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Monday, February 13, 2017

Life in Syria, Why the JSF isn't Worth It, and More

Given what has happened wanted to see what has been happening inside Syria:
- complicated colonial history with both British and French. Has had limited conflict with some of it's neighbours including Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. Has obviously had trouble with internal political dissent from time to time. Clear that the conflict inside of Syria is 'complicated'
syria history
Syria profile - Timeline
Russian naval battle group returns from Syria mission in the Mediterranean
Battle for Deir ez-Zor airport - Syrian army repels ISIS assault
3 Turkish soldiers accidentally killed in Russian airstrike in Syria, Moscow confirms
- it's impossible to gauge the economy because of the war that is currently on which has resulted in sanctions on the country... We'll have to go on a mix on what has happened before and now. Main industries for economy of Syria are agriculture, oil, industry and services. Main train partners are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, UAE, Iran, China, and Libya. Smallish economy and population... Has economy that feels to be typical of region. Semi-managed with some liberal aspects
syria economy
- can't really get a good handle here because of the state of things inside of the country... Mostly Arabic based media. Limited freedom (though that seems to be the case when they're trying to rebuild stability)
syria media
- obviously, the place has been demolished. In spite of this life style seems to continue no matter who is currently running things (Assad, ISIS, Kurds,  etc...)? The impression that I get from local citizens is that once a time the place wasn't that much different from Europe? If you're honestly interested in what's happening in Syria you'll need to do your own legwork. It's clear that the same story can produce 'alternate facts/fake news' which means that either journalists are really slack or else they are politicising the situation. It's clear that the current conflict has a lot of players involved including other nation states, terrorist groups, internal political actors, etc...
life in syria
I’m Sameer from Damascus. Life in Syria’s capital through the lens of a local cameraman
Syria Before The War And After
Stolen childhood - Syrian children growing up with war
A day in the life of Syria's civil war - Truthloader
Syria - My Life Before the War
Exclusive report - Raqqa's Rebel, the Syrian woman who dared film life under the IS group
Life of a Syrian Family in Islahiye Camp, Turkey
Syria - The Syrian daily life
The War in Syria - Life in Idlib regains some normality with truce
War in Syria - how my life has changed
What Is Life Like In Aleppo, Syria
At Home in Zaatari - Life in a Syrian Refugee Camp
Caught on camera - Life under IS rule in Raqqa - Syria
- clear that it has allegiances with the former USSR and now Russia
Lavrov - It’s right to invite US to Syria talks in Astana
Inside Story - Can talks in Astana be a turning point to end the war in Syria
- one of the huge ironies of the Middle East is that whether you talk about an ally or not they seem to perceive the US/West as troublemakers?
- food is typical Middle Eastern food. Feel is slightly different and unique to Syria though. Definitely has a European influence to it
syria food recipes
- the Assad's are both clearly well educated and have spent time in the West. Find it very difficult to believe some of the stories about them. Some individuals and countries are saying that the war in Syria isn't about 'freedom and democracy', it's about geo-politics in the region? Russia is interested in running a pipeline through Syria. Iran is interested in maintaining a friendly neighbour. Israel is interested in breaking it down to weaken it and reduce it's threat to itself and also gaining the 'Golan Heights'. US is interested in created a new ally in the Middle East...
assad family
Assad - West is telling Russia that Syrian Army went too far in defeating terrorists (FULL INTERVIEW)
Syria Special - Is Assad winning, Amnesty Intl Allegations & MSM myth-busting (Going Undergroud)
Assad informs Japan, the Truth about Syria (1-19-17 Rare interview) in English
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad interview  _ November 15th 2016
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad interview _ February 7th 2017
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad interview _ October 6th 2016
Bashar al-Assad speaks to Swiss television
Bashar al-Assad Yahoo News Interview (full version) _ February  9th, 2017
Assad Pre War interview 2006, consistent as ever (60 Minutes)
Syria rejects Amnesty’s report of mass jail hanging
'The EU is supporting the terrorists in Syria from the very beginning' - Assad
EXCLUSIVE - Assad says some refugees are 'definitely' terrorists
Interview with the Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad _ October 18th 2016
- most interesting looking animal is probably the 'Marbled polecat'. The rest of the flora and fauna is interesting but not really that 'unique'
syria animals

On the JSF:
- if you're using it as a way of making money the numbers aren't really stacking up at the moment...
- the main reason why countries give up on wars is due to (air wars in particular) are due to significant pilot losses. Drones don't have pilots. The JSF definitely does and these pilots leave their bases from time to time, their bases sometimes lack good security, etc... If you read throughout history pilots have been a target for kidnapping, murder, extortion and blackmail, even on their own soil. Either way, the unmanned option looks better then the manned option especially when you factor in the fact that an unmanned drone can is cheaper, can achieve tighter maneuvers because they are machines and not biological in origin, are stealthier because no space is required in order to support a human, etc...
The Secret History of Silicon Valley
- the JSF makes no difference against the non-peer threats that the US/West faces. One could even argue that it is even detrimental because other weapons platforms can get the job done less expensively. What's the point in having aircraft that are more likely to bankrupt you in order to get the same job done? Moreover, people in the US/West are becoming generally disenchanted by their political systems. In the meantime billions of dollars are being spent on distant wars so that a tiny few can profit. The enemies of the US/West are even saying that they'll leave them alone if leave other parts of the world alone (Taliban in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc...). If they've been fighting for continuously since 9/11 and haven't been making any inroads how does this change the equation?
- the US generally has a history of not necessarily backing it's allies to the extent that it would want when it doesn't suit it's needs. Highly centralised, computerised systems (such as ALIS which is integral to the JSF projet) such do this to any potential purchaser of the JSF. Unless you are a 'core partner' I'd try to have a backup plan in case the interests of the US and your state 'diverge' at some point... Purchase of the JSF or any US equipment effectively forces you into a de-facto alliance with them (for good or worse)

He said there was a better chance of resolving the escalating conflict through diplomacy. 

He reiterated his earlier statement that the United States could not be relied upon to defend the Philippines if an armed confrontation n developed with China. 
“America will not die for us,” Duterte said, pointing out the US did not lift a finger when China was building structures recently on the disputed islands. “Now they’re there. [The US] allowed them to be finished,” he said. 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt: How long is America going to pretend, that the world is not at war? From Berlin, Rome and Tokyo, were have been described as a nation of weaklings and playboys who hire British or Russian, or Chinese soldiers, to do our fighting for us. We've been trained to think we're invincible, and our people think Hitler and his Nazi thugs are Europe's problem.
Pearl Harbor [2001] 
Pearl Harbor (2001) Quotes 
- given the size of the intelligence community in both Russia and the US (relative to their economy) you wonder just how important they are to their countries? Whether or not hybrid warfare is going to play a much larger role then conventional warfare (such as those likely to be fought by the JSF)
- pretty much everyone has concluded that the only genuine deterrent against the US/West are WMD such as 'nuclear weapons'. The JSF is unlikely to be a game changer against any state that is willing to deploy WMD such as nuclear weapons against the US/West especially in the day and age of stealth weapons, MIRV, mass decoys, hypersonic weapons, etc... which render any defensive capabilities such as missile shields completely useless. At the other end of the spectrum are players non-peer threats who are extremely annoying but can't really justify a full fledged conflict
Next Generation Chaff: Brite Cloud
- robotics is going to play an increasingly great role (we have much of the technology now anyhow). These are much cheaper then the JSF as well while doing the same role. You could argue that they can be jammed and that a human is required to get the job done. With the increasing advances in AI and guidance systems (this relates mostly to the genuine military powers. They often have guidance systems that are based on inertia, star systems, existing known EM phenomena, etc... A final fallback position for them is just manual navigation) this seems to be an irrelevant argument
- advances in optical, Quantum Entanglement, infra-red, long wavelength RADAR, stealth satellites, etc... based sensor systems renders the entire field of conventional stealth technology redundant especially when run in tandem with laser and particle weapons systems which can take out any incoming conventional projectile based weapon and any weapons delivery platform associated with it (such as the JSF)
Stealth weapons?
PLAF gets initial Su-35s
Can lift coefficient be stacked additively?
- the US/West in particular defines virtually everything as a threat even if it isn't which means that they may be spending money for nothing
- if it's honestly as good as they say it is then they won't need that many of them. That said, if it's anything like the B-2, F-22, F-117, V-22 Osprey, etc... and every other stealth aircraft before it will likely be the exact same and have a litany of problems related to cost (running and acquisition), reliability/availability (already having issues with this), etc... Stack on top of this greater computerisation and centralisation means that they can more easily be hacked and turned (think of the RQ-170 stealth drone which is one of the US's latest drones and which was successfully 'captured' by Iran). In a real war against a near peer threat you don't want something that is overly complex, likely to have reliability/availability issues, etc... The JSF (in it's current form) seems to epitomise all of these
- they never, ever should have turned defense into a purely money making exercise. The bigger it is the more difficult it is to maintain security (the only reason why the B-2, F-117 project were able to maintain their relative secrecy was because they were basically low scale, size projects but for the most part a lot of the secrets behind that technology has been found out by others if you look around, http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com/2015/10/defense-podcasts-mh17-background-jsf.html). Other countries have already stolen pretty much everything that is of any worth related to the JSF project. If they honestly want to save money, make certain that the 'core' of the project is as solid as possible. Then let other countries modify the aircraft to suit local/geographical conditions to save money and to make for a better aircraft itself
- there are heaps of methods/techniques against current stealth. Tactics against stealth are becoming better and better understood which is blunting their genuine ability to make an impact on the battlefield
- advances in long range weapons platforms which attack the backbone infrastructure required to push the JSF back are becoming more widespread. For instance, think about China and it's assortment of Anti-Ship Missile capabilities. Think about both Russia and China when it comes to weapons which have long reach and are designed to take out aircraft carriers, support ships, support aircraft such as the tankers, AWACS, airfields etc... which are required in order to extend the JSF's range. While it could be argued that drop tanks could be used the JSF would instantly lose it's stealth capability and would visible to most existing RADAR systems
- it's clear that part of the reason for so much of the mis-information against the JSF may be to figure out arguments against the project so that they can iron them out prior to deployment and things get of LIRP (Low Initial Rate Production)
- who the hell is the enemy? Obviously no one wants to be caught by surprise but it's clear that alternate power blocks are forming no matter what the US/West may want and everybody sees the logic having better relations with Russia and China. If relations are better between the US, EU, China, and Russia it's clear that the case for the JSF goes out the window and everyone can re-direct spending towards things that they need more (such as public infrastructure, education, healthcare, etc...)
Top Trump Adviser Has Shifting Views on Russia, Eurasia
- jack of all trades, master of none argument. Many different compromises had to be made to achieve the current form. We tried this in the past with projects such as the F-111 (which ultimately failed and there were only two purchasers for it. Namely, the US and Australia). This time things are slightly stranger still because of a single engine which has made the platform a lot less attractive for some other nations who want the reliability/redundancy that is inherent to a twin engine aircraft
- we've basically already tried the high end. If you're weapons platforms are so expensive that you can't fly then it's pointless. If I were on the opposite side of anyone who was acquiring high end weapons platforms I would be thinking the same thing as over purveyors of hybrid warfare advocate. Drag them to the brink of warfare but never step over that line
- there's a general aircraft pilot shortage. It's pointless purchasing manned variants of the JSF if there is no one to pilot them (am aware that the could conscript if the need arises and that the JSF has a side project to turn it into an autonomous drone though)

Random Stuff:
- funny videos of the Swedish Chef and the Cookie Monster and other 'Muppets'
- free music sample pack from Primeloops for those who are interested
- life is stress...
- a neat piece of FOSS software for managing some MPC sampling devices
- free web hosting is a neat way trial your ideas...
free web hosting online
free web hosting cgi perl
Best free web hosts?
- extracting from a JAR file
- there are some very strange aspects of Russian and Japanese culture from time to time?
- something I really don't understand about the USSR/Russia in general is how so many people could think it was a bad thing and good thing at the same time? If you look at all of the statistics/surveys they look like people preferred life in the USSR?
jokes about kgb
Top Ten Communist Jokes
jokes about fsb

Random Quotes:
- Lechner gave up a job in design to found his company, Kaffeeform, about a year ago with around 40,000 euros ($44,717) in private financing. He now employs eight staff and is “almost breaking even”, he says. At present, the company collects 500 kg (1,102 lbs) of used coffee grounds a month for free, from cafes within walking distance of their premises in the trendy Berlin neighbourhood of Kreuzberg.

“Six servings of coffee are enough for us to make another coffee cup,” he says. “As we make more volume we will lower the price [of the cups] step by step. For the future we’d like to go into mass production. There’s a lot of coffee waste out there.”
- Tiny particles of pollution have been discovered inside samples of brain tissue, according to new research.

Suspected of toxicity, the particles of iron oxide could conceivably contribute to diseases like Alzheimer's - though evidence for this is lacking.

The finding - described as "dreadfully shocking" by the researchers - raises a host of new questions about the health risks of air pollution.

Many studies have focused on the impact of dirty air on the lungs and heart.

Now this new research provides the first evidence that minute particles of what is called magnetite, which can be derived from pollution, can find their way into the brain.

Earlier this year the World Health Organisation warned that air pollution was leading to as many as three million premature deaths every year.
- "When you look at the lethality of the battlefield that we face in the future, you wouldn't want to be sending people in manned helicopters into that environment. The unmanned vehicle is the way to go … because you're not going to last very long in the lethal battlefield that we envisage for the future," he said.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne told the conference this week that "remotely operated platforms" - another term for drones - was going to be a priority of the government's $640 million Defence Innovation Hub.

Colonel Jones said the government was currently operating about 20 American-made Wasp AE small drones, which are backpack-sized, weigh 1.3 kilograms and can fly for up to 50 minutes at a range of five kilometres while streaming live colour and infrared video back to soldiers on the battlefield.
- KYIV, Ukraine—My brother Drew, a former Air Force captain, told me one of the worst stories I’ve yet to hear from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was riding in a convoy from Bagram Air Base to Kabul during a deployment to Afghanistan in August 2010.

This particularly dangerous stretch of road was known as “suicide alley” due to the frequency of Taliban improvised explosive device attacks. Most of the IEDs the Taliban used in this area were physically connected to detonators by a thin copper “piano wire,” which made them immune to jamming.

These hard-wired IEDs required precision from the attacker to time the explosion with passing vehicles. So the best defense was to drive fast and not stop—no matter what.
- Wells Fargo’s aggressive sales tactics were first disclosed by The Los Angeles Times in an investigation in 2013 . The story series prompted the Los Angeles City Attorney office to sue Wells Fargo over its tactics.

In a statement, Wells Fargo said: “We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request.” Wells Fargo said they’ve refunded $2.6 million in fees associated with products that were opened without authorization.

Despite the L.A. Times investigation, Wells Fargo is still known for having aggressive sales goals for its employees. Wells Fargo’s executives highlight every quarter the bank’s so-called “cross sale ratio,” which is the number of products the bank sells to each of their individual customers. The ratio hovers around six, which means every customer of Wells Fargo has on average six different types of products with the bank.
- World War II witnessed the infamous introduction of horrifying new weaponry to modern warfare, but the latest out of the American archives has been kept secret until now.

According to The Times, declassified American archival material has revealed that Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) planned to disrupt German and Japanese officers by "spraying them with stinking fluid," that was contained in perfume bottles or gel-grenades and designed to cover enemies with a "highly persistent smell suggestive of personal uncleanliness." The weapon was known as "S liquid" with the S being short for "stench."

S liquid was based on a bacterial compound called skatole, which reeks of feces, The Times reported.

"Up to the present, our employment of evil-smelling substances has been mainly for the purpose of contaminating individuals' clothing," British Wing Commander TR Bird wrote in a letter to the American pre-CIA intelligence organization the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). "Since the air in any ordinary public meeting room is generally free from smell, almost any strange smell which cannot readily be accounted for would arouse suspicion which might easily culminate in fear or even panic."

In the end, America chose to develop its own stink bomb, which they code-named "Who, Me?" and mixed the smells of vomit, goat, and smelly-feet. However, The Times noted, a few weeks before it was to be deployed against the Japanese, America dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The documents were discovered by American science writer Mary Roach, who discusses the stink bombs and more in her book Grunt.
- This is not the first time a public official has acknowledged that HAARP and weather control is not only possible, but has been and continues to be, used as a “super weapon,” as evidenced by a statement in 1997 by former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen, where he said “Others [terrorists] are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves… So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations…It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our [counterterrorism] efforts.”

Is it still just a conspiracy theory if public officials admit it is true?
- Fairfax photographer Meares says if we lose this Senate fight over press freedom the gallery will take it to the High Court. I'll join them.

But we won't lose – and it's not just because I don't play Candy Crush.

Footnote: Last week's poignant photo of Malcolm in a muddle, walking alone through the sea of green leather in an empty chamber, will surely win a Walkley award. Bizarre isn't it that a similar snap could not have been taken in the upper house.
- According to a report by the Russian State Duma: ‘The US plans to carry out large-scale experiments under the HAARP programme [and] create weapons capable of breaking radio communication lines and equipment installed on spaceships and rockets, provoke serious accidents in electricity networks and in oil and gas pipelines, and have a negative impact on the mental health of entire regions.’*

An analysis of statements emanating from the US Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of weather patterns, communications and electric power systems as a weapon of global warfare, enabling the US to disrupt and dominate entire regions. Weather manipulation is the pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy countries or ‘friendly nations’ without their knowledge, used to destabilise economies, ecosystems and agriculture. It can also trigger havoc in financial and commodity markets. The disruption in agriculture creates a greater dependency on food aid and imported grain staples from the US and other Western countries.

HAARP was developed as part of an Anglo-American partnership between Raytheon Corporation, which owns the HAARP patents, the US Air Force and British Aerospace Systems (BAES).

The HAARP project is one among several collaborative ventures in advanced weapons systems between the two defence giants. The HAARP project was initiated in 1992 by Advanced Power Technologies, Inc. (APTI), a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARCO). APTI (including the HAARP patents) was sold by ARCO to E-Systems Inc, in 1994. E-Systems, on contract to the CIA and US Department of Defense, outfitted the ‘Doomsday Plan’, which ‘allows the President to manage a nuclear war’.Subsequently acquired by Raytheon Corporation, it is among the largest intelligence contractors in the World. BAES was involved in the development of the advanced stage of the HAARP antenna array under a 2004 contract with the Office of Naval Research.

The installation of 132 high frequency transmitters was entrusted by BAES to its US subsidiary, BAE Systems Inc. The project, according to a July report in Defense News, was undertaken by BAES’s Electronic Warfare division. In September it received DARPA’s top award for technical achievement for the design, construction and activation of the HAARP array of antennas.
- Just like during the last economic crisis, homeless encampments are popping up all over the nation as poverty grows at a very alarming rate.  According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million people are homeless in America right now, but that figure is increasing by the day.  And it isn’t just adults that we are talking about.  It has been reported that that the number of homeless children in this country has risen by 60 percent since the last recession, and Poverty USA says that a total of 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing at some point last year.  Yes, the stock market may have been experiencing a temporary boom for the last couple of years, but for those on the low end of the economic scale things have just continued to deteriorate.
- Much more significant than Yellen’s latest suggestion of a rate increase was her call for the Fed to think outside the box in developing responses to the next financial crisis. One of the outside the box ideas suggested by Yellen is increasing the Fed’s ability to intervene in markets by purchasing assets of private companies. Yellen also mentioned that the Fed could modify its inflation target.

Increasing the Federal Reserve’s ability to purchase private assets will negatively impact economic growth and consumers’ well-being. This is because the Fed will use this power to keep failing companies alive, thus preventing the companies’ assets from being used to produce a good or service more highly valued by consumers.

Investors may seek out companies whose assets have been purchased by the Federal Reserve, since it is likely that Congress and federal regulators would treat these companies as “too big to fail.” Federal Reserve ownership of private companies could also strengthen the movement to force businesses to base their decisions on political, rather than economic, considerations.

Yellen’s suggestion of modifying the Fed’s inflation target means that the Fed would increase the inflation tax just when Americans are trying to cope with a major recession or even a depression. The inflation tax is the most insidious of all taxes because it is both hidden and regressive.

The failure of the Federal Reserve’s eight-year spree of money creation via quantitative easing and historically low interest rates to reflate the bubble economy suggests that the fiat currency system may soon be coming to an end. Yellen’s outside the box proposals will only hasten that collapse.

The collapse of the fiat system will not only cause a major economic crisis, but also the collapse of the welfare-warfare state. Yet, Congress not only refuses to consider meaningful spending cuts, it will not even pass legislation to audit the Fed.
- I, for one, would like to see Trump vs. Bernie. Socialist vs. Capitalist. They could do three debates on Globalism and its horrendous effects on America, at which point the public would realize they both claim to perceive the gargantuan threat, albeit from different angles.

Hillary was the unabashed queen bee of Globalism.

At any rate, you can bet that, as we speak, media giants are taking private briefings on how the election season would proceed if she drops out. They’re preparing their talking points and tall stories and outright lies. All somehow culminating in a Democrat Party victory this November, come hell or high water.

“After Congressional leaders begged President Obama to stay on for several months, he reluctantly agreed, saying: ‘Well, I do have sixty or seventy executive orders drawn up and ready to go, so perhaps I could bring the country a little closer to the future we envision. We’re all in this together.’”
- Hillary was seen wearing the blue sunglasses during the 9/11 memorial in New York City where she later collapsed from complications stemming from her numerous health issues.

Given her lack of fashion concerns – she’s regularly seen wearing pantsuits everywhere she goes – it’s unlikely her blue sunglasses were meant as a fashion statement.

Epileptic patients often wear Zeiss Z1 blue lenses in particular because they are effective at treating photosensitive epilepsy.

“The Z1 lens is highly effective in controlling photoparoxysmal response in a very large number of photosensitive epilepsy patients irrespective of their epilepsy or antiepileptic drug treatment,” according to a 2006 study published in Epilepsia. “The lens might become a valid resource in the daily activity of any clinician who cares for patients with epilepsy.”

Hillary experiences seizures from flashing lights, such as camera flashes at public events, according to sources inside the Secret Service who spoke to Infowars.

Additionally, a 2006 YouTube video shows a man suffering from uncontrollable convulsions put on blue sunglasses to obtain immediate relief from his symptoms, which were more severe yet still similar to Hillary’s odd, epileptic behavior at the Democratic National Convention.
- Opposition candidates have won seats in parliamentary elections in Belarus for the first time since 2000, though critics of the ruling regime said they had been “appointed” to appease the west, and independent observers reported widespread vote-rigging.

Anna Konopatskaya, of the United Civic party, won a district in Minsk, and Yelena Anisim, of the Belarusian Language Society, also won a seat. Anisim’s opponent, Yelena Zhuravlyova, a regime loyalist, unexpectedly withdrew from the race last month.

Leading critics of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 22 years, were unimpressed.

“Lukashenko is trying to show that he is creating possibilities [for the opposition], but nothing is actually happening, he just wants money from the west because the economy is headed towards a cliff,” said Andrei Sannikov, an activist who challenged Lukashenko in the 2010 presidential race and was imprisoned for two years in a violent crackdown on protests that arose after the flawed vote.

Nikolai Statkevich, another imprisoned 2010 presidential candidate, who was released in 2015, called the elections a “farce” and asked Belarusians to gather in Oktyabrskaya Square in Minsk on Monday night to “demand real elections”.
- The second UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammerskjold, said that the UN "was created not to lead mankind into heaven, but to save humanity from hell." And yet the very institution that helped re-establish Israel as a Jewish state after 2,000 years of colonization by outsiders now gives voice to rabid anti-Semites who call for Israel's destruction. The same organization that is based out of New York City finds itself ignoring the blatant atrocities and evil agendas perpetrated by anti-American terrorist organizations and regimes, whether Iran's missile testing, Syria's bombing of civilians, or Somalia's harboring of al-Qaeda terrorists. It gives anti-democratic regimes in Moscow, Riyadh, and Beijing a larger voice than they deserve in a body that's dedicated, supposedly, to the equal rights of all peoples. Like the European Union and many NGOs, the UN has been hijacked by radical, corrupt, and often racist individuals or coalitions that make a mockery out of what the organization used to stand for and what its founders believed in. It proves what some figures in the 2016 election cycle in the USA have been saying: no organization is too big to fail. Rather than countries wasting billions of dollars on the UN, which accomplishes nothing nowadays but sowing discord, the organization should be dismantled step-by-step. The billions of dollars spent on the UN could be spent domestically in developing countries like China and India to better the lives of their citizens; in the USA to improve the lives of  communities of color that remain impoverished and lag behind Whites in many aspects of life; and in Israel to bolster its military. Some smaller branches of the UN, like UNICEF, can be transformed into individual NGOs and can receive donations that otherwise would've gone to the United Nations. UNICEF and similar branches do a lot of good and often have very little, if anything, to do with the corrupt agendas espoused and given a platform in the General Assembly. Often we hear in American politics the argument of "big government vs small government". In this case, the "big government" of the UN has failed and become corrupt and bigoted; a "small government" approach by more regional-specific or case-specific organizations like UNICEF, or a certain body that focuses on infrastructure development in rural Latin America, for example, would probably be a better approach. 
- They were mystified by what had happened to the post-second world war notion of “shared prosperity”; puzzled by the ways in which ever more wealth has gone to the rich and super-rich; vexed that hedge-fund managers pull in billions of dollars, yet pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries; curious about why politicians kept slashing taxes on the very rich and handing huge tax breaks and subsidies to corporations that are downsizing their work forces; troubled that the heart of the American dream – upward mobility – seemed to have stopped beating; and dumbfounded that all of this could happen in a democracy whose politicians were supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number. So Hacker and Pierson set out to find out “how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class”.

In other words, they wanted to know: “Who dunnit?” They found the culprit. With convincing documentation they concluded, “Step by step and debate by debate, America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.”

There you have it: the winners bought off the gatekeepers, then gamed the system. And when the fix was in they turned our economy into a feast for the predators, “saddling Americans with greater debt, tearing new holes in the safety net, and imposing broad financial risks on Americans as workers, investors, and taxpayers”. The end result, Hacker and Pierson conclude, is that the United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger, with everyone in between just barely getting by.

Bruce Springsteen sings of “the country we carry in our hearts”. This isn’t it.
- The FBI will be able to hack into computers anywhere in the world if changes to the US Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are allowed to become law, as they will on December 1.

Democrat Senator Ron Wyden has drafted a one-line bill that would prevent the organisation from getting these powers through the changes to rule 41.

These changes would give judges the power to grant warrants to search and seize electronic media outside their own jurisdictions if information was "concealed through technological means", according to the Tor Project.

This would include the use of Tor.

A Tor Project blog post said the broad warrants obtainable under the changed rules would apply to people using Tor in any country.

"The FBI will be permitted to hack into a person’s computer or phone remotely and to search through and remove their data. The FBI will be able to introduce malware into computers. It will create vulnerabilities that will leave users exposed," the post said.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an American non-profit that fights for digital rights, said in an analysis: "Make no mistake: the Rule 41 proposal implicates people well beyond US borders. This update expands the jurisdiction of judges to cover any computer user in the world who is using technology to protect their location privacy or is unwittingly part of a botnet."

It said people both inside and outside the US should be equally concerned about the proposed changes.

"The change to Rule 41 isn’t merely a procedural update. It significantly expands the hacking capabilities of the United States government without any discussion or public debate by elected officials.

"If members of the intelligence community believe these tools are necessary to advancing their investigations, then this is not the path forward. Only elected members of Congress should be writing laws, and they should be doing so in a matter that considers the privacy, security, and civil liberties of people impacted," the EFF said.
- Russian researchers at the Karadag Nature reserve say they have recorded a conversation between dolphins – specifically a pair of bottlenoses called Yasha and Yana – using a special underwater microphone that can distinguish between the animals’ voices properly for the first time. This has revealed that they talk to each other just like humans do.

Apparently the animals alter the frequency and volume of their clicks to form little clumps of sounds like words and wait til the other has finished delivering stretches of said clumps (sentences, one might almost reckon) before embarking on their own.
Since 2012 Assange, WikiLeaks’ founder and leader, has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London fighting extradition to Sweden on sexual-assault charges. The inner workings of WikiLeaks—effectively a one-man operation even before its leader’s isolation—can be opaque. In some matters Assange has maintained WikiLeaks’ secrets but he has also made certain positions perfectly clear over the years: his loathing for Hillary Clinton, his increasing alignment with the Russian government’s positions, and his interest in electoral politics.

Assange’s antipathy for Clinton is well established and seems to be a hatred he came to honestly. It’s a view hardly unique to Assange that sees the former Secretary of State as uniquely corrupt and bellicose even among her peers.

Back in 2010 Assange suggested Clinton should resign after his organization leaked diplomatic cables that showed her sanctioning spying on foreign diplomats.    

Assange wasn’t the only one to call for Clinton to step down in the wake of “cablegate,” some respected American journalists did as well, but his assertion that at WikiLeaks “we don’t have targets” made in the same interview where he called for her resignation just doesn’t hold up. Clinton has been a repeated target of both WikiLeaks and Assange himself. In his book When Google Met WikiLeaks, Assange detailed the Clinton State Department’s questionable collusion with Google. And there are clear signs that WikiLeaks’ dump of nearly 20,000 hacked emails taken from the Democratic National Committee was timed to do maximum damage to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Additionally, both U.S. officials and private cybersecurity experts have pointed to the Russian government’s likely involvement in hacking the DNC emails.

In a statement posted to WikiLeaks’ Twitter account and in interviews, Assange has responded to the charge of Russian co-option. Clinton, according to Assange, “palled up with the neocons responsible for the Iraq War and she’s grabbed on to this sort of neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia, and is using that to demonize the Trump campaign.”
- ERA is essentially made up of "bricks" of explosive sandwiched between two metal plates arranged in such a way as to rapidly move sideways when the explosive detonates.

This forces an incoming projectile to cut through more armor than the thickness of the plating itself, since "new" plating is constantly fed into the penetrating body. This significantly reduces the penetrating capabilities of the projectile, since the penetrating force will be dissipated over a larger volume of armor.
- "The goals of the engine's designers are ambitious," the journalist emphasized. "They want to capture over 10% of the market share for turbofan engines with a thrust class between 7 and 18 tons, and to reduce fuel consumption at cruising speed by 10-15% compared with contemporary engines of similar class." Moreover, engineers developed the engine to reduce operating costs by 14-17%, and to reduce maintenance costs during the engine's lifecycle by 15-20% compared to competitors.

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...