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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Understanding Propaganda, US Anti-War Veterans, and More

- until recently I didn't realise the importance that psychological/information warfare/propaganda plays a role in many countries. In this post we'll identify ways of identifying it, it's history, methods that are employed, why it's used, how it's used, etc... First, we'll have to come up with a proper definition for it though. After all of this, it will make much more sense why Russia, Iran, China, place such a strong emphasis on being able to control their media and why even though in many countries there may be the impression of free and libeal media things aren't as clear cut
- one of the things we need to establish first is that propaganda actually is. For me, it means changing the opinion of a sane person to something that contravenes the facts if they are exposed to the 'complete picture'...
- as we've seen previously, several countries (including the US and the USSR/Russians) have conducted mind contol experiments for decades now (both countries had/have directorates specifically dedicated to this in their intelligence/defense services). The most well known program is obviously MK-ULTRA. Drugs in combination with certain sounds/images were used in experiments to see whether they could control subjects and turn them into 'automatons' who would do any of the masters bidding. While it seems like a conspiracy theory this program has been acknowleged via various outlets and individuals
MKULTRA Documentary  CIA Mind Control Research   Human Experiments in the United States
America's Secret War - MKULTRA Mind Control
More Proof the CIA Tried to Use Subliminals to Brainwash America
Alex Jones Documentary HD State Of Mind No Ads The Science of Ultimate Social Mind Control 720p
- one of the things I've been wondering about is that if states have been engaging in a form of mass mind control how would they distribute the drug component. If you think about this a bit it's obvious. LSD was the primary agent used in the MK-ULTRA experiments a type of so called 'psychoactive drug'. Namely, drugs which can be used to alter mood and perception (and which are still used in military/intelligence interrogations nowadays even though there are question marks over their utility). Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, etc... all also fit into this category of drug. Since the public consume these regularly, they are all addictive, they can all form the basis for mass scale manipulation if there aren't the correct checks and balances in our media
- the problem is that it's fairly obvious that there are few countries which have genuinely neutral media. The US holds itself up as being a genuine proponent of free speech and media but their media is too concentrated now. The same goes with many other countries. What's worse is that there has been documented and acknolwedged evidence of linkages/payments between members of the media as well as the US intelligence community spanning decades...
Propaganda, Disinformation, and Dirty Tricks - The Resurgence of Russian Political Warfare
Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM exposes Fox News
- so called subliminal advertising was banned a long time ago. What's clear is that a lot of media continues to use similar techniques. Ever wonder why ads blink? A long time ago experiments proved that adding a few suitable frames here and there in a video could be used to manipulate people. If you ever see glitches/abberations in sound, video, added or removed frames take a closer look?
- the most common forms of propaganda revolve around repetition, omission, censorship, trivialisation, confusion, morality, diversion, falsification, etc...
- listen to some of the US presidential candidates. If you listen to the content they say a lot but don't actually have a lot of worthwhile meaning to them. They make use of a lot of the techniques that are mentioned here12_15_2015 CNN Republican Presidential Debate for 2016 (FULL VIDEO)
CBS Democratic Debate FULL VIDEO, 2nd Presidential Debate - Clinton, Sanders, O'Malley 11_14_2015
- don't get tied up in knots in trying to understand propaganda. Think in terms of how the system system works, the actors, and the final impact. For instance, I've been struggling for a while to determine what the difference is between a terrorist and a rebel. The definitions that many countries supply seem almost arbitrary at times. For me, it's whether or not the rebels rule with force once in power. If they do they are terrorists... Anyone who argues otherwise, is just using propaganda techniques
- the more covert techniques for propaganda media control include setups whereby someone is invited to a 'setup' only to be shouted down or publicly humiliated by a biased group of people, less competant guests are invited to a debate, blocking of funding and/or access if they don't fit the narrative, poisoning and/or assasination, etc...
- the most advanced forms of propaganda are subtly biased. The only real way to break through is for you to research yourself what the actual alternatives are. The problem is this. Putin once said that Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other major US IT companies are actually just fronts for US intelligence (or aide them in some way). After Snowden releaes of WikiLeaks documents and other revelations by US intelligence whistleblowers it seems that there may be some credibility to this. Plausible deniability is built into the structure that US intelligence has structured into their taps of these companies and other firms. If there is a bias in the the algorithms of these firms (or these is a backdoor into these firms) then we are mostly getting what the US government want us to see and it makes more sense why some countries are insisting on their own infrastructure and technological implementations of such technologies
- concentration of media in propaganda is critical. Some of the above and previous posts have people actually admitting to links between government and media (US and Russia are the focus here obviously but my guess is that the same happens in many parts of the world). One of the reasons for this is because people are now time poor, don't care, lack intellectual curiosity and the media is largely syndicated/consolidated, the same stories get repeated over and over again even if they are completely wrong. Imagine that certain media outlets are at the scene of the story first each and every time. They can frame it in any way they want and the story just gets repeated everywhere internationally
- some of the recent hacks of Hollywood media studios make no sense in some ways. Given the context of propaganda and information warfare, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and others would see it as a first line of defense. If the US were using mass mind control they could remove the content and replace it with their own. They could also be using it to make the use of mass media as a form of propaganda financially unviable... (think about most movies now where the US painted as the hero and moral hero of the world)
- none of this is meant to persuade you one way or another. It's just an understanding that the world isn't as it seems. Most countries engage in horrible behaviour from time to time (because they think that's the only choice or that it's for the common good). If you understand how it all works though (and as Machievelli once said) then you can make a decision for yourself what the real story is
Noam Chomsky - The Myth of the Liberal Media
Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM exposes Fox News
Alex Jones Documentary HD State Of Mind No Ads The Science of Ultimate Social Mind Control 720p
- the linkage between propaganda, going to war, and so called 'US imperialism' makes no sense until you examine it within context. If you look at the way the West attempts to push democracy upon countries, understand what happens to countries after they switch and so on does this make more sense... If the country was previously neutral or anti-Western then they would have been unlikely to purchase Western products or services or be open to investment. However, by changing government (or destablising the current one) you can gain a foothold. Establish a base overseas (complete with restaurants, retailers, etc...), exploit local resources, and print money (if you're government is operating in deficit) and you can control inflation while also 'growing' your economy at the same time... To me, this still sounds a like crazy way of gaining economic growth and still too slightly conspiratorial buy if that's the way the world works, that's the way the world works? Strangely, there are US servicemen and ex-servicemen who actually hold this view because they can't see the link between what the White House is saying (reasons for going to war) and what they are actually seeing on the ground
A Documentary On War Propaganda
Learning to Love Machiavelli - Don MacDonald at TEDxBoston
- one of the biggest problems with a lot of international anti (and pro)-Russian propaganda is how simplistic it is. It doesn't help us understand it. Moreover, there are often language problems, the production is too unproessional, there is too much of a bias (turn off) and given a close up examination of practices in many countries it seems to indicate a certain naievity to the people behind the production. Look at the testimony of many of the US troops later in the post and you'll see that they engage in many of the same silly acts. Russian troops steal and loot and shoot at anything that moves. US troops have been known to do exactly the same thing... Previously, the US and Russia could be differentiated by ideology. Now, it's just a mish mash...
The Secrets Of Russia's Propaganda Machine
Journalism or propaganda Understanding the Russian media surge abroad
Silencing Dissent in Russia - Putin’s Propaganda Machine (Full Length)
- one thing that is obvious most countries practice censorship in one form or another. We've established that going you can end up poisoned or dead for going up against the system in Russia, whiel the US and China will attempt to destroy your professional life and possibly jail you? No country is imprevious from fabricating evidence. The fundamental issue is where is the line? Are you a traitor if you're calling out wrongdoing (but are still acting in the national interest) or are you a patriot?
Reviews don't achieve much. Fixing the problem
The Truth About Isis  propaganda  Cia And Mossad

- after seeing the accounts of some former US defense/intelligence whistle blowers I wanted to see further background. As indicated by some of the Blackwater and Abu Grave incidents it just seems that recruits were just too young, didn't know what they were getting into, lacked discipline, etc... The silly thing is that this isn't limited just to US troops. This applied to other services and countries as well. Silly things such as shooting at buildings for no apparent reason other than venting/boredom are common, sexual harrassment amongst women in the armed forces quite normal (one in three apparently. I'm wondering whether they're having trouble with recruitment at the moment. It feels like they're just asking for trouble with the change in policy in the US/UK with women for front line combat), prisoner mis-treatment/population disrespect common. General lack of professionalism/frustration with the difficulties/confusion of urban combat and the signs were there for a long time that neither troops nor the Iraqis believed that the war was genuinely about WMD or terrorism. Lots of soldiers clearly didn't know what losing friends/family meant in war. Crazy estimates of 90% collatoral damage by possible if their Rules of Engagement were changed in the way that they are talking about. Not sure how true this is though?
Winter Soldier - Iraq and Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations (480p)
Interview - Mike Hoffman - Iraq Veterans Against the War
Vincent Emanuele -Winter Soldier-Rules of Engagement 2 (1_8)
On the Hill - Vincent Emanuele (12of23)
- I've known some people who have undergone re-education/torture/concentration camps. It was said that their personalities before and after their experiences changed them irrevocably (other people's accounts). Many of them basically ignore things (or somehow reconcile themselves to the fact that during times of war people have to do stupid things for the greater good). The problem with this strategy is that it can change you permanently by changing a normal response into a strange, un-natural one possibly leading to other psychological difficulties down the track. With adequate support and/or professional help it may change things but as indicated by accounts here they sometimes don't. Alcohol, meditation, drugs, are common alternaties for dealing with their problems. The fact of the matter is homelessness, crime, almost unavoidable with some veterans and we need to deal with the fact that with some they'll never be able to re-integrate back into normal society and social life. The only real way of dealing with them is by not recruiting them in the first place
Iraq Veterans Against the War - Decade-Old Group Grapples with New War, PTSD Epidemic, VA Failures
Iraq War veteran wages private war against PTSD, alcoholism
Interview - Mike Hoffman - Iraq Veterans Against the War
Interview - Camilo Mejia - Iraq Veterans Against the War
Vincent Emanuel Iraq war vet Chicago Jobs Rally Sept. 10, 20
Northwest Winter Soldier - 1st Hour
Northwest Winter Soldier - 2nd Hour
- despite the fact that there seem to be a lot of deserters and US service people who have joined the anti-war movement I'm reasonably certain that they will defend an attack against the homeland
Ann Wright -  Soldier, Statesperson, Peace Activist
SPRING RISING DC_ END ENDLESS WARS_ Military Families & Iraq Vets Against the War
Portland Right To Heal Tour Iraq Veterans Against The War (IVAW)
- equipment and intelligence issues over and over again amongst coalition forces. Feeling of being let down by West amongst Iraqis after they didn't support them in a previous uprising. Over and over again I see Western accounts of hasty withdrawals. I'm not so certain. Are they deliberate tactics to withdraw allow gain of territory and then resort to guerilla tactics? Heaps of money could be saved by getting better intelligence. At the moment there are accounts of the coalition air forces dropping bombs on multiple locations just to make sure that they've hit their target. In many cases in Iraq they didn't and it feels like a similar game again in Syria. They either can't find Assad or else the Russians are protecting him
Invasion of Iraq - How the British and Americans got it wrong
- a lot of people trying to make a name for themselves in the defense/intelligence. The problem with this is that people the line between sting operations and entrapment is too close for comfort now. It's also incredibly dangerous if you have to work with some of these people. Imagine going into an military operation knowing that it's for a promotion rather than genuine strategic/tactical reasons
- there's currently a discussion amongst the US intelligence/defense community that stopping the spread of electronic propaganda stops us from being able to attack further up the chain. I think that this is dangerous game for us to be playing. At times the line between sting and entrapment operations are so clouded that it's almost like we're turning people who may not have otherwise turned
- it's obvious that there is a propaganda war currently going on. Exact number of casualties kept but not released. Veterans not getting taken care of is common theme (things which were promised during recruitment such as health care, employment, education...). So obvious that a lot of kids don't know what they're getting into. Many of them are from poorer families who are looking for benefits (even if it may cost them their life). There are crazy people engaging in reckless behaviour for promotions? Estimates of anywhere between 10K to 40/50K for anti-war deserters? Reason is not certain though... Possibly 250K in the US military with PTSD on active duty according to US DoD figures
Interview - Camilo Mejia - Iraq Veterans Against the War
The Truth About Isis  propaganda  Cia And Mossad
US considers launching all-out cyber war against Islamic State

- removing dents in MacBooks

- Dell N4050 teardown and specifications

- drivers for the Dell Inspiron 11 available here

- apparently, the recovery partition key on Dell computers are different depending on your operating system

- how to replace the glass on a Macbook Pro

- there are chemicals to remove stumps now

- quite a few Python MIDI control script hacks for the Ableton Push now

- It was during the cold war, when attempting to gauge Soviet military movements, that Binney discovered the virtue of trying to interpret the patterns between data, even when encrypted, concerned not with content but who was talking to whom, how often and when. Thus he became the metadata analyst par excellence, who came up with his own five “indicators” of aggression and later predicted the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan.
- Despite an economy choked by fresh international sanctions and low oil prices, Russia is continuing to produce new combat aircraft, tanks, submarines and missiles.

Put against a Western military industrial complex that has a growing litany of failure, this is a major achievement.

In the past two decades the West has abandoned billions of dollars worth of failed or challenged programs: Seasprite helicopters, Zumwalt stealth destroyers, Crusader mobile artillery, expeditionary fighting vehicles, Future combat system tanks, airborne lasers, Comanche attack helicopters. Now the next generation of US super aircraft carriers seem set to continue that trend, with untested fundamental aircraft operating equipment producing dangerous results.

In that time Russia has quietly fielded a variety of new state-of-the-art types specifically designed to counter what the West has to offer.
- You don't get it.

The benefits of real "wealth creation" through industrialisation DID achieve vast improvements in lifestyle/longevity spreading to the multitudes through wealth being more widely distributed.

However, after 3 decades of neoliberalism all we are left with is false "wealth creation". Literally, the creation of money.

The post-industrial economy really just serves to sell debt through consumer credit creation for more consumption. But "growth" through debt expansion is finite.

All debt is demand brought forward and needs to be worked/paid off. However, more jobs than ever are becoming obsolete even as the amount of goods produced vastly increases through advances in robotics/automation.

We now face an oversupply of goods and a massive bubble in consumer credit which is the only thing maintaining the level of consumption which sustains our economic model. Australia now has the highest consumer debt on record, and will more than likely fall into recession in the next 12 months.

It's becoming a zero-sum game. We're told we'll move to a "services" economy that creates growth. But I refer you to economics 101: "you can't grow living standards by doing each others' laundry" (literally or metaphorically). Why? Because you are just exchanging services for other services without producing anything new.

We are told that encouraging "investment" will fill the void. Only it won't, because investment is employing fewer and fewer people. Investment is increasing flowing into automated mining trucks, automated factories, automated checkouts, automated ports etc. It will soon be possible to "invest" vast sums and employ virtually nobody as a result.

Wealth is no longer being "created" in the real sense. And that symbolic wealth is now just being shuffled around and ending up concentrated in the hands of the already wealthy anyway.

The age of growth is over.
- While the appetite among Americans for the haven of U.S. debt has kept the government’s financing costs low, what’s worrisome is what it suggests about the health of the economy, according to George Goncalves, the head of interest-rate strategy at Nomura Holdings Inc., one of 22 dealers that are obliged to bid at Treasury auctions.
Lower for longer?
Lower for longer?

Sure, the U.S. is creating jobs, but a raft of disappointing indicators, from retail sales to manufacturing, suggests consumers are scaling back just as overseas demand weakens.

And wages are stagnating for many Americans. Since the recession ended, average hourly earnings have increased less than in any expansion since the 1960s. Without higher wages to spur spending, inflation has remained stubbornly low.
- Emerging market governments are dumping US treasuries en masse, in the latest sign of the pressure their economies are under.

China, Brazil, Russia and Taiwan have all been sellers, accounting for some of the $123bn in foreign net sales of treasury debt maturing in a year. This figure is for the 12 months to July, according to Deutsche Bank, and marks a sea-change in the $12.8 trillion treasury market.

All these countries had historically been big buyers of the assets, using the better times of the last decade to accumulate foreign exchange assets and helping to push yields down to record lows.

Now both Russia and Brazil are facing a prolonged period of recession while Taiwan’s growth is slowing, and their central banks are liquidating those reserves to free up capital for their budgets.
- Countries around the world are selling their U.S. government debt holdings this year by the largest amounts seen since at least 2000.

China has been selling U.S. debt but it's not alone. Lots of emerging markets like Brazil, India and Mexico are also selling U.S. Treasuries. Not that long ago all these countries were all huge buyers of U.S. debt, which is viewed as one of the safest places to park money.

"Five or six years ago, the big concern was that China was going to own the United States," says Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Bank. "Now the concern is that China is selling them."
- In the past a balance of power among the major powers helped avert a major war. Now with nations pursuing hegemony all bets are off. Having a military second to none has ruined it for the US as it is compelled by its might to get involved in conflicts which have little bearing on its national security. The revolving door between its policy makers and the defense industry is a poisonous relationship that should be nipped in the bud. So while the social fabric of the nation is frayed along with its infrastructure the US is getting overstretched and losing the respect of the world as it tries to mold the world into its own image while extracting the maximum economic benefit. The ultimate victims are its own people.
- It is hard to believe anything Mr. Brennan says. Last year, he bluntly denied that the C.I.A. had illegally hacked into the computers of Senate staff members conducting an investigation into the agency’s detention and torture programs when, in fact, it did. In 2011, when he was President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, he claimed that American drone strikes had not killed any civilians, despite clear evidence that they had. And his boss, James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has admitted lying to the Senate on the N.S.A.’s bulk collection of data. Even putting this lack of credibility aside, it’s not clear what extra powers Mr. Brennan is seeking.
- Depleted uranium (DU) is a waste product from the nuclear industry, formed when uranium is milled and enriched. It is cheap, and extraordinarily dense. It can pierce the hardest armor.

It remains in several places in Iraq and, though last used in 2004, it continues to claim victims to this day. A number of them are American soldiers. According to the International Action Center/Poison DUst Project,

Today, half of the 697,000 US Gulf War troops from the 1991 war have reported serious medical problems and a significant increase in birth defects among their newborn children.

The effects on the Iraqi population are far greater. Many other countries and US communities near DU weapons plants, testing facilities, bases and arsenals have also been exposed to this radioactive material which has a half-life of 4.4 billions years

Military doctors have been slow to admit the cause of their symptoms. Some have refused to test them, others have “lost” their test results, and still others seem skeptical of tests performed by outside doctors. Many of these victims have been told their problems are “psychosomatic.”
- U.S. Africa Command said a small team of American special operations forces assisted with evacuating hostages -- a sign of the counterterrorism and military aid program the U.S. has been running in Mali since 9/11.

Briefing documents from 2013 and 2015 reviewed by NBC News detail the American attempt to battle terror groups in the country, and its results.

A 2013 post-graduate study by a U.S. Army major -- a former special operations trainer in Mali --criticized the effort as scattershot and deemed it "anything but a successful strategy."

"Training that was episodically provided rarely diffused or even took hold," his study concluded. "If one were to count up the dollars spent and events participated in, a lot of effort was expended. But what all these efforts added up to was not consistently focused over the long term."

The end result, the study said, was that an opportunity to revamp the Malian army was largely wasted.

"There was no concerted effort by [special operations forces] or anyone else to build the capability of the Malian Army writ large," it said.
- Security holes have been found in Dell System Detect, Lenovo Solution Centre, and Toshiba Service Station - they are dangerous!

No it is not the Superfish crap-ware scandal again but thes vulnerabilities have been described as a ‘hackers best bud’ and a ‘drop everything and panic issue’. All these devices run Windows although it is not so much at fault as the companies that designed this support-ware without proper testing. Researchers have yet to find similar vulnerabilities in HP and other major OEMs but state that any remote support software is likely to have vulnerabilities.
- The $500-million Expeditionary Mobile Base vessel — 784 feet long from bow to stern — combines all the most important features the military believes ships will need to respond to the more frequent and more severe natural disasters.

A modified version of a commercial oil tanker, the base ship boasts vast storage capacity for hauling emergency supplies, a huge flight deck for launching and landing helicopters and other aircraft, and plenty of internal space for people and medical facilities. By deliberately taking on water, the Montford Point-class “Expeditionary Mobile Base” can bring its lower deck level with the sea, allowing it to easily launch hovercraft and small boats. Observers have described the new ships as “ports at sea.”

The Navy originally intended the Montford Point class to support amphibious beach assaults, but the sailing branch now realizes the ships are also ideal for swiftly responding to natural disasters — including those worsened by climate change — by delivering relief supplies by air and by sea, as well as helping to care for victims.
- Claiming the outlets are “hindered by U.S. public diplomacy’s fixation on new media without proper consideration of content and what our larger aims should be,” Mr. Gedmin said that “we need to stop playing defense and go on the offense as we did during the Cold War.”

He noted that little of RT’s programming is about Russia. Instead, the network’s content is focused on advancing three main “narratives: American and Western leaders are hypocrites; the American and Western military-industrial complex seeks to dominate the world; and America and the West are in decline.”

- as usual thanks to all of the individuals and groups who purchase and use my goods and services

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shale Oil, Some US Intelligence/Defense Whistleblowers, and More

- a lot of has been made by drastically fluctuating oil prices of late. Part of the reason for this has been the development of alternate sources of oil rather than just standard land and sea based drilling. If you don't understand what oil exploration some of the following films will help you
Oil Exploration Game
WARNING Fracking An Inconvenient Truth Watch Learn about Fracking Shale Gas what they dont say
How Oil are Drilled - Drilling Documentary - DOCS CHANNEL
Shale Boom & Bust - The Myth of US Oil Independence (w_ Dan Dicker)
Most Advanced And Deepest Oil Rig In The World - Perdido Oil Rig Documentary - Discovery TV
Counting the Cost - The new cold war - The race for Arctic oil and gas
- one of the persistent theories regarding the Middle East is that the West doesn't care what happens as long as their continues to be cheap oil (some estimates indicate that for every $10 USD drop in oil prices it automatically drives up GDP growth by ~0.5%). The irony with shale/fracking as an increasingly viable option is that traditional suppliers are attempting to hit back through price manipulation. Some countries are driving the price of oil lower to make shale operations un-economical. Ultimately, this will mean that down the track they regain complete control of the market and be able to the price back up (and obviously profitablility). Some indicators say that exploration projects have halved but the break even price of operations vary drastically based on the project. I expect that a lot of US shale operations will need to turn the tap off at least temporarily if this trend continues. The irony for me is that ISIS may actually be a major source of cheap oil (you want stability but not enough that it begins to want for too much). It's a double edged sword which incorporates cheap oil and terrorism. Not a great choice to be honest if this was an actual strategic move...
- one of the interesting things about low oil prices and sanctions is how countries area dealing iwht them. Many of them are switching to internal substitution and development. Ironically, this may cut to core reason why the USSR was unsuccessful while the Western model is. Western prosperity requires globalisation and shifts low cost good/services elsewhere while closed models require them to be internal to the system (which can lead to internal disharmony, inflation, etc...). The reason why this is important is that it helps you understand the current state of affairs. Printing money in the way the US has been doing should be driving up inflation but what's actually happening is that since it goes to people who are already wealthy, other countries, waste (brings 'growth' but doesn't/can't effect prices overall if it is 'wasted' in the right type of way), and they are using third party proxies such as investment banks, etc... to control the flow of money through the system they can achieve growth while maintaining control of inflation. There's also one other thing, since they have relatively good control of the media (through denial of access), have had a history of politicising information/intelligence, and have a history of subtle coersion/destablisation/use of military force against other countries it gives us an understanding of why they aren't suffering debt crises jitters in spite of their fundamentals being out of kilter (even in comparison with some EU countries which have been struggling). Further background helps us understand why an alternate group of nations have formed up against the West. If the Western developmental model requires that less respect is paid to other countries (outside of the allied group) over an extended period it makes sense why opposition groups are so easy to form and have been waiting for an opportunity to break Western hedgemony
- one fundamental irony of all social systems is that they are mostly hierarchal but that their is often disportionate distribution of wealth. In the past, priests used to justify this as being a gift from God that should be honoured through wealth or bestowal of power. Now, we use it as a means of controlling inflation. The silly thing is this. If each talented person is given 'a turn' at some point in life we may be able to extract the best from them, control inflation, and distribute wealth more fairly as well...
- there's one other major thing. Since the USD is excepted as a reserve currency any group that wants to shake up the world order needs to break it's hedgemon. The acceptance of the Yuan/Renminbi into the IMF SDR group is one step towards this. However, what's also clear is that the US is taking countermeausures by forcing down the price of commodities making it less likely that a run on the currency is likely to snowball. Ultimately, this isn't a question of value but whether or not other countries continue to want to have the US playing such a large role in global affairs. That said, commidity reserve build ups by China (and some others) could simply be a way to hedge against the US just inflating their way out of their economic problems/debt
- it's obvious that non-Western countries have studied Western social development extensively. One interesting thing is that they see fewer differences between our models than people in the West perceive. We present a belief that our models of democracy are fundamentally better than theirs but they think that theirs is better because the rights of the individual versus the group are better. Moreover, things have changed. As indicated by accounts of Chinese students studying in the West, things aren't perceveived as being all that bad in China and Russia now. There are no major 'defections' that are taking place and students are more likely to appreciate the way things are back home than to continue to think that the West is vastly superior to China (and other alternatives). Other countries are gaining traction in the race for propserity and also increasing their success in winning 'hearts and minds'
- one of the more interesting things in Spain is that odd jobs are playing a greater role but that since the wages are so low people are left frustrated. The irony is that this is one possible model of economic development. Growth is solid (~3%) but it also takes away the risk of more time based investments (such as education, state based incentives/plans, global trade pacts, etc...). Provided that these people can gain the right experience along the way they also begin to understand how to start their own business, expand it, develop skills, etc... making them more marketable down the track. One interesting thing for me is whether or not the art of selectively creating and popping asset bubbles is how modern economies develop. The only perturbing thing for me is when the asset bubble is createdin something core like housing which can have massive impact upon affordability and people's lives overall
- as a neutral, watching China and the US go at it has been completely hilarious at times. If you think about it a bit, people opposed to Chinese expansion are mostly standing by and increasing surveillance of the Chinese as they expand
- as indicated previously on this blog and by many Americans themselves, China have been relatively late to the land reclamation party. The most obvious difference is the amount of territory they're attempting to claim seems to be much larger than others. They also seem to be developing their territory more
- at the end of the day, geo-politics is about different countries wanting different things. It seems silly that while the West should expouse

- some of the US defense/intelligence whistleblowers out there are actually incredibly interesting. I've gone in with the idea that they'res a chance that they may have been possible double agents, etc... It turns out that they are what they say they are. They just want to see the US take a different direction. The role of the media and how to control it (granting and denial of access is the most often used form which can have an impact on your bottom line obviously, concentration of media power, technical means are more subtle, etc...) can help to push through policy that you want makes a lot of sense given the right background
Uncovered - The War on Iraq • FULL DOCUMENTARY • BRAVE NEW FILMS (2004)
DOCUMENTARY - Edward Snowden - Terminal F (2015)
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ret. Pentagon Analyst - Media's Countdown to War in Iraq
Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski on 9_11 Iraq Propaganda Campaign
'Empire of Corruption' - A Conversation with Karen Kwiatkowski
Antiwar Radio 06_12_2008 - Scott Horton Interviews Karen Kwiatkowski
Karen Kwiatkowski -11_17_11- Q&A
Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism • FULL DOCUMENTARY FILM exposes Fox News
Karen Kwiatkowski @ Madison Liberty
NSA Secrets Uncovered Snowden Coverup 2015 FULL Documentary
- one of the things you'll struggle with from time to time is why certain material is classified. In many cases, I'd think that it would actually make the task easier at times and it wouldn't make an iota of difference in policy making (even if your supposed 'enemy' knew)
- some of her proposals for reducing US debt/waste sound crazy but they would seemingly work. The other problem is that it feels like she lacks a bit of background in politics (aware that she ran for Congress). I'm uncertain how she would deal with the massive push back by some lobbyist groups, current politicians, and other supporters of the current state of affairs
Karen Kwiatkowski - 11_17_11
- the more you dig the more it seems the US isn't what it seems as a 'world leader'. Whether you're an ally, a neutral, or any enemy there are a number of fundamental problems with the US as it currently stands. The scariest problem is that they are the world's most only superpower and they're politicising intelligence (happens in many countries now. The problem is with some countries is that if you collect enough you can support any argument which allows you to do anything you want anytime). Namely, decisions are being made in spite of intelligence not as a consequence of it. There is also an internal conflict with regards to whether the US should have a relatively isolationist or more neo-conservative perspective of the world
AVTM + Karen Kwiatkowski for Congress - Intel Serves Politics
2.2 Karen Kwiatkowski - Inside the Pentagon's 'Office of Special Plans.'
Karen Kwiatkowski - Inside the Pentagon's 'Office of Special Plans'
AVTM + Karen Kwiatkowski for Congress - Intel Serves Politics
Karen Kwiatkowski - Inside the Pentagon's 'Office of Special Plans'
Ray McGovern Debates James Woolsey On Iraq War - Charlie Rose - Audio Only - 8_20_2004
9_11 10th Anniversary - Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski on 9_11 Iraq Propaganda Campaign
Documentary The World Without US - Documentary Films
- I thought that it was just perhaps that administration. It's the appearance of invincibility/exceptionalism that is part of the key to the reason why the US maintains it's current position within the world. The more you look at the US the more 'normal' they appear
Ex-CIA Ray McGovernTalks About 911 Truth on C-SPAN Book Review
Has the CIA Gone Rogue with Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern - The Real Agenda of the American Empire Part 2
Hegemony Abroad Requires a Security State at Home - Ray McGovern on Reality Asserts Itself (2_2)
- many developed economies are incredibly reliant on the appearance of invicibility/exceptionalism. The US, UK, Russia (and others) would have no nuclear, rocket, jet, stealth, and other capabilities had they not have been able to pick off some of the world's best scientists after the World Wars. Imagine if those scientists (and current) scientists stayed in their own country and commericliased their work there. How much of an impact would it have upon supposedly exceptional/developed economies? (the irony here is that if you know migrants you'd know that a lot of them would have preferred to have stayed in their home country. How different would the world look now if neither the US or Russia had any of these technologies or were behind the eight ball?)
- one of the striking things about some military people is just how intelligent some of them are. It's a waste of human capital that so many of them die for wars that exist for questionable reasons. Incredibly high suicide, mental illness, and homelessness levels among ex-servicemen when compared to the rest of the population. The troubling thing with some of activists out there is that if they manage to achieve revolution, what then? Will we end up with anarchy? The other issue is how will they take action? If they setup an alternate parallel system will the existing powers that be attempt to shut them down? Is it even possible to bring it down from the inside or is it the system too mature? Does that mean that it must be brought down from the outside?
The Perfect Storm - Vincent Emanuele keynote speech
Former US marine Vince Emanuele speaks out against the war in Iraq
US Activist and Iraq War Veteran Vincent Emanuele Speaks Out
Vince Emanuele - War Veteran Talk. Sydney, Australia.
Antiwar Radio 08_01_2007 - Charles Goyette Interviews Karen Kwiatkowski
Iraq War Veteran speaks out on the realities of recruitment, military service, Fallujah, and return
- One other thing is also very interesting now. In the past we could justifiably say that the people of USSR were 'oppressed'. There were more than enough stories indicating so. Now, things aren't so clear. Many students who come over to the US/West to study actually seem to have a greater appreciation for the way things are at home now and don't see the US/West as being that far ahead (if at all). For me, the US and China simply have different perspectives on how the world should be. In spite of what others say, I'm not convinced that greater Chinese/Russian roles globally is going to be any betterhttp://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/07/do-years-studying-in-america-change-chinese-hearts-and-minds-china-u-foreign-policy-student-survey/

- very interested to know how much bandwidth we'd save if we were to block all advertising, updates, and surveillance around the world. I know that even on a home network you can save double digit percentage figures just by blocking advertising and using a caching server alone...
NSA Secrets Uncovered Snowden Coverup 2015 FULL Documentary


- sometimes you just end up with some wierd file formats. WebM file support seems to be patchy

- hard drive upgrade process on the Dell Inspiron 11
Inspiron 11 3000 (11.6" Haswell Touch)

- hard drive upgrade process on the Asus X202e

- if you have a HP Pocket Playlist device the following information will be of some use to you
HP Pocket Playlist Supported Media File Formats
Frequently Asked Questions for HP Pocket Playlist
Setting up HP Pocket Playlist

- ever seen a smiling donkey? Now you have...

- inversing output of 'sed'

- grepping multiple words is acutally pretty simple, "ls | grep -iE 'mp3|mp4|ogg'"

- not surprisingly, there are other anonymising networks out there besides Tor

Some quotes in the recent media:
- For China, Zheng’s legendary seven voyages of trade and discovery are testament to Beijing’s benign intentions towards its neighbors, and Malaysia – where he is believed to have visited at least five times – is a perfect place to illustrate this. “Today, when we look back at that past episode in China-Malaysia exchanges, we also admire Zheng He for what he had not done,” Li wrote in an op-ed published November 20 in major Malaysian newspapers ahead of his visit, noting that Zheng He had not plundered or colonized despite commanding what was then the most powerful fleet in the world.
- In light of the fact that all participants of the war in Syria have committed war crimes, American policymakers have to face some hard questions with no good answers: if there aren’t any good guys, who do we support—or do we support anyone? If we don’t take one side over the other, what happens to the violence in that nation and the millions of innocent civilians who will continue to live in fear? Can America, the land of the free and home of the brave, stand idly by while militias wage war in which tens of thousands die?

It may be that none of the warring sides represent or would support our values and thus, regardless of which side ultimately prevails, American interests will not be served. The best we could hope for might be to use U.S. diplomatic and humanitarian resources to encourage the combatants to resolve their differences, while trying to contain the violence and leading humanitarian efforts to lessen the suffering of the innocents.

Such a policy would likely be attacked as “defeatist” or as a failure to lead. But the hard facts are that despite our attempts to resolve civil wars in other countries in recent years, the result has been a worsening of the violence, an increase in the suffering of those we’ve sought to help, and ultimately the establishment of regimes that neither represent American values nor provide peace and democracy to their people.
Experts, like the Dresden political scientist Christian Demuth, haven't ruled out the fact that "many people" at the PEGIDA demonstrations "had specific roles in the East German regime, in the Stasi or the Socialist Unity Party (SED)." However, he notes that this is a hypothesis.

What is true is that most of the people carrying Russian flags at the PEGIDA marches are older men.
- The US Air Force (USAF) has lost one of its brand-spanking-new AC-130J Ghostrider Gunships, which had to be scrapped after a test-flight went horribly wrong: the crew lost control and “momentarily inverted”, losing approximately 5,000ft (1,500 m) of altitude. No one was killed during the crash, but the asset suffered $115 million worth of damage.
- So, "who is the commodity trader breaching every known law of funding terrorism when buying ISIS [ISIL] crude, almost certainly with the tacit approval by various ‘Western alliance' governments, and why is it that these governments have allowed said middleman to continue funding ISIS for as long as it has?" Durden wondered.
- The classic chicken dinner has changed a lot over the years. For my grandparents it was a sign of contentment and prosperity. In his 1928 campaign for the US presidency, Herbert Hoover famously promised Americans "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage". He wasn't to know that the Great Depression would hit the next year, sending many promises of wealth out the window.

Still, it wasn't too long before Hoover's promise became a reality, at least as far as chickens go. By the 1970s, Las Vegas casinos wanting to entice gamblers offered luxurious chicken dinners for $1.79 - about $11 in today's money. That was less than the average win on a single game, and so the phrase "winner winner, chicken dinner" was born.
- “A nuclear-armed bomber force makes little marginal contribution to deterring a large-scale nuclear attack,” two military experts wrote in their article for The National Interest magazine.
- Belgium has the highest number per capita of EU countries with Islamists who have traveled to fight in Syria, according to the UK-based Aon plc insurance company. Some 440 Belgian citizens are estimated to be fighting on the side of militants in Syria.
- It was the first suicide bombing in nearly a month in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, whose six-year insurgency has killed about 20,000 people and driven an estimated 1.5 million to 2.3 million people in the region from their homes.
- The official abandonment of 2015 as the year of an Iranian ICBM should lead U.S. policymakers to reshape certain U.S. missile defense programs and security policies.

The now-outdated 2015 projection emerged publicly for the first time with the release of an unclassified version of a 1999 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on foreign missile threats. The estimate concluded that, after North Korea, Iran was the hostile country most capable of testing an ICBM by 2015.

The 1999 NIE described analysts as being divided on the likely timing of Iran’s first test flight of an ICBM that could threaten the United States—from likely before 2010 to less than an even chance by 2015—but implied that most believed it would happen within the estimate’s fifteen-year timeframe.

This projection has been exploited by many members of Congress to try to accelerate costly projects to defend against long-range missiles. Although the 1999 NIE focused on the “first flight-test” development milestone rather than the traditional criterion of “operational capability,” this distinction was often ignored, heightening the apparent imminence of the threat.
- ISIS has been digging tunnels for protection and movement throughout the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria, even before the U.S.-led coalition launched its campaign of airstrikes against the group more than a year ago. "This has been part of ISIS' strategy from the very beginning," said Lina Khatib a senior research associate at the Arab Reform initiative, a Paris-based think-tank. "ISIS has been well prepared for this kind of intervention."
- "President Hollande, my fellow Americans, let's remember we face greater threats to our way of life before. Fascism, communism, a First World War, a Second, a long Cold War, each and every time, we prevailed," Obama said. "Make no mistake: We will win and groups like ISIL will lose."
- HONG KONG (AP) — The chairman of the Hong Kong arm of one of China's biggest securities companies goes missing. The head of another firm resurfaces after months incommunicado. An executive at a film studio is detained for allegedly taking bribes.

They're not plot outlines for crime novels but real life cases lifted from the normally dry Hong Kong stock exchange filings of Chinese companies over the past year.

The latest example came Monday when Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd., the Hong Kong unit of a Chinese securities company, said it was unable to reach its chairman and chief executive Yim Fung since Nov. 18, sending its shares plummeting 12 percent.

Speculation swirled in local media that his disappearance was related to a recently launched investigation into a senior official at China's securities regulator. That probe is part of a broad crackdown on the finance industry following China's stock market meltdown over the summer. The company said it would appoint temporary replacements for Yim but declined further comment.

Such cases would be highly unusual for other global financial centers, but have become commonplace in Hong Kong, where the city's stock exchange allows international investors to access an increasing number of mainland Chinese companies.

They highlight some of the risks of investing in China's public companies, which operate in an opaque political and legal system, and face additional uncertainty because of President Xi Jinping's ongoing and wide-ranging assault on corruption.
- Investors expect to see the first US interest rate hike since 2006 next month, which has pushed the greenback up by about 9 per cent against a basket of 10 major currencies this year. That only adds to the woes of commodities, which are mostly priced in US dollars, as it cuts the spending power of global raw-materials buyers and makes other assets that generate yields such as bonds and equities more attractive for investors.
- It all began in 2004, when under the guise of an aid project to help renovate the Palace of Government in Dili, spies from Australia's foreign intelligence service ASIS snuck in and installed listening devices.

They were targeting East Timor's prime minister at the time, Mari Alkatiri, and his negotiating team, who were in talks with the Australian government over a treaty dealing with oil and gas deposits in the Timor Sea.

The Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea is worth an estimated $40 billion and the treaty would map out how it was divided between East Timor and Australia.

East Timor is one of the poorest nations in the region; 50 per cent of children under five are malnourished and only half the homes have electricity.

Australia is East Timor's richest neighbour and the bugging operation gave the government the upper hand in the multi-billion-dollar talks.

Mr Alkatiri has described it as a crime.

"I have no doubt about this, even in terms of international law it's a crime," he said.
- Getting the Islamic State off Twitter would be a monumental task. In a report released in March, the Brookings Institution said there were at least 46,000 active ISIS supporters on Twitter from September to December of last year. Based on geographic data, the most active users were in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and the United States.
- There are probably plenty of things that frustrate you about air travel, but waiting to take off or disembark is probably high on your list. Why should you have to board well before the plane is ready to get moving? Airbus might have a way to cut that idle time to near zero, though: it recently received a patent for a detachable passenger cabin that would lift into the airport gate. Your aircraft would only show up when it's actually ready to go, and would spend far less time on the ground as a whole (as it's just swapping cabin pods). It could also eliminate the convoluted boarding process, since you could take your seat right away instead of forming a queue in the terminal.
- TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s top leader said Wednesday the United States is using “money and sexual attractions” to try to infiltrate the Islamic Republic and warned Iranians not to fall into the “enemy’s trap.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Revolutionary Guard commanders that authorities should take concerns about “infiltration” seriously and political factions should not use the issue against each other.

“The enemy sets up a network within a nation and inside a country mainly through the two means of money and sexual attractions to change ideals, beliefs and consequently the lifestyle,” he said in comments posted on his website and broadcast on state TV.
- N.U. is also working with the University of Vienna in Austria, which collects and analyzes ISIS propaganda, to prepare responses to those messages, which N.U. will disseminate online and at conferences.

Get news and analysis from Asia and around the world delivered to your inbox every day in the Asian morning.

A prevention center based in Indonesia, expected to be operational by the end of the year, will train male and female Arabic-speaking students to engage with jihadist ideology and messaging under the guidance of N.U. theologians who are consulting Western academia.

The film, “Rahmat Islam Nusantara” (The Divine Grace of East Indies Islam), has been translated into English and Arabic for global distribution, including online. The film explores Islam’s arrival and evolution in Indonesia, and includes interviews with Indonesian Islamic scholars.

In scene after scene, they challenge and denounce the Islamic State’s interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith, the book of the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, as factually wrong and perverse.
- Saudi money has promoted the messianic radical wahhabism that, an increasing number of commentators are pointing out, Isis has fed on. As one observed this week referring to the Arabic acronym for Isis: “Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex”.

This is Britain’s “vital partner”. The Guardian reported last month how leaked diplomatic cables revealed that Britain conducted secret vote-trading deals with Saudi Arabia to ensure both states were elected to the UN human rights council (UNHRC).
- Two American firms contracted by the Department of Defense have settled a lawsuit accusing them of having hired Russian programmers based in Moscow to write computer code for classified systems. The hires allegedly occurred as part of a $613 million contract, which was awarded by the US Pentagon to Massachusetts-based Netcracker Technology Corporation and Virginia-based Computer Systems Corporation (CSC). The two companies were hired to write software for the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a Pentagon outfit that provides the US armed forces with secure real-time combat communications. But in 2011, contractor John C. Kingsley, who had a supervisory role in the project, notified the US government that the two companies had farmed out part of the contract’s coding duties to programmers in Moscow and other Russian cities.

If true, Kingsley’s allegations would mean that Netcracker and CSC were in violation of federal regulations, which specify that only American citizens with the appropriate security clearances should be employed to work on classified communications systems. A subsequent government investigation, which lasted four years, gave rise to a lawsuit against the two companies. The court was told that the code written by the Russian programmers had allowed the installation of “numerous viruses” on the communications systems of the Pentagon “on at least one occasion”. Witnesses also accused Netcracker and CSC of being guided mainly by greed, since it was able to save over 60% of wage costs by employing the Russian programmers.
- On Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei spewed more anti-American broadsides in a special message to “world youth” reported by Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. The Shiite leader accused the U.S. of creating and supporting al Qaeda and the Taliban, the two Sunni militant groups that American troops are fighting in Afghanistan.

“Today, there are very few people who are uninformed about the role of the United States of America in creating, nurturing and arming al Qaeda, the Taliban and their inauspicious successors,” he said. “Besides this direct support, the overt and well-known supporters of takfiri terrorism — despite having the most backward political systems — are standing arrayed as allies of the West while the most pioneering, brightest and most dynamic democrats in the region are suppressed mercilessly.”

Takfiri are Sunni Muslims, such as leaders of the Islamic State terrorist group, who accuse other Muslims of being nonbelievers.
- I know that some people may judge people like my father and think he's a lower class and are ashamed of them, but here I want to tell you that they are the most respectable people in China—it's those people like my father who build the country and improve our living, not the politicians and bankers. Look around where you are living and working right now: the apartments, the city buildings, the roads... Many construction workers have given their utmost effort to build it.

Many construction workers like my father have only a little education, so they have no choice but to do the heavy work. Those people will persuade their children to have a better education. And now in China people like myself from the rural area can easily go to college; the university fee is not too expensive (about ¥5000 a year); every year we can borrow ¥6000 from the bank and we don't need to pay the interest, since our government paid for us and that was the fee. Our government also has some special policies for students from rural places. For me, I can receive about ¥3000 from our government. Also, if your grades are good enough, you can earn scholarships.

The young generation is the country's hope. After we have been well educated, we can expect a good future for ourselves and for our country.

- as usual thanks to all of the individuals and groups who purchase and use my goods and services

Automated Audiobook Maker Script, Random Stuff, and More

- wanted to find a way to automated building of audiobooks. Built the following: https://sites.google.com/site/dtbnguyen/audiobook_maker-...