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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Social Engineering/Manipulation, Rigging Elections, and More

We recently had an election locally and I noticed how they were handing out 'How To Vote' cards which made me wonder. How much social engineering and manipulation do we experience each day/throughout our lives (please note, that all of the results are basically from the first few pages of any publicly available search engine)?
- think about the education system and the way we're mostly taught to learn by rote. On the one hand it gives us 'base knowledge'. On the other hand, it stops us from learning about alternative perspectives. Look at our history books. Most of the time they are 'sanitised' of anything that may paint ourselves (or others) in an unfavourable light. It's not really censorship but it definitely stops a lot of people from bridging the gap and to help build understanding
- go an election and you'll notice that you are prompted on how to vote via 'how to vote' cards which basically facilitate construction of a power structure which enhances the particular perspective of a particular group
- by rigging the system in certain ways you produce certain results (although no obvious on first inspection). For instance, in many Eurozone countries that have been suffering from issues with banking and employment difficulties there has been a direct correlation between this and criminal behaviour (lower employment equals higher crime, etc...). Ironically, if you build a fairer legitimate system it reduces the likelihood of a larger illegitimate system
- people accuse politicians of being dumb but it's the exact same thing in the opposite direction. Hence, the need to 'spin' things at times
- it's obvious that advertising plays a huge role nowadays and it has had a long history. Give the success of eBay one wonders just exactly how much stuff we would buy with more (or less) advertising? Would capitalism collapse without advertising or would it simply be more localised? People have altered their own behaviour to buy only when there are sales so stores effectively have some form of sale all year around
- if you watch enough foreign media you'll always hear accusations about other country's media being biased. They're right. Watch media on the exact same topic in two different, opposing countries and you'll be shocked to discover the difference in perspective. It's only at that point does the desire for a defensive measure such as proxies/firewalls make more sense
China's Internet Censorship Explained
How Russians view anti-Russian propaganda in the Western media
Proof of US Media Censorship - RT interview redacted to fit agenda
Media Censorship & False Flags _ Interview with James Corbett
Mainstream media self-censorship
Congress censors Arab news media
Social Media Censorship in Iran, Australia, and Germany
'Looks like censorship' Barclays freeze Russian media agency's account
Bruce Schneier on Jeep hack and encryption
[410] Black Hat 2015 - Are cities hackable
Obama Slips Up - 'We're Training ISIL'
- some PSYOPS/progaganda is easy to cut through (ask the right question and the whole thing falls open. Don't fall into the trap of swapping one group's PSYOPS/propaganda for another groups) but other stuff is just layers upon layers of it making an accurate assessment much more difficult. Whether by accident or design we've literally brain washed ourselves. From the way we condition our children, to our schooling, to our hierarchal structures, the way we've set things up makes it difficult to avoid certain circumstances, etc... That said, external conflict is preferable to internal conflict which is one of the areas which seems to get missed by a lot of alternative media outlets?
Keiser Report - Oh my God, Brexit (E936)
Russophobia in Kiev, in Brussels, in Washington Stephen F. Cohen
Great 'CrossTalk' on Russophobia in the West
- spend an extended period watching Russian media and it becomes obvious why it's so difficult for them to break through to others. Their perspective of the world is based largely on their history and that history is full of horrific acts which have ended up requiring 'strong leadership'. In this respect, Putin is the perfect choice for Russia. Somewhat similar perspective to previous (good) Tsars of Russia. That said, while this may work internally it can be immensely off putting for those who are new to it. Watch US and Russian media side by side and it becomes obvious that Russian media can be almost depressing at times (I know this phenomenon and have seen it amongst people who feel like the world against them? It's almost like a bitter, irony?). It's almost as though they are waiting for a catastrophe to occur. One of the interesting things in these videos is the politicisation of religion. It feels as though the Russians used religion to bind society (though much can be said of other religions such as Islam). Another thing which you always think about is whether or not people are interpreting religion in a way that suits us? For instance, Rome had a overpopulation problem at the time... Jesus would have been the ideal role model either (accident or not) way because he was single (remained that way), didn't want for much (Rome had severe economic issues at the time), and dedicated his life to God (there are alternate Gospels for the life of Jesus but we've ended with a 'sanitised version'. Without doing extensive research it's difficult to know the truth. Similar with Islam whereupon the Koran came out much later after Muhammad had 'revelations')
Kingdoms of Russia - The Tsars
A History of Russia (Tsars and Revolutions)
The Historical Background of Russia's Foreign Policy - Russia Insider
- one of the things that's very interesting about the Russian and Western perspective is the interplay between religion and state. It's clear that they have a very different interpretation of what life should be like. Fundamentally, the problem has it's roots deep in our national histories. Owing to these differences we have very different perspectives of how life should work?
EXCLUSIVE - Putin smashes British PM - Cameron's Claim That Russia Was Interested in Brexit Groundless
- other perspectives always interesting particular in respect to 'globalism' which many of the 'elite' seemed to be fascinated with. Trust of governments and satisfaction with life is gradually heading towards zero... Open admission at times that they're basically paying to run things? One interesting this about hierarchal structures for me is that they help to deal with larger problems that impact upon everyone to keep a check that things are sustainable. Difficult but still possible in flatter structures
- look at our food. Stimulants and drugs are now liberally distributed across a large chunk of what we consume. I wonder what the consumption level of Coca-Cola and tobacco cigarettes would be if they didn't have caffeine and nicotine in them?
- movies and television
- we doom ourselves to repeat historical mistakes because we always want to forget about it. For instance, look in text books in different countries in the South China Seas dispute or the nature of the Israeli/Palestine issue. All different
- how many times do we have to cover for others or others to ourselves whether in our personal or professional lives?
- our financial markets are somewhat 'rigged'
- despite what we say, it's obvious that kids probably get dragged into the marketing arena unfairly? At times, I wonder whether it not it leads to cohesion problems? For instance, does market segmentation, targeting, and advertising lead to flawed friendships based on a more material basis?

There have recently been some accusation of US election rigging. I've been curious about this myself. In any case, if the elections are being rigged (personally don't care either way as long as they're decent candidates and especially given how good and bad decisions by the US can impact upon other nations) surely it goes back to the system on display? A 'democratic deficit'? Anyhow, some of the methods likely used:
- systemic corruption. For instance, rig it in favour of people by changing rules and regulations on who can run, where electoral boundaries are set, etc...
[104] Stanford Study Sees Election Fraud, Fox News Beyond Laughable, Muhammad Ali Whitewashed
- during the counting phase. Much easier in the world of electronics and computing
NASA computer programmer confesses to election rigging software
[97] Election Fraud Special Report! (You Won't Believe This)
[106] Election Fraud Lawsuit, DNC Rejects Bernie Platform, Racist Algorithm Imprisons People
- as indicted in my last post, it seems as tough most people already know which way they will vote. In reality, depending on the locality it may not take much (in the way of resources) to swing an election
- people are biased therefore media is biased unless they have genuine training to remove the bias from the system itself? This of course, doesn't cover the issue of systemic media bias. There are literally groups of websites out there (doesn't matter what country) that clearly have a strong agenda (try to be honest with yourself)...
[103] Corporate Media Has Complete Collapse Over Hillary Nomination, Hillary’s Lawsuit & More
Operation Mockingbird : CIA & The Media
20/20 Hindsight: Censorship on the Frontline
- certain candidates are clearly dissuaded from running if they are deemed to be running in contravention to national interests? (not certain how wide spread this is though and how well this is working seeing as there are some very awkward politicians in the national and international scene at the moment)
Google Will Steal This Election & How - Dr. Robert Epstein Interview [ep 7]
- remember that Bush elections and how 'lawfare' was used to re-count until they got the result they wanted and how similar things have happened in the EU? The security of the actual devices counting the results have been put under scrutiny and have been found to be questionable at times
- bribe (or suppress) individuals when choosing to vote. This is particularly pertinent in areas where people are likely to vote in a known way
- attempts at government coups by internal as well as external threats/agents. This includes funding proxies that are favourable to a particular cause or else roping in volunteers (I myself have had people contact me regarding campaigning and policy making in the US a few times for some strange reason? I heard a similar story in SMH recently as well regarding this very phenomenon)
A Very Russian Coup (documentary)
BRICS Under Attack - Soft Coup in Brazil, US Proxies Move Against ANC in South Africa
- it's often been said that 'money means power'. This ultimately means that without a certain amount of capital it is unrealistic to make a run to for a seat in politics whether as a senator or as a head of state. This means that by necessity politicians need to pay attention to particular groups and interests. This problem is being made worse by slowing global economic growth. That said, it's still one vote for each person and nobody wants to make life worse for themselves?
- false runners. Namely, people who can take a chunk of the vote and skew results (accusation that been made of Trump. Not sure how true this is. We'll see...)
- fake or real scandals, threats and intimidation, vandalism, disinformation, etc... In the case of disinformation, if the polling results prior to the actual poll are consistently wrong then candidates/parties will deploy resources in improperly leading to places of no consequence. One of the most interesting type of operations are ones where you provide the bait for operations which lead to known consequences but they have to go for it themselves. Quite a few of these around when you look deep enough
Hacker Releases MORE Hillary Clinton Memos
Media Censorship & False Flags _ Interview with James Corbett
- as with most people don't really care if they rig elections (as long as they're not completely out of their depth) but I'm not quite certain how the final two US candidates are so much better than other possible candidates that may be out there? I would want a reason to vote for them?

Random Thoughts:
- for those with slower computers or network limitations the only real solution is to download/proxify videos prior to playing them (some websites allow this already provided you register). The irony is that most browsers do this anyhow. For instance, go to the temporary download folder in many browsers and you'll notice that if you hit the play button there will be a file which seems to grow much larger then the others. Provided you have an adequate video player (VLC works fine most of the time) you can just open it from there... Alternatively, there are a lot of browser plugins/addons, network capture utilities, etc... which allow you to do the same thing. Note, these files normally get deleted automatically and regularly at some point down the line
- lots of different aircraft carrier designs out there. Always been curious about the design differences and how they impact upon getting the job done
- had to deal with a lower quality audio interface recently. Apparently, noise was getting through via unclean power supply, other devices, etc...
Noob needing help with strange interference please!
- lots of free Ableton Template files out there for those who aren't certain about how to structure modern EDM music or else are just looking to speed up the process of production
W. A. Production
ableton progressive house template free
free ableton template
free ableton template site:ableton.com
abletonshare template download link
edm midi song midi clips
ableton construction templates
Ableton Live Techs Holidays House Free Project.zip
edm midi sample files free
- there are templates out to allow Maschine hardware usage with Ableton software
NI Maschine Ableton Template
- average singer has a range of around 1 or 2 octaves. Professional generally go from 2-4 octaves
- given that they've dug up and upgraded some old Soviet naval ships I wonder how many salvageable items of military equipment Russia has?
- had this with various systems from time to time. I just used cardboard shims
- one of the interesting things about Russia (and many parts of the former USSR) is that a lot of the same people are still operating in basically the same positions and have the same perceptions of one another. Things have changed (and have not)
Russian foreign intelligence headquarters has doubled in size since 2007
the whole Clinton email scandal is just too bizarre for words. It doesn't matter whether it's an honest mistake, dis-information, etc... It just doesn't seem believable at times?
Clinton hid 1000s of emails, put classified data on her server... but shouldn't be charged - FBI
‘The Clintons believe they are above the law’ - Hillary in hot water over email scandal
- if you build a cheap, large network of small RADAR systems you can use it similar to the way in which triangulation is used in cell phone tracking? Otherwise, similar to earlier idea of mine. If they can be used as cheap network they can double as decoys as well as functional parts of your defense, you get them (5th Gen/Stealth aircraft) to expend their armament so that you can attack their logistical/supply train (refueling or long range airborne RADAR such as AWACS) or otherwise chase them down when they are no longer armed...
- keep on covering the same territory. If I recall correctly the USSR/Russians had this capability since the Buran (upgraded clone/copy of the US Space Shuttle) which was remotely operated/tested at times several decades back?
- some CLI based newsreaders out there. Not many though
news aggreator open source
cli based news aggreator open source

Some recent interesting media quotes:
- The fact is, if it wasn’t for Syria, the Crimea, and some ageing warheads, Russia would get as much global attention as Slovakia or perhaps Wales. Not coincidentally, those are two nations that recently played Russia in the ongoing European soccer championship. In both cases, the results were resounding defeats for the Russians despite their opponents being one-twentieth and one-fortieth its size, respectively. In spite of these resounding defeats, which have relegated them to the bottom of the league tables, the Russian team, and its fans, still dominated the news.

When we talk about the Eurocup, we talk about Russian hooligans rioting in the stands, attacking other spectators, and even assaulting tourists on the trains home. Or we marvel at the belligerent response from Moscow when Igor Lebedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian parliament and a senior official in the Russian soccer official tweeted “I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting. Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”

Lebedev understands a lesson that has been well taught by Putin: If you can’t compete on the field, make as much noise as you can off it. Russia is so far behind economically, technologically, socially, and politically, it just doesn’t matter anymore. But it can still get our attention, and it is.

When Russia next moves its tanks to the border, we should take it seriously. It has a lot of tanks (although less than Pakistan). But we should also remember that this is not a world power. By most indicators, it’s not even a middle power. Russia is a soccer hooligan: poor, drunk, and frustrated it can’t win anymore. It can only throw beer bottles from the bleachers.
- If Soviet tanks had invaded the Persian Gulf in the late 1940s, the U.S. and Britain had a plan.

Blow up the oil fields. Possibly by detonating nuclear weapons.

Declassified documents show that Anglo-Americans were so pessimistic in the early days of the Cold War about their chances of defending the Middle East, that they resolved to destroy the oil fields rather than let them fall into Soviet hands, according to writer Steve Everly. In an article published in Politico, Everly describes how in 1948, as the Soviets were blockading Berlin, the Truman administration approved a plan in which American and British oil companies, such as Aramco (Arabian-American Oil Company) and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (an ancestor of today’s BP) would cooperate in the destruction of their own oil facilities. A Central Intelligence Agency operative told British oil-company representatives "how their production operations in those countries would in effect be transformed into a paramilitary force, trained and ready to execute the CIA’s plan in the event of a Soviet invasion," Everly writes.

The goal of the American plan "was to keep the Soviets from tapping Saudi Arabia’s oil and refined fuels for up to a year in the event of an invasion," according to Everly. "The plan would unfold in phases, starting with destruction of fuel stockpiles and disabling Aramco’s refinery. Selective demolitions would destroy key refinery components difficult for the Russians to replace. This would leave much of the refinery intact, making it easier for Aramco to resume production after the Soviets were ousted."

American oil companies provided the CIA with technical advice, while covert CIA agents were embedded in Aramco. The plan remained in effect through the Eisenhower and into the Kennedy years. However, by the advent of the Eisenhower administration in 1953, the oil companies on both sides of the Atlantic were having second thoughts, fearful of economic losses and what would happen if the Arab nations in question discovered their potential fate.

That fate could have included mushroom clouds over Tehran and Riyadh. Doubtful that sufficient British troops could be found to hold the oil fields or that air strikes would knock them out, "the most complete method of destroying oil installations would be by nuclear bombardment," concluded a study for the British Chiefs of Staff that the National Security Archive has made available.

No one should be surprised by this scorched-earth plan. Had the Soviets invaded Western Europe during the Cold War, the U.S. would quite possibly—if not probably—have unleashed nuclear weapons to stop them. If Washington could turn Germany and France into radioactive rubble, then it could the Arabian sands into glass.
- "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."
- "Every experiment, ... that has a sensual and selfish aim, will fail. … As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions.

... Our riches will leave us sick; there will be bitterness in our laughter, and our wine will burn our mouth.

Only that good profits which we can taste with all doors open, and which serves all men." 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- "We can't go on like before," Juppe said on Europe 1 radio. "We need to write a new chapter for Europe."

Juppe called the British referendum vote to leave the EU "an historic shock for Great Britain," adding that the EU needed urgently to show it could control immigration along its borders and relaunch growth to keep the confidence voters among its other members.

"I think it would be the biggest error to let people believe that as 27 (remaining countries) we can continue as before... We need a new page, a new chapter in the history of Europe because the messages are coming from everywhere, not just Great Britain," he said.

"There's an understandable disaffection with Europe. It seems like an incomprehensible bureaucratic machine incapable of getting growth and jobs going, incapable of controlling its borders."
- BEIJING (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday emphasized economic ties with China and praised what he called Russia's "all-embracing and strategic partnership" with its neighbor, during a visit to Beijing that takes place against the background of a drop in trade and lingering mistrust.

Putin told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that ties were based firmly on common economic interests, a reference to Russian hopes for Chinese investment and purchases of its oil, gas and military exports.

"Our relations really have the character of an all-embracing and strategic partnership," Putin told Li at the start of their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing.

While Russia and China are linked by cooperation on the international stage, as well as in culture, education and other spheres, "in one way or another, everything has an economic base," Putin said.

Leaders from both countries have extolled the blossoming strategic partnership between the former communist rivals, despite a major decline in two-way trade and the failure to materialize of a slew of ambitious projects.

Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing's hard-nosed bargaining position and the Kremlin's deep-seated suspicions about the growing might of China.

Putin later met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, to whom he said the people of both countries had a strong desire to "strengthen, develop our relations."
- China's developing space program took another major step forward on Saturday with the launch of its Long March 7 rocket, a new class of booster capable of lifting up to 13.5 metric tons to low-Earth orbit (LEO). The primary payload of the flight was a dummy version of its next-generation crew capsule and some CubeSats.

The 2018 mission is the latest in an ambitious lunar exploration program.

The launch highlighted several key advances for the rapidly modernizing Chinese rocket program. It marked the first launch from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, located on Hainan Island, the country's southernmost point. This allows better access to geostationary orbit for Chinese satellites. The Long March 7 also operates with kerosene and liquid oxygen fuels, rather than more environmentally dangerous hypergolic fuels used to power earlier launchers that were based on 1970s technology.

The new 53-meter Long March 7 rocket is the medium-class version of a new launch family that will also include Long March 5, a heavy lift launch system comparable to the Delta IV Heavy rocket, and Long March 6, a rocket that will launch small satellites into space. Developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the new fleet of vehicles will allow China to build and service a new space station, which may debut as early as 2022. The rocket launched Saturday is expected to deliver cargo resupply vehicles to China's space station.

The Long March 5 rocket's core stage is powered by two YF-100 engines, which China has been developing for more than a decade. The engine has a thrust of about 270,000 pounds at sea level, which is less than one of the space shuttle's main engines (418,000 lbf), but more than one of the Merlin 1D engines (190,000 lbf) used by SpaceX in its Falcon 9 rocket.
- While many American players considered Europe's top leagues as a place to develop their game, the added bonus was a larger financial incentive. The NBA's Development League typically only pays players in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 a year. In the past, European leagues would offer Americans contracts of $100,000 or more.

That money, it seems, is no more.

"There's always a perception around players, players' families, people around players, and maybe even the general public that 'if I don't make it, I'm going to leave school early and even if I don't make it in the NBA, there's a lot of money for me to make overseas'," said Wojnarowski.

"And I think the big contracts overseas, a lot of the money has dried up in a lot of countries in Europe."
- The United Engine Corp. has launched production of TV7-117V engines for the newest Mi-38 multi-purpose helicopter, as well as for the Ka-52 and Mi-28 attack helicopters. Previously, these rotorcrafts used engines made by Ukraine's Motor Sich plant.

The decision to design and produce Russia's own technology was made after the introduction of U.S. and EU sanctions and the complete rupture of military and technical cooperation between Russia and Ukraine in 2014. The original plan was to equip the latest Mi-38s with engines made by U.S. aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney for supplies to Russia's European and American partners.
- Russia’s government is discussing the most far-reaching measure yet to nudge businesses out of the shadow economy with a proposal to cut the payroll tax that employers pay on salaries.

The Finance Ministry has proposed lowering the levy while increasing the value-added tax, according to three officials who asked to remain unidentified because the deliberations aren’t public. One of the officials said the measure could help authorities collect about 30 percent of the amount of salaries companies pay in cash, which the Finance Ministry has estimated is costing the government as much as 2 trillion rubles ($30.7 billion) a year in lost taxes.
- The Air Force is going to shrink over the next five years. This is the result of the structure changes annouced on Mar. 10, follwing the FY15 President’s Budget announced on Mar. 4.

The plan is going to axe some 500 aircraft across the inventories of all three components, reshaping the Air Force as “a smaller and more capable force […] that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries” according to SecDef Chuck Hagel.

The reduction will affect squadrons based in 25 States and the District of Columbia; units based abroad will suffer minor cuts, in order to maintain a significant overseas presence. Nevertheless, Osan airbase in South Korea, will lose its A-10s, while RAF Lakenheath, in UK, will probably have to give away a whole squadron.

Over the next 5 years, along with the about 340 A-10s and 33 U-2s, the “adjustment” will cut about 70 F-15Cs, 119 MQ-1 drones, 6 E-8 Joint Stars planes, 7 E-3 AWACS, and 7 EC-130 Compass Call aircraft; such aircraft will be partially replaced by some upgraded F-16s, made available as new F-35s replace them, and 36 MQ-9 Reaper drones,  while all the remaining fleets will (more or less) be upgraded.
- But the reconstitution of old Hornets reflects an arguably more serious crisis for Marine aviation. In the late 1990s, the Marines chose not to adopt the second-generation F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that the Navy was developing as a bridge from older planes to the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which at the time was scheduled to begin entering front-line service as early as 2006.

Reasoning that they couldn’t afford the Super Hornet and the JSF, the Marines decided to operate their existing F/A-18s, AV-8B Harriers and EA-6B Prowlers without replacement until the F-35 was ready. In short, the Marines bet their whole tactical aviation future on the JSF.

It was a bad bet. Design, management and quality-control problems delayed the F-35’s service debut by nearly a decade, forcing older planes to serve even longer than the Marines had planned. Moreover, the JSF’s problems added tens of millions of dollars to the cost of each JSF, compelling the military to cut maintenance funds in order to avoid huge spikes in overall budgets.

“The cost of extending the lives of current fighter aircraft and acquiring other major weapon systems, while continuing to produce and field new F-35 aircraft, poses significant affordability risks in a period of austere defense budgets,” the Government Accountability Office warned in March 2016.

The combination of longer service lives and less maintenance resulted in a perfect storm for the Marines’ tactical air fleet. In April 2016, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis — the Marines’ deputy commandant for aviation — told the U.S. Senate that just 87 of the Corps’ 276 Hornets were flightworthy — a mere 32 percent.

The Marines say they need 58 percent of the F/A-18s to be ready for flight in order to have enough planes for combat operations, basic flight instruction and day-to-day training at the squadron level. After assigning 40 Hornets to combat deployments and 30 of the twin-engine, twin-tail fighters to the dedicated training squadron, the Corps discovered it had just 17 F/A-18s available for squadron-level training at eight units.

Clearly, that’s not enough. “I am concerned with our current readiness rates, both in equipment and personnel,” Davis wrote in the Marines’ most recent annual report on its aviation capabilities.

Hence the effort to pull old Hornets from the boneyard. Boeing selects the airframes and ships them to its facility at Cecil Field in Florida, where its engineers repair them, boosting their service lives from 6,000 hours to 8,000 — adequate for at least another 10 years of moderate use. Boeing also upgrades the old fighters to the F/A-18C+ standard, with new cockpit displays, radar enhancements and the Link-16 datalink.

“They’re expecting a combat-capable aircraft on delivery,” Bill Maxwell, a Boeing manager at Cecil Field, said of the Marines. Boeing said it expects to have delivered a total of six reconstituted Hornets by September 2016.
- Today, as in the first half of the 17th Century, some nations and non-state actors are seeking to use instruments of political and economic coercion and even direct military force in ways that exploit weaknesses or gaps in the existing international system. What military and political analysts refer to as asymmetric, hybrid or gray zone warfare is not particularly new. It is merely pre-Westphalian. But this is why it is so dangerous. The type of aggression practiced by Russia, China, North Korea and Iran strikes at the heart of the political and legal order that arose as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia.

It may well be that future historians will mark 2016 as the polar opposite of 1648: the year that the modern international order began to collapse. Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine in order to prevent it from beginning the process of membership in the European Union probably marked the end of the effort to create a Europe whole and free. Britain’s vote to exit the European Union now starts the process of disintegration. Yes, there are still 27 nations in the European Union and Britain will still be closely connected to the rest of the Continent. But yesterday’s vote was in many ways a clear, even visceral, statement that the international system is failing.
- "The country has been breeding bludgers," he says.

"I truly believe, 100 per cent that Australia has lost its hard work ethic," Makris says.

"Too many people are looking for a lifestyle. They want to go to Byron Bay and those sort of places and sit in the sun all day."
- Many say that without Ukraine Russia cannot be an empire. This is true, to a point. Conversely, however, Russia’s elite and much of its public believes that Russia can never be secure if Ukraine becomes a hostile nation and particularly if it joins a hostile alliance. Russian leaders have already seen how NATO’s new members have changed the character of the alliance in its dealings with Moscow. A NATO influenced by not only Poland and the Baltic states, but also Ukraine, may form an existential threat for Moscow. This in turn would place both Ukraine’s and NATO’s security in terrible jeopardy—a development that America should seek to avoid.

Relations between the two sides have deteriorated to dangerous levels. It’s in the U.S. national interest to explore better relations with Russia from a position of strength, something that will require both patience and realism in acknowledging that the effort may not succeed. If Moscow refuses to oblige, Washington should do whatever is necessary to protect its interests. Since this is likely to be risky and costly, it should not be America’s first choice.
- Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.

At a recent meeting of U.S. ambassadors from Russia and Europe in Washington, U.S. ambassadors to several European countries complained that Russian intelligence officials were constantly perpetrating acts of harassment against their diplomatic staff that ranged from the weird to the downright scary. Some of the intimidation has been routine: following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited or paying reporters to write negative stories about them.

But many of the recent acts of intimidation by Russian security services have crossed the line into apparent criminality. In a series of secret memos sent back to Washington, described to me by several current and former U.S. officials who have written or read them, diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.

In Moscow, where the harassment is most pervasive, diplomats reported slashed tires and regular harassment by traffic police. Former ambassador Michael McFaul was hounded by government-paid protesters, and intelligence personnel followed his children to school. The harassment is not new; in the first term of the Obama administration, Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attache in Moscow and killed his dog, according to multiple former officials who read the intelligence reports.
- One electorate where the issue is biting is New England where Tony Windsor is attempting to make a comeback by unseating Barnaby "265Mbps" Joyce. The issue is such a hot potato there, that Mike Quigley, the first chief of NBN Co, is now assisting Windsor who made his preference clear when he said: "Do it once, do it right, do it with fibre."

In many ways, the NBN is like the British referendum on leaving the European Union. A great many people, who would like to have the fastest possible broadband if told of the very real benefits of the technology, will end up voting for a party that is stuck in a 100Mbps rut. The reason: they do not know the upside of gigabit connections and the government isn't planning to educate them.

The day after the vote to leave the EU, there were people trying to find out what the EU was, while others searched for sites that would explain the implications of the leave vote. Something like people who wake up in the morning and regret having indulged themselves the previous night and done something really stupid.

There is no morning after pill to nullify an election verdict. Three years of a Coalition government will ensure one thing as far as the NBN goes: buffering.
- "Turkey had been going through a deep sense of isolation for the past few years, having switched from its famous 'zero problems with neighbors' policy to a place where they had no neighbors without problems,” Asli Aydintasbas at the European Council on Foreign Relations tells The New York Times. "This was the loneliest point in the history of the republic — Qatar and Saudi Arabia looking like the government's only real friends." Erdogan is also dealing with a domestic insurgency and economic downturn, she added. "At the core of the decision to mend ties with Israel and Russia is an existential need for survival." Peter Weber
- During the experiment, human test subjects were placed in specially designed, darkened space known as a Faraday cage, where they were then exposed to a cycle of magnetic fields similar to the Earth’s.

Through EEG testing, Kirschvink was able to witness repeated active brain responses to the presence of a magnetic field - a consistent reaction which up until now has reportedly eluded the scientific community.

Speaking to Science Mag, Kirschvink said the sense, which happens unconsciously, is “part of our evolutionary history.”

He plans to replicate his findings in the Southern Hemisphere, having already repeated the experiment successfully in California and Tokyo.
- VANCOUVER, June 27 (Reuters) - China CITIC Bank Corp Ltd has launched a Canadian lawsuit to try to seize the assets of a Chinese citizen the bank claims took out a multi-million dollar loan in China then fled to Canada, the lender's Vancouver-based lawyer said on Monday.

The bank is looking to seize numerous Vancouver-area homes, valued at some C$7.3 million ($5.58 million), along with other assets, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Friday.

The defendant, Shibiao Yan, owns three multi-million dollar properties in a Vancouver suburb and lives in a C$3 million Vancouver home owned by his wife, according to court documents.

China is in the midst of a massive corruption crackdown and has stepped up efforts to find fugitives it says are hiding stolen assets abroad. The lawsuit comes amid a debate about the role foreign money, particularly from China, has played in Vancouver's property boom.
- "Today, to get any kind of secret paper, with the top-secret info – that's nothing," he said. "It is essential to penetrate into the brains of those who are leading the countries."

And to penetrate the brains of foreign leaders – to predict your adversary's next move — Trubnikov says only human intelligence works. Meaning, traditional espionage.

"An intelligence officer must grow up to the level of Michelangelo," he said.

What does Michelangelo have to do with a modern Russian spy? Trubnikov's answer: the best spy is a Renaissance man.

"He has to have in his brain an encyclopedia. He cannot today be a very narrow specialist. To get information, very, very delicate information. This is the task of an intelligence officer."
- According to an interview with Public Radio International, Tricia Jenkins, author of The CIA in Hollywood, says that the CIA “developed a think tank to fight communist ideology, which negotiated the rights to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ – getting a talking pig on the screen 20 years before ‘Charlotte’s Web.’” The agency pressed for “line changes in 1950s scripts to make black characters more dignified, and white characters more tolerant” in order to promote “an attractive image of America to a world picking sides in the Cold War.”

In 1996, PRI reports, the CIA employed a Hollywood liaison. Chase Brandon was the cousin of actor Tommy Lee Jones, a relationship that lent the agency a great number of valuable Hollywood connections. After Brandon was brought on, Jenkins explains, the portrayal of the CIA changed:

“Before the 1990s, in films like ‘Three Days of the Condor’, the CIA was portrayed as evil, amoral assassins, or sometimes buffoons, like Max on the TV show ‘Get Smart’.”

“Now,” Jenkins told PRI, “it’s a much more favorable presentation. Frequently being depicted as a moral organization that is highly efficient. It rarely makes mistakes, it’s needed more than ever.”

PRI reports that some of the productions that had received support from the CIA since the 1990s included The Sum of All Fears. Television productions such as 24, Homeland, and Alias, which ran in the 2000s, also received CIA guidance and input. Uglier Hollywood portraits have also been produced without the CIA consent, such asSyriana, which was developed with the help of former agents.

Once Feinstein’s and Burr’s amendment, along the Intelligence Authorization bill, is voted on by the Senate, we may know more about the relationship between Hollywood and the CIA. However, a review date is yet to be scheduled.
- According to Cringely, when Gates reached the cashier, he began to fish in his pockets, searching for something. It was about midnight and the other people behind him became restive, with one finally asking him what was going on. Gates responded that he was looking for a 50-cents-off coupon.

Finally, the next shopper in line got fed up and threw down two quarters which Gates took and used to pay for his butter pecan ice cream. As he left the store, his benefactor shouted out "pay me back when you earn your first million."

Other shoppers shook their heads; they all knew it was Gates who at that time, in 1990, was worth in excess of US$3 billion.

That is the prevalent culture at Microsoft and it is doubtful whether it will ever change. It is a culture that puts money above everything else, even when the company's image is at stake.
- The best thing that the United States government could do with regard to Venezuela, regardless of political outcomes there, would be to end its intervention there.

Washington has caused enormous damage to Venezuela in its relentless pursuit of “regime change” for the last 15 years. In March, President Obama once again absurdly declared Venezuela to be an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” and extended economic sanctions against the country. Although the sanctions themselves are narrow, they have a considerable impact on investment decisions, as investors know what often happens to countries that Washington targets as an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security. The sanctions, as well as pressure from the U.S. government, helped convince major financial institutions not to make otherwise low-risk loans, collateralized by gold, to the Venezuelan government.

Washington was involved in the short-lived 2002 military coup against the elected government of Venezuela, and the U.S. government acknowledged providing “training, institution building and other support to individuals and organizations” who carried out the coup. Afterwards, it stepped up funding to opposition groups and has continued to this day to give them millions of dollars. In 2013, Washington was again isolated in the region and the world when it refused to recognize the presidential election results (even though there was no doubt about the outcome); the U.S. thereby lent its support to violent street protests that were seeking to topple the government. Washington gave political support to similar efforts in 2014.

All this is well-documented and well-known to journalists covering Venezuela, but try finding one at a major news outlet who has the courage to write about it. It’s a bit like reporting on Ukraine and never mentioning Russia.

U.S. intervention in Venezuela, as in other countries, has contributed to political polarization and conflict over the years, as it encouraged elements of the opposition at numerous junctures to also pursue a strategy of regime change, rather than seeking peaceful political change.

A switch to a policy of non-intervention in Venezuela would be a sea change for Washington, and would set a healthy precedent. After all, the world is awash in bloodshed and refugees as a result of the U.S. pursuit of “regime change” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries. Why not try something different in the Western Hemisphere?
- Human resources (HR) has a very important role in finding, training and retaining talent:

    Attract and retain the best talent – Plan and match skill levels to project pipeline and requirements to recruit and onboard the right people.
    Operate on a strategic level – Use integrated perspective of HR, finance and projects to extend influence beyond human resources functions.
    Respond with agility – Make changes to the model and execute new organisational structures, processes and reporting without coding.
    Nurture and develop employees – Ensure comprehensive support for all aspects of your hire-to-retire cycle and payroll processes.
- What exactly is it that handicaps Turnbull from changing course on the NBN and putting all those who are still unconnected on a full fibre diet? I don't think Turnbull believes in the multi-technology mix that is his party's policy any more than he believes in its policy on same-gender marriage.

Why does the nation have to be held hostage to last year's technology because of Luddites in the Liberal and National ranks? These are folk who say they are pro-business. Yet businesses large and small who disagree on most things are united on one fact: fast broadband can only be a enabler.

If truth be told, I am tired of trying to point out the bleeding obvious: if you have a Porsche, you can drive it at 60kmph when needed. But if you have a Toyota Prius you can't hit 200kmph. Why is the Coalition forcing everyone to limit themselves to the lower end of the spectrum, especially when making changes after the job is done is going to cost an arm and a leg?

On the morning after Brexit, many people awoke and wondered what the hell they had done by voting to leave the European Union. It is good to remind ourselves that the saddest words in human history have always been, "It could have been different."
- According to Vice News, which broke the story, Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the organisation itself are listed as terrorists.

British Liberal Democrat politician Maajid Nawaz, who runs a counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, also figures in the terrorism category.

Former World Bank and Bank of England advisor Mohamed Iqbal Asaria is a third prominent individual to figure among those associated with terrorism.

iTWIre contacted Thomson Reuters for its reaction. The company responded: "Thomson Reuters was yesterday alerted to out-of-date information from the World-Check database that had been exposed by a third party.

"We are grateful to Chris Vickery for bringing this to our attention, and immediately took steps to contact the third party responsible - as a result we can confirm that the third party has taken down the information.

"We have also spoken to the third party to ensure there will be no repetition of this unacceptable incident."

On its website Thomson Reuters describes the World-Check database as "the gold standard in PEP (politically exposed people) monitoring, AML (anti-money laundering) screening and financial crime control. Through its extensive negative media research it acts as an early warning system for hidden risk".

It says further that "25% of World-Check data is derived from information on sanctions, watch or regulatory and law enforcement lists. The remaining 75% consists of PEP information as well as individuals and entities not found on official lists, but who instead are reported to be connected to sanctioned parties, or reported to have been investigated for, or convicted of engaging in, financial crime related activities."
- “The mind, placed before any kind of difficulty, can find an ideal outlet in the absurd. Accommodation to the absurd readmits adults to the mysterious realm inhabited by children.” – AndrĂ© Breton
- Instead of inviting outside investors to execute state-financed rescues, the Bank of Russia is working on a draft law to create a fund to bail out, recapitalize and sell failed banks in the market, Governor Elvira Nabiullina told a financial congress in St. Petersburg on Thursday. Under the proposed rules to be submitted to parliament during its autumn session, the regulator will oversee the whole process, she said.

“The Bank of Russia is ready to take on more responsibility for the results of the cleanups, acting not only as the main source of financing -- like now -- but also as the main organizer of the process,” Nabiullina said.

Nabiullina is escalating her battle with banks deemed mismanaged or under-capitalized as part of her campaign to clamp down on dubious capital transactions and improve lending practices. After studying recent bailouts in Russia, the central bank found that the cleanups were costing more than estimated, the governor said.

Banks selected to help revive troubled lenders weren’t always investing in them or developing their businesses and sometimes dumped bad assets onto their balance sheets, Nabiullina said. The new rules will require that the fund can’t let banks’ financial health deteriorate under their watch, she said.

- 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...