the metals markets are famously manipulated by many different players: central banks, big players (cough - JP Morgan), and so on.   Manipulation or change in laws, it looks to me like silver had gone up too far, too fast, too soon and needed to re-establish support levels.  It has attracted far more speculative froth than gold has lately.  Markets don't go up in straight lines for long. 

In times like this, I ask myself some fundamental questions: has the big picture changed?  Not from what I can see.  If it hasn't, and the big picture is still bullish for metals, what's the small picture?  Last Thursday, Mrs. Graybeard was trying to get me to say, "go back up the truck and buy" on silver.  I wouldn't.  Not because I didn't think it was a buying opportunity, but because every analyst had a different idea on where it was going.  I figured if it's going to $30, why buy at $36?  I don't expect to be able to hit the minimum, but I'll wait until it looks like the drop is slowing, stopping, or even starting back up before I do.  I felt comfortable enough by Saturday.  When I talk about buying silver, I mean physical silver you can hold in your hands, not paper ETFs or any of that.  There's a place for that, too, but physical metal in your possession is king. 

I sure don't believe the TV talking heads saying that the precious metal bull market is over.  I believe fundamentals would have to change radically before the bull market runs out. 

Meanwhile, there's absolutely nothing to change the advice we've all talked about for months now:  beans, bullets, band-aids and bullion all will get you through bad times better than none.  And I specifically include copper, brass and lead in my investment portfolio.  .22LR is the small change of the new millenium!
Oh - and usual disclaimers:  I'm an engineer, not an investment advisor.  These opinions are worth exactly what you paid for them.  Anyone who would take the advice of a random dude on the Internet deserves what they get.  Your mileage may vary.  Do not remove this tag under penalty of law. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

There Are Some Questions That Just Don't Have Answers

For example, 9mm vs 45.  Unless you're really new with guns, you know that question goes back as long as both calibers have been around, and especially since the widespread adoption of 9mm as the standard sidearm by essentially every military in the world.  Small fast bullets vs. big slow bullets.  War against the Moros in the Philippines.  You've seen it all before.  It's almost a Coke/Pepsi thing, except caliber loyalty, not brand.

Fake motivational posters abound: 9mm – for those who squat to pee... Why .45?  Because they don't make a .46... (although they do make a 50) … 45 – because shooting twice is silly...9mm may expand but 45 never gets any smaller... and more.  It was only a few days after the shooting of congresswoman Giffords that I saw someone post that if the psycho had been shooting 45 instead of 9mm, she wouldn't have survived. On the other hand, I've seen ER doctors say "no physician ever saw a gun shot wound victim being wheeled in and said, 'don't worry, it's just 9mm'".  And the famous FBI "Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness Survey" study (on Scribd, but other places, too) said there's no such thing as "knock down factor" in handguns, and the three most important considerations are shot placement, shot placement and shot placement. 

I recently came across a deal on used Taurus Millenium PT145PRO, my first .45.  My only experience with the caliber is that I shot one in my concealed carry class a couple of years ago.  So now I have 9mm, 40S&W and .45ACP available to choose from.  I posted about a year ago on changing EDC from my Taurus Slim 9mm to the XD Subcompact in 9, noting they were virtually the same size overall, but the XD carried almost twice the number of rounds.  It turns out the PT145PRO is virtually the same size as the XD; a tiny bit thicker, and a little longer in the grip.  Does it matter?  I haven't tried to dress around it.  The PT145 is a 10 round magazine (10+1), so less ammo than the XDsc, but more than the Slim.     

The Taurus and Springfield XD Subcompact together.  Clamped together, side to side, they look like this:
The .45 is on the left.  You can see it's about a quarter inch longer in the grip, but very similar in thickness.  

So far, I've run 200 rounds through the new PT145PRO, to ensure smooth functioning.  No problems except for a couple of FTEs in the last 50 rounds.  New gun break-in?  Dirt from  a few hundred rounds?  Don't know, but everyone who handles a semi-auto has to know how to clear a malfunction and a couple every few hundred rounds are not an extreme concern.  This was ball ammo; I'll have to try some good hollowpoints to make sure they function before I'd commit to that.  Two long-time friends have essentially the same gun.  One is trouble free, the other had to send it back to Taurus to make it trouble free.  Taurus has a lifetime warranty and will not only fix the defective gun, they'll upgrade parts to the latest version (or so I've heard).  Will I carry it?  Not through the summer.   

There is an interesting alternative – that I don't own.  Taurus has announced a successor to the PT709 Slim, the PT740 Slim in 40S&W – the same caliber as my Xdm.  It turns out the ballistics tables show the 40S&W (once derided as “40 small and weak”) as superior to both the 9 and 45 ACP.  Look at the advantage in impact energy of the 40S&W JHPs (155 grain) vs. the 124 grain 9mm and 230 grain .45ACP.  This screen capture is from the Federal ballistics program you can download here.
The red plot is the 40, green is 45 and blue 9mm.  All are representative weight bullets - I chose them because I own SD rounds for the 9 and 40 in those sizes.  I don't own any 45 yet, so I used the most common weight.  The impact energy you care about for self-defense ammo is typically along the left side - out to 5 or 10 yards.  The 40 S&W holds an advantage for longer distances than I'd care to explain having to shoot. 

The new PT740 just won the NRA's handgun of the year award, (to roars of derision from Glock Talk fanbois) and the PT709 is credited in some circles as starting the now very hot trend of single stack, slim 9mm pistols for concealed carry, although they certainly were on the market before it.  I'm not sure the Kel Tec PF9 was the first, but it was among the first.    

Could it be the answer to the perennial question of “9mm or .45?” is “Neither: .40 S&W”??

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bringing the Smart

We had a bit of a debate here the other day about the mission to kill Bin Boy.  I think that anyone who cares about government being too big ought to think about this.  I personally accept that mission for a handful of reasons that I won't go into here. 

Victor Davis Hanson brings the smart to the issue with a very good article, Rules for Killing Rogues, addressing some of the issues that should give us pause.
(Khalid Sheik) Mohammed, a confessed killer, was one of just three detainees waterboarded. In contrast, we have executed from the air well over 1,500 suspected terrorists by Predators. President Obama has ordered four times as many drone attacks in the last two years as former president Bush did in eight.
Why is it acceptable to be judge, jury and executioner of someone whom you can only tentatively identify from a drone, but not acceptable to waterboard a confessed killer?  Why is it that it's acceptable to many on the left to vaporize someone with a bomb, but criminally wrong to send a sniper after them?  We, or someone, just sent bombs into the suspected home of Libya's Qaddafi, killing many, but not him.  Why is that acceptable, but a direct assassination isn't?  Is it that deep down, the left feels comfortable with war when death appears random, and not precision?  

For those who don't recall, Khalid Sheik Mohammed confessed, among other things, he personally "decapitated with my blessed right hand" American reporter Daniel Pearl.  In the 9/11 Commission Report, you get more insight into KSM (poodle-back man), planner of both the 9/11 attacks and an abandoned plot called operation bojinka, which would have blown up 11 jumbo jets in the air over the Pacific and assassinated the Pope.  The guy is not only a psychopathic murderer, he's a psychopathic murder convinced of his own genius, and superiority to, well, everyone.  (If you haven't read the 9/11 report, you should.  While sometimes reading like a bus schedule, the majority of the report is very readable.  It isn't the ultimate word on the subject, but it's a high quality summary).

Go read.

Friday, May 6, 2011

OK, This Is Seriously Cool

A fully automatic 12 ga. made of Want.

I think Eric Holder just wet himself.

(Probably ought to give a language warning for a few f-bombs.)

Dmitri is a Professional Russian who likes to demonstrate various weapons on You Tube. 
"Professional Russian"?  They pay for that?  A commenter on the BigGeekDaddy website says this is actually an American gun and backs it up.

Edit 2056 right after posting.  The embedded video didn't work, so I switched to a URL link to YouTube. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

50 Years Ago Today

Alan Shepherd convinced them to "light the candle" and rode his Freedom 7 Mercury capsule atop an IRBM into a suborbital flight.  The American space age had begun.  Good summary at the appropriately-named "Mercury News".
I was a snot-nosed kid (really - I had allergies) around the limits of civilization in Southwest Miami - places that are now densely populated.  Schools weren't air conditioned.  TVs were rare, and the whole school, it seems, went to the couple of rooms that had a black and white TV.  (It must have been the heroic 6th graders who had them, certainly not us lowly first graders!)  I still remember the noisy black and white images from that day, and the air of excitement that filled the country.

On July 21, Gus Grissom would ride another suborbital Mercury-Redstone flight, famously losing his spacecraft, the Liberty Bell 7, before John Glenn would become the first American to orbit the earth, riding the more powerful Atlas ICBM booster into orbit.  But the most historically important moment happened mere weeks after Alan Shepherd's flight, May 25, 1961.  John F. Kennedy announced
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
I suppose you had to be there.  I was captivated and became a space geek kid. 

As big a fan as I was - and am - of space exploration, NASA's finest days were over by about 1980.  Today, it's an arthritic bureaucracy better at preserving itself than exploring.  I don't know for sure that the future is with Spacex and not one of their competitors, but this week they took the unusual step of posting their actual costs to develop their rockets and the actual costs of their flights.  This is unheard of in that business. 
The Falcon 9 launch vehicle was developed from a blank sheet to first launch in four and half years for just over $300 million. The Falcon 9 is an EELV class vehicle that generates roughly one million pounds of thrust (four times the maximum thrust of a Boeing 747) and carries more payload to orbit than a Delta IV Medium.
Let's get the arthritic dinosaur out of the way and let innovation flourish.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Mighty Mississip

In 1814 we took a little trip
along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans
Thanks to a link from Kevin at the Smallest Minority for tipping me off to the building problem with the Mississippi.  It seems we're building to the biggest flood stage since 1927, almost a century. 

Did you catch the stuff about the levees being blown to save the town of Cairo, Illinois?  That's just the start. 
But the real threat posed by this historic, gathering flood may well lie several hundred miles to the south, where the Mississippi crosses the Louisiana border. There, as the Corps well knows but dare not discuss, this historic flood threatens to overwhelm one of the frailest defenses industrial humanity has offered to preserve its profits from the immutable processes of nature. This flood has the potential to be a mortal blow to the economy of the United States, and outside the Corp of Engineers virtually no one knows why.
From a second source:
The river is forecast to crest at 53.5 feet on May 18 at Vicksburg, Miss., a key gauge. That is the highest river stage recorded at Vicksburg since the catastrophic flooding of 1927 when the river reached 56.6 feet and would have kept on rising if levees hadn't given way, causing massive flooding and killing hundreds. After that calamity, the nation undertook an aggressive $13 billion plan to build levees and floodways that would avert such a scale of flooding again.
Unfortunately,  those folks at Bird's Point were sold out by a law in 1928. 
Yet it has always been the plan of the Corps, which bears responsibility for “managing” and “taming” the mightiest American river, to use Bird’s Point as a floodway in an emergency. The plan is sanctioned by the 1928 Flood Control Act.
So while I feel bad for those folks, I believe this would have shown up in the survey or deed search that has to be done before a mortgage is granted.  It's like building on the beach around here.  You might not get wiped out by a hurricane this year, or next year, or for as long as you want to live there.  But sooner or later it will happen.  Just a matter of time.

The little known Old River Control Structures (bottom center), a frail line of defense between the raging Mississippi River (top) and a total dislocation of the US economy, by way of the Atchafalaya River (bottom).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where Do You Draw the Line?

An anonymous commenter to yesterday's post made me try to put this into words.  About my references to the gay Al Qaeda...


Monday, May 2, 2011

Ding Dong the Douchebag's Dead ...

I was in bed when the news broke last night, so I heard it when I first woke up at 6 this morning, to the clock radio's alarm.  So long ago that it's a dim memory, I assumed that if they got Bin Boy, that's how I'd find out.  First thing in the morning, in the fog of waking up.  I get a lot of important news that way. 

Unless someone has broken their secrecy agreements, we probably don't know the truth about what went down, and besides: first news reports are always wrong (although I like this one).  Did they fly helicopters disguised to look like the Pakistani choppers?  Did they spoof transponder codes or other responses so that Islamabad ATC thought they were Pakistani?  Did the US pilots answer calls in the native language?  Did some key insiders in their government know?  The team was apparently on the ground for 40 minutes, enough time for them to scramble a helicopter to check out what was going on.  We have pretty good reason to believe that much of their intelligence services, the ISI, is on Bin Boy's side, so that they would have warned him that an operation was on the way, and by the time our guys got there, he would have been somewhere on K2.  

Sounds like it went as well as a complex operation can go.  No one was injured.  Captured lots of evidence.  And whoever it was who did the double tap followed training perfectly (anyone worth shooting is worth shooting twice).  Everyone is reporting it was the SEALS; Seal Team Six, which officially doesn't exist any more.  My bet is it was a combo of SEALS and Delta, probably with some CIA guys - the "All Pro" team of special ops.  Whoever it was, I really only have one thing to say:  Thank you.  Well, a few things:  Thank you.  God bless you.  Well done.   

It's probably inappropriate to say, but since this is relatively anonymous: I used to be a seal.  I have only one picture from my training days, which I release with some trepidation.
Wait - you thought I meant I was a Navy SEAL?  Ha hahahahahahahahaha.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another View

A few days ago, I did a piece on why I think that QE3 is inevitable.  As an aside and not the point of this piece, there was a really bad error in that one.  I said;
"How long do you think we can sell $45 billion in bonds per day (the projected deficit for 2011 divided by 365 days)?"
There's decimal point missing: it's $4.5 billion per day.

Jeff Clark, who's a "real" stock market analyst and writer (as opposed to me) begs to differ.  He thinks Zimbabwe Ben is going to let the market suffer for a while.  His writing is nice and snarky, too.  Beating old Ben like a rented mule.
Poor Ben. Here's a man who believes his policies prevented a global depression. He saved the banking industry, kept the U.S. economy afloat, prevented unemployment from reaching record levels, and saved the earth from Martian invaders.
But he gets no credit for any of it.
Instead, he's lambasted in front of Congress, ridiculed in the newspapers, humiliated online, and de-friended from just about everybody's Facebook page. The man gets no respect.
My guess is he's anxious to give people a taste of what things would be like if his QE programs weren't around... at least for a little while.
No one appreciates the drug dealer until the agonizing moans of the withdrawing heroin addicts drown out the sound of the TV set. "Do whatever it takes to quiet them down!" people shout. "Just get things back to the way they used to be."
(See Junior Deputy Accountant for the actual Stop Bernanke bumper sticker. )

Is Clark right?   I still see red ink everywhere, and I still think that they'll do QE3 because they think it's the least awful alternative.  Ben may want to make us suffer for not worshipping him, but he'd end up hurting his banker buddies, and that probably won't happen.

They are, by definition, going to destroy the savings of any of us who have saved for retirement, "a rainy day", vacations, new homes, cars, or anything else we wanted to save for.  They are, by definition, going to make a mockery of anyone who bought US treasuries (bonds).  Remember when China told us they were concerned we wouldn't honor our debt commitments to them?  China was right.  But, you know, if you're going to make an omelet....