Tuesday, July 01, 2008





Federal 115-grain JHP (9BP) and the Hi Power

By Stephen Camp

In this day of "designer" bullets and extremely potent defensive loads, the old stalwart standard factory round for the 9mm Hi Power is frequently spoken of in derisive terms. True, it is "old technology," doesn't have a nickled case and is certainly not the fastest load in this 9mm bullet weight, but it did offer quite a bit and I personally think it still does. Let's take a closer look at this ammunition when fired from the Browning Hi Power.

Based on 10-shot averages when fired from a Mk III pistol with the factory barrel, the last batch of Federal 9BP I tested did 1177 ft/sec and had a standard deviation of 18 ft/sec. Over at www.ammolab.com, test results from a Glock 17 and Glock 19 gave velocities of 1259 and 1268 ft/sec, respectively. (The Glock 19 was slightly faster than the 17.) In 10% ballistic gelatin, the round penetrated about 13" after passing through the dreaded 4-layers of denim and the recovered bullets expanded to between 0.58 and 0.64". Some noted that the velocities attained were fairly high compared to what's normal for the round and I agree. You will usually find this stuff averaging from about 1140 to 1180 ft/sec, depending upon lot number and the gun it's being fired in.

I think that's pretty good considering that the cartridge has another very nice attribute: feed reliability. Several years ago, Federal changed the bullet's ogive such that it's very rounded and almost always feeds even in "picky" pistols.

The Federal 115-grain standard pressure JHP is still available and is sold under Federal's "Classic" line of "Hi Shok" ammunition. It's rounded bullet profile, skived bullet jacket, and accuracy are characteristics I've found appealing over the years and still do.

This round does not use flash retardant powders as do many law enforcement, self-defense loads today. I've never had a problem with it. I have used this ammunition at night while varmint hunting in near complete darkness except for either a flashlight or hand-held spotlight. I was not blinded or my vision noticeably impaired by this load's bright, white flash.

From long term use, I can recall only two Hi Powers that gave indifferent groups using Federal 9BP. Most gave very good to excellent, but these two pistols would group decently with it, but not so tightly as did most of the others.

I've seen this load used on coyote from the Hi Power and it stopped the thing almost immediately. A friend shot one running at about 15 yards and hit it just behind the animal's right shoulder. It ran about 2 yards and folded up. I was pretty surprised at this, as I'd frequently seen these animals take some pretty severe rifle round hits and run fairly significant distances. By the way, this happened at night and my buddy was using a flashlight while shooting. The muzzle flash did not blind him. I've used this load on varying size critters on occasion and have no complaints. I have not seen a man shot with this load. I suspect it would "work" fine.

Fired into water from a Browning Hi Power, the jacket normally separates from the expanded bullet, but this is true with many bullets so tested. At impact, the water's more easily able to get between the jacket and the lead bullet, causing separation more often than when fired into tissue or ballistic gelatin.

Impacting water jugs at a bit under 1200 ft/sec, this Federal 115-grain JHP expanded very well. I think it remains a viable defensive load to this day and am not be afraid to either recommend it or use it myself.

So why might this load be of any interest to the average Hi Power user? Well, some folks just don't like to use +P in their Hi Powers. In the older Hi Powers having the "humped" feed ramp, other than the FMJ round nose shape bullet can cause feeding problems and the Federal 9BP can provide a very decent defensive load for either or both of these scenarios.

These groups were fired from a Mk III 9mm Hi Power at 15 yards. The Federal 9BP groups are at the bottom. The group on the left had flyers due to me so I shot another group that is shown at the lower right. I still managed to through a called flyer!

From another Hi Power, the Federal 9BP 5-shot group is seen at the upper left of the picture.

Though probably not the best choice in defensive 9mm Hi Power ammo, it still remains a good one.


Iran says Bushehr NPP to go online in October

18:14 | 29/ 06/ 2008

TEHRAN, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Bushehr nuclear power plant being built in Iran will be launched in October, a high-ranking Iranian nuclear official said on Sunday.

Russia is building the $1-billion facility, Iran's first nuclear power plant, in the south of the country in accordance with a 1995 contract, and under UN supervision as Iran is under international scrutiny over its compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

"The work for the physical launch of the Bushehr NPP will begin at the end of Mehr [a month under the Iranian calendar that lasts from September 22 to October 21]," Ahmad Fayazbakhsh, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said.

The Bushehr project was originally scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2006, but the date has been postponed several times.

The project was originally started by Germany's Siemens in 1975, but work stopped following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Russia delivered its final and eighth fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28, supplying a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the light-water nuclear power plant.


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theTrumpet.com - Understand Your World

Robert MorleyColumnist

Tower of Babel Economy

July 1, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com

The economy resembles a financial tower of Babel. And it is starting to crumble.

In an inflationary economy, big numbers quickly lose the shock factor.

Over the course of just a few years, a single banana becomes 10 times more expensive than what a four-bedroom home used to cost. A simple two-ply square of toilet paper sells for $417, while a full roll is priced at more than $140,000. And don’t even torture yourself by guessing how much a gallon of gas can go for under these conditions. The numbers get so big, not only do people stop trying to understand them, they begin to ignore them.

So it is alarming that the latest report from the Bank of International Settlements (bis) went largely unnoticed.

According to the bis, the number of outstanding derivative contracts in the global marketplace soared by double-digit percentages last year. Anything going up by double digits should elicit interest in and of itself, but in this case it is the sheer magnitude of the numbers involved that raises red flags.

The bis reported the total amount of outstanding derivatives has reached a practically incomprehensible $1.28 quadrillion. Yes, you read that correctly—quadrillion! And as astounding as this astronomically huge number is, the actual totals are even bigger because this number does not include derivatives related to the commodity markets (which the bis says it can’t track because values aren’t available).

A quadrillion dollars is hard to wrap your mind around. It takes a thousand trillion to make a quadrillion. Start with 1 million and multiply by 1,000, then multiply by 1,000 again, then multiple by 1,000 yet a gain—and then finally you get to 1 quadrillion. You can think of it as more than 92 times the value of all goods and services produced in America during 2007, or almost 20 times global gross domestic product.

Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of derivatives. Outside of banking circles they are less known, but you can think of them as essentially unregulated, high-risk credit bets. Although a more traditional definition might be that they are financial contracts designed to enhance returns, reduce costs, or transfer risk on loans, investments and other assets from a protection buyer to a protection seller, without transferring the underlying asset.

When derivatives first came into vogue, they were largely used to help individuals and businesses reduce risk—kind of like an insurance package—pay a bit more now, and have coverage later.

The example Kevin DeMeritt, president of Lear Financial, uses is of a farmer utilizing a futures contract to “hedge” his crop of beans, so that when the time to sell comes, the farmer is assured of a set price. In this case he might buy a futures contract, which is a promise to deliver a portion of his crop at a set price regardless of the price of beans come harvest time. If the price of beans goes up, the farmer only receives the contract price on his hedged portion of his crop—losing the difference. But if the price of beans falls, the futures contract still pays out the agreed-upon price. Thus the farmer can plan on how much money he will receive at harvest time and can budget accordingly.

The danger now becoming evident is that the derivatives market isn’t just farmers and other business people trying to protect against risk. The market is increasingly dominated by industries of “investors” and hedge funds that only exist to make money through derivative speculation. And a big part of that speculating is done with borrowed money.

“Unlike the earnest farmer … many of today’s institutions use futures, forwards, options, swaps, swaptions, caps, collars and floors—any kind of leverage device they can cook up—to bet the h- - - out of virtually anything,” confirms DeMeritt (emphasis mine throughout).

But when you play with borrowed money, the risk of getting burned beyond recovery increases rapidly.

According to DeMeritt, the majority of the $1.28 quadrillion in derivatives is “owned” on somewhere near 95 percent margin!

That has got to be “one of the scariest phenomena in economic history,” he says.

In case you are wondering, 95 percent margin means that for every dollar speculators have spent betting on derivatives, approximately 95 cents of that money was borrowed. For $5,000, a hedge fund speculator can control $100,000 worth of credit derivatives.

All this leverage is great if you are on the winning side of the bet—but if you are not, your principal can be quickly destroyed. Borrowed money works both ways.

“The one lesson history teaches in the financial markets is that there will come a day unlike any other day,” says the Wall Street Journal. “At this point the participants would like to say all bets are off, but in fact the bets have been placed and cannot be changed. The leverage that once multiplied income will now devastate principal.”

But making this derivatives tower of Babel all the more dangerous is the fact that, instead of reducing risk, a growing number of analysts warn that derivatives traders are actually concentrating it—and concentrating it here in America.

Out of the top 10 commercial banks with derivatives (as of last September), nine are American. Of the top 25, all but five are U.S. corporations.

And a look at their massive exposure shows that even a small miscalculation or stumble in the capital markets could be a recipe for unprecedented disaster. For example, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, JP Morgan Chase bank has $1.244 trillion in assets. Yet, it has a mind-boggling $91.73 trillion in derivatives contracts on its books. A person could buy the whole bank for a comparatively paltry $129 billion.

That means that if JP Morgan was exposed to just 1.3 percent of its outstanding derivative contracts, and things went wrong, it would be completely insolvent. That doesn’t take into account any other liabilities JP Morgan already has on its books.

When Long-Term Capital Management went bust in the late 1990s, people thought that the ensuing financial crisis was bad—but that will be nothing if the current derivatives tower ever collapses.

Long-Term Capital Management leveraged $4 billion into $100 billion in assets. This $100 billion became collateral for $1.2 trillion in derivatives exposure! With all that leverage, it only took a minute market move to make them insolvent several times over.

The current derivatives tower absolutely dwarfs the Long-Term Capital Management failure.

It is a mountain of borrowing on top of borrowing, leveraged debt upon debt. And when it is all said and done, no one really is sure who owes how much to whom. It is utter confusion. That is why the Federal Reserve stepped in so quickly when investment bank Bear Stearns began to collapse.

Fed’s Rescue Halted a Derivatives Chernobyl” is how Ambrose Evans-Pritchard characterized the situation in the Telegraph. Warren Buffet calls derivatives “Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

“It’s going to get far worse than anyone wants to admit. Even respected newsletter writers hesitate to suggest the truth,” says economic analyst Bob Moriarty. “It’s the end of the financial system, as we know it. Central banks might be able to paper over a few trillion dollars but the fraud is 10 times what they can paper over.”

As Moriarty indicates, U.S. financial markets are nothing more than a huge Long-Term Capital. All it will take is a shock to the stock or bond markets, or maybe sharply rising interest rates due to a run on the dollar, and the major counter parties to the derivatives contracts will fail. And when that happens, living in America all of a sudden won’t be so easy after all.

Already, stresses are appearing in the system. The housing bubble is deflating, taking the financial integrity of America’s biggest banks with it. Margin calls are hitting and billions in bank reserves and debt-fueled speculation are being wiped out. And as the economy threatens to be sucked down the deflationary drain, the government is inflating like crazy to try and buoy the markets and keep consumers from cracking under record debt loads. But ultimately, the Federal Reserve’s response is probably doomed to failure; the stresses on the system are too large. The opposite forces of deflation and inflation will not balance each other out. Rather they will rip apart varying sectors of the economy, leaving a worst-case scenario for everyone to deal with: devaluing home equity for home owners, falling dollar, soaring costs for food, gasoline, energy, commodities, and a rising cost for mortgages and other credit. It won’t be pretty!

For many years, Herbert W. Armstrong warned his readership that one day people would wake up and find a collapsed economy, a devalued dollar, and skyrocketing inflation. All these trends are already in place. Expect them to intensify.

The system is cracking. The tower of Babel is about to fall, and the resulting confusion will only make matters worse.

The good news is that once the coming collapse has run its course, all the fraud and corruption will have been purged from the system. The replacement will be a new economic order—one based on sound fundamentals and free from greed and deceit. To learn what this forecast is based on, read The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like, by Herbert W. Armstrong.



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Press Release 4/05/07

Country of origin: USA


The identity of Israel’s post-Olmert prime minister will determine its war options on Iran

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

July 1, 2008, 4:23 PM (GMT+02:00)

Moscow has frozen SA-20B air defense system sales to Iran and Syria

Moscow has frozen SA-20B air defense system sales to Iran and Syria

According to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, the overriding considerations that will determine if and when Israel attacks Iran are these: whether to strike before George W. Bush’s exit, whether Iran’s strategic ties with Syria and the Palestinian Hamas can be severed in advance and what prime minister is chosen to manage the war.

These are the determinants, rather than “the red lines” cited by senior Pentagon officials to ABC News Monday as triggers for an Israeli offensive, namely when Natanz nuclear facility produces enough weapons-grade uranium – some time in 2009 or this year - and when Iran acquires SA-20 air defense systems from Russia

DEBKAfile quotes intelligence sources as negating those triggers:

1. Contrary to most reports, including those put out by Teheran, Iran is lagging behind its target date for producing a sufficiency of weapons-grade uranium. It is held up by the technical hitches dogging the smooth, continuous activation of its high-grade centrifuges.

2. Moscow has suspended all sales of sophisticated air defense systems to Iran and Syria alike – so that Israel has no cause for haste on that score.

3. That Iran is heading for a nuclear weapon is no longer in doubt. What Israel must decide very soon is whether to strike Iran’s production facilities before Bush leaves the White House or wait for his successor to move in, in 2009.

There is a preference in Jerusalem for a date straight after the America’s November 4 presidential election - except that military experts warn that weather and lunar conditions at that time of the year are unfavorable.

If Israel does opt for an attack, August and September would be better, they say - or else hold off until March-April 2009.

Israel’s political volatility is another major factor in the uncertainty surrounding an attack. Towards the end of September, the ruling Kadima party is committed to a leadership primary. The party’s choice of prime minister and the factors that determine how he (or she) reaches a decision on attacking Iran can only be guessed at.

4. A final consideration must be Israel’s ability to prevent Syria and Hamas opening war fronts at the time of Israel’s attack on Iran. In other words, the IDF needs to know it must contend with two fronts, Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah, not four.

Notwithstanding these major deterrents, the weight of opinion in Israel’s decision-making community at this time is in favor of an early military strike. There is an international consensus that Iran cannot be allowed to attain a nuclear bomb, but no sanctions or incentives are proving effective as preventatives. Therefore, it is felt, the sooner Israel pre-empts a nuclear-armed Iran, the better, because the longer it delays, the more dangerous the Islamic Republic’s retaliatory capabilities will become.