Kingpin of International Pedophilia Network Sentenced, 900 Additional Suspects Arrested

by Christina Sarich, Guest Waking Times

The FBI has just reported, along with several mainstream news agencies that over 900 pedophiles – members of an underground “Darkweb” – have been stopped due to a two-year investigation. The founder of a website called “the Playpen” has also been sentenced to a 30-year jail sentence.

Investigators are calling the Playpen possibly the largest underground pedophilia ring they’ve found to date. Over 350 arrests in the US alone have been made, but the scope of the operation is international. Over 296 U.S. children identified as sexually abused and there are untold numbers in other parts of the world that, we are told, will be freed from their torturers.

RT is reporting that arrests have taken place in countries near and far, from Malaysia, Turkey, Peru, Chile, the Ukraine, and Israel, just to name a few.

“It’s the same with any criminal violation: As they get smarter, we adapt, we find them. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, except it’s not a game. Kids are being abused, and it’s our job to stop that.” Dan Alfin, special agent, FBI Violent Crimes Against Children Section

Oddly, membership on the Playpen site rose by a third and it ran “much better” while it was operated secretly by the FBI, one defense lawyer in the case has argued, seeking to have the charges dismissed.

Europol reports that Europe has seen the largest number of arrests in the investigation, called Operation Pacifier, thus far.  368 suspects are being charged and a total of 870 arrests have been made in connection with the Playpen.

Playpen was able to run successfully for some time as it was running under the Dark Web, or the Dark Net as it is being called, a portion of the Internet which protects the anonymity of its users, and participation is by invitation only.

It is said that the Dark Web represents the largest part of the Internet, with only about .03% of the regular, visual web showing on the surface when we log into our Internet browsers. Estimates based on extrapolations from a study done at University of California, Berkeley in 2001, speculate that the deep Web consists of about 7,500 terabytes. This means that thousands upon thousands of sites could be mined for further data to expose pedophilia and help law enforcement make arrests.

 

Once users gain access to sites like the Playpen, they have a wide range of materials to peruse which allow them to exploit and abuse children. This include videos of children being abused, divided into different categories. One section of the Playpen focused specifically on the abuse of toddlers it is clear the Dark Web is dealing with the vilest and most psychologically damaged percentage of society. To use the word psychopath seems to belittle the scope and depth of this issue.

Using Interpol, as well as the U.S. and other intelligence agencies, the Dark Web is being exposed, and it needs to be – child abusers have been using freely available encryption and software for decades to protect their identities.

For Operation Pacifier, Intelligence packages were sent to law enforcement authorities in countries including Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, to help make the arrest which are being reported now. The amount of data seized is the largest to date. Therefore, the current arrests are likely only the beginning of an avalanche of further convictions which will transpire due to this single investigation.

Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre said:

“Those individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children are becoming increasingly forensically aware and are actively using the most advanced forms of anonymization and encryption to avoid detection.  Law enforcement needs to be able to use proportionate means to tackle this threat to our children. The internet has no boundaries and does not recognize borders. We need to balance the rights of victims versus the right to privacy. If we operate 19th century legal principles then we are unable to effectively tackle crime at the highest level.”

More than 8,000 IP addresses were hacked in 180 countries to gain the data needed to take down this pedophilia ring. It seems the very tools meant to spy on every-day folks in humanity’s masses are now undoing criminals in the highest levels of society.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet…

This article (Kingpin of International Pedophilia Network Sentenced, 900 Additional Suspects Arrested) was originally created and published by The Mind Unleashed and is re-posted here with permission.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/09/kingpin-international-pedophilia-network-sentenced-900-additional-suspects-arrested/

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Why You’re Addicted to Your Phone

Why You’re Addicted to Your PhonePhoto by Warren Wong | https://tricy.cl/2qmsNUN

The nonstop novelty of cell phones distracts us from the true root of our suffering.

By Kurt Spellmeyer
Kurt Spellmeyer is a Zen priest and directs the Cold Mountain Sangha in New Jersey. He teaches English at Rutgers University and is the author of Buddha at the Apocalypse: Awakening from a Culture of Destruction.

About two years ago, I lost my phone. Waiting at Newark International Airport, I heard the cancellation of my Chicago flight, closed down by a blizzard. I took out my phone to call home, but then I learned about another plane, soon departing from a different terminal. Stampeding down the concourse with the crowd, I must have dropped my aging Samsung.

In the weeks that followed, I added “Buy a phone” to my list of undone tasks, but as each list replaced the former one, something held me back. Gradually, I understood: losing the phone felt liberating.

Living as I do in central New Jersey, I wouldn’t have the same sense of relief if my Toyota disappeared. And I’d surely miss my Kenmore washing machine, still running after 20 years. But cell phones differ from technologies like these—and in ways we might not appreciate.  

Pinging, ringing, and vibrating all the time, phones can be annoying, but that’s not what sets them apart. Lying in my bed at the end of a day, I don’t feel so overwhelmed by anxiety that I can’t relax unless I run downstairs to do another load of dirty clothes. But anxiety, guilt, loss, loneliness—these emotions can arise when I’m unconnected to my phone, and I’m not the only one this happens to. The mystery is why.

Most of our machines have been designed to replicate or enhance our bodies’ functioning. A hammer is a prosthetic hand; bicycles are prosthetic legs. But cell phones, iPads, and PCs are prostheses for our minds.

People often talk about the mind as though it’s a computer when the relationship is just the reverse: computers imitate our mental processing. Our grandparents didn’t need Steve Jobs to watch the screens behind their eyes. They’d admire mental snapshots of their patios or replay movies in their heads, adding sound to the images.

Computers and their spinoffs are machines designed to simulate these capacities, and like all tools, they soon become extensions of ourselves. The mind is no computer, but our consciousness still merges with our phones and tablets as seamlessly as a painter’s hand fuses with her brush or musicians vocalize through their instruments. This fusion can happen, Buddhist teaching holds, because consciousness is formless and adopts the qualities of everything it “touches.” Once we’ve immersed ourselves in our screens, they become our whole reality—and that’s why texting drivers look up with surprise when they rear-end the car in front of them.

We’d like to believe there’s a clear boundary between the real and the virtual, but if screens have become extensions of our minds, that assumption could prove fatally naïve, especially now that IT visionaries claim an implant linking our brains to the Web is less than a decade away.

Long before the Internet, early Buddhists coined a term—prapanca in Sanskrit—to describe the tendency of our thoughts to proliferate like “entangling vines,” as Zen teachers say. Mahayana Buddhists expanded the term to include not only words and ideas but also images, memories, and other mental fabrications. Now, the time has come for us to add everything streaming into our heads from our new prostheses: YouTube videos, online news, music, selfies sent from far away.    

The trouble with prapanca, the Buddha taught in the Madhupindika Sutta, is that the nonstop novelty prevents us from uncovering the sources of our suffering. We shuttle from one screen to the next, trying to allay our nagging sense that something’s missing or not right. But nothing we find satisfies for long, and so we start Googling again.

Instead, we need to turn our devices off. When the screens in front of us go blank, we have a better chance to become aware of another screen “behind our eyes,” the screen of the mind. Then, if we sit quietly, watching the breath or reciting the Buddha’s name, that inner screen will empty out until it appears formless and radiant. And once we make contact with this bright, empty mind, our craving for fresh screens comes to a stop. No matter what displays we encounter when we switch our devices on again, all of them will convey the same “one taste.”

The Samdhinirmocana Sutra describes this “one taste” as a timeless “now” that is “unproduced, unceasing, quiescent from the start, and naturally in a state of nirvana” (trans. John Powers). In that state, where you have nothing to achieve and nowhere left to go, it won’t hurt to make an occasional call or look up a restaurant on an app because the mind behind your eyes hasn’t changed.

Still, I’m not planning to buy a new phone. Phones come in handy if your car breaks down or you get lost in Brooklyn. But when I’ve found myself in those predicaments, I’ve had to reacquaint myself with two often overlooked dharma practices. The first is giving a person on the street the chance to offer me assistance. The other practice goes to the very heart of our real, not virtual, connectedness. That practice is asking for help.     

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/youre-addicted-phone/

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How Not to Be a Digital Slave of the Deep State

by Nathaniel Mauka, Staff Writer Waking Times

Catherine Austin Fitts, former US Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (under both Bush Sr. and Clinton), has some interesting insights about the possible futures which face us as a world population. Among her warnings are that the deep state would like to make us slaves via advanced digital technology. Some might call this artificial or augmented intelligence (AI).

It starts with the current war scenario. We can be certain that the war drums being pounded now are an orchestration by the deep state’s usual players.

Fitts says that the powers that be are “composting the United States” to save the Empire, by squeezing the middle class, and sending their resources elsewhere. The global elite will always try to save themselves. The U.S. is expendable, as is any other country. The good news though, is that Fitts says that they are in complete delusion.

As Fitts explains, the elite keep “extracting equity” from the “deplorable class,” while they are “harvesting” them and destroying them. As most anyone with two bits of intelligence understands, if you keep taking equity out of an investment, and never replenish it, it will eventually become worthless.

While people are never without worth, as they become more and more downtrodden and frustrated by being used, they will eventually have no choice but to rise up against their oppressors. The people’s use for the elite simply becomes worth nothing, and yet the elite seem dumbfounded by this phenomenon.

Meanwhile, the elite keep running toward a transhumanist future where people, as such, are not even needed. They plan to keep wearing Hermes scarfs and taking private jets while using human beings as slaves, pedophile-bait, or cyborgs that polish their boots and do the dirty work that none of these elites are willing to do themselves.

Only, this isn’t going to play out. Entrainment and subliminal programming only works while people are asleep. Too many are waking up to what is being done to them, and the future that is planned for them.

The elite are trying to weaponize the population against the people. This plan will fail. The central banking-warfare model is now common knowledge. As Fitts explains in an interview,

“Think of this as a parasite. Every time we have war, the tapeworm gets a huge injection of food, so they’re feeling satiated and happy. . .their cash flows are rising, and of course that’s bad news for freedom and everything else, but everyone is on the dole. If you want some historical examples, watch two documentaries. Sputnik Fever, and Eisenhower.”

There is a tsunami in Washington pushing for war, just like what happened with Iraq. Remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks? They were told to “shut up and sing” when they came out and said “NO WAR,” but what happened? The Dixie Chicks pushed even harder against the war-making rhetoric. This same phenomenon is going to go even bigger as the war-makers push for war again against Russia, China, Korea, etc. War is their paycheck. This is what they do.

But here’s where this all comes to a head – the elite can’t control an awakened population, and their false flags, political lies, financing of inter-community and inter-religious, inter-racial, and gender wars, etc. are failing. What to do? Micro-chip the population and control them remotely like robots. That’s the plan, folks.

Fitts says she hasn’t described this scenario in her previous writings because she thought the idea was too abstract, but she says,

 “The real issue here is are we going to be a human or inhuman civilization, and if we’re going to be in an inhuman civilization then you can kiss financial liquidity goodbye because you are going to destroy the entrepreneurial and innovation impulse of most of the population. Now if you think you can do this with 100 million people globally, as they might think they can do. . . so two scenarios are massive depopulation and digital slavery.

As Fitts succinctly puts it, “you cannot run a planet this big with fake news, fake science, fake intel, and rule,” so what do we do?

Small steps make a big difference:

 

  1. Break the tech habit whenever you can. Go face to face when you can and stop Facebooking people when you can meet them for coffee.
  2. Refuse vaccinations. This is one plan to insert the “mark of the beast” in everyone.
  3. Refuse to be micro-chipped. One Nevada senator already felt compelled to introduce legislation to prohibit forced microchipping of human beings. I don’t think he was being paranoid.
  4. Make it harder for them to track you. Don’t allow your cell phone to track where you are and what you are doing, even though it is likely doing so anyhow. At least resist your freedoms being taken from you. This site explains how to turn off your cell phone tracker.
  5. Refuse to let them cull the masses. Tell everyone you know about chemtrails, GMOs, vaccines, etc. These are all methods of depopulation to help create a digital slave race.

Moreover, know the signs of the transhumanist agenda. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Medical modifications that permanently alters or replaces a function of the human body – this includes microchips that “remind people when to take their pharmaceutical meds.”
  2. Aging will begin to lose the “virtue of necessity” and society begins to treat it as a disease. Being healthy is one thing, erasing all forms of age with technological components is something else.
  3. Rights discourse would shift from who we include among humans to a system flexible enough to easily bring in sentient non-humans. I.E. a robot gets as many rights (if not more) than you do.
  4. Great promises are made that you don’t have to stay “human.” Why would you give up truth, beauty, and fairness when you can sell your soul to an AI overlord (Satan?) that will grant you eternal youth, fake beauty, and the ability to not have to think or reason? Transhumanists promise to eliminate your suffering, but will also take your desires.

If you sense that you are being sold a religion for some kind of transhumanistic, technocratic reality – you likely are. Choose to be the best human you can be, instead.

“There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter. No other substance but this could produce the human molecule.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

About the Author

Nathaniel Mauka is a researcher of the dark side of government and exopolitics, and a staff writer for Waking Times.

This article (How Not to Be a Digital Slave of the Deep State) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Nathaniel MaukaIt may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/02/not-digital-slave-deep-state/

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We Need Conscious Robots

Kanai_BRH. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock / Getty Images

How introspection and imagination make robots better.

People often ask me whether human-level artificial intelligence will eventually become conscious. My response is: Do you want it to be conscious? I think it is largely up to us whether our machines will wake up.

That may sound presumptuous. The mechanisms of consciousness—the reasons we have a vivid and direct experience of the world and of the self—are an unsolved mystery in neuroscience, and some people think they always will be; it seems impossible to explain subjective experience using the objective methods of science. But in the 25 or so years that we’ve taken consciousness seriously as a target of scientific scrutiny, we have made significant progress. We have discovered neural activity that correlates with consciousness, and we have a better idea of what behavioral tasks require conscious awareness. Our brains perform many high-level cognitive tasks subconsciously.

Consciousness, we can tentatively conclude, is not a necessary byproduct of our cognition. The same is presumably true of AIs. In many science-fiction stories, machines develop an inner mental life automatically, simply by virtue of their sophistication, but it is likelier that consciousness will have to be expressly designed into them.

And we have solid scientific and engineering reasons to try to do that. Our very ignorance about consciousness is one. The engineers of the 18th and 19th centuries did not wait until physicists had sorted out the laws of thermodynamics before they built steam engines. It worked the other way round: Inventions drove theory. So it is today. Debates on consciousness are often too philosophical and spin around in circles without producing tangible results. The small community of us who work on artificial consciousness aims to learn by doing.

Furthermore, consciousness must have some important function for us, or else evolution wouldn’t have endowed us with it. The same function would be of use to AIs. Here, too, science fiction might have misled us. For the AIs in books and TV shows, consciousness is a curse. They exhibit unpredictable, intentional behaviors, and things don’t turn out well for the humans. But in the real world, dystopian scenarios seem unlikely. Whatever risks AIs may pose do not depend on their being conscious. To the contrary, conscious machines could help us manage the impact of AI technology. I would much rather share the world with them than with thoughtless automatons.

When AlphaGo was playing against the human Go champion, Lee Sedol, many experts wondered why AlphaGo played the way it did. They wanted some explanation, some understanding of AlphaGo’s motives and rationales. Such situations are common for modern AIs, because their decisions are not preprogrammed by humans, but are emergent properties of the learning algorithms and the data set they are trained on. Their inscrutability has created concerns about unfair and arbitrary decisions. Already there have been cases of discrimination by algorithms; for instance, a Propublica investigation last year found that an algorithm used by judges and parole officers in Florida flagged black defendants as more prone to recidivism than they actually were, and white defendants as less prone than they actually were.

Beginning next year, the European Union will give its residents a legal “right to explanation.” People will be able to demand an accounting of why an AI system made the decision it did. This new requirement is technologically demanding. At the moment, given the complexity of contemporary neural networks, we have trouble discerning how AIs produce decisions, much less translating the process into a language humans can make sense of.

In the real world, dystopian scenarios seem unlikely.

If we can’t figure out why AIs do what they do, why don’t we ask them? We can endow them with metacognition—an introspective ability to report their internal mental states. Such an ability is one of the main functions of consciousness. It is what neuroscientists look for when they test whether humans or animals have conscious awareness. For instance, a basic form of metacognition, confidence, scales with the clarity of conscious experience. When our brain processes information without our noticing, we feel uncertain about that information, whereas when we are conscious of a stimulus, the experience is accompanied by high confidence: “I definitely saw red!”…

more…

http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/we-need-conscious-robots

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3 Proven Ways Smartphones and Screen Time are Harming Children’s Health

by Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer, Waking Times

For years, the cell phone industry has fought litigation and has tried to prevent warning labels from being added to their products, and in a 2017 landmark case in an Italian court, a judge even ruled that excessive cell phone use can in fact result in brain cancer. While it may take a number of years to develop, cancer is not the only negative health effect using today’s smart phones, and for children, the impacts of handheld fixation technologies are rather broad.

Even Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, is well-known for not permitting his own children to use iPads, smartphones and other handheld devices, noting how addictive and openly available devices like these are in our society today.

“… when he [Steve Jobs] was asked “Your kids must love the iPad?” He said “Actually we don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them in effect.” The reason why he said that was because he recognized just how addictive the iPad was as a vehicle for delivering things to people. That once you had the iPad in front of you, or when you took it away from the home with you, you’d always have access to these platforms that were very addictive. That were hard to resist.” ~Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

Here are several other documented ways in which screen-time and smartphones are negatively impacting children’s health.

1. Literally Turning Them Into Addicts

As Jobs says, the devices are highly addictive, meaning they re-train the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, interfering with the a child’s natural responses to the joy, while heavily distracting them from life. These devices are digital drugs, as habit-forming as cocaine and ubiquitous in our society.

“This addictive effect is why Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.” In fact, Dr. Andrew Doan, the head of addiction research for the Pentagon and the US Navy — who has been researching video game addiction — calls video games and screen technologies “digital pharmakeia” (Greek for drug).

That’s right — your kid’s brain on Minecraft looks like a brain on drugs. No wonder we have a hard time peeling kids from their screens and find our little ones agitated when their screen time is interrupted. In addition, hundreds of clinical studies show that screens increase depression, anxiety and aggression and can even lead to psychotic-like features where the video gamer loses touch with reality.” [Source]

Some academics even suggest that these devices are so addictive they should come with a health warning:

“University of Derby finds smartphone users in study spent average 3.6 hours a day on devices, often causing severe distraction from relationships and ‘real life.’ [Source]

2. Impacts Their Mood and the Emotional System

Overexposure to screen time with these devices negatively affects the mood and emotional systems of children, and as many studies have shown, these devices can make children moody, lazy and crazy, even harming their memory.

“Children or teens who are “revved up” and prone to rages or—alternatively—who are depressed and apathetic have become disturbingly commonplace. Chronically irritable children are often in a state of abnormally high arousal, and may seem “wired and tired.” That is, they’re agitated but exhausted. Because chronically high arousal levels impact memory and the ability to relate, these kids are also likely to struggle academically and socially.” [Source]

Over time, these symptoms can develop into depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, increasing the risk of children being diagnosed and labeled as having ADHD or bipolar disorder.

Dr. Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Medicine, says overuse of these devices by small children can cause permanent damage as it impedes the developmental process of children, and can cause them social problems as well as physical issues such as harming eyesight.

“Too much screen time too soon, he says, “is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed.”” [Source]

 

3. Destroys Their Posture

The developing body is especially prone to developing abnormalities in the spine with overuse of handheld technologies, potentially causing lifelong health issues. Doctors are now seeing cases of ‘text neck‘ in children as young as 7 years-old.

“A leading Australian chiropractor has warned that ‘text neck’ – a condition often brought on by bending over phones and tablets for several hours at a time – is becoming an epidemic.

Dr James Carter, based in Niagara Park, on the NSW Central Coast, said the relatively new condition can lead to anxiety and ­depression as well as spinal damage.

He revealed he had seen an ‘alarming increase’ in the number of patients with the condition over the past few years and said 50 per cent of them are school-age teenagers.” [Source]

The following x-ray images taken by Dr. Carter give a look at how badly text neck is affecting children.

He even had one seven-year-old patient with ‘text neck’ symptoms, pictured before (left) and after (right) treatment. Source

 

Shocking X-rays of teenagers have been released to raise awareness about a condition called ‘text neck’, pictured (left) is a 16-year-old girl who is developing a hunchback and (right) is a 17-year-old boy with an abnormally curved spine. Image Source

Text Neck 3

 

About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article (3 Proven Ways Smartphones and Screen Time are Harming Children’s Health) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/04/28/3-proven-ways-smartphones-screen-time-harming-childrens-health/

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What A War With North Korea Would Probably Look Like

trump-petróleo

Back in 2013 during the last major flare up between the U.S. and North Korea I wrote an extensive analysis on the North Korean wild card and how it could be used by globalists as a catalyst for international economic instability titled ‘Will Globalists Use North Korea To Trigger Catastrophe?’ As I have warned consistently over the years, like Syria, North Korea is a longstanding chaos box; a big red button that the elites can press any time they wish to instigate a chain of greater geopolitical tensions. The question has always been, will they actually use it?

Well, it appears that under the Trump administration the establishment might go for broke. I have not seen U.S. war rhetoric so intense since the second invasion of Iraq, and all over missile tests which have been standard fare for North Korea for many years. With whispers by Trump aides of a possible 50,000 boots on the ground in Syria, and open discussion of preemptive strikes in North Korea, this time kinetic conflict is highly likely.

Yes, we have seen such military pressures before, but this time feels different. Why is an aimless quagmire war with massive potential global financial repercussions more likely under Trump? Because Trump ran under a nationalist conservative banner, and he will forever be labeled a nationalist conservative even if his behavior appears to be more globalist in nature.

Rhetoric is often more psychologically powerful in the minds of the masses than action. Therefore, everything Trump does from now on will also be labeled a product of the “nationalist conservative” ideology; including all of his screw-ups. And, with Trump in office the establishment is perfectly happy to pursue actions once considered taboo, because demonizing conservatives and liberty proponents is one of their primary objectives.

When the real insanity starts, liberty movement activists will gnash their teeth and scream at the top of their lungs that Trump is “not acting like a conservative,” so how can conservative thinking be blamed by extension? But these people just don’t grasp the thought processes of the human mind. No matter how much we try to separate ourselves from the Trump-train if (or when) he goes full-bore globalist, our efforts will be futile. The mainstream media has spent considerable time and effort making sure that all of us are lumped in with the so-called “alt-right.”  Remember, I tried to warn the movement about this long before Trump won the election.

Currently, there are questions as to whether or not a naval task force is en route to North Korea.  I would not trust the latest reports that all units are headed to Australia when Vice President Mike Pence is in Japan yesterday saying “the sword stands ready”.  Could this be more posturing or a precursor to a strike scenario? I am reminded of the U.S.S. Maddox which was sent to patrol the waters off of Vietnam, the same destroyer that reported an attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats which was used as justification for the initiation of the Vietnam War. As it turned out, no such attack actually occurred.

The presence of a U.S. fleet off North Korea could only be intended to instigate further aggression, not defuse the situation.

So, if war with North Korea is inevitable given the circumstances, what would such a war look like? Here are some elements I think are most important; elements that make the war almost unwinnable, if winning is even the purpose…

North Korean Air Defense

The North Koreans spent the better part of the last war with the U.S. being heavily battered by air bombardments. They have had plenty of time since then to consider this problem and prepare. Even the most gung-ho American military minds are forced to admit that using only air based attacks in North Korea is not practical. And where we have been spoiled by steady video streams of laser guided hell dropped on Iraqi and Afghani targets in the past, don’t expect things to go so easily in North Korea.

While North Korea is still rife with economic problems (like every other communist and socialist nation), they still have an industrial base and produce many of their own arms. This includes and extensive missile net backed by a maze of radar systems. Their air force is by all accounts obsolete, but as I have mentioned in the past, advanced missile defense is the wave of the future. It’s cheaper and can render expensive enemy air force and naval units impotent…

more…

http://sorendreier.com/what-a-war-with-north-korea-would-probably-look-like/

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How an episode of The Simpsons is made

In 1996, The Simpsons passed The Flintstones as the longest running prime-time animated show. In the 30-year interim, the tenor of adult cartoons had shifted dramatically: The Simpsons was more caustic and puerile than The Flintstones, a shameless Stone Age remake of hit 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners. What had hardly changed was the creative process.

Like The Flintstones, The Simpsons relied on a large Los Angeles-based writer’s room, a coterie of directors, a squad of storyboard and design artists, and dozens of animators. The biggest change in production over three decades was simply geography; by 1996, The Simpsons had begun outsourcing the final stage of animation to a studio in South Korea.

A year after The Simpsons passed The Flintstones, South Park premiered on Comedy Central. If The Simpsons was a middle finger to the establishment, the animation of Trey Parker and Matt Stone was a burning bag of shit. It was cheap and fast to animate with paper cutouts and computer animation, which allowed the show to comment on recent events. Cartoons at the time, requiring months of costly animation, needed to be comparably timeless in their story and humor, but South Park targeted the present.

Thanks to computer animation and the internet, South Park, the shows of Adult Swim, and countless online-only animated shorts, like Homestar Runner, have made animation faster, rougher, and looser. But The Simpsons, to this day, embraces the formula of the past. While an episode of South Park can now be created in a single week by a lean team, The Simpsons has actually added roles and failsafes to its lengthy process. In the world of animated TV, The Simpsons may be the last of its kind, an expensive, high-touch, slow-paced production built on formulas dating back to Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera.

The Simpsons
is now in its 27th season. This is how an episode of the program is made, a detailed, meticulous look at a process that has its bedrock but builds upon it with the tools and lessons of the future.

It begins with a pitch….

A few weeks before the warm Christmas of Southern California, the writers of The Simpsons — the longest-running sitcom in the US, starring everybody’s favorite family: Homer, Marge, Lisa, Baby Maggie, and their son Bart — take a retreat. The rest of the season, the team breaks scripts in the sterile writers’ rooms of the Fox studio lot, but the creative process always began in a home or the big conference space of a nearby hotel.

Each writer brings a fleshed-out minute or so episode pitch, which they deliver with gusto to a room full of funny people. They laugh, take notes, then co-creator Matt Groening, executive producer James L. Brooks, and showrunner Al Jean — a portion of the braintrust from the earliest days — provide feedback.

In an essay on Splitsider about the writing process of seasons three through eight, former Simpsons writer and producer Bill Oakley described the pleasure of the retreats:

“It was always a huge treat to see. You had no idea what George Meyer (for instance) was going to say, and suddenly it was like this fantastic Simpsons episode pouring out of his mouth that you never dreamed of. And it was like, wow, this is where this stuff comes from.

A lot of times people worked collaboratively, too. We would work with Conan, back and forth, and we’d exchange ideas and help polish them up. And so everybody would usually come with two, sometimes three ideas. You’d take fifteen minutes and you’d say your idea in front of everybody — all the writers, Jim Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon when he was still there, and also the writers assistants who would be there taking notes on all this stuff.”

Writing a draft

After receiving notes and some creative direction, an episode’s writer takes two weeks to pen a first draft. “Almost all of the writing is done here at the Fox [lot] in one of two rewrite rooms,” says Al Jean, who at the time of the interview is deep into production of the show’s upcoming 27th season. “The two rooms was a change that came about around season nine. We split because we had enough writers, and we could get more done.”

Getting more done with more tools and more hands is the throughline of the modern Simpsons production process. There are more people doing more jobs with more failsafes at a higher cost on The Simpsons than the majority of — if not all — animated television shows.

A writer has four to six weeks to complete rewrites. “We’ll continue to rework [the script] six or seven times before the table read,” says Al Jean. “Jim and I will give notes. We rewrite it.”

In those late night television commercials that promise to make everyone a screenwriter, the script is often called the blueprint of our favorite television shows and films, a term that implies an exacting, blessed, top level instruction which the rest of the dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of artists involved obey. That notion — as anyone who has seen a summer blockbuster or network sitcom can tell — is false. The script is vulnerable, malleable, and subject to constant scrutiny. There’s a blueprint for animated shows, but it comes later. The completed draft is like a guide through the woods, ready to be supplemented, revised, or outright redrawn if need be.

(An excerpt from Judd Apatow’s The Simpsons script, The Daily Beast)

The table read

Each Thursday of production, the cast, producers, and writers meet for a table read of the latest script. Some of the cast attends the table read, others phone into the room. Occasionally, voice actor Chris Edgerly, who has handled “additional voices” for the show since 2011, will fill in for one of the leads. “It’s very unusual that they’re all at the table at the same time now,” says Jean. “People’s schedules got busier, people actually moved out of Los Angeles. It’s the normal sort of entropy of life, you know.”

Despite being to hundreds of table reads, Al Jean still can’t get comfortable. He describes a critical setting in which the script is judged on its creative value, but also under the duress of external forces. A cell phone might go off or an actor might be fighting a cold, and the read’s vibe shifts. “Last week,” says Jean, “there was a truck backing up, that came in the middle, and that was distracting people. The table read is my number one unpleasant experience.”

Voice recording

On the Monday following a table read, the cast performs the voice recording, typically at the studio in LA. The actors and actresses record on separate tracks, rather than together — a common method for capturing voice-over. “It’s funny,” says Jean. “I read a review in The AV Club where they said about a certain show there was great interaction between two people, and they never met. They didn’t record in the same place. I’m glad it worked, but there was no physical connection.”

Direction

As work transitions from script to animation, the episode is offered to a director, who, if they accept, is given ownership of production and animation responsibilities. “[The role is] sort of akin to a TV director who takes the script of a show and turns it into an episode,” says Jean. “Except our director has to create everything. [… The director] takes the audio track, supervises the design, the motions, and what we call the acting of the animation, and [supervises] the whole visual aspect of [the episode].”

Both Jean, who serves as story liaison throughout production of the series as a whole, and each episode’s director work in tandem to shepherd the script through the animation process…

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http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/25/9457247/the-simpsons-al-jean-interview

WIKK WEB GURU
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