Administrative Assistant - Investments        
CA-Mountain View, JOB SUMMARY Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Investments, the Administrative Assistant supports a small and highly collaborative team that oversees and administers $8 billion of charitable capital. The Assistant is responsible for day-to-day administration of department workflow across numerous investment relationships, and serves as primary liaison between the foundation’s controller, co
          Lufthansa Cargo Emphasizes Long-Standing Connections with Indian Airfreight Market        
Freighter services to Mumbai increased
Lufthansa Cargo emphasizes long-standing connections with Indian airfreight market
by Shrutee K/DNS
The Frankfurt-based air freight carrier Lufthansa Cargo has increased its freighter services to Mumbai. Since July, the airline operates four instead of three freighter flights to the Indian megacity. “This change sees us strengthening our position in the regional airfreight market”, says Frank Naeve, Lufthansa Cargo Vice President Asia-Pacific.
Lufthansa’s cargo arm also serves the Indian metropoles Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, each with two freighter services a week. Additionally, the cargo capacity of 42 weekly passenger flights between various Indian cities and the hubs in Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna is offered by the German logistic company.

“We are proud to have had long-standing connections with customers in the Indian air cargo industry since 1959. Our aim is to build on this in the future”, says Peter Gerber, Lufthansa Cargo CEO and chairman of the board. Two years ago, the Lufthansa Cargo emphasized this by renaming its McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 freighter with registration D-ALCJ “Namaste India”.
About Lufthansa Cargo AG : Lufthansa Cargo ranks among the world’s leading air freight carriers. In the 2016 business year, the airline transported around 1.6 million tonnes of freight and mail and sold 8.4 billion revenue tonne-kilometres. The company currently employs about 4,500 people worldwide. Lufthansa Cargo focuses on the airport-to-airport business. The cargo carrier serves around 300 destinations in more than 100 countries with its own fleet of freighters, the belly capacities of passenger aircraft operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, and an extensive road feeder service network. The bulk of the cargo business is routed through Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly owned Lufthansa subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.


          Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)        

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)

~A culturally enriching and riveting morning hosted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai~

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 8, 2017 : In April 2017 in conjunction with the visit to India of the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri’ Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) signed a MoU with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA). Taking this MoU forward, on the morning of August 8th, MPOC and Mumbai Dabbawalas flagged off an event to create awareness for Malaysian Palm Oil and its benefits.

The event took place at the Lower Parel Bridge, where Dabbawalas wore the T-shirts and topis branded with MPOC message. They then delivered the dabbas carrying a booklet of recipes of dishes that can be cooked in palm oil and the benefits of using palm oil. The Dabbawalas are in a unique position to promote MPOC and raise awareness to the positive nutritional attributes of Malaysian Palm Oil. This becomes particularly useful in Indian cuisine as most dishes are cooked in oil. Substituting for a healthier oil can do no harm, besides besides providing the added bonus of eating delicious food cooked in a healthy oil that is nutritious for the body.

To kick off this event, Dr. Kalyana Sundaram, CEO of MPOC, was present, encouraging the use of palm oil and showing appreciation to our Dabbawalas for their exceptional work. The morning was most enjoyable, entertaining and culturally riveting as some of Maharashtra’s best dancers performed the traditional Lezim Dance, a true delight to have watched! For those unaware of the Lezim Dance, it is a Maharashtrian folk dance performed to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kalyan Sundaram, CEO, MPOC, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. Dabbawalas have been an integral part of this city and they define what Indians stand for: hardworking, responsible and efficient. They work relentlessly with a smile on their face, be it rain or storm. Malaysian Palm Oil has been a very important part of the Indian diet and with this unique initiative we wish to create awareness for this wonderful oil and its several health benefits. Our association with the Mumbai Dabbawalas allows us to spread the message of healthy cooking to a large number of households and encourages a healthier cooking lifestyle”


Mr. Subhash Talekar, Association Spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said “We Dabbawalas unfailingly deliver thousands of dabbas to hungry people daily, they are undoubtedly the best people to directly reach out to households and create awareness about palm oil and the health benefits of using it. This is a very exciting new chapter, and we are glad to be partnering with MPOC.”

India is the world’s largest importer of cooking oils. Palm oil constitutes about two-thirds of India’s steadily increasing vegetable oil import. The price, in comparison to competing oils and the proximity of origin, Malaysia, has made Malayisan Palm Oil a highly preferred oil. Now the Dabawallas have taken it upon themselves, with the help of MPOC, to inform families about the benefits of palm oil and how exquisite food can be cooked in palm oil in alternative to other vegetable oils.

Amongst some of the benefits we came to learn about during the event was that palm oil is rich in natural chemical compounds essential for health and nutrition. It has a rich source of carotenoids that are rich in Vitamin A, a potent natural antioxidant, Vitamins D, E, K, fatty acids, and other important fat-soluble micronutrients that boost the human immune system. The health benefits from using palm oil are tremendous - it reduces chances of Cancer, protects against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and helps children with Vitamin A deficiency.

The oil is great for cooking; it is of vegetable origin, making it free of cholesterol and apt for vegetarians, vegans, and Jains. Furthermore, the oil has a neutral flavor - you needn’t worry about changing tastes, it does not oxidize easily – making it perfect for frying food, and produces less gummy materials and helps in the cooking area maintaining a non-greasy surface; so, most bakers prefer to use a palm-based margarine for baking goods.

With people now more conscious about their health and food habits, palm oil is definitely the healthier choice to make whilst cooking and a step towards healthier bodies and practices.  What better way to create awareness than directly reaching out to the households through our Dabbawalas.


Note to Editors:
MPOC is a Council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.  Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian palm oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.

The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world, mainly in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC)  to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.
                                                                                                             

The plantation industry, particularly palm oil, is one of the main pillars of the Malaysian economy.  The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export of raw commodity and valued-added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings for Malaysia and accounted for 33% of the world’s palm oil production and 39% of total palm oil exports.

          University of Pennsylvania’s new $1.5 billion hospital is being built with the future in mind        
none
          (Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


(Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

          Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016


Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))


'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

..

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '


'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.

..

Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.

..

In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.

..

Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

..

Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'


'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)


(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'


'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          '..another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism.' (no replies)        
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between man’s valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns “riba”, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand “riba” with “the fire prepared for unbelievers.” Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn “ghara.” The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.

..

Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the “Great Satan” and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.

..

..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.

The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.

It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.

The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..

..

We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

- Hans F. Sennholz, In Another Cold War, 2004


Context

'..the battle of ideas taking place in the Muslim world..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

          'Monte Paschi .. should be put into resolution, not bailed out.' (no replies)        
'A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive.'

'This isn’t Monte Paschi’s first state-aid rodeo. Italy bailed it out twice after the crisis when the lender failed stress tests, posted billions of euros of losses and creaked under a mountain of bad loans.

The bank’s track record has convinced some observers that it should be put into resolution, not bailed out. That would require a determination by the ECB that Monte Paschi is insolvent.

“A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a fund manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment in Berlin. “Permanent rescues make it impossible to clean up the market and achieve risk-adequate pricing.” '

- Boris Groendahl, Monte Paschi Rescue Pushes EU Bank-Failure Rules to the Brink, December 23, 2016


Context

'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians in the 21st century.'

          Introducing new donation tool on YouTube benefiting nonprofits        
YouTube has over a billion users. That’s almost one-third of all people on the Internet. And everyday those users watch hundreds of millions of hours of video, racking up billions of views – which are now billions of opportunities to do good.

We’re excited to announce a brand new tool that U.S. nonprofits can utilize — donation cards on YouTube! Donation cards make it even simpler to raise money for your cause by allowing your viewers to donate directly from your YouTube video. Even better — Google covers the processing fees, so your organization will receive 100% of the money donated. Donation cards on YouTube are currently available for U.S. nonprofits and creators, but we look forward to expanding into other countries, so nonprofits and creators can digitally fundraise across the globe. 

Using donation cards, YouTube creators can also now raise money through their content to both support your cause and make their videos more impactful! Donation cards for creators in the U.S. enable their subscribers and viewers to donate directly from their videos. Creators can choose any United States, IRS-validated 501(c)3 public nonprofit organization. Your nonprofit will receive 100% of the money donated.

Want to see donation cards in action? Check out this video from Madison Beer. 

Now it’s your turn. To help you get started, we’ve put together an outreach toolkit – including email templates, social media templates, and fundraising best practices – to help your nonprofit share the news about donation cards with your supporters and other YouTube creators. With these tools, we hope you’ll empower as many people as possible to learn about your nonprofit and fuel fundraising on your behalf. 

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the YouTube for Nonprofit Program, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

If you are a U.S. nonprofit looking to add donation cards to your YouTube videos, learn more here.
If you are a U.S. YouTube creator looking to fundraise for your favorite cause, learn more here. 

Nonprofits aren't endorsed by YouTube or Google


          Credit Report Monitoring Service - Get Your Free Credit Report And Score And Get Some Peace Of Mind!        
GoFreeCredit.com are a credit report monitoring service. You can obtain FREE access to your credit report and even your credit score. You are are able to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of 3 credit reference agencies - Equifax, Experian and TrasUnion. However, getting your credit score is not as easy!

GoFreeCredit.com allow you sign up for a membership which includes the professional monitoring of your credit file and reports. You can sign up to receive automatic e-mails and text alerts should there be any activity whatsoever on your credit file. Perhaps an existing lender may have carried a credit search on you to see if you are eligible for a new mortgage or loan product. However, were you aware that excessive activity on your credit file can be detrimental to your credit score?


Did you know that identy theft costs millions of people and financial institutions billions of dollars every year! By having an efficient credit report monitoring service in place, you can detect the signs of identity theft early. Most people are blissfully unaware that someone may have stolen their social security number and their identity. Many thieves set about opening accounts either to launder money or borrow against your good name. This can take months or even years to notice and can ruin your good name and cost you plenty of money as well. NOT if you have access to a credit report monitoring service.

GoFreeCredit.com offer a free trial period for you to test their credit report monitoring service. Once you order your free credit report you will automatically be enrolled into your free trial of credit monitoring. You will then receive automatic notifications of any changes made to your credit report. Should you wish to continue using the credit report monitorng service once your trial period has ended you will be billed $14.95 a month. However, there is absolutely no obligation to continue using the service after your free trial period has finished - You can cancel your membership at any time.

Click Here To See Your Free Credit Report And Credit Score
          AT&T Adds 2.1 Million Net New Customers In Second Quarter Of 2015        
AT&T Adds 2.1 Million Net New Customers In Second Quarter Of 2015

AT&T recently announced that it has added 2.1 million net new customers during the second quarter of this year. Interestingly, almost all of the carrier’s new additions is attributed to strong sales of tablets, and to connected cars. As a matter of fact, AT&T has added one million new additions driven by tablets and connected cars in the period spanning April to June.

It appears that there is a visible shift in the makeup of AT&T’s subscriber base, with a significant part of the new customer additions spurred by tablets and connected devices. Also, it seems that traditional subscribers -- i.e. those that use phones -- may be on the decline, at least in AT&T’s case. It is also possible that such diminished growth from traditional phone customers for AT&T is connected to the increased pressure from competitors like Sprint and T-Mobile, who are only eager to usurp AT&T’s place as the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States.

Earlier in July, T-Mobile had announced that it had added 2.1 million customers during the second quarter of this year. And just a few days ago, Verizon Wireless had revealed that it had gained over 1 million net new customers, and 1.1 million post-paid subscribers. 

As for AT&T, it had added 410,000 post-paid subscribers, however the growth entirely consisted of 600,000 tablets. In the second quarter of this year, the carrier had lost about 200,000 basic phone subscribers. Still, AT&T was able to add 331,000 prepaid customers as a result of boosting its prepaid arm Cricket Wireless. 

A new focus for AT&T is in connected cars. The carrier is signing up with the largest number of automobile manufacturers in order to bring cellular connectivity to vehicles. But perhaps the more pressing question is -- will people actually pay extra money to connect their cars to a cellular network? The potential is there, but for now, it remains to be seen. 

AT&T also managed to generate a profit in the amount of $3.04 billion, or $0.58 per share, during the second quarter of 2015. During the same period in the previous year, the carrier had a profit of $3.55 billion, or $0.68 per share. Not counting costs associated with its acquisition of two wireless carriers based in Mexico and its looming deal with DirecTV, AT&T managed $0.69 per share of adjusted earnings. Moreover, revenues increased 1.4 percent to $33 billion. As per data compiled by Yahoo, analysts predict, on average, revenue of $33.04 billion and earnings of $0.63 per share.

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          Malware: How we are Infected [InfoGraphic]        
So you have a computer, but if it was infected with a virus, what would you do? Would you even know it was there? It is a well-known fact that over 32% of all computers in the world have malware of some sort. Today we will be talking about the infamous computer virus and what it is.

So let's start with something you all have probably heard of, Malware. Malware is a program made to infiltrate your computer, disable parts of it, and thus gain access to your hard drive, search history and such to aid with stealing information. However, there are other types of malware out there. Let's get to know them and how much of the 32% they infect.

At 57%, first we have the virus. This is a software that has the capability to copy itself and send itself into other folders. Then there is the "Trojan" at 21%. The Trojan is malicious software that hides on the internet disguised as some sort of program or free item, and ce you download it, you will soon discover it is malicious. But the Trojan has a brother at 7%, called the "Trojan Downloader". This type of virus does the same thing as the simple Trojan, but once on your computer it downloads more viruses and software, then begins to use those programs.

Then at 3% there is the "Exploit", which finds a glitch, bug or system error and uses that to hack into your computer. Next we have the "Worm" at 2%, this malicious bug works the same as a Trojan, but then copies and pastes itself across your computer network.

But not all viruses seem so bad when you get them, for instance the "Adware" at 3%. This type of virus infects your computer so nothing happens at first, but once you log into your web browser, then immediately your screen will be flooded with ads. There is also the "Monitoring Tool" with 2% of the 32% infected. This malware infects your computer and hides, not doing anything but monitoring your activity, (Search history, keyboard history etc.) and then sends those back to a remote server.

There is also one of the worst at 1%, the "Back Door". This virus infects your computer remotely, not allowing your anti-virus security to even detect it, but sure enough it does. And lastly we have one of the worst but luckily at a low percentage of 0.01%, "Spyware". This diabolically designed software infects your computer and takes the most important pieces of information it can find and sends it back to wherever it came from. This information is generally passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.
All of these viruses have devastating effects. Last year there were 27 million strains of malware made, which means 74,000 new viruses are created every day. The number of homes in the United States that experience spam is 24 million. The number of homes with serious viruses in the last 2 years is 16 million, and the number of houses that had spyware in the last 6 months is 6 million. But most devastating of all, over 1 million of all homes have lost money to spyware in the last year. Another devastating fact is that Viruses cost the world 4.55 billion USD every year.

So be safe, don't download anything you are unsure of, and be sure to have an anti-virus software. But most importantly learn how to detect these programs when you get them.























          A world with 1.3 billion old people by 2040        
[+7] Discussion by Walter Hinteler on 07/20/09 5:02 AM Replies: 7 Views: 2,180
Tags: Old Age, Retirement, Long Term Care Insurance, Retirement Home
Last Post by vishal1 on 12/30/16 4:39 AM
          Liquid Assets: Local water technologies have global impact        

More than 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water and 2.6 billion don't have access to proper sanitation. For local water technology companies those numbers are a call to action and a major business opportunity.


          SAI Is a BUY        
SAI has been dropping for a few days and closed at 17.96 today. At under $18, it's a screaming buy, and at under $19, it's a good buy. Upside SAIC Report 8% Increase in Profits SAIC Stock buyback up to 40 million shares Still new to the market, large potential increase in institutional holdings. Low P/E. A good defense/homeland security play. Winning lots of new contracts from government. Downside Options expiring soon (shares selling off). $1.6 billion dividend to insiders. Low guidance. SAI looks like it's going to hit rough waves in the near future, but after smoothing all those problems, it should sail smoothly higher in the long term. Its price is currently at a two-month low and seems to have support at high 17's. At under $18, it would make a very good long term position.
          "The Uninhabitable Earth", by David Wallace-Wells, long piece in New York Mag         

David Wallace-Wells has a long article in New York Magazine July 9, 2017, “The Uninhabitable Earth”.

 The subtitles are “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak, sooner than you think”, and “When will the planet be too hot for humans?  Much, much sooner than you think”.

The author thinks that today’s teenagers will see the catastrophic collapse.

One of the biggest dangers is sudden release of methane from permafrost.

In some parts of the world, it will not be possible for humans to survive outside.  Their bodies just can cool fast enough.

There’s also the astonishing statement that the spurt in standard of living in the West really occurred only once, with the industrial revolution.



The author notes that it may be common throughout the Milky Way for civilizations to rise and fall.  They don’t survive long enough to have a good statistical chance of finding one another across light years.   In the video above, Harvard professor David Kipping notes that methane degrades quickly and says that Wallace could be overstating the methane risk.
 
It may have been possible for Venus to host life more than a billion years ago, before a sudden catastrophe led to runaway greenhouse effects.  Both Venus and Mars may be sites of tragedies and we don’t know it yet.

Nev Schulman ("Catflish") shared this in his Facebook feed tonight.


          7 Regionally Flavoured Songs From Bollywood That Have Done Justice To Their Origin        

These are the best songs from Mainstream Bollywood with some regional flavours. India, the land of more than 1 Billion people, who speak more than a hundred languages. This specific information means that there are more than hundred ways in which you say a thing. Along with this, every single nook and corner of this

The post 7 Regionally Flavoured Songs From Bollywood That Have Done Justice To Their Origin appeared first on RapidLeaks.


          11 Quotes By JK Rowling That Will Leave You Magically Inspired        

While JK Rowling is mostly recognized as the writer behind everyone’s beloved fantasy fiction series ‘Harry Potter’, the author’s achievements go far beyond wizards and muggles. JK Rowling’ success story from being a jobless and penniless to becoming the first Billionaire writer in the world, itself isn’t anything less than a fairy tale, however, behind

The post 11 Quotes By JK Rowling That Will Leave You Magically Inspired appeared first on RapidLeaks.


          Let the sage grouse conservation plans work        

It took nearly a decade of conservation efforts to protect the iconic sage grouse, its fragile ecosystem of over 350 species, and a billion dollar plus regional recreational economy.


          Volkswagen Beetle Commercial        
Advertising.
Volkswagen Beetle Commercial
Genre: FAction
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release name: Resident Evil Revelations – FLT
Size: 3.11 GB
Install Notes:
1. Unrar by clicking the exe file for this is a self extracting archive.
2. For further instructions and to avoid installation mistakes, strictly read the nfo file here
3. Support developers by buying the software you enjoy!
DOWNLOAD ANY PARTS ON FILE HOST OF YOUR CHOICE
YOU MAY ALSO DOWNLOAD IN UploadCore or Tusfiles TO SUPPORT US
Download in Mediafire, Uptobox, Hulkfile, Jumbofiles, Filefactory, Depositfiles,UploadCore,Hulkshare,Karelia,BillionUploads,Rapidgator,Filevelocity,Netload,Putlocker,Tusfiles,1Fichier,Rapidshare,Cyberlocker,Cloudzer,Upafile,Oteupload,,Freakshare,Extabit and Uploaded

Putlocker

Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 1
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 2
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 3
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 4
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 5
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 6
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 7
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 8
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 9

RapidGator

Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 1
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 2
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 3
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 4
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 5
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 6
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 7
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 8
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 9

1Fichier

Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 1
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 2
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 3
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 4
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 5
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 6
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 7
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 8
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 9

Uploaded

Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 1
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 2
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 3
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 4
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 5
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 6
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 7
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 8
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 9

HugeFiles

Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 1
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 2
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 3
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 4
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 5
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 6
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 7
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 8
Resident Evil Revelations – FLT Part 9

          Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare + Crack Full        

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Full Crack
Release Date: 07-11-2007
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish 
Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | Cyberlocker | BillionUploads
COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

Free Download PC Game COD 4: MW Full Version - The new action-thriller from the award-winning team at Infinity Ward, the creators of the Call of Duty® series, delivers the most intense and cinematic action experience ever. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare arms gamers with an arsenal of advanced and powerful modern day firepower and transports them to the most treacherous hotspots around the globe to take on a rogue enemy group threatening the world. As both a U.S. Marine and British S.A.S soldier fighting through an unfolding story full of twists and turns, players use sophisticated technology, superior firepower and coordinated land and air strikes on a battlefield where speed, accuracy and communication are essential to victory. The epic title also delivers an added depth of multiplayer action providing online fans an all-new community of persistence, addictive and customizable play.

Screenshot

Minimum System Requirements
  • OS: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: Pentium 4 @ 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon 2600+ or any Dual Core Processor @ 1.8 GHz
  • Memory: 512 Mb
  • Hard Drive: 8 Gb free
  • Video Card: nVidia 6600 / ATI Radeon 9800Pro
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
  • DirectX: 9.0c
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • DVD Rom Drive

Recommended System Requirements
  • OS: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: Any Dual Core Processor 2.4 GHz or faster
  • Memory: 1 Gb
  • Hard Drive: 8 Gb free
  • Video Card: nVidia 7800 / ATI Radeon X1800
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
  • DirectX: 9.0c
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • DVD Rom Drive

Update Link Download (14-05-2013)
Mirror via PutLocker
Mirror via UPaFile
Mirror via CyberLocker
Mirror via BillionUploads
250 MB / Part
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unrar
    2. Open the .iso file with a program that can mount it (PowerISO, Daemon tools, Alcohol for example)
    3. Mount it. I don't have that autorun option turned on, so i have to go to My Computer and open it from the cd-drive.
    4. Install it. When it asks for the cd-key, minimize the installer and open rzr-cod4.exe, then generate the cd-key and copy it to the installer.

    ***Some antivirus propgrams may tell u that that rzr-cod4.exe is a virus of somekind. IT'S A FALSE POSITIVE! It's perfectly safe. The antivirus program thinks its a virus, but it isn't.***

    5. The installer will also ask if u wan't to install punkbuster. I installed it, don't know if it matters.
    6. When it's done installing,  copy or move iw3sp.exe to the game folder (where u installed the game).
    7. Launch the game by opening iw3sp.exe and it should work.
    8. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!

    Info
    1. PL, UPa, CL, BU Interchangeable Links
    2. Total part: 10 / 700 GB
    3. Total file : 6.32 GB
              FIFA 13 INTERNAL-RELOADED        

    FIFA 13 INTERNAL-RELOADED
    Release Date: 7 Okt 2012
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | Cyberlocker | BillionUploads
    Uploaded | Rapidgator | Turbobit
    COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    Free Download PC Game FIFA 2013 Full Version - captures all the drama and unpredictability of real-world football. This year, the game creates a true battle for possession across the entire pitch, and delivers freedom and creativity in attack. Driven by five game-changing innovations that revolutionize artificial intelligence, dribbling, ball control and physical play, FIFA 2013 represents the largest and deepest feature set in the history of the franchise.

    Features
    • All-new positioning intelligence infuses attacking players with the ability to analyze plays, and to better position themselves to create new attacking opportunities.
    • Make every touch matter with complete control of the ball. Take on defenders with the freedom to be more creative in attack.
    • A new system eliminates near-perfect control for every player by creating uncertainty when receiving difficult balls.
    • The second generation of the physics engine expands physical play from just collisions to off-the-ball battles, giving defenders more tools to win back possession.
    • Create dangerous and unpredictable free kicks. Position up to three attacking players over the ball and confuse opponents with dummy runs, more passing options, and more elaborate free kicks.
    • Compete for club and country in an expanded Career Mode that now includes internationals. Play for or manage your favorite national team, competing in friendlies, qualifiers and major international tournaments.
    • Learn or master the fundamental skills necessary to compete at FIFA 13 in a competitive new mode. Become a better player, faster, no matter what your skill level. Compete against yourself or friends in 32 mini-games perfecting skills such as passing, dribbling, shooting, crossing and more.
    • Earn rewards, level up, enjoy live Challenges based on real-world soccer events, and connect with friends. Everything within FIFA 13, and against friends, is measured in a meaningful way.
    • Access your Football Club identity and friends, manage your FIFA Ultimate Team, search the live auctions and bid to win new players.
    • 500 officially licensed clubs and more than 15,000 players.

    Release NOTE: It internal because the DRM is bypassed using a loader. The game works, but it’s not how we would usually release a crack.
    Screenshot

    Minimum System Requirements
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+
    • Memory: 2 Gb
    • Video Memory: 512 Mb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 2900
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse
    • DVD Rom Drive

    Update Link download (05-05-2013)
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via Cyberlocker
    Mirrror via BillionUploads
    Mirror via Uploaded, Rapidgator, Turbobit
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com
    Installation
    1. Unrar.
    2. Burn or mount the image.
    3. Install the game.
    4. Copy the cracked files from the \Crack directory on the disc to the \Game directory, overwriting the existing exe.
    5. Before you start the game, use your firewall to block all exe files in the game's install directory from going online. Use the game setup before starting as well. It can be found in the following directory:\Game\fifasetup
    6. Play the game. While in game, avoid all of the online options. If you have Origin installed, it may start it up. If that happens, ignore the prompt, play offline, and don't login.
    7. Enjoy!

    Info
    1. PL, UPa, CL, BU Interchangeable Links
    2. Total part: 10 / 700 MB
    3. Total file : 6.4 GB

    1. UL, RG, TB Interchangeable Links
    2. Total part: 7 / 1.00 GB
    3. Total file : 6.4 GB

              Mars: War Logs-COGENT        

    Mars: War Logs - COGENT
    Release Date: 26-04-2013
    Language: English
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | Cyberlocker | BillionUploads
    COPYRUGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    Free download PC game 2013 Mars: War Logs Full Version - In the destroyed world of Mars, two destinies mingle together. Two beings searching for their identity travel across a broken planet, constantly facing bloody political conflicts which tear the old colonies apart. Often divided, sometimes fighting the same enemies, both are the source of the advent of a new era…

    Mars: War Logs is a sci-fi RPG action game that innovatively merges character development and light and rhythmic fights. it takes you on a journey deep into an original futuristic universe and presents you with scenarios dealing with difference, racism and environment.

    Features
    • Take on the role of Roy Temperance, a multi-talented renegade, and surround yourself with companions with real personalities.
    • Choose from the numerous dialog possibilities and influence the destiny of your people.
    • Personalize your fighting style through a dynamic and developed combat system, for entirely different approaches depending on the choices you make.
    • Personalize your development by choosing from dozens of skills and numerous additional perks!
    • Modify and create your own equipment with our craft system.

    Screenshot

    Minimum System Requirements
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.2 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+
    • Memory: 2 Gb
    • Hard Drive: 3 Gb free
    • Video Memory: 512 Mb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3870
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • Network: Broadband Internet Connection
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse

    Link download
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via Cyberlocker
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unrar
    2. Mount or burn
    3. Install
    4. Copy contents of Crack Directory to install directory
    5. Play the game
    6. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!

    Info
    1. PL, UPa, CL, BU Interchangeable Links
    2. Total part: 8 / 350 MB
    3. Total file : 2.54 GB
              God Mode Update 1-RELOADED        

    God Mode Update 1-RELOADED
    Release Date: 04-2013
    Language: -
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | Cyberlocker | BillionUploads
    COPYRUGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    RELOADED group telah merilis update pertama untuk PC game God Mode. Info changelognya dapat di bawah, dan bagi teman-teman sekalian yang sudah mendownload PC Game God Mode-RELOADED yuk langsung di patch gamenya biar lebih enak di mainin.

    Changelog
    • Desynchronization: Network optimizations were made to stop the desync issue during games which also led to non-progressions.
    • FPS Cap: The FPS cap can now be removed via the game.cfg file. Add the option "LockFps = 0" under the Video section. Note that removing the FPS cap may cause issues depending on system configuration and network quality.
    • Disable voice chat option: You can now disable all incoming sounds via the options while still having the ability to chat via Push to talk.
    • Push to talk voice chat: To enable chat while in-game, parties or a menu press the ` (tilde) button (can be reconfigured).
    • Minigun ammo clip upgrade: Fixed the issue where users were not seeing the clip properly upgraded.
    • Graceful error handling: Better message boxes and debug text appear when issues occur to give developers better visibility.
    • Crash at Voting Screen: A fix was made to the crash that occurred while voting for a map.
    • Crash when connection to Steam is lost: Launching the game when Steam is offline will launch into LAN mode instead of crashing.
    • Alt+Tab Crash: Fix to the crash when users Alt+Tab out of the game.
    • Overall game stability: Optimizations were made increase game stability.
    • God Mode Executable compatibility: Steam DRM has been altered from Standard to Compatibility. This change will help users experiencing crashes while booting the game.
    • Memory Allocation Fix: Optimizations were made to game memory allocation.
    • Note: We recommend players install the patch before launching God Mode. Not installing the patch could lead to connection compatibility issues. 

    Link download
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via Cyberlocker
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unrar God Mode Update 1-RELOADED.rar > Next Unrar rld-godupd1.rar
    2. Install the update.
    3. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory to your game install directory.
    4. We recommend not allowing the game to go online with your FW. Select LAN from partygame settings.
    5. Play the game.
    6. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
              Resident Evil 6 Update 4-RELOADED        

    Resident Evil 6 Update 4-RELOADED
    Release Date: 04-2013
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | Cyberlocker | BillionUploads
    COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    RELOADED group kembali lagi dengan rilis update terbaru untuk PC Game Resident Evil 6. Pada update ke 4 kali ini terdapat penambahan fungsi option baru untuk pencarian, serta improvisasi performa SLI untuk graphics cards NVIDIA. Nah, bagi teman-teman sekalian yang sudah memiliki pc game Resident Evil 6, monggo langsung di amankan filenya.

    New Features
    • Added new options to the session search function
    • Improved SLI performance with NVIDIA graphics cards

    Link download
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via Cyberlocker
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unrar.
    2. Install the Update. No other updates are needed for this release.
    3. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory to your game install directory.
    4. Play the game.
    5. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
              Day of the Zombie Repack Version        

    Day of the Zombie Repack Version
    Release Date: 2009
    Language: Russian | English
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | BillionUploads
    COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    Free download PC Game Day of the Zombie Full Version - This game made by Groove Games. Basically the exact same thing as Land of the Dead but with a new single player and a few new features.

    story mode is funner and set up better than lotd too, though the story is kinda weak and stupid. you play as 3 different people: a college student looking for his lady, a college janitor trying to save his school (thinks it's all student pranks), and an army soldier (trying to find civilians i guess).

    Screenshot

    Minimum System Requirements
    • Operating system: Windows ® 2000/XP/Vista
    • Processor: Pentium ® 4 or AMD ® Athlon ™ with a frequency of 2.0 GHz or faster.
    • RAM: 256 MB.
    • Free hard disk: 1.5 GB.
    • Video card: compatible with DirectX ® 9.0c (ATI ® Radeon ® 9600 or
    • NVIDIA ® GeForce ® 4 Ti 4600 with 128 MB) or more powerful.
    • Sound card: compatible with DirectX and Windows ®.
    • DirectX ®: DirectX ® version 9.0 or later.
    • CD-ROM: 4x or faster.
    • Mouse and keyboard.

    Link download
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unrar
    2. Mount or burn
    3. Install
    4. Play the game

    Note: If you want to change the language, you must find zombie.ini in system folder and change line language=rus to language=int

              Post Apocalyptic Mayhem-PROPHET        

    Post Apocalyptic Mayhem-PROPHET
    Release Date: 04-2014
    Language: English | French | German | Italian | Spanish
     Polish | Russian | Japanese
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | Filewinds | BillionUploads
    COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    Free download PC game Post Apocalyptic Mayhem Full Version - lets you race and battle heavily-modified vehicles through numerous breathtaking tracks and lay waste to other racers in over-the-top vehicular mayhem. You can use special vehicle abilities to cause spectacular destruction to enemy cars as you fight and speed to victory. You’ll experience remarkable speeds, hilarious and violent weapons, reinforced vehicles and various exhilarating tracks.

    Note
    This version includes the vehicles: Kitty, Nucloid and the Veteran and tracks: Death Area 8, Airplane Cemetery and Abandoned Sawmill. Also it includes the Chaos Pack DLC. Game version is 1.03.272.

    Screenshot

    Minimum System Requirements
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 @ 3.0 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 3200+
    • Memory: 1 Gb
    • Hard Drive: 1 Gb free
    • Video Memory: 256 Mb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce 6800 / ATI Radeon X1800
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse

    Link download
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via Filewinds
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unpack, burn or mount
    2. Install the game
    3. Copy the cracked content from PROPHET dir
    4. Go To Hell!

    Info
    1. PL, UPa, FW, BU Interchangeable Links
    2. Total part: 4 / 250 MB
    3. Total file : 864 MB
              F1 2012-FLT - UPafile        
    F1 ( Formula 1 ) 2012-FairLight
    Release Date: 18/09/2012
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | BillionUploads
    COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    FREE Download PC Game F1 2012 Full Version - Racing presents F1 2012, the next game in the BAFTA-winning series featuring all the official drivers, teams and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. Learn the basics and master the challenge of driving the best machines on the planet in the Young Driver Test Experience the next generation in weather system technology where storm fronts move across the circuits, soaking specific areas of the track, as well as racing around the all-new Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, home of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Two new quick fire game options: Season Challenge, a complete Career in just 10 races, and Champions Mode Scenarios, where you test your skills against the very best, complete an exciting line up of gaming options which also includes a 5 year Career, Co-op Championship, 16 Player Multiplayer & Time Attack Scenarios.

    Features
    • Formula One returns to the USA in 2012 at the all new Circuit of the Americas, located in Austin, Texas, and players can drive on the circuit ahead of the track?s debut in November.
    • Gamers will be introduced to the world of Formula One and learn the nuances of how to drive a Formula One car by taking part in the all-new Young Drivers Test at Abu Dhabi?s Yas Marina.
    • Codemasters? Formula One series has set the standard for weather in racing games and players will be able to experience new enhancements that will raise the bar further in F1 2012
    • F1 2012 will feature all-new lap walkthroughs from Formula One test driver and Codemasters technical consultant Anthony Davidson.
    • Expected to attract 120,000 fans on race day, the Circuit of the Americas will be a spectacular addition to the Formula One calendar and will be recreated in full high definition in F1 2012
    Screenshot

    Minimum System Requirements
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
    • Memory: 2 Gb
    • Hard Drive: 15 Gb free
    • Video Memory: 256 Mb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse
    Recommended System Requirements
    • OS: Windows Vista/7
    • Processor: Intel Core i7 @ 2.66 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 @ 3.0 GHz
    • Memory: 4 Gb
    • Hard Drive: 15 Gb free
    • Video Memory: 1 Gb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce GTX 560 / ATI Radeon HD 6850
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse
    Update Link download (15-04-2013)
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com
    Installation
    1. Unrar
    2. Mount or Burn it
    3. Install the game
    4. Play

    Info
    1. PL, UPa, BU Interchangeable Link
    2. Total part: 14 / 400 MB
    3. Total file : 5.34 GB / 5.30 GB Compressed

              God Mode-RELOADED        
    God Mode-RELOADED
    Release Date: 04-2013
    Language: English | German | French | Italian | Spanish | Russian
    Mirrors: PutLocker | UPaFile | BillionUploads 
    COPYRIGHT : KOS KOMPUTER

    Free download PC game God Mode Full Version - Is set in a twisted version of Greek mythology and the afterlife. The player is a descendant of an ancient God whose family has been banished by Hades from Mt. Olympus and turned into a mere mortal. To avoid an afterlife of eternal damnnation, the player must battle through this purgatory known as the Maze of Hades against an army of the underworld.

    God Mode combines non-linear gameplay, fast and frantic shooting, hordes of on-screen enemies, and a fully functional online coop mode. Matches rarely ever play out the same, as dozens of in-game modifiers can significantly alter the gameplay on the fly. Characters are fully customizable, both in appearance and equipment, which continually evolve. Gold and experience is constantly accrued and used to unlock new satisfying weaponry and unique powerful abilities, both of which can be further upgraded.

    Screenshot

    Minimum System Requirements
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
    • Memory: 2 Gb
    • Hard Drive: 5 Gb free
    • Video Memory: 512 Mb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 2900
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse

    Recommended System Requirements
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 @ 2.4 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 @ 2.6 GHz
    • Memory: 3 Gb
    • Hard Drive: 5 Gb free
    • Video Memory: 1 Gb
    • Video Card: nVidia GeForce GTX 460 / ATI Radeon HD 5850
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
    • Network: Broadband Internet Connection
    • DirectX: 9.0c
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse

    Link download
    Mirror via PutLocker
    Mirror via UPaFile
    Mirror via BillionUploads
    Password: koskomputer.blogspot.com

    Installation
    1. Unrar.
    2. Burn or mount the image.
    3. Install the game.
    4. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory on the image to your game install directory.
    5. Before you start the game, use your firewall to the game exe file
    from going online.
    6. Play the game, change party settings to LAN.
    7. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!

    Info
    1. PL, UPa, BU Interchangeable Links
    2. Total part: 6 / 300 MB
    3. Total file : 1.77 GB
              THE ART OF THE (TRUMP AND PUTIN) DEALSay you’re Vladimir Putin,...        


    THE ART OF THE (TRUMP AND PUTIN) DEAL

    Say you’re Vladimir Putin, and you did a deal with Trump last year. Whether there was such a deal is being investigated. But if you are Putin and you did do a deal, what might Trump have agreed to do for you? 

    1. Repudiate NATO. NATO is the biggest thorn in your side – the alliance that both humiliates you and stymies your ambitions. Trump seemed intent to deliver on this during his recent European trip by bullying members about payments and seemingly not reaffirming Article 5 of the pact, which states that any attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. (He’s backtracked on this since then, under pressure from Congress.)

    2. Antagonize Europe, especially Angela Merkel. She’s the strongest leader in the West other than Trump, and you’d love to drive a wedge between the United States and Germany. Your larger goal is for Europe to no longer depend on the United States, so you can increase your influence in Europe. Trump has almost delivered on this, too. Merkel is already saying Europe can no longer depend on America.

    3. Take the United States out of the Paris accord on the environment. This will anger America’s other allies around the world and produce a wave of anti-Americanism – all to your advantage. You’d also love for the whole Paris accord to unravel because you want the world to remain dependent on fossil fuels. Russia is the world’s second-largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia, and biggest exporter of natural gas. And the oil and gas industry contributes about half the revenues to your domestic budget. And, hey, there’s also all those Arctic ports that are opening up now that the earth is warming. Trump has delivered on this. 

    4. Embark on a new era of protectionism. Or at least anti-trade rhetoric. This will threaten the West’s economic interdependence and loosen America’s economic grip on the rest of the world. Trump is on the way to delivering on this one.

    5. End the economic sanctions on Russia, imposed by the United States in 2014. Oil production on land is falling so you want to tap the vast petroleum and gas reserves offshore in the Arctic. In 2011, you and ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, signed a $500 billion deal to do this. But the sanctions stopped it cold. Trump has promised to lift them, but he hasn’t delivered on this yet, because he has got to cope with all the suspicions in America about his deal with you. Once it dies down, he’ll end the sanctions. In the meantime, he’ll give you back the two compounds that were seized by the Obama administration when the U.S. intelligence discovered you’d interfered in the election.

    And what might you have agreed to do for Trump in return? 

    Two things: First, you’d help him win the presidency, by hacking into Democratic Party servers, leaking the results, sending millions of fake news stories about Hillary to targeted voters, and tapping into voter lists. 

    Second, after he was elected, you’d shut up about your help so Trump wouldn’t be impeached and convicted of treason.

    In other words, if you did a deal, you both still have every incentive to fulfill your side of it. That’s the art of the deal.


              State's Pension Fund Up, but Comptroller Says Warning Signs on Horizon for NY Finances         
    There’s some good news and some bad news from the State Comptrollers’ office. The state’s nearly $200 billion pension fund is doing well, thanks in part to the booming stock market, but there are some worrisome signs for the future of New York’s finances. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the pension fund is up this quarter by 2.9 percent, and has increased 11 and a half percent from last year. DiNapoli says he likes to think that he and his staff have invested wisely, but he says a major factor is the booming stock market. “The stock market rally continues,” DiNapoli said, in an interview with public radio and TV. “ It’s been going on longer than most people would have ever projected, but we’re benefiting from that right now.” But there’s a drop in the state’s finances. The Comptroller’s monthly report finds collections of personal income taxes are down around $1.2 billion from the same time period last year. DiNapoli says Governor Cuomo’s Division of the Budget has already revised down
              Annotation: Donald Trump Jr.'s Emails About Russia Meeting        
    Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]... and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, which former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also attended in June 2016. They met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya , whom Trump Jr. said ultimately did not provide the promised material on Clinton. In the emails, Trump Jr. corresponds with publicist Rob Goldstone , who represents the son of an Azerbaijan-born billionaire who has also done business with the Trumps. Trump Jr. forwarded the thread to Kushner and Manafort Loading...
              Improving Westside a Priority of One Syracuse Mayoral Candidate        
    One Syracuse mayoral candidate has a vision for the city’s west side to address poverty and improve education. Syracuse native Alfonso Davis is seeking the Democratic Party nomination. Davis has made a priority of easing socio-economic troubles in poorer neighborhoods, coming from poverty himself. He empathizes with frustrations people on the west side might feel. “One of the large cries from people on the Westside, coming out of the Westside, is jobs. They feel as though…this city, no one cares about them and what goes on on the Westside.” Davis says greater economic opportunity is key not only to easing poverty, but for reducing violent crime in poor neighborhoods. If elected mayor, he hopes to enact a Community Benefits Agreement, or CBA. It would require that public works projects hire local workers instead of having contractors bring in crews from outside the city. Davis says the I-81 replacement is a perfect example… involving billions of dollars over a 7- to 10-year build time.
              Gov. Cuomo Takes Active Role in Taking Back the House for Democrats        
    Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting involved in New York’s Congressional races. At a rally with House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, he vowed to help defeat the state’s republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year. House Democratic Leader Pelosi introduced Governor Cuomo at the rally of union workers at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. “We will remove you from office on November [7], 2018,” Cuomo shouted. “ And we are telling you those are not just words, you can bet your political life that New Yorkers will do just that!” While Cuomo says he’s working to defeat all of the state’s GOP congressional representatives, the governor directed his ire at Western New York Congressman Chris Collins and the Hudson Valley’s John Faso. The two angered Cuomo earlier this year when they successfully included in the House repeal of the Affordable Care Act a plan to force the state to take over billions of dollars in county Medicaid costs.
              Comment on What’s Next for Tautachrome Inc (OTCMKTS:TTCM) Shares? by Anonymousbeans        
    ***TTCM CORRECTION*** With the recent share retirements, the current TTCM OS is 1.77 billion shares outstanding (NOT 3 billion as stated in the article) making the market cap $35 mill @ Friday's 0.0199 closing price. Also, as of today 19-Dec-2016, 1.28 billion shares have been retired. That leaves 92.6 million shares remaining to be retired.
              Dana White on UFC ownership's looming buyouts: 'I'm not going anywhere'        

    Reports last week that Beverly Hills mega-talent agency WME/IMG has raised $1.1 billion from two international investors to buy out some of its UFC minority partners stirred some speculation that UFC President Dana White might be leaving the company.

    “I’m not going anywhere, brother,” White told...


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              Europe to be powered by the Sahara?        
    BERLIN, (Reuters) – A 400-billion euro ($554 billion) project linking solar power produced in the Sahara to energy users in Europe and North Africa is a ‘win-win’ for both continents and could also promote integration around the Mediterranean, a German minister said. Guenter Gloser, deputy foreign minister, told Reuters 20 gigawatts of concentrated solar power … Continue reading "Europe to be powered by the Sahara?"
              TOWN Residential Continues to Lead the Industry with Record Transactions and Full Transparency        

    Firm concludes 2016 with over $3.6 billion in total residential and commercial sales and leasing volume.

    (PRWeb December 28, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/12/prweb13949599.htm


              TOWN Residential Continues to Lead the Industry with Record Transactions and Full Transparency        

    Firm concludes third quarter with over $1.69 billion in total sales and leasing volume.

    (PRWeb September 30, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/10/prweb13726202.htm


              Andrew Heiberger Becomes Sole Owner of TOWN Residential        

    The six year old firm can count more than $9.5 billion in total sales and leasing volume among the many accolades

    (PRWeb July 27, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/07/prweb13581702.htm


              TOWN Residential Continues to Lead the Industry with Record Transactions and Full Transparency        

    Firm celebrates fifth anniversary and concludes 2015 with over $2.7 billion in total sales and leasing volume – surpassing 2014’s record achievements by more than 30%.

    (PRWeb December 17, 2015)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/12/prweb13137343.htm


              TOWN Residential Continues to Lead the Industry with Record Transactions and Full Transparency        

    At the close of the third quarter, firm reports over $2 billion in total sales and leasing volume – surpassing 2014’s record achievements in just nine months.

    (PRWeb October 06, 2015)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/10/prweb13003875.htm


              TOWN Residential Continues to Lead the Industry with Record Transactions and Full Transparency        

    At the mid-year mark, firm reports $1.188 billion in total sales and leasing volume

    (PRWeb July 28, 2015)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/07/prweb12871048.htm


              TOWN Residential Leads the Industry with Record Sales and Full Transparency        

    Firm finishes 2014 with total sales and leasing volume of over $1.86 Billion

    (PRWeb December 30, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/01/prweb12418836.htm


              News Quiz: Scams Targeting The Elderly        
    A recent IowaWatch report reveals that many elderly people have become scammers’ easy targets and lost billions of dollars in the past several years. Take this news quiz and find out how much you know about financial scams that target seniors, and how to deal with them.
              Comment on Federal bailout by John        
    They are already going to pay themselves $70 Billion for their 2008 performance. <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/17/executivesalaries-banking" rel="nofollow">http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/17/executivesalaries-banking</a>
              [news/commentary] Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs - Part I        
    Thursday, September 16, 2004
    Dateline: China
     
    New column on the AlwaysOn Network.  It's on the potential downside of offshoring (the downside for the States, that is).  For the next five days, see http://www.alwayson-network.com ; the permanent link is at http://tinyurl.com/4e4q4 .  It got the ire of a lot of readers and a lot of views (I'm projecting nearly 500 in less than one day).  The article which was the basis for my column is getting a lot of attention in the States.  Worth reading.
     
    Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs -- Part I
     
    First, a bit of commentary.  One thing all smart SIs (systems integrators) do is develop partnerships and alliances with ISVs (independent software vendors, i.e., software publishers/software companies in a broad sense).  Of course, it's difficult to be the 1,000th entrant in the game and expect to get any traction/assistance from your ISV partner.
     
    SIs in China ALWAYS use the approach of offering localization services and OFTEN offer to help push an ISV's product within the domestic market in China.  Frankly, this is what the (usually American) ISV wants, too.  Does this strategy work?  Well, sometimes.  However, even in the case of high profile alliances such as some of those Microsoft has in China (and I won't name names to protect the innocent), it's really nothing more than window dressing.  Everything looks good on paper, but the reality is something quite different.
     
    Regardless, this does NOT address the need and desire for SIs in China to build their market in the States.  And when this issue becomes center stage, ISVs frequently respond with something bordering on contempt.  Some ISVs are getting clued that their American channel partners absolutely need partners in China and other low(er)-cost development areas in order to win bids.  Let's face it, it's all about closing deals.  And if an ISV's competitors have channel partners which can put together winning bids, perhaps in part (and perhaps in LARGE part) due to an offshoring component with their channel partner's SI partner(s) in China, then the ISV with an indirect link to China has a competitive advantage.  I don't view this as a sufficient condition to winning bids, but it's increasingly a necessary condition.
     
    Clued ISVs want their American channel partners to have an offshoring option, but this requires that their channel partners have relationships with SIs in a country such as China.  But ISVs tend to focus their channel development efforts on their American partners and might develop a couple/few relationships in China, but usually NOT tied to their channel development efforts in the States.  Goofy and shortsighted, to say the least.
     
    But how can SIs in China get traction with American ISVs, especially since they're almost always late to the game (in other words, the American ISV already has a well-developed channel)?  The answer (or, at least one answer):  Focus on servicing the needs of SMEs (small and medium enterprises, which is also referred to as "SMBs" -- small and medium businesses).
     
    There's another reason this makes sense:  Most of the SIs in China are already focused on servicing SMEs/SMBs in China.  It might be nice to bag a large SOE (state-owned enterprise), but the reality is that most firms in China, especially the burgeoning number of privately-held firms, are SMEs by definition.  Hence, the experiences gained by SIs in China is already within the same market, although I'd be the first person to warn than company size and even similar domains does not necessarily equate to directly transferable skills.  Fact is, things in China are often quite different from the way they are in the States, especially in a "hot" ITO (IT outsourcing) market like financial services.  More about this in a forthcoming postingBottom line:  Give serious thought to targeting the SMB/SME market in the States.  (Part II of this commentary might be a while in coming.)
     
    IT Tidbits
     
    Lots of tidbits this week.
     
    Controlling project costs.  My favorites:  Scope creep, not understanding project financing, "big-bang" projects, overtesting (although I'm not sure I agree with this one), poor estimating.  Good stuff, with recommended solutions.  See http://tinyurl.com/6rfkg .
     
    Challenges for China's SIs.  Adapted from a Forrester report.   For starters, how about:  Improving account management (are there really any account managers in China, or at least any who can manage accounts with U.S. clients?   ), moving away from technology-centric messages that often alienate business buyers (better yet, moving away from messages in Chinglish), investing in vertical-specific skills (how many times have I said this?) and becoming more multicultural organizations (yes, and let's start with learning English!).  See http://tinyurl.com/4avfo .
     
    "Yee Haw" as an outsourcing option.  Forget India.  Forget China.  Forget the Philippines.  Let's go to Arkansas!!  See http://tinyurl.com/7ya9p .
     
    American start-ups go offshore.  Try Corio (is Corio really a start-up?), CollabNet, Aarohl, Infinera, and many others.  See http://tinyurl.com/3wm3o .  Another good article with a BPO spin in Venture Capital Journal, http://tinyurl.com/4rfsa .
     
    Offshorings mixed results.  "Vietnam and Myanmar were also in demand ..."  Really?  See http://tinyurl.com/647ap .
     
    Looking for SI partners?  Kennedy ranks the largest firms.  As I've said in the past, I like their reports.  (No, I don't get a cut.)  Satyam and TCS didn't make the grade, though.  See http://tinyurl.com/4s965 .
     
    Another challenge to conventional outsourcing and offshoring "wisdom."   "Services-driven development models, such as the one at work in India, broaden the global competitive playing field.  As a result, new pressures are brought to bear on hiring and real wages in the developed world - pressures that are not inconsequential in shaping the jobless recoveries unfolding in high-cost wealthy nations.  For those in the developed world, successful services- and manufacturing-based development models in heavily populated countries such as India and China - pose the toughest question of all: what about us?"  For more, see http://tinyurl.com/4acm4 .
     
    Forget the Golden Triangle.  How about China + India vs. the world (or, sans the world)?  "Newspaper headlines portray China as the world's manufacturing base for low-cost goods, like clothing and shoes, and India as the global IT monopoly-to-be.  Unfortunately, media outside Asia have failed to acknowledge the growing partnership between the two giants."  "Given the complementary nature of their economies and the size of their markets (nearly 2.2 billion people in total), the nascent cooperation between the two holds the potential to dramatically alter the world trade balance.  A perusal of the Shanghai technology corridor reveals a hint of the countries' industrial interconnectedness.  Walk through one of the main complexes in Shanghai's Pudong Software Park, and you will see a prominently displayed sign for Infosys, one of India's most respected IT firms.  The same complex also holds Satyam, the first of India's software service companies to set up offices in Shanghai.  Nearby are the headquarters of the largest software services company in Asia, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which currently runs an outsourcing center for GE in the town of Hangzhou.  TCS is owned by the Tatas, one of India's most prominent business families.  Across the river is NIIT, the principal software training center in India's private sector.  NIIT, operating in China since 1998, now runs an extensive two-year course in 25 provinces, training around 20,000 students to be software professionals.  There is widespread speculation that Wipro, India's only giant IT firm without a presence in the city, will establish a Shanghai office very soon.  It is no surprise that Indian software companies are setting up in China. They, like everyone else, sense great opportunity in one of the largest, fastest-growing economies in the world."  (Bold is my emphasis.)  All true, and they even forget MphasiS.  See one of my must-read sources, YaleGlobalhttp://tinyurl.com/6ltaz .
     
    The partnering wave of the future.  I've talked about this many times in previous postings.  This time CTG dances with Polaris Software.  See http://tinyurl.com/5tbqd .
     
    CMMi:  The key to success.  A little simplistic and uses incorrect definitions, but still worth reading.  See http://tinyurl.com/4gp9u .
     
     
     
     
     
    How about Microsoft vs. China in an AO "Grudge Match"?  See a lengthy article in CFO titled, "Does Microsoft need China?"; link at http://tinyurl.com/476bo .  China: The champion of open source!!
     
     
    Business creativity 101.  "A new book from Wharton School Publishing, The Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind and Colin Crook prompts you to rethink your mental models and transform them to help you achieve new levels of creativity. In this book, the authors give a set of guidelines on how to see differently."  Examples:  Listen to the radicals; embark on journeys of discovery; look across disciplines.  See http://tinyurl.com/6fvo8 .
     
    The innovator's battle plan.  "Great firms can be undone by disruptors who analyze and exploit an incumbent's strengths and motivations.  From Clayton Christensen's new book Seeing What's Next."  GREAT stuff (although John Dvorak won't like it).  What about asymmetric warfare theories applied to the realm of corporate innovation and creativity?  Just a thought ...  See http://tinyurl.com/6mbcy .
     
    Your next competitors?  Have you thought about Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, especially in the BPO space?  See http://tinyurl.com/5h93z .
     
    Message to product companies: go sell services!!  Interesting take from a VMI perspective.  See http://tinyurl.com/5tqrt .
     
    Don't know much about bloggin'?  Good take on the various types of corporate blogs.  See http://tinyurl.com/6my29 .
     
    Urls as web services?  You have to read it to get it.  Might be a bit too much for the uninitiated ...  See http://tinyurl.com/563gm .
     
    Joel is back and blogging!!  Joel takes on Jakob Nielsen in "it's not just usability."  See http://tinyurl.com/6msmm .
     
    How about open source software for HPC?  See http://tinyurl.com/5qzleWARNING: Geek alert, geek alert!!
     
    Saving the best for last: a piece on Woz.  See http://tinyurl.com/4szjf .
     
    TTFN.  Expect a urls update before I go back to the States.
     
    Cheers,
     
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
     
    http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
    http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
    http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
    http://tinyurl.com/2hg2e (AvantGo channel)
     
     
    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
     

              [news] ERP in China        
    Monday, July 12, 2004
    Dateline: China
     
    In this posting, I'd like to address something that is seemingly a bit mundane:  ERP in China. 
     
    Two articles in the current issue of the Communications of the ACM (CACM) caught my eye.  The first, titled "Why Western Vendors Don't Dominate China's ERP Market" is a good read.  (See http://tinyurl.com/27w9d .)  After reading this article, it's safe to say that Bamboo Networks (especially with their .NET ERP solution, which is something even Microsoft doesn't have), Kingdee, UFSoft and a few other domestic ERP vendors don't have much to fear from the "globals" -- although SAP and Oracle collectively hold about 25% of the market, which isn't bad.  Textbook blunders on the part of (mostly American) software vendors.  To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/28eat .
     
    The other article is titled, "ERP in China: One Package, Two Profiles."  (See http://tinyurl.com/2r45p .)  According to this paper, more than 1,000 Chinese sites had an ERP system by the end of 2001, costing billions of dollars.  Nearly 300 were on SAP.  (The figures differ slightly from the above cited CACM paper.)  ERP sales in China are projected to triple in five years from a US$1 billion base in 2002.  (Note:  I'm not sure if the author meant through 2007 or 2009.)  A good quote regarding partnering opportunities:  "With China's accession to the World Trade Organization, many multinational enterprises are rushing to establish operations in China and/or interact with Chinese business partners."  (My emphasis.)  For those on this list attempting to attract foreign direct investment, read the part which says, "establish operations in China."
     
    The paper noted that although ERP projects in China rarely hit even ECO/ECN-adjusted delivery schedules, they rarely exceed the planned budget.  (In contrast to the States where ERP is almost always late AND over budget.  In the States, taking on an ERP project is akin to playing Russian Roulette.)  The article goes on to mention eight differences between ERP projects in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private ventures.  The findings demonstrate that when it comes to ERP projects, private ventures in China are very similar to private ventures in the States.  SOEs act like, well, SOEs:  Bureaucratic nightmares galore.  To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/2eve2 .
     
    There is another good article in the July issue of CACM:  "Demystifying Integration," which includes a listing of and brief take on dozens of domain-independent and -dependent standards and specifications for application integration.  Good stuff for a systems integrator.  To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/3ysvx .
     
    Tidbits on Enterprise Software
     
    What does the CEO of a systems integrator dream about?  How about being one of the first companies to partner with a BEA or Siebel?  (When I thought about this, all choices seemed rather awful!!  )
     
    Need some help finding the next BEA?  Turn to the AlwaysOn Network 100.  For perspective, see http://tinyurl.com/23p3u .  Last year's winners included several companies that IPO'd (including Salesforce.com, Opera), companies in line to IPO (including Google, RightNow) and several other hot companies.  Frankly, their record so far is the best I've seen (albeit it's still a bit too early to draw any firm conclusions).  For a listing of this year's winners (to be announced this upcoming week at Stanford -- Go Cardinal!), see http://tinyurl.com/25j9s .  If I had the time (which I don't), I'd go through this list with a fine-tooth comb.  IMHO, it's better than the listing of presenters at Enterprise Outlook or DEMO ... although the DEMO companies are a lot more fun!!.
     
    Another list worth reviewing is Forrester's selection of the best Web design firms.  (See http://tinyurl.com/3bq5z .)  Critical Mass, AGENCY.COM and SBI.Razorfish take top honors.  Everyone tends to look toward the top 500 systems integrators in the States for partnering opportunities.  However, don't discount the elite among the U.S. Web design firms.  Many compete in an extremely cost conscious environment where much less expensive Java programming from a partner in China could be a win-win for all three parties:  The SI in China, the Web design firm in the States, and the U.S. client.
     
    Cheers,
     
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
     
    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
     

              [news] A Special Report on Business Intelligence        
    Thursday, July 8, 2004
    Dateline: China
     
    One of my favorite industry trades, Computerworld, recently published a special report on business intelligence (BI).  (See http://tinyurl.com/2w8j2 .)  As regular readers of this blog know, I'm hot, hot and hotter on BI.  Not only are BI apps booming in their own right, but BI also provides an open door into other structured data apps (e.g., ERP and SCM).  Also, there is a burgeoning number of apps requiring both BI and knowledge management (KM) solutions, providing a host of new opportunities.  (For now, think of BI for structured data and KM for unstructured data.  But the lines between KM and BI are blurring.)
     
    The Computerworld report includes an introduction to BI titled, "BI for the Masses," an introduction to Web harvesting, and a superb article on text mining; there are several online exclusives as well.  In this post, I'm going to focus on an article titled, "Predictions for BI's Future," by providing excerpts with commentary.  As usual, items in bold are MY emphasis; items in red are MY commentary.
     
    Embedded BI.  "Over the next four to six years, BI systems will become embedded in small, mobile devices, such as manufacturing sensors and PDAs in the field, which in turn will be linked to more centralized systems." -- Erik Thomsen, distinguished scientist, Hyperion Solutions Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif.
     
    PB DM (petabyte data mining).  "Within three years, companies and governmental agencies will be able to successfully run analytics within a centralized data warehouse containing 1 petabyte or more of data -- without performance limitations." -- Dave Schrader, technology futurist, Teradata, a division of NCR Corp., El Segundo, Calif.
     
    HPC to the rescue!  "Within the next two to three years, high-performance computing technology used by scientific and engineering communities and national R&D labs will make its way into mainstream business for high-performance business analytics. This transition will be driven by the growing volume of complex data and the pressing need for companies to use forecasting and predictive analytics to minimize risk and maximize profit-generating opportunities." -- Phil Fraher, chief operating officer, Visual Numerics Inc., San Ramon, Calif.
     
    BI meets AI.  "In the near future, business leaders will manage by exception, and automated systems will handle significant loads of routine tasks." -- Mike Covert, chief operating officer, Infinis Inc., Columbus, Ohio
     
    Visualization.  "Over the next two to three years, BI systems will automatically suggest appropriate visualizations, which in turn will dramatically increase the use of visualization and our understanding of complex relationships." -- Erik Thomsen, distinguished scientist, Hyperion Solutions
     
    BI + BPM + BAM.  "Businesses need more than a rearview mirror to drive their business forward into the next era. A new category of intelligence tools will emerge over the next two to three years that combines business process management, business activity monitoring (BAM) and business intelligence to enable the "actively managed enterprise." This will combine the scorecards and rearview-analysis capabilities of BI with the real-time, event-driven analysis of BAM and feed that information into automated business processes for on-the-fly steering of the business towards scorecard goals. This will exponentially elevate the speed at which businesses are able to operate, adapt and make critical decisions." -- Tim Wolters, chief architect of business activity monitoring solutions, webMethods Inc., Fairfax, Va.
     
    Bottom line:  Go to a BI-related ACM or IEEE CS conference and you'll hear a lot of presentations on all of the apps described above.  It's where the rubber meets the road:  This stuff is real!!  However, it's important to differentiate "real" BI with much more simplistic reporting software (like a good "chunk" of the so-called BI solutions provided by Business Objects, Cognos and even Microsoft -- via their recent acquisition of ActiveViews).
     
    A BI Site to Review
     
    Last week I came across a paper published in the current issue of the Journal of Intelligent and Fuzzy Systems.  In this paper the project called "Data Mining and Decision Support for Business Competitiveness: A European Virtual Enterprise" (SolEuNet) is used as a case study and "the source of lessons learned."  The paper provides a link to the SolEuNet Web site (see http://tinyurl.com/3x5vo ); at the SolEuNet site I found a wealth of case studies with supporting technical documents on leading-edge BI apps (see, for example, Workpackage 7 on "Combining Data Mining and Decision Support with Information Systems" at http://tinyurl.com/yqkqm ).  Remember, strategy consulting isn't merely about comparing product specs (regardless what the IT advisory services may say).
     
    The Gartner Conference on BI
     
    I got my hands on three i-banking analyst reviews of the Gartner BI conference.  The Morgan Stanley report (dated 27 April) noted that customer activity levels appeared to be strong and "many seem to be taking a more strategic approach to BI, resulting in the emergence of larger transactions."  (My emphasis.)  Corporate performance management (CPM) is driving some of the larger deals, with Cognos and Hyperion taking the lead.  Evidently, systems integrators (SIs) are getting religion and developing collaterals around CPM messaging.  RBC Dominion Securities produced a more in-depth report (dated 29 April) and noted the following:
    • Gartner expects the market to accelerate in 2004.
    • The ETL (extraction, transformation, and load) market will flatten (finally).
    • CPM is hot.  "Hyperion, Cognos, and SAS appeared to be the best positioned non-ERP vendors to capitalize on the CPM market opportunity."  However, "(they) believe that SAP is the best-positioned large enterprise software vendor to execute in both the BI and CPM market ..."
    • Finally, the Gartner BI conference itself was hot, with 973 attendees, an increase in attendance of 70% over last year.
    UBS chimed in with their own report (dated 30 April), which in some ways was a bit more technical than the other two reports cited above.  UBS noted that heterogeneous environments require independent tools (e.g., it is very difficult to get heterogeneous data into an ERP data warehouse <DW>).  Gartner's rule of thumb is that an ERP-derived BI/DW solution should be on the short-list only if more than 60% of an organization's BI data resides within that single app vendorUBS also noted that the importance of BI is leading to the formation of BI competency centers.  They also believe that SAP and Microsoft remain significant long-term threats to the independent software vendors such as Cognos and Business Objects.  BTW, all three reports seemed a bit down on Business Objects.
     
    Another Computerworld feature on BI
     
    Sometimes advertorials can be a good thing.  A case in point is the 26 April issue of Computerworld which provides a link to a new, six page Computerworld White Paper on BI.  The paper is titled, "Charting the Course: A Guide to Evaluating Business Intelligence Products"; it's a good, practical read.  Tactical, product spec advice and guidelines, but still a good read.  The PDF can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2gt3d .
     
    Recent Tidbits on BI
     
    The New Straits Times (Malaysia) via Asia Africa Intelligence Wire reported on 24 June that SAS "expects the BI market in Asia to register double-digit growth for the next five years.  (Don Cooper Williams, director of marketing and alliances for SAS Asia-Pacific) cites a recent report from research house International Data Corp, which predicts that BI software market in the region (excluding Japan) to grow by 12 per cent this year, up from 7.5 per cent in 2003."  Note to SIs in China:  BI isn't just hot in the States; leverage your skills for serving the U.S. market and the domestic market.
     
    From the channel, India Business Insight (also via Asia Africa Intelligence Wire) on 31 May announced that "Business Objects has entered into a long-standing systems integrator agreement with Wipro Infotech (WI) to provide business intelligence (BI) solutions to customers."  Note to SIs in China:  Don't be left without a dance partner.
     
    Additional Articles for Review
     
    I did a quick scan of trade lit and found a few articles worth reading.  First, the March-April issue of Financial Executive talks about CPM -- Corporate Performance Management -- as it relates to BI.  The May issue of Insurance & Technology takes a vertical look at BI (rather basic apps), as does the April issue of Business Credit.  Always think verticals.
     
    A Final Wrap (or Should I Say, "Rap"?)
     
    Back to Computerworld.  More specifically, see the 29 March issue of Computerworld.  According to a survey conducted by IBM Business Consulting Services, BI is a high priority on the plate of C-level execs.  In a Computerworld poll, 39% of IT executives listed business intelligence projects as their most critical IT projects.  By 2005, market research firm IDC projects that the worldwide market for business intelligence software will total about $6 billion -- up from $2.5 billion in 2003 -- signaling a major increase in business intelligence projects.  IT executives say the skills they need on business intelligence projects include systems integration, data modeling, database administration, data standardization and project management.
     
    Cheers,
     
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
    http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
    http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
    http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
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    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
     

              [news] IT Spending Trends        
    Tuesday, July 6, 2004
    Dateline: China
     
    A quick recap on IT spending trends from three recently published Smith Barney surveys.  The three reports are the May and June editions of their CIO Vendor Preference Survey and the 6 June issue of softwareWEEK.  Tom Berquist, my favorite i-banking analyst, was the lead for all three reports.  I have a backlog of blogs to write, so I'll use as many quotes as possible and add context where necessary.  (I'm mostly extracting from my smartphone bookmarks for these reports.  Warning:  I may have coded the May and June issues incorrectly, but the quotes are correct.)  NOTE:  Highlighted items (e.g., items in bold, like this sentence) are MY emphasis.  Items in red are my commentary.
     
    Starting with the Survey editions, "(t)he strongest areas of spending appear to be software (apps, security, storage, and database) and network equipment/apps (Gigabit Ethernet, WLAN, VPNs)" and regarding software, "larger and more well known vendors continue to dominate the list in each category with vendors such as Microsoft, SAP, IBM, Veritas, Symantec and Computer Associates getting significantly more mentions in each of their groups than the remaining vendors did."  However, the report admits that their sample group might be biased.  Yes, vendors matter -- and so do vendor partnering strategies.  However, I'm a bit skeptical about CA and I don't particular care very much for Veritas or Symantec.  Not my part of the universe.
     
    "Applications again stand out as a clear area of strength."  "Within applications, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI) all showed extremely well ..."  Well, this is the first sign that a recovery may be in the making for SCM.  However, I'd emphasize BI and ERP, followed by CRM; don't count on a lot happening in the SCM space just yet.  Some other key surveys do NOT validate that SCM is in recovery.  "In terms of specific vendors, Microsoft, Symantec, Veritas, SAP, and Adobe were the top beneficiaries of CIOs intentions to increase spending."  The report continues that only SAP showed statistically significant results, both in ERP and SCM.  "Results were more mixed for best-of-breed vendors in this area, suggesting that horizontal applications vendors are having a tough time competing with the large ERP vendors even as vertically-focused vendors continue to have some measure of success on this front."  For the more adventurous SIs in China, SAP presents a lot of opportunities.  Tread carefully, though.  And "Adobe's enterprise strategy appears to be gaining momentum.  Adobe was a clear standout in content management ..."  "Survey results were also positive (though somewhat less so) for other leading content management players, notably Microsoft and IBM."  Another "win" for Microsoft.  Funny that none of the traditionally leading content management players were mentioned.  A take on Linux:  "Linux continues to garner mind share, but large enterprises remain the main adopter.  Interestingly, nearly 83% of our respondents stated that they were not currently moving any applications to Linux.  Of the 17% that said they were moving applications to Linux, only one company under $1.0 billion in revenue was making the transition to Linux confirming our views that Linux is primarily being used by large companies to shift Unix applications to Linux on Intel."
     
    "Among CIOs who indicated a higher level of consulting spend, IBM was the clear winner, followed by Accenture as a distant second.  Unisys was also mentioned as a vendor being considered, but it was a distant third.  However, we note that Unisys being mentioned ahead of a pure-play consultant like BearingPoint (a low number of mentions, which included mentions of decreased spending) or EDS is positive, given that Unisys chooses to focus in 2 specific verticals, including one-public sector-that was not in the survey."  "Over two-thirds of CIOs indicated that they do not use IT outsourcers.  Most of the rest said they were unlikely to change the level of outsourcing spend.  IBM, ACS and CSC were the only vendors explicitly mentioned as likely to get more outsourcing business."  The "two-thirds" figure will likely change in favor of outsourcing.  This trend is fairly clear.  See a BCG report at http://tinyurl.com/2muy8 , although the report takes a relatively broad perspective.
     
    From softwareWEEK, "(t)he CIOs were also very focused on rapid 'time to market' with purchases.  None were interested in starting projects that would take greater than 2 quarters to complete."  "This requirement was not a 'payback' requirement, but rather an implementation time frame requirement.  The CIOs did recognize that payback times could be longer, though the payback times on IT utility spending were much shorter than on applications or emerging area spending."
     
    "In terms of spending, the CIOs all used a similar methodology for making decisions that essentially divides their IT spending into one of three categories: 1) sustained spending on their 'IT utility' (i.e., infrastructure such as network equipment, servers, storage, databases, etc.); 2) new project spending on applications (business intelligence, portals, CRM, etc.); and 3) investment spending on select emerging areas (grid/utility computing, identity management, collaboration, etc.)  It was pretty obvious that the CIOs recognized that business unit managers were more interested in spending on new applications/emerging areas than on the IT utility ..."  "(S)ome of the CIOs were experimenting with grid/utility computing initiatives to try to increase their utilization of storage/servers and reduce the amount of new equipment to be purchased.  In one example, a CIO showed their storage/server utilization around the world and many regions were in the 50% or worse bucket for average utilization.  Their goal was to use grid computing architectures and storage area networks (along with faster communication links) to better share the pool of resources."  Yes, this is it!!  Take this to heart!!  If you think grid and utility computing are Star Trek stuff, think again.
     
    "In terms of new projects, the CIOs mentioned they were spending on business intelligence, portal/self-service applications, CRM, and collaboration.  Collaboration was a heated discussion, with all CIOs commenting that this was a big problem for them and there was no clear solution on the market.  While it wasn't completely clear to the audience what the CIOs were looking for in a collaboration solution, the elements that were described included: more intelligent email, corporate instant messaging, web conferencing, integrated voice over IP with instant messaging (so that a conversation could quickly shift from typing to talking), and collaborative document editing (spreadsheets, presentations, publications, etc.).  Within the business intelligence arena, business activity monitoring was discussed as was building of enterprise data warehouses/data marts.  The portal/self-service applications being built or deployed were primarily for customer and employee self-service (remote access to email, applications, and files was a big deal for all of the companies).  On the CRM front, the discussion from one CIO was around their need to increase revenues and manage channel conflict better."  [I'll be posting to this blog a bit more about collaboration opportunities over the next week.]
     
    "While vendors were not discussed in any detail during the panel, the CIOs did say that they remain open to working with smaller vendors (public and private) as long as they have plenty of relevant references (in their industry, particularly with close competitors) and they offer a compelling value proposition versus larger vendors.  One CIO stated that they get called by 20 startups a week to sell products to them, but most of them cannot articulate the value proposition of their product.  Nonetheless, the CIO does take 5 meetings a month from startups because some of them are working on things that are interesting to the business."
     
    Whew ...  Lots of good materials.  To reiterate, all highlighted items are my emphasis.  Bottom line:  The market is heating up.  Get your ISV relationships in place.  Pick your verticals (see the "Tidbit on Microsoft" which follows).  Pick your apps -- and the apps I like the best are content management and BI, although ERP is looking good, too.  Collaboration can be a major source of revenue if the SI can provide a truly effective solution.
     
    Tidbits on Microsoft
     
    A quick update on some happenings in the Redmond universe.  (See http://tinyurl.com/36xgu ; the article is titled, "Microsoft focuses on its enterprise-applications business".)  First, app areas that are of particular interest to MS include those for manufacturing and life sciences.  So, how about a MS build-to-their-stack strategy focused on either of these two verticals?  Second, MS is moving beyond purely horizontal offerings to very specific functionality.  Their Encore acquisition is an example of MS moving in this direction.  Finally, new releases of all four of Microsoft's ERP product lines are due for this year.  Not surprisingly, MBS marketing is up 20% from FY04.  Hmmm ... ERP spending intentions are strong and MS is a key player in this space -- with several updated offerings scheduled for release this year.  Another opportunity?
     
    Tidbits on Infosys
     
    Infosys formally enters the IT strategy consulting biz.  (See http://tinyurl.com/2xxlo .)  Yes, it was inevitable.  In April Infosys Consulting, Inc. was formed and, "(i)t's no secret that the winning model will be high-end business consulting combined with high-quality, low-cost technology delivery done offshore," according to Stephen Pratt, the head of Infosys' consulting unit.  The Infosys Consulting unit now has 150 employees in the States and plans to expand to 500 within three years.  Note to SIs in China:  You need more -- a lot more -- IT strategy types  And you need people in the States (at least on an "as needed" basis) in order to capture -- and serve -- new accounts.
     
    Cheers,
     
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
    http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
    http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
    http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
    http://tinyurl.com/2hg2e (AvantGo channel)
     
    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
     

              Petrochemical Update: Sasol to Share Time-Lapse Footage of $9.1 Billion Chemical Plant Construction at Petrochemical Workforce Development Conference in Houston        

    Sasol shares on-site footage at petrochemical workforce strategy meeting alongside BASF, Ineos, Shell, Turner Industries, Fluor, Jacobs Engineering S&B Engineers & Constructors, State Workforce Commissions, schools, colleges and the U.S. Department of Energy.

    (PRWeb April 09, 2015)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/04/prweb12642936.htm


              NEDA Board okays Php 17.9 B worth of new projects        
    By Joann Santiago MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) — The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board on Wednesday approved Php 17.9-billion worth of new projects. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary...
              Valero declares dividend        
    Valero Energy stockholders take note: Valero on Monday declared a regular cash dividend on common stock of 40 cents a share. It will be paid on Sept. 2 to holders of record at the close of business on Aug. 4. Valero’s board also approved an incremental $2.5 billion share repurchase authorization. Valero has approximately $400
              The Beckoning of Nuclear War        
    SUBHEAD: A glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to our "national security" managers.

    By John Pilger on 4 August 2017 for JohnPilger.com -
    (www.johnpilger.com/articles/on-the-beach-2017-the-beckoning-of-nuclear-war)

    [IB Publisher's note: As much as Trump may not wish a nuclear exchange with Russia, he seems quite amenable to turning North Korea into an ashtray. World War III may begin in  Guam and relay to Hawaii on its way  to the US mainland. Here in Hawaii it may mean Duck and Cover!]


    Image above: Detail of original paperback cover of Nevil Shute's 1957 novel "On the Beach". From (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267542034087528868).

    In Nevil Shute's book "On the Beach" the US submarine captain says;
    "We've all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you're never ready, because you don't know when it's coming. Well, now we do know and there's nothing to be done about it."
    He says he will be dead by September. It will take about a week to die, though no one can be sure. Animals live the longest.

    The war was over in a month. The United States, Russia and China were the protagonists. It is not clear if it was started by accident or mistake. There was no victor. The northern hemisphere is contaminated and lifeless now.

    A curtain of radioactivity is moving south towards Australia and New Zealand, southern Africa and South America. By September, the last cities, towns and villages will succumb. As in the north, most buildings will remain untouched, some illuminated by the last flickers of electric light.
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

    These two lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears. The endorsements on the cover said the same.

    Published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War when too many writers were silent or cowed, it is a masterpiece. At first the language suggests a genteel relic; yet nothing I have read on nuclear war is as unyielding in its warning. No book is more urgent.

    Some readers will remember the black and white Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck as the US Navy commander who takes his submarine to Australia to await the silent, formless spectre descending on the last of the living world.

    I read On the Beach for the first time the other day, finishing it as the US Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world's second most lethal nuclear power.  There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.

    The "sanctions" are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

    Their main aim seems to be war - real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-5 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.

    The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies - the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indo-China, which President Reagan called "a noble cause" and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an "exceptional people"He was not referring to the Vietnamese.

    Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. "Listen up," he said. "We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom."

    At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.

    A lobotomy is performed on each generation. Facts are removed. History is excised and replaced by what Time magazine calls "an eternal present".

    Harold Pinter described this as "manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis [which meant] that it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."

    Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously "the left" are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.

    Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for "liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics", wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man - not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system - beckons great danger for all of us.

    While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

    On 3 August, in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a "Soviet agent"), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia. Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was "clearly unconstitutional".

    A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.

    This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the "national security" managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them "the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today".

    They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to instal an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia's "borderland" - the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people.  Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.

    In response, "partnership" is a word used incessantly by Vladimir Putin - anything, it seems, that might halt an evangelical drive to war in the United States. Incredulity in Russia may have now turned to fear and perhaps a certain resolution. The Russians almost certainly have war-gamed nuclear counter strikes. Air-raid drills are not uncommon. Their history tells them to get ready.

    The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The US has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China's economic lifelines.

    The admiral commanding the US Pacific fleet said that, "if required", he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute's fiction.

    None of this is considered news. No connection is made as the bloodfest of Passchendaele a century ago is remembered. Honest reporting is no longer welcome in much of the media. Windbags, known as pundits, dominate: editors are infotainment or party line managers. Where there was once sub-editing, there is the liberation of axe-grinding clichés. Those journalists who do not comply are defenestrated.

    The urgency has plenty of precedents. In my film, The Coming War on China, John Bordne, a member of a US Air Force missile combat crew based in Okinawa, Japan, describes how in 1962 - during the Cuban missile crisis - he and his colleagues were "told to launch all the missiles" from their silos.

    Nuclear armed, the missiles were aimed at both China and Russia. A junior officer questioned this, and the order was eventually rescinded - but only after they were issued with service revolvers and ordered to shoot at others in a missile crew if they did not "stand down".

    At the height of the Cold War, the anti-communist hysteria in the United States was such that US officials who were on official business in China were accused of treason and sacked. In 1957 - the year Shute wrote On the Beach - no official in the State Department could speak the language of the world's most populous nation. Mandarin speakers were purged under strictures now echoed in the Congressional bill that has just passed, aimed at Russia.

    The bill was bipartisan. There is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The terms "left" and "right" are meaningless. Most of America's modern wars were started not by conservatives, but by liberal Democrats.

    When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America's longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings - murder - by drones.

    In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the "reluctant liberal warrior", dropped 26,171 bombs - three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.  Having pledged to help "rid the world" of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.

    Trump is a wimp by comparison. It was Obama - with his secretary of state Hillary Clinton at his side - who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the "deporter-in-chief".

    One of Obama's last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.

    Buried in the detail was the establishment of a "Center for Information Analysis and Response". This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an "official narrative of facts" that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war - if we allow it.


    Video above: "On the Beach" the complete 1959 movie from Nevil Shute's  novel. From (https://youtu.be/Ue8hC5qqMt4).

    .

              Oahu Rail may tax Outer Islands        
    SUBHEAD: Hawaii may seek higher state taxes to cover Honolulu Authority Rapid Transit cost overrun. 

    By Ed Wagner on 9 August 2017 in Island Breath -
    (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2017/08/oahu-rail-may-tax-outer-islands.html)


    Image above: HART rail guideway car photo-op over Farrington Highway at Leokane Street near Waipahu Sugar Mill. From Civil Beat article below. Photo by Cory Lum.

    I hope the neighbor island folks reading this message are ready to fight the Legislature to help stop the biggest fraud ever perpetrated upon our people since statehood, the Honolulu rail boondoggle.

    Why should any of you help pay for this fraud? The state uses the argument that it helps other counties with [reasonable and legal] public projects so why not require other counties to help with this illegal and fraudulent one to continue the fleecing of our people and continue to cause irreparable financial harm to the people of Hawaii for another three or more generations, all to protect the profits of the wealthy, power elite?

    When will the people wake the hell up and rebel against our crooked and corrupt city and state government, the most corrupt in the USA, and stop this abuse of power?

    Public testimony will be accepted however, please avoid repetitive and duplicative testimony.

    Testimony must be submitted via email to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy at: (TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov)

    http://www.ililani.media/2017/08/hawaii-legislature-seeks-public.html

    Rail Tax Presentation - 52 pages
    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3914769-Rail-Tax-Presentation-DRAFT.html#document/p8



    Oahu rail seeks more funds

    SUBHEAD: Lawmakers consider making Outer Islands help pay for Oahu's troubled rail project.

    By Nathan Eagle on 7 August 2017 for Civil -Beat 
    (http://www.civilbeat.org/2017/08/lawmakers-consider-having-neighbor-islands-help-pay-for-oahus-troubled-rail-project/)

    With a special session set for the end of August, the Hawaii Legislature will lay out several funding options for the public at a briefing next week.

    Hawaii lawmakers are weighing five options to provide funding to complete Honolulu’s over-budget rail line from Kapolei to Ala Moana, including a statewide increase in the general excise and hotel taxes, according to a state Senate presentation obtained by Civil Beat.

    The Legislature plans to hold a special session later this month to try again to reach a deal on how to pay for the 20-mile, 21-station project, which is now estimated to cost $10 billion.

    Key House and Senate committees have scheduled a joint public information briefing Monday morning at the Capitol. The new options to fund the project, along with the choices under consideration before the Legislature adjourned in May, are expected to play a central role in the negotiations.

    The draft 52-page presentation, provided by a state senator Monday, lays the groundwork for a case to have Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties help fund Honolulu’s beleaguered project. It notes that Oahu subsidizes harbors, airports and highways on the neighbor islands.

    The presentation includes options to extend the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for Oahu; increase the GET surcharge for Oahu; extend the GET surcharge for Oahu and increase the hotel tax for Oahu; or establish a statewide GET surcharge and hotel tax increase.

    The Federal Transit Administration is kicking in $1.55 billion for the project. It could withhold some of those funds, particularly if the rail line has to stop short of its plan to go from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. The project was expected to cost $5.2 billion just a few years ago.

    House Speaker Scott Saiki has said the city’s latest figures project a nearly $1.4 billion shortfall from now to 2024.

    The two chambers ended the session far apart. The Senate left with a bill to extend Oahu’s 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for 10 years, until 2037, to help complete the rail project.

    That’s the option Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the tourism industry supported.

    The House pushed a bill that would have allowed the GET surcharge to be levied for just one additional year, to 2028, while increasing the state’s 9.25 percent transient accommodations tax for 10 years.

    “In spite of our impasse during the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature understands the importance in crafting a legislative solution that will provide the City and County of Honolulu a dedicated revenue stream,” said Senate President Ron Kouchi in a press release announcing the public briefing.

    The briefing starts at 10 a.m., Monday, in the Capitol auditorium. The special session is set to run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.

    See the draft presentation, which a state senator said was created by the Senate Ways and Means Committee at link below.

    (http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3914769-Rail-Tax-Presentation-DRAFT.html#document/p4)



    Testimony on Failing Rail Project

    SUBHEAD: UH Law Professor says the cost of building the Honolulu Rail is getting out of hand.


    Video above: Retired UH Law Professor Randy Roth sums up rail project in 3 minute video. From (https://youtu.be/ZL9pIrxaA3Q).

    He also described the project as deliberate misrepresentation, deliberate fraud on this 30 minute ThinkTech Hawaii with Kelii Akina, President of Grassroot Institute. From (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw_NDLg6EbbmYlNOSy13a0NKNmM/view?usp=sharing).
    Whether one is Pro-Rail or Anti-Rail, there’s something virtually everyone in the state agrees about – the cost of building the Honolulu Rail is getting out of hand.

    Not only that, serious questions have been raised about how well the funds already invested in this project have been spent.

    Law professor Randy Roth, who has a long history advocating for the public good, appears on E Hana Kakou with Dr. Akina to discuss why it is time to hold our government leaders responsible for the progress of the Rail.

    ThinkTech Hawaii streams live on the Internet from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm every weekday afternoon, Hawaii Time, then streaming earlier shows through the night. Check us out any time for great content and great community.

    Our vision is to be a leader in shaping a more vital and thriving Hawaii as the foundation for future generations.

    Our mission is to be the leading digital media platform raising pubic awareness and promoting civic engagement in Hawaii.


    Rail Cost Spirals Out of Control

    SUBHEAD: Watch short video and sign the petition here to require a forensic audit of the rail.

     By Staff on 22 July 2017 for Grassroots Institute of Hawaii
    (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw_NDLg6EbbmRE8yWU9qZFRBUWc/view)


    Video above: Group seeks to audit the Honolulu rail project with "Where is our Money Going?" From (https://youtu.be/X8Fa2qr2djg).
     Longtime journalist Mark Coleman talked recently with ThinkTech Hawaii host Tim Apicella about his recent Grassroot Institute of Hawaii article titled “Honolulu rail clearly a fiasco,”and suggested that now would be a ideal time to subject the over-budget, behind-schedule project to an independent forensic audit.

    In particular, Coleman suggested that the state legislators use their upcoming special session to order such an audit, which would allow them to avoid extending or raising any state taxes until they have better information about why the city’s rail project has veered so far off track — while yet so much of it remains tobe built.

    The timing is apt, he told Apicella, because the City Council just approved selling bonds to fund construction of the rail through to next year, thus taking pressure off the Legislature to consider anything before it starts its regular session in January 2018.

    Coleman said transportation experts warned city officials years before the rail project was even started that it would be a “gigantic white elephant,” and by now it’s clear that just about everything that could have gone wrong with the project has — though nobody has a definite explanation as to why.



    Has HART committed federal crimes?

    SUBHEAD: Is falsification of federal documents, lying to officials to get $1.55B HART a crime?

    By Ed Wagner on 9 August 2017 on Google Drive -
    (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bw_NDLg6EbbmNnI2bnJlV0o3TGM?usp=sharing)

    The people of Hawaii seek Congressional, DOJ, & FBI investigations into the following allegations against Mayor Caldwell, City Council, HART, Developer DR Horton, construction unions, Pacific Resources Partnership (PRP), DLNR, regarding the Honolulu rail project:

    Systemic fraud, waste, and abuse of power, violations of public procurement codes, violations of the Hawaii State Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine, violations of basic ethical and moral principles, perjury, deliberate falsification of Federal documents / lying to Federal officials, deliberate misrepresentation of facts, deliberate fraud, bribery, racketeering, malfeasance, graft, conspiracy to defraud, and criminal offenses directly related to obtaining $1.55B in federal funds for the Honolulu rail project.

    Those advocating for a forensic audit & investigations include former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, retired UH Law Professor Randy Roth, UH Civil Engineering Professor, Panos Prevedouros, President of Grassroot Institute and OHA Trustee, Dr. Keli’i Akina, former Army War College faculty instructor, retired Col Al Frenzel, retired businessmen, 2 attorneys, an accountant, and concerned citizens.

    Dr. Keli’i Akina submitted testimony to the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads regarding these issues.

    All major newspapers and TV networks around the country have been notified about the dire situation in Hawaii.

    It is argued that the City is jeopardizing its credit rating and solvency over this project and someone has to stop the bleeding, stop the irreparable hard this rail project is causing our people today, and for the next 3 generations, and folks in Washington seem to be turning a blind eye to this matter.

    In lieu of reviewing rail-related documents online, I request a formal meeting with a Honolulu FBI agent to discuss this urgent matter, a meeting to include those advocating for these investigations.

    Others have written to FTA, OIG, GAO, and Congress, and spoke to some officials. One high ranking official stated to one individual that perjury to obtain federal funds for rail appears to be involved.

    The Honolulu rail is likely a massive government cover up similar to Watergate, but called HARTgate.

    Please help us. This dire situation is reaching critical mass.

    Messages sent to Washington and FBI. The city deliberately falsified federal documents, lied to federal officials, and lied to the public. I encourage everyone to submit a request to the FBI to conduct an investigation.

    https://tips.fbi.gov/

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bw_NDLg6EbbmeTdFazZNQW4zYkk?usp=sharing

    Please give these messages widest possible distribution.


    .

              Standing Rock lawsuit update        
    SUBHEAD: Army Corps of Engineers sent back to analyze the environmental justice of the Dakota Access pipeline.

    By Yessenia Funes on 3 August 2017 for Yes Magazine -
    (http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/standing-rock-lawsuit-started-a-year-ago-heres-where-we-are-now-20170803)


    Image above: More than 380 tribes around the world came forward to stand with the water protectors. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov.From original article.

    On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for authorizing the construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline. Just over a year later, the project has been completed and carries crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to an export terminal in Illinois. The case is still pending, and continues to be the tribe’s last hope to protect its water and land.

    The lawsuit alleged that authorization of the pipeline violated the Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately conduct an efficient environmental assessment and skipping an environmental impact statement (EIS) altogether.

    “If history is to repeat itself, it doesn’t look good for us,” says Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have hope.”

    The lawsuit has now been joined by the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Yankton and Oglala Sioux tribes, but at its heart, the case remains the same since its initial filing, said lead attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux on behalf of nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice.

    He’s been arguing that the $3.8 billion energy project ignores treaty rights and needs further environmental review. The goal is that U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg will rule in favor of an EIS and pause pipeline operations indefinitely, and, ultimately, stop them completely.

    In December, pipeline opponents almost secured the EIS under former President Barack Obama when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would prepare the statement and not permit the pipeline to cross beneath the Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, an area of cultural, religious, and spiritual significance to the tribe.

    It was a near victory. With the EIS secured, the court shelved the lawsuit, but there was more bubbling beneath the surface. Dakota Access launched a counter lawsuit once the Obama administration requested the EIS, and Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration loomed on the horizon. The lawyers, the tribe, and even the court knew the situation could change drastically.

    “The court was pretty explicit that this could be undone,” Hasselman said. And it was.

    Trump rescinded the EIS and issued the final easement across Lake Oahe in February. Immediately, the attorneys amended their initial complaint to include the final easement. Things moved along quickly from there, Hasselman explained. For the first time, the tribe had something concrete to contest, not something they were asking the courts to prevent.

    “We were finally able to put those environmental review issues and treaty issues up front and center,” Hasselman said. Until then, the case was essentially in “pause mode.”

    Then in June, Judge Boasberg found that the Corps had not sufficiently considered the pipeline’s environmental effects or environmental justice impacts when issuing its permit, and remanded the case back to the EIS process to reconsider its analysis. This is the first time Earthjustice is aware of such an environmental justice ruling.

    Boasberg’s recent decision offers DAPL’s opponents hope, but a favorable outcome is anything but assured. A pipeline has never before been stopped with a lawsuit, Hasselman said. “The legal and regulatory infrastructure is badly broken.

    You just don’t have the big overarching federal permits for a crude oil pipeline that you have in a lot of other contexts.” Unlike natural gas pipelines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates a pipeline’s terms and conditions of transport, but not its actual construction and operation.

    Earthjustice didn’t take up the case because it believed the court held the answer but, rather, because it recognized the political power such a case could build. To that end, it has surpassed expectations.

    “What I had in mind was substantially more modest than what happened,” Hasselman said. He had hoped that 50 people would show up to court and they’d end up on the evening news. He wasn’t expecting the iconic fight for indigenous sovereignty that Standing Rock has become.

    The Dakota Access pipeline is now a matter of global interest. More than 380 tribes around the world—from New Zealand’s Māori to the Ecuadorian Amazon’s Kichwa—came forward to stand with the water protectors. “That’s a very significant time in history: when the tribes come together collectively and unite and say, Enough is enough,” Archambault said.

    The tribe’s effort became a movement with the support of spirit and prayer camps outside the reservation—including the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin camps—and a 1,500-mile run to Washington, D.C., in which about 30 Native American youth delivered a petition with more than 140,000 signatures to the Army Corps headquarters demanding it halt the pipeline’s construction.

    Although this attention hasn’t influenced the lawsuit, Hasselman said, it legitimized the movement. Once the world set its eyes on Standing Rock, it could no longer ignore that the historic violent treatment of indigenous people isn’t a thing of the past—it continues today.

    Now? Hasselman thinks they have a shot. “We have an uphill struggle in persuading the court to shut down the pipeline while the remand process is underway, and we have an uphill struggle persuading the Army Corps to do a legitimate and appropriate analysis on remand, but we’re all working 24/7 to make that happen,” he said.

    Judge Boasberg is set to decide in September whether to pause pipeline operations while the Corps continues its review, and court proceedings are ongoing as both parties make their arguments. Until then, the tribe will see its challengers in court.

    See also:
    Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL battle not over 6/15/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
    Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
    Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
    Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
    Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16




    .

              High Plains Climate Change        
    SUBHEAD: ‘Flash drought’ could devastate half the High Plains wheat harvest this year.

    By Eric Holthaus on 1 August 2017 for Grist -
    (http://grist.org/food/flash-drought-could-devastate-half-the-high-plains-wheat-harvest/)


    Image above: Firemen fighting the recent Bridge Coulee Fire in the High Plains.Photo by Bureau of land. From original article.

    It’s peak hurricane season, but the nation’s worst weather disaster right now is raging on the High Plains.

    An intense drought has quickly gripped much of the Dakotas and parts of Montana this summer, catching farmers and ranchers off-guard. The multi-agency U.S. Drought Monitor recently upgraded the drought to “exceptional,” its highest severity level, matching the intensity of the California drought at its peak.

    The Associated Press says the dry conditions are “laying waste to crops and searing pasture and hay land” in America’s new wheat belt, with some longtime farmers and ranchers calling it the worst of their lifetimes. Unfortunately, this kind of came-out-of-nowhere drought could become a lot less rare in the future.

    “The damage and the destruction is just unimaginable,” Montana resident Sarah Swanson told Grist. “It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in decades.”

    Rainfall across the affected region has been less than half of normal since late April, when this year’s growing season began. In parts of Montana’s Missouri River basin, which is the drought’s epicenter, rainfall has been less than a quarter of normal — which equals the driest growing season in recorded history for some communities.

    “It’s devastating,” says Tanja Fransen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Glasgow, Montana. Just six years removed from 2011, one of the region’s wettest years on record, eastern Montana is now enduring one of its driest.

    “We’re at the bottom of the barrel,” Fransen says. “For many areas, it’s the worst we’ve seen in 100 years.”

     
    In a matter of weeks, the area of Montana in drought conditions has expanded eightfold. U.S. Drought Monitor

    Wheat production worries

    The drought already has far-reaching effects. In eastern Montana, America’s current-largest wildfire continues to smolder; the 422-square-mile Lodgepole complex fire is one-third the size of Rhode Island. It’s Montana’s largest fire since 1910.

    Across the state, 17 other large fires are also spreading. “We haven’t even hit our normal peak fire season yet,” Fransen says.

    Recently, as the climate has warmed and crop suitability has shifted, the Dakotas and Montana have surpassed Kansas as the most important wheat-growing region in the country. The High Plains is now a supplier of staple grain for the entire world. According to recent field surveys, more than half of this year’s harvest may already be lost.

    The economic impact of the drought and related fires may exceed $1 billion across the multi-state region by the time the rains return. Donations of hay for beleaguered farmers and ranchers have come in from as far away as West Virginia.

    Farmers in the region are also worried because the Trump administration has targeted a key federal crop insurance program for hefty cuts. The governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana have all declared states of emergency to speed aid and open some normally protected areas for livestock grazing.


    Abnormally dry conditions now cover 100 percent of South Dakota. U.S. Drought Monitor

    It came out of nowhere

    Droughts are often thought of as creeping, slow-motion disasters. They usually don’t grab headlines like hurricane landfalls, even though they represent the costliest weather-related catastrophe worldwide.

    But this drought is an anomaly, a “flash drought.” It essentially came from nowhere. It didn’t exist just three months ago.

    The frequency of these rapid-onset droughts is expected to increase as the planet warms. A recent study focusing on China found that flash droughts more than doubled in frequency there between 1979 and 2010.

    Droughts like these are closely linked to climate change. As temperatures rise, abnormally dry conditions across the western United States are already becoming more common and more intense. And as evaporation rates speed up, rainfall becomes more erratic, and spring snowmelt dries up earlier each year.

    Future summers in North Dakota are expected to be even hotter and drier, on par with the present-day weather of south Texas.

    Taking heavy losses

    On Whitney Klasna’s ranch in Lambert, Montana, the spring rains “just didn’t come this year.” Klasna has already seen 60 to 80 percent crop losses in her fields, and now she’s making calculations about which of her cattle she can afford to save. She and her crew are working to drill an additional water well and install a pipeline to keep as many alive as possible.

    Now they’re worried that, if the rains do come, they’ll lead to flash flooding; the ground has essentially been transformed into concrete.

    Klasna calls the drought a “perfect storm of bad luck” and expects its impacts to last for years.


    The drought in western North Dakota is now just as severe as California’s was at its peak. U.S. Drought Monitor

    Further west, near where the Lodgepole complex is burning, Sarah Swanson runs a John Deere dealership, one of the biggest businesses in her community. She hears heartbreaking stories from across the region, with many farmers and ranchers working together to fight the fire with their own equipment.


    “Right now, I don’t think anybody has time to feel scared,” Swanson says. “I think the emotions will probably start once they have time to get the fire out in a week or two.”

    Last week, Swanson wrote a personal letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a Montana native, asking him to ease grazing restrictions on a nearby wildlife refuge. Two days later, he did so.

    “We’ll be able to continue on,” Swanson says. “I wish I could say that for all the Main Street businesses in eastern Montana, but I don’t think I can. The effects are already being felt by restaurants and retail shops and gas stations, and there will be some that can’t sustain this.”
    .

              South Korea's stubborn peace effort        
    SUBHEAD: Peace movement refusing to give up is taking the long view of its campaign. 

    By Jon Letman on 4 August 2017 for Truth Out -
    (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41486-taking-the-long-view-why-south-korea-s-peace-movement-refuses-to-give-up)


    Image above: Jeong Young-hee is a Korean tangerine farmer in Gangjeong village on Jeju island. Like many residents, she strongly opposes the newly built South Korean naval base just two miles from her farm. Photo by Jon Letman. From original article.

    In August, 1945, as Japan smoldered in the ruins of war, the question of what would become of the Korean peninsula after 35 years of Japanese occupation and a Soviet army advancing southward spurred the hasty selection of an artificial division along the 38th parallel drawn by two American officials as a border between US and Soviet "zones of occupation."

    That line, never intended to be permanent, hardened like stubborn mud before the newly liberated Korea ever had the chance to form an independent, unified and democratic nation. Today 38°N still marks a potentially catastrophic flashpoint between North and South Korea.

    The DMZ -- demilitarized zone -- despite its name, is one of the most militarized places on the planet. This hyper-militarization, in fact, extends south across the peninsula and today, 64 years after an armistice halted (but never formally ended) the Korean war, South Korea remains peppered with scores of US military installations -- at least 80 by the Pentagon's own count.

    US bases, and the 28,500 US troops and joint military exercises they support, are not only opposed by North Korea; many South Koreans see them as a problematic construct that perpetuates the likelihood of war.

    Despite frequent media coverage of North Korea's highly choreographed military parades, increasing missile launches, and Kim Jong-un's threats to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire," far less attention is paid to South Korea's tireless, well-organized peace movement opposed to militarism on both sides of the DMZ.

    South Korean civil groups and NGOs like People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions are skilled at forming coalitions with peace activists and religious groups opposed to a military buildup, which they see as increasing tensions with the North and militarization across Northeast Asia.

    Your Old Farm Is Our New Base


    Image above: Candle light protests have been held outside the Seongju County office nightly since the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system was announced in July 2016. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    With the bulk of US bases concentrated in and around Seoul and within range of North Korean artillery, the US is in the middle of a major realignment of its forces as it consolidates bases, moving tens of thousands of troops, their families and civilian contractors to US Army Garrison Humphreys in the city of Pyeongtaek, 40 miles south of Seoul.

    In 2002, when the US announced its plan to triple Humphreys in size, Pyeongtaek residents living around the base organized fierce protests that raged for five years.

    Thousands of police were deployed, citizens were arrested and villages were demolished. In the end, however, the base's walls were pushed outward, and Camp Humphreys grew from just over 1,000 acres to more than 3,400 acres, making it the US's largest overseas military base in the world.

    Now in the final years of construction, US Army Garrison Humphreys is equipped to serve as the new headquarters for the Eighth US Army and US Forces Korea command center.


    Image above: A representative of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions holds an anti-THAAD banner at a demonstration in Soseong-ri, Seongju County, South Korea. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    The Humphreys expansion is slated for completion by 2020 and will eventually be home to up to 46,000 military and civilian personnel living and working behind razor wire-topped walls and gates.

    The $10.7 billion expansion, the US's largest-ever peacetime military construction project, is being paid for overwhelmingly (around 90 percent) by the South Korean government. In 2016, Gen. Vincent Brooks (now head of US Forces Korea) publicly stated that it's cheaper to station US troops in South Korea than in the United States.

    The Humphreys expansion does have supporters in the community, and many businesses have come to depend on the US military's presence.

    Pyeongtaek's city government, unable to refuse the influx of thousands of US forces, has done its best to promote Humphreys' expansion as an opportunity to court non-military business and infrastructure investment and push for internationalization through increased cultural exchanges with military personnel and their families.

    Still, many residents view the base as an unwelcome intrusion on Korean sovereignty and a source of crime, pollution and noise from military aircraft like F-16s, A-10 Thunderbolts, Chinook and Apache helicopters.


    Image above: Demonstrators march toward the former golf course in Seongju County where the controversial THAAD antimissile defense system is being deployed by the US. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Since 2002, Kang Song-won of the Pyeongtaek Peace Center has been working closely with residents from communities affected by Humphreys, particularly those who were forcibly relocated from the villages of Daechu-ri and Dodu-ri. Kang works with volunteers to monitor military incidents and accidents around the base.

    Beyond the noise and inherent danger, he told Truthout the most harmful impact of Humphreys' expansion has been the deep divisions sown in the community between base supporters and opponents.

    Giving up, however, is not an option. "Even though we lost the fight against the US military, I think it is still necessary to keep fighting ... against the problems of the US military base," Kang said.

    Island of Peace, Tides of War


    Image above: US Army Garrison Humphreys is a helicopter base in what will soon be the the United States' largest overseas military base. Just beyond the fence are small farming villages. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    An hour's flight south of Seoul is sub-tropical Jeju island. Home to nine UNESCO Global Geoparks and a World Heritage site, the volcanic island is renowned for its natural beauty and biodiversity both on land and sea. Jeju has also been heavily developed for tourism. On the south coast, in Gangjeong village, is the site of a new Korean naval base.

    Muddying its primary purpose, the base is sometimes called the Jeju Multipurpose Port Complex and is touted as having a (future) dual civilian-military function, but for now it's strictly a Korean naval base and headquarters for the South Korean Navy's Mobile Task Force Flotilla-7, which includes Aegis warfare destroyers, KDX III helicopter destroyers and a submarine force command.

    Like the expansion of Camp Humphreys, the 2007 announcement of the Jeju naval base sparked widespread outcry from residents opposed to the militarization of what was dubbed "Island of Peace" in recognition of Jeju's horrific April 3 massacre (1947-54).

    In that massacre, as many as 30,000 island residents were killed by Korean forces over a seven-year period beginning in 1947 during the US military administration that occupied the southern part of the Korean peninsula immediately after the August 1945 defeat of Japan.

    As in Pyeongtaek, Jeju base protesters clashed with the police for years. Base opponents, including the former mayor, were arrested and heavily fined but in the end, the base was built.


    Image above: Many of the residents protesting against the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system are elderly farmers who don't want their remote mountain village to be militarized. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Tangerine farmers Jeong Young-hee and her husband Kang Sung-won have been growing Jeju's famous citrus varieties for 30 years in greenhouses less than two miles from the base. Young-hee and Sung-won are concerned about the environmental impact of the base, especially the effects on the sea -- including soft corals, sea urchins, abalone and other marine life -- and the destruction of what was a sacred lava rock coastal field called Gureombi.

    Construction on the base is not yet complete. Young-hee and Sung-won worry that as it grows, if a future exclusion zone (a zone that would restrict new construction) is declared, it would surround their farm, almost certainly driving down land values.

    Peeling one of her sweet hallabong oranges, Young-hee explains how the base has caused a rift between friends and family members. The base has also divided many citrus farmers and Jeju's famous Haenyeo free divers. "Our relationship was destroyed," says Young-hee, who joined her male counterparts in shaving her head as a gesture of protest against the base.


    Image above: Retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon holds a daily mass along along a roadside site that doubles as a protest against the Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    In the early days of the struggle, when base opponents pointed fingers at the US accusing it of pressuring South Korea (also known as the Republic of Korea), South Korean officials denied that the base would permanently host US warships.

    This year, in March and June, US warships made their first visits to the Jeju base with short, inconspicuous port calls similar to what was recommended in a 2013 US Army War College strategy research project. Last January, US Pacific Command's Adm. Harry Harris suggested the possibility of deploying the US's newest, most lethal stealth destroyer, the USS Zumwalt to Jeju waters.

    The Jeju navy base became operational in February 2016. Resistance continues daily, with activists gathering each morning in front of the entry gate to perform one hundred bows as a nonviolent, meditative protest.

    Nearby, in a roadside tent chapel, retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon leads a daily mass, before joining protesters who gather with flags and banners playing raucous music outside the base.

    The mood of the protesters is defiant and the message is serious: they want a shift away from militarization of the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia.

    This week (July 30-August 5), for the eighth year since 2008, apeace march is underway, in which activists are walking from the Jeju naval base around the island to raise awareness of the continuing struggle and to call for peace.

    In Defense of Who?


    Image above: Guards look out from behind a razor wire fence surrounded the new South Korean naval base on Jeju island, South Korea. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    South Korea's latest struggle against militarization began in July 2016 in rural, traditionally conservative Seongju County 135 miles south of Seoul.

    Residents of Seongju and neighboring Gimcheon were caught off guard when the central government, under deposed President Park Geun-hye, offered Seongju to the US as a location for the US antimissile defense Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

    For more than a year since that announcement, daily protests have been taking place in Seongju and elsewhere around the country. In June, an anti-THAAD protest of several thousand people briefly and peacefully surrounded the US embassy in Seoul.

    THAAD manufacturer Lockheed Martin says the system is intended to defend "US troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against short and medium range ballistic missiles."

    Seongju residents and Koreans across the country, however, recite a litany of reasons they are opposed to THAAD, from environmental and health concerns to the lack of a democratic process to ever-increasing deployment of foreign weapons, as well as economic repercussions and tension with its neighbors China and Russia.


    Image above: Korean Army personnel stand guard at the Demilitarized Zone/Joint Security Area outside the Military Armistice Commission buildings along the tense border. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Two weeks before South Korea's snap election on May 9 this year, the US, citing North Korean threats, hurriedly began the deployment of THAAD in what had been a golf course outside a small village called Soseong-ri.

    When South Korea's newly elected President Moon Jae-in learned that his own Ministry of Defense had failed to notify him of the presence of an additional four THAAD launchers, Moon called for a temporary suspension of THAAD to conduct an environmental assessment.

    That suspension, however, is being reevaluated now as South Korea considers deploying additional launchers in response to a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile test last week.

    Like other aspects of the military alliance between the US and South Korea, THAAD is supported by some South Koreans and reviled by others. And like the communities in Gangjeong village on Jeju and Pyeongtaek near Seoul, the people of Seongju and Gimcheon are divided.

    Speaking at a candlelight vigil outside the Seongju County government office on May 30, three local women were eager to share their thoughts with Americans.

    On this 310th day of consecutive protests, the women told Truthout they wanted their lives back the way they were before THAAD.

    They said their community was being torn apart -- even relations between parents and children were being strained by strong disagreements over THAAD.

    Some of their neighbors have given up opposition to THAAD, either accepting it as unavoidable or simply focusing on other matters.

    These women, however, refuse to give up and say they feel a responsibility to attend nightly demonstrations against THAAD. They also admit feeling a growing resentment toward what they see as an unequal alliance.

    "We are starting to have anti-American sentiments even though we don't hate Americans," a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Kim said.

    "To be honest, I want the US military to go home," said a second woman, who also goes by the name Mrs. Kim, adding the English phrase, "Yankee, go home."

    The Truth Is Very Powerful


    Image above: Demonstrators perform 100 bows for peace six days a week as a protest against the South Korean Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Even as new bases are built, old bases expanded and more weapons imported, what fuels South Korean peace movements in the face of overwhelming power?

    In Seoul, Jungmin Choi who works with Durebang (My Sister's Place), an NGO that provides counseling to foreign women working in bars and clubs near US bases, says those women are living witnesses to the impact of military bases.

    Choi calls the impacts of the bases "indescribably huge" and both tangible and intangible, but insists, "we believe this fight cannot be defeated … we will fight in a creative way with a long-term view."

    On the other side of the country, Jeju base opponent Choi Sung-hee says that even though the Jeju base is operational and US warships have started visiting, the protests must continue.

    Not only does the military know it is being watched, but protests build solidarity with other anti-base movements across South Korea and internationally, in places like Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines and Hawaii, particularly among women.


    Image above: A protester is blocked by a security guard as he sits in silent protest outside the entry to the South Korean naval base on Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    "That's the role of people ... we should constantly demand: we do not need arms, we do not need THAAD, we do not need more military bases," Choi says. "If the people's movement is strong, I think it can also influence the decisions of the South Korean president."

    Nearby, in the St. Francis Peace Center, Father Mun carves messages of peace into wooden boards after each morning's protest. Nearly 80 years old, Father Mun has been a peace activist for decades in Pyeongtaek, on Jeju and elsewhere acting, in his words, as "a witness for truth."

    When asked why he continues to resist in the face of overwhelming power, Father Mun declared, "The truth cannot be thrown away. The truth will stand up some day. The truth is very powerful. So, I believe the truth is going to win all enemies."

    .

              Amazon is the New Tech Crash        
    SUBHEAD: There is only a handful of big tech winners - Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google Facebook & Netflix.

    By David Stockman on 1 August 2017 for the Daily Reckoning -
    (https://dailyreckoning.com/amazon-new-tech-crash/)


    Image above: Sign on an unidentified Amazon building. From original article.

    It won’t be long now. During the last 31 months the stock market mania has rapidly narrowed to just a handful of shooting stars.

    At the forefront has been Amazon.com, Inc., which saw its stock price double from $285 per share in January 2015 to $575 by October of that year. It then doubled again to about $1,000 in the 21 months since.

    By contrast, much of the stock market has remained in flat-earth land.

    For instance, those sections of the stock market that are tethered to the floundering real world economy have posted flat-lining earnings, or even sharp declines, as in the case of oil and gas.

    Needless to say, the drastic market narrowing of the last 30 months has been accompanied by soaring price/earnings (PE) multiples among the handful of big winners. In the case of the so-called FAANGs + M (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft), the group’s weighted average PE multiple has increased by some 50%.

    The degree to which the casino’s speculative mania has been concentrated in the FAANGs + M can also be seen by contrasting them with the other 494 stocks in the S&P 500.

    The market cap of the index as a whole rose from $17.7 trillion in January 2015 to some $21.2 trillion at present, meaning that the FAANGs + M account for about 40% of the entire gain.

    Stated differently, the market cap of the other 494 stocks rose from $16.0 trillion to $18.1 trillion during that 30-month period.

    That is, 13% versus the 82% gain of the six super-momentum stocks.

    Moreover, if this concentrated $1.4 trillion gain in a handful of stocks sounds familiar that’s because this rodeo has been held before.

    The Four Horseman of Tech (Microsoft, Dell, Cisco and Intel) at the turn of the century saw their market cap soar from $850 billion to $1.65 trillion or by 94% during the manic months before the dotcom peak.

    At the March 2000 peak, Microsoft’s PE multiple was 60X, Intel’s was 50X and Cisco’s hit 200X.

    Those nosebleed valuations were really not much different than Facebook today at 40X, Amazon at 190X and Netflix at 217X.

    The truth is, even great companies do not escape drastic over-valuation during the blow-off stage of bubble peaks.

    Accordingly, two years later the Four Horseman as a group had shed $1.25 trillion or 75% of their valuation.

    More importantly, this spectacular collapse was not due to a meltdown of their sales and profits. Like the FAANGs +M today, the Four Horseman were quasi-mature, big cap companies that never really stopped growing.

    Now I’m targeting the very highest-flyer of the present bubble cycle, Amazon.

    Just as the NASDAQ 100 doubled between October 1998 and October 1999, and then doubled again by March 2000, AMZN is in the midst of a similar speculative blow-off.

    Not to be forgotten, however, is that one year after the March 2000 peak the NASDAQ 100 was down by 70%, and it ultimately bottomed 82% lower in September 2002. I expect no less of a spectacular collapse in the case of this cycle’s equivalent shooting star.

    In fact, even as its stock price has tripled during the last 30 months, AMZN has experienced two sharp drawdowns of 28% and 12%, respectively. Both times it plunged to its 200-day moving average in a matter of a few weeks.

    A similar drawdown to its 200-day moving average today would result in a double-digit sell-off.

    But when — not if — the broad market plunges into a long overdue correction the ultimate drop will exceed that by many orders of magnitude.

    Amazon’s stock has now erupted to $1,000per share, meaning that its market cap is lodged in the financial thermosphere (highest earth atmosphere layer). Its implied PE multiple of 190X can only be described as blatantly absurd.

    After all, Amazon is 24 years-old, not a start-up. It hasn’t invented anything explosively new like the iPhone or personal computer.

    Instead, 91% of its sales involve sourcing, moving, storing and delivering goods. That’s a sector of the economy that has grown by just 2.2% annually in nominal dollars for the last decade, and for which there is no macroeconomic basis for an acceleration.

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    Yes, AMZN is taking share by leaps and bounds. But that’s inherently a one-time gain that can’t be capitalized in perpetuity at 190X.

    And it’s a source of “growth” that is generating its own pushback as the stronger elements of the brick and mortar world belatedly pile on the e-commerce bandwagon.

    Wal-Mart’s e-commerce sales, for example, have exploded after its purchase of Jet.com last year — with sales rising by 63% in the most recent quarter.

    Moreover, Wal-Mart has finally figured out the free shipments game and has upped its e-commerce offering from 10 million to 50 million items just in the past year. Wal-Mart is also tapping for e-commerce fulfillment duty in its vast logistics system — including its 147 distribution centers, a fleet of 6,200 trucks and a global sourcing system which is second to none.

    In this context, even AMZN’s year-over-year sales growth of 22.6% in Q1 2017 doesn’t remotely validate the company’s bubblicious valuation — especially not when AMZN’s already razor thin profit margins are weakening, not expanding.

    Based on these basic realities, Jeff Bezos will never make up with volume what he is losing in margin on each and every shipment.

    The Amazon business model is fatally flawed. It’s only a matter of the precise catalyst that will trigger the realization in the casino that this is another case of the proverbial naked emperor.

    Needless to say, I do not think AMZN is a freakish outlier. It’s actually the lens through which the entire stock market should be viewed because the whole enchilada is now in the grips of a pure mania. Stated differently, the stock market is no longer a discounting mechanism nor even a weighing machine. It’s become a pure gambling hall.

    So Bezos’ e-commerce business strategy is that of a madman — one made mad by the fantastically false price signals emanating from a casino that has become utterly unhinged owing to 30 years of Bubble Finance policies at the Fed and its fellow central banks around the planet. Indeed, the chart below leaves nothing to the imagination.

    Since 2012, Amazon stock price has bounded upward in nearly exact lock-step with the massive balance sheet expansion of the world’s three major central banks.


    Image above: Comparison of stock values of G3 Central Banks and Amazon Corp. From original article.

    At the end of the day, the egregiously overvalued Amazon is the prime bubble stock of the current cycle. What the Fed has actually unleashed is not the healthy process of creative destruction that Amazon’s fanboys imagine.

    Instead, it embodies a rogue business model and reckless sales growth machine that is just one more example of destructive financial engineering, and still another proof that monetary central planning fuels economic decay, not prosperity. Amazon’s stock is also the ultimate case of an utterly unsustainable bubble.

    When the selling starts and the vast horde of momentum traders who have inflated it relentlessly in recent months make a bee line for the exits, the March 2000 dotcom crash will seem like a walk in the park. .

              The worst product ever marketed        
    SUBHEAD: Eventually we learn what's the good way to do things. Too bad that it is almost always too late.

    By Ugo Bardi on 30 July 2017 for Cassandra's Legacy -

    (http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-is-worst-product-ever-marketed.html)


    Image above: Detail of Bic advertisement celebrating the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Bic lighter.  From original article.

    Greens often exaggerate in inviting people to save energy and be happier by staying in the dark and eating insects. However, it is also true that sometimes wastefulness goes a few notches higher and becomes truly a scandal. It is the case of the ordinary disposable lighter.

    Bic alone produces almost a billion lighters per year and has produced some 20 billions of them in the past 30 years. The whole world production is probably of a few billion per year. A good example of a successful product, but is it a good product?

    The disposable lighter is surely practical but also, if you think about it, a very bad deal. It contains some 5 cc of butane, that you pay, typically, more than $1. That means around $200 per liter, or $800/gallon.

    You wouldn't be happy to pay that kind of money when you refill the tank of your car. And, being powered by a fossil fuel, butane, every time you light up one you add some CO2 to the atmosphere, some of which will stay there for tens of thousands of years.

    Then, the disposable lighter doesn't contain just non-renewable fuel but plastics manufactured from fossil fuels and also polluting. Then, it contains metals such as cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, praeseodymium and more.

    These metals are classified as "rare earths;" they are not so rare as the name seems to imply, but they are not so common, either. And the lighter is thrown away after use and it will never be recycled. The rare earths it contains will be lost forever.

    Is all that enough to qualify disposable lighters as "the worst product ever marketed"? Well, everything can be questioned, but if you line up the characteristics of a bad product as;
    1. uses rare and non-renewable resources, 
    2. is not recycled and not supposed to be recyclable, 
    3. is manufactured on a large scale, 
    4. it has non-polluting and less expensive alternatives, there are few examples other than lighters for which you can tick all the four boxes.
    I can hardly think of anything so wasteful to set something on fire, no matter whether you are a professional arsonist or simply an ordinary smoker.

    After all, what was so wrong with using the old matches? Matches contain only recyclable materials: wood, paper, phosphorous, sulfur. I can't see anything that can be done with a lighter that cannot be done with a match, except that a lighter can burn steadily for a longer time.

    But if your purpose is to light up a cigarette or a kitchen burner, it makes no difference. And, by all means, there is no way that a lighter would cost less than a match, at least if manufactured on a comparable scale.

    So, disposable lighters are all an example of how a combination of financial factors and government regulations can push a bad product to dominate the market. It is, after all, what has happened with fossil fuels, still gathering large government subsidies, despite the damage they are doing to all of us.

    In the case of lighter vs. matches, the playing field has been made unfavorable to matches from the beginning, because they have been traditionally taxed by governments (also lighters, in some cases, but not always).

    Add to that the rapid expansion of the cigarette market during the past decades, with some six billion cigarettes sold worldwide every year, and growing, some large companies saw their chance.

    They engaged in the large scale manufacturing of lighters and they crushed the match manufacturers, mainly small companies that couldn't match (indeed!) the financial power of large corporations.

    The advertising power, too, played a big role, with the appeal of colored and fashionable items that could also be collected. And it was world domination for the disposable lighter.

    Could we reverse this demonic trend? Maybe there are signs of an inversion of the tendency and, not long ago, I saw again courtesy matchboxes appearing in an Italian Hotel.

    Maybe it was because finally (in 2015) the Italian government decided to abolish the tax on matches, a good idea that, unfortunately, arrived at least 50 years too late (the French Government did that in 1999).

    Whatever the case, it is high time that someone realizes that some ideas, such as disposable lighters, are evil to the bone. And that the mythical "free market" cannot turn evil into good.

    But maybe you think that the old matches are passé? In this case, we have technologies for getting rid of the obsolete propane lighters without having to get back to the somewhat primitive matches. For instance, we have spark lighters that use only electricity.

    They are a solid state alternative to propane lighters in the same way as photovoltaic energy is a solid state alternative to fossil energy. In the picture, you see one of these super hi-tech lighters in the hands of my daughter, Donata.


    Image above: Donata Bardi holds solid state spark lighter.  From original article.

    So, eventually, we learn what's the good way to do things. Too bad that it is almost always too late.

    .

              Is A Capitalist Meltdown Upon Us?        
    I'll only be 53 on my next birthday in late July, yet it already seems like I've lived a tiring amount of history. Only 20 years ago, the world saw the meltdown of Soviet-style communism -- and many observers, largely neo-conservatives, interpreted that as an ideological culmination, "the end of history." There was even an influential book written with that title. (Does anyone remember that author now? And, does he want to remember that book? Yeah, I know -- Francis Fukuyama.)

    It appears that reversals of fortune can happen quickly. Now it looks like the allegedly venerable ideology of "free-market" capitalism is on the ropes, and in serious danger of going down. Who would have thought it?

    Die-hard Marxists did. I've never been one of them, even as a long-ago radical all of 23 years old. I still know three people who have continued to call themselves Marxists in total defiance of dismissal or ridicule, and they are probably gloating a lot now. The economic train wreck they kept dogmatically predicting finally seems to be in front of us.

    But even as America sleepwalked through our Second Gilded Age (circa 1981-2005), I grew skeptical of the Marxist vision. "Historical inevitability" always sounded like a religious tenet, without the pure superstition; and Marxism itself, a sort of quasi-religion for embittered atheists.

    We should be as cautious about awarding hard-line socialists a victory here, as much as "we" (in the editorial sense) should have checked for our wallets the minute Reagan started talking about trickle-down and Phil Gramm started talking about deregulation. The past century should have taught us that the answer lies in between.

    Starting with the excesses of laissez-faire: America has, for the past 30-ish years, seen the roller-coaster ride that happens with that sort of economic policy. An elite grows very rich, a minority near the bottom slips much further down, and most people tend to stagnate in the middle.

    There are cycles of boom and bust. The booms are good for most people, but especially good for a few. The latter group inevitably forms a "Why Should I Have To Pay Taxes?" lobby and gets bonanzas from lawmakers eager to please. And since these are the people of ostentation and material success, their influence is great among fashionable "thinkers" of the day.

    Now the big bust is upon us. It's a bit like 1933 all over again -- not as grim or total in devastation, but it's likely to get worse. President Barack Obama has warned us that this is so.

    But history, with its entire lesson, should be heeded, and it seems like Obama is one who will do so.

    There were very good reasons for the meltdown of the Soviet empire 20 years ago. Contrary to right-wing mythology, Reagan and his military buildup had little to do with it. Post-Soviet Russian economists recall the problems as internal, and any intellectually honest person knew what they were. There's no need for me to recite the litany here -- Americans heard it all for decades.

    But, let's face it, die-hard socialists out there -- state-run enterprises have a poor track record. The employees seem to lack incentives to produce. Cooperatives tend to degenerate into personal conflict, power struggles and chaos. And as for the concentration of power in the hands of "vanguard revolutionaries" -- the horrors and enormities of that have been abundant just in the past century.

    I don't think it's hard to argue for a sense of balance and measure. In America, it seems like the compromising wheeler-dealers -- the FDRs, the Trumans, the LBJs, the Ted Kennedys -- got more done for working Americans than any of our homegrown radicals ever did.

    But there is little doubt that there's been a sea change, and it's been back toward socialist thinking. The Nobel Prize committees have not been known for their sympathy toward socialist-leaning economists, yet Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has more or less come out in favor of the nationalization of U.S. banks. That would be a major step toward socialism of some fashion. Why not? We've just given the bastards $700 billion in taxpayer money to keep them in business. Here's a link to the interview with Stiglitz.

    And, it appears that such state power would be the only thing to force the shameless swine who run these enterprises to behave themselves. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., made a speech on the Senate floor about the Wall Street oinkers who had themselves awarded $18.4 billion in bonuses while their enterprises got in on the aforementioned $700 billion, because of reckless and disastrous mismanagement. Here's another link to reports on this issue, and to a video of McCaskill's speech. Be patient, the video seems very rough.

    So, what should be the ultimate American destination, in an era of "capitalist" meltdown? The Swedes, with a hybrid socialist-capitalist system, don't seem to do badly, with avowed Socialists predominantly in power since 1929. Their booms are smaller, but so are their busts. Their people don't live in fear of homelessness or inability to afford basic health care. Right-wing humorist P.J. O'Rourke, when asked about the Swedes' seeming happiness with their stable system, said that they are all insane -- but that their insanity is distributed equally among the people.

    It's a funny line. But there's nothing funny about facing a mortgage foreclosure, or about the welfare rolls shrinking even as joblessness is rapidly expanding. With a growing U.S. underclass, it may be time to take a second look at the socialist mind-set -- despite the old Marxist baggage. Nobody requires us to go to extremes.

    Crossposted at Manifesto Joe.
              Why the Senate Must Pass the Stimulus Bill        
    First, check out USAToday's interactive map of how President Obama's stimulus bill will help your state.

    Then, watch TPM's interview with an expert who explodes the repug lies about the bill containing too much spending.

    There is so much fog and uncertainty -- much of it intentionally injected into the debate -- about the different moving parts of the Stimulus Bill. But some of the broad outlines are arresting and straightforward.

    We're hearing all this talk about the staggering size of the bill. And it is a staggering amount of money. But according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the amount of demand that the financial crisis is pulling out the economy is likely to be between $1.1 and $1.2 trillion this year (and that is not a controversial estimate). The Stimulus Bill (which, remember, is $800+ billion over two years) would try to compensate for that drop off with about $400 billion of spending and tax cuts. How efficiently the money is spent, how quickly and so forth -- all very good questions. But judged in these terms you start to see how the real question is whether any bill of that size is enough.
    David Kurtz and Baker discuss the issue in today's episode of TPMtv.


    And finally, read Bob Herbert on the danger of not putting enough money into infrastructure projects immediately.

    We have infrastructure spending in the Democrats' proposed stimulus package that, while admirable, is far too meager to have much of an impact on the nation's overall infrastructure requirements or the demand for the creation of jobs.

    SNIP

    The big danger is that some variation of the currently proposed stimulus package will pass, another enormous bailout for the bankers will be authorized, and then the trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits will make their appearance, looming like unholy monsters over everything else, and Washington will suddenly lose its nerve.

    The mantra (I can hear it now) will be that we can't afford to spend any more money on the infrastructure, or on a big health care initiative, or any of the nation's other crying needs. Suddenly fiscal discipline will be the order of the day and the people who are suffering now will suffer more, and the nation's long-term prospects will be further damaged as its long-term needs continue to be neglected.

    We no longer seem to learn much from history. Time and again an economic boom has followed a period of sustained infrastructure investment. Think of the building of the Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Think of the rural electrification program, the interstate highway system, the creation of the Internet.

    We're suffering now from both a failure of will and of imagination. I remember the financier Felix Rohatyn telling me, "A modern economy needs a modern platform, and that's the infrastructure."

    History tells us the same thing.

    And if you're still not persuaded, consider this: Mitch McConnell would give his left nut to kill the stimulus. What more reason do you need to support it?

    Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.

              Progressive Progress in the Economic Stimulus        
    As the Senate girds for battle over the repug-sabotaged economic stimulus, Talking Points Memo brings us a reminder of the progressive priorities that made it into the House bill and deserve saving in the Senate.

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus just released a memo that offers a worthy counterpoint to our discussions today about the Republicans' baldly misleading message on the stimulus.

    The Progressives have rounded up elements of their proposed $1 trillion stimulus that ended up making it into the Democratic leaders' final bill, in part or in whole. It's a list that's worth remembering while tax cuts seemingly dominate the airwaves.

    The highlights of the memo are after the jump:

    • Unemployment benefits (UI) extension. Cost = at least $12.7 billion

    • Anti-hunger provisions

    * SNAP - 20% temporary increase in maximum food stamp level above the FY2009 level for two years. Cost = approximately $24 billion and increase in funds for state food stamp administrative costs Cost= $250 million;

    * WIC - increase funding to make up for shortfall not covered in the current Continuing Resolution. Cost = $450 million and increases for management information system and related infrastructure improvements. Cost = $50 million;

    * School meals - provide a 15% increase in funding for breakfast and school lunch programs. Cost = $1 billion;

    • Medicaid payments to states (FMAP). Cost = at least $15 billion

    • LIHEAP assistance to provide low-income Americans relief from higher energy costs. Cost = at least $5 billion

    • Job creation via down payment on rebuilding America's infrastructure and schools, starting with massive investment in commercialization of green technologies and related job training that promote environmental protection and energy independence. Cost = at least $100 billion

    ** In general:

    • No funds for Iraq or Afghanistan wars and no funds for defense procurement.

    • Prevailing wage to be paid for jobs created and upholding of Davis-Bacon Act

    These are, of course, just a downpayment on the long list of repairs to the New Deal and Great Society needed after three decades of repug destruction.

    But if these provisions remain in the final bill and President Obama signs it by Darwin Day, then I'd say we're well on our way to recovery.

              How to not spend $41 billion        
    One the most important principles of economics is ‘trade-offs.’ That is, that using resources for one thing means that they cannot be used for something else. When you drop $100 on a family trip to the Calgary Zoo, you do not have $100 to spend on groceries or to sack away into the car-replacement fund.
              What if Alberta Were Treated LIke Quebec?        
    Let’s start with federal income tax: in 2011 — the most recent year the Canada Revenue Agency has provided stats for — Albertans paid $18.4 billion, while B.C. residents paid $13.7 billion. Quebecers: $21.7 billion. That’s $4,511 for every Albertan, $2,980 for every B.C. resident and $2,658 for every Quebecer.
              How to spin a $3.9 billion deficit as a $2.6 billion surplus        
    George Orwell defined “doublethink” as the act of people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.
              How to eliminate Alberta’s $3.5 billion deficit        
    Using the updated numbers from the 3rd Quarter Fiscal Update, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) projects that the Redford government is on track to post a $3.5 billion deficit this fiscal year, bringing Alberta’s debt up to $8.7 billion.
              Can you fire an employee for negative Facebook postings? It depends, apparently        
    Faceboook turned 10 this week and has essentially changed the way more than a billion people connect with each other via the Internet. But what's to be done when one of those people is an employee who is sharing harmful workplace information?
              Alberta Debt Clock Stands at $7.8 Billion        
    The $17 billion rainy-day Sustainability Fund is virtually depleted, and the province is on track to finish the fiscal year with an $8.7 billion debt. In fact, Alberta is projected to take on an additional $4 billion in debt, every year. By the time the next election rolls around, Alberta will be a full $17 billion in the hole.
              New Year’s Resolutions for Redford        
    On New Year’s Eve, billions of people made billions of Champagne-fueled promises to themselves for self-improvement in 2014. Here is some unsolicited advice for what Premier Alison Redford should consider for her belated New Years resolution.
              Alberta Needs a Plan to Pay for Massive Flood Price Tag        
    Recently, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released a 39-page report titled, Responsibly Rebuilding Alberta. The report estimates that Alberta’s current deficit will spike from $5.1 billion to approximately $8.1 billion as a result of the flood.
              AB: Let’s Rebuild Responsibly        
    With the floodwaters receding and families picking through the ruins of their homes, Alberta’s government has pledged at least $1 billion in disaster relief. It will come as a surprise to everyone if the final bill isn’t a lot higher than that.
              The Real Deficit        
    In 2013-14, the Alberta government is will run a projected $5.1 billion deficit. To be fair, you might have heard a different number.
              Pay Cash and Save!         

    Canada’s auto finance market is worth $120Billion annually.  That means there are a lot of us that, for one reason or another, cannot afford to pay cash for a car purchase.  Cost of living being what it is, it can be quite difficult to save up $30,000+ required to buy a new car outright.  For a good late model used vehicle it can be the same story, with a total cost in excess of $20,000.  Not many of us have that kind of cake just lying around and if we did, we probably would find better things to invest it in other than a new car (or at least I hope we would). 

    That puts many of us in a position where we need to borrow money to purchase a car and then pay that money back over a predetermined term.  Breaking up the cost this way over time can make a car purchase more affordable since you only pay a small percentage of the overall price on a monthly basis (or whatever your payment frequency is). 

    There are some pitfalls to this though – the major one being negative equity.  Also known as being upside down or underwater, negative equity is when your car is worth less than the remaining balance of your loan.  If you have financed a new car in the last three to five years, chances are you owe more on the car than what you can expect to sell it for.  Cars depreciate fast, and unless you applied a hefty down payment to your purchase, you’re going to experience some negative equity.  And generally speaking, the longer the term of the loan (regardless of the interest rate), the more upside down on the vehicle you can expect to be.

    This really isn’t too big a deal if you plan on keeping a car for a very long time, especially beyond the term of the loan.  By the time you go to sell the car (or scrap it), you won’t owe more than what it’s worth.  At the very least, you can break even.  However, if something comes up and you need to get rid of the car, it may be too cost prohibitive to make sense. 

    For instance, when I went back to school I was unable to apply for a Government sponsored student loan (and was therefore ineligible for a number of bursaries and scholarships) because I was deemed to have too many assets that I could potentially sell to finance my education.  One of those “assets” was my car (another one was my house, but the thought of selling a house to become eligible for student debt is so ludicrous that I’m not even going to go into it here).  However, because I had only purchased the car a year ago, even if I had sold the vehicle for top dollar to the biggest sucker on the planet I still would have owed thousands to my lender.  And this was at a 0% APR.  Therefore, I calculated that even if I got the loan AND some of the bursaries I would have been eligible for because I was able to secure a loan, I likely wasn’t going to recoup the costs of selling the car – let alone have any money left over to apply towards school. 

    Yeah, some asset that is.  Thanks, OSAP.        

    So what’s my point?  Well, there is an alternative to going into debt for a new or late model used vehicle but it’s not for the faint of heart: buy an old car for cash. 

    There are tons of decent vehicles out there that are perfectly serviceable and will get the job done for a wide range of driving needs.  Plus you can get them for less than the cost of a new sofa set. 

    I’m referring to your late 1990s to early 2000s grandparent mobiles that can be picked up for a song and still have lots of life left in them.  They have names like Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Mercury are often big, well maintained and beige.  And, if you play your cards right, they will be the best financial decision you ever made. 

    Generally speaking, the cost of ownership is very low on these vehicles.  Chances are you can buy it for less than $3000, your insurance costs will drop significantly and the parts will be cheap and plentiful.  Over the course of a couple of years, if you add up the costs of new car ownership vs Grandma’s beater ownership, you will likely find yourself ahead a few grand. 

    What if the car breaks down?  So what?  Every car breaks eventually.  And let’s say you’ve driven your newer car out of warranty.   You’ll be on the hook for any repairs that car needs anyway, plus you may still have payments on top that.  You’ll be stuck in a situation where you have to pay potentially thousands of dollars because you’ll be so financially committed to the vehicle that you really have no other option.  In a worst case scenario with a cheap car – i.e. the repair is way more than what your car is worth – you can just sell the car on to the next person and pocket a few hundred dollars.  Best case scenario, you can get the parts cheap and do the work yourself.

    What about maintenance costs?  All cars need tires, brakes, hoses, spark plugs, fluids, suspension components and filters to keep them running happy and safely.  Sure you’re older car will likely be at the stage in its life where it will be due for new examples of many of these components.  Granted, this will cost more money on top of what you already paid for the car.  It may even get you to that point where what you have into the car is more than what it is worth.  However, remember that your financed vehicle will need many of these components replaced at some point as well.  Will you still be dolling out regular payments when these maintenance items become due?  Probably.  Will you owe more on your car than what it’s worth AND have to pay more money to maintain it?  Likely. 

    When you total it all up, would you rather be spending $1200 a year on maintaining and fixing a car you owe nothing on or paying $1200 a year on maintaining and fixing a car your spending thousands of dollars a year to repay?  What are you out at the end of the year?  What are you out after 5 years (or even as much as eight or nine years depending on the term of your loan)?  Even if you have to go through a couple old cars in the same time you would have paid for a new car, you will still be further ahead in terms of money saved.

    There is a downside to this though.  You do need to have enough knowledge of the mechanical aspects of cars in order to be able to pick out the gems from the crud.  It also helps if you are mechanically inclined enough to do as much work yourself as possible.  This is time consuming and can be stressful if your car needs a repair and you need to be somewhere the next day.  Therefore, this strategy is admittedly not the best idea for folks who commute to work every day and need to have the most reliable transportation possible.  Statistically speaking, like any machine, new cars are generally more reliable than older cars. 

    Also, if you absolutely need to have the latest tech and gadgets you may never be satisfied driving an older car.  Furthermore, newer cars are usually more fuel efficient and produce fewer emissions than older cars.  So if you’re environmentally inclined, you will probably have some ethical concerns about driving an older car – then again, maybe the fact that you’re reusing an older car makes sense on that front given the resources required to produce a new car?  Maybe you just like that new car smell?    

    There may be many reasons why an older car doesn’t work for you.  At the end of the day, you need to make the right decision for yourself.  If you can swing it though, the financial rewards can considerable. 

    Finally, here are some tips I’ve used/wish I had used when checking out an older used car (or any car for that matter):

    1.       Low mileage isn’t always an indicator of low cost.  Lack of use can be just as bad as over use, especially for things like gaskets, electrical components and hoses.  I bought a low mileage car that been sitting for a while and had to put more money in repairs than what I paid for it within the first 10 months.  While this meant I got on good terms with the local mechanic, I really could have saved a ton of cash if I had just purchased something that had regular use and a little higher mileage.  Personally, I aim for something in the 5,000 – 10,000 km a year range (about 3k-6k miles).  Not over used and not neglected.  And food for thought – how many miles do you think a poorly maintained car will last for?  It’s a good bet that high mileage car in clean condition has been well loved and properly maintained. 

    2.       Be thorough in your inspection.  Check the frame/sub frame, body panels, floors, trunk, doors and all seams for rust and rot.  These may be obvious holes or subtle paint differences.  Also, make sure the all of the body panels line up and have consistent gaps.  If these things don’t check out, it could be an indication that the car was in a collision at some point in its history.  While this isn’t necessarily the end of the world, you should be aware of it. 

    3.       Check the brake and fuel lines.  Replacing these could be big bucks, so make sure they are in good shape. 

    4.       Make sure the tires are in good condition/match.  Tires can be expensive to replace.  If the car is otherwise perfect, a new set of tires is not going to break the bank.  However, if there are other repairs required, the costs can add up.

    5.       Check to see all of the features of the car work (heat, AC, cruise, lights, etc.). 

    6.       If the car has a scan port, bring a scanner with you to see if there are any MIL codes or if the test cycle is incomplete (which would indicate a code has recently been cleared).  Again, depending on the code, not the end of the world, but all good things to know when buying. 

    7.       Take the car for a drive.  Make sure it runs well, there are no weird noises or fun colours of smoke coming out of the tail pipe (or other areas).  Make sure the exhaust isn’t blowing out of a hole somewhere in the system (especially the catalytic converters… pipes and mufflers are cheap to replace, exhaust manifolds and cats are not).  Make sure the car shifts smoothly.  Make sure the brakes stop the car.  Make sure the steering wheel steers the car.  Keep an ear out for bumps and clunks in the suspension and differentials.   

    8.       When driving the car do some hard acceleration and braking tests.  See if there are any problems with the engine bogging down, the transmission responding to throttle input, dead spots in the power band, etc.  Make sure the brakes don’t fade quickly, that the ABS works (if so equipped), peddle feel is good, etc. 

    9.       Do some steering tests to make sure the suspension and steering components are in good order.  Go to an open parking lot or something and do some full lock turns both left and right.  Then do some figure eights.  Listen and feel for clunks, shudders and other anomalies.  This could indicate that some suspension components are worn or broken and need replacing.

    10.   Research the car beforehand.  In the age of the internet, there’s no reason why you can’t know pretty much everything there is to know about almost any car.  Between online databases, YouTube videos, forums and consumer reviews, there is probably more information online about the car you’re interested in than you can ever read.  Pay particular attention to the car’s trouble spots, how to do common repairs/maintenance and the cost/availability of parts. 

     

    While this isn’t an exhaustive list it will certainly give you an idea of what to look for.  And if at all possible, bring the car to a trusted mechanic to give it the once over.  They’ll be able to effectively advise you on the car’s overall condition, and likely for less than $100 (or the cost of a tow).  Good piece of mind, I say. 

     

    To sum up:

    1.       New and late model used car loans can be financially debilitating.

    2.       Paying cash for an older car in good condition can save you thousands of dollars every year. 

    3.       Do what makes sense for your situation.

    4.       Inspect and research any potential vehicle purchase. 

     

    TTFN        

              Iridium Sets Sept. 30 Launch Date for 3rd ‘NEXT’ Satellite Batch        
    Iridium Communications plans to launch the third batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites on Sept. 30 aboard a SpaceX-built Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The scheduled launch would bring the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space to 30 as part of a potential $3 billion program to replace an existing constellation with 75 new communications satellites […]
              Tesla Model 3... It's here and it looks mostly finished! All right!        

    Tesla unveiled its much ballyhooed Model 3 to an invite only crowd and via live stream this past Thursday.  Looks like it will be a winner because as much as I want to hate it, I really want to drive one.  And that’s right, I said ballyhooed! 

    The unveiling started out like any other with Tesla’s CEO, uber-techy Elon Musk, being introduced by the car’s design boss Franz von Holzhausen (who has the dual distinction of not only being the lead designer on what could be one of the most ground breaking vehicles in history AND the owner of perhaps the most German sounding name EVER).  Musk stalled the big reveal by discussing how we’re killing the planet and poisoning ourselves with exhaust fumes.  He also reviewed his master plan for shifting the paradigm of sustainable personal transportation – and how their new big factory will be making a lot of batteries.  Seriously, like, all the batteries. 

    But let’s take a moment to look at Musk’s presentation style.  It’s relatively unpolished and full of little self-deprecating jabs at the company’s history of production issues.  This must make him pretty approachable because the audience felt free to yell stuff at him fairly frequently.  It all helps cement Musk’s public persona as a young, plucky, success-by-the-skin-of-his-teeth type that contrasts against the public’s idea of what automotive executives are like at those other car companies.  However, he is 44 now and it does seem somewhat man-childish.  But he also has a net worth of over $13 Billion, so what the hell do I know?

    He also went over the minimum specs:

    0-60 in under 6 seconds.

    Seating for 5 adults.

    A trunk and a frunk offering more storage capacity than any other four door sedan.

    215 mile range per charge.

    Autopilot.

    Supercharging capabilities (for the battery, not for the motor).

    5-Star safety rating in all categories. 

    Sounds good to me.  Also, keep in mind that the batteries in these things sit on the bottom of the car, essentially making up its floor, so its centre of gravity is lower than 700lb dwarf and more evenly distributed than the soul deadening sorrow experienced by a Burger King night shift crew.  So yes, it will likely out handle your C-Class, 3 Series or A4.  Soundly.     

    Now let’s finally get to the car!  The reveal happened just like any other new car debut, thumping beats, flashing lights, a vague but captivating intro video and three examples rolling onstage to thunderous applause.  Overall, I would say it has the looks to back up its impressive specs. 

    It has a nice compact exterior somewhat reminiscent of the Mazda 3.  It sports some serious multi-spoke wheels shod with low profile tires that wouldn’t look out of place on a BMW… or the afore mentioned Mazda.  In fact, may I be so bold as to say the new Model 3 could pass as a slightly less swoopy sibling to the Mazda 3? 

    Is it also a coincidence that both cars have essentially the same name?? 

     Watch:

    Mazda 3 = Model 3

    Now take away the words starting with “M”. 

    3 = 3

    Amazing! 

    And now a side by side, paying particular attention to where the C-Pillar meets the quarter panel:

     


    Startling indeed.


    Also, while reading about this car it was pointed out by at least one observant automotive commentator that the trunk probably should have been designed as a hatch instead of a notch.  Why boast about segment leading storage capacity and then limit access to it with a tiny opening?!!?  Why!?!?  It would be like boasting how the plumbing system you designed can flush a whole watermelon but then throwing a standard sized toilet on it.  Sure it can accommodate the problems associated with a binge night of double cheese pizza and all you can eat Indian buffet, but only in theory.  

    Another thing.  What the hell happened to this things face?  Tesla, you forgot the grill.  I know it’s an electric car and it doesn’t NEED one.  But the car is designed like it’s supposed to have one and they just didn’t put it on.  Like they got to that point in the design, took a break and when they came back they all got sidetracked and moved on to something else.  It’s the most off-putting thing I’ve ever seen on an otherwise acceptably attractive vehicle.

    That’s right, off-putting.  For example:



     

    Or even more disturbingly:

     


    See what I mean?  Ken doll syndrome.   

    Ok, so I know it won’t have any effect on people buying it.  Hell, they already have almost a quarter million orders for the thing.  But why was it saddled with this loose end??  The prototype designs that hit the internet all had grills.  The Model S has a grill, right?  So what the frack?! 

    To be honest I’m only acting harsh to this thing because it’s so awesome.  If I had $35K to spend on a car, I would likely get this one.  But I don’t, so I’m going to complain about it so I feel better.

    But damn if that beak isn’t freaky.  So like a 24 hour marinated T-Bone, I would say this car needs to be grilled up STAT.    

     


    That’s better. 

     
    TTFN    

     

         

              Lincoln gets a cash injection and my new obsession with the Silverado.         


    So I’ve been quite the lazy blogger.  I’m hoping I can turn this around soon, but I’ve been pretty busy with a million things going on... also I’ve become addicted to the Panther Forum I’ve joined (grandmarq.net).  I’ve had a good time meeting a bunch of folks online who share my (newly developed) obsession with full-sized 1980’s Fords.  For a primer as to why this has happened, check out my last post.  However, my car world still extends beyond 30 year old blue ovals.  Let’s see what’s caught my eye today...


    You may be saying to yourself, “Sean, how can I get in on this cheap vintage car craze?”  Well, there are lots of cheap old goodies listed online.  Jalopnik recently posted a list of stuff that’s been put on ebay forunder $10,000.  Of course, for me that’s a huge budget, but that’s not big money for getting into the old car game.  I’m thinking my favourite of the list is the Saab Sonnett.  Not the greatest sports car ever, but it’s certainly a classic that you don’t see every day! 

    Good news for Lincoln!  Apparently Ford’s investing $5 Billion over the next few years intoimproving the brand.  Personally, I think this is great.  For too long Lincoln has been putting out rebadged Fords.  While they typically look prettier than their blue oval cousins, I’ve had a hard time reconciling the thought of paying huge premium for a tarted up Ford.  The big news is a new platform that will hopefully result in a rear-wheel-drive sedan!  This will position Lincoln to compete more directly with other premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, and historical rival Cadillac. 

    Speaking of rear-wheel-drive, I’m a big fan of pony cars.  The Chevrolet Camaro is certainly a great example of the breed.  And all great pony cars deserve a high powered halo example to lead the charge into the dreams of the car buying public.  The ZL1 is the high ranking Camaro that happily takes this on this task, motivated by a 580hp 6.2L V8.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably never get the chance to drive one. Check out these editor notes from Autoweek for some great impressions onhow this car drives.  Not anywhere close to as good as actually driving the car, but at least it will provide some fuel to fire up your imagination the next time you play make believe behind the wheel of your daily driver.  Vroom-vroom!!

    In other news, back on the home front we’ve been tempted lately by Silverados.  Our neighbours recently acquired one and my uncle did too shortly after that.  They both went with 5.3L 4x4’s, black on black.  They are pretty sharp.  I know I wanted to stay away from pick-ups, but lately I’ve missed having a vehicle with some utility.  And towing capacity.  Here’s a TFL review of the big three’sfull-sized truck offerings... well more of a 0-60 competition rather than a review.  But it’s 0-60 towing 5,000lbs!  I can’t think of a better piece of info than who has the best hustle under load (well, I can, but this is still good to know... and fun)! 

    On a related front, here’s a cool video of a Silverado HD in a tugof war contest against a semi.  Check it out for fierce tire burning carnage!  

     And with that, I'm out.  I'm putting together a post of some of the best, coolest and strangest cars I saw at the various shows I attended this summer.  Look for it soon!

    TTFN!

              Alberta: revenue or spending problem?        

    Bookended by two charts – one showing the recent drop in natural gas prices and the other provincial revenues from natural gas – Finance Minister Iris Evans delivered the bad news to Albertans: the province’s debt is now pegged at $6.9 billion.


              9-Speed Transmission Explained, 25 Years of Miata and More!        
    Sometimes it's good just to go over what's happening in the automotive world.  Today's post is a bunch of links to some interesting stuff going on right now.  So, without further ado...
    The first thing I think we should take a look at is Alex Dyke's detailed write up on ZF's 9 speed automatic transmission.  Yeah, that's right, 9 speeds.  It sort of boggles my mind when I think that my Buick and my Pontiac only have 4.  This ZF unit has over twice as many forward gears!  What could they possibly need with so many?! 

    Well, it all comes down to fuel economy and making efficient use of the engine's power.  But, please, don't let me bore you with the details.  This article will do that nicely without any further input from me.

    I think right now all it's in currently is the Jeep Cherokee and the upcoming 2015 Chrysler 200, but I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of our 9 cog friend.

    The Tesla Model S is getting an all wheel drive set-up!  Now eco-minded northerners can enjoy the smooth power and low center of gravity with less risk in winter driving.  As long as they don't run over any trailer hitches, that is.  Then God help them.

    Jalopnik featured a good comparison piece on the new Volvo V60 wagon vs the XC60 Crossover.  They make a compelling argument for the V60... unless space is the ultimate deciding factor in your vehicle needs.  Then you may find the Volvo wagons a little snug, despite its other inherent benefits.  However, if you're looking for a fun premium vehicle with good utility and decent fuel economy, the V60 is a really solid contender.

    And this popped up in the ridiculous files.  The Dubai police have taken delivery of a Veyron police car.  Apparently they have a whole slew of supercars in their fleet.  But it makes sense if you think about it.  All those billionaires tootling about in their exotic sports cars will at some point (probably every 5 minutes) make a traffic violation.  Now imagine being the poor schmuck who has to chase him down in a crappy impala!  Now, the police should be able to run down any perpetrator regardless of their awesome wheels.    

    And just so everyone knows, Subaru as debuted a redesigned Legacy at the Chicago Auto Show.  There's new interior and exterior styling and now both motors come solely paired with a CVT.  This has boosted the vehicles fuel economy numbers (hopefully not at the expense of performance).  I personally think the car looks great.  Even though I'm a fan of the current model, this one looks like a big improvement in terms of refinement and style.  I can't wait to try one out.

    And finally, it's time for a big Happy Birthday for the vehicle that is credited with reviving the British sports car.  I'm speaking, of course, about the Japanese built Mazda Miata, which turns 25 this year!  The Miata, or MX-5 as it is now known, is one of the most celebrated, and best selling, vehicles of its kind.  In this video, Jay Leno speaks with some of the people that brought the car to life in this fantastic retrospective of a modern classic.

    Well, that's all for me.  I just realized I've missed the first two episodes of Top Gear's latest season, so I have some catching up to do!

    TTFN!                
              The slow slide back to corporate welfare        
    It's no secret the Alberta government literally lost billions of taxpayers' dollars in the 1980s and 90s through loans and loan guarantees to private companies. Thankfully, during the Klein revolution of the mid-1990s these corporate welfare programs were ended. Unfortunately, a few recent moves by the current Alberta government have raised the spectre of a return to these corporate welfare days.

              Goodbye surplus policy, we hardly knew ya!        
    Putting aside the merits - or lack thereof - of carbon-capture technology and public transit, the provincial government's recent commitment to spend $4-billion on these projects signals an important reversal of government policy and the return to ad hoc spending.

    The Stelmach government has numerous times touted their policy for unanticipated surpluses: one-third to new infrastructure, one-third to infrastructure renewal and maintenance, and one-third to savings.

              A present for our next premier        

    Being that most Albertans are engrossed with the provincial election (ok, maybe 'engrossed' is a bit of an overstatement) it should be no surprise the Alberta government's third quarter financial snapshot was released recently to little fanfare or attention. The recent announcement of yet another large surplus ($4.2-billion) likely didn't even raise an eyebrow, considering we haven't had a deficit budget since 1993-94 in Alberta.

              German Carmakers Meet To Set New Standards For Diesels        
    German carmakers and politicians are meeting in Berlin at an "emergency diesel summit" this week to try to shore up eroding market share amid concerns over pollution in Europe's major cities. They also hope to put to rest a major scandal over the manipulation of emissions testing data. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that the two sides are expected on Wednesday to agree to lower emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in Germany's 15 million diesel vehicles. Soraya says that in the lead-up to the summit, manufacturers and the German government haggled over reducing emissions by improving auto software, something that would cost several hundred million euros. Alternately, hardware fixes would be far more expensive – estimated at around 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion). In either case, much of the cost would be absorbed by the companies. Germany is Europe's leading car manufacturer, and Volkswagen — the company at the heart of the faked emissions testing data — is among the world's
              Alberta Advantage first, Canada Advantage next        
    Since Stephen Harper and the Conservatives took office in January 2006 taxpayers have no doubt noticed some changes on the taxes paid to Ottawa. Most noticeably, and welcomed, was the reduction in the GST from 7 percent to 6 percent, to now 5 percent. This tax reduction will put $10-billion back into the pockets of Canadians each year.

              150 Things to Know on Canada’s 150th Birthday        
    On the occasion of Canada’s 150th birthday here are 150 things to know...

    1. Today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the world’s most popular political leaders.
    2. Justin Trudeau emerged out of the shadows and into the political spotlight when delivering the eulogy at his father’s funeral, the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau in September 2000.
    3. The four pallbearers at the funeral were Justin Trudeau, the Aga Khan, former President Jimmy Carter and…the late Cuban autocrat Fidel Castro.
    4. Justin Trudeau’s brother, Alexandre Trudeau, is a fearless filmmaker, who was Embedded in Baghdad before, during and after the U.S. invasion in 2003.
    5. While Justin is a social media star, his father was the true showman, who once famously pirouetted behind Queen Elizabeth’s back.
    6. In fact, this was just one of many colorful moments. To this day in Canada to give the ‘Pierre Trudeau salute’ means something, very interesting…
    7. And who can forget the moment featuring the Rolling Stones, the paparazzi and the Prime Minister.
    8. However, the elder Trudeau also did some amazing things for Canada. For starters, until 1982 when he brought it back to Canada, the constitution was effectively governed by the Queen of England.
    9. That same year he pushed through the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.
    10. This protection of Canadian rights and diversity did not emerge overnight. Back in 1971, the elder Trudeau declared the new Canadian multiculturalism policy.
    11. Four years earlier, in 1967, Pierre Trudeau uttered these famous words: “There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” when he decriminalized homosexuality in sweeping changes to the criminal code.
    12. It took Canada until 2005 to legalize same-sex marriage, being the first nation outside of Europe and fourth in the world to do so.
    13. However, while things were eventful under Pierre Trudeau they were also turbulent. He suspended civil liberties during the ‘October Crisis’ in 1970, when he invoked the ‘War Measures Act’ after a provincial cabinet minister was kidnapped by separatist militants.
    14. He also enacted the National Energy Program in the 1980s which effectively federalized revenues from energy resources in Alberta, creating long-term hostility towards the federal Liberal Party in the years to come in Western Canada.
    15. Trudeau was also an antagonist to separatist ambitions in Quebec, delivering two fiery speeches, one in 1980, and another in 1995 to thwart referendums for independence.
    16. All in all, the elder Trudeau served for 15 years but he wasn’t the longest serving Prime Minister. That would be William Lyon Mackenzie King, who served for 21 years.
    17. In second place was the founding Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, who served for 18 years – and who also had a bit of a drinking problem.
    18. When Canada was founded in 1867, there were only four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
    19. In fact it was not until 1949 that the last province, Newfoundland joined Canada, and that was only after a barely won referendum.
    20. Canada also has three Territories: the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavat, the latter being formed in 1999.
    21. The country is extremely ‘big’, the second largest in the world with over 2 million lakes, among other things.
    22. But, 75% of Canadians actually live within 100 miles of the U.S.-Canada border.
    23. This may be one of the reasons why the U.S.-Canada economic relationship is the largest in the world, estimated to total US$630 billion in 2016 alone.
    24. Close to 30,000 trucks cross the border every single day between the two countries.
    25. While things are rosy today, it wasn’t always so. During the War of 1812, the Canadas, as the British colonies were known then, went to battle with the U.S., ultimately burning down the White House on August 24, 1814.
    26. War was quite frequent back then due to competing French, British, and American ambitions. After fierce fighting, the 1763 Treaty of Paris essentially gave the British control over much of French Canadian land.
    27. In addition, one cannot forget that much of Canadian land belonged to the First Nations, who have been marginalized, ostracizied, occupied and colonized throughout much of Canadian history.
    28. During Canada’s first years, a group of people called the Metis who were ethnically mixed between First nations and European descent, rose up in rebellion, ultimately establishing a short-lived provisional government in 1870.
    29. The leader of that rebellion Louis Riel was ultimately ranked as the 11th Greatest Canadian.
    30. That battle was only one of many for the acknowledgement of the rights of First Nations. One of the worst stains on Canadian history was the residential school system that at one point put a third of all First Nations children under the care of the state.
    31. Thousands of students died, and many more were subject to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
    32. While today, people acknowledge some of these aspects of history, the fight is not over. One of the scandals that was a campaign issue for Justin Trudeau, was the plight of up to 4,000 missing or murdered aboriginal women.
    33. Canada’s history has not always been one of inclusivity. The Chinese Exclusion or Immigration Act of 1923 effectively banned immigrants of Chinese origin.
    34. This was a culmination of violence and protests against immigrants from East and South Asia, including riots in 1907 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    35. Today, whites are expected to become a minority in Vancouver by 2031 (although I suspect this has already happened).
    36. 20.6% of Canadians are foreign-born today and 19.1% identify themselves as visible minorities. 3% of the population identifies as Muslim.
    37. There are more Sikhs in the Canadian Cabinet than there are in India’s government (4 versus 2).
    38. It was not until the 1940s, however, that Sikhs truly received voting rights.
    39. Canadian women achieved the right to vote around the same time as women in the U.S. in the late 1910s.
    40. Canada also became home to a number of Black Canadians due to the Underground Railroad, although racism has reared its ugly head in Canada as well.
    41. While ethnic and racial struggles have been real, so have class struggles. A lot of this culminated in gained labor rights and ultimately universal healthcare.
    42. The ‘grandfather’ of universal healthcare was actually New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas, who was named the Greatest Canadian in that (in-)famous poll.
    43. Tommy Douglas is also the grandfather of prominent Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland.
    44. Kiefer Sutherland’s father is Donald Sutherland, who married Tommy Douglas daughter, prominent public figure, Shirley Douglas.
    45. While living in the U.S. Donald Sutherland retained only Canadian citizenship but lost the right to vote due to the Conservative Party’s new laws in 2015.
    46. This also led to a rallying cry by then candidate Justin Trudeau, that “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”
    47. There are almost 3 million Canadians living abroad but many retain a vibrant Canadian identity.
    48. For example, the Terry Fox Run, a hallmark of Canada, has been held in over 60 countries by countless millions over the years.
    49. Through these runs over $650 million has been raised for cancer research.
    50. And it is all inspired by Terry Fox, who ran the Marathon of Hope in 1980 after losing one leg to cancer.
    51. He ended his run after reaching 5,373 kilometres over 143 days.
    52. Inspired by Terry’s courage, a fellow West Coaster, Rick Hansen embarked on a Man in Motion World Tour for two years in 1985.
    53. He criss-crossed 34 countries raising $26 million along the way.
    54. It also inspired the song St. Elmo’s Fire, which reached #1 on the Billboard Charts.
    55. The best-selling Canadian artist of all time remains Celine Dion, who has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.
    56. It appears though that fellow Canadian Justin Bieber may soon beat her on the charts.
    57. There are a lot of Canadian singers, that are quite prominent, but they often live abroad, like Bryan Adams.
    58. In fact, Bryan Adams and Beverley Hills 90210 star Jason Priestly went to the same high school, Argyle Secondary School in Vancouver.
    59. And while Bryan Adams is known for his singing, he once mixed up the lyrics of the Canadian national anthem.
    60. The Canadian national anthem, ‘O Canada’, was itself composed in 1880.
    61. However, the lyrics of the anthem were originally French and were then translated into English.
    here or on the title. 


    Have you ever made a wish that's come true -- because you made the wish? Until now, making a wish, whether at the sight of a shooting star or when blowing out the candle(s) on your birthday cake or when breaking a wishbone, has not yet been scientifically proven to actually work, as far as I know. Yet, in the spirit of hope, I am making 10 wishes at the beginning of the New Year. And as is always the case, as a Muslim, I speak on behalf of 1.5 billion people. So here goes...
    1. People no longer confuse me with ISIS.
    My name isn't ISIS. It's not even Islamic State. In fact, the words Islamic or State are not actually in my extended name. Nevertheless, time and time again, I keep getting requests to respond to the group's actions. I swear, ISIS or ISIL or IS -- none of them are in my family tree; they're not some distant cousins of mine. In 2016, I just want people to stop confusing me with ISIS. I really don't know what ISIS is thinking and why they do what they do. It's not like the State Department is asked for comment because of the State-to-State connection. As a postscript, can ISIS stop using the word Islamic? 
    2. Muslims stop killing Muslims for being Muslim.
    Somewhere, along the way over the last couple of decades, Muslims started killing other Muslims for being Muslim in the wrong way, or at least took it to a whole new level. There's a whole ideology out there built around takfir or essentially "declaring Muslims as kufar or unbelievers" for failing an evermore peculiar litmus test. Imagine if death squads emerged killing Black people for not being Black enough. Originating in some of the philosophical exhortations by scholar Ibn Taymiyyah 700 years ago, the criteria by which you are deemed "takfir-ed" and permissible to be killed has reached insane if not idiosyncratic levels. It would be funny if the situation weren't so deadly. Even barbers were caught in the crosshairs and were being assassinated in Baghdad in the 2000s. 
    3. Death and destruction in the Muslim world have a timeout. 
    From Yemen to IraqLibya to Somalia, and from Afghanistan to far beyond, civil strife is rife in too many parts of what is defined as the Muslim world. Autocrats, militants, extremists and terrorists, don't care who they kill: men, women, children -- everyone is fair game. I wish this would stop. Into this toxic mix, the last thing needed is more killing coming into these countries from the outside; the 2003 invasion of Iraq proved that. I wonder if Russia will hear that message? 
    4. We all get comfortable with the "other."
    What a difference it was in 2015 between Trudeau and Trump in the North American political cycle. The world needs more Trudeaus and less Trumps (Donalds that is). The fear of the "other" is starting to define Western politics and it is not just about Trump. The rise of right-wing political parties in Europe from Hungary to Denmark is a poignant reminder of the breadth of this phenomenon. Yet, outside the West this fear of the other also permeates and often dominates. In Turkey, we are seeing a renewed vilification of the Kurdish population. Further afield in Burma, the Rohingyaare cast as outsiders. In Malaysia, Christians are prohibited from using the Arabic word for God. And, in nearby Brunei, Christmas was simply cancelled. In some of the war zones in the Middle East, Christians are on the verge of disappearing. The world would be a lot better off if we weren't so afraid of the bogeyman of the other.
    5. The Muslim world deals with its taboos. 
    Speaking of an aversion to the non-orthodox, there's a whole set of taboos that many Muslim countries and societies need to start dealing with. A lot of them relate to sex. Sometimes the Muslim world acts like it has one big case of the cooties. There have been attempts by some to break through these restrictions. Wedad Lootah in the UAE comes to mind. Shereen El Feki's Sex and the Citadel is another. This is not an issue to take lightly, especially in societies where 60-70 percent of youth are under the age of 30. Bombarded by sexualized imagery from modern and digital media, these youth then live, essentially, in an austere second world that is their reality. More importantly and tragically, rape and sexual assault are simply not talked about; child abuse is an even worse curse hidden under the rug. Finally, at some point Muslim countries - and the clerical establishment -- will need to come to terms with the fact that gay Muslims exist
    6. Somewhere, over the rainbow, democracy and Islam go steady. 
    Let's be honest, a lot of people have tried to set up democracy with Islam for a relationship. Sometimes it has been a surprise blind date (e.g. Iraq in 2003). Other times, it was a relationship that grew from blind passion (e.g. the Arab world in 2011). Often, the sparks of love eventually turn into animus and things quickly go south. In the Arab world, Tunisia is carrying - with some fragility -- the banner of democracy. Many Muslim-majority countries that used to be counted as democracies now suffer from authoritarian syndromes (e.g. TurkeyMalaysia, and Bangladesh). In other cases, democracy in its infancy quickly devolved into score settling or majoritarian mafias (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt). Perhaps Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country is our hope that can breathe life into this wish. 
    7. Averroes comes back in style. 
    Averroes -- or Ibn Rushd -- was a man's man. He schooled his way into Raphael's The School of Athens. The polymath kept alive ancient Greek philosophy, paving the way for much of Europe's modern intellectual movements. Back in the day, in Andalusia, he was a big deal (Biden-style). And, why not? He vociferously argued for the co-existence of secular and religious thought in a posthumous debate with the Abbasid scholar Al Ghazali. Ultimately, Ibn Rushd lost the debate to the detriment of the Muslim world, but his arguments culminated with the work, The Incoherence of Incoherence, which I think would be a great riposte to all ISIS ideologues and their friends. If Ibn Taymiyyah came back, then let's bring Averroes back too. 
    8. Flying while Muslim is no longer a thing. 
    They say that flying while Muslim is the new driving while Black. I guess if you're a Black Muslim, this really sucks, especially if you drive to the airport for your flight. So my wish maybe can be two-pronged: getting rid of both 'driving while Black' as well as 'flying while Muslim.' What is flying while Muslim? Well, it often starts with a casual stare or two from across the way. A timid approach then ensues: "Excuse me sir." This is normally followed by a more forceful: "Please follow me." It can then get quite aggressive, with clothes falling by the wayside. It normally ends with your belongings in disarray, your belt on backwards, and you fast-walking without turning back in the hope that no one thinks twice about you boarding your flight. Oh, and don't watch the news while on the plane. I hate flying while Muslim. 
    9. Trump presides over a Muslim beauty contest. 
    Was 2015 the year of Trump? You have to hand it to Trump; he sure knows how to grab the spotlight. Unfortunately, he's used that spotlight to spew increasingly populist venom targeted at Muslims (and others). Maybe, we need to better appeal to Trump's core interest: beauty pageants. There are a few lists circulating online for potential Muslim contestants (for Men: click here | for Women: click here). Yet, I think we should make this a mipsters pageant and turn this whole thing on its head. 
    10. Peace comes to Syria. 
    This Muslim (me) -- speaking on behalf of 1.5 billion people around the world -- has 10 wishes for 2016 but if only one of them came true it should be this one. No country has been more ravaged in recent memory than Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed as gangsters, terrorists, and dictators fight for supremacy. The surrounding region, instead of trying to promote a solution, has sent in weapons, fighters, and incitement. The world, instead of trying to mediate, has sought to settle old scores. All the while, the people in Syria live in lifeless limbo amidst daily death and destruction. If I had only one wish it would be that the violence in Syria would come to an end. 
    This wish list is non-exhaustive. I think I may have missed a few...

              Muslim Liberals Caught in No Man's Land        
    Originally published in