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10/31/2006

Sydney's Pay-Later Poor :.

DEBT-stricken families with new homes, cars and plasma televisions in Sydney's sprawling housing estates are relying on charity handouts to buy food.

Welfare agencies report a worrying increase in the number of middle-income families with big mortgages seeking help to pay grocery, electricity and gas bills.

Dubbed the "pay-later poor" by St Vincent de Paul, they live in homes boasting cable television and the latest electrical goods and use credit cards to meet basic living costs.

Many of the families live in so-called McMansions.

Rising interest rates and petrol prices have hit them hard, with the latest figures showing soaring personal debt levels and bankruptcies.

With rates tipped to rise again next month, the blame game has begun, with the State Government accusing Federal Treasurer Peter Costello of economic mismanagement.

St Vincent de Paul Society chief executive officer John Picot said families were seeking cash and vouchers to buy food and clothing, and pay electricity and water bills and other debts.

He blamed a "want-it-all" attitude for the trend.

Those who took up "buy now, pay later" offers and store credit cards often found themselves in difficulty when the interest-free periods ran out, a member of the family fell ill or one of the family's breadwinners lost a job.



PLUNGE PROTECTION TEAM ACTIVE, SEC TO SLASH MARGIN REQUIREMENTS TO 15% :.

This article is so astonishing that I can't even believe that it appeared in a mainstream publication.

THEY ARE TELLING YOU THAT THE WHOLE SHOW IS FAKE!

Those of you who liked my GAO Chief Warns Economic Disaster Looms post might recall this passage:
This show would have already come down if it wasn't for the macroeconomic black ops. Rather than allowing this thing to die, it is being kept in an undead state for as long as possible.

With the debt closing in on $9 trillion, we're already living well within the realm of financial make believe. Could the debt reach $46 trillion or more? There's no purely economic reason why it couldn't. I don't see any difference between $9 trillion and $100 trillion. IT'S ALL FAKE AT THIS POINT.
As usual, just more tinfoil on Cryptogon... until the mainstream press confirms it days, weeks or months later.

And to you shit for brains Democrats and limousine liberals who feel the need to post "tinfoil" warnings before linking to Cryptogon: A) I don't want or need your links (they're embarrassing to me) and B) Put this in your tinfoil pipe and smoke it:

Hank Paulson, the market-wise Treasury Secretary who built a $700m fortune at Goldman Sachs, is re-activating the 'plunge protection team' (PPT), a shadowy body with powers to support stock index, currency, and credit futures in a crash.

Otherwise known as the working group on financial markets, it was created by Ronald Reagan to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown in October 1987.

...

Mr Paulson has asked the team to examine "systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives, and the government's ability to respond to a financial crisis".

"We need to be vigilant and make sure we are thinking through all of the various risks and that we are being very careful here. Do we have enough liquidity in the system?" he said, fretting about the secrecy of the world's 8,000 unregulated hedge funds with $1.3trillion at their disposal.

The PPT was once the stuff of dark legends, its existence long denied. But ex-White House strategist George Stephanopoulos admits openly that it was used to support the markets in the Russia/LTCM crisis under Bill Clinton, and almost certainly again after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"They have an informal agreement among major banks to come in and start to buy stock if there appears to be a problem," he said.

"In 1998, there was the Long Term Capital crisis, a global currency crisis. At the guidance of the Fed, all of the banks got together and propped up the currency markets. And they have plans in place to consider that if the stock markets start to fall," he said.

The only question is whether it uses taxpayer money to bail out investors directly, or merely co-ordinates action by Wall Street banks as in 1929. The level of moral hazard is subtly different.

Mr Paulson is not the only one preparing for trouble. Days earlier, the SEC said it aims to slash margin requirements for institutions and hedge funds on stocks, options, and futures to as low as 15pc, down from a range of 25pc to 50pc.

The ostensible reason is to lure back hedge funds from London, but it is odd policy to license extra leverage just as the Dow hits an all-time high and the VIX 'fear' index nears an all-time low --- signalling a worrying level of risk appetite. The normal practice across the world is to tighten margins to cool over-heated asset markets.

The move is so odd that conspiracy buffs are already accusing SEC chief Chris Cox of juicing the markets to help stop the implosion of the Bush presidency.


Related: The Eerie "Bid" in the Equity Markets

Related: Do You Actually Own the Stocks in Your Portfolio?



AUSTRALIAN TREASURER ASKS ASIA TO TELEGRAPH SHIFTS OUT OF U.S. DOLLARS :.

Elites are walking out onto the stage and openly trying to manage the collapse. Since there is no point in licking America's toes anymore, it's time to lick Chinese toes:

TREASURER Peter Costello has called on East Asia's central bankers to "telegraph" their intentions to diversify out of American investments and ensure an orderly adjustment.

Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong have channelled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds, helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down American interest rates.

Mr Costello said "the strategy had changed" and Chinese central bankers were now looking for alternative investments.

"Of course you can have an orderly adjustment," he told reporters. "And what I would recommend is that these matters be telegraphed well in advance. I think we should begin preparing ourselves for it."

Mr Costello said the "re-emergence" of China as the world's greatest economy "is not something to be feared".



Conde Nast/Wired Acquires Reddit :.

Imagine my shock... * sigh *

Conde Nast's Wired Digital has bought online news aggregator Reddit.com for an undisclosed sum, the publisher said Tuesday.

Wired Digital, based in San Francisco, will add Reddit to its stable of online properties, which include Wired Magazine and Wired News. Reddit's four founders--Steve Huffman, Alexis Ohanian, Aaron Swartz and Chris Slowe--will relocate from Boston to Wired Digital's San Francisco headquarters.



Rove Freudian Slip? :.

"When we got attacked on November..."


10/30/2006

Pentagon Memo Reveals Launch of "New Media" PR War :.

In other words, your tax money is going to be used to pay .mil trolls to mess with people like me...

I can't wait:

The Pentagon is buttressing its public relations staff and starting an operation akin to a political campaign war room as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld faces intensifying criticism over the Iraq war.

In a memo obtained by the Associated Press, Dorrance Smith, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said new teams of people will "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and "correct the record."

The memo describes an operation modeled after a political campaign --- such as that made famous by Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential race --- calling for a "Rapid Response" section for quickly answering opponents' assertions.

Another branch would coordinate "surrogates." In political campaigns, surrogates are usually high-level politicians or key interest groups who speak or travel on behalf of a candidate or an issue.

The plan would focus more resources on so-called new media, such as the Internet and Weblogs. It would also include new workers to book civilian and military guests on television and radio shows.

Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff did not provide the exact number of people to be hired, or the costs.



Iraqi Insurgent Snipers Train with Book Written by U.S. Marine :.

Iraqi insurgents have formed a special sniper brigade which is drawing its inspiration from a US training manual by one of America's most revered snipers.

A new insurgent propaganda video shows how guerrillas have dramatically upped their kill rate of US soldiers with the help of The Ultimate Sniper, written by a retired US Marines major, John Plaster.



Frenzy: Drug Dealers Turning to Mortgage Fraud As Crash Accelerates :.

The real estate market has never offered such opportunity for graft. Since the housing market started to soar in 2001, mortgage fraud has become the fastest-growing white-collar crime, according to the FBI. Last year crooks skimmed at least $1 billion from the $3 trillion U.S. mortgage market.

Now that the market is slowing, fraud is only rising. As business dries up, there's increasing pressure on lenders, brokers, title companies and appraisers to be profitable. That means loan and title documents aren't scrutinized as carefully as they might be, and courts - many of them so low-tech they resemble Mayberry - can't keep up with the volume of paper.

Then there's the mad rush to sell, particularly by people who paid high prices for homes and suddenly can't afford the mortgages.

It's like a tasting menu for con artists and grifters, so tempting that in some cities drug dealers have turned to mortgage fraud, plaguing lower-income neighborhoods with crooked mortgages rather than crystal meth.

"It's an easier, more surreptitious crime," says Gale McKenzie, a U.S. attorney in Atlanta (and chief prosecutor on the Cox case).



Starbucks Business Strategy: Metastasis :.

How about opening up a coffee house that sells good coffee right next to Starbucks?

The coffee chain's aggressive growth also hinges on what the company calls "infill" --- adding stores in cities where its mermaid logo is already commonplace. In some cases, that means putting a Starbucks within a block of an existing store, if not closer.

While Starbucks knows there's plenty to lure people into their stores, they also recognize that many people can't be bothered to walk very far --- or wait very long --- for an optional and pricey treat.

"Going to the other side of the street can be a barrier," said Launi Skinner, senior vice president in charge of Starbucks' store development.

As Starbucks adds a whopping six stores a day on average, the company says it continues to carefully consider everything from the direction of commuter traffic zipping by a potential drive-through site to how many people are pounding the pavement on a busy urban block.


Related: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

The first step is to recognize who is an asshole. Sutton's blog cites one method. It's called the Starbucks Test It goes like this: If you hear someone at Starbucks order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," you're in the presence of an asshole. It's unlikely that this petty combination is necessary---the person ordering is trying to flex her power because she's an asshole.



Fried Coca-Cola Debuts in Texas :.

Can I get some freedom fries with that?

A new fast food is making its debut at U.S. fairs this fall---fried Coke.

Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before coming up with his perfect recipe—a batter mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.

Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.

"It tastes great," said Sue Gooding, a spokeswoman for the State Fair of Texas where Gonzales' fried Coke made its debut this fall. "It was a huge success."

Gonzales ran two stands at the State Fair of Texas and sold up to 35,000 fried Cokes over 24 days for $4.50 each---and won a prize for coming up with "most creative" new fair food.



Do You Actually Own the Stocks in Your Portfolio? :.

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

You guys know how I feel about the equity markets. I have zero faith in them whatsoever. Even when the system wasn't so seemingly near the brink of collapse, I wasn't into buying (or shorting) and holding. As a trader, I'd seen what market makers were capable of doing and it didn't take a rocket scientist to determine that the entire thing was a scam.

As usual, it's not that bad, it's worse.

It turns out that people (individual investors and managed funds alike) who are buying and holding stocks, might not actually own the stocks that they think they own.

Darkside of the Looking Glass is an interesting examination of Failures to Deliver and Naked Short Selling. As I was watching this, I thought, "This could only be happening on low liquidity, garbage stocks." Nope. It's happening on the big daddy, household name shares that make up all the indexes that matter. How would you know if you're holding an IOU for a share of stock or an actual share of a stock?

* Drum roll *

You don't!!!

Sure, your brokerage account will show you the number of shares that you think you bought, and track the values, but you won't know whether or not you're holding an IOU or the real deal.

HAHAHAHA! Isn't "investing" fun!?

Confused? Perhaps the Money Honey Hair Indicator is what you need... What the hell, it's only your savings and retirement that are on the line...

More: This Seemed Somehow Familiar

Remember my post about working in that dodgy sub-prime paper mill? That was essentially the same scam, except with mortgages! The Wall Street firm got suckers to commit to IOUs that they'll never be able to deliver upon, while at the same time selling these IOUs to greater fools in the secondary lending markets. Why was the firm so concerned with never having any of that paper on the books after the end of each month? It's called making sure that you have a chair when the music stops playing.

Research Credit: samadhisoft.com



Motorola's "Dumb" Phone :.

My first cell phone was also my last. In 2000, the company I worked for gave me a Nokia 6190. I quit the company but I kept the phone, taking the monthly plan over for myself. I used that same Nokia 6190 until I left the U.S. in March of 2006. It had excellent reception and the sound quality was better than some landline systems I'd used.

As the years passed, I never "upgraded" to a newer phone. I laughed at people who started having to "reboot" their crashed fancy pants gaming/video/desktop replacement phones. Build quality went down. Sound quality got worse. I never found a phone that sounded as good as that Nokia 6190.

Now, as you read this article about Moto's new "dumb" phone, and whether or not it will be available in the U.S., remember that you can buy a used Nokia 6190 for about $10 on eBay:

The efficient display was attractive, she says, because, "power is an issue in rural India." The saved power allowed Motorola to use a small, less expensive battery, even though the phone offers eight hours of talk time and 12 days of standby time. According to Colorado, a user could charge the phone by riding a bicycle, a dominant mode of transportation in India. In a bike equipped with an inexpensive dynamo-based system Motorola is also developing, it would take about two hours of biking at a leisurely pace.



Britons 'Could be Microchipped Like Dogs in a Decade' :.

The only tinfoil aspect of this story is that they think it will take a decade!

Human beings may be forced to be 'microchipped' like pet dogs, a shocking official report into the rise of the Big Brother state has warned.

The microchips - which are implanted under the skin - allow the wearer's movements to be tracked and store personal information about them.

They could be used by companies who want to keep tabs on an employee's movements or by Governments who want a foolproof way of identifying their citizens - and storing information about them.

The prospect of 'chip-citizens' - with its terrifying echoes of George Orwell's 'Big Brother' police state in the book 1984 - was raised in an official report for Britain's Information Commissioner Richard Thomas into the spread of surveillance technology.

The report, drawn up by a team of respected academics, claims that Britain is a world-leader in the use of surveillance technology and its citizens the most spied-upon in the free world.



Police Terrorize School: Principal Wanted "Sense of Urgency" :.

A school safety drill that included police officers in riot gear with weapons has caused concern among some parents who say it was too realistic and frightened some students.

Police in the western Michigan community of Wyoming entered two classrooms at Lee Middle and High School on Thursday and announced there was a threat to the school, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Students, who were unaware police were conducting a drill, were taken from the classroom into the halls, patted down by officers and asked what they had in their pockets, the newspaper said.

"Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants," said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. "I think it's pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this."

Officers wore protective gear, including vests and helmets, and carried rifles that were unloaded and marked with colored tape to indicate they were not live weapons, the newspaper said.

Diana Silva, a parent of an eighth-grade student, said the drill went too far.

"My child was with his face to the wall in the hallway of the high school," Silva said. "I certainly don't want anything like this happening to my child."

Principal David Britten said students weren't told ahead of time to make the drill as realistic as possible. Teachers were informed moments before it took place, he said.

"I think this is the best way to do it," Britten said. "We're not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency."



1927-1933 Chart of Pompous Prognosticators :.

This is great.

Research Credit: MC



UK: Big Brother Adjusts Property Taxes Based on Income, Purchases, Neighbourhood :.

Families who live in desirable areas face massive increases in their council tax bills under plans being drawn up by Labour, it was revealed.

Homeowners in affluent neighbourhoods with good schools, low crime rates and clean streets could be charged thousands of pounds extra than those in more run down places.

Ministers have purchased sophisticated 'Big Brother' computer systems which calculate the desirability of an area based on the quality of local services and the types of people who live there.

The software, which will be used in the forthcoming revaluation of all 21 million homes in England, contains astonishingly detailed data on the number of households, even those who have pets, wear contact lenses or are vegetarian.

It allows inspectors to put a precise value on each home, based not only by its size and features, but its location.

The move is a further blow to homeowners who are facing the prospect of being fined for refusing to let council tax inspectors come into their homes to photograph any improvements.

...

The Acorn computer system uses marketing information obtained from companies, such as credit card and stores, to create a detailed analysis of individuals and their neighbourhoods based on 287 'lifestyle variables'.

This includes information on the age, sex, ethnic profile and profession of residents in different 'localities'.

Highly personalised information about what families eat, drink, and earn is also taken into account.


Research Credit: West


10/29/2006

Wind-Powered Water Heater :.

I was looking at the various options for getting hot water from any method other than paying the power company for it when I came across this cunning invention. I don't think we would try to go this route, but it's interesting nonetheless:

The wind turbine, connected to a shaft, can be mounted on a rooftop or other location with sufficient wind to spin the turbine, which rotates an array of magnets attached to a metal plate at the other end of the shaft. The array of magnets spins in close proximity to a copper plate, which becomes hot due to magnetic resistance. The heat is transferred from the copper plate to water being pumped through coiled copper tubing that is mounted against the back of the copper plate. The turbine could also be positioned in a stream where moving water would turn the array of magnets, the students said.


10/28/2006

EGYPT MOVES 5,000 TROOPS NEAR GAZA BORDER :.

Egypt moved 5,000 more security forces near the Gaza Strip border on Saturday after an Israeli report said Israel may bomb tunnels used for smuggling weapons into Palestinian territories, an Egyptian official said.



GAO Chief Warns Economic Disaster Looms :.

Maybe David Walker and the gang didn't get the memo on the mysterious buyers... Doesn't the eerie "bid" in the equity markets help them sleep peacefully at night?

This show would have already come down if it wasn't for the macroeconomic black ops. Rather than allowing this thing to die, it is being kept in an undead state for as long as possible.

With the debt closing in on $9 trillion, we're already living well within the realm of financial make believe. Could the debt reach $46 trillion or more? There's no purely economic reason why it couldn't. I don't see any difference between $9 trillion and $100 trillion. IT'S ALL FAKE AT THIS POINT.

Here's a list of things that are---unlike "Economics"---very real:

Water scarcity

Energy scarcity

Food scarcity

Raw materials scarcity

Weather cataclysms/global warming

In a word, 'Overshoot'

Any one of those issues could deliver a kill shot to this horror show we call the global economy. And, as I'm sure you already know, they're all starting to impact at the same time. But never mind all of that, just pay attention to "the terrorists." The terrorists! LOOK OUT!!! THE TERRORISTS!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Their basic message is this: If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America - Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.

A hole that big could paralyze the U.S. economy; according to some projections, just the interest payments on a debt that big would be as much as all the taxes the government collects today.

And every year that nothing is done about it, Walker says, the problem grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion.



UK: The Vigilante War on Speed-Limit Cameras :.

I wondered where the breaking point was for the Brits. It turns out that there is a limit to what they will tolerate:

Britons are vandalizing the country's growing army of speed surveillance cameras. The government has set up thousands of cameras to catch speeders; one vigilante group alone claims to have damaged more than 1,000. Favored techniques: "digging them up; shooting, hammering and firebombing them."

More: NY Times Article - Cameras Catch Speeding Britons and Lots of Grief

Research Credit: West



Bush Moves Toward Martial Law :.

There's probably not long to go now...

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

...

Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333, "Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law" states that "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."


Research Credit: BW



FLOTILLA OF WARSHIPS SURROUNDS RAS TANURA :.

Are They going to hit Ras Tanura and blame Iran?

A British navy official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said a threat from al-Qaida last month to target gulf oil terminals had resulted in stepped-up security and vigilance at Saudi Arabia's Ras Tanura terminal, as well as a refinery in Bahrain.

...

The British navy, part of the Italian-led Coalition Task Force 152 that patrols international waters off the Ras Tanura terminal, sent an e-mail warning on Friday asking merchant shippers in the region of Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia to be on alert for suspicious vessels or other activity.

Task Force 152 also contains ships from French, U.S., German and other navies.



SAUDI ARABIA CONFIRMS THREAT TO RAS TANURA :.

Top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia said on Friday it was taking measures to protect its oil and economic installations from a "terrorist threat".

Western naval forces in the Gulf have been deployed to counter a possible seaborne threat to its Ras Tanura oil terminal.

"The terrorist threat to the kingdom's economic installation exists and it is a declared goal of the straying faction to affect the interests of the Saudi citizen," an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

"Saudi security forces are cooperating and coordinating with the Saudi navy to take the necessary security measures," he told Reuters.


Related: The Strait of Hormuz: It's Not That Bad, It's Worse


10/27/2006

Cryptogon Reader Contributes $20

Core Cryptogon supporter, MW, sent another $20 contribution. Thanks, MW!


10/26/2006

Now Europe Targets Bloggers As Terrorists :.

The only remaining outlet for the groundswell of dissent in opposition to the Neo-Fascist takeover of the west is the Internet, and it keeps these jack-booted bastards awake at night to think you can sit in front of your computer and broadcast your outrage to the four corners of the earth on a whim.



Real Estate Crash Continues... :.

* yawn *

New home prices fell last month by the largest amount in 35 years and owners are being warned to brace for further declines, especially in formerly hot markets.

After years of increases, some buyers say prices are still out of their range.

The Commerce Department reported that the median price for a new home sold in September was $217,100, a decline of 9.7 percent from September 2005.

That was the lowest median home price in two years and the sharpest year-over-year decline since December 1970, providing dramatic evidence of the slowdown in the once-booming housing market.

The median price is the middle point, where half sell for more and half sell for less.

The price decline for new homes followed a report Wednesday that prices in the much bigger existing home sales market also dropped on a year-over-year basis in September by 2.5 percent, the largest decline in records going back nearly four decades.



How to Steal an Election by Hacking the Vote :.

Hint to the author of this piece: The time to hit the panic button passed long ago, before any of us were alive.

It would be less humiliating if U.S. elections were simply canceled. At least we wouldn't have to listen to the nauseating, hollow, droning rhetoric about freedom and democracy anymore. We could just focus on sports, entertainment and the latest celebrity news without any unsettling distractions:

Over the course of almost eight years of reporting for Ars Technica, I've followed the merging of the areas of election security and information security, a merging that was accelerated much too rapidly in the wake of the 2000 presidential election. In all this time, I've yet to find a good way to convey to the non-technical public how well and truly screwed up we presently are, six years after the Florida recount. So now it's time to hit the panic button: In this article, I'm going to show you how to steal an election.



The Bush Family: 'Dynasty of Death' :.

There is no historic parallel that can be drawn, nothing compares with the accomplishments of the Bush family. No dictator or tyrant can equal the suffering and destruction they have wrought on humanity, as they are not mere tyrants themselves, but the makers and breakers of tyrants, the organizers and profiteers of war and death. They are not alone and solely responsible for creating the present day military industrial complex, however since 1915 the Bush family has been directly involved in World War One and Two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, numerous CIA secret wars, the Gulf War, and now a "Never Ending War". The past four generations of this one family have had a hand in promoting and profiting from most of major wars that America has waged since the beginning of the industrialized age.



Homeschooling Illegal in Germany :.

I just learned that parents who attempt to homeschool their kids in Germany are rabidly persecuted by the state. When you research this, you'll find that it's mostly evangelical Christians who are refusing to send their kids to public school.

Evangelical Christians are nuts, there is no doubt about it, but if the cops show up to take their kids away for indoctrination by the state, it means that the cops can show up to take your kids away for indoctrination by the state:

The German government is persecuting homeschoolers like never before. Armin Eckermann, president of Schulunterricht zu Hause (School Instruction at Home--SIH), the homeschool legal defense association of Germany, states that there are over 40 homeschool families in court in Germany!

The families are being heavily fined; the parents are being jailed; the children are being threatened with being seized and placed in the custody of the state; and families are being forced to flee to Austria and other surrounding countries.

Here are a few current and frightening situations...



NSA Facility that Houses U.S. Army's Largest Counterintelligence Unit Destroyed by Fire :.

What was "The Deuce" up to? Did they find something that they weren't supposed to find? Worse, maybe they were going to do something about it.

Also, in 9/11 Mysteries - Demolitions, remember all the bits about construction in the days before the attacks. Hale Hall had "minor construction" underway when it burst into flames.

Someone could make a career out of researching this incident:

Nicknamed "The Deuce" and led by Col. Christopher L. Winne who took command in July, the 902nd is the Army's largest counterintelligence unit with more than 1,000 people.

According to the its Web site, the group "conducts counterintelligence activities in support of Army commanders and to protect Army forces, secrets and technologies by detecting, identifying, neutralizing and exploiting foreign intelligence services and international terrorist threats."

Its "core competencies" include espionage, computer forensics, surveillance and polygraph, the Web site states.

NBC's Dateline program reported last December that members of the 902nd infiltrated an anti-war Quaker group in Florida called the Truth Project.

The Truth Project was deemed to be a threat, NBC reported.


10/25/2006

Spiegel: America and the Dollar Illusion :.

The dollar is still the world's reserve currency, even though it hasn't deserved this status for a long time. The devaluation of the dollar can't be stopped -- it can only be deferred. The result could be a world economic crisis.



Home Prices Post Record Drop :.

If this is "lukewarm," I'd hate to see a full blown crash!

Sales of existing homes fell for a sixth straight month in September and the median sales price dropped on an annual basis by the largest amount on record, further documenting a lukewarm [sic] housing market.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes fell by 1.9 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted sales pace of 6.18 million units, the slowest sales rate since January 2004.

The median price of a single-family home fell to $219,800 last month, a drop of 2.5 percent from the price in September 2005. That was the biggest year-over-year price decline in records going back nearly four decades.

Housing, which had set sales records for both new and existing homes for five consecutive years, has been rapidly loosing altitude this year, as consumers were battered by rising mortgage rates, soaring energy prices and a slowing economy.



Humans Living Far Beyond Planet's Means :.

Humans seemed to be capable of such remarkable things, good things, but in the end, we wound up shitting in what remained of our drinking water and murdering the planet in order to choke ourselves on trash. What a sad way to go...

Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.

Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.

"For more than 20 years we have exceeded the earth's ability to support a consumptive lifestyle that is unsustainable and we cannot afford to continue down this path," WWF Director-General James Leape said, launching the WWF's 2006 Living Planet Report.

"If everyone around the world lived as those in America, we would need five planets to support us," Leape, an American, said in Beijing.

People in the United Arab Emirates were placing most stress per capita on the planet ahead of those in the United States, Finland and Canada, the report said.

Australia was also living well beyond its means.

The average Australian used 6.6 "global" hectares to support their developed lifestyle, ranking behind the United States and Canada, but ahead of the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Japan.

"If the rest of the world led the kind of lifestyles we do here in Australia, we would require three-and-a-half planets to provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste," said Greg Bourne, WWF-Australia chief executive officer.

Everyone would have to change lifestyles -- cutting use of fossil fuels and improving management of everything from farming to fisheries.

"As countries work to improve the well-being of their people, they risk bypassing the goal of sustainability," said Leape, speaking in an energy-efficient building at Beijing's prestigous Tsinghua University.

"It is inevitable that this disconnect will eventually limit the abilities of poor countries to develop and rich countries to maintain their prosperity," he added.

The report said humans' "ecological footprint" -- the demand people place on the natural world -- was 25 percent greater than the planet's annual ability to provide everything from food to energy and recycle all human waste in 2003.

In the previous report, the 2001 overshoot was 21 percent.

"On current projections humanity, will be using two planets' worth of natural resources by 2050 -- if those resources have not run out by then," the latest report said.

"People are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources."



NZ Commissioner for the Environment: "We Are in for a Rough Road" :.

Make your time:

Speaking in Marlborough, Dr Williams said the latest evidence showed global warming was happening, and an expanding China, changing world markets and water availability meant New Zealand could be in for a rough ride.

"The debate is over," he said.

New Zealand should be future-proofing, and thinking and investing "outside the square".

Dr Williams said New Zealand had to look after its natural assets and he challenged urban and rural leaders to discuss where it was going in the long term.

Global forces meant the planet was moving into a period of massive reshaping: "We are in for a rough road."


10/24/2006

Drug Raid Yields Classified Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab Documents :.

You've gotta love it. The first sentence is a true keeper:

A drug bust at a trailer park in New Mexico turned up what appeared to be classified documents taken from the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory, authorities said Tuesday.

Local police found the documents while arresting a man suspected of domestic violence and dealing methamphetamine from his mobile home, said Sgt. Chuck Ney of the Los Alamos, N.M., Municipal Police Department. The documents were discovered during a search of the man's records for evidence of his drug business, Ney said.

Police alerted the FBI to the secret documents, which agents traced back to a woman linked to the drug dealer, officials said. The woman is a contract employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to an FBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The official would not describe the documents except to say that they appeared to contain classified material and were stored on a computer file.

FBI special agent Bill Elwell in Albuquerque, N.M., confirmed that a search warrant was executed on Friday night, but he refused to discuss details.

"We do have an investigation with regard to the matter, but our standard is we do not discuss pending investigations," Elwell said.

A spokesman for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in Los Alamos, N.M., declined to comment.



The Eerie "Bid" in the Equity Markets :.

This thing is the greatest show on earth. You can calmly explain why these markets can't be viable---list a thousand sources, two thousand, whatever---and then just stand back as you watch the antics in the bigtop get more dangerous and incomprehensible.

Remember my recent ramble about short squeezes:
When so many people get short, it doesn't take much to shake them out of their positions and actually cause a strong (temporary) rally! All They have to do to cause a massive short covering rally is to start buying index futures, in a sustained way, for a few minutes and * boom * it's on. Many shorts will yield to the "unseen hand of the market" and cover their positions. It only takes a couple of hundred million leveraged dollars to touch off one of these moves. I've seen it happen dozens of times. TR and I used to have this radar thing scanning the market, looking for "weird" momentum, among other things. A couple of times, we got alarms on nearly the entire NASDAQ 100 and lots of lower tiered relatives.

Once, TR yelled out, "What the hell happened!?"

I said, "The 'unseen hand of the market' just slapped everyone across the face and said, 'I own this show.'"

The clinical term for this is buy program (or sell program) and if you have a way of visualizing the market, like we did, it's an awe inspiring thing. Most of the time, the market looks mostly like semi-random noise. Sometimes, you get more up trending noise. Sometimes, more down trending noise. Occasionally, though, nearly all of the money goes mostly one way or the other. These are the times when the wizard behind the curtain (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, etc.) starts pulling the big levers.
Well, as usual, don't take my tinfoil tainted word for it. I mean, it's all conspiracy theory, right?

Let Raymond James Chief Investment Strategist, Jeff Saut, introduce you to the "mysterious buyers" concept... After he assures you that he's not a conspiracy theorist.

What's the matter, Jeff, tinfoil hat doesn't match your suit and tie?

...It's also worth noting that we're not conspiracy theorists, believing that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and that George W. Bush really did win the election. Yet, there remains an eerie "bid" in the equity markets since those July lows. For example, markets typically rally, then correct by about one-quarter to one-third of that rally's point gain, before beginning another rally phase. After that phase, they again correct by one-quarter to one-third before re-rallying. This, however, has not been the case recently. Indeed, every time it looked like the indices were about to correct, mysterious buyers materialized in the futures markets. Those "buyers" tend to widen the futures premiums so far above the cash markets that it attracts arbitrageurs. The arbs, in turn, short the futures and buy the appropriate baskets of stocks. That operation allows the arbs to "lock in" the spread between the futures price and what they paid for the basket of stocks, assuring them a risk-less profit and, in the process, driving stocks higher.

Research Credit: West



Laptops at U.S. Border: No Privacy Rights :.

Assuming that you're allowed to leave the U.S. in the first place, consider traveling using a laptop without a hard drive installed. When you need to do work, boot a live-CD OS and use a virtual session on some server located in a free country. Let the f*ckers at the airport examine your laptop until the cows come home. What are they going to find on a computer with no hard drive?

Or, maybe a laptop without a hard drive installed will win you instant enemy combatant status...

Have a nice flight:

Last week, an informal survey by the association, which has about 2,500 members worldwide, indicated that almost 90 percent of its members were not aware that U.S. customs officials have the authority to scrutinize the contents of travelers' laptops and even confiscate them for a period of time, without giving a reason. Appeals are under way in some confiscation cases, but the law is clear.

"They don't need probable cause to perform these searches under the current law," said Tim Kane, a Washington lawyer who is researching the matter for corporate clients. "They can do it without suspicion or without really revealing their motivations."

Laptops may be scrutinized and subject to a "forensic analysis" under the so-called border search exemption, which allows searches of people entering the United States and their possessions "without probable cause, reasonable suspicion or a warrant," a U.S. court ruled in July.



America's Other Drinking Problem :.

The addict feels low. His body needs a boost. He reaches into his pocket and finds a dollar bill. He slides it into the machine and a can rolls out. He opens the can and guzzles. He feels his energy return. His fix will last a couple of hours, enough to keep him alert for the rest of the morning.

The addict is twelve years old and his drug is a soft drink, purchased from a vending machine in his school. This addict and thousands like him will attend special classes, sponsored by his school, to warn him about the dangers of drugs, tobacco and alcohol. But no one will tell him about America’s other drinking problem.



Kill Switch Installed on the Dollar: Made in China :.

What happens when Americans are no longer able to take money out of their stucco box ATMs to buy Chinese goods?

The Chinese don't want to get stuck holding all of that funny money!

But don't take my word for it:
Zhong Wei, deputy editor-in-chief of China Foreign Exchange Magazine, said China needed to make "innovative adjustments" to the management of its reserves, which swelled to US$987.9bil at the end of September.

The stash, the world's largest, was on track to hit the US$1.5tril mark in the second quarter of 2008, Zhong wrote in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece.

He estimated that China in fact needed reserves of no more than US$800bil.

"The current foreign exchange management regime is extremely unsophisticated and is obviously not suitable for China's almost US$1tril in reserves," he wrote.
Hmmm. If China only needs to hold a maximum of US$800 billion, who's going to buy the other US$700 billion that China plans on dumping?

Work that out while I go dig up some more garden beds.



Global Ecosystems 'Face Collapse' :.

Current global consumption levels could result in a large-scale ecosystem collapse by the middle of the century, environmental group WWF has warned.

The group's biannual Living Planet Report said the natural world was being degraded "at a rate unprecedented in human history".

Terrestrial species had declined by 31% between 1970-2003, the findings showed.

It warned that if demand continued at the current rate, two planets would be needed to meet global demand by 2050.

The biodiversity loss was a result of resources being consumed faster than the planet could replace them, the authors said.

They added that if the world's population shared the UK's lifestyle, three planets would be needed to support their needs.


10/23/2006

The Next War: Pentagon Papers v2.0? :.

Daniel Ellsberg is asking brave military officers and intelligence agency personnel to leak documents related to the planning for the upcoming war with Iran. He's asking them not to make the same mistake he made in waiting too long before he leaked what became known as The Pentagon Papers.

Orange jumpsuits for the heroic leakers, or mass graves for the victims. Those are the options at this late stage of the game:

We face today a crisis similar to those of 1964 and 2002, a crisis hidden once again from the public and most of Congress. Articles by Seymour Hersh and others have revealed that, as in both those earlier cases, the president has secretly directed the completion, though not yet execution, of military operational plans---not merely hypothetical "contingency plans" but constantly updated plans, with movement of forces and high states of readiness, for prompt implementation on command---for attacking a country that, unless attacked itself, poses no threat to the United States: in this case, Iran.



U.S. Bans Vegemite :.

UPDATE: Vegemite Is Not Banned in the U.S.

Thanks for making us look, though!

Folic acid is a potent anti cancer substance, and is critical in pre-natal health. Vegemite is banned, but products containing Aspartame, a multipotential carcinogen, are just fine...

Do you get it yet?

THE United States has slapped a ban on Vegemite, outraging Australian expatriates there.

The bizarre crackdown was prompted because Vegemite contains folate, which in the US can be added only to breads and cereals.


10/22/2006

Oil, Smoke and Mirrors :.

If you, or someone you know, needs to be brought up to speed, this film can do it in just under fifty minutes. Watch it for free, buy the DVD if you wish, send the link to anyone who might be interested in saving their own life.

I would only make the effort for family and close friends at this point; maybe the people you would like to have with you when you move away from your doomed city or suburb. Don't waste any of your time with "the man on the street." Don't bother arguing or debating any of this. If the people you send this to don't want to take bold, drastic action right now: Give them a hug, say goodbye and run for your life. Don't look back:

"Oil, Smoke & Mirrors" offers a bleaker view of present global circumstances than many of us would dare consider. It deals with issues that are largely marginalised, if not ignored, in the discourse of mainstream media and politics.

However, as the film argues, it may well be that mediated political culture itself which, by sidelining some of the most challenging questions of historical truth in our time, poses the gravest threat to our future.



UK: Pub Customers Face Mandatory Fingerprinting :.

Try to imagine what this horror show will be like in 20 years! Do you dare to even entertain such horrible thoughts?

Every time I think, "Nope. It's too absurd. People won't go along with it," guess what? They do.

The government is funding the roll out of fingerprint security at the doors of pubs and clubs in major English cities.

...

Some licensees were not happy to have their punters fingerprinted, but are all now apparently behind the idea. Not only does the council let them open later if they join the scheme...

...

Oh, and they are also coerced into taking the fingerprint system. New licences stipulate that a landlord who doesn't install fingerprint security and fails to show a "considerable" reduction in alcohol-related violence, will be put on report by the police and have their licences revoked.

...

Bradburn noted the system had a "psychological effect" on offenders.


10/21/2006

"Conscious" Urban Consumers Lick Cheney's Toes, Call it a Revolution :.

Tired of frightening stories about genitically engineered pHood and weird toxins in mommy's breast milk? The Matrix doesn't just cater to your silly whims and fantasies. Enjoy some delicious and nutritious 'Organic' food from WalMart, Target or some other planet murdering corporation.

It's good, and good for you. Of course, Cheney gets a substantial cut, but never mind that:



Research Credit: Deconsumption



Won't You Be Our Neighbor? :.

This property is just a few minutes from where we are. It would be nice to get some more Cryptogonners in the area.

This land would be perfect for a small scale fruit and vegetable growing operation. You could sell your goods right from the little stand by the road (we've bought stuff from there before) and through the Bush Fairy Dairy, the organic food co-op a few hundred meters down the road.


10/20/2006

AUSTRALIA PLANS TO SHIP WATER... BY SHIP! :.

How much more absurd can this show get?

A FLEET of supertankers shipping in hundreds of millions of litres of water every week could be the solution to the drought threatening Australia's cities.

Ambitious plans are being developed to ship desperately needed water to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne from Tasmania, New Zealand or Papua New Guinea.

Proponents say it would cost a fraction of new dams, desalination plants or the pipeline between north Queensland and Brisbane being considered by the Beattie Government.

"This is how we have been shipping oil for years," said Robert Dane, chief executive officer of Solar Sailor, a company chaired by former prime minister Bob Hawke.

The firm is already in talks with the Tasmanian Government about buying fresh water from two sites near the coast in the north and west of the island – areas often soaked with rain. Much of it now runs off into the sea.

Solar Sailor is also in discussions with a firm which holds the right to water supplies in New Zealand.

The company is also investing tens of millions of dollars into developing electric-hybrid "Aquatankers" powered by solar wings which harvest energy from both sun and wind.



Rick Rescorla :.

This is a remarkable story, and a reminder to those who can see what's coming:

In 1992 Rescorla warned the Port Authority (owner of the World Trade Center) about the possibility of a truck bomb attack on the pillars in the basement parking garage, but was ignored. When Islamist terrorists [sic] used this method in the 1993 attack, Rescorla was instrumental in evacuating the building, and was literally the last man out. He and Dan Hill then prepared a report that warned of another attack, this time from a commercial aircraft crashing into the complex, but he was again ignored.

Rescorla recommended to his superiors at Morgan Stanley that the company leave Manhattan. Office space and labor costs were lower in New Jersey, and the firm's employees and equipment would be safer in a proposed four-story building. However, this recommendation was not followed as the company's lease at the World Trade Center did not terminate until 2006. At Rescorla's insistence, all employees, including senior executives, then practiced emergency evacuations every three months.



Who Is 'Any Person' in Tribunal Law? :.

Have no doubt about it, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 applies to Americans:

While it's true that some parts of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 target non-citizens, other sections clearly apply to U.S. citizens as well, putting citizens inside the same tribunal system with resident aliens and foreigners.

"Any person is punishable as a principal under this chapter who commits an offense punishable by this chapter, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures its commission," according to the law, passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in September and signed by Bush on Oct. 17.

"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 ... shall be punished as a military commission ... may direct. ...

If the Times is correct that "this law does not apply to American citizens," why does it contain language referring to "any person" and then adding in an adjacent context a reference to people acting "in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States"?

Who has "an allegiance or duty to the United States" if not an American citizen? That provision would not presumably apply to Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, nor would it apply generally to foreign citizens. This section of the law appears to be singling out American citizens.


Research Credit: anothernut



PROPOSAL: ALL TRAVEL TO AND FROM U.S. WOULD REQUIRE "CLEARANCE" FROM DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY :.

If you are planning on leaving the United States, you need to do it right now.

All fascist regimes restrict travel; that is, they prevent their citizens from escaping. So, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. Government now wants travelers to obtain "clearance" from the Department of Homeland Security before boarding any aircraft or vessel going to or from the U.S... Unless, of course, you're a mercenary or a spook involved with kidnapping and "rendering" people in undisclosed locations. Then you won't be subject to the new system.

Are you going to wait for the U.S. Government's Magic 8 Ball to approve your escape plans, or are you going to get the f*ck out of there before it's too late?

If you're not going to leave the U.S., expect internal passports to be required at some stage. Internal passports are another common "required for your safety" feature of fascist states:

Should you have to ask for permission from the government before you are allowed to get on a plane or cruise ship? ("Mother, may I?")

The USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed that airlines cruise lines, and operators of all other ships and planes -- including charter flights, air taxis, fishing vessels, etc. -- be required to get individual permission ("clearance") from the DHS for each passenger on all flights or ocean voyages to, from, or via the USA. Unless the answer is "Yes" -- if the answer is "no" or "maybe", or if the DHS doesn't answer at all -- the airline wouldn't be allowed to give you a boarding pass, or let you or your luggage on the plane.


More: Excerpts

From Regulatory Assessment for the proposed rulemaking - Passenger Manifests for Commercial Aircraft Arriving in and Departing from the United States; Passenger and Crew Manifests for Commercial Vessels Departing from the United States RIN 1651-AA62:
The recently enacted Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-458) requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking be issued to allow for predeparture vetting for aircraft passengers and cruise vessel passengers and crew. Under this proposed rule, CBP intends to modify the requirements for arriving and departing aircraft passengers and passengers and crew on board departing vessels such that that information is transmitted at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Alternatively, air carriers may adopt, in conjunction with CBP, APIS Quick Query (AQQ)---a system that allows the carriers to vet passengers individually during the check-in process. These changes will enhance the ability of CBP and other law enforcement agencies to plan and coordinate a more effective response to intercept high-risk individuals before boarding aircraft and before vessels depart.

...

The carrier will be able to transmit data as soon as passengers begin checking in for their flight, as early as 2 hours prior to departure and in some instances earlier. CBP will send a "board" or "no board" instruction within minutes of the carrier's transmission, and carriers will not issue a boarding pass to any passenger who has not been cleared for boarding. The carrier will confirm by electronic receipt a "no board" instruction. The carrier may then provide information to CBP about the questionable passenger to pursue clearance to board. CBP may resume the query and will reply to the carrier as soon as possible with either a confirmation or a correction. When there is not enough time for CBP to do so, however, the carrier will be bound by the "no board" instruction and may not issue a boarding pass for that passenger.
Research Credit: CF and ME



A Dangerous New Order :.

Once President Bush signed the new law on military tribunals, administration officials and Republican leaders in Congress wasted no time giving Americans a taste of the new order created by this unconstitutional act.

Within hours, Justice Department lawyers notified the federal courts that they no longer had the authority to hear pending lawsuits filed by attorneys on behalf of inmates of the penal camp at Guantánamo Bay. They cited passages in the bill that suspend the fundamental principle of habeas corpus, making Mr. Bush the first president since the Civil War to take that undemocratic step.



Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Rumsfeld Is Inspired by God :.

It's not Jesus Camp, it's Jesus Death Camp:

The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.



Note on the Put Options on the Dow Diamonds

It appears that all of the out of the money put option activity that I've been following was related to hedging long equity positions. These options expired (valueless) at the close of trading today.



Asymmetric Warfare Tactics in Iraq :.

"You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill one of yours, and in the end it will be you who will tire of it."

---Ho Chi Minh
I recently viewed the Iraqi insurgency's PSYOP piece on the Baghdad sniper known as Juba [CAUTION: Shows killing of multiple U.S. soldiers]. If you're curious about how asymmetric warfare is being used against the U.S. occupation in Iraq, this video makes it abundantly clear.

I want to avoid the hysteria and emotional blather that surrounds this video. Occupiers should expect to be targeted at will by people defending their country, no? Besides, Juba has just taken a few pages out of the various U.S. sniper playbooks.

What we are seeing is the tried and true method of removing a vastly more powerful occupier's tanks, troop carriers, air forces and navy by killing one soldier at a time. Notice how the sniper is content to kill just one U.S. soldier at a time, when he could easily kill more during the attacks? This is key to understanding why the U.S. has already lost the war in Iraq.

At the beginning of the real war, after Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" stunt, the insurgency tried to openly engage U.S. forces. The insurgents were slaughtered, cut down by the U.S. military's overwhelming firepower.

Oh what a difference a few years makes...

The insurgency has moved fully to asymmetric methods and is not only killing as many U.S. soldiers as ever, but is, more importantly, causing the U.S. political establishment to flinch. Even the masses of brain dead zombies who were behind this criminal war to begin with aren't so keen now. Juba knows that a slow and steady stream of U.S. corpses will win the race.

The U.S. may have the military capability to destroy the planet several times over, but a single man, with a Soviet era sniper rifle, can kill individual U.S. soldiers, like fish in a barrel, by the dozens, with impunity. Juba can't defeat the U.S. military, but his tactics will lead to the eventual withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.

This is power of asymmetric warfare:

They have never seen Juba. They hear him, but by then it's too late: a shot rings out and another US soldier slumps dead or wounded.

There is never a follow-up shot, never a chance for US forces to identify the origin, to make the hunter the hunted. He fires once and vanishes.


Related: Even Bush Admits: Iraq Like Vietnam


10/19/2006

Dermot is Off to Canada :.

The great blogger exodus from the U.S. is expanding by the day!

Maybe there is a God. If so, thankee very muchee Lordy Lordy Hallelujah, for today I received notification that yours truly has qualified for a (WAIT FOR IT):
Drum-roll...
CANADIAN WORK PERMIT!!!
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's off to New Brunswick I go,
I'll work all day
I'll get some pay
But I'll pay most of it in taxes for health care, eh?

...

As I'm an Irish national, I'm one presidential brain-fart away from having my left nut in a mangler. Is it likely that I'll be arrested and tortured? No. Is it possible? In a country where the Secret Service interrogates 14 year-old schoolgirls - hey - anything's possible.

"Anything's possible" used to be one of the good things about America. No more. I'm out of this open-air madhouse, and if you've any sense - you'll do the same.



Cryptogon Reader Signs Up for Hosting with Blue Host!

Cryptogon receives $65!

Thanks so much rasheedally.com!

Related: Hosting with Blue Host



FDA Is Set To Approve Milk, Meat From Clones :.

Meat and dairy Mengele lab. Yummy!

Three years after the Food and Drug Administration first hinted that it might permit the sale of milk and meat from cloned animals, prompting public reactions that ranged from curiosity to disgust, the agency is poised to endorse marketing of the mass-produced animals for public consumption.



Olbermann: Beginning of the End of America :.

Olbermann again unfurls in a chilling manner!

There must be some kind of major rift opening amongst the elite. Some of Them must realize that the wheels have come off the cart, and They're afraid. They didn't want that to happen.

Sure, bloggers can get on the Internet and we can toot our horns until the cows come home---as we've been doing. This is different. This is on the idiot box. The idiot box!

Again, I can't believe it:

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.


10/18/2006

Olbermann: The Day Habeas Corpus Died :.

I can't believe this ran over a mainstream, corporate news broadcast! I can't believe it...

Today, 135 years to the day after the last American President (Ulysses S. Grant) suspended habeas corpus, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. At its worst, the legislation allows President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld to declare anyone --- US citizen or not --- an enemy combatant, lock them up and throw away the key without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law. In other words, every thing the Founding Fathers fought the British empire to free themselves of was reversed and nullified with the stroke of a pen, all under the guise of the War on Terror.

More...

Turley: "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system. The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."

Related: Alternate Video Link



U.S. Military Vet Murders Girlfriend, Cooks Her Severed Body Parts, Jumps to His Death :.

What is happening to U.S. military veterans? Is it weird that Zachery Bowen and Addie Hall were featured in several news stories about the Katrina aftermath, and now this? Is it weird that this role playing game site lists an email address for a Zachery Bowen as [email protected]? And is dont-explode.com some kind of spam related thing, or a numbers station?

A suicide note in the pocket of a man who jumped off the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel late Tuesday led police to the grisly scene of his girlfriend's murder, where they found her charred head in a pot on the stove, her legs and feet baked in the oven and the rest of her dismembered body in trash bag in the refrigerator, according to police and the couple's landlord.

The man, Zackery Bowen, a tall man in his mid 20s with long blond hair, claimed in the note to have killed his girlfriend, Adrian "Addie" Hall, on Oct. 5, according to police. Hall was also in her mid 20s.

In the five-page note, Bowen claimed he strangled Hall in the bathtub, then dismembered her body before taking it in pieces to the kitchen, police said. An autopsy conducted today shows that Hall was in fact manually strangled, police said. It also appears that Hall's body was cut up after she died, police said.

"He appeared to clean up the bathroom a lot after he did it," one officer said.

Police found the victim's head burned beyond recognition in a pot on top of the stove, and her legs and feet in the same condition in pans inside the oven, police said.

Bowen was from Los Angeles, but apparently had lived in the New Orleans area for quite a while, police said. Friends said he served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and displayed both pride and bitterness over that experience.


Related?: Four Fort Bragg Soldiers Kill Wives



The World Is not Enough: Neocons in Space :.

In many ways, it's sad that humanity is doomed. However, it's comforting to know that we're trapped here and that we will exterminate ourselves before we have a chance to destroy any other worlds:

President Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."

The document, the first full revision of overall space policy in 10 years, emphasizes security issues, encourages private enterprise in space, and characterizes the role of U.S. space diplomacy largely in terms of persuading other nations to support U.S. policy.

"Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power," the policy asserts in its introduction.

National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said in written comments that an update was needed to "reflect the fact that space has become an even more important component of U.S. economic, national and homeland security." The military has become increasingly dependent on satellite communication and navigation, as have providers of cellphones, personal navigation devices and even ATMs.


Related: Kardashev Scale

Related: A Pale Blue Dot



Lack of Essential Oils, Violence, Mental Illness :.

Over the last century most western countries have undergone a dramatic shift in the composition of their diets in which the omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to the brain have been flooded out by competing omega-6 fatty acids, mainly from industrial oils such as soya, corn, and sunflower. In the US, for example, soya oil accounted for only 0.02% of all calories available in 1909, but by 2000 it accounted for 20%. Americans have gone from eating a fraction of an ounce of soya oil a year to downing 25lbs (11.3kg) per person per year in that period. In the UK, omega-6 fats from oils such as soya, corn, and sunflower accounted for 1% of energy supply in the early 1960s, but by 2000 they were nearly 5%. These omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from industrial frying for takeaways, ready meals and snack foods such as crisps, chips, biscuits, ice-creams and from margarine. Alcohol, meanwhile, depletes omega-3s from the brain.



Israel's New Secret Weapon :.

Doctors in Gaza have reported previously unseen injuries from Israeli weapons that cause severe burning and deep internal wounds often resulting in amputations or death.

The injuries were first seen in July, when the Israeli military launched a series of operations in Gaza following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants.

Doctors said that, unlike traditional combat injuries from shells or bullets, there were no large shrapnel pieces found in the patients' bodies and there appeared to be a "dusting" on severely damaged internal organs.


10/17/2006

FM 30-31B :.

Do you get it yet?

"US army intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince Host Country Governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger."

Research Credit: Rigorous Intuition



NEXT MAJOR SECURITY THREAT: DISAFFECTED AMERICANS USING INTERNET :.

Lots of us have seen this coming for a very long time and none of it is surprising in the least. That doesn't make it any less frightening.

Additionally, there is a 100% chance that "radical ideologies" will come to include small scale organic food production and livestock ownership. If you think you are going to quietly "disappear into the hills" somewhere in the U.S., you must be clear about one thing: They are eventually going to come for you. Only you can decide how to respond when that happens.

I've said it a few times and I'll say it again: I'll continue to broadcast for as long as possible, know that there will be pockets of survivors and hope that they don't make the same mistakes we did. But I want to add something else this time: My ability to update Cryptogon could be eliminated without warning. It is now publicly acknowledged that the American military is engaging what it considers to be hostile information sources. Those idiots know better than to try to argue the finer points of their false flag terror BS and torture strategies with me. They may, instead, just pull the plug. While I don't know what the likelihood is of that eventuality, with an entity as powerful as the American Corporate State, anything is possible.

My guess is that the mass roundups of people will begin immediately following the next false flag operation inside the U.S. Speaking out after 9/11 has only made it easier for the fascists to identify those who need to be rounded up. Again, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Back in 1995, the few of us who studied information warfare read this in a Pentagon document:
The Internet could also be used offensively as an additional medium in psychological operations campaigns and to help achieve unconventional warfare objectives. Used creatively as an integral asset, the Internet can facilitate many DoD operations and activities.
Those of us who came out of the woodwork to say everything we've been saying over the past several years have succeeded only in painting bulls' eyes on our chests. Now they know who we are. And, more importantly, they know who you are; the thought criminals who read sites like Cryptogon. With this latest news, it's clear that the U.S. wants to start actively using the intelligence they're gleaning from the biggest honey pot of them all to take down critics of the regime. See China.

My advice to all Cryptogon readers is to stop reading Cryptogon (and similar sites) from Internet connections that are attributable to you. This means connections from work, connections that you pay for and even some free connections such as those provided by libraries. This may or may not buy you more time to get out, but it can't hurt. If you haven't sent email to me in the past, don't start now. They are almost certainly building relational databases/proximity charts (like this, but different) out of the email traffic. The name of the game in the post Military Commissions Act of 2006 world is fake trials, fake evidence, confessions under torture, hearsay and guilt by association. It's all in play now. The ugly, Darkness at Noon style endgame. And just wait until the dust settles after the next false flag operation...

This isn't paranoia, tin foil hat stuff, people. They're letting everyone know. They're saying it on the record: If you disagree with this regime, we're coming to get you!

One final thing, the article below uses the phrase, intelligence fusion centers. Last year, Cryptogon was visited by a machine that I traced back to something called fusion.mil. I have not been able to determine what fusion.mil is. There's a subdomain on the Defense Technical Information Center called horizontalfusion.dtic.mil. Is it related? Who knows? But if you dare, check out the FAQ at http://horizontalfusion.dtic.mil/faq/ and then read the story below about the next major U.S. security threat:

BOSTON (Reuters) - Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the Internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday.

"We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the Internet," Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police.

...

To help gather intelligence on possible home-grown attackers, Chertoff said Homeland Security would deploy 20 field agents this fiscal year into "intelligence fusion centers," where they would work with local police agencies.

By the end of the next fiscal year, he said the department aims to up that to 35 staffers.



BREAKING: NORTH KOREA PLANS SERIES OF NUCLEAR TESTS

Brace for impact:

[IFR Forex Watch][SQUAWK BOX][00:00 NEWS: No.Korea Plans Series Of Nuclear Tests - NBC]

Tokyo, Oct 18. Also over Reuters. North Korea has informed China that it intends to continue to conduct nuclear tests.



Ex-FDA Chief Pleads Guilty in Stock Case :.

Imagine my shock!

Former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford pleaded guilty Tuesday to conflict of interest and falsely reporting information about stocks he owned in food, beverage and medical device companies he was in charge of regulating.

Crawford appeared before U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson and admitted falsely reporting that he had sold the stock when he continued holding shares in the firms governed by FDA rules.

The charges -- conflict of interest and false reporting -- are misdemeanors and each carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Robinson set Crawford's sentencing for January 22.

"This was my fault, no one else's," Crawford told reporters after his court appearance.

As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Crawford oversaw regulation of products that account for an estimated 25 cents of every dollar spent each year by U.S. consumers.

At the same time, Crawford, through his broker, oversaw an investment portfolio that included tens of thousands of dollars in shares in PepsiCo Inc., Sysco Corp., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and other companies that posed a conflict between his personal finances and his responsibilities as head of the federal agency.

Federal regulations prohibited Crawford from owning shares in companies considered to be "significantly regulated" by the FDA.

Crawford, a veterinarian and food-safety expert, abruptly resigned from the FDA position in September 2005 but gave no reason for leaving. He had held the job for two months, following his confirmation by the Senate and had been acting head of the agency for more than a year.

Crawford currently works for Policy Directions Inc., a Washington lobbying firm.



Judge Vacates Conviction of Ken Lay :.

Enron is starting to make BCCI look like a Sunday School session. Researchers will be picking over the bones of this thing for years to come.

And Pappy Bush rides off into the sunset once again:

A federal judge Tuesday vacated the conviction of Enron's late founder Kenneth Lay, wiping out a jury's verdict that he committed fraud and conspiracy in one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history.

Lay was convicted of 10 counts of fraud, conspiracy and lying to banks in two separate cases on May 25. Enron's collapse in 2001 wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in market value and more than $2 billion in pension plans.

Lay died of heart disease July 5 while vacationing with his wife, Linda, in Aspen, Colo.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, in a ruling Tuesday, agreed with Lay's lawyers that his death required erasing his convictions. They cited a 2004 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found that a defendant's death pending appeal extinguished his entire case because he hadn't had a full opportunity to challenge the conviction and the government shouldn't be able to punish a dead defendant or his estate.

Tuesday's ruling thwarts the government's bid to seek $43.5 million in ill-gotten gains prosecutors allege he pocketed by participating in Enron's fraud. The government could still pursue those gains in civil court, but they would have to compete with other litigants, if any, also pursuing Lay's estate.



Bank of Japan to Increase Monitoring of Carry Trades :.

I watched this unwind in the FOREX markets today and it was incredible. This rattled several currency pairs. Is a significant source of funds needed to keep the global ponzi scheme going about to dry up? The Bank of Japan is, "proceeding cautiously." Well, there you have it:

NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan plans to beef up monitoring of "carry trades," and is concerned about how hedge funds and other investors are helping push down the yen, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported.

Japan's leading business daily said in its Wednesday edition that the BOJ was concerned about a trend in which investors are borrowing funds cheaply in Japan to invest in higher-yielding assets overseas.

The central bank is proceeding cautiously though, and is aware that suddenly eliminating such trades through actions such as further interest rate rises may destabilize markets, the Nikkei said without citing sources.



Unholy Trinity Set to Drag Us Into the Abyss :.

We are about to experience the convergence of three of the great issues confronting humanity. Climate change, the peaking of oil supply and water shortage are coming together in a manner which will profoundly alter our way of life, our institutions and our ability to prosper on this planet. Each is a major issue, but their convergence has received minimal attention.



Why Is Bush Waiting On Military Commissions Act? :.

The big question at the moment is why Bush has delayed signing the legislation even in the midst of fast-tracking other bills of little significance?

It was reported by the Washington Post over the weekend that Bush and Karl Rove are "inexplicably upbeat" about the upcoming midterm elections and expected the Democrats to easily fall short of the 15-seat threshold that would see them recapture the House.

In the face of scandals piled atop scandals and the universal unpopularity of the ongoing quagmire in Iraq, how on earth can Bush and Rove expect to employ successful damage limitation, absent some intervening event or the "October surprise" that Rove himself promised.

The arrogance of the Neo-Cons has led many to fear that HR 6166 is being maintained in a holding position in anticipation of a major event that will give the Bush administration carte blanche to expand its provisions and sharpen its focus to further target American citizens.



Only 16% of Americans Think the Government is Telling the Truth About 9/11 :.

No "They did it" option?

Many adults in the United States believe the current federal government has not been completely forthcoming on the issue of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 53 per cent of respondents think the Bush administration is hiding something, and 28 per cent believe it is lying.

Only 16 per cent of respondents say the government headed by U.S. president George W. Bush is telling the truth on what it knew prior to the terrorist attacks, down five points since May 2002.



Housing Slowdown Creating 'Ghost Towns' :.

Stucco box nightmare:

The housing slowdown has turned some parts of the Phoenix and Las Vegas metropolitan areas into "ghost towns," where many unsold homes stand empty, Janet Yellen, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, said Monday.

Yellen said that she heard the ominous description from a "major home builder," who told her that the share of unsold homes in some subdivisions around the two Southwestern cities has topped 80%.



Police Want Spy Planes to Fight Anti-Social Behaviour :.

A police force is considering using unmanned aerial surveillance drones to fly over troubled local council housing estates to help tackle anti-social behaviour in respective areas.

The police force for Merseyside, in western England, has formed a new Anti-Social Behaviour Task Force which will have a budget of one million pounds (1.85 million dollars, 1.5 million euros), and a staff of 137, drawn from both the local police and fire services, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

"It's a cheap way of doing aerial surveillance, it's a cheap way of doing intelligence and evidence gathering. Put over an anti-social behaviour hotspot, it is quite a significant percentage cheaper than the force helicopter," said Superintendent John Myles, the joint-head of the task force.


10/16/2006

BREAKING ON FOREX WIRE: NORTH KOREA MAY TEST ANOTHER NUCLEAR WEAPON

UPDATE: Diamond Put Options

I just checked the action on the out of the money put options on the Diamonds from today's session. It gapped from 12X the previous day to 19X the number of out of the money puts to calls today.

It's only tinfoil if you're on the outside. If you're on the inside, it's just business.

- - - - -

This is off a real-time news wire for FOREX trading, so there's no link. Look to the big mainstream news sites for further as this unfolds:

[IFR Forex Watch][SQUAWK BOX]

ABC news reporting that North Korea may be about to test another nuclear device. Truck and troop movements are being observed near the site of the previous test, and this is seen giving rise to talk of another blast.


10/15/2006

Airport to Tag Passengers :.

Do you get it yet?

Airport security chiefs and efficiency geeks will be able to keep close tabs on airport passengers by tagging them with a high powered radio chip developed at the University of Central London.

The technology is to be trialled in Debrecen Airport in Hungary after being in development for two-and-a-half years by University College London as part of an EU-funded consortium called Optag.

...

People will be told to wear radio tags round their necks when they get to the airport. The tag would notify a computer system of their identity and whereabouts. The system would then track their activities in the airport using a network of high definition cameras.



White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects :.

With the spineless Democrats, who needs people to vote for Republicans? Or, Diebold electronic voting machines. The choice is yours! Can you feel the Democracy!?

I'm still watching the options on the Diamonds, by the way. It's running about 14X the number of puts vs. calls:

Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.



Northland Power Outage :.

It's amazing how fragile the power infrastructure is here in Northland, New Zealand. All of the power for the region is supplied over a single transmission line. Yesterday, some boneheads at a rock quarry lit off some explosives that threw rocks and debris into... yes... that power line.

By some miracle, the power didn't drop immediately. The company that runs the thing kept it operational, but told everyone that the juice would be cut at 7am the following day.

So we had a day without power. Becky and I hardly noticed because we were working outside. Here's the interesting thing. Generators were sold out in Kaitaia (the small town up here). Rental units were snapped up as well.

This was for one day without electricity...

Man, it's going to get weird as we head into global powerdown:

Power has been restored to around 10,000 customers in the Far North.

Electricity was cut off at 7am on Sunday morning to allow Transpower to repair cabling damaged by rock blasting at a local quarry on Friday.

The repairs were expected to take until 7pm, but Transpower's Chris Roberts says repairing the damage took less time than expected and the fault was fixed by about 2.30pm.

He says everyone was well aware the outage was a major inconvenience to people in the region and the contractors have done a fantastic job.

The transmission line is the only power supply into the Far North and had to be removed from service to allow wires damaged on Friday to be replaced. Local lines company Top Energy said the affected area was north of a line from the Mangamuka Ranges, Hokianga and Taupo Bay.


10/14/2006

Peak Wheat? :.

Becky and I just bought a 25KG sack of Demeter certified biodynamic wheat berries. We're going to be grinding our own flour with our Country Living grain mill that we brought with us from the U.S.

News like this makes those beautiful little grains of joy seem even more precious:

The world's stockpiles of wheat are at their lowest level in more than a quarter century, according to the US Department of Agriculture, which on Thursday slashed its forecasts for global wheat and corn production.

The lower forecasts were largely attributable to the severe drought in Australia, where the forecast for this year's wheat crop was cut by 8.5m tons to 11m. That is less than half of the 24m produced last year, of which about 17m went to exports.

As a result of the low Australian crop, AWB, the country's main wheat exporter, said it would suspend exports from the country's east coast due to the poor crop and review its export requirements.

To add to the global supply concerns, Ukraine has introduced licences and quotas on its wheat exports, effectively bringing shipments to a standstill. This has already halted Ukrainian wheat shipments of 50,000 tonnes to India. The USDA also lowered wheat output for China, Brazil and the European Union.

Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade reached a new 10-year high of $5.51 a bushel before the release of the USDA report, which represented a rise of 18 per cent since last Friday. The December CBOT wheat contract eased 4 cents to $5.27 in early afternoon Chicago trade, a 56 per cent rise on the year to date.


10/13/2006

Wal-Mart Ordered to Pay $78 Million :.

All the products are made is slave labor camps, why not run the stores the same way?

A Pennsylvania jury said on Friday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, must pay $78.47 million in damages to current and former Pennsylvania employees for forcing them to work "off the clock" or during rest breaks.

On Thursday, a state jury in Philadelphia found in favor of Michelle Braun and Dolores Hummel, formerly employed by Wal-Mart, saying the company violated Pennsylvania labor laws by failing to pay employees for their work.



Regaining Soil and Sanity :.

I got an email from Dan saying that he lost control of taognostic.com somehow. He's back at danbartlett.co.uk.


10/12/2006

Feds Bought Fake University Degrees from Paper Mill :.

The "Federal" Reserve prints worthless paper, lends it to the Federal Government and we pay Them the interest! That's the real scandal:

At least 135 federal employees, including a White House staff member and National Security Agency employees, bought bogus online college degrees from a diploma mill, a lawyer in the case against the mill operators said.

Some of those who paid thousands of dollars for phony diplomas include a senior State Department employee in Kuwait and a
Department of Justice employee in Spokane, defense lawyer Peter S. Schweda said Wednesday.

The bogus degree purchases by the federal workers were revealed Wednesday during a U.S. District Court status conference for five defendants in the case against the mill, The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday.

None of the federal officials was identified during the conference.


10/11/2006

University Instructor Likens Bush to Hitler :.

Also, Hitler was elected. Bush wasn't:

Barrett, a part-time instructor who holds a doctorate in African languages and literature and folklore from UW-Madison, is active in a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth. The group's members say U.S. officials, not al-Qaida terrorists, were behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

"Like Bush and the neocons, Hitler and the Nazis inaugurated their new era by destroying an architectural monument and blaming its destruction on their designated enemies," he wrote.

Barrett said Tuesday he was comparing the attacks to the burning of the German parliament building, the Reichstag, in 1933, a key event in the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship.

"That's not comparing them as people, that's comparing the Reichstag fire to the demolition of the World Trade Center, and that's an accurate comparison that I would stand by," he said.

He added: "Hitler had a good 20 to 30 IQ points on Bush, so comparing Bush to Hitler would in many ways be an insult to Hitler."



Lou Dobbs Unfurls Again :.

You tell 'em, Lou!

NEW YORK (CNN) -- I don't know about you, but I can't take seriously anyone who takes either the Republican Party or Democratic Party seriously -- in part because neither party takes you and me seriously; in part because both are bought and paid for by corporate America and special interests. And neither party gives a damn about the middle class.

Our country's middle class is not just collateral damage in what has become all-out class warfare. Political, business and academic elites are waging an outright war on working men and women and their families, and there is no chance the American middle class will survive this assault if the dominant forces unleashed over the past five years continue unchecked.

They've accomplished this through large campaign contributions, armies of lobbyists that have swamped Washington, and control of political and economic think tanks and media. Lobbyists, in fact, are the arms dealers in the war on the middle class, brokering money, influence and information between their clients our elected officials.


10/10/2006

Time Capsule to be Beamed from Mexican Pyramid :.

As long as Cheney and Senior aren't anywhere near this event, I won't panic:

Mexico's Teotihuacan, once the center of a sprawling pre-Hispanic empire, is set to become the launch pad for an attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

Starting on Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world will have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.

Those contributions -- part of media company Yahoo's "Time Capsule" project -- will be digitalized and beamed with a laser into space on October 25 from the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, now an archeological site near Mexico City.

Archeologists say a culture centered in Teotihuacan, known as the City of the Gods, dominated Mesoamerica for hundreds of years during the first millennium. It is unclear what led to the society's collapse.



Locked Down Indoctrination Centers :.

Another day, another MKULTRA zombie enters a school with a gun... Cui bono?

Each morning, the 16,000 students in the Spring Independent School District in suburban Houston swipe their ID tags as they climb onto the school bus. A radio frequency tag tracks them, as it does when they arrive at school and as they leave the building.

Nearly 1,000 cameras watch them all day. Every visitor — parents, volunteers, the guy who fills the Coke machine — must surrender his or her driver's license to a secretary who checks it against a national database of sex offenders. This fall, nearly one in three schools literally trap visitors inside a "secure vestibule," a bulletproof glass room, until they're checked out.

Welcome to the brave new world of school security. In an era when deadly school shootings seem to happen like clockwork, schools are hardening up, trying unconventional means to deter violence and keep track of students and adults.


10/9/2006

Give Kids More Free Playtime :.

Marketing pitches to create "super children"???

Numerous studies have shown that unstructured play has many benefits. It can help children become creative, discover their own passions, develop problem-solving skills, relate to others and adjust to school settings, the academy report says.

"Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood," says the report, prepared by two academy committees for release Monday at the group's annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

A lack of spontaneous playtime can create stress for children and parents alike. If it occurs because young children are plopped in front of get-smart videos or older children lose school recess time, it can increase risks for obesity. It may even contribute to depression for many children, the report says.

Social pressures and marketing pitches about creating "super children" contribute to a lack of playtime for many families. But so does living in low-income, violence-prone neighborhoods where safe places to play are scarce, the report says.


10/8/2006

Home Sellers Learning Day Trading Skills (Continued...) :.

It's amazing how much this is like trading. The FBs (f*cked buyers) are starting to sell outside the spread. This is feeding downside momentum by causing other shockingly undercapitalized idiots to ditch their flips/go bankrupt.

Now, in the stock market, in times like this, traders might try to "catch the falling knife" by buying at the lower prices with the expectation of profiting from the "dead cat bounce" as other traders go bargain hunting.

How do you know when the downside momentum is slowing? In the case of real estate, how much inventory is out there and how many days have houses been on the market? If these numbers are increasing, consider sitting on your cash and letting the torrent of blood in the streets keep rising as prices continue to fall.

Another way of visualizing price momentum (up or down) is to draw two moving averages on your price data (one shorter and one longer), I like 8 and 13 period moving averages, for example. As the short period MA line moves further and further away (up or down) from the long period MA line, you have increasing momentum (up or down). As the short period MA line goes back toward the long period MA line, you have decreasing momentum.

Why is it called "catching a falling knife"? Because there's a good chance that, instead of catching the knife, you'll get killed by it! Sometimes there are many more apples waiting to be shaken off the tree than you realize. Right now, for example, Joe and Jane Six Pack are still in denial. Once they find themselves hopelessly upside down, ARMs unlocked, they'll just walk away, leaving the keys to the front door in the mailbox. Any recovery could see Joe and Jane Six Pack (or the banks) using the opportunity to sell right into the wave of bargain hunters. Prices then take another leg down as the bargain hunters---knives protruding from their skulls---become the new crop of f*cked buyers.

After crashes, prices tend to stabilize (sideways movement, if you look at them on a chart) and volume drops off. In the example above, the moving averages flop on top of each other and move sideways with prices. Sellers are exhausted. Buyers are exhausted. Traders call this "flatlining" after a stock has crashed.

Eventually, prices start to creep up, along with volume. And off we go again on the boom/bust cycle... Well, assuming the entire economic system doesn't crash along with real estate:

Just how weak is the Boston real estate market?

We got an idea yesterday. And if you're looking to sell your home in the near future, the news isn't good.

Brand-new luxury condos downtown saw hundreds of thousands of dollars wiped off their value in the Hub's first public real estate auction in a decade.

The 31 condos up for sale in the Folio building on Broad Street sold on average for 30 percent below their asking prices.

Some barely fetched their minimums.


Related: Home Sellers Learning Day Trading Skills



Conservative, Christian Republicans, Family Values and Buggery :.

What would Jesus do?

A former House page says he had sex with then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) after receiving explicit e-mails in which the congressman described assessing the sexual orientation and physical attributes of underage pages but waiting until later to make direct advances.



The Big Box Organic Food Industrial Complex :.

Thankfully, this grotesque system is inching closer to collapse every day:

Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.

So it may come as a surprise that Stonyfield's organic farm is long gone. Its main facility is a state-of-the-art industrial plant just off the airport strip in Londonderry, N.H., where it handles milk from other farms. And consider this: Sometime soon a portion of the milk used to make that organic yogurt may be taken from a chemical-free cow in New Zealand, powdered, and then shipped to the U.S. True, Stonyfield still cleaves to its organic heritage. For Chairman and CEO Gary Hirshberg, though, shipping milk powder 9,000 miles across the planet is the price you pay to conquer the supermarket dairy aisle. "It would be great to get all of our food within a 10-mile radius of our house," he says. "But once you're in organic, you have to source globally."



Monsanto and India's Agricultural Apocalypse :.

Prompted for login? Use BugMeNot:

Indian farmers now must compete or go under. To compete, many have turned to high-cost seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, which now line the shelves of even the tiniest village shops.

Monsanto, for instance, invented the genetically modified seeds that Mr. Shende planted, known as Bt cotton, which are resistant to bollworm infestation, the cotton farmer's prime enemy. It says the seeds can reduce the use of pesticides by 25 percent.

The company has more than doubled its sales of Bt cotton here in the last year, but the expansion has been contentious. This year, a legal challenge from the government of the state of Andhra Pradesh forced Monsanto to slash the royalty it collected from the sale of its patented seeds in India. The company has appealed to the Indian Supreme Court.

The modified seeds can cost nearly twice as much as ordinary ones, and they have nudged many farmers toward taking on ever larger loans, often from moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates.

Virtually every cotton farmer in these parts, for instance, needs the assistance of someone like Chandrakant Agarwal, a veteran moneylender who charges 5 percent interest a month.

He collects his dues at harvest time, but exacts an extra premium, compelling farmers to sell their cotton to him at a price lower than it fetches on the market, pocketing the profit.

His collateral policy is nothing if not inventive. The borrower signs a blank official document that gives Mr. Agarwal the right to collect the farmer's property at any time.

Business has boomed with the arrival of high-cost seeds and pesticides. "Many moneylenders have made a whole lot of money," Mr. Agarwal said. "Farmers, many of them, are ruined."


10/7/2006

CHINA MASSING TROOPS ALONG NORTH KOREAN BORDER :.

If North Korea lights off that nuke I don't think anyone knows how weird the situation could get. Do the Chinese just want to contian the mess? Or are they thinking about stepping in before a failed state situation turns into complete chaos...

As international tensions over North Korea have soared, China has deployed extra combat units of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to man the border from the Yalu River in the south to the Tumen River near Russia - evidently fearing the risk of chaos and collapse.

The troop trains were rolling even on the Chinese mid-autumn festival on Friday. Civilian traffic on a main line was halted to allow one train to pass, with carriages jammed with glum soldiers in camouflage uniforms and flat cars carrying olive-green military vehicles.


10/6/2006

U.S. Government "Sentiment Analysis" Software :.

A consortium of major universities, using Homeland Security Department money, is developing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas.

Such a "sentiment analysis" is intended to identify potential threats to the nation, security officials said.

...

American officials have long relied on newspapers and other news sources to track events and opinions here and abroad, a goal that has included the routine translation of articles from many foreign publications and news services.

The new software would allow much more rapid and comprehensive monitoring of the global news media, as the Homeland Security Department and, perhaps, intelligence agencies look "to identify common patterns from numerous sources of information which might be indicative of potential threats to the nation," a statement by the department said.



Dow Sucker Rally Illustrated :.

They better get the Money Honey ready for action!

Here is the Dow Industrials with all three groups of traders as classified by the CFTC. What is important to note here is the level of net percent holdings by group. Commercials: 38.2% net short, Non-Commercial (Large Traders): 8% net long, Non-reportable (Small Traders) 30.2 % net long.

What does this mean? It means the least knowledgeable, least capitalized group of traders is holding the greatest OI (open interest, in this case long positions) against (betting against that is) the most knowledgeable, most heavily capitalized traders. Normally Large traders (hedge funds and the like) offset Commercials but their net long position is anemic. It might be time to pop the popcorn, pull up a chair and watch how this turns out or position oneself to take advantage of the rout should it occur.

There are a number of influential folks who would dearly like to see the "rally" extend to November 3 (for instance, those incumbents running for Congressional offices). But it remains to be seen if their pals will keep buying the "rally" to goose it along until the incumbents are duly re-elected on a platform of "lower gasoline prices and continued prosperity, as proven by the new Dow record high." Or, maybe even the "Plunge Protection Team" won't be able to maintain air pressure in this phony Dow "record."



UPDATE: "Diamonds Cut Diamonds"

If you haven't already, please see the "Diamonds Cut Diamonds" story below. Now see Al Qaeda Tapes: Direct Link To Military Psyops And Donald Rumsfeld. In that story, Steve Watson writes about IntelCenter, a private, U.S. based counterterrorism intelligence service that is staffed with former intelligence and military personnel and is heavily involved with the collection and dissemination of Al Qaeda videos.

Al Qaeda videos. Like the one with the "Diamonds Cut Diamonds" phrase...

Oh yeah. There's one more thing. The following message now appears on the intelcenter.com website:
IntelCenter analysis indicates al-Qaeda may have completed its warning cycle for a mass casualty attack in CONUS, heightened threat now exists, no hard end to threat period identified
Stay tuned. Or not.


10/5/2006

"Diamonds Cut Diamonds"

I don't know what it is about times like this. You know, when lots of people start noticing what seems like more signal in the noise produced by the infoverse. From long experience, we know that the more we think "the event" is imminent, the less likely it is to happen. We also know that trying to piece together actionable intelligence (or a better understanding of events) out of smoke and mirrors and nonsense is a mostly futile waste of time. But that doesn't stop some of us. ;)

Jeff Wells wrote recently:
...in a holographic model, things change. It is consciousness - not individual consciousness, but the collective consciousness of all life - that draws locality and temporality out of the wave pattern of higher vibrations that form the holographic universe and constructs the space and time setting for our life narrative. And consciousness is a storyteller, employing literary devices such as foreshadowing as well as metaphor in our waking curiosity and dream state, while some astral project and remote view, and as plant shamans, with heads full of snakes, explore innerspace via such gateways as DMT and ayahuasca.
So, with all the bones and entrails out there to read and interpret at the moment, I'll offer the following, not as evidence that "the event" is going to happen soon---far from it, probably---but more for your parapolitical viewing pleasure.

Don your tinfoil hat, underwear and robe:

As you know, I've been following the silly rally in the Dow, with its three new record high closes in a row. Yep. Each of the last three days has seen the Dow close higher than the last; further higher into uncharted, record, territory. Meanwhile, the housing bubble, the only thing keeping the U.S. (and world) economy going over the past several years, is popping right in front of our eyes.

And, as you know, I thought it was interesting that bets on the Dow declining substantially by October 20th outnumbered the bets on the Dow rising substantially by October 20th by: 12 to 1 on October 3rd, 19 to 1 on October 4th, and 16 to 1 today.

How, exactly, am I getting these numbers?

I'm following the out of the money, open interest on the options that track the DIAMONDS Trust, Series 1 (symbol:DIA) exchange traded fund. In plain language, this means that I'm following the most speculative bets on where the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be at the close of trading on October 20, 2006.

What I have to say about the options on the DIAMONDS, however, might not be as interesting as what someone else had to say about diamonds. The following are purportedly the words of Osama bin Laden, as reported by al Jazeera back in January 2006:
"My message to you is about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the way to end it.

I had not intended to speak to you about this issue, because, for us, this issue is already decided on: diamonds cut diamonds."
I know it's probably nothing, but I think that They like to make us look anyway.


10/4/2006

Real Estate Bubble: "The End is Upon Us" :.

Is it sick to be taking some pleasure from this? I can't help it. I just think about the smug, imbecile, dope smoking loan officers at that paper mill I used to work for, and the deranged, greedy, liar loan, bubble huffing clients of that thing...

This could not be happening to a more deserving bunch of pricks:

Yes, the explosive charge in the foundations of America's housing boom has been detonated. The wrecking ball has swung. After 17 consecutive interest-rate rises by the Federal Reserve, sales of existing homes in California have suffered their biggest fall in nearly 25 years, while the median home price across the entire country has recorded its first decline in a decade.

...

Just a few months ago, "open houses" in LA were like orgies. Real estate brokers would lay out tables of finger-food, while throngs of potential buyers would swoon over the stainless steel bathroom fixtures, fantasise about the remodelling potential (we can fit a hot tub in the back!) and, most importantly, jostle to outbid each other.

These days the ahi tuna canapes are gone, the brokers look ill and the only buyers are professional vultures, offering 30 per cent below listing. As for the sellers, they can be found upstairs in bed, hyperventilating.

The worst affected are the "flippers": people who bought multiple properties in the hope of reselling them quickly. Now they're left with more homes than Bono and no money for groceries.



Shouting Telescreens Announce United Kingdom of Fascism :.

Written by a British citizen:

If the final nail in America's descent into fascism was the Military Commissions Act then the telltale sign across the Atlantic is the installation of Orwell's telescreens - surveillance cameras fitted with loudspeakers that bark orders at passers-by who the watcher deems suspicious.

The voice of Big Brother has already echoed across several major cities, the latest of which being Middlesbrough in the north-east, and the program will no doubt be unfolded nationwide once the salivating control freaks in council offices have their way.



Another Dow Record

Remember the Dow Diamonds options story from yesterday? With 11.95 times the number of out of the money puts to calls?

I created a little tool that automatically does the calculations for me on the Diamonds. When I ran it today, I was sure that the thing was broken, so I did the math by hand. Nope, the thing wasn't broken. It was correct.

From today's option action on DIAMONDS Trust, Series 1 (DIA):
Open Interest in Out of the Money PUT OPTIONS, Expire at Close Fri, Oct 20, 2006:
200659

Open Interest in Out of the Money CALL OPTIONS, Expire at Close Fri, Oct 20, 2006:
10460
200659 puts / 10460 calls = 19.18 times more puts vs. calls.

This is one of those short squeezes where you just stand back, look at the thing in awe and mumble to yourself.



Cryptogon Readers Get October Contributions Started Off Right

Long time Cryptogon readers and supporters, Number One Son and PW, are at it again! Number One Son sent $30. PW sent $40.

Additionally, Unlocking 9/11 has taken one of the three ad positions at the top of Cryptogon's homepage. Only one spot remains. Click "Your Ad Here" up there to advertise on Cryptogon now. Only $21.38 per month?! Can that be right? Daily and weekly blocks are also available.

Many thanks to all of you!



U.S. Plans Massive Data Sweep :.

This is my favorite part:
Is a burst of Internet traffic between a few people the plotting of terrorists, or just bloggers arguing?
WTF!?

If you're still free start running away:

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

DHS officials are circumspect when talking about ADVISE. "I've heard of it," says Peter Sand, director of privacy technology. "I don't know the actual status right now. But if it's a system that's been discussed, then it's something we're involved in at some level."

Data-mining is a key technology

A major part of ADVISE involves data-mining - or "dataveillance," as some call it. It means sifting through data to look for patterns. If a supermarket finds that customers who buy cider also tend to buy fresh-baked bread, it might group the two together. To prevent fraud, credit-card issuers use data-mining to look for patterns of suspicious activity.

What sets ADVISE apart is its scope. It would collect a vast array of corporate and public online information - from financial records to CNN news stories - and cross-reference it against US intelligence and law-enforcement records. The system would then store it as "entities" - linked data about people, places, things, organizations, and events, according to a report summarizing a 2004 DHS conference in Alexandria, Va. The storage requirements alone are huge - enough to retain information about 1 quadrillion entities, the report estimated. If each entity were a penny, they would collectively form a cube a half-mile high - roughly double the height of the Empire State Building.

But ADVISE and related DHS technologies aim to do much more, according to Joseph Kielman, manager of the TVTA portfolio. The key is not merely to identify terrorists, or sift for key words, but to identify critical patterns in data that illumine their motives and intentions, he wrote in a presentation at a November conference in Richland, Wash.

For example: Is a burst of Internet traffic between a few people the plotting of terrorists, or just bloggers arguing? ADVISE algorithms would try to determine that before flagging the data pattern for a human analyst's review.



Mesa, Arizona Home Sellers to Take Bids $100,000 Below Market :.

Keep my piece on selling outside the spread in mind as you read this:

Two Mesa home owners use an unconventional method in desperate times to sell their homes by an auction.

There will be an open house on Saturday, October 7th and Sunday, October 8th from 12pm to 5pm, and the two homes will be sold to the highest bidder on Sunday, October 8th at 6:00pm.

"The opening bid for both of our homes is $100,000 below the other comparatives in the neighborhood. Yes, we are willing to sell the homes at that price, but we believe that by using this method to sell our homes, the market will determine the true value," said Brian Kingdeski, who owns one of the homes that will be auctioned.


10/3/2006

With the Dow at a Record High and the Financial Media Cheering...


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

Let's take a look at the out of the money option bets on the Diamonds, the ETF that tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Why use the out of the money numbers? Because that's where the criminals would make the most money on an October surprise.

From today's option action on DIAMONDS Trust, Series 1 (DIA):
Open Interest in Out of the Money PUT OPTIONS, Expire at Close Fri, Oct 20, 2006:
189295

Open Interest in Out of the Money CALL OPTIONS, Expire at Close Fri, Oct 20, 2006:
15842
189295 puts / 15842 calls = 11.95 times more puts vs. calls.

So, on this historic day, with the triumphant Dow "soaring" to a glorious, record high, the amount of money being placed on very speculative bets that the Dow is going to decline substantially by October 20 is nearly 12 times the amount of money being bet that the Dow will rise substantially by October 20.

In case you're interested, total open interest on DIA is calls 87908 vs puts 197303 or 2.24 times more puts vs. calls.

Hmm. That's interesting no matter how you slice it. I might just have to keep track of this over time. Anyone know of some free method of charting an out of the money put / call ratio? Doing it manually is a bit of a pain. I managed to get Open Office Calc to parse the DIA data tables right out of Yahoo, then I do a sumif on column Last < 1, add column Open Int. Doing this on both calls and puts gives me the out of the money open interest on each. Now, if I could somehow automatically store the results from these sumifs on different rows each day... I'll just copy and paste them for now.



DOW RECORD HIGH

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

A couple of days ago, in the forum, with regard to the October put options, I wrote:
These puts might just be an automated hedge strategy by large institutions. With the DOW near a record it makes sense. They might be trying to have their cake and eat it too. They might want to stay in to catch more upside, but they know there's a (possibly strong) chance of decline. What do They do?

They stay long, but they buy a bit of insurance with the put options.
Guys, I'm the first one to say that I DON'T KNOW where the thing is going today, tomorrow or next week. And I put that warning at the top of messages like this because I don't want you to take action based only on my analysis, if you can call it analysis. If I had more confidence in making calls in the market, I'd be trading the damn thing myself, and we'd have more solar panels on our roof than anyone else in the district. And a wind turbine. A big one! And a hot house to grow tomatoes in the winter, and, and...

Now, that I've told you that I have no idea what's going to happen, and with the Dow at a record high, let's examine the Short Squeeze.

This is the most incredible move of them all, in my opinion. When lots of traders and pundits start to believe "the top is in / it's coming down" they short everything, like Fred Hickey.

When so many people get short, it doesn't take much to shake them out of their positions and actually cause a strong (temporary) rally! All They have to do to cause a massive short covering rally is to start buying index futures, in a sustained way, for a few minutes and * boom * it's on. Many shorts will yield to the "unseen hand of the market" and cover their positions. It only takes a couple of hundred million leveraged dollars to touch off one of these moves. I've seen it happen dozens of times. TR and I used to have this radar thing scanning the market, looking for "weird" momentum, among other things. A couple of times, we got alarms on nearly the entire NASDAQ 100 and lots of lower tiered relatives.

Once, TR yelled out, "What the hell happened!?"

I said, "The 'unseen hand of the market' just slapped everyone across the face and said, 'I own this show.'"

The clinical term for this is buy program (or sell program) and if you have a way of visualizing the market, like we did, it's an awe inspiring thing. Most of the time, the market looks mostly like semi-random noise. Sometimes, you get more up trending noise. Sometimes, more down trending noise. Occasionally, though, nearly all of the money goes mostly one way or the other. These are the times when the wizard behind the curtain (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, etc.) starts pulling the big levers.

Now, why didn't we make money? Sadly, we couldn't determine how long the "programs" would last. We'd try to catch some and then get shaken out. Then, we'd see one, sit there and look at it, look at each other, "Is this one real?" It climbs and climbs. "No it's probably fake." It climbs. Climbs more. Still climbing. "I think it's real. F it, I'll jump on." Bang. It goes down again. It was some of the most nauseating nonsense you could imagine. None of the technical tools matter in times like this. That thing will barrel through every support or resistance you can draw on your chart. Oscillators will peg the extremes and stay there for long enough to make you feel like an idiot for using them at all. Being out starts to feel really good.

I heard weird rumors of some guys who had a system based on a heat map of where out of the money option bets had been laid on. They basically thought, "What's the most criminal way for Them to make money?" and devised a system based on it. Who has enough capital to start a move in a stock that can make the out of the money options suddenly very profitable?

I thought it was BS, but on an up market day, I watched a big market maker crank Amazon down $2 in a few minutes. Just Amazon. Someone in the chat room I was in said, "I guess those AMZN puts weren't so far out of the money after all." That was my last cracked lightbulb moment before I gave up on trading. The thing is a total scam, and They like having retailers participating because it provides liquidity for Their antics.



NORTH KOREA WILL CONDUCT NUCLEAR TEST :.

Well, well, well... I seem to remember a little story about some October put options...

SEOUL (Reuters) - An increasingly isolated North Korea said on Tuesday it would conduct its first-ever nuclear test, blaming a U.S. "threat of nuclear war and sanctions" for forcing its hand.

The statement by North Korea's foreign ministry, carried on the official KCNA news agency, was condemned by neighboring Japan as "unacceptable" and caused South Korea to increase its security alert.



Pessimistic Stock Guru Goes with the Short Answer :.

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

This story will seem frighteningly familiar to Cryptogon regulars. And Hickey's Portfolio of Doom looks excellent for those of you who are still in the paper game and looking for strategic shorts:

Fred Hickey is used to going against the crowd.

Everyone scoffed in 1999 when the veteran Nashua, N.H., stock market guru, who publishes the influential High-Tech Strategist investment newsletter, warned that the tech bubble was going to pop.

And they dismissed him as a wild alarmist early last year when he said house prices were going to slump.

What's his view now?

"I think we're going to have a crash, across the stock market," he told me Friday.

Yes, Wall Street has been flirting with new highs. And the stock market cheerleaders on TV are waving their pom-poms madly, urging you to put more money into the market.

But people with long memories know that is exactly the time to get nervous.

Think: 1929, 1987 and 1999.

Hickey isn't alone in his worries. As reported here, several top investment managers - from Warren Buffett to Jeremy Grantham to Manu Daftary - have been pulling back from the stock market and hoarding cash.

Many simply think equity prices are too high.

Hickey's viewpoint is more alarming. He thinks the real estate slump is going to develop into a crisis that will spread across the economy.

Hickey points out that housing sales have collapsed, prices are eroding, and a whole army of homeowners on adjustable-rate mortgages face sharp spikes in their monthly payments as their introductory periods expire.

And he thinks it's going to get a lot worse.


"Even with everything we've witnessed to date, people still think it isn't going to be that bad, that it's going to be a nice, slow, measured (decline)," he said with disbelief.

Early last year Hickey backed his prediction by betting his own money against shares in high-end homebuilding company Toll Brothers.

He cleaned up. They've collapsed from $57 to just $27.81 as the housing bubble - to the astonishment of Realtors, naturally - finally popped.

He's closed that bet, but opened up two others: Against homebuilders WCI Communities and Lennar. Both, he notes, have big exposure to the wild Florida real estate market. WCI, he adds, is also running low on cash.

But it doesn't stop there, he argues. If housing crashes, the debt-ridden U.S. consumer will stop shopping. And the knock-on effects will follow through across the economy - and around the world.

Is he right? We'll see, one way or another.

But he's certainly putting his money where his mouth is. Hickey is betting against a wide range of U.S. stocks, including Google, IBM, Motorola, Intel, Apple, Research In Motion, Texas Instruments and Amazon. "I've got the biggest number of short positions I've ever had," he says.



Venturi Eclectic Electric Car :.

Doesn't every freak dream of an electric car with integrated rooftop solar panels and a deployable wind turbine? (I know I did.) These freaks did more than dream about it. As usual, don't look at the pricetag:

...a modern, autonomous and intelligent automobile. The energy that drives it exists all around it: it simply has to deploy its wind turbine, expose its solar cells or, if necessary, find a simple electric plug.


10/2/2006

Robert Anton Wilson Needs Our Help :.

As Becky and I are living pretty close to the financial edge ourselves (Cryptogon donations are our main source of funds at the moment, as amazing and frightening as that may be), I can only make a small contribution to Bob. If you're in better financial shape, please consider helping him out:

...Robert Anton Wilson, whose infirmity and depleted finances have put him in the precarious position of not being able to meet next month's rent.

Research Credit: JS



Balkee Tide and Wave Electricity Generator :.

Energy scarcity is probably the biggest scam of them all:

In the photo above, TWPEG is shown turning a car alternator at 40-60rpm on a knee deep lagoon water, where the waves are just ripples.



Thanks for Making September a Record Month for Contributions

Special thanks to everyone who made September a record month for contributions to Cryptogon!
MO $50
freemania1.com $65
Amazon $101.73
Anonymous $30
resist.ca $50
AB $50
EP $27.77
freeinternetpress.com $28.50
TM $30
cubapolidata.com $65
MW $20
The purchases through Amazon were shocking! It's amazing how all of those added up. The commissions ranged from three cents for a used book to over $9 for a video game system.

Many thanks to all of you.



Rounding Up U.S. Citizens :.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S. citizens, "unlawful enemy combatants."

...

Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush's list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.



US Housing Crash Could Bring UK Down with It :.

It's going to bring down much more than the UK:

Peter Warburton - a member of the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee - warns that the UK will be badly hit by a US housing market crash.

He says: "There is an increasingly large possibility of a scenario where, frankly, economic activity could fall quite materially. In short, I do not believe that the UK has become a more stable economy."

His thesis is that for the past decade, despite its stable growth rate and low inflation, the UK economy has been brewing up potential problems. These include the record level of debt taken on by the household sector, a similarly large jump in government borrowing and a fall in manufacturing output. If, as many experts predict, the US suffers a housing market collapse next year, this could trigger an even more dramatic downturn in the UK.

The reason, he says, is that British companies are particularly reliant on the US for their exports. If they lose much of their custom, they are likely to have to lay off employees, triggering a rise in unemployment and a possible drop in consumer spending.

"The landscape can change quite quickly, and the UK is one of the most vulnerable economies out there," he says. "It's fanciful to suggest that just because corporate balance sheets seem to be in a more healthy state that businesses will carry on spending even if the consumer stops spending.



Irvine, California Real Estate Flippers Getting Decapitated

Over the last couple of years, Irvine went flip crazy, with the action in some developments comprised almost entirely of flippers selling properties to other flippers. Now, with the music stopped and not enough chairs to go around, it's decapitation time. Too bad, how sad!

Those of you who have escaped the festering, stucco box sh*thole of Irvine, California will love these blogs. Sit back and enjoy the show:

Irvine Housing Blog

and

OC FlipTrack

Related: Grass Under Renovation and Fleeing the United States


10/1/2006

Put Options Accumulating for October (Surprise)? :.

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

With my recent commentary on oil in mind, add this to the mix:
"Do you like October suprises? Is there a big bang coming to hit the markets? If you believe that those in the know use insider information before major events then you might be interested on the HUGE number of October 6th put options for the big indexes.
Dow near record highs. The consumer going broke on stupid real estate deals. If I was a gambling man, which I'm not, I'd be taking puts on the major indexes too.

But is there more to it? We'll find out in a few days.



Cafferty on CNN: "What Are We Becoming?" :.

"Here's the deal:" Cafferty said. "Under the War Crimes Act, violations of the Geneva Conventions are felonies, in some cases punishable by death. When the Supreme Court ruled that the Geneva Convention applied to al-Qaida and Taliban detainees, President Bush and his boys were suddenly in big trouble.

"They've been working these prisoners over pretty good. In an effort to avoid possible prosecution they're trying to cram this bill through Congress before the end of the week before Congress adjourns," he said.



Cryptogon Readers Ordering Survival Related Titles from Amazon



Colleges Coveting Home-Schooled Students :.

Home-schooled students - whose numbers in this country range from an estimated 1.1 million to as high as 2 million - often come to college equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in higher education, said Regina Morin, admissions director of Columbia College.

Such assets include intellectual curiosity, independent study habits and critical thinking skills, she said.

"It's one of the fastest-growing college pools in the nation," she said. "And they tend to be some of the best prepared."




Google


cryptogon.com
www

:. 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.