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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Linux Planet Blog Checker Script, Github Info Script, and More

Recently, a few people tried to call my blog out as being not paying enough attention to Linux/FOSS. I checked around https://planet.linux.org.au/ to see what was going on though and couldn't really figure out what the issue was? I found out that this basically may be a 'subjective issue'? 

I re-wrote parts of it to provide me with info prior to download...

I've since re-written it to scan and check blogs on https://planet.linux.org.au/ for connectivity and relevance. Guess what? I may have been right? Relevance is more subjective then you think and despite what people may say when you quantify things they don't quite look quite the way you may want them (or think) they appear.

In spite of the relative simplicity and crudeness of the script it feels like my blog seems to be more relevant then others, don't you think? Clearly, my score of 72 (note, that since my feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/usuXy also does a very short summary of what is in each post my score is potentially much lower then it should/could be (most other feeds are complete reproductions of blog posts. I simply can't do this because my blog posts tend to be larger)) places me at least in the top quartile of all blogs on https://planet.linux.org.au/ (actual URL have been blanked for space saving reasons. You get them in the TXT files though)?
[Relevance checker measures this particular URL at] - 72
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Random Stuff:
- latest in finance and politics
- what other options are there apart from a peace agreement and/or sabotage? I've mentioned North Korea going into an alliance with China/Russia in the past but they seem to want to maintain 'strategic independence'?
- latest in defense
New coating & look for F-35s coming later this year
Stephen F. Cohen: Russia Is Preparing for the Possibility US Will Start a War 
Pardoned treason prisoner freed in Russia
- what they've been saying for years regarding ISIS. We're still stuck 'here'?
- latest in ICT

Random Quotes:
- Australia's chief scientist Ian Chubb has said that in the United States the collaboration between scientific research and industry sits about 70 per cent. In Britain, it's about 40 per cent and in Australia about 4 per cent. Australia apparently sits at the bottom of the OECD table behind Mexico on a measure that looks at how the creative ideas and innovation that come out of research can be commercialised by business.
- "Americans raised at the top and bottom of the income ladder are likely to remain there themselves as adults. Forty-three percent of those who start in the bottom are stuck there as adults, and 70 percent remain below the middle quintile. Only 4 percent of adults raised in the bottom make it all the way to the top, showing that the "rags-to-riches" story is more often found in Hollywood than in reality."
- "Generally if information is collected for an appropriate purpose in a lawful and reasonable manner then an employer can use that for that purpose without breaching privacy law," he says.
- This is hilarious... Let me explain from the beginning

ECB/IMF: Would u like sum moneyz?
Greece: Yes
ECB/IMF: Would u like sum more moneyz?
Greece: Yes
Greece then invested it in high risk CDOs and other leveraged options. No one forced them to do this. GFC happens and Grrece goes broke. Later...
Greece: We need moneyz, and can't pay back debtz.
ECB/IMF : Ok, we'll lend you cash so you can keep up payments. But you need to pay some of it back and do some work and cut back on some things.
Greece: sure no problem... Gimme gimme da moneyz!
5 years later. 
ECB/IMF: You need to make a payment.
Greece: No we spent it on da pensionz.
Eco/IMF: ok.. No more money and you can get stuffed and leave.
Greece: No and you can get stuffed ...also gimme da moneyz

Bob Timmins LocationYour living room 
Date and timeJune 30, 2015, 8:47PM 
- "Putin is not someone who sets strategic plans; he lives today." Pugachev told Time last October. "He had no plans; he didn't aim to become president. He hadn't thought of that. He didn't plan to remain in the government at all."
- "Today is difficult, tomorrow is much more difficult, the day after tomorrow is very beautiful, but most die tomorrow evening." - Jack  Ma
- "Each one of us shall be confronted with his stature and his history. Between a bad choice and a catastrophic one, we are forced to opt for the first one," Tsipras said in a speech before his party's lawmakers, according to local media. "It is as if one asks you for your money or your life."
- "There's two kinds of CIOs: ones who have been hacked and know it, and those who have been hacked and don't yet realize it. But the reality is, you've been hacked," he said.
- It is reflective of the success of the demonisation of people on low incomes or benefits that discrimination against these people could be seen as less damning than when it happens to other groups. Equally, to believe that “the poor” do not deserve protection from such prejudice buys into the myth favoured by our own government: poverty is a personal choice that the individual deserves to be punished for.
- If the experience of Caltex is any guide, abandoning traditional performance reviews will not mean the death of the human resources department.

Caltex got rid of its performance review system last year and started a new system from January 1.

The company told Chanticleer the old system was bureaucratic, unproductive and uninspiring. The performance ratings for individuals was out of five. But the company found if you rated someone a 3, they acted like a 3 and not a 5.
- Since college, 15 years ago, Ultra Romance, aka Benedict, says he hasn’t lived more than six months in any one place. He has never owned a car, and he got a bank account just so he could buy and sell bicycle parts on eBay (he keeps the cash he earns in little bags that he buries in the ground). He says he lives on $US10 a day.

“We have this preconceived notion of what success is in the modern world,” he recently told Business Insider. “I’m not ashamed that I don’t like to work. It’s just very unnatural.”
- "What do you call a fighter that can't fight in the air?" 

"A joint strike fighter."

It sounds like a bad punchline, but it's increasingly looking like an accurate summary of the situation.
- But in terms of unbelievable feats, Kim still lags well behind his father, Kim Jong-il.

The country's former leader was apparently born under a double rainbow, could control the weather, and did not ever defecate.
- Judging by the flood of comments that followed the recent European summit on Greece, a modern Greek drama is unfolding in which a small but proud nation, the motherland of democracy, is being subjected to senseless austerity by cold-hearted bureaucrats and penny-pinching foreign politicians. These comments have rather puzzled me.

A few days ago, the German parliament gave its approval to negotiations on a new financial assistance package for Greece worth up to €86bn (£60bn). Germany’s share will be a bit more than a quarter, or the equivalent of roughly €500 per household. That is big money and it’s on top of the €215bn that Greece has already had under the first and second assistance packages in 2010 and 2012. Greece has received assistance equivalent to more than its entire annual GDP – which dwarfs, for example, the Marshall plan. All eurozone countries will contribute, despite some of them having per-capita incomes significantly below Greece’s. This is a broad act of European solidarity.
- “If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.”
Mario Andretti
- Some commentators have been pointing to Germany’s fixation with rules. But rules are the symptom rather than the cause. Germany had no problem breaking the rules in 2003 when its own deficit exceeded the 3 percent level set by the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. But Berlin knew it would pay the money back. Increasingly, Germany doesn’t trust most of the rest of Europe to do the same.

Behind the rules is an existential fixation with maintaining the basic tenets of a society that has clawed its way back from near-annihilation. Many Germans have told me with a straight face that as long as the United States didn’t understand the importance of burying its power lines, they couldn’t trust America. Really? Apparently, power outages are somehow seen as a first step to chaos.

In other words, what the world wants from Germany is the one thing the country’s leaders probably cannot deliver: that Germany grow up and lead with the graciousness, compassion, and, above all, flexibility urgently needed from Europe’s most indispensable leader.

Germany is still far from building the inner equilibrium that is an essential foundation for playing confidently in the risk-and-reward culture of a globalized world. Until it somehow masters the alchemy of turning the winds of globalization into the soft breezes of stability, today’s Germany will lack the resilience to apply its influence cooperatively with others.

America’s failure to understand this special German approach to change has been one of the major contributors to the image of German insensitivity in Greece. By preaching American solutions to a nation incapable of accepting them, both U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush severely weakened America’s ties to its most important ally.

So heated were the discussions during a recent visit to Berlin by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the two sides even canceled a planned press conference. When stubbornness meets self-righteousness, there is rarely a winner.
- If his son ever becomes a stock investor, Plato says he's going to teach him this wisdom.

"Always buy for the long term and always go in the opposite direction from the herd." 
 “The worst enemy of democracy is citizens who say this is a terrible system but I’m not prepared to do anything to change it.”
- Dolphins, as well as sea lions, have been used for military purposes by the US and other armies since the 1960s.

Animal, bird and even rodent spy sightings arise from time to time in the volatile Middle East.

In 2007, fourteen squirrels were reportedly "arrested" on surveillance charges in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The country's media network IRNA reported that the rodents were discovered carrying "eavesdropping devices".

A year later, Iranian security forces arrested two suspected "spy pigeons" near a nuclear facility.

In 2011, a "Mossad vulture" was captured in Saudi Arabia on suspicions of surveillance.
- Herb Brooks: [voiceover] Two days later the miracle was made complete. My boys defeated Finland to win the gold medal, coming from behind once again. As I watched them out there, celebrating on the ice, I realized that Patti had been right. It was a lot more than a hockey game, not only for those who watched it, but for those who played in it. I've often been asked in the years since Lake Placid what was the best moment for me. Well, it was here - the sight of 20 young men of such differing backgrounds now standing as one. Young men willing to sacrifice so much of themselves all for an unknown. A few years later, the U.S. began using professional athletes at the Games - Dream Teams. I always found that term ironic because now that we have Dream Teams, we seldom ever get to dream. But on one weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed most - a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance, once again, to believe. 
- At another time, most Turks would have stood behind the government—even at the cost of life and liberty—for the sake of their security. Not now.
- China’s response to the global financial crisis was to spend heavily on investment as a replacement for slowing exports, thereby incurring a lot of debt, especially at sub-national levels. This worked for a while, but it has since become more difficult to sustain. “A few years back, it took a dollar of debt to create every dollar of growth in China.” TIME’s Rana Foorhar notes, “Now it takes four times that.” Should economic conditions in the world’s second largest economy further sour, it is sure to impact the world’s largest economy, including how and when the Fed decides to raise interest rates.
- “If the trend to smaller and smaller numbers of weapon system prime contractors continues, one can foresee a future in which the department has, at most, two or three very large suppliers for all the major weapons systems that we acquire,” the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, Frank Kendall, told reporters. “The department would not consider this to be a positive development and the American public should not either. ... With size comes power, and the department’s experience with large defense contractors is that they are not hesitant to use this power for corporate advantage.”
- A New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission reports and Internal Revenue Service records shows that the fund-raising arms race has made most of the presidential hopefuls deeply dependent on a small pool of the richest Americans. The concentration of donors is greatest on the Republican side, according to the Times analysis, where consultants and lawyers have pushed more aggressively to exploit the looser fund-raising rules that have fueled the rise of super PACs. Just 130 or so families and their businesses provided more than half the money raised through June by Republican candidates and their super PACs."
With a handful of fighter jets, a few naval assets, a jammer, and a signals intelligence plane, Putin has managed to reshape the balance of power in Syria. It is what Sutyagin, who spent 11 years in jail in Russia on flimsy espionage charges that caused human rights groups to label him a political prisoner, called a huge achievement “with tiny efforts.”
- The “depth” of Egypt’s and other Arab governments’ relations with Russia may be “very shallow,” said Michael Hanna, an expert on Egypt at the Century Foundation. In times of crisis in relations with the United States, Arab governments “will try to curry favor with Moscow. And in some ways, it’s easy. Moscow asks no questions about human rights and democracy and elections — they just don’t care.”

But Hanna added: “I think there is a bizarre kind of grudging respect in parts of the Arab world for what they see as Russian steadfastness and decisiveness in contrast to what they perceive as the dithering of the United States.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, made the case that the United States is in a box of its own creation. “You have allies who do not want to undercut ISIS because it will strengthen the center government,” he said while in New York for the United Nations session. “The U.S. is not capable of fighting ISIS because of the concerns its allies have that this will strengthen a government they find unacceptable.”

Mr. Obama agreed at a news conference last week that one reason his program of training moderate Syrian rebels to take on the Islamic State had failed was because those fighters were more interested in removing Mr. Assad, who has been waging war against his own population.
- Condoleezza Rice was secretary of state from 2005 to 2009. Robert M. Gates was defense secretary from 2006 to 2011.
One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.

Sometimes the reaction is derision: This is a sign of weakness. Or smugness: He will regret the decision to intervene. Russia cannot possibly succeed. Or alarm: This will make an already bad situation worse. And, finally, resignation: Perhaps the Russians can be brought along to help stabilize the situation, and we could use help fighting the Islamic State.

The fact is that Putin is playing a weak hand extraordinarily well because he knows exactly what he wants to do. He is not stabilizing the situation according to our definition of stability. He is defending Russia’s interests by keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. This is not about the Islamic State. Any insurgent group that opposes Russian interests is a terrorist organization to Moscow. We saw this behavior in Ukraine, and now we’re seeing it even more aggressively — with bombing runs and cruise missile strikes — in Syria.

Putin is not a sentimental man, and if Assad becomes a liability, Putin will gladly move on to a substitute acceptable to Moscow. But for now, the Russians believe that they (and the Iranians) can save Assad. President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry say that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. That is true, but Moscow understands that diplomacy follows the facts on the ground, not the other way around. Russia and Iran are creating favorable facts. Once this military intervention has run its course, expect a peace proposal from Moscow that reflects its interests, including securing the Russian military base at Tartus.

We should not forget that Moscow’s definition of success is not the same as ours. The Russians have shown a willingness to accept and even encourage the creation of so-called failed states and frozen conflicts from Georgia to Moldova to Ukraine. Why should Syria be any different? If Moscow’s “people” can govern only a part of the state but make it impossible for anyone else to govern the rest of it — so be it.
- Ben Carson on Wednesday said he wants to "plant in people's minds" the idea that they should attempt to rush an active shooter, the latest in a string of controversial comments the GOP presidential candidate has made in response to last week's mass shooting in Oregon.

On Tuesday, Carson said he "would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me but he can't get us all.'"

When asked about the comments on CBS "This Morning" on Wednesday, Carson said, "I want to plant in people's minds what to do in a situation like this because unfortunately this is probably not going to be the last time this happens."

The Department of Homeland Security recommends attempting to incapacitate an active shooter "as a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger." They recommend attempting to evacuate or hide before attacking a shooter.
- In the USA Today interview, Carson also shot back at critics who say that his expertise as a neurosurgeon would not prepare him for the presidency.

"You don't need to know nearly as much to be able to maneuver in the political world as you do in the operating room inside of somebody's brain. It's not even close," he said. 
- "I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye's,” Carson told host Karen Hunter. "[A] guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs, and I just said, 'I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.' " 

The former neurosurgeon didn't elaborate on what happened after he suggested that the gunman go target the employee. 
- Paul Kenyon, VP at Avecto commented: “For too long there has been a false belief and a naivety that Macs are inherently securer than Windows PCs. But either way organizations must view them like any other device: an endpoint that can be exploited.”
- Ignoring the drum beating of the NATO owned media and listening closely to statements by US policy makers, it can be understood that the US’s objective is not to defeat ISIS, but to contain them within Syria and Iraq’s borders indefinitely. This was admitted to by a member of the current US government and Democratic Party Representative, Adam Smith, who stated to CNN:

“…we need to find partners that we can work with in Syria to help us contain ISIS. So it is a difficult problem to figure out the best strategy. I agree, they have safe haven there in parts of Syria and that will have to be part of the strategy for containing ISIS.”

Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee Representative, Devin Nunes, told CBS news:

“I think we are containing ISIS within the borders of Iraq and Syria. Outside of that we’re not doing much.”

US President, Barack Obama, himself stated that he would like to like to:

“…continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

This suggests that President Obama wants to maintain ISIS’s sphere power to a contained manageable circle, like a diseases that is treated but never cured. Obama perhaps chose this policy on the advice of the Brooking Institute think-tank, which stated:

“Should we defeat ISIS? Rather than defeat, containing their activities within failed or near-failing states is the best option for the foreseeable future.”
From what we know about the Euromaidan in Ukraine this year, the Arab Spring in 2011, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine starting in 2004, and Otpor’s activities in Serbia during the late 1990’s, it is clear that the United States possesses the means and regularly employs methods used to destabilize and overthrow foreign governments and then subsequently replace them with a regime more favorable to Washington’s hegemonic designs.
- WASHINGTON — Even as the United States poured billions of dollars into foreign military programs and anti-terrorism campaigns, a small core of American government-financed organizations were promoting democracy in authoritarian Arab states.

The money spent on these programs was minute compared with efforts led by the Pentagon. But as American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.
A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.
- But some members of the activist groups complained in interviews that the United States was hypocritical for helping them at the same time that it was supporting the governments they sought to change.

“While we appreciated the training we received through the NGOs sponsored by the U.S. government, and it did help us in our struggles, we are also aware that the same government also trained the state security investigative service, which was responsible for the harassment and jailing of many of us,” said Mr. Fathy, the Egyptian activist.
- Four double vetoes by Russia and China have blocked Security Council action on Syria that could have helped save lives. In 2014, the two powers “callously” vetoed a resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, preventing the investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all sides to the conflict.

But it would be wrong to say that Russia and China are the only abusers of the system.

The Security Council veto has also been used by the United States and Britain in the 1980s to protect apartheid South Africa and in 2006 by the United States to delay a cease-fire in Lebanon during a conflict that resulted in more than 1,000 deaths. More recently, the threat of the United States’ veto made futile any hopes of passing a resolution during the 50-day-long conflict in Gaza in which more than 2,000 Palestinians died.

The cynical convergence of interests is damaging for all.

In protest of our broken system, three years ago a handful of small and far-sighted states — Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore, and Switzerland, collectively known in U.N.-speak as the “S5” — proposed a number of reforms, including action on voluntary veto restraint in the case of mass atrocities.

The powerful Security Council, ruler of the world’s destinies, quickly closed ranks: there should be no dilution of the veto. On that, at least, the United States, Russia, and China could find consensus.
- As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

    “…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

    “China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.” 

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

    “there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.” 
- It is clear that the United States, from as early as the 1950’s, politically, financially, and even militarily backed political dissidents within China itself. From Harvard University’s peer-reviewed Journal of Cold War Studies can be found an entry titled, “The Tibetan Rebellion of 1959 and China’s Changing Relations with India and the Soviet Union” (.pdf). In it it states, “as a result, many Tibetans, from both upper and lower classes, rebelled against Chinese rule and formed the “Four Rivers and Six Ranges” guerrilla group. The rebels, as we now know, received carious kinds of support from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).” Within the publication’s footnotes, it elaborates further by stating, “Washington made the decision to support the Tibetan resistance in the summer of 1956 and the first group of Tibetan rebels was secretly brought to Saipan for training in December 1956. The trainees were then sent back to Tibet in 1957 to help the Tibetan rebels to establish contacts with the CIA and to join the resistance themselves. Available Chinese sources give no indication that the Chinese Communists were aware of America’s secret involvement in promoting the rebellion in Tibet during this period.”
- Qais al-Khazali's Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the third biggest, a break-away from the Mahdi Army of the young firebrand Moqtada al Sadr, is notorious for the ferocity of its attacks on Sunnis and Americans – it boasts of its responsibility for as many as 6000 attacks on US forces.

All still see the US as an enemy – senior figures threatened to target American aircraft and US troops in the end days of the fight for Tikrit. And despite depending on them for boots-on-the ground, US generals reciprocate in their rhetoric.

US Central Command chief General Lloyd Austin last week told a Senate committee: "I will not, and I hope we never, co-ordinate or cooperate with Shiite militias." On the same day, on the other side of the world, he was laughed off by Hadi al-Amri of the Badr Brigades, who explained to reporters that he had no need for direct communication with the Americans because, when he needed to relay or receive information from the US, he simply went through the Iraqi security forces.  
- Ironically, many in the militias' ranks cheerfully acknowledge cutting their teeth while opposing coalition forces in Iraq for nearly a decade after the fall of Saddam Hussein.  
"I used to plant IEDs to get the American troops when they were in Iraq. I think we did about $US3 billion in damage to one of the US bases that we blasted with about nine tonnes of rockets. The land we launched the rockets from is now a camp for IDPs [internally displaced people]," the Iraqi Hezbollah dentist Thafer bragged.
The poet and actor Shairawi confessed that he too fought against the Americans, adding: "The training the Americans 'gave' us as we fought their occupation was more genuine than the training and resourcing they provided when they claimed to be rebuilding the Iraqi Army – they deliberately made it weak as part of their US-Israeli strategy to keep Iraq weak."
Shairawi explained the militias' parallel existence with the national security apparatus thus: "The Iraqi Army is corrupted and ineffective, but we have experience in guerilla and urban combat. The danger to our country was so imminent that if we had attempted to place our volunteers into the structures of the Iraqi Army, IS would have been in Baghdad by the time we had figured it all out – the enemy was at the door.
"We needed radical decisions and the [Ayatollah] Sistani fatwa provided the religious framework for our operations, and now that we are being formalised alongside the Iraqi Army, we have a legal framework."
A helpful local resorted to the idea of Russian dolls in an effort to make sense of it all: "There's a government inside a government inside a government. And there's a military inside a military inside a military."
- "Before the US-led invasion it was different, because we did oppose the regime. And for a time after 2003, some of us fought the state.

"But in this war, we are defending the state, not our sect."

The prism through which most of the half-dozen or more brigades - call them militias at your peril - view the world, the region and this conflict is that the West created al-Qaeda as a tool to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan; and that the so-called Islamic State, which now controls swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, is a US-Israeli invention to contain Iran – "to clip Tehran's fingernails", I was told.

"The governments of the US, Britain and Australia are hypocritical, selectively blind," a dentist turned fighter in the service of Iraq's Hezbollah Brigades argued. "They created IS to serve as a bogyman to scare the countries of this region – they want to pressure Iran; and to return to Iraq, but this time they want to control the country without sending ground forces.

"They want us all to need the US as a superpower saviour."

Shairawi told me: "The sum of all our fears is that the American agenda is not to protect the Iraqi people so much as to protect what it perceives to be its strategic interests in the country."
- Perhaps the most ironic development of Russia’s involvement in Syria’s fight against terror, is the anger expressed by the US government and its media at Russia’s bombing of Al Qaeda (Jabhat Al Nusra) targets.

Former US National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man largely responsible for the creation of Al Qaeda, expressed through twitter his frustration at the fact Russia was targeting Al Qaeda as well as ISIS.

Pro-NATO media have all but forgotten the US’s war with Al Qaeda and in the last year avoided any mention of Al Qaeda’s existence in Syria, preferring to concentrate on ISIS instead. As of 2015, Google news engine reveals 219 million hits for ISIS and only 3 million hits for Al Qaeda. In keeping with this trend, Pro-NATO media has avoided bringing to light the fact Russia is bombing Al Qaeda. Exposing this fact would highlight the US’s inaction against Al Qaeda, while it has been fighting alongside the rebels.
- Last week the US abandoned a Pentagon program training rebels to fight ISIS, after all but five defected to Al Qaeda taking their weapons and training with them. Past attempts by the US to arm ‘vetted rebels’ has resulted in TOW anti-tank missiles ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda. But instead of admitting to the fact that ‘moderate rebels’ do not exist and ceasing the illegal armament of extremist insurgents, the US government has instead chosen to openly back “established rebel groups” who have close ties to Al Qaeda. The US is now sending yet another shipment of TOW missiles to these extremist groups, through their ally Saudi Arabia.

Al Qaeda is not the only terrorist group the US has been accused of arming. This month, footage filmed by the Iraqi military of an oil refinery that had been captured by ISIS, shows US supply crates full of food and weapons delivered to Islamic State militants by parachute drop. In 2014, footage of another US supply drop to ISIS in Kobane Syria also emerged online. Only a few days ago the US airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into Hasake region of Syria, an area partly run by ISIS. Most of the weaponry used by ISIS is US made. In January this year, an Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui publically accused the US of supplying ISIS with weapons through airdrops.
- “The territorial division of Syria [as a solution to the current crisis] is unacceptable. It is not going to resolve the conflict. The conflict will acquire a permanent character. Nothing good will come out of this,” Mr. Putin said.

“Just imagine that in case of taking Damascus or Baghdad, terrorist bands might have received, practically, the status of the official government. The bridgehead for global expansion could have been created. Does anyone think about that?”

Anyone, meaning, in the White House.
- "The F-35 is only the latest chapter in a long history that generally follow the rule of what I call 'two, two and a half,' " Adams said. "Everything the Pentagon buys costs twice as much as they originally estimated, takes twice as long [to build] and, at least initially, gives half of the capabilities you expected."

Adams pointed to the C-17, which was the subject of "vigorous" debate and criticism when he ran defense budgeting at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration. By the mid-1990s, however, services had worked out the bugs and the military ended up buying more planes than planned.
- The fact that there are no good alternatives is helping save the project. But depending entirely on the F-35 as the F-16s and F-15s retire would also pose problems if enemies find a chink in the F-35's armor, Wood said.

"If it were less expensive or there were more dollars, you could buy different kinds of platforms and have the ability to account for a discovered deficiency in the F-35," he said. "With the enemy discovering how it operates, they might find a weak spot to exploit. Once it's done, that would make your entire fleet vulnerable, because you won't have other options to default to."
- 'If you are going to interfere you have to have a fail-safe plan, and you shouldn't take sides,' he said.

The Tasmanian MP says Australia is making the same mistakes in Syria.

'The more time goes on the deeper we get into this, the more complex and unfathomable the situation is, (and it is) proof that we shouldn't get involved'.

Mr Wilkie said Australian policy had already shifted from supporting rebels, including Islamic State, to helping the Assad regime and aligning with Russia.
- Stories about vulnerabilities in software depend on the Chicken Little factor to gain traction: society as we know it is going to be transformed by this flaw or that which will cause the sky to fall.

But most of the time, the headlines are just plain wrong.

Take this story that screams Open source bugs could give hackers new attack tool. It should be titled Lazy sysadmins put systems at risk by refusing to patch.

But that won't pull the punters to read it, because the site(s) in question have cultivated a breed of reader who has the attention span of the common cockroach.
- What Bogdan admitted in his testimony was the F-35 has been engineered to incorporate favored technology. The technology is dictating how troops will be able to fight rather than battlefield experience shaping the technology incorporated in the aircraft.

McSally sees dangers ahead with such an approach. “I think us envisioning that we’re never going to have close air support where guys are on the run, they’re out of ammo, they’re doing a mirror flash into your eye, they don’t have time to do stand-off CAS because of the conflict circumstances, if we think that’s never going to happen again, I think we’re lying to ourselves.”
- "You want to be careful saying things like 'the Russian people are brainwashed' by their media," says Posner, who is currently host of one of state TV's top-rated public affairs programs. "There is a huge misunderstanding in the West about why Russians like Putin. They like him not because they're told to, but because they identify him as the person who's made the world admit that Russia matters."

As for the media coverage, he says "of course it's propaganda. However sophisticated it may be, it's very one-sided, mostly based on official sources and accounts from embedded reporters. But that's very similar to the way the Americans do it."
- For China's aviation engineers, the traditional short cuts of extracting intellectual property from foreign joint venture partners or simply copying technology from abroad have so far delivered minimal results.

Foreign engine manufacturers including General Electric, Snecma, a subsidiary of French aerospace group Safran, Rolls Royce Plc and Pratt & Whitney - a unit of United Technology Corp, jealously guard their industrial secrets, limiting the transfer of know-how and opportunities for intellectual property theft.

However, China may be poised to win access to technology from an expanding range of commercial aviation joint ventures with these companies. China's ability to develop engines for passenger aircraft could have considerable potential for technology transfer to the military, experts say.
- DHAKA, Bangladesh — Last month, United States officials told Bangladeshi authorities that they had information suggesting that terrorists linked to the Islamic State were preparing to ramp up activity within Bangladesh’s borders.

In the days that followed, a series of unusual attacks and threats seemed to substantiate the warnings. An Italian aid worker was fatally shot in this city’s diplomatic zone. A Japanese agriculturalist was shot in the north of the country. Last Saturday, a bomber sneaked into a huge gathering of Shiite Muslims, weaving through rings of police officers before killing a teenage boy and wounding dozens of other people.

After each attack, claims of responsibility by the Islamic State appeared on social media accounts believed to be used by radicals.

But Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, has responded to the developments with suspicion and outright skepticism. Even as foreign embassies informed their citizens that they could become terrorist targets, Bangladeshi officials have insisted that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, does not exist in their country. They have noted, pointedly, that the United States has promulgated flawed intelligence in the past, as in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.
- The Chinese are not 21st-century colonialists. They have not come to Africa to uplift the locals, to evangelize, to end the slave trade or to find themselves. Africa is not an existential endeavour for the Chinese, although more than one million have already decided to settle permanently in Africa as farmers, fishermen, plantation owners, bankers, educators and serial entrepreneurs. For China, it is all about profits and engines of growth.
- This is what he said: “Picture this. You’ve graduated with a good degree. You send out your CV far and wide. But you get rejection after rejection. What’s wrong? It’s not the qualifications or the previous experience. It’s just two words at the top: first name, surname. Do you know that in our country today: even if they have exactly the same qualifications, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get call backs for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names? This is a true story. One young black girl had to change her name to Elizabeth before she got any calls to interviews. That, in 21st century Britain, is disgraceful. We can talk all we want about opportunity, but it’s meaningless unless people are really judged equally.”
- In tanim bala (planting bullets), airport staff drop bullets into the bags of unsuspecting airline passengers and demand money from them in exchange for the dropping of charges.
- Many Okinawans insist the base should be shut and a replacement built elsewhere in Japan or overseas.

Residents have long complained that the rest of Japan must share the burden of hosting US military facilities, along with accidents and crimes committed by US service members.

Okinawa, which was controlled by the United States for nearly 30 years after World War II, now reluctantly hosts more than half of the 47,000 American military personnel stationed in Japan.

Tokyo and Washington have repeatedly backed the plan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insisting it was "the only solution".
- Breedlove acknowledged a "lack of ability to see into Russia, especially at the operational and tactical level," describing it as an issue based on the US posture toward Russia in recent years.
- Halevi said that the tasks faced by Israel’s Military Intelligence are becoming harder every day. Twenty years ago, he said, when his unit scored a major intelligence coup, “we were fixed for the next five to seven years.” But nowadays, “you may have struggled very hard, invested, put people’s lives at risk, did all kinds of moves, you retrieved something, but at the speed with which our world lives and the speed at which technology is changing,” the expiration time of your discovery is shortened a great deal.

The Military Intelligence chief gave as an example the efforts to gather intelligence on ISIS: “You see those guys from [ISIS] with their djellabas and such, but they are using top technology. This is not homing pigeons, these are the most advanced communication systems with the most complicated encryptions — now go deal with it. And it changes every day.”

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...