Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Reparations and Seven generations

The Great Law of the Iroquois holds it appropriate to think seven generations ahead (about 140 years into the future). Slavery ended 155 years ago if you use “Juneteenth”.

There are many legal doctrines which hold a claim to be void if it is made too long past the event (e.g., Laches in equity). Statutes of limitations preclude a legal case being made past any time in which it could be seen as being valid.

Any argument for reparations for slavery would require a serious demonstration that said reparations would make sense. On the other hand we would have to give money to people like Oprah Winfrey, Ursula Burns, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Does that make sense?

Posted 27/07/2020 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

Adios! (sort of)

I’ve been weaning myself from “social media” for a while. Blogging has never really been a thing for me the way some people do it. Now, WordPress has decided to change their editor, which is driving me nuts.

Maybe I’ll still post at Penigma if there is something I need to vent about.

Posted 12/07/2020 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

America’s Gun

There isn’t a consensus on what exactly that firearm would be. I’ve learned more than I have ever cared to know about the AR-15 in the past month or so. The AR15 definitely qualifies since it was designed by an American, Eugene Stoner. Enough of them are out there in the US that any chance of an “assault rifle ban” would be really difficult. And that’s even with a buyback.

I feel the same way I do about the AR15 that I do about Margaret Thatcher: I don’t like either of them, but I respect what they are in relation to their respective country’s culture. The AR15 is probably more symbolic toward US culture than Margaret Thatcher will ever be to Britain’s.

It is a symbol of militarism since it was designed over 60 years ago for the US military, with variants  used by military forces worldwide. Part of its attraction is that it is the civilian version of the US military’s weapon. And its deadliness is one of its attractive features. It is proven in combat and mass shootings.

The AR15 platform allows for it to be built in a myriad of different ways. It is also fairly easy to build with various kits being sold; from complete upper and lower receiver assemblies to the parts for making a ghost gun. Although, ghost gun means a firearm made “80%” lower receiver and parts. It is the AR15’s ability to be built by anyone which should cause people to pause.

I personally would not want to invest the time and effort into making an actual ghost gun. Complete stripped lower receivers are also available, which is the lower receiver block without the parts. That allows someone to create their custom gun. It’s easy to customise a completed lower receiver as well. Just look up a video on how to do that mod to your gun.

And there are the AR15 pistols as well, which I am mentioning since there is the debate as to how often these weapons are used in crime:

Mass shootings involving rifles like the AR-15 can produce dozens of victims at one time, and combined with extensive media coverage of these events, many people have been led to believe that such rifles pose a significant threat to public safety.

However, such shootings are extremely rare, and a look at the FBI data informs us that homicide with these types of rifles represents an extremely small fraction of overall homicide violence. Banning or confiscating such firearms from the civilian population would likely produce little to no reduction in violent crime rates in America.

Given the amount of variations on the AR15, there are a fair amount of pistol versions. One manufacturer lists barrel lengths from 8 inches to 20 inches for their upper receiver assembly. An interesting riff on all this since Orlando, Florida, authorities revised their initial description of one of the weapons used in the June 2016 attack at Pulse nightclub. After initially describing it as an “AR-15-type assault rifle,” police said it was a different type of firearm, the Sig Sauer MCX.

One the the variants of the MCX is the Rattler SBR (short barrelled rifle)[1]. While SBRs are NFA weapons, it’s pretty easy to bang one up using the AR15 platform. I would also toss in that semi-auto pistols that accept high capacity magazines are banned in some places. Additionally, a submachinegun is a machinegun that fires pistol calibre ammunition. That means that submachineguns are basically pistols that can have a very high rate of fire.

But the main reason I would say that the AR15 is America’s gun is that it will probably never be regulated despite the carnage it is capable of causing. Despite the deadly shooting in Las Vegas to the 20 toddlers killed at Sandy Hook, these weapons are more than freely available to anyone who wants one. You can buy an 80% receiver with no background check to build whatever version of an AR15 you want.

That means that anyone who is adept with metalworking tools, or just adept with tools if it’s a polymer 80, can crank out a weapon intended for the battlefield.

That should cause you to pause and think no matter what your opinion of these weapons happens to be.

[1] Short barrelled rifles are another topic which I am not going to get into.

Why I think Donald trump will get another four years!

I remember driving through Western Pennsylvania a few days after the 2016 election. It was obvious why Trump won then. The Dems didn’t bother to reassess what happened and are now set to fuck up even worse than in 2016.

First off running, Joe Biden who was a train wreck to begin with, but continues to show WHY he is correct when he tells people to vote for the other guy. Biden lost the election when he told the UAW Worker in Detroit he didn’t need an assault rifle among other things, but it gets us to.

The Riots, while the Dems would like to pin everything on Trump. The “Trump is Bad” strategy was a loser in 2016: it’s even worse in 2020. Toss in the riots happened in Democratically controlled areas for the most part. Nixon won as the law and order candidate in 1968. Trump will win because the Dems are the party of disorganisation.

The fall out from the riots. Loads of people bought guns. Assault rifles vanished from the marketplace both brick and mortar as well as internet. Gun control, firearms regulation, gun violence prevention, or whatever you want to call it is going to be a dead letter for some time as armed bands troop around left and right: literally.

Let’s add in the talk of defunding or disbanding the police, which is one of the worst imaginable cases of branding an idea that anyone could have come up with at this time. Armed groups from all sides of the political spectrum are walking the streets: what could go wrong here? Police reorganisation might have made more sense.

But it doesn’t matter since Biden has made it clear that he’s not on board.

Let’s not forget the Covid-19 thing, which was another disaster. It was something that pointed out the need to “medicare for all”, universal basic income, or just good leadership.

In fact, the past few months have been an advertisement for why the Democrats are on the wrong track and running the wrong candidate. But I am not expecting much change. Especially when the candidate who is running is one who really isn’t going to change a thing.

Casey Jones is driving the train full speed ahead high on cocaine, And there might even be speed involved.

 

I almost bought an AR Parts Kits!

Or the more I know about the H&K 416, the more I like the SIG516.

And saying that is not totally off the topic since I found that Brownells had a do it yourself HK416 set up. You would buy one of their completed lowers with 416 markings and then get their official parts kit. Still not a cheap purchase (also no longer available) [1], but there are a few options for buying an AR15:

  • You can buy a complete off the shelf AR15
  • You can buy a lower receiver in any of several forms: complete, stripped, or 80% . Then match it with the upper receiver of your choice
  • build a complete parts kit from scratch, which can be a “ghost gun” depending on if you add a serial number or not.

The upper is the more critical part in my opinion. That means that you could pair an outrageously expensive upper with an budget lower. That is a suggestion which will get lots of groans, but isn’t too outrageous in the current climate of AR scarcity.

The opinion seems to be mil spec is mil-spec, which is true for the cheaper lowers. There are some features which can up the price, such as ambidextrous knobbies and finish. Also, it’s kinda nice to have the fancy logo to go with the one on the fancy upper.

I have to admit to being inclined toward the completed lower since changing the grip on one of these is more involved than I care for. I am not keen on having to put the pieces together. This is especially true for anything that goes bang near my face. Putting together a complete upper with a complete lower is fine with me.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the expensive options are the way I would like to go. On the other hand, market forces are working against me. We have scarcity driving up the price.

If you can find one.

The gun violence prevention crowd blew it in the past few weeks by not calling for cooler heads. Now people are scared and gun sales have skyrocketed.Not to mention there are now way more “assault rifles” out there with people who will be reluctant to give them up.

 

Footnote:
[1] H&K MR556 upper receiver is US$1839, including free shipping! You can get the BRN-4 stripped receiver for US$299.99 or there is a complete receiver for auction at US$1,100. That means you could have part of an HK for around US$2100 (still gotta get the rest of the parts to complete the lower) or a whole one for US$2939 (unless someone ups the bids on you). Not cheap!

Go ahead, scumbag, make my day.

I’ve found that lower receiver assemblies can be bought in all sorts of interesting designs. Or if you get a blank, you can have it custom engraved.

The reason I titled this what I did is that some non-full auto receivers are marked with an, inactive, full-auto choice.

Not sure I want to have that if I get stopped by the cops. Sure, it can be disproven, but still why risk it?

I almost bought an AR Part III (Miscellaneous Thoughts)

So, do I get a package of ammunition to fight my way to the unit in the same way the Swiss do if I get an AR? 60 rounds doesn’t seem like a lot.
Swiss ammunition packageSwiss 3130953-v4-munition

 

 

 

 

 

Should I join a militia? Or is this just for individual defence?

Why am I in this position because of people who claim to want to have a peaceful society won’t renounce the use of violence?

I just heard that Minneapolis voted to defund the police last night. So much for gun control in the US.

I almost bought an AR Part II!

Well, we are being treated to an even BIGGER turn out to protest. Toss in that there is a threat of explosions at least Philadelphia’s demonstrations.

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty-amp fuse”

Anyway, the gun people should be laughing their asses off that the do-gooders are doing one of the best jobs to pump up gun sales. A few months back, it looked like there was a saturated market in Assault Rifles. Now demand for the suckers has driven up the price better than the executive order of 1989! Although Assault rifles and firearms tend to have a high rate of price fluctuation depending on the political climate.

That said, I did have a few options if I didn’t want to wait in a long line only to be disappointed at the slim pickings; even in the high end department.

Ghost or parts guns. Which is kind of a big category since you can have a parts gun from a upper receiver from one company and a lower from another. There are some SIG516 uppers out there which now are in the four figure range, after a period when Sig was practically giving them away (about US$450 range). Stick that on a lower receiver, Such as Palmetto State Armoury, which is a reasonable price. It has a serial number which means it isn’t a real “ghost gun”.

The other advantage is that putting together a complete upper from one company and a complete lower from another is still like putting together an assembled firearm. Unlike a ghost gun which is a bunch of parts and sound like way more work than I want to be bothered with. Toss in that I wouldn’t trust a gun I built from scratch since I’m not a trained gunsmith. Any “advantages” to a “ghost gun” are far outweighed by the possibility of it blowing up in my face.

Bottom line, I would buy an H&K MR556 or a SIG516 right now, but it is real hard to do.

Once again, the market place helps to control firearms.

I almost bought an AR.

I guess the H&K MR556 or SIG516 are AR-15 variants.

So, number one deterrent was price. The SIG is the less expensive of the two, but still in the four figure range. We are talking a price of US$ 1400+. Ouch. Toss in that I am leaning toward the H&K compared to the Sig.

And that’s the price if you can find one.

Assault Rifles and guns in general are a hot commodity these days. For good reason given the chaos of the past week. Some people have seen it on TV. Other people have lived it.

And people want to protect themselves. And what better way than with a weapon that was designed for the battlefield and proven in mass shootings across the country. Las Vegas was a good advertisement. The chaos of the past week are the perfect advertisement for a weapon like this.

I may not like it, but it is hard to say that people shouldn’t be able to own these weapons when the cities are under siege. That makes me different from a lot of people on the left, but I am also much more pragmatic than a lot of people on the left.FireShot Capture 012 - Why are some US police forces equipped like military units_ - World n_ - www.theguardian.com

Those are the ones who are moaning about the militarisation of the police, like this article in the Guardian. But it misses something that this post is pointing out. Civilians can buy the 5.56 Assault Rifle with no problem. Shouldn’t the cops be as well armed as the civilians if they are going to keep the peace?

Toss in there is a movement to defund the police:

Defunding, said activist Jeralynn Blueford, is the logical response from leaders in this moment of unprecedented unrest. “If police had been serious about reform and policy change, then guess what? People would not be this angry.”

What The Fuck? Serious What the Fuck?

3d25106b37We have seen chaos and looting in US cities over the past week. Gun stores have lines that wrap around the block as people scramble to buy weapons to defend their homes.

While I support keeping guns out of the hands of people like criminals and the looters, it is thoroughly insane to prevent the law abiding to their safety. And for the most part I am sceptical of firearms for home defence, I can get why some people would want them.

It’s the image in this Tommy Gun ad from the days when they were freely available.  The ability to protect your home against marauding bands of evil doers.

And the do gooders (I can’t really say the left since there are some of us who get what needs to be done) who would defund the police and try to make assault rifles illegal. The argument that “no one needs one of these in a civilian world” rings hollow these days.

The chaos of the past week ISN’T the civilian world and toleration of those who are destroying US cities is wrong. It’s turning the “silence is consent” argument back at them. Even worse, it’s not silence, but outright appeasement.

Black Lives Matters lost any relevance the moment the fires and violence broke out. They could have salvaged their effort if they stood down and denounced the violence. But allowing violence on either side is wrong.

I don’t really like that I have to accept that assault rifles are an undeniable fact of US life, but there needs to be some feeling of safety and security until people stand down: especially the rioters and looters. Violence isn’t the answer. Especially if you are not the body authorised by law to keep the peace. Breaking the law really isn’t the answer.

There are options other than violence and chaos, however, there is a misguided belief that is what is necessary. That is costing the Black Lives Matters its legitimacy even amongst the people it claims to represent.

Because the people buying guns aren’t just white.

I’ve been watching Fox News…and liking what I see.

Well, not totally, but they are providing a balance to the rest of the coverage of Covid-19 and the lockdowns.  The rest of the media seem to think that people can take the time off to “social distance”, which is a major luxury for the average person.

Let’s toss in that the “crisis” is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream nirvana because of the way it is being handled. This is a “new disease” even though corona viruses have been around for a while.  The original SARS from 2002-04 being the case in point. And there are treatments and vaccines being researched, but they are a LONG WAY off if that is going to be your benchmark for déconfinement (which also works in English).

Déconfinement also isn’t coming soon if you want to use testing since there are tests, but the accuracy and availability are up in the air. Not having tests isn’t anyone’s conspiracy as much as the logistics of getting reliable tests in place. No one really benefits from a lack of testing. Well, maybe the people who want people to see SARS-Cov2 as being like the disease in Terry Nation’s Survivors (it’s modern spinoff as well) or Contagion. Those are diseases where a significant portion of the population are infected and die.

SARS-Cov2 isn’t like those fictional diseases. Otherwise the Cruise industry would be dead in the water. That’s because the cruise liners would have been death ships. Also comparing the current situation to the 1918-20 H1N1 outbreak would see mortality well into the millions by now.

Lockdown comes with its own set of problems if we are going to play the numbers game with mortality.  The catch phrase there is “avoidable death” which is where treatment or prevention would have somehow prevented a death, but is death really avoidable? Especially when we are dealing with something that has no vaccine or agreed upon treatment?

The issue to me isn’t if there is a benefit to lockdown since there really isn’t. I wear a mask only to make others feel comfortable. The reality is that the situation is like the conversation between the barman and Ford Prefect before the Earth is destroyed in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

BARMAN: You really think the world’s going to end?
(Ford nods) Shouldn’t we lie down or put a bag over our heads or something?
FORD: If you want.
BARMAN: Will it help?
FORD: Not really.

We don’t know what to do so we do what we are told. Again, the people who laughed at Trump when he said wear scarves can be seen wearing scarves! Social distancing is supposed to make us feel good when we don’t really.

The world has been thrown into chaos and it seems that people want to do everything except calmly address the issue. And it’s really scary when it seems that Fox News is a voice of reason.

Ultimately, I see Donald Trump being the beneficiary of Democratic Party blundering in how they are handling this issue.

The real question about ending the Covid-19 Lockdowns.

The issue is really more like can we afford to wait until there is a vaccine or treatment. Especially if the time we need to wait is until the end of 2022.

The optimistic predictions on a vaccine are that it won’t be available until 12-18 months. But that’s optimistic since there has been research into a coronavirus vaccine since the 2002-04 SARS outbreak. I’m not going to get into issues surrounding developing a vaccine since that is way more than a blog post.

Likewise treatments aren’t out there. While Trump can take a hit for his musing: he is expressing the frustrations anyone with any familiarity of this feel now.

Herd immunity is controversial since some people feel it relates to immunisation. The real issue is getting enough people infected with the virus to render it “harmless”. That raises the issue that quite a few people who are infected could be asymptomatic (I’ve heard it could be 50-90%). Toss in that 80% of those we do know have been infected don’t require hospitalisation to get better according to the WHO.

The whole reason behind “flattening the curve” is to make sure that the health system isn’t overburdened. But that also raises issues.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43,000 healthcare jobs were lost in March 2020, and the job losses in healthcare have increased as shutdowns persist through the pandemic. The HealthLandscape and American Academy of Family Physicians issued a report estimating by June 2020, 60,000 family medical practices will close or scale back, affecting 800,000 workers. Source

That means the US health care system LOST personnel as the pandemic was gearing up. Add in the hypocrisy of Andrew Cuomo who was wrecking New York’s health care system until he decided to become the media darling for how he is handling the problem.

The Anti-lockdown protestors would be better served by pointing out they were  being prevented from working. Even more useful would have been for them to ask those “health care” counterprotestors why they weren’t working or resting if they are so overworked. Knowing that the health system made cutbacks during the “crisis” is much better ammunition than 5.56.

So, we need good and accurate information as the debate rages as to how and when the lockdown should end. But saying “who would you kill?” isn’t really valid since people will die in this pandemic. The question is at this point is timing since there isn’t the vaccine, treatment, or immunity out there.

Also, lockdowns prevent addressing the real issues which are being raised by the pandemic. That’s ironic since the pandemic is putting them into the spotlight. But it’s easier to call the protestors “covidiots” and dismiss them than it is to have a conversation.

And now is the time for conversation and cooperation.

Social Media

I have a love hate relationship with social media. Facebook is a waste of time, but it allows one to track down old friends. I blog incredibly sporadically and its more of a commonplace book than a serious effort for me. Sometimes I crank out something new, but why invent the wheel.

Mostly I consider it a waste of time and most of my friends have similar beliefs: although I do have one Brexit fan as a friend. Believe it or not, I actually do like to challenge my beliefs.

On the other hand, I really don’t like wasting my time on the internet unless it is doing research. And Google sucks as a search engine since it is biased. I want to find something which gives me good information: not propaganda.

Anyway, I have been ignoring a group I created on Facebook. Fortunately, I made someone else a co-moderator and didn’t remember it until they messaged me about my ignoring the group.

well, I do like to get people talking, thinking, and questioning.

It surprised me what the world’s largest airport happened to be.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)!

Yeah, I am a Euro-centric snob with strong NE US tendencies. London Heathrow (LHR) is only 7th on the list! Amsterdam’s Schipol (AMS) is 11th right under Paris’s Charles De Gaulle (CDG) which is number 10. LAX (Los Angeles Airport) comes in at 4th above Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) which is 6th!

New York’s JFK and Newark’s (EWR) aren’t even on the list!

Actually, it depends on whether you are using passengers or airplanes since O’Hare has more planes go through, making IT number one for that calculation. International Airport Review, who came up with the ranking, has this methodology:

Airport terminal passenger numbers are calculated by summing the totals of departing passengers, arriving passengers, transferring passengers and direct transit passengers. A passenger who transfers from one flight to another is counted twice by the airport in which they make their transfer. A direct transit passenger is someone whose stops temporarily at an airport and then departs again on a plane with the same flight number. These passengers are counted once.

With the exceptions for my guesses being Asian Airports (Tokyo’ Haneda (HND) and Beijing (PEK)), none of the ones I would have guessed had the most travel did. OK, except for O’Hare.

Brexit

You might not think it from reading my posts at Penigma, but Brexit is far more of an issue for me than Trump. That’s because my right of free movement and residency are going away soon. Maybe it won’t be too much of a problem since the UK is not a party to the Schengen Area.

Citizens the only people who have a right to come and go into a country under international law. Let’s toss in that the right of asylum is covered under international law to make this an aside. So, I find the whinging by “liberals” about immigrants into the US to be amusing, but that is probably due to American Exceptionalism combined with the myth that the US has “always been welcoming to immigrants”.

Not really.

But as I said, that was a bit of an aside, but related to where I am going here. Brexit is going to screw up the residency of quite a few people of both the UK and the EU member states (with the exception of Ireland, but that’s a sort of). People who have been resident under the terms of the European Union membership are going to find they have to apply for formal residency.

Somewhat of a headache due to paperwork. Toss in that some places (E.g., Belgium) can be a tax headache if you are “self-employed”. Being retired is less of a problem since most places welcome retired people if you “aren’t going to steal jobs”. In fact most places welcome people who are willing to contribute to society.

That means going through some hoops to get in. Although residency usually isn’t hard. Citizenship is another issue: especially if you don’t want to get to the border and find they won’t let you in. Or hit you with penalties as is the case in the Schengen Area. Unlike the US, some countries actually have criminal penalties for violating the immigration laws.

So, what is the Schengen Area?

It was created by treaty and includes most of Europe. It’s basically a zone that once you don’t need a passport have entered it to move around. If you are a citizen of the Schengen nations.

OTOH, Nationals from some countries need to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter one of its member countries or travel within the area. It is a short-stay visa valid for 90 days. It also allows international transit at airports in Schengen countries.  The US and UK aren’t one of those countries, but Citizens of non-Schengen countries which are not required to have visas still have to respect the infamous 90/180 day rule.

Another point where most multiple-entry Schengen visa holders get confused, as well as the nationals of the countries that are permitted to enter Schengen visa-free. Most people think that the 180-day period starts on the day you visa becomes valid, which is not true.

Actually, the 180-day period keeps rolling. Therefore, anytime you wish to enter the Schengen, you just have to count backwards the last 180 days, and see if you have been present in the Schengen for more than 90 days throughout that period.

And you are subject to a €1200 fine if you overstay your 90 days: even if only by one day! Loads of tourists complain that they were hit with a fine for leaving a day late! There are ways to avoid be in Schengen for more than 90 days in the last 180 days by jumping between Schengen and non-Schengen countries. Thus, stay in Belgium for 90 days, then go to the UK for the 180 days.

Of course, residency makes a whole lot more sense. Toss in the Schengen rules are a headache.

But that is going to be a major fuck over caused by Brexit. One of many fuck overs caused by Brexit.

The coolest Submachinegun ever.

Yeah, I guess this would be a surprise post from someone who is “anti-gun”, but you might be surprised at how much some of us know about guns.

Anyway, my personal vote is for the MAT-49 which comes from Manufacture Nationale d’Armes de Tulle (MAT) armoury for use by the French Army and the fact that it was first produced in 1949.  Forgotten arms has a great video on the MAT-49.

The reason I like the gun is that it is one of the more unusual guns out there in that the magazine well folds up to the body. There are only two guns I know that do this the Hotchkiss Universal and the MAT-49: both of which were in competition to be France’s submachinegun in the post-war period. That said it has connections to Vietnam and Algeria.

Although, I would be less inclined to want one for reenacting Vietnam. The French were using other countries weapons: especially early in the war. An M1 Carbine works just as well. An M1 carbine can also be used for Algeria, but the MAT-49 was standard issue for the French military by that time. Although, the gun was being used by French Paratroops: especially at Dien Bien Phu.

Let’s toss in that the MAT-49 retooled for the Tokarev round was used by the Vietnamese (as were 9mm versions).

Still, this gun is expensive as heck in the US, while one can pick up a deact/neutralisé MAT49 no problems! And the deact is a fraction of the price of the parts kits I’ve seen for sale in the US. There are few options for replicas in the states since I’ve seen movie prop resin versions sell out at a 4 figure price! Relics UK sells a wooden version which works for prop or display use.

The problem is that the action is what makes this gun so interesting. Toss in its popularity among collectors (these things are really pricey if you want one that WORKS!). They were designed for full-auto, so I’m not sure how easy it would be to make a semi-auto version.

35ak7ly

I’m putting this here as a guide to the missing pieces for the upper.

I’m surprised Denix hasn’t made one yet. I’m pretty sure they would sell. Especially since deacts aren’t legal in the US. And Deacts are getting harder to get in Europe.

I know I’m not alone in my interest in this weapon since doing a search on the MAT-49 will turn up a lot of material. Maybe we are just a small community out there.

BTW, if you have a parts kit that is missing pieces, the best place to get them is naturabuy.fr. Unfortunately, it takes knowledge of French to be able to buy there. Also, the people with the best prices usually don’t ship outside France.

Some vocabulary if you want to try shopping there:
Guidon=front sight
Oeilleton=rear sight
ressort=spring
verrou de crosse=stock locking pin
Carte bleu=Visa (the best way to pay outside of France). And yes, there is a difference between Visa and MC in France.