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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Is Western Leadership Required? More Social Systems, and More

From time to time you hear things about Western leadership being 'required'. Some of it sounds borderline authoritarian/dictatorial at times. I wanted to take a look further at this:
- examples of such quotes include "Instead, America should write the rules. America should call the shots. Other countries should play by the rules that America and our partners set, and not the other way around. That’s what the TPP gives us the power to do. That’s why my administration is working closely with leaders in Congress to secure bipartisan approval for our trade agreement, mindful that the longer we wait, the harder it will be to pass the TPP. The world has changed. The rules are changing with it. The United States, not countries like China, should write them. Let’s seize this opportunity, pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership and make sure America isn’t holding the bag, but holding the pen."; "ALL US mass media has been under the control of the CIA since 1975." From the Senate Inquiry Into Control of US Mass Media, Chairman, Senator Frank Church."; and so on. Mind you, it's possible that some of this was quoted out of context (or even completely made up) so I cross referenced with others sources
CrossTalk - Universal Justice
CrossTalk - Who Is Aggressive
- at the core of this is the fact that the West believe that they are somehow 'exceptional'. The issue for anyone who reads up a bit on this is that what are we getting ourselves into and are we better off under 'Western' leadership. For me, this is mostly about leadership for the sake of leadership and because we simply don't want the world being run by others
- scientists and politicians often say we base our inspiration on God's teachings but if you cross reference what values are being exported by Western society and what is actually written in the HOLY SCRIPTURES then things are basically running in the exact opposite direction. In a perverse sort of way, we have mechanisms for achieving what has been asked of us according to the Holy Scriptures. We've been asked to listen identify and listen to prophets (business analysts, investment bankers, politicians, etc... but as I stated previously the type of prophet outlined and revered in the 'Abrahamic' religions are radically different from what currently exists in society. Moreover, those prophets worked mainly for the benefit of society as a whole not to simply benefit themselves which seems to be the case now). The values being espoused don't even match up against that many of the world's major religions so the argument about the West being somehow ordained by God to run things doesn't even make sense. At times, it's almost as though we're looking for 'proof of God'. Most of the stuff online about political class 'bloodlines' seem to be conspiracy theories?
The Biggest Vatican Secret Revealed!
THE SECRETS OF THE ELITE - One Family ~ One Bloodline ~ One Rule
- I would gladly say that Western leadership is great but there are a few problems
- intelligence wise the West aren't generally at the top of the pile
- despite a lot of what you here in out there there is a huge amount of intellectual property coming from outside of the Western world
- yes, there are a lot of Western scientists who win major prizes but carefully go through the scientific discoveries and the scientists behind them and you'll realise a huge number of them are actually migrants from elsewhere. Go through scientific discoveries carefully and you'll discover that the US mainly commercialised things rather than came up with them first
- they say that we've had less war under Western leadership. Look at the timeline though and the frequency seems to be roughly similar no matter what time frame you look at
- military spending and efficency were possibly higher during the period of the Roman empire (though there higher casualties during actual battle obviously as well as a very different societal setup)
- life expectancy has increased over time but it's all the stats point to a clear correlation between income and life expectancy. With the gap between rich and poor increasing this means more people will die needlessly because wealth is being unevenly distributed (check Gini coefficient over time. Roman empire and now. Things are similar or getting worse)
- homelessness, actual numbers are rather low in Ancient Rome. If the Roman empire had of expanded to encompass the globe would they have been more succesful (or not) than we have been?
America - The Modern equivalent to the Ancient Roman Empire? Where do the poor and homeless
- the West tries to portray itself as the good buys but with the number of whistleblowers, coverups/WikiLeaks, and contradictions in public media (no leaks required. It's just the same officials in high positions contradicting themselves and often making no sense. Guessing further questions could lead to awkward answers?). Fundamentally, people have been changed? What used to infuriate people has changed or have governments become better at covering things up
Hypocrisy exposed - Victoria Nuland gets owned by Matt Lee in 2012
Victoria Nuland's Admits Washington Has Spent $5 Billion to 'Subvert Ukraine'
Listen - Victoria Nuland Says F_CK The E.U. in Leaked Phone Call
- in spite of a so called global set of values and rules based order, USSR and West have been amongst the top with regards to use of veto powers. Israel most in trouble with UNHCR. Lot of behind the scenes deals by many countries
Veto power at the UN Security Council
- our current financial system created in the aftermath of WWII. You need to understand how the system works to understand why there are those who perceive it to be biased. It's a bit similar to structure of the United Nations. Voting rights and vetoes
The Bretton Woods System in five minutes - the University of Shed makes economics fun
The Bretton Woods System-1HALhfYoIQA
Bretton Woods Then and Now
'Growth Is Better than Austerity - The Origins of Bretton Woods'
What is United Nations and What Does it Do - Mini Documentary
- if you're honest with yourself most of the social systems we've come up with have ended up being self-serving and self-corrupting. There is no way that Western economies are fair and free in the way that you want them and neither have the so called socialist nevadas in many other places. That means that any attempt to setup a new social system that does not rely on exploitation will enevitably come under attack. Fundamentally, this means that a country (or any group of countries) attempting such an experiment would need to erect an (actual or soft/psychological) wall. Hence, whether the North Korean, Iranian, and other regimes are corrupt or not they don't really have a choice. The problem is that you never get the benefits of the outside world. This is changing though especially with regards to technology where more and more of it is becoming software based. I imagine that the Chinese model of replication would be most efficient with regards to employment. For example, in the rest of the world there is Facebook. It's all consuming. However, most of the jobs are based in the US. If the rest of the world were to follow the Chinese model, they could retain sovereignty over data, increase the job ratio, maintain regulation, etc... while not missing out on the benefits of globalisation
Luther and the Protestant Reformation - Crash Course World History #218
Conflict in Israel and Palestine - Crash Course World History 223
The Disgraceful History of Modern Economics 'Prices, Demand & Markets'
- given all of this, the obvious question is have we progressed because of Western leadership or would it not have mattered?
- the West has basically had complete control over the world economy since the end of WWII. It's clear that they've led us down a pathway to possible doom. If China can peacefully rise and come up with a better model for society we should help them. If not, I don't understand why we're not being more forceful (globalisation is making things more complex?)? I think it's obvious that our economic and social systems are reaching their terminal limit? Something needs to be done not just to patch them up but to fix them permanently. It no longer matters who you vote for. To a certain extent we're victims to a system that we created
- the obvious question is if the public knew of other alternatives would they vote for them. As we've seen in Europe, US, and elsewhere people have become more and more divided over which way we should head. If we gave each political party an equal amount of money, air time, and told all of them to all go for it who would people vote for?
- after a while it becomes obvious why North Korea, USSR, Iran erected walls around them. Fundamentally, incompatible and capitalism is fundamentally imperialistic by nature. It requires suppression (though communist/socialist implementations have not resulted in much greater success either). This means it means that they need to be self sustaining to a certain extent and require massive militaries. One of the things that has been said of the United States is that since they had vast natural resources they didn't have to really rely on others and because of that they have been able to relatively strong economic growth. Huge tranches of the Earth are basically useless for habitation. Ironically, there's been a lot of work into recycling human waste which can be used to turn useless areas into habitable areas. Biospheres can be built and we can mimic the workings of the Earth within these biospheres to make previously useless areas of land into habitale ones. In the context of areas of extreme temperature I wonder whether or not we should be building downwards to use the natural insulating nature of the ground to reduce energy requirements?
Crossing the Line, a British documentary
- core issue of any social system is how to distribute wealth. In communism/socialism they basically allocate top down. Chinese, Cuban version is hybrid. Imposes limits on businesses to ensure that people get better spread of opportunties/wealth. Still allows for innovation. Opposite really in capitalism, in which the more money you make the easier it seems to be towards tht top? Crowdsourcing is easiest mechanism to reduce boom/busts by matching up demand/supply? Takes finance sector out of equation though?
- people within such a system need to be able to see through flaws in their local and other social systems. The importance of this is critical. For instance, in capitalism we say that good work and productivity is rewarded but in most cases it isn't. Think about this carefully. Put a Huawei phone and an Apple phone next to one another. Both are identical in specifications, looks, and functionality. Which one do most people choose or want. The Apple in spite of the Huaweis' lower cost. The reason why people get frustrated with capitalism is precisely the exact same reason why people got frustrated in the USSR. The relationship between talent and hard work and renumeration is not directly proportional. Most of the time it's based on your ability to convince others of your value to them. Nearly everyone believes in meritocracy. The realtionship between hard work and talent is basically becoming detached though
- wonder whether entertainment culture is self-defeating at times. Some people just can't help themselves. Wondering whether filters of some sort can be used to keep people entertained but not get them addicated (think about previous Mind Control/PSYOPS experiments). Allows for continued productivity while allowing for entertainment
- only genuine way to snap yourself out of local (or other) PSYOPS/propaganda is to get out into the real world. Most average people out there aren't that much different from yourself. It's just that there are those at the pointy of end of things who need to (or just do) some crazy things
- global inflation data gradually stabilising over time
- growth figures and massive levels of debt make genuine guage of wealth difficult to figure out

Some social/economic system stuff:
- live in era of crises. Environment, finance, etc... Crisis occurred because we followed advice of neo-classicists. Classic issue of the people causing the problem having to fix it themselves. Neo-classicists genuinely believe they're doing something better for society in spite of major contradictions in theory (individual vs collective). Neo-classical theory basically wrong? A bit like Quantum Mechanics though Ptolemy though. We're trying to make the world fit a theory rather than finding a theory that models/fits the world. Neo-classicists don't know own theory. Economics don't translate information properly from original papers to textbooks. Refer to originals. DGSE Vs ISLM for macro theory at IMF. DGSE deeply flawed. Robert Solo growth model rejecting DGSE a theory which he basically gave birth to. Macro and micro economics inherently different in spite of what some economists say. Reminds me of General Relatively vs Quantum Mechanics problem in physics. Foundations of economics shaky. Neo-classicals ignoring debt in context of economics. Correlation of 0.96 between debt and unemployment. Acceleration in debt and unemployment correlation of 0.79. Similar in asset prices and growth.
Monetary Minsky Model by using matrix of flow rates of inflows and outflows
Prof. Steve Keen still butchering basic microeconomics 'Debunking Economics'
- around in the 50's debt is the problem which causes growth problem. Greater imperialism is self defeating paradox. Increasingly worse financial problems boom/bust cycles along with increasingly risky financial instruments
Crash Course on Hyman Minsky, L. Randall Wray
What is Wrong with Modern Economics
- pension funds in trouble because of 0% interest rates and because markets are very strange now. If you understand all of the problems with the modern economy you'll understand that it's almost like we want a Global Financial Apocalypse to occur. trueeconomics.com. More evidence of our current financial situation being dire and modern economics being complete gibberish. Obvious shale is just a mechanism to keep a cap on global oil prices. Obvious that some countries may be using proxies/agents in order to de-stablise oil producing countries to drive prices back up. Oligarchy in place. Those who don't fall into line are marginalised, kicked off grid, or killed. Coming with hilarious gimmicks to be honest for a bankrupt economic system. karmabanque.com, strategic boycotts to reduce market capitalisation of companies. Use leverage against companies
Keiser Report - Pensions Going Bankrupt (E919)
Keiser Report - Rip Up Money, Get More  PROFIT! (E741)
Keiser Report - Right Price for Surrender (E920)
The Power of the Boycott - Max Keiser on Economics 101
- people around Obama and Bush similar. Basically hyper-Keynesianism. Could lead to death of US dollar and empire. lewrockwell.com
Obamanomics - Lew Rockwell on Economics 101
- MMT just a random theory just like Hedging. When you get down to it MMT theorists are on shaky ground. They believe that the basis for economics is based mainly on psychology. They also limit their conversation to a limited number of variables. They either know about and don't want to talk about it because it would result in a crisis in confidence and a another financial meltdown or they simply don't know about it. Either way it's worrying because if you've seen the growth rates stagnating over decades (this allows you to rule out seasonal issues and get you a true guage of systemic flaws) you know that this is a house of cards that will eventually fall. Think just a tiny little bit. If you're stimulus (extra debt) doesn't allow you to grow out of your predicament then your economy will deflate (unless you fiddle around with figures) and your debt pile will grow
We won!! Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) got everything right...EVERYTHING!!
What is Modern Monetary Theory
The 'Angry Birds' Approach to Understanding Deficits in the Modern Economy
Economics 'like astrology' - John Weeks explains the myths underpinning all modern economics
- over and over again people say that certain things are required in order to live in a globalised, capitalism based world. For instance, reduced workers rights with regards to hiring and firing. What if the business were quicker to adapt to world needs. You wouldn't need to let people go? People complain about loss of family life and so on but what if we have global standards with regards to work hours. It would force companies to open overseas if they wanted further business. All this is easier said then done though. Real world vs actual world
- if you're simply looking for the highest paying jobs with the most available opportunities you're looking at managerial jobs in general
- more advanced economies tend to have lower employment/labour participation rates (greater automation Marx criticism. Wonder if future possible future of the world will revolved around massive financial sector where people are taking bets over and over again?). One thing that confuses me about neo-liberal thinking is why it is necessary to have a small government. Think carefully this, what's the difference between public and private inefficiency? To me, it's none. In fact, if the government is paying you an income (either way) most people would be better off because they don't have to take on the risk of potentially massive business loans. Anyone who has started or run a business or gone after startup capital knows how difficult this is
- becomes obvious that we have enough data to stop busts. It's just that governments want to keep boom cycle running as long as possible because they don't know where else to get growth?
Some random stuff:
- with the advent of 'easier to use' software things are becoming buried deeper and deeper
    In the Iceweasel browser URL address bar type ‘about:config‘ and hit Enter
    Click I’ll be careful, I promise!
    Scroll down to permissions.default.image then double click its line
    Change the integer value to ‘2‘

- if you've ever been interested in mobile platform or cross-platform development you would have come across Unity
Corona SDK for 2D development

- interesting to see what some of the security services do

- interesting information about happened and is happening now

- another possible version of stealth technology would be laying a stealth cloud over an area from where to launch attacks from. For example, the ionosphere clearly creates problems for communications and RADAR. If you can create localised ionosphere like gas clouds can you obtain stealth on the cheap (use conventional aircraft without a requirement for RAM coatings, layers, etc...). Could potentially cause trouble for missile interception systems as well though?
- feels like practically everything is weaponised at times. Sometimes, it feels like we're literally in a engaged in a permanent, secret conflict/war?

- after you find out further about Panda's you figure out they like bamboo basically because it tastes good (in spite of it not being too great nutritionally for them. Similar to Koalas which would probably healthier if they ate other things apart from gum tree leaves). Wonder we should genetically modify their food?

Some quotes in the recent media:
- In his book “A Theory of the Drone,” the French philosopher Grégoire Chamayou explained that what Pentagon officials call “pattern of life analysis” is often used to “target individuals whose identity remains unknown but whose behavior suggests, signals, or signs membership in a ‘terrorist organization.’ ”

L’Espresso reports that Italy’s Air Force has been flying surveillance drones since 2004, logging more than 24,000 hours of flights over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Mediterranean and the Horn of Africa. Last month, the State Department gave final approval for Italy to add armed Reaper drones to its arsenal.

While studying images of daily life in areas controlled by Islamic State militants, looking for targets, the Italian drone pilots have also witnessed what they see as signs of subtle resistance. That includes children playing games of soccer, which has reportedly been banned in some parts of the self-described caliphate as a “diversion from jihad.”
- EDITOR’S NOTE: This upgrade -- which is not a minor one, as it will require a full year to implement -- was awarded the day after Northrop delivered the center fuselage for the first Japanese F-35.
This shows that, even before they come off the assembly line at Fort Worth, even the most recent F-35s require substantial upgrades, at a cost of over $5 million per aircraft.
It is surprising that, 14 years into the program, Lockheed still cannot make aircraft come off the assembly line in a satisfactory condition.
- The Air Force is also taking other steps to help alleviate stress on the drone force.
1) Approximately double the number of RPA flying squadrons.
2) Create a new wing to normalize organizational and command and control structures relative to other weapon systems.
3) Standardize the squadron, group and wing structure.
4) Assign RPA units in new locations to potentially include overseas locations.
5) Decrease the heavy burden of persistent in garrison combat operations by increasing RPA manning and associated resources by 2,500-3,000 Airmen.
6) Define career tracks for officer and enlisted RPA operators and maintainers.
7) Study the promotion and professional military education selection rates for RPA officers.
8) Study the feasibility of a single specialty code for RPA maintenance personnel.
9) Streamline processes to better enable Reserve Component forces to support the mission.
- Let’s get some long-range weaponry out there—pronto. No, the DDG-1000 isn’t a stealth battleship. But it should be. And—suitably armed—it could be.
- Grapheme, an extremely thin sheet of carbon with extraordinary properties, has attracted great interest among researchers in recent years.

It is about 207 times stronger than steel by weight and able to conduct heat and electricity with very high efficiency.

However, the new material was able to support something that was 40,000 times its own weight without bending, said the report in the latest issue of the journal, Advanced Materials.

One piece of the graphene foam withstood the impact of a blow that had a force of more than 14,500 pounds per square inch – almost as much pressure as is experienced at the deepest depth of the world’s ocean – about 10.9km – known as Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench, off the coast of the US island of Guam.

The Shanghai research team said their newly created material could withstand more external shocks than other previously reported graphene materials.

It could also be squashed to just 5 per cent of its original size and still return to its original shape, and remained intact after the process was repeated 1,000 times.

The properties of the new material meant one possible use could be as cushion under the surface of bulletproof vests and on the outside of tanks to absorb the shocks from incoming projectiles, the study said.
- For real military application, graphene is very thin and nearly transparent pure carbon one atom thick. It is remarkably strong for its very low weight, more than 100 times stronger than steel. This makes it the best materials for aircrafts and spacecrafts.

However, there is drawback: It is forbiddenly expensive, 15 times more expensive than gold.

Zhu’s invention now will enable popularization of the use of graphene in making lots of science-fiction products

Zhu said that he adopted the method of chemical vapour deposition of methane on a copper sheet to make graphene. It is a method tried by lots of others without success. Zhu has succeeded due to the precision of his equipment and the fine control of the process. He has been applying for patent of his invention.
- I paraphrase his case as follows: in the Middle East, the choice that Western governments are invited to make is between stability and justice. If you choose stability, then you must deal with dictators and reinforce their grip on power, regardless of how they treat their people. This, in essence, was the West's policy during the Cold War - and it remains Vladimir Putin’s view today. If, on the other hand, you choose justice then you must side with the crowds who try to throw off their repressive rulers, even if this triggers the collapse of order.
Blair once believed that justice must always come before stability. But after the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan, he has now changed his mind. He still believes that Putin is wrong because unpopular dictators will eventually be overthrown in any event. As he told the committee: “However much we may want to deal with these people, the populations of the countries are not going to put up with it."
But Blair now accepts that removing dictators through revolutionary upheaval - or, implicitly, by Western intervention - is too risky. “If you can get evolutionary change, then get it,” he told the committee. “Evolution is better than revolution.” If he has drawn any lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan, then this is it.
- Security does not exist today for anyone. There are nine states which possess nuclear weapons. One of them, the United States, dropped two bombs which killed hundreds of thousands of people in just three days, and caused physical and psychological harm to millions of defenseless people.

The People’s Republic of China and Russia know the world’s problems much better than the United States, because they were obliged to endure the terrible wars imposed on them by fascism’s blind egoism. I do not doubt that, given their historical traditions and their own revolutionary experience, they will make the greatest effort to avoid a war and contribute to the peaceful development of Venezuela, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
- The world situation changed and deterrence became less important when the Soviet Union collapsed. No longer did we face an Evil Empire whose destructive might matched our own and whose aggressive tendencies needed to be deterred because the cost of conflict would be so unacceptably high. Instead, in the first Gulf War allied forces readily won a conflict where the ground campaign lasted all of one hundred hours and involved minimal losses. Who needs to deter that sort of war? It is probably easier to just fight and win it than to go through the effort to prevent it.
It is time for military leaders, strategists and students to put deterrence back into our vocabulary. We must dedicate ourselves to preventing wars, not just fighting them. This is not about embracing pacifism. It is about pursuing the “supreme military excellence” that Sun Tzu wrote about. We need to look at how we might organize, train and equip ourselves to not fight, to play the only winning move in this strange game and to re-embrace the old SAC motto, once again proclaiming that while we wear our nation’s uniforms and serve as its warriors, peace truly is our profession.
- Yesterday, while Sydney's suburbs were littered with people downing a greasy fry-up or "hair of the dog" in the hope of feeling human again, others were forking out between $140-$200 on a treatment package that pumps saline, sodium, minerals, vitamins, oxygen and anti-nausea medication through their blood.

But the practice has been slammed by heath experts. "This encourages people to use alcohol in an entirely inappropriate way and it's something the government should look at very, very carefully," said Michael Moore who is chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia.

"After all the hard work that has been done to reduce the harm associated with alcohol ... this is ridiculous."
- Guo is just the latest in a long list of suspended or “disappeared” Chinese bankers and finance heads, after President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-graft campaign spread to the financial sector this year. Since China’s stock market crash that vaporized nearly $5 trillion between June and August, China’s authorities have been ruthlessly looking for culprits guilty of insider trading, rumor-spreading, and what they called “malicious” short-selling.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned Friday that “about 200 US nuclear bombs are currently deployed in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey.”

Russia does not look favorably upon the deployment of nuclear weapons in NATO states near its borders. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that if NATO threatens Russia, Moscow will respond to the threat accordingly.

“When we look at this whole [issue of] Vladimir Putin’s Russia and NATO, the United States has broken a series of explicit promises to Russia… that the United States would not move American and NATO military assets closer to Russian borders,” Mark Dankof said in an interview with Press TV. “We have broken that promise.”

“We promised that we would not recruit former Eastern Bloc countries to join NATO, we have broken that promise,” he continued.

“And then of course, we have proceeded in what we have been doing against Russian interests in Ukraine, where we supported the illegal coup d'etat there in February 2014,” Dankof noted.

“And of course, what the United States has been doing in conjunction with Israel and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council states in supporting ISIL and supporting al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria in an attempt, among other things, to marginalize the Russian position in that part of the world, we have really been pushing the envelope,” he said.

The analyst said that “these policies are wrong, they’re evil, and they’re immoral. But beyond that, they are simply insane.”
- “There is an element of demonstrating capability in order to gain strategic leverage more widely,” said Brig Barry. “If they want to deter what they consider to be adventurism from an irresponsible Nato, then it helps to show they’ve got the capability to fire cruise missiles from both surface warships and submarines.”

Ordinary Russians, who are enduring the pain of economic crisis even as military spending rises, are also part of the intended audience. “This helps to justify to the Russian public the sort of resources that have been put into military modernisation,” added Brig Barry.
- According to the military hardware analysts at BGA-Aeroweb, each F-35A aircraft carries a $129 million "flyaway" price. The F-35Bs destined for the Royal Navy cost a whopping $183 million each.

Thus, the very least that Britain's commitment means to Lockheed is $13.2 billion in revenues from the B's and an additional $8.5 billion from the A's -- or more than $21.7 billion in total revenue. Even at the F-35's subpar operating profit margin of just 7%, that's a good $1.5 billion worth of profits that Lockheed can now count on earning -- nearly $5 per share.
- "We used diesel engines, but sterling engines and the AIP system means we don't need much air from outside to move the engines to generate electricity," he said.

The Hull is the key to the Soryu's strength and its ability to drive deep. It is made with special steel and the Japanese say that through precision engineering they have come as close as possible to what submariners call the perfect circle.

The sub also has a secret X configuration rudder design that gives it extra stability

Master chief petty officer Katsuyuki Matsui from SS Kokuryu said he was proud to be a part of it because "its full of world-class technology and it's essential to Japan's national defence".
-  Russia is battening down the hatches for a Biblical collapse in oil revenues, warning that crude prices could stay as low as $40 a barrel for another seven years.

Maxim Oreshkin, the deputy finance minister, said the country is drawing up plans based on a price band fluctuating between $40 to $60 as far out as 2022, a scenario that would have devastating implications for Opec.

It would also spell disaster for the North Sea producers, Brazil’s off-shore projects, and heavily indebted Western producers. “We will live in a different reality,” he told a breakfast forum hosted by Russian newspaper Vedomosti.

The cold blast from Moscow came as US crude plunged to $35.56, pummelled by continuing fall-out from the acrimonious Organisaton of Petrol Exporting Countries meeting last week. Record short positions by hedge funds have amplified the effect.
- Over two months, McCain has listened to and voiced many criticisms on the DoD: The acquisitions system wastes billions of dollars and struggles to incorporate advanced commercial technologies. Its “archaic military personnel system” is “losing and misusing talent.” The military health care system needs to be streamlined. DoD’s overhead elements, “especially its contracted workforce, have exploded,” yielding a “tooth-to-tail ratio” that is “below the global average.”
Italy already has a strong culture of wiretapping stemming from the country’s long battle against organized crime and Italian police are now proving adept at tracking the online postings of fundamentalists.

Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando spelled out the country’s focus on surveillance when he told police chiefs on Nov. 26 to figure out how to eavesdrop on young fundamentalists.

“Once news was swapped by telephone only, but today we must get better at wiretapping online communications, meaning through PlayStation as well as chatting with programs, including music downloads,” he said.
- After 16 years of radical left-wing rule, Venezuelan politics is changing. The opposition has won a two-thirds majority in congress, and after his very narrow win in 2013, president Nicolás Maduro, who would otherwise stay in power until 2018, could now face a recall referendum. Whether he retains his grip on power, leaves peacefully or struggles with the opposition could determine the fate of Latin America’s largest oil sector.

With shortages of food and even toilet paper, an epidemic of violent crime, inflation at more than 100 per cent and the economy shrinking by 10 per cent this year, the Bolívarian Republic is paying the price for years of mismanagement, rampant corruption and now tumbling oil prices. Even if Mr Maduro hangs on, the opposition’s super-majority will allow them to replace judges and election officials, and perhaps pressure the ruling party for better policies.
- WASHINGTON — The top US Army commander in Europe said the service will work to establish most of its maintenance sites for equipment caches — built up to respond to Russia’s continuing incursion into Ukraine — by the end of next year.

Maintenance sites for what the Army is calling European Activity Sets in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria will be completed by the end of 2016, ideally by September, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, said Wednesday at the Pentagon.
- In September 2013, Turkey selected China Precision Machinery Import Export Corp. (CPMIEC) to build the country’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system. The Chinese company offered a $3.44 billion solution.

The firm defeated a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30.

Under strong pressure from NATO allies who said that a Chinese system could not be made interoperable with NATO assets on Turkish soil, Turkey opened parallel talks with the US and European contenders.

The Ankara government Nov. 13 scrapped the competition and tasked two local companies to build an indigenous system instead.

Military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense company, and missile maker Roketsan, both state-controlled, will develop the system. But there are concerns the work may take too long.
- GÖTTINGEN, Germany — The German Defense Ministry is assuming the leadership role for development of a European drone, the so-called Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted aircraft system or MALE RPAS. In a statement, the ministry also announced that Spain will participate as an equal fourth partner in the project.

According to the ministry, Germany will take over 31 percent, or €18.6 million (US $20.3 million) of the cost of the definition study. France, Italy and Spain each will contribute €13.8 million to the study.
- Lee said there are less dramatic reasons to establish additional bases, such as to improve search-and-rescue capabilities in the event of downed aircraft — a concern that drove US military thinking in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Marine.

“If they are conducting operations down there, and they want to have the combat search-and-rescue capability, you want to be closer to wherever the planes are operating rather than not because the farther away you are, the slower your response time is, and one of the big things for us in Iraq and Afghanistan was the concept of the golden hour," Lee said.

While there have been reports that up to 5,000 Russian personnel are now in Syria, and that Russian T-90 tanks have been seen outside of their base in Syria, analysts continue to discount the possibility of a true Russian ground operation.

“At most, [these additions] reflect a recognition that there is going to be no quick resolution,” Galeotti said. “I don't think there is any indication of any change to Russia's endgame, which is some kind of process allowing not so much Assad but the bulk of the Alawite regime to survive, and with it Moscow's influence in the region.”
- Buchanan said, “if I were in ISIS, what I would do is I would say, look at the two characters [who] commanded the entire media of the United States and still do for a week, do one or two more of these things, they would up one of their sleeper cells, get this done, and we can elect and — nominate and elect Donald Trump, and the great war with Islam is on.”

He later added, “You send American troops over there into Syria, but ISIS, [is saying] please send 10,000 Americans into Raqqa. They’re begging for the great war with the Americans. Why would you comply with them?”
- NEW DELHI — US cooperation in engine technology was a top issue for Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar when he met US Defense Secretary Ash Carter Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, said an Indian Defence Ministry source.

India needs engine technology for its proposed homegrown advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA), which is still on the drawing board. Availability of a higher thrust advanced engine would kick-start the AMCA program, under which India proposes to build medium combat aircraft similar to the Rafale, which it is buying from France, said a senior scientist of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is developing AMCA.

Another priority is cooperation on development of an electro-magnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) for the proposed Indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vishal, the MoD source added.
- Yatseniuk was defending his embattled government's record when lawmaker Oleh Barna walked over to him, presenting him sarcastically with a bunch of red roses. Barna then grabbed him around the waist and groin, lifting him off his feet and dragging him from the rostrum.

Members from Yatseniuk's People Front party waded in, pushing Barna and throwing punches. Lawmakers from Poroshenko's bloc joined the fray and an angry brawl ensued for several minutes before deputies returned to their seats.

The incident exposed deep divisions in the pro-Europe coalition that have fueled speculation the government could fall even as Ukraine's Western backers warn that time is running out for Kiev to make good on its promises to root out endemic corruption and cronyism.

Yatseniuk is, like Poroshenko, a pivotal player in the pro-Western leadership that emerged after the downfall of the Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014. But support for him has fallen dramatically in the past year.
- No less a figure than Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work has said bluntly that EW and cyber held more promise for missile defense than the traditional method of shooting down one missile with another. “It doesn’t have to be a kinetic solution,” Work said in March. “Hell, I don’t really want a kinetic solution. It’s got to be something else.”

So that’s the promise — but when I’ve tried to get any specifics, I get polite demurrals that the topic is too classified to talk about. But it’s not just reporters who have this problem. People in the military who really need to know about these capabilities, as a matter of potential life and death, aren’t always allowed to learn about them either.

“We need to have enough people who understand what each of them is [and] a way to use them when the time comes,” said Rear Adm. Archer Macy, retired director of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization (JIAMDO). “The fact that only very few people know what [some of these capabilities] are make that very difficult.”
- Early in 2015, a curious and disturbing report surfaced briefly and then disappeared—almost without a trace. The report, apparently published and then quickly retracted, had been posted by the French Ministry of Defense and concerned the successful operations of the French nuclear submarine Safir in an exercise pitting it against the U.S. Navy’s Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier battle group. The somewhat shocking content of the report—that the French submarine had succeeded in sinking “half the battle group” during the exercise—may explain its rapid purging from the internet.  After all, close brothers in arms may demonstrate their tactical and operational prowess in a naval drill, but they should not gloat about that, and especially not in public, right?

The revelation that a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier group could be so vulnerable to a nuclear submarine did not make the mainstream media, and no mention was made by the many attentive defense analysts on this site, so it seems. However, the Chinese defense media does not miss much, especially concerning the capabilities of U.S. Navy carrier groups. In fact, a special issue of 兵工科技 [Ordnance Industry Science and Technology] (2015, no. 8) covered this “event,” featuring an interview with Chinese Submarine Academy professor 迟国仓 [Chi Guocang] as its cover story under the title: “A Single Nuclear Submarine ‘Sinks’ Half of an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group.”  
- The author did not mention that the US and France, both NATO members, regularly conducted joint ASW exercises during the cold war, so the French may have a bit of USN ASW tactics to work on. Even during the 1981 NATO exercise "Ocean Venture," a Canadian sub reportedly "sunk" not one, but two flattops. Not to be outdone, Aussie Collins-class diesels have reportedly "sunk" two Los Angeles SSNs and a flattop in a 2003 naval exercise. As if the USN did not learn from these lessons, and nobody here could show the ASW capability of an upgraded version of the P-3C, is there? And lessons learned incorporated in the P-8s, and of course, the screws as well?
- A United States government report has warned Islamic State has been printing false Syrian passports in order to successfully travel into the US and other major countries.

Reports allege ISIS has acquired a passport printing machine, and the US government has tracked down 3,800 fake passports entered into immigration databases.
- The Nishant was supposed to be the Indian Army’s premier, domestically-produced surveillance drone. But now it can’t be because all of them, every single one, crashed.
- Indeed, as former Navy official Byran McGrath, managing director of The FerryBridge Group naval consultancy and deputy director of the Center for American Seapower at the Hudson Institute testified before Congress this week, the service has not added a single ship that can fire anti-ship missiles since 1999.

“No ship in our inventory can disable another ship with its organic weapons at ranges greater than approximately 70 miles — the range of the Harpoon missile — and no ship has been added to the inventory since 1999 that can fire the Harpoon missile,” McGrath said. “In order to raise the level of conventional deterrence represented in our forward deployed surface vessels, the Navy must move quickly to close this gap.”
- STOCKHOLM – Arms manufacturers in North America and Western Europe dominated international arms sales in 2014, but their market share dropped while Russian and Asian companies saw theirs rise, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported Monday.

Total turnover for the 100 biggest arms and military services companies declined for the fourth year in a row, falling by 1.5 percent from 2013 to stand at $401 billion.
- He continued, "Right now, they are looking at soft targets, because there are an abundance of them.  While we are putting increased security around what would be considered high-risk targets, they are going to go for the places that are easiest right now because it's still going to have an impact, especially if it occurs in small-town USA.  The more success they have, more money will pour in, and recruitment will go up.  Then we could start to see larger-scale attacks in America."
He continued, "We know they already have a stockpile of arms, and they are being used in gun-free zones with strict gun control laws.  So why would our government be calling on the targets of these terrorists to turn in their weapons?  That is insane.  It's like telling people not to inoculate themselves from a deadly virus going around when the people already have the vaccine in their hands.  It is the only way people will be able to protect themselves from terrorists who are already armed."

His advice for citizens is twofold: "If any politician in office or running for it says we need more gun control, kick them out immediately.  They are undermining the Second Amendment, a constitutional right to defend ourselves from all enemies foreign and domestic.  Also, arm yourselves. Law enforcement can take twenty minutes to get to a crime scene.  By that time, the damage is done.  People need to carry.  They need to learn how to properly use a gun and how to practice gun safety.  The government is not going to be there to protect soft targets.  They cannot possibly be everywhere."

It's time for America to stop listening to biased airwaves and political pandering and start listening to those in the military intelligence community.  The reporter will only be there to report the crime and improve viewership, and the politician will use it for his bid in an election.  Listen to the people who have risked their lives to protect American civilians – veterans like Anthony Mele.
- Turboprop light attack aircraft like the AT-6 Coyote or A-29 Super Tucano require a less constrained basing structure and much less logistical support than their fast jet counterparts. Fully armed, they carry the same bombload as an F-16 with three external fuel tanks, while gaining roughly twice the unrefeueled endurance.

They can operate from rough fields and are comparative fuel-sippers. The engines are highly reliable and resistant to foreign object damage.

Importantly, they use the same weapons and tactics as modern fighter/attack aircraft, capable of aerial gunnery, rocket employment and release of a variety of precision bombs. Today, every Air Force and Navy pilot receives flight training in the T-6 Texan II, making them familiar with low wing turboprops in this class.
- But in a more balanced fight — such as versus Soviet armored columns in a European blitzkrieg — the results would have been very different. Not only would the Soviets come with better tactics, they’d have more heavily-armored tanks. The Pentagon was painfully aware that M-72’s rockets would bounce off those tanks’ frontal shielding.

That’s why, in May 1977, the U.S. Army hired the Brunswick Corporation — a large manufacturer that started off making pool tables and bowling balls in 19th century — to design a whole new weapon. Brunswick’s California-based defense division would refine the design of a spherical rocket dubbed the Rifleman’s Assault Weapon, or RAW.

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

Cheesy Tomato Based Pasta Recipe, Adding Subtitles to Video Files, and More

This is the latest in my series on quick, easy, and tasty meals:   http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2018/08/cheapeasyhealthy-tomato-based-pa...