Budget Day

Yesterday, OMB Director Mulvaney had a press conference on the new budget. Pretty good one in my view. $0 for NPR, PBS, and NEA, 50% reduction for the UN, down 30% + for EPA, a lot for State as well, more for the Pentagon which needs it (it also needs much better and leaner management). Nothing about entitlements in this one, that comes later.

Here’s Mulvaney, he a joy to listen to, a man who knows his subject thoroughly, stays calm and answers the question. And the budget is a good start.

What’s in an Armorer’s Toolkit?

sartk_label_unskewed-624x426This is pretty interesting , well, at least to those of us who claim to be able to fix things. From Weaponsman, who knows a helluva lot more about fixing weapons than I do.

Well, currently, the Army has a thing they call the SARTK, Small Arms Repairman’s Tool Kit. Since we didn’t find a link to it on the public intertubes, we made you one. After all, your tax dollars bought these things, NSN 5180-01-559-5181, for approximately six to ten thousand dollars each.  They are assembled by Armstrong Tool Group, a division of Apex Tools, and most of the tools are Armstrong brand. All the tools are made in the USA (required under protectionist legislation)

I’m guessing it looks pretty much like this, which is a civilian Armstrong set in a Pelican case, pretty nice set. $3,289.34 on Amazon

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That seems fair enough to me, I grew up in a company that was required to buy everything US made as well. Far as I’m concerned if you value your time, you do that anyway, although I’d guess the Europeans make some good ones too. And my experience says that Armstrong tools aren’t bad, roughly what Craftsmen was fifty years ago, good enough for most uses, but not really top line like Snap-on or Wright Tools either. In any case, here’s what’s in the plastic box.

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The kit itself is contained in a molded plastic (probably something like nylon 6/6) case with seven drawers, and custom inserts to hold the required tools. Inside, there’s a list of what goes in each drawer, although the custom cutouts for the tools make it readily apparent where a tool you have out goes. This derives from normal military and aviation tool control practice. (Leaving the tool out not only risks losing the tool, but risks screwing up the machine it’s left in or on. Few machines digest tool steel well).

Yep, almost all of us organize our tools in some similar way, foam inserts, racks, or pegboard. It saves tons of time and reduces losses more than you can imagine.

He goes on to speak of how the box is organized and such, in some detail, which you should read. And then he says this

Most of the stuff in the kit, it turns out, is not very exotic, and is not firearms specific. Indeed, most of the stuff we use to build an AR is not included, and one wonders what use a lot of half-inch sockets are whilst working on small arms.

Boy howdy, did I wonder that! In fact, this would be a great kit for a homeowner who wants to maintain his own car. And yes, even I know that there are a lot of specific tools, which make working on guns much easier. Heck, there are special tools for all fields, and often the are what makes a pro so much more productive, safer too.

These are quality tools, but you could put together a matching tool kit for far less money, even buying US-made-only (or EU only, if that’s how you roll) tools.

via What’s in an Armorer’s Toolkit? | WeaponsMan

Far less, well, I would hope so. Mucking about at Wright tools, I looked at their largest set. 1136 pieces including roll cabinet, although likely without as much organizational stuff, since in the civilian world, we tend to do that our way.

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Quit drooling on your screen, guys!

Now, mind you this set isn’t designed for maintaining and repairing small arms, It’s likely designed to work on cars and heavy trucks, not to mention industrial maintenance. Thing is, Wright tools are arguably the very best of American tools, not only made in America but made of American steel. (Yes, if you want to give me that set for Christmas, I’ll be glad to give you my address!) 🙂 So how much does this set cost? About $20,000, depending on where you buy it. And that is one of the major problems with military procurement, they end up, because of their systems, spending far too much for many things they buy, especially if there is a civilian equivalent. I don’t really know the answer to that problem, but we should be able to do better.

Mind you, this looks a lot like a boondoggle, but I strongly doubt there’s corruption involved here, it’s simply that the military is willing to pay too much for what they buy, and experience says when one is buying a tool set, the manufacturer loads you up with what makes him the most money (that may explain those ½” sockets). And often, having that NSN (NATO Stock Number) turns into a license to print money.

 

100 Days and Firing Squads

In case you missed it, PE Trump called a meeting with some of the major media figures and unloaded some truth on them. Needless to say, they didn’t like it. Well, one gets to lie in the bed one makes, and Trump, like many of us, is apparently tired of being lied about. Bill Whittle had something to say about it, as well.

Here, listen to the man, not the spin.

Nothing here that troubles me in the least, nor is there anything extra-legal. Too often our leadership has forgotten that the primary purpose of the US Government is to defend and support the United States. Trump seems to understand that.

Soon we will speak here of the people he has asked to join him in the government, while some would not be my choices, they look to me like a very strong team. In fact, they echo the old canard, “First-rate men hire the best men they can find, second-rate men hire third-rate men, and third-rate men hire lackeys who tell them what they want to hear. More to come on this, and soon.

 

Why Conservatives Should Start Breaking The Laws That Oppress Us

gandgiThis carries on something that I have been speaking on at the Watchtower, you can find those articles here, and here, and do read the comments as well, many points are clarified there. This is from The Federalist.

Take a look at this sentence from a Daily Mail article reporting on Donald Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter” given this past Saturday. “Included [in the contract] are six anti-corruption pledges, seven actions related to jobs and trade and five on immigration and the ‘rule of law.’”

Why is “rule of law” in scare quotes? Is this really where we’re at in our thinking? The rule of law is some niche idea conservatives include in their wish list—like a “culture of life” or a “free market”?

Perhaps it alludes to the typical reader’s comprehension—“Psst, there’s this thing conservatives refer to as ‘the rule of law.’ Haha, I know, right? I mean, everyone on the right side of history knows laws are for fools, but just so you know, some of the true believers are still out there.”

Regardless, it certainly fits everything we’re seeing this election season, both in the presidential campaigns and in our culture.

Hillary Clinton gets exonerated for mishandling classified information by claiming not to understand a system I learned literally my first day in the Army Reserves… as a freaking chaplain! “I made a mistake.” Oh, that’s what breaking the law is called.

The Left Is Above the Law—Whatever the Law Might Be

We could go on and on, listing the litany of laws the Left routinely ignores: immigration laws in sanctuary cities, abortion laws regarding the trafficking of body parts, bribery laws with the Clinton Foundation. Or we could bring up obvious cases of corruption: like the FBI giving special treatment to Hillary, or the IRS targeting conservative nonprofits. But if a tree falls in the woods, and the media don’t report it, does it make a noise?

via Why Conservatives Should Start Breaking The Laws That Oppress Us

He does a very good job of explaining the concepts of Gnosticism, as one would expect from clergy, and how the ‘Archons’ who built the modern world have been replaced by the Archons of the left, which bear no relation to reality, or God. His conclusion is that we need to start disobeying their laws. I think he is correct but would add that we need to remember that there may well be a price, likely a high one, attached to doing so. We should not forget that Dietrich Bonhoeffer died a very cruel death when he was hanged at Flossenburg Concentration Camp.

But I fear that the God’s of the Copybook headings are approaching quickly

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Let’s close with Pastor Burfeind

Several years ago—I think it was during the Obamacare debates, when Democrats were doing all their “sausage making” shenanigans—I was at a red light at the end of my road. The light is unbearably long. No one was coming from either direction.

I said to myself, “F*** it,” and turned left on the red light. At that moment the red light became an icon of everything I was coming to hate about government: a coldly mechanized totem of inefficient government management, pretending to be the height of rational governance.

How easy it was to break the law their laws.

“Dickileaks”

hillary-and-weinerSo, while we were off having a life, this blew up. From the Bookworm Room, mostly because I haven’t caught up yet.

I go out to have coffee with a friend and — boom!! — Dickileaks breaks. I honestly don’t think there could be anything more perfect than learning that more of Hillary’s illegal emails showed up, this time on the phone of a serial flasher and possible pedophile. In a weird election season, this is the most appropriate denouement possible.

So the question is: Why now? Why this?

My own theory is that Dickileaks came about because Comey was terrified that those FBI agents with integrity enough to care about the disgraceful investigation and it’s more disgraceful premature closure were threatening his career. The newly revealed emails allowed Comey to reopen the investigation without losing face over his past decisions. It’s also entirely possible that the new emails are so explosive that, even if Comey could tamp down FBI disconnect over the prior investigation, he couldn’t do so with this one.

What I’m also wondering is whether this new batch of emails is sufficiently different — in location and content — as to circumvent the prior immunity deals that Comey earlier handed out like freebie coupons at a mall. If the immunity deals stand, it seems to me that this investigation will go nowhere fast . . . which would, of course, explain why Comey opened it up. That is, it would just be more Kabuki theater from the guy who’s been the beneficiary of Clinton Foundation money. With that most recent revelation about his ties to Clinton, Inc., not to mention boiling discontent in FBI ranks, Comey had to do something, and the best “something” to do is the kind of thing that ultimately turns out to be nothing.

Read it all at: “Dickileaks” – Bookworm Room.

Yeah, those questions are important. It could be enough to put Hillary in prison, it could also amount to nothing. The biggest difference this time, I think, is that various things have come together, in other words, the Weiner and Clinton stories intersected, and that makes it hard to ignore for the media, after all even those fools know that sex sells, and child pornography amongst the famous (or maybe infamous is the right word) sells even better. So we’ll see.

I also note that Assange has said that the next Wikileaks release will put Clinton in jail. We’ll have to see about that as well.

I’ve also noticed that Obamacare is making for a spectacular crash.

My heavens, what an interesting election, no time for coffee breaks, is there?

Battle: 950 Years Ago, Today

ccjma2rxeaehvtm-jpg-largeYou know that I like to commemorate events in history, and October is a rich month for that. I’ve often said that American history is a niece of British, especially English history. This month is a prime example of why. Today is the 950th anniversary of the battle of Hastings. The Norman Conquest is one of the pivots of our (and perhaps world) history. Don’t think so? Let’s look at it, but first a short history of it.

In January St. Edward the Confessor, the last King of England of the House of Wessex, which we have spoken of several times with regard to Alfred the Great, died, and eventually was borne in state to the new Westminster Abbey (which he built) where he was buried. Incidentally, his feast day is 13 October.

The succession was a disputed one, it settled out as having three claimants, Harold Godwinson,  The nobles of the realm offered him the crown, although he had a pretty weak claim to it, being the brother-in-law of King Cnut

Amongst the other claimants, King Swegn Estrithson, of Denmark and Edgar Aetheling (Atheling actually means throneworthy) and he was of the House of Wessex, the Grandson of Edmund Ironside, he was also a minor. Neither of these seems to have been considered at all.

But there was also King Harold Hardrada of Norway acting on behalf of Tostig, Earl of Northumbria, and King Harold’s brother. Tostig has always seemed to me to be a very troublesome younger brother, and it looks like Harold thought so too. But this was a serious claim.

Then there was William, Duke of Normandy, whose claim was based on a promise made ears before by Edward, and backed by the Pope.

And so, Harold was crowned at Westminster by Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury and Archbishop Ealdred of York. I also note that Halley’s comet was visiting that year, all seemed to think it a bad omen for Harold and a good one for William.

To contest this matter, William had to convince his nobles to help, and not demand, which he did and got the support of the Pope as well. William was a planner and took his time with his preparations, which worked to his benefit.

And so, in May, Tostig made his first, abortive try to invade England, which caused Harold to call out the Fyrd, which was peasants who were required to serve at his pleasure, and he kept them out, waiting for William.

Meanwhile, William was preparing including calling his magnates to help him dedicate his wife Mathilda’s new abbey of St Etienne, in Caen, on 18 June 1066, and get his people to support him.

On 20 September Tostig and Harold  sailed up the Ouse river and fought Earls Edwin and Morcar at Fulford outside York. The Earls were defeated and badly and took no further part. Following this Harold came up with a scratch force consisting mostly of his own Housecarls and thegns, He then marched 180 miles in four days calling out shire levies as he went. He offered Tostig his earldom back if he would change sides, and when he didn’t the forces met at Stamford Bridge on 25 September.

Both Hardrada and Tostig were killed in the battle beneath the Raven banner but, it was a hard battle and the King’s force was beat up and tired.

At this point, William landed probably at Pevensey from his 700 ships. And then he proceeded to burn and pillage to force Harold to come south and fight him. Which worked. Harold raced his forces back south down the Roman road called Ermine Street and on 14 October they met in battle, at where else, the place now called Battle. A friend mentioned the other day that Harold stopped at Waltham Abbey. She writes:

In the run-up to 14 October, an intrepid group of re-enactors are currently retracing the likely route of Harold Godwineson’s march from York to Battle, via Lincoln,Peterborough and the Weald of Kent. Today [6 Oct] they will be passing through Waltham, where (according to the abbey’s twelfth-century chronicle) Harold stopped on his way to Hastings, and prayed before its Black Rood for a victory which would not come:

[Harold] had entered the church of the Holy Cross in the early morning, and placing upon the altar relics which he had with him in his chapel, he made a vow that if the Lord granted him success in the outcome of the war he would endow the church with a large number of estates as well as many clerks to serve God in that place, and he promised to serve God in the future like a purchased slave. Accompanied by the clergy, and with a procession leading the way, he came to the doors of the church where, turning towards the crucifix, the king in devotion to the holy cross stretched himself out on the ground in the form of a cross and prayed. Then occurred an event pitiable to relate and incredible from an earthly point of view. When the king bowed low to the ground the image of the crucified one, which had previously been looking directly ahead above him, now bowed its head as if in sorrow, a sign portending what was to happen.

Turkill, the sacristan, testified that he had seen this while he was himself collecting together and putting away the gifts which the king had placed on the altar, and that he told many people about it. I heard this from his very lips, and it was confirmed by many bystanders who with their eyes saw the head of the figure upright, though none of them except Turkill knew the moment it had bowed.

The Waltham Chronicle: an account of the discovery of our holy cross at Montacute and its conveyance to Waltham, ed. and trans. Leslie Watkiss and Marjorie Chibnall (Oxford, 1994), p.47.

This powerful miracle-story feels as if it was born of the same impulse of historical imagination as prompts re-enactors to retrace Harold’s route today. To me one of the most poignant images of 1066 is the thought of that grieving marble figure, and Harold’s unanswered, though miraculously acknowledged, prayer.

Via: The Danish Conquest, Part 12: Otford

It’s an interesting battle, and the linked article gives a reasonable description but the short form is: William won and Harold died. You may have heard of Battle Abbey, it marks the site.

And so for the last time (so far) in history was England conquered by an outside force.

BBC – History – British History in depth: 1066.

It is beyond doubt, one of the most pivotal moments in our, and the world’s history.

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