08 Oct 2014

Swiss Story

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Ulrich_Wille
General Ulrich Wille, commander of the Swiss Army during WWI

A good story from Michael Z. Williamson.

    While traveling around Switzerland on Sundays, everywhere one hears gunfire, but a peaceful gunfire: this is the Swiss practicing their favorite sport, their national sport. They are doing their obligatory shooting, or practicing for the regional, Cantonal or federal shooting festivals, as their ancestors did it with the musket, the arquebus or the crossbow. Everywhere, one meets urbanites and country people, rifle to the shoulder, causing foreigners to exclaim: ‘You are having a revolution!”

— General Henri Guisan

Switzerland has not been invaded in 800 years, because every man and most of the women are issued guns which they keep at home. Imagine a government that not only allows but INSISTS its citizens keep military grade weapons. That’s points right there. Even more, they hold quarterly Schuetzenfests, at which shooting, carousing and drinking are expected. And it’s entirely possible you will have your ass handed to you by a 13 year old girl shooting a select-fire StG90 assault rifle that she carried to the range from school, slung across her back while pedaling her bicycle. Swiss GIRLS are better men than most allegedly-male American liberals.

There is a story, possibly apocryphal but awesome nonetheless, that a ranking German (possibly the Kaiser) was visiting and watching the Swiss military on their summer maneuvers. He asked the Swiss commander, “How big a force do you command?”

The Swiss general confidently replied, “I can mobilize one million men in twenty-four hours.”

The German asked, “What would happen if I marched five million men in here tomorrow?”

The Swiss replied, “Each of my men will fire five shots and go home.”

Hat tip to commenter Darius.

08 Oct 2014

Yesterday, The Anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, the Greatest Naval Battle of All Time

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Tony Stafki, The Battle of Lepanto

(In the contemporary painting above: “The Catholic ships form a cross and the Muslim ships form a cresent. – The standard of the Holy Cross which was blessed by Pope Pius V can be seen on Don Juan of Austria’s ship which is leading the charge. – Papal ships (St. Peter’s keys) – The miracle of the wind: just before the armies met the wind completely switched in favor of the Catholic ships. – Devils can be seen amongst the Muslim ships (they were summoned from hell by the Muslim leader). The devils have peacock feathers as swords, a manifestation of their pride. – Our Lady of Victory with a sword in one hand ready to crush the devils and the other hand outstretched to the Muslim souls. – St. Michael leading the Angels – There are small white lights by the oars on the Muslim ships representing the souls of the Catholic prisoners.)

————————

October 7, 1571, the fleet of the Holy League, an alliance of the kingdoms of Spain, of Sicily and of Naples, of the Republics of Venice and of Genoa, of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, of the Duchy of Savoy, of the Papal States, and of the Sovereign and Military Order of St. John, decisively defeated the Ottoman Empire’s main battle fleet in five hours of fighting at Lepanto at the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote, was shot twice in the chest and once in the left arm in the course of the battle.

—————————-

The News Junkie linked an excellent essay by Michael Novak on How the 1571 Battle of Lepanto saved Europe.

—————————-

Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912), pp. 265-271:

The Turkish fleet came on imposing and terrible, all sails set, impelled by a fair wind, and it was only half a mile from the line of galliasses and another mile from the line of the Christian ships.

D. John waited no longer; he humbly crossed himself, and ordered that the cannon of challenge should be fired on the “Real,” and the blue flag of the League should be hoisted at the stern, which unfurled itself like a piece of the sky on which stood out an image of the Crucified. A moment later the galley of Ali replied, accepting the challenge by firing another cannon, and hoisting at the stern the standard of the Prophet, guarded in Mecca, white and of large size, with a wide green “cenefa,” and in the center verses from the Koran embroidered in gold.

At the same moment a strange thing happened, a very simple one at any other time, but for good reason then considered a miracle: the wind fell suddenly to a calm, and then began to blow favorably for the Christians and against the Turks. It seemed as if the Voice had said to the sea, “Be calm,” and to the wind, “Be still.” The silence was profound, and nothing was heard but the waves breaking on the prows of the galleys, and the noise of the chains of the Christian galley slaves as they rowed.

Fr. Miguel Servia blessed from the quarter-deck all those of the fleet, and gave them absolution in the hour of death. It was then a quarter to twelve.

—————————-

Lepanto by G.K. Chesterton

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri’s knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunset and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees,
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be;
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,—
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, “Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done,
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces—four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not ‘Kismet’; it is he that knows not Fate ;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey in the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.”
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)

07 Oct 2014

Goodbye, Columbus

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Christopher Columbus (detail), from Alejo Fernández, La Virgen de los Navegantes, circa 1505 to 1536, Alcázares Reales de Sevilla.

In his magisterial biography, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, 1942, Samuel Elliot Morrison observes:

[Christopher Columbus did] more to direct the course of history than any individual since Augustus Caesar. …

The voyage that took him to “The Indies” and home was no blind chance, but the creation of his own brain and soul, long studied, carefully planned, repeatedly urged on indifferent princes, and carried through by virtue of his courage, sea-knowledge and indomitable will. No later voyage could ever have such spectacular results, and Columbus’s fame would have been secure had he retired from the sea in 1493. Yet a lofty ambition to explore further, to organize the territories won for Castile, and to complete the circuit of the globe, sent him thrice more to America. These voyages, even more than the first, proved him to be the greatest navigator of his age, and enabled him to train the captains and pilots who were to display the banners of Spain off every American cape and island between Fifty North and Fifty South. The ease with which he dissipated the unknown terrors of the Ocean, the skill with which he found his way out and home, again and again, led thousands of men from every Western European nation into maritime adventure and exploration.

The whole history of the Americas stem from the Four Voyages of Columbus; and as the Greek city-states looked back to the deathless gods as their founders, so today a score of independent nations and dominions unite in homage to Christopher the stout-hearted son of Genoa, who carried Christian civilization across the Ocean Sea.

A score of independent nations and dominions, but not Seattle. Fox News:

The Seattle City Council is replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the city.

The resolution that passed unanimously Monday celebrates the contributions and culture of Native Americans and the indigenous community in Seattle on the second Monday in October, the same day as the federally recognized Columbus Day.

Tribal members and other supporters say the move recognizes the rich history of people who have inhabited the area for centuries.

“This action will allow us to bring into current present day our valuable and rich history, and it’s there for future generations to learn,” said Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation on the Olympic Peninsula, who is also president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

“Nobody discovered Seattle, Washington,” she said to a round of applause.

07 Oct 2014

The Paradox of the Mosin-Nagant

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mosin-nagant-m44
Mosin Nagant M44

In every gun shop these days, older classic guns seem to have vanished like the buffalo, but the racks are full of modern black rifles and… Mosin Nagants.

The Mosin Nagant used to be (deservedly) despised as a strong contender for worst 20th century bolt-action military long-arm, fighting it out for the title with the Japanese Arisaka and Italy’s Mannlicher Carcarno.

The Mosin’s recent astounding rise in popularity has nothing to do with accuracy, beauty, or quality of workmanship or design. The Mosin has been snapped up by countless American shooters specifically because, by today’s standards, these old boat anchors are spectacularly cheap. I still could not see the point of owning one of them until, earlier today, I came across this amusing article by “Major Pandemic” which noted that not only are the rifles cheap, surplus ammo is incredibly cheap as well.

Part of the attraction of the cold war Mosin Nagants is that they are excellent rifles for the typical $70-$100 street price, but the even bigger draw is that the ammo, which is comparable ballistically to the .308 or 30-06, can easily be had for a stunningly low $.25 a round. At this point in time there is no other large centerfire rifle that is this inexpensive to shoot.

When you first get your hands on a Mosin, you’re just thrilled that you’ve found a powerful centerfire rifle that only set you back around $100. Then you’ll dance until you got a leg cramp after buying an entire SPAM can of 400 rounds for only another $100. Honestly, in that initial ownership period, you really don’t care how it shoots, when it was made, or by which European factory. You’re just thrilled that it goes bang each time you pull the trigger.

Once you get over the initial fun factor, you’ll probably start looking at upgrades for the rifle. Upgrading a Mosin Nagant is an amazingly fun project that nets a gun that can hunt any North American large game easily out to 300 yards and beyond.

But, here comes the funny part: Great, that Mosin is cheap to shoot, but it also kicks like a mule and groups horribly at a 100 yards. So, naturally, Major Pandemic turns to the question of improving the good old Mosin. The old Russian sights are rudimentary (and most of the people who fool around with guns these days are getting on in years and have weak eyes), so the Major gets himself mounts and a scope.

Getting bashed in the shoulder induces flinching, so a better, sniper-style, gunstock is in order.

Then, something has to be done about the absolutely terrible trigger-pull. $100 worth of Timney trigger is the answer.

Finally, if you want the old war horse to shoot accurately, you’ll need to re-crown that ancient barrel.

And there you have it, a mere $1047.98 later, that hundred-dollar clunker performs like a thousand-dollar-ish new rifle, but you do get to use that cheap surplus ammo.

Or, alternatively, I would say, you could just buy a Lee Loader and reload .30-06 rounds, and buy a decent rifle.

07 Oct 2014

Lena Dunham Was “Raped”!

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LenaDunhamTyping

Lena Dunham, the Millennial generation’s most conspicuous gift to our culture, published (September 30) a collection of personal essays, Not That Kind of Girl, in which, Amazon claims, she “shares what she’s learned on her path to self-awareness.” Just think, all that!

This morning, on Facebook, Charlotte Allen (who writes frequently about contemporary etiquette and morality) was linking a posting in which she blows her top over Lena Dunham’s account of being “raped.”

I took some guy home when I was drunk and he didn’t use a condom.” But he was a Republican, so that made it rape!

Actually, in her own account, Lena gets triple high: booze, Xanax, and cocaine, before deciding to go home with a stranger.

07 Oct 2014

Young European Hunter

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KidHunter

Imgur titles it: “I was a badass when I was a kid.”

06 Oct 2014

Twin Peaks Coming Back!

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In 2016, on Showtime, twenty-five years after the original, nine more episodes directed by David Lynch.

Raw Story

06 Oct 2014

Priorities

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EbolaCartoon

Mark Steyn notes that when government gets too big, it completely loses its sense of priorities, devoting unlimited energy to enforcing petty regulations while totally failing to perform its legitimate functions in cases when it really matters.

Thomas Eric Duncan has the distinction of being America’s Patient Zero – the first but not the last person to develop Ebola symptoms in the United States.

Is he a US citizen? No, he’s Liberian.

Is he a resident of the United States? No, he landed at Washington’s Dulles Airport on September 20th, in order to visit his sister and having quit his job in Monrovia a few weeks earlier.

So he’s a single unemployed man with relatives in the US and no compelling reason to return to his native land. That alone is supposed to be cause for immigration scrutiny.

In addition, visitors from Liberia have the fifth highest “visa overstay rate” in the United States. That’s to say, they understand very clearly that all that matters is getting in. Once you’re in, they’ll never get you out.

And, of course, Liberia is one of the hottest spots of Ebola’s West African “hot zone”. It’s been all over the front pages, except apparently in The US Customs & Border Protection Staff Newsletter, where it rated a solitary “News In Brief” item at the foot of page 37.

Just to give you an example of how hard-assed the boneheads of America’s immigration bureaucracy can be when they want to:

The legendary Gord Sinclair, longtime news director of CJAD in Montreal, had a ski place near Jay in northern Vermont, and he invited his engineer on the show to come down and visit him. “What’s the purpose of your visit?” asked the agent at the small rural border post.

“Oh, just a relaxing weekend at my boss’ place,” said Gord’s colleague affably, and then chortled, “although I don’t know if it’ll be that relaxing. He’ll probably have me out in the yard chopping wood all day.”

So the immigration agent refused him entry on the grounds that he would be working illegally in the United States.

They all had a good laugh about that back on the air on Monday, but it took forever to straighten out. A single man with contacts in the United States: He says he’s coming for the weekend, but we all know any Montrealer would willingly trade a job at Quebec’s Number One anglo radio station for casual yard work in Vermont, right?

And yet the unemployed guy from an Ebola hot zone gets in.

Every day CBP agents pull stuff like that weekend-in-Vermont thing, screwing over perfectly obviously law-abiding persons – tourists, businessmen, legal residents and, indeed, citizens.

But the Ebola guy gets in.

What is the priority of America’s deranged border regime right now? As I wrote two months ago:

This weekend [Campbell Webster] was returning to New Hampshire from a competition in Canada, which is how a newspaper story comes to open with a sentence never before written in the history of the English language:

    ‘BAGPIPERS have expressed their fear over a new law which led to two US teenagers having their pipes seized by border control staff at the weekend.’

They can chisel that on the tombstone of the republic. On the northern border, bagpipers are “expressing their fear”, while on the southern border gangbangers have no fear and stroll through the express check-in.

As do Ebola-bearing Liberians at Dulles. US border security devotes more time and resources to Campbell Webster of Concord bringing in a bagpipe than to Thomas Duncan of Monrovia bringing in Ebola.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

06 Oct 2014

L’Espace D’Un Matin

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Four sisters had their picture taken together every year for 40 years (1975-2014)

4Sisters1975
1975

4Sisters2014
2014

Mais elle était du monde,
où les plus belles choses
Ont le pire destin,
Et rose elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses,
L’espace d’un matin.

Consolation à Monsieur du Périer, François de Malherbe (1555-1628)

Hat tips to Madame Scherzo and Vanderleun.

06 Oct 2014

Our Incompetent Federal Goverment

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SecretService3

Doyle McManus, at the LA Times, contends that the federal government is focused on political competition at the expense of competence.

Whatever happened to good old American know-how?

The nation that invented modern management seems to be suffering a crisis of competence.

The Secret Service can’t protect the White House. Public health authorities can’t get their arms around a one-man Ebola outbreak. The army we trained in Iraq collapsed as soon as it was attacked by Islamic extremists, and our own veterans can’t get the care they need at VA hospitals. And, lest we forget, it was only a year ago that the White House rolled out its national health insurance program, only to see its website grind to a halt.

Yes, you can argue that these problems all have different causes.

But it’s hard not to conclude that something basic is amiss in Washington.

“This isn’t a partisan problem,” argues Linda Bilmes, a public policy scholar at Harvard’s Kennedy School who worked in the Clinton administration — although she does fault the people at the top. “It hasn’t been a priority under this president to appoint good managers to top positions, but it wasn’t a priority under George W. Bush either.”

Read the whole thing.

06 Oct 2014

Ebola Killing Democrats’ 2014 Election Prospects?

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ObamaEbola

Karin McQuillan, at American Thinker, thinks Ebola can be lethal politically as well as epidemiologically.

The Democrat/Progressive Party may be signing their own death certificate in the 2014 elections with their mishandling of Ebola. One and half million people are quarantined in Sierra Leone. The first case has hit America. And all Obama has done is make a speech saying everything is fine here, but he’s sending American troops into harm’s way there. A ghastly virus that kills 50-100% of its victims and has no known treatment is something people notice. It is something women notice. Ebola is creating an epidemic of fear, for good reason. The Democrat ruling elite’s complacency, incompetence and leftist pieties are losing them the public trust.

Have you seen the photos from the TV Dallas/Fort Worth chopper of workers cleaning the Ebola victim’s vomit from the sidewalk in front of his apartment building? The CDC has it under control — they ordered the vomit to be power washed. The area is not cordoned off, the workers have no protective clothing, and passers-by are tracking through the water in sandals. The blogger who posted them comments: “from the casualness of the guys doing the power-washing, it is unlikely that (1) they put any disinfectants in the power-washer or (2) they were even told what they were cleaning.”

The decontamination of the sick man’s apartment, including dirty sheets and towels, has not begun, even though his girlfriend, her son and two grown nephews are confined there. This is a nightmare for them. The CDC only learned from a CNN report that the sick man’s sweat-soaked sheets were still on the bed. They had done nothing to help the quarantined people.

Trust the government to keep us safe? Tell that to Duncan’s neighbors, the EMT workers now in quarantine, and the five men from the Sheriff’s department, all allowed to enter the apartment without protective garb. They went there to serve the official quarantine papers – also done a day late.

Read the whole thing.

05 Oct 2014

Losing Credibility

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ObamaLiesCartoon

Via Theo.

05 Oct 2014

So Do People Who Were Brainwashed at Ivy League Schools

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This liberal douchebag is my Yale classmate David Quammen. Quammen can write very well. Quammen can do a terrific job of research. He just can’t think straight. He can’t make sensible judgements because his head is stuffed full of stupidity.

Quammen is currently poised to make a potfull of money. He is a long-time Nature writer, and has recently made a personal specialty of publishing books on zoonotic diseases, diseases like rabies, Ebola, influenza, West Nile, which originate in wild animals and then are transmitted to humans. He’s got a new book, Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus, coming out on October 20th, which could hardly be better timed to sell like hotcakes.

But, when you are deciding whether or not to buy David Quammen’s latest screed, first note the perspective that the author recently shared with NPR:

Human behavior is causing this problem. More and more, we’re going into wild, diverse ecosystems around the world, especially tropical forests.

Some scientists believe that each individual species of animal, plant, bacterium and fungus in these places carries at least one unique virus, maybe even 10 of them.

We, humans, go into those wild ecosystems. We cut down trees. We build mines, roads and villages. We kill the animals and eat them. Or we capture them and transport them around the world.

In doing that, we expose ourselves to all these viruses living around the world. That gives the viruses the opportunity to spill over into humans. Then in some cases, once the virus makes that first spillover, it discovers that it might be highly transmissible in humans. Then you might have an epidemic or a pandemic.

Dave Quammen is a typical 1960s Yale genius. You can’t isolate or quarantine Liberia during an epidemic of an extraordinarily dangerous, usually lethal, disease, no, no, no! It would never work and besides, it would be WRONG. But you can, tra-la! isolate the natural world generally, and especially all tropical wildernesses, from all human economic activity, residence, or new colonization. The latter is perfectly feasible. Right, Dave!

05 Oct 2014

“People in Horror Movies Make Bad Decisions”

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GeicoCommercial

Geico Commercial: 0:30 video

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