Barry Minkow Does It Again!

I was watching American Greed. There was a long segment on Barry Minkow. They talked about his history with the ZZZZZBest fraud. (James C. Lewis felt sorry for him for his 25 year sentence.) He had gone straight after his release in 1995. I even used to communicate with him by email.  He was pastor in a San Diego Church and ran a fraud prevention company. Now he is back in prison for 5 years for securities fraud with $584 million is restitution because of some actions of his fraud prevention company with a big home builder. He also got an additional 5 years for embezzling $3.2 million from his church congregation. His release date is June, 2019. I am sad for his family and for his victims


I Had Two Diverse Dreams Last Night

I had two dreams last night. In the first dream I was working in an oil exploration camp. Suddenly ISIS attacked and started killing workers at random. Luckily I survived until I awakened. In the second dream I was in a luxurious homeless shelter at Christmas. Former President Bill Clinton came to visit me and talked to me for a long time. He was kind and a lot of fun. He seemed to have a genuine interest in me.

Elena’s Birthday Gift For 2015-In Honor Of Some Brave Men From The Malvinas War

Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981

Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981
Argentina Air Force A-4 Sky Hawk Circa 1981


A Well Done To Stewart Chevrolet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A well done to Stewart Chevrolet! My 2007 Vue had a rattle in it. I was afraid that it was something awful like a transmission failing. I took it in for a check. The dealership was overwhelmed with a massive number of vehicles needing maintenance. Despite this back log they looked at my car. They found that it was two quarts low on oil and that was making the timing chain rattle. I got my car back and the repair bill was low. Will, Art and all, well done and thank you for your honesty!!

An Afternoon Phone Call From Comcast

After walking almost 8 miles yesterday I took a nap.My sleep was interrupted by a call from Comcast. The call came in on our Comcast land line that had been dead for several days. A senior technical person was on the phone. He was polite and apologetic. He told me that a “back office issue” had been resolved and now our land line worked. What’s that old saying: “A day late and a dollar short.”

The FT Of London Reports On Major US Government Computer Spying

February 17, 2015 6:47 am

Kaspersky links US to spread of PC spyware across 30 countries

The silhouette of a man is seen typing on a laptop computer an arranged photograph taken in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. U.S. officials are discussing whether new standards should be set for government action in response to hacks like the one suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, such as if a certain level of monetary damage is caused or if values such as free speech are trampled, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers said in an interview with Bloomberg News. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

Researchers in Russia said they have found a series of sophisticated hacking tools within the hard drives of personal computers built by some of the world’s biggest manufacturers.

Kaspersky Labs, a Moscow-based cyber security company, said it had uncovered the spying software in computers that were used in 30 countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China, which have long been priorities for US intelligence agencies.

Without accusing the National Security Agency of being the source of the malware, Kaspersky researchers indirectly suggested that the tools were devised by the US.

Some of the surveillance tools had been hidden deep inside the hard drives of computers made by companies such as Toshiba, Western Digital, Seagateand IBM, the Russian company said.

If a US role in developing the new cyber-tools is confirmed, it could further tarnish the reputation of US technology companies after the damaging revelations about the NSA leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.

Publishing the technical details of the spyware on Monday, Kaspersky said that they were introduced by a group “that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques”.

Avoiding any direct reference to the NSA, Kaspersky said the spying software had been developed by an entity it called the Equation Group, which it said had been operating for 20 years.

It said, however, that the Equation Group had “solid links” to the creators of Stuxnet — the virus that attacked an Iranian nuclear facility and that wasdeveloped by the US, in co-operation with Israel.

In depth

Cyber warfare

Cyber security

As online threats race up national security agendas and governments look at ways of protecting their national infrastructures a cyber arms race is causing concern to the developed world

Read more

According to Kaspersky, one of the surveillance tools is embedded in the computer “firmware”, code that sends messages to the rest of a computer when it is switched on — a development the Russian researchers described as “an astonishing technical accomplishment” because it was so hard to detect and extract.

“To put it simply: for most hard drives there are functions to write into the hardware firmware area, but there are no functions to read it back,” said Costin Raiu, director of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky Lab. “It means that we are practically blind, and cannot detect hard drives that have been infected by this malware.”

The report said that the Equation Group used the resultant capability to eavesdrop selectively. The targets had included banks, governments, nuclear researchers, military facilities and Islamic activists, it said.

The Kaspersky report also discussed the attempts by the Equation Group to map “air-gapped” networks that are not connected to the internet — as was the case for Iran’s nuclear facilities. It described a “unique USB-based command and control mechanism which allowed the attackers to pass data back and forth from air-gapped networks”.

Western Digital, Seagate and Micron said they had no knowledge of these spying programs. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment. IBM did not respond to requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Kana Inagaki, Simon Mundy and agencies.

Xfinity/Comcast-A Constant Source Of Heartaches

Comcast came out Saturday afternoon and installed an entire new internet system in Luah’s room. As far as internet and television goes, it works just fine.But we have a huge problem. Our land line no longer works. Comcast did all sorts of trouble shooting over the phone and we had no joy.Now a very senior tech must step in and call me during the evening. Comcast is always having technical problems and causing us heart aches.

The Incredible Doctor Al Globus

Elena, Djenane Santos and Bianca,and I went over to have dinner with Dr. Al Globus and his wife Liz. We had an incredible meal. Al gave us an autographed copy of his new book “From Minefield To Mind Field Loving And Becoming Yourself.” Please find a copy on AL and Liz raised six children of their own and then went out and adopted three children in Rwanda after the genocide. They have wonderful hearts and very generous spirits.

TheMagic of Cafayate, Argentina

Cafayate is Argentina’s second-largest winemaking area, and it’s on the rise.

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International Man
Cafayate’s Crystal Ball
Cafayate's Crystal Ball

by David Galland | February 13, 2015
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A primary function of the ventral visual cortex (VVC) of the human brain, I have been told, is to recognize patterns. Provided a pattern is recognized (the process is near-instantaneous), the VVC remains in a state of somnolence.

The sensory inputs you receive while watching cars pass by your office window would cause nary a blip in the VVC. Been there, done that.

If, however, you were to glance up from your work—as happened to me one day in Cafayate—and observe two African lions and a Bengal tiger gliding by, the VVC would fire up like flares off a sinking ship.

And once it’s fired up, the VVC stays fired up, causing a great deal of back and forth between the left and right brains until it’s able to identify, label, and file the cause of its disturbance in the proper mental cabinet. (The lions and tiger were riding in a circus truck… a story for another day).

Which brings me to the sparkling new Piattelli Bodega, Cafayate’s newest wine bodega and, in my view, its very own crystal ball.

Meet the Malinskis

Minnesotans Jon and Arlene Malinski stumbled into the wine business by virtue of an established Mendoza winemaking operation being put up as collateral on a loan that subsequently went bad.

Undeterred by the fact they knew nothing about winemaking, they rolled up their sleeves and with typical Midwestern enthusiasm turned the business around.

Argentina is the largest wine producer in South America, and the fifth largest in the world.

It’s from Mendoza—the largest wine region in Argentina by far—that the bulk of that wine flows forth. But Mendoza has a problem: every three or four years, the crops there are devastated by hail.

Which brings Cafayate into the story: being farther north and enjoying a far more temperate climate, Cafayate is much less prone to weather damage.

This meteorological truth has triggered something of a land rush involving the Mendoza winemakers, the result being roughly a doubling in the amount of Cafayate vineyards since I first started visiting 12 years ago.

Consequently, Cafayate is now Argentina’s second-largest winemaking area… but it’s very much David vs. Goliath, as production in the valley remains a fraction of that in Mendoza.

Like other Mendoza winemakers, Jon and Arlene made the trip to Cafayate, fell in love with the place, and somewhere along the line decided not only to build a vineyard, but to spend untold millions creating what the locals simply refer to as “Piattelli”—a bodega so over the top in scale and quality that I’ve never seen the likes of it.

It would be considered exceptional even in Napa Valley or in the south of France.

This is where the VVC disturbance comes in.

While Cafayate stands apart from all other small Argentine towns in numerous ways—including the picture-perfect town plaza, upscale shops, and outdoor cafés—in almost no construct would one expect to find a Piattelli perched up on a hillside in the middle of the Argentine outback.

You can begin to see what I can’t properly describe in these photos. But to appreciate it, you have to visit and enjoy the full experience, starting with a tour of a winemaking operation that feels like it’s been plucked straight out of a James Bond movie (including stainless steel wine holding tanks that look almost exactly like atomic bombs).

As you wander about, you’ll want to be sure to take a close look at the stone walls. Jon once described the process used in constructing them—an all-but-lost art where artisan stoneworkers superheat a special type of rock before pulling them out and pouring water on them. That causes the rock to crack in half, exposing the shiny marble-like interior used in creating the wall face.

Naturally, Piattelli also has an elegant wine-tasting room and a well-stocked gift shop and art gallery. It’s on the veranda, however, where Piattelli’s magnificence is fully on display, offering guests an expansive view of the valley below, while black-attired waiters ply you with fine wines or your favorite tropical drink.

The restaurant serves lunch daily, but especially excels at putting on aSunday asado which has become so popular it can be hard to get a table.

For those of us living at La Estancia, the phrase “let’s do lunch at Piattelli” has become synonymous with “let’s take the afternoon off, enjoy a lovely lunch on the veranda at Piattelli, and drink a tad too much wine.”

It’s where we bring visitors we wish to impress or to underscore Cafayate’s bright future.

That’s because after visiting La Estancia—an equally impressive but more privately sited retreat—then settling in on the veranda of Piattelli, you can’t come to any other conclusion than that Cafayate’s star is very much on the ascent.

So that you’ll recognize him, in the picture below Jon Malinksi is the fellow in the dark shirt standing between fellow Estancieros Pete Kofod and Doug Casey. If and when you get to meet Jon, you’ll find him a larger-than-life character, which kind of goes without saying when you consider what an amazing bodega he created in Cafayate.

But there really is only one way to understand Cafayate and what’s going on at La Estancia de Cafayate, and that is to visit.

There’s no better time to do so than this coming March 11-16, when Doug Casey will be hosting our next big event.

As the number of guests that can be accommodated is strictly limited, we expect it will quickly sell out, like previous events.

As a result, if you are at all interested in attending, you’ll want to take time to learn more about La Estancia de Cafayate and register sooner rather than later.

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