Best Binary Options Trading Strategies (April 2020)

ASIC Regulation Thread - Regarding the proposed changes ( Australians effected the most )

I'm hopeless at formatting text, so if you think you can structure this post better take everything i write and put it into an easy to digest way. I'm just going to type out everything i know in text as fast as possible. I'm not a legal expert, I'm not somehow who understands every bit of information in the PDF's below, but i know I'm a retail trader that uses leverage to make profit which is why I'm posting this, in the hope that someone who can run a charge better than me, will.
Some of you are already aware of what might be happening, this is just a post to educate retail traders on changes that might be coming to certain brokers. This effects Australian Customers the most, but also effects those living in other countries that use Australian brokers, such as Pepperstone and others.
Last year in August 2019, ASIC ( Australian Securities and Investments Commission ) was concerned about retail traders going into Forex and Binary options without understanding these instruments properly and started sticking their noses in for tough regulation.
ASIC asked brokers and anyone with interest in the industry to write to them and explain what should and should not change from the changes they proposed, some of the proposed changes are very misguided and come from a lack of understanding exactly how OTC derivatives actually work.
I will provide the link to the paper further down so you can read it yourself and i will provide a link to all the submission made by all parties that sent submissions to ASIC, however the 2 main points of debate are:
1, To reduce the overall leverage available to retail traders to either 20:1 or 30:1. This means people who currently use leverage such as 100:1 to 500:1 and everything in between will be effected the most, even more so are those traders with relatively small accounts, meaning in order to get your foot in the door to trading you will need more capital for it to be viable.
^^ This point above is very important.
2, The removing of Binary options trading, which basically includes products like "Bet if gold will rise to this price in the next 30 seconds" This sort of stuff. So far from all the submissions from brokers and individuals nobody really cares if this changes as far as i know, though if you have concerns about this i would start voicing your disapproval. Though i would not waste your time here, all is pointing to this being eradicated completely with brokers also supporting the changes, I've never used such a product and know very little about them.
^^ This point above isn't very important and will probably be enforced in the future.
Still to this day i see retail traders not understanding leverage, they think of it as "dangerous and scary", it's not, position size is the real danger, not leverage. So ASIC is aiming to limit retail traders access to high leverage, they are claiming it is a way to protect traders who don't really understand what they are getting into by attacking leverage and not the real problem which is position size relative to your capital.
If it was truly about protecting retail traders from blowing up their accounts, they would look for ways to educate traders on "understanding position sizes and why it's important" rather than attacking leverage, but their goal is misguided or has an ulterior motive . I will give you a small example below.
EXAMPLE - We will use 2 demo accounts for demonstration purposes. If you don't understand my example, i suggest you try it for yourself. - Skip if not interested in examples.
Lets say we open 2 demo accounts with $1000 in both, one with 20:1 leverage and one with 500:1 leverage and we open an identical position on both accounts ( say a micro lot '0.01' on EURUSD ). You are safer on the 500:1 account as you don't need to put up as much margin as collateral as you would on the 20:1. If the trade we just opened goes against us and continues against us, the account with 20:1 leverage will run out of free margin a lot faster than the 500:1 account. In this simple example is shows you that leverage is not dangerous but safer and gives you a lot more breathing room. This trade was a small micro lot, so it would take hundreds of pips movements to get margin called and blow up that $1000 on each account. Lets now use a different position size to truly understand why retail traders blow up accounts and is the reason why trading can be dangerous.
This time instead of opening a micro lot of '0.01' on our $1000 dollar demo accounts, lets open a position size much larger, 5 lots. Remember we only have $1000 and we are about to open a position much larger relative to our capital ( which we should never do because we can't afford to do that ) the 20:1 probably wont even let you place that trade if you don't have enough margin as collateral or if you could open the position you would have a very tiny amount of free margin left over, meaning a small pip movement against you will instantly blow up your $1000 account. On the 500:1 account you wouldn't need to put up as much margin as collateral with more free margin if the trade goes bad, but again a small movement could blow up your account. In this example, both accounts were dangerous because the lack of understanding position sizes, opening a position you can't afford to open. This is what the true danger is, not the leverage.
Even in the second example, the higher leverage would "margin call" you out later. So i would go as far to say that lower leverage is more dangerous for you because it margin calls you out faster and just by having a lower leverage doesn't stop you from opening big positions that can blow you up in a 5 pip movement anymore, any leverage size is dangerous if you're opening positions you can't afford to open. This is also taking into consideration that no risk management is being used, with risk management higher leverage is even more powerful.
ASIC believes lowering leverage will stop people opening positions that they can't afford. When the reality is no matter how much capital you have $500, $1000, $5000, $50,000, $500,000, $5,000,000. You don't open position sizes that will blow that capital up completely with small movements. The same thing can happen on a 20:1 or 500:1 account.
Leverage is a tool, use it, if your on a lower leverage already such as 20:1, 30:1 it means your country has been regulated and you already have harder trading conditions. Just remember higher leverage allows you to open larger position sizes in total for the amount of money you own, but the issue is NOT that your using the higher leverage but because you are opening positions you can't afford, for what ever reason that is, the only fix for this is education and will not be fixed by simply lowing leverage, since you can just as easy blow up your account on low leverage just as fast or if not faster.
So what is going on?
There might ( get your tinfoil hats on ) be more that is involved here, deeper than you think, other agendas to try and stop small time retail traders from making money via OTC products, theories such as governments not wanting their citizens to be traders, rather would prefer you to get out there and work a 9 to 5 instead. Effective ways to do this would be making conditions harder with a much larger barrier of entry and the best way to increase the barrier of entry for retail traders is to limit leverage, lower leverage means you need to put up more money, less breathing room for trades, lower potential. They are limiting your upside potential and the downside stays the same, a blown account is a blow account.
Think of leverage as a weapon, a person wielding a butchers knife can probably destroy a person wielding a steak knife, but both knifes can prove fatal. They want to make sure your holding the butter knife then tell you to butcher a cow with it. 30:1 leverage is still workable and can still be profitable, but not as profitable as 500:1 accounts. This is why they are allowing professionals to use high leverage, this gives them another edge over successful retail traders who will still be trying to butcher a cow with a butter knife, while they are slaying limbs off the cow with machetes.
It's a way to hamstring you and keep you away rather than trying to "protect" you. The real danger is not leverage, they are barking up the wrong tree, how convenient to be barking up the very tree most retail traders don't fully understand ( leverage) , pass legislation to make trading conditions harder and at the same time push the narrative that trading is dangerous by making it even harder. A full circle strategy to make your trading conditions worse, so you don't succeed.
Listen carefully especially if you trade with any of the brokers that have provided their submissions to ASIC. Brokers want to seem like they are on your side and so far some of the submissions ( i haven't read them all ) have brokers willing to drop their leverage down to 30:1 because they know by dropping the leverage down it will start margin calling out their clients at a much faster rate, causing more blown up accounts / abandoned accounts with residual margin called funds, but they also know that if they make trading environments too hard less people will trade or even worse move their funds elsewhere offshore to unregulated brokers that offer higher leverage.
Right now it's all just a proposal, but as governments expand and continue to gain more control over it's citizens, it's just a matter of time till it's law, it's up to you to be vocal about it, let your broker know that if they drop their leverage, you're out, force them to fight for you.
If you have any more information related to this, or have anything to add, post below. I'm not an expert at this technical law talk, i know that i do well with 500:1 leverage and turn profits with it, it would be harder for me to do on a lower leverage, this is the reason for my post.
All related documents HERE
CP-322 ( Consultation paper 322 ) & Submissions from brokers and others.
https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/consultation-papers/cp-322-product-intervention-otc-binary-options-and-cfds/
submitted by southpaw_destroyer to Forex [link] [comments]

Part 2: Tools & Info for Sysadmins - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

(continued from part 1)
Unlocker is a tool to help delete those irritating locked files that give you an error message like "cannot delete file" or "access is denied." It helps with killing processes, unloading DLLs, deleting index.dat files, as well as unlocking, deleting, renaming, and moving locked files—typically without requiring a reboot.
IIS Crypto's newest version adds advanced settings; registry backup; new, simpler templates; support for Windows Server 2019 and more. This tool lets you enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows and reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, change advanced settings, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions.
RocketDock is an application launcher with a clean interface that lets you drag/drop shortcuts for easy access and minimize windows to the dock. Features running application indicators, multi-monitor support, alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons, auto-hide and popup on mouse over, positioning and layering options. Fully customizable, portable, and compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y'z Dock skins. Works even on slower computers and is Unicode compliant. Suggested by lieutenantcigarette: "If you like the dock on MacOS but prefer to use Windows, RocketDock has you covered. A superb and highly customisable dock that you can add your favourites to for easy and elegant access."
Baby FTP Server offers only the basics, but with the power to serve as a foundation for a more-complex server. Features include multi-threading, a real-time server log, support for PASV and non-PASV mode, ability to set permissions for download/upload/rename/delete/create directory. Only allows anonymous connections. Our thanks to FatherPrax for suggesting this one.
Strace is a Linux diagnostic, debugging and instructional userspace tool with a traditional command-line interface. Uses the ptrace kernel feature to monitor and tamper with interactions between processes and the kernel, including system calls, signal deliveries and changes of process state.
exa is a small, fast replacement for ls with more features and better defaults. It uses colors to distinguish file types and metadata, and it recognizes symlinks, extended attributes and Git. All in one single binary. phils_lab describes it as "'ls' on steroids, written in Rust."
rsync is a faster file transfer program for Unix to bring remote files into sync. It sends just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring both sets of files to be present at one of the ends. Suggested by zorinlynx, who adds that "rsync is GODLY for moving data around efficiently. And if an rsync is interrupted, just run it again."
Matter Wiki is a simple WYSIWYG wiki that can help teams store and collaborate. Every article gets filed under a topic, transparently, so you can tell who made what changes to which document and when. Thanks to bciar-iwdc for the recommendation.
LockHunter is a file unlocking tool that enables you to delete files that are being blocked for unknown reasons. Can be useful for fighting malware and other programs that are causing trouble. Deletes files into the recycle bin so you can restore them if necessary. Chucky2401 finds it preferable to Unlocker, "since I am on Windows 7. There are no new updates since July 2017, but the last beta was in June of this year."
aria2 is a lightweight multi-source command-line download utility that supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. It can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces. Recommended by jftuga, who appreciates it as a "cross-platform command line downloader (similar to wget or curl), but with the -x option can run a segmented download of a single file to increase throughput."
Free Services
Temp-Mail allows you to receive email at a temporary address that self-destructs after a certain period of time. Outwit all the forums, Wi-Fi owners, websites and blogs that insist you register to use them. Petti-The-Yeti says, "I don't give any company my direct email anymore. If I want to trial something but they ask for an email signup, I just grab a temporary email from here, sign up with it, and wait for the trial link or license info to come through. Then, you just download the file and close the website."
Duck DNS will point a DNS (sub domains of duckdns.org) to an IP of your choice. DDNS is a handy way for you to refer to a serverouter with an easily rememberable name for situations when the server's ip address will likely change. Suggested by xgnarf, who finds it "so much better for the free tier of noip—no 30-day nag to keep your host up."
Joe Sandbox detects and analyzes potential malicious files and URLs on Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux and iOS for suspicious activities. It performs deep malware analysis and generates comprehensive and detailed reports. The Community Edition of Joe Sandbox Cloud allows you to run a maximum of 6 analyses per month, 3 per day on Windows, Linux and Android with limited analysis output. This one is from dangibbons94, who wanted to "share this cool service ... for malware analysis. I usually use Virus total for URL scanning, but this goes a lot more in depth. I just used basic analysis, which is free and enough for my needs."
Hybrid Analysis is a malware analysis service that detects and analyzes unknown threats for the community. This one was suggested by compupheonix, who adds that it "gets you super detailed reports... it's about the most fleshed out and detailed one I can find."
JustBeamIt is a file-transfer service that allows you to send files of any size via a peer-to-peer streaming model. Simply drag and drop your file and specify the recipient's email address. They will then receive a link that will trigger the download directly from your computer, so the file does not have to be uploaded to the service itself. The link is good for one download and expires after 10 minutes. Thanks to cooljacob204sfw for the recommendation!
ShieldsUP is a quick but powerful internet security checkup and information service. It was created by security researcher Steve Gibson to scan ports and let you know which ones have been opened through your firewalls or NAT routers.
Firefox Send is an encrypted file transfer service that allows you to share files up to 2.5GB from any browser or an Android app. Uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and offers security controls you can set. You can determine when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add a password. Your recipient receives a link to download the file, and they don’t need a Firefox account. This one comes from DePingus, who appreciates the focus on privacy. "They have E2E, expiring links, and a clear privacy policy."
Free DNS is a service where programmers share domain names with one another at no cost. Offers free hosting as well as dynamic DNS, static DNS, subdomain and domain hosting. They can host your domain's DNS as well as allowing you to register hostnames from domains they're hosting already. If you don't have a domain, you can sign up for a free account and create up to 5 subdomains off the domains others have contributed and point these hosts anywhere on the Internet. Thanks to 0x000000000000004C (yes, that's a username) for the suggestion!
ANY.RUN is an interactive malware analysis service for dynamic and static research of the majority of threats in any environment. It can provide a convenient in-depth analysis of new, unidentified malicious objects and help with the investigation of incidents. ImAshtonTurner appreciates it as "a great sandbox tool for viewing malware, etc."
Plik is a scalable, temporary file upload system similar to wetransfer that is written in golang. Thanks go to I_eat_Narwhals for this one!
Free My IP offers free, dynamic DNS. This service comes with no login, no ads, no newsletters, no links to click and no hassle. Kindly suggested by Jack of All Trades.
Mailinator provides free, temporary email inboxes on a receive-only, attachment-free system that requires no sign-up. All @mailinator.com addresses are public, readable and discoverable by anyone at any time—but are automatically deleted after a few hours. Can be a nice option for times when you to give out an address that won't be accessible longterm. Recommended by nachomountain, who's been using it "for years."
Magic Wormhole is a service for sending files directly with no intermediate upload, no web interface and no login. When both parties are online you with the minimal software installed, the wormhole is invoked via command line identifying the file you want to send. The server then provides a speakable, one-time-use password that you give the recipient. When they enter that password in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs and the download begins directly between your computers. rjohnson99 explains, "Magic Wormhole is sort of like JustBeamIt but is open-source and is built on Python. I use it a lot on Linux servers."
EveryCloud's Free Phish is our own, new Phishing Simulator. Once you've filled in the form and logged in, you can choose from lots of email templates (many of which we've coped from what we see in our Email Security business) and landing pages. Run a one-off free phish, then see who clicked or submitted data so you can understand where your organization is vulnerable and act accordingly.
Hardening Guides
CIS Hardening Guides contain the system security benchmarks developed by a global community of cybersecurity experts. Over 140 configuration guidelines are provided to help safeguard systems against threats. Recommended by cyanghost109 "to get a start on looking at hardening your own systems."
Podcasts
Daily Tech News is Tom Merrit's show covering the latest tech issues with some of the top experts in the field. With the focus on daily tech news and analysis, it's a great way to stay current. Thanks to EmoPolarbear for drawing it to our attention.
This Week in Enterprise Tech is a podcast that features IT experts explaining the complicated details of cutting-edge enterprise technology. Join host Lou Maresca on this informative exploration of enterprise solutions, with new episodes recorded every Friday afternoon.
Security Weekly is a podcast where a "bunch of security nerds" get together and talk shop. Topics are greatly varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. The show typically tops out at 2 hours, which is perfect for those with a long commute. If you’re fascinated by discussion of deep technical and security-related topics, this may be a nice addition to your podcast repertoire.
Grumpy Old Geeks—What Went Wrong on the Internet and Who's To Blame is a podcast about the internet, technology and geek culture—among other things. The hosts bring their grumpy brand of humor to the "state of the world as they see it" in these roughly hour-long weekly episodes. Recommended by mkaxsnyder, who enjoys it because, "They are a good team that talk about recent and relevant topics from an IT perspective."
The Social-Engineer Podcast is a monthly discussion among the hosts—a group of security experts from SEORG—and a diverse assortment of guests. Topics focus around human behavior and how it affects information security, with new episodes released on the second Monday of every month. Thanks to MrAshRhodes for the suggestion.
The CyberWire podcasts discuss what's happening in cyberspace, providing news and commentary from industry experts. This cyber security-focused news service delivers concise, accessible, and relevant content without the gossip, sensationalism, and the marketing buzz that often distract from the stories that really matter. Appreciation to supermicromainboard for the suggestion.
Malicious Life is a podcast that tells the fascinating—and often unknown—stories of the wildest hacks you can ever imagine. Host Ran Levi, a cybersecurity expert and author, talks with the people who were actually involved to reveal the history of each event in depth. Our appreciation goes to peraphon for the recommendation.
The Broadcast Storm is a podcast for Cisco networking professionals. BluePieceOfPaper suggests it "for people studying for their CCNA/NP. Kevin Wallace is a CCIE Collaboration so he knows his *ishk. Good format for learning too. Most podcasts are about 8-15 mins long and its 'usually' an exam topic. It will be something like "HSPR" but instead of just explaining it super boring like Ben Stein reading a powerpoint, he usually goes into a story about how (insert time in his career) HSPR would have been super useful..."
Software Engineering Radio is a podcast for developers who are looking for an educational resource with original content that isn't recycled from other venues. Consists of conversations on relevant topics with experts from the software engineering world, with new episodes released three to four times per month. a9JDvXLWHumjaC tells us this is "a solid podcast for devs."
Books
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a comprehensive technical guide designed to help you optimize Microsoft's Configuration Manager 2012 according to your requirements and then to deploy and use it successfully. This methodical, step-by-step reference covers: the intentions behind the product and its role in the broader System Center product suite; planning, design, and implementation; and details on each of the most-important feature sets. Learn how to leverage the user-centric capabilities to provide anytime/anywhere services & software, while strengthening control and improving compliance.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam is a practical guide to network infrastructure. Provides an in-depth view of routers and routing, switching (with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches as examples), SOHO VoIP and SOHO wireless access point design and configuration, introduction to IPv6 with configuration examples, telecom technologies in the data-networking world (including T1, DS3, frame relay, and MPLS), security, firewall theory and configuration, ACL and authentication, Quality of Service (QoS), with an emphasis on low-latency queuing (LLQ), IP address allocation, Network Time Protocol (NTP) and device failures.
Beginning the Linux Command Line is your ally in mastering Linux from the keyboard. It is intended for system administrators, software developers, and enthusiastic users who want a guide that will be useful for most distributions—i.e., all items have been checked against Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE. Addresses administering users and security and deploying firewalls. Updated to the latest versions of Linux to cover files and directories, including the Btrfs file system and its management and systemd boot procedure and firewall management with firewalld.
Modern Operating Systems, 4th Ed. is written for students taking intro courses on Operating Systems and for those who want an OS reference guide for work. The author, an OS researcher, includes both the latest materials on relevant operating systems as well as current research. The previous edition of Modern Operating Systems received the 2010 McGuffey Longevity Award that recognizes textbooks for excellence over time.
Time Management for System Administrators is a guide for organizing your approach to this challenging role in a way that improves your results. Bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli offers a collection of tips and techniques for navigating the competing goals and concurrent responsibilities that go along with working on large projects while also taking care of individual user's needs. The book focuses on strategies to help with daily tasks that will also allow you to handle the critical situations that inevitably require your attention. You'll learn how to manage interruptions, eliminate time wasters, keep an effective calendar, develop routines and prioritize, stay focused on the task at hand and document/automate to speed processes.
The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition introduces beginners to advanced frameworks while serving as a guide to best practices in system administration that is helpful for even the most advanced experts. Organized into four major sections that build from the foundational elements of system administration through improved techniques for upgrades and change management to exploring assorted management topics. Covers the basics and then moves onto the advanced things that can be built on top of those basics to wield real power and execute difficult projects.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Third Edition is designed to teach you PowerShell in a month's worth of 1-hour lessons. This updated edition covers PowerShell features that run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, PowerShell v3 and later, and it includes v5 features like PowerShellGet. For PowerShell v3 and up, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later.
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools is a guide to the powerful Sysinternals tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis provide a deep understanding of Windows core concepts that aren’t well-documented elsewhere along with details on how to use Sysinternals tools to optimize any Windows system’s reliability, efficiency, performance and security. Includes an explanation of Sysinternals capabilities, details on each major tool, and examples of how the tools can be used to solve real-world cases involving error messages, hangs, sluggishness, malware infections and more.
DNS and BIND, 5th Ed. explains how to work with the Internet's distributed host information database—which is responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and listing phone numbers according to the ENUM standard. Covers BIND 9.3.2 & 8.4.7, the what/how/why of DNS, name servers, MX records, subdividing domains (parenting), DNSSEC, TSIG, troubleshooting and more. PEPCK tells us this is "generally considered the DNS reference book (aside from the RFCs of course!)"
Windows PowerShell in Action, 3rd Ed. is a comprehensive guide to PowerShell. Written by language designer Bruce Payette and MVP Richard Siddaway, this volume gives a great introduction to Powershell, including everyday use cases and detailed examples for more-advanced topics like performance and module architecture. Covers workflows and classes, writing modules and scripts, desired state configuration and programming APIs/pipelines.This edition has been updated for PowerShell v6.
Zero Trust Networks: Building Secure Systems in Untrusted Networks explains the principles behind zero trust architecture, along with what's needed to implement it. Covers the evolution of perimeter-based defenses and how they evolved into the current broken model, case studies of zero trust in production networks on both the client and server side, example configurations for open-source tools that are useful for building a zero trust network and how to migrate from a perimeter-based network to a zero trust network in production. Kindly recommended by jaginfosec.
Tips
Here are a couple handy Windows shortcuts:
Here's a shortcut for a 4-pane explorer in Windows without installing 3rd-party software:
(Keep the win key down for the arrows, and no pauses.) Appreciation goes to ZAFJB for this one.
Our recent tip for a shortcut to get a 4-pane explorer in Windows, triggered this suggestion from SevaraB: "You can do that for an even larger grid of Windows by right-clicking the clock in the taskbar, and clicking 'Show windows side by side' to arrange them neatly. Did this for 4 rows of 6 windows when I had to have a quick 'n' dirty "video wall" of windows monitoring servers at our branches." ZAFJB adds that it actually works when you right-click "anywhere on the taskbar, except application icons or start button."
This tip comes courtesy of shipsass: "When I need to use Windows Explorer but I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard, I press Windows-E to launch Explorer and then Ctrl-L to jump to the address line and type my path. The Ctrl-L trick also works with any web browser, and it's an efficient way of talking less-technical people through instructions when 'browse to [location]' stumps them."
Clear browser history/cookies by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE on most major browsers. Thanks go to synapticpanda, who adds that this "saves me so much time when troubleshooting web apps where I am playing with the cache and such."
To rename a file with F2, while still editing the name of that file: Hit TAB to tab into the renaming of the next file. Thanks to abeeftaco for this one!
Alt-D is a reliable alternative to Ctrl-L for jumping to the address line in a browser. Thanks for this one go to fencepost_ajm, who explains: "Ctrl-L comes from the browser side as a shortcut for Location, Alt-D from the Windows Explorer side for Directory."
Browser shortcut: When typing a URL that ends with dot com, Ctrl + Enter will place the ".com" and take you to the page. Thanks to wpierre for this one!
This tip comes from anynonus, as something that daily that saves a few clicks: "Running a program with ctrl + shift + enter from start menu will start it as administrator (alt + y will select YES to run as admin) ... my user account is local admin [so] I don't feel like that is unsafe"
Building on our PowerShell resources, we received the following suggestion from halbaradkenafin: aka.ms/pskoans is "a way to learn PowerShell using PowerShell (and Pester). It's really cool and a bunch of folks have high praise for it (including a few teams within MSFT)."
Keyboard shortcut: If you already have an application open, hold ctrl + shift and middle click on the application in your task bar to open another instance as admin. Thanks go to Polymira for this one.
Remote Server Tip: "Critical advice. When testing out network configuration changes, prior to restarting the networking service or rebooting, always create a cron job that will restore your original network configuration and then reboot/restart networking on the machine after 5 minutes. If your config worked, you have enough time to remove it. If it didn't, it will fix itself. This is a beautifully simple solution that I learned from my old mentor at my very first job. I've held on to it for a long time." Thanks go to FrigidNox for the tip!
Websites
Deployment Research is the website of Johan Arwidmark, MS MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management. It is dedicated to sharing information and guidance around System Center, OS deployment, migration and more. The author shares tips and tricks to help improve the quality of IT Pros’ daily work.
Next of Windows is a website on (mostly) Microsoft-related technology. It's the place where Kent Chen—a computer veteran with many years of field experience—and Jonathan Hu—a web/mobile app developer and self-described "cool geek"—share what they know, what they learn and what they find in the hope of helping others learn and benefit.
High Scalability brings together all the relevant information about building scalable websites in one place. Because building a website with confidence requires a body of knowledge that can be slow to develop, the site focuses on moving visitors along the learning curve at a faster pace.
Information Technology Research Library is a great resource for IT-related research, white papers, reports, case studies, magazines, and eBooks. This library is provided at no charge by TradePub.com. GullibleDetective tells us it offers "free PDF files from a WIIIIIIDE variety of topics, not even just IT. Only caveat: as its a vendor-supported publishing company, you will have to give them a bit of information such as name, email address and possibly a company name. You undoubtedly have the ability to create fake information on this, mind you. The articles range from Excel templates, learning python, powershell, nosql etc. to converged architecture."
SS64 is a web-based reference guide for syntax and examples of the most-common database and OS computing commands. Recommended by Petti-The-Yeti, who adds, "I use this site all the time to look up commands and find examples while I'm building CMD and PS1 scripts."
Phishing and Malware Reporting. This website helps you put a stop to scams by getting fraudulent pages blocked. Easily report phishing webpages so they can be added to blacklists in as little as 15 minutes of your report. "Player024 tells us, "I highly recommend anyone in the industry to bookmark this page...With an average of about 10 minutes of work, I'm usually able to take down the phishing pages we receive thanks to the links posted on that website."
A Slack Channel
Windows Admin Slack is a great drive-by resource for the Windows sysadmin. This team has 33 public channels in total that cover different areas of helpful content on Windows administration.
Blogs
KC's Blog is the place where Microsoft MVP and web developer Kent Chen shares his IT insights and discoveries. The rather large library of posts offer helpful hints, how-tos, resources and news of interest to those in the Windows world.
The Windows Server Daily is the ever-current blog of technologist Katherine Moss, VP of open source & community engagement for StormlightTech. Offers brief daily posts on topics related to Windows server, Windows 10 and Administration.
An Infosec Slideshow
This security training slideshow was created for use during a quarterly infosec class. The content is offered generously by shalafi71, who adds, "Take this as a skeleton and flesh it out on your own. Take an hour or two and research the things I talk about. Tailor this to your own environment and users. Make it relevant to your people. Include corporate stories, include your audience, exclude yourself. This ain't about how smart you are at infosec, and I can't stress this enough, talk about how people can defend themselves. Give them things to look for and action they can take. No one gives a shit about your firewall rules."
Tech Tutorials
Tutorialspoint Library. This large collection of tech tutorials is a great resource for online learning. You'll find nearly 150 high-quality tutorials covering a wide array of languages and topics—from fundamentals to cutting-edge technologies. For example, this Powershell tutorial is designed for those with practical experience handling Windows-based Servers who want to learn how to install and use Windows Server 2012.
The Python Tutorial is a nice introduction to many of Python’s best features, enabling you to read and write Python modules and programs. It offers an understanding of the language's style and prepares you to learn more about the various Python library modules described in 'The Python Standard Library.' Kindly suggested by sharjeelsayed.
SysAdmin Humor
Day in the Life of a SysAdmin Episode 5: Lunch Break is an amusing look at a SysAdmin's attempt to take a brief lunch break. We imagine many of you can relate!
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments or suggestions.
u/crispyducks
submitted by crispyducks to sysadmin [link] [comments]

Tools & Info for MSPs #2 - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

(continued from part #1)
Unlocker is a tool to help delete those irritating locked files that give you an error message like "cannot delete file" or "access is denied." It helps with killing processes, unloading DLLs, deleting index.dat files, as well as unlocking, deleting, renaming, and moving locked files—typically without requiring a reboot.
IIS Crypto's newest version adds advanced settings; registry backup; new, simpler templates; support for Windows Server 2019 and more. This tool lets you enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows and reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, change advanced settings, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions.
RocketDock is an application launcher with a clean interface that lets you drag/drop shortcuts for easy access and minimize windows to the dock. Features running application indicators, multi-monitor support, alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons, auto-hide and popup on mouse over, positioning and layering options. Fully customizable, portable, and compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y'z Dock skins. Works even on slower computers and is Unicode compliant. Suggested by lieutenantcigarette: "If you like the dock on MacOS but prefer to use Windows, RocketDock has you covered. A superb and highly customisable dock that you can add your favourites to for easy and elegant access."
Baby FTP Server offers only the basics, but with the power to serve as a foundation for a more-complex server. Features include multi-threading, a real-time server log, support for PASV and non-PASV mode, ability to set permissions for download/upload/rename/delete/create directory. Only allows anonymous connections. Our thanks to FatherPrax for suggesting this one.
Strace is a Linux diagnostic, debugging and instructional userspace tool with a traditional command-line interface. Uses the ptrace kernel feature to monitor and tamper with interactions between processes and the kernel, including system calls, signal deliveries and changes of process state.
exa is a small, fast replacement for ls with more features and better defaults. It uses colors to distinguish file types and metadata, and it recognizes symlinks, extended attributes and Git. All in one single binary. phils_lab describes it as "'ls' on steroids, written in Rust."
rsync is a faster file transfer program for Unix to bring remote files into sync. It sends just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring both sets of files to be present at one of the ends. Suggested by zorinlynx, who adds that "rsync is GODLY for moving data around efficiently. And if an rsync is interrupted, just run it again."
Matter Wiki is a simple WYSIWYG wiki that can help teams store and collaborate. Every article gets filed under a topic, transparently, so you can tell who made what changes to which document and when. Thanks to bciar-iwdc for the recommendation.
LockHunter is a file unlocking tool that enables you to delete files that are being blocked for unknown reasons. Can be useful for fighting malware and other programs that are causing trouble. Deletes files into the recycle bin so you can restore them if necessary. Chucky2401 finds it preferable to Unlocker, "since I am on Windows 7. There are no new updates since July 2017, but the last beta was in June of this year."
aria2 is a lightweight multi-source command-line download utility that supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. It can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces. Recommended by jftuga, who appreciates it as a "cross-platform command line downloader (similar to wget or curl), but with the -x option can run a segmented download of a single file to increase throughput."
Free Services
Temp-Mail allows you to receive email at a temporary address that self-destructs after a certain period of time. Outwit all the forums, Wi-Fi owners, websites and blogs that insist you register to use them. Petti-The-Yeti says, "I don't give any company my direct email anymore. If I want to trial something but they ask for an email signup, I just grab a temporary email from here, sign up with it, and wait for the trial link or license info to come through. Then, you just download the file and close the website."
Duck DNS will point a DNS (sub domains of duckdns.org) to an IP of your choice. DDNS is a handy way for you to refer to a serverouter with an easily rememberable name for situations when the server's ip address will likely change. Suggested by xgnarf, who finds it "so much better for the free tier of noip—no 30-day nag to keep your host up."
Joe Sandbox detects and analyzes potential malicious files and URLs on Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux and iOS for suspicious activities. It performs deep malware analysis and generates comprehensive and detailed reports. The Community Edition of Joe Sandbox Cloud allows you to run a maximum of 6 analyses per month, 3 per day on Windows, Linux and Android with limited analysis output. This one is from dangibbons94, who wanted to "share this cool service ... for malware analysis. I usually use Virus total for URL scanning, but this goes a lot more in depth. I just used basic analysis, which is free and enough for my needs."
Hybrid Analysis is a malware analysis service that detects and analyzes unknown threats for the community. This one was suggested by compupheonix, who adds that it "gets you super detailed reports... it's about the most fleshed out and detailed one I can find."
JustBeamIt is a file-transfer service that allows you to send files of any size via a peer-to-peer streaming model. Simply drag and drop your file and specify the recipient's email address. They will then receive a link that will trigger the download directly from your computer, so the file does not have to be uploaded to the service itself. The link is good for one download and expires after 10 minutes. Thanks to cooljacob204sfw for the recommendation!
ShieldsUP is a quick but powerful internet security checkup and information service. It was created by security researcher Steve Gibson to scan ports and let you know which ones have been opened through your firewalls or NAT routers.
Firefox Send is an encrypted file transfer service that allows you to share files up to 2.5GB from any browser or an Android app. Uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and offers security controls you can set. You can determine when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add a password. Your recipient receives a link to download the file, and they don’t need a Firefox account. This one comes from DePingus, who appreciates the focus on privacy. "They have E2E, expiring links, and a clear privacy policy."
Free DNS is a service where programmers share domain names with one another at no cost. Offers free hosting as well as dynamic DNS, static DNS, subdomain and domain hosting. They can host your domain's DNS as well as allowing you to register hostnames from domains they're hosting already. If you don't have a domain, you can sign up for a free account and create up to 5 subdomains off the domains others have contributed and point these hosts anywhere on the Internet. Thanks to 0x000000000000004C (yes, that's a username) for the suggestion!
ANY.RUN is an interactive malware analysis service for dynamic and static research of the majority of threats in any environment. It can provide a convenient in-depth analysis of new, unidentified malicious objects and help with the investigation of incidents. ImAshtonTurner appreciates it as "a great sandbox tool for viewing malware, etc."
Plik is a scalable, temporary file upload system similar to wetransfer that is written in golang. Thanks go to I_eat_Narwhals for this one!
Free My IP offers free, dynamic DNS. This service comes with no login, no ads, no newsletters, no links to click and no hassle. Kindly suggested by Jack of All Trades.
Mailinator provides free, temporary email inboxes on a receive-only, attachment-free system that requires no sign-up. All @mailinator.com addresses are public, readable and discoverable by anyone at any time—but are automatically deleted after a few hours. Can be a nice option for times when you to give out an address that won't be accessible longterm. Recommended by nachomountain, who's been using it "for years."
Magic Wormhole is a service for sending files directly with no intermediate upload, no web interface and no login. When both parties are online you with the minimal software installed, the wormhole is invoked via command line identifying the file you want to send. The server then provides a speakable, one-time-use password that you give the recipient. When they enter that password in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs and the download begins directly between your computers. rjohnson99 explains, "Magic Wormhole is sort of like JustBeamIt but is open-source and is built on Python. I use it a lot on Linux servers."
EveryCloud's Free Phish is our own, new Phishing Simulator. Once you've filled in the form and logged in, you can choose from lots of email templates (many of which we've coped from what we see in our Email Security business) and landing pages. Run a one-off free phish, then see who clicked or submitted data so you can understand where your organization is vulnerable and act accordingly.
Hardening Guides
CIS Hardening Guides contain the system security benchmarks developed by a global community of cybersecurity experts. Over 140 configuration guidelines are provided to help safeguard systems against threats. Recommended by cyanghost109 "to get a start on looking at hardening your own systems."
Podcasts
Daily Tech News is Tom Merrit's show covering the latest tech issues with some of the top experts in the field. With the focus on daily tech news and analysis, it's a great way to stay current. Thanks to EmoPolarbear for drawing it to our attention.
This Week in Enterprise Tech is a podcast that features IT experts explaining the complicated details of cutting-edge enterprise technology. Join host Lou Maresca on this informative exploration of enterprise solutions, with new episodes recorded every Friday afternoon.
Security Weekly is a podcast where a "bunch of security nerds" get together and talk shop. Topics are greatly varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. The show typically tops out at 2 hours, which is perfect for those with a long commute. If you’re fascinated by discussion of deep technical and security-related topics, this may be a nice addition to your podcast repertoire.
Grumpy Old Geeks—What Went Wrong on the Internet and Who's To Blame is a podcast about the internet, technology and geek culture—among other things. The hosts bring their grumpy brand of humor to the "state of the world as they see it" in these roughly hour-long weekly episodes. Recommended by mkaxsnyder, who enjoys it because, "They are a good team that talk about recent and relevant topics from an IT perspective."
The Social-Engineer Podcast is a monthly discussion among the hosts—a group of security experts from SEORG—and a diverse assortment of guests. Topics focus around human behavior and how it affects information security, with new episodes released on the second Monday of every month. Thanks to MrAshRhodes for the suggestion.
The CyberWire podcasts discuss what's happening in cyberspace, providing news and commentary from industry experts. This cyber security-focused news service delivers concise, accessible, and relevant content without the gossip, sensationalism, and the marketing buzz that often distract from the stories that really matter. Appreciation to supermicromainboard for the suggestion.
Malicious Life is a podcast that tells the fascinating—and often unknown—stories of the wildest hacks you can ever imagine. Host Ran Levi, a cybersecurity expert and author, talks with the people who were actually involved to reveal the history of each event in depth. Our appreciation goes to peraphon for the recommendation.
The Broadcast Storm is a podcast for Cisco networking professionals. BluePieceOfPaper suggests it "for people studying for their CCNA/NP. Kevin Wallace is a CCIE Collaboration so he knows his *ishk. Good format for learning too. Most podcasts are about 8-15 mins long and its 'usually' an exam topic. It will be something like "HSPR" but instead of just explaining it super boring like Ben Stein reading a powerpoint, he usually goes into a story about how (insert time in his career) HSPR would have been super useful..."
Software Engineering Radio is a podcast for developers who are looking for an educational resource with original content that isn't recycled from other venues. Consists of conversations on relevant topics with experts from the software engineering world, with new episodes released three to four times per month. a9JDvXLWHumjaC tells us this is "a solid podcast for devs."
Books
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a comprehensive technical guide designed to help you optimize Microsoft's Configuration Manager 2012 according to your requirements and then to deploy and use it successfully. This methodical, step-by-step reference covers: the intentions behind the product and its role in the broader System Center product suite; planning, design, and implementation; and details on each of the most-important feature sets. Learn how to leverage the user-centric capabilities to provide anytime/anywhere services & software, while strengthening control and improving compliance.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam is a practical guide to network infrastructure. Provides an in-depth view of routers and routing, switching (with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches as examples), SOHO VoIP and SOHO wireless access point design and configuration, introduction to IPv6 with configuration examples, telecom technologies in the data-networking world (including T1, DS3, frame relay, and MPLS), security, firewall theory and configuration, ACL and authentication, Quality of Service (QoS), with an emphasis on low-latency queuing (LLQ), IP address allocation, Network Time Protocol (NTP) and device failures.
Beginning the Linux Command Line is your ally in mastering Linux from the keyboard. It is intended for system administrators, software developers, and enthusiastic users who want a guide that will be useful for most distributions—i.e., all items have been checked against Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE. Addresses administering users and security and deploying firewalls. Updated to the latest versions of Linux to cover files and directories, including the Btrfs file system and its management and systemd boot procedure and firewall management with firewalld.
Modern Operating Systems, 4th Ed. is written for students taking intro courses on Operating Systems and for those who want an OS reference guide for work. The author, an OS researcher, includes both the latest materials on relevant operating systems as well as current research. The previous edition of Modern Operating Systems received the 2010 McGuffey Longevity Award that recognizes textbooks for excellence over time.
Time Management for System Administrators is a guide for organizing your approach to this challenging role in a way that improves your results. Bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli offers a collection of tips and techniques for navigating the competing goals and concurrent responsibilities that go along with working on large projects while also taking care of individual user's needs. The book focuses on strategies to help with daily tasks that will also allow you to handle the critical situations that inevitably require your attention. You'll learn how to manage interruptions, eliminate time wasters, keep an effective calendar, develop routines and prioritize, stay focused on the task at hand and document/automate to speed processes.
The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition introduces beginners to advanced frameworks while serving as a guide to best practices in system administration that is helpful for even the most advanced experts. Organized into four major sections that build from the foundational elements of system administration through improved techniques for upgrades and change management to exploring assorted management topics. Covers the basics and then moves onto the advanced things that can be built on top of those basics to wield real power and execute difficult projects.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Third Edition is designed to teach you PowerShell in a month's worth of 1-hour lessons. This updated edition covers PowerShell features that run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, PowerShell v3 and later, and it includes v5 features like PowerShellGet. For PowerShell v3 and up, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later.
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools is a guide to the powerful Sysinternals tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis provide a deep understanding of Windows core concepts that aren’t well-documented elsewhere along with details on how to use Sysinternals tools to optimize any Windows system’s reliability, efficiency, performance and security. Includes an explanation of Sysinternals capabilities, details on each major tool, and examples of how the tools can be used to solve real-world cases involving error messages, hangs, sluggishness, malware infections and more.
DNS and BIND, 5th Ed. explains how to work with the Internet's distributed host information database—which is responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and listing phone numbers according to the ENUM standard. Covers BIND 9.3.2 & 8.4.7, the what/how/why of DNS, name servers, MX records, subdividing domains (parenting), DNSSEC, TSIG, troubleshooting and more. PEPCK tells us this is "generally considered the DNS reference book (aside from the RFCs of course!)"
Windows PowerShell in Action, 3rd Ed. is a comprehensive guide to PowerShell. Written by language designer Bruce Payette and MVP Richard Siddaway, this volume gives a great introduction to Powershell, including everyday use cases and detailed examples for more-advanced topics like performance and module architecture. Covers workflows and classes, writing modules and scripts, desired state configuration and programming APIs/pipelines.This edition has been updated for PowerShell v6.
Zero Trust Networks: Building Secure Systems in Untrusted Networks explains the principles behind zero trust architecture, along with what's needed to implement it. Covers the evolution of perimeter-based defenses and how they evolved into the current broken model, case studies of zero trust in production networks on both the client and server side, example configurations for open-source tools that are useful for building a zero trust network and how to migrate from a perimeter-based network to a zero trust network in production. Kindly recommended by jaginfosec.
Tips
Here are a couple handy Windows shortcuts:
Here's a shortcut for a 4-pane explorer in Windows without installing 3rd-party software:
(Keep the win key down for the arrows, and no pauses.) Appreciation goes to ZAFJB for this one.
Our recent tip for a shortcut to get a 4-pane explorer in Windows, triggered this suggestion from SevaraB: "You can do that for an even larger grid of Windows by right-clicking the clock in the taskbar, and clicking 'Show windows side by side' to arrange them neatly. Did this for 4 rows of 6 windows when I had to have a quick 'n' dirty "video wall" of windows monitoring servers at our branches." ZAFJB adds that it actually works when you right-click "anywhere on the taskbar, except application icons or start button."
This tip comes courtesy of shipsass: "When I need to use Windows Explorer but I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard, I press Windows-E to launch Explorer and then Ctrl-L to jump to the address line and type my path. The Ctrl-L trick also works with any web browser, and it's an efficient way of talking less-technical people through instructions when 'browse to [location]' stumps them."
Clear browser history/cookies by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE on most major browsers. Thanks go to synapticpanda, who adds that this "saves me so much time when troubleshooting web apps where I am playing with the cache and such."
To rename a file with F2, while still editing the name of that file: Hit TAB to tab into the renaming of the next file. Thanks to abeeftaco for this one!
Alt-D is a reliable alternative to Ctrl-L for jumping to the address line in a browser. Thanks for this one go to fencepost_ajm, who explains: "Ctrl-L comes from the browser side as a shortcut for Location, Alt-D from the Windows Explorer side for Directory."
Browser shortcut: When typing a URL that ends with dot com, Ctrl + Enter will place the ".com" and take you to the page. Thanks to wpierre for this one!
This tip comes from anynonus, as something that daily that saves a few clicks: "Running a program with ctrl + shift + enter from start menu will start it as administrator (alt + y will select YES to run as admin) ... my user account is local admin [so] I don't feel like that is unsafe"
Building on our PowerShell resources, we received the following suggestion from halbaradkenafin: aka.ms/pskoans is "a way to learn PowerShell using PowerShell (and Pester). It's really cool and a bunch of folks have high praise for it (including a few teams within MSFT)."
Keyboard shortcut: If you already have an application open, hold ctrl + shift and middle click on the application in your task bar to open another instance as admin. Thanks go to Polymira for this one.
Remote Server Tip: "Critical advice. When testing out network configuration changes, prior to restarting the networking service or rebooting, always create a cron job that will restore your original network configuration and then reboot/restart networking on the machine after 5 minutes. If your config worked, you have enough time to remove it. If it didn't, it will fix itself. This is a beautifully simple solution that I learned from my old mentor at my very first job. I've held on to it for a long time." Thanks go to FrigidNox for the tip!
Websites
Deployment Research is the website of Johan Arwidmark, MS MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management. It is dedicated to sharing information and guidance around System Center, OS deployment, migration and more. The author shares tips and tricks to help improve the quality of IT Pros’ daily work.
Next of Windows is a website on (mostly) Microsoft-related technology. It's the place where Kent Chen—a computer veteran with many years of field experience—and Jonathan Hu—a web/mobile app developer and self-described "cool geek"—share what they know, what they learn and what they find in the hope of helping others learn and benefit.
High Scalability brings together all the relevant information about building scalable websites in one place. Because building a website with confidence requires a body of knowledge that can be slow to develop, the site focuses on moving visitors along the learning curve at a faster pace.
Information Technology Research Library is a great resource for IT-related research, white papers, reports, case studies, magazines, and eBooks. This library is provided at no charge by TradePub.com. GullibleDetective tells us it offers "free PDF files from a WIIIIIIDE variety of topics, not even just IT. Only caveat: as its a vendor-supported publishing company, you will have to give them a bit of information such as name, email address and possibly a company name. You undoubtedly have the ability to create fake information on this, mind you. The articles range from Excel templates, learning python, powershell, nosql etc. to converged architecture."
SS64 is a web-based reference guide for syntax and examples of the most-common database and OS computing commands. Recommended by Petti-The-Yeti, who adds, "I use this site all the time to look up commands and find examples while I'm building CMD and PS1 scripts."
Phishing and Malware Reporting. This website helps you put a stop to scams by getting fraudulent pages blocked. Easily report phishing webpages so they can be added to blacklists in as little as 15 minutes of your report. "Player024 tells us, "I highly recommend anyone in the industry to bookmark this page...With an average of about 10 minutes of work, I'm usually able to take down the phishing pages we receive thanks to the links posted on that website."
A Slack Channel
Windows Admin Slack is a great drive-by resource for the Windows sysadmin. This team has 33 public channels in total that cover different areas of helpful content on Windows administration.
Blogs
KC's Blog is the place where Microsoft MVP and web developer Kent Chen shares his IT insights and discoveries. The rather large library of posts offer helpful hints, how-tos, resources and news of interest to those in the Windows world.
The Windows Server Daily is the ever-current blog of technologist Katherine Moss, VP of open source & community engagement for StormlightTech. Offers brief daily posts on topics related to Windows server, Windows 10 and Administration.
An Infosec Slideshow
This security training slideshow was created for use during a quarterly infosec class. The content is offered generously by shalafi71, who adds, "Take this as a skeleton and flesh it out on your own. Take an hour or two and research the things I talk about. Tailor this to your own environment and users. Make it relevant to your people. Include corporate stories, include your audience, exclude yourself. This ain't about how smart you are at infosec, and I can't stress this enough, talk about how people can defend themselves. Give them things to look for and action they can take. No one gives a shit about your firewall rules."
Tech Tutorials
Tutorialspoint Library. This large collection of tech tutorials is a great resource for online learning. You'll find nearly 150 high-quality tutorials covering a wide array of languages and topics—from fundamentals to cutting-edge technologies. For example, this Powershell tutorial is designed for those with practical experience handling Windows-based Servers who want to learn how to install and use Windows Server 2012.
The Python Tutorial is a nice introduction to many of Python’s best features, enabling you to read and write Python modules and programs. It offers an understanding of the language's style and prepares you to learn more about the various Python library modules described in 'The Python Standard Library.' Kindly suggested by sharjeelsayed.
SysAdmin Humor
Day in the Life of a SysAdmin Episode 5: Lunch Break is an amusing look at a SysAdmin's attempt to take a brief lunch break. We imagine many of you can relate!
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments.
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud
Fyi - I've set up a subreddit /itprotuesday, where we feature / encourage posts of some additional tools, tips etc. throughout the week. Pop over and subscribe if you’re interested.
submitted by crispyducks to msp [link] [comments]

IT Pro Tuesday #64 (part 2) - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

(continued from part 1)
Captura is a flexible tool for capturing your screen, audio, cursor, mouse clicks and keystrokes. Features include mixing audio recorded from microphone and speaker output, command-line interface, and configurable hotkeys. Thanks to jantari for the recommedation.
Unlocker is a tool to help delete those irritating locked files that give you an error message like "cannot delete file" or "access is denied." It helps with killing processes, unloading DLLs, deleting index.dat files, as well as unlocking, deleting, renaming, and moving locked files—typically without requiring a reboot.
IIS Crypto's newest version adds advanced settings; registry backup; new, simpler templates; support for Windows Server 2019 and more. This tool lets you enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows and reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, change advanced settings, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions.
RocketDock is an application launcher with a clean interface that lets you drag/drop shortcuts for easy access and minimize windows to the dock. Features running application indicators, multi-monitor support, alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons, auto-hide and popup on mouse over, positioning and layering options. Fully customizable, portable, and compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y'z Dock skins. Works even on slower computers and is Unicode compliant. Suggested by lieutenantcigarette: "If you like the dock on MacOS but prefer to use Windows, RocketDock has you covered. A superb and highly customisable dock that you can add your favourites to for easy and elegant access."
Baby FTP Server offers only the basics, but with the power to serve as a foundation for a more-complex server. Features include multi-threading, a real-time server log, support for PASV and non-PASV mode, ability to set permissions for download/upload/rename/delete/create directory. Only allows anonymous connections. Our thanks to FatherPrax for suggesting this one.
Strace is a Linux diagnostic, debugging and instructional userspace tool with a traditional command-line interface. Uses the ptrace kernel feature to monitor and tamper with interactions between processes and the kernel, including system calls, signal deliveries and changes of process state.
exa is a small, fast replacement for ls with more features and better defaults. It uses colors to distinguish file types and metadata, and it recognizes symlinks, extended attributes and Git. All in one single binary. phils_lab describes it as "'ls' on steroids, written in Rust."
rsync is a faster file transfer program for Unix to bring remote files into sync. It sends just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring both sets of files to be present at one of the ends. Suggested by zorinlynx, who adds that "rsync is GODLY for moving data around efficiently. And if an rsync is interrupted, just run it again."
Matter Wiki is a simple WYSIWYG wiki that can help teams store and collaborate. Every article gets filed under a topic, transparently, so you can tell who made what changes to which document and when. Thanks to bciar-iwdc for the recommendation.
LockHunter is a file unlocking tool that enables you to delete files that are being blocked for unknown reasons. Can be useful for fighting malware and other programs that are causing trouble. Deletes files into the recycle bin so you can restore them if necessary. Chucky2401 finds it preferable to Unlocker, "since I am on Windows 7. There are no new updates since July 2017, but the last beta was in June of this year."
aria2 is a lightweight multi-source command-line download utility that supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. It can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces. Recommended by jftuga, who appreciates it as a "cross-platform command line downloader (similar to wget or curl), but with the -x option can run a segmented download of a single file to increase throughput."
Free Services
Temp-Mail allows you to receive email at a temporary address that self-destructs after a certain period of time. Outwit all the forums, Wi-Fi owners, websites and blogs that insist you register to use them. Petti-The-Yeti says, "I don't give any company my direct email anymore. If I want to trial something but they ask for an email signup, I just grab a temporary email from here, sign up with it, and wait for the trial link or license info to come through. Then, you just download the file and close the website."
Duck DNS will point a DNS (sub domains of duckdns.org) to an IP of your choice. DDNS is a handy way for you to refer to a serverouter with an easily rememberable name for situations when the server's ip address will likely change. Suggested by xgnarf, who finds it "so much better for the free tier of noip—no 30-day nag to keep your host up."
Joe Sandbox detects and analyzes potential malicious files and URLs on Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux and iOS for suspicious activities. It performs deep malware analysis and generates comprehensive and detailed reports. The Community Edition of Joe Sandbox Cloud allows you to run a maximum of 6 analyses per month, 3 per day on Windows, Linux and Android with limited analysis output. This one is from dangibbons94, who wanted to "share this cool service ... for malware analysis. I usually use Virus total for URL scanning, but this goes a lot more in depth. I just used basic analysis, which is free and enough for my needs."
Hybrid Analysis is a malware analysis service that detects and analyzes unknown threats for the community. This one was suggested by compupheonix, who adds that it "gets you super detailed reports... it's about the most fleshed out and detailed one I can find."
JustBeamIt is a file-transfer service that allows you to send files of any size via a peer-to-peer streaming model. Simply drag and drop your file and specify the recipient's email address. They will then receive a link that will trigger the download directly from your computer, so the file does not have to be uploaded to the service itself. The link is good for one download and expires after 10 minutes. Thanks to cooljacob204sfw for the recommendation!
ShieldsUP is a quick but powerful internet security checkup and information service. It was created by security researcher Steve Gibson to scan ports and let you know which ones have been opened through your firewalls or NAT routers.
Firefox Send is an encrypted file transfer service that allows you to share files up to 2.5GB from any browser or an Android app. Uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and offers security controls you can set. You can determine when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add a password. Your recipient receives a link to download the file, and they don’t need a Firefox account. This one comes from DePingus, who appreciates the focus on privacy. "They have E2E, expiring links, and a clear privacy policy."
Free DNS is a service where programmers share domain names with one another at no cost. Offers free hosting as well as dynamic DNS, static DNS, subdomain and domain hosting. They can host your domain's DNS as well as allowing you to register hostnames from domains they're hosting already. If you don't have a domain, you can sign up for a free account and create up to 5 subdomains off the domains others have contributed and point these hosts anywhere on the Internet. Thanks to 0x000000000000004C (yes, that's a username) for the suggestion!
ANY.RUN is an interactive malware analysis service for dynamic and static research of the majority of threats in any environment. It can provide a convenient in-depth analysis of new, unidentified malicious objects and help with the investigation of incidents. ImAshtonTurner appreciates it as "a great sandbox tool for viewing malware, etc."
Plik is a scalable, temporary file upload system similar to wetransfer that is written in golang. Thanks go to I_eat_Narwhals for this one!
Free My IP offers free, dynamic DNS. This service comes with no login, no ads, no newsletters, no links to click and no hassle. Kindly suggested by Jack of All Trades.
Mailinator provides free, temporary email inboxes on a receive-only, attachment-free system that requires no sign-up. All @mailinator.com addresses are public, readable and discoverable by anyone at any time—but are automatically deleted after a few hours. Can be a nice option for times when you to give out an address that won't be accessible longterm. Recommended by nachomountain, who's been using it "for years."
Magic Wormhole is a service for sending files directly with no intermediate upload, no web interface and no login. When both parties are online you with the minimal software installed, the wormhole is invoked via command line identifying the file you want to send. The server then provides a speakable, one-time-use password that you give the recipient. When they enter that password in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs and the download begins directly between your computers. rjohnson99 explains, "Magic Wormhole is sort of like JustBeamIt but is open-source and is built on Python. I use it a lot on Linux servers."
EveryCloud's Free Phish is our own, new Phishing Simulator. Once you've filled in the form and logged in, you can choose from lots of email templates (many of which we've coped from what we see in our Email Security business) and landing pages. Run a one-off free phish, then see who clicked or submitted data so you can understand where your organization is vulnerable and act accordingly.
Hardening Guides
CIS Hardening Guides contain the system security benchmarks developed by a global community of cybersecurity experts. Over 140 configuration guidelines are provided to help safeguard systems against threats. Recommended by cyanghost109 "to get a start on looking at hardening your own systems."
Podcasts
Daily Tech News is Tom Merrit's show covering the latest tech issues with some of the top experts in the field. With the focus on daily tech news and analysis, it's a great way to stay current. Thanks to EmoPolarbear for drawing it to our attention.
This Week in Enterprise Tech is a podcast that features IT experts explaining the complicated details of cutting-edge enterprise technology. Join host Lou Maresca on this informative exploration of enterprise solutions, with new episodes recorded every Friday afternoon.
Security Weekly is a podcast where a "bunch of security nerds" get together and talk shop. Topics are greatly varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. The show typically tops out at 2 hours, which is perfect for those with a long commute. If you’re fascinated by discussion of deep technical and security-related topics, this may be a nice addition to your podcast repertoire.
Grumpy Old Geeks—What Went Wrong on the Internet and Who's To Blame is a podcast about the internet, technology and geek culture—among other things. The hosts bring their grumpy brand of humor to the "state of the world as they see it" in these roughly hour-long weekly episodes. Recommended by mkaxsnyder, who enjoys it because, "They are a good team that talk about recent and relevant topics from an IT perspective."
The Social-Engineer Podcast is a monthly discussion among the hosts—a group of security experts from SEORG—and a diverse assortment of guests. Topics focus around human behavior and how it affects information security, with new episodes released on the second Monday of every month. Thanks to MrAshRhodes for the suggestion.
The CyberWire podcasts discuss what's happening in cyberspace, providing news and commentary from industry experts. This cyber security-focused news service delivers concise, accessible, and relevant content without the gossip, sensationalism, and the marketing buzz that often distract from the stories that really matter. Appreciation to supermicromainboard for the suggestion.
Malicious Life is a podcast that tells the fascinating—and often unknown—stories of the wildest hacks you can ever imagine. Host Ran Levi, a cybersecurity expert and author, talks with the people who were actually involved to reveal the history of each event in depth. Our appreciation goes to peraphon for the recommendation.
The Broadcast Storm is a podcast for Cisco networking professionals. BluePieceOfPaper suggests it "for people studying for their CCNA/NP. Kevin Wallace is a CCIE Collaboration so he knows his *ishk. Good format for learning too. Most podcasts are about 8-15 mins long and its 'usually' an exam topic. It will be something like "HSPR" but instead of just explaining it super boring like Ben Stein reading a powerpoint, he usually goes into a story about how (insert time in his career) HSPR would have been super useful..."
Software Engineering Radio is a podcast for developers who are looking for an educational resource with original content that isn't recycled from other venues. Consists of conversations on relevant topics with experts from the software engineering world, with new episodes released three to four times per month. a9JDvXLWHumjaC tells us this is "a solid podcast for devs."
Books
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a comprehensive technical guide designed to help you optimize Microsoft's Configuration Manager 2012 according to your requirements and then to deploy and use it successfully. This methodical, step-by-step reference covers: the intentions behind the product and its role in the broader System Center product suite; planning, design, and implementation; and details on each of the most-important feature sets. Learn how to leverage the user-centric capabilities to provide anytime/anywhere services & software, while strengthening control and improving compliance.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam is a practical guide to network infrastructure. Provides an in-depth view of routers and routing, switching (with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches as examples), SOHO VoIP and SOHO wireless access point design and configuration, introduction to IPv6 with configuration examples, telecom technologies in the data-networking world (including T1, DS3, frame relay, and MPLS), security, firewall theory and configuration, ACL and authentication, Quality of Service (QoS), with an emphasis on low-latency queuing (LLQ), IP address allocation, Network Time Protocol (NTP) and device failures.
Beginning the Linux Command Line is your ally in mastering Linux from the keyboard. It is intended for system administrators, software developers, and enthusiastic users who want a guide that will be useful for most distributions—i.e., all items have been checked against Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE. Addresses administering users and security and deploying firewalls. Updated to the latest versions of Linux to cover files and directories, including the Btrfs file system and its management and systemd boot procedure and firewall management with firewalld.
Modern Operating Systems, 4th Ed. is written for students taking intro courses on Operating Systems and for those who want an OS reference guide for work. The author, an OS researcher, includes both the latest materials on relevant operating systems as well as current research. The previous edition of Modern Operating Systems received the 2010 McGuffey Longevity Award that recognizes textbooks for excellence over time.
Time Management for System Administrators is a guide for organizing your approach to this challenging role in a way that improves your results. Bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli offers a collection of tips and techniques for navigating the competing goals and concurrent responsibilities that go along with working on large projects while also taking care of individual user's needs. The book focuses on strategies to help with daily tasks that will also allow you to handle the critical situations that inevitably require your attention. You'll learn how to manage interruptions, eliminate time wasters, keep an effective calendar, develop routines and prioritize, stay focused on the task at hand and document/automate to speed processes.
The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition introduces beginners to advanced frameworks while serving as a guide to best practices in system administration that is helpful for even the most advanced experts. Organized into four major sections that build from the foundational elements of system administration through improved techniques for upgrades and change management to exploring assorted management topics. Covers the basics and then moves onto the advanced things that can be built on top of those basics to wield real power and execute difficult projects.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Third Edition is designed to teach you PowerShell in a month's worth of 1-hour lessons. This updated edition covers PowerShell features that run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, PowerShell v3 and later, and it includes v5 features like PowerShellGet. For PowerShell v3 and up, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later.
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools is a guide to the powerful Sysinternals tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis provide a deep understanding of Windows core concepts that aren’t well-documented elsewhere along with details on how to use Sysinternals tools to optimize any Windows system’s reliability, efficiency, performance and security. Includes an explanation of Sysinternals capabilities, details on each major tool, and examples of how the tools can be used to solve real-world cases involving error messages, hangs, sluggishness, malware infections and more.
DNS and BIND, 5th Ed. explains how to work with the Internet's distributed host information database—which is responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and listing phone numbers according to the ENUM standard. Covers BIND 9.3.2 & 8.4.7, the what/how/why of DNS, name servers, MX records, subdividing domains (parenting), DNSSEC, TSIG, troubleshooting and more. PEPCK tells us this is "generally considered the DNS reference book (aside from the RFCs of course!)"
Windows PowerShell in Action, 3rd Ed. is a comprehensive guide to PowerShell. Written by language designer Bruce Payette and MVP Richard Siddaway, this volume gives a great introduction to Powershell, including everyday use cases and detailed examples for more-advanced topics like performance and module architecture. Covers workflows and classes, writing modules and scripts, desired state configuration and programming APIs/pipelines.This edition has been updated for PowerShell v6.
Zero Trust Networks: Building Secure Systems in Untrusted Networks explains the principles behind zero trust architecture, along with what's needed to implement it. Covers the evolution of perimeter-based defenses and how they evolved into the current broken model, case studies of zero trust in production networks on both the client and server side, example configurations for open-source tools that are useful for building a zero trust network and how to migrate from a perimeter-based network to a zero trust network in production. Kindly recommended by jaginfosec.
Tips
Here are a couple handy Windows shortcuts:
Here's a shortcut for a 4-pane explorer in Windows without installing 3rd-party software:
(Keep the win key down for the arrows, and no pauses.) Appreciation goes to ZAFJB for this one.
Our recent tip for a shortcut to get a 4-pane explorer in Windows, triggered this suggestion from SevaraB: "You can do that for an even larger grid of Windows by right-clicking the clock in the taskbar, and clicking 'Show windows side by side' to arrange them neatly. Did this for 4 rows of 6 windows when I had to have a quick 'n' dirty "video wall" of windows monitoring servers at our branches." ZAFJB adds that it actually works when you right-click "anywhere on the taskbar, except application icons or start button."
This tip comes courtesy of shipsass: "When I need to use Windows Explorer but I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard, I press Windows-E to launch Explorer and then Ctrl-L to jump to the address line and type my path. The Ctrl-L trick also works with any web browser, and it's an efficient way of talking less-technical people through instructions when 'browse to [location]' stumps them."
Clear browser history/cookies by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE on most major browsers. Thanks go to synapticpanda, who adds that this "saves me so much time when troubleshooting web apps where I am playing with the cache and such."
To rename a file with F2, while still editing the name of that file: Hit TAB to tab into the renaming of the next file. Thanks to abeeftaco for this one!
Alt-D is a reliable alternative to Ctrl-L for jumping to the address line in a browser. Thanks for this one go to fencepost_ajm, who explains: "Ctrl-L comes from the browser side as a shortcut for Location, Alt-D from the Windows Explorer side for Directory."
Browser shortcut: When typing a URL that ends with dot com, Ctrl + Enter will place the ".com" and take you to the page. Thanks to wpierre for this one!
This tip comes from anynonus, as something that daily that saves a few clicks: "Running a program with ctrl + shift + enter from start menu will start it as administrator (alt + y will select YES to run as admin) ... my user account is local admin [so] I don't feel like that is unsafe"
Building on our PowerShell resources, we received the following suggestion from halbaradkenafin: aka.ms/pskoans is "a way to learn PowerShell using PowerShell (and Pester). It's really cool and a bunch of folks have high praise for it (including a few teams within MSFT)."
Keyboard shortcut: If you already have an application open, hold ctrl + shift and middle click on the application in your task bar to open another instance as admin. Thanks go to Polymira for this one.
Remote Server Tip: "Critical advice. When testing out network configuration changes, prior to restarting the networking service or rebooting, always create a cron job that will restore your original network configuration and then reboot/restart networking on the machine after 5 minutes. If your config worked, you have enough time to remove it. If it didn't, it will fix itself. This is a beautifully simple solution that I learned from my old mentor at my very first job. I've held on to it for a long time." Thanks go to FrigidNox for the tip!
Websites
Deployment Research is the website of Johan Arwidmark, MS MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management. It is dedicated to sharing information and guidance around System Center, OS deployment, migration and more. The author shares tips and tricks to help improve the quality of IT Pros’ daily work.
Next of Windows is a website on (mostly) Microsoft-related technology. It's the place where Kent Chen—a computer veteran with many years of field experience—and Jonathan Hu—a web/mobile app developer and self-described "cool geek"—share what they know, what they learn and what they find in the hope of helping others learn and benefit.
High Scalability brings together all the relevant information about building scalable websites in one place. Because building a website with confidence requires a body of knowledge that can be slow to develop, the site focuses on moving visitors along the learning curve at a faster pace.
Information Technology Research Library is a great resource for IT-related research, white papers, reports, case studies, magazines, and eBooks. This library is provided at no charge by TradePub.com. GullibleDetective tells us it offers "free PDF files from a WIIIIIIDE variety of topics, not even just IT. Only caveat: as its a vendor-supported publishing company, you will have to give them a bit of information such as name, email address and possibly a company name. You undoubtedly have the ability to create fake information on this, mind you. The articles range from Excel templates, learning python, powershell, nosql etc. to converged architecture."
SS64 is a web-based reference guide for syntax and examples of the most-common database and OS computing commands. Recommended by Petti-The-Yeti, who adds, "I use this site all the time to look up commands and find examples while I'm building CMD and PS1 scripts."
Phishing and Malware Reporting. This website helps you put a stop to scams by getting fraudulent pages blocked. Easily report phishing webpages so they can be added to blacklists in as little as 15 minutes of your report. "Player024 tells us, "I highly recommend anyone in the industry to bookmark this page...With an average of about 10 minutes of work, I'm usually able to take down the phishing pages we receive thanks to the links posted on that website."
A Slack Channel
Windows Admin Slack is a great drive-by resource for the Windows sysadmin. This team has 33 public channels in total that cover different areas of helpful content on Windows administration.
Blogs
KC's Blog is the place where Microsoft MVP and web developer Kent Chen shares his IT insights and discoveries. The rather large library of posts offer helpful hints, how-tos, resources and news of interest to those in the Windows world.
The Windows Server Daily is the ever-current blog of technologist Katherine Moss, VP of open source & community engagement for StormlightTech. Offers brief daily posts on topics related to Windows server, Windows 10 and Administration.
An Infosec Slideshow
This security training slideshow was created for use during a quarterly infosec class. The content is offered generously by shalafi71, who adds, "Take this as a skeleton and flesh it out on your own. Take an hour or two and research the things I talk about. Tailor this to your own environment and users. Make it relevant to your people. Include corporate stories, include your audience, exclude yourself. This ain't about how smart you are at infosec, and I can't stress this enough, talk about how people can defend themselves. Give them things to look for and action they can take. No one gives a shit about your firewall rules."
Tech Tutorials
Tutorialspoint Library. This large collection of tech tutorials is a great resource for online learning. You'll find nearly 150 high-quality tutorials covering a wide array of languages and topics—from fundamentals to cutting-edge technologies. For example, this Powershell tutorial is designed for those with practical experience handling Windows-based Servers who want to learn how to install and use Windows Server 2012.
The Python Tutorial is a nice introduction to many of Python’s best features, enabling you to read and write Python modules and programs. It offers an understanding of the language's style and prepares you to learn more about the various Python library modules described in 'The Python Standard Library.' Kindly suggested by sharjeelsayed.
SysAdmin Humor
Day in the Life of a SysAdmin Episode 5: Lunch Break is an amusing look at a SysAdmin's attempt to take a brief lunch break. We imagine many of you can relate!
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments.
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud
submitted by crispyducks to ITProTuesday [link] [comments]

Research papers I'm reading this month

Hi all, was doing searching for some research papers like I do every few months, and decided I'd throw them up here if anyone is interested in them.
Most of these link directly to pdfs (view, not instant-download).
bolded = you should read them
If anyone else reads these, I'm sure lots of the guys here would appreciate a quick review, summary points, or just your thoughts on any of them.
  1. Forecasting Volatility in Financial Markets: a Review (60 pages)
  2. Option Strategies: Good Deals and Margin Calls (40 pages)
  3. Option trading strategies based on semiparametric implied volatility surface prediction (30 pages)
  4. Short Term Variations and Long-term Dynamics in Commodity Prices (20 pages)
  5. Success and failure of technical trading strategies in the cocoa futures market (40 pages)
  6. The Information Content of the S&P 500 Index and VIX Options on the Dynamics of the S&P 500 Index (45 pages)
  7. The Performance of Model Based Option Trading Strategies (25 pages)
  8. evidence on the efficiency of index option markets (15 pages)
  9. OPTIONS EVALUATION - BLACK-SCHOLES MODEL VS. BINOMIAL OPTIONS PRICING MODEL (10 pages)
  10. ECB: risk, uncertainty, and monetary policy (40 pages)
  11. TIMING STRATEGY PERFORMANCE IN THE CRUDE OIL FUTURES MARKET (30 pages)
  12. An Anatomy of Futures Returns: Risk Premiums and Trading Strategies (40 pages)
  13. Roll strategy efficiency in commodity futures markets (40 pages)
  14. Spread trading strategies in the crude oil futures markets (35 pages)
  15. Commodity Strategies Based on Momentum, Term Structure and Idiosyncratic Volatility (20 pages)
  16. AN EXAMINATION OF MOMENTUM STRATEGIES IN COMMODITY FUTURES MARKETS (30 pages)
  17. understanding crude oil prices (45 pages)
  18. BONUS BOOK: The Bond and Money Markets: Strategy, Trading, Analysis (1150 pages): a comprehensive textbook on bonds, interest-rate derivatives, money markets, credit derivatives, yield curve analysis, structured products, CDOs
submitted by ObviousTwist to thewallstreet [link] [comments]

State Capitalism

The text below is an exchange had between Sire_26 and the BSA chat group about State Capitalism. This record exists for the sake of education and does not necessarily reflect the positions of BSA as a whole.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Sire_26: Lenin [identified as] an orthodox Marxist, so he felt that the USSR needed to be in a holding pattern until a revolution took place in Germany or another more developed country; the thing is, Russia never left that holding pattern until the collapse of the USSR.
Anon #1: yeah
Sire_26: When “capitalism” as we understand it took full control. Trotsky predicted this would happen.
Anon #1: now russia is just as capitalist as anywhere else, and considerably smaller.
Sire_26: Mikhail Bakunin is the real ☕️, tho. PLEASE read him.
Anon #2: What are your thoughts on Luxemburgism?
Sire_26: The only “ism” and “ist” labels you should be entertaining is “Marxist” and various forms of “Socialist” lol everything else is dogma.
...
Luxemburg is super important, and everyone should read her works on “reform” and the role that it should play. But she should be someone we’re studying just like everyone else (including Lenin, Mao, Trotsky... they all have thoughts to contribute to this conversation).
We have to stay true to the science (dialectics), though.
...
Anon #3: Wait are we saying that Soviet Russia was capitalist?
Anon #2: It was lol It had capitalistic aspects at some points but they definitely tried socialism. At least in my research.
...
Anon #3: I think that’s a bit intellectually dishonest lol of course Czarist Russia was capitalist and imperialist, but after the Russian revolution and the formation of the Soviet Union I think it would be more than misleading to call Russia/Soviet Union “capitalist.”
Just because there is a socialist revolution, does not mean that the bourgeoisie and remnants of capitalism just are wiped away like with the brush of a stroke.
The dictatorship of the proletariat has to be installed to suppress bourgeoisie/capitalist counter revolution.
According to Stalin/Lenin there has to be an entire historical epoch of socialism to transition society into communism.
Sire_26: It was state capitalist.
Anon #4: Czarist Russia was more of a mix a capitalism and feudalism than actual capitalism
Anon #3: Czarist Russia represented all of the ills of rising imperialism.
Sire_26: Internally, it was never socialist to begin with. From the infrastructure of the Bolshevik Party, to the later formation of the USSR. Vladimir Lenin advocated for and acknowledged this (including state capitalism). The problem is that because of things like democratic centralism and the overall adherence to orthodox Marxist principles, the conditions were set for the totalitarian state to come to fruition under Stalin, and ultimately, as Trotsky predicted, for the USSR to collapse.
If you read Lenin, you’ll see exactly what I’m referring to.
Anon #2: I find this very interesting lol
Sire_26: Lenin not only acknowledged, but desired & promoted the State Capitalist nature of the Soviet Union, & this can be seen through his intra-party debates & private letters.
See here: http://libcom.org/library/what-was-ussr-aufheben
See here: http://libcom.org/library/the-bolsheviks-and-workers-control-solidarity-group
Please read: http://libcom.org/files/Maurice%20Brinton-%20The%20Bolsheviks%20and%20workers'%20control.pdf
The Bolsheviks inherited an economy that was underdeveloped (coming from feudalism). Lenin’s solution was “State Capitalism,” which would allow the economy to develop. This required capitalist policy, but with specific sectors of the economy controlled by the state.
Lenin rationalized this approach with Marxist theory, pulling on the idea of capitalist development being necessary before Socialism can truly succeed. [Marx actually rejected stagism at the end of his life, for the record.]
Lenin also believed that a socialist revolution in Germany would provide the developing Soviet economy with resources and support.
Regardless of what his intentions were, what Lenin and his party advocated for in a move towards Socialism set the conditions for the catastrophes that would later transpire, and U.S. government propaganda will continue to cite this in arguing that “Socialism” should be avoided.
We mustn’t fetishize the leaders of the past, or be apologists for the errors in their rationales. We must learn from the mistakes in their methods in an effort to develop realistic approaches that stay true to the socialistic principles we all claim to embody.
This is not a discussion about Lenin’s “intent,” but rather what did and did not exist in the USSR.
Please see here:
Marx and Lenin's views contrasted | By Richard Montague https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2001/no-1169-december-2001/marx-and-lenins-views-contrasted … via @OfficialSPGB
Please scroll down to number five (“Current Tasks of the Trade Unions”) to see where Lenin makes a demand for “one-man” management:
“On the Question of the Trade Unions and their Organization” | From the 9th Congress of the Bolshevik Party (1 April 1920) https://www.marxists.org/history/ussgovernment/party-congress/9th/01.htm
Lenin in 1919 demanding one-man management:
“Introduction of One-Man Management in Lieu of Board Management in Centrotextil: Draft Decision for the Council of People’s Commissars” | By Vladimir Lenin https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/sep/04.htm
Given the circumstances, one could find many arguments for why a “one-man management” policy (amongst other things) could’ve theoretically worked for the time, but policies like this were inherently antithetical to socialist principles, and set the stage for later catastrophe.
Anon #3: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1924/foundations-leninism/
Sire_26: Obviously they tried it. It wasn’t what feudal Russia was. But this doesn’t mean that it was actually socialist or communist. So many of Lenin’s positions were completely antithetical to Marxist principles, and many self-identifying Marxist-Leninists excuse this by saying those who take issue are “utopian,” when really it’s just Marxism. It’s actually not that complicated.
Some Marxist-Leninists acknowledge this, but most don’t.
...
This is one of those topics where, if you haven’t read deep into the history, or read Marx or Lenin or Trotsky or Stalin (and I mean actually read them, or at the very least thorough summaries of their positions), then we’re just going to keep talking in circles.
The crux of the conversation is State Capitalism vs. Socialism. A Communist State vs. a Communist Society (as outlined by Marx). You can call any of it whatever you want (the semantics aren’t what’s important here); what matters is that we understand the characteristics of each potential existence and/or theory, as well as what really happened in the past.
This is why we have to be vigilant in combating dogmatism. It tries to shortcut digging into the reality of the history, and this is dangerous, because – as the cliche goes – those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it.
“Scientific Socialism” as an idea and concept is what we should be collectively adhering to; not the philosophy of only one person or revolutionary leader, but dialectics (the science).
I highly recommend Anton Pannekoek’s writing on State Capitalism:
Anton Pannekoek - State Capitalism and Dictatorship https://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1936/dictatorship.htm
This is one of those difficult things, because many of our Black revolutionaries of the past identified with Marxism-Leninism and Maoism. But, again, if you read Fred Hampton’s speeches, he talked about the dialectics – the objective reality of our situation. The reality of our situation now is not the same as what it was in 1969 America, or 1917 Russia. Malcolm X also spoke about this in “The Ballot or the Bullet” too. We can’t look at their words in a static way and try to format them to now; it won’t work.
Lenin and Trotsky’s methods may have held more weight in the past (on paper), and strictly in a theoretical sense for their time (and there’s a lot to learn from their strategy when it comes to direct action and propaganda campaigns), but we’re dealing with a different situation/reality right now, and we need REAL socialism. We need REAL communism (as outlined by Marx).
We don’t need centralized power and more* state capitalism. Our state is already working off of fiat currency. We have already accumulated enough wealth ... for shit to change on a widespread level under socialist representation. We just need to break through the liberal and conservative propaganda, as well as the voter suppression.
In 1969, when Hampton was advocating for the collectivization of arms and weaponry in Cook County, there may* have been more weight and logic to that strategy. In 2018, where the military power of the state is even wider and enforced, this approach is not only not logical; it’s not possible (at the degree to which he spoke of). It just isn’t.
We have to be looking at how poor and working-class people are to actually take control of the state apparatus, as well as the private sector (this means in the workplace). This requires a certain degree of gradualism (please read Luxemburg for more on this, though).
Anon #5: I think looking at one as impossible and the other as possible through gradualism is a mistake. The only thing that any of us agree on is the idea that that revolution, through ballot or bullet, is going to be unfathomably difficult.
Sire_26: Looking at what as impossible?
Anon #5: Collectivization of arms and weaponry. If the idea of a gradual victory is possible in your mind for taking control of state apparatus, there has to be room in your mind for the other option. Dismissing either entirely is a mistake.
Anon #6: It's a false dichotomy to my mind.
Sire_26: Did you listen to Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet”? Genuinely asking (not being insincere). The entire point X was making is that despite the fact that every revolution throughout history has been bloody, we’re in a unique position here in America. Even though we don’t have a true “democracy,” we still have democratic processes in front of us that we need to take advantage of as Black American people.
If you’re entertaining the idea of insurrection (that is, an armed uprising against the state) in 2018, then you’re simply not thinking about the practical points of such an effort.
We need to be on the road to real revolution; not destabilization. We are stabilized, despite the fact that we’re ideologically fragmented and have institutions rotted to the core by capitalism. We are stabilized compared to many war-torn countries around this world.
Inviting insurrectionist planning is not rational for more reasons than I could list in this group chat. If you’d like to speak with some socialist combat veterans I know about this topic, I can put you in touch.
Anon #6: Gradualism isn't a rejection of the revolutionary option, just the understanding that it has to be put off, and that survival has to take priority.
Sire_26: And yes, that is a false dichotomy that was just created.
Exactly.
Anon #5: Sire_26 and I aren't talking about the same thing when we say the words "revolutionary option."
Sire_26, I feel like you're narrowing what I'm saying in a way I'm not doing to you x_x if you were to tell me we're going to be able to vote in/write into law socialism "in 2018", I'd say it isn't possible. As far as insurrection goes, it wouldn't be possible in 2018 either.
Neither are. Both are huge projects that would take years to get anywhere.
[And] btw yes, I did listen to Malcolm X's ballot or bullet. Just so happens that the guy advocates for black capitalism a lot in order to take better control of black communities. There's a lot to be said for historical context, and that thing you mentioned earlier about taking some things to heart, while leaving other things in the past.
Anon #3: I wouldn’t say Malcolm advocated capitalism, but rather black self determination.
Sire_26: Exactly. Malcolm X was anti-capitalism (there are quotes from him on this).
@[Anon #5], you’re kind of creating false dichotomies in your responses, and begging the question (a logical fallacy). We’re not talking about anything happening right this second. We’re talking about quite the opposite; gradualism.
There’s a stark difference between revolutionary changes to systems and a coup.
You’re entertaining the idea of a coup being a viable option in America. I’m saying it’s not an option right now, while many insurrectionists would insist on the contrary.
Anon #5: I'm not talking about a coup, personally. Coup implies like, "kill the president, and senators/legislators, take power from above" which isn't my point. It wasn't Fred Hampton's point, either, when he was advocating for collectivization of arms and weaponry. At the time, it was about defense. Defense of community, protecting self determination, that sort of thing.
Listen, this topic is complex and i'd rather talk about it than go point by point in writing, which i feel would take a long while. Plus, to be honest, reading back i feel like i kind of derailed the original point.
Conversations about amassing weapons vs. "how to revolution" are definitely not the same thing.
Anon #7: This topic is gonna properly get fleshed out on here.
Sire_26: I’m with you on the point about Fred Hampton (although it’s debatable), but even with the size of the police state now, “defense” has to take on an entirely different meaning when it comes to us protecting ourselves. I think we should be advocating for that on an individual/personal level, ya dig? But I’m not an idiot. I see what the BIE classification does. We saw what COINTELPRO did. We know the state has even more power now.
A coup is much more complicated, but it is violent uprising. Insurrection. Armed struggle. These are all aimed to achieve successful coups, or control of the state apparatus. When many use the word “revolution,” that is what they’re associating with it (in a practical sense). I’m saying the dynamics have changed; gradual revolution is real, but this does not mean we should be limiting ourselves – rather, reading the climate and accelerating the process whenever we can.
Again, this is “The Ballot or the Bullet” conversation.
We can def explore this via phone or Discord or whatever at another time. It’s an important conversation to have.
Sorry for the massive walls of text lmfao we might as well share these conversations at some point, they’re so long.
I would definitely say for everyone (myself included) that we all gotta sit with perspectives sometimes instead of jumping to respond so quickly. What’s most important is not winning a debate or argument or making someone think like you do, but rather figuring out what the truth (not “your” or “my” truth, but the objective* truth) is, and making the truth known.
Anon #5: yeah, agreed.
Sire_26: 💯💯💯
Anon #5: i don't mind walls XD i do a lot of reading in my free time
Sire_26: Ayyyeee you’re like me then lol I don’t mind either.
Quick correction, by the way. I had a typo in one of my earlier messages lol
“Internally, it was never socialist to begin with. From the infrastructure of the Bolshevik Party, to the later formation of the USSR. Vladimir Lenin advocated for and acknowledged* this (including state capitalism). The problem is that because of things like democratic CENTRALISM and the overall adherence to orthodox Marxist principles, the conditions were set for the totalitarian state to come to fruition under Stalin.”
HUGE typo/mistake lol
Here’s what I was referring to:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_centralism
...
Anon #5: That does make more sense in context Democratic centralism sounds hugely problematic x_x
Sire_26: Very very. Actually read Lenin’s views on it, though. And peep what he did to the unions – 110% not true to Marxist ideology whatsoever (that’s why some people say Marxism-Leninism is an oxymoron).
Again, though, and this is the nuance – THEORETICALLY his method could’ve* made sense FOR THE TIME. That does NOT mean that it 1) applies today or 2) is actually Marxism/Socialism.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/sep/04.htm
https://www.marxists.org/history/ussgovernment/party-congress/9th/01.htm
Anon #2: Can you explain the term Marxist-Leninism is they have conflicting views?
Sire_26: That’s a dense one, Tommy. If you hit the http://Marxists.org or @libcomorg primers on Marxism and Leninism separately, though (hell, even the Wikipedias), you’ll be able to start forming your own views on Marxist-Leninism. You cannot just take my word for it.
Lenin based his theories and strategies on the works of Marx, however in his practice (actions), he advocated for policies that were directly antithetical to Marx’s outlining of real* socialism. Does that make sense? Now for you or anyone else to see how that is, you have to really* dig into the history, as well as his writings. I’ve shared some good sources on it right now, but there’s much more to it all.
Anon #5: what about the idea of marxism that places the material realities of each circumstance within the context of relations of capital? I.E. We need to go from feudalism to capitalism, so we'll do state capitalism until we can get to socialism, because Lenin recognized that trying to jump from feudalism to socialism was unrealistic and wouldn't have functioned.
There was a bourgeoise consolidation of power, sure, but it might still be marxism in the context of trying to eventually get to socialism...?
Sire_26: Absolutely. If you see the string of tweets I shared earlier in our convo, this is me speaking to this as briefly as I can. [Marx rejected stagism towards the end of his life, so according to the logic of the "Marxist" dogmatist, this wouldn't be "Marxism."]
Also, please see Anton Pannekoek’s brief essay on this.
When we use the word “Marxism,” we’re talking about adhering [to] or working through Marxist theory. Someone can claim to be a Marxist, but we have to be looking at whether or not they’re being true to the theory in practice.
State Capitalism as a concept is not something limited to states like the USSR or PRC.
America is theoretically State Capitalist. It’s a shining example of State Capitalism. We just make the distinction with the USSR and PRC because under the guise of a “worker’s state,” there is really just a bloated bureaucracy of bourgeois who are enforcing capitalist principles (there’s still wage labor, etc etc etc – it’s not Socialism as explained by Marx – you can call it whatever you want, but it isn’t Socialism).
Lenin was an orthodox Marxist, which is why he used this argument you just outlined to advocate for rapid industrialization and the “holding pattern” until revolution took place elsewhere. But because of this, some people feel he was an opportunist (they’re pairing this approach with the fact that he advocated for highly centralized authoritarian state policies, and never enacted truly socialist policy internally from his position of power).
Check the sources out and keep reading if you can! We’ll be here all night if y’all are just going off of my word lol you have to verify everything I’m saying for yourselves in order to challenge it and/or reach your own conclusions.
...
Anon #3: I think while discussing Marxism/Leninism we shouldn’t recognize that Lenin applied Marxism to Russia’s specific conditions. Nobody even thought that Russia would be the country where revolution would occur, they thought the countries that were most industrialized with the largest proletariat (i.e Germany) would break the chain of capitalism.
But as I stated before, socialism represents an entire epoch of history, so to say that a state is not socialist because it has remnants of capitalism, aka wage labor, I think is false. Lenin and Stalin admit that for a period of time the Bourgeoisie is still more powerful than the proletariat. That’s why the state and dictatorship of the proletariat is so important, to suppress the bourgeoisie. Socialism is complex and looks different in different countries because of differ condition.
Cuba still has wage labor, but are we saying that Cuba isn’t socialist because of it?
Anon #5: whether or not we call countries "in the process of socialism" may or may not depend on whether or not we think those in power are currently sincere about attempting to move towards socialism, which is more belief based than anything else, even when we do have actions to point to that signify one way or the other.
Anon #3: A period of time after revolution the bourgeoisie is more powerful than the proletariat*
Sire_26: [Anon #3,] I addressed what you said in your first paragraph in my response earlier in this discussion, as well as tweets sent out a bit ago.
Cuba isn’t socialist. Maybe it is closer to real socialism than America, but it isn’t socialist. This isn’t even really something to debate. It’s a fact, if you call yourself a Marxist or at least go by Marxist theory. Whether you agree with Marxist theory or not is up to you.
There are no real examples of socialism that we can look back to within the last century (on a national level – we have tiny pockets of it in places like Spain, but again, not what Marx was talking about to scale). It just hasn’t existed yet.
Just because a state has parts of it that are socialist ... doesn’t mean that they have reached a truly socialist society, nor does it mean those in power actually intend on getting everyone to a socialist society (as [Anon #5] is hitting on right now).
Again, this comes right back to Marx. I’m not saying you all should read all 800+ page volumes of Das Kapital or something, but we have to have a grip on what he was talking about before we speak on Lenin. That’s the only way you get to see what’s true and what’s false. I study the economists and professors who have read Das Kapital front to back MULTIPLE times (personally); of course I read Marx excerpts and analyses myself as well. You have to at least try at some point to dig into this stuff, or else it’s just rhetoric and not facts.
"Critique of Gotha Program" is considered a “required reading” amongst hard left elitists lol I’m not gonna go that far with it, but I will say that it’s a great place to start.
We can speculate all day long about what all of these revolutionaries actually intended; the facts are the facts, though. We can see what did and did not happen. What has and has not happened. We can look at our challenges and the reality, and try to come up with realistic approaches that help us reach ... a communist society.
Anon #3: Bruh, Cuba is socialist lol I’ve been to Cuba, I’ve been to international conferences there, I’ve spoken to people. Ive been to lectures in Cuba BY Cubans about the economy, politics, etc.
Again, socialism is a PROCESS not a conclusion. To imply that Cuba isn’t socialist ludicrous to me.
Also, Cuba bring a socialist state 90 miles away from the the imperialist beast needs to be taken into context. To me, to imply that Cuba isn’t socialist is an ultra leftist argument. If it’s not socialist, then what is it?
You keep saying “reached true socialist society” implies that socialism is a process.
Sire_26: You could literally apply that same logic to America, and then argue that it is socialist, but to a lesser degree. Cuba is closer to true socialism as defined by Marx, but it just isn’t true socialism. I honestly don’t know what else to say. I’ve been as clear as I can be.
Is there no longer wage labor there? Do workers control the means of production there? If the answer to both of those questions is “no,” then it isn’t socialism as Marx explained it.
https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/1960-1970/cuba.htm
https://www.reddit.com/socialism/comments/5v2n6t/is_cubas_economy_one_of_state_capitalism/
I definitely get where you’re coming from. You can call it whatever else you want and try to defend it and say it’s good, but it isn’t an example of a socialist territory on planet earth.
“It's in an awkward transitional phase between a state-driven socialism and state capitalism. There are already petite bourgeoisie in Cuba, such as taxi company owners, who make over $1,000 USD a month which is absolutely massive in Cuban terms where the average monthly salary is $25. There are still strong socialist and Marxist currents in the Cuban Communist Party, but Cuba has hinted towards a Chinese model of state capitalism with Raul frequently praising China. Like some social scientists on Cuba have commented, I suspect Cuba migrating fully to state capitalism to motivate the lifting of the embargo in exchange for American investments. The country is still very laudable and pretty pro-proletarian, but I don't think this will last.”
That’s the top comment in the thread I linked to. Explains it very simply and clearly.
I think places like Cuba need to be supported, of course. But we need real socialism. [People, not "places," need to be supported.]
Sire_26: And “state-driven socialism,” as that person put it, just means the state apparatus is being used to push for socialist programs or socioeconomic policy, but it’s not actually socialist in its structure because the workers don’t control the means of production lol
Anon #3: The reason that cab drivers make so much is because they have access to American dollars and tourism.
Sire_26: I gotta bounce for the day. I’ve said all I possibly can on this topic for now. I hope y’all get a chance to check out the resources and get back to me.
Anon #3: I think that we can critique any society, and Cuba isn’t exempt from this, but to say that Cuba ISN’T socialist is again, ultra leftist, and a bit misleading to me.
Also, ask the Cubans about their revolution and is their country socialist, and how they view themselves. They will tell you otherwise, despite what an online forum says.
The strides that the Cuban revolution made in nationalization of industry, land reform, social justice, economic justice, giving workers power, internationalism, etc etc speaks to their socialist revolution, despite how much we intellectualize it.
Sire_26: You’re saying a lot of things, but the key is in defining what “Socialist” is. Calling me or anyone else an “ultra leftist” for adhering to Marxist theory and over a century’s worth of development on this doesn’t speak to the root of the conversation.
...
Anon #3: Cuba did this in the face of constant imperialist aggression, sanctions, military aggression, etc etc etc, so to denounce them as not socialist because they don’t meet all of Karl Marx qualifications seems dogmatic and doesn’t take into account Cuba’s specific conditions. Not to mention Karl Marx was philosophizing about European society.
Sire_26: You’re acting like I’m coming at Cuba! I’m not trying to take away from their achievements. We’re talking about what is and isn’t socialism. If you want to take the word “socialism” and turn it into something else, then by all means go ahead. Marx isn’t god. He codified a foundation for socialism that Castro and countless others stated they wanted to stay true to. That’s the reality. So the convo is about whether they’ve stayed true to it or not. It’s really that simple.
Anon #8: socialism isn't defined by how much imperialist agression a country goes through
Anon #1: Word. Cant blame the USSR for being antagonized by America for an entire century. Who knows what might have manifested had that not happened.
Cant blame Cuba for Batista.
These are their material conditions.
Anon #3: But these are theoretical definitions, we’re talking about the struggle for socialism AGAINST imperialism and capitalism and their material conditions. I think it’s a lot more nuanced than some definition on paper, and as binary as “this is socialism, this is not.”
Anon #1: I agree. Its bigger than labels at the end of the day. Its war over resources.
Anon #3: Also, we should beware of the people/sources we read when it comes to socialism/communism or whatever. A lot of academics just intellectualize phenomena from the ivory towers of academia, and not even revolutionaries or involved in struggle.
They come a dime a dozen lol
Sire_26: But you’re talking as if we don’t have the written texts and communications of the actual revolutionaries, though. Their views and their experiences. We have all of it, so what are you really trying to say?
That’s a logical fallacy to start making generalizations about where potential* or perceived* sources of information are coming from instead of delving into what we’re actually speaking about. I perceive that as a diversion from the real crux of the conversation, which is actually defining “socialism.”
What you’re doing is revisionism, and the “ultraleft” argument is literally rhetoric. Let’s talk about the theory and the history here.
If you want to discredit Marx and go at Marx, then go at Marx, but that means you also have to reconsider your thoughts on what the actual revolutionaries claim, because all of them (for the most part) claimed to abide by Marx (as do most of the people here in this group chat). Fidel Castro is not exempt from this. That means his base and foundation was Marxism.
You have yet to address the points about socialism. You’ve just reiterated the sentiment that socialism is a “process” and that “ultra leftists” say that Cuba isn’t socialism; and you keep bringing up the challenges Cuba faced as if to imply that I think, because they haven’t achieved real socialism yet, the validity of their gains should come into question. I repeat: these are all logical fallacies.
I implore all who haven’t already done so to check out this guide to logical fallacies, so that you’re more familiarized with how they’re used to “win” arguments in the court of public opinion: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/
There’s more in-depth Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos on logical fallacies that we can find as well. Understanding these can help everyone in conversing constructively with others here.
Everything is a process. No one put anything into “binaries” by stating that Cuba isn’t socialist. It’s just assessing the conditions and seeing whether they, on a very fundamental level, fit the definition of socialism.
We have to know where we’re going and what it looks like in order to carve out the right path; this is the fundamental reality of the situation. We are assessing the reality of the situation.
Saying that Cuba isn’t a socialist country says nothing about whether or not they’re on the right path, or if the intentions of their leaders are in the right place. It’s just saying that they aren’t socialist.
Again, just because there are socialist institutions* and programs* in a country doesn’t make the country as a whole socialist. Because there is wage labor in Cuba, and because the government (state) – not the workers – control the means of production directly, it is state capitalism. It is not real socialism. This is something Lenin wrote and gave speeches about. This is something Trotsky wrote and gave speeches about.
The irony of the situation is – just as Trotsky predicted would happen with the USSR – Cuba is becoming more and more capitalist by the year, and it’s all connected to the nature of state capitalism.
Cuba identifies as a “Unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic.” Of course, if you refuse to challenge that notion on any level, then you’re not going to find any value in this discussion in the first place, except in reaffirming what you already believe to be true. The base assumption of this dialogue is that you’re open to the other perspective; I’m doing my best to try and present that to you from a variety of sources here.
I seriously implore all of you to check out the Reddit threads I linked to in here, or Google search “Is Cuba Socialist? Reddit” and read all of these threads of people arguing about exactly this (for years). It goes on and on and on. I’ve read these discussions. I’ve studied the revolutionaries. I’ve moved through identifying with Marxism-Leninism, and then through identifying with Trotskyism, and on and on; to come to the understanding that I have now. It only came from educating myself and reading others’ countless arguments online, and studying the history from a variety of perspectives, constantly challenging what I knew to be true. This is dialectical materialism; not confirmation bias.
This is why I recommended Reddit to everyone the other day; if you want to visit this conversation with more people and debate it out, then feel free to head on over to /Socialism, and you’ll see the same exact arguments I’m raising brought up there, but probably without* sources. It’s a better forum than a Twitter group chat. Perhaps we could have these kinds of discussions on there; everyone can introduce conversation topics, and we can all comment in threads along with sources to our arguments.
I’ve at least tried to give you sources and proof for all of my claims. It’s all there in the writing; from http://Marxists.org to LibCom. At some point, we get to a place where we’re not addressing the core arguments anymore, and instead we’re resorting to ad hominem labeling, and begging the question.
If you keep reading, you will find the truth. The exploration can’t stop here in this group chat. We have to go on and keep learning. If scholars and people who have actually studied all of this stuff for longer than we’ve been alive and who can explain all of their views to you STILL can’t convince you off of verbal communication alone, then clearly there’s a misunderstanding on someone’s part.
For anyone who doesn’t believe me, here’s a Wikipedia page on the politics of Fidel Castro: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Fidel_Castro
Here’s a Jacobin article on Cuba and Socialism and where they are headed: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/10/alternative-cuba-socialism-left-opposition-worker-control/
Please excuse any typos.
Anon #3: You’re giving us jacobin and wiki articles about Cuba. I’ve read the history of Cuba, I’ve read Marx, I’ve been to Cuba and got educated by the Cubans on their political process and conditions. I can assure you that actually going to a country and seeing/studying things for yourself is more insightful than online discussion boards and articles from outsiders. I retain that you can criticize Cuba, but to say it ain’t socialist is wild. But as I stated before, Marx was philosophizing about Europe, not an island slave colony, so to say it’s not socialist cuz it doesn’t adhere to all of MARX’s credentials is a stretch. Gotta strongly disagree here.
Anon #1: This is good.
Hash it out.
Anon #5: Honestly, the more i think about the question "is cuba socialist?", the more i wonder what the value of the answer is. The answer definitely isn't the determining question of whether or not we're going to support the state as socialists. I don't think it's socialist per marx, for reasons that go from restaurants and taxis to reactions to capitalist embargoes. But, as a leftist, i'm definitely going to support their state and endeavors to move further left. I think dividing it in yes/no answers is reductive of a frankly complicated question.
Anon #1: As a human, i am proud of the legacy of both the ussr and cuba
Anon #8: i don't think one party states are compatible with any democratic notion of socialism. that's the main flaw of 20th century socialism.
Anon #9: [Twitter user was a philosophy professor who said something along the lines of, "You're being condescending, and telling people 'You're wrong because you haven't seen things as I have.' Also, you're making baseless statements, claiming that people are using logical fallacies when it's just your opinion." The Twitter user deleted their account, and so the record of their responses is no longer with us - this is a rough recall of what they stated, and is more likely than not partially inaccurate.]
Sire_26: Am I really saying “as I have”? And a logical fallacy is a logical fallacy. It’s a matter of fact; not opinion. My statements aren’t baseless. They’re right here for everyone to read and judge for themselves.
And I also second what [Anon #8] and [Anon #5] are saying.
Anon #1: also, through which institution would workers own resources if not the state or some form of state?
Sire_26: My biggest point is that there is no way this exchange alone is going to end with us agreeing on this. All I ask is that there are facts and sources brought behind your arguments that everyone here can also explore. And everyone should actually be exploring these sources before responding.
Anon #9: [Twitter user then said something along the lines of, "I'm a philosophy professor, bro; I teach people about logical fallacies for a living. I think I'd know what I'm talking about on this one lol"]
Anon #3: lol ^ honestly bro
Sire_26: You literally just used one: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-authority.
I’m not trying to be disrespectful or discredit; I’m just about getting to the crux of an actual argument.
Anon #9: [Twitter user said something along the lines of, "LOL damn, you got it, you got it. I think I'm just gonna leave y'all to it then lol"]
Anon #8: the thing is workers don't control the cuban state. if they did then fine. i mean some anarchists don't want a state at all, but even by the classical marxist definition of socialism which Cuba claims a lineage to there is inconsistency.
And it's not just about definitions but if cuba is a capitalist state it changes our entire analysis. if there is resistance to the cuban state we need not to get into the stale "anti imperialist" analysis of it must be a cia plot
Anon #3: Workers control the state in Cuba.
Anon #1: Sounds socialist
...
Sire_26: Juridically, and on the surface, yes. But what about the bureaucracy that Trotsky spoke about? The bureaucracy that forms around that state apparatus? What of wage labor? What of the distribution of wealth? These are things you’re not addressing.
It’s like saying that America is a democracy. Juridically, yes. But there is that reality of capitalism that constantly encroaches upon and corrupts the legal processes we establish.
Everything you’re saying is argued against in that Anton Pannekoek article I linked to in here twice. Please, feel free to read it and respond to all of his points. He’s written extensively on this (in the early 20th century, mind you). That would be way more productive than us going back and forth here.
I challenge you to it. You can craft a Reddit post on it, and we can all respond in the comments. If you’re open to that.
Anon #3: I have addressed them. The first thing Cuba did when competing the revolution was land redistribution to the peasants, expropriated housed, land, property, nationalized industry. Free education, free health care, 95% of Cubans own their home, etc
I don’t have that much of an interest in proving if Cuba is actually a socialist state lol
Sire_26: Alright, cool.
Anon #10: Just read that whole argument. Lol
Sire_26: Hit dem links tho, fam. Dig into it! Let us know your thoughts.
submitted by Sire_26 to BlackSocialists [link] [comments]

Tumult in your Model Parliament: private members overtake government bills (Fri 21 Aug 2015)

FRIDAY 21 AUGUST 2015 | NATIONAL POLITICS | CITIZENS’ PRESS
There’s finally been some activity in parliament this week. Very little of it has interfaced with the community, but at least some debates have been underway. Three new bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and could pass next week (the government’s previous commitment to public consultation has gone out the window). The first tied vote almost happened. Diplomatic relations have been extended, but the government hasn’t made any announcements. The possibility of holding any constitutional referendums at the next federal election sits on a knife edge.
Up until today, most of the week’s excitement in /ModelParliament and /ModelAusHR had come from lurker281 MP. Finally, on Friday, there has been some new play from the government, opposition and cross-benches. The deafening silence from most Government MPs has seen private members’ bills supplant the Greens’ legislative agenda. Conversely, Labor MPs’ non-participation has cost the Deputy Opposition Leader two votes in the House.
SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE, LIBERAL PARTY & AUSTRALIAN PROGRESSIVES
The Socialist Alternative’s only sitting politician, lower house member for Melbourne Surrounds lurker281 MP, announced their departure from that party and has now joined the Australian Progressives instead. They retain their seat in parliament. An official statement from the MP is expected in parliament soon, announcing their move from the cross benches to the opposition benches. This move was due to party inactivity, not because of internal conflict (unless GuestAlt has any leaks to report).
Both the Liberal Party and Socialist Alternative are now gone from the 20-member parliament. The Greens, Labor, Progressives, Catholics and 3 independents remain.
More: [Public Forum] Lurker281, Member for Melbourne Surrounds. More: [PRESS CONFERENCE] Lurker281: Leaving the Socialist Alternative Party. More: [Press Conference] Lurker281: Joining the Australian Progressives.
IMMIGRATION PORTFOLIO: DETENTION OF NON-CITIZENS (OPPOSITION COALITION)
The week’s major policy development has also come from lurker281 MP who introduced their hotly-anticipated Migration Amendment bill, with personal support from the Prime Minister. It was their last act before leaving the Socialist Alternative. The new measures, if passed, will have budget implications and could undo the slashing of the Sovereign Borders budget announced two weeks ago. In-principle support from the government is due to be tested in parliament when the bill is debated.
Lurker281’s introductory speech (“second-reading debate”), highlighted measures for the humane processing of asylum seekers, new minimum standards for detention centres, and an option for community onshore processing. The effects of the bill have not yet been itemised in parliament, but a preliminary analysis of key provisions by Citizens’ Press reveals:
Section 4AAA Immigration detention: Declares detention centres as a last resort, to be used for the shortest time possible, and only to manage risks to the community while a non-citizen’s immigration status is being resolved (visa or deportation).
Section 38B Maritime crew visas & Section 114 Visas 7 Section 133F: Allow legal recourse relating to detention.
Section 133F & 137K Applications: Remove statute of limitations.
Section 154: Repeal some legal immunity from detention enforcement officers.
Section 189(1) Detention of unlawful non‑citizens: Limit the justifications for mandatory detention and make it discretionary, unless the person poses an unacceptable risk to the community.
Section 193 Application of law to certain non‑citizens while they remain in immigration detention: Remove limitations on legal rights.
Section 194A Temporary community access permission: This entirely-optional strategy (allowing a ‘detained’ person to be unrestrained and unsupervised during processing) was introduced by Rudd Labor but did not make it through parliament. An extensive discussion of it, including public submissions and parliamentary committee review, can be found IRL (PDF, 47 pages, 615 kB).
Section 256: Ensure mandatory advice is given to detainees rather than waiting for them to request it, so that no one misses out.
Section 508 Detention Centre Conditions: Raise the minimum standards for detention centre conditions and treatment will “require a significant increase in spending”.
There has not been public consultation on this bill, however some questions were raised in lurker281’s personal public forum.
Portfolio Office Bearer Party Achievements
Minister for Immigration and Tourism Hon VoteRonaldRayGun MP Australian Greens None
Private Member lurker281 MP Socialist Alternative (now Australian Progressives) Migration Amendment (introduced)
More: lurker281 MP’s introductory bill speech (second reading debate, opening remarks) More: [Public Forum] Lurker281, Member for Melbourne Surrounds. More: M2015B00009: HoR 12-8: Bill – As Introduced – Migration Amendment (Detention of Non-citizens) Bill 2015, Monday 17 August 2015
ENERGY PORTFOLIO: CARBON PRICING (GOVERNMENT) & RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET (OPPOSITION COALITION)
The Treasurer Hon agsports MP (possibly acting in a personal capacity to spur discussion) recently floated the idea of re-introducing a fixed-price carbon tax. A public forum is currently underway in /modelparliament. So far, most of the public opinion has favoured an international capped-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) at market rates, not a carbon tax. Add your voice today!
This comes hot on the heals of the Opposition Coalition’s (Labor and Progressives) launch an enhanced Renewable Energy Target. The government has silently supported this revised RET in parliament, but we haven’t heard how it will achieve the results, given Australia’s backward steps since 2013.
The Greens’ Energy Minister, Hon TheEvilestElf MP, has been AWOL for two weeks and has not publicly commented on any of these issues at any stage.
Portfolio Office Bearer Party Achievements
Minister for Resources and Energy Hon TheEvilestElf MP Australian Greens None
Opposition Coalition Leader Senator Hon this_guy22 Australian Labor Party RET Act (50% by 2035, 150 TWh)
More: Public consultation on re-implementation of a carbon tax More: Good Policy - The Building Blocks of a Good Government.
HEALTH PORTFOLIO: UNIVERSAL DENTAL CARE
The Progressives are making good on their [election promise of federally-provided free dental care](3d7usf) by announcing the Denticare bill today. Read their press statements, view the bill, and join in the conversation now. It’s worth up to $10 billion a year, with the cost partially offset by an increased Medicare Surcharge. Their Opposition Coalition partner Labor has challenged the government to help fund it by repealing the $3b private health rebate and removing the 50% capital gains tax discount.
Portfolio Office Bearer Party Achievements
Minister for Health ? Australian Greens ?
Shadow Minister for Health phyllicanderer MP Australian Progressives Denticare Bill (TBC)
More: [Press conference] Introducing the Dental Benefits Amendment (Denticare) Bill 2015
DEFENCE PORTFOLIO: DECLARATION OF WAR
Since the Greens announced a $4 billion cut to the military budget, there have been few if any announcements about Defence. Today, the Minister for Defence Hon MadCreek3 MP has floated the idea of Constitutionally blocking the Executive Government’s power to declare war. Currently, the Commander-in-Chief (Governor-General) can declare a time of war based on Government Ministers’ advice in the Top Secret Federal Executive Council. It is currently a signatory to the United Nations Charter which means this is only done in cooperation with the UN Security Council. The last time Australia declared war was 1939. Instead, Australia’s involvement in the modern era is usually by providing assistance to allies at war.
Community feedback so far has been against Constitutional change, especially due if it means giving up Australia’s ability to act quickly and with the necessary secrecy. Instead, it’s been suggested that some kind of parliamentary parliamentary supermajority should be required to keep our troops on the ground. This would amount to resolving that current actions are reasonable, without necessarily revealing confidential information. This kind of power could also be used to limit sub-war campaigns like in the middle east, whether combat or training. Add your voice today!
More: [Public Consultation] Parliamentary Right to Declare War
THE TIE-BREAKER THAT WASN’T TO BE
Up until now, the government and opposition have generally been able to negotiate agreement and vote together, meaning most motions pass with an absolute majority of members voting Aye (albeit rarely unanimously). But on Tuesday, a House of Reps vote was tied 4:4 for the first time, with Government MP Hon TheEvilestElf and Cross-Bencher MP Sooky88 absent. The tie was broken by a 5th Aye from the government, narrowly defeating the opposition when coalition Labor MP CyberPolis didn’t show up to vote. Speakers of the House haven’t yet needed to exercise a casting vote.
REDDIPOLL SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS
Several people in parliament still aren’t doing ReddiPoll. Last week was another low show from Greens, with only 4 turning up (out of 8 in parliament and over 40 party members flaired). ReddiPoll is going a couple of weeks without new laws for you to vote on, because nothing’s been passed through parliament recently. The current government has only introduced 2 new bills in the first 5 weeks of its term (one in the first week and one this week). The Senate is still discussing bills from nearly 60 days ago. The public confidence-in-government rating has shifted from ‘unsure’ to ‘wrong direction’. We’re now relying on private members’s bills to keep the place alive. However, Greens voters are likely to get mobilised for the Senate half-election in September, meaning results could go in any direction from now on.
More: Previous week’s summary and analysis
PUBLIC FORUMS
Compensating for the lack of official policy consultation from the government, several personal public forums have been held in /modelparliament. The ones mentioned above, plus more below:
More: [Public forum] Unhappy with the government? More: [Public Forum] MadCreek3 - MP for Melbourne Urban and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Defence
SOCIETY PORTFOLIO: MARRIAGE EQUALITY
It’s been a messy weak for Marriage Equality in parliament. [Ed: typo in weak, but it seems apt.]
There have been some anaemic attempts at debate in the Senate. Finally, a recent amendment from the Australian Catholic Party Senator Cwross has generated some counter-opposition almost 60 days since the Marriage bill was introduced. There it remains.
In the House of Representatives, the Australians Progressives’ Deputy Opposition Leader phyllicanderer MP moved to censure the Marriage Alliance’s recent actions described by some as hate speech. The Greens Attorney-General Hon Ser_Scribbles MP succeeded in watering down the motion when the (almost) tied vote went the government’s way. Immediately afterward, phyllicanderer’s attempt to restore the force of the motion failed when no one seconded it, despite Labor and the Socialist Alliance previously debating in favour of the strongest wording.
The basis of the government’s challenge was that an Australian Government has no constitutional, legal or moral right to legislate against citizens’ freedom of political speech, and therefore has no right to condemn it. Others argued that fraudulent and discriminatory speech causes harm to citizens and their rights, and so deserves the parliament’s condemnation on those grounds. Like many large scale political debates, it was a battle between the freedom of one group and the rights of others.
After waiting 8 days for MPs to debate it, it was put to the vote. Here is is:
The House of Representatives:
  1. Recognises that the Marriage Alliance has released an advertising campaign on television and online, meant to evoke fear and anger in Australians about proposed marriage equality laws; and
  2. That where the “Marriage Alliance” has stated:
    (a) that people could lose rights; and
    (b) that sex education for children would change if the proposed laws were passed; and
    (c) that children will have their rights negatively impacted under the planned new laws,
    the House categorically rejects these statements as false.
  3. That the House acknowledges that real pain has likely been caused as a result of the Marriage Alliance’s unfounded advertising campaign.
Portfolio Office Bearer Party Achievements
Minister for Society Senator Hon Team_Sprocket Australian Greens Marriage Equality Act
Deputy Opposition Coalition Leader phyllicanderer MP Australian Progressives Marriage Alliance Motion
Shadow MP for Society CyberPolis MP Australian Labor Party None
HOUSE OF REPRESENATATIVES: SETUP & COMMITTEES
Only one committee has been appointed, and it’s just an internal committee that doesn’t relate to portfolio policies. Therefore, the Setup thread remains pinned at the top of this sub.
The Procedure Committee only began meeting this afternoon. It now has a chance to deal with the Prime Minister’s motion to sack two members. It will also consider an Opposition amendment to re-arrange the general-purpose portfolio committees. Ministerial responsibility for Employment remains unclear.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO: AMBASSADORS & ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S PORTFOLIO: HIGH COURT
News remains under wraps.
SENATE
The Senate has remained mostly idle for another week, with a late start on Monday their foot off the throttle through much of the rest. It almost gave up on hopes of fully debating the National Integrity Commission and Marriage Equality bills in committee. With the NIC, Labor successfully passed a option to reduce penalties for threatening or causing harm or loss to witnesses: allowing a fine instead of jail time. It passed today the Green government’s support. A win for rich, corrupt politicians.
The controversial motion to change Senators’ terms has been withdrawn, so it never got a chance to be debated.
submitted by jnd-au to modelparliament [link] [comments]

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