Friday, October 31, 2008


Michael sez: Another doomer story. But one that is probably correct.

The end of deflationary trade
The Spectators

The global shipping crash continues to get worse and this morning’s GDP data shows the US recession is already deeper than 2001 and probably 1990-91 as well. Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund seems determined to make the whole thing worse by imposing the most ruinous strictures on supplicant nations. Yesterday the Baltic Dry freight rate index fell below 1000 for the first time in six years and last night it fell another 40 points to 885. In June the index was 11,900, so it has fallen 93 per cent in a few months – a crash far worse than anything ever seen in the stockmarket. The spot daily rental for a Capesize ship is now $6365, down from $234,000 per day over the space of a few weeks. Maybe that previous price was absurdly inflated, but at $6365 it is just $365 above the average daily cost of crews and fuel.

As a result the world’s ports are filling with empty ships because shipowners can’t afford to run them, as well as some full ships because the owners of the cargo won’t unload without a bank letter of credit, which banks are refusing to supply. Shipping companies are starting to file for bankruptcy in increasing numbers as they breach loan covenants, and a shipping researcher, Andreas Vergottis of Tufton Oceanic has told Bloomberg that a fifth of the world’s dry bulk companies may soon have negative net worth because the market for second hand ships has collapsed and the value of their fleets is below outstanding debt. Like property-based loan agreements, shipping companies’ debt covenants have loan to value ratios that are typically 70 per cent. As the value of their fleets decline, banks are making margin calls.

Meanwhile, as expected, US GDP fell in the September quarter – by 0.3 per cent. The only reason it wasn’t worse was government spending, which added 1.1 per cent to the rate of GDP change. There was another 0.6 per cent from private inventories – that is, unsold goods. In any case, US economic data is always rushed out quickly, based on guesswork, and then revised later. Most of the guesses in this morning’s figure look optimistic, so it is very likely to be revised downwards. Even on this morning’s optimistic estimate, it is the first year-on-year decline in GDP since 1991, so this recession is already worse than 2001 and clearly has a long way to go.

And remember that in 1990-91 – and 1980 and 1973 and 1961 for that matter – the monetary and fiscal authorities were more or less in control. Or rather – they started it.

Those recessions were caused by central bank and government efforts to control inflation. This time it’s all about a spontaneous collapse in private sector credit and governments around the world are desperately trying to counteract its effects with interest rate cuts, liquidity injections and fiscal stimulus. That is…all except the IMF. It is imposing the most horrendous conditions on bailout loans to bankrupt countries. As the rest of the world’s official interest rates come down, Iceland’s this week went up 6 per cent, from 12 to 18 per cent, as a condition of its $US2 billion rescue package. Hungary, Serbia, Belarus, Pakistan and Ukraine are now facing the most excruciating choice: default on their debts or ask the IMF for money at the expense of crushing their economies under the weight of a massive increase in interest rates. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes in last night's London Telegraph: “A deflationary strategy of this kind could prove counterproductive – or worse – if applied in enough countries simultaneously. It would defeat a key purpose of the rescues, which is to stabilise the global financial system.”

Meanwhile China, the world’s greatest creditor nation, is now cutting interest rates as its economy slows. The emerging world in general has “recoupled” (if it was ever decoupled) and the removal of hedge fund investments in their currencies, government debt and sharemarkets will, in many cases, result in deeper recessions in those countries that in the US – where it all started. Which is why global shipping has collapsed: it is the harbinger of the end of the era of trade, in which third-world labour costs kept first world inflation down and allowed interest rates to fall and stay low and debt to be increased to an historic degree. That process of importing deflation (or, more precisely, disinflation) from developing nations – especially China and India – relied on trade: raw materials in; finished goods out. The fall in freight rates for both dry bulk carriers and container ships is telling us that it’s over.


Michael sez: Herre is a British newspaper's reporting of the current give-away at the bail-out window. Not something you will find in your normal American fish-wrap.

The Bush gang's parting gift: a final, frantic looting of public wealth
The US bail-out amounts to a strings-free, public-funded windfall for big business. Welcome to no-risk capitalism
Naomi Klein
The Guardian,
Friday October 31 2008

In the final days of the election many Republicans seem to have given up the fight for power. But don't be fooled: that doesn't mean they are relaxing. If you want to see real Republican elbow grease, check out the energy going into chucking great chunks of the $700bn bail-out out the door. At a recent Senate banking committee hearing, the Republican Bob Corker was fixated on this task, and with a clear deadline in mind: inauguration. "How much of it do you think may be actually spent by January 20 or so?" Corker asked Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old former banker in charge of the bail-out.

When European colonialists realised that they had no choice but to hand over power to the indigenous citizens, they would often turn their attention to stripping the local treasury of its gold and grabbing valuable livestock. If they were really nasty, like the Portuguese in Mozambique in the mid-1970s, they poured concrete down the elevator shafts.

Nothing so barbaric for the Bush gang. Rather than open plunder, it prefers bureaucratic instruments, such as "distressed asset" auctions and the "equity purchase program". But make no mistake: the goal is the same as it was for the defeated Portuguese - a final, frantic looting of the public wealth before they hand over the keys to the safe.

How else to make sense of the bizarre decisions that have governed the allocation of the bail-out money? When the Bush administration announced it would be injecting $250bn into US banks in exchange for equity, the plan was widely referred to as "partial nationalisation" - a radical measure required to get banks lending again. Henry Paulson, the treasury secretary, had seen the light, we were told, and was following the lead of Gordon Brown.

In fact, there has been no nationalisation, partial or otherwise. American taxpayers have gained no meaningful control over the banks, which is why the banks are free to spend the new money as they wish. At Morgan Stanley, it looks as if much of the windfall will cover this year's bonuses. Citigroup has been hinting it will use its $25bn buying other banks, while John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, told analysts: "At least for the next quarter, it's just going to be a cushion." The US government, meanwhile, is reduced to pleading with the banks that they at least spend a portion of the taxpayer windfall for loans - officially, the reason for the entire programme.

What, then, is the real purpose of the bail-out? My fear is this rush of dealmaking is something much more ambitious than a one-off gift to big business: that the Bush version of "partial nationalisation" is rigged to turn the US treasury into a bottomless cash machine for the banks for years to come. Remember, the main concern among the big market players, particularly banks, is not the lack of credit but their battered share prices. Investors have lost confidence in the honesty of the big financial players, and with good reason.

This is where the treasury's equity pays off big time. By purchasing stakes in these financial institutions, the treasury is sending a signal to the market that they are a safe bet. Why safe? Not because their level of risk has been accurately assessed at last. Not because they have renounced the kind of exotic instruments and outrageous leverage rates that created the crisis. But because the market will now be banking on the fact that the US government won't let these particular companies fail. If they get themselves into trouble, investors will now assume that the government will keep finding more cash to bail them out, since allowing them to go down would mean losing the initial equity investments, many of them in the billions. (Just look at the insurance giant AIG, which has already gone back to taxpayers for a top-up, and seems likely to ask for a third.)

This tethering of the public interest to private companies is the real purpose of the bail-out plan: Paulson is handing all the companies admitted to the programme - a number potentially in the thousands - an implicit treasury department guarantee. To skittish investors looking for safe places to park their money, these equity deals will be even more comforting than a triple-A from Moody's rating agency.

Insurance like that is priceless. But for the banks, the best part is that the government is paying them to accept its seal of approval. For taxpayers, on the other hand, this entire plan is extremely risky, and may well cost significantly more than Paulson's original idea of buying up $700bn in toxic debts. Now taxpayers aren't just on the hook for the debts but, arguably, for the fate of every corporation that sells them equity.

Interestingly, mortgage fund giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both enjoyed this kind of unspoken guarantee before they were nationalised at the start of this crisis. For decades the market understood that, since these private players were enmeshed with the government, Uncle Sam could be counted on to always save the day. It was, as many have pointed out, the worst of all worlds. Not only were profits privatised while risks were socialised, but the implicit government backing created powerful incentives for reckless business practices.

With the new equity purchase programme Paulson has taken the discredited Fannie and Freddie model and applied it to a huge swath of the private banking industry. Again, there is no reason to shy away from risky bets, especially since the treasury has made no such demands of the banks (apparently it doesn't want to "micromanage".)

To further boost market confidence, the federal government has also unveiled unlimited public guarantees for many bank deposit accounts. Oh, and as if this were not enough, the treasury has been encouraging the banks to merge, ensuring that the only institutions left will be "too big to fail", thereby guaranteed a bail-out. In three ways, the market is being told loud and clear that Washington will not allow the financial institutions to bear the consequences of their behaviour. This may be Bush's most creative innovation: no-risk capitalism.

There is a glimmer of hope. In answer to Senator Corker's question, the treasury is indeed having trouble dispersing the bail-out funds. So far it has requested about $350bn of the $700bn, but most of this hasn't yet made it out the door. Meanwhile, every day it becomes clearer that the bail-out was sold to the public on false pretences. Clearly, it was never really about getting loans flowing. It was always about doing what it is doing: turning the state into a giant insurance agency for Wall Street, a safety net for the people who need it least, subsidised by the people who will most need state protections in the economic storms ahead.

This duplicity is a political opportunity. Whoever wins on November 4 will have enormous moral authority. It should be used to call for a freeze on the dispersal of bail-out funds, not after the inauguration but right away. All deals should be renegotiated, this time with the public getting the guarantees.

It is risky, of course, to interrupt the bail-out process. Nothing could be riskier, however, than allowing the Bush gang their parting gift to big business - the gift that will keep on taking.
• A version of this column first appeared in The Nation (


I have a piece here by Greg Everson from News With Views. I think it is great.

By Greg Evensen
October 31, 2008

After the last week of market disasters and scenes of mobs clamoring for just a glimpse of Barack Hussein Obama, I had all of these thoughts fresh in my mind as I ended my radio show and finally fell asleep last Saturday. My last conscious thoughts were of the dark clouds coming ashore in America and what our response to martial law, shortages, imprisoned patriots, and riots would be......I seemed to be present as military leaders exclaimed during heated campaigns, over the great map of America, "the battle lines are becoming clear."

I saw riflemen on the field of combat as they whispered to each other at four a.m., "I can smell 'em coming." The meaning was the same. All hell was about to break out. Indeed my fellow patriots, constitutionalists, and true citizens of the failing Republic, HELL IS staring you in the eyeballs. As much as it has truly pained me to the core, I have come to the irreconcilable fact that on Election Day, the line will be drawn. We will no longer argue amicably about politics or the latest imbecilic actions occurring in Washington, our statehouses, or in court rooms. We are considering for the first time in our lives, the unthinkable. That is, my neighbor, my associates in the office, my cousin, or my fellow citizen has become my potential enemy. They have betrayed me and what is left of my grandfather's country.

I am faced with the certain realization that no matter how I may try to sugar coat it, this time -- those who voted or supported the socialist left, the democrats, the liberals, the "elitists" in the universities and business, the apostate "liberation theology" or do nothing church, and politics everywhere--are my enemy. It can be stated in no other terms. That's a fact, Jack.

To all those who have supported the constant killing of the unborn, entitlements for those who don't deserve them, for assisting undocumented illegals, to corrupted politicians, sanctuary cities, to USDA agents forcing the implantation of chips into the livestock herds of America, to those pushing social security numbers and locator chips on newborns, to thieves who forced an unconstitutional income tax on "sovereign" American workers, for the loss of privacy, the restraint of second amendment natural rights, to BATFE master search and arrest warrants, to SWAT teams and Taser Thugs in every hamlet in the land, to all of the homosexual rights fanatics and bullies who use their perverted lifestyles to intimidate my grandchildren in school and in the parks, to drug dealers who employ minority kids in Obama's south Chicago neighborhoods, and the young men and women in our military who are now mercenaries trained to rove our streets when the first shots are fired and produce body counts similar to the ones in Iraq, you have become my potential enemy.

The despicable power mad scurrilous maggots who have created this mess deserve a hole in hell deeper than the rest. They have already destroyed my family's national ideals, my community's cohesion, and our collective futures. They have aided and abetted the national calamity that has unfolded during the past seven weeks. The banks and investment houses, the stock market and derivatives, have all waltzed us off the pier into a thousand feet of cold dark water from which there is no return. The bankers, still standing safely on the wharf, have begged us in the water to throw them our lifejackets so that we can drown while they offer to sell us back the life vests we already had. In the meantime they ordered lobster while we dined on saltwater. Is this absurd picture, clear and painful enough?

In no small measure this IS the America we inhabit at this moment. While I do not know at this time who will be elected, I suspect it may well be Barack Hussein Obama. If that is the case, then my opening premise is correct. Those of you who have anointed this socialist, Muslim sympathizing, gun rights hating, Mexican illegals embracing, abortion loving charmer as POTUS, you are not only the most stupid generation of Americans who have ever lived, you are the most dangerous. You have single-handedly embraced your own destruction. For including me in that, I detest your actions and see you as my enemy. What else can I think?

Am I picking a fight? Pretty much. Might as well, one's coming down the street anyway. You have been warned. You have been told of the consequences of your actions. McCain is not the answer, no matter how "appealing" Sarah Palin might appear. Chuck Baldwin is the only candidate that deserves my vote. Chuck can and will do the job and we can thank God Almighty that he is in the running. Vote what is right, not what you think is your only choice. Baldwin's Constitutional Party is the only truly American party that is left. All the others are wasted losers and nut jobs.

American patriots you need to decide what your battle plans are. You can not wait any longer. Are you stored up? Are you prayed up? Have you stayed up figuring it all out? Have you decided that the time has come for you to take that same principled stand that your founders took to establish this FREE nation in the first place? Have you decided who your true enemies are? Are you tired of the bankers running it, ruining it and then demanding we pay up for their greed? Are you sick over this nation finalizing its socialistic stance nationalizing the infrastructure of the county and Obama as an open socialist/communist/radical presidential candidate? Will you resist the "state's" efforts to take you in and deprive you of your freedoms? Will you try to work with patriotic police officers and American armed forces that will fight with you? Will you stand firm when they shut off your supplies? Will you resist in the cold and in the dark? Will you go all the way to a constitutional victory? Can you dress your own wounds? Can you jog a half mile? Will you be able to live without commonplace things you have grown accustomed to having any time you wanted them?

Minutemen and the militia were responsible for their own arms, ammunition and supplies. Can you muster with others and provide the essentials? Can you carry all that you need for two to three days at a time? Can you sleep with your back to a tree on cold, wet ground? Can you be still for an hour or two just watching and listening? How will you communicate with your fellow patriots—safely? When the bad guys start shooting, what will you do? Will you give away your position by firing randomly to "scare" them off? Will you remain defensive and not set yourself up for being killed? Will you learn how to move with stealth? Can you disarm someone and take them as a prisoner? What then? Have you organized with others to defend what is yours and theirs? Can you shoot and then seek good cover so you can survive another shot? Do you have a back-up retreat line and then another so that you can get out when you have to? Do you take your wounded with you? How? It's not like the movies. When martial law is declared, can you and will you do these things or will you be rounded up by the hundreds of thousands each day? Many will resist for about as long as it took you to eat lunch. This is the new reality, friends. It may soon be your own personal reality as well.

Ultimately, the bad guys are counting on you being weak, uncommitted, and afraid. They want you to believe that their superiority in initial numbers, training and equipment will take you out in minutes. Let me tell you something confidential. American police officers are used to overwhelming criminal groups of one, two, three, or four. Not twenty, thirty, fifty or one hundred determined well armed citizens who are otherwise first class community stand-outs. A whole department of twenty-five officers would not stand a chance against one hundred solid minutemen.

I do not want it to come to that, but those are real scenarios. Muster five hundred or a thousand and an entire state police department is going to need regular army troops with air assault assets to have a chance. AND THEY KNOW IT! Multiply patriot numbers 1000 times that and the good guys win! Then we rebuild………at least that is where I saw it going. Foreign troops? So what? They understand determined resistance and the costs involved for their side as well. You'll have Green Berets fighting with you if that happens. Where the good guys lose, is when they don't organize, think, and carry out precision guided strategies. Guerilla warfare is well planned and executed.

About the time I imagined a real rout of these traitorous snakes, I realized my twilight sleep was bringing me back to the real world. I had a strange mix of apprehension, relief, excitement and dread all in the same moment. The worst feeling though, was of the great loss of potential that this nation held for so many decades. I realized what we had done to the efforts of so many Americans who fought and died believing they were doing it for an America that was true to its heritage. I looked out my window to see peace and solitude---for the moment. My day long prayer was that it will remain peaceful, but I fear that we are--in the words of those seasoned command officers--seeing the battle lines being drawn very clearly, now. And like that entrenched rifleman I, too, "can smell 'em coming." Sure am glad it was all---------------------------just a dream.
© 2008 Greg Evensen - All Rights Reserved


California Cities Cut Police Budgets
Housing Downturn, Weak Economy Sap Revenues, Forcing Public-Safety Reductions
Wall Street Journal

VALLEJO, Calif. -- When the economic crisis deepened this fall, this city already was losing scores of police and firefighters because it could no longer afford the rich salaries and benefits it offered after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, with crime on the rise and tax revenue sinking, this San Francisco Bay area city faces more cuts in police and fire department budgets.

Like other California cities, Vallejo is targeting police and fire budgets, and has cut law-enforcement community services and youth-service programs.

It is a scenario being closely watched by the many other California municipalities that offered the same lucrative pay packages -- and that now face the same fiscal pressures.

With a slowing economy and housing prices in decline -- cutting into tax revenue -- Vallejo, a bedroom community of about 120,000 without a big sales-tax base, is running out of options and has targeted public-safety budgets that in the past were off-limits to the budget ax.

The main factor driving away police officers in Vallejo is the same one that helped drive the city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in May: a costly campaign to improve security in a post-9/11 world that backfired. Since the filing, nearly 40% of its police force has either quit or notified the city of plans to quit.

"Everyone is watching to see how this shakes out," said Marc Levinson, Vallejo's bankruptcy attorney and a partner at the Sacramento office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe law firm.
After Sept. 11, California municipalities moved to increase wages and benefits to attract police officers and firefighters. Vallejo joined a consortium of cities in the region, including Oakland and San Francisco, that used each city's salary and benefit increases as a guide for labor contracts.

Before that, in 1999, state lawmakers had adopted a measure called "3% at 50" that allowed local and state police officers and firefighters to retire at 50 years of age with 3% of their highest annual salary -- multiplied by the number of years served. The legislation granted thousands of public-safety workers a retirement payout of 90% of their former salaries for life. The benefit, bolstered by post-9/11 recruiting, swiftly became a major staple for most California cities.

Those full-natured benefits created a bidding war among Northern California cities, and Vallejo negotiated lucrative wage increases with police and firefighter unions to stay competitive. Three years ago, the city agreed to a 20% pay increase between 2007 and 2009; an average police officer now makes $121,000. When benefits are included, the number rises to more than $190,000. By 2007, 80% of Vallejo's budget was dedicated to police and firefighters.
As tax revenue plummeted, Vallejo's finances buckled under the pressure of the labor contracts. Retired Vallejo employees are owed almost $220 million in unfunded pension and retirement-health benefits.

"We did a bad job of long-term forecasting," said Craig Whittom, Vallejo's assistant city manager. "We made agreements that were beyond our means."

Recently, Vallejo's city council preliminarily approved a package of cuts to close its budget shortfall, including a 10% salary cut for the city manager, and city employees will take two unpaid days off before June 30.

With budget cutbacks and salary concessions staring at them, many of Vallejo's officers have turned to retirement or are seeking employment with surrounding municipalities.

Jason Wentz is typical. A Vallejo native and a 12-year veteran of the city's force, Mr. Wentz, plans to join another police force in Northern California.

"People on the street know we are scaling down," said Mr. Wentz. "The high-crime neighborhoods are used to seeing more patrol cars, and they notice the ramp-down."
Vallejo's Police Department is down to about 120 from 150 police officers in January, and it expects an additional 30 or more to exit by year end. The city has cut law-enforcement community services and youth-service programs.

According to the FBI, the national average for sworn law-enforcement officers is 2.4 officers per 1,000 residents. In Vallejo's case, there is one officer for every 1,000 residents. Vallejo reported nearly 500 assaults in 2008 through April, according to the latest numbers available, already approaching last year's total of 687 assaults.

The ranks of the city's firefighters have also taken a hit. Jon Riley, vice president of International Association of Fire Fighters union local 1186, said that after the city filed for bankruptcy the department lost 15 firefighters in one day. "I don't think morale can go any further south," said Mr. Riley.

Stockton, Calif., rocked by housing foreclosures, also is scrutinizing budgets for police and fire. Mark Moses, the city's chief financial officer, said "we will not be able to manage with just cuts to libraries and parks." In Santa Rosa, assistant city manager Michael Frank said the city is cutting about 20 police officers and will also cut some firefighting services.

In Sacramento, Police Chief Rick Braziel is grappling with how to cut 8% from the city's $130 million police budget.

"Vallejo is not unique," said Mr. Levinson.

Vallejo also finds itself in competition with Bay Area cities that can still afford to attract officers. Joe McCarthy, a Vallejo detective, says 10 surrounding cities have contacted him with job offers. He plans to leave soon.

Write to Bobby White at


Ah... The smell of financial failure is in the air and most preppers are ready for it. Bill collectors are getting all the work they can stand and credit bureaus are working overtime. The country is preparing to default. And who can blame them? It's one of the few means we poor people have of enjoying the luxuries mostly afforded the rich. The rich are getting a bail-out. We poor folks are getting stuck with the bill. "Go ahead and send me the bill. We are low on toilet paper anyhow." Our congressmen voted for this bail-out even though we stood 99% against it. That is going to cost someone a vote come next Tuesday. I'll be damned if I'll vote to get the bastard back in. Traitor.

A lotta talk about the redistribution of wealth to take place if Obama gets in as president. I'll tell you what, it will only make the die-off that much greater. We have such a huge imbalance of suckers in this country and so very few producers. When it becomes impossible to feed all of the bastards they will die. We will probably get the task of burying them. And if you saw that video yesterday you know the fedgov is getting the caskets ready. Personally I think that cremation would be better. It uses so much less ground and that ground will be needed one of these days to grow food.

I can just see the crank and meth heads as their time comes for leaving this plane of existence. You talk about some up-tight people! They will be looking for a fix and trying to avoid their fellow addicts at the same time. This could get confusing. Poor babies. But their little house of cards will come crashing down around their heads and they will end their little charade of the "good life."

The Handmaiden is cleaning Cayenne peppers this morning, splitting them down the middle and getting all the dried seeds out for planting next Spring. Love those seeds. They make more of what I will be eating this Winter. Gotta have my Cayenne on my eggs. She will be grinding the peppers in a little cheap coffee grinder. Works like a charm. As long as we have electricity we will be just fine in the ground pepper department. If the electricity shuts down we will have a bit of a problem, but nothing we can't figure out. We have a hand powered grain grinder and a mortar and pestle and we should be able to get the job done, to some degree or another.

On the medical front I have a ton of surgical face masks. Great things to have if your are treating contagious people or there is particulate matter in the air that can harm you. Before I got the surgical masks I was depending on dust masks from Lowes. Better than nothing! If I was going to be worried about how well they worked I could always use two of them. Some folks say to use a bandanna soaked in Vinegar for bad air protection. You can always try that if nothing else is around. Just be sure you stock up on Vinegar!

The FEMA trip of having a lot of sheet plastic and duct tape is not a bad idea. The fedgov may have got something right. Hard to believe, ain't it? One other thing they did that got to me was the billboards that said "We can be scared or we can be ready." It did not take me long to figure that one out. I am getting ready.

Stay alive.


Thursday, October 30, 2008


FEMA is after us, folks.


The Idaho Observer sits beside me at mealtime every day. I love it.

From the October 2008 Idaho Observer:
Create your own seed vault; bypass terminator technology!
By Kevin Swindle

In early 2008, the Svalbard seed vault in Norway opened. It is approximately 620 miles from the North Pole. Operated by NorGen, a gene bank, the seed vault is allegedly there to protect millions of varieties of food crops from being wiped out in wars, man-made or natural disasters. It is far more likely that giant agribusiness is using this facility to advance its genetic modification (GM) technology.

There is both anecdotal and scientific evidence supporting claims that genetically modified foods are harmful to humans and animals. Plus, a component of GM research is the propagation of "terminator seeds."

Farmers, for thousands of years, have traditionally collected seeds from the crops they grow for planting the following year. Terminator seeds are seeds genetically engineered to produce sterile seeds in the plants they produce, making farmers dependent upon agribusiness to supply seeds each year.

This would be an excellent mechanism for controlling the world’s food supply, a means of using food as a weapon. Food control could be used as a means of people control.

This terminator technology is created by inserting one plant gene and two bacterial genes into the seeds. Before sale, the seeds are soaked in the antibiotic tetracycline which activates a molecular switch in one of the bacterial genes. The inserted plant gene does not activate until the seed in the plant is near maturity. The inserted plant gene produces a toxic protein that kills the seed in it’s late stages of development.

Some scientists have speculated that the sterility trait produced by the terminator gene sequence might get into plants in the wild via cross-pollination. If such a thing did occur, over a period of centuries, "heirloom" varieties of plant life could disappear.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Mississippi-based Delta Pine and Land Company received U.S. patent number 5,723,765 for the terminator technology. Delta Pine and Land is now owned by agribusiness giant Monsanto.

Creating your own seed vault

You may not know it, but most of you reading this article already have your own seed vault: Your freezer. At the temperatures inside most freezers, seeds will stay viable for about one hundred years.

While not absolutely necessary, some of you may want to purchase a dedicated freezer for your own seed vault, especially if the freezer you have now is extremely full. There are small chest type freezers that take up little space and are available for less than two hundred dollars.
So what seeds should you put in your own personal seed vault?

First, select non-hybrid varieties. Hybrids are the first generation (F1) offspring of two different varieties of the same species. Hybrid seeds will express the desired genetic traits of the parent plants for only one generation. As such, hybrids are not a good choice for long-term survival food production.

Second, purchase seeds from reputable sources that state in their catalogs that they do not use GM seeds. If possible purchase your seeds from heirloom sources.

Third, purchase seeds for a wide variety of food crops, both foods you like and foods you don’t like (remember, you are not just doing this for yourself, but for every person on the planet).

Even if the worse case scenarios regarding terminator seeds do not occur, having your own seed vault will be beneficial. You will have a supply of viable seeds to grow for food and you can make a contribution to agriculture by saving rare and heirloom varieties of seeds in your seed vault.
Plan for the future! Just because a group of madmen want to control this planet by controlling the food, that does not mean we have to just go along with it! Teach your children the importance of food security. In the process of teaching you can introduce them to a wonderful hobby called gardening, a hobby that could potentially save their lives at some point in our increasingly uncertain future.

Kevin Swindle’s Preparedness Network

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Some interesting recent history.

Weekend Edition
October 3 - 5, 2008
A Paradigm for Today's Democrats?
FDR's Response to the Plot to Overthrow Him

Perhaps the most alarming slice of twentieth-century U.S. political history is virtually unknown to the general public, including most scholars of American history. In 1934 a special Congressional committee was appointed to conduct an investigation of a possible planned coup intended to topple the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and replace it with a government modelled on the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

The shocking results of the investigation were promptly scotched and stashed in the National Archives. While the coup attempt was reported at the time in a few newspapers, including The New York Times, the story disappeared from public memory shortly after the Congressional findings were made available to president Roosevelt. It was the recent release from the Archives of the Congressional report that prompted the BBC and Horton commentaries.

The Congressional committee had discovered that some of the foremost members of the economic elite, many of them household names at the time, had indeed hatched a meticulously detailed and massively funded plot to effect a fascist coup in America. The plotters represented prominent families - Rockefeller, Mellon, Pew, enterprises like Morgan, Dupont, Pew, Remington, Anaconda, Bethlehem and Goodyear, along with the owners of Bird’s Eye, Maxwell House and Heinz. Totaling about twenty four major businessmen and Wall Street financiers, they planned to assemble a private army of half a million men, composed largely of unemployed veterans. These troops would both constitute the armed force behind the coup and defeat any resistance this in-house revolution might generate. The economic elite would provide the material resources required to sustain the new government.

The plotters hoped that widespread working-class discouragement at the stubborn persistence of the Great Depression would have sufficiently disenchanted the masses with FDR’s policies to make the coup an easy ride. And they were appalled at Roosevelt’s willingness after 1933 to initiate economic policies that economists and businessmen considered dangerously Leftist departures from economic orthodoxy. Only a fascist-style government, they thought, could enforce the kind of economic “discipline” that would reverse the Great Depression and restore profits.

Interestingly, it was a military man, Major General Smedley D. Butler*, assigned the task of raising the 500,000-man army, who blew the whistle after uncovering the details of the operation he was asked to lead. FDR was thus able to nip the plot in the bud.The president might have used the occasion to alert the public to the anti-democratic impulses of a major segment of the capitalist class. But this would only have bolstered the fortunes of Communist, Socialist and other anti-capitalist political tendencies here, which were already gaining some ground among artists, intellectuals and a surprising number of working people. It is well known that Hollywood screenwriting in the 1930s was replete with Communist-inspired sentiment.

And we must not forget that FDR was himself a (somewhat renegade) member of the very class that would have toppled him. While FDR was open to watered-down Keynesian policies in a way that very few of his class comrades were, his commitment (like Keynes’s) to the “free enterprise” system was unconditional. He had no interest in publicizing a plot that might constitute a public-relations victory for anti-capitalist politics. He therefore refused to out the plotters, and sought no punitive measures against them. In the end, class solidarity carried the day for Roosevelt. The Congressional committee cooperated by refusing to reveal the names of many of the key plotters.

Thus, fascist tendencies gestating deep within the culture of the U.S. ruling class were effectively left to develop unhindered by mass political mobilization.Might this grisly episode have important implications for our understanding of the current political moment? One may be inclined to think so on the basis of the fact that one of the architects of the plot was one Prescott Bush, grandfather of George W. Bush. Bush, along with many other big businessmen, had maintained friendly relations in 1933 and 1934 with the new German government of Chancellor Adolf Hitler, and was designated to form for his class conspirators a working relationship with that government.

While I highly recommend Bush-bashing, the implications of this unsettling piece of history for contemporary politics run deeper than many –especially soi disant “oppositional” liberals- would like to think. There is the temptation to point triumphantly to George W. Bush’s commitment to the irrelevance of the Constitution, his corresponding contempt for hitherto taken-for-granted fundamental human rights, his Hobbesian notion of unbridled sovereignty, his militarized notion of political power - there is the temptation to regard these fascist elements as the most significant contemporary remnant of the 1934 conspiracy.

But no less important is the utter absence in 1934 of liberal attempts to educate the public to, and mobilize the population against, the fascist threat. FDR stood down.

Although Rooseveltian/New Deal liberalism is dead, contemporary Democrats do sustain one of FDR’s least seemly qualities, namely his refusal to encourage effective mass opposition to fascist and imperialist politics. John Kerry boasted of having contributed to the drafting of the Patriot Act. And in the first round of legislation regarding continued funding of the war in Iraq, after the 2006 elections gave the Democrats a majority in the House and the Senate, the Democrats gave Bush everything he wanted. All the major presidentail contenders of both parties support a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq. None has repudiated the conceit that Uncle Sam is the permanent global hegemon. And most importantly, no mainstream Democrat has repudiated the Neoliberal Consensus, the notion that the market should be left to operate as “freely” as the public can be persuaded to allow it to act, and, crucially, that this is a model that should be imposed globally through the power of the U.S. working in tandem with such global institutions as the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.

To the extent that this policy has been successful, inequalities between national classes and between the global North and South have widened dramatically since the decline of the Keynesian consensus in the mid-1970s. Since the Mondale candidacy, no Democrat has had a full-employment plank in his presidential platform. The median wage has been in secular decline since 1973, and the distribution of national income between capital and labor has not been as skewed toward capital since the Great Depression. But no Democrat has made a major issue of this.

These tendencies toward ever-widening inequality and the increasing immiseration of the working population will surely be exacerbated by the deepening slow-motion recession (depression?) that is certain to follow the unfolding financial meltdown. These conditions, and the deep resentment felt by masses of working people toward the lords of Wall Street and their political henchpersons, threaten to generate social “instability” in the form of increasing crime rates and a host of direct and indirect forms of resistance to the claimed legitimacy of the political order. The emergence of what Mike Whitney has called “soup kitchen America” requires a response from our rulers. And they are prepared with (literally) fascist legislation already in place for situations just like this. Developments over the last day or two in connection with Monday’s House rejection of the bailout package for Wall Street indicate that allegations of fascist tendencies in U.S. political culture are in these times not to be taken lightly. Influential voices in the U.S. media have lamented the susceptability of the political leadership to the will of the people. On Tuesday the Washington Post ran a piece by Michael Gerson, Bush’s former speechwriter, complaining that “It is now clear that American political elites have lost the ability to quickly respond to a national challenge by imposing their collective will.”

The same day Rupert Murdoch’s Times of London headlined a column “Congress is the Best Advert For Dictatorship.” And yesterday Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California), who voted against the bailout bill, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying “I’ve seen members turn to each other and say if we don’t pass this bill, we’re going to have martial law in the United States.” “going to have”? We’ve already got it, at least on the books.

On October 17, 2006, Bush signed three Acts that instantly transformed the republic into a police state. The John Warner Defense Authorization Act (DAA) effectively repeals the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act which prohibits military operations directed against the American people. The DAA declares that “the president may employ the armed forces to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when…[among other reasons]… the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent thet the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (or “refuse” or “fail in”) maintaining public order --- in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” There is of course nothing in the legislation that specifies what precisely may count as “insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The lone Democrat to express reservations about DAA was Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), who entered into the Congressional Record that the Act “[makes] it easier for the president to declare martial law… [T]he implications of changing the [Posse Comitatus] Act are enormous…Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy.”

Nothing was made of Leahy’s protestations by complicit Democrats.The Military Commissions Act permits the President, in order to “suppress public disorder”, to assign military troops anywhere in the United States in order to trump the authority of state-based National Guard units, and without the consent of the governer. Finally, the National Defense Authorization Act allows the President to declare martial law, dispatch National Guard units around the country and authorize military action against the domestic population should His Majesty identify a “national emergency”.

Liberal Democrats, upon being apprised of these developments (of which the vast majority are ignorant) will declare themselves shocked, shocked that Bush has “declared himself dictator”. But Bush has not signed legislation which expires when he passes from office. Every future President will have these powers. Would President Obama seek to erase these abominations? Don’t bet on it. Obama has not jettisoned the entire legacy of FDR. Like Roosevelt, Obama will stand down. ·

Butler underwent a major political epiphany shortly before his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1931. In that same year, he addressed an American Legion convention on his assessment of his career. His audience was stunned by his reflections: “I spent 33 years being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism…. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.” It remains a mystery why the conspirators would approach this man. But they did.

Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College.


Feds probe Countrywide's 'VIP' program
Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:03 AM ET
By Lisa Myers & Amna Nawaz, NBC News

The wide-ranging criminal investigation into wrongdoing at Countrywide - once the nation's largest mortgage originator - now includes serious scrutiny of a loan program that provided special mortgage deals to the well-connected and powerful, including two U.S. senators.
NBC News has learned that Robert Feinberg - a former Countrywide loan officer who handled what were known as the "VIP" mortgages - spent six hours last Thursday with a six-person team from the Justice Department. The team included prosecutors from the Public Integrity section, which handles investigations of possible public corruption.

"The Justice Department is making very serious inquiry into any possible wrongdoing that may involve (former Countrywide CEO) Angelo Mozilo, other Countrywide employees, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Kent Conrad, (former Fannie Mae CEO) Franklin Raines or other public officials," said Feinberg's lawyer, Anthony Salerno. "Robert has always cooperated thoroughly with authorities and is strictly a witness in their investigation."

'Friends of Angelo's'Salerno said the prosecutors and FBI agents seemed focused on whether the preferential treatment given to VIP customers was part of an effort by Countrywide to buy influence - as well as on the conduct of each public official who received a mortgage from Countrywide.

Feinberg says that Countrywide's clients in this program were known by a nickname.

"We called them F.O.A.'s," Feinberg told NBC News, "which were Friends of Angelo's."

"Angelo" is Countrywide's then-CEO, Angelo Mozilo, who once called an ordinary borrower's plea for help on his mortgage payments, "disgusting."

But Mozilo seemed to have a different attitude toward people of influence. In fact, Feinberg says part of his job was to hammer home to the VIP clients that they were getting special deals.
"You spoke in a manner that was different than you spoke with a regular customer," said Feinberg. "'Your loan has been specially priced by Angelo.' 'You're getting special discounts because you're in the VIP loan department."

So what would a "Friend of Angelo" get that an average customer would not? According to Feinberg, the possible benefits ran the gamut.

"They got a discount on the interest rate," said Feinberg. "They got discounts on their fees. They got a free floatdown option before closing."

In one instance of a "Friends of Angelo" deal, Mozilo sent an e-mail to Feinberg ordering him to "Take off one point" on a loan to Sen. Conrad. That one point equaled a savings of $10,700 in fees.

Feinberg's client list also runs the gamut. Among those benefitting from the VIP program were four former Cabinet members spanning Democratic and Republican administrations: Henry Cisneros, Richard Holbrooke, Alphonso Jackson, and Donna Shalala. Two former CEO's of Fannie Mae, James Johnson and Franklin Raines, heads of the government-sponsored entity which bought Countrywide's mortgages - also received VIP mortgages from Countrywide.

All have denied impropriety and declined to elaborate to NBC News. Some say they had no idea they were getting favorable rates or any sort of discount.

But Feinberg insists part of his job was to make clear to VIP's they were receiving special treatment.

"There were many, many taglines we used to let them know their level of importance to make sure that they understand where they're located," said Feinberg. "And nine times out of ten, once you mention 'VIP' the person's gonna ask you 'what am i getting for being in this VIP department?' Or 'what am I getting because I know Angelo?' Or 'I talked to Angelo and he said I'm getting this.'"

Senator Conrad says he never asked for, expected, nor was aware of any special treatment from Countrywide, and only found out about the discount after it had been reported in the press. He released and posted to his website all his mortgage documents, and donated all the money he saved to Habitat for Humanity.

Senator Dodd says he thought the VIP program just meant better customer service, and that he received market terms that he could have received from other lenders. The senator said in a press conference on the matter that if anyone had suggested at the time that he was receiving some kind of financial benefit on the loans because of his position, he would have terminated the relationship immediately.

Both Conrad and Dodd say they never sought any favors, and are cooperating with the Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

Feinberg says he's not aware of any discounts linked to favors, but he did see e-mails noting the potential value of the relationships to Countrywide's political and business interests. The e-mails noted one particular client was "of importance to Countrywide." Another encouraged a discount, noting "they are incredibly important to us." Yet another asked that the loan officer, "make an exception" in Countrywide's lending rules, "due to the fact that the borrower is a Senator."

Daniel Golden investigated the program for Condé Nast's Portfolio magazine.

"There was a great variety of people who got special deals," said Golden. "Many of them were figures in Congress or government or business partners of Countrywide - all of whom were in a position to help Countrywide in one way or another."

To Golden, the company's intention was clear.

"The purpose for Countrywide was to ingratiate itself with the people in Washington who might be able to help the company down the road," said Golden.

But was any of it illegal? Legal experts say prosecutors will be looking into whether Countrywide was trying to buy influence, and into whether public officials were taking improper gifts, or gifts they should have disclosed.


Got this little gem from Jim Haddix up in Northeastern Indiana. These things make it worthwhile going on. We may get our sawmill cranked back up and I may help build a goat barn.

My wife raised Nubian goats for 20 years. If you feed a milk goat like a dairy cow, they will perform like a dairy cow. That means good hay, and grain, and attention to the medical aspects, like worming, etc. Hoofs need trimmed sometimes.

Our goats were good milk producers, both in quantity of milk, and quality of milk. Do a online search, I think you will find that the milkfat percentage of goat milk might be indeed higher than the milk of a cow. We had lots of cream come to the top, and sometimes made homemade ice cream (mixed with June strawberries - most excellent). They did dictate our time schedule every single day, though. My wife milked twice a day on a regular schedule, so we always had to be home at that time. We would drive as much as 100 miles one way to get our does bred to the best bucks we could find.

In all that time, I regret to say, we never ate a goat - I wish we had. We sold lots of kids to local people, and at the livestock auction barns of which we have 2 or 3 within 50 miles. Earlier this year, I saw a resturant in Monterrey, Mexico that had a number of goat carcases hanging in the front window, and it was a higher quality resturant.
Quite a number of people in this area now raise the Boer meat goats, in fact, the Amish in some areas have hundreds of them. Though I do not follow the livestock markets anymore, I am sure they have a lot more goats pass through them than they did when we raised goats.

My father spoke of his grandmothers goats at the edge of town being the providers of the only milk he and his numerous siblings got to drink in the depression. Makes me wish we still had our goats.

Regarding potatoes, I read that one of the early explorers of Burke's Gardens, which is a high mountain valley in the part of Virginia that is under West Virginia, named the valley that, because on his first visit, he had peeled some potatoes he had with him, and the next year when he came back, the potato peels had sprouted and grown in the rich soil so that he had a garden. His name might have been James Burke if my memory is correct. Beautiful place , if you ever get over that way.


American Express to cut 10% of workforce, or 7,000 jobs
By Wallace Witkowski

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- American Express Co. (AXP:

American Express Company AXP 25.69, +0.48, +1.9%) said Thursday it will cut 10% of its global workforce, or about 7,000 jobs, in 2009 as part of a $1.8 billion cost-savings plan. The cuts will occur across business units, the company said. Also, American Express will suspend management salary increases in 2009, and institute a hiring freeze on open positions. The company expects to take a pre-tax charge of $370 million to $440 million in the fourth quarter.

Michael sez: You are supposed to read this and see where it says "global workforce" and that is supposed to reassure you that things are okay. It's happening somewhere else, you see. Nothing here to see so just move along. HAH!


I just got word this morning that we have a female goat that is due to kid on March 13, 2009. I am elated!

The first thing that elates me is the fact that someone had the brain power to get the goat. This is a survival minded person. As was pointed out to me in my neighbors email this morning, we don't know what is on the horizon as far as the future is concerned. But this family next door is planning on having some easily digested milk protein around no matter what happens. The Handmaiden and I will be doing some volunteer work for these goats. Too valuable and too much work for a young couple with four kids. I figure they need some support from someone older to make them feel better. Many hands make light work.

My mind is already going on producing some hay for these critters and maybe some grain for the cold months. Like everything else, you can plan on getting out just what you put in to these animals. They can graze seven months of the year and we can feed out the other five months. You want to keep that goat milk flowing!

The males will be good for eating. Tastes a lot like venison in my opinion. And I like venison. Down South in Texas and Mexico they use goat meat in their chili. In point of fact, Texas and Mexico are where you can still buy meat goats for a reasonable price. Of course, that ain't taking into consideration the cost of driving down there to get the animals these days. You might pay a little more and save the drive.

The gal next door was also bragging about her potatoes and how well they were storing. She has a space she is using to keep her preps and the potatoes go in there on a concrete floor. She really likes how they taste. And the temperatures are already falling into the 20's here at night and this cold Winter coming up is gonna make those potatoes taste really good. I have a very low opinion about the nutritional value of a potato. Seems like all the nutrients are in the skin. I figure they are just a super vehicle for butter and salt. But people like them and so why not? I'll plan on potatoes this Spring in the garden. My wife just told me that there is not enough butter fat in goats milk to make butter. Bummer. I was having great dreams about homemade butter there for a while. Letting that butter melt on my hot baked potato. Oh well. You can't have everything, I reckon.

On the political front this morning I just got a post in that I feel is worthy of your attention.
"The more I read your site the less inclined I am toward government run education. I was always against it in principal yet felt I had learned enough to complete my own education and become a reasonably well informed individual. However, now that you have presented so many BIG events in history that I have never even thought of before much less heard of, well, it is very disturbing."

This comment is in regard to the Irish slave story and the battle of Athens, Tennessee, story. Just some of the things we aren't supposed to know about. Things we are not supposed to dwell upon. Things our masters feel should be buried in bullshit. For you hot heads out there, I have a short piece from Mike Kemp.

"kicking down a door, and finding this.
watch it to the end.
WHY do Reprobates and Dims alike hate weapons in the hands of
competent, peace loving civilians?
WHO is the militia?
THIS is what the Japanese officer meant, speaking of invading the US mainland:
There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.
For anybody who wonders, what is shown on the video is perfectly
lawful. It's even 'legal'.
Some great quotes here:

Ah...there is a better day a comin' and I for one will be damned glad to see it.

Stay alive.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gitmo judge tosses out detainee confession obtained through torture by Afghans

Associated Press Writer

10:38 PM CDT, October 28, 2008
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) _ A U.S. military judge barred the Pentagon Tuesday from using a Guantanamo prisoner's confession to Afghan authorities as trial evidence, saying it was obtained through torture.Army Col. Stephen Henley said Mohammed Jawad's statements "were obtained by physical intimidation and threats of death which, under the circumstances, constitute torture."Jawad's defense attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, told The Associated Press that the ruling removes "the lynchpin of the government's case.

"Guantanamo's chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said he recognized how the judge made his decision and needed to study the ruling before making more comments.

Jawad, who was still a teenager at the time, is accused of injuring two U.S. soldiers with a grenade in 2002. He allegedly said during his interrogation in Kabul that he hoped the Americans died, and would do it again.

But Henley said Jawad confessed only after police commanders and high-ranking Afghan government officials threatened to kill him and his family — a strategy intended to inflict severe pain that constitutes torture.

"During the interrogation, someone told the accused, 'You will be killed if you do not confess to the grenade attack,' and, 'We will arrest your family and kill them if you do not confess,' or words to that effect," Henley wrote in response to a defense motion to suppress the evidence. "It was a credible threat.

"Frakt said the ruling is a "further disintegration of the government's case," and that the Afghans' descriptions of Jawad's confession were never credible to begin with. He also praised the judge for "adopting a traditional definition of torture rather than making one up.

"The judge said torture includes statements obtained by use of death threats to the speaker or his family, and that actual physical or mental injury is not required. "The relevant inquiry is whether the threat was specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon another person within the interrogator's custody or control," Henley wrote.

Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, welcomed the ruling, but alleged "evidence obtained through torture and coercion is pervasive in military commission cases that, by design, disregard the most fundamental due process rights, and no single decision can cure that.

"Tuesday's ruling comes a few weeks after Jawad's former Guantanamo prosecutor, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, quit after what he described as a crisis of conscience over the ethical handling of cases at the U.S. base.He said evidence he saw — some of which was withheld from defense attorneys — suggested Jawad may have been drugged before the 2002 attack.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press.


I. Introduction

On 2 August 1946, some Americans, brutalized by their county government, used armed force to overturn it. These Americans wanted honest, open elections. For years they had asked for state or Federal election monitors to prevent vote fraud -- forged ballots, secret ballot counts, and intimidation by armed sheriff's deputies -- by the local political boss. They got no help.

These Americans' absolute refusal to knuckle-under had been hardened by service in World War II. Having fought to free other countries from murderous regimes, they rejected vicious abuse by their county government. These Americans had a choice. Their state's Constitution - Article 1, Section 26 - recorded their right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. Few "gun control" laws had been enacted.

II. The Setting

These Americans were Tennesseeans of McMinn County, located between Chattanooga and Knoxville, in Eastern Tennessee. The two main towns were Athens and Etowah.
McMinn Countians had long been independent political thinkers.

They also had long:

accepted bribe-taking by politicians and/or the Sheriff to overlook illicit whiskey-making and gambling;

financed the sheriff's department from fines - usually for speeding or public drunkenness - which promoted false arrests;

put up with voting fraud by both Democrats and Republicans.

Tennessee State law barred voting fraud:

ballot boxes had to be shown to be empty before voting;

poll-watchers had to be allowed;

armed law enforcement officers were barred from polling places;

ballots had to be counted where any voter could watch.

III. The Circumstances

The Great Depression had ravaged McMinn County. Drought broke many farmers; workforces shrank. The wealthy Cantrell family, of Etowah, backed Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1932 election, hoping New Deal programs would revive the local economy and help Democrats to replace Republicans in the county government. So it proved.

Paul Cantrell was elected Sheriff in the 1936, 1938, and 1940 elections, but by slim margins. The Sheriff was the key County official. Cantrell was elected to the State Senate in 1942 and 1944; his chief deputy, Pat Mansfield, was elected sheriff. In 1946, Paul Cantrell again sought the Sheriff's office.

IV. World War II Ends; Paul Cantrell's Troubles Begin

At end-1945, some 3,000 battle-hardened veterans returned to McMinn County. Sheriff Mansfield's deputies had brutalized many in McMinn County; the GIs held Cantrell politically responsible for Mansfield's doings.

Early in 1946, some newly-returned ex-GIs decided:

to challenge Cantrell politically;

to offer an all ex-GI, non-partisan ticket;

to promise a fraud-free election.

In ads and speeches the GI candidates promised:

an honest ballot count;

reform of county government.

At a rally, a GI speaker said, "'The principals that we fought for in this past war do not exist in McMinn County. We fought for democracy because we believe in democracy but not the form we live under in this county.'" (Daily Post-Athenian, 17 June 1946, p. 1).

At end-July 1946, 159 McMinn County GIs petitioned the FBI to send election monitors. There was no response. The Department of Justice had not responded to McMinn Countians' complaints of election fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944.

V. From Ballots to Bullets

The election was held on 1 August. To intimidate voters, Mansfield brought in some 200 armed "deputies". GI poll-watchers were beaten almost at once. At about 3 p.m., Tom Gillespie, an African-American voter, was told by a Sheriff's deputy, "'Nigger, you can't vote here today!!'". Despite being beaten, Gillespie persisted; the enraged deputy shot him. The gunshot drew a crowd. Rumors spread that Gillespie had been "shot in the back"; he later recovered. (C. Stephen Byrum, The Battle of Athens; Paidia Productions, Chattanooga TN, 1987; pp. 155-57).

Other deputies detained ex-GI poll-watchers in a polling place, as that made the ballot count "public".

A crowd gathered. Sheriff Mansfield told his deputies to disperse the crowd. When the two ex-GIs smashed a big window and escaped, the crowd surged forward. "The deputies, with guns drawn, formed a tight half-circle around the front of the polling place. One deputy, "his gun raised high ...shouted: 'You sons-of-bitches cross this street and I'll kill you!'" (Byrum, p. 165).

Mansfield took the ballot boxes to the jail for counting. The deputies seemed to fear immediate attack, by the "people who had just liberated Europe and the South Pacific from two of the most powerful war machines in human history." (Byrum, pp. 168-69).

Short of firearms and ammunition, the GIs scoured the county to find them. By borrowing keys to the National Guard and State Guard Armories, they got three M-1 rifles, five .45 semi-automatic pistols, and 24 British Enfield rifles. The armories were nearly empty after the war's end.

By eight p.m., a group of GIs and "local boys" headed for the jail to get the ballot boxes. They occupied high ground facing the jail but left the back door unguarded to give the jail's defenders an easy way out.

VI. The Battle of Athens

Three GIs - alerting passersby to danger - were fired on from the jail. Two GIs were wounded.
Other GIs returned fire. Those inside the jail mainly used pistols; they also had a "tommy gun" (a .45 caliber Thompson sub-machine gun).

Firing subsided after 30 minutes: ammunition ran low and night had fallen. Thick brick walls shielded those inside the jail. Absent radios, the GIs' rifle fire was un-coordinated. "From the hillside, fire rose and fell in disorganized cascades. More than anything else, people were simply 'shooting at the jail'." (Byrum, p. 189).

Several who ventured into "no man's land", the street in front of the jail, were wounded. One man inside the jail was badly hurt; he recovered. Most sheriff's deputies wanted to hunker down and await rescue. Governor McCord mobilized the State Guard, perhaps to scare the GIs into withdrawing. The State Guard never went to Athens. McCord may have feared that Guard units filled with ex-GIs might not fire on other ex-GIs.

At about 2 a.m. on 2 August, the GIs forced the issue. Men from Meigs county threw dynamite sticks and damaged the jail's porch. The panicked deputies surrendered. GIs quickly secured the building. Paul Cantrell faded into the night, almost having been shot by a GI who knew him, but whose .45 pistol had jammed. Mansfield's deputies were kept overnight in jail for their own safety. Calm soon returned: the GIs posted guards. The rifles borrowed from the armory were cleaned and returned before sun-up.

VII. The Aftermath: Restoring Democracy in McMinn County

In five precincts free of vote fraud, the GI candidate for Sheriff, Knox Henry, won 1,168 votes to Cantrell's 789. Other GI candidates won by similar margins.

The GIs did not hate Cantrell. They only wanted honest government. On 2 August, a town meeting set up a three-man governing committee. The regular police having fled, six men were chosen to police Athens; a dozen GIs were sent to police Etowah. In addition, "Individual citizens were called upon to form patrols or guard groups, often led by a GI. ...To their credit, however, there is not a single mention of an abuse of power on their behalf." (Byrum, p. 220).

Once the GI candidates' victory had been certified, they cleaned-up county government:

the jail was fixed;

newly-elected officials accepted a $5,000 pay limit;

Mansfield supporters who resigned, were replaced.

The general election on 5 November passed quietly. McMinn Countians, having restored the Rule of Law, returned to their daily lives. Pat Mansfield moved back to Georgia. Paul Cantrell set up an auto dealership in Etowah. "Almost everyone who knew Cantrell in the years after the 'Battle' agree that he was not bitter about what had happened." (Byrum, pp. 232-33; see also New York Times, 9 August 1946, p. 8).

VIII. The Outsiders' Response

The Battle of Athens made national headlines. Most outsiders' reports had the errors usual in coverage of large-scale, night-time events. A New York Times editorialist on 3 August savaged the GIs, who:

"...quite obviously - though we hope erroneously - felt that there was no city, county, or State agency to whom they could turn for justice.

... "There is a warning for all of us in the occurrence...and above all a warning for the veterans of McMinn County, who also violated a fundamental principle of democracy when they arrogated to themselves the right of law enforcement for which they had no election mandate. Corruption, when and where it exists, demands reform, and even in the most corrupt and boss-ridden communities there are peaceful means by which reform can be achieved. But there is no substitute, in a democracy, for orderly process." (NYT, 3 Aug 1946, p. 14.)

The editorialist did not see:

McMinn Countians' many appeals for outside help;

some ruthless people only respect force;

that it was wrong to equate use of force by evil-doers (Cantrell and Mansfield) with the righteous (the GIs).

The New York Times:

never saw that Cantrell and Mansfield's wholesale election fraud, enforced at gun-point, trampled the Rule of Law;

feared citizens' restoring the Rule of Law by armed force.

Other outsiders, e.g., Time and Newsweek, agreed. (See Time, 12 August 1946, p. 20; Newsweek, 12 Aug 1946, p. 31 and 9 September 1946, p. 38).

The 79th Congress adjourned on 2 August 1946, when the Battle of Athens ended. However, Representative John Jennings, Jr., from Tennessee decried:

McMinn County's sorry situation under Cantrell and Mansfield;

the Justice Department's repeated failures to help the McMinn Countians.

Jennings was delighted that " long last decency and honesty, liberty and law have returned to the fine county of McMinn...". (Congressional Record, House; U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1946; Appendix, Volume 92, Part 13, p. A4870.)

IX. The Lessons of Athens

Those who took up arms in Athens, Tennessee:

wanted honest elections, a cornerstone of our Constitutional order;

had repeatedly tried to get Federal or State election monitors;

used armed force so as to minimize harm to the law-breakers;

showed little malice to the defeated law-breakers;

restored lawful government.

The Battle of Athens clearly shows:

how Americans can and should lawfully use armed force;

why the Rule of Law requires unrestricted access to firearms;

how civilians with military-type firearms can beat the forces of "law and order".

Dictators believe that public order is more important than the Rule of Law. However, Americans reject this idea.

Criminals can exploit for selfish ends, the use of armed force to restore the Rule of Law. But brutal political repression - as practiced by Cantrell and Mansfield - is lethal to many. An individual criminal can harm a handful of people. Governments alone can brutalize thousands, or millions.

Since 1915, officials of seven governments "gone bad" have committed genocide, murdering at least 56 million persons, including millions of children.

"Gun control" clears the way for genocide by giving governments "gone bad" far greater freedom to commit mass murder.

Law-abiding McMinn Countians won the Battle of Athens because they were not hamstrung by "gun control".
McMinn Countians showed us when citizens can and should use armed force to support the Rule of Law. We are all in their debt.

This is a bare bones summary of a major report in JPFO's Firearms Sentinel (January 1995).

To learn how the gutsy people of Athens, Tennessee did the Framers of the Constitution proud, send $3 to JPFO, 2872 South Wentworth Avenue; Milwaukee, WI 53207; and request the January 1995 Firearms Sentinel. This document is from: (A.K. Pritchard)


A blizzard hit Stevenage as temperatures fell across the country Photo: Gary Dowson
Thousands of homes in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire were left without power after the cold weather damaged high voltage cables.

Supplier EDF Energy said the bad weather has prevented engineers from fixing the problem.
Luton Airport was forced to divert a number of its flights on Tuesday evening while airport workers cleared snow from the runway.

The seven flights were diverted to Birmingham and Stansted airports.

There was major disruption on the motorways after two lorries were involved in accidents during the morning rush hour: one on the M40 in Oxfordshire, closing the motorway, and another on the M65 in Lancashire.

The Highways Agency said it was not clear if the weather conditions had contributed to each of the accidents. A spokesman said: "Both of the roads in question had been gritted so it is not clear what part the weather conditions played."

In Scotland, conditions were returning to normal after heavy snow and high winds brought disruption to roads earlier this week but temperatures remained very low.

Snow fell in London for the first time in October since 1934, while thermometers fell below zero across the country. Hertfordshire saw up to two inches of snow.

With road gritters out in some areas, night-time temperatures dropped to a bitter 24F (-4C) in eastern England last night with similar lows forecast for tonight. In northern Scotland, gale force winds left temperatures feeling much lower.

Even daytime conditions were unseasonably cold, with Manchester managing a high of only 41F (5C) compared to the 51F (10C) usually expected at this time of year.

As commuters in Coventry made their home from work through snow showers a handful appeared to be basking under bright clear skies on Brighton beach.

But appearances can be deceptive. While the Sussex coast was the warmest spot in Britain, temperatures there reached only 48F (9C) - and only briefly.

"I think they are very brave," said Met Office forecaster Kevin Hogg.

While cloud is expected to move in from the west during today, lifting temperatures slightly, Britain is in for a second night of below-freezing conditions.

The wintry conditions mark the end of the mild conditions which have allowed one of the best shows of autumn colour from Britain's trees in recent years.

Forecasters are blaming a change in wind direction for the wintry spell with Arctic gusts replacing the mild south-west Atlantic breezes enjoyed in recent weeks.


We are heading toward redistribution of our wealth, if Obama gets elected. I don't know what he means by that exactly, but it doesn't sound too good. Folks like Stalin and Mao were great for redistributing the wealth. They also had to distribute a lot of ammo to their execution squads to get more people to go along with their plan. I can just see some folks getting ready to party should Obama get in. They will party while the rest of America suffers from the globalism that Obama advocates. Globalism is a failed policy that has no business even being mentioned to citizens of America. All our manufacturing has gone off-shore in the name of globalism. Our auto industry is being bankrupted by globalism. But David Rockefeller liked it so we have it and it is dying from a lack of viability. This is mentioned as being part of what you have to deal with in the future. You will grow your own damn food. You will build your own house. You will pay cash for your land. Lots of little actions we take for granted today will be out and gone in the future. The S is about to HTF. When TEOTWAWKI comes then things will get even tougher, especially for those who are not underground.

I listened Jim Rawles on a radio station from out in California last night. I do not know a lot of terms, but I was listening to a recording of the show. The man sounded sane and rational and knowledgeable in his field. The radio guys were like little idiots getting to play around the adults as much as they wanted. But Rawles was good and I enjoyed what he had to say and how he said it.

What I did not like was the radio hosts looking for something to ridicule in Rawlses' story. He told them he had tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition. After he was off the air they made fun of this and one host even said he didn't own a single round of ammunition and seemed quite proud of himself on this issue. The ammo-less radio host was a jerk.

They picked at Rawles. He calls his wife The Memsahib. And many men have pet names they bestow upon their wife and I believe that Rawles' wife does not want her name mentioned for security purposes. And that is her business. But where is the sin in your wife having a 'pet' name? I call my wife the Handmaiden. It was something she and I agreed to before she ever got with me. Jeff Cooper, the famous pistol and rifle shooter, called his wife The Duchess. And I suppose there are many instances of men giving unique names or titles to their wives. But they wanted to pick on Rawles and not let him tell his story. "Hey! Let's have the crazy survivalist on the show and make him look like and idiot!" A bunch of egg sucking dogs if you ask me. If it is one thing about media people that seems totally unfair to me it is the fact that they don't do ANYTHING. They just report what other people did, or are doing. They are energy thieves. You do the work. You take the steps outside the norm, as prescribed by the media. You make yourself a possible laughing stock because you believe different than the moronic electorate of this country. Then the media comes along to sink your ship and crucify you. No wonder people don't want to step out of the crap they walk in, in this country. It is written in the subconscious of everyone that if your do this you will be subject to ridicule. You know it without saying it. You have to be a little bit crazy to chance it. Or just thoroughly disgusted. I'll plead insanity and say I am not a bit upset about my fellow citizens. Hah!

I am familiar with the media. We have had them down here in the valley so many times it's pitiful. One out of a hundred will say something decent about you. The rest just want to point out your differences to a cookie cutter populace. You can listen to Pete Seger explain it at The media has to keep the morons happy. They have to keep them convinced that they are doing things properly. They have to keep them satisfied that they have made the correct choice in their life. To destroy this warm and fuzzy feeling in their brains is to risk a severe put down or maybe a revolution. And we can't have any of this stuff going on in our perfect society now, can we. So all you mass minded folks just roll back over and go to sleep. You'll be okay. I promise.

Stay alive!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


(Washington, D.C.) The Marijuana Policy Project today congratulated White House “drug czar” John Walters for backing a Mexican government proposal that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but John Walters is right,” said MPP executive director Rob Kampia. “We heartily second his support for eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana users in Mexico, and look forward to working with him to end such penalties in the U.S. as well.”

On Oct. 22, The New York Times reported Walters’ public support for a drug decriminalization proposal by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, quoting Walters as saying, “I don’t think that’s legalization.”

Under Calderon’s proposal, individuals caught with small quantities of marijuana would receive no jail sentence or fine and would not receive a criminal record so long as they complete either drug education or, if addicted, drug treatment. Unlike proposals supported by MPP, the Mexican president’s proposal would also decriminalize possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

“It’s fantastic that John Walters has recognized the massive destruction the drug war has inflicted on Mexico and is now calling for reforms there, but he’s a rank hypocrite if he continues opposing similar reforms in the U.S.,” Kampia said. “The Mexican proposal is far more sweeping than MPP’s proposals to decriminalize marijuana or make marijuana medically available, both of which John Walters and his henchmen rail against.”

In a March 19, 2008, press release from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, deputy director Scott Burns called a New Hampshire proposal to impose a $200 fine rather than jail time for a small amount of marijuana “a dangerous first step toward complete drug legalization.”


They came as slaves; vast human cargo transported on tall British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.

Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. They were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.

We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? After all, we know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade. But, are we talking about African slavery?

King James II and Charles I led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s famed Oliver Cromwell furthered this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor.

The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.

From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.

During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.

Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.

As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.

African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African.

The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.

In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves.

This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.

England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia.

There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.

There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry.

In 1839, Britain finally decided on it’s own to end it’s participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.

But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong.

Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories. But, where are our public (and PRIVATE) schools???? Where are the history books? Why is it so seldom discussed?

Do the memories of hundreds of thousands of Irish victims merit more than a mention from an unknown writer? Or is their story to be one that their English pirates intended: To (unlike the African book) have the Irish story utterly and completely disappear as if it never happened.

None of the Irish victims ever made it back to their homeland to describe their ordeal. These are the lost slaves; the ones that time and biased history books conveniently forgot.