Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Who is following me in that car - Read what to do here
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: Is a car following you? - read some Ideas on what to do if...
Topic: POLICE

What should you do if you suspect a car has been following you? | Quora Link

 


What You Should Do if You Suspect a Car Is Following You

 

The artile below was copied from KATU

 http://www.katu.com/news/va?vaid=817ef634a0fe2045359f2dcdc2c61257

It's unlikely that most of us will be followed by a car, but chances are you've had a sneaking suspicion before that you'd like to put to rest. To regain your peace of mind, security and investigations expert Brandon Gregg offers up a few tricks to both detect if you're being followed and what you can do about it.

Brandon's answer comes from a question on Quora and provides a lot of detail, but here's the gist:

  • Make four right or left turns. It's unlikely anyone will also be traveling in a complete circle, so if the car is still behind you after 360 degrees you can be fairly certain you are being followed.
  • If you're on the highway, get off and then back on. Again, this is something most people will not do when driving so you're likely being followed if a car is still behind you when you get back on the highway. If this happens, pull over to the side of the highway. If you're being followed by a surveillance team, they will not pull over because it's too obvious. They may, however, wait at the next exit so if you want to lose them don't choose the next exit or the exit that you usually take.

  • If any of these techniques lead you to believe you're being followed, call the police. Brandon elaborates:

    If it's a local police surveillance, dispatch will put the call out and the undercover unit will cancel it and move along for now. If it's feds/state police, they most likely did not tell their brothers in blue about their surveillance and local PD will roll up on the vehicle. Watch them run the plates and then back off. If its a PI or stalker, local PD will light them up, tell them to move along or even let the reporting party know what is going on.

  • Police officers who also posted answers to this question agree that phoning the police is among the first things you should do if you believe you are, indeed, being followed. To read more on the subject, check out the full thread over at Quora.

    What should you do if you suspect a car has been following you? | Quora


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Military Freak - killing soldiers is his job
Mood:  on fire
Now Playing: To put it politely as best as I can = Fuk This Guy
Topic: WAR

Meet an officer who has been
killing soldiers at Ft. Lewis


March Forward logo

 

PTSD misdiagnosis scandal leads to firings

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 It's all smiles for Col. Homas; he's got a sweet job, with no accountability for his actions—even if dozens of wounded soldiers die on his watch.

BY KEVIN BAKER

The author is a former infantry Staff Sergeantwith 28 months in Iraqwho was stationed at Ft. Lewis and went through the medical discharge process at Madigan Healthcare System.

Col. Dallas Homas was administratively removed from his position as head of the Army’s Madigan Healthcare System near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Army officials announced Feb. 20. Col. Homas, a West Point graduate, had headed the medical center since March 2011.

Col. Homas was removed during an Army inquiry into the practice of intentionally not diagnosing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers. Such a diagnosis entitles one to certain rights, benefits and compensation.

Col. Homas, the commander in charge of making sure soldiers on base are being cared for, denied soldiers their right to medical treatment and other rights to “save taxpayer money”—an absurd statement considering the multi-million dollar defense budget that has unlimited funds for corporate defense contractors, but suddenly “not enough money” when we’re entitled to compensation for legitimate psychological wounds.

Just weeks earlier, two top doctors in charge of PTSD at Ft. Lewis were also fired.

Already, as a result of the inquiry, 14 soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD after having been being previously misdiagnosed. There is no telling how many more received a bogus diagnosis and are now in Afghanistan, not receiving the treatment they need, and not being awarded the disability and compensation they deserve.

And with record suicides in the Army over the past 3 years—many of which occurred among Ft. Lewis soldiers—it is undeniable that Col. Homas and all other officers and doctors involved in this process have blood on their hands.

Changes a result of public pressure for soldiers, military families, vets

Col. Homas has been removed not because the Army cares about our lives, but because of external pressure. Over the past two years, March Forward! has launched campaign after campaign against the inadequate treatment of soldiers suffering from PTSD. We have exposed several egregious cases to the media, built nationwide pressure through public campaigns, circulated petitions nationwide that garnered thousands of signatures, organized thousands to call and email the Ft. Lewis command, and worked with military family members and soldiers to bring real heat to the officers at Ft. Lewis. In conjunction with our efforts, Ft. Lewis also has at its gates the G.I. coffeehouse Coffee Strong, helping soldiers on base learn about their rights and speak out about mistreatment.

It is no coincidence that the target of so much organizing is now the focus of an Army inquiry and firings.

Col. Homas is typical, not just a bad apple

There is nothing unique about the way Colonial Dallas Homas dealt with soldiers suffering from PTSD who were seeking help. Ft. Lewis is one of the most troubled bases in the U.S. military in regards to suicide.

I remember his predecessor, an officer by the name of Col. Edwards at Madigan hospital when I was just starting my medical discharge process. He interviewed me for roughly thirty seconds before he told the doctors I was fit for duty and had to deploy again. This is what is considered adequate for these officers to make a diagnosis that will impact the rest of our lives—or a diagnosis that will be responsible for soldiers losing them.

They excuse their behavior by accusing us of just faking our symptoms because we are lazy—or, “malingering”. The behavior of officers who accuse service members of “malingering” is not uncommon. What strikes me as odd is that the same officers who will put our lives at risk—but don’t deploy themselves—are so untrusting of enlisted soldiers who have been in combat. They call us “fakers” when we come home from a world they will never see.  

The suicides that have taken place at Ft. Lewis are a direct result of the failure of the base and its head officer corps to do anything meaningful to address the crisis of PTSD, as if our lives mean nothing to them.  

No accountability for ruining countless lives

Col. Homas has been relieved of his duties and will most likely take a position else where continuing his dishonest work. The Army just needed a cosmetic change—Homas will continue working in a plush office, until he retires with a fat pension. That’s “punishment” for an officer who has been directly responsible for soldier suicides and destroyed families.

Let’s just look at this in comparison for a moment.

If an enlisted soldier loses a pair of night vision goggles, they face a dock in pay, extra duty, restriction to the barracks and demotion in rank. We as enlisted face the harshest punishment even for situations completely out of our control (this was shown during our recent successful campaign against the ridiculous lockdown of B Co., 4/9 Infantry).

But when the head of the mental health department on a base that is on the brink of disaster, continues to refuse to diagnose PTSD, calls soldiers “malingerers” and denies them the right to heal which results in the highest suicide rates among all of the CONUS bases, he is simply relieved of his position and sent somewhere else. Col. Homas's allegiance, like that of the incoming officer, are not to serve the soldiers but to serve the interests of the Pentagon and protect the funds allotted to the Army.

For the countless lives that have been needlessly lost to suicide at Ft. Lewis, and the families who are suffering, Col. Homas and all other officers and doctors involved in the practice of denying PTSD claims should be brought up on criminal charges.

The Pentagon won’t change things—but we can

Col. Mike Heimall, Homas' replacement, has no allegiance to enlisted personnel and will continue to function as did Col. Homas and other officers in charge before them. They will continue to attempt to sweep the suicide epidemic under the rug. We can expect no meaningful change from the change of command, except what they are forced to do. The officer corps at Ft. Lewis, Madigan and the crony-healthcare system has not only helped facilitate soldiers' suicides but they have stolen husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones from our lives.

Real change within the military never has nor will it ever come from the top. This change of command is a direct result of our actions as enlisted service members, vets and family and friends to organize and beat the drums of truth. The lies this base spews will continue to kill soldiers who are suffering from untreated PTSD. Ft. Lewis and all those in charge of medical practice who have cheated service members out of their lives should be tried in court and held accountable for their dishonesty that has led to a massive suicide epidemic.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Menu of Tactics for Protesting and Occupying
Mood:  hungry
Now Playing: OCCU-PIE MENU OF TACTIES
Topic: PROTEST!

Occu-pie Menu of Tactics


Posted by nowisthetimeus on February 21, 2012

Tired of the boo-hoo-hum-drum of the Nonviolence/Diversity of Tactics debate?

Liberate yourself by using this handy dandy planning menu for your next Occu-pie!

Menu subject to changes according to whims.  Just can’t decide? Ask about our daily specials!

Toppings:

  • A la mode = sustained actions
  • Whipped Cream = flash actions
  • Fudge = clandestine action
  • Sprinkles = family friendly

Fruit and Cheeze platters (pairs well with Whine)

Public Speeches
Letters of opposition or support
Declarations by organizations and institutions
Signed public statements
Declarations of indictment and intention
Group or mass petitions

Berry Pies

Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
Banners, posters, and displayed communications
Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
Newspapers and journals
Records, radio, and television
Skywriting and earthwriting

Pie Eating Contest

Deputations
Mock awards
Group lobbying
Picketing
Mock elections

American Apple Pie (And other fruits)

Displays of flags and symbolic colors
Wearing of symbols
Prayer and worship
Delivering symbolic objects
Protest disrobings
Destruction of own property
Symbolic lights
Displays of portraits
Paint as protest
New signs and names
Symbolic sounds
Symbolic reclamations
Rude gestures

Bake Sale

“Haunting” officials
Taunting officials
Fraternization
Vigils

Cobbler with Crumble topping

Humorous skits and pranks
Performances of plays and music
Singing

All you can  eat dessert Buffet

Marches
Parades
Religious processions
Pilgrimages
Motorcades

Sugarfree Desserts

Political mourning
Mock funerals
Demonstrative funerals
Homage at burial places

Cookie Platter

Assemblies of protest or support
Protest meetings
Camouflaged meetings of protest
Teach-ins

Fat Free Desserts

Walk-outs
Silence
Renouncing honors
Turning one’s back

Tart Custard Pies

Social boycott
Selective social boycott
Lysistratic nonaction
Excommunication
Interdict

Custard Cream Pies

Suspension of social and sports activities
Boycott of social affairs
Student strike
Social disobedience
Withdrawal from social institutions

Mousse Pies

Stay-at-home
Total personal noncooperation
“Flight” of workers
Sanctuary
Collective disappearance
Protest emigration (hijrat)

Twizzlers

Consumers’ boycott
Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
Policy of austerity
Rent withholding
Refusal to rent
National consumers’ boycott
International consumers’ boycott

Pop Rocks

Workmen’s boycott
79. Producers’ boycott

Sorry, Vending Machine Broken

Suppliers’ and handlers’ boycott

Milk Duds

Traders’ boycott
Refusal to let or sell property
Lockout
Refusal of industrial assistance
Merchants’ “general strike”

Smarties

Withdrawal of bank deposits
Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
Refusal to pay debts or interest
Severance of funds and credit
Revenue refusal
Refusal of a government’s money

Fair Trade Organic Chocolates

Domestic embargo
Blacklisting of traders
International sellers’ embargo
International buyers’ embargo
International trade embargo

Vegetable Pies

Protest strike
Quickie walkout (lightning strike)

Peasant strike
Farm Workers’ strike

Refusal of impressed labor
Prisoners’ strike
Craft strike
Professional strike

Establishment strike
Industry strike
Sympathetic strike

Detailed strike
Bumper strike
Slowdown strike
Working-to-rule strike
Reporting “sick” (sick-in)
Strike by resignation
Limited strike
Selective strike

Generalized strike
General strike

Hartal
Economic shutdown

Mincemeat Pies

Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
Refusal of public support
Literature and speeches advocating resistance

Boycott of legislative bodies
Boycott of elections
Boycott of government employment and positions
Boycott of government depts., agencies, and other bodies
Withdrawal from government educational institutions
Boycott of government-supported organizations
Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
Removal of own signs and placemarks
Refusal to accept appointed officials
Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

Reluctant and slow compliance
Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
Popular nonobedience
Disguised disobedience
Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
Sitdown
Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
Hiding, escape, and false identities
Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws

Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
Blocking of lines of command and information
Stalling and obstruction
General administrative noncooperation
Judicial noncooperation
Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
Mutiny

Quasi-legal evasions and delays
Noncooperation by constituent governmental units

Changes in diplomatic and other representations
Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
Withholding of diplomatic recognition
Severance of diplomatic relations
Withdrawal from international organizations
Refusal of membership in international bodies
Expulsion from international organizations

Nut Pies

Psychological Intervention
Self-exposure to the elements
The fast
Fast of moral pressure
Hunger strike
Satyagrahic fast
Reverse trial
Nonviolent harassment

Sit-in
Stand-in
Ride-in
Wade-in
Mill-in
Pray-in
Nonviolent raids
Nonviolent air raids
Nonviolent invasion
Nonviolent interjection
Nonviolent obstruction
Nonviolent occupation

Establishing new social patterns
Overloading of facilities
Stall-in
Speak-in
Guerrilla theater
Alternative social institutions
Alternative communication system

Reverse strike
Stay-in strike
Nonviolent land seizure
Defiance of blockades
Politically motivated counterfeiting
Preclusive purchasing
Seizure of assets
Dumping
Selective patronage
Alternative markets
Alternative transportation systems
Alternative economic institutions

Overloading of administrative systems
Disclosing identities of secret agents
Seeking imprisonment
Civil disobedience of “neutral” laws
Work-on without collaboration
Dual sovereignty and parallel government

Please make a request to our suggestion box below:


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:10 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:11 PM PST
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Is a US war with Iran Inevitable - USA is bound and determined
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: From: The Daily Reckoning
Topic: WAR

________________________________________ From: The Daily Reckoning [mailto:dr@dailyreckoning.com] Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:37 PM 

Is a US-Iran War Inevitable? The Daily Reckoning U.S. Edition Home . Archives . Unsubscribe The Daily Reckoning | Thursday, February 16, 2012 • Doug Casey gives us his odds on an all-out military conflict with Iran, • What would be the consequences should war eventuate? And how do you prepare? • Plus, Bill Bonner on Facebook’s IPO, Mr. Government Fixer in Europe and plenty more...

 Checking in from Buenos Aires, Argentina... Joel Bowman We have in stall for you today, Fellow Reckoner, an interview with Mr. Douglas Casey. You’ll shortly discover that the topic, Iran and the possibility — says Doug, “probability” — of war with that sovereign nation, demands the discussion run a little longer than our usual feature piece. As such, our preamble will be correspondingly shorter than usual. Please enjoy Doug’s characteristically thought-provoking insights. Should you wish to opine on this important topic, feel free to direct your email to us here: joel@dailyreckoning.com. We will feature a selection of your emails in future reckonings. World oil production is about to be shaken to its core... You won’t believe which nation analysts at Wall Street’s biggest banks expect to become the world’s biggest energy producer by 2017 — or the effect it will have on America... our economy... our future... Click here to see who is set to become the new king of oil — and how you can use the news to go for big profits as early as this MAY! The Daily Reckoning Presents Is a US-Iran War Inevitable? An Interview with Doug Casey, conducted by Louis James Doug Casey US-Iranian saber-rattling or impending shoot-out? In his usual, candid manner, contrarian investor Doug Casey talks about why he believes it’s serious this time... why the US is the greatest threat to peace today... why Iran might move towards a gold standard... and what smart investors should do. L: Doug, I’ve heard you say you think the US is setting Iran up to be the next fall guy in the wag-the-dog show — do you think it could really come to open warfare? Doug: Yes, I do. It could just be saber rattling during an election year, but Western powers have been provoking Iran for years now — two decades, really. I just saw another report proclaiming that Iran is likely to attack the US, which is about as absurd as the allegations Bush made about Iraq bombing the US, when he fomented that invasion. It’s starting to look rather serious at this point, so I do think the odds favor actual fighting in the not-too-distant future. L: Could they really be so stupid? Doug: You know the answer to that one. We’re dealing with criminal personalities on both sides, and criminals are basically very stupid — meaning they have an unwitting tendency to self-destruction. One thing to remember is that most of those in power in the West still believe the old economic fallacy that war is good for the economy. L: The old broken-window fallacy. Paraphrasing Arlo Guthrie, it’s hard to believe anyone could get away with making a mistake that dumb for that long. Doug: People like those in power still suffer the delusion that it was World War II that ended the Great Depression for the US. Actually, it was only after the end of the war that the depression ended, in 1946. In his book World Economic Development: 1979 and Beyond, Herman Kahn documented long-term growth throughout the 20th century. Between 1914 to 1946 — a very tough time, with WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII — the world economy still grew at something like 1.8%. I believe real growth would have been several times as great, were it not for the state and its products. But people still believe that spending money on things that explode and kill and destroy is somehow good for the economy. L: I suppose they think it’s okay if it creates jobs here and destroys lives and livelihoods “over there.” But aside from the fact that it’s not safe to assume today’s enemies are not capable of bringing the battle onto US soil, it still ignores the fact that you’re spending money on stuff that gets destroyed — like broken windows — and that impoverishes us all. Worse, the cost is not just economic. Doug: That’s right. This coming war with Iran has the potential to turn into something resembling WWIII, with enormous consequences. Now, it’s hard to speak with any certainty on such matters, because most of what we have to go on are press reports. Governments keep most really critical facts on their doings to themselves, and what you read in the press is as likely as not just a warmed-over government press release — in other words, propaganda. Meaningless, if not actively deceptive. It is correctly said that in war, truth is the first casualty. L: But we do have the Internet these days, with indie reporters offering coverage ignored by the talking heads in the mainstream media. Doug: True; it doesn’t keep the chattering classes honest, but it does provide some diversity of spin, from which we can try to infer what’s really going on. And from all the various sources — mainstream and alternative, Western and from within the Muslim world — I have to say that it appears to me that the Iranians are not actually developing nuclear weapons. L: Then why do they act in such aggressive and bombastic ways? Doug: Western powers are pushing them around, telling them what they can and cannot do, and treating them like children or mental incompetents with no right of self-determination. How else would you expect them to react? They may have a collectivist theocratic regime, but it’s also a proud and ancient culture. Now, as you know, I don’t think there should be any countries at all — not in the sense of the modern nation-state, and I’m certainly no fan of the Tehran regime, but Iran is a sovereign state. The Iranians resent people from other countries assuming the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their uranium enrichment program, just as people in the US would if Iranians told them what to do with... well, anything. L: Do you have specific data to substantiate your view that Iran is not focused on creating nuclear weapons? Doug: I was just reading about an official report that says that Iran is still not able to enrich uranium to the level needed to make nuclear weapons. Uranium occurs in two isotopes with half-lives long enough to make it possible to find reasonable amounts of them in the earth’s crust: U235 and U238. Most of it is U238 — 99.3% — but it’s the U235 that’s fissile, meaning, it’s the one you want for making nuclear reactors and weapons. So you have to enrich your uranium — to about 20%-30% U235 to make reactor fuel and 90% or better to make weapons. L: That’s why the Russians are able to sell “downblended” uranium from decommissioned nuclear weapons for use as reactor fuel. So, you’re saying the reports indicate that Iran is not capable of enriching uranium beyond the level needed for reactors? Doug: Yes. But again, I have to stress that reliable information is very hard to come by. Remember when the US accused Iraq of having a program to develop so-called weapons of mass destruction? Apart from the fact that, except for nuclear weapons, that term is a complete misnomer, they had no such thing. It was either lousy intelligence or outright fabrication — and I suspect the latter. So how can we trust what they tell us today? Only a fool would be so naïve. L: Indeed. Doug: In any event, why shouldn’t Iran have nuclear weapons? I wish none of these countries had them, but they do. No one stopped China, no one stopped North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, India, France, nor any of the others in the disreputable club that have them. L: Wasn’t it too late to intervene by the time those countries announced their nuclear capabilities? Doug: I don’t think so. Israel was friendly, so Western powers looked the other way. North Korea was too rabid, so they were left alone. The other countries are too big. The cat’s out of the bag at this point; any country can develop nuclear weapons, if it really wants to. But it’s easier and cheaper to bribe a general — or maybe just a supply sergeant — in India, Pakistan, or Russia to get what you want. Moreover, with the US on the rampage, prosecuting its counterproductive and unwinnable War on Terror, a lot of governments, especially ones unpopular in the West, have got to be thinking about acquiring nuclear capabilities. If Saddam had actually had nukes, the US would have left him alone, just as they’ve left the Kims to rot in the workers’ paradise they’ve made out of North Korea. It makes sense for a country stricken from the US’s official “nice” list and moved over to the “naughty” category to have some nukes. Everyone needs and wants a slingshot to keep the bully of the block at bay. If you oppose nuclear proliferation, your first target should be US foreign policy, which is the biggest impetus behind the scramble to arms. L: What about the argument that Iran would use nuclear weapons on Israel, if it had them? Doug: That’s ridiculous. It’s true that just one or two nukes would turn most of Israel to glass, but it’s a matter of mutually assured destruction (MAD), just as the détente between the US and USSR was. Israel is reported to have about 200 nuclear weapons, and the Iranians know it. Even if they launched a successful first strike against Israel, they would get wiped off the face of the earth in response. The regime in Iran is repressive and borderline lunatic, but they aren’t that stupid. No way are they going to attack Israel with nukes. They not only cannot, but should not, be singled out for exclusion from the nuclear club. L: But they’re part of the axis of evil, don’t you know? Doug: Speaking of evil, it’s evil to initiate the use of force or fraud. If Iran enriches uranium or even builds tools for war, that’s not evil per se. But using force to stop them from doing something that is not in itself wrong is wrong, and that would make Iran’s attackers the axis of evil. In my mind, the US is the biggest threat to peace in the world today. I can easily imagine those in power in the US starting a war over any silly pretext, real or imagined. It could easily happen by accident at this point. Things go wrong. Maybe some young hotheads in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard decide to take a boat out and attack a US frigate — launch a few RPGs at it before they’re blown out of the water. Then the US feels it needs to mete out some punishment and launches a strike against the base the boat came from — which would be attacking the Iranian mainland — and the thing spins completely out of control. Could happen at the drop of a hat. Maybe the commander of a US ship has a streak of General Jack D. Ripper from Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove in him. Maybe the Russians or the Chinese — who are aiding the Iranians — mount a false-flag incident, because they want to see the US get involved in another tar baby. L: So... another case of not just doing the wrong thing, but the exact opposite of the right thing, with economic, political, and ultimately physical world consequences. Doug: That’s right. Just look at what they’re doing now, trying to isolate Iran from the world with an embargo. That could be seen as an act of war. L: Well, wait a minute. A blockade is regarded as an act of war, but if Western countries decide to harm their own economies by not trading with Iran, that’s unfriendly, but not force or fraud. Doug: Well, it would be forcing citizens in those Western countries to pay higher prices for things, denying them the choice of buying oil from Iran if they wanted to. But I agree; that’s more a matter of criminal tyranny and stupidity than an act of war. Still it sure is prodding Iran, throwing rocks at the hornets’ nest, as the US did with Japan before WWII. The Japanese basically have no domestic oil production and were getting their oil from the US and the Dutch East Indies. The US cut off both supplies, backing them into a corner, leaving them little choice but an aggressive response. At any rate, I think all of this could backfire on the US. Since the Iranians apparently can’t clear deposits through New York, where international dollar trades clear, they’ve made a very commonsense move to cut the US out of the middle and sell their oil directly to India, without using dollars. I think other countries will follow — and then what? Iran isn’t going to want bushels and bushels of rupiah or yen or whatever. I think the odds favor them turning to gold. It’s said that’s one of the means of payment the Indians will be using. Gold is the logical choice and the next step in the demise of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. There’s a lot of demand for the dollar to buy and sell oil. If countries stop using it, demand for the dollar would fall, at the very time the US is greatly increasing the supply of dollars. The day is coming when trillions of dollars outside the US will only be spendable inside the US. At that point it’s game over for the dollar. L: You’ve talked about the world going back onto a gold standard before. What do you say to the people who say that gold is a barbaric relic from the past that doesn’t work in a modern economy — they can’t go around with pockets full of doubloons to buy cars or chests full of treasure to buy houses... Doug: Such people are not thinking rationally and are economically ignorant. As always, we should start with a definition: what is money? The short answer is that it’s a store of wealth and medium of exchange. For reasons we’ve discussed and as Aristotle outlined over 2,000 years ago, gold is simply the best form of money ever adopted. And in our modern world, you don’t have to physically cart the stuff around. You can, but you can also transfer ownership of physical gold electronically, through services like GoldMoney.com. L: Note: We do endorse GoldMoney.com as a convenient and reliable way to own, trade, and transfer gold, but readers should be advised that Doug is an investor in it. Doug: Right. I like to put my money where my mouth is. L: Okay, so you see this trend being bullish for gold, clear enough. But most of the gold ever produced in the world still exists in purified form in various vaults around the planet. Gold doesn’t get used up like silver does, so there’s plenty of supply. So, would the physical need for gold as money really impact the price of gold and related equities, or would that be more a function of governments further debasing their currencies? Doug: Well, it’s estimated that there are some six billion ounces of refined gold in human possession around the world, or, somewhat less than one ounce per person. Global gold production is said to be about 80 million ounces a year, or about a 1.3% annual increase in the supply of gold. That would be the steady, “natural” rate of inflation if we were on a gold standard. The amount of various currency units in the world is increasing at a much, much faster pace than 1.3%. Nobody really knows, not even the Fed, but depending on how you define the money supply, it would take $10,000 to $50,000 — or more — per ounce to back all of the dollars in existence with gold. Whatever the correct number is, I expect gold’s price in dollars to increase dramatically as the world moves closer to and eventually adopts a gold standard. L: So, any investment implications beyond the obvious? Buy gold and silver for prudence and protection, buy gold stocks for speculative leverage? Doug: That’s the basic recipe. And diversify your holdings internationally. You can never tell when the government of your home country will have a psychotic break. L: What do you say to the people afraid that in a world so traumatized as to go back onto a gold standard, the risk of owning any paper asset, including gold stocks, would be too high? No one will trade gold stocks for a can of dog food in a Mad Max world... Doug: That’s a valid concern. You can’t eat paper, and even owning shares in a gold mine may not be of much use in a real economic cataclysm — the US government shut down gold mining during WWII as a nonessential industry. It could happen again. But that’s why, as you said, we own gold for prudence, and the stocks are strictly speculative vehicles. But let’s have some perspective. The security of your stock portfolio may become the least of your concerns if the US starts a war with Iran that touches off WWIII. If that happens, the US government and population will both turn hysterical, and the whole country will be locked down like a prison. What was once America will become even more of a police state than it is now. Who knows where that would end? So, one of the most intelligent things you can do is as I’ve been saying for years: diversify your assets and your physical presence internationally. Having some place you like to spend time off the beaten track, where you can ride the storm out, should be top priority for everyone who can afford it. Preparing for the worst at home should be top priority for those who can’t. L: Would you care to put odds on open war between the US and Iran? Doug: I’d say it’s highly probable within the next two to four years — say, between 50% and 75% — that an actual shooting war will break out. L: Not much time to prepare. I sure hope all our readers are doing what they can. Doug: Me too. L: Right then. Thanks for your thoughts and guidance, Doug. Doug: You’re welcome. We’ll talk again soon. P.S. To get an even better sense of how badly a US-Iran war could hurt the American economy, readers can view our free report here. It’s the first step to take to prepare yourself and your investments for what lies ahead. Regards, Doug Casey and Louis James, for The Daily Reckoning Joel’s Note: Predictions vary widely on where the price of oil might go should (another) war break out in the Gulf. We’ve seen forecasts of $300 per barrel batted about, which doesn’t feel like a huge stretch to us. Iran contributes significantly more to current global supply than did Iraq before it, and few doubt that a strangulation of the all-important Strait of Hormuz would rocket prices higher...wherever “higher” might be. Needless to say, this further underscores the need for energy independence at home. And Byron King, Agora’s resident geologist, reckons he’s found out how to make that a reality. He reveals all in his “Re-made in America” presentation. Give it a look here. Now here is a stimulus plan that CAN work Ordinary people all across the nation have quietly started rebuilding their wealth — and returning their life to normal — with a very unusual and unexpected stimulus plan of their own... A flurry of new jobs... $75,000-a-year salaries... explosive growth in personal bank accounts... cash payments of up to $35,000 a month — people from all walks of life are starting to cash in on it in one way or another. Click here now to get full details on what is happening and how YOU can be one of the people who profits from it too. Bill Bonner A Greek Debt Crisis Recap Bill Bonner Reckoning from Rancho Santana, Nicaragua... The Dow down 97 points yesterday. And the Greek story nears its conclusion... The Germans agree to bail out the country...at least for a while... ..and the Greeks agree to act more like Germans...at least while everyone is looking... But now everybody agrees that the farce has gone on long enough. Let’s recap: The big banks lent the Greeks money. Then, the bankers paid themselves big bonuses, rewards for having booked so much business. The Greeks spent it like they stole it...which they practically did. With the help of Goldman Sachs, they rigged their accounts so as to appear to be better credit risks than they really were. Then, of course, the Greeks could not repay. Since they gained independence from the Ottoman Turks in 1828, the Greeks never, ever repaid a loan as promised. Instead, they were in default about half the time. But rather than let Mr. Market sort it out...as he had every other time, Mr. Government Fixer stepped in. He promised to manage the situation so that the careless lenders wouldn’t have to take the losses they deserved. How? By lending the borrower more money! So, the Greeks were given more money...and told to straighten up. And the Greeks made an effort. Rather than spend money as freely as before, they cut back. Thousands of government employees were laid off, budgets trimmed...belts tightened. This, naturally, led to an economic slump. GDP fell at a 5% rate in the 3rd quarter of last year. In the 4th quarter it was falling even faster, at a 7% annual rate. The New York Times reports: By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed. Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up. ... The situation at the macro level is, if anything, even more transformational. The Chinese have largely taken over Piraeus, Greece’s main port, with an eye to make it a conduit for shipping goods into Europe. ... The latest austerity plan meant to satisfy Greece’s creditors and allow for new infusions of financial aid may have averted involuntary default — and a global economic downturn — but will nonetheless make life for ordinary Greeks even more difficult. The plan reduces the minimum wage by more than 20 percent, mandates thousands of layoffs and reduces some pensions, probably ensuring that strikes and demonstrations will continue to be a feature of the Greek landscape. As in Argentina 10 years ago, the Greek middle class is being hit hard. The upper classes are protected. They own stocks. They have bank accounts in foreign countries. And the lower classes had nothing before the crisis. They haven’t lost a penny. But the middle classes lose jobs, income...and benefits. That is what is happening in America too. Middle class wealth, built up between 1980 and 2007, was largely an illusion. It was money borrowed from the future... Now, it must be paid back. And there’s not much Mr. Government Fixer can do about it. The problem is too much debt. Adding more debt doesn’t help. And more thoughts... “But Bill, aren’t you being a little simplistic,” asks a Dear Reader. “The idea is not to add debt for its own sake. The idea is just to try to mediate the social consequences of private sector de- leveraging while giving the economy time to get back on its feet. Why won’t that work?” Why won’t it work? We repeat the question to give us time to think... ..oh yes...it won’t work because it ignores the reason the economy was knocked on its derriere in the first place. If the cause of the setback had been interest rates that were too high...or a natural disaster...the strategy might work. Just as an ancient Pharaoh made Bible fame by saving grain in the fat years and then releasing it when the harvests failed, so might a sage government today draw on its own surpluses to help soften the blow of a bad winter or an earthquake. But the government has no surpluses. Only deficits. And you can’t mitigate the damage of an earthquake by setting off a nuclear explosion. Neither can you solve the problem of too much debt by adding to it. When an economy has too much debt, there’s only one solution. Debt delenda est. Debt must be eliminated. It can be done in the old fashioned way — by Mr. Market. Or it can be done by Mr. Government Fixer. Mr. Market will do it quickly...efficiently...and brutally. Mr. Government Fixer will hesitate...equivocate...vacillate...prevaricate...and generally fornicate everything up. He will protect the guilty insiders...at the expense of the innocent taxpayers and general public. And in the end, he will let the debtor default, too, for he will have no other choice. *** We warned you about buying Facebook. Here, another colleague, Dan Ferris, elaborates: Buying the Facebook IPO at its rumored valuation level would be a big mistake. Buying the other social networking companies at current valuations is also a mistake. Dan thinks the whole market has been infected by a bullishness. If you’re eating, sleeping, and breathing in lots of news, it’s virtually impossible not to get infected. For example, check out the American Association of Individual Investors Sentiment Survey. Every week, they ask investors if they’re bullish, neutral, or bearish on stocks for the next six months. In the most recent survey 43.l8% of those surveyed were bullish...and just 25.1% were bearish. (The average level of bullishness is 39% and the average bearish reading is 31%, so the latest survey is showing extreme bullishness.) Dan thinks that investors — most of them — routinely buy the wrong investments at the wrong time: A famous study shows how investors ruin their results by letting the market’s ups and downs rule their decisions. Market research firm Dalbar runs an ongoing study comparing stock market returns (the S&P Index) with real investors’ returns. As of the 20-year period ended December 31, 2010, stocks returned 9.14% per year, on average, but investors earned just 3.27% per year during the period.” Investors got slighted because they got scared at the bottom and sold, and bought back in only after a rising market fueled their confidence. Plenty of professionals make money following the market’s trends, but their methods are highly technical and unemotional. That’s the opposite of the hysteria that sinks so many investors. Getting caught up in bullishness gives many investors another reason to fool themselves in thinking they are smarter than they really are. Regards, Bill Bonner, for The Daily Reckoning ---------------------------------------- Here at The Daily Reckoning, we value your questions and comments. If you would like to send us a few thoughts of your own, please address them to your managing editor at joel@dailyreckoning.com Where to Wait Out the Great Correction How Warren Buffett Looks at Stocks vs. Gold Investing How to Ruin Your Economy and Influence People Greece Negotiations Drag On Eurozone Economy Contracts Making Sense of Rising US Gas Prices ________________________________________ The Daily Reckoning: Now in its 11th year, The Daily Reckoning is the flagship e-letter of Baltimore-based financial research firm and publishing group Agora Financial, a subsidiary of Agora Inc. The Daily Reckoning provides over half a million subscribers with literary economic perspective, global market analysis, and contrarian investment ideas. Published daily in six countries and three languages, each issue delivers a feature-length article by a senior member of our team and a guest essay from one of many leading thinkers and nationally acclaimed columnists. Cast of Characters: Bill Bonner Founder Addison Wiggin Publisher Eric Fry Editorial Director Joel Bowman Managing Editor The Mogambo Guru Editor Rocky Vega Editor ________________________________________ Additional articles and commentary from The Daily Reckoning on: Twitter Facebook DR iPhone APP To end your Daily Reckoning e-mail subscription and associated external offers sent from Daily Reckoning, cancel your free subscription. If you are you having trouble receiving your Daily Reckoning subscription, you can ensure its arrival in your mailbox by whitelisting the Daily Reckoning. © 2010-2012 Agora Financial, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. This newsletter may only be used pursuant to the subscription agreement and any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the World Wide Web), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Agora Financial, LLC. 808 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Nothing in this e-mail should be considered personalized investment advice. A lthough our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice.We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security they personally recommend to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication or 72 hours after the mailing of a printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation.Any investments recommended in this letter should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2012 2:33 PM PST
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Good Deeds {video}
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: An uplifting drama about coincidence and courage
Topic: HUMANITY
Media Alert                                                                  February 9, 2012 Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS Announces Initiative to Support Homeless Youth Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS is very happy to announce Good Deeds:Great Needs, an initiative to support Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides for homeless youth. Through GiftCardGiver.com, Good Deeds:Great Needs will be collecting unused gift cards and donating all collected to Covenant House.  

In addition, Lionsgate will be making a financial donation to Covenant House for every share of the GOOD DEEDS trailer! So make sure to watch and share the video!

http://youtu.be/pwcmBBnh4vo

 


 To learn more and share Good Deeds:Great Needs, visit www.gooddeedsgreatneeds.com  GOOD DEEDS also presents fans the opportunity to win a Valentine’s Date Night! Just head over to the GOOD DEEDS Facebook page and submit your “love story” for the chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card! Contest can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/GoodDeedsMovie?sk=app_239455529470849 TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS opens in theaters everywhere on February 24, 2012. The film stars Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, and Beverly Johnson with Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union.  To learn more, visit:Covenant House: http://www.covenanthouse.org/Gift Card Giver: http://giftcardgiver.com/  -----------------------------------------------------SYNOPSIS A successful, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has always done what’s expected of him, whether it’s assuming the helm of his father’s company, tolerating his brother’s misbehavior at the office or planning to marry his beautiful but restless fiancée, Natalie (Gabrielle Union). But Wesley is jolted out of his predictable routine when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-her-luck single mother who works on the cleaning crew in his office building. When he offers to help her get back on her feet, the chance encounter with someone so far outside his usual circle ignites something in Wesley.  This one good deed may finally spark his courage to exchange the life that’s expected of him for the life he’s always really wanted.  A moving, uplifting drama about coincidence, courage, and the defining choices we make on our paths to happiness, TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS is written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, and stars Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, Beverly Johnson, with Phylicia Rashad, and Gabrielle Union.-----------------------------------------------------Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GoodDeedsMovieOfficial Site: http://www.GoodDeedsMovie.comOfficial Twitter: http://twitter.com/GoodDeedsMovie   For Press Inquiries Contact:Corby Ponscorby@differentdrummer.com323-960-1102                        For Good Deeds:Great Needs Inquiries Contact:Jean-Michelle Lopezjeanmichelle@differentdrummer.com323-960-1102 

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:23 AM PST
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
one-million-dead -- US out of Iraq
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Iraq - Killing Fields - USA leaves over 1 million dead
Topic: WAR
This Article can be found at this original link:
http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

One million dead

Danny Lucia http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

January 30, 2012

OVER A million Iraqis are dead from America's war.

That sentence is a cognitive litmus test. Some people's immediate reaction is, "That can't be right," because the United States couldn't do that. Or because crimes on that scale don't still happen. Or because they do happen, but only in horrible places that the United States hasn't rescued.

One million is a "Grandpa, what did you do to stop it?" number. It's a number that undeniably puts the American state among history's villains. Those who are not willing or able to accept this are physically unable to retain the fact that over a million Iraqis are dead. Their brains expel it like a foreign germ.

Noam Chomsky once wrote [1] that the "sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of 'Fuck You,' so they can then elicit a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response."

That pretty much sums up the how the media reacted to the one million figure in 2007 when it was announced by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB). (In fact, the firm estimated 1,220,580 Iraqis had died [2], confirming and updating a separate study done the year before by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in the Lancet medical journal.)

Take Kevin O'Brien, deputy editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer [3]. Upon receiving a media advisory about the findings from ORB, whose clients include the British Conservative Party and Morgan Stanley, this was his response: "Please remove me from your mailing list and spare me your transparent propaganda."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"WE DON'T do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks once famously answered a reporter's question about civilian casualties. He's not alone.

Amid all the somber reflections last month about the end of the Iraq War, a specific number of how many Iraqis had died was rarely given. Reporters often described the tally of Iraqi casualties as an "untold number," a somber-sounding phrase that reflects the same level of journalistic effort used for finding the death toll of squirrels in a forest fire.

This line from Reuter's Mary Milliken was typical: "[T]oday was about remembering the untold number of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 Americans who died in the war."

How many Americans died, Mary? Nearly 4,500. And how many Iraqis? Oh, you know, lots. A whole bunch.

"Untold number" implies that there are no available estimates of just how many Iraqis died. In fact there are two: an organization called Iraq Body Count [4] (IBC) has tallied about 110,000 deaths, based on media accounts and health ministry records. IBC admits that its total is surely too low since occupying armies and sectarian civil wars are not known for meticulous bookkeeping, but it disputes the higher figures from ORB and Johns Hopkins.

Methodology debates aside, there are numbers on hand to describe the Iraqi death toll. They are "untold" only by reporters like Kevin O'Brien and Mary Milliken.

The silence around numbers is not so much a conspiracy as a reflection of the fact that some information is simply incompatible with the American imperial mindset.

Consider a different grisly number from a previous decade: According to the United Nations Children Fund, 500,000 Iraqi children died in the 1990s due to United Nations sanctions [5] (rammed through by the U.S.) that barred medicines and other basic necessities from entering the country.

In 2000, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator resigned to protest the sanctions [6], two years after his predecessor had done the same [7]. Both of these life-long diplomats later used the word "genocide" to describe the American policy.

If you are ignorant of or forgot this information, you are not alone. So did the people who planned the Iraq War. There is no other way to explain the fact that America's war and occupation strategy rested on the expectation that its soldiers would be greeted as liberators by the parents of half a million dead children. (The sanctions, by the way, weren't imposed in the Kurdish north, the only part in Iraq that did not offer massive resistance to the U.S. occupation.)

It's not by chance that many of the most committed antiwar activists are revolutionaries of one stripe or another. We are able to process and comprehend the staggering evil been done to Iraq because we are radicals. And vice versa.

Revolutionaries face the ironic conventional wisdom that because we want to see society radically transformed, we are ends-justifies-the-means fanatics who think nothing of how much blood might be spilled in the process.

But it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who said of the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children [8] that "the price is worth it." And it is current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who used the exact same phrase recently [9] regarding the second invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Those are the words of a fanatical order that anyone should be proud to oppose with all of their being.

  1. [1] http://www.chomsky.info/letters/19900301.htm
  2. [2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/uk-poll-consistent-with-1_b_64475.html
  3. [3] http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3321
  4. [4] http://www.iraqbodycount.org
  5. [5] http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072100-03.htm
  6. [6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/642189.stm
  7. [7] http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/99/9.30.99/Halliday_talk.html
  8. [8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4
  9. [9] http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66515
  10. [10] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:04 PM PST
Sunday, 29 January 2012
TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE ANYBODY
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE
Topic: MEDIA

 TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE


http://www.joe-anybody.com/id143.html

Twitter blocks by Country can be "circumvented very easily" read --> HERE
Read more about Twitter and extra features and add-ons --> HERE HERE and HERE
Wondering "Really whats so good about *twittering anyway?"
Then check this example--> HERE
And be sure to check this True Story about Twitter - HERE
and of course more Tips N Tricks HERE
Read here about Twitter acounts getting Hacked
Read about "RETWEETS" right from Twitters own website HERE
Read tips about HOW TO TWITTER "100 Twitten Secrets" HERE
You can see TWITTERS SAFETY page .... HERE
A Good Website to help you send Longer Tweets than 140 charcters HERE
Need help anaylizing your tweets effectivness? Well check this site - HERE
To organize your "incoming tweets"? -- > this site will help HERE


Posted by Joe Anybody at 3:49 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2012 3:51 PM PST
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Foxconn - Apple Computers - worker hand crushed and he has never used the i-phone
Mood:  accident prone
Now Playing: foxconn - deaths injuries and under age - did I miss anything?
Topic: CORPORATE CRAP

 FOXCONN

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/24/apple-factories-china-independent-audit

 

Apple's Chinese factories to be audited after violation of working conditions


 

Local HR practice blamed, but suicides, long working hours and disciplinary wage deductions give cause for concern

The man's hand is twisted into a claw, crushed, he says by a metal press at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, where Apple's luxury electronics are assembled. He is looking at an iPad – he has never seen one switched on. His mangled hand strokes the screen, bringing it to life.

Back at the factory, where the buildings are swathed in nets after 12 workers committed suicides in a single year, a young girl emerges from the gates. Her job is to clean the iPhone screens before they are packaged. She says she is 13.

These are a few of the many shattering images in performer Mike Daisey's account of his 2010 visit to China. After hearing about the Foxconn suicides, he determined to meet members of Apple's largest subcontracted workforce.

What he discovered ultimately led to the firm's announcement this month that it would throw open its factories to independent auditing by the Fair Labor Association (FLA). A non-profit group founded in 1999 after sweatshop scandals, it already audits Nike, Adidas and H&M. Apple is its first tech industry member.

"In high tech to date there hasn't been anything like external independent assessment, which is what makes Apple's decision such big news," says FLA president Auret van Heerden.

Apple has been auditing itself since 2007. Working hours are a major issue. In China, 12 and 16 hour shifts are common. In 2008, 82% of factories violated Apple's limits – a 60 hour week with no less than one day off. By 2011, the number was 68%. In 2008, half violated wages codes by deducting salary as a disciplinary measure, or not providing pay slips. The figure was 30% last year.

Apple has ordered retribution. Factories discovered employing children must return the youngsters to their families, fund their education and continue to pay their factory wage too. Employers have been made to reimburse wage deductions and settle unpaid overtime.

But six active and 13 historical cases of underage labour were discovered at five factories last year. Mandatory pregnancy tests were imposed at 24 Apple facilities.

When Daisey visited, he found worker dormitories where people slept in bunks stacked five or six high, so closely there was no room to sit. There were cameras in the rooms, in the corridors.

He found workers whose hands shook uncontrollably by their late 20s because of repeating the same motions at the same production line post, year after year.

The FLA visited China at Apple's request on a test project in 2010, following the Foxconn suicides. Van Heerden describes what he found: "The whole campus has got excellent facilities. The problem is that [it] still doesn't touch the human being inside. You are at a work station all day – you can't talk to anyone else.

"Then you go back to your dorm and you might not know anyone there either, they might not even speak the same dialect. You are in a situation where you might go days without anything resembling human contact."

He seems to suggest that in China at least, the problem is less about basic human rights and more about HR.

Foxconn has much to learn about human resources, judging by a recent comment from the chair of its parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry. Terry Gou told an end of year party, at which the director of Tapei Zoo was asked to share his management techniques: "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million and as human being are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache".

Managing its supply chain will for now remain one of Apple's biggest headaches.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Sunday, 15 January 2012
Drug War Anaylsis by Lew Rockwell
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: America’s Longest Ongoing War: The ‘Race’ War on Drugs
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

America’s Longest Ongoing War: The ‘Race’ War on Drugs

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/americas-longest-ongoing-war-race-war.html

"The drug war is not to protect the children, save the babies, shield the neighborhoods, or preserve the rain forests. The drug war is a violent campaign against black men and by extension the black family, among many others." ~ Wilton D. Alston, "How Can Anyone Not Realize the War on (Some) Drugs Is Racist?" LewRockwell.com (June 24, 2011)

NORML image
John W. Whitehead
Lew Rockwell

After more than 40 years and at least $1 trillion, America’s so-called "war on drugs" ranks as the longest-running, most expensive and least effective war effort by the American government. Four decades after Richard Nixon declared that "America’s public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse," drug use continues unabated, the prison population has increased six fold to over two million inmates (half a million of whom are there for nonviolent drug offenses), SWAT team raids for minor drug offenses have become more common, and in the process, billions of tax dollars have been squandered.

Just consider – every 19 seconds, someone in the U.S. is arrested for violating a drug law. Every 30 seconds, someone in the U.S. is arrested for violating a marijuana law, making it the fourth most common cause of arrest in the United States. Approximately 1,313,673 individuals were arrested for drug-related offenses in 2011. Police arrested an estimated 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009. Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 89 percent were charged with possession only. Since 1971, more than 40 million individuals have been arrested due to drug-related offenses. Moreover, since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year, with about 25 percent sentenced for drug law violations.

The foot soldiers in the government’s increasingly fanatical war on drugs, particularly marijuana, are state and local police officers dressed in SWAT gear and armed to the hilt. These SWAT teams carry out roughly 50,000 no-knock raids every year in search of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. As author and journalist Radley Balko reports, "The vast majority of these raids are to serve routine drug warrants, many times for crimes no more serious than possession of marijuana... Police have broken down doors, screamed obscenities, and held innocent people at gunpoint only to discover that what they thought were marijuana plants were really sunflowers, hibiscus, ragweed, tomatoes, or elderberry bushes. (It’s happened with all five.)"


No wonder America’s war on drugs has increasingly become an issue of concern on and off the campaign trail. Back in 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned for president on a platform that included decriminalizing marijuana and ending federal criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of the drug. Thirty-six years later, the topic is once again up for debate, especially among Republican presidential contenders whose stances vary widely, from Ron Paul who has called for an end to the drug war, to Govs. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman who have said that states should be allowed to legalize medical marijuana without federal interference, to Rick Santorum who has admitted to using marijuana while in college but remains adamantly opposed to its legalization.

Americans are showing themselves to be increasingly receptive to a change in the nation’s drug policy, with a Gallup poll showing a record-high 50% of Americans favoring legalizing marijuana use, nearly half of all Americans favor legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, 70% favoring legalizing it for medical purposes, and a 2008 Zogby poll which found that three in four Americans believe the war on drugs to be a failure. "As an active duty jail superintendent, I've seen how the drug war doesn't do anything to reduce drug abuse but does cause a host of other problems, from prison overcrowding to a violent black market controlled by gangs and cartels," said Richard Van Wickler, the serving corrections superintendent in Cheshire County, N.H. "For a long time this issue has been treated like a third rail by politicians, but polls now show that voters overwhelmingly agree that the drug war is a failure and that a new direction is sorely needed."

A growing number of law enforcement officials and national organizations are also calling for an end to the drug wars, including the US Conference of Mayors, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State George Schultz, and former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, and the NAACP. In fact, at their national convention in July 2011, the NAACP voiced their concern over the striking disparity in incarceration between whites and blacks, particularly when it comes to drug-related offenses.

In terms of its racial impact, the U.S. government’s war on drugs also constitutes one of the most racially discriminatory policies being pushed by the government in recent decades, with African-Americans constituting its greatest casualties. As the ACLU has reported, "Despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites." Indeed, blacks – who make up 13% of the population – account for 40% of federal prisoners and 45% of state prisoners convicted of drug offenses.

Moreover, a November 2011 study by researchers at Duke University found that young blacks are arrested for drug crimes ten times more often than whites. Likewise, a 2008 study by the ACLU concluded that blacks in New York City were five times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts for simple marijuana possession. Latinos were three times more likely to be arrested. The Drug Policy Alliance and California NAACP released a report claiming that between 2006 and 2008 "police in 25 of California's major cities arrested blacks at four, five, six, seven, and even 12 times the rate of whites."

This disproportionate approach to prosecuting those found in possession of marijuana is particularly evident in California, where black marijuana offenders were imprisoned 13 times as much as non-blacks in 2011. In fact, between 1990 and 2010, there was a 300% surge in arrests for marijuana possession for nonwhites. As the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice concluded, "California’s criminal justice system can be divided into two categories with respect to marijuana: one system for African-Americans, another for all other races."

Thus, while the government’s war on drugs itself may not be an explicit attempt to subjugate minority groups, the policy has a racist effect in that it disproportionately impacts minority communities. Moreover, the origins of drug prohibition have explicitly racial justifications. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, prohibitionists clamoring to make drugs illegal tapped into common racial prejudices to convince others of the benefits of drug prohibition. For example, opium imports to America peaked in the 1840s, with 70,000 pounds imported annually, but Chinese immigrants did not arrive in large numbers until after the 1850s. Thus, Americans were using opium in copious amounts before Chinese immigrants arrived. Once they arrived however, they became convenient scapegoats for those interested in making opium illegal. Prohibitionists portrayed opium smoking as a habit below the respectability of "white" men. In a similar manner, marijuana was later associated with blacks, Latinos, and jazz culture, making marijuana an easy target for prohibition.

Yet despite 40 years of military funding to eradicate foreign drug supplies, increased incarceration rates, and more aggressive narcotics policing, the war on drugs has done nothing to resolve the issue of drug addiction. Consumption of cocaine and marijuana has been relatively stable over the past four decades, with a spike in use during the 1970s and 80s. And a European Union Commission study determined that "global drug production and use remained largely unchanged from 1998 through 2007." In fact, the only things that have changed are that drugs are cheaper and more potent, there are more people in prison, and the government is spending more taxpayer money.

So what’s the solution?

As Professor John McWhorter contends, problems of addiction should be treated like the medical problems they are – in other words, drug addiction is a health problem, not a police problem. At the very least, marijuana, which has been widely recognized as medically beneficial, should be legalized. As a society, we would be far better off investing the copious amounts of money currently spent on law enforcement in prevention and treatment programs. Of course, the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want marijuana legalized, fearing it might cut into its profit margins. However, as California has shown, it could be a boon for struggling state economies. Marijuana is California’s biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion a year in sales. Were California to legalize the drug (it legalized medical marijuana in 1996) and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale, tax collectors estimate it could bring in $1.3 billion in revenue. Prior to the Obama administration’s crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries, which has cost the state thousands of jobs, lost income and lost tax revenue, California had been raking in $100 million in taxes from the dispensaries alone.

As Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition who worked on narcotics policing for the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department for over 30 years, remarked in the New York Times:

In an earlier era it may have been a smart move for politicians to act "tough on drugs" and stay far away from legalization. But today, many voters recognize that our prohibition laws don’t do anything to reduce drug use but do create a black market where cartels and gangs use violence to protect their profits.

While some fear that legalization would lead to increased use, those who want to use marijuana are probably already doing so under our ineffective prohibition laws. And when we stop wasting so many resources on locking people up, perhaps we can fund real public education and health efforts of the sort that have led to dramatic reductions in tobacco use over the last few decades – all without having to put handcuffs on anyone.

I have spent my entire adult life fighting the war on drugs as a police officer on the front lines. I have experienced the loss of friends and comrades who fought this war alongside me, and every year tens of thousands of other people are murdered by gangs battling over drug turf in American cities, Canada and Mexico. It is time to reduce violence by taking away a vital funding source from organized crime just as we did by ending alcohol prohibition almost 80 years ago.

The goals of reducing crime, disease, death and addiction have not been met by the "drug war" that was declared by President Nixon 40 years ago and ramped up by each president since.

The public has waked up to the fact that we need to change our marijuana laws. Savvy politicians would do well to catch up.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/americas-longest-ongoing-war-race-war.html

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead [send him mail] is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He is the author of The Change Manifesto (Sourcebooks).

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:44 AM PST
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Be ahead of the crackers and hackers and use good paswords
Mood:  flirty
Now Playing: Password Tips - Security and Peace of Mind
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

Secure Passwords Keep You Safer

By Bruce Schneier
Wired News
January 15, 2007

http://www.schneier.com/essay-148.html

Ever since I wrote about the 34,000 MySpace passwords I analyzed, people have been asking how to choose secure passwords.

My piece aside, there's been a lot written on this topic over the years -- both serious and humorous -- but most of it seems to be based on anecdotal suggestions rather than actual analytic evidence. What follows is some serious advice.

The attack I'm evaluating against is an offline password-guessing attack. This attack assumes that the attacker either has a copy of your encrypted document, or a server's encrypted password file, and can try passwords as fast as he can. There are instances where this attack doesn't make sense. ATM cards, for example, are secure even though they only have a four-digit PIN, because you can't do offline password guessing. And the police are more likely to get a warrant for your Hotmail account than to bother trying to crack your e-mail password. Your encryption program's key-escrow system is almost certainly more vulnerable than your password, as is any "secret question" you've set up in case you forget your password.

Offline password guessers have gotten both fast and smart. AccessData sells Password Recovery Toolkit, or PRTK. Depending on the software it's attacking, PRTK can test up to hundreds of thousands of passwords per second, and it tests more common passwords sooner than obscure ones.

So the security of your password depends on two things: any details of the software that slow down password guessing, and in what order programs like PRTK guess different passwords.

Some software includes routines deliberately designed to slow down password guessing. Good encryption software doesn't use your password as the encryption key; there's a process that converts your password into the encryption key. And the software can make this process as slow as it wants.

The results are all over the map. Microsoft Office, for example, has a simple password-to-key conversion, so PRTK can test 350,000 Microsoft Word passwords per second on a 3-GHz Pentium 4, which is a reasonably current benchmark computer. WinZip used to be even worse -- well over a million guesses per second for version 7.0 -- but with version 9.0, the cryptosystem's ramp-up function has been substantially increased: PRTK can only test 900 passwords per second. PGP also makes things deliberately hard for programs like PRTK, also only allowing about 900 guesses per second.

When attacking programs with deliberately slow ramp-ups, it's important to make every guess count. A simple six-character lowercase exhaustive character attack, "aaaaaa" through "zzzzzz," has more than 308 million combinations. And it's generally unproductive, because the program spends most of its time testing improbable passwords like "pqzrwj."

According to Eric Thompson of AccessData, a typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. A root isn't necessarily a dictionary word, but it's something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90 percent of the time) or a prefix (10 percent of the time).

So the first attack PRTK performs is to test a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, things like "letmein," "password1," "123456" and so on. Then it tests them each with about 100 common suffix appendages: "1," "4u," "69," "abc," "!" and so on. Believe it or not, it recovers about 24 percent of all passwords with these 100,000 combinations.

Then, PRTK goes through a series of increasingly complex root dictionaries and appendage dictionaries. The root dictionaries include:

  • Common word dictionary: 5,000 entries
  • Names dictionary: 10,000 entries
  • Comprehensive dictionary: 100,000 entries
  • Phonetic pattern dictionary: 1/10,000 of an exhaustive character search

The phonetic pattern dictionary is interesting. It's not really a dictionary; it's a Markov-chain routine that generates pronounceable English-language strings of a given length. For example, PRTK can generate and test a dictionary of very pronounceable six-character strings, or just-barely pronounceable seven-character strings. They're working on generation routines for other languages.

PRTK also runs a four-character-string exhaustive search. It runs the dictionaries with lowercase (the most common), initial uppercase (the second most common), all uppercase and final uppercase. It runs the dictionaries with common substitutions: "$" for "s," "@" for "a," "1" for "l" and so on. Anything that's "leet speak" is included here, like "3" for "e."

The appendage dictionaries include things like:

  • All two-digit combinations
  • All dates from 1900 to 2006
  • All three-digit combinations
  • All single symbols
  • All single digit, plus single symbol
  • All two-symbol combinations

AccessData's secret sauce is the order in which it runs the various root and appendage dictionary combinations. The company's research indicates that the password sweet spot is a seven- to nine-character root plus a common appendage, and that it's much more likely for someone to choose a hard-to-guess root than an uncommon appendage.

Normally, PRTK runs on a network of computers. Password guessing is a trivially distributable task, and it can easily run in the background. A large organization like the Secret Service can easily have hundreds of computers chugging away at someone's password. A company called Tableau is building a specialized FPGA hardware add-on to speed up PRTK for slow programs like PGP and WinZip: roughly a 150- to 300-times performance increase.

How good is all of this? Eric Thompson estimates that with a couple of weeks' to a month's worth of time, his software breaks 55 percent to 65 percent of all passwords. (This depends, of course, very heavily on the application.) Those results are good, but not great.

But that assumes no biographical data. Whenever it can, AccessData collects whatever personal information it can on the subject before beginning. If it can see other passwords, it can make guesses about what types of passwords the subject uses. How big a root is used? What kind of root? Does he put appendages at the end or the beginning? Does he use substitutions? ZIP codes are common appendages, so those go into the file. So do addresses, names from the address book, other passwords and any other personal information. This data ups PRTK's success rate a bit, but more importantly it reduces the time from weeks to days or even hours.

So if you want your password to be hard to guess, you should choose something not on any of the root or appendage lists. You should mix upper and lowercase in the middle of your root. You should add numbers and symbols in the middle of your root, not as common substitutions. Or drop your appendage in the middle of your root. Or use two roots with an appendage in the middle.

Even something lower down on PRTK's dictionary list -- the seven-character phonetic pattern dictionary -- together with an uncommon appendage, is not going to be guessed. Neither is a password made up of the first letters of a sentence, especially if you throw numbers and symbols in the mix. And yes, these passwords are going to be hard to remember, which is why you should use a program like the free and open-source Password Safe to store them all in. (PRTK can test only 900 Password Safe 3.0 passwords per second.)

Even so, none of this might actually matter. AccessData sells another program, Forensic Toolkit, that, among other things, scans a hard drive for every printable character string. It looks in documents, in the Registry, in e-mail, in swap files, in deleted space on the hard drive ... everywhere. And it creates a dictionary from that, and feeds it into PRTK.

And PRTK breaks more than 50 percent of passwords from this dictionary alone.

What's happening is that the Windows operating system's memory management leaves data all over the place in the normal course of operations. You'll type your password into a program, and it gets stored in memory somewhere. Windows swaps the page out to disk, and it becomes the tail end of some file. It gets moved to some far out portion of your hard drive, and there it'll sit forever. Linux and Mac OS aren't any better in this regard.

I should point out that none of this has anything to do with the encryption algorithm or the key length. A weak 40-bit algorithm doesn't make this attack easier, and a strong 256-bit algorithm doesn't make it harder. These attacks simulate the process of the user entering the password into the computer, so the size of the resultant key is never an issue.

For years, I have said that the easiest way to break a cryptographic product is almost never by breaking the algorithm, that almost invariably there is a programming error that allows you to bypass the mathematics and break the product. A similar thing is going on here. The easiest way to guess a password isn't to guess it at all, but to exploit the inherent insecurity in the underlying operating system.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:38 PM PST

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