Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

He Didn’t Get Knifed Till he Got the Gun

Ah, the nonstop pageant of human bloody-mindedness, in all its dim rage and subsentient fury. We give you Bridget Campbell, of Corpus Christi, Texas, and her boyfriend, who apparently blew the (rent?) money on a gun, and kind of set her off. Well, not “kind of.”

Officers were called to a trailer park in the 5900 block of Ayers Street and found the man with a stab wound to the back of his head.

The victim told police he got into an argument with his girlfriend, Bridget Campbell, 27. While they were arguing, he claimed she grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him the back of the head.

He told officers she was upset that another man had come over to sell her boyfriend a gun. Police said she was mad that the boyfriend had a gun, and wasted money to buy it.

via CCPD: Woman Stabs Boyfriend After He Buys Gun | Corpus Christi, TX | KRISTV.com |.

Ladies, this is why we are sometimes… how should we put this? “Economical with the truth?” Perhaps, “not forthcoming?” Or as you would say, “Lying bastards!” when it comes to the expenditures entailed in keeping our memberships current. You know: NRA membership, range memberships, and Gun of the Month Club™ memberships, but who are we kidding? Mostly, the Gun of the Month Club™.

If you were buying the gun because your bat-guano-crazy GF is prone to murderous rages, dude, in one way of looking at it, you were too late (duh), but on the gripping hand there is no amount of anything you get from this person that is worth getting stabbed in the head. It is well past time to eject.

What’s that you say? It’s her trailer?

Weapon for Vampires? A stake in the heart is traditional

In Bulgaria… archaeologists are exhuming centuries old… dead vampires? Well, they’re people that someone thought were vampires… judging from their burial with a stake in the heart.

Let’s go back to a forgotten era, before vampires became sparkly, and stepped into the role once played by horses in tween girls’ fantasies; let’s go back even before that, to a time before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula and set the whole “Vampire” thing moving. Apparently, about 900 years ago villagers really believed this stuff, and staked some of the dead through their congealing hearts, like this feeling-no-pain character. The disc about where his ticker used-to-was is the butt end of an iron stake:

dead vampire

Smithsonian magazine has an entertaining article on him:

Clearly, this man’s neighbors did not trust his remains to stay put. As Nikolai Ovcharov, the archeologist in charge of the dig, told the Telegraph: “We have no doubts that once again we’re seeing an anti-vampire ritual being carried out.” At the time of the man’s death, vampires were perceived as a real threat in many Eastern European communities. People who died unusually—from suicide, for example—were sometimes staked to prevent them from coming back from the dead, the Telegraph writes.

Iron stakes and hokey religions are a pretty poor substitute for a blaster by your side, kid.

Of course, we learned of this from a typical Beastweek story, written by a professional, J-School-certified journalist, that passed through “layers and layers of editors,” that concludes (emphasis ours):

Little could the New England community ever imagine that 200 years later, vampires would be taking over the entire country—but this time on the silver screen—and that their ancestors would be swarming to get a look at these sultry modern counterparts.

Please explain your meaning of the word, “ancestors.” You appear to require its antonym.

Silly English language, it has another word for everything.

Anyway, we’ll be thinking of Old Spike tonight as we hand out candy to little vampires, etc. Our neighbors up the street put on a fantastic display of inflatable decorations — giant ghouls and devil dogs and whatnot. That brings all the kids from all over the place, and some of their parents come, apologizing. Why apologize? It’s a harmless costume holiday, and in a community  where a median home is around a half-million, nobody needs to whine about buying some extra Reese’s Pieces or what have you. (We tend to buy candy that we don’t like our ownselves… in the event of leftovers we’re less tempted to scarf it all up).

Oh, no, Bubba got hold of the SKS!

In the Continuing Adventures of Bubba the Gunsmith™, we’ve seen him savage Glocks (and more Glocks), Lugers (and more Lugers, en français aussi) and mangle 1911s and more 1911s. In long guns, he’s had his way with more ARs than we could count, like this one and this one (something about the modularity of the AR system is irresistible to slow minds and fat fingers), and solved the notorious “tight chamber” er, “problem,” of a National Match M1A barrel. Most recently, we saw his Century Arms International iteration hacking AKs with a Foredom tool.

With the entertaining website BubbaGun.com apparently paws up, we stand alone between the pipe wrenches and rattle cans on one flank, and the pool of remaining decent firearms on the other. And we seem to be constantly retreating. Take this SKS, for example.

Bubbas SKS overview

And take it, the Lewiston, Idaho dealer would like you to: he has it on GunBroker for $149 (+$37 shipping to your FFL). It’s an ordinary preban-import Chinese military SKS, the sort that sells in decent condition for $250 right now. Now, SKSes are great guns; they’re a blast to shoot, reliable as a shovel and forgiving of abuse, have an interesting military history (it was the main arm of many NVA units, and a sought after Vietnam souvenir). It fires common and inexpensive ammo, is small and handy, and looks like a real military weapon, if a dated one. It’s a great gateway drug to the world of military collecting, and you could always hunt with it (although many jurisdictions frown on 10-round magazines in the woods in deer season, and Elmer Fudd is not going to like seeing a bayonet).

But this one has lost its value, and its looks; Bubba has been at it with the usual tools of his trade. First, the rattle-can refinish job:

Bubbas SKS bad rattle can job

That’s not some crummy polymer stock; that’s the original Chinese hardwood. (It might even be laminate under there, but odds are it isn’t). But Bubba didn’t stop with spraying the stock. In Bubba’s trailer, if a little Krylon is good, the whole can is better. That’s why it has all the wrinkles: right on the can, it says something like, “apply in thin coats,” but that would require you to read the can. Or at least, to read. 

And we’re talking about Bubba here. So he not only went rattle-can, he chose from Bubba The Gunsmith™’s three-tone color pallette: Flat Black? Semi-Gloss Black? Nope, he went with the ever-so-tactical Feces Brown. Because, he’ll tell you, black is a color that does not occur much in nature, unlike feces. Er, we mean, brown.

He also sprayed, as you can see, the fittings and fixtures, like the sling swivel. And the sling. And, if you look, the receiver.

Let’s have a look at that receiver. Left side? Ow:

Bubbas SKS

It looks like sometime before or maybe even after the Krylon “refinish,” he took to the receiver with a stone. No, not the sort of stone we use on triggers, gentlemen: the sort of stone he finds between the cleats of the mismatched knobbies on his F-150. This is particularly sad if you’ve ever had the chance to handle one of these in new condition; the Chinese manufacturers put a pretty decent polish and blue on their firearms before sending them out to do their International Socialist Duty in the hands of some 17-year-old PAVN draftee.

Even the PAVN draftees, hiding in stinking bomb craters on the Ho Chi Minh trail, treated their rifles better than this poor thing. Well, maybe the right side of the receiver isn’t so bad?

Bubbas SKS sanding marks

Not really. There are gouge marks here, too.

Here’s what we suspect happened: after taking it out of the stock and nailing both assemblies with 1/8″ thick Krylon, it wouldn’t go back in. (Duh). So he then sanded the receiver until it fit, or stoned it, with, as we suspect, a random stone from the gravel road.

The Krylon alligator skin continues on the trigger guard and magazine, where it appears to have been applied over dirt and mung of all kinds, and probably some rust and/or pitting:

Bubbas SKS trigger guard

And on the barrel:

Bubbas SKS barrelAnd if we look at the other side of the barrel, we’ll see the ever popular improvised wire keeper on the spray-painted sling. At least the Krylon has been partially cleaned off the bayonet. Or, maybe, didn’t stick to its satin finish in the first ever-lovin’ place.

Bubbas SKS barrel leftSomewhere in China, a gun guy is shaking his head and saying, “For this, we went through the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward?”

But wait, we didn’t tell you the best part. Here it is, verbatim from the listing, emphasis ours:

You are currently looking at a Chinese SKS Type 56 serial # 10329. 20″ barrel with a post front sight & 1000 meter adjustable rear.
Wood stock & handguard have been hot glued to the metal. Handguard can be taken off & gas pistons work freely. The follower in the magazine keeps it from opening all the way
The trigger works correctly & bore is mirror bright with deep rifling. The entire rifle has been spray painted.

Hot glued to the metal. Or in Bubba’s shop, “custom bedded.” Lord love a duck.

Will need a little TLC and cleaning before firing

Gee. Ya think?

Now, it’s not our intention to bag on the dealer selling this firearm. After all, they took it in trade from someone, quite possibly the Bubba that did this number on it, and they’ve discounted it about $100 on what they could have charged for it, pre-Bubba.

Wait, just thinking that this was a trade, we shudder to think what his next project will be.

We are selling this rifle just the way we got it. Will make a fun winter project or shoot it just the way it is.

And they do have a point. This is a potential project gun for a patient non-Bubba. Most of what he has done this time is reversible. There are a few reasons not to take on that project:

  1. Even valuing your time at $0, it will cost more to restore than the delta between this gun and a good one.
  2. It’s going to be messy. All that toxic Krylon has to go somewhere.
  3. The same amount of effort can better be spent on a firearm that’s higher-quality and in higher demand to begin with.
  4. The resulting gun will never be original again.

…But there’s also the joy to be had in taking something Bubba the Gunsmite™ (sic) has applied his trademark smiting to, and repair the damage he has done.

We’re weighing a bid. If we do it’ll be a project in these pages. But we have a lot of SKSes already (all non import marked Chinese ones, actually). And oy, the mess….

 

 

He broke into whaaat?

Crime is what criminals do. And nothing much deters them, until they get religion (of the bible-thumping or, sometimes, 12-step kind), or they get religion (of the 124-grain, “You believe in Jesus? Say hello to Him” variety). Here’s an example of a target that would deter you or us from crime, but then, we’re not criminals, are we? It didn’t deter one young man, and now he regrets it, somewhat unconvincingly.

“What you did is absolutely intolerable in our community,” Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling told 30-year-old Ryan Mackenzie.

Cripes! What did he do? We’re a pretty tolerant community, especially the sort of nonjudgmental, “do your own thing” baby boomer hippies that are what we’ve got for judges these days. What could you do that was “intolerable?” Something really serious, like prayer in public? Well, not exactly.

Mackenzie’s vehicle was seized by State Police after he was stopped on Woodbury Avenue in Portsmouth on Dec. 29, 2011 for a traffic violation.
According to prosecutors, Mackenzie’s taillights weren’t working and it appeared he tried to evade State Police Trooper Tamara Hester when she attempted to stop him.
Hester noticed his dilated pupils and suspected he may be on drugs. A State Police drug-sniffing dog was brought in and the car was seized after the dog allegedly got a hit.
The car was impounded at in a garage at the State Police barracks on Route 125 in Epping. At some point later that night, Mackenzie showed up and broke in through the garage door.
Police had noticed what appeared to be a large white rock inside a tied off plastic baggie stuffed in a cigarette box between the driver’s seat and the center console, but Hester found it missing the next day before she had a chance to execute a search warrant.
Mackenzie pleaded guilty to breaking into the barracks, but did not admit to actually stealing the cigarette box.

So, now when this criminal makes the usual before-the-judge plea that he’s a changed man, yadda yadda, we need to bear in mind that the situationally remorseful criminal didn’t even come clean about his last caper.

Of course, if we were concerned about the “root causes,” like today’s judges, rather than simple stuff like applying the law to the set of facts before us, we’d probably want to know why he did it. Say, why did he do it?

A man who admitted battles with drug addiction

Translation: a bum who voluntarily dopes himself up, and now wants our sympathy. One word, sunshine: No.

Mackenzie, a Barrington native mostly recently living in Northwood, pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge after the break-in on Dec. 29, 2011.

Here’s where the criminal starts to deploy the bullshit to hornswoggle the judge.

Mackenzie, who told the court that he’s no longer the “same person as the addict,” apologized to State Police for the burglary, which was discovered by a trooper and made other members of State Police potential suspects as they investigated the disappearance of a cigarette box suspected of containing drugs from Mackenzie’s car.

Consider the chutzpah of the claim that Mackenzie was “no longer the same person…” as Mackenzie. What does he think we are, dope-addled bums like he?

“I understand my actions are inexcusable and I accept full responsibility,” Mackenzie said moments before he was cuffed after being sentenced to a year in the Rockingham County jail with two months suspended.

Translation: “My lawyer told me to say this….”

After the potential drug evidence disappeared, State Police Lt. Chris Vetter told the court that anyone who had access to the evidence was considered a suspect.
“It was pretty unnerving and unsettling to all the troopers that we could be considered a suspect in this crime,” Vetter told the judge.
Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton argued Mackenzie broke in to steal drug evidence in an effort to avoid drug possession charges.
He said it “appears that he was aware of what could happen if the drugs were found.”
But with the evidence gone, Bolton added, “The reality is we will ever know what he took out of the car. …We know what we think was in there, but we will never know.”

Well, everyone knows Mackenzie is a criminal. Crime is what he does. When he is released, does anyone think that Mackenzie will magically become an ordinary citizen, or will the centripetal force of the prison’s revolving door suck him back in?

Do we really gotta ask that?

Public defender Tony Naro argued there was more to Mackenzie’s story.
“This is a case, not just about avoiding responsibility, but also a case about addiction,” Naro said.

Well, at least the mouthpiece admits it’s at least partially about avoiding responsibility. That’s refreshing from a member of the bar. (Sigmund Freud, call your office).

Naro, who sought a sentence of 60 days in jail followed by home confinement, described Mackenzie as “someone who kicked a nasty drug addiction.”

He’s not in court for his drug addiction, but for his burglary. And whoop de do, he quit dope whilst in pretrial confinement. Frontiers in Recovery for $200, please, Alex.

Mackenzie, whose many successes as an Eagle Scout and other accolades were detailed in court,

What has that got to do with anything? He’s not in court for Scouting without a license or anything. He’s in court because he’s a thief, for Christ’s sake!

[Mackenzie] told the judge that he’s now overcome his addiction and that “it was a small part of my life” and something that he never thought could take over his life so quickly.
He said he lost the motivation to succeed as the drugs took hold.
“This has been one of the most difficult periods of my life,” he said.

via Man gets year in jail for break-in at State Police barracks – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Translation of the last sentence in the quote above: “I didn’t like getting caught.” Give him some cheese with that whine. And process him in to his new cell without delay.

About that Keene, NH Bearcat

This is Keene's Bearcat. There are many like it, but this one is Keene's. Without its Bearcat, Keene is useless. Without Keene, the Bearcat is useless...

This is Keene’s Bearcat. There are many like it, but this one is Keene’s. Without its Bearcat, Keene is useless. Without Keene, the Bearcat is useless…

Keene, New Hampshire, is a sleepy college town, left-leaning as NH goes, and the subject of a great outcry two years ago because the police purchased (or rather, had your Federal taxes buy, so maybe “requisitioned”) a Lenco Bearcat armored personnel carrier. We were part of that outcry.

Keene’s justification for the vehicle was that they needed it to defend large gatherings, like the Pumpkin Festival.

This made the entire town the laughingstock of the Western World, and parts of the Old World stretching back to the furthest conquests of Alexander the Great (we concluded, “Somewhere in North Waziristan, Gulbuddin Hekmatayar is laughing his ass off at us.” back in 2012).

Before we bring the story up to date, note that a large number of the inmates of Keene are college students at Keene State, the designated Party School of the NH System. That helps to explain What Happened Next.

So how do the people of Keene demonstrate how the police in their leafy burb don’t need any riot control vehicle? By rioting, naturally.

At the freaking Pumpkin Festival.

We are Not Making This Up®. We’d be ready to go back to that 2012 post and eat our pixels, but…

We just got done talking to a Keene cop, and they used all their resources to control the riot, except one. Which one? You got it: the Bearcat.

A perfect chance to grind patchouli-scented hippies (not to mention drunks in their fourth sophomore year) under the Bearcat’s run-flat tires, and they go all restraint, like. Lord love a duck.

Somewhere in North Waziristan, Gulbuddin Hekmatayar is laughing his ass off at us.

(Not Making This Up® is a registered trademark of Dave Barry. Used without permission -Ed).

 

Imura-san gets the shaft — two years’ imprisonment

3D imuras guns

Imura’s printed guns, seized along with his computers and printer when he was arrested.

Japanese 3D-printing gun activist Yoshitomo Imura was convicted and sentenced to 2 years in prison for printing guns.

The Yokohama District Court handed down the sentence to Yoshitomo Imura, a 28-year-old former employee of Shonan Institute of Technology who made a number of guns with a 3D printer in his home in Kawasaki outside Tokyo last year.

Imura was arrested in May on a charge of illegal weapons possession in what media reports described as Japan’s first such case involving 3D-printed firearms.

In a very Japanese ruling, the judge seemed as upset with Imura-san’s nonconformity as he was with the guns, and condemned Imura for “flaunting his knowledge and skill”:

“This has shown that anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer, flaunting their knowledge and skill, and it is an offense to make our country’s strict gun controls into a dead letter,” public broadcaster NHK quoted judge Koji Inaba as saying in the ruling on Monday.

Prosecutors had demanded a prison term of three and a half years for Imura. Defense lawyer Akira Noguchi had argued that Imura did not know his acts were illegal. After the ruling, he said that an appeal had not been decided upon yet.

via 3D-printed gun maker draws jail term in Japan | PCWorld.

Imura's Zig-Zag Revolver. He only fired it with blanks, but that didn't keep him out of durance vile.

Imura’s Zig-Zag Revolver. He only fired it with blanks, but that didn’t keep him out of durance vile.

Despite the legal findings, our information is that Imura designed and manufactured his “guns” to fire only blanks, which are available in Japan in calibers and cartridges that have no commonality with any live ammunition, like the 8mm blanks popular in Europe.

Mind you, we understand why Japanese officialdom gets upset when the subjects start “flaunting their knowledge and skill.” The last time somebody tried that, his name was Isoroku Yamamoto and he wound up getting their country nuked.

Shotgun Stolen: Situation Strange

A Luciano Bosis 'Michelangelo' 12-bore shotgun (not the stolen gun, every Bosis is unique). From the Bosis website.

Look at that case color! A Luciano Bosis ‘Michelangelo’ 12-bore shotgun (not the stolen gun, every Bosis is unique). From the Bosis website. Click to embiggen. 

This one is just damned difficult to figure out. Let’s just leap into the lede from the Burlington (VT) Times-Argus:

A man arrested this week in Boston is expected to be arraigned next week on a charge that he stole a shotgun valued at $89,000 from the Covey and Nye store on Main Street last month.

David Goldberg, 58, is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Bennington criminal court on a felony count of grand larceny, State’s Attorney Erica Marthage said Friday.

A police affidavit in the case was written before Goldberg was arrested. It is unclear whether the shotgun was recovered.

Now, the case is going to get weirder, but even in Ben and Jerrystan, casual shoplifters don’t usually make off with long guns valued at more than half the average house in Bennington. Also, one hates to stereotype, but when was the last time your city had a shoplifter or other small-time crook named “Goldberg”? It’s just one more oddity around this case. Then, there’s the way the case was broken:

The shotgun that had been at the Manchester store was made by Luciano Bosis, an Italian artisan who specializes in high-end guns often used for bird hunting or clay target shooting.

Police said media coverage of the theft and tips that came from people who had seen the coverage led them to Goldberg.

Officer Abigail Zimmer of the Manchester Police Department said in an affidavit the theft was reported Sept. 18.

After conversations with several employees, Zimmer said, she believed two men had come into the store Sept. 17 with a large Great Dane dog and left driving a black Ford Focus. One employee said the men were acting strangely.

Zimmer sent out a news release Sept. 18 and by the next day got a tip from a woman who said she recognized the description of the men because of the dog and the vehicle.

Cowboy the Great Dane -- his unwitting participation in the shotgun heist was the theives' undoing.

Cowboy the Great Dane — his unwitting participation in the shotgun heist was the theives’ undoing.

The dog turned out to belong to a guy named David Paul, who has a brother named Peter Paul — a twin brother.  (That’s two identical twins sharing three first names, without a last name between ‘em. We told you it was going to get weirder).

But criminals never commit just one crime, and this two-boys-and-their-dog crime wave also hit a store that had a video camera:

Another tip came from an employee of a Bradford store. The employee called Zimmer on Sept. 19 to say two men matching the description from the website and driving a black Ford had been at the Bradford store Sept. 16.

The employee said he believed one or both of the men had stolen a pair of shoes worth $145.

Store surveillance photos showed the men and Zimmer said one showed a Great Dane.

The Great Dane, Cowboy, turned out to be featured extensively online, and the dog led to his master, David Paul — and one of the guys on the surveillance footage was either David or his twin brother. With enough information to think that one of the Paul twins and their yet-unidentified friend were up to no good, Officer Zimmer went to the logical place where she might find the stolen shotgun and shoes:

Police executed a search warrant at the Randolph home of Peter Paul, where his brother David Paul was staying, on Sept. 25. Zimmer said the shotgun was not recovered but police were able to interview David Paul.

No word on the shoes. The only open question: did David Paul throw his brother or Goldberg under the bus? Well, what’s that saying about “honor among thieves?”

Zimmer said David Paul told them he and Goldberg had been at the store Sept. 17 but denied any direct knowledge of the theft.

“(David Paul) stated that Goldberg’s behavior in the gun shop and immediately after made him think that Goldberg had stolen something,” Zimmer said.

“David Paul stated that he was very angry with Goldberg if he had indeed stolen the shotgun.”

Translation, he was very angry that he was at risk of getting caught. Seriously, you go into a store with someone and don’t notice that he shoplifts a shotgun? 

Criminal Mastermind Professor Moriarty these guys are not. What kind of genius takes, not just a dog, but a Great Freakin’ Dane on a pilfering patrol? And where’s the shotgun? Well, the trail led ever onward:

A neighbor in Randolph said he had taken Goldberg to catch a bus in New Hampshire around that time and said Goldberg had a bag “which appeared to have a tennis racket inside it.”

We don’t know if the gun was recovered or not. With the sort of genius Goldberg seems to be, he probably fenced the $90k shotgun for $20 to some crack head, and it will turn up sawzalled into a zip gun on some felon’s cooling body after a drive-by. But even if the story were to end where it is today, we think it’s the weirdest stolen-gun story of the year. Industrial-strength weird.

Hat tip, Jeff Soyer, who adds in the comments on his site:

[T]he funniest part of this incident doesn’t appear in the article, but did in the initial report of the theft last month (which is behind a paywall): Police had a description of the car, AND the license plate number. They asked the public to come forward with any information they might have… Because the license plate number wasn’t enough?

Eh. Crime in New England is a little… different. Wait till about four months of snow shoveling have got everybody’s nerves frayed.

Hagel to the Blind: Here’s a Poke in the Eye with a Sharp Stick

Jules_Bastien-Lepage_The_Blind_BeggarWhen he isn’t refocusing the military on Global Warming, diapering babies on the border, getting exposed to Ebola in the hot zone, and the Global War on Smoking, Chuck Hagel is overthrowing all the military traditions he can: like blind-made products. In the limited time he can spare from that, he’s losing a couple of wars.

Now, we used to joke about light fixtures made by Lighthouse for the Blind, and those black ink pens made by Skilcraft Quality Blind Made Products that worked about half the time (“What do you expect? The final inspection is done by a blind guy!”) but these nonprofits provided stuff we used to need, and at the same time provided jobs to people who might otherwise be dependent on charity. Years after retirement, we still find the damned things around the Manor; on a polygraph exam, the examiners have learned to deal with an indication of deception on the question, “Have you ever stolen government property?” with a follow-up: “Except for a Skilcraft Quality Blind Made Products ink pen?”

But now, Lighthouse and Skilcraft have had one pipeline to Federal dollars cut off, because another group has a higher priority than American disabled: Afghan and Pakistani businesses, and the group that represents them, a shadowy and secretive outfit called TWI. How much of the money now sticks to TWI on the way to the Afghans and Pakistanis who are judged more deserving than American disabled workers is unknown, or who’s behind TWI, but one might be forgiven for suspecting that a worldwide search was conducted among the unemployed nephews of Defense Senior Executive Service employees. Because that’s how Washington insiders roll.

One might incline to blame Congress, but oddly enough, Congress isn’t behind this particular boondoggle, it’s an all-Executive-branch  show.

Congress was behind the original program of preferences for the disabled, which dates to 1938 and the Wagner-O’Day act.

More information can be found if you google, “Feds take jobs from disabled Americans, send them to Central Asia.” We don’t link to that site (Washington Times) any more because every page is so heavily loaded with autoplay spam and pop-up advertisements, but if you want to go there, it’s your funeral.

Some Columbus Day Thoughts

ColumbusThe celebration of Christopher Columbus has become, in the last twenty to thirty years, overrun with various ill-educated but loud products of university “grievance studies” programs. Some of these are aggrieved descendants of Indians. Others (Ward Churchill springs to mind) are phony Indians and phony scholars. All of them disparage a man whose contribution to American greatness was itself greater, by any reasonable measure, than all the contributions of all the indigenous neolithic tribesmen.

Neolithic. Meaning, “Stone Age.” Stop and think of that, for a moment. Before the landing of Columbus, no one in the new world had:

  1. metals (not even copper or bronze);
  2. the wheel;
  3. the sail (let alone the keel or centerboard);
  4. the compass;
  5. the ability to build permanent structures of concrete or stone (two empires, the Inca and Maya, were exceptions);
  6. permanent agricultural settlements;
  7. nails, screws or other permanent fasteners;
  8. the winch or windlass;
  9. seagoing ships;
  10. gunpowder or firearms;
  11. fortifications beyond a wooden palisade, and siege machines of any kind;
  12. wagons, treadmills, or other ways to exploit beasts of burden beyond simply loading them up as onesies;
  13. saddles or stirrups;
  14. artificial dams.

We could motor on down this road for another 100 miles, but the fact is that the Indians of North America were primitive tribal societies. They were living in the Stone Age, something that Europe, Asia and North Africa had left behind thousands of years earlier. The Vikings, who in 1000 AD struck most of Europe as savages, were miles beyond the most sophisticated of the Indians in world knowledge, technological mastery, and social organization.

The Europeans then knew "savage." They'd been there, done that.

The Europeans then knew “savage.” They’d been there, done that — as Neanderthals.

When the Europeans called the Indians “savages,” they weren’t being judgmental. They were being observant. 

Columbus, for his part, saddled up a small fleet and set forth into the unknown, at great risk to his person. He ultimately made four voyages of discovery. Others may have preceded him, without making waves on their return, but it was his journeys that opened the New World for colonization — and therefore, to progress.

These are deprecated ideas in the modern academy. As a result, bullshit about old Colombo is everywhere, from Smithsonian displays to the tendentious crap in Wikipedia. Your only hope is to find pre-Vietnam-era biographies of the great Admiral (Morison’s is fantastic), or perhaps an old encyclopedia. Hell, the old Hollywood movie with Frederic March is better than today’s academicrap, and it’s a typical Hollywood movie. .

Remember, the Star Fleet Prime Directive is bullshit — nobody thinks it’s better to be a neolithic savage, except for albino-pale academics who smell of musty books and have no calluses on their hands — who would be the first eaten in their imagined Utopia.

ISIL: No fun being right

The author of this piece in the Independent, Patrick Cockburn, is one of a family of Irish Communist journalists; while they all have had a kind word for Stalin, Brezhnev, or Andropov, who from time to time enriched them, none of them has ever had a kind word for the United States, and that familial hostility permeates Patrick Cockburn’s copious writings about Iraq, which tend to exemplify prose fellatio of Muqtada al-Sadr much the way he father performed the figurative act for Uncle Joe, back in the day.

Yet, even with the this-guy-hates-us-so-much-he’s-cheering-ISIL discount applied, it’s hard to disagree with what Cockburn is saying in this case:

In the face of a likely Isis victory at Kobani, senior US officials have been trying to explain away the failure to save the Syrian Kurds in the town, probably Isis’s toughest opponents in Syria. “Our focus in Syria is in degrading the capacity of [Isis] at its core to project power, to command itself, to sustain itself, to resource itself,” said US Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, in a typical piece of waffle designed to mask defeat. “The tragic reality is that in the course of doing that there are going to be places like Kobani where we may or may not be able to fight effectively.”

Unfortunately for the US, Kobani isn’t the only place air strikes are failing to stop Isis. In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.

via War against Isis: US strategy in tatters as militants march on – Comment – Voices – The Independent.

The failure, ultimately, is a failure of will: there is no will to win on the American side. Well, there is, but not at the policy-making level. Only at the policy-implementing level, where the people are wearing uniform collars, something that is never wrapped around the neck of anyone calling the shots in DC. (Well, except Chuck Hagel, who seems to be content playing Iscariot to the boys and girls in uniform. Or maybe that analogy is over the top, and who he’s playing is actually Macnamara. Which only puts Judas at one more remove, actually).

The many pale talents of the Obama “national security” team run together in our mind, so we  don’t remember whether Tony Blinken was the guy who was a speechwriting wunderkind, the guy who drove a campaign van, or the guy hired as a playmate for the Portuguese Water Dog. But whichever one he is, all he knows about Iraq is that he’s superior enough to be swollen with contempt for all you dumb clucks who went there.

Exercise for the reader: find the parvenu in strategic circles in World War II who is the most fitting analogue for Tony Blinken.

As far as ISIL’s ongoing victories in the face of the ineffective bombing being done with one eye on the media and one on the midterms (leaving none for the target, the enemy, or friendly forces), well, we predicted it but it isn’t fun being right in this case.