Packing to Leave

UPDATE: Real update not possible. Driving to the airport now. See ya on the other side!

Please excuse low volume of posts. I'm packing for my move to NZ. I'll probably do one decent update before I head to the airport.


UAE Gave $1 Million to Bush Library :.

I'd still pay attention to the guns and drugs, but this is a nice touch:

A sheik from the United Arab Emirates contributed at least $1 million to the Bush Library Foundation, which established the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The UAE owns Dubai Port Co., which is taking operations from London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which operates six U.S. ports. A political uproar has ensued over the deal, which the White House approved without congressional oversight.

The donations were made in the early 1990s for the library, which houses the papers of former President George Bush, the current president's father.


Lord of War :.

Good movie.

Same Sh*t, Different Day: Guns and Drugs... and the Bushes :.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven't covered the United Arab Emirates port thing yet. That's because I didn't 'get it.' I hadn't seen anything but nonsense written about it; nothing that seemed to go anywhere near as deep as this thing obviously goes.

But what is it all about!?

I read Rigorous Intuition tonight and I wish I could say that the answer came as a shock.

Nope. This isn't just a bunch of Arabs dabbling in containers full of iPods, shoes and rubber dog toys from China:
This is a dream setup for any arms or dope dealer, and that's exactly what the United Arab Emirates is all about. The ties between its top officials and royal family with the Taliban and Al Qaeda go back at least a decade.

The UAE is not only the center of financial dealings in the Persian Gulf, it is switching central for dope and arms dealing. The dope comes out of Afghanistan into the UAE where tax monies are collected and used to buy arms, which were sent back in for the Taliban. Some of this money is thought to have helped finance the 9-11 attacks. A money trail is set forth in the government's filings in the Moussaoui case.
Oh yeah, click through to read up on Russian arms dealer, Victor Bout. This guy is the new Barry Seal.

Iran: We'll Strike Dimona in Response to U.S. Attack :.

No more wamby pamby Apocalypse talk. Now we're getting down to brass tacks:

If the United States launches an attack on Iran, the Islamic republic will retaliate with a military strike on Israel's main nuclear facility.

Dr. Abasi, an advisor to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said Tehran would respond to an American attack with strikes on the Dimona nuclear reactor and other strategic Israeli sites such as the port city of Haifa and the Zakhariya area.

Haifa is also home to a large concentration of chemical factories and oil refineries.


Iraq: Daytime Curfews :.

Religious leaders summoned Iraq's Shiites and Sunnis to joint prayer services Friday amid an extraordinary daytime curfew aimed at halting a wave of sectarian violence that has killed nearly 130 people since the bombing of one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines.

Police and soldiers blocked major roads and surrounded Baghdad's two main Sunni mosques as streets throughout this city of nearly 7 million emptied of people and traffic. The nation stood on the brink of civil war and the American strategy in Iraq faced its gravest test since the 2003 invasion.

Residents in Samarra, where the shrine bombing took place Wednesday, were instructed over loudspeakers to stay indoors "until further notice."


The Middle Ages Are Here Again :.

Torture is legal, science is heresy, magic is studied in secrecy, leaders rely on religious fanaticism, poverty sweeps the land as murderous despots hoard wealth behind walls, mysterious plagues terrify the people, inquisitors hunt dissidents, and crusades against Arabs are used to distract the masses from revolt.

That describes Europe's grim Middle Ages, but medieval scholar Eric Jager says it also describes the United States in 2006, in an era many Americans consider to be a glorious information age of technological wonders.

Exit to New Zealand: Final Countdown Underway

I sold my car today.

That was the last thing of any substantial value that I had to sell off. I started having some funny thoughts as I did it; as I handed over the keys and the bank draft was passed across the desk to me...

My time in this show is winding down fast.

I'm leaving the U.S. Probably for good.

It started to feel real.


Iraq: Al Askariya Mosque Destroyed :.

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Since both Shia and Sunni radicals are fighting the U.S. in Iraq, maybe the plan is to rile them up and get them to kill each other. Or, draw radicals out into the open, P2OG style, with an atrocity like this, and terminate them. Just some speculation.

Hopefully, Iran will stay out of this, or the whole damn shop could go up like a roman candle.

People in some of the dens I haunt are saying that the sh*t is really going to hit the fan now because of this.

I guess we will find out soon enough:

A bomb attack destroyed the golden dome of one of Iraq's holiest Shia shrines today, sparking demonstrations and calls for revenge amongst the protestors.

There were no confirmed casualties in the explosion, which took place at 6.55am (0355 GMT) at the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad. Early reports had quoted police saying they feared people may have been be buried under the debris.

Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, said two armed men wearing special forces uniforms broke into the shrine, overcame the guards and set off explosives.

Remember: Two British SAS Soldiers Dressed as Arabs, Shoot at Iraqi Police


Idleworm Added to Visit List :.

The volume of high quality material is impressive! Check it out.


Bush: U.S. on Verge of Energy Breakthrough that Will "Startle" Americans :.

Cheney will emerge from a hovercraft, powered by something like this---something that They've had in an underground crypt for 30 years---and say, "Greetings, gentlemen."

That would startle people.

I wrote this back on 8/21/2005. I'm keeping it in mind as Bush starts to sound like Simmons, Ruppert, Heinberg, ________ <- fill in the Peaknic of your choice, etc.:
I don't know. I see things like the "sustainable" WalMart and the FedEx hub covered with solar panels and I have to wonder if this Peak Oil thing is actually going to be the kill shot that we think it's going to be. (Oh yeah, did you hear the one about the 500 megawatt solar power plant in California?) Maybe They have a much better grip on this thing than we know. Maybe They're ramping up alternatives at a pace that is congruent (or somewhat congruent) with the fall-off of conventional energy sources.

Those of us who despise the present global political and economic order look to Peak Oil with a sense of hope! Yes... Hope. Something tells me, however, we're not going to be that lucky.

Peak Oil probably won't take this thing down, simply because it seems so obvious that it will.

Peak Oil looks real to me and I've made life altering decisions based on my belief that the end of cheap hydrocarbon energy is going to collapse this system. All I'm saying is that if Peak Oil turns out to be a non event, I will not be surprised in the least.
And now for Bush making energy a public action item. HAHAH! Tell me another one:

Saying the nation is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that would "startle" most Americans, President Bush on Monday outlined his energy proposals to help wean the country off foreign oil.


Rumsfeld News Network: All Propaganda, All the Time :.

Anyone who exposes the crimes of these monsters is the enemy:

Correspondents say that in recent months victory in the battle for public opinion has become a new front for the Bush administration.

In a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations, Mr Rumsfeld said some of the US' most critical battles were now in the "newsrooms".

"Our enemies have skilfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but... our country has not," he said.

Mr Rumsfeld said al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists were bombarding Muslims with negative images of the West, which had poisoned the public view of the US.

The US must fight back by operating a more effective, 24-hour propaganda machine, or risk a "dangerous deficiency," he said.

Government communications planning must be "a central component of every aspect of this struggle", he added.

"The longer it takes to put a strategic communications framework into place, the more we can be certain that the vacuum will be filled by the enemy."

New Hummers Come with $25,000 Tax Break :.

The show is beyond absurd at this point:

New federal tax rules effective last month allow $3,500 rebates for people who purchase hybrid cars.

But depending on which tax bracket you're in, you can take a $25,000 deduction if you purchase a Hummer or similarly monstrous vehicle.

The benefit is available to small business owners if they use the gas-guzzling behemoths exclusively for work.

Chavez Threatens to Cut Off Oil to U.S. :.

I hope Mr. Danger's handlers get it:

"You create your front Mr. Danger, we will create ours," Chavez said. "We are going to defeat the empire."


Strange Temperature Fluctuations :.

I'm keeping the quote short and sweet on this:

Temperatures in some parts of western New York plunged from 60 degrees to below freezing within a few hours.

Flurry of Reader Contributions to Cryptogon

AB sent $100. While she has generously supported Cryptogon in the past, AB now joins the elite handful of Cryptogon supporters who have sent single contributions of $100 or more.

MT sent $40. AH sent $20.

You should all know that your money is assisting Becky and me with getting our farm up and running. Becky has been buying and planting organic, open pollinated, heirloom vegetable seeds from Koanga Gardens. We will probably be buying some Australorp chicks from them as well, and lots of other goods. Your contributions are helping to make our dreams come true.

On behalf of Becky and myself, thank you all.

Henry Rollins Tells Australian Government to Go F*ck Themselves :.

It's a phrase that pretty much sums it up when you're dealing with idiots who don't deserve a more thorough response:
AMERICAN rocker and writer Henry Rollins was reported to the National Security hotline during his recent Australian tour because of a book he was reading on a flight to Brisbane.

A furious Rollins was informed he was "nominated as a possible threat" for reading Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia, writes Kathy McCabe.

The incident happened on a flight from Auckland on the recent Big Day Out tour.

Rollins told Australian fans during his tour that he received a letter from a "nice woman" who worked "in one of those government areas that deals with anti-terrorism matters."
Here's Rollins' full response:
"I was reading a book called Jihad by Ahmed Rashid which is a history of Central Asia. I didn't speak to the man next to me past how do you do. I think Ahmed Rashid is published by Yale University Press. Bush's alma mater. Please tell your government and everyone in your office to go fuck themselves. Tell them twice. If your boss is looking for something to do, you can tell him I suggest he go fuck himself. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy. You have a nice night."
Yep. That about sums it up.

Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description :.

The Department of Pornland Security:

Two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden.

The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words "Homeland Security." The bizarre scene unfolded Feb. 9, leaving some residents confused and forcing county officials to explain how employees assigned to protect county buildings against terrorists came to see it as their job to police the viewing of pornography.

After the two men made their announcement, one of them challenged an Internet user's choice of viewing material and asked him to step outside, according to a witness. A librarian intervened, and the two men went into the library's work area to discuss the matter. A police officer arrived. In the end, no one had to step outside except the uniformed men.

They were officers of the security division of Montgomery County's Homeland Security Department, an unarmed force that patrols about 300 county buildings -- but is not responsible for enforcing obscenity laws.

How Many Passports with Visa Documents Does FedEx "Lose"?

After what happened to me at the hands of FedEx and unknown elements of the Them, I tried looking for other people who went through the same thing.

Check this out:
I am from the Detroit area of Michigan originally. I have spent the last four years in Grand Rapids, MI at Calvin College. In May I graduated with a degree in communication design. I worked at SpringHill Camp 44 the last few summers. Instead of jumping into career mode, I decided to run away, what college grad wouldn't want to go live abroad for a while? Thus, after much struggle (i.e. replacing my passport and visa after FedEx lost them) I started my English adventure. I love meeting God in new people, places and experiences and am excited for all that will happen this year.
If FedEx "lost" your passport, especially a passport with a visa document in it, please email me.


Gagged NASA Scientist: Ice Caps Melting Fast :.

A satellite study of the Greenland ice cap shows that it is melting far faster than scientists had feared - twice as much ice is going into the sea as it was five years ago. The implications for rising sea levels - and climate change - could be dramatic.

Yet, a few weeks ago, when I - a Nasa climate scientist - tried to talk to the media about these issues following a lecture I had given calling for prompt reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the Nasa public affairs team - staffed by political appointees from the Bush administration - tried to stop me doing so. I was not happy with that, and I ignored the restrictions. The first line of Nasa's mission is to understand and protect the planet.

This new satellite data is a remarkable advance. We are seeing for the first time the detailed behaviour of the ice streams that are draining the Greenland ice sheet. They show that Greenland seems to be losing at least 200 cubic kilometres of ice a year. It is different from even two years ago, when people still said the ice sheet was in balance.

Hundreds of cubic kilometres sounds like a lot of ice. But this is just the beginning. Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid. The issue is how close we are getting to that tipping point. The summer of 2005 broke all records for melting in Greenland. So we may be on the edge.

Whistleblower Says NSA Violates Constitutional Rights of Millions :.

* yawn *

A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans' Constitutional rights.

Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a "special access" electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.

Tice said he believes it violates the Constitution's protection against unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information without breaking classification laws. He is not even allowed to tell the congressional intelligence committees - members or their staff - because they lack high enough clearance.

Neither could he brief the inspector general of the NSA because that office is not cleared to hear the information, he said.


FedEx "Lost" My Passport with Visa Documents from the New Zealand Consulate

The veil between worlds became thin for me today.

I have my U.S. passport, along with the appropriate visa that was issued by the New Zealand Consulate General in Los Angeles.

You better be sitting down for the story about how I happened to come into possession of this little, blue booklet. If you choose to read this, get comfortable. This is probably longer than it needs to be.

As I wrote earlier, FedEx didn't deliver the package on schedule. They told me it would be delivered today.

This afternoon, I noticed (from tracking online) that there had been no additional scans on the package since it arrived at the hub in Los Angeles on the day it was shipped. That was a bad sign.

I called FedEx and said that I wanted to know what the story was on this thing. They gave me the name of a person who was working the trace. (A 'trace' is FedEx lingo for the process of hunting down late/lost packages.) The customer service person said that the trace agent would be calling me soon. I think about two hours passed without a callback. I called again and got the person who was working the trace. She seemed befuddled, no explanation, "we're going to keep investigating," etc.

I said something like this: I didn't feel that FedEx was taking this matter seriously enough. This was a life-altering f*ck up for me, and it was their fault. I said that I wanted FedEx corporate security involved with this right now. (From working at FedEx for all those years, I know that FedEx corporate security is a VERY serious outfit. They get to the bottom of things. It's all former spooks and FBI.) I also told the person on the phone that I was calling the FBI because we were potentially dealing with a federal crime; the theft of U.S. government documents, and the documents of a foreign government.

She said something like, yes sir, I understand sir, we'll call you sir, etc.

As soon as I hung up the phone with FedEx, I called the Los Angeles FBI field office. I told the person who answered that FedEx was saying that they had lost track of a package containing my passport and the visa documents issued by a foreign government. I told the FBI that I thought that this was a serious matter and that I wasn't sure if FedEx was taking it seriously.

I might as well have called the county dog catcher. The FBI told me that this was a matter for the State Department. They told me to call the State Department and go through the process of canceling the passport, etc. They gave me the number, blah blah blah blah.

At this point, I pretty much sank into my chair and let the shock and awe of this nonsense wash over me. I was going to have to apply for a new passport and somehow get that visa from the New Zealand consulate again, all in time to make my flight date, which is fast approaching.

Hours pass. I figured that I'd give FedEx 24 hours before I started the process of getting a new passport (which is a major pain in the ass).

I called FedEx again and spoke to the same woman. The package was nowhere to be found. FedEx security was now involved, she told me.

Here's where the weirdness begins:

Around 7:45pm, I got a call from a man in Huntington Beach who told me that he had my passport!

He said that he had ordered some suits from Barneys New York and that the package containing my passport was in that suit box, at the bottom.

I wish someone had a picture of my face at this moment. The expression must have been pretty good. All I was thinking was, "I don't care what the story is, I just want my passport back." I wasn't yet thinking about the fact that it made no sense at all that my FedEx envelope was inside some guy's sealed suit box from Barneys New York.

He gave me his name, his address and directions to his house. Conveniently, it was only about twenty minutes away!?!?! Wasn't that convenient? How many different places could that thing have ended up? You know, since it's jumping out of FedEx's document management system (which I dealt with for years as a FedEx courier) and into sealed boxes from Barneys...

I immediately drove over there.

It was a VERY wealthy, gated community near the beach. I had to give my name to the guard, etc. He let me in. Big houses. Shiny sports cars and SUVs. I found the house. I rang the door bell and a man came out holding the FedEx letter. His young son was with him.

It was kinda weird. The man took a really good look at me, and then pulled out my passport and looked at it under the light.

"I just want to make sure it's you."

He (or someone) had previously ripped open the FedEx letter. He said he thought it was an invoice for the suits... With an airbill on the outside that clearly listed the sender as the New Zealand Consulate General and the recipient as Kevin Flaherty.


I just wanted my passport.

He handed it over. And that's when it all started to hit me: This sh*t isn't adding up!

I asked, "That letter was inside the box that contained your suit order? The box from Barneys?"

"It was inside, at the bottom. Look, I'll show you. Go over to the garage."

I walked over. One of the several garage doors went up.

Yep. There was a very large box that definitely looked like it had been used to ship suits. The metal thing---that the suits hung from to prevent them from getting wrinkled---was at the bottom with some other shipping debris.

Now, I don't remember exactly how this got started, but I mentioned something about this passport being very important to me because it had a visa in it that would allow me to stay with my wife in New Zealand. The young boy said something like, "Oh yeah, we have to get visas all the time. We travel all over. To Africa and stuff."

* The gears in my head were really turning at this point *

I asked the dad what he did and he said that he ran, "a copier business." (I have since determined the business name and what it purports to be, etc.) There were some other details that I'll hold back for now.

As I left, he said, "If you need anything else give me a call."

? ? ? ? ? WTF ? ? ? ? ?

Pause a moment. Let all of that sink in.

Did my call to the FBI upset the apple cart? Maybe They weren't expecting that move. (Even though the FBI didn't seem to give two sh*ts about this...) Maybe the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is up to. Maybe They came to assume that FedEx corporate security would start reviewing the surveillance video from the sort facility, and check the exact time and place that the package was last scanned. Maybe They thought that FedEx corporate security would indeed determine who pulled that package out of the system, and then go have a talk with them. Weird questions might be asked.

Just think about this for a second. Within about five hours of that call to the FBI, I got a call from a man telling me that my passport was INSIDE his suit box! And of all the places on the planet my passport could have wound up---after magically jumping into a sealed box---it was no more than a 20 minute drive away... at this dude's mansion! Come on over and pick it up! Sure! I might be so happy that I'd call FedEx and tell them I got my passport and they might call off the corporate security investigation into missing passports and visas in the Los Angeles hub.

My best guess is that I'm on some sort of sh*t list and that my private correspondence with a foreign government was too tempting a morsel to pass up. They wanted to know what the NZ consulate was sending me. When I flipped out, announced the "loss" of this package on Cryptogon, b*tched about wanting FedEx corporate security in on this and then called the god damned J. Edgars, I don't know.... Maybe They thought up this Barneys scheme to have a "good Samaritan" get that passport back to me so I'd shut up. They couldn't say it was mis-delivered to that guy's house, because there were no more FedEx scans past the point where it arrived in Los Angeles! Nevermind the fact that it's a totally different local FedEx station. It would have had to have been shipped to the wrong local station and then delivered to a house with an address that bore no similarities to mine. Oh yeah, with none of the "last mile" FedEx scans. The Barneys box scheme made much more sense. ;)

You can almost see the cracked lightbulbs going off above Their heads. "Tell him it was inside another box. That will explain how it got to your house without any FedEx scans."

Maybe the guy has absolutely nothing to do with this, and he's just a nice guy trying to return my passport to me. That's possible, maybe even likely. How in the Sweet Jesus my passport would have wound up on the inside of that sealed suit box is, however, the $64,000 question. All I know is that the last FedEx scan shows it arriving at the Los Angeles sort facility. That's it. Two days later, according to legend, it wound up in a random man's suit box. Just a hop, skip and a 20 minute drive away.

That's it boys and girls. As always, I couldn't make it up if I tried.

Question for Current FedEx Employees:

At some early stage of a domestic package's trip through the FedEx system, is the airbill electronically imaged? (All international airbills are immediately imaged. FedEx was doing that even when I worked there in the 1990s.) From the first contact I had with the trace agent, she knew where it was coming from. She said, "Let's see, this was coming from the New Zealand Consulate General. What was in the package?"

My response was, "I don't know why that matters, but it was my U.S. passport with a New Zealand visa attached."

So, if FedEx electronically images every domestic airbill, early on, this would explain how she knew where it was coming from. If, however, FedEx doesn't electronically image every airbill early on, that's weird.

Related: FedEx: One of Homeland Security's Best Friends

Possibly Related: The Trickster

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Unpublished Abu Ghraib Torture Images Shown on Australian TV :.


AUSTRALIAN television tonight broadcast previously unpublished graphic images of the alleged physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.


They included photographs of blood-soaked Iraqi prisoners who had been tortured or shot dead, footage of a prisoner repeatedly slamming his head into a metal door, and a film of naked male prisoners being forced to masturbate in front of the camera.

WARNING: U.S. Foreign Policy lession follows:

Unpublished Abu Ghraib Torture Images

Problem with Cheney's Shotgun Story? :.


TH writes:
I personally go squirrel hunting with a 12GA with #5 shot 3inch turkey magnum shells... Shooting at squirrels at about 60 feet... MANY OF THE PELLETS GET STUCK IN THE SKIN WITH FEW GOING LESS THAN A CM INTO THE FLESH. What kind of bullsh*t is being pulled here with this proven drunkard?
Thanks for writing, TH! Your observations are appreciated. It's just good to know that there are women out there who can wield a 12GA with 3" mag loads!


Read this instead: Secret Service stalls and delays for Cheney: Cover-up in progress and Shotgun ballistics don't match-up!:
The simple truth of the matter is that unless contact distances are involved (5 yards or less), most birdshot lacks the penetrating capability required to inflict meaningful wound trauma. Wounds from birdshot tend to be extremely gruesome, yet shallow. They often shred and destroy a large volume of tissue but don't penetrate deep enough to damage critical cardiovascular or CNS structures required for incapacitation. Clothing can further amplify these poor penetration characteristics.
- - - Original Entry Follows - - -

Believe me, I'm as sick of this story as the next guy, and nothing can possibly come of this because Cheney is powerful enough to make it all go away.


According to dozens of sources (like MSNBC for example), Whittington was "about thirty yards" from Cheney when he was shot.

Thirty yards.

I'm not a ballistics expert, but I've spent a fair amount of time behind a lot of different shotguns.

And I've been thinking about this pellet in Whittington's heart.

"Thirty yards..." I mumbled to myself.

What type of shotgun was it? I assumed 12 gauge.


It was a 28 gauge!

Folks, that's a pop gun in terms of shotguns.

What type of load was used? Number 7 1/2 birdshot.

Again, I'm not a ballistics expert. But at thirty yards, with a 28 gauge shotgun, firing #7 1/2 birdshot, is it possible to achieve vital organ penetration on a grown man? Forget likely or not likely, is it even possible!? Some of the answer might depend on the clothes the victim was wearing, the length of the barrel and the choke used, if any.

I then started wonder how many pellets struck Whittington.

Get this:
Until Tuesday's complications, physicians had said Whittington had been progressing well after being struck by birdshot in Saturday's hunting incident -- and that they were not concerned about the six to 200 pieces of birdshot that might still be lodged in his body.
Six to 200 pieces of birdshot?

They can't tell how many pellets hit Whittington?

That's very interesting.

Maybe these doctors forgot how to count.

Pellet in the heart???

The more pellets that are lodged in Whittington's body, the closer he was to Cheney when he was shot. And the closer he was to Cheney, the deeper the shot would penetrate.

So, give them a pass on the pellet reaching the heart from 30 yards out with a 28 gauge. But how can one possibly explain the "Six to 200 pieces of birdshot" nonsense?

My guess is that Whittington was MUCH closer to Cheney than thirty yards when the "accident" occurred.

In conclusion, I also have to say that I seriously doubt that Cheney consciously meant to murder Whittington. I don't know what the Hell happened out there, but I do know this: A 28 gauge shotgun, loaded with 7 1/2 birdshot COULD NOT be expected to do the job, unless the deed was to be done at point blank range.

So, why all the nonsense and the silence/coverup on the part of Cheney and his staff? The answer is probably much weirder than we could possibly imagine.

Are You Drinking the Poop Slurpee? :.

The third world is just around the corner.
Billy Bragg - Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

Oh yeah:

It was a simple question that demanded an answer: Which is cleaner, the water in fast food restaurants' ice cubes or the water in the same restaurants' toilet.

Jasmine Roberts, 12, of New Tampa, Florida learned the all-too-horrifying answer.

"My hypothesis was that the fast food restaurants’ ice would contain more bacteria that the fast food restaurants’ toilet water," the young scientist told Tampa Bay's Channel 10.

She took samples from five different restaurants in the area. And just to give the ice cubes a fighting chance, she flushed each toilet before collecting her sample.

"Using the sterile beaker I scooped up some water and closed the lid."

She got two samples of ice from each establishment. One she requested from the drive-thru window, the other she got herself from the soda fountain.

"I found that 70-percent of the time, the ice from the fast food restaurant's contain more bacteria than the fast food restaurant's toilet water."

Three of the samples she collected from the drive-thru and four of the samples she collected herself didn't measure up to the toilet water.

Of the bacteria found in the ice, three out of the five restaurants tested positive for fecal coliform or E. coli, organisms that come from the feces of warm-blooded animals.

RFID Joke: HAHA Get It? :.

Oh sure, you want this crap in all of your IDs and credit cards:

"I haven't tested all RFID tags, but we did test the biggest brand and it is totally unprotected," Shamir said. Using this approach, "a cellphone has all the ingredients you need to conduct an attack and compromise all the RFID tags in the vicinity," he added.

Shamir said the pressure to get tags down to five cents each has forced designers to eliminate any security features, a shortcoming that needs to be addressed in next-generation products.

New Zealand Update

I'm packing to leave for New Zealand and I'm considering which books to take with me. I'm going to leave most of my political books behind. (What's the point? I think I pretty much 'get it' by now.) I've focused too much on the Political Economy of Death, Doom and the Apocalypse over the past couple of decades and I'd like to expand my horizons, if you know what I mean.

I'd like to know which books you guys find indispensable. It doesn't matter which topics; fiction, non-fiction, whatever. If it's must-read doom and gloom, include it anyway. Old habits die hard... ;) Oh yeah, we're going to need to train a dog. Any good dog training books you know of would be appreciated. I've started a thread in the forum if you would like to post a book suggestion.

Rebecca, my lovely wife, has been planting vegetables on our farmlet like a mad woman. She has also been painting the inside of the house and is going to do a concrete stain finish on the floor since neither of us wants carpet. (I know, she's very industrious!) As for strategic acquisitions, she purchased a hand-crank laundry wringer! She writes that this device was made by Acme of Glasgow:

I've sent the second to last wire transfer of money to New Zealand. The final one will include the revenue generated from selling my car and this gold. I need to start thinking about canceling my phone service, Netflix subscription, etc.

Oh, this is almost comical. Would you believe that FedEx missed the scheduled delivery of my passport, with the approved visa from the New Zealand consulate? That's right. The most important package I will probably ever receive in my life... is late.

I've never had a late FedEx package, and while I like the fact that I won't have to pay for the shipping charges, I would have rather had my passport (with that visa) back in my hands.

Ironically, long ago, I worked for FedEx; for five---long---years. For three of those years, I delivered expedites, otherwise known as the late packages. When I called FedEx to b*tch, I requested that the thing be sent out with the expedite courier THAT AFTERNOON. Having been that expedite courier at that same FedEx station, I knew the guy/girl hadn't left on the route yet.

"Uh, sir, I'm sorry to say that it didn't make it to the destination station. It's still in Los Angeles."

"Look, I want you to note on the trace report that the package better be delivered to me by 3pm, tomorrow, or they're going to be smelling my breath at the station. Do you understand?"

I actually don't know what I said, at that point, due to seething apoplexy, but it was something like that.

Once I get that small, blue booklet back in my hands, I'll be good to go.

That's pretty much it for now.


Cynthia McKinney: America Run by Criminal Syndicate :.

It's one thing when bums in Internet backwaters call the government a criminal syndicate, it's another thing, entirely, when elected representatives do it.

Barry Buzan---in a book unread outside of the foreign policy industrial complex---writes about the level of socio-political cohesion in a society. As that cohesion falls apart, the state turns inward on itself, and starts to see its own population as a national security threat.

Sound familiar?

Cynthia McKinney, the only House Representative to stand up to the Bush White House crime syndicate, has gone further than ever before in her efforts to warn people about what the Neo-Cons' ultimate goals actually entail for freedom in America.

During a recent radio interview on the Alex Jones Show, McKinney illustrated the nature of a corrupt occupational government, stating that the administration was "stolen in 2000 and stolen again in 2004." McKinney said that it was doing the government a favor to describe them as a "criminal syndicate."

"It appears to me that our country is literally being hollowed out....our economy is being hollowed out," said McKinney.

Cheney Shotgun Victim Has Heart Attack :.

The fellow hunter who was shot and wounded by Vice President Dick Cheney has suffered a "minor heart attack" after a piece of birdshot migrated to his heart, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

Harry Whittington, 78, is in stable condition in intensive care and will remain hospitalized for up to seven days, hospital officials said.


Robot Piloted by a Slime Mold :.

I naturally shy away from light and seek out dark places in which to hide myself. Maybe there's some DARPA grant money in it for me:

A bright yellow slime mould that can grow to several metres in diameter has been put in charge of a scrabbling, six-legged robot.

The Physarum polycephalum slime, which naturally shies away from light, controls the robot's movement so that it too keeps out of light and seeks out dark places in which to hide itself.


UPDATE: Dummy Bomb :.

A military ordnance expert determined that a "dummy bomb" found on the westbound Foothill 210 Freeway Monday was a non-explosive device, police said.


A military expert said the device was a "Mark 84 Dummy Bomb." The military took control of the device and took it away.


Los Angeles police say bomb squad experts have requested help from military ordnance experts to determine what's inside a suspicious object found alongside the Foothill Freeway in Sylmar.

LAPD Officer Mike Lopez says the bomb squad requested the help after experts x-rayed the device and weren't able to determine what was inside.

UPDATE: The "suspicious package" looks nothing like the 1940s era "Fat Man" weapon! The local media is 100% clueless, as usual. My best guess is that this is some sort of artillery shell:

I don't need to hear about this sh*t so close to me getting the F out of this sh*thole!

The California Highway Patrol shut down the westbound Foothill Freeway at Roxford Street during rush hour traffic Monday after discovering what authorities said looked like a replica of a nuclear bomb.

All westbound lanes were shut down at 5 p.m. and would likely remain closed for at least two hours, CHP said.

The Los Angeles Police Department has sent its bomb squad to investigate. ABC7 reported that a replica of the famed "Fat Man" nuclear bomb had fallen off a pickup truck earlier in the day and landed on the side of the freeway.

The LAPD's Officer Mike Lopez said an evacuation of nearby homes near the freeways underpass may be necessary.

Syria Dumps U.S. Dollars, Switches All Reserves to Euros :.

Anything Syria could do in the Forex markets is akin to a fly farting in the wind. This is, however, something that could start to snowball VERY fast if bigger players join in. Broad adoption of the euro for petroleum transactions spells doom for the dollar:

Syria has switched all of the state's foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars amid a political confrontation with the United States, the head of state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria said on Monday.

"This is a precaution. We are talking about billions of dollars. Switching to the euro will help us avoid settlement problems in the United Sates," Duraid Durgham told Reuters.

"The move is also needed to avoid complications with our correspondent banks, which have expressed a preference to deal in euro under these circumstances," he said.

Most of the government's foreign currency flows goes through the Commercial Bank, whose U.S. assets were frozen by Washington in 2004 as relations with Syria deteriorated.

The bank, which dominates the Syrian market, also stopped dealing with dollars for international private flows, such as imports, exports and letters of credit, Durgham said.

He said the switch would mean euro pricing for crude oil sales, a major foreign currency earner for Syria.

The latest official figure show Syria imported $6.7 billion goods in 2004 and exported $5.4 billion. Oil output is around 400,000 barrels per day.

Friendly Reminder: For those of you exiting out of U.S. dollars, look at a currency pair of your choice right now. ;)


Cheney's Shotgun Rampage, Version 2.0: One Man Down :.

I am a dangerous psychopath.What is it about Cheney and shotguns?

In any event, there's just one man down after Cheney's latest shotgun rampage. I wonder if Cheney had the opportunity to fearlessly slaughter any caged animals before the accident cut the day short:

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, his spokeswoman said Sunday.

Harry Whittington, 78, was "alert and doing fine" after Cheney sprayed Whittington with shotgun pellets on Saturday at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, said property owner Katharine Armstrong.

Armstrong said Cheney turned to shoot a bird and accidentally hit Whittington. She said Whittington was taken to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

Cheney's spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, said the vice president was with Whittington, a lawyer from Austin, Texas, and his wife at the hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Related: Cheney's Shotgun Rampage


RFID Chip Implant Required to Enter Corporate Datacenter :.

Two employees have been injected with RFID chips this week as part of a new requirement to access their company's datacenter.

Cincinnati based surveillance company created the policy with the hopes of increasing security in the datacenter where video surveillance tapes are stored. In the past, employees accessed the room with an RFID tag which hung from their keychains, however under the new regulations an implantable, glass encapsulated RFID tag from VeriChip must be injected into the bicep to gain access, a release from said on Thursday.

Off Topic: Last of the Precious Metal on eBay :.

Well, folks, this is the last of it:

Two - 1 Ounce American Eagle Gold Coins - 1991 and 1999

Take advantage of the recent gap down in gold prices! I'd like to hold out... Unfortunately, it's not in the cards for me. It's almost time for me to board the great bird that will carry me across the ocean to The Land of the Long White Cloud.

Thanks for bidding!

Fox Aired Photos of Aliens Attacking Library Tower :.


In a February 9 speech, President Bush disclosed details of what he described as a foiled Al Qaeda plot to fly a commercial plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles. Shortly after his speech concluded, Fox News aired numerous images from the 1996 film Independence Day (Twentieth Century Fox) showing the reported target of the attack -- the Library Tower, now known as the U.S. Bank Tower -- being destroyed by alien invaders.


Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles in Anticipation :.

Clear and present danger:

Google today announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.

"Coming on the heels of serious consumer concern about government snooping into Google's search logs, it's shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the contents of their personal computers," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Unless you configure Google Desktop very carefully, and few people will, Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters, business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other text-based documents the Desktop software can index. The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants---your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whoever---could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files."

Rockbox iPod Firmware :.

Maniacs are working hard to uncripple the iPod.


Bush/Clinton Dynasties Growing Closer :.

Yeah, those tender moments in the crypt, and the cocaine flights have a way bonding men together:

"They've got this secret handshake that nobody else knows about," said Representative Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat who was a top White House adviser to Mr. Clinton.

Related: Bill Clinton: A New Member of the Bush Family

30-Year Treasury Bond Makes Return :.

This is amazing. Anyone who thinks this thing is coming down anytime soon just needs to take a good long look at news like this. Buying these bonds makes about as much sense as taking driving lessons from a drunk uncle, but there you have it:

The 30-year Treasury bond made a long-awaited return on Thursday, delighting bond investors and the cash-strapped federal government.

The Treasury Department sold $14 billion of the bonds with a yield of 4.53 percent. Strong demand helped to keep the yield at its lowest level ever.

The yield was 5.52 percent the last time the 30-year bond was auctioned, on Aug. 15, 2001.

Bond sales stopped while the government ran a string of budget surpluses. Deficits returned and set records, so the government reintroduced the bonds, hoping to lock in interest payments at low rates for a longer period.

"This was certainly a successful launch for the 30-year bond," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York.

Wyss and other economists said the government benefited from the strong demand for long-term debt instruments, particularly from pension funds that are investing for younger workers who will not retire for decades.

U.S. Plans Massive Data Sweep :.

Switch all links to goatse or tubgirl and that will fix them:

The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.

"We don't realize that, as we live our lives and make little choices, like buying groceries, buying on Amazon, Googling, we're leaving traces everywhere," says Lee Tien, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "We have an attitude that no one will connect all those dots. But these programs are about connecting those dots - analyzing and aggregating them - in a way that we haven't thought about. It's one of the underlying fundamental issues we have yet to come to grips with."

The core of this effort is a little-known system called Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE). Only a few public documents mention it. ADVISE is a research and development program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), part of its three-year-old "Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment" portfolio. The TVTA received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year.


Sweden Plans to be World's First Oil-Free Economy :.

This is better than nothing, I guess. It will allow the profligacy of the U.S. to continue for a few more weeks or months. Every Hummer driver should thank a Swede for making more petroleum products available:

Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years - without building a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The attempt by the country of 9 million people to become the world's first practically oil-free economy is being planned by a committee of industrialists, academics, farmers, car makers, civil servants and others, who will report to parliament in several months.


Gold Hammered Lower :.

Wow. That was a weird move:

GOLD and other precious metal prices fell sharply overnight after climbing to new highs last week, with gold posting its biggest one-day decline in 13 years.

A correction was inevitable following a jump in prices over a short period of time, but the metals had potential to strike again after a breather, dealers said.

GPS Gum Balls :.

L.A. pigs won't chase cars anymore. They'll just dart suspect vehicles with GPS tracking units and swoop in for the kill later.

I wonder: What's to stop the criminal from pulling over and sticking the thing to another car, or a city bus, or dog, or...

The car chase capital of the world is going high-tech to end dangerous pursuits across Southern California.

Police Chief William J. Bratton unveiled a strange new weapon in the police department's strategy to halt high-speed pursuits -- adhesive darts with a global positioning system that are fired at fleeing cars by police.

Once fired from a patrol car, the GPS dart is designed to stick to a fleeing car, allowing squad cars to back off the chase.

"Instead of us pushing them doing 70 or 80 miles an hour," Bratton said, "this device allows us not to have to pursue after the car. It allows us to start vectoring where the car is."

U.S. Department of Justice officials suggested testing the StarChase system in Los Angeles. A small number of patrol cars will be equipped with the compressed air launchers, which fire the miniature GPS receivers in a sticky compound resembling a golf ball.

Cryptogon Readers Contribute $40

MW and IL each contributed $20 to Cryptogon. Thanks guys!

I don't know if the rest of you notice, by MW is the most generous Cryptogon supporter out there. He hits that DONATE button with incredible frequency. Special thanks, MW, for your continued support over the years.


RealtyTrac, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released year-end data from its 2005 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which showed that 846,982 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure in 2005, and a 25 percent increase in the number of new foreclosures from the first quarter to the fourth quarter.


Goleta Mass Murderer: 'Been a Member of a Cult?' :.

Had Jennifer San Marco been altered?

Police in New Mexico say San Marco, who was white, distributed a publication called "The Racist Press." The newsletter included error-laden explanations of various world religions and a confusing theory linking the U.S. government to "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz, the Ku Klux Klan, and racist murders.


The Los Angeles Times on Friday reported San Marco contacted the newspaper a few months ago about placing a classified ad that read, "Been a member of a Cult? Did that fad go out in the '70s-'80s? Any unexplained suicides? Please read The Racist Press, PO Box 3393, Milan NM 87020."

The newspaper said San Marco was told to submit a copy of the publication, a standard procedure for mail-order ads, but she never did and the ad never ran.

Research Credit: ME

The 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers :.

Corporations carry out some of the most horrific human rights abuses of modern times, but it is increasingly difficult to hold them to account. Economic globalization and the rise of transnational corporate power have created a favorable climate for corporate human rights abusers, which are governed principally by the codes of supply and demand and show genuine loyalty only to their stockholders.

Research Credit: SA


Ten Years Later: Three Suicides Leave Troubling Questions :.

There are a handful of stories that a parapolitics researcher never forgets, regardless of the efforts to do so. The deaths of Jane Greenhow, Stefan Bateman and Ruth Fleming---ten years ago this month---was the point of no return for me.

I'd been reading about JFK, Vietnam, Gehlen, MKULTRA, CIA cocaine, etc. for years. Even ECHELON was old news back then. It was all old news, if you went looking for it, that is. You had to make a point of seeking it out. You don't read about sh*t like this in the Los Angeles Times on your lunch break... Right?

I knew it was rare to catch a glimpse of an operation being rolled up. But there it was in front of my eyes. I held the page of the newspaper in one hand and a chicken burito in the other.

There it was.

I mumbled it back then as I mumble it now, "What the f*ck was this?"

The story still haunts me. I pick over the bones on the Internet every few years; which results, thankfully, in nothing. I contacted the LA Times reporter; nothing, case closed, trail isn't cold, there's no trail. That's about it, really. What else can one do? Start driving around the backwoods of Red Neck America asking about a few dead British Nazis?

Something tells me that such an investigation wouldn't have gone so well, if you know what I mean.

If you like, you may read more about this in a book called Sh*t Magnet: One Man's Miraculous Ability to Absorb the World's Guilt by Jim Goad. Goad was in contact with Greenhow before the trio ventilated themselves. Do a, "Search inside this book" and enter Greenhow as the query. You can't read it all at once, so when Amazon stops giving you free pages, make the stupid thing search for a semi unique word on the last page you have access to, click that page in the search results and you'll get a few more pages.

It's not much for a ten year anniversary, but when you set out to turn over the bones, you've got to take what you can get:

Just before Jane Greenhow died, she drove up a lonely road in remote Shasta County and wrote a note to the one she loved: her Glock 10-millimeter pistol.

"I am so sorry I have to leave you now, the only one I am reluctant to leave behind," the tattooed, 23-year-old neo-Nazi sympathizer wrote to her gun. "I guess you just functioned more reliably--I jammed."

Then Greenhow, clad in black fatigues and combat boots, put the pistol in her mouth and pulled the trigger, culminating a bizarre trio of suicides of neo-Nazi cult followers last week in California and Arizona.


Stefan Bateman and Ruth Fleming, both 22, were wearing the same style of black garb when they rented pistols at the range and took a few dozen practice shots Wednesday afternoon.

Then they turned the pistols on themselves--apparently counting down together so the guns would go off at the same instant, Arizona authorities said.

"Witnesses said they both fell at the same time," said Mesa Police Sgt. Earle Lloyd. "It was ruled a double suicide."


Super Bowl Footballs Smeared with Synthetic DNA :.

I couldn't, for the life of me, make it up:

Every football... will be marked with a drop of synthetic DNA to thwart potential counterfeiters who might be tempted to sell phony "game-used" Super Bowl footballs, which can be worth thousands of dollars. Exposed to a specific laser frequency, the DNA glows to a bright green.

Posted to a Private Energy Discussion List

I posted this message to a private list that is frequented by some of the big deal names in the Peak Oil machine. I got a total of two responses. The moderator wished me, "good luck." The second was from a New Zealander who pretty much wanted me to shut up about New Zealand. HA. I kinda wanted to hear that someone on that list was doing something other than bloviating about doing something. No such luck.

The point is: prepare, while you have options. Whether you say you can or you can't, you're right:
My name is Kevin, I'm the editor of I've been lurking here for about a year.

I just wanted to say that I hope all of you have made preparations... and are getting to where you need or want to be.

In general, I'm shocked at the level of inaction of people who are supposedly, "In the know." A lot of people are talking about making changes but aren't actually doing anything. This is the 1% who actually "get it." Of that 1% who get it, it's probably 1% of them who are taking drastic action. "Maybe I'll by a hybrid the next time I'm in the market for a car," isn't going to cut it. HAHA

Don't fall into this trap.

Run like hell, while you can. Run your ass off. You don't want to wait until the idiots figure it out, or until you're placed on the no-fly list, or worse. If you're staying in the U.S., and are aware of what's happening, you must know what's in store and my hat is off to you.

I'm moving to New Zealand. My wife is already there. I miss her, but I feel very good knowing she's out of here. We bought five good acres, and have other farmers as neighbors. Things will be hard in NZ, but paradise compared to the U.S. I'm just winding things down here, selling everything I can (including my gold, silver and anything else that isn't bolted down).

My family thinks I'm insane. Obviously. "Why would you want to leave the best country in the world?"

Before, I used to start rattling off the "facts and figures." Arguing. Trying to make them see it. Listing my sources. All to no avail. They have opinions about their emotions, debt and large TVs. You want to talk about composting toilets and chickens with these people? By the time they "get it"... well, I don't want to be around.

Here's the conclusion I came to: There is no point in trying to explain things to so-called 'normal' people anymore.

I used to think that They (the powers that be, the Elite, whatever) were the problem. Then, I thought that ignorant sheeple were the problem, and that I could help them see "it." Now, as the curtain is coming down on this show, I see that for all these years, I've been wasting time and that---yes---I am the problem. Talking about solutions is great, but while we have been talking They have been DOING. Live your life in a way that makes ecological sense. <- That's it, in a nutshell. Spend less time talking about it. Make actions the priority, not words. When you and your neighbors are eating well as a result of your hard work, take some time to tell others about it. Until then, the time for jibber jabber is over.

9/11: Avoiding the Hard Questions :.

Beware of the militant debunkers who place any alternative analysis of the building collapses in the realm of pods and holograms:

How did a fire fed by jet fuel, which at most burns at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, cause the collapse of the Twin Towers, built of steel that melts at 2,800 degrees? (Most experts agree that the impact of airliners, made mostly of lightweight aluminum, should not have been enough alone to cause structural failure.) How could a single planeload of burning jet fuel -- most of which flared off in the initial fireball -- cause the South World Trade Center tower to collapse in just 56 minutes?

Related: Scholars for 9/11 Truth


Halliburton Gets Contract to Build the Camps :.

The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contingency support contract provides for planning and, if required, initiation of specific engineering, construction and logistics support tasks to establish, operate and maintain one or more expansion facilities.

The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster. In the event of a natural disaster, the contractor could be tasked with providing housing for ICE personnel performing law enforcement functions in support of relief efforts.

Bush to Request $439.3 Billion Defense Budget :.


President Bush next week will request a $439.3 billion Defense Department budget for 2007, a nearly 5 percent increase over this year, according to senior Pentagon officials and documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

The spending plan would include $84.2 billion for weapons programs, a nearly 8 percent increase, including billions of dollars for fighter jets, Navy ships, helicopters and unmanned aircraft. The total includes a substantial increase in weapons spending for the Army, which will get $16.8 billion in the 2007 budget, compared with $11 billion this year.

Senior defense officials provided the totals on condition of anonymity because the defense budget will not be publicly released until Monday. The figures did not include about $50 billion that Bush administration officials said Thursday they would request as a down payment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. The administration said war costs for 2006 would total $120 billion.


Australia: Cops Harass Photo Club Members :.

Fascism continues to unfurl in Australia:

POLICE directives about what could and could not be photographed were an abuse of power and should be ignored, Liberty Victoria has said.

The civil liberties body made the statement after a report in a Melbourne newspaper said a member of the Geelong Camera Club received a visit from police after he photographed gas storage cylinders at the city's Shell oil refinery.

Club member Hans Kawitski was told not to photograph industrial installations and was ordered to inform members of the camera club to follow his lead.

Liberty Victoria said its advice to photographers would be to ignore the directive.

"The police have got no place making such warnings," president Brian Walters SC said.

"Merely to threaten is exceeding police powers and is an abuse of power.

"If you were a serious terrorist you wouldn't be openly taking photographs. Taking photos of public objects is a normal and quite understandable part of a modern society."

Mr Walters said police had been spooked by politicians and had acquired "an inflated fear of terrorism".

"We currently have thousands of cameras set up to watch citizens, but if citizens themselves take photos, the authorities take that as some sort of risk," he said.


:. 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.