The Antifederalists Were Right :.

September 27 marks the anniversary of the publication of the first of the Antifederalist Papers in 1789. The Antifederalists were opponents of ratifying the US Constitution. They feared that it would create an overbearing central government, while the Constitution's proponents promised that this would not happen. As the losers in that debate, they are largely overlooked today. But that does not mean they were wrong or that we are not indebted to them.

Charleston City Councilman: Sterilize Parents of Delinquent Kids :.

Everything old is new again as America collapses into oblivion:

Charleston City Councilman Larry Shirley says the robbery of a downtown video store - allegedly by a band of kids, including one too young to be charged - is a sure sign society has gone awry, and it's time to start a "dialogue."

And one of the things he says needs to be talked about is whether bad parents should be sterilized.

"What we've got is a failure in society, whether it's in Mount Pleasant with yuppie parents or whether it's on the East Side with poor crackhead parents," Shirley said Friday. "We pick up stray animals and spay them. These mothers need to be spayed if they can't take care of theirs. ... Once they have a child and it's running the streets, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable." Deadbeat dads might ought to be sterilized as well, he said.

Are You in Breach of an Allegiance or Duty to the United States? :.

Greed is a bottomless pit
Our freedom's a joke, we're just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you're still free, start running away

Bright Eyes - Landlocked Blues
Don't look back:

Subsection 4(b) (26) of section 950v. of HR 6166 - Crimes triable by military commissions - includes the following definition.

"Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States , knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy, shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct."

For an individual to hold an allegiance or duty to the United States they need to be a citizen of the United States. Why would a foreign terrorist have any allegiance to the United States to breach in the first place?

Britain Doomed: Personal Debt Runs Out of Control :.

Britain's "buy now, pay later" consumer culture has led to unprecedented levels of personal debt. The average Briton now has more than twice as much unsecured borrowing - including overdrafts, personal loans and credit card debt - as the typical European, according to a report published by Datamonitor.


The consumer borrowing crisis is set to become the most pressing concern for Gordon Brown's successor as Chancellor of the Exchequer. George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, said: "Gordon Brown is presiding over an economy increasingly built on debt. This has left many families vulnerable to the triple blow of rising mortgage rates, taxes and energy bills."


There are increasingly worrying signs that many borrowers are struggling to stay on top of repayments. The average person has debts that total 150 per cent of their annual income, according to the Bank of England, half as much again as in 1997.

The Dark Side of Debt :.

The world is once again in the grip of a spree of lending, but this time to companies rather than countries. What is striking is that much of this lending is happening not through public share and bond markets, nor exclusively through banks. The issuance of syndicated loans vaulted to $3.5 trillion last year, from $2.3 trillion in 2000. Thanks to the low cost of debt, private lenders, such as hedge funds, are extending vast amounts of credit to leveraged buy-out firms and other private borrowers. Forsaking the sunlit uplands of global finance, the market for capital is plunging into the shadows.


Family Values, Florida Republican Style :.

I noticed the word crusaded in the article. Indeed, Mark "Family Values" Foley is rated 84% by the Christian Coalition!

Note to Christians: Don't allow Mark "It's for the Children" Foley visit Jesus Camp:

Florida Rep. Mark Foley's resignation came just hours after ABC News questioned the congressman about a series of sexually explicit instant messages involving congressional pages, high school students who are under 18 years of age.

In Congress, Rep. Foley (R-FL) was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.

He crusaded for tough laws against those who used the Internet for sexual exploitation of children.

"They're sick people; they need mental health counseling," Foley said.

But, according to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the Internet to engage in sexually explicit exchanges.


Federal authorities say such messages could result in Foley's prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.

"Adds up to soliciting underage children for sex," said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and now an ABC News consultant. "And what it amounts to is serious both state and federal violations that could potentially get you a number of years."

Foley's resignation letter was submitted late this afternoon, and he left Capitol Hill without speaking to reporters.

Jesus Camp Trailer :.

Rushing Off a Cliff :.

American fascism---hissing, snarling, fully unfurled:

A dangerously broad definition of "illegal enemy combatant" in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.


Real Estate Agents Now Using Pagan Rituals to Sell Properties :.

As usual, friends, I couldn't make it up if I tried!

You want to make money? Forget about real estate. It's the people who are selling the pagan ritual kits to the imbecile real estate agents who are really cleaning up!

Kathleen Mitchell, a Coldwell Banker real estate agent, couldn't sell a bayfront Miami condo that was about to lose its water view to a high-rise luxury apartment building. So she turned to a Catholic saint who's known as "the underground real estate agent."

At the advice of a co-worker, Mitchell asked her client to bury a four-inch plastic statue of St. Joseph upside down in a planter on his balcony. He followed her instructions, and his condo in the Charter Club on 36th street sold 10 days later for around $315,000, she said.

"Every time I've put a statue in a property, it's sold," said Mitchell, a Methodist, who said she has buried statues of St. Joseph on 15 properties. "I've used it for the majority of my listings, whether they know it or not."

The folk tradition of burying a statue of St. Joseph -- patron saint of carpentry, home ownership and real estate -- has grown increasingly popular among Florida real estate brokers struggling to sell properties in a cooling market, real estate agents and vendors who sell the statues said.

Joseph, a carpenter and husband of the Virgin Mary, has long been regarded as a saintly intercessor for laborers and home buyers. Some believe the ritual of burying St. Joseph's statue originated with St. Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Catholic nun who prayed to St. Joseph and buried his medals in the earth to find land for convents.

The practice has grown so widespread that Realtors and home sellers can now choose from basic and "deluxe" St. Joseph real estate kits that include a statue, prayer book and tips on the proper way to petition the saint. The instructions usually go like this: Bury a statue of St. Joseph head first, six inches deep near the property's for sale sign. After the property sells, unearth the statue and keep it in a prominent place in your new home (failure to do so, legend holds, could reverse your good fortune).

Since the real estate market started to fizzle in the past year, stores and websites that stock the statues have been selling out.

"Sales have just gone crazy," said Phil Cates, owner of the website "We have really devout Catholics who call on St. Joseph for most things in their lives, and on the other side we have people who think St. Joseph is nothing more than a piece of plastic, but hey, what have I got to lose?"

Cates said the website has sold thousands of kits to Realtors and brokers who purchase the statues in bulk. Florida is his biggest market, with about 5,000 to 6,000 customers, he said.

Some homeowners are still waiting for results.

Rocket Science According to Real Estate Broker :.

A round of applause for this genius!

"Business here is just not quiet; it has dropped dead over the past few weeks," she said. "At the same time, there's a flood of inventory on the market. We run open houses, we run advertisements, but nothing works. There are no buyers, and without buyers, there are no sales."

Which Books Would Jesus Burn? :.

The Minot Daily News webserver is having trouble handling all the traffic this story is generating. Here's the full text:

Youth Group Holds Vice Burning

By DAN FELDNER, Staff Writer

A youth group at First Assembly of God church held a burning Wednesday night by burning anything they wanted to get out of their lives that they feel is hindering their relationship with the Lord.

Some of the items burned included CDs, DVDs, magazines, books and anything else they could think of. But unlike the negative connotations burnings are generally associated with, this burning was intended to be a positive event for everyone involved.

Mary Johnson, leader of the college and career group at the church, summed up what the burning is about: "Getting rid of junk in their lives that would hinder (their) relationship with the Lord."

The group has been studying the Bible, looking for ways to strengthen their relationship with God.

"We've been going through the Book of Acts looking at the early church," Johnson said. "(We've been) asking God 'would you do again today ... what you did in that early church."

The people participating in the burning included students and parents. Johnson said the burning wasn't the first burning that she has attended. She was at one several years ago in South Dakota and about two years ago was at another one here in Minot.

Johnson stated that a young man from the Air Force asked for the burning, and the church agreed.

The fire, which was contained in a wide metal bin, was on the outskirts of Minot on church-owned property. As more members of the church gathered around the fire, they started clapping and singing along to an acoustic guitar.

Chuck Holtzhower, one of the 20 or so participants of the burning, had a large stack of CDs and DVDs he was throwing into the fire.

"I'm getting rid of things that I do not need in my life for a Christian walk," Holtzhower said. "As ... somebody who wants the most out of his walk with Jesus Christ, they don't need to be in my collection."

Holtzhower wasn't concerned about the amount of money spent on the dozens of CDs and DVDs he was throwing away.

"I pretty much think it (the money) was wasted in the first place when I bought it."

He threw his DVDs into the fire with no hesitation or regrets, but accepted help with the dozens CDs from some of the small children.

Though he probably could have gotten quite a bit selling the collection, Holtzhower looked at the big picture when deciding how to deal with the items.

"If I don't feel that they're correct for my life, why would I give them to somebody else?" he said. "There's no other way around it, other than that fire right there."

After items were tossed into the fire, some offered testimony on their life and where they may have gone wrong in their life and how they were trying to correct those mistakes.


Oil Bouce to $63

WARNING: The following is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial instrument.

If you made money on this or this, please lock in profits by moving your stops up. Know that you will almost certainly be shaken out. If you got in on this move right, and want to gamble on the big move back up, consider a stop as close to $59.50 as possible. If support at these levels is real, we shouldn't drop below that.

Oh yeah, remember that stinky rat I mentioned on this recent downward price action on oil... It was a big, fat Goldman Sachs rat.

U.S. Real Estate: Hard Landing? No. Crash Landing? Yes. :.

I think this is the most grim article that I've read to date on the bursting bubble situation. I wish I had the spare change to short a portfolio of doomed retailers. It's very tempting. We could use some solar panels and some fencing materials. HAHAHA:

But this is all old news for us. The other shoe is dropping now. Loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs created from housing will act like a virus and spread throughout our economy. As real estate agents, attorneys, and mortgage brokers rein in their spending, it will affect restaurants, car dealers, advertising companies, jewelers, remodeling contractors, furniture manufacturers, bank profits, electronic retailers, clothing -- and the list goes on and on and on.

As the primary players are affected and they cut back on spending, so will the secondary players in this market. These companies will be forced to lay off employees, and the cycle will grow like a virus...


Cryptogon Reader Contributes $20

Thanks, MW! It's going into the solar-hot-water-heater fund.

Another Day, Another Real Estate Crash Blog :.

Here's another site that's dedicated to the unfolding crash. I like the Google ads for mortgages. HA! Nice touch.

Israel Seen Lifting Nuclear Veil in Iran Stand-Off :.

With Israel's current arch-foe Iran seen gaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons within a few years, and preventive military options limited, some experts now anticipate another "lifting of the veil" on the assumed Israeli atomic arsenal.

Two Dairies to End Use of Artificial Hormones :.

Becky and I will soon end our use of dairies! HA

The region's biggest dairies are rushing to rid their bottled milk of artificial growth hormones in a bid to draw back customers who have switched to organic milk.

Former U.S. Army Lieutenant Calls on Military to Arrest Bush and Cheney :.

When I was a boy, we called this a military coup! And as crazy as it may sound, another military coup would be the only way the U.S. could change course. This isn't an opinion, it's a statement of the obvious and grim physical reality on the ground.

The chances of another military coup producing desirable results, sadly, ranges from slim to none. But that's the good news.

What are the chances, however, of things getting better under the U.S. version of democracy, with its two fascist parties, no choice in core economic matters and electronic "voting" machines, just in case?

Oh, what do I mean by another military coup? The JFK assassination was a military coup, it just didn't look that way to some people. The reality is that the U.S. is a banana republic with nuclear weapons (and has been since the 1960s).

How do banana republics change course?

Saturday, Septmber 23- Former Army Lieutenant and candidate for Congress in Vermont, Dennis Morrisseau, today called for the arrest of President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the American military "if necessary" to prevent an unauthorized attack upon the nation of Iran.


There goes the neighborhood:

Russia and Iran have signed a deal in Moscow to launch Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr in September next year, officials in Moscow say.

They say the Russian-built reactor will be fully operational in November 2007.

Iran had feared Russia would delay the launch because of international tension over Iran's nuclear activities, correspondents say.

The UN Security Council has told Iran to halt uranium enrichment amid fears it is trying to build nuclear arms.

Russian atomic energy agency spokesman Sergey Novikov said the date was fixed in an additional agreement to the original contract to build the reactor.

It came after Iranian officials apparently urged their Russian counterparts to speed up work to finish the plant.



* yawn *

Prices of existing homes fell for the first time in 11 years and the backlog of available homes for sale was at its highest since current measures began, underlining the significant slowdown in the housing market.

IN PLAY: Oil Back Around $60 :.

WARNING: The following is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial instrument.

What did I tell you about that $60 level?
Consider drop dead stops on long positions at $58, rather than $60 because a break below $60 may overshoot short. This theory is probably wrong if oil goes below $58. Again, look for reasons to go with a long bias here.


If there's one thing I've learned in all my years of watching financial markets, the Big Money never chases the move, and They look for (and create) opportunities to make the most money.
Oil got down to $59.52 before "buying by a European bank" caught the locals short. "There's no news as such to set this buying off," said Nauman Barakat, oil analyst at Macquarie Futures USA. HAHAHA I guess that guy didn't read Cryptogon a couple of days ago...

Now, this isn't the "something big" I was thinking about, but standby: It's make or break time for oil. $60 is the gateway to $20 and $100 oil. It's possible that this was just a short squeeze, the equivalent of using a single match to start a massive brushfire. The Them, however, have the ability of standing upwind from the thing while the retail investors get vaporized by it. As usual, this is nothing new. In The Art of War, Chapter 12, Sun Tzu writes, "When fire is set upwind, do not attack downwind."

BUT, it's also possible that a round is in the chamber and the hammer is cocked back on the move to $100. If "something big" is going to happen, it would make the fewest people the most money RIGHT NOW. Think about it. Who got long today as the price collapsed to a six month low? That wasn't Joe and Jane Six Pack or a bunch of bum change day traders.

There is so much information out there that it's impossible to know the direction now. This is by design. If you managed to "catch the falling knife" from the last move, consider moving your stops up to lock in your profits, or let it ride with the original stops in place to avoid getting shaken out if you believe we're at a support. I probably wouldn't take on new pure longs here, but some form of straddle might work. Clarity is likely to produce a powerful move from here, either way. Your straddle will cost you some profits, but, hey, that's better than getting your clock cleaned:

Oil rebounded above $62 on Monday, after briefly sliding to a six-month low on abundant supplies in top consumer the United States and fears that slower U.S. economic growth would stunt fuel demand.

U.S. crude settled up 90 cents at $61.45 a barrel on short-covering, after sliding as low as $59.52 and as high as $62.15. London Brent rose 39 cents to $60.80 a barrel.

"The rally started on buying by a European bank and the locals got caught short, which in turn set off stops," said Nauman Barakat, oil analyst at Macquarie Futures USA. "There's no news as such to set this buying off."

U.S. crude had fallen nearly $19 from its mid-July peak of $78.40, its biggest slide in more than 15 years. The 24 percent decline was set off as investors' concern faded over Iran and the Atlantic hurricane season proved unexpectedly mild.

The rout deepened last week as speculators fretted over slowing economic growth in the world's top consumer and hedge fund Amaranth Advisors registered billions of dollars in losses on natural gas positions.

The 100 Watt Hour Per Day Chest Fridge :.

Becky and I pay NZ22.3 cents per kilowatt hour, so reading this was nearly a religious experience for me.


Using vertical doors in refrigeration devices is an act against the Nature of Cold Air. Understanding and cooperating with Nature rather than acting against it leads to much better efficiency.

My chest fridge (Vestfrost freezer turned into a fridge) consumes about 0.1 kWh a day. It works only about 2 minutes per hour. At all other times it is perfectly quiet and consumes no power whatsoever. My wind/solar system batteries and power-sensing inverter simply love it.

Research Credit: DR


Home Is Where the Farm Is :.

This article makes the "back to the land" movement seem like a joke, but you won't be laughing if you're serious about making a try for self sufficiency and haven't gotten your land yet.

Rural land prices will increase as people cash out of the doomed cities---dumping their bubble inflated properties---and, quite literally, run for the hills.

Do you think "professionals" are buying up all this rural land just because they need a breath of the fresh country air and like shoveling horse sh*t?

Get real, man. People know that this thing is coming down right before our eyes and they don't want to be anywhere near a big city as it happens:

A growing number of professionals, like the Worthingtons, are returning to the land, if only to play farmer. Green Acres, 2006.

Such residential farms now account for nearly half of all farms in the USA, with owners who earn their income from off-farm work, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Such "farmettes" are increasing at a rate of 2% a year.


These new farmers agree that the lifestyle farming trend makes the old-world farmers around them both happy and sad. Maybe resigned is the best word.

"The people here see a way of life disappearing," says Sanders. "It's somewhere between cashing in and gritting their teeth. Land here has gone up a lot in value, and it's not because of agriculture. It's because it's a desirable place to live."

Movie Review: Who Killed John O'Neill :.

I was shocked by how good this was! Maybe that's because Pi is one of my favorite films. If you liked Pi at all, you'll enjoy Who Killed John O'Niell.

There are a couple of weird moments, in terms of the information presented (Che Guevara wasn't the President of Bolivia in 1967, and Barry Seal's assassination was much bigger than a simple drug hit), but it's mostly excellent.

Think of it this way:

If 1% of the information presented in the film is true, where does that leave us? What if 5% of it is true? Never mind the fact that much of it is dead on and not controversial at all, if you've been paying attention over the past few years.

I enjoyed how the film went hard with the decent into madness. This will resonate with anyone who has made a serious attempt to examine these issues. First you try to deny all of it. When you can't deny it, you literally start to question your own sanity. I know I did, and all of the researchers I've communicated with have said the same thing.

Not a researcher? Did you relate to Winston Smith when you read 1984? You'll relate to the narrator (and his others) in Who Killed John O'Neill.

WARNING: Use the film with caution on beginners. It presents a non-stop barrage of information that---if you're not versed in the literature, so to speak---might seem impossible to believe (or overwhelming or debilitating) to the uninitiated. I'm all for getting people to take the red pill, but you don't want them to choke on it. Casual viewers might write off the entire work as delusional video art. And that's fine. Don't waste too much of your precious time trying to save horses in burning barns...

Who Killed John O'Neill is a shining example of citizen scale propaganda at its best: Informative, entertaining, highly effective.

Well done, guys!

One Actor, One Room, Seven Characters: 9/11.

Traumatized by the September 11th attacks, one man struggles to dismantle official history, at the expense of his sanity and even his life. Grappling with multiple realities - and multiple personalities - he must retreat into his mind in pursuit of the truth. In a fictional film about non-fictional events, there is a place where belief and faith will blind you, where nothing is sacred, and to get there all you have to do is ask:

"Who Killed John O'Neill?"


Pay No Attention to the General as "Liberals" Launch Green Energy Fund :.

A bunch of loving liberals, billionaires, Bill Clinton and a former World Bank president are coming to the rescue! Hooray! The beneficent Democrats, so concerned with the environment, will save us from the ravages of Peak Oil and George Bush and The Legion of Doom, etc.! And it'll be sustainable WalMarts for as far as the eye can see.

* sigh *

What is thy bidding, my Master?
Former President Bill Clinton bows to former President George H. W. Bush after he receives a honorary degree during the Tulane University Commencement in New Orleans on Saturday May 13, 2006. Former President Clinton also received a degree.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
In Peak Oil? How About Anything Into Oil?, I wrote:
I'm not saying that a collapse due to energy isn't going to occur, all I'm saying is that if it does, it's by design. They probably found the answer---or, more likely, multiple answers---decades ago. But that's just a conspiracy theory....
The General and the Holy Grail of Energy Storage Devices

An engineer friend of mine commented on the EEstor device, the "Holy Grail" energy storage technology that's about to make pure electric cars viable on a mass scale. He told me that it sounded like a supercapicitor. Now, it's obviously just an insane, tinfoil hat conspiracy theory that this technology is based on U.S. Patent 3288641, issued 29 November 1966 to---wait for it, this is good---STANDARD OIL COMPANY. And where is EEstor headquartered? Get out your best, fake cowboy, George Bush accent and say it with me: Texxxxxshuss!

It was a simple question: Just how closely is Kleiner Perkins---the venture capital firm behind EEstor---connected to Them? Within two minutes of researching this, I'd seen enough:

Colin Powell to join Silicon Valley's Kleiner Perkins

Colin Powell, a 33rd Degree Freemason, a former U.S. Army Four Star General, U.S. Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff happens to go into quiet, semi-retirement working for the venture capital firm responsible for funding the company that is building the "Holy Grail" of energy storage devices, based on technology patented by Standard Oil Company in 1966... In Texas.

As always, I ask you: How could anyone possibly make this up?

While picking over the bones in the Cryptogon archives, I found another tidbit that might be of interest here. Over a year ago, I wrote this about Peak Oil:
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.
While the loving liberals put a public face on the clean, green energy revolution, pay no attention to the former general planting the seeds of the technology that They have had all along:

Former President Clinton announced the launch of an investment fund expected to raise more than $1 billion for renewable energy on Friday, the final day of his global issues conference.

The Green Fund would focus on reducing dependence on fossil fuels, creating jobs, lessening pollution and helping to reduce global warming, all while making a profit, Clinton said.

The announcement at the Global Initiative Conference came a day after British business mogul Richard Branson pledged $3 billion to battle global warming,

"The earth is warming at an alarming rate, we are running out of fossil fuels, and it is long past time for us to take action to correct these problems," Clinton said in a statement.

The fund's launch was announced by Clinton, former World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, Yucaipa Companies founder Ron Burkle and business leader and philanthropist Steve Bing. Wolfensohn will serve as the fund's managing director.

Cryptogon Reader Signs Up for Hosting with Blue Host!

Thanks to for signing up for webhosting with Blue Host via Cryptogon.

Cryptogon receives $65!

About Hosting with Blue Host via Cryptogon

I've been hosting Cryptogon on Blue Host for about a year and a half. I've been so impressed with the service that I personally started referring people to them. I know that five of these people went on to sign up for hosting.

Here's the bad news: I missed out on $65 EACH time one of these folks signed up for hosting with Blue Host.

Here's the good news: I'm now an affiliate, so now I will make $65 each time a Cryptogon reader/fan/supporter signs up for hosting with Blue Host.

I searched long and hard for a reliable and reasonably priced host for Cryptogon (after repeated disasters with other hosting companies). Check out Blue Host's features and reputation. You'll see why I went with them.

And I don't need to tell you about their reliability.

How often has Cryptogon been down over the past year? You, the Cryptogon reader, should know.

Exactly! It's never down. (Well, it may have been down once for about two hours, but I don't remember if that was their fault or mine... It was probably mine.)

So, if you're looking for the best hosting possible for a reasonable price AND you want to support Cryptogon, it's simple: Blue Host.

PLEASE NOTE: Sadly, there is some confusion about how I receive Blue Host referral payments.

IN ORDER FOR ME TO RECEIVE CREDIT, YOU MUST CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS TO BLUE HOST FROM CRYPTOGON.COM AND SIGN UP FROM THERE. If you just go to Blue Host, without clicking a link from Cryptogon, and sign up, I won't and can't get credit for it after the fact. So far, this has happened twice.

It's my fault for not making this explicitly clear in the first place. Sometimes, computer people, like me, assume things that shouldn't be assumed. This was one of those cases.

Bubble: A 24-Year-Old and $2.2 Million Worth of "Liar Loans" :.

Man, it's going to be interesting...

Casey Serin is a 24-year-old Sacramento man who bought seven properties in four states within the first three months of 2006. Even after selling a home in Utah a few weeks ago, he's $2.2 million in debt and will be four months behind on all of his mortgages come October.

Via: Housing Panic


Gentlemen, Stop Your Engines :.

Forget hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles. EEStor, a stealth company in Cedar Park, Texas, is working on an "energy storage" device that could finally give the internal combustion engine a run for its money -- and begin saving us from our oil addiction. "To call it a battery discredits it," says Ian Clifford, the CEO of Toronto-based electric car company Feel Good Cars, which plans to incorporate EEStor's technology in vehicles by 2008.


Oil Back Around $60: Deploy Tinfoil and Watch Out

WARNING: The following is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial instrument.

Well, well, well...

It might pay to revisit my Investing Very Close to Home letter to a Cryptogon reader, written back in July:
I don't see gold being a cure-all, but who knows!? It might go to ______ <- fill in the blank. Consider nibbling the dips under $600? That would be my best guess, if I was forced to make a guess.


Oil? It could just as easily go to $45 before it goes to $200. I wouldn't go near oil, long or short. It's far too volatile.
$60 is a critical support on oil; the gateway to $45. Gold has totally broken down. See my extended piece on the fallacy of gold.

Anyone who is relying on gold for wealth preservation is acting on faith alone at this stage. Any asset with this kind of volatility isn't an investment, it's a gamble.

For the tinfoil hat traders, people with money to burn, gamblers, speculators, and other associated loose units, the following is for you: If the support at $60 holds on oil, watch out for a weird upside move.

If anything happens in the Persian Gulf in the near future, these relatively low oil and gold prices are where the Them took their long positions... before the LIVE BREAKING NEWS on CNN, etc. and Bush mumbling something about Iran and freedom in an address to the nation.

If I was a trader, which I'm not anymore, I would be looking for excuses to be long oil from these levels; maybe the longest, out of the money contracts available, i.e. the cheapest to play. Consider drop dead stops on long positions at $58, rather than $60 because a break below $60 may overshoot short. This theory is probably wrong if oil goes below $58. Again, look for reasons to go with a long bias here.

As usual, it's not easy.

If you look at an oil chart, it could be argued that you're "Trying to catch a falling knife" by going long here. This is doing the opposite of the better known, "The Trend is Your Friend" strategy. But, look at a longer term chart and you might just be "Buying the dip" of a larger uptrend.

This is why I don't trade.

But I smell a rat on this recent downward price action on oil. It's nothing scientific. It's probably not correct. But I smell a rat anyway.

If anything "big" happens, we will see $100 oil within a couple of trading sessions. If there's one thing I've learned in all my years of watching financial markets, the Big Money never chases the move, and They look for (and create) opportunities to make the most money. They're in before the action takes place. (See the accumulation phase of Dow Theory.) And They're out as clarity emerges, and the public emotion phase begins. Hint: Waiting for clarity is not often rewarded.

If you believe 5% of what this story says, should oil be trading around six-month lows? Or is this a multi billion dollar set up for the next gap up?
The Pentagon's top brass has moved into second-stage contingency planning for a potential military strike on Iran, one senior intelligence official familiar with the plans tells RAW STORY.

The official, who is close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking officials of each branch of the US military, says the Chiefs have started what is called "branches and sequels" contingency planning.

"The JCS has accepted the inevitable," the intelligence official said, "and is engaged in serious contingency planning to deal with the worst case scenarios that the intelligence community has been painting."

A second military official, although unfamiliar with these latest scenarios, said there is a difference between contingency planning -- which he described as "what if, then what" planning -- and "branches and sequels," which takes place after an initial plan has been decided upon.

Adding to the concern of both military and intelligence officials alike is the nuclear option, the possibility of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons targeting alleged WMD facilities in Iran.
There's also General John Abizaid's recent comments on Iran's capability to disrupt Persian Gulf oil shipments.

In terms of The Magic Mystery Dot, we could now be in a large scale drawdown phase after the multiple, smaller MMD upside alerts. How long will the drawdown last? Ahh, that's where the "Mystery" comes in.

If all of this seems like incomprehensible rambling to you, that's mostly what it is. If, however, oil suddenly jumps to $100 or more, think about these echoes from the near future that were barely discernible from the $61 per barrel range. I'm putting these ramblings out there in case any of the black box programmers who read Cryptogon (and they do read Cryptogon) are getting similar signals and have anything to add.

The Strait of Hormuz: Previous Cryptogon Analysis Confirmed by U.S. General :.

In, The Strait of Hormuz: It's Not That Bad, It's Worse, I wrote:
The Iranian strategic military plan for engaging the United States must include crippling oil exports from the Persian Gulf. Iran is (probably) in a position to close the Strait of Hormuz, the most strategically important waterway in the world.


This is the good news.

The bad news is that Iran wouldn't have to sink a bunch of vessels in the Strait of Hormuz to bring the whole damn bigtop crashing down.

If the Strait of Hormuz is the most strategically important waterway in the world, what's the most strategically important facility in the world?

Ras Tanura:

As much as 80% of the near 9 million barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west.

If Iran manages to damage the deep water oil loading facility at Ras Tanura...

Well, I hope your bicycle is in good working order.
Today, the above, two-month-old Cryptogon analysis was confirmed by U.S. Four Star General John Abizaid:
Iran could trigger a global terrorist campaign and choke the West's oil supplies in the event of war with America, the top US commander in the region has warned.

In a rare public discussion of how a war with Iran might unfold, Gen John Abizaid, the chief of the US Central Command, gave a sobering assessment of Iran's military potential.

He warned that in a war Iran would rely on unconventional means to challenge America's superiority.

"Number one, they have naval capacity to temporarily block the Straits of Hormuz [the entrance into the Gulf] and interfere with global commerce if they should choose to do so," he said.

"Number two, they've got a substantial missile force that can do a lot of damage to our friends and partners in the region.
General Abizaid doesn't mention Ras Tanura in point number two, I wonder why? ;)


Cryptogon Reader Signs Up for Hosting with Blue Host!

Thanks to for signing up for webhosting with Blue Host via Cryptogon.

Cryptogon receives $65!

About Hosting with Blue Host via Cryptogon

I've been hosting Cryptogon on Blue Host for about a year and a half. I've been so impressed with the service that I personally started referring people to them. I know that five of these people went on to sign up for hosting.

Here's the bad news: I missed out on $65 EACH time one of these folks signed up for hosting with Blue Host.

Here's the good news: I'm now an affiliate, so now I will make $65 each time a Cryptogon reader/fan/supporter signs up for hosting with Blue Host.

I searched long and hard for a reliable and reasonably priced host for Cryptogon (after repeated disasters with other hosting companies). Check out Blue Host's features and reputation. You'll see why I went with them.

And I don't need to tell you about their reliability.

How often has Cryptogon been down over the past year? You, the Cryptogon reader, should know.

Exactly! It's never down. (Well, it may have been down once for about two hours, but I don't remember if that was their fault or mine... It was probably mine.)

So, if you're looking for the best hosting possible for a reasonable price AND you want to support Cryptogon, it's simple: Blue Host.

PLEASE NOTE: Sadly, there is some confusion about how I receive Blue Host referral payments.

IN ORDER FOR ME TO RECEIVE CREDIT, YOU MUST CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS TO BLUE HOST FROM CRYPTOGON.COM AND SIGN UP FROM THERE. If you just go to Blue Host, without clicking a link from Cryptogon, and sign up, I won't and can't get credit for it after the fact. So far, this has happened twice.

It's my fault for not making this explicitly clear in the first place. Sometimes, computer people, like me, assume things that shouldn't be assumed. This was one of those cases.

New Zealand: License Parents? :.

A high-powered expert group has proposed a kind of "parents' license test" which all parents would have to sit to keep care of their children and to receive child-related welfare benefits.

The proposed assessment, similar to a driver's license, would be administered when a baby was born and repeated when the child turned 1, 3, 5, 8, 11 and 14.

Parents found to have "risk factors" for child abuse, such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems or mental illness, would be offered help.

Judge Graeme MacCormick, a former Family Court judge who initiated the proposal, told a seminar in Auckland yesterday that parents who refused to accept help, or to be assessed, should have their child-related benefits suspended and possibly lose their children.

Related: New Zealand's Dark Secret


Military Coup in Thailand :.

Tanks and troops patrolled Bangkok early Wednesday after the chief of Thailand's army said the military was taking control of the country.

Police were closing stores and directing traffic off Bangkok streets, residents told CNN via e-mail, but no violence was reported.

The coup against the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is being led by Thai army chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin and Thailand's opposition Party of Democratic Reform. Thaksin is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

The coup plotters declared martial law and suspended the constitution of the Southeast Asian nation.

"The armed forces commander and the national police commander have successfully taken over Bangkok and the surrounding area in order to maintain peace and order. There has been no struggle," the coup announcement said, according to The Associated Press. "We ask for the cooperation of the public and ask your pardon for the inconvenience."


My connection to the Internet is ultimately provided by Thailand's Shin Corporation, over their Thaicom4/IPSTAR satellite. Since Thailand is now under martial law, anything could happen to this connection. If you notice no new posts for a few days, it probably means that I can't get online because of events related to the military coup in Thailand.

911 Mysteries: Demolitions :.

This is by far the best film I've seen on the WTC demolitions.

If the above site runs out of bandwidth, go with Google Video (while it lasts):

911 Mysteries - Demolitions (Part 1 of 3)

911 Mysteries - Demolitions (Part 2 of 3)

911 Mysteries - Demolitions (Part 3 of 3)

DARPA Contract: Learning Complex Human Processes After a Single Example :.

The U.S. Air Force seems to be taking the lead in terminator brain research at the moment. Keep the Experimental AI Powers Robot Army story in mind as you read this:

BBN Technologies, a leading advanced technology solutions firm, has been awarded $5.5 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the first phase of the Integrated Learning Program. Over the next four years BBN will develop an artificial intelligence capability called "Integrated Learner" that will learn plans or processes after being shown a single example. The total value of the effort, if all four years of the development program are completed, could be up to $24 million.

The goal of the project is to combine specialized domain knowledge with common sense knowledge to create a reasoning system that learns as well as a person and can be applied to a variety of complex tasks. Such a system will significantly expand the kinds of tasks that a computer can learn.

Under the contract, which is administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, BBN's first year research will focus on military medical logistics planning, specifically, a simulation that requires evacuating wounded military personnel and civilians from Fallujah, Iraq to hospitals in Germany and Kuwait. However, successful demonstration of this system will have implications beyond the ability to automate the medical evacuation planning process by providing the groundwork for automated systems capable of learning other tasks of similar complexity.

More: Read About BBN's History

Who were the private investors who bought BBN in March, 2004? That would be interesting to know.

Canadian Man Tortured by Mistake in "Breathtakingly Incompetent" Investigation :.

Canadian police wrongly identified an Ottawa software engineer as an Islamic extremist, prompting U.S. agents to deport him to Syria, where he was tortured, an official inquiry concluded on Monday.

Maher Arar, who holds Canadian and Syrian nationality, was arrested in New York in September 2002 and accused of being an al-Qaeda member. In fact, said the judge who led the probe, all the signs point to the fact Arar was innocent.

Arar, 36, says he was repeatedly tortured in the year he spent in Damascus jails, and the inquiry agreed that he had been tortured. He was freed in 2003.


UK: Mums Deliver Fast Food to Kids in School :.

The whole damn show has gone insane. The parents who are doing this are as deranged as the school administrators who are getting government "officials" involved! I'd imagine that this would be like watching a brawl in a nuthouse:

A group of mothers has started delivering fast food through a school's fence in protest at the campaign for healthier school meals.

The parents claim they are taking action because pupils are turning up their noses at what they describe as "overpriced, low-fat rubbish".

Four of them are using a supermarket trolley to make daily runs with fish and chips, pies, burgers, sandwiches and fizzy drinks from local takeaways.

Staff at Rawmarsh Comprehensive School, near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, have called in environmental health and education officials. They are looking into whether the women are allowed to sell food without an operating licence and whether they are covered by food hygiene regulations.

Jesus Camp Video Clip :.

I thank God, each and every day, that I've been fortunate enough to be able to leave the United States.

This clip reminds me of the Reevers in the Firefly series. Don't try to reason with them, don't try to fight them. Just run. Run for your life.

Alas, Jesus Freak Crusaders (known as God Botherers in New Zealand) are showing up at our door, even out here. I've discussed with our neighbors various strategies for dealing with them. When we've been accosted, I try to let our neighbors know that the Jesus Freaks are minutes away. Our friends up the road release Angel, their Rhodesian Ridgeback (dog breed from South Africa used to hunt lions). Angel isn't interested in hearing the gospel according to these crackpots.

We might have to start locking the gates to our properties. Becky considered a sign on our gate that read, "NO PROSELYTIZERS" right next to the one that says, "STRAY DOGS ON PROPERTY WILL BE SHOT" but her dad noted that, if challenged, the Jesus Freaks would say something like, "We're not Proselytizers, we're Jehovah's Witnesses." HAHAHAHA!

None of this is meant to say that secular feminism, the other side presented in the clip, is some sort of sane perspective, which is just big government and social engineering under a different name. The reactionary elements to "Christian" America are AS NUTS OR NUTTIER than the Jesus Freaks. They're also proselytizers and fascists, but fortunately or not, they're too stoned and disorganized to accomplish much. The Jesus Freaks "have God on their side," so that seems to be a better motivator than the empty materialism and vanity whims of urban liberals. Given these choices, I pick neither.

Have a nice day, America.

Schneier: Renew Your Passport Now :.

If you have a passport, now is the time to renew it -- even if it's not set to expire anytime soon. If you don't have a passport and think you might need one, now is the time to get it. In many countries, including the United States, passports will soon be equipped with RFID chips. And you don't want one of these chips in your passport.

RFID stands for "radio-frequency identification." Passports with RFID chips store an electronic copy of the passport information: your name, a digitized picture, etc. And in the future, the chip might store fingerprints or digital visas from various countries.

By itself, this is no problem. But RFID chips don't have to be plugged in to a reader to operate. Like the chips used for automatic toll collection on roads or automatic fare collection on subways, these chips operate via proximity. The risk to you is the possibility of surreptitious access: Your passport information might be read without your knowledge or consent by a government trying to track your movements, a criminal trying to steal your identity or someone just curious about your citizenship.

At first the State Department belittled those risks, but in response to criticism from experts it has implemented some security features. Passports will come with a shielded cover, making it much harder to read the chip when the passport is closed. And there are now access-control and encryption mechanisms, making it much harder for an unauthorized reader to collect, understand and alter the data.

Although those measures help, they don't go far enough. The shielding does no good when the passport is open. Travel abroad and you'll notice how often you have to show your passport: at hotels, banks, Internet cafes. Anyone intent on harvesting passport data could set up a reader at one of those places. And although the State Department insists that the chip can be read only by a reader that is inches away, the chips have been read from many feet away.

The other security mechanisms are also vulnerable, and several security researchers have already discovered flaws. One found that he could identify individual chips via unique characteristics of the radio transmissions. Another successfully cloned a chip. The State Department called this a "meaningless stunt," pointing out that the researcher could not read or change the data. But the researcher spent only two weeks trying; the security of your passport has to be strong enough to last 10 years.

Weird Alternative Energy Idea

Our property gets a fair amount of wind, but it comes in gusts and swirls around in different directions because of the rolling topography and many tall trees. In short, this makes our site less than ideal for traditional wind power.

But when the wind blows, I still think of getting electricity from it.

Is there an outside-of-the-box-way of harnessing all this power?

For a few weeks, I've been thinking that I needed the equivalent of a full wave rectifier for the wind.

As I was doing the dishes yesterday, I looked out the window at a tall eucalyptus tree. I noticed that the wind was causing the top portion of the tree to sway back and forth, like a large metronome.

"Add a rope to the top of that and there's my rectifier."

Stay with me...

The other night, our power went out [again---welcome to the Far North of New Zealand]. I grabbed my trusty LED shake light, gave it a few shakes and turned it on. The generator in this flashlight is small, but it's the idea that counts. Why don't we use it more often to increase our independence from criminal energy corporations?

Here it is: Tie a long rope to the top of that tall eucalyptus tree. From the rope, suspend a big permanent magnet. Surround the magnet with a big, stationary copper coil. Arrange the thing so that when the top of the tree oscillates in the wind, the magnet moves up and down through the coil.

On the one hand, it seemed like a new and weird generator idea, but on the other hand, it seemed like deja vu... It took me a minute to remember where I'd seen this before. While I was spacing out, looking at that tree blowing in the wind, an echo of a story I'd read long ago must have somehow registered: permanent magnet linear generator buoy.

This idea of mine is a land based permanent magnet linear generator. Instead of the rising and falling swell of the ocean, the massive, swaying tree would drive the generator. In the above article, flip the diagram upside down and tie the mooring cable to the top of one of my hundred foot tall trees. Here's a 1 minute hack job visual aid:

Now, how much juice would, say, a 100 pound magnet, moving through, say, 200 pounds of copper coil generate? A lot, is my guess.

Maybe it would be better to use a mechanism like a free wheel from an old bicycle to crank a generator rotor. That would only work on the "recoil" phase of the tree... unless you had two generators... Hmm.

I don't know the answer to questions like these. I read spy novels during my highschool physics class. I wish I'd paid more attention now.

If you build one of these, please let me know how it goes.


What Are Cryptogon Readers Ordering from Amazon? :.

As usual, Cryptogon readers are selecting some pretty interesting goods on Amazon. Thanks to everyone who remembers to order their stuff via Cryptogon!

Virginia Teen Improving on Alternative Therapy :.

A Virginia teenage cancer patient appears to be improving less than a month after he won a court fight to forgo chemotherapy and seek alternative treatments, his doctor said Friday.

"His tumor is shrinking very nicely and he's gaining energy and stamina," said Dr. Arnold Smith, medical director and radiation oncologist at the North Central Mississippi Regional Cancer Center in Greenwood.

Research Credit: EG

Surveillance Cameras Now Bark Orders at Brits :.

Big Brother is not only watching you - now he's barking orders too. Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts - from dropping litter to late-night brawls - to send out a verbal warning: 'We are watching you'.


9/11 Toxic Dust Whistleblower Raided By SWAT Team :.

And then it was too late...

A 9/11 toxic dust whistleblower, a ground zero hero and one of the individuals influential in the release of documents proving a government cover-up that deliberately put police, firemen and rescue personel at risk, has been raided by a New York SWAT team - who ransacked his home for three hours after he was arrested.

GetHydroPower Reports Nearly 2x Highway Mileage Boost :.

Not only is the product available for sale now, they offer a money back guarantee if you're not satisfied with it.

It would be cool if someone made a bed cover for that pickup out of solar panels. You could easily get another 400-500 watts off that space in full sun, which would lower the load on the ICE system.

Wait a minute... I was thinking more about that solar panel idea and started wondering how much power the Gorilla unit draws. The site says:
The unit draws 60 amps at initial startup until the unit has been "charged" Once charged, the unit draws roughly 15 amps.
Assuming a 12volt system in the vehicle:

Amps x Volts = Watts

60 x 12 = 720 watts to "charge" the thing, probably the initial juice needed to jump the gap

15 x 12 = 180 watts to keep it running (pulse frequency, guys?)

180 watts... Hmm.

Wait a minute... Wait a minute... I knew this sounded familiar. It's a bingo fuel cell! I hope these guys tip Mr. Naudin a buck or two for his work.

In any event, it's funny how the Ford's computer fought the adjustment of the fuel ratio for 300 miles before yielding the gains:

Gorilla Development LLC has announced the results of their recent testing of their newest hydrogen boost system, which produced a 1.41fold increase in city mileage, and a 1.9-fold increase in highway driving in a test vehicle.


Note that a car's internal computer requires a "breaking-in" period to adjust to the input from "The Gorilla" Electrolzer. The computer in the Ford rebelled for about 300 miles before it began accepting the new ratios. Until then, due to the inappropriate compensations made by the vehicle's internal computer, the potential fuel improvements were not being fully realized. Other vehicle types are much faster in their response time to fuel-economy add-ons. Thus anyone testing a vehicle with an added Electolyzer should exercise patience until the car's computer settles into the new fuel/air ratios. Sometimes, merely disconnecting the battery for a few minutes can reset the vehicle's computer giving it a fresh start with the new ratios.


Laptops May Be Subject to Seizure After Overseas Trips :.

They hate us for our freedom! And God help you if you encrypt your data! I wonder what would happen if the goon squad ran up against a 4096 bit setback on their tour of your system... and you refused to provide the passphrase?

"That's fine, Mr. Smith, we have procedures in place to handle situations like this. You will now be escorted by these men (wearing ninja outfits and holding machine guns) to an extraordinary rendition center in an undisclosed location. Have a nice flight."

In U.S. v. Romm, No. 04-10648, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit ruled that customs officials can seize and search the contents of anyone's laptop computer, even in the absence of a search warrant or probable cause.

Some attorneys say the ruling goes too far, invading the privacy of anyone who crosses into the United States. And the ruling may pose special problems for attorneys who need to keep client information confidential when they go on business trips overseas.

"What's dangerous about this opinion is that it pushes the line for searches along the border very far toward one end of the constitutional spectrum," says Shaun Martin, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. "It is one thing to turn on your computer in the airport to make sure it is not a bomb. It is another thing for customs officials to turn on your computer and to read everything you ever wrote and to look at everything you ever downloaded."

Aussie Bible Piss Take a Best Seller :.

I'd probably choose The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster for my religious piss take needs, but suit yourself. Both the Strine Bible and the Gospel of the FSM are written by devout believers in 'Him':

The 90-page phenomenon was promoted as a "ripping yarn about Jesus of Nazareth" in which Mary was "a pretty special sheila," Jesus was "God's toddler," and the Three Wise Men were "eggheads from out east."

Not everyone is happy with the sometimes irreverent, always entertaining, rendering of the Gospel into the vernacular known as Strine, supposedly the sound Aussies make when they say "Australian." The Bible Society of New South Wales, which publishes the series, has received about 30 letters of complaint, including some hate mail.

Undeterred, devout Christian and author Kel Richards released his second volume called "More Aussie Bible" at a sausage sizzle (barbecue) outside a Sydney cathedral this month. For Mr. Richards and his publisher, the two vernacular volumes are an attempt at swelling the ranks of the faithful in a country where only 9 percent of people attend church regularly.

"I think the appeal is that it brings back the force of the original language in which the Bible was written," says Daniel Willis, chief executive officer of the Bible Society. "Plus, it's an easy read; you don't need a tertiary education to understand it."

Research Credit: SA

Top Professors and Leading Scientists: 9/11 Was a U.S. Government Operation :.

The mainstreaming of the-official-9/11-story-as-fraud can go a couple of different ways.

America's collective cognitive dissonance engine will draw some people closer to the official myth---no matter how ridiculous. Or, as with trauma victims, some may experience a sort of split, where different aspects of the persona are compartmentalized and exist in different realities from the one in which the trauma occurred. Sports, gadgets, drugs, sex, television and video games are popular vectors. If the reality of the trauma starts to seep out into waking consciousness, the individual will delve deeper into one or more of their other realities, and/or create new ones.

If all the news networks were to show Cheney himself at the controls, so to speak, of 9/11, most people would flip the channel, looking for American Idol or sports scores or some other pizzle. Get stoned. Play X-Box. Pass out. Whatever.

The alternatives are too horrible and frightening to even consider:

The 9/11 terrorist attack on America which left almost 3,000 people dead was an "inside job", according to a group of leading academics.

Around 75 top professors and leading scientists believe the attacks were puppeteered by war mongers in the White House to justify the invasion and the occupation of oil-rich Arab countries.

The claims have caused outrage and anger in the US which marks the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Monday.

But leading scientists say the facts of their investigations cannot be ignored and say they have evidence that points to one of the biggest conspiracies ever perpetrated.

Professor Steven Jones, who lectures in physics at the Brigham Young University in Utah, says the official version of events is the biggest and most evil cover up in history.

He has joined the 9/11 Scholars for Truth whose membership includes up to 75 leading scientists and experts from universities across the US.

20% of U.S. Rice Contaminated with Illegal GM Strain :.

Clear and present danger:

Up to one fifth of rice entering the EU is contaminated with an illegal genetically modified (GM) strain from the US. Those are the findings of the European Commission's own investigation into EU rice imports, following the admission in August by the US government that untested strains of GM rice had entered the food chain.

If that wasn't alarming enough, our own research has shown this rice has made its way into products available in German supermarkets. Coming just one week after we revealed how Chinese products containing another illegal and untested GM rice variety were available on supermarket shelves in the UK and Europe, these results illustrate the inability of the GM industry to control its own technologies.

Baghdad to be Ringed with Trenches :.

The U.S. military, with all of its otherworldly capabilities, is resorting to medieval siege tactics against one of the largest cities in the Persian Gulf region?!

What's next? Hot oil and petards?

Iraq said it will ring Baghdad with trenches in a bid to restrict movements of insurgents, as more than 100 people were reported killed in sectarian attacks in the past three days.

The US military, meanwhile, announced that one of its soldiers had gone missing after two others were killed in a deadly suicide car bomb attack on Thursday that also wounded 30.

The new security measures were spelled out Friday by Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf.

"We will surround the city with trenches," Khalaf told AFP. "The entry to the capital will be permitted through 28 roads as against 21 at the moment, but at the same time we will seal off dozens of other minor roads with access to Baghdad."

He said checkpoints will be set up on the 28 roads on which access will be allowed.

Another top security official told AFP that the plan was to "monitor who is coming into Baghdad and who is going out.

"This way we will have a better control of movements, including those of insurgents."

Baghdad has a circumference of 80 kilometres (50 miles) and observers noted that an operation of this scale would take months to complete.


Schwarzenegger Gone Wild :.

Must see.

Al Qaeda Doesn't Exist :.

This is a clip from the excellent three-part BBC documentary "The Power of Nightmares".


Google Hires Most Evil Perception Management Firm on Planet :.

Google won't allow me to run paid Adwords ads for Cryptogon AND they disabled my Adsense account without warning after the thing was up to about $80. This has happened to thousands of sites.

Maybe they'll break the free search widget at some point as well. Or screw with my Blogger account, like they did with Jeff Wells. Who knows...

The 'Don't be evil' search engine company has hired the infamous astroturfing and dirty tricks firm Direct Connect, Inc.

Related: Creepy Google Recruitment Video <--- The onsite laundry machines, 24hour cafes, deoderant sticks and day care center are all nice touches. Just don't drink the KoolAid!

Experimental AI Powers Robot Army :.

"Rise of the Machines" is one of my favorite scenarios. It demonstrates human behavior at the maximum-dumb end of the chart. Civilization probably (and hopefully won't) last long enough to build fieldable armies of killer robots, but that's not stopping the U.S. military from trying. Each year, more robots kill more people in "combat", but it's just at boneheaded levels now. It's remote control, video game style killing.

Autonomous mode killing is what They want. They want the robot to search for the target (as specified by Cheney, et al), ID the target and kill it, all on its own. My gut feeling is that it won't be a purely software based innovation that gives them a Skynet-type solution. The thing that will probably do it will involve living brain tissue at some level, like with the rat brain hooked up to the flight simulator.

I like the part about the robot swarm sacrificing one of its own to create a distraction in order to achieve the objective. Maybe the software watched CNN and learned tactics from the Iraqi insurgency...

Laugh now. You probably won't be laughing later:

Perhaps the most impressive -- and spookiest -- aspect of the project is the swarming behavior of the robots. In computer simulations, they acted together to tackle obstacles and grouped together into defensive formations where needed, Thaler said. They also worked out how to deal with defenders, and spontaneously devised the most efficient strategy for mapping their environment, he added.

"This approach has less chance of getting stuck than any other" when dealing with unpredictable obstacles, according to Lloyd Reshard, a senior electronics engineer at AFRL.

Thaler declined to describe his results in detail, but said his system has produced unspecified "humanlike capabilities."

"I can relate the results of virtual-reality simulations, where swarms of Creativity Machine-based robots have deliberatively sacrificed one of their kind to distract a human guard, enabling the remainder to infiltrate a mock facility," he said.

Research Credit: JL

Solar Powered White 208 LED String Lights :.

Man... This would just about do the trick:

Finally, Solar-Powered Stringlights! Our amazing solar panel includes a heavy-duty rechargeable 6V battery sufficient to power this 54ft long strand of 208 white LEDs. Two full days of direct sunlight is what you need to get started. Then each day of sun gives you a night of light. No worry about where an electrical outlet is located- these lights work wherever the sun shines. Perfect for remote outdoor locations. Place the solar panel in a sunny location, and wrap the string of lights around that backyard tree or fence [or our living room and kitchen]. Place in full sun to charge the battery in daytime. Auto-on at night.

Tony Blair Represents a Clear and Present Danger to Britain :.

From the creature who licks the toes of American billionaires with glee:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a withering attack on Thursday on what he called "mad anti-Americanism" among European politicians.

Blair, U.S. President George W. Bush's closest ally in the so-called war on terror, said the world urgently needs the United States to help tackle the globe's most pressing problems.

"The danger is if they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved," Blair said, spelling out his political vision in a pamphlet published by The Foreign Policy Center think-tank.

"The strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in," he said.

Cryptogon Reader Contributes $30

TM, a longtime Cryptogon reader and first time contributor, sent $30 and wrote:
Hi Kevin,
I've been reading the site forever, and it was about time to help out. I was waiting for your farmstead site to start up. I wasn't withholding the money for that, but it did finally get me on my butt and PayPal-ing the way I should. Keep up the great work.
Thanks so much, TM!

DHS Releases Cyber Storm Report :.

Four years ago, I wrote an essay called, Cyberwar: How Terrorists Could Defeat the U.S., and Why They Won't. It's an informal summary of what I learned back in the mid 1990s, when I researched information warfare in college. If you cut through all the BS wonk-speak, the bottom line is that a kill shot could be delivered to the U.S. economy by rudimentary physical attacks on critical infrastructures.

The Department of Homeland Security, after running a massive simulation on such an attack, pretty much confirmed my analysis. I say pretty much, because they don't explicitly call it a kill shot. They dress it up with a lot of stuff that makes the still warm cow sh*t I put on my garden beds smell like perfume.

In any event, it sounds like the scenario that DHS gamed was more or less similar to the one I laid out in the "Possible Terrorist Scenario" section of my essay.

So, I'll keep asking the question: If the U.S. could be taken down with shovels, hatchets and bolt cutters, why haven't "the terrorists" done it?


I'll take it a bit further: Now that They're gaming this scenario with the actual PHBs from the companies, it might mean that They ARE planning to take it down, mostly to obscure the real financial crimes that have already been carried out, and want to get it right. It'll be a slight of hand trick, when the economy is about the splatter against the wall, and people might start wondering what happened, and who ripped them off... The fiber will go dark. The datacenters will write zeros to the disks. The tape backups will go up in flames.

What happened to all the evidence of financial crimes? "Oh, uh, Your Honor, the terrorists destroyed it when they took out the Internet. There was a lot of confusion, uh, Your Honor." It'll be the next best thing since, "My dog ate my homework."

The exercise simulated a large-scale cyber campaign that disrupts multiple critical infrastructure, as well as simulated "physical demonstrations and disturbances" to test the ability of government to respond to multiple incidents simultaneously, even when its not clear that the events are related (read: 9/11).

So how'd our government do? Not so well.

Related: NSA Risking Electrical Overload: "The Terrorists" and Sustainable Fascism

NASA: Arctic Ice Melting Rapidly :.

Somehow, this article doesn't mention the methane bomb, but keep that in mind as you read this:

Scientists have long worried about melting Arcticsea ice in the summer, but they had not seen a big winter drop in sea ice, even though they expected it.


For more than 25 years Arctic sea ice has slowly diminished in winter by about 1.5 percent per decade. But in the past two years the melting has occurred at rates 10 to 15 times faster. From 2004 to 2005, the amount of ice dropped 2.3 percent; and over the past year, it's declined by another 1.9 percent, according to Comiso.

A second NASA study by other researchers found the winter sea ice melt in one region of the eastern Arctic has shrunk about 40 percent in just the past two years. This is partly because of local weather but also partly because of global warming, Comiso said.

The loss of winter ice is bad news for the ocean because this type of ice, when it melts in summer, provides a crucial breeding ground for plankton, Comiso said. Plankton are the bottom rung of the ocean's food chain.

"If the winter ice melt continues, the effect would be very profound especially for marine mammals," Comiso said in a NASA telephone press conference.

The ice is melting even in subfreezing winter temperatures because the water is warmer and summer ice covers less area and is shorter-lived, Comiso said. Thus, the winter ice season shortens every year and warmer water melts at the edges of the winter ice more every year.

Scientists and climate models have long predicted a drop in winter sea ice, but it has been slow to happen. Global warming skeptics have pointed to the lack of ice melt as a flaw in global warming theory.

The latest findings are "coming more in line with what we expected to find," said Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. "We're starting to see a much more coherent and firm picture occurring."

"I hate to say we told you so, but we told you so," he added.


Vogue Italia September 2006: Fashion Police State :.

They're just F-ing with us at this stage:

Research Credit:

China Replaces U.S. As World's Largest Exporter :.

During the first six months of this year, China surpassed the United States as being the world's largest exporter. Only five years ago, the United States exported more than double the amount of China. During the first half of 2006, Chinese exports of manufactured goods reached $404 billion compared to $367 billion in exports by the United States.

"This dramatic reversal, together with the increasingly high-tech orientation of Chinese exports, poses a serious challenge to U.S. export competitiveness and long-standing leadership in technological innovation," writes Preeg.

The composition of Chinese exports is undergoing a "structural shift" away from labor-intensive products to high tech and value-added goods. Chinese exports of textiles and apparel declined to 14.6 percent of total exports during the first half of 2006.

Air Force Chief: Test Directed Energy Weapons on U.S. Citizens :.

Wave your signs. That'll accomplish plenty!

Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

More: Cryptogon Reader Suggestion

I can see it now, the flower children cowering behind tinfoil peace signs. I sometimes wonder what the protest industrial complex would do without the military industrial complex?

DC writes:
The funny thing about directed energy is that it can be directed back. If you make the signs out of folded up cardboard square boxes lined with tinfoil, then unfold them and direct the open side at the microwave source, you create a retroreflector which sends the energy back at them. Imagine a bicycle reflector when your headlights shine on it- multiplied by a thousand people. (there's a little more to the box shape cutting, but it's simply making a cone out of the corners of the boxes)

Go ahead, wave the signs.....
Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Lebanon Bathed in Cluster Bombs :.

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.


The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.

Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that there are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To date 12 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the war.

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the inaccuracy of the rockets and the inability to strike individual targets precisely, units would "flood" the battlefield with munitions, accounting for the littered and explosive landscape of post-war Lebanon.

Research Credit: RB


Cryptogon Reader Contributes $50

MO started sending quarterly $50 contributions to Cryptogon back in January of 2003!!! Thanks, MO, for providing such generous support for all of these years.

He just let me know that he's working on a software package that I think you guys would find VERY interesting. It's in the early stages of development, but stay tuned. I'll let you know more when MO is satisfied with the status of the project, and ready for folks to give it a try.

Blair: Public Still Does not See Danger of Islamic Extremism :.

Over four years ago, in Is Europe Due for a Pearl Harbor Style Event?, I wrote:
The U.S. has to get Europe on board. Britain is poised to be America's primary ally. The European public, however, is having the same reluctance to getting involved with America's War on Terror as Americans had to getting involved with World War II. Remember the event that changed American public opinion about World War II? Pearl Harbor.

In my opinion, Europe is about to suffer a Pearl Harbor style event that will affect pan European public opinion toward support of the U.S. led War on Terror; a war that is actually a crusade to secure control of the petroleum and mineral deposits of Central Asia and the Middle East. For months, I thought London would be a target, simply because Britain is the America's closest ally. Such an attack would silence the loud opposition to the war emerging out of Europe, and make imperial partners out of the U.S. and Britain.
The Madrid bombings not only didn't accomplish the desired PSYOP objective, they backfired horribly. The London attacks didn't do the trick, either.

Keeping my four-year-old comments in mind, note the following from Tony Blair:
Amongst the people in Europe and Western opinion there is a big battle to be won... And I think there is a desire not to face the fact that we are fighting a global struggle. There are all sorts of issues to do with America and whether people want to be associated with America. And I think there is sometimes a naivete about organizations like Hezbollah and the activities of Iran. I'm just being frank. I think there is a battle, and it is important that we take our case out and win that battle.
Now, I wonder what type of event would sort out all those pesky issues to do with America and whether people want to be associated with America?

Hmmm, Tony?

What's it's going to be, mate?

Related: Tony Blair on Playing by the Rules Launched! :.

It's Spring in New Zealand and Becky and I have been very busy. Over the last several days, in addition to preparing our garden beds, we've been building a new website to document the work we're doing on our farm:

Cryptogon has documented the problems for years. Farmlet, we hope, will provide our vision of the solutions.

Additionally, several generous Cryptogon readers sent contributions, or purchased advertising, starting from the beginning of September.

Direct contributions came from:

AB $50
EP $27.77
Anonymous $30

Cryptogon advertisers: $50 $28.50

The size of the group of people who support Cryptogon, month to month, is so small---a handful of individuals really---but their generosity is almost beyond belief. Thank you all so very much.

And I don't know who's doing all the shopping at Amazon, but you guys are going absolutely insane on there! Thank you for choosing to order your stuff via Cryptogon. It's all adding up.

Now, you might be wondering what Becky and I have done with your money... Have a look! Moooooooooo!!!


Journalists Fired for Taking Money to Write U.S. Government Propaganda :.

Certain appearances need to be maintained, after all.

In other news, CNN's star anchor had a fondness for CIA summercamp:

Ten South Florida journalists, including three with The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, received thousands of dollars from the federal government for their work on radio and TV programming aimed at undermining Fidel Castro's communist regime, the Herald reported Friday.

Robotic Frisbees of Death :.

It ain't easy, picking out evil-doers in the urban canyons of the Middle East; there are so many places to hide. Taking 'em out can be even harder, what with all those noncombatants hanging nearby. But the Air Force thinks it might have an answer to this most vexing problem in counter-insurgency: frisbees.

Not just any frisbees, mind you. Robotic frisbees. Heavily armed robotic frisbees.

Adbrite Advertising on Cryptogon

Thanks to for purchasing a month of full-time advertising on Cryptogon!

Do you want to promote your blog, product or service to the Cryptogon community of readers through advertising? Two of the three full time Adbrite slots at the top of Cryptogon are still available. The price is based on demand. Just click the "Your Ad Here" link at the top to get started.


Lonelygirl15: The Web as PSYOP Payload Delivery Platform :.

I like the Aleister Crowley references. Nice touch:

Lonelygirl15 appears to be an innocent, home-schooled 16-year-old, pouring her heart out for her video camera in the privacy of her bedroom. But since May, her brief posts on the video-sharing site YouTube and the social networking hub MySpace have launched a Web mystery eagerly followed by her million-plus viewers: Who is this sheltered ingenue who calls herself "Bree," and is she in some sort of danger - or, worse, the tool of some giant marketing machine?

No one has publicly come forward to lay claim to her work, but she is starting to look as connected in Hollywood as any starlet. Three lonelygirl15-obsessed amateur Web sleuths set up a sting using tracking software that appears to show that e-mails sent from a lonelygirl15 account came from inside the offices of the Beverly Hills-based talent agency Creative Artists Agency.


Fans soon started to notice jarring details. A music clip from an undiscovered L.A. band was mixed in to her well-edited montage sequences. Her room was movie-set neat. Above her bookshelf hung a photo of famed occultist Aleister Crowley.

After Being Outed:

The team behind the lonelygirl15 YouTube mystery has come forward, claiming that lonelygirl15 is part of their "show" and thanking their fans effusively for tuning in to "the birth of a new art form." They are not, they insisted, "a big corporation."

After amateur sleuths uncovered apparent links between the Creative Artists Agency and the official lonelygirl15 MySpace page, a statement claiming to be from "The Creators" was posted on the lonelygirl15 website late Thursday. It read in part:

"Our intention from the outset has been to tell a story - A story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the Internet. A story that is interactive and constantly evolving with the audience."


Gulf of Mexico Oil Discovery :.

I love it. One press release and tonight we're going to party like it's 1999! HAHAHA


The problem is that as big as Chervon's discovery may be, it's minuscule compared with a Middle Eastern field. And it cannot begin to meet Americans' seemingly insatiable appetite for oil. When the deepwater well comes online by 2012, the United States will still have to import more than half of its oil.

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming: Life After the Oil Crash

Untested GM Rice Found in Food :.

Traces of genetically modified rice from China have been found in products on sale in the UK, green groups claimed today.

Three packets of noodles bought from two stores tested positive for genetically modified content, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace said.

The campaign groups warn that experimental GM rice has not been cleared for human consumption and could spark allergic reactions.

Researchers found traces of insect-resistant rice in two brands of vermicelli and one packet of rice sticks brought from two stores in London's Chinatown.

They were tested at an unnamed laboratory in Germany, where they showed positive for GM content, along with other rice products bought in France and Germany.

The green groups blame the contamination on Chinese field trials of GM crops not currently approved for commercial growing.

Median Incomes Dropping :.

Here's a handy map showing how far median incomes have dropped over the past six years.


All 'News' All the Time: Anderson Cooper's CIA Internship :.

I suppose it's just easier to have a spook news reader than .mil PSYOP officers in the CNN studio:

Following his sophomore and junior years at Yale---a well-known recruiting ground for the CIA---Cooper spent his summers interning at the agency's monolithic headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in a program for students interested in intelligence work. His involvement with the agency ended there, and he chose not to pursue a job with the agency after graduation, according to a CNN spokeswoman, who confirmed details of Cooper's CIA involvement to Radar.


The Jet Set's Shopping List Unmasked :.

They got the 'unmasked' part right. No mention, however, of capes, wings or horns...

Now, get back to work! Your owner needs a new jet and another Rolex watch:

How do the very wealthy spend their money? You may not want to know.

Related: George Carlin - Who Really Controls America


Cover of Business Week: How Toxic Is Your Mortgage? :.

The option ARM is "like the neutron bomb," says George McCarthy, a housing economist at New York's Ford Foundation. "It's going to kill all the people but leave the houses standing."

This Business Week article is pretty good, but I feel the need to take you much deeper down the rabbit hole. Try to get comfortable, it's not going to be pleasant.

I used to work for one of the oldest and largest financial services companies in the world. But you wouldn't have known it from looking at the sign on the outside of the building. You see, the firm kept its name out of public view when it came to this business: the sub prime mortgage lending racket.


This Wall Street firm, spoken about in hushed tones around country clubs and cocktail parties, DOES NOT want to have its name associated with the financial services equivalent of a chop shop or a whore house. Oh no. It just wants the money associated with this despicable operation, and none of the press. Questions in the media about the propriety of these activities might cause discomfort for investors. Certain public appearances need to be maintained, after all.

This firm premeditated the exit from the crash unfolding before our eyes, both legally and in terms of public relations, years in advance.

Here's what it did.

The firm's strategy was to acquire fly-by-night companies who were dealing in these dodgy (sub-prime) loans and making impossible to imagine amounts of money at it. The outward public appearances of these acquired companies did not change. Some of the fly-by-night, fast-and-loose, make-it-up-as-you-go and illegal activities were transformed into probably-no-jail-time best-practices. The CFO had a habit of putting me on hold without muting the headset. He always seemed to be talking about "scratch and dent deals" with someone else in his office. "Oh sh*t. They're not going to like this. *rhetorical chuckle* What's a few million dollars between friends..."

The Them.

Behind the scenes, however, executives who weren't decapitated on the spot as part of the acquisitions, started taking orders from Them, if you know what I mean. Entirely new computer networks were built that linked the systems of these up-start, sub-prime lending corporations that---if you're fortunate---you've never heard of, to what we called "The Mother Ship" in New York, a firm that just about anyone with a net worth of a million dollars or more would probably recognize.

I was present at one of these 3am infrastructure sessions (getting paid double time), in a machine room with servers stacked floor to ceiling, cooling fans screaming, and black coffee going down by the pot full. We were taking orders from the "global ops center" in New York. The blinking lights on the "big-iron" Cisco routers indicated that roughly US$5 billion in funny money was going to move between the red-headed stepchild operation I worked for and the polished halls of The Mother Ship each month.

US$5 billion per month.

This was just one tiny, fly-fart aspect of just one division of this diabolical corporation. And I was told it was chump change for them, and that it would be cut loose at the drop of a hat, if necessary, should any undue attention start coming their way.

A manager told me something like, "It's not worth the bad PR for them. They'll rake it in for as long as things can be kept quiet. But they won't tolerate any heat in the press."

I noticed that the scam seemed very similar to the way the CIA runs cut outs. Except with this, the firm was only concerned with its public image; it's no secret who owns whom in this game, if you know where to look, and everything had been done according to federal regulations that this firm probably wrote, so it's not a question of legal or illegal. When it comes time to shut down offices and roll up the operations, they want it to go smoothly. And if Joe and Jane Six pack start to wonder who actually sold them their dodgy loan, it won't be immediately apparent. And, if Joe and Jane Six pack read the fine print, they will find that they screwed themselves by signing on the dotted line anyway. When the press interviews these people, they will talk about how "Bob's-Dodgy-Loans-While-You-Wait" screwed them over, and how they didn't know, this, that and the other thing, etc...

But to where do all the fiber paths lead?

"Bob's-Dodgy-Loans-While-You-Wait" was just being used by the firm as insulation from the inevitable bad press, that is now emerging. "Bob's-Dodgy-Loans-While-You-Wait" will be shut down and forgotten after a few days or weeks. Joe and Jane Six Pack will get their clocks cleaned, as usual. They won't even know who was really behind it all. By this time, the Mother Ship will have found other front companies to hide behind and new victims to grind into cash.

The front company I worked for actually changed names twice over the course of a year. Both of them were owned by the firm. The old domain now forwards to some backwater page on the new company's domain that displays a date that is off by a couple of years. Of course, the parent firm is nowhere to be seen!

US$5 billion per month... You'd think they could get the webserver to display the right date. Nope. Too busy generating funny money.

I went through several rounds of layoffs at this place. There would be moments of tension in the office and then these guys wearing black suits, diamond pinky rings and Bluetooth headsets would start walking around. Their ties were cinched up so tightly that the rolls of lard in the necks spilled over onto their collars. These were the goons sent by the Mother Ship to escort terminated employees out of the building.

"What the f*ck is this?" I asked my boss, "The set of Good Fellas 2?"

HAHAHA, he thought that was funny.

(None of this pissed me off, of course. I'd seen it all before. I knew what I was getting myself into when I accepted this contract. My wife and I needed land and we were going to get it. If I had to crawl through a dark, slimy sewer pipe to get it, like the guy in Shawshank Redemption, that's what had to be done. If they axed me, I'd just sell myself to some other piece of sh*t outfit until we had enough money to pay off our land. "Play to win," was my mantra though it all. Somehow, though, the axe didn't fall. Month in and month out, I kept showing up, and saving money. But enough about me.)

The firm externalized the financial risks of being in this business by selling all of the paper they generated into the secondary mortgage market at the end of every month. This is an institutional marketplace that trades in commoditized mortgages, "debt paper." In other words, at the end of each month, the firm had none of the impossible-to-payback-negative-amoritization-no-money-down loans on their books!

I handled some issues for the secondary marketing department, even, would you believe, for the person who pulled the trigger on these paper dumps at the end of the month.

"Who buys this stuff?" I asked.

"Oh lots and lots of people. Well, banks and insurance companies mostly. [Large European Bank name deleted] buys a lot of it."

I wonder if [Large European Bank name deleted] knew what I knew or cared about how those loans were generated. (Of course, they knew and didn't care. They'll sell this toilet paper debt to some other sucker down the line.)

See, I also handled issues for the used-car-salesman-type 'account executives'. Just before I left, the company switched loan origination systems. The people writing these loans were pissed because they were no longer able to get loans approved for people with fraudulent social security numbers. They would actually complain because the system was telling them that the would-be borrower was using a false/fake/invalid SSN.

"The old system never gave me these problems. How am I supposed to get any work done?! I hate this new system."

But wait, there's more.

As part of my daily duties, I had to take remote control of the systems that these donkeys were using. Occasionally, (a couple of times per day, at least) I would see the credit summary screens for the loan applicants. The highest credit score I ever saw was something like 615. The lowest was 520. Sprinkled with bankruptcies, unpaid credit cards, default this, late that.

Every once in a while, I'd chuckle and ask the person on the phone, "And this guy can buy a $400,000 house with no money down!?"

Absolutely God damned right!

That's what this company did. All day. Monday through Friday.

Things started to get interesting when They sent a memo to all employees on what to say to anyone who presented themselves as auditors or investigators. We were to refer them to some flunkie.

I thought, "Oh goodie, we're going to get raided by a three-letter agency and guys wearing guns and blue wind-breakers are going to wheel the servers out on dollies! PHBs are going to be handcuffed and frog marched into a waiting paddy wagon!"

Sadly, that didn't happen. For me, the icing on the cake moment happened when the firm started offering these criminal loans to their own employees, and at deep discounts, to pad the numbers as business started to slow down! The memo actually said that because we were such valued employees---actually, I wasn't an employee, my title was IT-Outsourced-On-Site---we wouldn't be charged any "junk fees" associated with the origination of the loan.

WOW! No junk fees! Thank you, Master! Thank you, Master!

"Just keep cool," I told myself, "Just keep cool. You're almost out of here."

I smiled, silently farted and answered the next phone call, "This is Kevin, how may I help you?"

A Note to Survivors: To those of you who are out, a tip-of-the-hat and a well-done to you. Now, what are you going to do with the cash? Please see my piece on Investing Very Close to Home.

Research Credit: Housing Panic

Genetically Engineered Grass Found in Wild :.

Play Russian roulette long enough and you know what will happen:

Grass that was genetically engineered for golf courses is growing in the wild, posing one of the first threats of agricultural biotechnology escaping from the farm in the United States, a new study says.

Creeping bentgrass was engineered to resist the popular herbicide Roundup to allow more efficient weed control on golf courses. But the modified grass could spread that resistance to the wild, becoming a nuisance itself, scientists say.

Related: Near Biological Apocalypse: Genetically Engineered Klebsiella

Bahco 396-HP Folding Saw :.

Quality hand tools NOT MADE IN CHINA!!! That's right. I saw this Bahco 396-HP Folding Saw in a store here in New Zealand. The tool is made in Sweden; believe it or not.

I bought it.

This thing is great for heavy-duty, hand-powered pruning jobs; take out saplings too. It's tough and built to last. It's lite-weight.

Simple, handpowered tools... Man, make sure you get a hold of them sooner, rather than later.

It dawned on me, while using this saw to prune back some of the jungle surrounding our house, "What will it be like for people without tools like this!?"

I just kept sawing...

Product description:

Professional grade Foldable Pruning Saw for easy sawing. Aggressive hardened teeth make easy work of even the toughest wood. Special tooth configuration specifically designed for cutting soft or green wood. Soft grip handle for user comfort. Folds up for safety during storage and transportation.


Google to Use PC Microphones to Listen In :.

As usual, I can't make this stuff up! Google wants to use the microphones that are built into PCs to listen in on the user's environment! Oh sure!!! Why not!?

The idea is to use the existing PC microphone to listen to whatever is heard in the background, be it music, your phone going off or the TV turned down. The PC then identifies it, using fingerprinting, and then shows you relevant content, whether that's adverts or search results, or a chat room on the subject.

And, of course, we wouldn't put it past Google to store that information away, along with the search terms it keeps that you've used, and the web pages you have visited, to help it create a personalised profile that feeds you just the right kind of adverts/content. And given that it is trying to develop alternative approaches to TV advertising, it could go the extra step and help send "content relevant" advertising to your TV as well.

Men Who Took Food in Trash Sentenced to Six Months in Jail :.

The U.S. has now entered the snarling, hissing phase of its decent into fascism. Ah yes, the useless eaters phase. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if a minimum income law was passed, whereby, if you didn't make atleast some arbitrary amount of money at an authorized place of business, you would be forced to work at a state run place of business, otherwise known as a concentration camp. Producing your own food wouldn't be an excuse. In fact, bioterrorists might be raising GE-Free chickens, etc...

Oh, yeah, I wonder if the CEO of Northwest Airlines will be charged as an accessory to this crime?

Two men who took fruit and vegetables out of a garbage can have been sentenced to six months in jail.

Giles Charle, 24, of Sumersworth, N.H., and David Siller, 27, of Wayne, Pa., said the punishment was harsh and the only choice they had to avoid a felony on their records.

They were on their way to the Rainbow Family's annual gathering when they were arrested in June and charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor theft. Authorities said they took five cucumbers, four or five apricots, two bundles of asparagus spears and a handful of cherries from a garbage can at Sweet Pea Produce.

The two pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing Wednesday and the felony charge was dropped.


Afghanistan Opium Production Skyrockets :.

Mission accomplished!

Afghanistan's world-leading opium cultivation rose a "staggering" 60 percent this year, the U.N. anti-drugs chief announced Saturday in urging the government to crack down on big traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police.

The record crop yielded 6,100 tons of opium, or enough to make 610 tons of heroin - outstripping the demand of the world's heroin users by a third, according to U.N. figures.

Related: Who Is Financing America's Current Account Deficit?

Workers Lose Traction Over Past Ten Years :.

You can't really blame the psychotic corporate culture for this. That would be like holding a scorpion in your hand and then blaming it for stinging you:

Between 1995 and 2005, productivity -- a measure of the quantity and quality of what workers produce per hour -- grew 33.4 percent. But hourly wages rose only 11 percent, with almost all of that increase coming during the late 1990s, according to EPI.

Forex: "Housing Market Collapse Fears" :.

The dollar's early afternoon recovery, in the wake of a solid US jobs report for August, came to an abrupt halt on mounting concerns that the US housing market is teetering on the verge of collapse.

The National Association of Realtors revealed that pending home sales slumped by 7 pct in July to their lowest level in three years. Its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed in July, fell to a seasonally adjusted 105.6 in July from a downwardly revised 113.5 in June.

Paul Ashworth, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said outright falls in house prices would appear to be unavoidable if this trend continues.

'Housing is in freefall and that is the key to the economic outlook,' he said.

'There are now clear downside risks to our longstanding forecast that GDP growth will slow to 2.0 pct next year,' he added.

Pentagon Takes Bids on Media Monitoring Contract :.

I offered to do stuff like this for $50 per week. Hmmm. With $20 million, .mil could get that service from me for 400,000 weeks... Oh. Woops. I might have to renegotiate that contract!

The U.S. command in Baghdad is seeking bidders for a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for monitoring the tone of Iraq news stories filed by U.S. and foreign media.

Proposals, due Sept. 6, ask companies to show how they'll "provide continuous monitoring and near-real time reporting of Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international, and U.S. media," according to the solicitation issued last week.

Contractors also will be evaluated on how they will provide analytical reports and customized briefings to the military, "including, but not limited to tone (positive, neutral, negative) and scope of media coverage."

Super Typhoon Knocks Out Weather Sensors :.

Typhoon Ioke knocked out Wake Island's weather sensors on Thursday as it lashed the isle with some of the central Pacific's fiercest winds in over a decade, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters monitoring the 2.5-square-mile atoll's wind and temperature gauges from Hawaii said the instruments blew out as the storm approached with winds of up to 155 miles per hour and gusts of up to 190 mph.


Ioke is the first Category 5 hurricane to develop in the central Pacific since record keeping began in the early 1960s and is the most powerful storm to pass through the region since hurricanes Emilia and Gilma, both in July 1994.


:. 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.