Russia Prepares to Turn Off Gas to Ukraine :.

Russia was on Friday night preparing to turn off gas to Ukraine on Sunday for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, posing a threat to the stability of supplies to western Europe.

Moscow stuck to demands on Friday for a nearly five-fold increase in the price Ukraine pays for Russian natural gas in a move to eradicate subsidies.

But Ukraine insisted it needed a period of transition to market prices to avoid huge damage to its industry and economy. It was expected to present a new proposal on Friday night in an attempt to defuse the acrimonious row between the former Soviet neighbours.

The dispute has demonstrated Russia's increasing self-confidence as one of the world's biggest energy suppliers, but provoked alarm in western Europe, which gets 25 per cent of its gas from Russia - most of it through the massive Brotherhood pipeline across Ukraine.

The European Commission said it would host an emergency meeting on Wednesday of energy officials from the 25 European Union states to discuss possible sharing of gas reserves and other contingency measures, should Russia carry out its threat.

Windows 0wNeD Again :.

HA! Windows: It's not that bad, it's worse:

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Windows that allows hackers to remotely access PCs and install malware through an imaging-handling technology in the operating system.

Microsoft acknowledged the release of exploit code that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code when someone visits a Web site that contains a specially crafted Windows Metafile (WMF) image. Security authority Secunia labeled the vulnerability "extremely critical."

WMF images are graphical files that can contain both vector and bitmap-based picture information. Microsoft Windows contains routines for displaying such files, but a lack of input validation in one of these routines may allow a buffer overflow to occur, which in turn may allow remote code execution.


Vitamin D: Critical for Maintaining Health :.

Articles like this actually have the potential to do more harm than good. Watch as droves of people show up to Super Walmart, looking for vitamin D supplements. The troglodyte mind works like this: "If I get enough vitamin D, I can consume more 100% Synthetic Cheese Food, Ho-Hos and boxed wine." * sigh * Despite all of that, this is encouraging and interesting:

A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the "sunshine vitamin" is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities to boost blood levels, say cancer specialists.

A growing body of evidence in recent years has shown that lack of vitamin D may have lethal effects. Heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis are among the conditions in which it is believed to play a vital role. The vitamin is also essential for bone health and protects against rickets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.

Vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on the skin, which accounts for 90 per cent of the body's supply. But the increasing use of sunscreens and the reduced time spent outdoors, especially by children, has contributed to what many scientists believe is an increasing problem of vitamin D deficiency.

After assessing almost every scientific paper published on the link between vitamin D and cancer since the 1960s, US scientists say that a daily dose of 1,000 international units (25 micrograms) is needed to maintain health. " The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency combined with the discovery of increased risks of certain types of cancer in those who are deficient, suggest that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths from colon, breast, ovarian and other cancers annually," they say in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

The dose they propose of 1,000IU a day is two-and-a-half times the current recommended level in the US.


Off Topic: Rubber Boots?

Does anyone out there know of better gum boots than the Wellies (Hunter brand, the real deal from Scotland)?

Also, is there any reason to go with leather Wellies? If there is, it better be good because they start at more than 3X the price of the rubber boots.

I'd rather not hear that the Tretorns are better than the Hunters. The Tretorn Safety/Farm line doesn't seem to be available in the U.S.

This is one of those "strategic" purchases for where I'm headed, so I just thought I'd ask if anyone had any input.



Off Topic: Zoning Out, Tuning In

I haven't had to work in days. What have I been doing? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Well, unless listening to a lot of music, relaxing and daydreaming about the farmlet counts as doing something.

Get yourself a refreshing beverage and a good set of headphones:

Original Electronic Music Radio

KCRW: New Ground Hint: On Demand is the last full show. Hint 2: Use Real Alternative.

KCRW: Metropolis Hint: On Demand is the last full show. Hint 2: Use Real Alternative.


Music for Robots

Passport Approved

Subpop Records


Bill Would Allow Arrests for No Reason in Public Places :.

Can you feel the liberty?

A bill on Gov. Bob Taft's desk right now is drawing a lot of criticism, NewsChannel5 reported.

One state representative said it resembles Gestapo-style tactics of government, and there could be changes coming on the streets of Ohio's small towns and big cities.

The Ohio Patriot Act has made it to the Taft's desk, and with the stroke of a pen, it would most likely become the toughest terrorism bill in the country. The lengthy piece of legislation would let police arrest people in public places who will not give their names, address and birth dates, even if they are not doing anything wrong.

WEWS reported it would also pave the way for everyone entering critical transportation sites such as, train stations, airports and bus stations to show ID.

"It brings us frighteningly close to a show me your papers society," said Carrie Davis of the ACLU, which opposes the Ohio Patriot Act.

More: Alex Jones Coverage

Research Credit:

Cryptogon Reader Contributes $20

Regular Cryptogon contributor, MW, sent $20! Thanks, MW!

If the NY Times Can't Say ECHELON They Should Shut the F Up! :.

Why can't they just say it?

Two pages of this worthless crap article and I guess nobody at the New York Times has ever heard of Nicky Hager or James Bamford or the word ECHELON.

What the F do you think the NSA does all day?! If you crackpot limo-libs think this is a George Bush thing, you better WAKE UP!

This is old news. This has been going on for decades. Why are They making so much noise about this now? And why is the New York Times afraid of mentioning the names of the companies involved? Here are some of the largest Tier 1 carriers who MUST be involved:

Level 3
NTT / Verio

The bottom line is this: George Bush didn't wake up one morning and tell the NSA to knock on the door of a Level 3 data center and ask them to borrow a cup of sugar. Yet, ask someone---who's pissed about George Bush spying on Americans---if they have ever heard of ECHELON...

"What's that?" will be the response.

Correction: The NY Times Did Mention ECHELON, as Part of a Fluff Piece

The NSA is the most benevolent of all intelligence agencies, don't ya know!? Those lunatics with their ECHELON stories, those are the people you need to be worried about.

Don writes:
Hey Kevin,

Well those f*ck-wits at the NY Times actually said the word, of course only to deride its existence:

"Exaggerated reports on an agency program called Echelon asserted that the agency and its counterparts in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia somehow intercepted all world communications."

At least they are maintaining their status as a newspaper of "record" and a lying
record at that.
Thanks for that, Don!

More: The Inspiration for Dan Brown's Digital Fortress

Digital Fortress was a stupid novel, but for our purposes, the author's account of the following incident is interesting:
A few years ago, I was teaching on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. One Spring day, unannounced, the U.S. Secret Service showed up and detained one of our students claiming he was a threat to national security. As it turned out, the kid had sent private E-mail to a friend saying how much he hated President Clinton and how he thought the president should be shot. The Secret Service came to campus to make sure the kid wasn't serious. After some interrogation the agents decided the student was harmless, and not much came of it. Nonetheless, the incident really stuck with me. I couldn't figure out how the secret service knew what these kids were saying in their E-mail.
I guess the New York Times would have us believe that a little bird whispered into the ears of the Secret Service.


Britain to Monitor Every Car Journey :.

This is the .com version of Darkness at Noon, with the gulag turned inside out:

Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.

Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.


Stalin's Half-Man, Half-Ape Super-Warriors :.

THE Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of Planet of the Apes-style warriors by crossing humans with apes, according to recently uncovered secret documents.

Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia's top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.

According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."

In 1926 the Politburo in Moscow passed the request to the Academy of Science with the order to build a "living war machine".

Related: DARPA, Monsters Inc.

Pentagon dark lord Donald Rumsfeld is shoveling billions of tax dollars into the research furnaces of federal laboratories and private universities across the land in the wide-ranging effort to spawn "super soldiers," fired by drugs and electromagnetic "brain zaps" to fight without ceasing for days on end. The work is being directed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)...

The DARPA "war fighter enhancement" programs -- an acceleration of bipartisan biotinkering that's been going on for years -- will involve injecting young men and women with hormonal, neurological and genetic concoctions; implanting microchips and electrodes in their bodies to control their internal organs and brain functions; and plying them with drugs that deaden some of their normal human tendencies: the need for sleep, the fear of death, the reluctance to kill their fellow human beings.

The research is "very aggressive and wide open," says Admiral Stephen Baker of the Center for Defense Information. Indeed, the U.S. Special Operations Command envisions the creation of "iron bodied and iron willed personnel" who can "resist the mental and physiological effects of sleep deprivation" while relying on "ergogenic substances" to "manage" the "environmental and mentally induced stress" of the battlefield. Their bodies juiced, their brains swaddled in Prozacian haze, the enhanced warfighters can churn relentlessly, remorselessly toward dominion.

And the term "creation" is not just fanciful rhetoric: Some of the research now under way involves actually altering the genetic code of soldiers, modifying bits of DNA to fashion a new type of human specimen, one that functions like a machine, killing tirelessly for days and nights on end. These mutations will "revolutionize the contemporary order of battle" and guarantee "operational dominance across the whole range of potential U.S. military employments," the DARPA wizards enthuse.


Dr. Bruce Lipton: The New Biology :.

UPDATE: This is one of the most incredible presentations I have ever heard. If you have MP3s of this show, please let me know.

I've been listening to Dr. Bruce Lipton on Coast to Coast tonight. This is absolutely fascinating stuff! Check it out:

Recent advances in cellular science are heralding an important evolutionary turning point. For almost fifty years we have held the illusion that our health and fate were preprogrammed in our genes, a concept referred to as genetic determinacy. Though mass consciousness is currently imbued with the belief that the character of one's life is genetically predetermined, a radically new understanding is unfolding at the leading edge of science.

Cellular biologists now recognize that the environment (external universe and internal-physiology), and more importantly, our perception of the environment, directly controls the activity of our genes. The lecture will broadly review the molecular mechanisms by which environmental awareness interfaces genetic regulation and guides organismal evolution.

The quantum physics behind these mechanisms provide insight into the communication channels that link the mind-body duality. An awareness of how vibrational signatures and resonance impact molecular communication constitutes a master key that unlocks a mechanism by which our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs create the conditions of our body and the external world. This knowledge can be employed to actively redefine our physical and emotional well-being.

Testing Drugs on India's Poor :.

...Multinational corporations are riding high on the trend toward globalization by taking advantage of India's educated work force and deep poverty to turn South Asia into the world's largest clinical-testing petri dish.

Book Request Earns Dartmouth Senior Visit from the Feds :.


The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for "The Little Red Book" by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story.

Supersize your freedom fries:

A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.



Finally, there's solid proof that today's college graduates are morons.

According to a shocking new federal report, just 25 percent of new grads are proficiently literate. That means three-quarters of this country's university students are sent off with little more than basic skills in reading, writing and comprehension.

It's hardly better for the "smarties" who go on to graduate school: Just 31 percent of tomorrow's doctors, lawyers and PhDs can competently deal with the English language.

"Scores fell from 1992 to 2003 for virtually every educational level, and the declines were steepest, by and large, the further up the ladder one moved," the online magazine Inside Higher Ed reported.

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy tested 19,000 Americans in 2003 -- the first nationwide study of America's literacy rates since 1992. As an increasing percentage of Americans earn college degrees, more of them are leaving with diplomas they can barely read.

Related: The Underground History of American Education

Israel Prepares to Attack Iran... When the Euro-Based Energy Exchange Opens

Remember this Times UK article from a few days ago:
ISRAEL'S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.
Take a guess on when the Iranian Oil Bourse is scheduled to open? From Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse:
In essence, Iran is about to commit a far greater "offense" than Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro for Iraq's oil exports in the fall of 2000. Beginning in March 2006, the Tehran government has plans to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades - using a euro-based international oil-trading mechanism.


The most recent news reports indicate the oil bourse will start trading on March 20, 2006, coinciding with the Iranian New Year.
The "nuclear Iran" story is a red herring.

Syriana :.

It's good. Check it out, or at least add it to your Netflix queue for the future. I got a funny feeling, however, that people will just walk out of the theater thinking, "It's just a movie. Stuff like that doesn't really happen."

I'm quite sure that some professor around here offered extra credit to his/her twit students to go see that film. There were lots of late teens/early twenties people in the theater, and that was probably the last night to get the extra credit. I wouldn't imagine that this film is on the social calendar of the local Xtreme, hip, cutting edge youth... Unless there's extra credit involved and a chance of a C or a B- in a useless PoliSci class. When the Robert Baer character was having his fingernails pulled out, I heard a girl say, "Like, oh my God, that's so gross." Someone else was frantically text messaging.

I tried to visualize the professor:
Late 40s or early 50s. Volvo (with a Kerry or Nader sticker on the ass end). Pretty much broke. Drinks a lot of cheap wine. Eats anti-depressants like candy. Donates to public radio. Desperate to make some kind of impression on the sprawling mass of young people, the professor knows they don't (and probably can't) read. Not really. With all the video games, sports on TV and drinking to be done, who has time to read much of anything? In desperation, the professor thinks, "Maybe I'll offer extra credit to them if they see Syriana. Maybe they'll get something out of it."

Take another sip of cheap wine, man, and slap another bumper sticker on the ass end of your Volvo.
It was probably a coincidence that so many students were in the theater, but I couldn't help thinking about that would-be professor.

That's mostly what was on my mind when I was watching Syriana. These types of films are good, but, for people like me (and you), it's more of an excuse to get out of the house. It was good to see something that had an interesting plot, wasn't too loud and didn't involve CGI actors. ;)


NIH Uses Live Viruses for Bird Flu Vaccine :.

How much weasel speak can they fit into one article!?

In an isolation ward of a Baltimore hospital, up to 30 volunteers will participate in a bold experiment: A vaccine made with a live version of the most notorious bird flu will be sprayed into their noses.

First, scientists are dripping that vaccine into the tiny nostrils of mice. It doesn't appear harmful - researchers have weakened and genetically altered the virus so that no one should get sick or spread germs - and it protects the animals enough to try in people.

This is essentially FluMist for bird flu, and the hope is that, in the event of a flu pandemic, immunizing people through their noses could provide faster, more effective protection than the troublesome shots - made with a killed virus - the nation now is struggling to produce.

And if it works, this new vaccine frontier may not just protect against the bird flu strain, called H5N1, considered today's top health threat.


Al-Zarqawi Caught, Released :.

Tell me another one:

Authorities didn't realize prisoner was terrorist mastermind...

More: The King of Terror


Bush Unleashed NSA on Americans :.

* yawn *

Not a word about ECHELON in any news stories on this. Watch the limo libs jump up and down about this, and then fail to mention ECHELON:

President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States - without getting search warrants - following the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York Times reports.

The presidential order, which Bush signed in 2002, has allowed the agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States, according to a story posted Thursday on the Times' Web site.

Related: The Almost Six Year Old 60 Minutes ECHELON Piece

If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there's a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country's largest intelligence agency. The top-secret Global Surveillance Network is called Echelon, and it's run by the National Security Agency and four English-speaking allies: Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

The mission is to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelon's computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world.

Winter Fuel Crisis Could Darken Homes and Factories :.

Damage to rigs, pipelines, and processing facilities means a shortage of natural gas, the fuel that heats 52 percent of U.S. homes. The industry says 2.3 billion cubic feet per day, or 23 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's natural-gas production, will be offline through March. But even before the deadly storms struck, the country was consuming more natural gas than it produced and prices were at record highs. Demand grew nearly 16 percent from 1990 through 2004, driven mainly by the companies that generate electric power. Policymakers viewed natural gas as cleaner than coal and more palatable than nuclear, so it was easy to get required government approvals to build much-needed electric power plants that run on natural gas. And everyone bet heavily--and incorrectly--that prices would stay cheap. The United States now relies on Canadian imports by pipeline and has begun to call on a new source, tankers from Africa and the Middle East filled with liquefied natural gas, or LNG. But the imports haven't been enough. "The hurricanes--they hit a sick patient," says Roger Cooper, executive vice president of the American Gas Association, representing utilities. "We're vulnerable. If we were hit in the 1990s, we would not have been in this situation. But when you are consuming 100 percent of your supply, there's not much room to maneuver."


The End of Anonymity on the Internet? :.

There is almost no anonymity on the Internet today; not if we're talking about anonymity from .gov. It is still, however, possible to conceal your identity from Them, if you know what your're doing. The point of TPM is to close the few loopholes that still exist:

The TPM chip was created by a coalition of over one hundred hardware and software companies, led by AMD, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and Sun. The chip permanently assigns a unique and permanent identifier to every computer before it leaves the factory and that identifier can't subsequently be changed. It also checks the software running on the computer to make sure it hasn't been altered to act malevolently when it connects to other machines: that it can, in short, be trusted. For now, TPM-equipped computers are primarily sold to big corporations for securing their networks, but starting next year TPMs will be installed in many consumer models as well.

Aussie Youths Too Stoned, Too Fat to Join Military :.

YOUNG Australians are becoming too drugged and too fat to serve their country in the military.

Increasingly unhealthy lifestyles - coupled with the ageing population and competition from private sector jobs - are hindering efforts by the Australian Defence Force to attract enough physically and mentally fit recruits to defend the nation.

Research Credit:



Imagine my shock:

The complaint alleges that defendants violated provisions of the United States securities laws causing artificial inflation of the Company's stock price. According to the complaint, during the Class Period, the Company lacked a credible state of internal controls and corporate compliance and remained unable to assure the quality and working order of its voting machine products. It is further alleged that the Company's false and misleading statements served to conceal the dimensions and scope of internal problems at the Company, impacting product quality, strategic planning, forecasting and guidance and culminating in false representations of astonishingly low and incredibly inaccurate restructuring charges for the 2005 fiscal year, which grossly understated the true costs and problems defendants faced to restructure the Company. The complaint also alleges over $2.7 million of insider trading proceeds obtained by individual defendants during the Class Period.

Israel Readies Forces for Strike on Nuclear Iran :.

Potential End Days scenario brewing:

ISRAEL'S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.

Cryptogon Reader Contributes $25

Thanks PT!


GOLD $544 :.

UPDATE: GAPDOWN TO $528.90 Shaking the apple tree.

Gold futures surged as much as $14 an ounce Monday, gaining for an eighth-consecutive session amid fresh reports of investment fund demand in Asia and the Middle East.

"Incessant demand for gold from speculators and investors alike continues to swell metal prices with the entire complex pushing on to fresh highs ... extending the gains made Friday," said James Moore, an analyst at, in a note to clients.

Gold for February delivery climbed to a high of $544.540 an ounce in overnight trading, a level not seen in the futures market since April 1981. The contract was last at $538.60, up $8.40 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


Harold Pinter: Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2005 :.

This is an astonishing and biting presentation that is well beyond the comprehension of most people at this late stage of the game. If you dare, spend the next three quarters of an hour reading or watching the lecture of Nobel Laureate, Harold Pinter:

...The majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.


The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

Research Credit: FV

The Myth of the Machine: Laptops Required for Elementary School Children :.

The profligate and unquestioned use of computers in all aspects of education is designed to facilitate the easy transition of the commoditized worker from school room to cubicle. Corporations need braindead zombies who know how to follow orders and point and click with maximum efficiency. Crackpot technocrats in public schools have responded by killing the minds of children in order to create workers who can "complete globally." In other words, the parts of your child's consciousness that the TV fails to destroy at home must be destroyed by machines at school. This must happen. The Machine demands it.

The fact that parents are willingly handing over their children for this type of indoctrination and brain damage is a testament to the pervasiveness and power of the Myth of the Machine:
In proposing the program, McCune said, he knew he was inviting controversy: "I'm willing to take some appropriate risks for the right reasons. If these kids are going to compete globally, they need to have the tools."
I wonder if this twit has ever heard the story of Frank and his daughter, Ruth. You might want to familiarize yourself with it before you send your children off to technocrats like superintendent McCune.

Related: The Underground History of American Education


Cell Phone Tracks Your Position on the Ground :.

Cellular operators like Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless know, within about 300 yards, the location of their subscribers whenever a phone is turned on. Even if the phone is not in use it is communicating with cellphone tower sites, and the wireless provider keeps track of the phone's position as it travels.


Myth of the Machine: Trader Error to Cost Firm at Least $225 Million :.

This is the most encouraging story that I have read in a VERY long time. As horrific and deranged as this system has become, it's very fragile:

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan's second-biggest bank, said a typing error at its brokerage arm that triggered $3.5 billion of trades will cost the company at least 27 billion yen ($225 million).

The losses may mount as Mizuho Securities Co. tries to buy stock in J-Com Co. to meet commitments after it mistakenly tried to sell 610,000 shares in the $93 million telecommunications company. The Tokyo Stock Exchange failed to cancel the trade after four requests from Mizuho, the brokerage's President Makoto Fukuda said at a Tokyo press conference today.

The initial loss is equivalent to 4 percent of the bank's forecast profit for the year ending March.

GOLD $531.40

There's the gap I've been looking for. Classic price explosion on building momentum. One would think that profit taking is going to pound it down for a bit; rattle new longs out of their positions.


GOLD NEARS $524 :.

The train has left the station:

Gold futures climbed near $524 an ounce Thursday to trade at their highest level since 1981 and were set to extend a winning streak to six sessions on the heels of strong physical demand for the metal and ongoing worries about inflation.

Gold for February delivery traded as high as $523.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures prices haven't traded at a level that high since April 1981, according to monthly charts.


Fund Managers Sell Stocks, Bonds; Buy Gold :.

Fasten your seatbelt, place your head between your knees and grab your ankles:

Gold prices in New York rose to a 24- year high, climbing for the seventh time in eight sessions, as fund managers seek to diversify from currencies, stocks and bonds.

Housing Bubble Bursts in the Market for U.S. Mortgage Bonds :.

Some of the idiot financial press is wondering why gold is gapping up to new highs... Geee, I wonder:

In the U.S. bond market, the housing bubble has burst.

Bonds backed by home loans to the riskiest borrowers, the fastest growing part of the $7.6 trillion mortgage market, have lost about 2.5 percent since September on concern an 18-month rise in interest rates may force more than 150,000 consumers to default.

"We've been hearing about risks of a house price bubble, easy credit and loans to borrowers that really don't qualify, and now in the last couple of months we're starting to see things turn for the worse," said Joseph Auth, a bond fund manager who helps oversee $135 billion at Standish Mellon Asset Management in Boston.

GOLD $517.30 :.

"The market is still looking very bullish," said a bullion dealer with a major investment bank in Singapore. "Still unresolved buying out of Japan is pushing it higher."

The Japanese seemed to believe that markets like equities and bonds were peaking, and gold was a safer investment to maintain steady rather than huge gains, he said.


GOLD $513

It just keeps going.


Imagine my shock:

San Diego businessman Brent Wilkes, a key figure in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham bribery scandal---as well as the Justice Department investigation of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff---worked in Honduras during the 1980's for a company accused by federal prosecutors of deep involvement in cocaine trafficking.


Tamiflu is 'Useless' for Avian Flu :.

A Vietnamese doctor with experience in treating avian flu says Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled for treatment of avian flue is useless against the virus.

Dr. Nguyen Tuong Van of the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi has treated 41 victims of H5N1, following World Health Organization guidelines and administering Tamiflu to her patients. She told the Sunday Times of London the medicine had no effect.


Another American Milestone :.

At precisely 0215 (0715 GMT) on Friday morning Kenneth Lee Boyd made macabre history in a North Carolina prison.

The 57-year-old Vietnam vet was given a lethal injection, becoming the 1,000th person to be executed in the US since the Supreme Court re-instated capital punishment in 1976.


Who Bribed Randy 'Duke' Cunningham? :.

You need to read the entire thing. Hopsicker shakes it down:

Money budgeted for U.S. Defense went in at the ADCS end of something called the "Wilkes Corporation" for services which the Pentagon protested it never requested, and out the other end came a magical cornucopia of bribes, kick-backs, campaign contributions, yachts, Lear jets and Rolls Royce's.

GOLD $506.10

Short squeeze. Short slaughter.

GM Crop Failure a Warning :.

A former agricultural adviser to US presidents says the failure of a genetically modified field pea trial should act as a warning for future GM crop testing.

The 10-year CSIRO trial was abandoned when tests found the peas were making mice seriously ill.

Dr Charles Benbrook, who advised presidents Carter, Bush senior, Reagan and Clinton says the field pea trial failure shows current GM crop testing is grossly inadequate.


:. Reading

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell Readers will come to see that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest" - fatal to consumers, as pesticide residues and new disease vectors such as E. coli and "mad cow disease" find their way into our food supply; fatal to our landscapes, as chemical runoff from factory farms poison our rivers and groundwater; fatal to genetic diversity, as farmers rely increasingly on high-yield monocultures and genetically engineered crops; and fatal to our farm communities, which are wiped out by huge corporate farms.

Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Myron Gross This is a relatively short but extremely cogent and well-argued treatise on the rise of a form of fascistic thought and social politics in late 20th century America. Author Bertram Gross' thesis is quite straightforward; the power elite that comprises the corporate, governmental and military superstructure of the country is increasingly inclined to employ every element in their formidable arsenal of 'friendly persuasion' to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans through what Gross refers to as friendly fascism.

The Good Life
by Scott and Helen Nearing
Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash...Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills.

Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth by David Bollierd In Silent Theft, David Bollier argues that a great untold story of our time is the staggering privatization and abuse of our common wealth. Corporations are engaged in a relentless plunder of dozens of resources that we collectively own—publicly funded medical breakthroughs, software innovation, the airwaves, the public domain of creative works, and even the DNA of plants, animals and humans. Too often, however, our government turns a blind eye—or sometimes helps give away our assets. Amazingly, the silent theft of our shared wealth has gone largely unnoticed because we have lost our ability to see the commons.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide by John Seymour The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more.

When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten When Corporations Rule the World explains how economic globalization has concentrated the power to govern in global corporations and financial markets and detached them from accountability to the human interest. It documents the devastating human and environmental consequences of the successful efforts of these corporations to reconstruct values and institutions everywhere on the planet to serve their own narrow ends.

The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener This expansion of a now-classic guide originally published in 1989 is intended for the serious gardener or small-scale market farmer. It describes practical and sustainable ways of growing superb organic vegetables, with detailed coverage of scale and capital, marketing, livestock, the winter garden, soil fertility, weeds, and many other topics.