'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?


..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”


The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.


..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.


Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.


Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.


Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.


Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          Burn After Reading        

Who’s Who
What’s What

In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors


The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9

Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].


From the Introduction

One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.


An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”


The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.


As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.


Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project

  •           Battlefield Bad Company 2 - Battlefield Moments Ep.3        

    i already think this is going to kick the crap out of Modern Warfare 2......

              Call of Duty | Infinite Warfare | Concept Design        


              RIGS | Infinite Warfare        






    Some real-time in-engine captures of the RIG suits I had the honour of designing for Infinite Warfare multiplayer. The work done by the character team at Infinity Ward is amazing! It was a career highlight to have my designs realised to such a high level. Posing and lighting the assets in the model viewer and screen grabbing these images was something I was looking forward to doing from day one! Good fun.

              CALL OF DUTY | INFINITE WARFARE        
    Call of Duty! This project has been my primary creative focus for the last couple of years, and it's been a great honour and a pleasure to have been involved with such a potent franchise. There's not much bigger than COD! The development studio for Infinite Warfare, Infinity Ward, has been my home since January and part of last year, and it's been a dream come true to live and work in Los Angeles. Ever since I was a kid, looking through art-of books of my favourite movies, LA has been the place I always wanted to be.

    I had been working remotely, as a freelancer, on the IW project for a while, creating concepts like the C12 here, so it was a natural next step to join the team in house in sunny California. The project needed a dose of solid, believable, and badass science fiction flavour, and that's exactly what I love to do! The C12 was the first thing I designed for the project, and it turned out great. The brief was for a walking tank, an enemy robot with a threatening presence, bristling with armaments. I love the right hand appendage, a combination door breaching hammer and articulated claw. The arms are mounted on curved shoulder rails, so they can rotate around and track various targets. There is so much articulation in this guy, it really taxed the rigging department! Bone count be dammed! ha ha

    This is the accompanying human sized enemy robot, the C6. A menacing eyeless axe shaped sensor head is mounted on a 360° degree swiveling pintle frame, so the head can target you from any angle. I imagined the player shoot one in the back, only to have the head spin 180° round and target you, the weapon following a split second behind, helped by the highly mobile shoulder and upper arm sections, allowing the robot to move in ways a human can't, and creating a unique adversary. The work done by the character department to model and texture these robots was insane. It was a true honour to have my concepts brought to life by such a talented team!

    A couple of variations on the standard SDF enemy soldiers. The idea was to create an iconic look, something clearly a guy in a suit, but still dehumanised and threatening enough to make them clearly the badguys, and worthy of killing by the hundreds. I added some frames to the 'muzzle', similar to the mounts on a modern day soldiers helmet, that can have additional optics or emergency breathing apparatus attached, to create an aggressive look. The reinforced polymer face pieces have a variable opacity laminate, I imagined a scene where you see a soldier seal up his transparent mask, then the mask turns cloudy white from the bottom up, obscuring the face and turning the visage into an eyeless skull. These SDF soldiers live in their suits, and have multiple redundancy life support systems, with visible added connective cable and hoses, to create a unique inside-out look to contrast against the clean and slick suits of the Earth forces.

    Ethan, or E3N, the buddy brobot you as the player have alongside for the game. This guy was fun to design, and I love how the head and upper arms worked out. My brother was the inspiration for this character, he's a big badass dude with the right friendly demeanor that I thought was perfect for this robot. I wanted Ethan to look and feel like someone who would have your back in battle, and be down for some extreme sports in down time. My bro is into motocross, so for the articulated pistons on Ethan's neck, I gave him gold cylinders to reflect the awesome looking forks you find on race bikes. Ethan's head is also a combination of elements from a motocross helmet, with articulated lens hood pieces from a camera lens, and the top hood piece forming a cap and visor peak shape.

    Really happy with how his head was resolved. It's tough to come up with a unique and iconic robot head with the right character and ability to emote.

    The final design for the UNSA SATO Marine helmets. With the hero Marines, I wanted to create a rugged and tough suit that paid homage to some classic Marine ideas. Mainly the thick armoured neck and arms. The thick neck was an attempt to create a different silhouette than the usual space suit form of thin neck/big helmet. I kept the helmet as slim and 'operator' as possible, while pumping up the neck, to create a unique look that feels badass, and harks to the leatherneck moniker of the Marines.

    With the arms I wanted the suit to feel like the rolled-up-sleeves look that's popular with Marines, and seen in some classic movies like Aliens. The lower arm sections and neck utilise mechanical pressure to protect from the vacuum of space, while the rest of the outfit is a traditional gas pressure space suit. Taking inspiration from the latest concepts of future space suits from places like NASA, with their elasticated tight fitting sleeves and lines of non-extension, I created a rugged military look with a thick armoured feel and beefy grid like pattern.

    I've loads more concepts to share in the future, so excited to show some of the other cool characters and weapons I was lucky enough to create for the project. Be sure to check out the game too, I'm playing through the final product now and it's rad, so cool to see my work realised to such a high level by a huge and talented team. Cheers!
              Armored Warfare – More details on Tanks Reloaded expansion revealed        
    [Play free now] Global publisher My.com (and now the game’s developer) today unveiled more information about the next expansion for its tank MMO Armored Warfare – Tanks Reloaded. Tanks Reloaded, the expansion formerly known as update 0.19, expands upon the game’s genre defining Global Operations mode by adding the large scale and Caucasus-themed map “Barren [&hellip
    PRAY AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT, FOR IT DOES! “Be STRONG in the Lord and in the Power of His might!” Ephesians 6:10 You gain strength by praying to God. Jesus said, “Men ought ALWAYS to Pray and not to faint!” Luke 18:1 Daily we are in Spiritual Warfare as Paul stated in […]
              Ships fooled in GPS spoofing attack suggest Russian cyberweapon        
    A hack that manipulated the location of 20 ships in the Black Sea may be the first use of GPS spoofing, a form of cyberwarfare capable of widespread disruption
              Â¡ Quiero mi tutorial !        
    Leyendo entradas atrasadas que tengo en el reader, me topo con esta de GameSetWatch sobre cinco cosas a mejorar en la industria del videojuego de cara al 2010. Con la tercera, Brandon Sheffield acierta de lleno: la escasez de tutoriales. Y qué razón tiene el tipo, ya no hay tutoriales en los videojuegos. Y en caso de estar, no estan bien implementados. Por ejemplo, Modern Warfare, que recientemente lo redescubrí gracias a su versión Reflex para Wii. ¿ Por qué introducir un tutorial tedioso y aburrido en la segunda misión cuando te familiarizas con los controles en la primera, el famoso asalto al buque pesquero ? No sólo se implementan mal los tutoriales en los videojuegos, sino que ya siquiera se hacen. Directo con el juego, cuatro pistas de los controles mientras juegas y listos.

    En estos últimos tiempos que recuerde solo los juegos de Nintendo, debido a la peculiaridad del control, y en los juegos de Valve contienen tutoriales y además bien implementados con el desarrollo del juego: la habitación transparente y cuadrada de Portal o la rutina de preparación para el experimento fallido de Black Mesa en Half-Life. Amputar esta parte del juego, ( su tutorial ) es arrancarle de cuajo una parte de lo que los hace grande. Señores desarrolladores, no me hagan ni más fáciles los juegos ni más complicados, simplemente enseñadmelo mejor.

    Imagen: Imagezoo

              Blog Post: Zany Family Friendly Fun        

    I rush forward, My teammate next to me. The enemy is just round the corner. I run round the corner and spray my enemies in yellow paintballs? Welcome to the zany world of Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. The game currently has 5 game modes. Team Vanquish(Team Deathmatch.) Suburbination(basically Domination.) Gardens and Graveyards (a twist on Battlefields Rush mode.) Gnome Bomb(like obliteration) and Taco Bandits(A fun twist on the Classic CTF formula.) You can play as both Plants and Zombies each with 5 unique classes for Plants you have Foot Soldier (a good entry point for shooter fans.) Enginner(a large drone flying, jackhammer riding, Support class) Scientist(a close range healer.) and All-Star(a tank class with a football cannon.) and for Plants you have Peashooter( a quick moving shotgun class.) Sunflower(a fast firing healer.) Chomper ( a melee powerhouse.) and Catus (a long range sniper.) one of PvZ: GW's strongest features is the customization. Each class has seemingly limitless variations and options. Earning money unlocks random characters and abilities. All in all the game is a blast to play with tight controls and fun modes. If your to young for CoD then this is great option.

              Blog: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare - PlayStation 3        
              Blog: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare - PlayStation 4        
              Blog: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare - PC        
              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. 

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.


    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $30 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.

    The Xbox 360 Difference
    While both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions have their share of problems, the last-gen incarnation fares considerably worse. While testing the 360 version, I ran into increased gameplay bugs, load times, pop-up, and embarrassingly blurry visuals as the game struggled to stream in the high-resolution textures. These shortcomings don’t ruin the experience, but they are significant enough to earn the Xbox 360 entry a lower score than the Xbox One version. 

              Wiki: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare Guides        
    Guides for Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare
              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. The Xbox One-exclusive modes are even more disappointing. The splitscreen mode is an endless version of Garden Ops, where the second player doesn't get to save his or her progress and the boss mode relegates you to providing support to your team during competitive matches from a topdown map of the battlefield.  

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.


    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $40 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.

              Blog Post: Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Takes The Term 'Launch Trailer' Literally        

    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare launches today, with a new gameplay trailer featuring a launching rocket.[Excerpt]

    This trailer is short compared to the other videos PopCap typically delivers, as they usually run about 10 minutes long, showing off full multiplayer matches. You can see one of those here.

    We're still working on our review, as we want to make sure we play the game in a live environment before setting our score, but keep an eye out for that soon. For more of our preview coverage and trailers for the the game, head here and here.


              Blog Post: New Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare Trailer Filled With Action        

    PopCap has released a new trailer for the action-oriented take on its Plants vs. Zombies franchise, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. The new clip isn't long, but it's loaded with gameplay details.[Excerpt]

    Watch the video below to see the plants take on invading zombies, including dolphin-wielding fellow pictured above. He might look relatively harmless, but he's packing a sticky mine. There's a glimpse of a pirate ship, too, which caps off the video's nautical theme. 

    Look for Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 25.


    For more information on the game, take a look at our earlier preview, which highlight's Garden Warfare's four-player co-op.

              Blog Post: New Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare Trailer Filled With Action        

    PopCap has released a new trailer for the action-oriented take on its Plants vs. Zombies franchise, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. The new clip isn't long, but it's loaded with gameplay details.[Excerpt]

    Watch the video below to see the plants take on invading zombies, including dolphin-wielding fellow pictured above. He might look relatively harmless, but he's packing a sticky mine. There's a glimpse of a pirate ship, too, which caps off the video's nautical theme. 

    Look for Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 25.


    For more information on the game, take a look at our earlier preview, which highlight's Garden Warfare's four-player co-op.

              Blog Post: New Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Video Showcases 4-Player Co-Op Game        

    In lieu of short trailers, PopCap has opted for long-form gameplay videos showcasing specific game modes in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. The latest showcases more than 10 minutes of the game's co-op mode.[Excerpt]

    The video is narrated by PopCap producer Brian Lindley as it walks through a game of Garden Warfare's four player co-op mode. It also features an appearance by the Plants vs. Zombies universe's only surviving human, Crazy Dave.

    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 18. For more on the game, check out more preview coverage and long-form gameplay videos by heading here, here and here.


              Blog Post: See Nearly 10 Minutes Of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare In Action        

    A new video from PopCap showcases 10 minutes of Plants vs. Zombies: garden Warfare in action with a game of Gardens & Graveyards.[Excerpt]

    It's a mode we've seen before similarly commentated by the game's developers, but this is a new video showcasing a new map.

    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 18. For more on the game, check out more preview coverage here and here.


              Blog Post: See Nearly 10 Minutes Of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare In Action        

    A new video from PopCap showcases 10 minutes of Plants vs. Zombies: garden Warfare in action with a game of Gardens & Graveyards.[Excerpt]

    It's a mode we've seen before similarly commentated by the game's developers, but this is a new video showcasing a new map.

    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 18. For more on the game, check out more preview coverage here and here.


              Blog Post: New Garden Warfare Video Walks Through A Game Of Gardens & Graveyards        

    Gardens & Graveyards will be a familiar mode to practiced multiplayer shooter players, but it definitely has its own distinct Plants vs. Zombies flavor in Garden Warfare.[Excerpt]

    Along with showing off the new mode, which tasks zombies and plants with capturing assorted locations, along with a handful of other goals, the video also offers a healthy look at gameplay and the new map, Driftwood Shores.

    Driftwood Shores has mountainous grasslands, castles, and pirate ships – a far cry from the familiar neighborhood map  we have been seeing in nearly every piece of media fro the game since its original announcement.

    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 18.


    [Source: Major Nelson]

              Blog Post: New Garden Warfare Video Walks Through A Game Of Gardens & Graveyards        

    Gardens & Graveyards will be a familiar mode to practiced multiplayer shooter players, but it definitely has its own distinct Plants vs. Zombies flavor in Garden Warfare.[Excerpt]

    Along with showing off the new mode, which tasks zombies and plants with capturing assorted locations, along with a handful of other goals, the video also offers a healthy look at gameplay and the new map, Driftwood Shores.

    Driftwood Shores has mountainous grasslands, castles, and pirate ships – a far cry from the familiar neighborhood map  we have been seeing in nearly every piece of media fro the game since its original announcement.

    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 18.


    [Source: Major Nelson]

              File: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare        
    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare new screens
              File: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare        
    Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare new screens
              BRAIN Initiative        
    President Obama recently announced a big new effort to map and understand the human brain. What are we trying to learn about our brains? One thing we will earn is how our brains are structured, "not this well-organized hierarchical control system where everything is in order." Another is how much of mental illness is shaped by experience and society, as opposed to chemical or structural factors. What do we already know about our brains? 12 Things We Know About How The Brain Works. And we know that unconcious processing improves decision-making. That brain structure may be linked to placebo response. And that unconcious brains can read and do math. We know a little bit more about how the brain responds to addiction. And we know that "genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms" in childhood can have permanent ill effects. We think that differences in our brain reflect political differences. But we know that a lot of pop neuroscience is bollocks. What could we do with new information? Could we reverse-engineer AI? Manipulate our brains, neuron-by-neuron? Make better soldiers? Or record dreams? Or activate neurons with light? Or make better, crowdsourced brain maps? Neurotechnology, Social Control, And Revolution
    In our neuro-centric world-view, a person is equated to his brain. The neuro-discourse has penetrated all aspects of our lives from law to politics to literature to medicine to physics. As part of this neuro-revolution, huge military funding is supporting neuro-scientific research; a huge body of basic knowledge on memory, belief formation, cognition and sensory modalities has been gathered over years, with fieldslike social neuroscience, cultural neuroscience, neuroeconomics and neuromarketing has emerging to improve our lifestyle; neurotechnological know-how from wireless non invasive technologies to neuroelectronic interfaces is exponentially advancing; and neurotechnology business reports indicates the rapid increase in neurotechnological start ups and the willingness of bringing neurotechnological products to the market. In my opinion, all the aforementioned indicators indicate that neurotechnology can be potentially used to control social dynamics.

              "Add to Your Faith"        
    A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: "Add to Your Faith"
    Subtitle: Early radio message
    Speaker: G. D. Fulton
    Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
    Event: Radio Broadcast
    Date: 12/6/1983
    Bible: 2 Peter 1:3-11
    Length: 23 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: The reason so many religious professors fail is that when they make that -decision for Christ,- they are told by the pastor, evangelist or soul-winner- -You are completely saved now, and don't allow anyone to cause you to doubt it------Such new professors of Christ are not properly prepared for the WARFARE of the Christian faith, because they have not been told the whole TRUTH. The Bible tells Christians some things that WE have to DO ... especially this text- -ADD THESE THINGS TO YOUR FAITH.-----May the Lord bless all who hear this message, recorded by a small microphone at a distance and thus inferior audio quality. BUT, IF YOU PERSEVERE you can hear this needed message by my dear father, G. D. Fulton, who died March 10, 1995.
              Natural Man to Spiritual Man - What a Change!        
    A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: Natural Man to Spiritual Man - What a Change!
    Speaker: G. D. Fulton
    Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
    Event: Radio Broadcast
    Date: 6/16/1987
    Length: 19 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: We speak of the -natural man- as the unchanged, unregenerate, unsaved man or woman. Then the -spiritual man- is that member of Adam's fallen race that has undergone the GREAT CHANGE - by grace alone, regenerated, born again, a -new creature in Christ Jesus.-----This work of God's saving His elect people does not make them perfect, however, for all Christians continue to have in possession a fleshly as well as a spiritual nature - thus the great warfare between the two natures, and the good fight of faith to overcome thru the grace of Christ.----Here is a challenging message from a simple man who proclaimed profound truth from the Scriptures of truth.
              The Warfare        
    A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: The Warfare
    Subtitle: The Flesh vs. the Spirit
    Speaker: G. D. Fulton
    Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
    Event: Radio Broadcast
    Date: 2/11/1986
    Length: 18 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: Only the Christian knows the depths of the spiritual battle with the sin, Satan, the world and the flesh.----GOD'S PEOPLE ARE OVERCOMVERS-
              DICE Reveals And Details Battlefield 4's Multiplayer Modes        

    Along with revealing a full list of Battlefield 4's multiplayer maps, DICE has also revealed and detailed every multiplayer mode. You can check out the full list below which also details the Conquest and Domination modes in case you haven't had a chance to check them out during the game's beta. DICE promises that every mode will be playable on every map in the game, "by carefully zoning the playable combat areas, adapting flag layouts, and catering for a variety of gameplay styles," according to as post on the Battlefield Blog.

    You can also check out a few images showcasing four of the modes in the gallery below.

    • Conquest – All-out vehicle warfare mixed with intense infantry action across land, air and sea
    • Domination – Fast-paced infantry variant of Conquest
    • Obliteration – Mad dash in vehicles and on foot to deliver explosives
    • Defuse – Competitive close quarters combat
    • Team Deathmatch – The classic shooter mode – Battlefield 4 style
    • Rush – Fight deep into enemy territory by detonating their M-COM stations
    • Squad Deathmatch – Four squads fight on the ground with limited vehicle support in a race to the top of the leaderboard

    Battlefield 4 is coming to PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 29. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game will be available on November 12 and 19 respectively. For more Battlefield 4 info, head here and here.

    [Source: Battlefield Blog]

              The Worst of the Wild Card Round Vol.VIII        
    LOL SW Ohio Jeep Racism!
    Before we get into the playoff games, I want to talk about the Buffalo Bills for a little bit.  By now we all know that they are searching for a new head coach as Doug Marrone took his asshole-looking self out of town and a hefty paycheck with him.  And you know what, I don't blame him.  Dude got the Bills to 9 wins.  He isn't going to be without a job for long.  So apparently there was a clause in his contract that allowed him a three day window to walk with full pay if there was an ownership change--no strings attached.

    What this comes down to is that the Buffalo Bills bet 4 million dollars on the health of a man in his 90s.  LOLOLOLOLOLOL!  Who the fuck negotiated this deal?  Marrone's agent has to be the best in the business.  I highly doubt that they miss Doug fucking Marrone but it does make an already dumb franchise look even more stupid.  Maybe this will teach them a lesson for future negotiations.  Guys coming from Syracuse have no bargaining power and playing financial chicken with the grim reaper is a bad idea.  One more time, LOL Bills.

    I write the intros to these on Friday most of the time and this week is no exception.  The games don't have much juice behind them this week so hopefully they shock the world and give us some enjoyable football.  But before we get there, ugh, let's talk about the Redskins for a second.

    Bruce Allen - Our moron President/GM speaks to the media only a couple of times per year and it is always a painfully embarrassing experience for all of us dipshit fans.  After correctly getting rid of Jim Haslett (worst five year stretch of defense in NFL history!) earlier on Wednesday, Bruce took the mic and proclaimed "we're winning off the field".  WE ARE WINNING OFF THE FIELD.  SMH.  SMDH.  I want to quit this team so bad.  They value charity over on-field victory apparently.  I hate them so much.

    Ryan Lindley - Yikes.  The less said about this piece of shit game the better but I found it fitting that this was played at the site of the Belk Bowl because I would rather watch 400 Belk Bowls as opposed to a replay of this turd.  What a waste of three plus hours.  I don't blame Lindley.  Everyone knows he sucks and he shouldn't be playing.  One more time, how bad must Logan Thomas be?

    Ted Ginn - If the Cards had ANY chance (they did not), it was ruined by the Fuckeye.  I mentioned this on Twitter but go back and look at the box score from this game.  This is a real Who's Who for awful players that scored.  Fozzy Whitaker might be the best player to find the endzone.

    Brentan Burson - That isn't how you spell his name but I like to think that he is quite the combo of legendary Naptown personalities.  You've got to respect his punt return philosophy of blocking the kicked punt like a hockey goalie for some reason.

    Cam Newton - Sucked.  He shouldn't get to claim that as his first playoff win.  I hope that Carolina loses by 50 next week as a punishment for Saturday.  You've really got to love the national writers who kill this guy every week for his lack of postgame socks or whatever.  Fucking terrible.  Sportswriters are garbage people.

    Settling for Suisham - In the history of football, when you settle for three, you lose (except for Ohio Buckeyes on Thursday).  If you come away with three, you come away with an L.  Saturday night was no exception.  The Steelers couldn't push it in and they ended up getting their turds pushed further in.

    Big Ben - I think we all knew that the Steelers would barely try to run the ball and they didn't.  The problem is that your QB better be sharp and Ben was just a tad off.  It didn't help that his OL was awful for the first time in a while.  I thought it was really funny watching the docs put him through the concussion tests.  Dude is an idiot.  How can you tell if he is concussed?  So they put him back in only to throw a horrible pick right away.

    People who don't find Flacco to be ELITE - That's now SEVEN road playoff wins, butthorn!  ELITE ELITE ELITE!!!  You see that playoff beard he's growing?  Amazing.  His coach called him the best QB in the NFL!  His ELITEness got Jimmy BRAH on the sideline, too!  I would not be surprised if the Ravens go on a run again.  They have the same look about them as they did two years ago.  The Patriots should be very worried.

    Grumpy and Jeff - Losers IMO.  Thanks for depriving America of a Steelers/Broncos rematch and unlimited memories of Timmy Tens, you heaps of shit.

    Cancer - Motherfucker.  We all woke up yesterday to news that Stuart Scott passed away.  I'm not going to act like I knew the guy and eulogize him.  We only met once when I was receiving my second internet Pulitzer but Stu will never be forgotten.  Boo-yah forever, fella.  The SNL spoof will always be one of my favorite sketches of all time. The Rich Eisen and Hannah Storm videos were absolutely heartbreaking by the way.

    Surprisingly, not Andy Dalton - Oh sure, he lost another playoff game and didn't throw a TD pass but who was he supposed to throw to?  He had no weapons at all.  Sanu is average at best.  The best non-RB was Rex fucking Burkhead who IS a RB.  Can you believe that a lot of people picked the Bengals to win?  Idiots!

    Marvin Lewis - Jeremy Hill, who led the NFL in rushing over the final 7 weeks, got 13 carries.  That's pathetic.  He was their ONLY shot at winning and they barely acted like he was there.

    TY Hilton and Boom Herron - Oh sure, if you just looked at the box score, they both had decent games but Motel 6 dropped every thing and Herron had 14 fumbles.  The Colts win by 30 if those guys clean it up.  And Denver is going to absolutely bury these guys next week.

    Andrew Luck - Bro, you look like an idiot. Shave and get a haircut.

    Pete Morelli and Crew - The last game was certainly the best but, of course, it had to get ruined by horrendous, horseshit officiating.  Listen, I know that being a referee is hard.  But if you make a call/throw a flag then you OBVZ saw a penalty otherwise you do nothing.  There is no way around that PI.  The guy impeded Pettigrew from making a catch and did not turn around.  Every idiot watching from home knows that if you don't turn around then it is a flag.  And when the head official ANNOUNCES THE CALL, you can't take it back.  That's bullshit.  I'm 99% certain that the Lions would have blown it anyway.  They don't need garbage non-calls helping with that.

    Chris Christie - Fuck him.  If you are a big whale of a man, you should probably leave the red XXXL sweaters at home unless you like it when everyone hates you and calls you Kool-Aid Man to your face.

    Jason Garrett - It's 2015 and this guy still wears a mock turtleneck.  I'll have to get Ide's take on this as he is our high fashion correspondent but I'm going to guess that that is considered a terrible look on anyone.

    Trench warfare - I enjoy watching good line play and there aren't many better than the Dallas OL and Detroit DL.  It was a tale of two halves obvz.

    Teryl Austin - The Lions DC is a hot head coaching name but he shouldn't be.  When you have DeAndre Levy covering Dez Bryant one on one then you suck.  Man, that game is going to piss me off for awhile and I don't even care about the Lions.  The point is that they got fucked hard and the Cowboys didn't deserve shit.  That game will never be remembered for anything other than that goddamn picked up flag.

    FUCK THAT SHIT.  I hope that Green Bay beats them by a million next weekend.  This Cowboys bullshit needs to end ASAP.  It's gone on for too long.  This team plays Josh Brent for fuck's sake.  We've got some much better games next week even though the NFL is putting Carolina in the primetime Saturday for some odd reason.  I hate the Cowboys more than Your Biggest Stan loathes an Iceman bullet point, bruh.
              Plants vs. Zombies Heroes        

    Plants vs. Zombies Heroes взломанная - Новая увлекательная битва растений против зомби, от создателей Plants vs. Zombies 2 и Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2. В этой версии игры разработчики предоставляют право выбора, за кого именно вы хотите играть. Теперь только вам решать какие карты брать в руки. Карты растений или же злобных пожирателей мозгов […]

    The post Plants vs. Zombies Heroes appeared first on Скачать бесплатные игры и приложения для андроид смартфонов и планшетов.

              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

    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.


    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

      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!

      1. PL, UPa, CL, BU Interchangeable Links
      2. Total part: 10 / 700 GB
      3. Total file : 6.32 GB
                THE LAST WORD by Lisa Lutz        
      THE LAST WORD by Lisa Lutz: It should come as no surprise that I loved this book; this is one of my absolute favorite series, and Lutz seems to have an unending supply of laugh-out-loud humor, bittersweet insights, and convoluted (this is a good thing!) mysteries. Don't read this one first. Read THE SPELLMAN FILES first. Starting with book 6 would rob you of the satisfying experience of watching Izzy (and her family) evolve. Isabel Spellman was raised in a family of private investigators, so it's no surprise she has trust issues and an interesting approach to privacy. It's challenging to sum up the plot for THE LAST WORD without giving away major developments in the first five books. Let's see: Izzy is accused of embezzlement, she and her parents are engaged in open warfare, Rae is up to something that involves a truck full of tear gas, and Izzy's niece is a holy terror. All of this is wrapped up in a witty, sarcastic, plot-twisting package tied with a sentimental bow, and I loved every second of it.

      If you enjoy smart, snappy writing, tight mysteries with a witty twist, or complex, believable female protagonists, give THE SPELLMAN FILES a go. I was hooked from the first word.

      Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title courtesy of the publisher.
                [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.
      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 .

                Tank Warfare Tunisia 1943 Longstop Hill RELOADED-3DMGAME Torrent Free Download        

      Tank Warfare Tunisia 1943 Longstop Hill (c) Strategy First Inc.

      07/2017 :..... RELEASE.DATE .. PROTECTION .......: Steam
      1 :.......... DISC(S) .. GAME.TYPE ........: Violent, Gore, Simulation, Strategy

      Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 - tactical battalion level combat simulation.
      Continuation of Graviteam Tactics series on the Western Front.

      The British spring offensive in Tunisia was brought to a halt on the
      approaches to Djebel el Ahmera (Longstop Hill) by the German 5th Panzer Army.
      German forces took defensive positions on key heights along the roadway
      leading to Tunisia\'s capital. Despite the fierce resistance of the enemy,
      British 78th \"Battleaxe\" Division units supported by the Churchill tanks of
      the North Irish Horse regiment are advancing along the roadway.

      The game is made standalone and includes all previous updates!

      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. Play the game.

      Torrent Free Download Here

                RAND on Cyber Warfare        
      Insurance policies do not protect you against acts of war. They don't do it for your home and auto, and I doubt they will do it for your data assets. It's good to be a bit familiar with the areas in which you have limited protection. Here are links to the RAND corporation's page on Cyber Warfare, and wikipedia's entry on RAND:



                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 -

      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."


                A world of Islams        

      This article originally appeared in the Princeton Alumni Weekly magazine.

      A world of Islams

      By Taufiq Rahim ’04
      Published in the December 12, 2012, issue

      I remember waking up in my dorm room on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, to the shouts of my hall-mate and friend beckoning me to come next door. It was the beginning of our sophomore year, and I was a leader of the Muslim Students Associa­tion (MSA) at Princeton. Watching television in 1937 Hall, we were gripped and confounded by the horrific scenes that unfolded in the ensuing hours, which are forever etched in my ­memory —  as I am sure they are for countless others.

      It was the start of what has been termed the post-9/11 decade, during which much of the world’s narrative was shaped by an “us versus them” mentality. Especially in the first few years, Muslims in the West endured an uncomfortable feeling that the surrounding society considered them suspect.
      I fielded calls shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks from local newspapers, the reporters asking if things were OK for Muslims on campus. Though there were incidents, the general situation at Princeton was safe. I sometimes received hate mail. One group of students was assaulted one weekend in Boston and returned with the bruises to show for it. And, I, like so many others, was given the so-called special treatment and faced lengthy interrogations at JFK or Newark whenever flying to and from school.

      I came to Princeton as a student like everyone else, but at some point I had to transform into an ambassador of understanding. The funny thing is, at the same time I was explaining Islam to promote understanding, I was questioning the state of Islam in the world around me. It is a duality that has stayed with me in the years since.

      This year, on the anniversary of the attacks, a deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, shocked the world once again. It also shocked the residents of Benghazi. This past January, I spent time with youth activists and entrepreneurs in that city. What I witnessed was a courageous and driven group of young Libyans determined to forge a better future. Alongside tens of thousands of their compatriots, many of these youth marched in mid-September to the central al-Kish Square in memory of the slain U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, calling as well on militias to disarm.

      Their march was emblematic of the duality I experience. No doubt, there is still a need to combat what is more a “clash of ignorances” (not a clash of civilizations) across the divide between the Muslim world and the West. This was the impetus that drove two colleagues and me to found the nonprofit initiative Project Encounter, which promotes engagement and dialogue. We bring groups of young people from North America and Europe to the Middle East, to allow them to form their own narrative about the region. I feel that only through improved understanding and greater familiarity can we find constructive ways forward.

      Nevertheless, through my work and travels in countries from Afghanistan to Syria, Palestine to Pakistan, and places in between, I find there is a need for just as much soul-searching within Muslim communities themselves.

      When a cheaply made YouTube film can lead to violent demonstrations in more than a dozen countries, you cannot help but ask questions. When a young Christian girl can be jailed swiftly on the demands of an unhinged cleric alleging “blasphemy” in Pakistan, you cannot help but raise an objection. When a college is raided and 25 students are killed in Nigeria by a group whose name (Boko Haram) means “West­ern education is sinful,” you cannot help but be dismayed.
      For many countries in the Muslim world, the next few years will not be easy. The political and economic challenges facing them are immense — and that’s an understatement. A few are in active states of internal conflict, if not internecine warfare. Others are under the grip of debilitating authoritarian regimes. So many are still afflicted by economic deprivation.

      There are, of course, counterexamples. In places like Malaysia and Dubai, there are new economic models of development. The Arab uprisings have started to push back against political authoritarianism. Yet the forces of religious orthodoxy seem to be not only constant, but growing. Popular clerics who appear on Pakistani television are busy calling minority groups, such as Ahmadis, non-Muslims — with deadly consequences. I remember seeing the bloodstains in an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore in 2010, shortly after an attack by religious militants. More than 90 people had died in attacks at two mosques. Within a year, the governor of the Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, had been assassinated for opposing draconian blasphemy laws, as was the federal minister of religious minorities. What was the basis or justification for those attacks?

      Sooner or later, everybody comes into the sights of the bully pulpit: marginalized groups such as Ahmadis, other religious groups and Muslim minorities, and then so-called “moderates.” Sufi shrines that existed for centuries have been attacked and destroyed by extremist groups in recent months in Libya and Mali. When I was working for an NGO in the Gujarat province in India, many of my meetings were held in Hindu temples, sometimes during religious ceremonies. What would the view of the hardline Muslim orthodoxy be of me?

      Traveling through the wider region, you quickly realize that while the bullies are strong and loud, they are surrounded by people who would like to see a pluralistic and prosperous society. These are people like the young activists I met in Libya. They are the Saudi Arabian entrepreneurs who have formed an organization dedicated to the empowerment of women in the workforce (Glowork). They include my Syrian friends who are helping to ensure that those fleeing conflict have a place of refuge, no matter their sect or creed. They are like my former colleagues, who have spent their entire careers in Pakistani villages working on local development.

      I’m hopeful that these progressive forces within many Muslim communities and Muslim-majority countries can coalesce to form a stronger and wider constituency for change. Such a movement would be the most effective bridge between the Muslim world and the West, as well. 

                TA soldiers train in urban warfare        
      Around 80 riflemen from 6th Battalion The Rifles (6 RIFLES) took part in training to fight on operations in built-up areas (OBUA) to defeat an enemy force which was trying to occupy a complex of houses and buildings. Major Jon Penhale runs a recruitment company for armed service leavers and is also the training major for 6 RIFLES    , having served as a regular soldier for 16 years. He said: “This particular exercise is the culmination of our offensive operations ...
                Beyond Our Measure        
      A new MP3 sermon from Merriman Hills Baptist Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

      Title: Beyond Our Measure
      Subtitle: 2 Corinthians
      Speaker: Mike Perry
      Broadcaster: Merriman Hills Baptist Church
      Event: Sunday - PM
      Date: 1/31/2016
      Bible: 2 Corinthians 10
      Length: 35 min. (64kbps)

      Overview: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty.
                â€œWorld Ice Theory and the supernatural imaginary of the Third Reich”        
      “World Ice Theory and the supernatural imaginary of the Third Reich”
      There are hundreds of archival documents indicating Nazi attempts to differentiate between occult charlatanry and putatively “scientific occultism.” During the Second World War, the German Navy, Himmler’s SS, and Joseph Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry all hired astrologers and pendulum dowsers to obtain military intelligence and conduct psychological warfare. The Gestapo, worried about offending both Hitler and […]

      Kathy Shaidle's NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.


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                DERMAdoctor Gorilla Warfare        
      Innovative, impressive and completely necessary, this antiperspirant also inhibits the re-growth of underarm hair within eight to 12 weeks of continued use. Will you try it? $29,...

      [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

                Tank Warfare Mechanics        
      Tank Warfare Mechanics
      Information on the Tank Warfare Mechanics and some new concept art for the vehicles.
                Laws to Live By.        
      1. Great leaders inspire greatness in others. 2. Belief is not a matter of choice, but of conviction. 3. Easy is the path to wisdom for those not blinded by themselves. 4. A plan is only as good as those who see it through. 5. The best confidence builder is experience. 6. Trust in your friends, and they'll have reason to trust in you. 7. You hold onto friends by keeping your heart a little softer than your head. 8. Heroes are made by the times. 9. Ignore your instincts at your peril. 10. Most powerful is he who controls his own power. 11. The winding path to peace is always a worthy one, regardless of how many turns it takes. 12. Fail with honor rather than succeed by fraud. 13. Greed and fear of loss are the roots that lead to the tree of evil. 14. When surrounded by war, one must eventually choose a side. 15. Arrogance diminishes wisdom. 16. Truth enlightens the mind, but won't always bring happiness to your heart. 17. Fear is a disease; hope is its only cure. 18. A single chance is a galaxy of hope. 19. It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. 20. The costs of war can never be truly accounted for .21. Compromise is a virtue to be cultivated, not a weakness to be despised. 22. A secret shared is a trust formed. 23. A lesson learned is a lesson earned. 24. Overconfidence is the most dangerous form of carelessness. 25. The first step to correcting a mistake is patience. 26. A true heart should never be doubted. 27. Believe in yourself or no one else will. 28. No gift is more precious than trust. 29. Sometimes, accepting help is harder than offering it. 30. Attachment is not compassion. 31. For everything you gain, you lose something else. 32. It is the quest for honor that makes one honorable. 33. Easy isn't always simple. 34. If you ignore the past, you jeopardize your future. 35. Fear not for the future, weep not for the past. 36. In war, truth is the first casualty. 37. Searching for the truth is easy. Accepting the truth is hard. 38. A wise leader knows when to follow. 39. Courage makes heroes, but trust builds friendship. 40. Choose what is right, not what is easy. 41. The most dangerous beast is the beast within. 42. Who my father was matters less than my memory of him. 43. Adversity is a friendship's truest test.44. Revenge is a confession of pain. 45. Brothers in arms are brothers for life. 46. Fighting a war tests a soldier's skills, defending his home tests a soldier's heart. 47. Where there's a will, there's a way.48. A child stolen is a hope lost. 49. The challenge of hope is to overcome corruption. 50. Those who enforce the law must obey the law .51. The future has many paths -- choose wisely. 52. A failure in planning is a plan for failure .53. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. 54. Fear is a great motivator. 55. Truth can strike down the spectre of fear. 56. The swiftest path to destruction is through vengeance. 57. Evil is not born, it is taught. 58. The path to evil may bring great power, but not loyality. 59. Balance is found in the one who faces his guilt. 60. He who surrenders hope, surrenders life. 61. He who seeks to control fate shall never find peace. 62. Adaptation is the key to survival. 63. Anything that can go wrong will. 64. Without honor, victory is hollow. 65. Without humility, courage is a dangerous game. 66. A great student is what the teacher hopes to be. 67. When destiny calls, the chosen have no choice. 68. Only through fire is a strong sword forged. 69. Crowns are inherited, kingdoms are earned. 70. Who a person truly is cannot be seen with the eye. 71. Understanding is honoring the truth beneath the surface. 72. Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him? 73. The first step toward loyalty is trust. 74. The path of ignorance is guided by fear. 75. The wise man leads, the strong man follows. 76. Our actions define our legacy. 77. Where we are going always reflects where we came from. 78. Those who enslave others inevitably become slaves themselves. 79. Great hope can come from small sacrifices. 80. Friendship shows us who we really are. 81. All warfare is based on deception. 82. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer. 83. The strong survive, the noble overcome. 84. Trust is the greatest of gifts, but it must be earned. 85. One must let go of the past to hold onto the future. 86. Who we are never changes, who we think we are does. 87. A fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished. 88. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I personally do not agree with this one.... so... 88a. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend, but he may be an asset.
                Take Me In…        

      Anointed songs of Worship and Healing by Don Heist

      The title song "Take Me In to the Holy of Holies" by David Browning is an awesome song of reverence and worship. Other tracks include an all shofar arrangement of "Amazing Grace", and a special remake of "Come Let's Go Up to the Mountain" featuring a guest appearance by Paul Wilbur. Dr. Karl Coke reads scripture throughout this project. In addition to all this, there are "bonus tracks" for your own personal use when you need a shofar sounded in your home or office to release healing, breakthrough from bondage, deliverance, to do warfare, and so much more!

                The China-US Maritime “Spying” Debate        


      Photo Credit: Defense Industry Daily


      The China-US Maritime “Spying” Debate

      Aug. 04, 2017  |     | 



      The Australian Department of Defence confirmed that last week a Chinese Dongdiao-class Auxiliary General Intelligence (AGI) vessel monitored the US-Australia Talisman Sabre joint military exercises from within Australia’s 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This “first-ever” Chinese incursion of its type in Australia’s EEZ has sparked both alarm and an international debate. Many say China is hypocritical because it is undertaking intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in other countries’ 200 nm EEZs while opposing those of the US in its own EEZ. But there are significant differences in scale, technological capability, methods, and objectives between what China and the US are doing.

      China’s first “public” attempt at maritime spying in the US EEZ was when an uninvited People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) AGI vessel operated in Hawaii’s EEZ to observe RIMPAC 2014, a multinational naval exercise. Also in 2014, a Chinese AGI vessel was observed off Guam during a US military exercise. According to then-Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) Admiral Samuel Locklear: “The good news about this is that it’s a recognition, I think, or an acceptance by the Chinese of what we’ve been saying to them for some time, [which] is that military operations and survey operations in another country’s EEZs, where you have national—your own national security interest, are within international law and are acceptable.” But such simplistic comparisons are deceptive and potentially dangerous. They can lead to the false hope that China will eventually “see the light” and quietly assent to activities it considers threatening because “it is undertaking similar activities.”

      But the scale is very different. Ironically, the “different scale” argument was first used against China by China critics to demonize its occupations and “militarization” of features in the South China Sea. Although these critics grudgingly acknowledged that China was not doing anything other claimants had not done, nevertheless China’s behavior was singled out as unacceptable because of the much greater scale and “aggressiveness” of its activities.

      It seems that the tables are now turned. Although the critics argue that China is doing “the same thing” as the US, the scale of US ISR missions against China is probably an order of magnitude greater than that of China against the US. For example, as of 2017, PLAN had only three AGI vessels. Of course, China also has ISR planes, drones, and satellites but their number and capabilities pale in comparison to those of US assets.

      Indeed, the US has a huge array of ISR planes, surface vessels, submarines, and drones — many of which, like the subhunter Impeccable, have specialized functions. The US has by far the world’s largest and most capable force of signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft. Moreover, most of the US Navy’s top-of-the-line combatants like the Ticonderoga-class cruisers and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers as well as its submarines are equipped to carry out SIGINT missions. Further, no other country matches the US’ number and array of robotic aircraft and seacraft (drones), particularly in terms of their range and advanced weapons and sensors, coupled with the necessary satellite and telecommunications support systems. US satellite IRS capacity greatly exceeds that of China. In terms of deployment, the US flies hundreds of manned ISR missions every year along China’s coast. There have been no public reports of similar Chinese aerial ISR missions off the US mainland coast.

      Technological capabilities, techniques and objectives are other major differences. Yes, China does insert ISR platforms into other countries’ EEZs — like that of Japan. But it is likely that Chinese technological capabilities and activities in terms of intrusive methods used and information obtained are so substantially inferior to and different from those of the US as to be in a separate, much lower category, e.g., passive listening versus active probing or electronic interference with, and even manipulation of, communications.

      But this is unconfirmed because the US is not being “transparent” when it comes to ISR capabilities. Again ironically, Locklear said of China’s military modernization: “What we should be concerned about though is what we perceive as a lack of transparency on their part in why they are building the type of systems they are building. Quite frankly, it makes their neighbours nervous and it gives us some cause for concern here at PACOM about the type of military they are building and the type of equipment they are buying.”

      A confidential US Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) report revealed by Edward Snowden shows that China’s concerns regarding America’s ISR missions off its coasts are justified.

      But in the case of ISR, it is the extent of capabilities that is not publicly known. To convince sceptics that there is anything near parity between Chinese and US ISR capabilities, those making the “China does the same thing” argument — especially those in the US Navy, need to reveal exactly what it is that the US is doing in China’s near seas so that all can evaluate it for themselves. Otherwise their arguments will fall on deaf ears, and independent and neutral analysts can only speculate based on what little is known.

      In general, it is known that US ISR assets collect communications between the target country’s command-and-control centres and radar and weapons systems, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and fighter aircraft. Other US ISR probes collect “actionable” intelligence for expeditionary and irregular warfare.

      Incidents involving ISR aircraft like the EP-3 and the Poseidon 8A, as well as the US Navy ships Bowditch, Impeccable, and Cowpens, may have collectively included active “tickling” of China’s coastal defences to provoke and observe responses, interference with shore-to-ship and submarine communications, violation or abuse of the consent regime for marine scientific research, damage to the environment, and tracking China’s new nuclear submarines for potential targeting.

      If so, these are not passive intelligence collection activities commonly undertaken and usually tolerated by many states, including China. Rather they are intrusive, provocative, and controversial practices that may be considered a threat to use force or violations of both China’s marine scientific consent and its environmental protection regimes. This could occur when and if the Poseiden 8 drops sonobuoys (which are part of its repertoire) or the Impeccable and Bowditch deploy “scientific instruments” in China’s EEZ. Indeed, China’s EEZ environment may be degraded if US sonar systems or live fire exercises adversely affect fish and mammals like whales and dolphins.

      But much of this is unconfirmed. What do we — the public — know?

      A confidential US Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) report revealed by Edward Snowden shows that China’s concerns regarding America’s ISR missions off its coasts are justified. The 2001 report reveals that in the EP-3 incident, the crew was unable to destroy all the secret data and systems on board, and details the scope of secrets exposed to China.

      The exposed information contained the fact that the US has “the ability to locate and collect transmissions to or from Chinese submarines and to correlate them to specific vessels.” The plane also carried data that clarified “how much the US knew about China’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles program.” Also, according to the report, as speculated, the missions spur targeted militaries to react, thus creating communications that can be intercepted.

      So, it does appear that the US has a huge advantage over China when it comes to ISR. But unlike Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, China does not oppose all foreign military activities in its EEZ without its permission. Nevertheless, China certainly does object by word and deed to what it perceives as US abuse of the right of freedom of navigation and a threat to use force.

      In sum, China apparently believes that these activities violate the peaceful purpose and uses provisions of UNCLOS, as well as its UNCLOS EEZ resource rights and environmental obligations. China also thinks that the US is “preparing the battle field” and that this constitutes a violation of the UN Charter as well as UNCLOS. In particular, China alleges that the US is not abiding by its obligation to pay “due regard” to its rights and duties as a coastal state. Such due regard in the EEZ is required by UNCLOS for both the coastal state and the user state, but is undefined.

      Whether these concerns are valid or not, China is probably not violating these UNCLOS provisions with its AGI vessel activities and the US may well be doing so — on a grand scale. The US may want to reconsider and modify its superficial and misleading argument that both are doing the same thing

                52: Advice from the Saints on sexual purity        

      In today's podcast I will share with you quotations from the saints concerning purity, temptation, sexual sin, mercy, spiritual warfare, and perseverance.

      It's my hope that this will inspire you not only today, but for months to come. Perhaps it will be an episode you will come back to from time to time to learn from the advice of the saints.


                Smiths Detection secures $17.2 million Army contract for personal chemical detectors        

      Smiths Detection Inc. will provide the U.S. Army with chemical detection devices as part of a $17.2 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

      The devices will go toward the DOD's Joint Chemical Agent Detector Program and are meant to be held in the palm of the hand or worn on a belt.

      “SDI has a long relationship supporting the JCAD program, one of the most effective chemical warfare protection solutions for U.S. troops in history," SDI General Manager for Defense Solutions Stephen Esposito said. "SDI is committed to contributing to the success of this program and technology, which is used by service members worldwide.”

      Smiths Detection Inc is a company of 23,000 employees based in Edgewood, Maryland, that makes technologies designed to detect a variety of threats -- including explosives, chemicals, drugs, radiation and nuclear weapons.

                ECBC offers support to Yuma Proving Ground study        

      A team of researchers based with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) was recently deployed to the Sonoran Desert in order to conduct studies on the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG).

      This Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction (CBARR) team will offer laboratory services and monitoring for areas that are suspected to have serious contamination.

      The YPG area is considered contaminated. Decades ago, military officials left old munitions, military equipment and similar debris in the YPG area as part of chemical weapons testing. The desert was useful for testing the chemical agents in unusually high temperatures. All of the debris will be inspected for contamination as the CBARR team begins to plan cleanup efforts for the future.

      The cleanup efforts have also received support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Support Center, as well as the Huntsville Center.

      The CBARR team will offer chemical warfare materiel (CWM) laboratory testing and chemical agent air monitoring. This remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) will include two test fields: Former Waste Disposal Area (YPG-32) and the West Environmental Test Area (YPG-31).

      YPG is located north of Yuma in southwestern Arizona. It was first established as an Army facility in 1943. It is one of the world’s biggest military installations. The Army and other friendly foreign nations use the YPGA area for testing munitions, air weapon systems and ground weapon systems.

                Waging Information Warfare over KB971033        
      For users who allow Windows to automatically download and install changes on their computers, they will not be affected. But if you believe that your explicit knowledge and consent is required, in order to affect changes to your computer; Microsoft has declared Information Warfare on you.
                Don't Let Your Enemies Count Their Chickens Before Their Hatched!        

      I love this story – 1 Kings 20:1-30 – Benhadad the king of Syria sent a message to the king of Israel and said this, “Deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children.” In other words, “Hand it all over – game over – I’m calling the shots.” Ahab the king of Israel calls in the elders and asks their advice. Finally King Ahab makes this retort to Benhadad, “Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.” There are a lot of dynamics going on in this chapter but I want to just focus on King Ahab’s reply to Benhadad: “Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.” What is he actually saying? King Ahab is saying “just because someone makes threats (i.e. straps on his armor) – this isn’t synonymous with winning the victory (i.e. taking his armor off).” Wow!

      Now for the practical application – how is your enemy threatening you? Is it a person, institution, thought, emotional issue, physiological issue, or spiritual issue? What are these things/people telling you? Is a co-worker or employer telling you that you’ll never succeed at climbing the corporate ladder? Have teachers, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, or other authority figures expressed doubt in your personal abilities? Have emotional and/or physical scars from past or present abuse hindered you from feeling like a “normal human being?” Have these scars lied to you and told you that you’ll never be the person that you wanted or dreamed of because of these ghosts of your past? This list can continue on indefinitely – hopefully by this time you can connect the dots yourself to the people or things that are threatening you – and furthermore, declaring a victory against you that doesn’t have to be guaranteed.

      It’s not a surprise that the “devil” is referred to biblically as the “accuser of the brethren.” Constantly trying to devalue us within our own minds and lives – this is the psychological warfare the devil revels in – and how many times do we listen attentively! A person once expressed their frustration with how every time they tried getting their life “straightened out” all hell would break loose. I told them I was extremely encouraged by this! Since when, does an enemy fight against something (or someone) who is not a threat! Only dead fish go with the flow – but for those trying to get somewhere, the adversity of the current will bombard them every step of the way.

      To summarize, don’t allow these “threats” from various people, thoughts, experiences, traumas, etc. tell you that you’ve been conquered – when the fact is that victory is still in your hands. King Ahab went on to be victorious against the onslaught of Benhadad. Why? Because Ahab refused to listen to the intimidation and threats of an enemy and rather trusted in God’s word. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Fight on!

      Kevin Mills

                Threat Intelligence: A New Frontier in Cybersecurity        
      In business as in warfare, it pays to know your enemy.
                Friedrich Kittler's Technosublime        
      Bruce Clarke

      In the 1970s a number of texts came into English translation bearing titles with a 1-2-3 punch, mixing exemplary authors with generic modes and methodological issues; for instance, Roland Barthes’s Sade, Fourier, Loyola and Image, Music, Text, containing the essays “Diderot, Brecht, Eisenstein” and “Writers, Intellectuals, Teachers,” and Michel Foucault’s Language, Counter-Memory, Practice with the essay “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” The title Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, a cognate translation of the German, echoes these theoretical signatures. Matt Kirschenbaum tries his hand at this with “Media, Geneology, History,” his review of Bolter and Grusin

      In Gramophone, Film, Typewriter Kittler contrasts the restriction of Foucault’s discourse theory to textual archives with his own wider media band, in which phonographic and cinematic data streams decenter the channel of literary writing. But his commentators agree that Kittler’s “media discourse theory” follows from Foucault as the prime member of the triumvirate Foucault, Lacan, Derrida. Lacan runs a close second. Kittler writes: “Lacan was the first (and last) writer whose book titles only described positions in the media system. The writings were called Writings, the seminars, Seminar, the radio interview, Radiophonie, and the TV broadcast, Television ” (170). Gramophone, Film, Typewriter partakes of this same postsymbolic media literalism.

      I write about Kittler from the standpoint of a scholar of British and American literature who dropped from the tree of Columbia’s core humanities curriculum to the seed-bed of canonical romanticism and modernism and the theory culture of the 1970s and 1980s, then passed through the forcing house of literature and science in the 1990s, to arrive at the threshold of contemporary media studies. In the process I seem to have become posthuman, but Kittler’s work reassures me that I had no choice in the matter: “media determine our situation” (xxxix). Kittler parlays high poststructuralism into a historical media theory that humbles the subject of humanistic hermeneutics by interpellation into the discrete material channels of communication. Media studies bids to become a hegemonic site within the new academic order of a wired culture. For Kittler, media determine our posthumanity and have been doing so in technological earnest at least since the phonograph broke the storage monopoly of writing.

      As a kind of media theory of History, a requiem and good-riddance for the era of so-called Man, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter transmits the tenor of its own historical moment. The German edition appeared in 1986, the year after the opening of MIT’s Media Lab and the release of Talking Heads’ post-hermeneutic concert film and album Stop Making Sense. Other resonant events in American culture include the publication of William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984), Donna Haraway’s Manifesto for Cyborgs (1985), and Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy (1987-89). Memories and premonitions of mushroom clouds loomed over these three speculative and/or scholarly scenarios published during the final decade of the Cold War; each text imagines the form of a posthuman or post-nuclear world. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter posits its posthumanity on the premise that the Strategic Defense Initiative has already set off the fireworks, that the future is always already a prequel to Star Wars. The text begins with the observation that optical fiber networks are “immune…to the bomb. As is well known, nuclear blasts send an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) through the usual copper cables, which would infect all connected computers” (1), and the book ends with before-and-after photos of Hiroshima (262).

      Many of Kittler’s sublime effects result from a kind of hyperbolic digitality, i.e., all-or-nothing assertions pressing seemingly local instances into global histories. For instance, Kittler is fond of audacious chronologies that parody the popular media’s demand for appearances of journalistic exactitude: “around 1880 poetry turned into literature” (14), or “around 1900, love’s wholeness disintegrates into the partial objects of particular drives” (70). One thinks of Virginia Woolf’s famous dictum: “in or about December, 1910, human character changed,” and, thanks to Kittler, perhaps now we know why. A related rhetorical scheme mediating the grand transformations of modernism is the from/to formation: “literature defects from erotics to stochastics, from red lips to white noise” (51), or as combined with an audacious chronology: “from imagination to data processing, from the arts to the particulars of information technology and physiology - that is the historic shift of 1900” (73). Again, and as the volume is coming to a conclusion with the arrival of Turing’s universal computer, “the hypothetical determinism of a Laplacian universe, with its humanist loopholes (1795), was replaced by the factual predictability of finite-state machines” (245).

      Kittler wrote Gramophone, Film, Typewriter just as chaos theory was arriving to throw a wrench into such stark digital determinism, precisely through the operational finitude as well as non-linear iterations of “finite-state machines.” As John von Neumann pointed out in 1948 in “The General and Logical Theory of Automata,” digital computers could produce perfect results, “as long as the operation of each component produced only fluctuations within its preassigned tolerance limits” (294). But, von Neumann continued, even so, computational error is reintroduced by the lack of the infinite digits necessary to carry out all calculations with perfect precision. Kittler melodramatizes Turing’s work, it seems to me, because he is captivated by the towering image of an informatic colossus.

      Such an all-determining and inescapable imago of media induces a productive critical paranoia. The media are always already watching us, putting their needles into our veins: “humans change their position - they turn from the agency of writing to become an inscription surface” (210). Neuromancer ‘s Wintermute is everywhere, or as Kittler phrases it, “data flows…are disappearing into black holes and…bidding us farewell on their way to nameless high commands” (xxxix). At the same time, he enables one to see the particular and pandemic pathologies of modern paranoia precisely as psychic effects driven by the panoptic reach of media technologies in their surveillance and punishment modes. Not for nothing is the apocalypse according to Schreber’s Memoirs a prophetic book of prominent proportions in Kittler’s media cosmos.

      In Gramophone, Film, Typewriter the objects of science are subsumed into the will-to-power of media technology. By way of contrast, despite his coinage of “technoscience” to underscore the sociological inextricability of the two, Bruno Latour sorts science and technology into separate treatments and preserves their disciplinary and epistemological distinctions. Yet one should not see Kittler falling under Latour’s blanket indictment of (Baudrillardian) postmodernism: “Instead of moving on to empirical studies of the networks that give meaning to the work of purification it denounces, postmodernism rejects all empirical work as illusory and deceptively scientistic” (Latour 46). Kittler busts open the realm of the real to examine the nonsymbolic and nonimaginary residues of communication technology, all that which cannot be posted: “Bodies themselves generate noise. And the impossible real transpires” (Kittler 46). Where Latour finds the proliferating quasi-objects of mediation, Kittler finds the literal networks of communications media.

      For the most part Kittler elides the history of physics concurrent with his media history - the cross-over from late-classical determinism to statistical mechanics, from thermodynamic entropy to information entropy. On the one hand, he scants the ether and the electromagnetic field theories which made possible many developments from analog to digital processing, and from pre-electrical storage technology (photography, phonography) to broadcast transmission (radio, television), electronic storage and manipulation (tape deck, video camera), and digital computation (microprocessor, fiber optic cable) technologies. But on the other hand, that lacuna has opened the door for major efforts among Kittler’s German and American scholarly associates, including the editors of Stanford’s Writing Science series, who have both midwived Kittler’s delivery into North American discourse and paralleled Kittler’s media emphasis with research projects that bring to science studies a thoroughgoing “materiality of communication.”

      “Once the technological differentiation of optics, acoustics, and writing exploded Gutenberg’s writing monopoly around 1880, the fabrication of so-called Man became possible” (16). I take it that the “fabrication” in question here is not the discursive construction of the humanist subject but the simulation of its spiritual activities by media devices. One notes Kittler’s detour around physics in the continuation of this passage: so-called Man’s “essence escapes into apparatuses…. And with this differentiation - and not with steam engines and railroads - a clear division occurs between matter and information, the real and the symbolic” (16). Missing from this formulation is the mode of energy, which would correspond by structural default to the Lacanian register of the imaginary. Indeed, Kittler runs up against numerous phantasmagorias of energy, but elides them by metonymic reification in media receivers and inscription devices.

      The phantasmagorias of energy I have in mind are those that emanated from the nineteenth-century wave theories connecting the physics of optics and acoustics through an analogy between vibratory media - the air and the luminiferous ether. As sanctioned by the first law of thermodynamics, i.e., the conservation and interconvertibility of energy, the optical imaginary of ether waves is easily displaced to sound waves propagated through the air. We see this concatenation and transposition of physical and technological media in a delightful short story by Salomo Friedlaender, “Goethe Speaks into the Phonograph” (1916), which Kittler republishes in its entirety.

      Friedlaender’s comic narrator unveils the thoughts of Professor Abnossah Pschorr, Edisonian inventor-extraordinaire of media gadgetry: “When Goethe spoke, his voice produced vibrations…. These vibrations encounter obstacles and are reflected, resulting in a to and fro which becomes weaker in the passage of time but which does not actually cease” (60). Pschorr extends to the air trapped in Goethe’s study a hypothetical characteristic much discussed in the late nineteenth-century popularization of the ether, its cosmic storage capacity. For instance, in 1875 British thermodynamicists Balfour Stewart and P. G. Tait wrote that the luminiferous ether

      may only be an arrangement in virtue of which our universe keeps up a memory of the past at the expense of the present…. A picture of the sun may be said to be travelling through space with an inconceivable velocity, and, in fact, continual photographs of all occurrences are thus produced and retained. A large portion of the energy of the universe may thus be said to be invested in such pictures (156).

      While rehearsing the same imaginary accessing of physical (as opposed to technological) media archives, Kittler leaves unmentioned the contemporary vogue connecting the spirits of the dead to the storage and transmission capacities of the luminiferous ether. Kittler cites from another (unnamed) Friedlaender story the assertion that “all the waves of all bygone events are still oscillating in space…. All that happens falls into accidental, unintentional receivers. It is stored, photographed, and phonographed by nature itself,” and comments, “Loyally and deliriously, Friedlaender’s philosophy follows in the wake of media technology” (77). But it also follows from prior scientistic anticipations of new storage capacities projected onto the ether medium. In an 1884 discussion of ether as a surface that forms at the interface of the third and fourth dimensions of space, hyperspace theorist Charles Howard Hinton completed this technoscientific circuit by conceiving the ether medium itself as a cosmic phonograph:

      For suppose the æther, instead of being perfectly smooth, to be corrugated, and to have all manner of definite marks and furrows. Then the earth, coming in its course round the sun on this corrugated surface would behave exactly like the phonograph behaves. In the case of the phonograph the indented metal sheet is moved past the metal point attached to the membrane. In the case of the earth it is the indented æther which remains still while the material earth slips along it. Corresponding to each of the marks in the æther there would be a movement of matter, and the consistency and laws of the movements of matter would depend on the predetermined disposition of the furrows and indentations of the solid surface along which it slips (196-97).

      My point is that the multiplicity of the concept of “media” extends beyond its particular technological instantiations to include both scientific and spiritualistic registers. A history of media could concern itself as well with the luminiferous ether and the Anima Mundi, the subtle fluids and strange angels that intermingled with the departed souls and trick shots of phonography and cinema; but for the most part, Kittler displaces this business to premodernist media:

      the invention of the Morse alphabet in 1837 was promptly followed by the tapping specters of spiritistic seances sending their messages from the realm of the dead. Promptly as well, photographic plates - even and especially those taken with the camera shutter closed - furnished reproductions of ghosts or specters (12).

      The telegraph and daguerreotype remain outside Gramophone, Film, Typewriter’s primary historical field. Even here, however, the Kittler effect opens up research corridors by insisting on the material basis, and thus empirical examinability, of the media that mediate the cultural imaginary: “The realm of the dead is as extensive as the storage and transmission capabilities of a given culture” (13).

      Beyond that I have nothing but admiration for this volume. Kittler’s fundamental derivation of Lacan’s real, imaginary, and symbolic from the data channels of phonograph, cinema, and typewriter is an astonishing theoretical event. It offers a comprehensive reading of psychoanalysis into technoscience that grows more convincing the more one gets acclimated to Kittler’s methods of channel processing across the cybernetic bridge from the nervous system and its “psychic apparatus” to the Aufschreibesysteme of his media discourse networks. In this reading, the hallucinatory powers and spiritual effects of literature derived from a storage-and-transmission monopoly that could only funnel and traduce the real and the imaginary into the narrow band of the symbolic. As the translators remark in their excellent Introduction: “in short, people were programmed to operate upon media in ways that enabled them to elide the materialities of communication” (xxii). It is both exhilarating and disquieting to submit to Kittler’s deprogramming. But the institutional regimes that sustained the privileges of literary discourse networks (and of us who still inhabit them) are increasingly caught up in the media transformations Kittler describes. The daemonic angel of our history is being driven by the electronic differentiation and digital reintegration of data flows.

      At another level, Kittler passes on a wealth of useful engineering expertise: matters of time-axis manipulation from Edison to Jimi Hendrix; the historical mathematics of music and sound: “Overtones are frequencies…. Intervals and chords, by contrast, were ratios” (24); the non-negligible difference between a phonograph and a gramophone (the latter is restricted to playback, the former also records); the physical differences between acoustic and optical waves, such that “cuts stood at the beginning of visual data processing but entered acoustic data processing only at the end” (117-18); the reasons why the first mass-produced typewriters were developed for blind people by arms manufacturers; the pervasive loops between warfare and media, e.g., the revolving cylinder that unites typewriters, film-projectors, and machine-guns, and the collusion of the piano, the typewriter, and Turing’s universal computer; the enigmas of the Enigma machine.

      And then, in the midst of this media mayhem, a canny persuasion - a literary core of archival gems. In addition to valuable translations of Friedlaender’s “Goethe Speaks into the Phonograph” and “Fata Morgana Machine” (which limns the eversion of virtual reality eighty years before Marcos Novak), this volume also contains complete texts of Jean-Marie Guyau’s “Memory and Phonograph” (1880); Rilke’s amazing meditation on the phonograph, “Primal Sound” (1919); Maurice Renard’s audio phantasms in “Death and the Shell” (1907); the sonnet “ ‘Radio Wave,’ which the factory carpenter Karl August Düppengiesser of Stolberg submitted to Radio Cologne in 1928”; Richard A. Bermann’s spoof of the sex war between male poets and female typists “Lyre and Typewriter” (1913); and Carl Schmitt’s facetious but telling “world history of inscription,” “The Buribunks: A Historico-Philosophical Meditation” (1918).

      In sum, ranging over literature, music and opera from Wagner to acid rock, philosophy, cinema, psychoanalysis classical and structural, history, mathematics, communications technology, and computer science, Kittler’s broadband scholarly panoptics afford a sublime techno-discursive vista, and in particular a point of lucid observation on the ongoing relativization of literary production. Kittler transposes Kant’s mathematical sublime into the mechanical transcendence of communications technology over individual subjects, displacing human psychology into machine being, setting off repeated implosions by which so-called Man is apocalypsed into infinite media loops. His high-prophetic meld of Lacan’s laconism and Zarathustra’s hammer facilitates a neuromantic network of discursive intensities. Under the conditions of technological mediation, however, theory remains viable, or inevitable. Ineluctably funneled through the “bottleneck of the signifier” (4) but pieced out with a tremendous portfolio of period graphics, Kittler’s illuminated writings operate a machine aesthetic tooled to the posthumanist discursivities of his intellectual heroes, but going beyond them to place the stylus of technology on the groove of inscripted bodies.


      works cited

      Butler, Octavia. Xenogenesis: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago. New York: Warner, 1987-89.

      Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace, 1984.

      Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich, and K. Ludwig Pfeiffer, eds. Materialities of Communication. Trans. William Whobrey. Standford: Stanford UP, 1994.

      Haraway, Donna. “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s.” Socialist Review 80 (1985): 65-108.

      Hinton, Charles Howard. “A Picture of Our Universe.” Scientific Romances, 1st series. London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1886; reprint 1st and 2nd series. New York: Arno Press, 1976. 1:161-204.

      Johnston, John. “Friedrich Kittler: Media Theory After Poststructuralism.” Kittler 2-26.

      Kittler, Friedrich. Literature, Media, Information Systems: Essays. Ed. John Johnston. Amsterdam: G+B Arts International, 1997.

      Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1993.

      Lenoir, Timothy, ed. Inscribing Science: Scientific Texts and the Materiality of Communication. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998.

      Schreber, Daniel Paul. Memoirs of my Nervous Illness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1988.

      Stewart, Balfour, and P.G. Tait. The Unseen Universe or Physical Speculations on a Future State. New York: Macmillan, 1875.

      Wellbery, David E. Foreword. Friedrich A. Kittler. Discourse Networks 1800/1900. Trans. Michael Metteer and Chris Cullens. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1990. vii-xxxiii.

      Winthrop-Young, Geoffrey, and Michael Wutz. “Translators’ Introduction: Friedrich Kittler and Media Discourse Analysis.” In Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, xi-xxxviii.

      von Neumann, John. The General and Logical Theory of Automata. In Collected Works. Ed. A. H. Taub. 5 vols. New York: Pergamon Press, 1961-63. 5:288-328.

      Woolf, Virginia. “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown.” The Gender of Modernism. Ed. Bonnie Kime Scott. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990. 634-41.

                The Complete Dissolution Threat List        

      A guide to the psychological warfare that is commonly waged during the divorce process.

      Most lawyers who have been handling divorces for any length of time have clients report an almost predictable list of threats from their spouses. Since divorcing parties generally have a limited understanding of the process, they take these threats literally and immediately call their attorneys to report them, thereby increasing their fees and their anxiety level. Most threats are baseless and more a result of fear, bullying [...]

      The post The Complete Dissolution Threat List appeared first on Erin E. Dixon.

                Counter-psychological oppression police in Australia have ceased a presumed plot to cut down a plane        
      He was talking after four individuals were captured in strikes crosswise over Sydney. Specialists said they had seized materials in the assaults that could have been utilized to make an ad libbed hazardous gadget. Mr Turnbull said the strikes had been a “noteworthy joint counter-psychological warfare operation”. He said additional security was set up at household and global air terminals. The assaults occurred in the Sydney rural areas of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl, Australian telecaster ABC revealed. Australia’s national fear risk level stays at “likely”. Police closed streets following the assaults crosswise over Sydney Australian Federal Police
                The Afternoon Sound Alternative 07-24-2015 with Nat        

      John Denver- Rocky Mountain High - Rocky Mountain High
      Elephant Revival- Will Carry On - Sands Of Now
      Taarka- Heart And Song - Making Tracks Home
      Maddy Prior- Gutter Geese - Woman In The Wings
      Richard Thompson- Patty Dont You Put Me Down - Still
      Heart- Sylvan Song - Little Queen
      Heart- Dream Of The Archer - Little Queen
      - voicebreak -
      Lajk Flix Budafoki Dohnnyi Zenekar- El Cavillo - Vgtelen
      Muzsiks- Hidegen Fjnak A Szelek - Muzsiks Nem Arrl Hajnallik Amerrl Hajnallott
      Fishtank Ensemble- Opa Opa - Woman In Sin
      Mulatu Astatke- Yekermo Sew A Man Of Experience And Wisdom - thiopiques Vol 4 Ethio Jazz Musique Instrumentale 19691974
      Filastine- Murka - Aphasia EP
      Maga Bo- No Balano Da Canoa feat Rosngela Macedo And Marcelo Yuka - Quilombo Do Futuro
      Don Bikoff- My Babys Bass - Celestial Explosion
      Yo La Tengo- Griselda - Fakebook
      Yo La Tengo- Sugarcube - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
      Colin Stetson- Hunted - New History Warfare Vol 3 To See More Light
      - voicebreak -
      Magazine- The Light Pours Out Of Me - Real Life
      Sex Pistols- God Save The Queen - Never Mind The Bollocks Heres The Sex Pistols
      Ballast- Through Our Hands - Fuse
      The Ex- Maybe I Was The Pilot - Catch My Shoe
      Sage Francis- Vonnegut Busy - Copper Gone
      Aesop Rock- Big Bang - Float
      Autechre- 444 - Incunabula
      The Young Gods- Miles Away - Everybody Knows
      Juana Molina- De Algun Instinto Animal - Wed 21
      Ten And Tracer- Dodecahedron Leads The Way - Youll Be A Hero Soon Speaker
      Monolake- Icarus - Icarus Alto EP
      Tenhi- Nkin Laulu - Kauan
      Negativland- No Business - No Business

      playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/65/playlistDate/2015-07-24
                The Afternoon Sound Alternative 11-18-2014 with Nat        

      - voicebreak -
      - voicebreak -
      - voicebreak -
      - voicebreak -
      Colin Stetson- Judges - New History Warfare Judges Vol 2
      T Rex- Ballrooms Of Mars - The Slider
      David Bowie- Moonage Daydream Leo Zero Remix - Ep
      The Velvet Underground- Some Kinda Love - 1969 Velvet Underground Live Vol 2
      Bo Diddley- Pretty Thing - The Definitive Collection Bo Diddley
      Davie Allen The Arrows- Twine Time - Apache 65
      Dean Hightower- Moon Rocket - Guitar Twangy With A Beat
      Beck- Novacane - Odelay
      Pavement- Silence Kit - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
      Soul Coughing- 300 - El Oso
      Deerhoof- Last Fad - La Isla Bonita
      Fishtank Ensemble- Djordjes Rachenitza - Woman In Sin
      - voicebreak -
      - voicebreak -
      Deerhoof- Oh Bummer - La Isla Bonita
      Atomic Ape- Nerve Agents - Swarm
      Besh O Drom- Makedn - Gy
      various Artists- I Thank My Fate - Songs Of Defiance Music Of Chechnya And The North Caucasus
      Mrta Sebestyn- Gold Silver Or Love - Kismet
      Niyaz- Sosin - Sumud
      Fatima Al Qadiri- Szechuan - Asiatisch
      Booka Shade- Body Language Interpretation - Movements
      Gui Boratto- Joker - Abaporu
      Phil Western- Come And Play With Us - Longform
      Thomas Newman- Arose - American Beauty Original Soundtrack
      Pliad Nervous Testpilot Remix- Pliad Nervous Testpilot Remix - Plaid Online Remixes
      New Order- Ceremony - Singles
      Depeche Mode- Work Hard Single Version - Singles Box 2
      Yaz- Bad Connection - Upstairs At Erics
      Roxy Music- Take A Chance With Me - Avalon
      Talking Heads- Born Under Punches The Heat Goes On - Remain In Light Remastered
      Patti Smith Group- Aint It Strange - Radio Ethiopia Remastered
      The Books- A Little Longing Goes Away - Lost And Safe Remastered
      The Books- Be Good To Them Always - Lost And Safe Remastered
      Peter Gabriel- The Feeling Begins - Passion Music For The Last Temptation Of Christ
      Bob Marley The Wailers- Natty Dread - Natty Dread Remastered
      Sly Robbie- Disgraceful - Sly Robbie Meet King Tubby

      playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/20/playlistDate/2014-11-18
                Dissent at Google        
      This is the document being circulated among those Googlers dissenting from the converged regime there. Needless to say, it has resulted in utter outrage among the SJWs there and the inevitable witch hunt. It will be interesting to see what happens when the culprit is revealed and what excuse is given for his firing. One hopes he has read SJWAL, or at least the SJW Attack Survival Guide.

      Reply to public response and misrepresentation

      I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.


      Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
      This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
      The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
      Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
      Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
      Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

      Background [1]

      People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it’s a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

      Google’s biases

      At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

      Left Biases
      • Compassion for the weak
      • Disparities are due to injustices
      • Humans are inherently cooperative
      • Change is good (unstable)
      • Open
      • Idealist

      Right Biases
      • Respect for the strong/authority
      • Disparities are natural and just
      • Humans are inherently competitive
      • Change is dangerous (stable)
      • Closed
      • Pragmatic
      Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

      Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

      Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

      At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.

      On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:
      • They’re universal across human cultures
      • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
      • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
      • The underlying traits are highly heritable
      • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective
      Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

      Personality differences

      Women, on average, have more:

      • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
      • These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
      • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
      • This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
      • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.

      Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that “greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.” Because as “society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.” We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

      Men’s higher drive for status

      We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

      Status is the primary metric that men are judged on[4], pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

      Non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

      Below I’ll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women’s representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it’s still instructive to list them:

      • Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things
      • We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).
      • Women on average are more cooperative
      • Allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive. Recent updates to Perf may be doing this to an extent, but maybe there’s more we can do. This doesn’t mean that we should remove all competitiveness from Google. Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn’t necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what’s been done in education. Women on average are more prone to anxiety. Make tech and leadership less stressful. Google already partly does this with its many stress reduction courses and benefits.
      • Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average
      • Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men may disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech.
      • The male gender role is currently inflexible
      • Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.

      Philosophically, I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google—with Google’s diversity being a component of that. For example currently those trying to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google’s funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

      The Harm of Google’s biases

      I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

      • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race [5]
      • A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
      • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
      • Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
      • Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination [6]

      These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology[7] that can irreparably harm Google.

      Why we’re blind

      We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren’t on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap[9]. Google’s left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we’re using to justify highly politicized programs.

      In addition to the Left’s affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and whiner[10]. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side”; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.

      The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness[11], which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftists protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.


      I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

      My concrete suggestions are to:

      De-moralize diversity.

      • As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”

      Stop alienating conservatives.

      • Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
      • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
      • Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

      Confront Google’s biases.

      • I’ve mostly concentrated on how our biases cloud our thinking about diversity and inclusion, but our moral biases are farther reaching than that.
      • I would start by breaking down Googlegeist scores by political orientation and personality to give a fuller picture into how our biases are affecting our culture.
      • Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

      These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.
      Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

      • Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.
      • There’s currently very little transparency into the extend of our diversity programs which keeps it immune to criticism from those outside its ideological echo chamber.
      • These programs are highly politicized which further alienates non-progressives.
      • I realize that some of our programs may be precautions against government accusations of discrimination, but that can easily backfire since they incentivize illegal discrimination.

      Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

      • We should focus on psychological safety, which has shown positive effects and should (hopefully) not lead to unfair discrimination.
      • We need psychological safety and shared values to gain the benefits of diversity
      • Having representative viewpoints is important for those designing and testing our products, but the benefits are less clear for those more removed from UX.

      De-emphasize empathy.

      • I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

      Prioritize intention.

      • Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offense and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.
      • Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.

      Be open about the science of human nature.

      • Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.

      Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

      • We haven’t been able to measure any effect of our Unconscious Bias training and it has the potential for overcorrecting or backlash, especially if made mandatory.
      • Some of the suggested methods of the current training (v2.3) are likely useful, but the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown.
      • Spend more time on the many other types of biases besides stereotypes. Stereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests (I’m not advocating for using stereotypes, I [sic] just pointing out the factual inaccuracy of what’s said in the training).

      [1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google’s Mountain View campus, I can’t speak about other offices or countries.

      [2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I’d be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.

      [3] Throughout the document, by “tech”, I mostly mean software engineering.

      [4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

      [5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.

      [6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I’ve seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.

      [7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”

      [8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy.

      [9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.

      [10] “The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men’s problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak.”

      [11] Political correctness is defined as “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against,” which makes it clear why it’s a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.
                Comment on CoD Modern Warfare Original Vs Remaster Graphics Comparison by Contemporary Influences – Sam's Game Development Blog        
      […] http://www.funkyvideogames.com/cod-modern-warfare-original-vs-remaster-graphics-comparison/ […]
                Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare Strategy Guide        

      Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare Strategy Guide

      Date: Sunday, April 23. 

      Dear Friend,

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                Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (v77.0.0.0 + All DLCs, MULTI8) Selective Download        

      Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (v77.0.0.0 + All DLCs, MULTI8) Selective Download

      Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

      Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 v77.0.0.0 + All DLCs

      Release Date: November 6, 2015
      Genres/Tags: Action, Shooter, First-person, 3D
      Developer: Treyarch
      Publisher: Activision
      Platform: PC [Repack]
      Engine: in-house

      Call of Duty: Black Ops 3


      Treyarch, developer of the two most-played games in Call of Duty® history, returns with Call of Duty®: Black Ops III. For the first time with three-years of development, the revered, award-winning studio has created its first title for next-gen hardware in the critically acclaimed Black Ops series. Welcome to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, a dark, twisted future where a new breed of Black Ops soldier emerges and the lines are blurred between our own humanity and the technology we created to stay ahead, in a world where cutting-edge military robotics define warfare.

      Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

      Selective Download

      This is the most important part of the description, cause it tells you what files you MUST to download to have the game in your language with all options you need.

      First of all, the repack comes with 3 setup files.

      The first one (setup-data-multi8.exe/setup-data-multi2.exe) installs only main game data, without any audio. It must be ran first.
      The second one (setup-lossy-audio-multi8.exe/setup-lossy-audio-multi2.exe) will install lossy audio files to your already installed game.
      The third one (setup-lossless-audio-multi8.exe/setup-lossless-audio-multi2.exe) will install original, lossless audio files to your already installed game.

      Either second or third installer must be used after main data, not both.

      Now, let's see the examples of file sets you have to download. Examples are given for English language. For any other language download not *english* files, but *french*, *german* and so on.
      Polish users must download English files and select only Polish language in installers.

      Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 with lossy audio. 32.4 GB




      Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Zombie Mode with lossy audio. 38.6 GB





      Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Free Run + Multiplayer with Bots with lossy audio. 39.2 GB





      EVERYGHING with lossy audio. 45.4 GB






      Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 with lossless audio. 38.7 GB




      Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Zombie Mode with lossless audio. 47.7 GB





      Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Free Run + Multiplayer with Bots with lossless audio. 46.6 GB





      EVERYGHING with lossless audio. 55.5 GB






      DOWNLOAD 96GB File Size Complete Setup

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      DOWNLOAD Reloaded 49.8 GB File Size

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                Comment on Rabbit Reproduction and the Garden of Eden by Matt Green        
      I don't think we can fully imagine how many people this earth could accommodate without the sinful effects of waste, misappropriation, selfishness, warfare, etc. I agree with your note on foreknowledge, though. It does throw a monkey wrench into speculation and begs the question of whether this earth was ever intended to be our final destination.
      不知道大家有沒有聽過這一條新聞。我是先在收音機上聽到,後來也在網路上找到這一篇新聞,所以電台沒有唬爛。有一個15歲住在加拿大安大略省的小男孩,Brandon Crisp,因為爸爸沒收他的Xbpx而騎著腳踏車離家出走。他爸爸表示自從他買了Xbox給Brandon後,Brandon的功課成績都直線下滑,開始翹課、偷錢。所以Brandon的爸爸就一氣之下把Brandon的Xbox沒收了。Brandon也一氣之下騎著腳踏車離家出走。至今都還沒有下落。Brandon的爸爸現在懸賞兩萬五千加幣,希望能找到Brandon的下落。Microsoft,Xbox的製造商,聽到這個新聞,還幫忙加碼,外加兩萬五千元,希望Brandon能趕快回家。我覺得只要Brandon的老爸買個廣告,跟Brandon說你回來我把Xbox還給你,再送你一台PlayStation 3。應該小Brandon就會馬上騎著腳踏車回來了。不過開玩笑歸開玩笑,小Brandon你趕快回家啦!回家才有機會再玩到你最愛的Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare阿!
                Game of Thrones, Desktop Catapults, and Psychological Warfare in the Office        
          I love Game of Thrones as much as anybody. What draws me to this show is its undeniable ties to medieval history, and others are intrigued by this as well. However, after watching an interview with George R. R. Martian about what inspired him to write the books upon which the series is […]
                Experts: Massive 'Petya' Attack Looks More Like State Cyber Warfare Than A Data Heist        
      Following Tuesday's worldwide cyber attack, experts are questioning whether state-targeted digital disruption, rather than ransom, was the real goal.
                RL NEWS Brief Updates: April 14, 2014        

      Update on Efforts to Keep Boeing in Long Beach LONG BEACH — On April 10, Boeing told its employees that by the end of next year, it will transfer 1,000 engineering jobs from the Puget Sound to Southern California. The news of the follows an April 7 announcement that Boeing will likely shut down its C-17 Globemaster, which is assembled in Long Beach, by the summer of 2015, earlier than previously expected. The C-17 Globemaster plant is the last of its kind in California. The engineering jobs will be centered in Long Beach and Seal Beach and will include the operation team, which deals with Boeing airplane issues anywhere in the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The move has been described as designating Southern California as the customer support center. Boeing’s Southern California Engineering Design Center support will be responsible for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 passenger jets, as well as commercial product support for the KC-46 Tanker and P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Boeing already assigned responsibilities for supporting several legacy aircraft to engineers based in Southern California. Boeing is dedicating its Puget Sound area facilities to the promotion of new aircraft — the 787 Dreamliner, the 737 MAX and the 777X. The Southern California Engineering Design Center employs about 1,800 people at the in Long Beach and Seal Beach sites. The move, rumored for months, is the latest in a series of engineering transfers out of Seattle that totals more than 4,300 Boeing jobs.   CSUDH Celebrates Hagan CARSON — Willie J. Hagan will be formally installed as the 10th president of California State University, Dominguez Hills during an investiture ceremony, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. May 2, on the North Lawn of campus. Hagan was first appointment interim president of CSU Dominguez Hills in June 2012. White announced Hagan’s permanent appointment in May 2013. Prior to coming to CSU Dominguez Hills, Hagan was interim president of CSU Fullerton, where he had been employed since 1996 in various administrative roles, including vice president of administration and finance and chief financial officer, and interim vice president for university advancement. Before joining CSU Fullerton, Hagan served as associate vice president for administration at the University of Connecticut, and as a lobbyist for the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education. Hagan earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree of fine arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.   Garcetti Announces No DWP Hikes, Early 405 Opening LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in his April 10 State of the City address that there will be no DWP hikes, that there will be an early 405 opening, and that there will business tax cuts. “In my first month in office, I began my administration with a fair but tough new DWP employee contract that reformed pensions and froze salaries,” Garcetti said. “And, I hired the very best to lead the department: Marcie Edwards, who came up through the DWP ranks and broke seven glass ceilings to become general manager. I directed her to take a hard look at DWP’s rates and bring reform. Look, we can’t ask you to pay more for your water and power when the DWP screws up your bill. “So I will not allow the DWP to raise rates this year. The department must earn back your trust.” He acknowledged the challenges in the city for businesses. “Unfortunately, our city is still home to the highest and most complicated business tax of any of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County,” he said. “It’s a tax that taxes you even when you lose money — this chases new businesses away and pushes existing businesses to leave. “We must phase out the business tax entirely. Next week, I will introduce legislation as part of this year’s budget that will be our first down-payment toward this goal.  Our plan will cut the top business tax rate over 3 years — the top rate that nearly half of businesses pay. His third priority was to focus on quality of life in neighborhoods. “That’s the point of my ‘Great Streets” initiative,” he said. “Here’s how it works:  We’ll saturate your street with services.  We’ll make your street accessible to pedestrians, wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles–not just cars. “We’ll create an environment where new neighborhood businesses can flourish. We’ll pave the streets and make them green streets — clean and lush with plant life, local art, and people-focused plazas…. On Gaffey Street in San Pedro, were going to join forces with its burgeoning creative community.” In addition to declaring his goal of bringing rail to LAX, he announced that improvement work on the 405 Interstate is ahead of schedule. “I’m proud to announce that the new lane on the 405 freeway will open not in October, but next month.  And we did it through good management, and it didn’t cost us a dollar extra.” Fugitive Mother is in Custody LOS ANGELES — On April 10, a Slovakian native who became a fugitive after taking her children overseas in violation of court custody orders was returned to the United States to face prosecution, announced Bill Lewis, the assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department. Maria Pfeifer, age 32, a former resident of Los Angeles, is suspected of taking her children out of the United States in violation of court ordered custody terms in Los Angeles. According to LAPD detectives, Pfeifer took the children to the Czech Republic and Slovakia in June 2012 and did not return the following month, as scheduled, in July 2012. Pfeifer’s failure to return the children violated the parental rights of the children’s respective fathers, according to detectives. FBI assistance was requested when investigators determined that Pfeifer intended to remain overseas with the children. In August 2013, LAPD detectives obtained an arrest warrant and Pfeifer was charged by […]

      The post RL NEWS Brief Updates: April 14, 2014 appeared first on Random Lengths News.

                Zero Day - China's Cyber Wars | T.L. Williams        
      Cyber hacking is fast becoming a preferred method of 21st century conflict. Recent attacks by Russia and China show the susceptibility of our economy, political institutions, and our democracy to this high-tech method of modern warfare. In Zero Day: China’s Cyber Wars, T.L. Williams, a former CIA operative who ran human intelligence operations in Asia and Europe for over 30 years, has crafted an intriguing story about what this threat means to our interests here and abroad, the techniques used by cyber spies, and what it really means to be a spy in this new day of rapidly changing technology. Join Williams as he shares how he drew on his intelligence background to compose a thriller that moves elegantly between Chongqing, China, and Langley, Virginia, to reveal a plot by the Chinese government to seize the edge on global power by undermining the US economy. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IntlSpyMuseum Twitter: https://twitter.com/intlspymuseum SpyBlog: http://blog.spymuseum.org === Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Lt8hEpiVg Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:41:24 GMT Available for 30 days after download
                Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered Xbox One        
                5 Videos Every Entrepreneur Must Watch        
      As an entrepreneur, sometimes I get stuck and am not sure what to work on or where to go next.  I hit a wall and get the entrepreneur equivalent writer's block.  One of the best ways that I have found to get the ideas flowing again is to read or to listen to an inspiring talk from one of my favorite authors.  I have listened to some of these talks several times.  But each time I hear something different that I hadn't heard before. Something that was exactly what I needed to get my brain moving again and get ideas flowing.  Here are a few of my favorite talks to hopefully inspire you.

      Simon Sinek - Start With Why
      This talk is one that Simon Sinek gave at TedX in Puget sound and is based on his book Start With Why, which I also recommend reading.  He explains that business are really good at telling people what they do, but have a very hard time communicating Why they do it.  And the answer can't be "to make money."  If you can nail the WHY, then you are in business.
      Best Quote "People don't buy what you do.  They buy WHY you do it."

      Steve Blank - Get Out of the Building

      Don't design your product in a bubble, assuming that you know exactly what customers want.  You don't.  As Steve Blank puts it "Get out of the building" and talk to customers.  Do customer discovering and development and figure out what they actually want.

      Jack Trout - Coke vs Pepsi - Positioning
      Jack is the master of positioning and has written several great books on the topic.  Read them all.  In this interview he gives an overview of both the good and bad positions that Coke and Pepsi have taken over the years.

      Malcolm Gladwell - Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce
      Malcolm Gladwell is a great story teller and in this talk he tells us about a man named Howard Moskowitz, who changed the way the food industry looked at choice and options.  Howard realized that there was no one perfect option in a food group.  Different people had different tastes and therefore wanted different choices.

      Best Quote - "People don't know what they want! As Howard loves to say, "The mind knows not what the tongue wants." It's a mystery! (Laughter) And a critically important step in understanding our own desires and tastes is to realize that we cannot always explain what we want, deep down."

      Seth Godin - How to Get Your Ideas To Spread
      We all have ideas.  Tons and tons of ideas.  A good idea isn't always enough.  The trick is getting them to spread and getting people to use them.

      Best Quote 'If the cow was purple, you'd notice it for a while. I mean, if all cows were purple you'd get bored with those, too.The thing that's going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased, what gets built, is: "Is it remarkable?" And "remarkable" is a really cool word, because we think it just means "neat," but it also means "worth making a remark about."'

      What are your favorite videos that get your brain working?

      Recommended Books (Amazon Links)
      1. Start with Why Simon Sinek
      2. The Startup Owner's Manual Steve Blank
      3. Marketing Warfare Jack Trout
      4. The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell
      5. Purple Cow Seth Godin

                Lack of Warfare Makes Geneva Boring        
      I wake up at my second alarm and groggily accept a cup and pill from Young before my eyes have fully opened. “Here,” he says, “pop this.” Having traveled with me before, Young has struck onto the brilliant plan of stuffing me full of caffeine pills each morning before my groggy demeanor compels me to read more »
                Spiritual Warfare        
      The battle is real and it's going on around us right now.
                (Review) The Body In The Ice, Hardcastle and Chaytor Mysteries, Book Two by A.J. Mackenzie         
      Publisher and Publication Date: Bonnier Zaffre. April 20, 2017. In America, available August 1, 2017.
      Genre: English Mystery.
      Pages: 368.
      Source: Complimentary copy from Bonnier Zaffre.
      Rating: Very Good.


      Christmas Day, Kent, England, 1796. 

      On the frozen fields of Romney Marsh stands New Hall; silent, lifeless, deserted. In its grounds lies an unexpected Christmas offering: a corpse, frozen into the ice of a horse pond.

      It falls to the Reverend Hardcastle, justice of the peace at St Mary in the Marsh, to investigate. But with the victim's identity unknown, no murder weapon and no known motive, it seems like an impossible task. Working along with his trusted friend, Amelia Chaytor, and new arrival Captain Edward Austen, Hardcastle soon discovers there is more to the mystery than there first appeared. 

      With the arrival of an American family torn apart by war and desperate to reclaim their ancestral home, a French spy returning to the scene of his crimes, ancient loyalties and new vengeance combine to make Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor's attempts to discover the secret of New Hall all the more dangerous.

      The Body in the Ice, with its unique cast of characters, captivating amateur sleuths and a bitter family feud at its heart, is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.

      About the author: A.J. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, a collaborative Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife duo. Between them they have written more than twenty non-fiction and academic titles, with specialisms including management, medieval economic history and medieval warfare.
      The original idea for The Body…series came when the authors were living in Kent, when they often went down to Romney Marsh to enjoy the unique landscape and the beautiful old churches. The authors now live in Devon.
      https://g.twimg.com/Twitter_logo_blue.png@AJMacKnovels                                http://www.ajmackenzienovels.com/


      My Thoughts:
      My favorite points in this story:
      1. The use of a dog breed I am unfamiliar with: The Irish Wolfhound. I loved having a secondary character be a devoted animal lover and using the dog as apart of the story. 
      2. Biracial and race issues in America and England. I've read books where racial prejudice is examined in America, but not a book set in England. Two of the characters are examined in how they feel about being bi-racial. They express tensions from both sides of races. They express how they deal with animosity. They express struggles in their extended family.
      3. An English mystery. I've read English mysteries with the time period of early 20th century, but not in the 18th century. 
      4. A clean story. The story is clean in regards to life situations and the murder itself.  
      Until I read a bit about the temperament of an Irish wolfhound, I thought it odd in the story its behavior when intruders broke in the home. I was ready to put a mark against the book. I have since read about the dog breed and I stand corrected. The Irish Wolfhound is an independent and reserved type dog.
      I felt surprised at the solving of the mystery. I had no idea this kind of plot was "cooking."
      Over-all, The Body In The Ice is an enjoyable cozy story.

                Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 1 + 2 PS3        
                EU Referendum: The Disintegration Of Vote Leave?        
      It's a poor reflection on the so-called reporting skills of most of the legacy media that the dynamics between Leave.EU and Vote Leave is seen as infighting. Describing it as in-fighting heavily implies that both camps have the same objective but simply disagree over method.

      But as has readily become apparent over some time Vote Leave has no intention of advocating leaving the EU; a deceptive position of theirs which has been excellently exposed by Mr Brexit. Instead this is a battle to prevent a Tory plant campaign winning designation which has the suspected intention of sabotaging the referendum.

      If I was Mr Cameron wanting to win a referendum then an obvious tactic to deploy is make sure the opposition was under my control. And it's within this context we must see the actions of Vote Leave who have shown no explicit intentions to leave the EU despite being given many public opportunities to do so. Their evasiveness is their admission.

      Yet with the designation debate raging on the internet - largely ignored by SW1 - it comes as no surprise that the media has rather belatedly woken up and are reporting on the dysfunctional nature of Vote Leave. Its dysfunctional nature is not least due to one of its directors Dominic Cummings, which has come to a head this week. The Times (£) reports:
      The leaders of one of the campaigns to take Britain out of Europe were the target of a botched coup this week as infighting among Eurosceptics reached new heights. MPs tried to oust Dominic Cummings, the campaign director of Vote Leave, and Matthew Elliott, its chief executive, at a board meeting of ministers and donors on Tuesday.
      Bernard Jenkin, a Tory MP involved with the organisation from the start, made the move after pressure from MPs who objected to the way in which Mr Cummings was running it. The plot was foiled after Mr Cummings got wind of it in advance, tipping off friendly board members and altering the agenda to make it harder for Mr Jenkin to mount his putsch.
      One source said: “There was an attempted coup against Dom and Matthew. Bernard was trying to get the board to sack Dom and Matthew. Dom and Matthew are adamant there will be no merger with Arron Banks’s campaign [Leave.EU], which some MPs are pushing for. It was seen off. The money men said no. The board has been quite clear: both are staying in post.”
      Another source denied that the coup attempt was dead.
      “Cummings and possibly Elliott are on the way out. It’s just a matter of time. My money is on Cummings resigning by the weekend.”
      With a temporary failed coup, we begin to see signs of a fight back by Cummings with friendly briefings to various journalists such as the Evening Standard:
      A Tory MP faces pressure to quit the board of Vote Leave after he led a failed coup against one of its leaders.
      Among the chaos we also see via the Spectator, a magician's "look at this hand" distraction:
      The ‘in’ side’s shockingly bad start in the EU referendum campaign
      Their data is dodgy, they disregard the facts and their leaders are lazy
      The same Spectator whose commissioning editor Mary Wakefield just happens to be married to one Dominic Cummings a director of Vote Leave.

      Yet Vote Leave's complete unsuitability for designation has been well rehearsed online for some time; with Elliott's previous No2AV campaign's "sharp practices", enriching colleagues and friends and less than convincing data protection practices.

      In addition we can see that Elliott's previous enterprise - Business for Britain has not only been apparently sending incorrect information to Companies House but was potentially trading whilst officially dormant. The latter is a criminal offence and a complaint by a Labour MP has been filed with HMRC

      Vote Leave is also being hit with numerous suits over breaches of data protection and libel. And complaints are soon to emerge with Ofcom that Vote Leave's appalling website contravenes disability discrimination laws "which ensures that websites are accessible to blind and disabled users". This consideration is particularly important when applying for taxpayers' money.

      To add to the shambles that is Vote Leave there have been long running concerns over Matthew Elliott's Taxpayer's Alliance charitable arrangements which has cast a long shadow. The Guardian reported in 2009:
      A campaign group which claims to represent the interests of ordinary taxpayers is using a charitable arm which gives it access to tax relief on donations from wealthy backers. 
      The Conservative-linked Taxpayers' Alliance, which campaigns against the misuse of public funds, has set up a charity under a different name which can secure subsidies from the taxman worth up to 40% on individuals' donations. 
      In one example, Midlands businessmen said they channelled funds through the Politics and Economics Research Trust at the request of the Taxpayers' Alliance after they asked the campaign group to undertake research into policies which stood to damage their business interests. The arrangement allowed the Taxpayers' Alliance to benefit from Gift Aid on the donations, a spokesman for the donors said.
      It is understood that further official complaints have been made to reopen the investigation.

      Interestingly Guido Fawkes has thus far remained silent on these matters. Westminster backbiting and scandal has always been his bread and butter. Yet with the potential of a major scoop ahead of the media, given his close contacts involved, there has only been silence. Perhaps that's a reflection of his financially compromised position.

      It's becoming clearer that the Vote Leave camp is disintegrating - it is now an organisation engaged in warfare. It's a wonder how it could ever now be designated.

      But the myopia of a London based media assumed, and still assume, that Vote Leave will be a shoo-in. That is now looking unlikely with Cummings increasingly resembling toast.

                Call of Duty Modern Warfare Trilogy PS3        
                Blog Post: Bioshock 2: Return To The Rapture        

      Bioshock was one of those horror shooter survivor games that rocked the gaming companies forever. Bioshock 2 is nothing short of that. In fact, it's even more. The ending to Bioshock landed us in a place we haven't seen for these 7 hours of gameplay: Earth's Land. Now, even in Bioshock 2, we return to the hell hole we have come to know and hate: Rapture. I was reliefed to see we are still in this watery hell, but was shocked to see our helmet appearing in the corner of our view. Protecting our little sister Elenor, and then being told to commit suicide begin the horror you will outcome in Bioshock 2. With a scene repeating the begining of CoD 4: Modern Warfare, We begin our seige into the world of Rapture with what we have come to realize is filled with more and more death. All of the events in Bioshock have not summed up to those in Bioshock 2. I was loving Bioshock 2's events even after I finished the game on every difficulty and played it's multiplayer until the maximum level cap....twice. Even the RPG-like ending was filled with pure awesomeness. Due to events in the game, you can either save or kill off Proffessor Lamb. However, these are spoilers in a way, so their content will be hidden. As in the first game, the ammount of little sisters you save or harvest effect the ending cutscenes greatly. I know I don't make much sence..but i got you to think about one of the best games I baught during this time: Bioshock 2.

      Replay Value: Very Very Very High

                Links of interest        
      1. The billionaire-financed rise of the thought leader (and decline of the public-financed public intellectual) combined with the continued decline in access to academic research and the rise of high-tech (low labor) additive manufacturing may favor Europe over the US (or China).
      2. Magical warfare technologies help "irrational" people win
      3. Economics of the populist backlash
      4. "The Photographic electronic Narrative (PeN) project shares photographs taken by current and ex-offenders on placement at LandWorks: an independent charity which provides a supported route back into the community for people in or recently released from prison"
      5. The hightech war on scientific fraud in the place that's had troubles: The Netherlands
      6. Trump and Pruitt appear not to care about the environment people who live in environments (kinda everyone)
      7. A poetic 1970 essay California water management from Joan Didion
      8. A contemporary plea for mercy from Venezuela
      9. An economist brings realism to the discussion of human behavior (spoiler: math doesnt' hack it)
      H/T to DL

                today's leftovers        
      • [Video] Desktop Trend: Linux dominant in 2053. Mac dead in 2020.

        It's math. In 2053, Linux will break 50% desktop marketshare. Beating out Windows for the first time in desktop usage. On the flip-side MacOS will have dwindled to 0% usage by 2020.

      • RadeonSI Gets Memory Objects Support In Mesa Git, Last Bit For SteamVR

        Valve developers Andres Rodriguez and Timothy Arceri have landed their enablement of EXT_memory_object and EXT_memory_object_fd within Mesa 17.3-dev Git.

        The developers have been working on the changes for core Mesa and RadeonSI going back more than one month while this morning the nearly 50 commits landed for enabling these newer OpenGL extensions. The OpenGL memory object extensions are used by Valve's SteamVR compositor on Linux as a notable user so far.

      • Green Recorder 3.0 Released, Lets You Export Screen Recordings to GIF

        A new version of the Wayland compatible screen recording tool Green Recorder has been released. Green Recorder 3.0 adds a number of notable new features that help bring it parity with other screen recorder tools that are available on Linux, including the ability to export screen captures to GIF.

      • 50 Top Server Monitoring & Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Solutions
      • Wine 2.14 Has Improvements for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and The Witcher 3

        The Wine 2.14 development release landed this week and it has a handful of fixes for some of your favorite Windows games that you probably want to play on your GNU/Linux distribution, or macOS.

      • Go support in KDevelop. GSoC week 9 & 10. Code completion.
      • SystemActions are almost done!

        In total, there are 5 actions that have been added: Power off, Suspend, Lock screen, Switch user and Log out (only three of them are available in the picture, but trust me, all five of them are added).

      • Pale Moon update fixes high CPU usage for HD video playback

        Some people had reported choppy playback and/or a high CPU load when using the 27.4.0 release of the Pale Moon browser – for instance when playing HD videos on Youtube. See these topic posts on the LQ Slackware forum. A bugfix update of Pale Moon was released a few days ago and according to the releasenotes, the new Pale Moon 27.4.1 addresses these issues. I have uploaded fresh packages for palemoon-27.4.1 to my package repository so that you can check that this is true.

      • Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch

        When Canonical announced in April that the company, which supports the development of the Ubuntu distribution, would cease work on the Unity desktop environment and its Ubuntu Touch technologies, it created a good deal of confusion. Over the past few months I have encountered many people who are unclear on what this change means, particularly for Ubuntu desktop users and the Ubuntu GNOME project. There are also unanswered questions about the current status of Unity 7, Unity 8, Mir and the mobile version of Ubuntu. In this column I will try to clear up some of the common misunderstandings about these technologies and their futures.


                Comment on A Response to Rosaria Butterfield by evan773        
      As I read through Butterfield's and Burk's statements, it reminded me again of what particularly annoys me about that crowd. It also explains why I'm no longer an evangelical. Neither Burk nor Butterfield seem interested in coming to a theologically nuanced understanding of this notion of homosexuality. Rather, Burk and Butterfield seem to be much more interested in defending a particular position from attack. But that position, if one examines it closely, is something akin to what Strauss would call a "noble lie." It's something that's close to the truth, but represents a truth that's been stripped of nuance and gray. It operates on the principle that clarity is usually more important than accuracy. Ross Douthat penned a great piece a few years ago, entitled, "Social Liberalism as Class Warfare." Since the 1980s, the cognitive elite has become its own distinct subculture. One of the hallmarks of that subculture--among all of its members--is a rejection of explicit moralizing, and particularly of "noble lies" intended to encapsulate moral rules of thumb. After all, when elites think of same-sex marriage, they're not thinking of Castro. Rather, they're thinking of educated, wealthy gays who work as bankers, lawyers, accountants, etc. Evangelicalism is a middle-class phenomenon. It serves a populace that needs guardrails, and who lack the professional restraint and self-discipline that one finds among the cognitive elite. I travel extensively for work. Recently, I had to travel to a nearby rural county to attend a court hearing. The week before I had been in Shanghai and Tokyo. It struck me that I felt far more out of place in this rural county 30 miles form my home than I felt in Shanghai or Tokyo. The many billboards warning of the dangers of opioid abuse made it clear that I was entering a world that was completely foreign to my social world. I say that because I don't think we have a common language any more for discussing issues of sexuality. I'm asexual. Even so, I find relationships with women to be overly complicated. And I generally find myself being more emotionally and aesthetically attracted to other guys. I generally couldn't care less what women think about me; I care a lot what guys think about me. If I were ever to enter into a committed relationship, it would likely be a same-sex relationship. I would describe my attraction tendencies as complex, but they're probably no less complex than anyone else's. I expect my church to arm me with wisdom to navigate that complexity, not to tell me noble lies that push me to deny it. In that sense, I believe that these are decisions that are simply best addressed at a local level within local churches. Churches that minister to cognitive elites are likely to handle this differently from churches that minister to middle-class non-elites. And local churches need to have the freedom to do that.
                Irv Edwards Manhattan Beach Realty Advice You Have To Know        
      Manhattan Seaside Properties inside the Shrub Market is considered among the most preferred sites to stay in every one of Manhattan Beachfront. It happens to be bordered by Sepulveda Boulevard to East, Manhattan Coastline Boulevard to the Southern, Rosecrans Avenue on the North, with the Yellow sand Location into the To the west. Its proximity towards the an, LAX and ocean simple and easy travel towards city give it time to be as desirable geographically as it truly is visually.
      The region adopted its title, the Tree Segment not through the a lot of trees that populate the neighborhood, but fairly through the road names: Palm , Oak, Elm , Pine, etc .. The area can be correctly Irv Edwards Manhattan Beach famous for its stringent plant ordinance that restricts homeowners from wiping out most trees off their house without needing a permit through the area, hence conserving the aesthetic enchantment on the vicinity.
      Manhattan Beach destination Real Estate Market inside Plant Portion attracts the entire family of the dimensions, and like a variety of areas in La, it really is an spot which can be in changeover. Manhattan Beach front Real Estate Investment in the Plant Section draws house holds of all sizes, and like quite a few residential areas in La, it is really an location that could be in move.
      Manhattan Coastline Real Property inside Shrub Community interests families in all proportions, and like quite a few towns in La, it is actually an specific location that is certainly in switch. Manhattan Beach destination Housing throughout the Plant Portion captures young families among all length and width, and like numerous neighborhoods in Los angeles, it is an place that's in changeover. The design concepts with all the new Manhattan Beach destination Real Estate Investment has diversified instead drastically; over the countless Cape Cod and Nantucket designs to your typical Mediterranean styles of Tuscan and Spanish affects. It is usually not unusual to check out the extra common Craftsman model residence popping up, reminiscent of move-of-the-Century artisan range of motion, to never reference the numerous specialized, 1-of-a-sort attributes developed and produced by local people, using on the assortment using the Plant segment.
      An extra sub-part of the Shrub Market is what exactly is called the Gas Lamp Area, which is situated near to Sea Path. These roads are fantastically lined with initial gasoline getting rid of lights producing an enchanting shine to your spot using a breezy summer time time nighttime in many of the nearby Manhattan Coastline real-estate. Plenty of while using the tons in this region are typically more compact; from time to time only 25 or 40 toes vast. Having said that, what 1 sheds in proportions, a single benefits in identity. Price tags inside the Gasoline Lamp Center preserve up very essentially, and they are charged in the same manner towards much larger Manhattan Seaside residences and in the area.
      Lot measurements differ in the Tree Area, but most of the lots for Manhattan Beach Real Estate are ordinarily 40 ft wide and vary from about 110 feet to about 135 ft in depth, depending on what block and road one is searching at. There can be exceptions to the standard, on the other hand, additionally, on uncommon function 1 is able to see good deal length and width approaching 9,000 sq feet. They are also high priced, as land worth during this beach community is usually 90% or additional of the complete worth with the home in a few circumstances, although not merely are they challenging to find. Asset rates wide variety from just below $1 million for a little blog post-warfare size residence to more than $4 mil bucks to buy a custom made developed house placed on an large significant amount in the highly searched for following spot.
                8/10/2017: NEWS: North Korea, U.S. exch threats, but likely not        

      Trump’s foreboding words have rattled the globe, but it’s familiar territory for the Democratic People’s Republic. After all, Pyongyang has been waging verbal warfare for decades, Nathan VanderKlippe writes Donald Trump’s threat to retaliate against...
                Midday open thread: Dead Indian children returned to their homeland; broken US economy in one chart        

      Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Obama couldn't have done this crap: 


      • Remains of three Arapaho children who died at assimilationist school returned to their homeland: Capt. Richard H. Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, infamously said the solution for dealing with the Native population of America was to “Kill the Indian ... and save the man.” And he set out to do so by taking Indian children from their parents, from their tribes and indoctrinating them at Carlisle in Pennsylvania. Among those were the children taken along with Geronimo when the Apache leader surrendered his band of Chiricahuas for the last time in 1886. The school sought to take everything from them, their religions, their cultures, their mode of dress, even their names. All of them had their hair cut short. Over the years, children abducted and taken to the school to have the Indian in them killed included three Northern Arapahos: Little Chief, 14, who was renamed Dickens Nor; Horse, 11, renamed Horace Washington; and Little Plume, 9, renamed Hayes Vanderbilt. Within two years, they were all dead and buried in a small cemetery that eventually included nearly 200 Indian children who died there from 1879-1918. On Monday, with 15 relatives of the three as witnesses, the Army began excavating their graves preparatory to returning their remains to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming that the Northern Arapaho now share with another tribe, their traditional enemies, the Eastern Shoshoni. The Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota have requested the remains of their children grabbed by Carlisle be returned.

      The photo on the left shows Chiricahua Apache children taken to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School when Geronimo surrendered his band in Arizona for the last time in 1886. The photo on the right are the same children four months later. The school did to their insides pretty much what it did to their outsides. Of the 112 Apache children sent to Carlisle, 27 died in the first three years. Of the 12,000 children of 140 tribes forced into the school, only 158 reportedly graduated. Carlisle was the model for 26 BIA (and later the Bureau of Indian Education) boarding schools in 15 states and hundreds of private religious ones.

      • David Leonhardt on Our Broken Economy in One Chart:

      Many Americans can’t remember anything other than an economy with skyrocketing inequality, in which living standards for most Americans are stagnating and the rich are pulling away. It feels inevitable.

      But it’s not.

      A well-known team of inequality researchers — Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman — has been getting some attention recently for a chart it produced. It shows the change in income between 1980 and 2014 for every point on the distribution, and it neatly summarizes the recent soaring of inequality.

      You can see a larger version of this by clicking on the bulleted link above.



      • July was the hottest on record for parts of Alaska and the Western United States:

      The northernmost city in the United States just had its hottest July on record, as other spots in Alaska had their hottest month overall. Heat records also fell in a few western cities, as well as the fearsomely hot Death Valley, where July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

      Those hotspots stood out in what was the 10th hottest July on record for the Lower 48 states, topping off the second hottest year-to-date for the country by a hair, according to data released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Three states are having their hottest year on record more than halfway through the year, while several more are running in second or third place.

      • Google employee (now ex-), who wrote that women’s brains are inferior, removes PhD reference from his Linked-In site: Geez. Isn’t this just perfect? 

      The Wired writer Nitasha Tiku confirmed with Harvard on Tuesday that Damore had not completed his Ph.D.

      Damore's biology studies became a crux of a right-wing argument that he had credibility in claiming that biological differences between men and women explained a lack of gender diversity at Google. However, he cited shoddy data from Wikipedia and various journal articles to back up some of those claims, and Business Insider's Dana Varinsky was able to debunk many of them.

                Re: The DS Bargain Thread        

      I usually go on Amazon and Play, so here's some I found on those sites (Note that Amazon charges for shipping), all new. There's a few here in the list but I'm sure you lot won't mind, considering the cause.

      100 Classic Book Collection - £9.99 at Play

      Worms: Open Warfare 2 - £9.99 at Play

      Guitar Hero: On Tour (with Guitar Grip) - £9.99 at Amazon

      Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise - £9.99 at Play

      Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword - £7.99 at Play

      Super Monkey Ball: Touch and Roll - £7.99 at Play

      Rhythm Paradise - £15 at Amazon

      Henry Hatsworth - £10.99 at Amazon

      Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon - £9.99 at Amazon

      Dragon Quest IV: Chapters Of The Chosen - £5.45 at Amazon

      Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate - £7.99 at Amazon

                Happy Release Day + Excerpt - Hunted by Elisabeth Naughton        

      From New York Times Bestselling author Elisabeth Naughton, comes HUNTED,a new novella in her Eternal Guardians Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!



      Erebus – Dark in every sense of the word, a skilled and lethal warrior, and sinfully sexy by design.

      Since the dawn of modern man, Erebus was Hades’ secret weapon in the war between the immortal realms. Until Hades lost the minor god in a bet to his older brother Zeus. For the last hundred years, Erebus has trained Zeus’s Siren warriors in warfare and the sexual arts. But he’s never stopped longing for freedom. For a life filled with choice. And lately, he also longs for one Siren who entranced him during their steamy seduction sessions. A nymph he quickly became obsessed with and who was ripped from his grasp when her seduction training was complete. One he’s just learned Zeus has marked for death because she failed the last Siren test.

      Before Erebus can intercede on the nymph’s behalf, she escapes Olympus and flees into the human realm. In a fit of rage, Zeus commands Erebus to hunt her down and kill her. Erebus sees his opportunity to finally go after what he wants, but he’s torn. Freedom means nothing if the Siren at the center of his fantasies doesn’t truly crave him back. Because defying the gods will unleash the fury of Olympus, and if he chooses her over his duty, whether she joins him in exile or not, the hunter will become the hunted.


      Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Amazon AU


      Download the Free Kindle App

      EXCERPT: A flash of blonde hair to his left caught his attention as he ran through the dark forest. His target—Trainee #429745—was close, but then he knew that already. His god powers were strongest in darkness, and his hearing, smell, even sight were amplified when night disadvantaged other hunters. He could hear her labored breaths echoing in his ears, could smell the lemony scent of her skin in his nostrils, but seeing the flash of long blonde hair had surprised him. 

      He hadn’t looked at her picture before he’d left Olympus for this hunt. He’d memorized her trainee number, read through her file and made mental notes of her trainers’ mostly average comments about her hand-to-hand combat and warfare skills. Had questioned the stupid guards she’d overpowered at the gates of Olympus when she’d fled, and who were now suffering their own just fates. And he’d located the portal she’d used outside the gates to cross into this forest in the human realm. But he’d purposefully not looked at her image. 

      Putting a face to a number gave his prey a human quality he didn’t need to concern himself with. His orders from Zeus were clear: “She failed her last Siren test and ran. Hunt her down and bring her back to me.” It was not Erebus’s place to question Zeus’s command. The King of the Gods could have ordered Erebus to kill the trainee—which he’d done in the past and would do again when called upon because it was his duty—but Zeus hadn’t. That made Erebus’s job this time a helluva lot easier, and for that he was thankful. 

      But that flash of blonde... 

      He’d seen it somewhere before. Or hair like it. Not a white blonde. Not a honey blonde. Not even a multicolored blonde like many of the Sirens sported on Olympus. This hair had been a golden blonde so bright it had looked like a gilded waterfall in the darkness of the forest when she’d whipped past him through the trees. 

      Not important

      What she looked like had no impact on his current assignment. Clearing his mind, he shifted direction and picked up his speed, heading toward the flash of blonde he’d seen. Her labored breaths grew louder. Her scent stronger. Ahead, that golden blonde flashed again, whipping behind her as she turned to look into the dark forest at her back then angled forward again and ran faster.

      ABOUT ELISABETH NAUGHTON: Elisabeth Naughton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. From Elisabeth: “I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time. “Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories. “My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier. “I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.”  

      Website**Facebook**Twitter**Author Goodreads**Novella Goodreads

                Individualism and Community        
      As a principled supporter of individual rights, I am frequently accused of not caring about "society" or "community." As this clip points out, I think that people who put community before the individual are getting it backwards. Without putting the lives and rights of autonomous individuals first, there is no community, just gang warfare.

      (HT Ideas Matter)
                The Ultimate Defeat of the Enemies of Christ        
      A new MP3 sermon from Mission Orthodox Presbyterian Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

      Title: The Ultimate Defeat of the Enemies of Christ
      Subtitle: 2 Samuel Series
      Speaker: Frank Liu
      Broadcaster: Mission Orthodox Presbyterian Church
      Event: Sunday - PM
      Date: 7/17/2016
      Bible: 2 Samuel 21:15-22
      Length: 32 min. (64kbps)

      Overview: Proposition- As God used David to save Israel from their Philistine enemies, Christ will deliver His elect from all their enemies. ---- Sermon Outline- ----I. The reality of spiritual warfare -v. 15-17-.----II. The outcome of spiritual warfare -v. 18-22-.
                Comment on Bungled again: Israel and Goldstone by Walter Reich        
      In focusing on the changed nature of war in our time, Alan Dowty <a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/2009/11/bungled-again-israel-and-goldstone/" rel="nofollow">puts his finger</a> on one of the central dilemmas facing not only Israel but also all states that attempt to defend their citizens. In many arenas of conflict, especially in the Middle East, military forces deliberately fight from zones of civilian habitation. They routinely use as staging areas places that, traditionally, are off-limits to military responses or other actions: hospitals, schools and mosques. These forces also routinely make sure that civilians are in the area from which they are firing their rockets or other weapons—either by inviting those civilians to be there or forcing them to be there—in order to protect themselves from return fire by armies that are reluctant to hurt civilians. These military forces understand that the media war is often immensely more important than the ground war, and that photos of attacks on hospitals, holy places or schools, attacks on fighters dressed as civilians and especially attacks on actual civilians provoke worldwide condemnation and mobilize widespread sympathy for the enemy cause. No traditional military forces or coalition of forces—not U.S. forces, not NATO forces and not Israeli forces—have managed to find a way to cope with this now-common form of warfare. Dowty notes the damage caused to Israel by that country's decision to not cooperate with the Goldstone investigation. He refers to the comments by a number of Israeli jurists who have also felt that Israel should have cooperated with the investigation and should have provided the kind of testimony and evidence that Ambassador Dore Gold presented in his <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxLa9f1Md34" rel="nofollow">debate</a> with Richard Goldstone at Brandeis University on November 5—evidence that, in the debate, Goldstone said he regretted not having seen. So should Israel have cooperated with the Goldstone investigation? I don't think the answer is so simple. If one looks at it as some Israeli officials looked at it at the time the investigation was launched, it's not surprising that they decided to boycott it. The UN Human Rights Council, and the United Nations itself, has shown itself to be implacably focused on using every opportunity to batter Israel. It doesn't fail to condemn that country even as it ignores massive violations of human rights by other countries, including the members of the Council itself. The outcome seemed inevitable, and probably was. Richard Goldstone is, no doubt, a decent and honest person, but he was, in my judgment, either naïve or foolishly over-confident when he seems to have convinced himself that he could carry out an investigation or issue a report that would not become, inevitably, a political cudgel against Israel. In retrospect, however, the Goldstone report—and the uses to which it has been put and will continue to be put—has done so much damage to Israel that my sense is that Israel should have cooperated with it despite the inevitable outcome. I don't think the result, in terms of public opprobrium, would have been worse—and, in this case, might have been better. The larger question, I think, has to do with future repetitions of this kind situation. It will surely happen again. It happened when Israel fought Hezbollah in Lebanon, which fired rockets from schools and other civilian zones, and stored them there—and, should it fight another war with Israel, will do so again. And it happens in other theaters of fighting in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, where it's not Israel that has to decide how to contend with this problem but other powers. Should such forces—American, NATO, Israeli—cooperate with investigations of such incidents, even if the investigation is almost certain, for political reasons, to find them guilty? No situation repeats itself exactly. The next time it won't be Richard Goldstone but someone else who will head the investigation. The certainty of an unjust outcome may be even greater. Still, I suspect that it would be best to cooperate—even as it continues to be necessary to fight an enemy part of whose military strategy is to hide behind civilian shields. This is indeed the new face of war, and countries, even as they do everything possible to limit civilian casualties to a minimum, must find ways of defending themselves, their interests and especially their citizens. In his November 5 debate with Dore Gold, Richard Goldstone seemed at a loss as to what would have constituted a "proportionate" response on the part of Israel. The definition of "proportionality" he had in mind seemed to make no sense in military terms. If a country, confronted with the challenge of this kind of warfare, concludes that it just can't fight, then that country will be unable to defend itself. In the case of Israel, such a decision would result in its destruction. It, and other countries facing this dilemma, will have to devise, in response to this new face of war, a new way of dealing with it—one that enables it to defend itself even as it minimizes, to the extent possible, civilian casualties. <i><a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/members/walter_reich/" rel="nofollow">Walter Reich</a> is a member of MESH.</i>
                Battlefield 1 PC        
      Battlefield 1 PC

      Battlefield 1 PC

      Release date: 21 OCTOBER 2016 Epic 64-Player Multiplayer Battles - Team up with your friends and join in the most epic multiplayer battles in FPS history with up to 64 players fighting as infantry or piloting vehicles ranging from tanks and bikes on the ground to biplanes and gigantic battleships. Experience the Dawn of All-out War – Be a part of the greatest battles ever known to man. From the heavily defended Alps to the scorching deserts of Arabia, war is raging on an epic scale on land, air and sea as you witness the birth of modern warfare Earth-shattering Intuitive Destruction - With intuitive destruction, no battle is ever the same. Destroy vehicles big and small and demolish entire buildings. From tiny wooden houses to massive stone forts, even the grounds on which you’re fighting can be blasted apart. War Stories from the Far Edges of the World - Discover a world at war through an adventure-filled campaign that captures the variety of a global conflict through the eyes of several different characters all united by this first, modern war.

                Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition PS4        
      Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition PS4

      Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition PS4

      Release date: 4 NOVEMBER 2016 Game overview Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare delivers something for every Call of Duty fan with three unique game modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. Delivering a rich and engaging narrative in a setting unlike anything to date in a Call of Duty game, the campaign is a return to the franchise’s gritty, military roots throughout new environments never before seen in the franchise. The player will embark on a classic war story about grand scale warfare; all set in a grounded future where human conflict has spread throughout our solar system. Multiplayer brings ground-breaking gameplay innovations to deliver the deepest and most engaging Call of Duty experience to date. The title introduces stunning, never before seen, multi-planetary environments, new weaponry, and all-new player abilities to Call of Duty. In addition, the new cooperative zombies experience will thrill players with an original direction featuring fun and unique gameplay, all wrapped into an entertaining narrative sure to excite fans. Return to classic, large-scale war Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will take players on an unforgettable journey as they engage in battles from Earth to beyond our atmosphere against a relentless, enemy faction that threatens our very way of life. It’s grand scale war and hallmark Call of Duty action with memorable characters, rich emotional arcs, and stunning new environments, all within an epic new setting. A Call of Duty Campaign To Remember Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare puts storytelling front and center, in a deeply engaging narrative. It features jaw-dropping set-pieces and blockbuster cinematic moments, while also delivering a gripping portrayal of war that harkens back to the roots of the franchise. Infinity Ward also breaks new ground by thrusting the player into wartime leadership as Captain Reyes, a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot, who takes the helm of the Retribution, one of Earth’s last remaining warships. In a time of unthinkable hardships, Reyes must lead the remnants of coalition forces against a relentless foe in a war that spans our solar system. Fighting a fanatical enemy The Settlement Defense Front (SetDef) represents a splinter group of insurgents that broke away from the United Nations Space Alliance during a war of secession, years ago. In the world of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, our planet has been stripped of its natural assets through population growth and industrial expansion. The people of Earth now rely upon colonies throughout the solar system to mine planets and asteroids for necessary fuel and other resources. The SetDef is a fascist power, comprised of brutal and militant radicals, toughened by the extreme conditions of offworld environments. They seek to control those outposts and their wealth, putting a stranglehold on the countries of Earth. After years of uneasy stalemate, diplomatic relations are strained, and it will take only the slightest nudge to lead to full-scale war. Gear up for intense multiplayer Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will feature an evolution of Call of Duty’s movement system with an emphasis on front-line engagement. Maps are designed to further leverage the movement system and immerse players into fast, fun, and frenetic gameplay that players have come to expect from Call of Duty. With its new approach to play, multiplayer will bring innovative gameplay that challenges players to achieve their goals in creative ways based on their specific play style. Battle the living dead in a zombies thriller: Infinity Ward introduces a fresh take on the nightmarish Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. With an all-new, immersive zombies storyline for players to uncover and explore, players are thrust into a spine tingling adventure not for the faint of heart. The new zombies experience will take players on a wild ride with a multitude of new features, while thrilling players with the core mechanics that fans have come to expect from the mode. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered*: One of the most critically-acclaimed games in history, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is back, remastered in true high-definition featuring improved textures, physically based rendering, high-dynamic range lighting and much more to bring a new generation experience to fans. Relive the iconic campaign as you are transported around the globe with Capt. Price, Gaz and Soap across fan favorite missions, including “All Ghillied Up,” “Mile High Club,” and “Crew Expendable.” And team up with your friends with 10 of the iconic multiplayer maps from the online multiplayer mode that redefined Call of Duty introducing killstreaks, XP, Prestige and more in customizable, classic multiplayer modes. *Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered contains only 10 MP maps from the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game.

                Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition Xbox One        
      Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition Xbox One

      Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition Xbox One

      Release date: 4 NOVEMBER 2016 Game overview Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare delivers something for every Call of Duty fan with three unique game modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. Delivering a rich and engaging narrative in a setting unlike anything to date in a Call of Duty game, the campaign is a return to the franchise’s gritty, military roots throughout new environments never before seen in the franchise. The player will embark on a classic war story about grand scale warfare; all set in a grounded future where human conflict has spread throughout our solar system. Multiplayer brings ground-breaking gameplay innovations to deliver the deepest and most engaging Call of Duty experience to date. The title introduces stunning, never before seen, multi-planetary environments, new weaponry, and all-new player abilities to Call of Duty. In addition, the new cooperative zombies experience will thrill players with an original direction featuring fun and unique gameplay, all wrapped into an entertaining narrative sure to excite fans. Return to classic, large-scale war Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will take players on an unforgettable journey as they engage in battles from Earth to beyond our atmosphere against a relentless, enemy faction that threatens our very way of life. It’s grand scale war and hallmark Call of Duty action with memorable characters, rich emotional arcs, and stunning new environments, all within an epic new setting. A Call of Duty Campaign To Remember Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare puts storytelling front and center, in a deeply engaging narrative. It features jaw-dropping set-pieces and blockbuster cinematic moments, while also delivering a gripping portrayal of war that harkens back to the roots of the franchise. Infinity Ward also breaks new ground by thrusting the player into wartime leadership as Captain Reyes, a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot, who takes the helm of the Retribution, one of Earth’s last remaining warships. In a time of unthinkable hardships, Reyes must lead the remnants of coalition forces against a relentless foe in a war that spans our solar system. Fighting a fanatical enemy The Settlement Defense Front (SetDef) represents a splinter group of insurgents that broke away from the United Nations Space Alliance during a war of secession, years ago. In the world of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, our planet has been stripped of its natural assets through population growth and industrial expansion. The people of Earth now rely upon colonies throughout the solar system to mine planets and asteroids for necessary fuel and other resources. The SetDef is a fascist power, comprised of brutal and militant radicals, toughened by the extreme conditions of offworld environments. They seek to control those outposts and their wealth, putting a stranglehold on the countries of Earth. After years of uneasy stalemate, diplomatic relations are strained, and it will take only the slightest nudge to lead to full-scale war. Gear up for intense multiplayer Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will feature an evolution of Call of Duty’s movement system with an emphasis on front-line engagement. Maps are designed to further leverage the movement system and immerse players into fast, fun, and frenetic gameplay that players have come to expect from Call of Duty. With its new approach to play, multiplayer will bring innovative gameplay that challenges players to achieve their goals in creative ways based on their specific play style. Battle the living dead in a zombies thriller: Infinity Ward introduces a fresh take on the nightmarish Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. With an all-new, immersive zombies storyline for players to uncover and explore, players are thrust into a spine tingling adventure not for the faint of heart. The new zombies experience will take players on a wild ride with a multitude of new features, while thrilling players with the core mechanics that fans have come to expect from the mode. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered*: One of the most critically-acclaimed games in history, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is back, remastered in true high-definition featuring improved textures, physically based rendering, high-dynamic range lighting and much more to bring a new generation experience to fans. Relive the iconic campaign as you are transported around the globe with Capt. Price, Gaz and Soap across fan favorite missions, including “All Ghillied Up,” “Mile High Club,” and “Crew Expendable.” And team up with your friends with 10 of the iconic multiplayer maps from the online multiplayer mode that redefined Call of Duty introducing killstreaks, XP, Prestige and more in customizable, classic multiplayer modes. *Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered contains only 10 MP maps from the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game.

                Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4        
      Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4

      Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare PS4

      Release date: 4 NOVEMBER 2016 Game overview Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare delivers something for every Call of Duty fan with three unique game modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. Delivering a rich and engaging narrative in a setting unlike anything to date in a Call of Duty game, the campaign is a return to the franchise’s gritty, military roots throughout new environments never before seen in the franchise. The player will embark on a classic war story about grand scale warfare; all set in a grounded future where human conflict has spread throughout our solar system. Multiplayer brings ground-breaking gameplay innovations to deliver the deepest and most engaging Call of Duty experience to date. The title introduces stunning, never before seen, multi-planetary environments, new weaponry, and all-new player abilities to Call of Duty. In addition, the new cooperative zombies experience will thrill players with an original direction featuring fun and unique gameplay, all wrapped into an entertaining narrative sure to excite fans. Return to classic, large-scale war Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will take players on an unforgettable journey as they engage in battles from Earth to beyond our atmosphere against a relentless, enemy faction that threatens our very way of life. It’s grand scale war and hallmark Call of Duty action with memorable characters, rich emotional arcs, and stunning new environments, all within an epic new setting. A Call of Duty Campaign To Remember Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare puts storytelling front and center, in a deeply engaging narrative. It features jaw-dropping set-pieces and blockbuster cinematic moments, while also delivering a gripping portrayal of war that harkens back to the roots of the franchise. Infinity Ward also breaks new ground by thrusting the player into wartime leadership as Captain Reyes, a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot, who takes the helm of the Retribution, one of Earth’s last remaining warships. In a time of unthinkable hardships, Reyes must lead the remnants of coalition forces against a relentless foe in a war that spans our solar system. Fighting a fanatical enemy The Settlement Defense Front (SetDef) represents a splinter group of insurgents that broke away from the United Nations Space Alliance during a war of secession, years ago. In the world of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, our planet has been stripped of its natural assets through population growth and industrial expansion. The people of Earth now rely upon colonies throughout the solar system to mine planets and asteroids for necessary fuel and other resources. The SetDef is a fascist power, comprised of brutal and militant radicals, toughened by the extreme conditions of offworld environments. They seek to control those outposts and their wealth, putting a stranglehold on the countries of Earth. After years of uneasy stalemate, diplomatic relations are strained, and it will take only the slightest nudge to lead to full-scale war. Gear up for intense multiplayer Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will feature an evolution of Call of Duty’s movement system with an emphasis on front-line engagement. Maps are designed to further leverage the movement system and immerse players into fast, fun, and frenetic gameplay that players have come to expect from Call of Duty. With its new approach to play, multiplayer will bring innovative gameplay that challenges players to achieve their goals in creative ways based on their specific play style. Battle the living dead in a zombies thriller: Infinity Ward introduces a fresh take on the nightmarish Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. With an all-new, immersive zombies storyline for players to uncover and explore, players are thrust into a spine tingling adventure not for the faint of heart. The new zombies experience will take players on a wild ride with a multitude of new features, while thrilling players with the core mechanics that fans have come to expect from the mode.

                Call of Duty: 4 New Maps for Infinite Warfare        

      The first map pack for Infinite Warfare The first details for Sabotage were shared. The new content announced by the trailer comes first for PS4 players. The new Call of Duty content is coming. Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s first DLC map package shared details about Sabotage. First details from Call of Duty [...]

      The post Call of Duty: 4 New Maps for Infinite Warfare appeared first on MercenaryOps.

                From Slacktivism to Activism        
      Resistance events for the week of August 9-15. by Emilly Prado


      9th Annual Pink Party!
      Nothing says “family planning” quite like a well-executed, all-ages affair celebrating the right to choose. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon work to protect access to birth control and women’s healthcare in our state, and invite you to join the movement. Five bucks gets you in, but double down with $10 for a limited-edition notebook emblazoned with a true mantra to live by: “Don’t fuck with us. Don’t fuck without us.” Kids 10 and under get in for free. Dig A Pony, 736 SE Grand, 5-8 pm, $5-10

      Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: From Despair to Hope
      It’s been 72 years since the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings mark the only times nuclear weapons have been used in warfare, and the death toll for both neared a quarter of a million people. Honor the lives lost at this community event hosted in collaboration with Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and human rights lawyer and writer Polo Catalani. Japanese American Historical Plaza, 2 NW Naito, 6-8 pm, FREE


      KBOO @ The Clinton Presents: Keep the Hives Alive
      Keep the Hives Alive educates viewers on the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem and how to contribute individually in the fight to save bees (and our world). To sweeten the deal, there’ll be a post-screening Q&A with local urban beekeepers. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, 7-9 pm, $7-10 suggested donation

      Trans Vets Speak Out
      When the Orange took to Twitter last month in a cowardly and transphobic attempt to ban trans folks from serving in the military, uproar justly ensued. Now, hear from five local transgender vets as they discuss their experiences, why we need to support active and veteran trans service members, and how we can move forward together. Q Center, 4115 N Mississippi, 6-8:30 pm, FREE

      Guerillas of Desire Book Launch with Kevin Van Meter
      Since graduating from CUNY with an MA in Political Science and co-editing a collection of essays examining social movements in the US, Kevin Van Meter has penned his own book, which he’ll read from at this unveiling. Guerillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible is a critique of the left and a call to collectively resist the perils of capitalism. Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne, 7:30-9 pm, FREE


      True Form Presents: A Benefit Show for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
      In light of the many lives lost to suicide in 2017, local post-hardcore band True Form organized a benefit show to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFFSP). Eight groups, including Reach for Rescue and Penelope Clearwater, will take over both floors of the Analog. Attendees can also purchase artwork by Jesse Lindsay, with all proceeds going to the AFFSP. The Analog Theater & Café, 720 SE Hawthorne, 7 pm-midnight, $10


      Milenio.org Food Justice
      Disrupt a food economy that relies on big grocery store chains that financially back oppressive political campaigns by participating in a farmer’s market that’s entirely free. If you’re struggling to eat, bring a bag to fill with fresh produce. If you’re a volunteer who’s ready to roll up your sleeves, or a gardener/farmer willing to donate the fruits of your labor, message Susan Anglada Bartley on Facebook to get involved. Montavilla City Park, 685 NE 82nd, 8 am-5 pm, FREE

      Art Creating Culture and Unity/Arte Creando Cultura y Unidad
      Art is a vehicle for cultural preservation. Local artisans Maria Jose and Addy are leading drop-in workshops for youth so they can make crafts and hone their Spanish skills. Classes run weekly through the end of August. At this week’s class, kids will have the opportunity to make a hairclip. Open to all ages. Portland Mercado, 7238 SE Foster, 10 am-1 pm, $10


      Devils Point 11th Annual Bikini Car and Dog Wash Benefit
      For over a decade, the Devils Point dancers have paired suds with buds in the name of protecting pups at Family Dogs New Life, a no-kill shelter in Southeast. For just $20, you can get your pitbulls, dachshunds, cars, skateboards, unicycles, and more looking sparkly. Delicious food options will be provided by the Foster carts. Devils Point, 5305 SE Foster, 1-6 pm, $20 suggested donation


      Standing Rock Legal Update and Urgent Call to Action
      The fight to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe isn’t over, despite the state of our current administration. At this event, you’ll get the chance to hear from social justice attorneys Chase Iron Eyes and Daniel Sheehan, who serve as counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project. They’ll retrace the #NoDAPL movement from their own perspectives and share updates on the current legal battles against water protectors in the Dakotas. RSVP online. The Eliot Center, 1226 SW Salmon, 7-9 pm, FREE


      El Programa Hispano Católico
      Since 1982, El Programa Hispano Católico has served low-income Latinos in myriad ways, from housing support, to sexual assault and domestic violence survivor advocacy, to providing aid in accessing governmental assistance programs. Their mission is threefold: “To increase self-sufficiency, empower individuals to achieve a better quality of life, and to promote mutual understanding and respect among cultures.”
      Opportunities and Typical Commitment: There’s a current need for volunteer interpreters to help with school-based services, SNAP and energy assistance, and more. To get involved, fill out the volunteer form at www.elprograma.org.

      [ Comment on this story ]

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                Saab receives Self-Protection Systems order for H225M Caracal helicopters        
      Defence and security company Saab has received a contract from Airbus Helicopters for the IDAS integrated electronic warfare self-protection systems for H225M Caracal multirole utility helicopters. Saab’s Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS) protects the crew by enhancing platform survivability in sophisticated, diverse and dense threat environments. The system provides timely warning against radar, laser and infrared (IR) guided threats and automatically deploys the appropriate cou...
                Order for Airborne Self-Protection Systems to Equip the German AF        
      Defence and security company Saab has received an order for the electronic warfare self-protection and countermeasures system BOZ-101 EC from the NATO Eurofighter 2000 and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) on behalf of the German Air Force. The BOZ self-protection and countermeasures system has been in use on Tornado for many years. This order is for 29 units of the enhanced version designated BOZ-101 EC. The wing mounted pod consists of a missile approach warning system in the aft section ...
                 Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare Training System Contract        
      Defence and security company Saab has received an order for delivery of the advanced anti-submarine warfare training system, AUV62-AT. Deliveries will take place during 2017 and 2018. The autonomous underwater vehicle system AUV62-AT is an advanced and capable system for cost-efficient training of a navy’s ASW forces. The AUV62-AT is an acoustic target that mimics a submarine in a way that is compatible with any torpedo- and ASW sonar system on the market today. This system will repla...
                World Class Sensor Package for Indian Tejas LCA        
      Defence and security company Saab offers a fighter sensor package for the Indian Tejas LCA Mk1A fighter aircraft. The package consist of a state-of-the-art Saab AESA fighter radar closely integrated with a compact electronic warfare suite using Gallium Nitride based AESA technology. Saab, in partnership with Indian industry, offers a solution that will bring the required Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Fighter radar and Electronic warfare capability to India and the Indian Air ...
                Anti-Submarine Warfare Training System Demo        
      Defence and security company Saab will participate in Unmanned Warrior, a demonstration and exercise held in Scotland and Wales 10-21 October, with its  anti-submarine warfare training system AUV62-AT and the waterborne anti-IED vehicle Sea Wasp. Unmanned Warrior is a multinational event, held in Scotland and Wales 10-21 October, which will see around 40 companies and organisations, invited by the United Kingdom´s Royal Navy, showing off their latest technological developments wi...
                The Spirit Led Are The Sons of God        
      A new MP3 sermon from Georgetown Protestant is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

      Title: The Spirit Led Are The Sons of God
      Speaker: Carl Haak
      Broadcaster: Georgetown Protestant
      Event: Sunday - AM
      Date: 6/4/2017
      Bible: Romans 8:14,15
      Length: 31 min. (64kbps)

      Overview: MORNING WORSHIP--Romans 8-14,15--THE SPIRIT LED ARE THE SONS OF GOD--I. Led To Intense Warfare--II. Led Precious Adoption--III. Led To Inward Assurance
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                By: InfoBore 20 « ubiwar . conflict in n dimensions        
      [...] Cyber Warfare: Call In the Generals, March Out the Peons – Sam Liles [...]
                Economic and Geo-Political Prognosis for 2015        

      Paper No. 5856                                 Dated 12-Jan-2015

      Guest Column by Dr. Rajesh Tembarai Krishnamachari and Srividya Kannan Ramachandran


      The re-moderation of the world economy set in place over the past few years continues apace. Notwithstanding some lasting damage on the supply side through the 2008 recessionary trough, our outlook for 2015 is bullish weighing more on optimistic data trends than on continued negative sentiment proffered from some analyst quarters.

      Around the world in 80 (or more) words:

      Treating the ten-year US Treasury bond yield as a proxy indicator for that nation's nominal GDP growth, we anticipate United States to grow around 3% next year.[1] While this does not mark a return to the buoyant 90s, it is better than the secular stagnation hypothesized earlier in 2014.[2] With US acting as an engine to spur growth, the world economy should also expand by more than 3%.[3] Stability across the world will be maintained – as sparks without a concomitant fury will characterize both overt (e.g. Russia-West over Ukraine) and covert (e.g. China-Japan over Senkaku) animosities.[4] European stagnation from debt and unemployment will be counterbalanced through quantitative easing by the European Central Bank.[5] Similar action in Japan will display the limits of Abe-nomics.[6] China will prepare for a structural slowdown emphasizing domestic consumption and de-leveraging an over-heated financial sector; all the while growing at a 7% rate that will amaze rivals around the world.[7] Indian reform, even if inadequate, will boost the middle classes and reinforce confidence in the Modi government.[8] African countries will find their commodity boom dissipate and ease of borrowing decline as commodity prices fall and yields rise in the developed world.[9]

      Continental tectonics:

      a. North America:

      Economic benefits arising from the exploitation of shale gas have not only silenced the anti-fracking environmentalists, they have altered the strategic world-view of Washington politicians.[10] As US aims to overtake even Saudi Arabia in oil/NGL production in 2015 (and the Saudis pull out all stops in preventing it by driving crude prices down), it has markedly reduced its role as a global policeman.[11] Its own economy is on the mend even as a lame-duck president will be boggled down with partisan grid-lock. Markets will fret about the mid-year (or earlier?) hike in interest rates; though Main Street - aided by a strong dollar - will likely shrug it off with a continued upward movement across different sectors.[12]

      Mexico and Canada will benefit from their tight coupling with the United States.[13] Enrique Pena Nieto will claim credit for reforming the Mexican economy – across sectors as diverse as energy and telecom.[14] Pemex, dear to the Mexicans, will face some competition, though nothing remotely similar to the American acquisition of Tim Hortons – dear to the Canadians – will happen.[15] Up north, the Canadian elections in 2015 will reveal whether the country has reverted to its liberal propensities or sticks with Harper's conservative agenda.[16]

      b. Latin and South America:

      The outlook is disappointing across much of the region. Run-away inflation hammers Argentina and Venezuela; milder ill-effects bedevil Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay.[17] The Maduro regime in Venezuela and the Kirchner government in Argentina continue to flirt with disaster as their GDP growths slip and mass discontent builds up.[18] Dilma Rousseff has stabilized her position electorally, though her policies continue to disappoint investors and have the potential to reignite sudden protests like the 2013 bus-fare protests.[19] Dependence on commodity exports in a time of declining prices does not portend well for any of the South American states, including Brazil.[20] On a positive note, Cuba – already expected by analysts to grow by close to 4% next year – will see a boost to its fortunes accruing from a thaw in relations with US under Obama.[21]

      c. Africa:

      African nations had a great run in the past few years. This arose not only from the boom in commodity prices but also from the need for yield amongst DM (developed market) investors resulting in investment in both corporate and public African bonds.[22] In 2015, these factors could dissipate which will place pressure on countries like Angola where household spending has risen more than 4000% since the start of the millennium.[23] Ethiopia and Kenya are expected to continue on a robust growth path.[24] Contradictions abound within Africa, and nowhere are they more visible than in Nigeria. While the northern part struggles under the oppression of Boko Haram, the southern part booms under Goodluck Jonathan's president-ship.[25] In neighboring South Sudan, one is reminded of the risk-reward payoff as the nation widely tipped to experience spectacular growth in 2014, got mired in conflict, with the consequent dissipation of growth potential.[26]

      American intervention in Libya undermined the Gaddafi-imposed order and has led to a civil war between the Islamist and secularist factions which will hold back that nation in the coming year.[27] A more benign intervention was that of the French in Mali in 2013; we expect more calls for Hollande's assistance in 2015.[28] El Sisi has stabilized Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood interlude in the post-Mubarak era. Though more brutal than Mubarak, the El Sisi regime is being propped by both the Americans and Saudis, leading us to expect the recent bull run in Egyptian markets to continue.[29] ANC rule in South Africa continues unimpeded. Though atrophied by many scandals, the rule should produce close to 3% growth in the coming year.[30]

      d. Middle East:

      The region continues to be a cesspool of ethno-sectarian rivalries as the century-old Sykes-Pikot agreement unravels.[31] Recep Erdogan has stabilized Turkey and should reap a growth on par with other emerging economies.[32] Erdogan's external actions driven by AKP's crypto-desire to establish a caliphate will see him prop the Islamic State (IS) just so that it can damage Shia and Kurdish interests; but not enough to threaten his own Sunni hegemonic plans.[33] The Saudi establishment has focused on the removal of the Muslim brotherhood threat; now they will focus on limiting Shia Iranian influence by keeping crude prices low.[34] Western companies made a beeline to Iran in 2014 in hope of an impending thaw; much will depend on the negotiation ability of the Rouhani establishment on the sanction front.[35] Dubai and Israel remain insulated from the turmoil around and could reap the benefit of the uptick in the world economy.[36] The risk of sudden flare-ups like the 2014 Gaza war continue to remain on the Israeli radar.

      e. Asia and Australia:

      The Asian political scene is remarkably stable with China, Japan and India looking inward to stabilize their economies under the leadership of Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi, respectively. Some events have gone unnoticed by world media – for example, China starts the year of the goat as the world's largest economy when measured in PPP terms and for the first time ever, Chinese outbound investments could exceed those inbound.[37] The establishment of China on the world stage has made Xi stronger than any Chinese leader in recent memory bar Chairman Mao himself. The Abe regime will continue on its reformist route of bringing Japan out of the deflationary zone, while winking at nationalist sentiment calling for a re-interpretation of the country's post-war pacifist role.[38] Down south in India, Modi has surprised both supporters and detractors alike by his middle-path approach to reforming the economy and his zealous interest in foreign policy. While reforming cautiously, he has not removed the populist schemes of the previous government. 2015 will see him act unimpeded by local elections (other than in Bihar) and will prove to be a litmus test of his claims of good governance.[39]

      Afghanistan under Ashraf Ghani will face more trouble from Taliban as US adopts the Pakistani classification into good versus bad Taliban.[40] In nearby Pakistan, the wildly popular Imran Khan - with some help, perhaps, from the deep state – will challenge the established parties in their home turfs.[41] In Indonesia, Jake Widodo has come to power with Imran Khan-type support amongst the youth, and he will be hard-pressed to implement his reformist agenda – including reducing fuel subsidies – amidst persistent opposition from entrenched interests.[42] ASEAN will continue to slip on its stated intentions for closer cooperation.[43] Australia will try to balance its strategic partnership with the United States with economic dalliances with the Chinese.[44]

      f. Europe and Russia:

      Vladimir Putin will be emboldened by the short-term rise in domestic popularity; and hence ignore the longer-term implications of his intervention in Ukraine.[45] Tighter coupling with Kazakhstan and Belarus will not prevent what is likely to be a low-growth and high-inflation year for the Russians.[46] Europe as a whole continues to underperform, and it will be most visible in France and Italy both of whom might record less than 1% growth in GDP. With the Trierweller-Gayet saga behind his back, Francois Hollande will attempt to rein in a deficit running at close to 4% of GDP. Even with help from ECB's quantitative easing program, there is little expectation that Hollande can avoid being the most unpopular leader amongst all western democracies.[47] In Italy, high debt and unemployment – exemplified by the statistic of four-fifths of Italians between the ages of 20-31 living with parents – will hamper any efforts Matteo Renzi might take to pull the economy out of its doldrums.[48]

      The Greeks might look forward to a better year, especially when juxtaposed against their recent past. On the back of painful reforms, the Greek economy is widely anticipated to commence its long journey back to health, though there might be recurrent political scares and recalcitrant rumors of a Greek exit.[49] The German government will be buffeted by opposing demands – external calls for a more interventionist role in stabilizing the world economy and internal ones for tempering the same. Cautious progress on the fiscal front will lead to modest GDP growth.[50] Ironically, the European nations with best GDP growth projections are also the ones with the highest exposure to Putin's misadventures, viz. Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.[51]

      Sectors and segments:

      Having dropped significantly in the past few months, the level of oil prices affects the prospects for many industry sectors in 2015.  Oil is typically expected to revert to the mean because a lower oil price has discernible impact on both supply (by discouraging investment in its production and distribution) and demand (by boosting economic activity) sides.[52] The speed of such mean-reversion remains unclear. Russia, Iran and US shale producers (esp. those who are not based at strategic locations) suffer disproportionally more than the Saudi establishment at current price levels.[53] Lower oil prices will provide a fillip to consumer discretionary industries and airlines; and have an adverse impact on railroad (benefiting from oil transportation) and petrochemical companies. The shale gas boom - apart from increasing housing activity - is also the prime driver behind growth in the US steel and construction material sectors; consequently both the steel and construction sectors will remain susceptible to crude movements.[54]

      Low interest rates and low macro-growth prospects will induce companies with excess cash to acquire other companies to report earnings growth. That trend will be apparent in companies transacting in sectors as diverse as healthcare, industrials, semiconductors, software and materials.[55] On another side of investment banks, trading desks will see higher market volatility as major powers pursue divergent paths to monetary policy (e.g. US against EU/Japan).[56] In US, regulatory obligations increasing cost of capital for holding certain securities might lead to decreased broker liquidity.[57] 2015 shall see the big banks grapple with the regulations in Basel III and Volcker; one expects regulatory push towards vanilla deposit-taking and lending to continue.[58] Analysts will hope that stronger balance sheets coupled with a return to profitability lead to increased dividend payout for investors in financial stocks. China will seek to tame its overheated financial sector amidst a structural slowdown[59], and India will see RBI governor Raghuram Rajan continue his battle against political interference in corporate lending.[60] Wealth management services will perform remarkably well not only in China, but also to a lesser extent in US as a rising market creates wealth and a retiring baby-boomer crowd seeks to couple low risk with acceptable return.[61] In the arena of mobile payment, Apple Pay will try to avoid the lackluster performance of earlier attempts like Google Wallet.[62]

      Lower gasoline prices and an accompanying increase in disposable income (through wealth creation at the markets, increased home values, reduced unemployment and improved economic activity) creates a positive outlook for the consumer discretionary sector. Companies dealing with organic farming benefit from increased health consciousness; the market for yoga will continue to rise as 2014 saw the UN declare a world yoga day on Modi's initiative.[63] Even as DVDs and Blue-rays fall, digital film subscriptions and on-demand internet steaming will rise to please Hollywood.[64] Bollywood will get over its obsession with INR 100 crore revenues as movies will cross that level more frequently.[65]  With supply level of hotels remaining the same as few years back, revenue per room will rise across the sector.[66] Tighter access to credit continues to hamper the rise in existing house sales, which nevertheless should improve over the past year.[67] Asian apparel manufacturers continue to improve their market share in the fast fashion market.[68]  October 2015 will see Europeans benefit from the eCall service in all their new cars, which allows a car to immediately report details to the base-stations on any accident. New carbon-emission standards also come into force in Europe; even elsewhere the move towards higher efficiency in cars will continue.[69] Widodo will be pleased at the growth in automobile sales in Indonesia, which should exceed those of other major markets.[70] Internet advertising is rising faster than television commercials, though 2015 will still see the latter dominate the former in overall revenue generated.[71] Privacy concerns continue to erode on the social media front.[72] The newspaper industry will see increased number of advertorials re-packaged as "native advertising" by which companies will pay for advertisements to be written as paid newspaper article.[73]

      In India, the BJP government is yet to clarify its position on foreign direct investment in retail.[74] Irrespective of its final decision, retail sales should surge sharply upward there as the consummation of pent-up demand of past few years couples with the thriving of 'mall culture' in middle-tier cities. China will also see an increase in retail sales inspite of its investigation in to WalMart.[75] The anti-corruption campaign though will negatively impact luxury good sales as well as those of higher-end automobiles there[76]. A strong dollar will affect US companies with significant operations abroad. Wheat production might match 2014 record volumes in Europe[77]; though more newsprint will probably be devoted to higher prices of cocoa from Ivory Coast.[78] Idiosyncrasies of local markets will shine as Dubai invests in large-scale brick and mortal malls, while Manhattan gets more of its groceries delivered at home steps.[79]

      Demand for energy should rise at the same pace as the world GDP next year. Analysts will point at attractive valuations of oil companies.[80] If shale price remains attractive, Sabine Pass in Louisiana will emerge as the first plant in US to export LNG.[81] Four years after the Fukushima incident, Japan will see nuclear reactors back in operation at Sendai.[82]

      2014 saw the denizens of the developed world fret about Ebola, breast cancer (through a campaign by actor Angelina Jolie) and ALS (through the ice bucket challenge).[83] Overall, health spending will comfortably outpace the rate of growth of the overall economy. Long-term secular trends driving this are the aging population in the western world (with the population pyramid replaced by a population dome) and an emerging middle class elsewhere with increasing demand for improved access to healthcare.[84] Universal healthcare has been promised for all in India, which should drive up healthcare expenditure by a significant amount there.[85] In 2015, large US companies are mandated under Obama-care to provide insurance to more than 70% of their eligible workforce.[86] Uncertainty on US healthcare reform and debate thereon may cause short-term price volatility. Millennial Development Goals will reviewed by the UN later in the year with a new set of goalposts announced for countries to be met by 2030; different NGOs will campaign vigorously through media to get their pet agendas included in the final list.[87]

      Transportation companies will report higher earnings from increased economic activity.[88] Apart from some airlines which have suffered reputation damage through recurring accidents, airline companies will benefit from the reduced oil prices. Defense industry will see robust growth in China, as "Chi-America" remains no more a chimera.[89] Alarmed by this increase, Vietnam with Philippines will move within the US ambit and Australia will seek to join the tripartite naval exercises in the Indian Ocean between US, Japan and India.[90] Tensions in Eastern Europe and the middle-east will favor increases in expenditure across the region. The nationalist government in India will increase defense expenditure sharply even as it moves beyond lip-service on the long-standing issue of indigenization of defense manufacturing.[91]

      The mantra of social-local-mobile (SoLoMo in tech jargon) continues to drive the consumer markets division of information technology companies.[92] Expenditure on IT hardware is significantly retarded by the increasing move to cloud computing.[93] The move to cloud computing - along with increasing use of mobile commerce - bodes well for the computer security business.[94] India should see a sharp increase in smart phone adoption; elsewhere tablet computers will rise against laptop and desktops.[95] Embedded systems coupled with rudimentary networking will be marketed as an all-encompassing internet of things as the era of big data continues.[96]  Today, a single family in US places more demands on data flow than the entire planet did a decade back; and even this data rate is expected to increase by a whopping 70% over the next year. Consolidation in the cable sector (e.g Comcast with Time Warner Cable) and the convergence of content with distribution (e.g. AT&T with DirectTV) are two trends that should continue on from 2014.[97] Even as Indians will talk about 3G coverage spanning the nation; Americans will tweet about 4G price warfare and the Chinese will see ZTE unveil a 5G prototype.[98] Facebook will have more users than China has human beings.[99] Analysts will harp about impact of interest-rate hikes on high dividend paying telecom stocks.[100] Apart from the financial industry, telecom will emerge as an industry most impacted by federal regulation across the globe.

      The anthropologist Edward Weyer once compared the future to being akin to a "corridor into which we can see only through the light coming from behind".  It is in that sense that we have analyzed the data of the bygone year and tried to extrapolate into the days and months ahead. And when some are falsified - and falsified, some will be - then we shall lay credit for the same at the feet of those responsible - viz. us, the people.

      [The authors are based in New York City, and can be contacted through email at tkrajesh@gmail.com and srivi019@gmail.com. The views represented above are personal and do not in any manner reflect those of the institutions affiliated with the authors.]


      [1] See the graph titled "10 year bond yield: annual change and real GDP: annual % change" at http://www.swcollege.com/bef/econ_data/bond_yield/bond_yield_data.html.

      [2] "Secular stagnation: facts, causes and cures", a VoxEU eBook at  http://www.voxeu.org/sites/default/files/Vox_secular_stagnation.pdf.

      [4] A brief historical perspective on the Russia-Ukraine conflict is at http://www.summer.harvard.edu/blog-news-events/conflict-ukraine-historical-perspective.

      The Economist magazine summarizes the debate over Senkaku islands at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/12/economist-explains-1.

      [5] “The ECB, demigods and eurozone quantitative easing” at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c90dd466-7bb4-11e4-a695-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3NIKpG2Fx.

      [6] “Bank of Japan announces more quantitative easing: the next chapter in Abenomics” at http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonhartley/2014/11/02/bank-of-japan-announces-more-quantitative-easing-the-next-chapter-in-abenomics/.

      [7] “World Bank urges China to cut economic growth target to seven percent in 2015, focus on reforms” at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/29/us-china-worldbank-idUSKBN0II05P20141029.

      [8] “Reforms by PM Narendra Modi will help India to grow 5.5% this year, 6.3% next year: ADB” at http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-12-17/news/57154602_1_cent-the-adb-growth-forecast.

      [10] “The experts: how the US oil boom will change the markets and geopolitics”, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324105204578382690249436084

      [13] “Economic growth patterns in USA, Canada, Mexico and China” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dominik-knoll/economic-growth-patterns-_b_5832182.html.

      [14] “Mexican president Pena Nieto's ratings slip with economic reform” at http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/08/26/mexican-president-pena-nietos-ratings-slip-with-economic-reform/.

      [17] “Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America's forecast for 2015: not good” at http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article2503660.html.

      [18] “Maduro blames plunging oil prices on US war vs Russia, Venezuela” at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/30/us-venezuela-oil-idUSKBN0K802020141230 and “What's in store for post-Kirchner Argentina” at http://globalriskinsights.com/2014/12/whats-store-post-kirchner-argentina/

      [19] “Brazil economists cut 2015 growth forecast to slowest on record” at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-11/brazil-economists-cut-2015-growth-forecast-to-slowest-on-record.html

      [20] “Economic snapshot for Latin America” at http://www.focus-economics.com/regions/latin-america.

      [21] “Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico business forecast report Q1 2015” at http://www.marketresearch.com/Business-Monitor-International-v304/Cuba-Dominican-Republic-Puerto-Rico-8538079/ and “Obama's Cuba move is Florida's top story for 2014” at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/29/obamas-cuba-move-is-floridas-top-story-of-2014/.

      [24] “Ethiopia overview” at  http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia/overview and “Kenya overview” at http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/kenya/overview.

      [26] “Internal violence in South Sudan” at http://www.cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137#!/?marker=33.

      [27] “Political instability in Libya” at http://www.cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137#!/?marker=14.

      [28] “The regional impact of the armed conflict and French intervention in Mali” at http://www.peacebuilding.no/var/ezflow_site/storage/original/application/f18726c3338e39049bd4d554d4a22c36.pdf.

      [29] “EGX head optimistic on equities as Egyptian economy recovers” at http://www.thenational.ae/business/markets/egx-head-optimistic-on-equities-as-egyptian-economy-recovers.

      [30] “Economy - outlook for 2015 dismal, despite boost” at http://mg.co.za/article/2014-11-25-economy-outlook-for-2015-not-encouraging-despite-boost.

      [31] “Pre-state Israel: The Sykes-Picot agreement” at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/sykes_pico.html.

      [32] “Turkey - economic forecast summary (Nov 2014)” at http://www.oecd.org/economy/turkey-economic-forecast-summary.htm.

      [34] “Saudi-Iranian relations since the fall of Saddam” at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG840.html.

      [36] “Dubai 2015 cross sector business outlook extremely bullish” at http://ameinfo.com/blog/mentors/c/capital-club/dubai-2015-cross-sector-business-outlook-extremely-bullish/ and “Israel - economic forecast summary (Nov 2014)” at http://www.oecd.org/economy/israel-economic-forecast-summary.htm.

      [37] “China's leap forward: overtaking the US as world's biggest economy” at http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2014/10/08/chinas-leap-forward-overtaking-the-us-as-worlds-biggest-economy/.

      [38] “Understanding Shinzo Abe and Japanese nationalism” at http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/05/26/understanding-shinzo-abe-and-japanese-nationalism/.

      [39] Book: “Getting India back on track: an action agenda for reform” edited by B. Debroy, A. J. Tellis and R. Trevor.

      [40] “US may not target Mullah Omar after this year" at http://www.dawn.com/news/1152382.

      [41] “The rise and rise of Kaptaan” at http://tribune.com.pk/story/800722/the-rise-and-rise-of-kaptaan/.

      [42] “Widodo launches reform agenda with fuel price hike” at http://www.focus-economics.com/news/indonesia/fiscal/widodo-launches-reform-agenda-fuel-price-hike.

      [43] “ASEAN's elusive integration” at http://opinion.inquirer.net/74164/aseans-elusive-integration.

      [46] “Russia's economics ministry downgrades 2015 oil price forecast to $80 per barrel” at http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/764662.

      [47] “Hollande popularity plumbs new low in mid-term French poll” at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/06/us-france-hollande-idUSKBN0IQ14R20141106.

                Assassin’s Creed 3 – Alex Hutchinson walks you through naval warfare        
      The Assassin’s Creed 3 Naval demonstration shown during gamescom has been re-released as a walk-through by Ubisoft. It features added narration from series creative director, Alex Hutchinson. Players will be able to navigate the waters around the American colonies and command their own naval warship, complete with cannons and other naval weaponry. Assassin’s Creed 3 […]
                Fogs of War: The Many Lives of Chemical Weapons        

      Chemical weapons have played a chilling role in human history, ever since they were first used in World War I.  As reports of more recent use continue to cycle through the news, we decided to take a deeper look.  We wanted to understand why chemical weapons were created in the first place, the ethical dilemmas inherent in their use, and the complicated process of getting rid of them.

      The story begins in Belgium, where reporter Helena de Groot visits a farm in Flanders Fields—the frontline during World War I—and discovers that for some people the war isn’t yet over.

      Then we talk to Jeffrey Johnson, a historian of science and technology at Villanova University with a special interest in the origins of chemical warfare, and Amy E. Smithson, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, who specializes in modern-day chemical and biological weapons and their proliferation. Our guests discuss the past and present of chemical weapons, and share their thoughts about the future of warfare.


      00:03 Introduction

      01:10 Cleaning up Flanders Fields

      08:56 Interview with Amy E. Smithson and Jeffrey Johnson


      Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy

      Guests: Amy E. Smithson and Jeffrey Johnson

      Reporter: Helena de Groot

      Producer & Editor: Mariel Carr

      Music courtesy of the Audio Network, the Free Music Archive and Mobygratis.com.


      Check out Distillations magazine at distillations.org, where you'll find articles, videos, and our podcast.

                Episode 17: Dual Use        

      Science has long been a component of warfare, and in this week’s episode we look at how it has played a part in both destruction and preservation during times of war.


      00:00 Opening Credits

      00:32 Introduction

      01:19 Conversation with Jeffrey Johnson

      07:35 Element of the Week: Chlorine

      09:35 Review of This Republic of Suffering

      11:46 Quote: William Jennings Bryan

      11:56 Closing Credits


      Special thanks to David Caruso for researching this show. Additional credits available at chemheritage.org/distillations.

                Heraldry 101: Introduction        
      Ever since the first armed conflict, men in battle have needed a manner of discerning friend from foe. Ancient warriors marked their shields with mythological symbols. Roman army units also used distinctive markings on their shields. At its very basic, modern heraldry developed as a continuation of these practices. However, over time, it evolved into an art in its own right, and as medieval warfare made personal armor obsolete, heraldry lived on as a means of personal identification for important individuals and families. Most countries and many sub-national entities and cities have coats of arms today, and the influence of heraldry can even be seen in the logos of corporations.

      Modernly, heraldry is the profession, study, or art of devising, granting, and blazoning arms, tracing genealogies, and determining and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Blazoning is the term used for formally describing a coat of arms, and it employs a unique jargon. For example, the Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland, shown here, is blazoned, Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules. From this description alone, an experienced practitioner of heraldry could draw the Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland, even if he or she had never seen it before.

      Heraldry began to emerge in Europe in the twelfth century. Several seals survive from the Continent and the British Isles depicting unmistakable heraldic devices. At this time also, the practice emerged of children of armigers, persons entitled to use a coat of arms, inheriting the coats of arms of their parents or combining the coats of arms of their parents into new personal coats of arms.

      By the fourteenth century, the rules of heraldry were firmly established, and authorities began compiling a body of heraldic jurisprudence. In many countries, the use of coats of arms is still regulated by the government. In the United Kingdom and in Ireland, it is unlawful to use a coat of arms without an official grant from the government. There are even special courts to handle disputes over the use of a coat of arms. In England, for example, the Court of Chivalry hears such disputes.

      Who can use a particular coat of arms can be a confusing topic, however. The laws are not the same in every country. The United States, in contrast with the United Kingdom, does not regulate the personal use of coats of arms. In addition, there is also the question of whether there is such a thing as a “family” coat of arms. Many people will say that there is not. A coat of arms belongs to an individual. While this statement is true technically in countries such as England, which grant the use of coats of arms to individuals, coats of arms can be inherited, and thus become like “family” coats of arms. Furthermore, in other places, such as Scotland and Eastern Europe, coats of arms have historically been shared by all members of a family or clan.

      Heraldry is a rich and complex subject, and in upcoming posts, we’ll be exploring in more detail the rules and practices of heraldry.
                Barnhardt: Banned In Boston - Transcribed        

      Kudos to Vanderleun for posting this:

      Hello, my name is Ann Barnhardt and I am the person who says the things that everyone else is too terrified to say.

      This is the speech that I was going to deliver in Boston today, May 15, 2011, had a facility been available to me. Unfortunately, no facilities were willing to host my speech, sponsored by Rabbi Jon Hausmann, because I was deemed to be “hateful”, “bigoted” and “potentially violent”. 

      Well, we’ll see about that.

      In this speech we are going to cover a lot of intellectual and theological ground. I tend to set my goals extremely high, and this speech is no exception. 

      I hope to fully explain the relationship between Christians and Jews in today’s world, and show that we, and really all people of civilization and good will, are allied in a war of survival against satanic evil, manifested today by islam and Marxism.

      I am also going to show how our fundamental human rights as codified in the Constitution of the United States flow directly out of the Judeo-Christian milieu and the bible.

      I will then contrast this to the Marxist-islamist paradigm, and show that Marxism and islam are actually cut from exactly the same philosophical cloth.

      Finally, I will discuss my personal three-point tactical plan that I will carry out should the proverbial “poop” hit the proverbial fan. My three-point plan serves not only as a system of engagement, but it simultaneously rebuts any and all accusations of “intolerance”, “bigotry” and “hatefulness”. 

      AND I aim to do all of this in less than 30 minutes. Like I said, I’m a very high goal-setter.

      The first concept we need to tackle is that of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. There is a tremendous amount of confusion, ambiguity and bigotry flowing in both directions. There are plenty of anti-Semitic Christians who think that the Jews are the accursed killers of Christ. There are also plenty of Jews who think that Christianity despises them as a point of intrinsic doctrine. Both are completely wrong, and it is high time that someone stepped up and explained the relationship clearly and without mincing any words.

      The fact of the matter is this: you show me an anti-semitic Christian, and I’ll show you a Christian who is completely and totally clueless about his faith. Sadly, in this day and age, most Christians are exactly that – CLUELESS. And that goes for everyone, Catholic, Protestant, non-denominational, all of them. If we look at the Church from an intellectual standpoint, it has already been reduced down to just a mere remnant. There are so many heresies active today that it would take a lifetime to define them all individually, so I have named them corporately. What the Church suffers from today is the Heresy of Stupidity.

      Now everyone listen up, Jew, Christian, atheist – everyone.

      The foundational premise of the Jewish people and of Israel is that Israel is the representative proxy for humanity. This is why the Jews are called “the chosen people”, because they are. God chose Israel to stand in representation of all people everywhere. This is an honor, but it is a taxing and dubious honor due to the Fall of Adam and Eve and the inherent tendency that all people have for sin, which is called concupiscence.

      God chose Israel to stand at the fore of humanity and be the people with whom the historical narrative of Salvation History is played out. This began with a married couple, Adam and Eve, and then expanded to a family unit through Noah, then the expansion moved to the tribal level through Abraham, the national level through Moses, then to the level of a kingdom through David, and finally in the fullness of time the expansion moved beyond Israel to cover all people everywhere through Jesus Christ. BUT, the only way to fully understand God’s relationship with us as individuals is to understand God’s interaction with Israel through history.

      We see in the Old Testament a continuous pattern of Israel falling away from God in sin, and God taking Israel back, many times after a required chastisement to make Israel fully appreciate the gravity of its sin. God says to Israel over and over again that He will NEVER, EVER forsake His covenant. God uses the imagery of marriage to make Israel understand that the relationship between God and Israel is not a mere legalistic contract – it is a covenant sealed in flesh. The covenant cannot be broken. It can be abused by one of the partners, but it can never be broken.

      God does not walk out. God does not “get divorced”. He always has been and always will be ready and willing to take us back, forgive our indiscretions and betrayals, if we will only turn back to Him. He did it after the unfortunate incident with the golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai. He did it after the numerous phases in which Israel had bad kings and fell into idolatry and immorality. He did it with King David after David’s sins of the flesh.

      The exuberant joy of the “honeymoon” period after Israel’s return to God was put into words by Solomon in the Song of Songs. The image of the rocky trials of the marriage relationship was put into writing by the prophet Hosea.

      Every macro image of Israel presented in the Bible maps perfectly to the micro context of the individual. Every sin committed by Israel corporately is a sin I have personally committed as an individual. The worshiping of idols, the failure to trust in God’s provision, the hypocrisy, the sins of the flesh – all of them. Every single one. They all map precisely to me as an individual. And to each and every human being.

      And now we move into the New Testament. There are many verses in which Jesus soundly and harshly rebukes the Jews and the Pharisees. Knowing now as we do that Israel is standing in our personal stead as the proxy representatives of humanity as a whole and as us as individuals, we need to read these words of Christ as chastisements and critiques of us individually and personally, not as a critique or condemnation of a third party.

      When Christ says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites . . .” He is speaking directly to me. “Woe to you, Ann, you hypocrite.” When Christ says, “You are like whitewashed tombs which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth” He is speaking directly to me. I am the serpent. I am the brood of vipers. I am the liar. And if I may be so bold, so is every one of you.

      The more a person thinks that Jesus is speaking not to them but only to the Jews, and then considers themselves able to sit in seething hatred of the Jews, the further from Christ they actually are. These people who read Jesus’ words as exclusive to Jews aren’t in the right ballpark, they aren’t even in the right galactic cluster. This is the Heresy of Stupidity in full bloom.

      Now to ten of the most beautiful words in the New Testament. Every Jew watching this has heard these words, and probably has shuddered every time they heard them. These ten words have been twisted by stupid, ignorant people to justify horrific acts of evil against Jews for 1978 years. And many of these people have claimed to be pious Christians. Well, we’re going to fix this deal once and for all. The ten beautiful words are: “Let His Blood be upon us and upon our children.”

      These are the ten words shouted by the Jewish crowd to Pontius Pilate as he was sentencing Jesus. I repeat these words internally at every Mass, because these are the words that give hope to humanity. These are the words that open the gates of heaven. These words are the means by which our salvation is accomplished.

      At every Mass, the temporally transcendent sacrifice of Calvary which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself, re-presented to God the Father by the power of God the Holy Ghost. This is accomplished through the transubstantiation of Bread and Wine as prefigured by the priest and King Melchizedek in Genesis 14. This sacrifice is the Todah sacrifice of Israel, which is the only sacrifice to be offered in the post-messianic age and for all eternity, according to ancient Rabbinic teaching. The Todah sacrifice is the sacrifice of Thanksgiving. The word “Thanksgiving” in Greek is Eucharist. The Divine Surprise to Israel and the world is that GOD provided and provides HIMSELF IN THE FLESH as the final, worthy and fully efficacious Todah sacrifice.

      There is a saint called St. Gaspar del Bufalo who was an Italian priest who had mystical visions during his life. In one of St. Gaspar’s visions during a Mass, he saw angels approach the altar after the consecration of the wine into the Precious Blood. The angels took branches of hyssop and dipped them in the chalice. The angels then turned and proceeded to sprinkle the people with the Blood of Jesus, exactly the way that Aaron and all of the Levitical priests sprinkled the people of Israel with the blood of the animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant. We are literally being showered and cleansed with the Precious Blood of Jesus.

      Let His Blood be upon us and upon our children.

      I believe this is happening at every Mass in a dimension that we are not, at this time, able to physically see. And so TO the Jews who stood in Pilate’s courtyard as my representative, and as the representatives of all humanity, and called the Precious Blood of Jesus down upon humanity, all I can say is THANK YOU. God heard the deep, groaning cry of Israel, and answered it, even though Israel didn’t understand it themselves. And again, isn’t this exactly what I do as an individual? I lash out at God in groans of anger and despair and misunderstanding, and He hears me, and answers by transforming my anger and despair and misunderstanding into grace, through His Mercy.

      In the last month and a half since I burned my Koran on YouTube, I have received a significant amount of anti-semitic email and comments left on my YouTube Channel. They are all fairly similar, but I did reply to one in particular. The man started out by complimenting my burning of the Koran and then asked, “When are you going to go after the Christkillers?” And then proceeded to launch into a typical anti-semitic diatribe, concluding that if I didn’t share in his anti-semitism, that I wasn’t really a Christian. I responded thusly:

      “Sir, you are deeply confused. I killed Jesus. The Jews are merely the historical proxy for me.”

      That shut him up. And I would invite all of the Jews the world over to feel free to use my reply if ever accused of being “Christkillers”. Please reply by saying, “No, Ann Barnhardt killed Christ.” 

      Because that is the truth. I betray Him, and like Judas, I do it with a kiss.

      It is ME who is whipping Him with the flagellum at the pillar. It is ME who spits on Him and laughs at Him as He carries the Cross that should be mine. It is ME who nails Him to the Cross. And it is ME who callously walks away leaving Him to die in my stead. And I do it every damn day. And yet He stays. You would think that He would eventually get to the point where He would simply say, “This is too much. I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry it didn’t work out between us, but I think it is better that we just go our separate ways.” But no. He’s not going anywhere because it is the same with me as it is with Israel. We are in a covenant, and He will not forsake that covenant. Ever. No matter how much I deserve it. He chose to enter into it, and I am free to choose whether or not I respond to that covenant or not – just like Israel was free to drift in and out of His Grace over the centuries.

      Now that we understand that Israel is the proxy for all of humanity, both on a macro scale, and on a micro, individual scale, we can now turn to the question of proper systems of human governance as revealed to Israel and recorded in scripture.

      We need to start in Exodus chapter 18. Israel has just escaped Egypt and is traversing the desert toward Mt. Sanai. Moses is visited by his father-in-law, Jethro. Yes, the Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies is named after Moses’ wifes’ father. And for very good reason, because Jethro was blessed by God with wisdom that would affect all of humanity. When Jethro arrived, Moses was sitting at the head of a huge line of people. One by one, each party would approach Moses and tell him of some sort of problem or disagreement between them that needed judgment, and one by one, Moses would judge these issues and claims. And this would go on for days, because there were hundreds of thousands of people in Israel, even at this time. Moses was judging them and governing them all alone.

      When Jethro saw this he told Moses that it was “not good”. Jethro then, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explained to Moses the concept of governmental subsidiarity. Jethro laid out a system whereby the people were encouraged to govern themselves in a tiered representative structure. The first tier removed from the individuals themselves was in groups of ten families. This would be the analogue of a neighborhood. The next representative tier was in goups of fifty. This would be analogue to a city or county commission. The next tier was in groups of one hundred. This would be the analog of a state legislature. The next tier would be in groups of one thousand. This would be the analogue of a national legislature. Finally came Moses himself, with Aaron at his right hand and Joshua at his left hand. This would be the equivalent of a Chief Executive with a cabinet.

      Yes, our current system of representative republic governance in the United States was modeled after the Jethrine system in scripture. The big difference between The Jethrine system and our system is that in the Jethrine system, Moses personally appointed all of the representatives based upon their Godliness and good character. In our system, representatives and the Chief Executive, or President, are elected. However, the over-arching concept here is the concept of SUBSIDIARITY.

      Subsidiarity is defined as the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which can not be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. In other words, the most power resides with the sovereign individual, and as layers of government move away from the individual, the power structure necessarily dilutes, being tasked with those objectives that only they are capable of performing.

      In the case of our federal government, those tasks would include such things as coordinating national defense, negotiating and entering international treaties and trade agreements, and perhaps most importantly, ensuring that the Rule of Law as defined in the Constitution is preserved, protected and defended throughout the chain of subsidiarity all the way back to the individual.

      This concept of subsidiarity was first formally defined and codified by – GUESS WHO – the Catholic Church, although the concept existed and was understood and practiced in various ways all the way back to Jethro and Moses at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The Catholic Church has always understood subsidiarity through the life and actions of Christ Himself. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, manifested His Kingship by submitting Himself totally and completely to his subjects, to the point of willingly dying for them, and thus doing for them the one thing that they could never do for themselves, which is make perfect atonement for their sins.

      Subsidiarity is not exclusive to democracy, representative republic or parliamentary republics. Subsidiarity can be executed in many systems of governance, including hereditary monarchies. This is why Christ did not call out a specific form of governance, because He knew that many forms of governance are feasible, so long as subsidiarity is observed. History has shown us that a Godly man can reign as a king, living as a humble servant to his people. In the Old Testament Good Kings included Asa, Hezekiah and Josiah. In modern times, King St. Louis the ninth of France, King St. Stephen the first of Hungary, and King St. Casmir of Poland are examples of Godly monarchs who ruled in a spirit of subsidiarity.

      As a corollary, democratic or representative republic systems do not guarantee subsidiarity, and if infiltrated and usurped by Godless, power-hungry, money-grubbing moral degerates like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Lindsey Graham, John McCain and all the rest, those systems will lead to totalitarianism and ultimate collapse.

      That is what we are seeing happen right now. This is also why the so-called “Arab Spring” is no such thing. The totalitarianism of the Islamic political system, elevated to power, though it may be, by democracy, is still totalitarianism. So long as islam is the driving force behind ANY form of government, that government is satanic by definition, and by definition will destroy the people within it. Don’t kid yourself. The Arab Spring is the Arab Winter, because that is all it can ever be.

      The Catholic Church, and many Protestant sects as well, today have been infiltrated and infested by Marxists. There is still a remnant remaining, but please understand that the infiltration and rot is DEEP. Any Catholic, from a lay person all the way up to an Archbishop or Cardinal, who proclaims Marxism, and ratifies the concentration of power in the state to redistribute wealth by force, or to elevate the importance of the collective above the dignity of the individual is a DIRTY SATANIC LIAR. Period. End of story.

      And that goes not just for Catholics but any Christian or Jew, because the concept of subsidiarity was revealed at the foot of Mt. Sinai, recorded in the Torah, and demonstrated par excellence by Christ crucified on Calvary.

      The argument that Christ’s call to love and serve the poor is to be achieved by dehumanizing the individual and installing a totalitarian state is satanic, serpentine manipulation. You filthy Marxist scum have been twisting and perverting the Gospel into this satanic filth for decades, and you know what? I’m ending it. Right here and right now.

      You CAN NOT BE both a Christian or an observant Jew and a Marxist.

      Specifically to Christians now: you cannot advocate a satanic system of governance whilst claiming to be preaching the Gospel of Christ. Nope. You have to pick. It’s either Marxism or Christ.

      And so to Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the majority of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the majority of the Jesuit order, the majority of the United Methodist church, the majority of the Presbyterian Church USA, the majority of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the majority of the Episcopalian Church (what little is left), and of course, the ironically named Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ, and all of the others, CHOOSE. 

      CHOOSE NOW. 

      It is either Christ or Marx. If you choose Christ – great. Praise the Lord. If you choose Marx – in even the smallest way – and we all know that you will, pack your bags and get out. And we’ll be praying for you and for your conversion and return to the fold as authentic Christians. But your days of squatting in the Church are OVER.

      Finally, I would like to lay out my three-point tactical plan should the Marxist-islamic poop hit the proverbial fan, which I am afraid is all but inevitable at this point.

      In this portion, I would like to focus once again especially on the Jews in the audience. So far, we have established how Israel has been the proxy for humanity throughout Salvation History. Understanding that as we do, we can now see that to hate Israel is to hate humanity itself.

      All we need do to confirm this is look at where the locus of anti-Semitism exists in today’s world. There are two main loci today: Marxism and islam. Both of these political systems have at their core an intrinsic hatred of the individual man. Both mask this seething hatred by wrapping themselves in a false cloak of collectivism, manifested in the call for Marxist class warfare and jihad. Both systems use the Jews as their primary scapegoat and whipping boy, blaming all problems in the world on Jews, and then calling for the “final solution” to the stumbling block to utopia that is the Jewish race.

      From the Koran to Mein Kampf, the rhetoric is exactly the same: exterminate the Jews so that utopia can be achieved. But what this is at its core is a call to exterminate humanity itself, which is the ultimate goal of both Marxism and islam. If the Jews are exterminated, the rest of humanity will follow quickly, because if the Jews are exterminated, that means that there are no longer any people of good will on earth who could see and understand the representative quality of humanity itself in Israel. No one would be left to take up the banner of Christ and the Church Militant to march against the forces of evil in defense of not just Israel, but of all human life on earth. It is essential to approach, understand and see this coming war with the forces of evil through that lens.

      I recently saw a video of an Islamic execution taped in the Middle East. In it, the three condemned men were bound hand and foot, standing beside an incinerator, or furnace. The men were doused with an accelerant, presumably gasoline, and then thrown alive into the incinerator, where they could be seen writhing in flames as they died in the furnace. These men were not Jews, but that is beside the point. They were human beings who ran afoul of Sharia Law.

      This is what is coming. This, and executions like this, are the inevitable destination of both islam and Marxism. Hitler had his ovens. Stalin had his gulags. Mao had his execution quotas. The Khmer Rouge had their killing fields.

      And so here is what I say to all people of good will, but specifically today to the Jews. If a second holocaust begins and you find yourself standing bound on the precipice of an incinerator – I’m coming.

      My first tactical objective will be to come in, guns-a-blazing, and rescue you and we’ll both get out of there, and hopefully take a bunch of evil men out in the process. That is objective number one.

      If that doesn’t work and I am unable to free you by force of arms, I will negotiate with the evil executioners to switch places with you. I will offer to be executed in your place, so long as you are freed. That is tactical objective number two.

      If that doesn’t work, then I am going to stay and die with you.

      There is no possible way that I am going to turn my back on you as you stand on the precipice of the incinerator, walk away and let you die alone and afraid and then congratulate myself on my ability to “handle and survive the situation”. No. I am going to stand beside you, I am going to throw my arms around you, and I am going hold you and tell you that I love you. I am going to make certain that the last sounds you hear ringing in your ears on this earth are the sounds of a friend telling you that you are loved, and that you are precious, and that you are not, never have been, and never will be alone. And then we will go into the incinerator together. Because I can’t think of a better way to die – with the words “I love you” on my lips. THAT is tactical objective number three.

      One final question. Do you honestly believe that Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or John Kerry or any of the Hollywood people, or Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann or Joy Behar or any of the people who would call me a venomous hate-spewing bigot would stay and die with you if it came down to that? Of course they wouldn’t and we all know this. But I am the hate monger. I’m the bigot. I am the danger to society.

      Ladies and gentlemen, Western Civilization has officially jumped the shark. The words, “I love you”, delivered in sincere Christian charity are now a hate crime that warrants the suppression of free speech.

      Thank you for your time.

      My name is Ann Barnhardt . . . . and I love you.

                History Hop - Warring States China - 475BC to 221BC        
      I'm participating in Beady Eyed Bunny's "History Hop" this weekend.  Each of us is to pick a country and period in history, do some research and then create a piece of jewellery around that research.

      I decided I needed a bit of a stretch, so picked China as my country from the list that Beady Eyed Bunny gave, then picked the Warring States period, manly so I could make beads with lots of dots on them!  The Warring States period is known for a specific style of beads, often used as inspiration by modern beadmakers, and is known for layers of dots, often referred to as horns.  I took a class with Larry Brickman several years ago, who introduced me to the style, and since I hadn't used the technique in a while, I thought this would be perfect.

      Lets go back to the Warring States period.  It was a period of significant conflict, leading to the conquering and consolidation of seven states of China into the Qin dynasty.  Significant advancements in the art of warfare, including the invention of the crossbow and advancements in ironworking, are likely to have happened during this period.  Because of the amount of conflict and change, advancements in schools of thought, including the rise of Confucianism and Taoism, were thought to be the "golden age" of Chinese philosophical thinking, and this period is included in the time that the Hundred Schools of Thought existed.

      In my work, I tried to capture some of these elements in the necklace that I made - this was one of the first periods in Chinese history where mass production was used to arm soldiers in conflict.  This made outfitting an army much easier, and so the scale of military campaigns was greater than in any period before.  I represented this through the repeating elements of small turquoise circles, which would have been time consuming to reproduce by hand, but much easier with mechanical assistance.  I incorporated the "free thinking" aspects of the period into the bold and unusual colour scheme - I don't normally work with turquoise, or orange or green, but they seem to have worked out well in this piece.

      My research into jewellery or elements that would have existed around this time uncovered two trends - one was the Warring States style beads, which are easily identifiable by the layers of dots incorporated.   Because of this, they are also known as "Dragon Eye Beads".   The Warring States period was one of the first periods in Chinese history to start creating glass jewellery, although techniques were thought to have been adopted from Europe.  The other trend was to make monochrome funeral objects out of glass, using glass to represent the more expensive and harder to work with material of jade.

      To incorporate these trends, I decided to make a disk in the Warring States style at the bottom of the necklace.  This is then hung from cord, and attached with another Warring States style bead to the main necklace with a small bail.   For the main necklace, I decided that I really liked a technique that I used in my "Bead Soup Blog Party" work, which uses a right angle weave technique to set disks flat.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the right stringing material - too stiff, and the work wouldn't hand properly; too weak, and the material wouldn't support the stone and glass that is incorporated.

      Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the work - it's a large departure for me from the colours and materials that I usually use, but it's nice to step out of the box once in a while!  I look forward to seeing what everyone else has made!

      If you'd like to visit others on this hop, the list of participants is as follows:

      Leah Curtis - Indus Valley - beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
      Laney Mead - Māori - laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
      Becca - Art Nouveau - godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
      Melissa - English Romanticism and Mourning Jewelry - beadrecipes.wordpress.com
      Tracy Stillman - Native American - tracystillmandesigns.com
      Gerda - English Romanticism and Mourning Jewelry - gerdascraftsblog.blogspot.com
      Liz E - Native North American - beadcontagion.blogspot.com
      Ahowin - Māori (New Zealand)  - blog.ahowinjewelry.com 
      Jasvanti - Indus Valley - jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com
      Lizzie - Art Nouveau - theneedtobead.blogspot.co.uk
      Julia Hay - Merovingian - pandanimal.blogspot.co.uk
      Dini - Celtic - angazabychanges.blogspot.nl
      Caroline - Art Nouveau - blueberribeads.co.uk 
      Charlie - Moche of Peru - clay-space.com/blog
      Karin - China - maverickbeads.blogspot.com
      Niky Sayers - Rome - silverniknats.blogspot.com
      Marcia Dunne - Celctic and Mourning Jewelry - thealternativefoundry.blogspot.co.uk
      anafiassa - Mesopotamia - anafiassa.blogspot.com
      Kokopelli - Native American - kokopellidesign.blogspot.com
      Christa - Native American - adventuresofwonebeadywoman.blogspot.com
      Clair - Roman - obstinatepursuit.blogspot.co.uk
      Susan Bowie - Native American - susanbowie.wordpress.com
      Gloria Allen - English Romanticism - gloriaallendesigns.blogspot.com
      Sheila Garrett - Early Russia - 4brownowl.blogspot.co.uk
                Sprint and Softbank Forced into Tactical Warfare        

      Sprint and Softbank are being forced into tactical warfare. U.S. satellite-TV company Dish Network, run by the enigmatic Charlie Ergen, put forward a highly conditional $2.3 billion offer for Clearwire, a spectrum owner integral to the ambitions of Sprint and its Japanese buyer. Though the bid is unlikely to go far, it could pressure Sprint to pay more - or strike a deal with Dish.

      The offer trumps Sprint’s $2.2 billion agreed deal for Clearwire. Though a board committee is considering the rival offer, it’s hard to imagine how it could possibly succeed. Sprint controls just over half of Clearwire’s votes and says it won’t accept. Part of Dish’s offer is to buy 24 percent of Clearwire’s spectrum outright for $2.2 billion, a proposal Clearwire has rejected before. What’s more, Clearwire can’t sell the spectrum without Sprint’s consent.

      The Potemkin offer will nevertheless have consequences. Uppity investors already have come out against Sprint’s bid, which followed Softbank’s $20 billion deal to buy 70 percent of Sprint last October. Dish’s interloping at the very least lends intellectual credence to the idea that Sprint is trying to grab Clearwire on the cheap. That could tangle up Sprint’s deal in legal knots. Further, Sprint needs three-quarters of Clearwire shares for approval. Activists hold under 15 percent, but Dish’s offer could help them woo more investors to their plight.

      Sprint may consider a sweetener, even if its bid is the only realistic one on the table for troubled Clearwire. Softbank is eager to tackle the U.S. market and to do that it needs additional bandwidth. Clearwire is the obvious source. Increasing the bid could clear the path for Sprint and Softbank to get down to business.

      With the Clearwire shareholder vote months away, there’s plenty of time for Dish to make trouble. The company is sitting on a whopping 40 megahertz of spectrum it bought from two bankrupt firms. It’s probably worth three times the $3 billion Dish paid, after regulators allowed it to be repurposed from satellite use to cellular. That means Ergen could now be a seller and might explain why he’s positioning himself as a spoiler with Sprint. Until he explains himself, deal watchers will have to consult Sun Tzu instead. 

      Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

                Politics - USA        
       Peregrine wrote:
      I guess you're going to overlook the part where the US imposed trade restrictions on Japan and was building up its own forces for an expected war?

      And you're going to overlook that the only reason that happened was because Japan was waging an extremely brutal war in China, and had engaged in open warfare with Britain, Russia, and France as part of the exploding Second World War? For arguing that we shouldn't look at the Pearl Harbor attack in a vacuum, you're sure shoving the whole thing into that Dust Devil.

      Japan shot first, but it's pretty likely that we would have shot first if they'd waited long enough for us to have the opportunity.

      War doesn't work that way. Breaking off oil trade doesn't even remotely amount to Casus Belli, and even if breaking off oil trade did, Japan would still have failed the test since the only reason the embargo was a potential crisis was on account of their unwinnable war in China and throwing themselves into conflict with Britain and Russia and Vichy France. None of those things were America's fault, and Japan creating a crisis for itself does not give them just cause to wage a war on a state that was nominally at peace with them.

      Japan's actions were rational within the context of their foreign policy, but we can't really brush aside what that foreign policy was in 1941.The US was no saint (still isn't), but if we're talking about war, guilt, and who was the victim, the US and Japan are not remotely on the same level when it comes to the events that transpired in the aftermath of 1937.
                Re:Politics - USA        
       Peregrine wrote:
      I never said that the US was wrong to take the position they took in opposing Japan, but it was still a choice they made. They decided to step in and say "this is not acceptable", and knew perfectly well that war was the likely result of that decision. If you step in someone's path and say "bring it on" you don't really get to claim victim status when they bring it, no matter how good your intentions were in opposing them.

      War was not a certain outcome at that point as far as contemporary minds were concerned. If it were, the US/Japan would have simply declared war instead of attempting continued negotiations. We can see in hindsight that this was a certain outcome, because we know things now that Japanese and American officials did not at the time. It wouldn't be till after the war that the US learned Japan was actually ready to end its wars in Indochina and China, and would have if not for Hideki Tojo and the Imperial Army being outright against anything short of an impossible complete victory on Mainland Asia. Likewise, Japan thought that FDR would relent if they sweetened the pot enough, and in some fantasy flight Tojo actually though FDR would let him Ninking all of East Asia if he just made the deal good enough. They didn't know FDR just didn't give a gak what they offered. He thought they were wrong, and he wasn't budging (to be fair, I doubt any world leader short of Stalin/Hitler/that Italian guy would have gone for such a deal). Had we a better understanding of the state of Japan's internal politics, we might have never put up the oil embargo in the first place. We threw that out as a giant double down thinking "they have to stop now.:" With the advantage of hindsight, FDR's administration might have never pulled that stunt. He didn't want to be dragged into a war with Japan while he was busy trying to drag us into a war with Germany.

      And of course, even now most Americans probably don't realize how disastrous it was that Woodrow Wilson, America's favorite punching bag President, tabled the Racial Equality Amendment proposed by Japan in 1919. Americans brushed it off pretty quick, because we just didn't care, but that was a huge deal for Japanese policy makers. Tojo and his friends especially took that very seriously. They viewed any negotiation with the US as pointless, assuming we'd just ignore anything we didn't like when it suited us and given the structure of the Imperial government at the time Tojo could basically say "you're going to do what I want or I'll crash this government and start a new one." Which he totally loved doing. The entire event pretty much put Japan in a "I just don't give a gak anymore" mood. Even as there were people in the Imperial government who favored more sensible courses, radicals were perfectly positioned to block anything reasonable from ever being achieved.

      And then we just get back to the more immediate issue, drop all the hypothetical what ifs and address the reality that Japan from 1937 to 1941 was starting a new war annually, was political locked into a foreign policy that found peace anemic, and had joined the "we're committed crimes against humanity on an international scale" club (to be fair, we were already members of that one). While the oil embargo was the immediate spark that put the US and Japan on the path to war, that reality does not twist into erasing that the US was the victim of an unprovoked military action. Economic sanctions can translate into cause of war under most theories of warfare, but not in the context of Japan's situation, where the sanctions would have never happened lacking a half dozen other wars they were already engaged in. Just War theory don't work that way, and I'm unaware of any other theory of warfare that does. The US was under no obligation to sell to Japan the means of continuing its wars, and Japan didn't have the right to bomb us because "feth those Americans for not selling us oil."

      This is like arguing that girl who got a little tipsy at the bar shouldn't have worn short shorts. If she hadn't the mean old Japanese military dicatatorship wouldn't have raped her in that alley behind the bar.
                Is the World's Second-Biggest Telecom Provider a U.S. Security Threat?        

      Earning the trust of Americans is proving a Sisyphean task for Huawei. The Chinese telecom supplier has consistently fought reports of too-close ties to the People’s Liberation Army and undue influence from Beijing. Now a panel of U.S. congressmen has publicly labelled the employee-owned group and its rival ZTE a security threat. True or not, the accusation is a serious blow.

      Despite frequent protestations, it’s hard for Huawei to prove conclusively that it’s not an arm of the security services. Much of the evidence in a report from the Congressional Intelligence committee is classified. Fears are often vague and poorly evidenced, from talk of booby-trapped products to lawmakers’ claim that Huawei supplied a cyberwarfare unit of the Chinese army.

      But for telecom providers, mud sticks. Huawei’s fastest growth comes not from governments but from businesses and consumers. Executives and patriotic individuals will think twice about choosing a supplier that, according to panel chairman Mike Rogers speaking on U.S. television on Oct. 7, is antithetical to the “national security of the United States of America”.

      The argument isn’t really with Huawei but with the Chinese government, and its model of state capitalism. Trust between the two countries has ebbed and flowed since relations were normalised in 1979. Mostly both sides have remained rational. The delivery of an allegedly bug-laden Boeing for then-president Jiang Zemin in 2001 marked a low, but a decade later, China was placing a $19 billion order for Boeing jets.

      What more can Huawei do? A mooted initial public offering would be largely cosmetic – the company already discloses its financial performance, and ZTE’s public listing hasn’t shielded it from criticism. Alternatively Huawei could beef up its board, currently stuffed with long-serving company insiders. With two-thirds of the company’s revenues coming from outside China, there’s a strong case for adding directors with serious international clout.

      What Huawei can’t do, however, is distance itself from China’s government-heavy economy, where research, finance and industry are all subject to close state involvement. Separating Huawei’s non-Chinese business is a non-starter for a company labelled by Beijing politicians as a “national champion”. Until political relations improve, China’s telcos will remain political pawns.

      Read more:


                Politics - USA        
       BrotherGecko wrote:
      Either way its hardly unique and is a fairly common view point from what I've been gathering now that I'm aware of its existance.

      I don't think that's what he's getting at.

      I'd innately question any author who took the geopolitics of US-Japanese relations in the inter-war years, and used that relationship to make a moral judgement amounting to "America was asking for it, and was just as guilty in starting the war as Japan." In a realist sense, this statement is true. US foreign policy and Japanese foreign policy were not compatible, and given our knowledge now prolonged peace was extremely unlikely. That position however does not make moral judgments like "America wasn't the victim." By any standard of looking at war, America was the victim of unprovoked military aggression.

      War theory tends to look poorly on the side that throws the first punch in general. It looks even more poorly when that punch is thrown at a tertiary party in continuance of ongoing wars with multiple primary parties when the tertiary party to the knowledge of the aggressor was not an immediate threat (immediate as in tomorrow. It gets even worse when the primary conflicts are all unwinnable, and the new conflict started in their furtherance is to execute a military plan that not only starts another unwinnable war, but doesn't make the other wars winnable.

      Japan attacked the US because they believed the US would intervene if the Empire tried to seize British Borneo and the Dutch East Indies. Japan decided to take those territories because it could provide them with oil. They ignored that there wasn't enough oil in these areas to meet their needs (i.e. taking them would not help them win their wars). Whether or not the US would have intervened is pretty hotly debated, but the reality is that the US thought the oil embargo would work, and we put a lot less thought into "what do we do if it doesn't."

      The US basically entered WW1 because we had a financial stake in it.

      Hey. Let's give Britain some credit here. Nothing gets a country to join a war like finding out another country was talking to its neighbor about a military alliance to take back Texas, and boy oh boy was Britian happy to tell us all about it

      Plus unrestricted submarine warfare was kind of a dick move anyway.
                Politics - USA        
      The zimmerman telegram was really a minor affair in the grand scheme of things that was made way worse because Germany basically didnt deny it but tried to explain it as Realpolitik, but wasnt any different than what all the world powers were doing.

      Unrestricted submarine warfare was simply the only way submarines could work, when they tried to follow the old establishes rules they were extremely easy to destroy, and British Q ships masquerading as merchant vessels meant they couldnt take the chance, and Submarines were the only answer the Germans had to the British blockade of Germany. Britain sealed off German via suface vessels, going far beyond the accepted blockade norms of the time and preventing even foodstuffs coming in, eventually resulting in mass starvation. We had much less prewar trade with Germany though so we didnt complain much.

      The US then basically insisted that any vessel with a US citizen on board was immune to attack, even if it was carrying purely military cargo destined for a combatant nation and under active escort by a combatant navy...which was more than a wee bit ridiculous by any standard...

      Then of course in WW2 unrestricted submarine warfare was the norm from day 1, including with the US navy...
                Politics - USA        
      The Zimmerman Telegram was a big deal, mostly because it caused a complete shift in the attitudes of the American public. We were still pretty Anti-British as a country, and the electorate could care less about joining Britain's side. The economics of the war are pretty straight forward, and unrestricted submarine warfare was totally pissing us off and driving US policy makers towards joining the war. They really needed the electorate to get on board though, and the Zimmerman Telegram got the electorate on board.

      And yes. Zimmerman explaining it as realpolitik and then not understanding why we didn't get it is comedy skit material

      The US then basically insisted that any vessel with a US citizen on board was immune to attack, even if it was carrying purely military cargo destined for a combatant nation and under active escort by a combatant navy...which was more than a wee bit ridiculous by any standard...

      It's definitely unreasonable to expect Germany to magically know which ships had US citizens on board, though on the other hand, why the feth is Germany torpedoing civilian shipping traveling under the flag of states it's not at war with? Total War doctrine does not extend to attacking the citizens and property of non-aggressor states simply because they happen to be traveling to an aggressor state. It's kind of unreasonable for Germany to think it could blow up US shipping and citizens as part of their war with a third party, so I'd say on that particular point the US wasn't being unreasonable at all. We weren't at arms with Germany, and Germany's right to wage its war against Britain does not under any standard extend to attacking US citizens as military targets.

      Then of course in WW2 unrestricted submarine warfare was the norm from day 1, including with the US navy...

      It got Donitz off
                Politics - USA        
      Not saying that Japan was the worst (Nazi Germany probably had them beat...probably)....

      However if you haven't ever read about the horrific things done by Unit 731 (Japanese biological warfare/experimental unit)....it is pretty chilling.


      You have been appropriately warned.


                Politics - USA        
       LordofHats wrote:
      The Zimmerman Telegram was a big deal, mostly because it caused a complete shift in the attitudes of the American public. We were still pretty Anti-British as a country, and the electorate could care less about joining Britain's side. The economics of the war are pretty straight forward, and unrestricted submarine warfare was totally pissing us off and driving US policy makers towards joining the war. They really needed the electorate to get on board though, and the Zimmerman Telegram got the electorate on board.
      right, but again, wasnt any different than what all the great powers were doing, germany just basically got caught with that one...by the British illegally intercepting US transatlantic communications

      And yes. Zimmerman explaining it as realpolitik and then not understanding why we didn't get it is comedy skit material
      right, had Germany denied it, it would have blown over, most could have chalked it up to British propaganda or left it at least suspect. Germany being honest about it and saying "hey, we're all doing this, this is a 'just in case' thing, you understand right?" was the problem, playing into FrancoBritish information-war stuff of the time.

      It's definitely unreasonable to expect Germany to magically know which ships had US citizens on board, though on the other hand, why the feth is Germany torpedoing civilian shipping traveling under the flag of states it's not at war with?
      Because they're transporting war supplies to a combatant power? The laws of war at the time allowed them to stop, seize, and sink these vessels, the big issue was that they were supposed to warn the ships and disembark the passengers...which they stopped doing because Submarines were ill suited to taking on passengers and Submarines started getting sunk when they tried to play nice.

      Germany gave ample warning to the general public however. hell theres a clip of a newspaper where tickets for the Luisitania (later confirmed to be carrying several million rounds of ammunition and other war supplies) are being advertised...and on the same page is a message from the German Embassy about their current stance on vessels travelling to the UK and the risk of such travel.

      Britain was turning away neutral, noncombatant vessels away from German ports and boarding their vessels and seizing their goods, they just werent sinking much of anything because surface vessels could afford to take the risk and people stopped trying to ship stuff to Germany entirely because of the blockade pretty much immediately (and they werent as large a trading partner to begin with).

      Total War doctrine does not extend to attacking the citizens and property of non-aggressor states simply because they happen to be traveling to an aggressor state. It's kind of unreasonable for Germany to think it could blow up US shipping and citizens as part of their war with a third party, so I'd say on that particular point the US wasn't being unreasonable at all.
      it certainly allowed for interdiction of neutral shipping to a combatant nation. The British were doing it from day 1. The issue with Germany was that submarines could not play by the old rules of "well you have to want them and give them time to disembark first".

      We weren't at arms with Germany, and Germany's right to wage its war against Britain does not under any standard extend to attacking US citizens as military targets.
      which then meant that the British could just put a US citizen on every ship and make it safe from attack no matter what it was doing by the standards the US was trying to push.

      Then of course in WW2 unrestricted submarine warfare was the norm from day 1, including with the US navy...

      It got Donitz off
      right, but it shows that it was a relatively lame pretext for war when nobody even pays lip service to it the next time around
                Politics - USA        
       Vaktathi wrote:
      by the British illegally intercepting US transatlantic communications

      More comedy skit material

      The laws of war at the time allowed them to stop, seize, and sink these vessels,

      No they didn't. That's why we were so peeved, and Britain and France liked harping on it to get us involved. Under no standard of war is permission granted to attack third parties who are not engaged in the conflict militarily. The World Wars were marked in general by the willingness of states to completely ignore what were the assumed conventions of warfare and wartime conduct (chemical gas, unrestricted submarine warfare, trench guns, etc), but that doesn't change that the US was not at war with Germany, and Germany had no right under the norms of war to attack American ships and passengers as military targets. Germany giving warning that they were going to attack a non-party to their war doesn't make it better anymore than Zimmerman explaining "we were just saying "if there's a war,"."

      Britain was turning away neutral, noncombatant vessels away from German ports and boarding their vessels and seizing their goods,

      And that's Britains choice, and their problem.

      it certainly allowed for interdiction of neutral shipping to a combatant nation.

      I think that under the standards of Maritime law at the time that's a dubious position. It's less likely to piss someone off as much as blowing ships up though.

      which then meant that the British could just put a US citizen on every ship and make it safe from attack no matter what it was doing by the standards the US was trying to push.

      There's a difference between sinking a British ship when you can't possible know it's passenger manifest, and attacking ships from a country you are not at war with. One is an unreasonable expectation, the other is not.

      it shows that it was a relatively lame pretext for war when nobody even pays lip service to it the next time around

      Eh, as a pretext for war "you attacked my people and their property even though we aren't at war with you" is a pretty good pretext for war.

      I think I've committed a blunder in terminology. When attacking unrestricted submarine warfare, I don't mean to attack Germany for pragmatically deciding they couldn't be nice and play by traditional Prize Rules (that was suicidal as you point out). I mean to attack Germany to attacking ships belonging to states they were not at war with (both with Submarines and surface vessels). That's a war crime, and even in World War II, the US didn't go that far. Of course, in World War II we had the advantage that pretty much everyone was on someone's side, so it was really hard to sink a ship belonging to someone we weren't at war with if only for lack of targets.

      Automatically Appended Next Post:
       BrotherGecko wrote:

      Well currently I have the long essay "Empire as a Way of Life" by William Appleman Williams (lol), "America's Half-Century: United States Foreign Policy in the Cold War and After" by Thomas J. McCormick and the seemingly provocative "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II" by William Blum all inflicted upon me.

      Thanks. I'm not familiar with these authors (EDIT: Well McCormick sounds familiar, but I don't think I've ever read anything by him), so I'll add them to the reading list.

      Someone doesn't need to be an expert to have an opinion (and me being well read doesn't innately make me one), so go and use your knowledge!

                Politics - USA        
       LordofHats wrote:

      No they didn't. That's why we were so peeved, and Britain and France liked harping on it to get us involved. Under no standard of war is permission granted to attack third parties who are not engaged in the conflict militarily. The World Wars were marked in general by the willingness of states to completely ignore what were the assumed conventions of warfare and wartime conduct (chemical gas, unrestricted submarine warfare, trench guns, etc), but that doesn't change that the US was not at war with Germany, and Germany had no right under the norms of war to attack American ships and passengers as military targets. Germany giving warning that they were going to attack a non-party to their war doesn't make it better anymore than Zimmerman explaining "we were just saying "if there's a war,"."
      Under the laws of war, blockade could be imposed and vessels, even neutral ones, could be stopped and war material seized. The British just labelled everything as War material and prevented shipping into Germany entirely from all nations, seizing cargo and vessels, including foodstuffs resulting in starvation even amongst the German civilian population. The Germans could only counter this with Submarines...which quickly determined seizing cargo wasnt possible.

      Either way the Germans were screwed if they did nothing, and nobody else in the same position would accept those conditions.

      To put it in a more modern perspective, if the US and China went to war tomorrow, would the US freely allow Indian or Brazillian vessels carrying arms and industrial materials into Chinese ports without challenge? No, of course not. Would anyone accept, with a straight face, that a Brazillian or Indian citizen aboard a Chinese vessel made it immune to attack by the US in such a situation? No, of course not.Thats the kind of stuff the US was trying to get away with.

      Britain was turning away neutral, noncombatant vessels away from German ports and boarding their vessels and seizing their goods,

      And that's Britains choice, and their problem.
      except nobody was raising the same stink about it with the British...because we were making gobs of money off of them. They basically got a free pass.

      I think that under the standards of Maritime law at the time that's a dubious position. It's less likely to piss someone off as much as blowing ships up though.
      sure, but the nature of submarines, the only option Germany had, basically means there isnt an alternative.

      There's a difference between sinking a British ship when you can't possible know it's passenger manifest, and attacking ships from a country you are not at war with. One is an unreasonable expectation, the other is not.
      except that the US position was that even on a Britsh flagged ship, a US citizen being on board effectively made it immune to attack, and there was demonstrable use by the Britsh of false flags (which was one of the major impetus for the opening of neutral vessels to attack).

      And again, the rules governing blockades allowed intercept of neutral vessels and potentially sinking them, the US only paid minimal lip service to the British doing this however, and that was a key component of Germany stepping up its efforts.

      Eh, as a pretext for war "you attacked my people and their property even though we aren't at war with you" is a pretty good pretext for war.
      except its more "my ships are carrying weapons, munitions, and other material explicitley intended for a combatants war effort...but because I'm not openly at war with you, you cant stop them". That really doesnt fly with anyone.

      The British certainly didnt allow Neutral ships into German ports regardless of what they were carrying, the only difference with the Germans was that they used Submarines instead of surface vessels, which necessitated sinkings. Aside from that the British were doing literally the exact same things to Neutral ships, stopping them, seizing cargo and ships, and interfering with free navigation.

      I think I've committed a blunder in terminology. When attacking unrestricted submarine warfare, I don't mean to attack Germany for pragmatically deciding they couldn't be nice and play by traditional Prize Rules (that was suicidal as you point out). I mean to attack Germany to attacking ships belonging to states they were not at war with (both with Submarines and surface vessels).
      . If they're carrying war material and a blockade is being enforced then action can certainly be taken, again the issue was the use of the submarine vs surface vessels and the tactics that entailed.

      That's a war crime, and even in World War II, the US didn't go that far.
      there werent really too many neutral powers in WW2 to sink really, that said, neutral powers like Sweden certainly faced hostile action and interference from the UK against its shipping and trade.

      Of course, in World War II we had the advantage that pretty much everyone was on someone's side, so it was really hard to sink a ship belonging to someone we weren't at war with if only for lack of targets.
      right, it just wasnt an issue that came up *too* much.

       Frazzled wrote:
       Vaktathi wrote:
      The zimmerman telegram was really a minor affair in the grand scheme of things .

      Says you. Other historians cite it as a primary causis belli.
      says me regarding the telegram itself, it was the poorly handled response that wss the bigger issue
                Jailbreak: Source - Big Breakout Weekend is here!        
      Jailbreak: Source - Big Breakout Weekend is here!
      Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell that guy who plays nothing but Modern Warfare 2.
                Epilogue To TREM '11 -- Cyberspace, The Friend Or Foe Of Technology And Western Civilization?        

      The purpose of this article is to research and compile information related to the topic of cyberspace as a battlefield for insidious new forms of economic warfare in which Last Mover Advantage could usurp First Mover Advantage.

      Although originally inspired by the memory of Thomas Jefferson's reason and imagination, and by the main reading room of the Library of Congress, it follows the ideas contained within that cave of knowledge to a vast new world of ideas depicted below in which connecting the dots can reveal important new patterns. It is as if the cupola at the center of the LOC's main reading room has been penetrated from both within and without, and this allows our ideas to both soar and escape.

      (click to enlarge)Cyberspace

      To what end will this knowledge be used? Previously, Edwin Blashfield's painting of a female figure in the cupola representing Human Understanding was visible only to those in the LOC Reading Room below. Immediately surrounding her is a mural consisting of a dozen 10-foot high figures representing the countries or epochs that contributed to the development of Western Civilization. These include:

      • Egypt: Written Record
      • Judea: Religion
      • Greece: Philosophy
      • Rome: Administration
      • Islam: Physics
      • The Middle Ages: Modern Languages
      • Italy: Fine Arts
      • Germany: The Art of Printing
      • Spain: Discovery
      • England: Literature
      • France: Emancipation
      • America: Science

      If abandoned or violated, what is to become of Western Civilization, and the democratic principles of liberty and justice for all? Unfortunately, to many it may seem more pragmatic to simply ask how to invest at the peak of Western Civilization, but those motivated by this line of thinking may not truly understand the big picture as well as they believe.

      The LOC Main Reading Room is also encircled by bronze portrait statues paying tribute to great thinkers on various topics. Let's call them the smartest guys in the room, who were very influential in their fields. This article is intended to serve as a virtual reading room that likewise seeks inspiration from great thinkers, but rather than relying upon statues accompanied by inscriptions on plaques, this virtual reading room will draw upon the knowledge of credible experts in fields related to the topic of this article.

      Comments posted to this article should therefore include links or references to primary sources of information, and the comments themselves should consist only of brief descriptions of the source material or its author accompanied by a key quote or passage capturing the essence of the main point(s) deemed to be of greatest interest or importance. If it is believed that personal knowledge or interpretations might be helpful, they should be clearly identified as being your own thoughts or opinions, so that the integrity of information compiled in this virtual reading room is preserved to the greatest extent possible.

                Warfare by Other Means: South Africa in the 1980's and 1990's        
      Warfare by Other Means: South Africa in the 1980's and 1990's
      author: Peter Stiff
      name: Mark
      average rating: 3.90
      book published: 2001
      rating: 0
      read at:
      date added: 2011/09/02
      shelves: south-african-history

                TIP #1200 THE TORY PROPRIETORS OF KENTUCKY LANDS – PART 4        
      Were your ancestors in Kentucky at this time? To continue –

      The first expedition actually conducted by the Girtys against Kentucky, so far as recorded, took place in the following autumn, when James and George advanced with about one hundred and seventy Wyandot warriors from Upper Sandusky down the valley of the Little Miami to the spot where Cincinnati now stands. Here, on October 4, they discovered Col. David Rogers’ flotilla of five boats ascending the Ohio with a large tore of goods and ammunition from St. Louis. Some fifty of Rogers’ men landed at once to attack the foe, but were quickly driven back to their barges, most of which the Indians succeeded in boarding. Only one, which was defended by thirteen soldiers, managed to escape. About forty of the whites were killed, while a rich supply of booty and a few prisoners fell into the hands of the victors. (C. W. Butterfield, History of the Girtys (Cincinnati, 1893), 113; Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 17, 79-94, 105,123). Thenceforth, the savages became very troublesome and small skirmishes became so common, according to Col. George Rogers Clark, as to receive little notice.

      Tory leadership had proved so successful in this first instance in Kentucky annals, that it is not surprising to find it being again employed in the following summer. Lieut. Governor Hamilton had surrendered to Clark at Vincennes, February 25, 1780, and been taken to Virginia as a prisoner. Hence, Major A. S. De Peyster had been transferred from the British post at Michilimaeine to Detroit. He was eager to regain what his predecessor had lost, and to that end dispatched a body of troops and Indians to the Illinois, while seeking to engage the attention of Clark and the Kentuckians by an expedition to the Falls of the Ohio (Louisville). He placed Capt. Henry Bird, a Virginia Loyalist, in command of the latter enterprise, with the three Girtys as aides. On leaving Detroit, Capt. Bird’s force consisted of one hundred and fifty Canadians and Loyalists and one hundred tribesmen from the Upper Lakes, carrying two field-pieces, but they were joined on the Miami by Capt. McKee and six hundred Indians. When the savages learned on the march that Clark was in command at the Falls, they refused to try a battle with him, and insisted on being led against the forts up the Licking. Although mutinous, they were wise, for the sound of their cannon was alone sufficient to secure the immediate surrender of Ruddle’s Station, with its three hundred inmates, on June 22. After killing all the cattle at this place, the Indians and their allies marched five miles farther to Martin’s Station where, with equal ease, they gained fifty more prisoners. A famine now ensued and terminated an invasion that night, except for the self-imposed loss of the animals at Ruddle’s, have uprooted the Kentucky settlements. As it was, Bird and his white contingent, together with Capt. Isaac Ruddle’s company as prisoners were constrained to return to their boats; by means of which they descended the Licking to the Ohio, and thence passed up the Great Miami on their way to Detroit. Here Ruddle and his men remained in captivity until November 3, 1782. The Indians, with their share of the prisoners, crossed the Ohio River, and proceeded in small parties to their several villages. (Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 192. Withers Chronicles of Border Warfare, 254, n. 285, 286, 294-909; Filson Club Publications No. 16, 118,119; ibid. No. 27, 168)

      The readiness with which the occupant of the two stations on the Licking surrendered is explicable by reason of the superior strength of the attacking force, supported, as it was, by the two cannon which Capt. Bird had brought from Detroit; but there were those of the time who attributed the double disaster to widespread disaffection among the settlers, many of whom refused to volunteer for offensive operations, choosing rather to remove “into the interior” than to take part in the common defense against the Loyalists and Indians. (Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 22, 186, 186, 265, 266).
      Meantime, in May, 1779, the General Assembly of Virginia passed an act concerning escheats and forfeitures, by which the already sequestered estates of Britons and Loyalists were to be condemned by escheators and sold. A year later it was represented to the Assembly that there were certain lands within the county of Kentucky, “formerly belonging to British subjects, not yet sold under the Law of Escheats and Forfeitures, which might at a future day be a valuable fund for the maintenance and education of youth.” In accordance with this suggestion, therefore, the Assembly now enacted a law vesting eight thousand acres of these forfeited lands in a board of thirteen trustees “as a free donation from the Commonwealth for the purpose of a public school or Seminary of Learning,” to be erected in Kentucky County “as soon as the circumstances of the county and the state of the funds” would admit. This grant comprised, as it happened, the two thousand acres of Alexander McKee on the south branch of Elkhorn Creek in the newly created county of Fayette, besides two other surveys of three thousand aces each, one near Lexington, formerly belonging to Henry Collins, and the other, called the Military Survey, at the mouth of Harrod’s Creek in Jefferson County, lately the property of Robert McKenzie. (Hening’s Statutes, IX, 377; X, 67; H. J. Eckenrode, Trhe Revolution in Virginia, 187, 188; Robert Peter and Joanna Peter, Filson Club Publications NO. 11, (Louisville, KY, 1896), 18, 19; ibid. No. 27, 69, 70).

      The same day on which this act was passed, but quite independently of its adoption, an escheating jury met at Lexington, Ky., and rendered a verdict of forfeiture against Connolly, who was still under restraint at Philadelphia as a prisoner of Congress, but was to be permitted to go to the British at New York within a few days, in anticipation of his exchange later in the year. Curiously enough, Daniel Boone, notwithstanding the charge previously made against him of trying to aid the crown, was a member of this jury, which decided that Connolly was the owner of the land at the Falls on July 4, 1776, and that he had of his own free will joined the subjects of the English king by April 10, 1774, the date fixed in the law of escheats and forfeitures. (Filson Club Publications No 8, 54, 56; Biennial Report, Archives and History, W. Va., 1911-1914, 41).

      That there were Loyalists nearer home than Connolly, McKee, and the others, whose Kentucky estates had now been confiscated, was revealed by the expedition against the Shawnees made during the first week of August, 1780, by Cols. Clark, Slaughter, and Logan, with nearly a thousand men, in retaliation for the descent on Ruddle’s and Martin’s Stations. They found Chillicothe largely deserted and still burning, and their movements thoroughly understood by the foe. Nevertheless, in the fighting that took place the Kentuckians acquitted themselves with such daring that James Girty, who was in command of three hundred warriors, retired with his contingent rather than encounter “fools and madmen.” In one of the huts the invaders discovered a Frenchman who admitted that a deserted from Col. Logan’s division had come in from the mouth of the Licking and joined the Indians, whom he warned of their danger. (Withers’ Chronicles of Border Warfare, 305-308; Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 231, 225, n. 98).

      Although smaller or larger hands of savages were “striking somewhere in Kentucky” during the autumn of 1780 and the open season of 1781, it was not until September of the latter year that they were again led by a Loyalist. About the middle of the month just named Capt. McKee, who was now accompanied by Chief Brant, head of the Six Nations, ally of Majr. John Butler’s Tory rangers at Fort Niagara, and wily leader of formidable scalping parties on the New York frontier, appeared at Boone’s Station (where Shelbyville now stands) at the head of strong contingents of Hurons and Miamis, and there defeated Col. John Floyd with a company of men from his own and other stations on Beargrass Creek, imposing a loss of half of this force. Brant’s presence is explained by the fact that he had been sent early in April, with seventeen of his tribesmen on a mission to McKee and the Western Indians by Col. Guy Johnson, the Loyalist superintendent of the Indian department at Niagara. It was McKee’s wish to conclude the present campaign with an assault on Boonesborough; but his unruly warriors chose to return at once to their villages. (Filson Club Publications No 8, 57-59; ibid. No. 12, 84; Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 374, 375).

      Whatever successes the Indiana won by themselves during this period, and they were generally minor ones, it is worth remarking that thus far the savages had usually been signally victorious when Loyalists served as their captains. That the Kentucky settlements would have fared far worse, perhaps suffering general annihilation, if the savages had been amenable to ordinary military discipline, is a view in support of which much may be said. Certainly, in June, 1782, the Indians threw away their final chance of spreading desolation among the pioneers south of the Ohio. At that time Simon and George Girty, Matthew Elliott, and Alexander McKee met Capt. William Caldwell and Capt. Andrew Bradt with sixty Tory rangers from Detroit and eleven hundred redmen of eight different nations, including the Delawares, at Wakitamiki (now Zanesville, Logan County, O.). This host first advanced to the main camp of the Shawnees at Old Chillicothe, in expectation of destroying an invading force under Col. George Rogers Clark. It was, according to McKee, the greatest body of Indians that had been assembled in this quarter since the beginning of the war. At any rate, it seems to have outnumbered slightly the whole force of fighting men in Kentucky at this time, which has been estimated at about one thousand. (Filson Club Publications. No. 12, 87-90, 134-136); E. P. Durrett, “Girty the White Indian” in Magazine of American History, March 18865; Butterfield, History of the Girtys, 193, 194, 198, 200, 205, 208).

      To be continued.

                TIP #1199 THE TORY PROPRIETORS OF KENTUCKY LANDS – PART 3        
      Governor Henry was correct at least in this, that the murder of the hostages would bring on hostilities within their tribe. Indeed, such hostilities had resulted nearly a fortnight before the Governor had expressed his opinion in the surrender of Daniel Boone and his camp of salt-makers at the Lower Blue Licks on February 7 and 8, 1778. But for us the interesting thing about the expedition which gained this success is that it was undertaken on the initiative of the Detroit authorities, who sent two French Canadians to engage four or five score of the Shawnees in an attempt to seize Boonesborough. Several of Boone’s contemporaries were so dissatisfied with his action in persuading the other salt-makers to surrender peaceably after his own capture, that they charged him later with being a Loyalist and a traitor. The Shawnees took their captives to Little Chillicothe on the Little Miami, and then part of the tribe started for Detroit, March 10, in company with eleven of the whites, including Boone. At the Northern post the famous Kentuckian was presented with a horse and trappings by Hamilton, while his companions were sold for ransom-money. It was on this horse that Boone escaped from his captors in the following June, bringing intelligence of a new expedition which the Shawnees had in contemplation. (Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 205, 207, 208, 252, n. 7, 283, p. 42. Withers’ Chronicles of Border Warfare, 205-267; Filson Club Publications No, 10, 64-68, 104, 105).

      The proposed foray was to be directed against Boonesborough, in order to avenge the tribe for an unsuccessful attack upon Donnelly’s Fort on the Greenbriar River, from which one of their war parties had returned on June 15. It was not until after Clark’s capture of Vincennes, however, that steps were taken to carry out the expedition. But again, as in the previous February, the movement was organized by French Canadians under orders from Detroit. These Canadians, who belonged to the Detroit militia, were led by Lieut. Antoine De Quindre, and assisted Chief Black Fish in assembling a force of almost four hundred and fifty Indians, mostly Shawnees, whom they supplied with a stock of ammunition and the English and French flags that were intended so to impress the inhabitants of Boonesborough that they would capitulate at once. On arriving at the fort, September 7, 1778, a messenger was sent forward to announce that Govenor Hamilton had entrusted letters to his representatives with the Indian army for Capt. Boone, and to ask a parley for the consideration of their contents. This was granted and on the following evening, after Boone had told Black Fish that the garrison would defend themselves to the last man, De Quindre reopened negotiations and succeeded in getting the principal men of the fort to sign a treaty on the tenth, renouncing allegiance to the United States and renewing their fealty to the king, on condition that the Indians would withdraw at once. This was evidently all in accordance with the plan of Hamilton, who believed from what Boone had told him at Detroit that the Kentucky settlers were already in a starving and nearly naked condition, and were without the prospect of relief from Congress. “Their dilemma”, he wrote to Sir Guy Carleton, April 25, 1775, “will probably induce them to trust the savages, who have shown so much humanity to their prisoners, and come to this place before winter.” But the Lieut. Governor’s plan to convert the garrison into Loyalists, and thus open the way for their reception at Detroit was, according to the evidence, doomed to failure from the start. The fort had but two score effective defenders, and Boone had used stratagem in the hope of ridding the place of a for eleven times as numerous. After the signing of the treaty, however, the redmen tried to detain the whites during the ceremony of handshaking, but the latter tore themselves away and ran back into their stronghold, which was then assailed repeatedly, though unsuccessfully. As a final means of capturing the place, the Indians dug a tunnel from the bank of the Kentucky River to a distance of about forty yards, or two-thirds of the way from the stream. But their scheme was frustrated by successive rainstorms, which caused sections of the mine to cave in. Altogether the garrison had withstood investment for nine days and nights, when the Indian army broke into detachments for the purpose of pillaging and ravaging about other stations. (Filson Club Publications No. 16, 68-104; Withers’ Chronicles of Border Warfare, 208-290; Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 283, 284; Filson Club Publications No. 27,44,45)

      Shortly after this siege Boone was tried by court martial at Logan’s Station on the charge of making treasonable attempts to aid the British in favoring the peace treaty at Boonesborough, in surrendering the salt-makers on the Lower Blue Licks, and on still another count. His immediate accuser was Cool. Richard Callaway; but he cleared himself by explaining that these acts were deceptions and stratagems dictated by military necessity, and practiced for the advantage of the settlers. That his conduct was not deemed reprehensible by his superior officers is shown by his promotion a little later to the rank of major. (Filson Club Publications No. 16, 104, 105).

      If the year 1778 was marked by Lieut. Governor Hamilton’s policy of detailing French Canadians to organize and accompany Indian expeditions against Kentucky, the next two years were characterized by an astonishing increase in the population of that country and the employment of border Loyalists, who held large landed interests south of the Ohio, to lead the war bands thither. This change in leadership was made possible by the flight of Capt. Alexander McKee, Matthew Elliott, Simon Girty, and several others from Fort Pitt on the night of March 28, 1778, the fugitives arriving at Detroit about two months later. Becoming deeply involved in a Tory plot at the former post, their machinations had been discovered and suppressed in the previous summer. At Detroit, Girty was appointed interpreter in the secret service, Elliott, captain in the Indian department, and McKee, deputy agent for Indian affairs. In the following August, they were joined by James Girty, who came in from the Shawnee village of Old Chillicothe, and was made interpreter to the Shawnees. Nine months later George Girty appeared, bringing a party of deserters from Kaskaskia, and was likewise appointed an interpreter. (Biennal Report, Archives and History, W. Va., 1911-1914, 41-34, 47; Kellogg, ed., Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio (Madison, Wis., 1937), 209, n.1)

      Contemporary mention of this westward migration throws considerable light on its magnitude and character. Early in August, 1779, Col. Daniel Brodhead wrote fro Fort Pitt that the inhabitants were so intent on removing to Kentucky, that there would be few volunteers. In March, 1780, Col. Richard Campbell of the Ninth Virginia Regiment recommended to Washington the removal of his men from Pittsburgh, because theyw ere constantly deserting to share in the settlement of Kentucky lands. In the following May, Brodhead informed the Rev. John Heckewelder that by fall “the settlements of Kentucky” would be able to turn out fifteen thousand men, and that the villainous Shawnees and their allies would soon find troublesome neighbors in that quarter.” Despite the exodus, Col. Brodhead was convinced by disclosure of new Tory activities in his neighborhood that there was still “a great number of disaffected inhabitants on this side of the mountain who wish for nothing more than a fair opportunity to submit to the British government.” Still, one must believe that not a few of these Loyalists, who were unable to keep their plans hidden, took advantage of the westward migration to go to Kentucky. That such was the case is indicated by a visitor to that region, who wrote to Col. George Morgan late in 1780: “Should the English go there and offer them protection from the Indians, the greatest part will join.” (Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 21, 22, 41, 149, 163, 164, 18, 176, 277).

      It was early in this period of movement to the new country, namely, in the latter part of May, 1779, that John Bowman, lieutenant of Kentucky County, undertook an offensive at the head of more than two hundred and fifty volunteers against the Shawnee town of Little Chillicothe on the Little Miami. After beginning the attack the whites, who were partly from Bowman’s district and partly from the upper valleys, were thrown into general disorder by the false report that Simon Girty and one hundred Shawnees were hastening from Piqua to the relief of the place. However, they soon recovered themselves, defeated the enemy which numbered less than half their own strength burned most of the village and crops, and carried off a great quantity of plunder. (Wickers’ Chronicles of Border Waters, 271-273).

      To be continued.

                Here’s what happened when they raised taxes 2,000+ years ago        
      In 353 BC, as violent class warfare broke out across ancient Greece, one wealthy Athenian lamented in his journal, When I was a boy, wealth was regarded as a thing so…admirable that almost everyone affected to own more property than he actually possessed. Now a man has to be ready to defend himself against being rich as if it were the worst of crimes. Ancient Greece had become deeply divided at that point. The opportunities from new ‘technology’ and new trade routes created a lot of wealth for many people. Others were left behind. Plato called it “the two cities” of Athens — “one the city of the poor, the […]
                Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice        
      Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice
      author: John A. Nagl
      name: Nathan
      average rating: 3.81
      book published: 2014
      rating: 5
      read at: 2014/11/12
      date added: 2014/11/12
      (I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.)

      I will admit it: I supported the Iraq war on principle -- specifically, the principle that any world in which a man who fed enemies to a woodchipper and supported his sons as state-empowered rapist-torturers did not hold power was better than a world that did.

      However, I also admit that I was naive. I assumed that the largest and best-funded military establishment in the world knew how to do its job.

      KNIFE FIGHTS is written by one of the few men in the military who knew at the time how the military involvement in Iraq should have been run, and this is a memoir of his service, from trying to get support for the idea of counterinsurgency strategy (at a time when Donald Rumsfeld outlawed even the use of the word "insurgency") before the war to his own deployment, to the near-civil war in Iraq thanks to the U.S.'s disastrous and willful mishandling of the post-collapse occupation and to, thankfully, the replacement of Cold War barnacles who insisted on fighting the kind of war they knew how to fight with General Petraeus and others who were determined to understand the war they were presently fighting.

      An eye-opening account not only of how counterinsurgency needs to be handled in a world in which no one's stupid enough to take on the United States in open warfare, but of how the military focus on preparation for the kind of warfare they knew how to fight left them completely unprepared for the kind of war they would likely have to fight.

                Compassionate Conservatism        

      In my last post, I included a link to some talking points to use when discussing the differences between our two presidential candidates with people on the fence, reachable Republicans, or even hardcore right-wingers who need a wake-up call.

      Tonight, I'd like to highlight the other side of the talking points with which we all need to acquiant ourselves, showing how there's nothing traditionally "conservative" about the contemporary Republican party. Yes, there are still plenty of good, decent, well-meaning people with an (R) after their name. But the party's mission and apparatus have been hijacked by some right-wing ideologues who wouldn't know the planks of the party's traditional platform -- things like fiscal discipline and personal responsibility -- if you whacked them over the head with them.

      The Religious Right gets plenty of attention, as well it should, for dragging the country along on a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride of intolerance, moral hectoring, and eschatology. But despite all the lip service he pays that faction (much of it in verbiage that's under the radar of Americans who aren't "aware" the second coming is nigh...) George W. Bush's true base consists of the well-to-do who resent having to pay one dime towards social programs for the weakest and meekest in our society.

      The Prime Mover of that particular religion is one Grover Norquist. Though he's well-known inside the Beltway, he's been a behind-the-scenes figure for many years, only recently stepping out of the shadows to make a name for himself with remarks to the effect of wanting to shrink government down to a size where he could drown it in a bathtub. Or equating the imposition of the estate tax solely on the rich with the logic that led to the Holocaust.

      It's no coincidence that Norquist has become more prominent and more vocal as the Bush administration has grown more brazen pursuing its hard-right agenda since 9/11. On the one hand, it's sickening to think we now live in a country where someone as selfish and nihilistic as this can spout off without having to worry about condemnation (outside of isolated, traditionally liberal circles).

      On the other hand, let's be thankful for what we've got, which is someone on the right who doesn't say one thing and do another. Norquist is a lot of things I revile...but I'll give him this: he's honest. He recently ran down the ultra-conservative governor of Ohio, Bob Taft, for not being conservative enough. Kudos to the person who happened to catch it on tape...

      The modern Republican party knows how to get its members to fall in line (there's a reason Tom Delay is called "The Hammer") so you'd think someone would have given Norquist the order to fall in line. But apparently he's untouchable -- which says an awful lot about the party -- because he felt perfectly comfortable making the following statement, regarding the future prospects of the Democratic party in America, just a few days after the Taft flap:

      "Yes, because in addition their demographic base is shrinking.  Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exeception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies.  They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying. And, at the same time, all the time more Americans have stocks. That makes them defend the interests of business, because it is their own interest. Because of that, it's impossible to bring to the fore policies of social hate, of class warfare."

      Lemme get this straight: the "Greatest Generation" defended ANTI-AMERICAN policies?!! And Norquist is gloating over the deaths of WWII veterans because it means the Republicans can shore up their hegemony?!!

      Let's think about the traditional definition of fascism. It's come to be known as goosestepping allegiance to a nationalist dictator (for good reason, I should add) but as Mussolini envisioned it, it was ruling by a confluence of government and business. Go back and re-read Norquist's statement, and ponder his remarks about WWII vets defending "anti-American policies" and his opinions regarding the "interests of business."

      Now I'm not callin' nobody nothin', but...think about it.

      Norquist is a MAJOR player in current policy-making. He convenes a weekly breakfast meeting to hash out policy that is a Who's Who of the Republican power machine. He sends out daily faxes that delineate the day's talking points for right-wing media. He is, in short, at the eye of the Republican storm.

      And he's never been elected to anything. But he's playing a major role in running our government.

      Nice work if you can get it.

      Republicans need to be reminded CONTINUALLY, between now and November 2nd, that support for "their" party and "their" candidates is support for this kind of bullshit. Sensible liberals seem to get it thsi year, that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. Republicans who can be reasoned with need to get it too: a vote for Bush is a vote for Norquist. In other words, a vote against every single thing this country is supposed to stand for.

      The left has its share of kooks, to be sure. But as any good party should, we do a decent job sending the biggest whack jobs off into the wilderness. Bush/Rove on the other hand, are counting on their whack jobs to turn out in November.

      When they're not trying to get them elected. Just to put things in perspective: the keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention was by the young, thoughtful, and inspiring Barack Obama; the RNC turned to the Strom Thurmond-wannabe Zell Miller for theirs. And who did the Republicans finally field to challenge Obama in Illinois? Alan Keyes.

      Alan Freakin' Keyes.

      Pathetic. Yet I know plenty of sensible, decent people who feel this party does a good job of representing their interests...

      Sleep tight,
                The Last Samurai        
      Nathan Algren is an American hired to instruct the Japanese army in the ways of modern warfare, which finds him learning to respect the samurai and the honorable principles that rule them. Pressed to destroy the samurai’s way of life in the name of modernization and open trade, Algren decides to become an ultimate warrior […]
                My Year in Gaming 2014 - Shock the Monkey Edition        

      Hi everybody! Looks like it's that time of year again. Where everyone and their mothers are writing overly thought out reviews and naming their game of the year in long winded blog posts. And this one is no different. Well, kind of. I'm sure some of you remember my review posts from past years.

      My Year in Gaming - Broke as a Joke Edition (2011)

      My Year in Gaming 2012 - Working for the Weekend Edition

      My Year in Gaming 2013 - It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times

      I'll doing the same again for this year. Keeping it simple with just a four word review scale. Easy peasy. So, here are the games I played (and didn't play) for the year of 2014.


      JoseOmatic's Review Scale

      Awesome Good Meh Crap


      *Also note that I never count when I replay games, so HD releases and Vita version are out unless I haven't played them*

      New Releases:

      Games completed from this year.

      • (3DS) Tomodachi Life (July) Awesome
      • (PS3) Destiny (Sep.) Awesome
      • (PSN) The Wolf Among Us (Aug.) Awesome
      • (PSN) The Walking Dead: Season 2 (Aug.) Awesome
      • (PS3) The Lego Movie Videogame (Oct.) Awesome

      Fashionably Late:

      Old release, completed this year.

      • (3DS) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Jan.) Awesome
      • (PS3) The Last of Us (Jan.) Awesome
      • (PS+/PS3) Brothers (Feb.) Good
      • (PS3) Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Mar.) Awesome
      • (Vita) Touch My Katamari (Mar.) Awesome
      • (PS+/Vita) Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (Mar.) Awesome
      • (PS+/Vita) Thomas Was Alone (Apr.) Awesome
      • (PS+/PS3) Rain (May.) Awesome
      • (PSN) Jurassic Park: The Game (May.) Awesome
      • (PS3) Sonic Generations (Jun.) Good
      • (Vita) Tearaway (Aug.) Awesome
      • (PS+/Vita) Proteus (Sep.) Good

      It's About Time!:

      Started one year, finished in this.

      • (Steam) Portal (Started Oct.2011 - Jan) Awesome
      • (PS+/PS3) Joe Danger 2: The Movie (Started Mar.2013 - Feb.) Good
      • (PS3) Puppeteer (Started Nov.2013 - Feb.) Awesome

      Maybe Next Year:

      Games I didn't complete this year.

      • (DS) Cooking Mama (Started Mar.) Awesome so far
      • (Vita) Final Fantasy IX (Started Mar.) Good so far
      • (PS+/PS4) Outlast (Started Apr.) Good so far
      • (PS+/Vita) Gravity Rush (Started Apr.) Good so far
      • (PS+/PS3) Braid (Started May) Good so far
      • (Wii U) Mario Kart 8 (Started Jun.) Good so far
      • (Wii U) Pikmin 3 (Started Jun.) Meh so far
      • (Steam) Papers, Please (Started Jun.) Awesome so far
      • (PS+/PS4) Resogun (Started Jul.) Awesome so far
      • (PS3) Lego Rock Band (Started Jul.) Meh so far
      • (Wii U) The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap (Started in Aug.) Awesome so far
      • (PS+/Vita) Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Started Aug.) Good so far
      • (Steam) Surgeon Simulator (Started Aug.) Good so far
      • (Wii U) NES Remix (Started Aug.) Good so far
      • (PS+/Vita) FEZ (Started Aug.) Crap so far
      • (PS+/Vita) Muramasa Rebirth (Started Sep.) Good so far
      • (Vita) Bentley's Hackpack (Started Sep.) Meh so far
      • (Vita) Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Started Sep.) Awesome so far
      • (PS3) Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Started Nov.) Awesome so far
      • (Wii U) Super Smash Bros Wii U (Started Nov.) Good so far
      • (3DS) Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (Started Nov.) Good so far
      • (3DS) Super Smash Bros 3DS (Started Dec.) Good so far

      Procrastination Gamin':

      Games I haven't started yet.

      • (PS+/PS3) DmC: Devil May Cry (Got Jan.)
      • (PS+/PS4) Don't Starve (Got Jan.)
      • (PS+/PS3) Payday 2 (Got Feb.)
      • (PS+/PS3) Remember Me (Got Feb.)
      • (PS4) Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Got Feb.)
      • (PSP) Me & My Katamari (Got Mar.)
      • (PSP) Secret Agent Clank (Got Mar.)
      • (Xbox 360) Beautiful Katamari (Got Mar.) 
      • (PS+/PS3) Crysis (Got Aug.)
      • (PS+/PS4) Road Not Taken (Got Aug.)
      • (PS+/PS4) Pix the Cat (Got Oct.)
      • (PS+/Vita) Escape Plan (Got Nov.)
      • (PS+/Vita) The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Got Nov.)
      • (PS+/PS3) Hitman Trilogy HD (Got Dec.)
      • (PS+/PS4) Injustice: Gods Among Us (Got Dec.)
      • (PS3) Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix (Got Dec.)

      Oh Well:

      Games I didn't pick up

      • (PS3) South Park Stick of Truth
      • (PS4) Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
      • (PS4) Infamous Second Son
      • (PS3/PS4) Lego: The Hobbit
      • (PS4) Octodad: Dadliest Catch
      • (PS4) Transistor
      • (PS4/Vita) Child of Light
      • (3DS) Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appetit
      • (Wii U) Hyrule Warriors
      • (PSN) Costume Quest 2
      • (PS3) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
      • (PS4) Call of Duty: Advance Warfare
      • (PS4) Peggle 2
      • (PS3/PS4) Lego Batman 3
      • (PS3/PS4) LittleBigPlanet 3
      • (PSN) Tales from the Borderlands
      • (PSN) Game of Thrones
      • (Wii U) Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
      • (PS4) Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

      Platinumed / 100%(ed):

      • Brothers (Feb.8) Good
      • Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (Feb.20) Awesome
      • Puppeteer (Mar.11) Awesome
      • Sound Shapes Vita (Mar.15) Awesome
      • Machinarium Vita (Mar.16) Awesome
      • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Mar.16) Awesome
      • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal (Mar.30) Awesome
      • Thomas Was Alone (Apr.5) Awesome
      • Sound Shapes PS4 (Apr.19) Awesome
      • Rain (May8) Awesome
      • Jurassic Park: The Game (May11) Awesome
      • Sly Cooper Vita (Jul.1) Awesome
      • Sly 2: Band of Thieves Vita (Aug.16) Awesome
      • The Wolf Among Us (Aug.17) Awesome
      • Tearaway (Aug.26) Awesome
      • The Walking Dead: Season 2 (Aug.27) Awesome
      • Proteus (Sep.7) Good
      • Smart As (Oct.11) Awesome
      • The Lego Movie: Videogame (Nov.3) Awesome
      • Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy Vita (Dec.5) Awesome
      • Minecraft Vita Edition (Dec.18) Awesome

      My Games of the Year:

      Released this year:

      • zilch
      • nada
      • bupkis

      Played this year:

      • (Vita) Tearaway
      • (PS3) Puppeteer

      Not So Fast 2014!:

      Last minute buys on Dec. 31.

      • (IOS) - Hearthstone

      And that's that! Happy New Year everyone!


                Waves of Worship Flag Ministry        
      We are a husband and wife Flag Ministry team called by the Lord to equip the Saints with Worship tools and weapons for warfare to break down strongholds, to fight the good fight, to win the battle, to Worship in Spirit and in Truth and give ALL the Glory to the Lord our God!
                Ø¯ÛŒØ¯Ú¯Ø§Ù‡â€ŒÙ‡Ø§ برای دانلود بازی Call of Duty Infinite Warfare با نسخه RELOADED و FitGirl برای کامپیوتر با مدیر        
      سلام. اول نصب گزینه های اضافی رو انتخاب نکنید. فقط نصب بازی رو انتخاب کنید و چک کنید که سیستمتون dotnet framework و دایرکت ایکس رو داشته باشه.
                Ø¯ÛŒØ¯Ú¯Ø§Ù‡â€ŒÙ‡Ø§ برای دانلود بازی Call of Duty Infinite Warfare با نسخه RELOADED و FitGirl برای کامپیوتر با مدیر        
      سلام. پسورد رو اشتباه میزنید. bitdownload.ir هست که www نداره.
      País: Austrália
      Estilo: Thrash / Death Metal
      Formação atual: Steve Rowe (vocal e baixo); Lincoln Bowen (guitarra) e Andrew Esnouf (bateria)
      Facebook: www.facebook.com/mortification777

      BREAK THE CURSE (1990)
      01 - Blood Sacrifice
      02 - Brutal Warfare
      03 - Impulsation
      04 - Turn
      05 - New Beginnings
      06 - Break The Curse
      07 - Illusion Of Life
      08 - Your Last Breath
      09 - Journey Of Reconciliation
      10 - The Majestic Infiltration Of Order


      MORTIFICATION (1991)
      01 - Until The End
      02 - Brutal Warfare
      03 - Bathed In Blood
      04 - Satan's Doom
      05 - Turn
      06 - No Return
      07 - Break The Curse
      08 - New Awakening
      09 - The Destroyer Beholds
      10 - Journey Of Reconciliation
      11 - The Majestic Infiltration Of Order


      01 - Nocturnal
      02 - Terminate Damnation 
      03 - Eternal Lamentation
      04 - Raise The Chalice
      05 - Lymphosarcoma
      06 - Scrolls Of The Megilloth
      07 - Death Requiem
      08 - Necromanicide
      09 - Inflamed
      10 - Ancient Prophecy


      01 - Grind Planetarium
      02 - Distarnish Priest
      03 - Brutal Warfare
      04 - Destroyer Beholds
      05 - Inflamed
      06 - Scrolls Of The Megilloth
      07 - Symbiosis
      08 - Time Crusaders
      09 - Black Snake
      10 - From The Valley Of Shadows
      11 - Human Condition
      12 - The Majestic Infiltration Of Order
      13 - This Momentary Affliction


      01 - Allusions From The Valley Of Darkness
      02 - From The Valley Of Shadows
      03 - Human Condition
      04 - Distarnish Priest
      05 - Black Lion Of The Mind
      06 - Grind Planetarium
      07 - Pride Sanitarium (Reprise)
      08 - Overseer
      09 - This Momentary Affliction
      10 - Flight Of Victory
      11 - Impulsation
      12 - Liquid Assets
      13 - Vital Fluids
      14 - The Sea Of Forgetfullness


      BLOOD WORLD (1994)
      01 - Clan Of The Light
      02 - Blood World
      03 - Starlight
      04 - Your Life
      05 - Monks Of The High Lord
      06 - Symbiosis
      07 - Love Song
      08 - Live By The Sword
      09 - J.G.S.H.
      10 - Dark Allusions


      01 - Primitive Rhythm Machine
      02 - Mephibosheth
      03 - Seen It All
      04 - The True Essence Of Power
      05 - Toxic Shock
      06 - 40:31
      07 - Gut Wrench
      08 - Confused Belief
      09 - Providence
      10 - Killing Evil


      01 - New Beginnings
      02 - Blood Sacrifice
      03 - The Destroyer Beholds
      04 - The Majestic Infiltration Of Order
      05 - Nocturnal
      06 - Scrolls Of The Megilloth
      07 - Distarnish Priest
      08 - Grind Planetarium
      09 - Brutal Warfare
      10 - Time Crusaders
      11 - Blood World
      12 - Your Life
      13 - Primitive Rhythm Machine
      14 - Mephibosheth


      01 - EnVision EvAngelene
      02 - Northern Storm
      03 - Peace In The Galaxy
      04 - Jehovah Nissi
      05 - Buried Into Obscurity
      06 - Chapel Of Hope
      07 - Noah Was A Knower
      08 - Crusade For The King


      01 - Envision A Beginning
      02 - Buried Into Obscurity
      03 - Steve Talks
      04 - Noah Was A Knower
      05 - Interview With Steve


      LIVE WITHOUT FEAR (1996)
      01 - Mephibosheth
      02 - Northern Storm
      03 - Primitive Rhythm Machine
      04 - New Beginnings
      05 - Grind Planetarium
      06 - Blood World
      07 - Steve Talks
      08 - The Majestic Infiltration Of Order
      09 - Jesus Grind Satan's Head
      10 - Killing Evil


      TRIUMPH OF MERCY (1998)
      01 - At War With War
      02 - Triumph Of Mercy
      03 - Welcome To The Palodrome
      04 - From Your Side
      05 - Influence
      06 - Drain Dweller
      07 - Raw Is The Stonewood Temple
      08 - Unified Truth
      09 - Visisted By An Angel


      HAMMER OF GOD (1999)
      01 - Metal Crusade
      02 - Martyrs
      03 - Lock Up The Night
      04 - In The Woods
      05 - A Pearl
      06 - Hammer Of God
      07 - Liberal Mediocrity
      08 - Extreme Conditions
      09 - Ride The Light
      10 - D.W.A.M.
      11 - Mad Ley
      12 - God Rulz
      13 - At War With War [Demo]
      14 - Visited By An Angel [Demo]
      15 - Unified Truth [Demo]
      16 - Metal Crusade [Instrumental]


      10 YEARS LIVE NOT DEAD (2000)
      01 - Dead Man Walking
      02 - Buried Into Obscurity
      03 - Medley
      04 - Martyrs
      05 - Peace In The Galaxy
      06 - Hammer Of God
      07 - Influence
      08 - Steve Thanks
      09 - Mephibosheth
      10 - Chapel Of Hope
      11 - Liberal Mediocrity
      12 - God Rulz
      13 - King Of Kings


      01 - Metal Blessing
      02 - Access Denied
      03 - Hardware
      04 - Bring The Joy
      05 - Standing At The Door Of Death
      06 - Whom They Would Kill
      07 - I Am A Revolutionary
      08 - Forsake The Flesh
      09 - Sensitive Nerve Endings
      10 - The Silver Cord Is Severed


      POWER, PAIN & PASSION: TEN YEARS 1990 - 2000 (2002)
      01 - Human Condition
      02 - Toxic Shock
      03 - Death Requiem
      04 - Martyrs
      05 - Satan's Doom
      06 - Hammer Of God [Live]
      07 - Scrolls Of The Megilloth [Live]
      08 - Mephibosheth [Live]
      09 - Buried Into Obscurity [Live]
      10 - Monks Of The Highlord
      11 - At With With War
      12 - Illusion Of Life
      13 - Metal Blessing [Acoustic]
      14 - Standing At The Door Of Death [Acoustic]
      15 - Your Life [Acoustic]
      16 - Grind Planetarium [Acoustic]


      RELENTLESS (2002)
      01 - Intro
      02 - Web Of Fire
      03 - God Shaped Void
      04 - Priests Of The Underground
      05 - Bring Release
      06 - Syncretize
      07 - The Other Side Of The Coin
      08 - Altar Of God
      09 - Sorrow
      10 - 3 Of A Kind
      11 - Arm The Anointed
      12 - New York Skies
      13 - Apocalyptic Terror


      BRAIN CLEANER (2004)
      01 - Boaconstrictor
      02 - Too Much Pain
      03 - Purest Intent
      04 - Free As A Bird
      05 - Brain Cleaner
      06 - I'm Not Your Commodity
      07 - The Flu Virus
      08 - Livin' Like A Zombie
      09 - 12 Men
      10 - Louder Than The Devil
      11 - E.D.


      01 - Razorback
      02 - Erasing The Goblin
      03 - The Dead Shall Be Judged
      04 - Escape The Blasphemous Tabernacle
      05 - Your Time
      06 - Forged In Stone
      07 - Way Truth Life
      08 - Humanitarian
      09 - Short Circuit
      10 - Servants Of The Supreme Message


      01 - Erasing The Goblin
      02 - I'm Not Your Commodity
      03 - Hammer Of God
      04 - Purest Intent
      05 - Medley
      06 - Priests Of The Underground
      07 - The Dead Shall Be Judged
      08 - Spoken Word (Part 1)
      09 - Humanitarian
      10 - Spoken Word (Part 2)
      11 - Dead Man Walking
      12 - Standing At The Door Of Death
      13 - Spoken (Part 3)
      14 - Escape The Blasphemous Tabernacle
      15 - Spoken Word (Part 4)
      16 - Chapel Of Hope


      01 - The Evil Addiction Destroying Machine
      02 - The Master Of Reinvention
      03 - A Sense Of Eternity
      04 - Elastisized Outrage
      05 - One Man With Courage Makes A Majority
      06 - Pilots Hanging From Shoulder Dust
      07 - Pushing The Envelope Of The Red Sonrise
      08 - I'm Not Confused
      09 - Alexander The Metalworker
      10 - Resurrection Ban (A Tribute To Rez)


      CD 1:
      01 - Nocturnal [Re-Recorded]
      02 - Grind Planetarium [Re-Recorded]
      03 - Impulsation [Re-Recorded]
      04 - Hammer Of God [Re-Recorded]
      05 - The Majestic Infiltration Of Order [Re-Recorded]
      06 - Eyes Of Destruction [Live]
      07 - Searching [Live]
      08 - City Streets [Live]
      09 - Blood World [Live]
      10 - Scrolls Of The Megilloth [Live]
      11 - Spoken Word (Part 1) [Busking On The Street]
      12 - New Beginnings [Busking On The Street]
      13 - Spoken Word (Part 2) [Busking On The Street]
      14 - Chapel Of Hope [Busking On The Street]
      15 - Spoken Word (Part 3) [Live]
      16 - Too Much Pain [Live]
      17 - Spoken Word (Part 4) [Live]
      18 - 12 Men [Live]
      19 - I'm Not Your Commodity [Live]
      20 - Priests Of The Underground [Live]

      CD 2:
      01 - Grind Planetarium [Live]
      02 - Distarnish Priest [Live]
      03 - Brutal Warfare [Live]
      04 - The Destroyer Beholds [Live]
      05 - Inflamed [Live]
      06 - Scrolls Of The Megilloth [Live]
      07 - Symbiosis [Live]
      08 - Time Crusaders [Live]
      Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

      JEFFREY BROWN: And now: the problem of governing in America today.

      These days, it’s unusual for a pollster to find anyone who’s happy with Washington, and politicians themselves regularly air their frustrations. We begin our series of conversations examining this phenomenon with some historical perspective.

      Beverly Gage of Yale University, former Senate historian Richard Baker, co-author of the new book “The American Senate,” and Richard Norton Smith of George Mason University, welcome, all three.

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Thank you.

      JEFFREY BROWN: Beverly, start us off here. In your historian’s hat, what do you see going on in Washington today? How would you describe it?

      BEVERLY GAGE, Yale University: Well, I think some of what’s going on in Washington at the moment is stuff we have seen before in the past.

      We tend to romanticize past periods as being cooperative, beautiful periods of compromise.

      JEFFREY BROWN: Everybody worked back then, right?

      BEVERLY GAGE: We look back on the laws that were passed and think they were the right laws for the right moment, and, in fact, it’s always been very, very messy.

      That said, I do think that we are seeing a particular level of dysfunction that is different from what they have seen before and in many ways is a little bit more extreme.

      JEFFREY BROWN: All right, we will pick that up.

      But, first, Richard Baker, in your book, you looked at this one institution where you sat for many, many years, right, the Senate. Do you see a clear evolution, devolution? What have you seen happen?

      RICHARD BAKER, author: All of it, everything.

      JEFFREY BROWN: All of it?

      RICHARD BAKER: You pick out where you want it.

      There have been times of great heartburn, hurt feelings, and then times when they thought they were really going to pull themselves out of the hole and pass some reform legislation and move on into the future.

      One of the most recent times was in the mid-1970s. The Senate, maybe coming out of the Nixon era, passed some fairly significant legislation, war powers legislation, budget legislation, and also reorganized their committees so that every member of a committee could hire his or her own staff member.

      Well, what did that do to the committees? That immediately fragmented the committees, which used to be these sources of great power in the Senate. Now we’re in an era where the power rests with the floor leaders, and not the committee chairmen. So, it’s a different time.

      JEFFREY BROWN: And, Richard, we have talked many times about the evolution of the presidency vis-a-vis Congress, right? So, where do you see us now?

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH: Well, you know, it’s funny.

      Maybe the biggest single — I would argue maybe the biggest single difference between 40 or 50 years ago, if you think of the ’60s or the ’70s, when the presidency was in some ways paramount, no one would confuse that with an era of good feelings. It was a tumultuous time in this country.

      And yet it was also a time of extraordinary legislative and governmental productivity. What’s different? One thing is the nature of the party themselves. In the 1960s, the Republican Party was a broadly conservative party. The Democrats were broadly liberal. But each party was a coalition.

      So there were Javits Republicans. And there were Richard Russell Democrats. What that meant was that, if you were a newcomer to the Senate — I remember hearing at various times Ted Kennedy and Bob Dole say to me, the advice they were given when they first arrived here, Bob Dole said, go spend some time with Senator Eastland from Mississippi, and Ted Kennedy said Dick Russell.

      The fact is, you learned within your own party caucus how to deal with people with whom you fundamentally disagreed, and that in turn was great preparation for the larger Senate, and indeed the larger body politic.

      That’s gone. We now have a rigidly conservative and rigidly liberal party.

      JEFFREY BROWN: What about — Beverly, you pick up there because you look a lot at political engagement and civic action, right?

      How has that changed, and how does that fit into the kind of strife that we’re talking about here in Washington?

      BEVERLY GAGE: Well, I think both of my friends here at the table, as they would say, in the Senate, my friends here…

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH: Distinguished.

      JEFFREY BROWN: Before not accomplishing anything.



      BEVERLY GAGE: My distinguished friends and colleagues, I think they’re absolutely right that if we want to make sense of what’s happening now, the moment to look back to, when a lot of these things began to change, is the ’60s and ’70s.

      And that was a moment when many people on the right and on the left looked at what they would have described as the Washington establishment and said, this isn’t responsive enough to the people. And they thought there were a number of ways you could go about dealing with that.

      One is by having parties that were more ideologically consistent within themselves. That was going to give the people a real choice. Another one was having the primary system and having primaries that actually mattered coming out of the crises of the 1968 Democratic Convention in particular.

      So, a lot of these things, which were initiated as real democratic reforms and were things that people on the left and the right agreed upon throughout the 1970s, I think now have led to a very, very combative situation and one that nobody ever intended.

      JEFFREY BROWN: And part of that, especially — I was thinking as you were talking about in the Reagan era of moving towards calling for smaller government.

      We have more — we have people in government, I don’t want to say disdaining government, but who are calling for less government all the time.

      RICHARD BAKER: The irony of it — the irony of it all, here they come to an institution called Congress, which basically means coming together.

      And you hear people saying, well, if I can’t get my own — anybody to agree with my immigration legislation, I’m going to take it off and do it on my own. Well, where are you going to do it on your own? It’s the sense of, we’re going to talk past each other.

      You mentioned the party caucuses earlier, and the fact that they were quite heterogeneous. The fights would take place behind closed doors. And then they would come out behind those closed doors with a uniform position.

      Now there are more homogeneous party caucuses, because the Democrats from the South became Republicans. And so we have a much less diverse Democratic Party. And, of course, then you add the media picking up on — and all that, I mean, to get ahead of the story.

      JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Well, no, but we haven’t — the media atmosphere, of course, weighs into all this.


      The fact of the matter is, 40 or 50 years ago, whether or not it was a golden era, there was a mainstream media. And they were gatekeepers.

      RICHARD BAKER: Right.

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH: Everyone knew what the fringe was.

      Those walls have come down. The Internet has removed those walls. Cable TV, cable news and talk radio thrives on the fringe. The way you get noticed in this town overnight is to say something outrageous.

      RICHARD BAKER: Right.

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH: That has had, I think, an enormous impact.

      The 24/7 news cycle, we have to feed the beast every day.

      RICHARD BAKER: Right.

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH: All of that, I think, is affecting this.

      I think the — but to get — I mean, to get back to the notion of liberals and conservatives, there’s a — let’s be honest. There’s also a real libertarian movement in this country, which is not limited to the Tea Party.

      If you’re on the left, you have lots of reasons to suspect government. You didn’t like Iraq. You didn’t think Katrina was responded to very well. You don’t like the NSA revelations. If you’re on the right, distrust of big government has always been an article of faith. But it’s not just cynicism and it’s not just media exploitation. There is a genuine reaction against in part philosophically, but also what is perceived as the incompetence of government.

      JEFFREY BROWN: What about the idea or ideal of a public good that has run through our history?

      BEVERLY GAGE: The founders of course spent much of their time contemplating this idea of a public good, trying to set up a situation in which partisan impulses, internal impulses, regional impulses, state impulses, in which all of these would be tamped down enough that, in fact, the government would function and, in fact, we would produce legislators who would act in a broad public good.

      This was the essential of the small-R Republican idea originally. And, of course, that’s worked better and less well over the years since. I think what we have really lost now is a conversation about it. Right? I mean, it’s sort of been taken for granted that this doesn’t exist anymore, that there is nothing else beyond partisan warfare in Washington. And we used to have more gestures toward the public good.

      JEFFREY BROWN: All right, you get a very brief last word here on that.

      RICHARD BAKER: I just want to introduce campaign finance.


      RICHARD BAKER: Back in those earlier days, all you had to do to be elected to the Senate was to convince some of your state legislators to vote for you, and that was it.

      Now, all of a sudden, we have, in the case of Nevada, with Harry Reid’s last election, it cost his campaign $69 per vote in terms of expenditures, something that would have been unimaginable even 20 years earlier.

      JEFFREY BROWN: All right.

      Well, you know what? We have put a lot on the table for this conversation series.

      Beverly Gage, Richard Norton Smith, Richard Baker, thank you, all three. And we will continue this series in days ahead.

      RICHARD NORTON SMITH: Great. Thank you.

      RICHARD BAKER: Thank you.


      The post Government Gridlock Then and Now: Are We More Divided Than in the Past? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

                Oikological warfare        
      A new book from the ever-innnovative Patricia Owens, Economy of Force: counterinsurgency and the historical rise of the Social (Cambridge University Press, 2015). There’s an excellent interview with Patricia at e-IR here, which includes her own summary of the book: The book retrieves the older, but surprisingly neglected, language of household governance, oikonomia, to show […]
                Oshkosh Highlights C4 and Systems Integration Capabilities in the Mideast        
      OSHKOSH, Wis -  Mideast military forces are ramping up investments in command, control, communications and computer (C4) equipment and systems to increase situational awareness and achieve greater collaboration in the face of proliferating threats, which range from sophisticated electronic warfare to unpredictable asymmetric tactics. Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), has expanded capabilities in C4 equipment and systems integration for its vehicles to meet these evolving operatio...

      Muslim cleric preaches peace, Islamic supremacists promptly shoot him dead

      Why we don't see more genuine Muslim reformers -- not that Kalimulla Ibragimov seems to have been much of one, anyway: "Russia Caucasus: Imam shot dead in Derbent, Dagestan," from the BBC, October 30 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
      Attackers have shot dead an imam and two of his male relations, as they drove to a mosque in the Russian North Caucasus region of Dagestan.They were shot on their way to morning prayers, close to the imam's home in the Caspian Sea town of Derbent, law enforcement sources told reporters.
      The cleric was named as Kalimulla Ibragimov, 49, who is said to have delivered sermons calling for peace. 
      Islamists have been blamed for attacks on moderate Muslims in the region. 
      Dagestan, a mainly Muslim region, has been gripped by an Islamist insurgency since 1999, when militants backed by fighters from neighbouring Chechnya launched an offensive against Russian control. 
      Three imams have been shot dead in the region since March, the Russian news website utro.ru reports. 
      Mr Ibragimov is said by Russian media to have been a "Salafist", a term used for Islamic radicals. Nonetheless, according to utro.ru, he "often gave sermons and made appeals for peace and Muslim unity"....


      You want peace rafadite dog, we will give you peace...
      Allah didn't tell us to be peaceful you apostate, his book tells us to fight and kill until everyone worships him...You claim to worship Allah, but you really worship yourself...Did the Apostle tell us to be peaceful? Even with Jews? Are you mad? Well, you are not mad anymore, Allah now has you by your skinny little neck, and has big plans for you...
      That's what you get for preaching peace...Allah willing, and he always is...
      Why should we take any Muslim who says he wants peace sincerely?
      Mahoundians want peace...They really do...But their peace is not the peace of kuffar, it is the Islamic fulfillment of Quran 8:39, and 2:193...Peace will come when all opposition to Islam stops and everyone worships Allah...
      The big problem is, 'fight them until'...Since 'until' has no expiration date, perpetual warfare is the result...As an unintended consequence, if Islam ever gets that kind of peace, and there is no one to fight or kill, it shuts the door for jihadists to get at the virgins...The brothel in the sky will lock the door so no new dead jihadists can enter...keeping that door open is another reason for perpetual warfare...
      Well, Muslims killing other Muslims is definitely preferable to Muslims killing non-Muslims but, oh man, Islam is so screwed up. It kidnaps the mind and often ensures bodily harm and for what? For Allah? The sanctity of the Koran? For Mohammed? What a waste. There's no reforming this monster of a "religion". It's got to go.
      "Islamists have been blamed for attacks on moderate Muslims in the region."
      What the reporter meant to say was:
      "Wild hyenas have been blamed for attacks on unicorns in the region."
      All seriousness aside, as Steve Allen used to say: This reporter is doing two things:
      1) reporting the fact that one group of Muslims killed a Muslim cleric
      2) inferring from this fact that the reason he was killed was because he preached "peace".
      This reflex spasm of the reporter reflects the tendency of the PC MC template. It works like a machine: Whenever a fact presents itself, it already has pre-fab axioms which engage their gears into interpretive action.
      Thus, a PC MC notices one group of Muslims killing another. Immediately, his PC MC brain releases the the killed victims must have been moderate Muslims, and the killers must have been 'Salafists' mechanism.
      In this case, the victim was himself a 'Salafist'. No need for concern; it must have been a blip. And notice how the reporter just leaves that fact lying there like an undigested lump. He was so intent on interpreting all the other facts of the report, but now suddenly he has nothing ot say about this one.
      Also, we have a glimmer into the truth of the matter in the fact -- also undigested -- that this preacher also preached, beside "peace" (which in Islam can mean many things we don't recognize as "peace"), "Muslim unity".
      The far more reasonable interpretation to draw from the facts is that this was The Crips taking out a Blood.
      "The cleric was named as Kalimulla Ibragimov, 49, who is said to have delivered sermons calling for peace." -- headline
      Those belonging to the "religion of peace" kill a cleric over a sermon calling for peace?
      Things that make you go hmmmm ...
      I wouldn't jump to conclusions. Shooting in Dagestan is not news. There are plenty of insurgent groups, remnants of the civil war in Chechnya and Dagestan. Their motivations are usually far from religious ones. More like tribal or simply criminal. Besides, Kalimulla Ibragimov wasn't even official cleric according to Russian news media http://ria.ru/crime/20121030/907935827.html
      "Their motivations are usually far from religious ones. More like tribal or simply criminal."
      Since Islam is a Super-Tribe and a Super-Gang, then most of its violent activities are "tribal" and "criminal" in addition to being religious.
      Thus, two flaws in the thought process of killdameatbag:
      1) he assumes a religion must always be benign
      2) he apparently can't pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time: i.e., an incident of Muslim violence can be both tribal/criminal and Islamic; one needn't stand off in the self-imposed corner of Either/Or.
      I take the trouble to point this out because killdameatbag is not the only one in the "Counter-Jihad" to think this way.
      This first flaw tends to underestimate the degree and quality of the fanaticism we face from this unique enemy.
      The second flaw tends to bracket out innumerable acts of violence around the world from the problem of Islam.
      Both flaws would undermine our ability to practice the #1 law of war to the fullest: Know Thine Enemy.
      I suspect many more Muslims would opt for the peaceful path if they were not prevented by fear of violence from their more radical co-cultists.

      Site Meter

                John Horgan & Richard Wrangham        
      Does the biology of violence make war inevitable? ... How chimpanzee-like is modern warfare? ... Richard's new book, "Catching Fire" ... Were we scavengers before we were hunters? ... The allegedly "natural" raw food diet ... Ancient connections between food and sex ...
                Kaiju Kavalcade: MATANGO (1963)        




      For a movie called ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE stateside, MATANGO doesn’t feature a whole lot of said fungal persons on the attack. And it’s all the better for it! But let’s take it back a bit and talk about what this movie IS about. After GOJIRA’s Lovecraftian, unstoppable, unknowable beast from the depths, MATANGO provides us with that other classic trope of weird fiction: the doomed narrator who will recount to the reader/viewer their story from the bowels of a hellish institution for the mentally unstable. A fun way to break the tokusatsu mold, and who better to usher us into this bleak tale of humanity lost than Akira Kubo, that Toho stalwart Godzilla fans know from INVASTION OF ASTRO-MONSTER, SON OF GODZILLA and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS. Kubo plays university professor Kenji Murai who, along with six others, undertook a doomed pleasure cruise deep into the Pacific. Murai’s ominous narration is actually quite intriguing, as it doesn’t promise viewers the tale of how EVERYONE DIED, but rather tells us that “they are all alive… and I am the one who is dead.” Okay, I’m down for this!

      In a hilarious bit of classic Toho tonal shifting, this portentous statement is followed up by swingin’ 1963 big band music as we flash back to the ill-fated voyage. On board are other Toho mainstays Kumi Mizuno as Mami, famous actress, Hiroshi Koizumi as the skipper Naoyuki, Kenji Sahara as the first mate Senzo and Yoshio Tsuchiya as Kasai, the industrialist owner of the ship. Rounding out the maritime miscreants are novelist Yoshida and student Akiko. There’s a lot of faux-jolliness in the initial scenes, as it’s quite clear quite quickly that some of these people can’t really stand each other. A storm strands this ragtag crew of (mostly) 1%ers on an abandoned island, strangely bereft of all animal life and even edible plants. Tensions rise as the skipper warns everyone not to eat the ubiquitous fungi, as they may be poisonous. After some exploring, the group comes upon another stranded ship, overcome with rot and mold. Amazingly enough, this seemingly ancient vessel has only been here for a year, according to a recovered log book. With relations being strained ever thinner due to lack of food and no way to communicate with the mainland, along with the strange lure of the mushrooms, the group finds itself under great duress. But what will happen to them?

      Well, Travis, I must say I rather enjoyed MATANGO as a hell of a detour from our usual Toho kid stuff! MATANGO is bleak. True, we weren’t very far from GOJIRA, which was no walk in a sun-drenched park, but we were also post-KING KONG VS GODZILLA, the definitive veering into comedy adventure. What I’m trying to say is, it’s refreshing to see director Ishiro Honda get to make a genre movie for adults again, and I have the feeling he must have enjoyed the experience as well. No Akira Ifukube this time, but music duties are most ably and atmospherically handled by Sadao Bekku, a fellow whose work I’ve not had the pleasure of hearing before this. What did you think of this tense island thriller, Travis?



      This is truly great filmmaking here, Luca. MATANGO is not only one of Toho's best tokusatsu movies, but it's also one of Honda's finest films. Though his career would be caught up and defined by the Godzilla machine, I suspect that MATANGO and GOJIRA were prime examples of the type of science fiction he was most invested in: human drama at the forefront while the supernatural threat looms ominously in the background. For G fans, MATANGO's also a great discovery to see Honda and some familiar Toho cast talent put on a tense, psychological thriller instead of the usual rompy kaiju fests. It reminds me of Joss Whedon's adaptation of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, which is certainly a break from his action flicks yet retains many Whedon players like Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, and Clark Gregg.

      To go back to the MATANGO/GOJIRA comparison, a sense of fatalism permeates both films and each one ends on a bittersweet note. In GOJIRA, Godzilla is finally obliterated by the Oxygen Destroyer, yet Takashi Shimura's character still bemoans that the monster could arise again if mankind continues to tamper with nuclear weaponry. It's only a small victory in the fast growing atomic age. Similarly in MATANGO (SPOILER ALERT!), despite Kubo keeping a level head and resisting the temptations of the mushrooms during the entire ordeal, he reaches the mainland as the sole survivor with the fungus infecting his face. Was the struggle worth it if the disease was inevitable? MATANGO's even darker as a streak of nihilism runs through the film with the survivors constantly at each others' throats. Issues of class warfare and sex between the members of the shipwrecked crew drive most of the drama in the movie even before the mushrooms become a legitimate threat. Though Kubo is rescued at the end, he wonders if coming back to so-called civilized society is any better. “They're becoming inhuman,” he muses as he gestures to the Tokyo cityscape.

      The fighting amongst the group drives so much of the story that the appearance of the mushroom people almost feels like a secondary threat. And yet in spite of the goofiness of kaiju performers in fungal makeup or over-sized toadstool costumes terrorizing people, the tension and reality of the situation never feels broken when such an odd, cosmic entity infiltrates the plot. It's to Honda's credit that he first establishes the survivors' predicament in such a serious, dire fashion that any silly Showa tropes would feel improper. Secondly, as the groups slowly descends into their own isolated madness, the walking Matango are introduced and shot in a very hallucinogenic way with a warped out soundtrack filled with child-like laughter. Ivan Reitman once explained that why GHOSTBUSTERS ultimately worked was because he started the characters in a familiar setting (the schlubs thrown out by the academic snobs) then slowly used it introduce very fantastic elements until the film climaxed with a monolithic marshmallow man. In the case of MATANGO, Honda used the old potboiler of stranded survivors to tell a monster tale, ratcheting up the human drama until the monstrous horror is unveiled. It's refreshing to find a kaiju flick that builds towards the kaiju scenes in a disturbing manner rather than ticking down the clock till the wrestling match set piece. Did you find anything else striking in MATANGO, Luca?



      I'm of two minds towards the mushroom people themselves, because I honestly think they look kinda gross, and the children's laughter and psychedelic sound effects do a superb job of creating an atmosphere of madness. The muted, earthy colors Honda uses for the island (no surreal splotches of color to indicate the radioactive life form) stand in stark contrast to the swingin' sixties garb the human cast is attired in, making them look like little islands in an unending sea of decay, almost pathetically attempting to stand out and affirm their individuality. Such decadence is not good for anything, as the film's final thesis statements lets us know! "Perhaps they are alive and I am dead" indeed...

      Here's the problem with the mushroom people, however! The fungus is supposed to be alluring because of the castaway's hunger (and maybe on a more supercerebral level as well). The horror is in the loss of self, and the discovery of what happened with the crew of the research vessel that was stranded here before our jolly 1%ers . When we finally see the mushroom people, the shit should basically be pretty much lost for everyone: this is your new reality, the movie should be saying at this point. It's a real short story ending. MATANGO is, in fact, based on William Hope Hodgson's "The Voice in the Night", making it one of the few movies we've covered (along with the original MOTHRA) to be based on outside material. Being a 1960s monster movie, however, we need some physical threat -- lumbering monsters in dark hallways, people in physical peril. Credit to Honda for keeping the mushroom people MOSTLY out of frame and in the distance for a majority of the movie, but there are some key moments where I was more confused than unsettled because of this necessity of the times. I think there's at least two moments where people are cornered by a (admittedly well built-up and shot) mushroom man but... don't seem to suffer any consequences? They just scream and we cut to other survivors, but later they're okay? Was there something I missed here, Travis? Maybe the mushroom men dissolved into spores to be breathed by their new victims/hosts to spread the infection, but the budget/technology wouldn't allow for such intricate visuals?

      Despite my sluggish human brain's incapacity to process complex mushroom motivations, I was a big fan of this movie as well, Travis! It has even slightly nudged me to check out some Hodgson short stories. It also makes me kinda sad Honda wasn't allowed to branch out a bit more -- I'm sure Fukuda would have gladly picked up some slack! It's funny how a completely bleak movie becomes a breath of fresh air after many, many jolly ones. And with Toho returning to Zilla soon (2016), why not give other types of movies a shot? Can you imagine the internet hype machine for something like TOHO STUDIOS PRESENTS THE CALL OF CTHULHU?



      Oh man, a Toho take on some proper Lovecraft sounds tantalizing! Since we've tied Godzilla to the Old Ones earlier, we could also connect the mysterious Matango to the amphibious creatures known as the Deep Ones from H.P.'s famous short story “The Shadow over Innsmouth”. Both are species of upright walking monstrosities from the sea that promise eternal life through assimilation (though for the Deep Ones it's through mating and reproducing with humans instead of consumption for the Matango). Quite a scary prospect, Luca, but I also understand the confusion you had over the nature of the mushroom people. I think having them suddenly disappear into thin air during their attacks on the ship is supposed to make the audience question the sanity of the group. Is there an actual threat or are they just hallucinating? It kinda works until we finally see for sure that, yes, the Matango are truly strutting around the island. Then it just makes those past incidents even more confusing! It's a substantial criticism, but it's only a small smear on an otherwise fine film.

      And MATANGO truly is a fine film and a testament to the talents of Ishiro Honda. Though he couldn't escape the giant monster capers that defined his filmography, he could still infuse them with the humanity and fine craftmanship that one might not expect in such low caliber fluff. By the year 1963 when MATANGO was released, he was already swept up in the kaiju factory, and in fact that same year also saw the release of Honda's sci-fi adventure ATRAGON (which introduced sea serpent Manda). The small personal films he directed early in his career alongside his tokusatsu movies would eventually fade away, and he would only make only more monster-free film (the romantic comedy COME MARRY ME in 1966) before retiring from feature directing with 1974's TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA. In this historical context, MANTANGO is almost a bridge between the humanist stories he was personally invested in and the creature flicks that brought in the audiences. If you're a Godzilla fan that would like a break from the usual meat and potatoes kaiju diet, why not give in and try the mushrooms sometime?


      Have a taste…

                Taliban turning to more complex attacks: Report        

      Globe and Mail

      January 26, 2009

      Taliban turning to more ‘complex’ attacks


      Taliban fighters are increasingly hitting their targets directly instead of relying on bombs, according to a year-end statistical review that contradicts a key NATO message about the war in Afghanistan.

      Public statements from Canadian and other foreign troops have repeatedly emphasized the idea that the insurgents are losing momentum because they can only detonate explosives, failing to confront their opponents in combat.

      But an analysis of almost 13,000 violent incidents in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008, prepared by security consultant Sami Kovanen and provided to The Globe and Mail, shows a clear trend toward open warfare.

      By far the most common type of incident, in Mr. Kovanen’s analysis, is the so-called “complex attack,” meaning ambushes or other kinds of battle using more than one type of weapon. The analyst counted 2,555 such attacks in 2008, up 117 per cent from the previous year.

      Bombings also increased, but only by 63 per cent year-on-year for a total of 2,384 successful and attempted strikes in 2008.

      Mr. Kovanen has spent years tracking the conflict in Afghanistan, first as a NATO officer and most recently at the [...]

                Donald Trump Jeopardizes Cyber Privacy And National Security        
      President-Elect Donald Trump recently released a video in which he promised to work with the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff on a “plan to protect Americas’ vital infrastructure from cyber attacks.” This promise reflects Trump’s ignorance of how cyber warfare works — calling in the Marines to secure the nation’s computers is about as effective as exterminating cockroaches with a shotgun.

      On the vast, interdependent internet, evolving technologies and best practices must be adopted across the ecosystem for anyone to be secure. An effective cyber defense requires long, hard years of continued investment in research, education, strong encryption, standards, regulations, enforcement, and global cooperation. Unfortunately, Trump’s stated policy goals promise to halt and even reverse the hard-fought progress made in recent years defining and enforcing new cyber standards. The impact on national security will be dire.

      Furthermore, Trump’s call to boycott Apple for refusing to break their iPhone encryption and his plan for “closing that Internet up” expose a disregard for cyber privacy and freedom of expression that threatens to undermine our rights and our prosperity.

      Stop-and-Frisk in Cyberspace

      The US is a cyber superpower, alongside China, England, Israel and Russia. While Edward Snowden’s revelations suggest that the U.S. likely harbors the most potent cyber weapons, the agencies that develop and wield them have a clear mandate to use them only on foreign targets — for example, to retaliate against Russia’s repeated pattern of cyber aggression.

      To Trump, however, Vladimir Putin is a friend — the nation’s true enemies lurk within the American homeland: illegal Mexican immigrants, Muslim jihadist refugees, obstructive protesters, and conspiring journalists. Echoing Rudolph Giuliani, Trump has touted stop-and-frisk as a legitimate exercise of “law and order” so we should expect the same in cyberspace, as federal agencies redirect their formidable arsenals away from foreign and toward domestic surveillance. No wonder Peter Thiel supported and now advises Trump — his company Palantir sells the software used by intelligence agencies to monitor large populations; investors plowed another $20 million into the Palantir just last week.
      Peter Thiel, co-founder of Palantir

      Judicial and legislative oversight bodies normally protect US citizens from mass domestic surveillance. But Trump’s tweets and campaign rally warnings about ISIS have escalated American fear of the terrorist threat to the highest point since 9–11, when Congress passed the Patriot Act. The Republican Congress and Trump-appointed judges may give the President broad leeway.

      The Danger of Deregulation

      Preventing cyber attacks is impossible without regulation, because cyber neglect is like polluting, drunk driving, or refusing to vaccinate — it endangers not only the reckless, but everyone else as well. The security of every online transaction depends upon the integrity of all the vendors in the ecosystem who handle payments, network traffic, email delivery, cloud servers, and more. Furthermore, any infected computer or device can be used to attack others (as we saw in the October DDoS attack that caused massive internet outages). Without broad regulations and enforcement, internet commerce cannot be secured.

      Donald Trump’s campaign speeches and web site have consistently promised to reduce the rules, headcount, and overall spending in the SEC, FTC, CFPB, FCC and IS Oversight Office — the very federal regulatory agencies that have taken the lead in defining and enforcing cyber standards. (His adviser Mark Jamison openly plans to nearly eliminate the FCC.) In addition to the budget savings, Trump sees this as a key element in his plan to promote business and increase jobs. By design, these cuts will relax the rules and enforcement of cyber standards for the public companies, banks, consumer-facing merchants, and network carriers that these agencies regulate. We should expect similar cuts in other regulatory authorities such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (which enforces HIPAA rules for the healthcare industry) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (which oversees NERC standards for the power grid).

      Cyber deregulation will empower American businesses to sell our data to anyone collecting profiles of US citizens. Meanwhile, with a U.S. president who actually invited and benefited from Russia’s intervention in the election, Russian cyber attackers feel they enjoy free rein in American cyberspace. With the rollback of cyber regulations, consumer-facing businesses will slash their own cyber security budgets, leading to weaker systems that further accelerate the growth and severity of information breaches. With our private information exposed, brace for a dramatic rise in identity theft and cyber stalking.

      In contrast, the European Union has set the standard for privacy laws that limit how businesses and government agencies can use our information. Once disdained by the business community, these laws now give Europe the competitive advantage. In the wake of Snowden’s revelations, mistrustful Europeans moved their data from US clouds and services to EU alternatives — during Trump’s presidency, Americans will join them. While some Americans look to Switzerland as a safe haven for money, and Canada as a safe haven for our families, many will look to Germany as a safe haven for data.

      Cyber 9–11

      President Trump’s deregulatory policies will jeopardize not only privacy, but also national security. Our homeland’s greatest vulnerability may well be the cyber threat to our critical infrastructure, potentially disrupting life-support services like power and water. Furthermore, a single breach of a water treatment facility, dam, or nuclear reactor can directly kill millions of people — a cyber 9–11. And yet today most of the nation’s utilities run unpatched software on industrial control systems that remain defenseless, awaiting NERC cyber regulations to kick in next year. A four-year reprieve from these rules by Trump’s administration will expose the U.S. to a massive terrorist attack, and open the door for Russia or other nations to embed cyber bombs in our machinery for future activation. Even if the Defense Department can accurately attribute such attacks, they can only retaliate — they cannot prevent them.

      The election of Donald Trump has profound implications for the security of cyberspace. Unless Trump reverses his positions on deregulation, government surveillance, and the Russian threat, his administration will dismantle the safeguards of cyberspace, threatening America’s commercial prosperity, individual privacy, and national security.

                Investment Recommendation: Claroty Series A        
      Today, Claroty came out of stealth, announcing a Series A financing led by Bessemer. $32 Million is  is a lot for Series A, but this is an important company for our nation and our planet. To explain why, I thought I'd share this excerpt from our internal investment memo.

      EXCERPT from APRIL 2016:

      The Need for Industrial Security

      The physical infrastructure of modern civilization runs on machinery: traffic lights, railroad switches, nuclear reactors, water treatment, electricity distribution, dams, ship engines, draw bridges, oil rigs, hospitals, gas pipelines, and factories depend upon mechanical elements such as pressure valves, turbines, motors, and pumps. These actuators (like the ones in the original Bessemer steel smelting process) were once manually configured, but today these machines are controlled by software running on directly-attached, single-purpose computers known as Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). PLCs, in turn, are connected in aggregate to computers running Human Management Interfaces (HMI) through closed, vendor-proprietary Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) protocols like DNP3 and Profibus. Industrial manufacturers provide the machines, the PLCs, and the HMIs, and so Operations Technology (OT) teams typically need to use a mix of controllers and interfaces. This is collectively known as an ICS. 

      During the PC revolution, many of these ICS components migrated to cheap, standard PCs, and their SCADA connections migrated to LAN switches and routers that leveraged the connectivity benefits of those PCs’ standard Ethernet ports. The security implications were relatively minor until the Internet came along; but now, if any computer in the building is connected to the Internet, all the machines are potentially exposed. ICS security had once depended upon an air-gap between IT and OT networks, and where absolutely necessary devices like one-way diodes were used to send data out of the OT network to the outside world. However, trends like remote management, cloud, IoT, and the adoption of open standards are eroding the network segmentation and creating new attack vectors.

      The threat of ICS attacks is very different from threats plaguing other computer networks. First, there is little valuable data to steal from a PLC (with the theoretical exception of pharmaceuticals), and yet the consequences of an attack are potentially catastrophic; the worst doomsday scenarios of cyber warfare arise from compromised machinery such as gas relays, dams, reactors, and water treatment facilities that can kill millions of people when they malfunction. To get a taste of the kind of damage we’re talking about, watch this video from 2007, where members of the Idaho National Laboratory hacked some of its own machinery.

      Second, the fear of unexpected downtime also makes OT teams less willing to experiment with new hardware and software updates. These factors create an environment of older computers running older software that is never patched despite the accumulation of known vulnerabilities.

      Finally, OT teams will not run encryption or conventional cybersecurity software on their computers, lest the security processes interfere with the precise and fragile timing of their network; they would rather be infected than incur downtime. And evidence of infections is mounting:

      •      The Stuxnet worm, allegedly developed jointly by NSA and the Israeli Army’s intelligence arm (Unit 8200), crippled the Iranian nuclear program by destroying their centrifuges;
      •      Iran crippled the operations of the most valuable company on Earth, Saudi Aramco;
      •      According to BVP-funded iSIGHT Partners, the Russia-based Sandstone Team developed the Blackworm malware that shut down power for 700K Ukrainians;
      •      For two years, an Iranian group controlled malware inside a dam in Rye, New York (near BVP’s  Larchmont office).

      The malware behind these attacks likely lay dormant for some time, and there is no comprehensive way to know how much more already lurks in critical ICS just waiting to be activated. According to the ICS-CERT, we discover more and more infections every year in US infrastructure.
So, at a time when nation-states, terrorists, and criminal organizations are scrambling for an advantage in cyberspace, society’s most critical infrastructure remains exposed and undefended.

      Claroty’s Origin

      Although our small investment in cyber foundry Team8 is gaining market value, we originally invested for more strategic reasons. Following our roadmap principle of “following the attackers,” we have long known that ICS would develop into a significant target, and hoped Team8 would provide us the best opportunity to invest in this market. They did just this with Claroty (fka Team 82), which is the second spin-out. Claroty is one of two dozen companies addressing cyber attacks on ICS. While Claroty is a newer entrant in this relatively nascent space, we believe deep the experience of its team makes it the likely winner.

      Recall that retired Israeli General Nadav Zafrir had founded Team8 to focus the world’s best nation-state cyber warriors on the biggest challenges of cyber security. Zafrir recently commanded Unit 8200, considered Israel’s equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA). But unlike the NSA, which employs career-minded employees, Unit 8200 draws and trains the smartest draftees from the Israeli population, who, like everyone else, typically resign their military commission after three years. Naturally, several of them founded cybersecurity companies like Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, and NICE. But now Zafrir, along with the Unit’s former Head of Cyber (Israel Grimberg) and former Chief Technology Officer (Assaf Mischari), recruit and commercially train the top 1% of those graduates, re-purposing them in cybersecurity startups.

      A principal skill set attributed to Unit 8200 is blind protocol analysis. If, for example, you wished to hack a Siemens centrifuge, you’d need to deconstruct the packets sent back and forth between the HMI and the PLC, or between the PLC and the actuator. Most protocols were cobbled together decades ago and were rarely well documented, and in some cases the vendors themselves treat them as holy writ. Unit 8200 is reputedly the best in the world at quickly and accurately understanding and parsing them down to the individual bit level. Team8 recruited the best, most experienced ICS thought leaders in Unit 8200, led by their team leader Benny Porat (CS PhD), to staff Claroty.

      When Team8 starts a new company, it marries a technical team with an entrepreneurial founder. In the case of Claroty, Team8 recruited Amir Zilberstein, who founded the successful Waterfall Security and Gita Technologies. Waterfall develops ICS security products (unrelated to Claroty’s product); Gita’s technology remains undisclosed. Team8 also recruited Galina Antova, the former head of Siemens’ Industrial Security Services division, to run business development. Antova is a super impressive executive - highly connected, brilliant, and fast-moving. [See Appendix: Due Diligence for summaries of the team reference calls.] Next step is to recruit a CMO – we hope to get Patrick McBride, who was a star at iSight.

      Beyond Security 

      With meaningful Operations Technology (OT) experience on the team, Claroty is taking a different approach to the market than its competitors who generally come from cybersecurity backgrounds. Rather than lead with the cybersecurity benefits of their product, Claroty has developed an OT visibility platform that first and foremost surfaces operational issues. By deconstructing the proprietary vendor protocols, Claroty has delivered the first heterogeneous HMI with analytics that span an ICS network. Seeing as how most OT teams today care more about downtime than infection, we believe this approach will enjoy a far better reception in the near-term.

                The Failure of Cyber Security and the Startups Who Will Save Us        
      2014 will be remembered as the year the cyber dam broke, breached by sophisticated hackers who submerged international corporations and government agencies in a flood of hurt. Apple, Yahoo, PF Changs, AT&T, Google, Walmart, Dairy Queen, UPS, eBay, Neiman Marcus, US Department of Energy and the IRS all reported major losses of private data relating to customers, patients, taxpayers and employees. Breaches at Boeing, US Transportation Command, US Army Corps of Engineers, and US Investigations Services (who runs the FBI’s security clearance checks) reported serious breaches of national security. Prior to last year, devastating economic losses had accrued only to direct targets of cyberwarfare, such as RSA and Saudi Aramaco, but in 2014, at least five companies with no military ties -- JP Morgan, Target, Sony, Kmart, and Home Depot – incurred losses exceeding $100M from forensic expenses, investments in remediation, fines, legal fees, re-organizations, and class-action lawsuits, not to mention damaged brands.

      The press has already reported on where things went wrong at each company, promoting a false sense of security based on the delusion that remediating this vulnerability or that one would have prevented the damage. This kind of forensic review works for aviation disasters, where we have mature, well understood systems and we can fix the problems we find in an airplane. But information networks are constantly changing, and adversaries constantly invent new exploits. If one doesn’t work, they simply use another, and therein lies the folly of forensics.

      Only when you step back and look at 2014 more broadly can you see a pattern that points toward a systemic failure of the security infrastructure underlying corporate networks, described below. So until we see a seismic shift in how vendors and enterprises think about security, hackers will only accelerate their pace of “ownership” of corporate and government data assets.

      The Sprawl of Cyberwarfare

      The breaches of 2014 demonstrate how cyberwarfare has fueled the rampant spread of cyber crime.

      For the past decade, the world’s three superpowers, as well as UK, North Korea and Israel, quietly developed offensive capabilities for the purposes of espionage and military action. Destructive attacks by geopolitical adversaries have clearly been reported on private and public sector targets in the US, Iran, South Korea, North Korea, Israel, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. While Snowden exposed the extent of cyber espionage by the US, no one doubts that other nations prowl cyberspace to a similar or greater extent.

      The technical distinction of these national cyber agencies is that they developed the means to target specific data assets or systems around the world, and to work their way through complex networks, over months or years, to achieve their missions. Only a state could commit the necessary combination of resources for such a targeted attack: the technical talent to create zero-day exploits and stealthy implants; labs that duplicate the target environment (e.g. the Siemens centrifuges of a nuclear enrichment facility); the field agents to conduct on-site ops (e.g. monitoring wireless communications, finding USB ports, or gaining employment); and years of patience. As a result of these investments in “military grade” cyber attacks, the best of these teams can boast a mission success rate close to 100%.

      But cyber weapons are even harder to contain than conventional ones. Cyberwar victories have inspired terrorists, hacktivists and criminals to follow suit, recruiting cyber veterans and investing in the military grade approach. (Plus, some nations have started targeting companies directly.) No longer content to publish malware and wait for whatever data pop up, criminals now identify the crown jewels of businesses and target them with what we call Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). You want credit cards? Get 56 million of them from Home Depot. You want to compromise people with the most sensitive secrets? Go to straight to the FBI’s archive of security clearances. You want the design of a new aircraft? Get it from Boeing. You need data for committing online bank theft? Get it for 76 million households at JP Morgan Chase.

      That’s why cyberspace exploded in 2014.

      This is Not the Common Cold

      But why are the crown jewels so exposed? Haven’t these companies all spent millions of dollars every year on firewalls, anti-virus software, and other security products? Don’t their IT departments have security engineers and analysts to detect and deflect these attacks?

      The problem is that up until this year, corporate networks were instrumented to defend against generic malware attacks that cause minimal damage to each victim. Generic malware might redirect your search page, crash your hard drive, or install a bot to send spam or mine bitcoin. It’s not looking for your crown jewels because it doesn’t know who you are. It may worm its way to neighboring machines, but only in a singular, rudimentary way that jumps at most one or two hops. It’s automated and scalable – stealing pennies from all instead of fortunes from a few. If it compromises a few machines here and there, no big deal.

      But with Advanced Persistent Threats, a human hacker directs the activity, carefully spreading the implant, so even the first point of infection can lead to devastation. These attacks are more like Ebola than the common cold, so what we today call state-of-the-art security is only slightly more effective than taking Airborne (and that’s a low bar). As long as corporate networks are porous to any infection at all, hackers can launch stealth campaigns jumping from host to host as they map the network, steal passwords, spread their agents, and exfiltrate data. Doubling down on malware filters will help, but it can never be 100% effective. All it takes is one zero-day exploit, or a single imprudent click on a malicious email, tweet or search result, for the campaign to begin. Or the attacker can simply buy a point of entry from the multitudes of hackers who already have bots running on the Internet.

      Too Big Data

      The dependence on malware filters is only half the problem. Ask any Chief Information Officer about his or her security infrastructure and you will hear all about the Secure Operation Center in which analysts pour over alerts and log files  (maybe even 24/7) identifying anomalies that may indicate security incidents. These analysts are tasked with investigating the incidents and rooting out any unauthorized activity inside the network. So even if someone can trespass the network, analysts will stop them. And indeed, thousands of security products today participate in the ecosystem by finding anomalies and generating alerts for the Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system. Every week a new startup pops up, touting an innovative way to plow through log files, network stats, and other Big Data to identify anomalies.

      But sometimes anomalies are just anomalies, and that’s why a human analyst has to investigate each alert before taking any pre-emptive action, such as locking a user out of the network or re-imaging a host. And with so many products producing so many anomalies, they are overwhelmed with too much data. They typically see a thousand incidents every day, with enough time to investigate twenty. (You can try to find more qualified analysts but only with diminishing returns, as each one sees less of the overall picture.)

      That’s why, for example, when a FireEye system at Target spotted the malware used to exfiltrate 40 million credit cards, it generated an alert for the Secure Operations Center in Minneapolis, and nothing happened. Similarly, a forensic review at Neiman Marcus revealed more than 60 days of uninvestigated alerts that pointed to exfiltrating malware. SONY knew they were under attack for two years leading up to their catastrophic breach, and still they couldn’t find the needles in the haystack.

      And yet, the drumbeat marches on, as security vendors old and new continue to tout their abilities to find anomalies.  They pile more and more alerts into the SIEM, guaranteeing that most will drop on the floor. No wonder APTs are so successful.

      A Three Step Program

      "Know Thy Self, Know Thy Enemy" - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      We need to adapt to this new reality, and the cyber security industry needs to enable it. Simply put, businesses need to focus their time and capital on stopping the most devastating attacks.

      The first step here is to figure out what those attacks look like. What are your crown jewels? What are the worst case scenarios? Do you have patient data, credit cards, stealth fighter designs, a billion dollars in the bank, damning emails, or a critical server that, if crippled by a Distributed Denial of Service attack, would cause your customers to instantly drop you? As you prioritize the threats, identify your adversaries. Is it a foreign competitor, Anonymous, disgruntled employees, or North Korea? Every business is different, and each has a different boogeyman. The good news is that even though most CEO’s have never thought about it, this first step is easy and nearly free. (Cyber experts like Good Harbor or the BVP-funded K2 Intelligence can facilitate the process.)

      Second, businesses need real-time threat intelligence that relate to their unique threatscapes. Almost every security technology depends upon a Black List that identifies malicious IP addresses, device fingerprints, host names, domains, executables or email addresses, but naturally they come with generic, one-size-fits-all data. Dozens of startups now sell specialized threat intel, such as BVP-funded Internet Identity, which allows clusters of similar companies to pool their cyber intelligence, or BVP-funded iSight Partners, whose global field force of over 100 analysts track and profile cyber adversaries and how to spot them in your network. What better way for your analysts to investigate the most important incidents, than to prioritize the ones associated with your most formidable adversaries?

      "This is a global problem. We don't have a malware problem. We have an adversary problem. There are people being paid to try to get inside our systems 24/7"         
      - Tony Cole, FireEye VP on CNN

      And finally, security analysts need fewer alerts, not more. Instead of finding more anomalies, startups would better spend their time finding ways to eliminate alerts that don’t matter, and highlighting the ones that do. They would provide the analysts with better tools for connecting the alerts into incidents and campaigns, tapping into the skills of experienced “military grade” hackers to profile the attack patterns.


      The challenge of securing data today is obviously complex, with many other pressing opportunities for improvement such as cloud security, mobile security, application security and encryption. But as cyberwar spreads to the commercial Internet, re-orienting enterprise security to focus on Advanced Persistent Threats should be the single most important initiative for businesses and vendors alike. Of course, inertia is powerful, and it may take boards of directors, CISOs, product managers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists another tumultuous year in cyberspace to get the message.

                Cyber Soothsaying: Where There's a Way, There's a Will        
      This week, the RSA Conference draws its annual pilgrimage of data security professionals seeking insights on market and technology trends. As a seed-stage security investor in this industry, it has been my job to predict the future of cybersecurity, and so now’s a good time to share two important rules that have served me well:

      (i)                Follow the Money: what’s the most lucrative opportunity emerging for hackers today? Identify the hacker’s next big opportunity, and you know who will need to respond! This rule, for example, steered me toward spam in 2002 (Postini), online banking theft in 2004 (Cyota), geopolitical warfare in 2009 (Endgame) and DDoS attacks in 2013 (Defense.Net).

      (ii)              Where There’s A Way There’s A Will. Physicists know that if a natural phenomenon can exist, then most likely it does.  The cyber corollary is that vulnerabilities in the wild WILL be exploited – it’s only a matter of time.  Poisoning the DNS, using the cloud to factor large numbers, and streaming smartphone microphones were all considered theoretical attacks, until they weren’t. Whenever we dismiss vulnerabilities as too difficult to exploit, hackers eventually humble us with their ingenuity.

      Just this week we saw two important examples of this rule in action. The first is Apple’s confirmationof a glaring deficiency in their implementation of SSL that means we’ve been kidding ourselves about how secure the Mac and iPhone really are. The software engineers at Apple are mortal, and just as prone to the inevitable security lapses that plague any complex system.

      The second example is a blog postby RSA about new malware on Android phones that coordinate with web based attacks to hijack banking sessions. I have been expecting this “innovation” since 2005, when I predictedthat banks, plagued by the security shortcomings of passwords and biometrics, would adopt and embrace out-of-band authentication for any risky transaction:

      That's why solutions in the future will move away from 2-factor authentication and toward 2-channel authentication. Since your bank knows your phone numbers, a bank computer can simply call you when it needs to confirm your identity, and authorize the specific transaction ("This is Wells Fargo--please enter the code on your screen to authorize the transfer of $50,000 from your account to the account of the Boys and Girls Club of Belfast"). This is a very inexpensive and fast solution to deploy, and requires much less customer training. Not to mention that it's secure (at least for many years, until hackers can easily identify and commandeer affiliated phone lines).

      This prediction turned out well: 2-channel authentication has since become standard procedure for banks, application developers and consumers, thanks largely to three investments I made back then:

      1.      If you’re a bank…
      Cyota (acq. by RSA) is the market leader in assessing your transactions for risk so they can be escalated for authentication;

      2.      If you’re a developer…
      Twilio is the market leader in enabling apps to launch phone calls or SMS messages for out-of-band authentication (this may be Twilio’s single largest use case); and

      3.      If you’re an individual…
      Lifelock leads the Identity Theft market, by contacting you through multiple channels when they spot a risky transaction involving your Personally Identifiable Information.

      However, as I parenthetically noted in 2005, it’s theoretically possible to “commandeer affiliated phone lines” in order to defeat 2-channel authentication. This seemed like a pretty far-fetched idea 8 years ago, but sure enough where there’s a way there’s a will, and bank accounts are where the money is! So I wasn’t too surprised to hear from RSA that hackers now intercept your SMS messages and phone calls in order to defeat the banks’ security mechanism.

      It is natural that hackers focused on this attack vector because so few IT people understand the perils of mobile malware. Enterprises are busy deploying MDM and app-wrapping products, but they ignore the rampant spread of malware that  renders those solutions useless. If I root your phone and ship home screenshots every minute that you run SalesForce, what good are the MDM and MAM products? (Lucky for Airwatch, they sold out before customers caught on to this.)

      This is why we at BVP funded Wandera â€“ the only company specifically building a cloud-based smartphone security service, which filters out mobile malware during both download and execution, as well as providing URL filtering, data leak prevention, and enterprise cloud app visibility.

      At the time we invested, many people warned us that mobile malware is simply not a big concern. But see Rules 1 and 2 above! Smartphones house our most precious secrets, and there are so many easy ways into them. I’m predicting that enterprises and governments will quickly understand this, and scramble to secure their employees’ phones just as they do their (larger) computers.

      If you want to join me in predicting the future of cyberspace, look for the money chasing hackers, and pay more heed this week at RSA to the warnings of security gurus, since no vulnerability is too hard to exploit. Where there’s a way, there’s a will.

                The Internet's Neighborhood Watch        

      The Neighborhood Watch dates back to July 1, 1700 in Colonial Philadelphia with the passage of the Safe Streets bill. With no police department yet established, citizens took turns as the appointed watchmen to "go round ye town with a small bell in ye night time, to give notice of ye time of night and the weather, and anie disorders or danger."

      In many ways, cyberspace today feels like Colonial Philadelphia - fraught with "disorders and dangers" and no police force capable of apprehending the offenders. No wonder then that last February President Obama signed an executive order calling on Americans in the public and private sector to establish the equivalent of a cyber Neighborhood Watch.
      "It is the policy of the United States to enhance the security and resilience of the Nation's critical infrastructure and to maintain a cyber environment that encourages efficiency, innovation, and economic prosperity while promoting safety, security, business confidentiality, privacy, and civil liberties. We can achieve these goals through a partnership with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to improve cybersecurity information sharing..."
      But sharing cyber threat data is shockingly rare, despite the fact that for the last two decades, hackers have steadily organized a vibrant industry around the tools and services needed to launch cyber attacks --credit card credentials, script kiddies, zero day vulnerabilities, bot armies, and other staples of cyberwarfare are sold through web sites and channels similar to those associated with legitimate IT purchases. And yet up until 12 months ago, when a wave of cyber attacks against US banks, government agencies and media sites exposed our economy's soft underbelly, no enterprise would ever voluntarily discuss its security infrastructure, let alone acknowledge a breach or even an attack, lest they worry their constituents.

      But in those 4 months from October 2012 to February 2013, everything changed. A steady drumbeat of DDoS attacks rendered our banks offline and, for the first time, account holders have demanded their banks openly address the problem. In a novel gesture of transparency and collaboration, Bank of America actually asked the Feds for help.

      The US has responded by organizing industry and government to start collaborating, so that cyber attackers, as they are detected, cannot simply jump from target to target. Twenty nine federal agencies today share real-time threat data stemming from cyber incidents through an exchange integrated with all the heterogeneous security infrastructure across those agencies. Suspect IP addresses, bad app signatures, malicious domain names, fraudulent host names, and other types of black lists are now updated in real time to broadly deflect attacks as they are discovered.

      Furthermore, this federal "ActiveTrust Exchange" has now been opened up to large commercial enterprises, including financial institutions (like BVP) and some mega Silicon Valley tech companies. The President's vision of a national Neighborhood Watch is now a reality.

      Paul Ferguson, VP Threat Intel
      The company that developed and operates ActiveTrust is Internet Identity ("IID"), a somewhat obscure company in Tacoma, Washington with deep security DNA. IID is pioneering the idea that security technology should be decoupled from security data - that you can't rely on your vendor of security hardware and software to also provide you with all the intelligence you need to filter bad traffic. Your security gear is only as good as the blacklists they enforce; without up-to-date cyber intel, you can't repel the motivated and highly targeted cyber attack.

      IID now sells various services and intelligence feeds, but the primary product is membership in the ActiveTrust exchange. ActiveTrust includes highly sophisticated governance modules to anonymize and regulate what you share (to satisfy the lawyers) and what you ingest (to weed out the George Zimmermans from your Neighborhood Watch).

      Based on the success of these recurring revenue services, IID has profitably bootstrapped. But the government's collaboration initiative is so important to the viability of the internet that I'm proud to report that I've reached out to IID and Bessemer has just led their first round of venture capital. The Company is now very well funded to invite many more members to join ActiveTrust, starting with critical infrastructure.

      I invite you to contact sales-AT-internetidentity.com to apply for membership in ActiveTrust. Let's work together to "to give notice of ye time of night and the weather, and anie disorders or danger."

                School Shootings and Spiritual Warfare        
      Russell Moore
                Email of the day on North Korea's ICBM:        

      Thank you for this confirmation. Empathy is a useful tool in both looking at how markets might respond to different situations but also to geopolitics. I wonder at what the fly on the wall must hear at National Security briefings in the White House.

      North Korea has nuclear weapons and an ICBM, it is debatable whether Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been blunted, meanwhile China is growing increasingly strident about its border claims both in the South China Sea and with India, while cyberwarfare tools developed by the NSA have been leaked into the general hacking community with the number of civilian targets proliferating by the day.

                Miniature Ballista Kit - Wooden Desktop Warfare        
      Miniature Ballista Kit - Wooden Desktop Warfare
      The ballista was an ancient artillery weapon that looked similar to a crossbow, but was more like a missile for the Greek and Roman Empires. Here's a desktop-sized one for the office.

      Click Here For Complete Details

                Class Warfare Not the American Solution to Budget Deficit        
      Two weeks ago, President Obama ventured courageously into the debt crisis debate with soak-the-rich proposals aimed at the usual suspects—“oil companies,” “hedge fund managers,” “millionaires and billionaires,”—and a new enemy, “corporate jet owners.” That phrase may have tested well with focus groups, but economists and pundits weren’t duped. Continue Reading...
                1/72 (Snap-Fit) Soviet 122mm Howitzer M-30        
      1/72 (Snap-Fit) Soviet 122mm Howitzer M-30This is a plastic snap fit model kit, which comes unassembled and unpainted. So model paints and other basic modelling tools are additionally required. This "snap fit" model can be assembled without glue.

      This kit includes one plastic model Soviet artillery piece with two soldier crewmen.

      In the late 1930s, development of a new 121.92 mm (4.8 inch) field gun was begun by F.F. Petrov of the Motovilikha Plant design bureau. The final design was put into production in 1939, just in time to see action during World War II. Commonly deployed as part of divisional artillery batteries, this reliable and hardy howitzer would continue to see service in the Soviet army until 1955, and can still be found in some military forces in the Middle East today.

      The M-30 featured a "split trail" carriage that could be used to tow the gun behind a truck or other vehicle, then split into two heavy rails to provide a stable firing platform for the gun. Thanks to the carriage's leaf spring suspension, the gun could be towed up to 50 kilometres per hour over paved roads or 35 kilometres per hour over dirt roads. It was commonly fielded with an eight-man crew.

      The gun itself was designed to fire high explosive and fragmentation shells as well as smoke, illumination, and even chemical warfare rounds. This powerful weapon could deliver its payload more than 11,000 meters away with a rate of fire as high as six rounds per minute, and was designed for indirect fire. After 1943, it could also be used to fire a specially-designed high-explosive shell against enemy tanks.

      Buy Now
                1/72 (Snap-Fit) German Medical Personnel 1941-1943 (4 Figures)        
      1/72 (Snap-Fit) German Medical Personnel 1941-1943 (4 Figures)(Type: model figures) This is a plastic snap fit model kit, which comes unassembled and unpainted. So model paints and other basic modelling tools are additionally required. This "snap fit" model can be assembled without glue.

      This kit includes two plastic model German medics assisting two casualties.

      Throughout the history of warfare, one major concern has been dealing with soldiers wounded during fighting. Combat medics are, in many ways, the most heroic of soldiers: willing to face enemy fire and recover their wounded comrades so they can receive medical treatment. Most medics are only lightly armed for self-defence, relying primarily on the 1864 Geneva Convention prohibition against attacking medical personnel.

      German Krankentrager were trained in advanced first aid. These teams were permanently attached to German infantry companies and were equipped with a red cross armband and a pistol for defense, as well as a kit with first aid and medical supplies. Each company was also assigned Sanitatsoffiziere, who were trained medical doctors, to provide immediate medical care.

      Buy Now
                Successful Sea Trials for AWD        
      Today marks the successful completion of ship builder sea trials for the future Air Warfare Destroyer Hobart , at Techport Australia in Adelaide. The Minister for Defence Industry, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP said this achievement is a significant milestone for the Air Warfare Destroyer Project and the nation, and demonstrates the capacity of Australia's sovereign defence industry to build and integrate ships for our specific defence needs. "Hobart has now proven its hull, propulsion and n...
                Electronic Warfare Boost        
      Our military's electronic warfare capabilities will be significantly expanded after the Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne today announced the Turnbull Government has approved a major new joint project worth $500 million over the life of the program, with approximately three quarters of this to be spent locally in a boost to Australia's Defence Industry. The Electronic Warfare Operations Support for Maritime and Lan...
                Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Oyunu Ä°ncelemesi        
      Oyun tüm hızıyla gelişmeye devam etmektedir. Modern Warfire’ın devamı olarak sayılan Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare oyunu incelemesini yaptığımızda bizleri bu sefer de 2054 yılına geleceğe götürmektedir. Senaryosunda bu sefer kiralık bir orduda savaşan birisi olarak karşımıza çıkmaktadır. Bilişim ve Teknoloji Haberleri © 2017 | 0 yorum | yazının devamı »
                Moissanite vs Diamond: Which One Should You Buy?        

      Moissanite is affordable and has incredible brilliance. Is it the right diamond alternative for you? Learn the pros and cons and find out which is better.

      Diamonds aren't the only option for an engagement ring. If you want a look-alike, moissanite might be an option. It looks very similar to a diamond, but there are differences.

      We suggest you discuss your options with your sweetie. What if she's expecting a diamond and you give her a moissanite? It might be a beautiful ring, but she may feel slighted. Learning about moissanite together can help you make the choice.

      Read on to learn about the differences between diamonds and moissanites. This guide will help you decide which is right for you.

      What Is Moissanite?

      Moissanite is a natural mineral found in space. It was originally discovered in a meteor crater a century ago by Dr. Henri Moissan. The stone was named moissanite after him (also called moissy by fans).

      While it's cool to be able to say that you have a space rock, today's moissanites are lab grown. They can be created in a matter of a few weeks. But they are still real gemstones - they're just made from silicon carbide crystals in a lab.

      Moissanite is not graded as strictly as diamonds. When you shop for a diamond, you shop for the 4 C's. Cut, color, clarity, and carat all play a role. Here's how moissanite is graded:

      • Cut: Moissanites are cut in such a way to display maximum brilliance and fire. This is different from diamonds, which are often cut to retain the most carat weight.

      • Clarity: Moissanites are not sold unless the clarity grade is VS or above. This means there may be small flaws that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

      • Color: Moissanites are graded as colorless, near colorless, and faint color. Usually moissanites are slightly warmer toned, but Charles & Colvard have created colorless Forever One™ Moisssanites.

      Because of how much a moissanite looks like a diamond, it has become the most popular diamond alternative. Read on to see if it's right for you.

      Why Both Moissanites and Diamonds Are a Good Choice

      Both moissanites and diamonds make beautiful engagement rings. With either option, you'll reap these benefits:

      • Durability: Moissanite rates 9.25 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. It is second only to diamonds (which have a rating of 10). They both make suitable choices for everyday wear. They resist scratches and breakage. Since many engagement rings are worn every day, this is crucial.

      • Sparkle: Both diamonds and moissanites emit beautiful sparkles. The type they emit differ, though. Moissanites usually have more of a rainbow sparkle. Diamonds emit a combination of colorless sparkle, rainbow sparkle, and flashes of light (brilliance, fire, and scintillation). Both are beautiful. What you like is your personal choice.

      • Cut: Both diamonds and moissanites are available in a variety of shapes. But round is the most popular for both choices. The round brilliant cut offers the most sparkle.

      Why Moissanites Are Superior

      You may prefer moissanites to diamonds for the following reasons:

      • A lot cheaper than diamonds: Moissanites cost much less than diamonds. For example, at Brilliant Earth, you can get a 1-carat, colorless moissanite for $600. Even a near-colorless, 1-carat diamond costs around $5,000. The price of moissanite varies based on size and if they were enhanced or not.

      • Extreme brilliance: Moissanites are incredibly brilliant. They have a high refractive index. They also have incredible fire properties. This creates a sparkle greater than that of a diamond. The sparkles are often rainbow colored rather than colorless. In short, you get a very flashy ring.

      • Ethically created: Unlike diamonds, moissanites aren't mined from the Earth. Moissanite is grown in a controlled lab environment. This eliminates the worry of unfair labor practices and warfare. They also have a smaller carbon footprint. Moissanites are an eco-friendly choice for an engagement ring.

      How to clean your moissanite ring: Dust and oils from regular wear may dull your moissy ring. Cleaning it is simple. Just soak it in a bowl of mild soap and water and gently scrub the stone with a toothbrush. Rinse and either towel dry or air dry.

      Why Diamonds Are Superior

      Diamonds are pure carbon crystals. They take millions of years to form. They make up the most durable, natural substance available. Diamonds also provide a colorless sparkle and hold their value.
      You may prefer diamonds to moissanites for the following reasons:

      • Diamonds are a girl's best friend: In today's society, we've accepted diamonds as the norm for engagement ring. It's the ultimate symbol of love. Some women may not think that another gemstone is a good enough substitute.

      • White sparkle: Diamonds refract light. This is why you see a beautiful white sparkle. Diamonds with an ideal cut give off the most sparkle. Moissanite, on the other hand, gives off more rainbow sparkles, and some people think it looks "fake."

      • It can be handed down as an heirloom. Diamonds are valuable and moissanite isn't. The diamond ring can be passed down to future generations as a precious piece of jewelry. Moissanite's value is mostly sentimental.

      Both Diamonds and Moissanite Have Downsides

      We want you to understand the possible downsides of both diamonds and moissanites. Taking the good with the bad, you can make the right decision for you and your loved one.

      Moissanite downsides:

      • Moissanite is not a diamond. If your loved one expects a diamond, she might be disappointed. Talking to her beforehand can help prevent a disappointing proposal. Even if she doesn't notice right away, she'll find out at some point during the appraisal or insurance process.

      • Moissanite is not as colorless as diamonds. There are completely colorless diamonds, while moissanite is slightly warmer toned (equivalent to the near-colorless range). So if she wants a very white stone, then only diamonds can achieve that.

        Tip: However, Charles & Colvard's Forever One™ Colorless Moissanites are truly a game-changer. For the first time, colorless moissanites are available.

      • A diamond is forever, but is moissanite? They haven't been around long enough for us to determine their longevity.

      Diamond downsides:

      • They are costly. You may only be able to buy a smaller rock because of the cost of diamonds. But you can buy a much larger moissanite for a fraction of the cost of a smaller diamond.

      • They aren't always ethical. Unless you know how to find a conflict-free diamond, your diamond could have bloodshed on it. Even if it doesn't, it could be mined from somewhere with unfair labor practices and an unsafe working environment.

      • You're paying many times the actual value. Diamonds cost so much because the diamond cartel controls the supply and price. But in reality, they're not rare at all. A diamond miner in Africa only makes a few bucks for the several thousand dollar sparkler on her finger. Moissanite, on the other hand, costs closer to the actual value.

      • It's harder to shop for a diamond. There's a lot more to learn. The cut, color, clarity, and carat can get confusing. You can get duped into a lesser quality diamond than you wanted if you don't know how to shop for a diamond.

      Where to Buy Moissanite

      If you're interested in moissanite because of the price advantage and ethical considerations, here are a few places to purchase it.

      • Charles & Colvard: They are the original creators of moissanite. They're dedicated to creating brilliant gems in an environmentally and socially responsible way. They offer their special Forever One™ Moissanite in colorless and near-colorless grades.

      • Brilliant Earth: Brilliant Earth's principle goes beyond merely conflict-free. All their items are sourced from ethical mines with fair wages and labor practices. They also offer eco-friendly alternatives to diamonds, including moissanite.

      Also Keep in Mind

      If you love the look of a diamond, you have a couple of other options. Cubic zirconia and white sapphire are two of the most popular choices.

      Cubic zirconia looks similar to moissanite in brilliance. It emits the same rainbow sparkles due its fiery properties. CZs are always colorless and perfectly flawless. It's hard to tell the difference from diamonds for the average person. Cubic zirconia is even cheaper than moissanite. You can find a 1-carat CZ for less than $50. One word of caution, however: CZs are not nearly as hard as moissanite or diamonds. If your sweetie will wear it every day, you may want to consider the risk of damage.

      White sapphires are another alternative. However, white sapphires tend to have a cloudiness. They also don't emit any fire or scintillation, so they're not nearly as sparkly as a diamond. It'll be easy to tell that it's not a diamond. Women who prefer less sparkle may prefer the white sapphire. As with CZs, though, white sapphires aren't as durable as diamonds or moissanites.

      Bottom Line

      Should you choose moissanite or diamond? It's truly a personal preference.

      If you are on a budget, but want the look of a diamond, moissanite is perhaps the best diamond alternative. It's a beautiful gem in its own right. If you want a real diamond, do your research. You may be able to find a perfectly affordable diamond ring that fits your budget.

      We encourage you to take your time and do your homework. Talk to your sweetie and together decide what will bring the most joy to your marriage. In the end, it's about what the two of you want.

      Happy shopping!

      Moissanite vs Diamond: Which One Should You Buy? appeared first on CreditDonkey

      Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

      The US And That 'Other' Axis

      by Jephraim P Gundzik [asia Times: June 9, 2005]


      Beijing's increasingly close ties with Moscow and Tehran will thwart Washington's foreign policy goal of expanding US security footholds in the Middle East, Central Asia and Asia. However, the primacy of economic stability will most likely prevent a proxy-style military confrontation, in Iran or North Korea, between China and the US.

      Threat to 'axis of evil' unwinds in Baghdad

      In January 2002 during his State of the Union address to the US congress, President George W Bush outlined his administration's primary foreign policy goal as preventing "regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction". Bush went on to specifically name Iraq, Iran and North Korea as state sponsors of terrorism, infamously dubbing this group the "axis of evil". After failing to gather multilateral support in the United Nation, Bush declared war on Iraq.

      Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, Beijing has worked feverishly to strengthen its ties with Moscow and Teheran in an apparent effort to prevent US military action against the remaining "axis of evil" members, Iran and North Korea. In addition to recent massive energy deals with Teheran, which place Iran in China's security web, both Beijing and Moscow have accelerated the transfer of missile technology to Teheran, while selling the Islamic republic increasingly sophisticated military equipment.

      Armed with a vast array of anti-ship and long-range missiles, Iran can target US troop positions throughout the Middle East and strike US Navy ships. Iran can also use its weapons to blockade the Straits of Hormuz through which one-third of the world's traded oil is shipped. With the help of Beijing and Moscow, Teheran is becoming an increasingly unappealing military target for the US.

      As in the Middle East, the China-Iran-Russia axis is challenging US interests in Central Asia. Washington is working feverishly to gain security footholds in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to complement existing US military bases in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. China and Russia are working equally hard to assert their influence in Central Asia. A good portion of this work is being done under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO.)

      Composed of China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the SCO was created in 1996 and reborn in 2001 when it was bolstered to counter the initial eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The SCO is becoming an increasingly powerful regional mutual security organization. Joint military maneuvers between SCO member states began in 2003. In 2004, the SCO created a rapid reaction anti-terror strike force. According to Igor Rogachev, Russia's ambassador to China, the new force is designed to combat and respond to terrorist attacks in any SCO member nation.

      In 2004, Iran made it clear that it was interested in joining the SCO. Iran's mammoth energy deals with China imply that Tehran is now integral to China's national security. A good way to formalize security relations between China and Iran is through the SCO.

      The autocratic governments of Central Asia have much more in common with China, Iran and Russia than with the US. At the same time, China and Russia can invest exponentially larger sums of money in Central Asian countries than the US. Almost all of China's and Russia's foreign investment is conducted by state-owned enterprises. Investment by these enterprises is primarily driven by geopolitical expediency.

      Foreign investment in the US is controlled by profit-driven private enterprises. While the US government can dole out aid to Central Asian countries, the size of this aid pales in comparison to the money that can be lavished on Central Asian countries by China's and Russia's state-owned enterprises. In 2004, commercial and security ties between Kazakhstan and China were strengthened when Beijing signed a deal with Astana to build a pipeline from the Caspian Sea to western China.

      The pipeline deal with Kazakhstan prompted Beijing to pledge increased military and technical assistance to Kyrgyzstan, through which this pipeline passes. Despite its small size and lack of natural resources, the geostrategic importance of Kyrgyzstan, which hosts military bases for both Russia and the US, is enormous. Recent political instability in Kyrgyzstan especially alarmed Washington.

      In early April, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Bishkek to ensure that Kyrgyzstan's new government would continue to host US military forces. In addition, Rumsfeld tried to persuade interim President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to allow the US to station AWACS surveillance planes in Kyrgyzstan. At the beginning of 2005, the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry denied this request by Washington, saying that such equipment was beyond the original humanitarian and peace-keeping mission of US. forces in Kyrgyzstan. Bakiyev made it clear that Washington would not be allowed to deploy the AWACS or to establish any more bases or expand existing facilities in Kyrgyzstan.

      Bakiyev also stressed that US forces would not be in the country permanently. Deepening economic and security ties between Central Asian countries and China and Russia could eventually reduce Washington's influence in the region to Afghanistan. However, in addition to three operational military bases already in Afghanistan, Washington plans on building another six military bases, further amplifying the US military threat to China, Russia and Iran.

      East Asia is another region where the China-Iran-Russia alliance has common interests diametrically opposed to Washington's. The most obvious country where these interests conflict is North Korea. As with Iran, the Bush administration is determined to force North Korea's government to acquiesce to US security demands. Again, like Iran, North Korea poses a strategic threat to Washington's global hegemonic aspirations. The mutual antagonism by Iran and North Korea of the US has naturally brought these two countries together. North Korea has been an integral supplier to Iran's ballistic missile program over the past 15 years.

      The US State Department has sanctioned the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, North Korea's main missile exporter, four times since 2000 for engaging in proliferation activities with Iran. In 2004, US intelligence reported that North Korea was helping Iran build long-range missiles. While Iran's ties to North Korea are strategic, Russia's and China's ties to the country are security driven. Both Russia and China share common borders with North Korea.

      The Soviet Union had strong ties with North Korea between 1950 and 1990 punctuated by a mutual security agreement. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia's relations with North Korea weakened sharply. President Boris Yeltsin chose not to renew the mutual security agreement with North Korea in favor of strengthening relations with South Korea.

      President Vladimir Putin reestablished the historically close ties between Russia and North Korea. In 2000, Putin traveled to Pyongyang. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, paid return visits to Russia in 2001 and 2002. In addition to official state visits, Moscow and Pyongyang have exchanged several ministry-level visits in the past two years. Pyongyang also enjoys very close relations with Beijing, with which high-level visits have been exchanged regularly in the past several years.

      More importantly, Pyongyang and Beijing are tied together by a mutual security agreement. North Korea is an important security buffer for both China and Russia against US military projection in Asia. With Beijing and Moscow clearly in accord about countering Washington's global hegemonic aspirations, neither country is likely to sell out their relations with North Korea and this security buffer. More likely, Beijing and Moscow would like to bolster the security buffer in the light of expanding US militarism. It is extremely unlikely that the US will convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and uranium enrichment program because both Beijing and Moscow need North Korea and the security buffer it provides.

      Playing in Washington's backyard

      In 2004, Russia and China launched a counter-offensive to the expansion of US militarism in Asia. Beijing and Moscow began to court Latin America's new leftist governments in an unprecedented slap to the US. Both Russia and China have strengthened relations with Washington's arch foe in Latin America - Venezuela. In November 2004, Moscow agreed to sell Caracas as many as 30 combat helicopters and 100,000 automatic rifles. In addition, Venezuela is considering the purchase of up to 50 MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia to replace aging F-16s.

      The Russia-Venezuela arms deal was widely criticized in Washington. Both Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have voiced strong opposition to the deal. In late 2004, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez visited Beijing, where he signed several oil sector investment deals with the China National Petroleum Corporation. Chavez has also stated that he would like to give oil export preference to China rather than the US. China also signed significant energy-related investment deals with Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina in 2004. The willingness of Beijing and Moscow to challenge US security so close to home clearly indicates that a geostrategic battle has begun.

      Security threat or strategic competitor?

      Beijing's expanding foreign relations both within and outside the China-Iran-Russia alliance and China's growing militarism have begun to repaint Washington's perceptions of US-China relations. These perceptions have been echoed by Washington's closest allies in Asia - Taipei and Tokyo. In mid-2004, reports by both the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) and the Pentagon depicted China as a major threat to US national security.

      The USCC was created by Congress in 2000 "to monitor, investigate and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action". In June 2004, the USCC released its annual report on China.

      This report noted that China was deliberately using economic warfare against Washington by creating a "competitive advantage over US manufacturers". The report specifically referred to the undervaluation of the yuan against the dollar and Beijing's (alleged) disregard for World Trade Organization rules as weapons in China's economic war with the US. The report described China's expanding relations with Iran as countering multilateral efforts to stabilize international oil supplies and prices.

      The USCC report also noted that Russia was supplying increasingly sophisticated weapons to China and that these weapons were part of Beijing's strategy for defeating US forces in the event of war with Taiwan. A congressionally mandated report on China by the Pentagon described China's Russia-assisted military buildup as giving China the ability "to cause significant damage to all of Taiwan's airfields and quickly degrade Taiwan's ground based air-defenses and associated command and control". Most alarming, the Pentagon report warned that Chinese military strategists were considering the use of nuclear weapons against US and Taiwanese forces.

      The Bush administration's concern over China's growing military power is also depicted in Washington's reaction to the European Union's proposed lifting of its China arms embargo. Washington's greatest concern about renewed arms trade between the EU and China was that this trade would permanently tip the balance of power away from Taiwan and toward China. Even worse, European arms could be used to kill US troops in Asia. Of course, the possibility of Beijing using European weapons to kill US troops presupposes that a war between China and the US will erupt.

      Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) share Washington's concerns about China's military threat. The Chen government's concern stems from its drive for Taiwan's independence from China and Beijing's forceful reminders that Taiwan is part of China. In the lead up to Taiwan's legislative elections in late 2004, Chen campaigned on a platform of Taiwanese independence. Though Chen's DPP suffered significant losses in these elections, Beijing's response was largely entrained in the form of China's anti-secession law.

      The law was meant to firmly warn Chen against seeking Taiwan's independence from China in the event that the DPP won a legislative majority. The DPP's losses to the unification-minded opposition takes much of the bite out of the law. In addition, Chen's opposition, the Nationalist Party, has permanently stalled legislation seeking about $18 billion to bolster Taiwan's missile defense system. The opposition has realized that Taiwan has no hope of defending against a military attack from the mainland, prompting renewed ties between Taiwan's Nationalist Party and Beijing.

      Along with Washington and Taipei, Tokyo also demonstrated its growing concern over China's increasing military might. In December 2004, the Japanese Defense Agency issued a defense policy guideline that defined China as a potential security threat. The report noted, "China, which has significant influence on the region's security, has been modernizing its nuclear and missile capabilities as well as naval and air forces, and expanding its area of operation at sea."

      In a joint US-Japan security statement issued in February, Tokyo went further, agreeing that Japan would "encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue". Both the defense policy guideline and Tokyo's concern over tension between China and Taiwan are a dramatic departure from Japan's post-war foreign policy. The change in foreign policy focus from military pacifism to military assertion is being driven by Washington's own security concerns.

      These same concerns drove Tokyo to encourage oil exploration in an area of the East China Sea that is claimed by China. Japan's military assertion has accelerated China's defense buildup while contributing to the creation of the China-Iran-Russia alliance. The shift in Tokyo's foreign policy has led to a sharp deterioration in China's relations with Japan. Foreign policies in Beijing, Washington and Tokyo are all characterized by two separate components - geopolitical relations and economic relations.

      Cold War redux

      Beijing's geopolitical relations with Washington and Tokyo are arguably at their lowest ebb since China established formal relations with the US and Japan in the 1970s. The deterioration in China's relations with the US and Japan and the resultant improvement in relations with Iran and Russia are being driven by Washington's outsized global security concerns. These security concerns are becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy for Washington.

      In sharp contrast to geopolitical relations, economic relations between Beijing, Washington and Tokyo remain quite strong. The mutual interdependence of these economies argues strongly against the preeminence of security issues in overall relations. China is the largest trading partner of Japan and third largest trading partner of the US. In addition to substantial trade links, American and Japanese companies have invested tens of billions of dollars in China over the past 15 years. Nonetheless, Beijing, Washington and Tokyo have all elevated the importance of security to overall economic well-being.

      While a conflict between the US and China over Iran or North Korea cannot be ruled out, economic interdependence suggests Beijing and Washington have entered a period of geopolitical detente. Beijing's increasingly close relations with Moscow and Tehran will contain Washington's further military projection in the Middle East, Central Asia and Asia and foil the Bush administration's plans for subduing uncooperative governments in Iran and North Korea. Finally, Washington's unilateralist foreign policy will increasingly isolate the US to the benefit of China's foreign economic relations, making Beijing all the stronger.


      Jephraim P Gundzik is president of Condor Advisers, Inc. Condor Advisers provides emerging markets investment risk analysis to individuals and institutions globally. Please visit for further information.

      (Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us for information on sales, syndication and republishing.)
                India-Bangladesh Relationship        
      Meanwhile, In The East :Bangladesh conducts mock exercises...a new flank?

      by Saikat Datta [from Outlook, Apr. 25, 2005]


      On April 24, Assam Governor Lt General Ajai Singh wrote to the PMO about a fresh wave of reports emanating out of Bangladesh indicating a security threat to India's Northeast region. In his letter, Ajai Singh noted that "there is cause for concern" and that it needed to be looked at closely and action taken at the earliest. In fact, he was reiterating concerns expressed by his predecessor Lieutenant General S.K. Sinha (retd) before he moved to Jammu and Kashmir.

      Singh also pointed at fresh reports indicating that new fundamentalist groups were emerging which could pose a serious threat to the Northeast, particularly the sensitive Siliguri corridor which links the region to mainland India.

      In fact, Singh's letter corroborates inputs provided by security agencies and an army assessment. It is not as if Bangladesh is preparing to wage war with India. But the army has it that Bangladesh army is preparing for low-intensity conflicts in which it would lend a covert hand to insurgent groups in the region.

      What has caused concern among Indian security agencies is a document showing the Bangladesh army (BA) conducting an exercise called Ex-Destranor-17, a mock unconventional warfare "behind enemy lines" supported by conventional logistic support. Conducted under the 66 Infantry Division of the BA, it happened "2.5 km inside enemy territory with conventional logistic support" and with "support from local population assuming that not all of them are friendly". The exercise was conducted from April 15 to 23 last year and troops were drawn from the 16th, 72nd and 222nd infantry brigades. The lessons from it have now been factored in.

      South Block sources say the army top brass has also expressed concerns about the BA's move to improve its offensive capabilities. Reports have been received that the BA has raised seven new armoured regiments to be used in a purely offensive role. In fact, worried about the vulnerability of the Siliguri corridor, the army recently moved some of its formations deployed in Jammu and Kashmir during Operation Parakram to the region.

      An Indian army assessment has also pointed to the renewed activities of several fundamentalist organisations in Bangladesh and their impact on the region's overall security. Among others, the report names Jamaat-e-Islami and Islamic Chhatra Shibir, organisations which have maintained an anti-India stance. However, the emergence of new organisations like Jagrata Muslim Janata BD, the assessment says, is cause for worry. While the Jamaat-e-Islami is a part of the four-party alliance in Bangladesh, other bodies like the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-al-Islami have also made Indian intelligence agencies see red. The assessment notes that its activities in areas bordering West Bengal and Assam are cause for worry. According to the report, the organisation has now changed its name to Islamic Samaj Kalyan Parishad with a youth wing called the Jamat-ul-Mujahideen.

      While India is watching the ongoing developments within Bangladesh, analysts say the continuing illegal immigration can no longer be ignored. "There are reports that all long-term perspective plans drawn up by the Bangladesh Army look at India as their area of concern which is worrying," says a senior army official.

      The Border Security Force has also raised the issue of illegal immigration with its counterpart, the Bangladesh Rifles, in several meetings. While Bangladesh has maintained that there is no illegal immigration, the bsf has pointed out that several terrorist groups operating against India are based in Bangladesh.
                Community Blog: My favorite weapons in videogames!        

      Howdy dammit! SecondServing here to tell YOU my favorite weapons in videogames! Man, videogames is a medium that creates badass weapons every month, mainly because a lot of videogames revolve around violence! Hooray for violence!

      Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle - Gears of War

      It's a freaking chainsaw gun. Nothing quite like blasting fools, and then sawing them in two!

      Purple Pikmin - Pikmin 2

      I just love squishing tiny beetles with Purple Pikmin! Fear their fat fury!

      God-tier Pikmin no doubt.

      God-tier Pikmin no doubt.

      Power Drill - Hotline Miami

      Nothing like donning the mask of "Carl" and drillin' for some brains!!! Pro tip: It increases your score by raising your boldness!

      Don't judge Carl, he just likes brains.

      Don't judge Carl, he just likes brains.

      Arm Cannons - Mega Man, Metroid, etc.

      I just love Arm Cannons, any game with arm cannons have my personal approval. Arm cannons for life yo!!!



      Titans - Titanfall

      I was thinking about picking just one Titan, but then I thought: "Honestly I just love them all! I can't choose just one!" So I decided just to go with all Titans! I love the Designs and weaponry of all three Titans. But my favorite is definitely the Stryder Titan! It gives me immense pleasure when I doom an enemy Titan, and then proceed to tear the pilot of said Titan from the cockpit, and squeeze him like a freakin' lemon!!!

      M6D Personal Defense Weapon System - Halo: Combat Evolved

      The M6D Personal Defense Weapon System also known as the "beast pistol in Halo 1" is one of my favorite weapons ever! Always loved making people mad because of my beast headshot skillz. Can't wait to use this bad boy again with in the Master Chief Collection this holiday!

      The Legend. Can't wait to use it online this November!

      The Legend. Can't wait to use it online this November!

      ACR - Modern Warfare 2

      This gun was the perfect assault rifle, it could be used for any situation, and it wasn't overpowered either due to it's damage.

      The rifle for ANY situation.

      The rifle for ANY situation.

      PP90 - Modern Warfare 3

      This gun was so fun to use! For what it lacked in range, it certainly made up for in fire rate and damage! I just loved rushing around the map like a beast with this gun! MOABs for days!

      "Alright, time to pull out the PP!" - SecondServing

      "Alright, time to pull out the PP!" - SecondServing

      Grenade Launcher - Battlefield Bad Company 2

      Equip the ability to make your explosives more powerful, and equip a grenade launcher, then the rest is history.

      Boom baby!

      Boom baby!

      Red Shell - Mario Kart Series

      Call me a loser, but I just get a malicious smirk on my face every time the item box gives me a red shell, or better yet, THREE red shells! Mwahahahaha!!!

      Truer words are never been spoken.

      Truer words are never been spoken.

      Incinerate - Bioshock

      What's not to like about being able to set your enemies afire with the snap of a finger? Let me answer it for you: Nothing.

      Burn your enemies at the snap of your fingers.

      Burn your enemies at the snap of your fingers.

      Taser - Syphon Filter Series

      The Taser in Syphon Filter definitely ranks high in my favorite weapons in video games! It was awesome and hilarious frying your enemies until they set on fire with the Taser!

      RYNO(Rip You a New One) - Ratchet and Clank

      This gun is 100% pure beast blood! For the low, low price of 3,000,000 bolts you can kick LOADS of ass with just the pull of a trigger. Firing 8-13 missile a shot, the RYNO generates a spectacular energy blast that obliterates anything foolish or unlucky enough to be caught in its path.

      Go hard or go home.

      Go hard or go home.

      Keyblades - Kingdom Hearts Series

      Probably one of my favorite weapons of all time, I just think the idea of a Keyblade not only is unique, but the differents designs for them all look badass!



      Well, that concludes the list of my favorite weapons in video games, there are SO many more badass weapons I love in video games, but that list would span pages upon pages of weapons.



                The Big Reveal - An Unplanned Announcement        
             We are tethered to the story we must tell. 

      Whether we let it out or keep it sequestered - whether we spill it over our lives in obvious ways or drip it lightly in the coy unaware of unintentional act....       we are what we breathe. 

      If we inhale the aroma of grace, mercy, memory and light - we naturally give it back into the folds around us. But the awe expands in the times where we absorb the shards of broken, unfair, unrest - the beats of dissonance and vitriol and yet we find a way to not perpetuate or multiply the painful, yet instead we take it in, transform it, turn it inside out and choose to export forgiveness, kindness, truth, humility and the longevity of love. 
      I stopped in the doorway of my room this morning, looking out at my perfectly sized apartment and I sat in the moment of thanksgiving for this beautiful, sturdy, warm and inviting home. Lights were dim, decor directing like one outdoors, even though in. Trees, mountain, branches, dock to still waters - I have come to settle deeper into this space of mine and I stood in the frame, smiling and audibly giving thanks for the joy and happiness felt. Taking the moment in and knowing He was the author of it, of me, of every thread and piece.    

      Maybe you're stronger than I am. You may be a person created with a drive and ambition that propels you consistently towards that which you set your eyes upon. 
          I would like to buy you a cup of coffee or tea and let you share your story of how you are built and the paths you've allowed yourself to take in the confident awareness that what you were crafted to do - you live in the knowledge that you will, and that you will actively participate in the fruition of your dreams. 
               Even more impressive is when you are beating with the same heart as His and you live a life not of your own ambition or goal, but of the understanding that is it His, bestowed upon you, and that to live in obedience means to step purposefully into your hours and days. 

      I desire to be such a person. For 33 years I've been your opposite. Not in all ways - for I know His desires for me; they have been laid out since I was a child so clearly that I know they did not originate in my own skin. Yet I do not know how to be as confident in the directions and details and small goals towards the larger dream. I haven't nailed the ability to support myself like the skill He has given me to support others. That gift is much, much easier to live out. I don't question the ability of another. I believe it fervently and endlessly. 
                So why so opposing towards self?            Sin.      Brokenness.     Spiritual warfare.
                I'm sure there are many reasons, but the enemy within and around contributes. I don't know another answer that matches both so easily and in confusing complication. 

      Yet what I do know is that there is a friction rising. The plates beneath the surface have been shifting and the ground may crack to let the underneath come up at last. What I do know is that He has been diligent and persistent and I want, more than anything, to obey and follow. 

      He has been telling me: write a book.

      Not a children's book this time (though I know, that stands unfinished too). 
      It came through louder at Allume. Even before meeting with the literary agent. 
          Yet meeting with her, it was a clearly rung starting bell - write this.       So much so, that those were her words as well. The end of our meeting was an invitation - "Write your book and e-mail me the proposal. This hasn't been said and I think it's important."

      This is not a small request and there will be so much I will have to actively choose to do to step forward in this. I cannot describe how very difficult this will be for me. Yet I know that this has been stirring for quite some time - this topic and I do believe it's a conversation worth starting and sharing. I am not sharing the details just yet, because much work is to be done to organize it. 

      Funnily enough, I had zero intention of sharing this yet.
      I wasn't going to reveal this, outward, for quite some time. 
      I cannot explain why I am now, except that I sat down to write a post about something else, and this spilled out instead.
      [A changed title as result.] 
      First steps are important I suppose, as are the small and large in between. 

      We are connected to our stories. That which we must tell, and find one way or another to speak. We are all moving through the weeks of this life sharing our story. It may not be in words, but in deeds. It may not be intentional, but unavoidable. It may not be loud, but covert. 

      However it's told, we are the embodiment of a tale worth telling. 

      May you, along with me, learn that we are meant to finish the good He began in us, long ago. May we learn to be brave in our callings. 

                Holiness: Spiritual Warfare (pt.2)        
      A new MP3 sermon from The Cross Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

      Title: Holiness: Spiritual Warfare (pt.2)
      Subtitle: Satan's Attacks, The Armor
      Speaker: Pastor Jon Mark
      Broadcaster: The Cross Church
      Event: Sunday Service
      Date: 5/28/2017
      Bible: Ephesians 6:10-20
      Length: 59 min. (64kbps)
                Holiness: Spiritual Warfare (1)        
      A new MP3 sermon from The Cross Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

      Title: Holiness: Spiritual Warfare (1)
      Subtitle: Standing Against The Demonic
      Speaker: Pastor Jon Mark
      Broadcaster: The Cross Church
      Event: Sunday Service
      Date: 5/21/2017
      Bible: Ephesians 6:10-12
      Length: 53 min. (64kbps)
                First of All Pray        
      A new MP3 sermon from Community Bible Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

      Title: First of All Pray
      Subtitle: 1 Timothy
      Speaker: Pastor Jon Johnson
      Broadcaster: Community Bible Church
      Event: Sunday - AM
      Date: 6/25/2017
      Bible: 1 Timothy 2:1-3
      Length: 33 min. (64kbps)

      Overview: Two week ago we concluded 1 Timothy, chapter 1. Timothy, Paul-s son in the faith was not the individual that we might have thought would stand and excel as a leader in the church. He was weak physically, young, often sick. Yet we see Paul choosing him as the head pastor for a church that He loves and knows is struggling and will struggle more with false teachers and spiritual wolves. To help Timothy, he writes him a letter and gives him a charge. Hold to this charge Timothy and you will be successful in waging a good warfare, he tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 1-18. It is going to be hard, and it is going to be war in the church to stand against error, but Timothy would be able to do it with the guidance that Paul is giving him. He just has to stick to the guide that God gave Paul for the church. So what is the first thing- It is what we usually place at the end--prayer. Join us as we start chapter 2 and look at the place of prayer in the church.
                Website Design- Designing The Strategy Of The Business        
      Vertical Warfare is a company with extensive experience in the arena of Internet marketing. Vertical Warfare addresses the necessity of good and attractive website design.
                Elite Forces: Warfare 2        
      Multiplayer Warfare Game. As first version – only few maps as tower defense. In beginning you can build any tower from any Group, but after you build first one – that Group will become Primary. Secondary will cost 120%, rest will not available to you. Team Up with your friend to achieve win. Instructions:
                Archive vs. Ransomware        
      Archives perennially ask the question "how few copies can we get away with?"
      This is a question I've blogged about in 2016 and 2011 and 2010, when I concluded:
      • The number of copies needed cannot be discussed except in the context of a specific threat model.
      • The important threats are not amenable to quantitative modeling.
      • Defense against the important threats requires many more copies than against the simple threats, to allow for the "anonymity of crowds".
      I've also written before about the immensely profitable business of ransomware. Recent events, such as WannaCrypt, NotPetya and the details of NSA's ability to infect air-gapped computers should convince anyone that ransomware is a threat to which archives are exposed. Below the fold I look into how archives should be designed to resist this credible threat.


      Before looking at the range of defenses an archive could deploy, some background on the ransomware threat.

      What Is Ransomware?

      Ransomware is a class of malware which, once it infects a system, typically behaves as follows:
      • It searches the network for other systems to which it can spread, either because they have vulnerabilities the ransomware knows how to exploit, or because credentials for those systems are available on the infected system.
      • It encrypts all data writable by the infected system with a unique key, and reports the key and the system's ID to the ransomware's headquarters.
      • It informs the user that their data has been encrypted, and that the user can obtain a key to decrypt it by paying a ransom, typically in Bitcoin.
      Some ransomware operations, Cerber is an example, have a sterling reputation for customer service, and if paid are highly likely to deliver a key that will permit recovery of the data. Others are less professional and, through bugs, incompetence, or a get-rich-quick business model may accept payment but be unable or unwilling to enable decryption. Of course, paying the ransom merely encourages the ransomware business, already worth by some estimates $75B/yr.

      From the archive's point of view, ransomware is a similar threat to other forms of external or internal attacks, such as a disgruntled sysadmin, or a catastrophic operator error. The consequence of infection can be the total loss of all stored data. I'm just using ransomware as an example threat because it is timely and credible.

      How Is Ransomware Delivered?

      I've been asked "Archives don't have much money, so why would ransomware target one?" It is true that archives are less lucrative targets than FedEx, Maersk, SF Muni, Rosneft, WPP, the UK NHS and other recent victims of ransomware. But it is a misconception to think that ransomware is targeted at lucrative systems. For example, a nation might think that destroying the archive of another nation would be an appropriate way to express displeasure.

      Like other forms of malware, ransomware is delivered not just by targeted means, such as phishing emails, but also by many different scattershot techniques including Web drive-bys, malicious advertising, compromised system updates, and in the case of WannaCry a network vulnerability. And, since recent ransomware exploits vulnerabilities from the NSA's vast hoard, it is exceptionally virulent. Once it gets a toehold in a network, it is likely to spread very rapidly.


      I now examine the various techniques for storing data to assess how well they defend against ransomware and related threats.

      Single copy

      Let us start by supposing that the archive has a single copy of the content in a filesystem on a disk. We don't need to invoke ransomware to know that this isn't safe. Failure of the disk will lose the entire archive; bit-rot affecting either or both of a file and its stored hash will corrupt that file.

      Disk Mirror

      One way to protect data is by directing each write to two identical disks, mirrors of each other. If one fails the data can be read from the other.

      But when one fails the data is no longer protected, until the system is repaired. The safety of the data depends on the operator noticing the failure, replacing the failed disk, and copying the data from the good disk to the replacement before the good disk fails.

      For well-administered systems the mean time to failure of a disk is long compared to the time between operators paying attention, so if disks failed randomly and independently it would be unlikely that the good disk would fail during repair. Alas, much field evidence shows that failures are significantly correlated. For example, raised temperatures caused by cooling system failure may cause disks to fail together.

      Disk mirroring doesn't protect against ransomware; the writes the malware uses to encrypt the data get to both halves of the mirror.

      Filesystem Backup

      Another common technique is to synchronize a master copy with a slave copy in a different filesystem on a different disk. If there is a failure in the master, the system can fail-over, promoting the slave to be the new master and having the operator (eventually) create a new slave with which it can be synchronized.

      Although this technique appears to provide two filesystems, the synchronization process ensures that corruption (or encryption by ransomware) of the master is rapidly propagated to the slave. Thus it provides no protection against bit-rot or ransomware. Further, because both the master and the slave filesystems are visible to (and writable by) the same system, once it is compromised both are at risk.

      Network Backup

      There are two ways data can be backed up over a network to a separate system, push and pull. In push backup, data is written to a network filesystem by the system being backed up. This is equivalent to backing up to a local filesystem. Ransomware can write to, so will encrypt, the data in the network filesystem.

      Pull backup is better. The remote system has read access to the system being backed up, which has no write access to the network file system. Ransomware cannot immediately encrypt the backup, but the pull synchronization process will overwrite the backup with encrypted data unless it can be disabled in time.

      Both mirroring and backup have a replication factor of two; they consume twice the storage of a single copy.


      Disk mirroring is technically known as RAID 1. RAID N for N > 1 is a way to protect data from disk failures using a replication factor less than two. Disk blocks are organized as stripes of S blocks. Each stripe contains D data blocks and P parity blocks, where D+P=S. The data can be recovered from any D of the blocks, so the raid can survive P failures without losing data. For example, if D=4 and P=1, data is safe despite the loss of a single drive at a replication factor of 1.25.

      RAID as such offers no protection against bit-rot. Some RAID systems provide the option of data scrubbing. If this is enabled, the RAID system uses a background task to identify individual bad blocks and repair them before they are detected as the result of a user read. Data scrubbing can prevent some forms of bit-rot, typically at the cost of some performance. Anecdotally it is rarely enabled.

      But, since the content still appears in a single filesystem, any compromise of the system, for example by ransomware, risks total loss. As disk capacity has increased but disk transfer speed and the unrecoverable bit error rate (UBER) have not increased to match, the time needed after the operator has noticed a disk failure to fill the replacement disk and the size of the data transfer involved mean that single parity RAID (S-D=P=1) is no longer viable.

      Erasure Coding

      RAID is a form of erasure coding, but more advanced systems (such as IBM's Cleversafe) use erasure coding to spread the content across multiple systems in a network rather than multiple disks in a system. This can greatly reduce the correlation between media failures. Since the erasure-coded storage appears to applications as a filesystem, it provides no protection against ransomware or other application system compromises.

      Two Independent Copies

      Why is it that none of the approaches above defend against ransomware? The reason is that none provides independent replicas of the data. Each system has a single point from which the ransomware can encrypt all copies.

      Suppose the archive maintains two independent copies, independent in the sense that they are separate in geographic, network and administrative terms. No-one has credentials allowing access to both copies. Although both copies may have been originally ingested from the same source, there is no place from which both copies can subsequently be written or deleted. Now the ransomware has to infect both replicas nearly simultaneously, before the operators notice and take the other replica off-line.

      Three Independent Copies

      Of themselves, 2 independent copies do not protect against more subtle corruption of the data than wholesale encryption. It is often assumed that storing hashes together with the data will permit detection of, and recovery from, corruption. But this is inadequate. As I wrote in SHA-1 is Dead:
      There are two possible results from re-computing the hash of the content and comparing it with the stored hash:
      • The two hashes match, in which case either:
        • The hash and the content are unchanged, or
        • An attacker has changed both the content and the hash, or
        • An attacker has replaced the content with a collision, leaving the hash unchanged.
      • The two hashes differ, in which case:
        • The content has changed and the hash has not, or
        • The hash has changed and the content has not, or
        • Both content and hash have changed.
      The stored hashes are made of exactly the same kind of bits as the content whose integrity they are to protect. The hash bits are subject to all the same threats as the content bits.
      For example, if an attacker were to modify both the data and the hash on one of two replicas, the archive would be faced with two different versions each satisfying the hash check. Which is correct? With 3 independent copies, this can be decided by an election, with the replicas voting on which version is correct.

      Alternatively, techniques based on entangling hashes in Merkle Trees can be used to determine which hash has been modified. These are related to, but vastly cheaper than, blockchain technologies for the same purpose. The problem is that the Merkle tree becomes a critical resource which must itself be preserved with multiple independent copies (making the necessary updates tricky). If ransomware could encrypt it the system would be unable to guarantee content integrity.

      Four Independent Copies

      If one of the three independent copies is unavailable, the voting process is unavailable. Four independent copies is the minimum number that ensure the system can survive an outage at one copy.

      Lots of Independent Copies

      Just as with disks, it turns out that outages among notionally independent copies are correlated. And that archives, unable to afford intensive staffing, are often slow to notice and respond to problems, lengthening the outages. Both make it more likely that more than one copy will be unavailable when needed to detect and recover from corruption.

      Tape Backup

      The traditional way to back up data was to a cycle of tapes. To over-simplify, say the cycle was weekly. Each day the data would be backed up to, and overwrite, the same day's tape from the previous week; a replication factor of 7 that was only affordable because tape was so cheap compared to disk. With this traditional approach ransomware would have to be a good deal cleverer. It would need to intercept the backups and encrypt them as they were written while delaying encryption of the disk itself for a whole backup cycle.

      In practice things would be more complex. Writing to tape is slow, and tape is not that much cheaper than disk, so that complex cycles interleaving full and incremental backups are used. Generic ransomware would be unlikely to know the details, so would fail to destroy all the backups. But recovery would be a very slow and error-prone process, unlikely to recover all the data.

      Write-Once Media Backup

      One excellent way to defend against ransomware and many other threats (such as coronal mass ejections) is to back the data up to write-once optical media. Kestutis Patiejunas built such a system for Facebook, and it is in production use. But few if any archives operate at the scale needed to make these systems cost-effective.

      How Does This Relate To LOCKSS?

      Nothing in the foregoing is specific to the LOCKSS technology; it all applies to whatever technology an archive uses. The LOCKSS system was designed to cope with a broad range of threats, set out initially in a 2005 paper, and elaborated in detail for the 2014 TRAC audit of the CLOCKSS Archive. Although these threat models don't specifically call out ransomware, which wasn't much of a threat 3 years ago, they do include external attack, internal attack and operator error. All three have similar characteristics to ransomware.

      Thus the LOCKSS Polling and Repair Protocol, the means by which peers in a LOCKSS network detect and repair damage such as encryption by ransomware, was designed to operate with at least 4 copies. Assuming that no copy is ever unavailable when needed is not realistic; as with any preservation technology 4 is the minimum for safety.

      Our experience with operating peer-to-peer preservation networks of varying sizes in the LOCKSS Program led us to be comfortable with the ability of these networks with realistic levels of operator attention to detect damage to, and make timely repairs to, content provided they have 7 or more peers. As the number of peers decreases, the level of operator attention needed increases, so there is a trade-off between hardware and staff costs.
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