Monday, July 30, 2012

And So We Have Arrived as Predicted in 1928

The following quote is taken from Lawrence Hyde’s book The Learned Knife - An Essay on Science and Human Values, Gerald Howe Limited, London, 1928, pg. 304, which I just completed reading, but will be keeping close at hand.

It is important to understand what is implied by social reform in accordance with the findings of Science, the method of which consists in the application to communal life of principles which have been arrived at through dispassionate enquiry.  It is extremely difficult to see how the process can ultimately entail anything less than the control of life by a group of technical experts.  Further, it will imply also that education will consist very largely in the learning by the great mass of the population of what these experts have come to regard as being true, for this basis the judgment of the private and untrained individual, on almost any problem, social or personal, will inevitably, with the advance of knowledge, become of almost negligible significance compared to that of the specialist who bases his conclusions upon a survey of an infinitely wider range of evidence.  In other words, the individual will be perpetually threatened, even in dealing with the most initimate questions, with having to make decisions which are based on evidence which is too elaborate or voluminous for him to master by himself.  And that from the spiritual point of view signifies something so serious that only the most unimaginative person can contemplate the prospect without consternation.

And so we have arrived, as predicted in 1928.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/30 at 03:03 PM
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So Much for The Posse Comitatus Act

In light of my previous post noting the DHS’s purchasing of a limited amount of riot gear, today I see that the U.S. Army is also in a riot gear purchasing mood, and I feel confident in stating that the riot gear the U.S. Army is purchasing is not being purchased to be deployed in areas of the Middle East, especially when one delves into the recently leaked U.S. Army Military Police training manual for “Civil Disturbance Operations” (pdf of 115 pgs), which includes the following lesson plans, which were devised, already, in April 2006, and taught at the United States Army Military Police School, Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Lesson 1: Plan Operations to Control a Civil Disturbance…..........................................1-1
Part A: Planning…......................................................1-1
Part B: Troop Support/Training…..................................1-13
Part C: Operational Techniques/Application of Force…1-17
Part D: Operational Tasks…........................................1-28

Practice Exercise…....................................................1-36
Answer Key and Feedback….......................................1-38

Lesson 2: Crowd Control Techniques….........................2-1
Part A: Crowd Control…..............................................2-1
Part B: Neutralization of Special Threats…...................2-11

Practice Exercise…...................................................2-26

Lesson 3: Crowd Control Formations…........................3-1
Part A: Types of Formations and Weapons…...............3-1
Part B: Unit Organization…........................................3-8
Part C: Squad Formations…......................................3-13
Part D: Platoon Formations…....................................3-15
Part E: Company Formations….................................3-32

Practice Exercise

Lesson 4: Riot Control Agent Disperser…..................4-1

Practice Exercise…................................................4-8

So much for The Posse Comitatus Act.

U.S. Army Purchases Riot Gear As Fears Over Civil Unrest Grow

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/30 at 01:56 PM
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

147 to Control Potential Countrywide Civil Unrest?

At the top of the page, Drudge currently links to a couple of stories in regards to the DHS ordering, as one of the stories puts it, “masses of riot gear.”

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered masses of riot gear equipment to prepare for potential significant domestic riots at the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention and next year’s presidential inauguration.

The DHS submitted a rushed solicitation to the Federal Business Opportunities site on Wednesday, which is a portal for Federal government procurement requisitions over $25,000. The request gave the potential suppliers only one day to submit their proposals and a 15-day delivery requirement to Alexandria, Virginia.

As the brief explains, “the objective of this effort is to procure riot gear to prepare for the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and other future similar activities.”

Let’s take a look at this “massive” order.

–  147 “Upper Body and Shoulder Protection” which are brand name or equal to “Centurion Soft Shell Riot Control System (CPX2500)”
–  152 “Thigh-Groin Protector” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion TPX200”
–  156 “Forearm Protectors” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion (FP100)”
–  147 units of “Hard Shell Shin Guards” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion (TS70)”
–  147 carry bags brand name or equivalent to Exotech (E4), 147 tactical gloves brand name or equivalent to “Damascus (DMZ333)”
–  147 riot helmets brand name or equivalent to “MaxPro (TR1000)”

DHS gears up for civil unrest prior to presidential elections

DHS Prepares for Civil Unrest as Obama Poised to Destroy 2nd Amendment

I’m not real concerned about 147 government enforcers who may be able to don said riot gear.  I’d be a bit more concerned about this.  DHS won’t explain its order of 450 million hollow point bullets

Posted by John Venlet on 07/29 at 11:59 AM
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Friday, July 27, 2012

“Tyranny is Colorblind” - We All Need to be Runaway Slaves

Today, a documentary is being released titled Runaway Slave.  The documentary, which is “a film about freedom,” follows the travels of Reverend C.L. Bryant, founder of One Nation Back to God, and the film is briefly described as follows.

In RUNAWAY SLAVE, an intriguing new documentary that opens in theaters this summer, Rev. C.L. Bryant journeys across America to find answers. A one-time NAACP local chapter president, Rev. Bryant discovers that by buying into the entitlement mindset of “progressives,” the black community has traded one form of tyranny for another.

Using leading black conservatives as “conductors,” Rev. Bryant believes it is time for a new Underground Railroad to help liberate all Americans from the Government plantation that has left the black community dealing with a new form of slavery: entitlements.

I’ve watched the trailer at the web address About Runaway Slave (3:32), and another at InfoWars, which is posted under the heading Pastor C.L. Bryant: Runaway Slave (5:12), and I found both intriguing, and I am quite sure that certain members of the black communitiy will be utilizing the epithet Uncle Tom in close conjunction with Rev. C.L. Bryant’s name and this documentary.

Americans are, in large part, under the heel of entitlement slavery, not just the black man, as Bryant correctly points out, and all Americans, whatever their color, should join Rev. C.L. Bryant in the “run from tyranny to liberty.”

I’ll be looking for a showing of the documentary here in Grand Rapids, MI.

Thanks to reader D. for the heads up on this documentary.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/27 at 01:28 PM
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Fantasy Summit

In the wake of the Aurora, CO shooting, movie moguls Peter Bogdanovich and Harvey Weinstein are both offering up mea culpas for their alleged roles in influencing the shooter of the individuals attending the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Bogdanovich’s mea culpa was offered up in a piece headlined Legendary Director Peter Bogdanovich: What If Movies Are Part of the Problem?, while Weinstein’s mea culpa comes to us in the form of a call for a summit, in an article headlined Harvey Weinstein Calls for Filmmaker Summit on Violence in Movies After Colorado Shooting.

Do these confessions make them accomplices and potential lawsuit targets?

In actuality, what these two men are doing is perpetuating the Hollywood fantasy, your “100% pure entertainment…source for movies”.  They are so wrapped up in the Hollywood fantasy that they naively believe that the entertainment they produce in the form of movies has crossed the threshold of amusement and diversion, fantasy, to active radicalization of individuals, much as claims have been made that the internet radicalizes Muslims.

In reality, what Weinstein and Bogdanovich are attempting to promote is gun control fantasy, as Weinstein himself acknowledges.

But Weinstein—an avid supporter of President Obama—suggested the No. 1 culprit is the lack of gun control and said it is time for politicians to “put up or shut up” on the issue.

“If we don’t get gun-control laws in this country, we are full of beans. To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States is pathetic. And I agree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg: It’s time to put up or shut up about gun control for both parties.

Yes, Mr. Weinstein, it is most definitely time for you to shut up about gun control and stick to creating amusing and diverting movies.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/27 at 09:55 AM
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Long Range Black Powder Match

A good friend just dropped me a note via email informing me that this weekend, July 28 and 29, 2012, the The 22nd annual long range black powder artillery match will be held at the Camp Grayling Military Installation.

For those who are interested we recommend the annual Historic Long Range Artillery Competition sponsored by Loomis Battery, Inc.- with the cooperation of the Michigan Army National Guard. It is held on the third weekend of July each year. The program is open to the public as a free spectator event at Camp Grayling, Michigan, about 250 miles north of Detroit.

Participation as a competitor is by invitation. The program features competition with pre-1898 field guns and mortars at ranges up to 1200 yards. Up to 24 full size field guns and a dozen mortars can participate in this program.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend, but I do wish that I could.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/27 at 08:22 AM
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Truth About Sociology

I’ve never considered sociology a true science.  This is not to say that sociologists do not collect and attempt to collate data with the methodology of say a physicist or a geologist, because they do, just visit any bookstore’s sociology section and you’ll find row upon row of sociology books which document the data collected on various human conditions.

The problem comes about, within the discipline of sociology, when that collected human condition data is interpreted by this sociologist or that sociologist.  One sociologist, in reviewing the data, will devise some particular hypothesis in regards the human condition, while another, in reviewing the exact same data, will devise some other hypothesis, and the reason for these different hypotheses, derived from the exact same data, is, each individual sociologist applies their own personal and individual introspection to the interpretation of the data gathered.  More importantly, from a true scientific standpoint, is the absence of replicable experimental results within the discipline of sociology.  Sociologists cannot truthfully state that one human’s documented conditions resulting in a specific action will be replicated by another human experiencing the exact same documented conditions.

So what, in truth, is the sociologist’s role in society, beyond collecting mountains of data in regards to the human condition?  Let’s allow Christian Smith, Phd, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Center for Social Research at the University of Notre Dame inform us.

Sociologists tend to be political and cultural liberals, leftists, and progressives…

Many sociologists view higher education as the perfect gig, a way to be paid to engage in “consciousness raising” through teaching, research, and publishing—at the expense of taxpayers, donors, and tuition-paying parents,...

In other words, the truth about sociologists, is, they are nothing more than political activists, pushing certain social agendas, who buttress their hypotheses with mountains of collected human condition data upon which they cast their personal and individual introspections.

The truth about sociologists is somewhat more colorfully put by Lawrence Hyde in his book The Learned Knife - An Essay on Science and Human Values.

The growth especially of such subjects as sociology and athropology has made it possible for thousands of people to lay claim to the title of ‘scientist’ simply because they are engaged in collecting information in a systematic way.  Scientific work in these fields at present day resolves itself very largely into the amassing of quantities of ‘material,’ and the qualifications for performing this labor consists more than anything in being able to count.  The result is all sorts of individuals whose intellectual and emotional endowment is of the most commonplace order, and who in the Middle Ages would have been peacefully employed in copying manuscripts or illuminating them, are to-day collectively engaged in creating a picture of the nature of man and society.  And that picture is being built up ultimately on the basis of their crude and uneducated native sensibilities.

Christian Smith quotes obtained from a piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled An Academic Auto-da-Fé linked via InstaPundit.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/26 at 08:51 AM
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Body Counts - Which is More Tragic?

I was in the woods when the shooting took place at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, so I did not learn of it until the day after.  Since the night of the shooting, it has been exceptionally difficult to shake one’s self free of the plethora of “news” items regarding this incident.  Even this morning, the story remained at the top of the page at Matt Drudge’s site, and the morning news shows also continued to exploit the story, less than cautiously crafting the shooter’s bildungsroman on scraps of hearsay, while talking heads perkily stoked Americans’ fear of guns, and with not so coy apophasis cast their eyes on that pesky 2nd amendment, while some musician waited in the wings to sing a song dedicated to the victims, which won’t hurt future album sales.

Twelve (12) individuals died in Colorado, at the hands of a evidently disturbed individual, and while this is tragic, is it any more tragic than fourteen (14) people dying in an automobile accident in Texas?

The Texas accident story barely registered in America’s consciousness.  Is this because the dead are merely, in all likelihood, illegal immigrants, or, because there is no money to be made off of dead illegal immigrants?  Whereas there is not only money to be made in association with the dead of the Aurora, CO shootings, but a gun ownership restriction agenda to be pushed, and a bit of high profile violence can’t but help push such an agenda.

Body counts.  Which is more tragic?

Posted by John Venlet on 07/25 at 12:37 PM
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Monday, July 23, 2012

“The Power of a Moment”

I’m spending moments with my granddaughter, and they are powerfully good.  Here’s a series of photos posted under the heading The Power of a Moment for your enjoyment.  My personal favorite.


Via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/23 at 11:19 AM
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Nocebo Effect

Most individuals are aware of the placebo effect.

Belief is powerful medicine, even if the treatment itself is a sham. New research shows placebos can also benefit patients who do not have faith in them

But how many individuals are aware of the nocebo efffect?

...a provocative new report by Winfried Häuser, Ernil Hansen, and Paul Enck in the journal of the German Medical Association suggests that the side effects of some drugs, and the discomfort of certain medical procedures, may be inadvertently intensified by doctors and nurses trying to keep patients fully informed of the consequences of their medical care. The culprit behind this phenomenon is the nocebo effect.

Nocebo effect quote taken from an article headlined Are Warnings About the Side Effects of Drugs Making Us Sick?

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/18 at 11:40 AM
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Some Kingpin

Yesterday, some variation of the following headline could be viewed at many news sites around the internet.

Ohio High School Student: 17-Year-Old Kingpin Arrested In Major Drug Bust

If one took the time to read one of the various articles announcing the bust of the “Kingpin,” a variation of this information would be read.

An Ohio high school student has been arrested by police, who allege he is a drug kingpin, who ran a multimillion dollar ring, which distributed high-grade marijuana throughout two school districts, netting about $20,000 per month.

Reading further into the article, though, one would begin to wonder if this 17 year old kingpin was actually running some multi-million dollar drug ring, or was just a high school kid selling some weed.

Yahoo News reports that when cops raided the 17-year-old’s bedroom, they found $6,000 in cash. Because the student was a minor (16) at the time of the drug deals,...

Sales must have been down if only $6,000 bucks were found, either that or the margin on sales of marijuana aren’t what they used to be.  Shouldn’t a drug “Kingpin” have a bit more cash on hand?

Posted by John Venlet on 07/18 at 07:42 AM
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Not An Early Bird

This House Finch was asleep on my fountain this morning.  I was able to walk right up on it and take its picture.  Definitely not an early bird.


Posted by John Venlet on 07/18 at 06:57 AM
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Charity: Potential Problems in Something for Nothing

Claire Wolfe posts a story regarding her befriending of a neighbor whom she had performed some charitable actions for, and some problems which resulted from her charity.  Claire’s experience is similar to an experience I myself had with an individual, whom I had employed in performing some yard work around my house, and whom I had loaned some money to when there had been a death in his family so that he could travel to the funeral.

Being charitable is a virtue, but this does not mean one should allow themselves to be taken advantage of when a charitable action has been performed.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/17 at 11:00 AM
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Flag Waving and Flag Burning Are Both Profitable

An MSNBC news article informs readers that sales of American flags, for burning, are quite profitable, in Pakistan.

The article is titled In Pakistan’s largest city, ‘Old Glory’ is flammable and profitable, and while it does not provide much in the way of information in regards to the profits garned by Pakistani ‘Old Glory’ manufacturers, it does provide Pakistanis’ most pressing concern in regards to their continued profitability.

As a manufacturer who claims to be doing better than last year because he has diversified, Rasheed keeps an eye out for the drivers of his popular flags’ demand as well as keeping checks on potential sales busters.

“Raymond Davis [the CIA contractor], Osama, Salala [the military checkpost attack], NATO ban [by the Pakistani government on NATO’s ground supply routes that run through Pakistan], drones ... there will be yet another issue with America, and yet another spike in demand,” says Rasheed, listing the recent crises between Pakistan and the United States.

“If things get better, we will suffer. Honestly. A quarter of my business is based on these tensions. ... But only a quarter.”

As I read through that article, I recalled a conversation I overheard a couple of weekends ago, where an individual employed by one of America’s flag makers, CF Flag if I am not mistaken, stated that the America flag business was booming also, though I highly doubt American flag manufacturers profits are being garned due to flag burning.

Because American flag manufacturing companies are in large part privately owned, it is difficult to know with certainty just how profitable they are, though they do have their own association, the Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA), which, naturally, and un-Americanly, lobbies to constrain the free market in order to maintain at least a portion of their profitability.

I wonder, if like the Pakistani flag manufacturer, Rasheed, American flag manufacturers also would prefer that tensions remain high in that area of the world?

Posted by John Venlet on 07/16 at 10:36 AM
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Small Kindness But Hardly An Angel

This past Monday I was up and on the road before the sun in order to transact a bit of business.  The business requiring transacting was completed in one hour’s time, which made the three hours drive time required to arrive at the destination where the business needed transacting rather an inconvenience.

When I jumped in my truck to return home, I decided to motor some secondary roads towards home rather than the freeway, just in case I stumbled on a used book store I wasn’t aware of, or a roadside sale or two.

As I motored a secondary road outside of Lake City, MI, about an hour and a half in to my return, I came upon a car pulled over on the side of the road, about halfway between Lake City and Cadillac, MI, its driver’s side front wheel quite askew.  Just as I was going to swing wide around the vehicle and pass it by, an older gentleman exited the car, so I thought I should pull over, and did so.

After switching on my flashers, I exited the truck and walked back to the disabled vehicle, and asked the older gentleman if I could help in some way.  The gentleman, Lyle was his name, informed me he was taking his wife, Nora, who remained in the vehicle, to the emergency room in Cadillac.  So I asked Lyle if he had any assistance on the way.  Lyle replied in the affirmative, his daughter was driving up from Reed City, MI, but she was at least one half hour away.

I immediately offered to load both Lyle and Nora into my truck and run them to the hospital, and then arrange to have Lyle’s car towed to whatever shop he desired.  Lyle discussed my offer briefly with Nora, and then asked if I would just take Nora to the hospital while he waited for his daughter to arrive, as he was concerned that she would become overly worried if neither Lyle or Nora were with the car when she arrived on the scene.

I readily assented to Lyle’s wishes, and we assisted Nora from his car to my truck.  Just prior to heading Nora to the hospital, I gave Lyle a card with my name, phone number and address on it, and wrote down his cell number, so I could report to him that Nora had arrived at the emegency room safely.

It took about 15 minutes to drive to the hospital, where I escorted Nora inside, and ensured she was put in the correct hands.  I then quickly headed back out to my truck to call Lyle.  As I picked up my phone to dial Lyle’s number, I decided instead to backtrack to Lyle and the disabled car to deliver the message in person, and to see if his daughter or other assistance had arrived.

When I arrived at Lyle’s location, I saw that indeed assistance had arrived, in the form of a Michigan State trooper, and that Lyle was talking with trooper.  I swung the truck around, pulled up behind Lyle and the trooper, exited my truck, told Lyle that Nora had been safely deposited at the emergency room and asked if I could do anything else for him.  Lyle politely declined and thanked me for my help, so we shook hands and parted ways, and I thought nothing more of this.

Just a few minutes ago, I went and grabbed today’s mail, and in the box, much to my surprise, is a lavender colored envelope addressed to me.  I open the envelope and pull out a thank you card from Lyle and Nora with these words written on the inside.

Your kindness was that of an Angel from God.  We thank you so very much for all you did.  I am doing well, and our car was fixed that evening.  Thank you so very much.

I was so touched to read those words that tears trickled from the corner of my eyes, because I fully realize that I am hardly an angel.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/14 at 12:10 PM
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