Monthly Archives: October 2015

Million Dollar Shootout: TrackingPoint vs. World Champion

It’s the rumble in the jungle… ah, rumble where tumbleweeds tumble? On 5 Dec 15 on John McHale’s ranch in Mason, Texas, there’s going to be a shooting competition the likes of which you’ve never, ever seen or heard of — with a million dollars on the line. And there’s a healthy aspect of promotion — for the rejuvenated Tracking Point and its Precision Guided Firearms — and a healthier aspect of charity — for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, Tracking Point’s partner in the 1st Annual American Sniper Shootout.

In one corner, using a military match rifle, is 2015 NRA World Shooting Champion, Bruce Piatt. The World Shooting Championship is a three-day event incorporating twelve different shooting disciplines. Bruce is a retired cop, who has been competing for over forty years, starting in junior smallbore.

In the other corner — Taya Kyle of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle, and by her own admission, no great marksman. But she has a secret weapon — well, maybe not a secret weapon, but one that will close the gap to some degree with Bruce’s lifelong-honed skills. She’ll be firing a TrackingPoint Precision Guided Firearm, packed with high-tech accuracy enhancements, including environmental compensation, range compensation, numerous sensors and the guided trigger — but otherwise comparable to Bruce’s rifle.

Who will win? We think, the Foundation and its programs.

Tickets are reasonably priced ($10 plus a small fee to adults, $5 for kids, military and LE show your ID or badge at the gate for free entry).

Here’s how they describe the Shootout:

Taya Kyle will battle the reigning NRA World Champion Bruce Piatt in the shootout of the century. If the World Champion beats Taya, he wins $1,000,000. They’ll go head-to-head taking the same challenging shots that our warriors face in combat: Long distance, off-hand, prone, movers, and blind shots all at unknown distances — just like war. Taya will hold the spirit of Chris Kyle in her hands — TrackingPoint Precision Guided Firearms; while the World Champion will use his conventional weapons. Can she, a novice shooter, defeat the reigning World Champion? Or will he walk away with $1,000,000? We believe she will win. She’s not alone.

That description suggests multiple weapons.

They have a pretty full five or six hours on the training schedule. There’s going to be explosions, both kinds of music (country and western), explosions, the National Anthem (yeah that’s on the schedule down there, it’s Texas by God), the competition, and an attempt by Taya Kyle to use a TrackingPoint PGF to replicate Chris Kyle’s famous long-distance (2,100-yard) Sadr City shot. Details:

In 2008, Chris Kyle made an extraordinary 2,100-yard shot on an enemy insurgent in Sadr City, Iraq. Get transported back to the Iraqi battle zone through our on-site replica at the shooting range, and watch Taya Kyle be the first person since her husband Chris to take the famous shot depicted in the movie American Sniper.

The event kicks off at 1100 and at 1130 the Scooter Brown Band — a band made up of combat vets — plays a 30 minute set, warming up for Asleep at the Wheel (hell, even New England turkey herders have heard of them) who play a 45 minute set, and at 1:15 the singing headliner, some guy named Easton Corbin (of whom New England turkey herders have not heard, but he’s a “country superstar,” it says here) does a 45 minute set. While the entertainers sing and play, there will be food and drink available to purchase.

With the noise of the performers out of the way, the music of big rifles may commence. Well, after Donica Knight sings The Star Spangled Banner. Think she’s going to do some hipster post-modern version? We doubt it. Texas, by God.

Did we mention the explosions? Taya has promised explosions.

We got the invitation this week and our heart sank when we saw the date. We’d be there if we weren’t otherwise booked. That’s a hell of a week, with the first American Sniper Shootout, Bullets and Bourbon (which we also hate to miss), and a family event (not optional, that. We bet John McHale, Bruce Piatt, and Taya Kyle understand).

Interested in attending? Check out americansnipershootout.events.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Lines of Departure

kratman_lines_of_departureIt isn’t the whole website — although there’s other stuff of interest there — but tonight we want to call your attention to one column that runs on the website EveryJoe.com. We’re referring to Tom Kratman’s Lines of Departure. 

Tom should need no introduction. Army officer, combat vet, lawyer (well, everyone has some cross to bear), writer of kick-ass military science fiction. His Carrera series imagines what would happen on a new world if a small group descended from Panamanians was led by a man who combined the military gifts of Napoleon (before he began believing his fans) with the ruthlessness of Mao Tse-Tung (before he mellowed out). Tom shares our belief that the leader makes the unit (which, in some circumstances, can be damnably hard on the leader; give a thought to the men and women who have to lead Americans under today’s inconstant civilian management, for example). We agree with about 90% of what he says and the other 10% makes us boiling mad. Exactly 0% fails to make us think. We like thinking, which made the Army a hard fit. We opted out by joining all the other high-functioning misfits and anti-authoritarian personality disorders in Special Forces. (If your personality disorder helps your life run well, and your job exploits it to the max, is it actually a disorder? Survey says, no, it’s just a trait). We don’t know how Tom stuck it out in the more stultifying, conformist officer corps. (We’re guessing he was always this close — Maxwell Smart hand signal — to “career concequences” at any given moment).

LOD is Tom’s take on modern military affairs, in which he explains, and sometimes proposes solutions that have 0% probability of adoption, some of the most pressing problems of today’s American military.

It would be depressing, except… these things are fun to read. But depressing.

Item: “There are no Bad Regiments…” Problem: Too Many Officers

Again, note well, this would still be true of an officer corps mostly composed of more or less Napoleons. Within that mass of short but terribly ambitious Corsican geniuses there would still be some better at the show and others best at the long term. The system would advance the former and drive out the latter. That system is driven by excessively large officer corps, which size dictates short command tours.7

Tom proposes a solution, but you’re always thinking he’s just one more dog-&-pony-show tasking from the solution being Neca eos omnes, Deus suos cognoscen. 

Item: Building an Org for the Long Term (Pt. 1). Problem: Micromanagement saps initiative

Fourthly, while the sergeants of Hamilton’s company knew how to train their men, they didn’t really know to do it. In other words, they lacked the Pavlovian response, “Aha, here is some open time. I shall fill it with pain and suffering and much good learning, that my men, my sacred responsibilities, shall be better soldiers thereby.” Indeed, not only was that response not conditioned into them, decades of too many micromanaging officers had conditioned it right out of them. Exceptions were just that, exceptional.

You just know that Captain Hamilton is going to solve this problem — and the organization will conduct a dynamite PLF upside his head. And it happens in:

Item:  Building an Org for the Long Term (Pt. 2). Problem: Toxic Leadership

You may recall that Lieutenant Colonel Young, the battalion commander, and Captain Hamilton just flat hated each other, to the point that the former would, in most of the possible ways, try to screw the latter, the latter’s company, and the men of that company.4 So, it wasn’t entirely a surprise when at about or shortly after that six week point, Young called Hamilton into his office and told him to stop. Hamilton replied, “No, sir; relieve me.” It is alleged in some circles that he also told Young, “But if you try I’ll take you down with me.” He was not, in any case, relieved of command but he was told by Young that, “It will reflect.”5

Well, I told you last week that there’s risk in bucking the system, didn’t I?

That’s just three little snippets from three recent columns. Don’t you want to read them all? EveryJoe’s weird interface (they don’t have a usability engineer over there, do they?) makes it a challenge to collect the set, but it can be done, just like Captain Hamilton could command his company, despite all the obstacles and training distractors the institutional Army, its “Squirrel!” culture, his immediate superior, and his set of here’s-what-you-got officers, NCOs and Joes could throw at him.

Those recent columns are not the only worthwhile ones by any means. We recommend his two CLOACA columns on the Critical Law Of Armed Conflict Academy, as highly as we can recommend anything. But sample them yourself and see what is to your taste.

Incidentally, have you ever wondered about what the difference was between command and control? Tom has an excellent and deep explanation in one of those three linked columns. Go find it and be smarter for the effort.

Tom Kratman archive on EveryJoe

 

The Wisdom of Solomon and the Economics of the AK

Chris Solomon, that is. And a careful read of his article on International Policy Digest, The Economics of the AK-47, left us with an aching head from trying to follow his convoluted, faux-academic prose. It was immediately clear that he can’t write. When we finally figured out what we think he’s saying, it’s pretty clear he can’t think, either.

Say hello to the bad guy. Public Enemy Number One.

Say hello to the bad guy. Public Enemy Number One.

Shorter Solomon: Africa is a mess (and so is the Mideast) because there are AKs and AKs are bad. Why? Because they’re guns, and they’re cheap. Guns are bad, and therefore, cheap guns are doubleplusungood.

Kalashnikov Group is also in the process of rebranding the famous weapon as an instrument of security and counter-terrorism. The effort has largely been criticized by humanitarian groups as the arms company embarked on a marketing blitz.

Um, if you’re a Russian under the looming threat of random Chechen massacres, you probably do see AKs in the hands of your national security forces exactly as “instruments of security and counter-terrorism.” Why do you think that might be, class?

Honestly, it all depends on who that front sight is resting on.

Honestly, it all depends on who that front sight is resting on.

What’s that? “Because that’s what they’re being used for, as they’re after all just dumb implements with no will of their own, and their use depends on the intent and abilities of those using them.” Oh, very good! Congratulations.

You’re officially smarter than Solomon.

Now, let’s take a step back, shall we? The first sentence of our little excerpt above says:

Kalashnikov Group is also in the process of rebranding the famous weapon as an instrument of security and counter-terrorism.

Rebranding it from what, exactly? We can always Ask a Russian (Max, you there?) but we’re pretty sure Russians and other Soviets thought it was a service rifle for the defense of their country and, in the bad old days, “the socialist world”. Is Solomon suggesting that national defense is somehow an illegitimate activity? It’s hard to say.

Pro tip: you can be perfectly clear and we can disagree with what you said. But if we can’t figure out what you said, you probably were not perfectly clear.

The effort has largely been criticized by humanitarian groups as the arms company embarked on a marketing blitz.

This has more than a whiff of, “The effort has been criticized by Chris Solomon who used soi-disant humanitarian groups as a cloak for his own opinion.”

Oxford professor Paul Collier’s book, Wars, Guns, and Votes, describes the cycle of arms stockpiling by African governments to safeguard against or fight off rebellions only to have poorly paid conscripts siphon Kalashnikovs from local armaments for illegal resale elsewhere. Small arms cannot be easily shipped off the continent, so they tend to stay local.

Funny. There’s an African-made AK in Safe II downstairs. How’d it get here? We’re on a whole other continent! Across an ocean and everything. See, there’s this thing called trade. If you are going to invoke Economics in your article title, you might want to write that down.

Weapons last a long time (rifles are the poster child of a durable good, a concept from a class in some subject… what might that have been) and they will go where they are valued.

This is one reason why countries with neighboring civil wars are also vulnerable to civil war themselves. Troubled countries make for a troubled region.

Ah, never would have occurred to us. Africa’s a mess because of the proliferation of AKs. It has nothing to do with peace and prosperity having peaked on that continent when it was under the thumb of cruel foreign colonizers… or that the colonizers left behind borders that drew “countries” that don’t align remotely with the underlying “nations,” a concept that in Europe animated everyone from Bismarck to Garibaldi to Gavrilo Princip. Was Europe a mess because of the proliferation of Mausers? Maxims? Brownings?

Poor governance is also considered in assessing the AK-47’s destructiveness.

See what we mean? Dude can’t write. Is there a subject in that sentence, where ponderous construction replaces clarity in an attempt to sound Highly Educated™? He should send his degrees back to his school for a refund. We think he means that, “Poor governance is an alternative explanation for African misery to AK proliferation,” because he seems to try to dismiss the poor governance argument (never been to Africa, has he?) in the next paragraph.

In any event, he seems bewildered by the concept of the arrow of causation. African kleptocracies, which are the global arms market’s bottom feeders, buy lots of cheap AKs. They keep lousy track of them, because Africa. (Poverty/corruption/tribalism/low mean IQ/lousy education/famine/war, you pick your causal factors, they’re all there in abundance). The AKs are used, ultimately, by unsalubrious actors to rebarbative ends. Ergo, the AKs caused it all.

Wait, what?

However, in Phillip Killicoat’s 2007 World Bank study, “Weaponomics: The Global Market for Assault Rifles,” he found that purchasing power parity (PPP) income measure was not so much an indicator of government efficiency but rather a sign of demand in the local market.

via Economics of the AK-47.

Actually, Killicoat’s actual study (abstract; or actual .pdf) is worth looking at for several reasons. It is an attempt to quantify weapons trade in the legal and black markets over time, so, unlike Solomon’s credentialed-but-uneducated chaos, it really is a look at the “Economics of the AK-47.” It does suffer from spotty data (Killicoat does not seem to have looked far and wide for early data, whose relative absence he apologizes for), and it suffers from Killicoat’s assumptions, which seem to have been structured to give great weight to regulatory effectiveness. He does, however, admit that his model is imperfect:

On the demand side, there is some evidence that, for a given level government effectiveness, increasing income raises the price of weapons as a wealth mark-up for a partially non-tradable good. Proxies for the motivation to acquire weapons: lagged income growth, homicide rate, and share of young men do not perform as well as expected. This may suggest that the historic focus on the supply side is justified. More likely, however, it indicates that better modeling and operationalization of the preferences for purchasing weapons is required. A further qualification to the demand side results is that the price data collected are predominantly for the AK-47. By focusing on the AK-47, the most basic assault rifle, substitution effects are ignored if buyers substitute into other higher-grade weapon types as income rises.

These conclusions are arguable, but it’s a real economics paper; Killicoat shows his work and others can build on it, or develop alternatives, if they like.

Returning to the wisdom of Solomon, we have this:

All too often, supplying weapons to bolster local governments results in the very instability the suppliers are trying to prevent. South Sudan, currently embroiled in a civil war, was the recipient of a sizable arms sale in the summer of 2014. Prior to the outbreak, China North Industries Corp. (Norinco) transferred 9,574 automatic rifles to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) for some $20 million.

Again, correlation != causation, a concept every scientist and statistician thoroughly understands, and Solomon thoroughly doesn’t. The AKs did not make Sudan unstable. Having two incompatible nations within one set of borders — a jihadi Arab dictatorship and a black African kleptocracy — is why Sudan, and South Sudan (itself a spin-off of this instability), is unstable.

It is what we have called a War of Identity™. And Hognose’s Law says:

A War of Identity™ has three potential conclusions:

  1. One side defeats and exterminates the other;
  2. One side defeats and assimilates the other;
  3. The war reaches an Equilibrium of Violence that is acceptable to both sides.

The War of Identity™ in Sudan isn’t caused, mediated, or exacerbated by AKs. If they didn’t have AKs it would be Mausers, Lee-Enfields, jezails, or sticks and stones. Until one side or the other wins, or both sides get exhausted except for a handful of underground die-hards.

Solomon continues in this vein. Violence in Iraq was not only caused by AKs, it was caused by American-supplied AKs. And they’re still making trouble!

The weapon’s legacy in Iraq still endures with today’s sectarian violence. Iraqi government forces and Shia militia recovered the Baiji oil refinery from Islamic State.

How the AK is implicated in that, we’re not quite sure, being unable to read what passes for Solomon’s mind. Iraq is, of course, as well-equipped with AKs as it is with oil. In Hussein’s day, it imported and manufactured them in staggering numbers, and along with the US supplies, the Iranians and Russians and Chinese have poured millions more into the conflict. War is magnetic, at least with respect to guns.

We do note his second sentence doesn’t follow in any meaningful way from his first. But be reassured, AK fans: he doesn’t think the AK is a force for evil everywhere: 

The AK-47 alone isn’t to blame. Cuba, for example, utilizes the weapon for its military, but does not suffer from internal instability. The correlation appears to exist between poor governance, the availability of cheap weapons, the resource trap, and proximity to neighboring conflicts.

Of course! The worker’s paradise uses the AK, but does not harm the hair on anyone’s head, despite the presence of many creepy AKs (pay no attention to the legacy of quasi-judicial murders and the enduring prison camps). Cuba used to be unstable, but that was before they got lots of AKs. Now the repression’s keeping the stability solid. ¡Hace progreso, señor!

And here’s his conclusion:

Regardless, the assault rifle’s longevity and abundance is all too apparent. The AK-47 and its variants continue to wreak havoc and have a long term negative impact on the security and economic failings of resource-rich states. This makes the Kalashnikov a key ingredient for disaster in the developing world.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Ponds

Bobby Woods mugshotAt least Texas, institutionally, gets it. The doer in this case is charged with capital murder. It is a particularly reprehensible murder, being done by betraying a small child, and being done for one of the most God-awful instrumental reasons you could possibly imagine: because the family home was crowded, and when the murderer’s pregnant girlfriend (the victim’s aunt) delivered her baby, there would be no room.

Bobby Woods drowned a three year old in a pond to make room. 

[Mason Cuttler, 3], trusted Bobby Woods Jr., 17, enough to follow him to the water’s edge on Aug. 17 as he played outside their families’ shared Lufkin home.

Once there, Woods, knowing the boy couldn’t swim, said he pushed Mason Cuttler into the water before turning his back as the floundering boy screamed for help, the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office said.

Woods later helped search for the child whose body was found in the private pond a day later.

via Texas teen drowned child in pond, charged with murder: cops – NY Daily News.

May God have mercy on his soul. We wouldn’t.

Why Isn’t Europe Defending Itself?

We asked this question, but came up with no answers. There is, however, this:

Female defence ministers pledge to break Europe’s old boys’ network
Dutch politician tweets image of Norwegian, Swedish and German counterparts from Munich summit, saying ‘things are changing’

Female-defence-ministers-010

via Female defence ministers pledge to break Europe’s old boys’ network | World news | The Guardian.

From left to right, the defense ministers of Sweden, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany: Ine Eriksen Søreide, Karin Enström, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and Ursula von der Leyen, respectively. No doubt the jihadis and wannabe shaheeds of the so-called Islamic State are quaking in their plastic sandals. What says the Grauniad?

Hennis-Plasschaert told the Guardian: “[The Dutch politician] Neelie Kroes once said to me that old boys’ networks are the oldest form of cartels we have in Europe. She was right, but things are changing, and women can do similar things now.”

Her tweet with the photograph soon went viral. To many, the image heralded a new era in which even the last bastions of male privilege were no longer closed to talented women. Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, retweeted it with the comment “True Power Girls” (and was widely criticised for the condescending tone).

“That’s how global peace can be reached,” read another comment. Others felt the photograph was less indicative of a smashed glass ceiling than the diminished importance of the defence ministry in the post-cold-war era.

We’re not saying having a lady defense official is a bad thing in itself. What’s alarming, though, is the degree to which crowing about the vibrant diversity of one’s defense officials has overshadowed utterly any metrics of performance from those same officials. If your focus in on “breaking up the old boys’ network” rather than preparing your national assets to defend national sovereignty and project national influence, you’re going to have problems.

How many hours did Vladimir Vladimirovich spend plotting the overthrow of the Russian old boys’ network? As he is an exemplar of just that, Old Boys’ Network, Sword And Shield of the Party division, we’re guessing zero. To a first approximation. Instead, he seems to think about how to advance his nation’s interests. Some of the West Europeans ought to try it sometime.

This is not to say that these women are bad people or that they couldn’t be good defense managers. It’s a managerial job as much as a leadership one, after all. And Karin Enström, the Swede, is actually also a reserve officer in her nation’s Marines. The others have no military experience, but are career politicians.In this, they are like almost all West European defense ministers recently.

Sure, these days Europe couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag, but’s not the ladies’ fault. Most of their nations don’t take defense very seriously. They struggle to spend 1% of GDP on defense, and struggle to interoperate with NATO’s technologically leading armed forces because they’ve neglected procurement. In Germany, Von der Leyen has struggled with readiness and maintenance issues that have beached three of four submarines, grounded almost all its naval helicopters, stranded a training mission to the Kurds in Bulgaria last year when their ancient cargo plane broke down and forced a precautionary landing. And that’s even before she came to the debacle of the G36. Most of these problems were not of her making, but they are hers to fix, now. If she can.

It remains to be seen if this photograph of four heads of four relatively toothless defense ministries is seen, one day, as the high water mark of diversity over performance, or simply as the high water mark of Europe, full stop.

Correction

This post has been corrected. Due to failure to check source material and editing oversight, the nationalities of the first two DMs in the photo were reversed: Leftmost is Ms. Søreide of Norway, then Ms. Enström of Sweden. We regret the error.

For the Man who Has Everything

Or, hey, the woman. We’d like to see Tam put 1,000 rounds through this! (Although, truth be told, it’s demilled). Available for sale on a European armor and armament sales website, along with its 203 mm howitzer counterpart, the 155 mm “Long Tom” gun was the staple US military heavy piece of World War II. The seller has a French name and a French (33) telephone code.

WWII 155 mm Long Tom

Of course, moving this gun between the USA and France is possible — it’s been done before, right? — but you can’t just click the Pelican case shut and check it like a bag.

At the time the M1 gun was developed during and just after the First World War, most world armies maintained both “guns” (which shot a smaller higher-velocity projectile a longer distance at a lower angle) and “howitzers” which shot a larger, lower-velocity projectile a shorter distance at a higher angle. Later, technical improvements in howitzers would render most guns obsolete, and today, howitzers fill both roles.

Both the 155 and 203 were US improvements on foreign guns, a WWI French 155 and the WWI British 8″ howitzer. (In inches, 155 mm is a hair over 6″). The American-designed chassis had a number of improvements, including the hydraulic “equilibrators” which made up for having the gun’s pivot point so afar aft of its center of mass, and the carriage that used eight road wheels and a two-wheeled bogey or limber to support the tow end of the trails and connect to the towing pintle of the tow vehicle. The tow vehicle was either a heavy truck or a “high-speed tractor” that used light-tank running gear.

This period Popular Science article describes and illustrates some of the then-new features of the M1 “Long Tom” 155.

The seller, Jean Petit (whose name is the French opposite of Long Tom, we note) describes it like this:

Very rare and impressive piece of history, deactivated main gun, weight 14 tons, towed by High Speed tractor or 7 ton truck, Price on application, this historic artillery is properly deactivated. Also available one each deactivated heavy howitzer 203 mm version, WW2 manufactured, probably the only one’s available in this good original condition.

M Petit has a large number of other historic pieces and vehicles for sale. The European site Milweb.net has an extensive set of interesting classifieds.

Hat tip, Miguel at GunFreeZone.

Two Dead in Tank Destroyer Explosion in Oregon

tank_destroyer_explosion_bend_orHere’s a real puzzle. It looks like a mishap during an armored vehicle live fire has killed two people inside the fighting compartment of the vehicle. The vehicle was on a public firing range. Those slain have not been identified. Local TV:

Two people were killed Tuesday afternoon by an explosion inside a World War II-era tank at a public firing range 24 miles east of Bend, Deschutes County sheriff deputies said.

Deputies, Oregon State Police and Bend Fire Department medics responded shortly after 3 p.m. to the reported explosion, off U.S. Highway 20 East near milepost 24, said sheriff’s Sgt. Nathan Garibay.

via Two killed by explosion in WWII-era tank east of Bend | News – Home.

tank_destroyer_close-up_bend_orThe vehicle appears in this picture (see blow-up above), from its sloped armor and large road wheels, to be an M18 Hellcat tank destroyer. The road wheels look too large to be an M10 or M36. Technically, it was the M18 Gun Motor Carriage, but it was assigned to Tank Destroyer units and everybody called it a Tank Destroyer. It had a high-velocity 76 mm gun and very little armor. With a similar 975-cubic-inch radial engine as the one in many Sherman variants, it was fast, hard-hitting and had the armored-vehicle equivalent of a glass jaw; in the last years of the war, the 2500 or so M18s built fought in both major theaters of the war.

This picture of this next M18 was taken during a live fire in 2010 and may be a photo of the mishap vehicle. The vehicle in the photo is based in the West, but there are a number of M18s in private hands, at least one of which is known to be in Oregon.

M18 Hellcat Winter 2010 148

WeaponsMan.com regrets the loss of life and continues to develop the story.

 

Naval Aviation Command Board — Worse than we Thought

aircraft_carrier USS_Carl_Vinson_(CVN_70)It looks like the whiners have won, and perhaps lost in the winning; according to a couple of much-better-wired-than-us-rifle-operator Navy bloggers, the Navy has completely overthrown the way command selections are done. There will still be a board, but the board results will then be reshuffled, to the demand of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, by the officer convening the board, the Commander of Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR), or the “Air Boss,” in Navy parlance. The blogs don’t name him, but he’s easily Googled as VADM Mike Shoemaker — a guy with a good reputation as a commander, at least, until he rose to a position where the choice was “please the politicians,” or, “take your integrity and retire.” So now he’s personally going to be the wind beneath the wings of the dung beetles of the political leaders.

That’s not what his email — which Skipper reproduces in full — says, but that’s what seems to be driving the results — that, and Mabus’s singleminded pursuit of diversity over competence. While the Air Boss says it starts with this board, there is evidence it began with the last board, and he’s quite open that the thumb-on-the-scales will be a part of all command selection boards going forward.

Here’s Ask the Skipper:

The Aviation Major Command Screen Board – When Poisonous Fruit Falls from a Virtuous Tree

and here’s Commander Salamander:

The Intentional Tainting of the Board Process

If you’re interested in this subject, read them both in toto, and the comments. Skipper has been deleting the name of one of the beneficiaries of this corruption — because corruption is what it is — when equally irate commenters post it.

Hey, lower-quality Naval commanders! And more suck-ups and sycophants! Mahon’s got nothing on Mabus in terms of legacy. Wait, big-l Legacy. Of course, it’s a bad Legacy, unless you believe the United States will never fight another naval action, the Navy is nought but a jobs program for political patronage, and the only human quality worth measuring is skin-tone “diversity.” But if you believe all those impossible things before breakfast — Ray Mabus, why are your reading our blog?

Not everybody thinks this is bad; one of the initial “I wanna be CAG someday” whiners, an E-2 Hawkeye backroom guy — and currently “speechwriter at the Pentagon” for persons unknown, a suck-up’s dream job — is all for giving corruption a chance over at the USNI Blog.

Finally… here’s what Ray Hath Wrought. In 1858, as we’ve seen here recently, we sent 19 ships to give what-for to tiny Paraguay, a force the Paraguayans had no option but to treat with. This week, we’re sending one ship on its lonesome to show the Chinese we are not impressed with their new territorial claims in the South China Sea. That one ship is being shadowed by a Chinese ship of broadly comparable capability. Think we’re going to get the treaty we got out of el Presidente López?

Fortunately, we didn’t send a Littoral Combat Ship, which could sail boldly (or at least vibrantlyinto harm’s way and disseminate the command master chief’s Power-Points about the latest diversity initiatives from Big Haze Gray — and that’s pretty much the alpha and omega of its offensive and defensive capability.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are building something that’s bigger than an LHA (Assault Landing Ship) and smaller than a current US Carrier — but about the displacement of the carriers we built before the Forrestal, and three times the displacement of the British carriers of the Falklands War thirty-three years ago.

Naval aviation is not something impossible to learn. Indeed, it’s seldom taken a nation more than twenty years to fully get the hang of it, and under wartime pressure it’s been pulled off in a couple of years (Royal Canadian Navy). But after a century, it seems like we’re losing the knack, from the top down.

Here’s hoping the Chinese don’t teach us.

When Guns Ae Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Microwaves

amana radarangeMind you, it wasn’t just the Radarange. The doer used a bunch of other found pieces to commit his act of homicidal art, including hands, feet and a guitar.

Wait, who is this guy, El Kabong? Well, it did take place in New Mexico.

We’re guessing there was Judgment Juice on the scene, in non-trivial volumes.

A New Mexico man who had been watching TV’s ‘The Walking Dead’ told authorities he fatally beat his friend before he could become a zombie.

Christopher Paquin, 23, was beaten to death by Damon Perry, 23, after they had been drinking a ‘large amount of alcohol’ at an apartment complex in Grants, New Mexico, on Thursday, police said.

Ha. What’d we tell you?

Perry is being held on a murder charge, Grants police spokesman Moses Marquez said on Sunday.

When officers arrived at the apartment complex where the killing happened, Perry was allegedly wielding a knife and two maintenance workers were detaining him, the Cibola Beacon reported.

Oh, the knife. We forgot to mention the knife. So it was hands, feet, a guitar, a microwave, and a knife. 

About the only questions we have left are, “Is that really everything?” and, “Electric or acoustic guitar?” We’re thinking that choosy assailants go Stratocaster (or Jazz Bass) in preference to a flimsy Martin D-28.

Police found Paquin’s body in an apartment and he was pronounced dead by emergency workers.

The suspect told police that Paquin began to bite him so he attacked him with his hands, feet, the guitar and a microwave.

via Damon Perry watched Walking Dead then killed Christopher Paquin for turning into a zombie | Daily Mail Online.

The local Cibola County Beacon has a little more detail:

According to Perry, he and the victim were drinking “large amount of alcohol” when the victim “began to change into a zombie.”

Oh, that’s totally explicable then!

Perry alleges the victim began to bite.

It was a self-defense case! Paging Andrew Branca!

Therefore, he reacted by brutally beating the victim. He is attributing his actions to his binge watching of Netflix’s “The Walking Dead.”

Binging on The Walking Dead, and Judgment Juice. Can’t forget the Judgment Juice. Of course, fifty million people have watched The Walking Dead and they haven’t imagined their friends turning into Walkers yet.

So ultimately that guy died for his crappy choice in friends.

European Migration Backlash?

Let’s see if we can observe some trends in the enlightened and genteel lands of Old Europe, where swarms of entitled, demanding “migrants” have been coming to take advantage of European generosity — and transform their new lands into the hell-holes they’ve fled.

It’s a story of cultural suicide by the elites — and cultural resistance by the people. But bear with us, and we’ll work it around to the guns.

  • ITEM: Europe: the EU Nears collapse. That’s not our opinion, but that of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, a country particularly hard hit by the invasion. If the EU dies over this, the cause of death was suicide.
  • ITEM: London: Abdulrahman Abunasir, convicted sexual predator of uncertain Arab parentage, is claiming to be a Syrian and has tied British courts in knots; he served barely a year for the rape and his lawyers argue he must be released in Britain to rape again and supported by British taxpayers forever. He used to claim to be Palestinian, until his attorneys showed him the advantages of a Syrian story. He doesn’t speak Syrian Arabic and can’t answer political or cultural questions about his homeland.
  • ITEM: Marseille: An article by the JTA is in deep denial about the meaning of violent knife attack on a rabbi and two worshippers outside a city temple. The agency, which supports unlimited moslem immigration to Europe as a form of tikkun olam, dismiss him as mentally ill. Le Figaro does say that he was “un déséquilibré,” true, but they also say he “proférant des propos antisémites” Pardon our French. Figaro is another nest of biens-pensants calling for More Migra Cowbell, but when you find out what the “déséquilibré was actually (desequili) braying, it was “Allah hu akbar,” (translation: let’s kill people!). In fact, you have to go to Steyn to learn that:

[H]e shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and “Itbah al-Yahud!” (“Kill the Jews!”) So how exactly do you tell the difference between a “mentally unstable” “drunk” and a healthy, well-adjusted Jew-hating Muslim?

We’d say sober muslims are more effective at killing Jews, but nearly 70 years of Arab attacks on Israelis are evidence to the contrary. Even sober, they often fight like they’re drunk. (“Hearts of lions, brains of hamsters”  was how one SF officer summed up his experience fighting the Republican Guard as a Cav officer in Desert Storm).

  • ITEM: In Germany, security experts warn of a double-headed menace: the Salafist/Wahhabist terrorism coming in with the terrorists is one thing, but the likely radicalization of the center against the migrants in reaction to migrant barbarism is an even greater fear.
  • ITEM: In Lebanon, a Saudi prince was busted loading 40 suitcases of the amphetamine Captagon aboard his private jet. (Obviously, busted having them loaded. Princes don’t load their own drugs — they have slaves for that). No, Abdul Mohsen bin Walid bin Abdulaziz didn’t have a really bad habit; the drugs were for his friends in ISIL. (The smaller quantity of cocaine the Lebanese cops also found was what puts the highness in His Royal Highness). The two tons of speed would have fueled a lot of beheadings and rapes.
  • ITEM: In the USA, the EEOC maneuvered a case to an ethnically Arab judge, James Shadid,  to get a judgement that two Somali truckers’ religious rights had been violated when the two Islamic extremists were fired for refusing to haul loads of booze. Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale were awarded large sums, and now the company must pay them for not hauling anything that offends them.

It’s a strange “faith” where murder is a sacrament and delivering some unbeliever’s hooch is a sin.

  • ITEM: Poland has elected a Euroskeptic, anti-immigration, explicitly religious political party by a full majority. So reaction’s happening at the ballot box, in those places where it can. The Grauniad, naturally, describes this as a “lurch to the right.” Well, they would. But their disapproval carries no weight with Poles.
  • ITEM: In Sweden, a native (and nativist, perhaps) nut job turned the tables and, for once, attacked the immigrants, murdering a teaching assistant and students, reportedly selecting them by appearance. The teaching assistant he killed didn’t look very Swedish. So reaction’s happening in the streets, where it has no ballot-box outlet.

victim Lavin Eskandar

Hmmm. What’s the cherub on his shirt carrying? Never mind. Nothing to see here. Anyway, it’s a weird shirt but the guy didn’t deserve to be murdered. There is no justification for what the killer did. But there is a high probability that more unassimilable immigration will activate more disturbed “avengers” like him.

torched refugee center

Elites who live far away welcome the moslem refugees. Neighbors of the center put it to the torch.

  • ITEM: In Austria, refugee terror has the people seeking  firearms. We told you we were going to work this around to guns.  OE24 reports, in a story illustrated with a classically Austrian hunter even to his Tyrolean hat and Mannlicher-stocked sporting rifle (our translation):

The Austrians were always one of the most heavily-armed nations in Europe. But now, all records are broken. There have been more than 70,000 more weapons sold compared to last year. The main ground for this armament: fear of refugees and of nighttime break-ins. There are almost 900,000 weapons stored in homes.

[States of] Lower Austria and Upper Austria Leading

Thomas Ortner, spokesman for the gun dealers of Upper Austria, states, “At this time, practically all shotguns are sold out, because for them one needs no Waffenbesitzkarte [Weapons Ownership License]. Normall, pistol permit courses take place every five weeks, but now every week.” With more than 157,000 weapons and almost 44,000 [licensed] Owners the state is in third place on the Austrian weapons Hit Parade.

The solitary leader in this ranking is Lower Austria, with almost 25,000 registered weapons, divided amongst more than 66,000 owners. Private weapons purchases are also exploding in the Tyrol and Salzburg. At the offices of the District Commissions, people are standing in long lines for the necessary papers.

Above all, women bought weapons

Tyrolean gun deal Stefan Mair from Fulpmes said that the boom began to intensify around the beginning of September. Due to the societal changes, people wanted to protect themselves. Above all, women bought weapons.

Food for thought. The UN and Brussels and even your own leaders in Vienna might decide that your life is worth less than the self-actualization and increased income that some jihadi wolf might gain by killing you, but somehow, they can’t get the sheep to go along with the scheme.

Is an armed sheep still a sheep? Not entirely.

 

Do you see a pattern emerging here? We do. In our opinion, the last thing the bien pensants of Europe (the UN, the Acela Corridor, etc.) really want to is to persist in the policies that they have been persisting in — as the preferences of the deracinated and denationalized elite diverge ever further from the preferences of the solid, small-n nationalist populace.

European nationalism has a track record. It is a genie best kept in the bottle.