Sunday, January 28, 2018

Is Paganism On the Rise?

Just a few years ago, we all knew that witch craft wasn't real, didn't we?  Just a few years ago, we all knew that there was no magic, no spell, and that the things we had made had no power.  They were mere objects, not things to worship.  Of course, the earth worshipers, those who speak reverently of Gaia as if it were any more than a great rock, have elevated the sophistication of paganism, but it is still paganism.  The are worshiping the created rather than the Creator.

A Castellitto interviewed Dr/ Peter Jones to write the article Is Paganism On the Rise? for the American Thinker. Castellitto points out that this movement away from Christianity toward the pagan is a world wide phenomenon. As Jones says:
As in the Roman Empire, citizens had to confess that “Caesar is Lord.” “Christ is Lord” was not allowed, often punished by death, because ultimately, as Paul says, there is an irreconcilable clash between the Truth and the Lie (Romans 1:25). Oneists ultimately know this and must extinguish the truth of Twoism because the Lie is eventually threatened by the Truth.
I do not know if God is whittling down the number of those claiming to be Christian in preparation for the end of the world. Such knowledge is beyond me. What I know is that we have been here before. Then the God of Creation, the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob came into the world and died for our sins.  How can anyone accept a lie when we have the Truth. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Source of Fake News

Dan Gifford asks What's the Main Source of Fake News? in a piece first published in Firing Line, but appearing on The Patch. Thanks and a hat tip to the War on Guns and David Codrea.

Gifford answers his own question with the fact that most fake news sources are "real reporters," or what Codrea calls "Authorized Journalists,"  who can be bought:
"You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month" boasted a CIA source in another book, "Katharine the Great," a biographical sketch of Katharine Graham, the wife of Philip. She took over Post management after he committed suicide.
Gifford cites a large number of fake news and propaganda pieces, pointing out that because these stories appeared in what are perceived as legitimate news sources, the lies these stories told could persist for years. On such story involves debunked historian Michael A. Bellesiles' 2000 book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture. Giffords:
Bellesiles' book "attacked [and undercut] the central myth behind the National Rifle Association's interpretation of the Second Amendment," said the Journal of American History and other prestigious publications. NRA president Charlton Heston said the book's findings were "ludicrous."
Bellesiles replied as an Ancien RĂ©gime noble might have to a sans culotte republican: "when Professor Heston gets his Ph.D. and does the research, I might be open to persuasion." But the book was a fraud and Idaho software engineer Clayton Cramer, a veritable sans PhD David,fought the sneering arrogance of America's academic community Goliath to slay its lies. Emory fired Bellesiles and all of his award kudos were rescinded.
But discredited does not necessarily mean dead.
Bellesiles still has defenders and their perspective is worth an attempt to understand for contemporary sans-culottes who lack the facile word skills of their elite academic and media betters. So, even though Bellesiles' book is an acknowledged fraud, his defenders say it reveals larger "truths" or "alternate facts" as Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway might put it...
But, of course, any one of us normals will ask ourselves, if it isn't true, then how can academics and elitists defend such stories.  How do they claim that even though they are not "true," they are still "the truth." Professor Marjorie Agosin, of Wellesley College, who apparently still revered the fraud of Rigoberto Menchu, which was actually written by French Marxist Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, said in an interview with Gifford;
...that "Even if MenchĂș's book isn't true, it's still the truth." Agosin's "truth" or "alternate fact" as I understood it, was that even if the atrocities described were fabricated, other atrocities were committed by Guatemalan government forces against the Guatemalan Marxist-Leninist guerrilla movement. But it's a one way truth. According to her line of reasoning, to say the known mass murders committed by the Marxists were atrocities is a subjective interpretation of necessary means to overcome capitalist oppression within the context of justifiable class struggle.
You may reject Agosin's "ends justify the means" consequentialism, but please know it has emotional traction for many of America's "real reporters" and academics largely because of the romantic chic affinity for Marxist "freedom fighters" that permeates America's newsrooms and university ivory towers.
So, as long as we have people who are so wedded to their ideology, and facts, and the real world don't actually matter, we will have fake news. Treat everything you read (including this blog, by the way) as possibly fake news, needing verification by other sources. While I don't deliberately lie to my readers, I can be led astray by my own biases.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Reliability and Accuracy of the 1911 Pistol

I like 1911 style pistols. While it has nothing to do with the purpose of a gun, a well built 1911 is a work or art.  But contrast, many polymer framed pistols are somewhat clunky looking.  I don't know why a pistol can not look as good as it works, but there it is.  I have fired various polymer framed wonder nines.  I find the polymer framed pistols to be reliable, accurate tools for the job.  But they also are a bit soulless, ill fitting, and not something I would consider passing on to my children or grand children.  By ill fitting, I mean that they do not point naturally as a 1911 pistol does.  And despite the negative press, I have had very few problems with my .45 Auto 1911 pistol.  I use good magazines, and I feed only the best ammunition.  And if you go on boards dealing with polymer famed pistols, you will find just as many problems with these weapons as with 1911s on their forums.

Bob Campbell has written an excellent article extolling the virtues of the 1911 pistol over at Cheaper Than Dirt. Campbell points out that the when the weapon is fed in spec ammunition from magazines as designed by John Moses Browning, the weapon is reliable, and accurate.  You may be a Glock fan, and that is fine, but don't count the 1911 out just yet. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Why Is No One Taking Trump's Question Seriously?

According to one Democrat, a group who's credibility has to be questioned at this point, President Trump uttered a vulgar remark about certain countries during a discussion about immigration.  But the question he asked has remained largely unanswered by those making the accusation.  Tom Trinko has the story in a blog post over at the American Thinker entitled Take A Step Back: Did Trump Really Even Say The S--- Word? Trinko writes what I have certainly been thinking all along:
Two leakers say he used the term "s---holes" to describe Haiti and African countries. However, the only person corroborating that as this is being written is a Democrat. Given that Harry Reid gleefully admitted to lying about Mitt Romney not paying taxes, it's not irrational to question that Democrat's veracity.
We also know that the leakers were willing to hurt the U.S. in order to gain a partisan political advantage. The leakers knew that whether they were telling the truth or not, it would hurt the U.S. and that didn't slow them down a bit. That indicates a lack of trustworthiness.
We further know that the leakers were wrong in that already Jake Tapper is saying Trump didn't attack Haiti in the way the leakers said Trump.
The real question, however, that nobody is addressing is why we are importing so many people who are unskilled, do not hold our Western values, and will not assimilate into American life and become productive members of society?  Trump's question is the question on the minds of many Americans. 
The reality is that Trump probably used coarse language to make a valid point: why are we letting people with no skills and whose allegiance is to their tribe, not their country in when we're keeping people with skills and whose allegiance is to the rule of law out?
In fact, we can easily imagine Trump describing countries like Somalia as hellholes. Interestingly, the use of "hellhole" – which is hardly less offensive than "s-hole" – to describe Haiti and Somalia is common; just check the internet. Apparently, only when Trump uses a pejorative to describe countries do the media go into a hissy fit.
Anyone who wouldn't say that Haiti and Somalia are hellholes is lacking in compassion. The people in Somalia and many other African countries live miserable lives, and pointing that out is hardly an act of evil. The real problem for the Democrats is that Trump is saying what most Americans believe: the role of immigration is to help America, not to help the rest of the world. If someone from Somalia has what it takes to be a good American, by all means, let him in, but that doesn't mean we should be taking pretty much anyone from Somalia while rejecting highly skilled people from Japan or Norway.
The fact of the matter is that what the Democrats (and thus the media as well) want is to import a dependent underclass who will vote for them. They care not a lick for poor black Americans, or for that matter, for the immigrants themselves. They want power, pure and simple. I do not know Senator Durbin, but based on his reputation, I would not believe him without independent confirmation, and even then I would look askance at it. What Durbin is trying to do is distract form the actual question Trump asked, and which is on the minds of many Americans. Shouldn't immigration be to help America rather than to help foreign countries?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Firing the .38 Super

I have been fascinated with the .38 Super Automatic round for as long as I can remember, probably 40 or so years.  I finally got to fire a .38 super recently, and I want to tell you about it.

The .38 Super was a slightly more powerful version of the original .38 Automatic, around which the sainted John Moses Browning designed his automatic pistol of 1900 produced by Colt as the M1900.  You can find a history of the round here. Interestingly, after the development of the M1911 pistol for the Army, which fired the famed .45 Auto cartridge, it was discovered that a slightly more powerful round could be fired though the same weapon, if the barrel and chamber were modified for the different size cartridge and bullet.

The .38 Special of the era was a rather anemic round that was easily defeated by both automobile bodies and the body armor of the day.  But it was the round carried by most police officers.  Note that the .38 Super, with its .356 in diameter, 130 grain bullet is not related to the .38 Special, which fired a .357 in diameter, 158 grain bullet. The rather under powered .38 Special, however, caused people to look for a more powerful round.   Thus was born the .38 Super Automatic, the "Super" indicating that these rounds were loaded to a higher pressure, thus higher power that the .38 Special. For a few years in the early 1930s, the .38 Super Automatic was the most powerful handgun on the market. It could penetrate automobile bodies and the body armor of its day. But the introduction of the .357 Magnum cartridge and revolver to match ended police interest in the .38 Super round.

To be honest, the design of the original .38 Super pistols head spaced the cartridge on its rim rather than on the case mouth, which didn't contribute to accuracy.  Then there was the fact that a revolver would fire under the worst adverse conditions, whereas the automatics of the day were also somewhat unreliable "jamomatics."  A police officer, when he had to pull his weapon, wanted it to fire every time, and not choose that moment to jam and leave him vulnerable.  Even today, pistols, though heads and shoulders more reliable that their ancestors of 100 years ago, are still not quite as reliable as a revolver.   Even so, civilian interest in the round, and the weapon that fired it continued until after WWII.

Turning to the weapon itself, Iver Johnson was a maker of inexpensive firearms for the working man.  The Iver Johnson company started in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1871, and along with manufacturing firearms, made bicycles and motorcycles before returning to its roots as a maker of arms.  Iver Johnson pistols were used in the assassinations of President McKinley, and Robert Kennedy.   Why someone who wants to assassinate a major political figure always seems to choose an off brand  cheap gun to do the deed is incomprehensible to me, but there it is.

The old Iver Johnson company finally closed up shop in 1993,  Its name was sold to several people, but finally in  2006 the company reopened in Rockledge, Florida, now importing pistols from the Philippines.  The current crop of 1911 style pistols, including this one, are inexpensive compared to Kimber, Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Springfield Armory and others.  But if the finish is a bit sharp, the fit is excellent.  By "sharp" I mean that sharp edges have not been rounded off. Putting the safety on, one thinks it might cut a finger, but it does not.  But the slide is tight, and the gun does not rattle.   The safety transitions to "off" easily enough, but sometimes is a little stubborn returning to "on."  On the other hand, one should not be too anxious in combat to put the safety back on in case other bad guys are about.  Being hard chrome, the slide is very slick.  On firing, it shoots to point of aim.    Interestingly, the .38 Super remains a dominant pistol in IPSC competition, where race guns often dominate.  But the Super is also an accurate round, and carries 9 rounds in the magazine, as opposed to 7 for .45 Auto, for a total of 10 rounds as opposed to 8.  More rounds is always better. 

Firing the .38 Super is like firing a 9 mm Luger round from a 1911 style pistol.   They have very similar pressures and ballistics.  There is some recoil, but very manageable, and shooting one handed, as one does if one hand or arm is injured, is also quite pleasant.  After firing 100 rounds break in, I fired 50 rounds in a series of drills designed to enhance defensive shooting.  First up were 20 shots from the holster, to ready, to full extension and fire on obtaining a flash site picture.  Next were one handed, 5 each for each hand.  These were followed by 20 shots from the ready position.

Bottom line, I like the .38 Super round.  Now, if I could find a reliable source of ammunition.

Bondage of the Will

Today, at the American Thinker, Fay Voshell has an excellent piece entitled The Triumph Of the Will Reborn. She notes that the original movie, The Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl captured what was truly wrong with the NAZI movement, and therefore led to its downfall:
Riefenstahl's genius was not limited to technologically advanced camera work and exciting new photographic angles. Her brilliant cinematography, accompanied by heroically themed music, captured the hypnotic power of Nazi ideology, including its messianic hope that one man could, by the mere power of his will, completely re-order German society and, through it, re-order the entire world.
This is where so many get everything all wrong. They believe that because we can choose what to have for breakfast, what to wear to work, what route to take, and so on, that somehow our will can conquer anything. But while we have all the free will in the world to hang ourselves, we do not have the free will to get us into Heaven. No work can be so great to make us righteous in God's eyes. For even if we lived perfectly, and nobody does, we would only be meeting basic expectations.  This is why one man can not, by his will, restructure even his own life, let alone a whole nation or the world, into Utopia.
William Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, was later to comment on the intoxicating effect Nazi rallies had on the masses. He wrote that "every word dropped by Hitler seemed like an inspired word from on high. Man's – or at least the German's – critical faculty is swept away at such moments, and every lie pronounced is accepted as high truth itself." Hitler himself declared that the Nazi Party "will be unchangeable in its doctrine, hard as steel in its organization, supple and adaptable in its tactics. In its entity, however, it will be like a religious order[.]"
In Martin Luther's On Bondage of the Will, he explains it in theological terms. Too bad that Hitler was not a Christian, and especially not a Lutheran. for then he would have understood that it is only through the Saving Grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that man can be reconciled to God, and it is only through Him that our works have any merit whatsoever.

But now, the fatal idea has been reborn with the fantastical idea that each individual can somehow reorder society to their own fantasies.  A person can be of the opposite sex, if desired, and all society must recognize that fact, and even celebrate it:
It is sadder to recognize the ideology that supported the Third Reich. Namely, the deeply flawed and essentially falsely religious idea that the power of the unfettered human will can restructure reality continues in the West, albeit in new forms.
The fact is that the belief in the triumph of the human will to power continues to be reformulated in today's identity politics. It exhibits itself in the belief that any human being can identify one's essential being as one wishes and in the idea that society must then be restructured to suit the perception and the will of the self-identified. To put it another way, fascistic messianism has been rerouted to individuals, including mere children, who supposedly have an infallible inner divine light that gives the right to identify the self and to reorder society to conform to one's chosen identity.
That such a pathology migrated to our shores and now is expressed by the American left, now hopefully in its death throes, is a testament to the so-called intellectual flaccidity in academia, including many of the nation's seminaries. Too often, orthodox theology concerning mankind as created imago Dei has been sidelined as a specialty with no particular relevance to modernity other than to fight old battles of the past, engage trivialities of the present, or provide a justificatory framework for new "progressive" ideals of modernism and postmodernism.
The new fascistic messianism now available to the masses repudiates both nature and revelation in order to embrace the lies of the ideologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, relying on fantasies that have been proved disastrous over and over again in all their multitudinous forms, be they the fantasy of the perfect Aryan or the perfect communist. The rebirth of the pernicious idea that any human being can redefine being and force the complete restructuring of society in order to reinforce the fantasies conjured in his brain at any given moment is disastrous.
The idea that man can reorder society, and in fact reality itself by sheer force of will is a lie, and lies lead to violence. As an example, let us take the global cooling/global warming/global climate change hoax. In the 1970s, experts told us if we didn't change our ways, we were going to drive the environment into another ice age. That didn't work. Then the decided to attempt a new tact, called global warming. Taking the kernal of truth that the earth did indeed warm a little during the period of rapid industrialization, coupled with a still improving stand of living for most Americans, they posited that the earth was warming because of our "destruction" of our planet and our environment. To a scientifically illiterate public, it made a sort of sense. But then actual scientists began exposing the lie. At first the warmists resorted to Alinsky style tactics such as ridiculing the opposing scientists. But as the evidence against global warming accumulated, and the evidence of their lies became more public, the resorted to the idea of prosecuting what they called "deniers" and putting these people in jail. Now I am not aware of Anthony Watts doing anything but publishing the truth and showing these hoaxers for the liars and fraudsters that they are, but they want to use violence (for that is what force is) to shut him and anyone like him up.

And there is the fatal flaw in the thinking that man can change reality by his own will.  Sooner or later one will encounter someone who insists on shouting the truth, who won't be shut up by Alinsky tactics and who continues to shout the truth.  Then the only thing one can do to maintain the illusion is to use force.  In the 20th Century, untold numbers were killed to maintain the illusions.  Maybe instead it is high time we rediscover:
That is because the sum of Truth resides not in the will of man, but in the mind and heart of God the Savior, who alone can free the individual from the tyranny of Self.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Stealing Our Money By Legal Fraud

The other day, our favorite weatherman Greg Fischel made a statement that surprised me.  He said that 2017 was heading to be the warmest year on record until the last 3 days of the year, when it became the second warmest. Actually, I did not find this year to be that warm.  I can remember years when the high temperature never got below 90 degrees all summer, whereas this year there were days below 90 degrees. Now I find that NASA is still adjusting data from past years as Randall Hoven updates NASA's Rubber Ruler.

 Hoven first wrote about NASA's adjustment of prior year data going back to 1880 in 2012, when he downloaded than current data from NASA's site into a spreadsheet. He recently downloaded the latest data to discover that they are still adjusting the old data that they had previously adjusted.
In 2012, I wrote an American Thinker article on the status of global warming at the time. I used the latest available NASA/GISS data to do that analysis, which was the version NASA had on its website on April 30, 2012 (Land-Ocean Temperature Index [LOTI]).
At that time, the data from 1880 through 2011 showed a warming trend of 0.59 degrees Celsius per century.
What is that warming trend using the latest data from NASA's website (December 30, 2017), using those same exact years (1880-2011)? The answer is 0.66˚ C.
How did warming accelerate if we are looking at the very same years?
How, indeed.  Hoven also makes the point that IF, and its a big "if" at this point, global warming is actually happening, then:

We need to answer four questions before we take real action to address man-caused, catastrophic global warming:
Is the globe getting warmer?
If so, is man doing it (or most of it)?
If so, is it bad? If so, is the massive-reductions-in-CO2 approach the best way to deal with it?
The temperature record does not even address the last three of these questions. Yet even that first, most basic, question is on shaky ground. One could say that warming is man-caused: men adjusted the temperature record.
Now, Hoven just wants to be able to study global warming for himself, but can no find any non-adjusted data. Me? I am concerned that if the global warming prescriptions are implemented, trillions of dollars will flow from you and me to people like Al Gore.  If they earned this money by providing a useful product that we all wanted to purchase, I would have no problem with this.  But they want to take our money from us by fraud.  I don't know about you, but to me this sounds like they are stealing my life.