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michael_j_doyle [userpic]

Heads, They Win; Tails, We Lose...

August 13th, 2011 (05:11 pm)
current mood: aggravated

Catch-22, Part One: Both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and theU.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend you get a survival kit together, not only for disaster preparedness, but in case of zombie uprisings and terrorist attacks. One of the least expensive and most effective ways to do that is to poke around your local army-navy surplus stores and sporting goods outlet shops and try to score some GI-surplus gear.

Catch-22, Part Two: BUT, if you do that, the U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force will consider you to be a potential terrorist

 This has a couple of advantages for statists. First, it gives you an additional chance to get something on everybody. If you've got something on everybody, you can compromise anybody. Second, when anything you do is wrong - including doing what you are told was right - you're going to be beaten down to the point where you do nothing that you're not specifically told to do.

I'm sure this is a case of Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." But, when the end result of stupidity is indistinguishable from malice? Well, welcome to the place where America used to be...

[H/Ts - too many places to count, cuz there's lotsa gun nut and survival blogs that are exercised about this one - Walls of the City has a good take on it. ]

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

Well, when the Undead Hordes Rise Up

July 31st, 2011 (12:52 pm)

I reckon I've got half a chance:

I got %84.1743119266055 on the

Ultimate Zombie Apocalypse Survival Quiz!

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

There is no John Galt...

July 25th, 2011 (10:54 pm)
current mood: Grim

...There are only people who are tired enough to quit.

This rings a bell with me. My grandfather was a carpenter and mason, which my uncle parlayed into a construction contracting business that is now in tough times. My father-in-law had intended to retire from his anesthesiology practice years ago, but has to shore up his greenhouse and farm. My brother is working sixty to seventy hours a week to keep his auto custom shop afloat. My father runs estate auctions and sells real estate for a large company; he was compelled to liquidate the real estate brokerage he had opened thirty years ago. My stepfather had a similar experience in logistics, working as an operations manager for a large trucking company after discovering that he could make just enough money running his own firm to go broke on.

Perhaps the family history of entrepeneurship has something to do with my remembering just who signs the Civil Service employees' pay checks, underwrites the welfare recipients' dole, makes the  labor payrolls, and funds everything else, public and private, that we enjoy in this so-called modern age. Nobody else around me seems to know it, though, and they seem to be trying to destroy the ones making everything else possible.

Welcome aboard the SS United States of America Titanic - steaming full speed ahead towards that big white thing just off the starboard bow, as the band plays on...

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

"On the contrary...

July 24th, 2011 (03:36 pm)

"... it wasn't wasted effort at all. I learned 1000 ways to not make a light bulb"  - Attributed to Thomas Edison

A valuable reminder about the advantages of "Failing Forward"

One wonders if the lesson will ever take.

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

Inter enim arma, silent leges

July 19th, 2011 (12:27 am)
current mood: unimpressed

...  is roughly translated as, "In the face of arms, the law is silent" (Wiki suggests it is more properly rendered as Cicero did: "silent enim leges inter arma"; YMMV, but I do not wish to digress). It is a legal maxim that expresses the tendency of civil legal protections to give way to military necessity, as the internment of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II (which was ultimately repudiated, but after the war was over). It was rejected outright in the Civil War, despite the exception to Habeas Corpus in cases of rebellion or invasion explicitly provided for in the US Constitution (apparently b/c Lincoln didn't seek Congressional approval),and more recently in the Guantanamo detainee case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

And, ya know, I don't have a problem with that. However, I must say that Cicero's argument appears to have more applicability in dismissing the charge of "Crimes against Humanity" one Daniel Fiol has laid against Barry O in the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Much as I might like to indulge in schadenfreude about Barry O the War Criminal, the charge is bullshit.

In a CQC assault on a terrorist safehouse, you don't have time to say "you're under arrest". If a known hostile does anything except instantly put a pair of empty hands up in the air, he's bought 'n' paid for - you can't give him time to reach for a suicide switch. This is the essence of "inter armes, silent leges" - civil law cannot apply in the middle of battle, because there's no time for reflection.

Even granting arguendo that this guy might have a leg to stand on with his argument (and, he may not even have legal standing before the ICC to file), among other guarantees and limitations, the Peace of Westphalia, as I understand it, made (and still makes) waging war the exclusive province of nation-states, not individuals or non-governmental organizations. Any individual who tried to throw down on a foreign power was declared outlaw, and pretty much had no rights or protections. See also Piracy and the traditional summary execution of pirates. We have since extended limited protections for outlaws who submit to capture, but there we are again - military necessity in the assault made it practically impossible to take him alive without his full and complete cooperation. Guess bin Ladin should have thought about that one before he decided to wage war on his own hook. (Historians, feel free to revise and extend on this)

As far as the argument for Pakistan's sovereignty being violated, tough cookies - the Hague Conventions require a neutral sovereign to prevent belligerents from using its territory, and allows the other belligerent to pursue into its territory if the neutral doesn't or can't comply. Here, Pakistan was a putative ally - so, tough cookies, twice over.

So, the charge is bullshit. The filing of it is not, however; it's symptomatic of a very disturbing trend. Whether it's misplaced "You're-a-peon" anti-American arrogance, or Leftist self-loathing, or simple headline hunger, there's a subset out there that seems positively eager to cut its own throat, along with the throat of every adherent to Western civilization. Krushchev famously asserted that when it came time to hang all the capitalists, a capitalist would sell him the rope. He wasn't far off. This is a lot like, "when it comes time to behead the infidels, an infidel will sharpen the swords for the Faithful."  Doesn't quite fit the definition of treason, but I can't think of a closer word for it

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

An expensive lesson...

July 5th, 2011 (10:26 pm)

[h/t Tam]

Remember how I sneered at the DEA Agent who was playing Big-Man-on-Campus and shot himself in the leg after brandishing his sidearm?

Well, here's a guy who shot himself in the leg that doesn't deserve any sneering. Quite the opposite, in fact:

"This impromptu Board of Inquiry finds the following points of fact to be of particular note..."

1) The shooter states he began his training session with a Glock semiautomatic pistol in a 5.11 ThumbDrive holster. The Glock series does not incorporate a separately-operated manual safety lever; and the ThumbDrive's release is actuated with downward pressure from the thumb.

2) The shooter then states he switched for a Kimber 1911-pattern pistol in a BlackHawk SERPA holster. The 1911 is normally carried with hammer cocked, and manual safety engaged; and the SERPA's release is a toggle on the side that is depressed with the trigger finger. He then began a series of contact-distance defensive shooting drills

3) The shooter does NOT state that he performed any dry-fire drills before going live with the new rig.

4) The shooter states that he inadvertently actuated the manual safety at the beginning of his draw stroke, then used too much force to actuate the toggle on his holster. This allowed him to inadvertently slap the trigger as he cleared leather and fire the weapon.

5) The shooter states that, after shutting down his camera, he used a cell phone to call for help and administered self-aid while waiting for paramedics to arrive. He shows a through-and-through gunshot wound entering the outside of the upper right thigh, traversing downward, and exiting at the outside of the right knee.

6) The shooter characterizes this incident as a "negligent discharge" and accepts full responsibility for the incident.

"This Board comments as follows:"

1) The manual of arms for the Glock is significantly different from that of the 1911. The differences are underscored by the differences in operation of the ThumbDrive and SERPA holsters, both of which are unconventional designs when compared to more traditional thumb-break or friction holsters such as Galco's Fletch, or  Avenger. Significant adjustments to technique must be mad when changing from one weapon and holster to another, and any miscues are exacerbated by the contact drill the shooter was conducting,  which demands maximum speed.

2) The concept of "muscle memory" comes into play here. Muscle memory refers to the set of habituated responses associated with the mechanics of a technique, whereby each movement is preprogrammed to maximize efficiency. It is specific to the manual of arms of each particular combination of weapon and holster rig. Dry-fire drill (practice with an unloaded weapon) is critical to developing muscle memory. Safariland, for example recommends a minimum of two hundred error-free draws in dry-fire drill before the first live-fire training session with an unfamiliar rig. Professional firearms instructors recommend even more extensive dry-fire drills before going live.

3) It appears that the proximate cause of this mishap was inadvertent actuation of the safety due to an inappropriate movement carried over from use of a different rig followed by inadvertent actuation of the trigger due to improper execution of release technique for an unfamiliar rig. This could have been avoided by a series of slow, by-the-numbers, dry-fire drills to ingrain the manual of arms for the new rig. It is not readily apparent what motivated this series of errors; possible combinations of complacency ("I've done this hundreds of times before"), overconfidence ("I know how this works, no need to drill it"), and impatience ("I'm burning daylight - gotta git'r'dun!") vie for primacy.

4) What went right was the shooter's response to the mishap. He got help on the way to his location and administered self-aid. Moreover, he had the foresight to include a working cell phone and first-aid kit in his range load-out.  Things go wrong, whether through our own mistakes, the mistakes of others, or Murphy's Law. It is well to have a go-to-hell plan, and make preparations for it. The shooter even had the strength of character to publically admit his error, take responsibility for it, and debrief it in the hope of warning others. So, if we must fault him for his errors, we must also commend him for his recovery.

"The Board's recommendations are:"

1) Use caution when transitioning through different equipment rigs in the same training session. We recommend setting up one rig that works for you, and sticking with it throughout the session, and waiting for the next session before going to something different. If you switch to a different rig, then we strongly recommend you start with dry-fire drills - slowly until you achieve proficiency, and only then work on speed. More specifically, we recommend against switching out your rig and jumping right into a drill that pushes your limits.

2) Have a go-to-hell plan. You should have a blow-out kit (trauma dressings and tourniquet), and emergency commo (cellular service is your friend) in your range bag along with your ammo, targets, boo-boo kit, and eye & ear protection.Ask yourself: how far is the nearest hospital, and how long before you can expect an ambulance to arrive? You may want to consider self-evacuation, or, better, go to the range with a partner.

3) If you screw up, man up. Acknowledge it, save what you can, learn from it, and move on.

"This Board stands adjourned"

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

By way of a Reminder...

July 4th, 2011 (11:33 pm)


When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

michael_j_doyle [userpic]


June 8th, 2011 (10:17 pm)
current mood: pessimistic

Generally, when somebody does a "Hitler rant" with the bunker scene from Downfall, it's good for at least a chuckle. Sometimes, it's lame. Occasionally, it's sidesplitting.

Recently, a bunch of yahoos went to the Jefferson Memorial in DC and started dancing. I never did learn what they were protesting, or representing, but, even if it were utterly lame, there is no constitutional requirement for good sense when exercising your right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances, so it would seem that they were still within First Amendment territory - when the U. S. Park Police arrested them for it.

So, in between the dancing, theStudent Loan SWAT raid,Barry O's renewal of the Patriot Act by remote control, and any one of a few hundred accumulated outrages over the past couple of decades, I find this particular "Hitler rant" all too close to literal truth for me to be comfortable laughing at it...

Remember, it doesn't violate Godwin's Law if it's a valid comparison....

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

"Ooh, that smell..."

June 2nd, 2011 (11:00 pm)

"...The Smell of Death's Around You!"

One week of last month:

Unpleasantness follows...Collapse )

Unpleasantness follows...Collapse )

Unpleasantness follows...Collapse )
... And that sort of thing is why I don't talk shop with my parents...

michael_j_doyle [userpic]

The problerm with Socialism is that...

May 29th, 2011 (11:01 pm)

...Sooner or later, you run out of other people's money to spend.

I beg your indulgence whilst I revise and extend a reply to a comment made on my previous post.

The United States government routinely spends trillions of dollars (3.4 x 10^9 in the 2010 budget). Now, we aren't in a position to spend trillions of dollars, but there's nobody to stop 'em kiting checks, overcharging credit cards, refinancing the second and third mortgages, and printing wastepaper money until the day that every bill falls due at once. Except for the taxpayers, and the Tea Parties have thus far gained only a little traction among privately-employed wage-earners and small business owner/operators who are actually paying taxes. They're badly outnumbered by those who do not actually pay taxes. 

Now, if I do something like that, I go bankrupt and lose everything except the clothes on my back, then go to prison for bank fraud and counterfeiting. If a congresscritter or president does it, he gets re-elected by the people he bought off.

As stated, however, the bills will one day, sooner or later, all fall due at once. Then things get... interesting... We're going to get serious about the National Debt almost too late, or we're going to submit to a debt reduction plan fcrom a UN-sponsored NGO that reduces us to the Third-World level, or the creditor nations are going to repo our so-sorry A$$ets.

Worse comes to worst,  I might have to bug out to Calgary or Medicine Hat - which gripes my ass on a whole bunch of levels (not least of which is the amount of Humble Pie an "Murrican would have to eat before a Canuck. Only thing I have left in that scenario is a variation on  Mas Ayoob's endorsement of the grand prize he awards the shooter who improves enough to beat his score when he shoots the Q-Course alongside his students: "You beat me at my own game...")  Frankly, a Western Canadian Separatist Movement (at least, as I percieve through tozetre 's eyes), more closely matches my political beliefs than "Welfare-Client" Democrats or "Country-Clubber" Republicans. And doesn't that just suck bilgewater? Mind, that might be just jumping from one fire to another, since Ottawa tramples on the provinces as badly as DC stomps all over the states, but, oh, well,  Life is Hell...

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