Friday fight for freedom music for 09/19/2014

Scream: Fight/American Justice

Some 1980’s hardcore. Yeah, I’m old. Lyrics below. SSDD apparently.

Lyrics:

Look at me, I look at you
What the fuck you gonna do?
I feel boxed in, well, I just wanna fight
Through the problems in the night

Fight (for what you think is right)

Hey, all ye crunchcloths, we all say
Fight for the united way
Fight together, fight as one
Fight forever till we’ve won

Fight (for what you think is right)
To unite

I’m walking down the street just a-minding my own
In a strange town, a thousand miles from home
When I’m searched by the man, and he says to me
That “I am the law” and that’s the way it’s gonna be

It’s called American justice
But we know the truth
It’s called American justice
But what can we do?

No matter what’s the truth, they’re gonna put you away
Push you around, no matter just what you say
It’s them against you, but you’re not just alone
Even though it seems your only friend is the telephone

And it’s called American justice
But we know the truth
It’s called American justice
But what can we do?

They’re never wrong, only mistaken
It don’t replace your rights that have been taken
They throw the book away, you’ve been forsaken
For American justice has just been faking

If you got no money then you’re just out of luck
‘Cause the lawyers and legal aid, they just don’t give a fuck
That’s why the jails are full of the poor and black
And once they get out, you know they end up just going back

It’s called American justice
But we know the truth
It’s called American justice
But what can we do?

Yeah, what can we do about American Justice?
American Justice

Slow posting

Ministering to kin.

Cancer is evil.

Will return soon.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

The OTHER worry in Eisenhower’s famous farewell speech…

fasces

‘Twas a discussion last week over at the Western Rifle Shooters Association about the new, “Truthy” thoughtcrime detection database being built by a bunch of bootlicking screws at Indiana University, and how it will be used to surveil “false and misleading ideas…and other social pollution” on the Twitter (aka the Id of the Internet.) Never mind that “false and misleading ideas…and other social pollution” tended to be called “dissent” or just plain old “free expression” in prior eras, but hey, when a key scientist on your DARPA-funded national security project is a Chinese national, up is down, down is up, ignorance is strength, freedom is slavery, and all that.

But we’re not here to hash that one out. It’s more that in the above referenced post, the esteemed proprietor of WRSA linked to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous farewell speech, and as I re-read it, part of it bored into my brain and has been agitating it ever since.

Part IV of the speech contains the famous, “Military-Industrial Complex” money quote, but there is a second half that is more prescient, more vital, and more scary in today’s environment, yet rarely highlighted. The entirety of Part IV is below, with the second concern in bold. [IMC emphasis.]

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

There is a lot of irony in that second half, coming from Ike, whose administration centralized more power in DC during its time, but let’s stay on task.

If that doesn’t nail our current situation completely, I don’t know what does. I cannot think of any major industry that does not have “federal money” or some other federally-focused largesse in the core of its business strategy and operations these days. Health care, pharmaceuticals, finance, technology, agriculture, energy, etc. Every program pitched to the citizenry as a benign benefit until it ultimately mutates into a control mechanism by a centralized force.

Couple that with the hyper-dominant executive branch and its armies of armed bureaucrats (now with SWAT®!) constantly swapping seats between regulator and regulated, creating volumes of regulations with the force and color of law, and I’d say everything that Ike feared has manifest. Industries are dependent on federal largesse to such a degree, they will toe any line drawn for them to keep the largesse coming.

Third quarter earnings or the next grant are paramount. Liberty be damned.

Learn to live local.

Well, it’s time to roll out the old DHS threat matrix again

Being September and all.

dhs-new-alert-chart

Hope all of the blessed “undocumented Americans” around the globe are having a safe and pleasant journey over our wide open southern border.

To everyone already inside and paying taxes, “Pick up that can, citizen.”

On squats and being a skinny, cheap bastard

My back sucks and I am a tall, skinny lanklet that has to eat horrendous amounts of food to put on weight. It gets done, but it takes time. Recently, I completely screwed up a deadlift and like a dumbass, didn’t drop the bar immediately and quit. After six weeks of a numb left leg, no lifting and doing lots of stretching, mobility work, and ibuprofen eating, I got back on the stack.

Throwing my ego out, I started from zero and have been slowly building back to the two-plate squat (not there yet), session by session. I also did a lot of reading in my downtime, and came across a couple of good articles that have helped me get better form and also maximize gains for my body type.

The first article was from Natty or Not called, “Long Legs Suck for Squatting – Sorry It’s True.” When I read it, I thought, “Holy shit! That’s me!”

People with long legs have really hard time squatting. They bend over so much ( like they are bowing to the king ) and every time the weight gets heavy – the movement usually turns into a good morning with a ton of weight.

If you have long legs and you want to do low bar squats, you will have to bend over a lot in order to balance the bar and there will be even more posterior chain stimulation. That’s why we advise people with long femurs to experiment with high bar squats in order to get more balanced stimulation from squats. Another thing you can try is the good old front squat and the leg press which will naturally allow you to place more stress on the legs instead of the hips.

Use weightlifting shoes…

Another way to shift more stress to the quads and stay more upright during squats is to squat with weightlifting shoes. Those are special kind of shoes with a small wooden heel that elevates the heels of your feet and as result your knees are allowed to travel further while your torso stays more upright.

Man, that was right on. My squat form blew. No matter how wide my stance, when my weight got heavier, the squat turned into a good morning, where my butt would come up first and I’d lever the weight on my shoulders with a giant back extension into the finish stance. No wonder the next day my lumbar spine was coiled up tighter than a medieval catapult loaded with rotting cow carcasses about to be launched over the walls of Mordor. It fuarking hurt.

Then I read an article about using Converse Chuck Taylor high tops versus actual weightlifting shoes over at T-Nation, and it reinforced the Natty or Not article.

As an undergrad and squat newbie, I struggled to reach 300 pounds. Having long legs, a short torso, and long arms, I was built to deadlift. By the end of my senior year I’d pulled 500 pounds but was still sorely behind on my squat. That summer a strength and conditioning coach gave me his old Olympic lifting shoes. My squat jumped 20 pounds as I was no longer turning the squat into a good morning. I continued to squat with Olympic shoes for a year before returning to wearing Chuck Taylors. After taking my Olympic squat shoes off and switching back to Chucks, the squat got easier. What the heck happened?

The proposed benefit behind using the squat shoe is that it allows the torso to stay in a more upright position, which reduces the shear stress in the lumbar spine while also increasing the engagement of the quadriceps muscles. Clearly, heel lifts helped me stay more upright during the squat and they help plenty of lifters by preventing a valgus collapse that may be caused by imbalances in the lower body musculature, but will they help a more advanced lifter squat more weight?

There haven’t been many studies done on squatting with Olympic shoes, but Sato, et al. showed that subjects using squatting shoes and squatting 60% of 1RM experienced a decrease in the amount of forward trunk lean. That reduced trunk lean translated into decreases in the shear forces imposed on the lower back. (They used 60% because they found that using 80% of the subjects’ 1RM varied squat speed, which altered the kinematics of the squat.)

This knowledge might be good for strength coaches working with inexperienced athletes. Olympic shoes might help beginner to intermediate squatters maintain a more upright posture and therefore better form. They would be good for trainers who work with clients with low back pain that’s brought on by shear forces as well.

I was intrigued and decided to change some things up. I have been wearing a pair of old, low top Vans for as long as I have been lifting. I am also cheap and lazy, and didn’t feel like driving someplace to try on and buy some weightlifting shoes. While doing my research, I came across the picture below of The King squatting with low top Chucks and using what looks like a 2×6 to lift his heels.

Shazzam.

I grabbed a 2×4 remnant lying around the garage, lined it up with the squat rack, switched from low-bar position to high-bar position and let rip.

The first thing I noticed was how much straighter my back was and how much easier it was to squat deep. The next thing I noticed was that my quads were en fuego and were getting much more activation than ever before. The real proof was after my work sets through the next morning. No lumbar pain. None. Praise the saints, I think I have found the path.

I’m still going slow, but the progress has been solid. It has taken a while to get my traps used to bearing the load, but it all seems to be working swimmingly.

I think I’m gonna make it.