Sunday, March 29, 2009

From Jenna Orkin:

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries
The Toronto researchers said they had notified international law enforcement agencies of the spying operation, which in their view exposed basic shortcomings in the legal structure of cyberspace. The F.B.I. declined to comment on the operation...

“This could well be the C.I.A. or the Russians..."

G20 Marches Begin Week of Protests in Europe
Biden Cautions Against Over-Regulation of Markets
In an oblique reference to the Plunge Protection Team, Biden said,"A free market still needs to be able to function. It seems to me, we need to save markets from free marketeers." - JO

National Inflation Association Warns: Don't Be Last Person Out of Dollar
Egging on the stampede for the exits.
US Eases Its Stance on Global Stimulus
Banks Lose $836 Million in First Annual Derivatives Loss
Bank of America Accused in Ponzi Lawsuit
Rumors of Layoffs, Furloughs, Lead to Unrest
Will a Weaker America Be a More "Just" America?
Or a more ruthless, cutthroat America? We can hardly wait to find out.
Missouri Has Last Clear Chance to Avert Mass Transit Collapse
Google Plans to Lay Off 200 Workers
Mexico's Economy Plummets 9.5% in January
Brazil Builds Walls Around Rio de Janeiro Slums

Russia Wants Ruble, Yuan, Gold in SDR Basket
Russia Capable of Becoming China's Biggest Energy Supplier
Russia Plans to Create Arctic Military Force
Issues for Future US/Russia Arms Deal
Ukraine Hoping for Japan's Loan to Cover Deficit
Russia/Azerbaijan in Talks on Gas Deal
UK Trowels Out, Everyone, and Dig For Victory

Spy Chiefs Fear Chinese Cyber Attack
Interesting timing, juxtaposed with article at top of blog.
Taleban Tax: Allied Supply Convoys Pay Enemy for Safe Passage (from Rice Farmer)
Pakistan Spies Under Heat in New US Strategy
An Uncomfortable Summer Coming Up: India
Mutiny Casts Shadow Over Bangladesh Army
France and Africa: New Relationship?


Degringolade said...

Jenna and Mike:

Just a note to thank you for the good work.

Keep the faith


yagasjai said...

I'm trying to reconcile MCR's comments about how important it is to get out of debt, specifically, in terms of paying off your mortgage and owning your house outright, with stuff I've read recently about hyperinflation and how it's good to borrow at a long term, fixed, low interest rate and pay it back with dollars worth less in the future. Which is it?

Personally, I am leaning toward holding onto gold and letting it pay the long term low interest as its value rises.

eyeballs said...

RE: What THEM can do with computers

As the article sunrnr posted on the last thread stated: electronic frontier fights have tried to save us from these things, and guess what? The average consumer lost. I am, if anything, a sub-average IT consumer, since the on button and the keyboard just about complete my knowledge of the system. From what others tell me, though, knowing "a little about computers" is a good way to get suckered by the real masters of IT kung fu.

It's also true that several governments of the world possess nasty chemical weapons. But it would really be counter-productive for the IRS to use these against me if I fail to file on time. Americans are going to have to get over the addiction they have to what turns out to be an illusion of privacy. But knowing I'm Christian or Jewish or gay or black or a treehugger will not justify attacking me on the basis of net activity, any more than it would be justified by my presence in a restaurant.

The old Bushism "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" is obvious bullshit, because while you might not be ashamed of the ecoprotests you do, THEM might target you for that. There's little we can do about that, and it's time to recognize that this is the new horizon. But the implication of that statement always was that they could have their way with you if you turned out to be what THEM considered a bad apple.

While there is no fighting back at the level of what THEM is able to find out, what they actually do about it moves from the shadow realm to our own social dimension, where we can see what's going on and react. How would you react if the MIB came and took your neighbor away? Wouldn't you demand to know why? You should. You should want to know where he or she goes and what the charges are. That's the end at which we can still act.

As good as the new Justice Department really is, by comparison with its predecessor, it has taken a stand that wiretapping will continue and FOIA requests will not always be granted. Again, this is the new horizon, and it's a waste of worry to fight it. Rounding people up is another matter.

The graph displayed on the Urban Survival site labeled a group "Arrest these guys" when three relatively inoccuous websites coincided in their browsing history. I think The List -- at least for this administration, so far -- would be considerably smaller. It might even contain some people you would expect a decent government to protect you from.

I would recommend against frequenting sites that urge violence unless you're part of a milieu that needs contact, such as being president of a gun club or a kung fu teacher. I'd recommend not ordering Anarchist Cookbook from Amazon or sending threatening letters to public figures. If you consider the vast pool of psychically bent folk out there who might actually do serious damage, from racial or political motivations, I think there are enough of those to keep them busy.

Anyone who is planning something they think is too radical for THEM to know about, should by now be well advised to avoid the sorts of activities that will get them targetted. My advice is to stick to things that are revolutionary without pushing their buttons. Change is coming, and we can influence it. Railing on the internet like a hillbilly about your favorite militia activities might not be a timely passtime.

This whole idea that we're gonna be disappeared for dissent in huge numbers seems like a (possibly deliberately encouraged) drag on our organizing potential. The more people who (while generally avoiding sites that are uselessly incindiary, hateful and so forth) freely surf the net and use e-mail to spread valuable messages, the more normal this kind of activity becomes, and the larger becomes the demographic that THEM would have to incarcerate. In fact, the system knows it needs dissent and creative thinking. They may not invite us into the cabinet, but they are listening.

Do right and fear no one.

Jobe said...

PDF report on GhostNet with more information including enought info to trackback some of the obscured ip addresses (search advanced whois search)

Andy Edwards said...

In terms of weaker nation leading to good or bad, I'm guessing bad.

Check these two perspectives on the death of print journalism.

I probably, like you all, hadn't considered this because I generally figure that media is so corrupt already that it's sort of a moot point.

But these made me wonder if the demise of newspapers really will lead to full-blown, epidemic political corruption.

David Simon, Wire creator, is somebody I would listen to far before any of the fucking 'experts.' Watch the Wire if you don't think he knows the score.

He makes some good points about indy/blog journalists not having real access, nor funding to go all that deep. Not that mainstreamers do now, but anyway. It
does seem to me that this falls in the category of the so-called entropic feedback loop that Peak Oilers spoke of. That is, all sorts of shit
we can't predict is going to pop up. Wide open avenues to total political corruption seems like a potential, additional turd in the shit sandwich.

Here're the articles:

lyrad said...

Hello there, I've been following FTW and now this blog for some time now and your information has been very informative to my preparation for the post oil environment. I eagerly wait for the next post! For that I thank you.

How is this new world super currency going to work with dwindling oil reserves worldwide? Money with no energy is useless right? Another fiat currency not backed by gold.

A peon said...

A Farm for the Future(must-see)

Peter J. Nickitas said...


More on Russia, gold, and the SDR:

brell said...

response from my credit union ceo re: last week's ncua takeovers:

xxxx thank you for your concern regarding the NCUA takeover of WESCORP and US Central corporate credit unions. Although these actions by the NCUA will have a negative impact on the [credit union], our analysis reveals that we will be able to withstand the current impact and remain Well Capitalized. I must admit my displeasure with the current circumstances, and hope for the better days to come. We are working aggressively to protect your resources and assure that you will have a financial institution you can rely on.


xxx xxxxxxxxxx
President/CEO xxxxxxxx

Subject: NCUA takeover

Please see this blog about the "big banks" coming after you:

Attack on Credit Unions?

U.S. seizes top credit union clearinghouse


John said...

Geithner’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: The Entire Global Financial System is at Risk
When the Solution to the Financial Crisis becomes the Cause

by F. William Engdahl

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has unveiled his long-awaited plan to put the US banking system back in order. In doing so, he has refused to tell the ‘dirty little secret’ of the present financial crisis. By refusing to do so, he is trying to save de facto bankrupt US banks that threaten to bring the entire global system down in a new more devastating phase of wealth destruction.

Paul said...

India Predicts China War by 2017


An Indian military's assessment has outlined that Beijing would rely on information warfare (IW) to bring New Delhi down on its knees.


Ties in with Jenna's "Vast spy system..." link. I also note that China (allegedly) has been targeting the Dalai Lama, who is exiled in India.

v said...

Baltic Dry Index Down 20% in 5 Days: This Clearly Signals the End of Days


Paul said...

yagasjai said "stuff I've read recently about hyperinflation and how it's good to borrow at a long term, fixed, low interest rate and pay it back with dollars worth less in the future."

I am a relative newcomer to all this (barely two years since my enlightenment!) so will give you my view but expect other more wise and experienced FTW'ers to expand/correct/whatever...

In ordinary times, that would be good advice. Assuming all else stays the same, then your house will appreciate, your loan will depreciate (in real terms) and you will be "quids in" (sorry, limey expression!).

However, we do not live in ordinary times. The old rules do not apply. You cannot assume that all else will stay the same.

Dmitry Orlov is a good guide. He saw the collapse of the USSR. The survivors were not necessarily the ones with the biggest net worth. Having a garden of vegetables was more important than a big bank balance or a large house. Gold is a good idea not because it is expected to be a "good investment' but because it has an intrinsic value - like a spade or a bottle of whisky.

The other thing that would worry me is having a large debt. The current financial collapse is because the West is hugely in debt. The house of cards is tumbling and the rest of the world (China, Russia, India) is getting ready to call in those debts. Things will get nasty when that happens - and in a very unpredictable way!

Please note - I am not qualified to give financial advice (not that such things mean anything now)!! You must go your own way and I am sure "your mileage may differ".

grayfox said...

I read George Monbiot’s article on biochar (thank you, eyeballs!) and I also read Biochar for Climate Change Mitigation: Fact or Fiction? By Ernsting & Smolker ( from which Monbiot’s article was written. Like everything industrialized, biochar’s dark side is really dark. But comparing industrial biochar to small-scale biochar is like comparing industrialized feedlot beef to Joel Salatin’s farm. Cutting down live forest to burn into biochar for carbon credits is madness. Greed knows no bounds.

However, for those living in fire prone forest areas, biochar might not only improve garden and farm productivity, it may also reduce forest fire hazard – a condition for the most part which is the result of bad past industrial logging practices (but that’s another story). Industrial biochar would remove the whole forest, but small scale environmentally sensitive biochar production would just remove most (but not all) of the dead & dying wood – dead limbs, dead underbrush, weak trees, etc. – thus improving forest health as well. I don’t think this can be done in a huge industrial way - it’s probably not economically efficient for the corporate model. But it can be economically feasible on a small scale for the people living in the area.

Those of us who live in such areas, and who heat our homes with dead wood thinned from such forests, can produce biochar ourselves just in the course of using our wood burning stoves. Doing this uses more wood because the charcoal that gets used as biochar doesn’t burn completely to ash, so not all the heat is being extracted, but if you live where there’s too much dead wood, that’s OK.

I’ve been experimenting with producing my own biochar for a while now and have found that if I empty my woodstove every morning (while still smoldering) and dump it into a 5 gallon bucket of water, the ash falls to the bottom and the charcoal floats on the surface. I just scoop the charcoal off the top of the bucket and I eventually spread most of the ash around in the forest (a little ash is good for your garden or fruit trees, but too much is too alkaline). From that point, I’ve come up with 3 methods for grinding the charcoal: 1) using a heavy tool like a sledge hammer to pound the charcoal in a 5 gallon bucket (great upper body exercise) 2) putting it where farm animals (not poultry) tend to stand and mill around and let them grind it up and mix it with their manure which we later move to the compost pile 3) driving back and forth on it with a car (the least ecofriendly method).

I’m putting biochar into parts of my garden. I’ll let you all know the results at the end of the season.

agape wins said...


tim said...

"the biggest problem we face in green energy is getting electricians educated and transitioned." The biggest problem with green energy is ROEI!!!(return on energy invested) Mike and others have written extensively on this. Training electricians is easy.
4:38 AM

You do not comprehend, it is not about "return on anything"; after oil, after coal, ----

Linda said...

We can produce all our own fuel without having to import another drop.

Brazil is doing it. So can we. It is a myth that if we convert to alcohol fuel, there won't be enough crops left over to feed everyone.

12:25 PM

Still requires an energy input, ROEI!!

Primitive People HAD/HAVE only Solar, Wind, Geothermal, & the Tides!

After splitting the atom any way you want--Just another coffin, what do you have in mind?
ROI, is the wrong Mindset, "You have to change the way MONEY (investment) works!!"

Amae, everything including you & me is/are, Dependent/Interdependent, the Gold coin is WORTHLESS in your Dead Bony fingers.

Rice Farmer said...

Comic Relief Department: Japan's government has decided that, in addition to measly "stimulus" grants, the road to recovery is literally the road -- on weekends the maximum expressway toll is set at 1,000 yen for people with electronic toll collection devices in their vehicles. (I suppose the idea is also to stimulate sales of the devices.) So, over the weekend we were treated to repeated aerial shots of cars lined up at on-ramp toll collection points (news organizations though this was important enough to deploy their helicopters), with voice-over of announcers breathlessly extolling the virtues of consumption.

At least it had great entertainment value.

Meanwhile, even people who ought to know better are still remarking that once the "subprime mess" is cleaned up, things will get back to normal.


brell said...

Why didn't my original comment on this post show up - was it irrelevant?

Hef Lee said...

On the death of printed media...

I'm sad to say im a little happy. Whether we step into a computer controlled green future, into a more primitive lifestyle, or a combination of the two, paper is outdated, undervalued and under-priced. My friend works at Barnes and Noble and says that they used to throw out cases and cases of books, to "fix" the inventory ya know? ... How many stupid newspapers are printed everyday? Paper and printing are very destructive processes, especially in areas where water is scarce. Philly almost closed a bunch of libraries and they're still fighting over it if im not mistaken. All books, all writing, all media should be available on the internet.

Does anyone love the movie Idiocracy?

"Water? you mean like from the toilet?"

signalfire said...

I found this link on LATOC: he seems to have a plausible theory for why we REALLY invaded Iraq (and mentions FTW). The gist of it is that stolen Iraqi oil is now being used as a cover for Ghawar going belly-up.

tim said...

I meant that in purely technical terms. Of course we have to change the way money works, but that will require evolutionary maturity on the part of humans. All I meant was this simple example: if it takes 100 BTU's of electricity to make a gallon of ethanol that produces 100 BTU's when burned, you have done nothing. ROEI=1. You need to comprehend.

yagasjai said...

Thank you for your comments. It helps to hear what you have to say. For myself, we own our house, and we are making self-sufficiency improvements, bulding up food/ supply stores, and saving in gold/ silver as we can without debt.

My mother (67/ retired) is in a different situation and has 15 yrs left on her mortgage. She has finally agreed to pull her money out of the stock market so the question is where to put it. Pay down her debt or buy gold?

At this point, I'm saying gold, because she has a long way to go on the mortgage and paying it off would pretty much wipe out what's left of her savings. But you're right, that we do not live in ordinary times and can't assume old rules would apply, so I don't want to overlook something, like how bad it would be for her to hold that debt.