Wednesday 28th of September 2022

the looks of things…..

For some, there are few things more relaxing than sticking a make-up tutorial on YouTube and settling in for a few moments of escapism.

Then there are those who like their make-up videos peppered with tales of depraved killers and their crimes.

Sound bonkers?

Not for the 6.4 million subscribers of Bailey Sarian, an LA-based make-up artist-turned-true crime maven.

Her YouTube videos combining these two utterly diametrically opposed subjects - a series called Murder, Mystery & Make-up - have turned from a hobby into a full-time career that, among other things, has led to deals with the likes of US streaming giant Netflix.

The 33-year-old herself is surprised that YouTube - and true crime - have become her day job.


"I thought it would be awesome to make money off of YouTube, to pay some bills," Ms Sarian tells the BBC. "Now that I got here with over six million subscribers, it is so much. I never imagined that it would turn into what it is today."




Back in 1950, there was an “explosion” of “face improvements”. It was written as such, by Edith Horsley:


The girls went for the clothes and the cosmetics. The mustard manufacturers used to say that it was what the customers left on their plates that made their fortunes. It was the part used lipsticks, the tubes of this, the pots of that, which cluttered millions of dressing table drawers that left the tills tinkling for the purveyors of the face and soon — the body — beautiful.

It was incredible that a generation earlier, make up had been limited to lip salve and a little powder, sometimes sold sold in discreet little books about two inches by three of papier poudré — the sheets being torn off and smoothed over an offending shiny nose at discreet moments. Then in the run up to World War II, Hollywood had taken over with “pancake” make-up applications designed for the film camera and which was later adopted by the fans of the great stars.



The magic promise of beauty was offered in language anxiously tailored for maximum appeal by skilled copywriters. When Elizabeth Arden in 1958, presented a new foundation called “Veiled Radiance” It was described as “More liquid than a cream, more creamy than a liquid, it veils all faults yet reveals the inner radiance.” Beginning with a stylization, which was later seized on as a barrier against uncertainties, the 1950s moved on to a new natural look which required a blended use of the best ingredients and the expenditure of a great deal of time.



MEANWHILE, the Yankee blokes and guys were sent to fight the commies in Korea. Seven decades later, the problem is still there with a country that is sliced in half, not by difference of origin but by ideology, unlike Ukraine. Here in Ukraine, the West want to see it as a unified country which it is not. It’s not unlike the English and the Irish who parted company in 1929… On the western side are the Ukrainian Galician which support fascism via the Nazis and in the east are the Slavs (Russians) which are supported by the Russians.


In Korea, it was communism that capitalism had decided to fight against. At the beginning of the war, the communists nearly took over all of Korea, but they were pushed back and the Americans reached the border with China soon enough. But the Chinese helped the Korean communists fight back. One little venture which changed the war dramatically was the Russian MiG15. Air superiority changed the “game”.


The MiG15 was a nibble little Russian plane that was far superior to the American F-86 Sabre — and soon rule the sky in what became the “MiG Alley”. Of course, in the early days, only Russian pilots could fly the MiG15. So they ended up “secretly” fighting in unmarked “Chinese uniforms”, though they wore “smart European civvies” when not in the air. They soon trained Korean pilots to handle the plane that had one major fault: once out of kilter and into a spin, it was very difficult to control. But the MiG15 could climb at a much greater rate than its American counterpart. 


One aspect of better manoeuvrable fighter jets, unlike jet-powered bombers, is the engine being kept in the axis of the plane — not like in the Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe (Swallow) or the Gloster Meteor, under the wings. This central principle still guides the F35 and the SU57 or SU59. Mind you, the era of fighter jets is in its last throes, due to pilotless hypersonic missiles.



By 1953, a ceasefire was signed. The country was divided into the North and South Korea — a situation which still stands today.


Today, the Chinese communists have evolved into a more capitalistic society controlled by the state, and the Chinese still provide help to North Korea. Since 2000, the Russians have developed a semi-capitalistic society controlled by the state. Both countries, Russia and China, have become somewhat more efficient in many areas than the cumbersome corrupt American political system in which private ownership controls the government. 


Thus this is where we at. 

Different governments use different “make-up” and powders to make themselves beautiful to voters… All government have flaws, but the will of their people have adapted to the various control systems —if they are happy enough. As someone pointed out recently (we have alluded to this since the beginning) Chinese communism is evolving back into Confucianism, while the USA is evolving into a deceitful mess, using wars on everything that moves to sustain its “beautiful” face. It’s ugly. 

Meanwhile, Russia had to do a major switchover in style of political control. This involves a renewed belief in the Russian Statehood and traditional characteristics, such as family, which seem to have been abandoned by the West in favour of “everything goes”, leading to a “desirable ugliness”, an unbridled freedom to be stupid and proud of it, mass gun shootings, mixed with some scientific greatness. The lack of humility and the belief in exceptionalism have passed their used-by dates and this chagrins the Yankee fighting spirit.


The American commercialism of wars and the present American hypocritical distortion of history is leading humanity towards crap. Let’s hope that we’re not like in a MiG15, out of control, hurtling towards the ground. 


Unfortunately, the US pilot in charge is a senile old deceitful man, not a Top Gun for peace. The mission is not war or to destroy something of “an enemy”, but to bring peace. Capice? And this will demand humility to yield to the Russians on the Ukraine situation, whether we like it or not. 


Saving face is the order of the day. 

Dear USA, use as much cake-on make-up as you wish (disinformation to make you look good) but the little guy on the other side is going to squeeze your balls, until you stop trying to bash him up…


You know what I mean. 





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of spoofing......


By Tyler Durden

Having already paid over $1 billion in fines (in 2020) for ‘spoofing’ markets, JPMorgan is once again making the wrong kind of headlines as more details of the bank’s manipulations come to light in the trial of three senior precious metals traders.

“This was an open strategy on the desk,” said former JPMorgan precious metals trader Christian Trunz, who has pleaded guilty to spoofing charges and is cooperating with prosecutors.

“It wasn’t hidden.”

As Bloomberg reports, Trunz, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to spoofing conspiracy and is cooperating with prosecutors, is the third former JPM trader to testify at the fraud and racketeering trial of Gregg Smith and two other senior employees at JPMorgan’s precious-metals desk: Managing Director Michael Nowak and hedge-fund salesman Jeffrey Ruffo. They’re accused of systematically cheating to help themselves and their top clients for years.


“We all traded that way,” Trunz said.

“We utilized that strategy on the desk to make money for ourselves and for our clients.”

The goal of spoofing was to trick the rival computers into buying or selling to benefit JPMorgan’s position by using a large volume of bogus orders to create the false market impression, he said.

“Those trades were deceptive,” Trunz said of the thousands of spoof orders the desk placed over the years.

“They were used to bring out a reaction from those algorithms to get what we needed done.”

During his testimony Tuesday and Wednesday, Trunz described several examples of his spoofing trades, and explained how they mimicked those by Smith, Nowak and others on the precious-metals desk at JPMorgan.

“We fully believed this was a battle” between the bank and the so-called algos, Trunz said.

“This was the first time when machines were interacting with humans on a trading platform. It was man versus machine.”

Smith spoofed almost every day, Nowak did so about once a week, and Ruffo, while not a trader, would sit next to Smith and encourage him to spoof the market to execute client orders at the best possible prices, Trunz said.

It wasn’t unusual to hear Ruffo urge Smith to “keep clicking, keep going,” with a spoof trade, Trunz said.








the little engines that could….

It has to be said that things can be weird sometimes.

The engines that powered the little MiG15 were REPLICAS of the best Rolls Royce engine at the time. In 1946, Mikoyan, a very nice chap, and a couple of Russian engineers visited the Rolls Royce factory. The rest is hard to believe:


It might be hard to believe, but the source of the Russians’ new fighter’s monstrous speed was a Rolls-Royce design, which was pretty much supplied by the British themselves.

It wasn’t very often that anyone pulled the wool over the eyes of the British during the Cold War. The Soviets were a clever bunch, though. 

In 1946, the Soviets were invited to a Rolls-Royce factory. The delegation in attendance included Artem Mikoyan (the man who put the ‘Mi’ in ‘MiG’) himself. Mikoyan was then invited to visit the house of a Rolls-Royce executive, where they played billiards.

Artem Mikoyan was great at billiards. In fact, he may have used a textbook shark move, losing the first game and then raising the stakes on the second. Here’s the bet he made: If the Russian wins, Rolls-Royce will have to sell jet engines to the Soviets. Find out who won at around 9:00 in the video below.

If it sounds surprising that the deal was made over a bet or that the British would supply the Russians with Rolls-Royce engines, you’re not alone. Stalin himself was incredulous, reportedly saying, “what idiot would sell us their jet engines?”

The Russians agreed to use the acquired engines for non-military purposes exclusively, which they did… until they were able to make a Russian copy of the Rolls-Royce engines, then called the Klimov RD-45. The engine was fitted into the MiG-15 and was fully operational in time for the Korean War, taking to the skies with weaponry designed to take down B-29 Superfortress bombers.




As well, the Russian visitors to the Rolls Royce factory had "special shoes", the sole of which would allow the shavings from lathes and machinery to embed in as they walked along. Back in Russia, the shavings were tested to find the alloys used in making the blades of turbines.... Soon the Russians would improve....


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a bellingcat doco?..…..

Christo Grozev, self-styled ‘lead Russia investigator’ with Bellingcat, confirmed on Monday his involvement in a Ukrainian intelligence plot to incite Russian military pilots to defect and hijack their planes. The senior member of the controversial Western-funded group, however, challenged the story told by the Russian side.

Russia’s Security Service (FSB) has presented “a traditional mix of forged ‘evidence’ and loosely interpreted facts” on the affair, Grozev claimed, rejecting allegations of being directly involved in the plot. According to a middleman detained by Russian intelligence, he had been receiving orders directly from Grozev on how to deliver cash to the pilots in exchange for videos proving they actually have access to warplanes.

“What is true, however, is I was involved in this crazier-than-fiction story of triple-agents, fake passports and faux girlfriends – as a documentary film maker,” he said, in a lengthy Twitter thread about the matter. Grozev did not, however, directly address the claims made against him by the detained suspect.



Russia has repeatedly questioned the independence and credibility of Bellingcat. Despite advertising itself as an investigative group specializing in fact-checking and open-source intelligence, with both professional and citizen journalists contributing, it has been receiving state funding from multiple Western states. The group was labeled “undesirable” in Russia earlier in July, with the designation effectively prohibiting any operations in the country for it.

Last year, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Sergey Naryshkin squarely accused Bellingcat of working closely with Western intelligence services with the sole goal to “put pressure on either [Russia] or on individuals and entities.”

“They use dishonest methods. And the information that is used in such cases is false, unverified, it has its own goals… They are ready to perform any task, because they do it for money, not objectively,” Naryshkin asserted.









Like in:

With the MiG challenging U.S. air superiority, Americans worked hard to get their hands on the Soviet technology, but they wouldn’t obtain a flyable MiG-15 until September 1953, when defecting North Korean pilot No Kum-Sok landed his jet at Kimpo Air Base, South Korea. Flying the Korean MiG would fully reveal what U.S. pilots were up against. To evaluate the Soviet fighter, the best of the U.S. Air Force test pilots—Captain Harold “Tom” Collins of the Wright Field Flight Test Division and Major Charles “Chuck” Yeager—were sent to Kadena Air Base, Japan. On September 29, 1953, the first Western pilot took to the sky in the mysterious MiG. The flight revealed the expected formidable performance, but also the MiG’s more unpleasant characteristics. “The defector pilot told me that the MiG-15 airplane had a strong tendency to spin out of accelerated, or even one ‘G,’ stalls and, often, it did not recover from the spin,” said Collins in 1991 for Test Flying at Old Wright Field, a collection of memoirs. “A white stripe was painted vertically down the instrument panel to be used to center the control stick when attempting spin recovery. He said that he had seen his instructor spin-in and killed.”




On September 6, 1976, Lieutenant Viktor Belenko of the Soviet Air Defense Forces defected by flying his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25P "Foxbat" aircraft from near Vladivostok in the Far East of the Soviet Union to Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido Prefecture of Japan.

Belenko's defection caused tension between Japan and the Soviet Union, especially after Japanese and American specialists disassembled and examined the aircraft. The examination revealed to the US that while impressive in speed, the MiG-25 was not the superfighter that they had feared it to be. It was later returned to the Soviets while it was still disassembled with some parts missing.

Belenko was granted political asylum in and later citizenship of the US, where he became a military consultant, public speaker, and businessman. Belenko later visited Moscow in 1995, after the end of the Soviet Union.








little details of history……..

The Canadian Car and Foundry Co acquired a manufacturing licence for the G-23, an improved FF-1, of which it completed a total of 52, some of which were assembled from US-built components. Thirty-four were acquired by the Spanish Republican government in 1937 by presenting forged Turkish credentials. This batch was built primarily to bypass the US embargo placed on belligerents during the Spanish Civil War.[3] Referred to as the GE-23 Delfin (en:'Dolphin') by the Spanish Republican Air Force, the aircraft fought in the conflict, but were outclassed by opposing fighters and losses were high. A victory against a Heinkel He 59B was the only recorded "kill" by a Grumman biplane fighter.[1] Eleven survived to serve in the Ejército del Aire Español, nicknamed Pedro Rico for its rotundity.[1]







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M*A*S*H 22…...



The one thing people tend to know about the Korean War is that they don’t know much about it. On the rare occasions it is mentioned, it’s typically described as a “forgotten war” — a term that has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy for the conflict. Yet the third season of Blowback, a podcast about the history of American imperialism, makes a compelling case that, alongside the events which preceded it, the Korean War is far more significant than is typically credited.

To Noah Kulwin, who cohosts Blowback with Brendan James, this cliché of the conflict as a forgotten war is “used to consign what America actually did as something so minor as to not be worthy of our attention.” If the conflict itself has been turned into a historical footnote, however, its legacy has never been more prominent: in the past few years, satires of South Korean hypercapitalism like Parasite and Squid Game have exploded in popularity across the globe, while North Korea’s status as the West’s favorite bogeyman remains potent. As Blowback explores, the Korean War set the stage for the Cold War, ushered in the development of the US national security state, and helped to create the playbook which still characterizes America’s foreign policy to this day.

The title Blowback, which co-opts a CIA term used to describe the unintended consequences of a covert operation, is tongue-in-cheek. “We’re trying to illustrate how American imperialism has functioned by design, rather than being a series of misguided fuckups,” Kulwin tells me. “Using that perspective shift, we then consider the intentions of the people carrying out these policies, the interests they had, and the kinds of social histories which have generally been neglected.”

Blowback is something different to the kind of low-effort podcast where the hosts sit around riffing about current affairs. There are moments of dry humor, but it’s deeply researched and sweeping in scope. There’s a cinematic quality to both its atmospheric score (composed by James himself) and extensive use of archival clips — it feels like a slick, sculpted work of narrative art. “We don’t want it to be too didactic,” says James. “We are coming from a specific point of view, but ultimately we want it to be compelling.”

Across each of its three seasons, the first and second of which explored the Iraq War and the Cuban Revolution, Blowback reveals recurring motifs within US foreign policy. “One of the big themes is maldevelopment,” says Kulwin. Just as anti-colonial scholars like Walter Rodney have argued that Africa’s underdevelopment today is a direct consequence of European imperial extraction from the eighteenth century onward, Blowback makes a similar case for the United States in the postwar period.

“America was the great power,” says Kulwin. “It was called the ‘American Century’ for a reason.” And with that power, the hosts argue, came its widespread abuse. “We shepherded the poor development of so much of the globe under a ‘Pax Americana,’” he goes on, “enforced at the barrel of a gun.” Because each season goes backward in time, it’s possible to see certain through lines in reverse.

During the Iraq War, there was the use of the UN as the fig leaf for legal justification, even though there were all kinds of corners being cut around international law. There was also the weaponization of the idea of human rights, and the manipulation of intelligence and public opinion. These are all repeated themes, incidents, and events you can see in each season.

Criticisms of the “forgotten war” framing aside, it’s undeniable that the Korean War has left a smaller cultural imprint than comparable conflicts. M*A*S*H — both the 1970 Robert Altman film and its sitcom spin-off — is a major exception. But although it was set in Korea, it was released during the Vietnam period and commonly interpreted as an allegory for that war. There are a number of reasons for the lack of explicit cultural representation at the time — chief among them being the difficulty of depicting the United States in a flattering light. “It was easy for Hollywood to portray World War II as what we still popularly think of as the ‘good war,’” says James. “Even if it was brutal, there was no question that we were doing the right thing. Whereas the Korean War was so much uglier, and there was so much to cover up at the time about why it was really happening, which made it much harder to pump out cultural propaganda.”

To understand the mood of time, it’s more helpful to look at the sci-fi genre. “There was a crop of releases which were not literally about Korea, but which concerned an Americanized human population exploring red planets and coming across savages who wanted to enslave mankind,” says James. Just as often, these films would involve aliens infiltrating American society, reflecting a broader paranoia that the enemy was not just at the gates but living next door or sleeping in your bed. As Blowbackexplores, the Korean War raged at the same time as McCarthyism, the war proving integral to the construction of domestic reaction against the communist movement both in America and abroad.

Central to this was the idea that the USSR was the aggressor. The conventional narrative of the Korean War is that following World War II, the West was deeply invested in a long peace. These hopes were dashed when the Soviet Union, along with its lackey Kim Il-sung, decided to invade South Korea in an unprovoked attack. According to this version of events, Kulwin says, “it’s possible to suggest that we stayed too long, or that we didn’t do it the right way, but we were ultimately responding to a crisis caused by the North Koreans on June 25, 1950.”

Blowback refutes this narrative. For a start, the war — which is typically historicized as having taken place within a neat, three-year time frame — began long before 1950. By this point, there had been years of conflict on the peninsula and over one hundred thousand Koreans had already been killed. Aided by the United States, the government in the South — effectively a client state — had massacred suspected communists and brutally suppressed a socialist uprising on the supposedly autonomous Jeju Island.

The North, meanwhile, had embarked on a revolutionary program, instituting literacy program, labor law reforms, land redistribution, industry nationalization, and a popular movement for women’s equality. The event that sparked the beginning of what we understand as the Korean War’ came when North Korean troops breached the 38th parallel that cleaved the peninsula in half. But rather than being an internationally recognized border, this was an arbitrary line which had been drawn up by the American military just five years earlier. When the North “invaded,” they saw themselves as liberating the South from the vestiges of colonialism, with the ultimate goal of reunifying the peninsula.

What surprised Kulwin and James while researching the show was the sheer extent of the United States’ brutality when the war commenced. One of their interviewees, historian Bruce Cumings, has argued that the United States’ conduct rose to the level of genocide. This involved indiscriminate bombing campaigns by US air forces and a number of civilian massacres, many of which were either observed or directly carried out by American troops. While the United States was running the show, the war was billed as a collective UN effort, and there also were around sixty thousand British soldiers deployed there — some of whom were also, allegedly, complicit in these atrocities. By the end of the war in 1953, it’s estimated that between 40 and 90 percent of North Korea’s towns and cities had been destroyed. Its capital, Pyongyang, was reduced to rubble, and 20 percent of the North’s population had been killed, with a staggering number of these casualties being civilians.

Alongside these more well-documented atrocities, there is evidence — stronger than is commonly asserted — which suggests that the United States committed a more insidious form of war crime. According to Kulwin,

The preponderance of evidence points to the fact that the American military had the capabilities to wage biological and germ warfare, and that they ran an East Asian Operation Paperclip program akin to what they did with the Nazis, where they pulled out the most important Japanese bioweapon researchers and put them to work with the CIA. We know that teams of CIA officials who were studying these methods in the US were sent to East Asia during the Korean War to carry out experiments.

Blowback, while interested in excavating history, is ultimately about how these events and strategies still shape politics today and continue to determine which countries the United States positions as villains. When you consider the extent of destruction North Korea experienced during the war, the fact that it has since pursued a nuclear deterrent begins to seem somewhat more rational.

As with any country deemed evil by the US government, its position as a pariah has less to do with its real flaws — no one is claiming it’s a perfect state — and more to do with its failure to bend the knee. Kulwin suggests there is an element of projection at play in the United States’ attitude toward the country it once destroyed: “With the exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis, one of the closest times the world has come to global nuclear war was during the Korean War,” he says. “As I see it, that is not unconnected to the fact that we have made North Korea out to be the most dangerous nuclear state in the world.”

According to James, it’s a matter of record that North Korea developed its nuclear program because the United States had spent the previous decades threatening them with nukes — not just in rhetoric, but by physically relocating them to its southern neighbor. None of this chimes with the popular perception of North Korea as unaccountably hostile and cartoonishly malicious.

As with Cuba, its status as a rogue state has been assiduously maintained through decades of vilification — something which Blowback satirizes in its opening episode with a montage of absurd, hysterical coverage (one news anchor makes the chilling allegation that the country, presumably as opposed to the United States, suffers under a class system.) “There’s a big series of logical assumptions that America has to leave out of the narrative for us to continue to paint North Korea as a pariah state rather than a country which has imbibed the lessons of the world,” says Kulwin.

For people in Korea itself, the war is far from forgotten. “When you start to interrogate the war’s impact, you realize that it’s effectively ongoing,” says Kulwin. “It’s a continuing trauma.” Its legacy has prevented peaceful coexistence on the peninsula and allowed the United States an extraordinary degree of direct control over South Korea. The economic legacy is even more stark. Following the war, North Korea was for a long time more developed than the South — its fortunes only changed in the ’90s, due the collapse of the USSR, harsh sanctions imposed by the West, and a series of natural disasters.

“The way that South Korea has developed in the years since and North Korea has fallen off is a great example of how, under American hegemony, we have developed a world economic system that punishes one kind of state and incentives hypercapitalism in others. It’s an ongoing dynamic that replicates itself almost endlessly across the globe,” Kulwin says. What Blowback does so well, I think, is convey just how comprehensively the world we live in continues to be shaped by US imperialism. The Korean War never truly ended and, for all the talk of its decline, neither has the American empire.