Saturday, October 31, 2009

After this is over, I'll buy everyone a round at this pub.

Wretched Dog forwards this image with the notation:

"Now that is an excellent name for a pub!"

He says the image is "courtesy of Mr. Free Market;"

And if I'm not there to buy a round, just set a double of Bushmills (neat) on the bar for me. After a suitable interval, somebody can drink it. Damned shame to let it go to waste.


The Intolerable Act: An Analysis of the Pelosi "Health Care" Bill

The Intolerable Acts or the Coercive Acts are names used to describe a series of five laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 relating to Britain's colonies in North America. The acts sparked outrage and resistance in the Thirteen Colonies and were important developments in the growth of the American Revolution.

Four of the acts were issued in direct response to the Boston Tea Party of December 1773; the British Parliament hoped these punitive measures would, by making an example of Massachusetts, reverse the trend of colonial resistance to parliamentary authority that had begun with the 1765 Stamp Act.

Many colonists viewed the acts as an arbitrary violation of their rights, and in 1774 they organized the First Continental Congress to coordinate a protest. As tensions escalated, the American Revolutionary War broke out the following year, eventually leading to the creation of an independent America. -- Wikipedia.

Thanks to Wretched Dog for forwarding this with the note: "I want my country back."

The thing that strikes me as I read through this is this:

How is this less of a casus belli than the Intolerable Acts?


The Pelosi Bill: Cost, Mandates and Taxes

Posted by Dan Perrin (Profile)

Saturday, October 31st at 8:52AM EDT

FROM: Michael Hammond
RE: The Pelosi Bill

-The real cost of the bill is at least $1.3 trillion (the CBO score, plus the “doc fix”) –- and probably much, much more.

-The absolute minimum increase in the deficit would be $150 billion. You can probably add to this most of the $426 billion in supposed Medicare “cuts,” plus the substantial overruns in program costs as a result of underestimation of premiums. A deficit increase of between half a trillion dollars and a trillion dollars is almost certain.

-Employers would be required to purchase government-mandated government-prescribed insurance for all of their employees with premiums which, according to some estimates, would be double the minimum wage. With a penalty which, for most employees, would be 8% of payroll, it would be more economical to drop insurance for anyone making under $2-300,000, depending on the level of employer contribution.

-As a result, most individuals with employer-provided insurance will not be able to “keep the insurance they currently have.” The 10.2 million seniors with Medicare Advantage will also lose “the coverage they currently have.” And it is possible that the “grandfather” protection of individuals could be defeated by something as simple as a rate increase.

-Premiums will go through the roof and, unlike currently, Americans will be required to pay them, under penalty of law. Price Waterhouse estimates that the average family policy for a family of four will be $25,900 by 2019 (under the comparable Reid bill). And, although the study does not look at the impact of the subsidies, unlike the liberally touted Kaiser study, it does not ignore the impact of taxes on premiums.

-This means that the individual mandate (which would require most Americans to have government-approved insurance) would tax a family of four at a rate of up to $25,900 a year by 2019 –- substantially in excess of the premium cost if Congress did nothing. And Wellpoint comes in with an even more dire projection — estimating that the bills will cause insurance premiums to triple. The CBO projects that the bills will increase premiums as well. In a very real sense, these bill-caused skyrocketing insurance costs are taxes.

-Section 115 contains a much more explicit provision on electronic data than in any other bill. This section inserts a new section entitled “Standardize Electronic Administrative Transactions,” which says: “The Secretary shall adopt and regularly update standards consistent with the goals described in paragraph (2).” Paragraph (2) requires that electronic submissions for payments be “comprehensive, efficient and robust, requiring minimal augmentation by paper transactions or clarification by further communications.” It is foolish to assume that this will not require the submission of an individual’s entire medical file.

-On abortion, the bill would make the federal government the guarantor that every American would have access to abortion coverage. The public option could, at the Obama administration’s discretion, require funding for late term, third trimester, and “convenience” abortions. And any restrictions on taxpayer-subsidized policies could be easily circumvented by accounting tricks considerably less devious than those being used to push this bill.

-The “public option” –- contained at Subtitle B of Title III (section 321 et seq.) –- differs from the liberals’ dream bill in only one significant respect: It allows rates to be negotiated with providers, rather than being statutorily pegged at Medicare (or Medicare + 5%) rates. Of course, this does not prohibit the Obama administration from taking a hard line in negotiations and achieving the same result which would have previously been achieved by statutory language.

Other taxes include:

-a 2.5% tax on medical devices such as pacemakers and artificial limbs;

-a decrease of maximum contributions to health FSA’s to $2,500, which is expected to result in an $816 tax increase for a family earning $66,000;

-an elimination of the tax deduction for employers who receive government assistance for providing retiree prescription drug coverage; and

-various harassing taxes on Health Savings Account owners, including a doubling of the penalty for non-health distributions and elimination of non-taxable reimbursements of over-the-counter medications.


The CBO has scored the bill at $1.055 trillion.

-This does not take into consideration that fact that the ten-year window contains ten years of revenue and only three to eight years of major payouts –- meaning that the bill will bleed red ink during the period from 2020 to 2024, after the spending has kicked in. (Incidentally, this means that the bill cannot go through “reconciliation.”)

-In addition, of course, this excludes the cost of the $247 billion kickback to the AMA — the so-called “doc fix” -– which is as much a part of the bill as anything in the bill, but which is excluded from the “cost” through the fraudulent practice of passing it in separate legislation. This is comparable to Bernie Madoff telling his clients that his firm was solvent, but failing to ell them about a massive liability which swallowed their investments. If Congress was honest about this, the cost of the bill would be $1.3 trillion.

-Finally, this assumes Congress can make $426 billion in largely unspecified cuts in Medicare, even though it is simultaneously proving itself incapable of sticking to the $247 billion in Medicare cuts which it promised in 1997. Apologists claim that these cuts, unlike previous cuts, are enforceable because they involve “achievable” goals like purchasing drugs at generic prices. But there are no such specific requirements in the bill, and we have no reason to believe that the general monetary goals set by the non-binding “deals” with pharmaceuticals and other industries are any more binding than comparable “sustained growth rates” (i.e., the 1997 doctor “cuts”) which Congress has overridden so consistently.


Section 501 imposes a 2.5% tax on, essentially, the adjusted gross income of anyone who fails to meet the “acceptable coverage” requirement. “Acceptable coverage” is defined by subsection 501(d) to include government health coverage, “grandfathered” policies, and “Coverage under a qualified health benefits plan (as defined in section 100(c) of the ).” [sic] (“Grandfathered health insurance coverage” is defined in section 202, and includes a requirement that the insurer “does not change any of its terms and conditions.” [Section 202(a)(2)] Although paragraph 202(a)(3) specifically defeats “grandfather” coverage if the insurer varies the percentage increase within a risk group, it does not prevent the HHS secretary from taking away “grandfather” protection under paragraph 202(a)(2) on the basis of a rate increase.)

To get back to section 501, the reference to “section 100(c) of the ).” is just one of thousands of errors in the bill. There is no section 100(c). But section 1(c) says “”acceptable coverage” has the meaning given such term in section 302(d)(2).” Section 302(d)(2) defines “acceptable coverage” in the same way as section 501(d), but, at its core, defines it as “a qualified health benefits plan.” Section 1(c)(25) defines “qualified health benefits plan” to mean a “health benefits plan that –-

“(A) meets the requirements for such a plan under title II and includes the public health insurance option; and

“(B) is offered by a QHBP offering entity that meets the applicable requirements of such title with respect to such plan.”

Title II, section 201(b), says that “a health benefits plan shall not be a qualified health benefits plan under this division unless the plan meets the applicable requirements of the following subtitles for the type of plan and plan year involved:

“(1) Subtitle B (relating to affordable coverage);

“(2) Subtitle C (relating to essential benefits);

“(3) Subtitle D (relating to consumer protection).”.

Subtitle B prohibits preexisting conditions, mandates guaranteed issue and renewal, sets insurance rating rules (limiting age variation to a 2:1 ratio, and limiting the only other permissible considerations to location and family size), requires family policies to children who are dependents to last until the child reaches 27 years of age, and requires drug dependency coverage and mental health parity.

Subtitle C delineates “essential benefits,” including, in subsection (b) “mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatments,” preventive services, “well-baby and well-child care and oral health,” etc. Subsection (c) also limits deductibles and copayments to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families in the first year, adjusted for inflation, as determined by premium increases (which is in addition to section 109’s elimination of lifetime aggregates).

Subtitle C also addresses abortion. The government-mandated insurance packages may not require Americans to buy packages which provide for abortions for themselves, but, on the other hand, the government would be required to become a guarantor that everyone in America would have access to abortion coverage.

The “public option” is REQUIRED to cover any abortions allowed by the Hyde amendment, and may, at the discretion of the Obama administration, be extended to cover ALL abortions, including partial birth and late term abortions. The abortions which would be REQUIRED to be covered would currently include abortions in the case of rape and incest, but, if the Hyde amendment is expanded to cover the “health of the mother,” this class of abortions would also be covered by the “public option,” a Fannie Mae-type entity which is put in place with taxpayer funds. But this statutory requirement is almost irrelevant, because the Obama administration would, by regulation, impose abortion coverage which is much, much broader.

In addition to the statutorily mandated benefits, subtitle C also delegates to a Health Benefits Advisory Committee (and to the HHS Secretary to which it reports) the authority to write the details of insurance policies and the benefits which government-mandated insurance is required to provide. The panel consists of up to 27 members -– all of which would be appointed by the Obama administration or by the Comptroller General, without the advice and consent of the Senate. The HHS Secretary would almost certainly determine the makeup of most of the advisory committee, but, if for some reason, she disagreed with the committee’s recommendations, she, in section 224(b), would be empowered to write virtually every insurance policy in America by regulatory fiat.

The language in section 224 is broad enough to allow the secretary to not only require coverage for politically correct purposes (such as sex change operations and same-sex couples), but also to exclude coverage for “dangerous” activities such as hunting and keeping a gun in the house for self-defense.

On the last point, the bill’s “wellness” initiatives (such as section 112(b)’s “qualified wellness program”) may also be used to impose gun control, notwithstanding section 211’s supposed bar on consideration of preexisting conditions.

Finally, we would expect Sebelius to use section 224 to impose a data submission requirement as a condition of receiving benefits. Thus, by regulatory fiat, providers would be required to submit confidential medical records to a federal database. But, aside from this, section 115 contains a much more explicit provision on electronic data than in any other bill. This section inserts a new section entitled “Standardize Electronic Administrative Transactions,” which says: “The Secretary shall adopt and regularly update standards consistent with the goals described in paragraph (2).” Paragraph (2) requires that electronic submissions for payments be “comprehensive, efficient and robust, requiring minimal augmentation by paper transactions or clarification by further communications.” It is foolish to assume that this will not require the submission of an individual’s entire medical file.

Incidentally, a recent study, published in the Washington Post, found that computerized records caused 28,000 medical errors and resulted in nearly three times the number of deaths as paper records.


Every employer with a payroll in excess of $500,000 would have to purchase government-approved insurance for its employees –- or pay a fine which would range from 2% of payroll at the $500,000 level to 8% at $750,000 or above.

There has been a lot of talk about the bill allowing Americans to “keep the coverage they currently have.” But, after year #5, any grandfather protection for employment-based plans expires, and plans have to comply with the requirements of individual “qualified health benefits plans.” In virtually all cases, for Americans lucky enough to keep employer-provided insurance, this would result in dramatic rewrites of their policies, which would affect the doctors they could see and the treatments they would be entitled to receive.

However, if studies are correct -– and these government-approved policies would cost $25,900 a year or more by 2019 for employees who may be earning little more than the minimum wage -– then the temptation of most employers will be to dump insurance coverage altogether and either (1) pay the job-destroying (but relatively manageable) fine, or (2) downsize the workforce. This is particularly true because section 110 would prohibit any employer-provided policy from reducing benefits for any reason after the employee has retired, even if those cuts are necessary to preserve the solvency of the business. In fact, it would be more economical to drop insurance for anyone making under $2-300,000, depending on the level of employer contribution.

Those Americans who lost their insurance under these provisions would be subjected to the “individual mandate” and would be required to purchase very expensive policies for which many middle-income Americans (those individuals earning over $44,000 and families earning over $88,000) would receive no relief.


The “public option” –- contained at Subtitle B of Title III (section 321 et seq.) –- differs from the liberals’ dream bill in only one significant respect: It allows rates to be negotiated with providers, rather than being statutorily pegged at Medicare (or Medicare + 5%) rates. Of course, this does not prohibit the Obama administration from taking a hard line in negotiations and achieving the same result which would have previously been achieved by statutory language.


How big a tax increase does this bill represent? And how much would come from the middle class?

Estimates of the Baucus bill were that 90% of its $400 billion of tax increases would fall on those earning under $200,000, and 50% would fall on those earning under $100,000.

But, to some extent, the answer to this question depends on how you define “tax increase.” The individual mandate would require most Americans to have government-approved insurance. Price Waterhouse estimates that the cost to a family of four will climb to $25,900 a year under the Baucus bill by 2019 –- substantially in excess of the premium cost if Congress did nothing. And Wellpoint estimates that the bills will cause insurance premiums to triple. The CBO projects that the bills will increase premiums as well.

In a very real sense, these bill-caused skyrocketing insurance costs are taxes. This is because the law requires that young, middle class, relatively healthy people buy insurance which subsidizes the health care of the very ill. Similarly, the 2.5%-of-income penalties are also taxes, and are imposed under the Internal Revenue Code and enforced by the IRS.

For individuals earning over $44,000, there will be no relief to help them pay for the roughly $10,000 in premiums which even individuals will be required to pay. And families in the $88,000-$250,000 range, which Obama pledged not to tax, would experience annual “income transfer” insurance premium bills climbing to almost $26,000 -– again without relief.

The House leadership has talked a lot about the “millionaires’ tax.” But this mandated purchase of government-approved politically correct insurance represents by far the biggest tax. And it falls squarely on the middle class.

True, the House bill currently contains a graduated limit on the percent of income which persons below 400% of the poverty level can be required to spend on mandated premiums, under penalty of law. But, in the unlikely event that this remains through conference, all this means is that, even for the lower middle class, a larger and larger percent of the population will be uninsured because it is unable to afford the escalating premiums mandated by this legislation.

Other taxes include:

-a 2.5% tax on medical devices such as pacemakers and artificial limbs;

-a decrease of maximum contributions to health FSA’s to $2,500, which is expected to result in an $816 tax increase for a family earning $66,000;

-an elimination of the tax deduction for employers who receive government assistance for providing retiree prescription drug coverage; and

-various harassing taxes on Health Savings Account owners, including a doubling of the penalty for non-health distributions and elimination of non-taxable reimbursements of over-the-counter medications.

The Mathematics of Liberty: "One Hundred Heads" re-examined.

Scout Sniper (MOS 0317, formerly 8541) is a specialist in the United States Marine Corps whose mission is to deny the enemy freedom of movement by killing enemy leaders, crew-served weapons operators, radiomen, observers, messengers, and other key personnel with single, well-aimed shots. In addition, scout snipers also provide close reconnaissance and surveillance to the infantry battalion. Scout Snipers attached to Marine infantry battalions fall under the Surveillance and Target Acquisition units, usually a reduced platoon with the headquarters company. Marine Corps Scout Snipers are widely considered one of the elite forces of the US military and all branches of service send their best to be trained at one of the four school house locations.

As defined by the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Basic Course, a Scout Sniper is a Marine highly skilled in fields craft and marksmanship who delivers long range precision fire on selected targets from concealed positions in support of combat operations. -- Wikipedia.

NOTE: Some folks, in and out of government, will take what I write below as an invitation to assassination of public figures. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am on record as denouncing the idea of assassinating President Obama, going so far during the campaign as to call on good folks to attend his rallies and watch for threats to him. Assassination, even of a President no matter how much you dislike or fear his administration's policies, is a loser's tool. Indeed, there is much more to be gained by the enemies of the Founders' Republic in the assassination of President Obama than by anyone else. If it happens one must ask the old criminal investigator's question: Cui bono? Who benefits?

(One wonders if this isn't -- subconsciously at least -- what's behind the incessant comparisions of Obama to Lincoln and Julius Ceasar.)

Rather, the political and military dynamics I try to explain below are in the context of a hypothetical civil war initiated by a tyrannical administration. In that scenario, the killing of senior executives of the murderous regime would not be murder, but, from one perspective simple justice, and from another legitimate targets permissible under the laws of war. (See Bill Clinton and Serbia, 1999).

As with everything I write, I'm trying avoid a civil war here, not start one. -- MBV


Trying to finish Absolved, real life events intrude as they must. The flurry of praxis posts was done for a reason -- responding to a need reflected in email requests and face-to-face conversations with folks new to the armed citizen concept. The response to the FM 21-15 offering was amazing, and I spent more than I little time sending those pdfs out. It was worth it. Glad to see all those budding militia supply officers out there. Logistics most often decides conflicts and thus we should pay great attention to ours.

Will, of course, is also indispensable. But as the Japanese Empire could tell you if it were still around, "Yamato damashi" alone can only take you so far. Training, tactics, strategy, intelligence, all are also critical to success.

But what we would all prefer is not to have to fight at all. Since we prefer to live in peace AND liberty, it is necessary to figure out what motivates our enemy -- the domestic enemies of the Founder's republic and the Constitution. What do they want? Well, that's pretty obvious. They want to be able to tell the rest of us what to do without interference. To paraphrase the sign my ex-wife used to have on the wall, it is their way or the highway.

That is what they want, surely. But that is a mere appetite. That is what the old military acronym IOE -- Intentions of the Enemy -- is all about. But if we are talking about preventing war, then we must create a credible deterrent -- something that strikes at the heart of their ambition and causes it to die aborning.

Thus, in the end, credible deterrence is less about figuring out what they want or how they intend to go about getting it, but rather depends upon the answer to this question:

What is it that they most value?

Credibly threaten what they most value -- as in, make them believe that they will lose it if they attempt to attack you -- and they will not do that thing. They will not attack you, lest they lose it.

So, what do they value? Power, certainly. Principle? Certainly not. Everything is compromisable toward the satisfaction of appetite. Do they fear God? Certainly not. These are very temporal creatures. They live in the here and now and glory in the satisfaction of their senses.

Thus they have no understanding of the concept, "Live free or die." Such a thing as dying for a principle is incomprehensible. Which is why they do not understand how dangerous is their present position.

They value power then, for power's sake, but here is the key. They cannot wield power if they are dead. Because they believe in nothing higher than their own ambition (despite whatever convincing noises they make for the collectivist herd about "for the children" or the "perfectability of socialist man" or the "triumph of the 'volk'") it is their lives and their lives alone that they value.

This is what they understand: YOU CANNOT EXERCISE POWER IF YOU ARE DEAD.

And THAT is what they fear. The ending of their existence. That, and that alone.

Remember, we are talking about the war initiators here. The war makers. Not the useful tools who carry out the policy but the policymakers themselves, and the people who manipulate them.

Boiled down, this is part of what the Founders had in mind with the Second Amendment. Give the people the means to resist tyranny, and then it is the tyrants who die in the end.

Or, as I tried to distill it down for the impatient hoplophobe who demanded that I tell him my position in as few words as possible: "If you try to take our firearms we will kill you."

Substitute the words "liberty and property" for "firearms." THIS is what we must make our enemies believe. If we regain the credible deterrence that the armed citizenry once had in this country, no would-be tyrant will dare apply for the position. He will be unable to attract lieutenants if they believe such an action is suicidal.

This is what the Founders intended. They tried to construct a system of checks and balances, a deliberately inefficient system of government, to avoid the tyranny of the King or of the mob. But it was a system designed for a moral people, a God-fearing people, and though it lasted a long time, the fact is that we are, in aggregate, no longer moral or God-fearing. Thus, we are left with the armed citizenry as the arbiters of their own liberty.

If you try to take our liberty and property we will kill you.

That sentiment strikes at the heart of what they value. Everything else is window dressing.

If we can convince the enemies of the Founders' Republic that this will happen as surely as two plus two equals four, there will be no next American civil war. But the burden is on us to present the mathematics and make them credible.

Thus, as an exercise in the mathematics of liberty, I re-post a piece from back in January. Cheyenne 0317/8541 is my nominee for next year's Nobel Prize in Mathematics. If we can somehow get the Constitution's enemies to understand this mathematic principle, we will all live long, prosperous and free lives without conflict.

But, given the collective history of this sorry planet, that's not the way to bet.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

One Hundred Heads


You have no idea how humbling the response as been to Absolved and this website. These are serious issues. Issues that, in the fullness of time, could get people killed. Yet what I write apparently resonates with people because God has given me a talent for expressing what they have long believed.

All of my work has been motivated by a desire to avoid conflict over these principles we hold so dear. If I bluntly warn liberal politicians, media types and academics of the folly of their proposals, it is because I don't want my children and grandchildren to have to suffer the ghastly experience of civil war.

It has always been my belief that if people understood where this is heading, there was a least a chance of avoiding it. As we proceed into the Era of Obama, I am afraid that is becoming more and more a faint hope.

As some of you know from bitter personal experience, taking a stand does not come without cost. There are dangers, even now, to having political opinions. Just ask David Olofson. From time to time, people express concern that I may fall victim to ATF retribution or FBI miscalculation. There is, in fact, little I can do about that, for that move is up to them. Like Luther, here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. There are no free lunches. It is what comes of being a free man. Or as my Grandpa Vanderboegh used to say in an imitation of a cartoon character, "You pays your money and you takes your chances."

But I was reminded this week that no man is an island, entire of itself. On my trip to the post office box, I was rewarded, in addition to statements from Social Security and the power bill, a single anonymous envelope. It was postmarked from somewhere in Oklahoma. It said this in handwritten block letters, spelling and punctuation as written:


I have read you on the internet and believe in what your doing. One day the ATF will come to count coup on you & take your head. I promise to take One hundred heads for yours.

Cheyenne 0317/8541

There is a small, delicate ink drawing on the bottom of the sheet, showing what appears to be a coup stick crossed with a tomahawk and over-arched with what I'd guess are eagle feathers. 0317/8541, for the uninitiated, are the current and former MOS numbers for a Marine Scout/Sniper.

One hundred heads. I sat in the car, reading and rereading this piece of paper, touched by its simple sincerity. I have no doubt the man means what he says. I also have no doubt that a Marine scout/sniper has the skills to take a hundred heads if, God forbid, this should come to guns.

I shared this with a friend yesterday, and he had only this comment: "A hundred heads properly targeted could finish this thing." Indeed.

On the assumption that Cheyenne is reading this, I would like to tell him this:

I do not ask you to take those hundred heads, sir, but I appreciate the commitment to our common cause that such a promise implies. I do not know what the future may bring, but if it should be grim I merely ask that you get the right hundred heads.

In liberty, and with gratitude,

Mike Vanderboegh

Friday, October 30, 2009

Praxis: Helmet Tutorial.

Current Issue Army Advanced Combat Helmet

Go here for an overview and some great links including manuals:

US troops in ACH's talking with Republic of Korea soldier in an M-1 steel pot pattern helmet.

The M-1 steel pot standard US Army issue from 1942 to the 1980s. Instructions on this helmet can be found in FM 21-15.

Troops of the 101st Airborne Division wearing PASGT's, aka "Fritzes" aka "K-Pots."

Personal Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet (also called the Kevlar, K-Pot and Fritz) was first fielded to U.S. military units in the early 1980s. The helmet, available in five sizes, provides ballistic protection for the head from fragmenting munitions. It is a one piece structure composed of multiple layers of Kevlar ballistic fiber and phenolic PVB resin. For a complete story, go to This helmet is now being removed from inventory in ALL services, replaced in the Marines by the LWH (see below) and the Air Force by the Army-style ACH helmet.


Link for the K-Pot operator's manual:


Manual for Advanced Combat Helmet:

Marine Light Weight Helmet (LWH)

Lightweight Helmet (LWH) was developed for the US Marines to replace the PASGT. Looks very similar to the PASGT, but has a four-point chinstrap built-in and is about 6 ounces lighter. Originally it had a web suspension system and being upgraded to padded suspension. Primary users: Marines and Navy FMF.

LATER: Cost of helmets around Alabama/Southeast:

ACH or MICH $100-$150 each at gunshows and surplus stores. Currently I can get them for about half that.

PASGT/K-Pot $50-$75 each regular price (depending on condition and size). I can get them for $40.

M-1 Steel Pots. $20-$30 each. Sometimes I can find them for less, sometimes not.

New Terrorist Warning Poster.

Thanks to all who forwarded me this.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Praxis: MOLLE manual link and pdf of FM 21-15 (1985)

Gandalf23 gives us this link.

Found this while searching for "Fighting Load Carrier" on google:

It's a .pdf from Specialty Defense on their MOLLE2 gear's care and use. It's got pictures and how to attach and adjust all of it. Pretty nice little pdf.

And courtesy of Randy K., I now have a pdf copy of the 1985 version of FM 21-15. If you would like for me to email it to you, drop me a line at


"Et tu, Brute?" Obama "most powerful writer since Julius Caesar"?


You know, you've got to wonder. First Obama was "the new Lincoln." Now he's the "most powerful writer since Julius Caesar."

What is it with this fetish to link Obama with historical figures who

a. wrecked Republics on the altar of their vain ambitions,

b. plunged their nations into civil war and

c. ended up assassinated?

Do they WANT to have him killed as a sacrifice on their collectivist altar?

Sheesh. You've got to wonder . . .


"Et tu, Brute?"

Rocco's Modern Life

October 27, 2009

Posted by Scott at 5:37 AM

Rocco Landesman is President Obama's handpicked chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Last week he gave the keynote address to the 2009 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference. Those of us concerned about the politicization of life and art in the Age of Obama will not be consoled by a reading of Landesman's speech. The speech bears examination in its entirety, but Landesman's tribute to Obama is especially worth a look:

This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.

Landesman compares Obama favorably with Julius Caesar as "a powerful writer." Landesman is not referring to Obama's skills as a writer, but rather to the power he holds by virtue of his office. Some might think that the literary comparison sells Obama short. Caesar was something of a self-promoter and propagandist in his writing.

Yet Landesman knows Obama is like Caesar, somehow -- a friend asks, is it in the transformation of a republic into an empire with a divine ruler? Perhaps if Landesman had his wits about him, he would note instead that Obama is the most powerful speaker since the other JC.

Well, so what if Landesman is a bootlicker? Landesman is also an idiot. Lincoln never wrote a book, although I believe he did compile the texts of his 1858 debates with Douglas for publication in book form. And Landesman misses a few presidential authors since Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson wrote several influential books as a Princeton professor. Herbert Hoover wrote books including, I am reliably advised, a classic book on fishing. Richard Nixon wrote books before and after his presidency. And even Bill Clinton wrote his apologia pro vita sua.

Landesman leaves JFK unmentioned by name. JFK was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage in 1957. My guess is that JFK and Obama share the attribute of authorship in roughly equal measure.

One reader of Landesman's speech wonders: "Isn't Obama the first president since Jefferson to more than double the size of the country? The first since Lincoln to free the slavers? The first since FDR to win a war against fascism?" Betraying the spirit of Rocco Landesman, however, the reader injects a note of caution: "I might be wrong. Can any of you fact check that?"

It would be hard to pack so much ignorance into one short paragraph if one were really trying. We can deduce that Landesman doesn't even have to try.

"Blood for Nothing": Ralph Peters on Afghanistan

Go here:

Praxis: More on cleaning MOLLE gear from my son.

Matthew contributes this to the lore of MOLLE cleaning:

My Molle cleaning ritual has always been to soak in a bucket of lightly soapy water (usually hot). I then use a tooth brush (with a drop of more soap if needed) to scrub the grime out. Once scrubbed, I rinse again and let the item dry in the sun. I may have to go through it a few times before it is clean.

"All Falling Down": A VDH must read.

If you read nothing else today, read this:

Is there a constitutional dog in this fight?


Back in the 90s, when we were first getting the constitutional militia movement together in this part of Alabama, we did a lot of talking about our own rules of engagement. There was a widespread perception among groups that an attack on one was an attack on all, but there were wrinkles and permutations that were troubling. For example, someone raised this question:

"What if the ATF/FBI pulled a Waco on a Klan group?"

Well, we rolled that one around for a bit and the consensus was that pinhead green-teethed racists had constitutional rights too, and so we would be compelled to come to their assistance. Finally, somebody offered: "Hey, I know. Why don't we just show up late and avenge their deaths?" We had a big laugh and moved on to the next topic. Fine joke. In theory. But the world is a real place full of obscure and difficult choices.

So when I read the story below, I had to wonder, "is there a constitutional dog in this fight?" You've got the FBI versus a group of armed ex-cons. You know, one gang going after another gang.

My problem is I no longer believe a word the FBI says. I've had too much personal experience which persuades me that they routinely lie like dogs when it suits their purpose (a phrase which I always thought was a vicious slander on dogs for they are among God's most honest creatures).

Ideally such law-breakers (the Islamic radicals, not the FBI) would be handled by local or state law enforcement. (Well, OK, the premise of Absolved is that the Feds should be dealt with by state and local authorities as well. Like I said, at most levels, gang activity is recognizable regardless of the origin of the gang or the colors they fly. By their works ye shall know them.)

But that is not the world we live in, thanks to 75 years of federal encroachment on the constitutional rule of law.

I'd like more information on this case. Some of the rationales cited in the story by the Fibbies will be applied to me, when and if they decide that game is worth the candle:

"He regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric . . . Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting."

Oh, my! So maybe they're training without firearms because they're ex-cons and are denied firearms. And maybe those who are training with firearms are the legit ones. Like I said, I no longer believe anything the FBI says.

On the face of it, these are Islamo-fascists who seek to set up sharia law in the US contrary to the Constitution. (When I read this story, I also thought of John Ringo's Detroit Imam in The Last Centurion.)

So, again, I wonder if there is a constitutional dog in this fight or if I should just put it down to an internecine fight between gangs.

What do you think?


Feds: Islamic Radical Killed in Mich. Raid


DETROIT (Oct. 28) — A man described as a leader of a radical Sunni Islam group in the U.S. was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon while resisting arrest and exchanging gunfire with federal agents, authorities said.

Agents at a warehouse in Dearborn were trying to arrest Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, on charges that included conspiracy to sell stolen goods and illegal possession and sale of firearms. Ten followers listed in a criminal complaint were also being rounded up in the area.

Abdullah refused to surrender, fired a weapon and was killed by gunfire from agents, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.

In a court filing, the FBI said Abdullah, also known as Christopher Thomas, was an imam, or prayer leader, of a radical group named Ummah whose primary mission is to establish an Islamic state within the United States.

No one was charged with terrorism. But Abdullah was "advocating and encouraging his followers to commit violent acts against the United States," FBI agent Gary Leone said in an affidavit.

"He regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric," Leone said. "Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting."

Leone said members of the national group mostly are black and some converted to Islam while in prisons across the United States.

"Abdullah preaches that every Muslim should have a weapon, and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed," Leone wrote.

It was not immediately clear how many of the other 10 suspects were in custody.

The group believes that a separate Islamic state in the U.S. would be controlled by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Colorado for shooting two police officers in Georgia in 2000, Leone said. Al-Amin, a veteran of the black power movement, started the group after he converted to Islam in prison.

"They're not taking their cues from overseas," said Jimmy Jones, a professor of world religions at Manhattanville College and a longtime Muslim prison chaplain. "This group is very much American born and bred."

The movement at one time was believed to include a couple of dozen mosques around the country. Ummah is now dwarfed in numbers and influence by other African-American Muslim groups, particularly the mainstream Sunnis who were led by Imam W.D. Mohammed, who recently died.

By evening, authorities still were working the scene near the Detroit-Dearborn border and the warehouse was surrounded by police tape.

The U.S. attorney's office said an FBI dog was also killed during the shootout.

Abdullah's mosque is in a brick duplex on a quiet, residential street in Detroit. A sign on the door in English and Arabic reads, in part, "There is no God but Allah."

Several men congregated on the porch Wednesday night and subsequently attacked a photographer from The Detroit News who was taking pictures from across the street. Ricardo Thomas had his camera equipment smashed and had a bloody lip from the attack.

Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn, said the FBI had briefed him about Wednesday's raids and told him they were the result of a two-year investigation.

"We know that this is not something to be projected as something against Muslims," Hamad said.

Yuppie 911: "This water tastes salty." A new twist on the old grasshopper and the ant story.

My son Matthew forwarded this to me with a big laugh. You really have to wonder about some folks.


Royal Arch, Grand Canyon.

Rescuers fear 'yuppie' 911 calls



FRESNO, Calif. — Last month two men and their teenage sons tackled one of the world’s most unforgiving summertime hikes: the Grand Canyon’s parched and searing Royal Arch Loop. Along with bedrolls and freeze-dried food, the inexperienced backpackers carried a personal locator beacon — just in case.

In the span of three days, the group pushed the panic button three times, mobilizing helicopters for dangerous, lifesaving rescues inside the steep canyon walls.
What was that emergency? The water they had found to quench their thirst “tasted salty.”

If they had not been toting the device that works like Onstar for hikers, “we would have never attempted this hike,” one of them said after the third rescue crew forced them to board their chopper. It’s a growing problem facing the men and women who risk their lives when they believe others are in danger of losing theirs.

Technology has made calling for help instantaneous even in the most remote places. Because would-be adventurers can send GPS coordinates to rescuers with the touch of a button, some are exploring terrain they do not have the experience, knowledge or endurance to tackle.

Rescue officials are deciding whether to start keeping statistics on the problem, but the incidents have become so frequent that the head of California’s Search and Rescue operation has a name for the devices: Yuppie 911.

“Now you can go into the back country and take a risk you might not normally have taken,” says Matt Scharper, who coordinates a rescue every day in a state with wilderness so rugged even crashed planes can take decades to find. “With the Yuppie 911, you send a message to a satellite and the government pulls your butt out of something you shouldn’t have been in in the first place.”

From the Sierra to the Cascades, Rockies and beyond, hikers are arming themselves with increasingly affordable technology intended to get them out of life-threatening situations.

While daring rescues are one result, very often the beacons go off unintentionally when the button is pushed in someone’s backpack, or they are activated unnecessarily, as in the case of a woman who was frightened by a thunderstorm.

“There’s controversy over these devices in the first place because it removes the self sufficiency that’s required in the back country,” Scharper says. “But we are a society of services, and every service you need you can get by calling.”

The sheriff’s office in San Bernardino County, the largest in the nation and home to part of the unforgiving Death Valley, hopes to reduce false alarms. So it is studying under what circumstances hikers activate the devices.

“In the past, people who got in trouble self-rescued; they got on their hands and knees and crawled out,” says John Amrhein, the county’s emergency coordinator. “We saw the increase in non-emergencies with cell phones: people called saying ’I’m cold and damp. Come get me out.’ These take it to another level.”

Personal locator beacons, which send distress signals to government satellites, became available in the early 1980s, but at a price exceeding $1,200. They have been legal for the public to use since 2003, and in the last year the price has fallen to less than $100 for devices that send alerts to a company, which then calls local law enforcement.

When rescue beacons tempt inexperienced hikers to attempt trails beyond their abilities, that can translate into unnecessary expense and a risk of lives.

Last year, the beacon for a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail triggered accidentally in his backpack, sending helicopters scrambling. Recently, a couple from New Bruswick, British Columbia activated their beacon when they climbed a steep trail and could not get back down. A helicopter lowered them 200 feet to secure footing.

In September, a hiker from Placer County was panning for gold in New York Canyon when he became dehydrated and used his rescue beacon to call for help.

With darkness setting in on the same day, Mono County sheriff’s deputies asked the National Guard for a high-altitude helicopter and a hoist for a treacherous rescue of two beacon-equipped hikers stranded at Convict Lake. The next day they hiked out on foot.

When eight climbers ran into trouble last winter during a summit attempt of Mt. Hood in Oregon, they called for help after becoming stranded on a glacier in a snowstorm.

“The question is, would they have decided to go on the trip knowing the weather was going bad if they had not been able to take the beacons,” asks Rocky Henderson of Portland Mountain Rescue. “We are now entering the Twilight Zone of someone else’s intentions.”

The Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch loop, the National Park Service warns, “has a million ways to get into serious trouble” for those lacking skill and good judgment. One evening the fathers-and-sons team activated their beacon when they ran out of water.

Rescuers, who did not know the nature of the call, could not launch the helicopter until morning. When the rescuers arrived, the group had found a stream and declined help.

That night, they activated the emergency beacon again. This time the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter, which has night vision capabilities, launched into emergency mode.

When rescuers found them, the hikers were worried they might become dehydrated because the water they found tasted salty. They declined an evacuation, and the crew left water.

The following morning the group called for help again. This time, according to a park service report, rescuers took them out and cited the leader for “creating a hazardous condition” for the rescue teams.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Praxis: Breathing new life into an old ALICE pack.

ALICE pack with metal pinch/slide GI buckles.

Meet Alice. The old girl's been around the block. Every continent, in fact, including Antarctica. Just about everybody in our line of, uh, avocation has toted Alice one place or another.

And compared to some other, newer packs, the design is still great. (Anybody remember the CFP-90? Or the early MOLLE system plastic frame that was a guarantee of lower back problems?)

Problem is, she IS aging and she needs some plastic surgery to keep things from sagging. This problem came up when I recently (being cash poor) arranged a trade for my best ALICE for a tuna can of 7.62x54R. When I pulled the old gal out of storage, I discovered that one of the pinch/slide metal buckles was busted.


What to do?

I dropped into my favorite surplus store, AA Army Surplus in Leeds, Alabama, and plopped the old girl down on the counter. "Got a fix for that?" I asked. Turned out, he did.

Here it is:

This is the female end of a National Molding easy-on stealth buckle, which I lifted from this link:

Double A has a big plastic tub of these and he sells them, male and female set complete, for 50 cents each. It takes five to retrofit an ALICE pack, the three pouch buckles and the two that thread through the pack top cover.

Stripping off the old buckles, as brittle as they are, proved easy. It just took a pair of vise grips to hold the thing steady and a pair of pliers to get a bite on the side tab of the buckle and bend it back and forth until it snapped, thereby freeing the strap end.

I did the whole pack in twenty minutes. The fastex style buckles are quicker, quieter and enable you to recycle an otherwise defective pack. Gave a facelift to the old gal without consulting a plastic surgeon. Now I'll be able to ship that pack out tomorrow, no problemo.

If you want to contact Darrel at AA (yes, he's an 82nd Airborne vet) he can be reached at:

AA Army Surplus Store
8216 Parkway Dr
Leeds, AL 35094
(205) 699-4209

Having finished my little project in record time, I went to the 'Net and found this at Dave's Workbench,, which gives you instructions on how to do something similar without buying the National Molding buckles. I found it so useful I reproduce it here with many thanks to Dave.

Living with A.L.I.C.E.

ALICE Pack Modifications You Can Do to Upgrade a Time Proven System

Survivors, scouts, hunters and campers require packs and other equipment that can withstand rugged conditions. Both soldiers and civilians continue to use the military’s ALICE pack and associated equipment. Even our current military personnel return to the ALICE pack when the newer systems have failed. Though ALICE is good it can use some improvement. The old hardware is difficult to get into especially in cold weather. These can be updated with modern hardware, often without a sewing machine. Compared to buying a new tactical rucksack the small cost is money well spent. Many of these techniques can be used to repair gear that would otherwise end up in the trash.

The acronym A.L.I.C.E. Or simply Alice, stands for All Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. It was adopted by the US military in the mid 70s and is still in use today. It is designed in two parts, 1 the “fighting load” and 2 the “existence load”. The fighting load consists of the pistol belt, suspenders, ammo and canteen pouches etc. These items are also referred to simply as “web gear”.

The existence load is the pack in medium and large sizes, the frame if used, and the items needed to live in the field. The pack bag has many webbing attaching points for additional equipment. The Alice pack is often referred to as a rucksack or ruck.We will be concentrating on the Pack system but there is some overlap in the placement and carrying of items.

Alice was designed to use both ALICE attaching clips as well as the older “double U hook” system from WW2. Most of today’s MOLLE equipment will work with Alice. In addition many civilian items can be added to Alice with adapters. The Alice medium pack can be used with or without the frame. Without the frame shoulder straps will attach directly to the medium pack bag. The large pack must be used with the frame. The frame alone can be used as a pack board for transporting bulky items. Some suppliers carry the “Alice small”, this is a commercial item, and it was never military issue. The manual, FM21-15, gives full instructions on use, as issued, for this gear. Readers are strongly recommended to buy this handy little book.

Alice packs can be easily and cheaply modified to modern standards.

Aging packs can be salvaged and civilian gear added with these techniques.

The first and likely best, modification to the Alice pack is replacing various metal buckles with the Fastex quick release style. Alice packs have several metal buckles of the friction type, spring loaded and “lift the dot’ snaps. Though these were simple and rugged for their day the modern Fastex ‘side release” buckle is a vast improvement. The following instructions can be used to replace damaged Fastex buckles on modern gear as well as Alice packs. Soldiers should understand that modifying their gear may result in a “statement of charges” and have to pay for modifying the governments gear. Airborne personnel should also check with the Jump Master before using these techniques.

Replacing the Alice packs buckles require 6 one inch Fastex side release buckles, 6 sections of parachutes (550) cord about 12 inches long. Remove the inner strings on the 550 cord so it will lay flat, tie and hold knots well. Fastex and 550 cord are available from Campmor, REI, and other outdoor and military suppliers You’ll also need a pair of side cutting pliers and a lighter. Look carefully at the photos as a guide. Cut the existing buckle where the webbing feeds through it, then bend and remove. The adjustable webbing on the main bag and outside pockets has the ends folded over and sewn in place. Remove this stitching with a sharp knife or ‘seam ripper”. The seam ripper is available at sewing supply stores.

1. Cut the existing buckle where the webbing feeds through it then bend and remove

2. To setup Fastex buckle for replacement slip a loop of 550 cord under non adjustable end

3. and “choke” cord to buckle.

4. Using “half hitches” loop the rest of the first leg of cord out to the end of the buckle Repeat with the other leg of the cord.

5. Slip one leg of 550 cord into the place where the original buckle was. Repeat with the other leg. Tie securely with a square knot and fuse ends together

6. With the complete buckle in place and webbing fed through you’re ready to quickly access your gear. In this example we used the Alice packs radio pouch

Take a section of the 550 cord and remove the inner strings. Using just the sheath fold it in half forming a loop on the end. Slide the loop under the end of the non adjustable side of the Fastex buckle as shown. Slip the cut ends through this loop and ‘choke’ the cord tightly to the buckle. Place this ‘choked” cord in the middle.

Using “half hitches” tie each cord from the center to the outside. Pull these tight and even. Using the lighter, burn each end of the 550 cord. Do not breathe the smoke or fumes from the burning cord. Blow out the flame and quickly twirl the end on a metal surface. The side of your pliers will do well for this and should form a slight point on the end of the cord, making it easier to thread it through the webbing in the next step. Insert one end of the cord through the webbing where the old buckle was. Repeat with the other cord and pull moderately tight. Do this a second time and tie a snug square knot. Lastly trim the cords and burn the ends together. Tuck all this back into the webbing if possible. Thread the loose end of the webbing you removed through the adjustable end of the Fastex buckle. Refold and stitch the ends of the webbing to avoid their coming completely out of the buckles. At this point you have upgraded your pack and saved hundreds of dollars over buying a new “tactical” combat rucksack. Yet there is more you can do yourself to upgrade the Alice pack. If you’d like to ‘color code” the outside pockets simply use different colors of 550 cord on the pocket buckles. Parachute cord is available in OD green, tan, sage and black. You still be tactical on the colors yet instantly recognizable. Emergency and SAR members may choose bright colors such as orange, red or yellow. If you’re unsure about cutting off your buckles you can leave them in place. Lacing the 550 cord is a bit more difficult but it can be done. If the modification work out you can cut off the old buckles at a later time.

The “horizontal strap” will allow you to compress the load. This stabilizes the pack, lowers the energy expended to carrying it and adds a place you can attach cases to the rucksack. This can be done in many ways but the easiest is a 1 ½ inch wide nylon straps with a Fastex buckle. Feed this through the nylon web “keepers” on each outside pocket. These are under the brass snaps on the pockets and are designed as a place for you to slip your fingers to squeeze the snaps together. There are several ways to route the horizontal strap around the frame and this will vary with your needs. I typicality wrap this strap around the outside of the frame and then under the center vertical bar. This keeps the strap from slipping down. Some folks carry items such as a folding ground pad or hydration system, in the space between the frame and their back. Routing the strap straight across the frame will hold items into the frame and still allow air space between the pack and your back.

Another quick way to add this is with a GI “general purpose strap”. Route this as above but use a section of bungee cord in between the straps snap hooks. Once you’ve adjusted the strap the bungee cord will allow a bit of ‘give’ under load. When you retrieve items from the rucksack you can pull a bit of slack in the strap and then the tension will return automatically.

Alice attaching clips are used on ammo and canteen pouches etc. These commonly come loose and more than one solider has lost equipment because of it. The best thing you can do is buy a set of brand new replacement Alice clips and throw away any that are damaged. Once you have determined exactly where you want the pouch plastic cable ties will insure it stays there. The replacement “MALICE” clips are excellent.
To remove a pouch quickly, tie a short section of 550 cord to the loops on the top of the Alice attaching clips. When you need to remove this pouch simply pull up on the cord and both clips will open. You can then lift the pouch free. Expensive tactical packs often have a sleeping bag compartment sewn into the bottom. You can add this to your rucksack by using a GI issue NBC bag. This was intended to carry Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) warfare protective clothing on the back of web gear. It consists of a small woodland camouflage duffle bag that opens on one end. It has ALICE clips, attaching points for carry on the web gear, 2 compression straps and a Velcro closer. Attach the NBC bag to the bottom of your pack with the Alice clips. There are 2 webbing tabs sewn to the bottom of the pack. Connect the Alice clips to these. You may need to angle them, but it will attach. Next add 2 sleeping bag straps. Route these through the same webbing as the clips and then around the frame Sleeping bag straps often work loose, shift around and can be difficult to get to. To remedy this tie each straps buckle to the packs lower outside buckle. Use a section of 550 cord and run it through the webbing that one outside buckle was sewn into. Then place a sleeping bag strap buckle on the “in board” side and continue running the 550 cord through its webbing. Tie a square knot and fuse the ends together. I leave the NBC bag attached to the packs at all times. The weight is minimal and I have the capability to carry extra gear securely and at moments notice. To access the sleeping bag lay the pack down and open the NBC bag for the end. To stow the bag open the end and stuff it in as you would any civilian stuff bag.

Carry handles are convenient when moving the pack from trucks or storage. A 550 cord handle also assures that you have extra cord for emergencies. This can be made simply from a length of 550 cord tied to the top of the frame. If you’re using the Alice medium without the frame you can tie it to the metal loops where the shoulder straps connect or the top of the shoulder strap webbing. If you use a contrasting color the handle will stand out and identify your pack. The handles may be simple or fancy macramé type affairs.

7. Parachute cord is looped around top of Alice frame providing a handle and keeps a supply on hand for emergencies

8. Horizontal strap compresses load and is a handy place for additional equipment like this ‘90MPH’ tape

Civilian or foreign surplus pouches can often be adapted to Alice. You’ll need a short length of webbing that fits snugly in the belt loop with a slider buckle sewn on. A section cut from a GI Nylon general purpose strap works well for this. Feed the end of the webbing through the slider buckle. Adjust the length so that about 3/8” extends from either end of the belt loop. Add Alice clips or other attaching method on both of these ends and attach to your pack. Ports for hydration systems and antennas can be added with a sewing machine capable of making large button holes. Make these a little oversized to allow these items to flex. A grommet can be placed in a pack and used the same way. I suggest plastic or solid brass for rust resistance and paint in subdued colors of needed. Replace the packs draw cord keeper with a cord lock. This is as easy as untying a knot and slinging the new lock in place. Tie a knot at the end on the cord and then another 2 inches further up. This forms “tag” that you’ll use to pull on. In cold weather this makes closing the bag simple.

The modifications are almost endless; in fact I have dozens of enhancements and modifications. Those listed here will give you a good start. It will also save money by improving your existing equipment for a few dollars. I have used, and proved these and many more, modifications in over 30 years of outdoor living.

Reason magazine article on Oath Keepers: "Civil Disobedience Is Not Terrorism."

Thanks to yetti for forwarding this link:

Civil Disobedience Is Not Terrorism

Jesse Walker | October 28, 2009

Just in time for Halloween, the press is telling spooky stories about the Oath Keepers, an organization of current and former soldiers and cops who have sworn to refuse unconstitutional orders. The latest scare piece to cross my screen appeared this week in Alternet under the headline "Right-Wing Extremist Group on Active Military Duty?" The author, Rob Waters of the Southern Poverty Law Center, jumps directly from describing the organization to writing this:

In July, the SPLC also presented Congress with growing evidence that extremists are infiltrating the U.S. military and urged Congress and the military to take steps to ensure that the armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists.

If you click on the link from the phrase "growing evidence," you'll find an article that claims the military is being infiltrated by neo-Nazis. You won't see anything about the Oath Keepers there, which is appropriate, as there isn't anything Nazi about them. The Oath Keepers' founder, Stewart Rhodes, has written several articles for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and earlier this month he told the Las Vegas Review Journal, "I loathe white supremacists." If you read the comment threads at the Oath Keepers site, you'll sometimes see anti-Semites and other bigots crawling out to spew their propaganda, as they do all over the Internet, but you'll also see the other commenters shouting them down.

Meanwhile, it seems odd to worry that you're "training future domestic terrorists" when you're discussing a group whose plan of action is to refuse to use their weapons. Indeed, after an unhinged fellow calling himself "Citizen Quasar" announced his support for the Oath Keepers on his Twitter feed while also announcing his plans to start a shootout at the Oklahoma State Capitol, the organization's founder denounced him as a "nutbag." Rather than spinning fantasies of a violent uprising, the group is adopting one of the core ideas of nonviolent civil resistance: persuading police and soldiers to disobey their commanders. Waters quotes an SPLC colleague, Mark Potok, who accuses the Oath Keepers of spreading paranoia and argues that "these kinds of conspiracy theories are what drive a small number of people to criminal violence." But if that were true, surely it would be welcome to see a prominent player in that purportedly paranoid milieu pushing a strategy based on nonviolence. That would be a good influence, right?

And how paranoid is the group? The list of commands its members have pledged to refuse include some that don't strike me as likely, e.g., "orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people." But it also includes commands that are easier to imagine -- or which have already become standard operating procedure. One item on the list is "orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances." Maybe Waters and Potok haven't noticed, but American police forces infringe on free speech and free assembly at pretty much every major political summit. I wish there had been some Oath Keepers on the force in Pittsburgh during the G20 meeting last month, or at the Republican National Convention last year.

If you review Rhodes' writings online, you'll find complaints about the militarization of police work, a process he links to both the war on drugs and the war on terror; about the expansion of federal power in wartime; about the illegal disarmament of civilians after Hurricane Katrina. In other words, normal civil libertarian concerns about policies already in place, not frantic speculation about the apocalypse to come. (Note that two of the last three links go to essays Rhodes wrote during the Bush presidency. The Oath Keepers were founded this year, but the organizers behind them didn't need a Democratic president to discover the dangers of state power.)

This is the group that has the Southern Poverty Law Center invoking the specters of fascism and terrorism: a network of present and former public employees who are vigilant about the state of our civil liberties. If their vigilance sometimes shades over into paranoia, well, that's a hundred times truer of the SPLC.

Praxis from the Trainer: FNGs


This video clip, while 'hollywood', does do several very important things:

1 - Stresses the importantance of disease avoidance through field hygiene.

2 - Stresses that when the SHTF, all sufferance for "FIF" (Fools in the Field) is over.

3 - Demonstrates maneuver warfare infiltration by a 'sapper', which, like the term, 'sniper' has been vastly overused and abused to the point of rendering it almost meaningless.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rumors are floating about an ATF Machinegun Amnesty

One of things we hear when our ears are close to the federal ground is that it has been proposed that the ATF get its National Firearms Registry house in order by declaring an amnesty for unregistered machine guns. Now if you fancy that sort of thing and are willing to register thine self with Feds and pay the transfer tax, this could be a good thing.

Just think, the moron who dumped all those collectible machineguns in the creek here in Bibb County, Alabama, not long ago could have been a rich man if he had just hung onto them long enough for the amnesty.

There is no doubt that the NFR is longer a foundation to build criminal cases, so riddled with errors is it (and frankly has always been). Whether the ATF and this administration are sensible enough to fix the problem in the face of the predictable outcry from the hoplohobes is another thing.

Personally, I would rather they do it and thereby avoid having to pay out future tax dollars to settle claims for damages made in the name of a "registry" that isn't worth the label. (See testimony in U.S. v. Friesen.)

Here's the irony. Such an amnesty would not effect the prison sentences of men like David Olofson.

But, if your grandpa left you an M3 greasegun tucked under the floorboards of the family manse, hang onto it a little while longer. It will be worth something more than a prison sentence if the ATF declares an amnesty.


Praxis: There are many ways to make love to woman. Same goes for your firearm.

"NOOB" has left this comment on FM 21-15 below.


Would you please post a (definitive) Praxis report on how to clean a weapon? I can field strip and run patches, but am I using the right cleaners? Patch size? Dry lube? Finishing lube? Wood care? The Forums of Babel are uselessly over-opinionated, so I appeal to you sir.


Dear NOOB,

There are many ways to make love to a woman. The same goes with firearms. The only good thing is that most firearms are not as fickle.

As with women, much depends upon the type of firearm. Each has its particular needs. If you have an AK, for example, and use corrosive ammunition, you're going to need to use soap and water (a little ammonia never hurts and urine is a good field substitute) and pay particular attention to scrubbing the head of the gas piston (and don't forget the handguard tube). Pipe cleaners are required for the gas port.

On an AR system, you would never stoop to such crudities.

For my M14S clone China Doll, she seems to prefer Sweet's to kill the copper fouling. Others think this is an awful waste of money. To each his own. So I would say, if you would let us know what weapons you will be cleaning, we can perhaps come up with a praxis to suit you. Mindful, as I said, that each weapon is like a woman with her own particular needs.


Praxis: A Primer on MOLLE Gear

Mindful that there is a ton of current issue MOLLE (pronounced "Molly") gear out there now, I provide this quick primer stolen from various sources. Because it is newer stuff, it is not covered in FM 21-15. Here is an overview from


By Xim

MOLLE: Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment

MOLLE or MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment is the current incarnation of carrying equipemnt in use by the U.S. Army. It replaces the ALICE pack system that was used since the Viet Nam war.

The MOLLE system is worn rather than carried and allows for complete customization for improved mission efficiency without compromising mobility or readiness. The MOLLE system uses an external frame with a quick release mechanism that allows the soldier to drop the carrying gear while still maintaining the fighting load carrying vest & pockets.

MOLLE Equipment

In 1994 when the U. S. Army had difficulties adapting the ALICE pack to desert warfare in the first Gulf War (in 1991) they started to redevelop a load carrying system that would be modular, durable, and comfortable.

They undertook biomedical studies to determine the most efficient way to carry loads. They studied the effects of load carrying and human performance. They looked at energy cost, the preferred walking posture, volume configuration, and load center implications under a variety of field requirements. The result was completely new equipment called Modular Lightrweight Load Carrying Equipment, designated as MOLLE. The MOLLE system is a much more advanced and comfortable carrying system.

MOLLE features a load bearing vest with butt pack. It will accommodate a main ruck with pouches and a sleeping bag compartment attached to an external frame. The vest does have a built-in belt, but the vest replaces the web belt and suspenders of the ALICE system. At first there was little use for the MOLLE, but when troops were deployed into Afghanistan in late 2001 and 2002 and to Iraq in 2003, field experience led to a number of improvements including these. The external plastic frame had to be strengthened. Zippers that burst when overloaded had to be improved. The straps on the pack had to be lengthened to accommodate body armor.

The nylon mesh vest can accommodate different carrying needs of individual soldiers. Removable pockets can permit each member of the squad to carry different loads. Hence, a rifleman, a grenadier, an automatic weapon operator, and other specialists can have a MOLLE conveniently customized to their needs. The vest can be chosen to fit the body size and build of the wearer. More weight is at the shoulders and hips and during a long march soldiers can shift the weight to minimize discomfort.

The MOLLE vest has no metal clips or hooks that can be awkward and dig into the skin. It has an H harness in the back to minimize heat buildup. However, the “ball & socket” interface between the frame and the rucksack belt led to numerous lower back injuries and had to be eliminated.

Being used in desert operations, the woodland pattern of coloring was replaced by the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern to match the Army Combat Uniform. All these and other changes have been introduced during the past five years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This pdf from BAE Systems, one of the manufacturers of MOLLE, will help you identify current MOLLE gear equipment --

Those who wish to adapt ALICE pouches to MOLLE gear may do so by using Tactical Tailor's MALICE clips, found here:

MALICE CLIPS® are injection molded, heavy duty, reusable connecting clips that are designed to attach modular pouches to MOLLE/PALS style equipment. MALICE CLIPS® are not affected by heat or cold, and will never corrode or lose their subdued finish. Once properly closed, the clip will not open until it is disengaged by the user using a flat tipped object such as a knife or screwdriver. Available in Black, Tan and Foliage Green(ACU).


And these cleaning instructions are from the Army's PS magazine:

Bubble bath for MOLLE

PS: The Preventive Maintenance Monthly, April, 2007

Some parts are water-resistant nylon. Others are rugged plastic. It makes no difference. Sooner or later every part of your modular lightweight load-carrying equipment (MOLLE) gets covered with dirt, mud and grime. That means it's time for a cleaning.

A bath for MOLLE every once in a while helps the parts work better and last longer. Regular cleaning also makes MOLLE more comfortable to wear.


* Brush off caked-on or dried-in dirt with your hands. Or scrape it off with a flat stick or dull tool. Never use anything sharp that will cut the fabric or webbing. After you scrape off the heavy stuff, wipe away the loose dirt with a soft brush or clean cloth.

Brush off caked-on dirt

* Wash MOLLE by hand in a bucket of warm, soapy water. NSN 7930-00-929-1221 brings a mild detergent that cleans well even in hard or salty water.

Wash in warm, soapy water

* If there are still some stubborn, soiled spots that haven't washed out, scrub them with a white or colorfast cloth. Then dip the problem areas in the soapy water again.

* After washing, rinse thoroughly in clean, warm water. Remove all traces of soap. Then stretch the fabric back to its original shape.

* Air-dry in the shade or indoors. Never use a clothes dryer. That'll not only shrink MOLLE, but also expose it to unnecessary wear and tear. And don't dry MOLLE in direct sunlight or near a heater or open flames--they'll fade and shrink the fabric.





Barbarians inside the gates. Another anecdote from an unraveling civilization.

I do not trust myself to comment on this atrocity.


Cops: Witnesses Didn't Help Rape Victim

RICHMOND, Calif. (Oct. 27) - Police believe as many as a dozen people watched a 15-year-old girl get beaten and gang-raped outside her high school homecoming dance without reporting it.

Two suspects were in custody Monday, but police said as many as five other men attacked the girl over a two-hour period Friday night outside Richmond High School.

"She was raped, beaten, robbed and dehumanized by several suspects who were obviously OK enough with it to behave that way in each other's presence," Lt. Mark Gagan said. "What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others. People came by, saw what was happening and failed to report it."

The victim remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested at the scene and was being held on $800,000 bail for investigation of rape and robbery. He is not a student at the school.

Richmond police Sgt. David Harris said he did not know if Ortega had retained an attorney.

A 15-year-old student also was booked late Monday on one count of sexual assault, Gagan said.

Police said the girl left the dance and was walking to meet her father for a ride home when a classmate invited her to join a group drinking in the courtyard. The victim had drank a large amount of alcohol by the time the assault began, police said.

Officers received a tip about a possible assault on campus and found the girl semi-conscious near a picnic table.

Marin Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, said there were four police officers and three school administrators monitoring the dance, but the assault happened away from the gym.

Praxis: FM 21-15 Care and Use of Individual Equipment

FM 21-15 Care And Use Of Individual Clothing And Equipment, 1977 edition.

For fifteen years I have been a practioner of the art of militia logistics, helping newbies get accoutered with whatever level of combat harness and support gear they could afford. Still, once we get them outfitted we must teach them how to wear the gear. ("Lose the ALICE clips, substitute paracord, its quieter." "You're wearing the belt too far down, and move this pouch to your weak side, you won't need to get into it in a hurry.")

As we are apparently entering a period where the rapid equippage of new armed citizens for the field may be a necessity for the maintenance of social order (if nothing else), I recommend FM 21-15 Care And Use Of Individual Clothing And Equipment.

The Care And Use field manual provided soldiers with information on how to maintain and utilize their issued gear such as body armor, load carrying equipment and headwear. The manual was first published in 1940 and updated versions were produced in 1945, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1972, 1977 and 1985.

Over the years, I have collected an almost full set of the various editions of this manual, picking them up for almost nothing (sometimes as little as fifty cents) at gun shows, flea markets and surplus stores. I always buy them and then give them to the next budding militia supply man I run across. Lately, events have dictated an increase in demand so I've handed out a lot of these little books. My previous considerable supply is at present exhausted.

Now these manuals (there are only two that you need worry about, the 1977 and 1985 editions) mostly cover gear that is no longer issued. But, the fact of the matter is that this stuff is still what is in the surplus stores, it is still cheap compared to modern load bearing gear, and if you're trying to equip a bunch of people quickly and inexpensively, this gear is what you will be procuring.

FM 21-15 Care And Use Of Individual Clothing And Equipment, 1985 edition.

Now, as I have written before, I have always been a big fan of rifle and bandoleer. And if it is guerrilla conflict we're faced with, I still am. But as we spend our way into Weimar hyperinflation and the prospect for social chaos looms more likely than government tyranny, there will be a need for local home defense forces to maintain order, man road blocks, etc. These formations will have need for gear that not only supports those operations but marks them as MILITIA, both for the purposes of avoiding fratricide with friendly law enforcement and denoting to the casual looter that this neighborhood is organized and will be tough pickings.

For this reason alone I am still a fan of helmets -- M1 steel pots and the various kevlars -- simply because the mere wearing of the helmet and a common pattern uniform (and "uniform" could be simply OD work shirts and blue jeans, as long as everybody wears the same) connotes both SOLDIER and ORGANIZATION in the casual onlooker's mind. It is also easier to act the part if you are dressed for it.

Now, it is a given that any militia formation comes to the field with a hodgepodge of gear. A lot of current-issue stuff has leaked out of the South Asia wars and will show up on American streets in the event. So, too, will old M1910 pattern belts stuffed with Garand clips, M1956 gear loaded with M14 magazines and ALICE gear for M16 pattern weapons.

But whatever your outfit you ought to know how to wear and maintain it. The various editions of FM 21-15 can help you do that. There are also instructions for support gear with which you may be totally unfamiliar, like the packboard or the universal load carrying strap.

Unfortunately for those of us who like all our info in one convenient place, the 1985 edition was the last, as far as I know. Currently, each piece of gear (and there is a perfect explosion of various types) has its own care and use manual.

If any Threepers out there have such manuals in electronic form or know where they can be found on the 'Net, kindly drop me an e-mail.


LATER: Although this link (thanks to Chris F.),, has many manuals, it does not have FM 21-15.

Also, I have found Gordon Rottman's U.S. Army Combat Equipments 1910-1988 (Osprey, 2003)to be useful in identifying older pieces of gear.