Food and Poverty

With the national debate on poverty, social programs, food stamps, welfare, all being brought up again, I’ve been thinking about my own relationship with food, and poverty. Here are two (or three, depending on how you count them) articles about poor people and food:

http://monsterhunternation.com/2018/02/12/fisking-the-stop-telling-poor-people-to-cook-doofus-with-special-guest-my-mom/

and

https://theestablishment.co/poor-people-deserve-to-taste-something-other-than-shame-90eb3aceabf9

I suggest that you read Larry’s rather excellent fisking first, and follow up with the second. Both authors speak from experience, but both have very different tones. I think it is one thing to grow up poor where everyone grows up poor versus growing up in a culturally stratified city that has both generational wealth and poverty firmly entrenched into the makeup of its citizenry.

If you’ve read both articles, here’s my take on the matter. Poor people who are ashamed to be poor are suffering from their own pride, as Eleanor Roosevelt observed, no one can make you feel bad without your permission. However, poor people with no desire to better themselves and are content to be a drain on social services actually are morally contemptible in nearly every moral framework. However, we also live in a society where “generational welfare” and “generational poverty” are real issues, where “working the system” to “get your benefits” has become a cultural norm in some subsets of American society. And it is important to address that the “social safety net” which is meant to address “situational poverty” to help people who are “down on their luck” either through random chance or even as a consequence of their own decisions, versus “generational poverty” which views the social safety net as a lifestyle.

Believe it or not, wikipedia has a very succinct explanation between “situational poverty” and “generational poverty.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_of_poverty

The impact of “generational poverty” and “generational welfare” doesn’t discriminate, it has negative effects on generations of whites and blacks: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2017/06/02/generations-disabled/?utm_term=.8723b528fb42 even the Norwegians with their stereotypical independent and hardworking culture have noticed multi-generational welfare reliance: https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/01/21/parents-reliance-welfare-leads-more-welfare-use-their-children-study-finds

So in this context of the social safety net, aka welfare, and all of the problems associated with multi-generational welfare culture, it isn’t surprising that people don’t want to support welfare as a lifestyle choice with steak, lobster, and Boston Cream Pie. After all, the association between “food stamp” assistance and obesity and diabetes is well documented so adding even more rich, fatty, “empty calories” to their diet is a disservice to the poor as well as the taxpayer:  https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/05/the-messy-relationship-between-food-stamps-and-health/527820/ and http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/11/09/too-much-of-too-little/?utm_term=.53ba351a3179

However, processed food makers lobby to keep their products available for purchase by food stamp, because that is big business.

Not surprisingly in a situation where corporations are working hard to earn that sweet, sweet food stamp income, being poor isn’t easy. Being poor and consuming a diet of consistently nutritionally healthy meals is also not easy. And by “not easy” I mean that it takes a certain amount of knowledge about physiology, nutrition, and cooking skills combined with intense discipline to consistently choose the more nutritionally sound option for caloric intake rather than eating convenient, processed food items. Larry is exactly correct that food stamps go a long way, as long as you use them to buy bags of potatoes, carrots, the cheapest canned tomatoes and chicken meat on the bone with skin (minimally processed, literally the cheapest protein you can purchase dang near anywhere in the US). And then you have to invest the time and effort to turn ingredients into food, but in doing so you can eat pretty good.

So yes, someone who is in a “situational poverty” experience probably should enjoy a steak or Boston Cream Pie as a special treat every once in a while. A person in a “generational poverty” situation should probably not, and do their absolute damndest to get an education that allows them to make consistently better choices that allow them to break the cycle of poverty, even if it means moving away from the culture and area that raised them.

One of my great fears in life is that I would have some type of accident, or situation, which denied me the ability to provide for my family. Thankfully my formative years were spent in the economically horrendous years of the 1980s, when my parents had to work under the table and rely on family, just to make ends meet. I remember dad sitting at his home desk and balancing the checkbook, paying bills, and discussing with mom how they were going to make things work out. I remember mom saying one night that she cooked dinner for 80 cents per person, and that there was meat, potatoes, and two vegetables on the table. I remember my dad sitting me down in one time and telling me, “Let the adults worry about the money” as he knew that a kid worrying about family finances didn’t help anyone, adult or child.

Poverty doesn’t have to be a life sentence. And no one should be shamed by others for being poor, that sort of judging isn’t helpful to actually getting people out of poverty. What is helpful is education, a little assistance, and a culture that celebrates people who do make it out of poverty.

When I started this blog, I did so with a series of articles about cooking. Every once in a while I still share a recipe, and I may go back to that with some sort of equipment buying guide and equipment maintenance from time time time. Honestly because of all the things I write about, the articles that pass on knowledge that can become a skill are the ones that are truly important.

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The Biathlon

Possibly due to better marketing by various Olympic biathlon teams about the challenge of sprint skiing and then shooting a very small target from the off hand position, I’ve never seen more interest in the sport by Americans.

Here’s an example of one of the videos going around: 

And here’s another: 

I don’t compete, just in case your wondering, but I respects the sport based on creating highly mobile dismounted infantry. The summer Pentathlon also has a very militant history, although focused more on the Cavalry discipline.

However, kitting out a winter biathlon competitor is expensive, an Anschutz biathlon rifle starts around 2,500 dollars (or more) and even the “cheap” Izmash toggle bolt biathlon rifle generally goes for about 800 US or more. Before you look at a Browning T-Bolt as a cheaper alternative, you’d end up spending so much on a custom stock, having the barrel modified to take diopter globe front sights, and all the rest that it’s not a viable option.

However, if you want to re-create the biathlon in a more “standard climate” version, all you need is an air rifle, scaled air rifle target, and a set of running shoes (although normal running clothes would be recommended).

What is a summber biathlon, and some variations on how to run an event: http://www.biathlon.net/summer.html

Target: https://www.amazon.com/Air-Venturi-PY-A-5770-Biathlon-Target/dp/B0160DF1FY

If you’ve been in the military and this seems a lot like a “stress shoot” that’s because it’s exactly the same concept, how to shoot accurately when your body is aching, heart is pounding, and you are rushed for time.

One key difference between the winter biathlon and summer biathlon is that competitors don’t carry the rifle, that is maintained at the shooting station. I personally think that a very good variant for training is taking a standard 400 meter/quarter mile running track and setting up a 10m air rifle shooting station (with appropriate backstop) is a great way to “git ‘er done” right quick. Every lap gets a shooting session, and the number of laps can vary to get a lot of participants through pretty quick.

The summer biathlon being air rifle friendly is also “turn bolt” rimfire friendly. Since amateur athletes without Olympic dreams are just in it for the sport, a cheap Savage or CZ with diopter sights is just fine for informal or club level competition.

I hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics, and feeling inspired to be the best version of themselves, especially as it means pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. And maybe, if you know a youngster who loves to run and loves to shoot, you can help them combine the two.

 

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Your body is a distraction

Every few months some teenage girl will be sent home from school for violating some poorly defined dress code, and all sorts of feminists will hashtag out “my body is not a distraction!” and the wrath of the social justice warriors will get their panties in a knot.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/krishrach/young-women-are-protesting-against-dress-codes-with-iammoret?utm_term=.hxWY3nr23#.ggD50RGN0

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/my-shorts-were-too-short

Here’s the thing, if you are a moderately attractive woman in a good light, odds are damn near 100% that your body is in fact a distraction.

But but but Roland! Just because my body is a distraction doesn’t make that my fault at all! It’s the dirty nasty teenage boys who need to learn self control!

Yes, teenage boys do need to learn self control. No argument there.

But if you had horrible body odor that was impacting the well being of people around you, then you are the problem. If you were largely deaf and were enjoying your music at 110 decibels from a large stereo system, you are impacting the well being of people around you and you are the problem.

The human body has five recognized senses, and if your very existence in some place is having an impact on those around you, maybe you need to turn down the music, go take a shower, or graciously wear something less distracting.

Because feminists, if you want to be treated like something other than a piece of meat by young men, barely socialized, who have the worlds highest concentration of naturally occurring testosterone running through their bloodstream, you need to recognize that “they just shouldn’t be affected” is bullshit. As much as I despise Islamic doctrine, calling an uncovered woman “uncovered meat” is a very honest statement about both the effect an attractive woman can have on a man, and the place of women in Islamic society. Then again if I were Muslim no feminist would dare disagree with these words because that just wouldn’t be done since Muslims rank higher on the “victimhood Olympics” to see who has a bigger claim to “oppressed minority.”

And lastly, “they should just not be affected” is just more science denialism from feminists. The mere presence of an attractive woman triggers hormonal changes within a man, and if I’ve learned anything from feminists it is that hormonal shifts are a perfectly good excuse for irrational behavior.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/6243292/Meeting-pretty-women-makes-men-feel-good.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2239621/Researchers-test-mens-testosterone-levels-rise-arousal–visiting-sex-club.html

But hey, even a blind man can be affected by the presence of a woman, because pheromones she lets off impact his hormonal response to her presence. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809382/

Now, I wish it really were a world where everyone could wear whatever the hell they want, from micro bikinis to burkas and everyone else would just “live and let live” in a totally Libertarian fantasy. However, that is not the case, and having a large population of young men and women in the throws of sexual maturation probably means that adults need to act like adults and make sure that some basic common sense is applied so that Sexy Sally doesn’t destroy the grade point average of all her male classmates simply by being herself. The same way that Odiferous Olaf needs to be told to go home and shower if he stinks up the place.

Is it fair that your body is a distraction? No. It isn’t, and that sucks. But evolution doesn’t give a rats ass about “fair” and the best thing for a woman to do is to learn to ruthlessly use all the advantages that evolution gave her. After all, since life isn’t fair, no point in not playing the cards you’re dealt to the best you can.

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The long range shooting Rennaissance

We live in a very interesting time where affordable rifles specifically designed for long range shooting are commonplace.

For example, an entry level Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor or 308 Win will set you back 400 dollars. A Savage Axis, Thompson Center Compass, or Rem 783 can all be had for even less than the Ruger.

Capable scopes are now very affordable from Vortex, Burris, SWFA, Nikon and Athlon. With premium options from Nightforce, Leupold, US Optics, IOR, S&B, etc all available. “Acceptable” glass is in the 200 to 300 dollar range, and “good” glass starting at 400 and moving up.

Premium ammo is available from Federal, Hornady, Lapua, etc. Handloading supplies have never been more available and multiple high quality cannister grade temp stable powders exist.

So the question is, why is this all happening now?

The answer comes down to a shift in demographics, the appreciation for “sniper culture” and the introduction of marksmanship competitions that are specifically designed for long range accuracy. F Class, F/TR Class, PRS, and even “outlaw competitions” created a venue, where there is no requirement to use a sling, so bipods and tripods can be used to help steady the rifle. Movies that venerate our military snipers as protectors of American servicemembers on the ground in harms way have definitely popularized long range rifle shooting in a way that the old 300 meter free rifle event in the Olympics never did.

But, these sorts of cultural shifts aren’t a new thing in the world of firearm sporting competition. The “practical pistol” movement saw the rise of USPSA, IPSC, and combined with 3 gun, and 2 gun competitions makes for a very robust “practical oriented” sporting culture.

Now…this has shifted competitors away from High Power and Bullseye pistol shooting. And to be honest, those competitions aren’t exactly “fun” unless you are a serious accuracy nerd who loves to focus on the fundamentals of marksmanship. But, since most people are more interested in “activity shooting” rather than seeing how tight they can make groups while keeping High Power or Bullseye legal stances and equipment, more people are moving towards sports that suits the gear they like, not the gear set up for a sport.

And this is not a bad thing, but it does lead to a bit of a culture clash between the old guys who can use iron sights, and the newer crowd that sees absolutely no need for iron sights and will put a red dot or scope on a carbine and a scope on a bolt rifle. For the pistol shooters, a much larger number of “service pistols” have been declared legal, but I think that’s a bit too late to matter at this point.

The other big factor is the internet. Now if someone is interested in long range shooting, they just open up a browser tab and get to searching, and availing themselves to some great (and some not so great) resources. Literally a young person who came from a family of non-shooters, non-firearm owners, can get on the internet and find the advice (some better than others) about what to buy, where to train, and how to fit in with the “gun culture.”

So…how are you practicing so that when it comes time you can make the shot?

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5th Generation Warfare, the return of “The Great Game.”

There are all sorts of generations of warfare, waxed upon by military historians with tome upon tome of knowledge, history, and analysis.

Here’s the simple version, the four recognized generations plus my perfectly logical addition of 5th generation warfare.

1st Gen Warfare: think Greek and Roman phalanx and legion. Armies fight for the control of land and civilians who are essentially resources for the state.
2nd Gen Warfare: think US Civil War. Armies fight for the control of land and civilians.
3rd Gen Warfare: think WWII large scale fire and maneuver. Armies fight for the control of land and civilians.
4th Gen Warfare: think Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. If you have to ask, “who, or what are we really fighting?” it’s 4th Gen Warfare. Armies fight for questionably achievable objectives with regard to land and civilians.
5th Gen Warfare (a generation not yet recognized by the many luminary military historians): Armies conduct a lot of exercises to publicly to show strength, spy agencies work covertly to subvert opponent strength, and civilians ARE the battlefield.

So…why is it time for a 5th generation of warfare? Because it is time to recognize the renewed era of “consistent and persistent conflict between nation states short of outright conflict.” and the role of your military (whichever country you happen to belong to) in securing the interests, influence, and desires of your state.

Clausewitz is most famous for saying (in German, so pardon the fact that I’m quoting a translation of his actual words) that “War is politics continued by other means.” And he is completely correct.

But if you look at the level of political involvement across the generations of warfare, you’ll see something like this:

1st Gen Warfare: Soldiers fight, politicians politic.
2nd Gen Warfare: Soldiers fight AND vote, politicians politic.
3rd Gen Warfare: Soldiers fight AND vote AND influence policy, politicians politic.
4th Gen Warfare: Soldiers fight AND vote AND influence policy AND rely on non-military agencies to achieve military desire against some proxy force of another country, and politicians politic.
5th Gen Warfare: Soldiers fight AND vote AND influence policy AND rely on non-military agencies to achieve military desires, and politicians politic and the President’s Twitter Account is actively participating in information warfare against internal and external enemies.

Or, you could say that 5th Gen Warfare is 2nd Gen Warfare Politics backed by 4th Gen Warfare experience when superpowers decide to be dicks to each other.

Or you could say that 4th Gen Warfare was really just the simple truth that Afghanistan is where Empires go to die, no matter the generation or level of technology involved in conducting warfare in Afghanistan.

Either way, the primacy of information warfare is the fundamental truth behind 5th Gen Warfare and separating it from 4th Gen Warfare. And this is all enabled because the civilian populations of the world are glued to their smart phone and laptop screens, and if they do manage to watch network news it’s all “what shiny object has our attention for the next six seconds?” level of coverage without any real context or analysis.

The other big factor in 5th Gen Warfare is that nobody else is actually calling it “warfare” so much as “an environment of persistent struggle for dominance across all domains.” Which, if you go back to Clausewitz who said that “War is politics by other means” we need to examine now that “Politics is also war by other means.”

So take Trump and Putin for example. Putin is a corrupt oligarch who maintains control through domestic propaganda, lawfare against potential competitors and selective assassination if a selective competitor doesn’t back off. Trump is a media figure who keeps the news cycle all about him simply by being himself, as a brand he’s figured out how to utterly dominate the news cycle. As someone who doesn’t really give a rats ass about what a politician says, I could honestly care less because I focus on what a politician actually DOES. But, no one wants to talk about what the polician actually does, because in Russia that’s dangerous and in America that might put Trump in a sort of positive light and the press simply can’t have that.

But make no mistake, it’s a war, and a war that RT and Sputnik were deliberately crafted to operate in, a war that now includes Facebook and Twitter as key terrain, where a few hundred American Troops in Estonia or Poland is just posturing to let the other guy know that we know he knows our troops are there…

It’s the “Great Game” all over again, but played out with the transparency of modern communications and surveillance satellites in real time. The citizens aren’t the prize that comes with conquered territory, the minds of the citizens is the battlefield to get them to vote in your particular interest.

It’s a war where the more open a society is, the more vulnerable it is. At this rate South Korea will outlast us all….

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What does cyber warfare look like?

Maybe a spike in railroad accidents after years of good safety records?

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/04/us/collisions-involving-amtrak-trains-recent-weeks/index.html

Maybe a number of misinformation alerts to de-sensitize a population to warnings coming from their own government?

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/02/06/False-warning-East-Coast-resident-told-of-tsunami/3561517947288/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts_tn_us&utm_medium=2

https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/us-forces-korea-warns-of-fake-evacuation-messages-1.488792

The old saw, “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.” isn’t wrong most of the time. Either the US government has suddenly stopped being able to do routine things that it has done for literally decades, all within the realm of a few months…

Or we are in the middle of a real cyber war that has taken actual lives. I can’t prove it, but all the signs are there.

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CYA means “Call Your Attorney”

Douglas Haig made the news by being the guy who sold ammunition to the Vegas shooter. He made news again for being charged with manufacturing armor piercing ammunition without a license, and “conspiracy.”

Evidently Doug Haig had been making military ammunition under contract for the DOD as early as 1991 from his now defunct website (still available through archive.org though). In 2012 he incorporated Specialized Military Ammo as a limited liability corporation in Arizona, listing some family members on the documents of incorporation.

556API_screengrab

Now the federal code says that “armor piercing bullets” need to be above 22 caliber, but the ATF makes no distinction, even banning 5.45×39 ammunition with a steel core for importation despite the fact that 5.45 is .21 caliber. The only “non-lead” solution right now is that it be rimfire and 40gr or less according to the last ATF regulatory guidance letter I’ve read.

But, just in case anyone wants to get technical on the letter of the law rather than the ATF’s arbitrary and uncontrollable enforcement of the matter, SMAammo did sell 30 caliber armor piercing incendiary ammunition.

API_screengrab

So for sure he was selling API in both 5.56 and 7.62 API options.

The question I have here is how he could have purchased all of those incendiary and API bullets without a Type 10 FFL or importing without a Type 11 FFL. There isn’t a whole lot of opportunity to buy those bullets from the usual suspects in the reloading world, and anyone selling projectiles that go “boom” to an LLC would probably want a copy of the FFL to make sure their ass was covered.

Now, it is perfectly legal to buy tracer projectiles and load ’em up and have a good time. Graf’s has surplus 5.56 tracer rounds for 18 cents a piece right now. Plenty of other ammunition companies sell surplus tracer ammunition, and it is perfectly legal to buy them and take them out and have a good time.

So, maybe Specialized Military Ammo LLC did have an FFL, such as a Type 11 to import the bullets, but not a Type 10 to manufacture ammunition or have Special Occupational Tax class 2 paperwork? That would make sense, since the FFL should have satisfied any companies selling incendiary or API projectiles to SMA might not have requested the SOT paperwork for their transactional record keeping purposes.

Now, even if Doug Haig has some paperwork, but not the ATF correct paperwork, he’s already sunk, but the real kicker is the “conspiracy” charge. I think the best defense against that is that Doug Haig’s fingerprints and business address was found on the box of unused ammo in the hotel room, if he was actually “conspiring” he should have done a better job hiding it. But, I think the real reason the “conspiracy” charge is ticked on there is for scare value.

Failure to register as a manufacturer, dealer, or importer has a max 10 year sentencing guideline. The “conspiracy” part is 20 years, so Doug Haig is looking at potentially 30 years of time in club fed. This makes sense because the US Attorney will likely offer to drop the conspiracy charge, since it would be a bitch to prove anyways, in return for pleading guilty for the “manufacture of armor piercing ammunition without license” charge. 30 years with a jury or 3 years if you sign here and now, take your pick. This is one of the ways that US Attorneys get their extremely high conviction rate.

Federal sentencing guidelines “cheat sheet” https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2012/3_Selected_Firearms_Offenses_Summary_Charts.pdf

Section 922: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922

Specialty Military Ammo corporate registration: http://www.arizonacorporates.com/corp/311643.html

A quick primer on how twisted Federal armor piercing laws are: http://www.att-tactical.com/att_ammunition.html

 

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