Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Drinking Until the Economy Looks Good

I have, as part of my Official Mogambo Duties (OMD), spent many an evening at local bars, sampling various beverages and making goo-goo eyes at the barmaids while waxing loud and lyrical about the ludicrous extremes of fractional-reserve banking extant in the world today, a device where banks can loan out huge multiples of any money deposited, keeping only a fraction of the original deposit as reserves to insure against loans not being repaid.

As you may not know and about which I have a hard time believing myself, offering free economic education to stupid drunken people has not made me very popular at these establishments, and I am starting to think I have wasted a lot of my Precious Mogambo Time (PMT) with those losers.

I say this because I just got back from visiting one of my favorite hangouts where I entered the place and asked, "Is everybody here upset at the degree of fractional-reserve banking that the stinking Federal Reserve has allowed in the banks, and how it is bankrupting banks all over the country?" where I expected them to say, "Yes, we are worried sick about it, Glorious And Wonderful Mogambo (GAWM), thanks to you educating about it! Let us buy you drink after drink until you are really loaded as a way of showing our everlasting appreciation!"

Alas, I was disappointed when they all shouted back, "No! Now shut up and go away!"

I'll bet they would not be so rude to Chris Mayer of Capital and Crisis newsletter, as he has the exact facts and figures that could educate those lowlife drunken morons and, perhaps, break through to them and make them realize the dangers!

Alas, I have tried and, obviously, failed, even though I did exit gracefully by yelling, "You're all a bunch of stupid lowlife drunken morons, just like my mother warned me about and my wife warns me about to this day!"

I can only imagine with a sense of joy the look of Total Mogambo Enlightenment (TME) on their faces if I had shown those losers his newsletter where he wrote, "The typical bank has only 4 cents of tangible equity for every dollar of assets. That means a 4% drop in asset value wipes out the equity - making the bank insolvent."

A drop of a lousy 4% will wipe them out! No wonder the Federal Reserve pumped about $60 billion into reserves at the banks last week, bringing the total to a whopping $805.772 billion in Total Reserves, and it added about $76 billion in Non-borrowed Reserves, bringing that total to $417.9 billion, last week alone!

This seems like a lot of money when you realize Required Reserves, the money held in cash by the bank as an insurance cushion against many trillions of dollars in loans and deposits, is still only a laughably pitiful $61.9 billion, although up from the ridiculous less-than-$50-billion in reserves that prevailed since 2000! Hahaha!

It has all resulted in total, unmitigated failure (just like it always has, in all the monetary booms, in all of history!), which I easily prove by merely standing up, going over to the window, whereupon to look out upon the landscape and, in a breathtaking performance of the story of Man, his spirit broken by looking into the future, who is despondent to the point of crying the heartbreaking Tears Of The Mogambo (TOTM) at the sight of such suffering and bankrupting misery as it unfolds anew through the window!

Obviously, it is enough to thrill and chill even the most jaded theatergoer with a blazing performance of theatrical incandescence of despair and anger that should, in a just world, win a prestigious award of some kind just for the way I melodramatically and memorably scream, "Nooooooooo!" as if my very soul was in mortal torment at the prospect of the disaster of inflation in consumer prices that will result from such insane amounts of Fed-created money, if nothing else.

As fabulous as it is to see such a terrific performance in the category of a short informational or educational film concerning an economic, social, religious, race or other cult subject in a primarily-documentary format, the point is that this is all especially bad news, including anyone wanting a job in the future, as new jobs come from expanded reserves, which come from expanded deposits and expanded loans, expanded business investment and expanded consumption.

As if to prove me right, although nobody can quite remember what I was talking about, for some reason it led to Byron King writing at Whiskey and Gunpowder that, last week, "the Fed made a shocking prediction. It forecasted that the U.S. economy would add NO NET NEW JOBS over the next five years!"

Dan Amoss of the Strategic Short Report newsletter reports that BusinessWeek magazine found that "the public sector of the U.S. economy created 2.4 million jobs over the past decade - twice as many as the private sector."

Being the gentleman that he is, Mr. King does not say something Mogambo-like, such as, "We're freaking doomed, and you are doomed, too, you moron, unless you are building bunkers in the backyard and buying gold, silver and oil with every dollar you can get your filthy hands on, because the dirtbag government is going to use this lack of gains in employment as an excuse to act even MORE insane with deficit-spending, and the Federal Reserve will, in turn, use it as an excuse to print up the excessive amounts of fiat money and credit necessary to pay for it all, meaning that inflation in consumer prices will destroy us all!"

I would have ended the outburst by dramatically proving my point, repeating, "Print up all of the fiat money and credit to pay for it all, meaning that inflation in consumer prices will destroy us all! It's not only Completely Freaking True (CFT), but it even rhymes, as if to prove it all over again! Can't you see that? Don't you see the obvious connection, you morons?"

Mr. King chooses, instead, to say merely, "Whoa!"

"No net new jobs?" he asks. "That ought to scare you. The Census Bureau predicts that the US population will grow over five years. But the numbers of new jobs will remain static. That is, for every job gain there will be a loss."

I am particularly sensitive to losses in total jobs, having lost my own job so many times, and ALMOST lost it many times before that, since I seem to always get jobs with anal-retentive perfectionist Stalinists who want me to show up at the job every day, like it is some kind of "crime" to stay up too late drinking and partying with my hoodlum friends, and thus accidentally oversleep by a few hours every few days.

Instead, they wanted me to get to work at the same time every morning with all the "little people" who, herd-like, shuffle and moo as they pass the time clock. How degrading!

And then - get this! - my bosses get all upset when I do manage to get to work on time, and use it as an perfect opportunity to greet my fellow employees merrily clocking in and give them - absolutely free! - the Best Financial Advice (BFA) they ever got by telling them to buy gold, silver and oil because their stupid government is allowing the creation of excess money and credit, which is doing exactly what they should NOT be doing, which is why the Founding Fathers, who were men who had the wherewithal and inclination to look into history to discover that a fiat currency in the hands of a government determined to spend more than it should got destroyed Every Freaking Time (EFT).

Like most employees everywhere, they all just looked at me with that stupid, uncomprehending bovine expression on their stupid cow-like faces, which explains why, from then on, I always called them "moo people", which was a lot more clever that what they called ME in return, which was simply "jerk", which shows a serious lack of imagination in selecting nicknames.

But it takes no imagination, or even smarts, to quickly see that history is full of examples of governments with a fiat currency getting into trouble by creating too much of it, which always makes gold go up when priced in a fiat currency in trouble, which makes me exclaim with undisguised glee, "Whee! This investing stuff is easy!"

by The Mogambo Guru


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Peter Schiff Schiff discusses his Senate run on RepublicMedia.TV

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Peter Power 7/7 Terror Rehearsal - Same thing happened on 9/11. What a coincidence!

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日本‧2次地震‧台灣也有震感 Strong quake jolts southern Japan






TOKYO — A magnitude-6.5 earthquake hit off Japan's southern coast Wednesday, the country's Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake hit at 9:18 am (0018 GMT) off the coast of Miyakojima, a southern island near Okinawa, at a depth of 18.6 miles (30 kilometers). Miyakojima is located about 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers) south of Tokyo.

The meteorological agency said there was no fear of a tsunami.

Atsushi Kawamitsu, a police official in Miyakojima, said police have received no reports of damage or casualties.

"Nothing fell off from shelves during the quake," Kawamitsu said.

Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and experts believe Tokyo has a 90 percent chance of being hit by a major quake over the next 50 years.

In 1995, a magnitude-7.2 quake in the western port city of Kobe killed 6,400 people.

泰國‧降落時滑出跑道撞控制塔‧蘇梅島客機空難1死42傷 Life fears of plane crash Briton














A British tourist has told of fearing for his life after a plane skidded off the runway in Thailand.

The pilot was killed when the Bangkok Airways plane crashed while landing on the tourist island of Koh Samui.

Nick Harvey said he and his new wife Claire, among four Britons injured, were terrified it would catch fire.

Mr Harvey, from Portsmouth, told The Times: "You think of horrible things when plane problems happen, so I said 'Get out as soon as you can'."

His leg was broken and he was trapped in his seat for nearly an hour by metal wreckage. The honeymooning couple had been sitting in the front row of the plane.

Speaking from hospital on Koh Samui, Mr Harvey added: "We landed as you would normally. You expect a bit of a bounce. Then the plane seemed to be going slightly sideways, and we hit something."

The were among seven people who needed hospital treatment following the crash, including the co-pilot, who suffered leg injuries.

The Britons taken to hospital were travelling with Preston-based tour operator Gold Medal, which is part of the Thomas Cook group.

She said the injured couple were initially taken to separate hospitals but were now at the same hospital.

The spokeswoman said: "We have made contact with them and, while they have sustained some injuries, we understand they will make a full recovery.

"Our local representative has visited them and we will be offering all the help and support possible during this time."

The Bangkok Airways flight, carrying 72 people, hit an old and unmanned control tower amid reports of heavy rain.

The plane had taken off from the southern Thai town of Krabi, another popular tourist destination.

Thai Samui airport to resume operation after plane crash

BANGKOK, Aug 5 (Xinhua) -- Thai Samui airport is about to resume services in 1:00 p.m. local time Wednesday after a plane crash that killed one Tuesday afternoon, Civil Aviation DepartmentDirector General Kannika Khemawuthanont said on Wednesday morning.

According to Bangkok Post online, the director general said theblack-box of the plane, which slid off the runway and crashed intoan old control tower in Samui airport in Sourthern Thailand Tuesday afternoon, has been found, and will be sent to either the United States or France for examination.

The plane will be removed out of the way and debris will be cleared this morning, Kannika said.

The plane of Bangkok Airways, the private-owned carrier, crashed into an old air traffic control tower while landing at Samui airport in the southern province of Su-ras-tha-ni. ChartchaiPansuwan, one of the pilots, was killed in the accident.

Four passengers -- two British, one Switzerlander and one Italian -- were severely injured as their legs were broken.

The accident of the ATR72-500 aircraft occurred when it was raining heavily amid strong wind, the Thai language news agency INN reported. The aircraft of Flight PG 266, departed an airport in a southern province of Krabi.

After the plane crashed into the old air traffic control tower,which was used as a parking lot for fire trucks of the airport, smoke was seen out of the head of the plane as its left wing was broken.

The 70-seat aircraft carried 68 passengers and four crew members, including two pilots and two flight attendants, PuttipongPrasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways, told a press conference at the company's headquarters in Bangkok.

The passengers were mainly foreigners from countries including Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Israel.All of those injured had been admitted to Bangkok-Samui hospital.

After the accident, the Samui Airport temporarily shut down itsrunway in order to examine the accident.

Samui is the world famous resort island and is the destination of tourists from many countries around the world.

After the crash, the Thai Airways International, the national flag carrier, cancelled two flights to Samui, leaving more than 200 passengers stranded at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.















































































In Release of Journalists, Both Clintons Had Key Roles 美國‧赴朝攜2女記者返國‧克林頓成功“救美”

WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton left North Korea on Wednesday morning after a dramatic 20-hour visit, in which he won the freedom of two American journalists, opened a diplomatic channel to North Korea’s reclusive government and dined with the North’s ailing leader, Kim Jong-il.

Zhang Binyang/Xinhua, via Reuters
Former President Bill Clinton greeted American journalists Laura Ling, middle, and Euna Lee as they board a plane at an airport in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

Mr. Clinton departed from Pyongyang, the capital, around 8:30 a.m. local time, along with the journalists, Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, on a private jet bound for Los Angeles, according to a statement from the former president’s office.

The North Korean government, which in June sentenced the women to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering North Korean territory, announced hours earlier that it had pardoned the women after Mr. Clinton apologized to Mr. Kim for their actions, according to the North Korean state media.

President Obama contacted the families of the women on Tuesday evening, according to administration officials, but the White House said it would withhold public comment until the former president landed on American soil.

Mr. Clinton’s mission to Pyongyang was the most visible by an American in nearly a decade. It came at a time when the United States’ relationship with North Korea had become especially chilled, after North Korea’s test of its second nuclear device in May and a series of missile launchings.

It ended a harrowing ordeal for the two women, who were stopped on March 17 by soldiers near North Korea’s border with China while researching a report about women and human trafficking. They faced years of imprisonment in the gulaglike confines of a North Korean prison camp.

And it catapulted Mr. Clinton back on to the global stage, on behalf of a president who defeated his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a bitter primary campaign last year, and who later asked her to be his secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton was deeply involved in the case, too. She proposed sending various people to Pyongyang — including Mr. Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore — to lobby for the release of the women, before Mr. Clinton emerged as the preferred choice of the North Koreans, people briefed on the talks said.

About 10 days ago, these people said, Mr. Gore, who co-founded Current TV, the San Francisco-based media company that employs Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee, called Mr. Clinton to ask him to undertake the trip. Mr. Clinton agreed, as long as the Obama administration did not object.

The riveting tableau of a former president, jetting into a diplomatic crisis while his wife was embarking on a tour of Africa in her role as the nation’s chief diplomat, underscored the unique and enduring role of the Clintons, even in the Obama era.

On Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya, Mrs. Clinton said, “I’m very happy and relieved to have these two young women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, on their way home to their families.”

“I spoke to my husband on the airplane and everything went well; we are extremely excited they will be reunited,” she said, adding, “it was just a good day to be able to see this happen.” She said she would have more to say on the matter later, when the journalists and her husband landed in America.

Mr. Clinton’s trip to Pyongyang came just two weeks after North Korea issued a harsh personal attack on Mrs. Clinton, in response to comments she made comparing its nuclear test and missile launchings to the behavior of an attention-seeking teenager.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry objected to her “vulgar remarks” and called her “a funny lady” who was neither intelligent nor diplomatic. “Sometimes she looks like a primary-school girl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping,” a spokesman said.

The episode evidently did not stop consideration of sending her husband as an envoy. But the initiative was cloaked in secrecy and came after weeks of back-channel talks between the United States and North Korea through its United Nations mission. In addition to Mr. Gore, the White House’s list of potential candidates included Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

North Korea signaled its desire to have Mr. Clinton act as a special envoy in conversations with Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee, who relayed that message to their families in the middle of July, according to a senior administration official. The message was passed to Mr. Gore, who contacted the White House, which then explored whether such a mission would be successful.

Mr. Obama did not speak directly with Mr. Clinton before the mission. But his national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, contacted the former president to sound him out. The senior official said the administration did “due diligence” with the North Koreans to ensure that if Mr. Clinton went, he would return with the journalists. He also denied that Mr. Clinton apologized as a condition of obtaining the pardons from the government.

As president, Mr. Clinton had sent Mr. Kim a letter of condolence on the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, according to a former official. For Mr. Kim, the former official said, freeing the women was a “reciprocal humanitarian gesture.”

Mr. Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke last year. American officials said they thought his declining health had set off a succession struggle, complicating the Obama administration’s dealings with the North.

The families of the American journalists issued a statement saying they were “overjoyed” by news of the pardon and thanked Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. “We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home,” the statement said.

Current TV said in a statement that it too was “overjoyed” and that the hearts of its employees went out to Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee for “persevering through this horrible experience.”

The Obama administration said Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee were in good health.

Administration officials said Mr. Clinton went to North Korea as a private citizen, did not carry a message from Mr. Obama for Mr. Kim and had the authority to negotiate only for the women’s release.

“This was 100 percent about the journalists,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. “We knew Kim Jong-il would probably seek a meeting with Clinton. But that’s not what this visit was about.”

Still, North Korea, clearly seeing a propaganda opportunity at home and a rare chance for a measure of favorable publicity abroad, welcomed Mr. Clinton with the fanfare of a state visit. It broadcast a group portrait, as well as photos of Mr. Kim gesturing and talking to Mr. Clinton; of the former president accepting flowers from a North Korean girl; and of Mr. Clinton, seated across a negotiating table from Mr. Kim, each flanked by their aides. Among those greeting Mr. Clinton at the airport was Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator.

Among those accompanying Mr. Clinton was David Straub, a former director of the Korea desk at the State Department, who had held talks with the North Koreans through what is known as the “New York connection.”

Also on hand was John Podesta, an informal adviser to the Obama administration who served as Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff in the final years of his presidency, when the former president yearned to travel to North Korea to clinch a deal that would have curbed its nuclear program.

That visit never happened — partly because the White House concluded that a deal was not assured — and President George W. Bush put the brakes on direct talks with North Korea, setting the stage for eight years of largely fruitless efforts to stop the North’s nuclear ambitions.

Given Mr. Clinton’s stature and his long interest in the North Korean nuclear issue, experts said it was likely that his discussions in North Korea ranged well beyond obtaining the release of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee.

“It would be someplace between surprising and shocking if there wasn’t some substantive discussion between the former president, who is deeply knowledgeable about the nuclear issue, and Kim Jong-il,” said Robert L. Gallucci, who negotiated with North Korea in the Clinton administration.

Mr. Clinton has sought to find the right place in the Obama era, eager to play a role without stepping on the toes of the new president or certainly of his secretary of state.

The last time the two spoke, said the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was in March, when Mr. Obama invited Mr. Clinton to a ceremony in Washington for signing legislation expanding the AmeriCorps program created by Mr. Clinton.

In interviews last spring, Mr. Clinton said that he would be happy to do anything Mr. Obama asked him to do, but that “I try to stay out of their way.”

Mr. Clinton’s mission may be less of an issue for Mr. Obama than for Mrs. Clinton. The same day he landed in North Korea, she arrived in Kenya, kicking off an 11-day journey through Africa — a visit now largely eclipsed by her husband’s travels.






















London Times Smears 9/11 Truth Movement As Racist, Nazi Like, Stupid

Uses "Birthers" phenomenon to discredit and attack legitimate researchers

A vicious attack piece in the Rupert Murdoch owned London Times has linked the so called "birther" phenomenon with 9/11 Truth, in an effort to imply that the movement is inherently racist and "intellectually scary" (read stupid).

In an article entitled To tell you the truth, these conspiracists scare me, Times "journalist" James Bone equates those who question the government version of events on 9/11 with "crackpot birthers", referring to those who have questioned Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as President.

"Perhaps the most intellectually scary assignment I have had in recent years was to cover a meeting of the so-called '9/11 Truth Movement' in the East Village, New York." Bone writes.

"This gruesome assortment of conspiracy theorists insists that the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001 were an inside job." he continues.

"It is easy to mock this deluded gang of ageing hippies, anarchists and anti-Semites." he then declares in a statement at once both sweepingly general and libelously offensive.

"I found the event not just disconcerting but also extremely revealing. I had never understood better how so many Germans could have embraced the crackpot theories of Nazism." Bone concludes.

Bone should be reminded that the most recent national polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans have doubts about the official story behind 9/11.

Are most Americans dangerous crackpot Nazi-like racists? Bone seems to think so.

"The assembled conspiracists quickly agreed that the twin towers had been packed with explosives by the Government, since jet fuel did not burn hot enough to melt the buildings' steel frame." Bone also writes, implying that the evidence stretches only as far as the invented theory of a handful of paranoid delusionals.

Bone fails to point out that there are scores of peer reviewed studies that have appeared in engineering and physics journals that question the collapse of the towers and building 7.

He fails to address the fact that the latest study produced by former Brigham Young University physicist Dr. Steven E. Jones and published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, found traces of highly engineered explosive material in World Trade Center dust samples.

Instead Bone trots out the tired book-selling mantra of already multiple time discredited Popular Mechanics editor James Meigs, in order to bolster his slander on 9/11 Truth, as if the opinion of a former Video Review and Entertainment Weekly editor provides any credibility to his attack.

Bone also attacks the strawman of the "no planers", those who claim that all footage of the planes crashing into the twin towers was fake. As we have exhaustively documented, those people are not representative of the 9/11 Truth movement as a whole, in fact they are a vast minority.

Bone should also be reminded that there are literally thousands of professional architects, engineers, political leaders, medical workers, pilots, scholars, students and people of all professions who have signed petitions calling for a new investigation into 9/11.

Bone should also know that the largest group of victims' family members, headed by Bill Doyle has charged government complicity in the attacks.

With this galling hit piece Bone is grouping every single one of these people under the umbrella term of "stupid racist lunatic".

That's a hell of a lot of potential libel claims to be dealing with.

(Article continues below)

Bone links the "birther" theory with 9/11 Truth via Pennsylvania lawyer Philip Berg, who filed a lawsuit in 2004 charging president George W. Bush and 154 others with complicity in the 9/11 attacks.

Berg appeared on the Alex Jones show yesterday, to explain his role in a new lawsuit challenging the eligibility of Barack Obama to be President of the United States.

Alex Jones and Infowars has remained neutral on the "birther" conspiracy from day one, simply because at this time it is unproven conjecture. Just six months into the presidency, Alex Jones produced a full length feature film documenting the problems with Barack Obama. Everything contained within The Obama Deception is certified fact, thus the birth certificate issue did not even arise within the documentary.

Other researchers such as What Really's Mike Rivero have warned that the flames of the "birther" movement may be intentionally fanned by Obama aides in order to later capitalize from disproving the rumors, which would have the knock on effect of silencing legitimate criticism of the Obama administration in general.

With Obama's ratings plunging faster than any other president in history, this would certainly be beneficial to him.

Indeed, it seems this may already be unfolding as the latest birth certificate much lauded by a number of conservative blogs and websites as proof positive that Obama was born outside the US has turned out to be a fake.

If Obama had wanted to end the saga of the birth certificate he would have simply authorized the release of the original document a long time ago, instead the issue is being allowed to drag on and escalate to a ridiculous level in the media.

The 9/11 Truth Movement is no more connected to the "birthers" than it is to those who believe in the Loch Ness monster. To link the two issues is disingenuous at best, and at worst represents a concerted effort to relegate eight years of serious research and activism to the level of unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

by Steve Watson

"How Can You Manage Health Care When You Can't Manage Cash For Clunkers?

Check this link from You Tube .......

SHOCK UNCOVERED: Obama IN HIS OWN WORDS admitting his Health Care Plan will ELIMINATE private insurance

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Launch your own satellite for only eight grand

Prospective world domination candidates apply here

Free whitepaper – Secure Virtualization : Achieve and Maintain IT Security in Virtual Environments

Interorbital Systems is offering your own orbiting satellite for only $8,000, including launch, though evil geniuses might balk at the expected 2-week lifespan before a fiery re-entry.

The plan is to launch 32 of the diminutive TubeSats into low earth orbit, around 310Km up, using a single Neptune 30 launcher (under development by Interorbital). The Neptune 30 will time release the TubeSats into orbits that decay within a few weeks, after which they'll burn up re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

The cost of each one is $8,000, though you'll have to pay up front to guarantee a launch slot, and put the satellite together yourself from the supplied kit. Stil, at least Interorbital Systems accepts PayPal.


Doomsday weapon in position: artist's impression

Fitting a doomsday machine into the 13.5cm long TubeSat, which is only 8.7cm wide, will challenge plans for world domination, but that will be where the "genius" comes into play.

The company suggests you might use your TubeSat for everything from "Earth-from-space video imaging" to "private e-mail" or "On-orbit advertising", though we're not sure what the audience figures would be for the latter. More realistically, buyers might like to bounce amateur radio signals off their own bird, or try experiments within orbital conditions.

The radio aboard the TubeSat will operate at 902-928MHz or 2.4-2.4835GHz, the latter being ideal for Wi-Fi, as well as covering the bands allocated for amateur satellite operations - allowing Hams to fly even if pigs can't. Full specifications are available from Interorbital (pdf).

Not that professionals will be allowed to buy TubeSats: "The listed price is not valid for military, governmental, or large corporate entities. Members of these organizations should contact Interorbital Systems if interested in purchasing a TubeSat".

Interorbital Systems has some form in space operations. It was a competitor in the X-Prize, and has entered Google's Lunar X-Prize to retrieve a bit of the moon. More practically, the company has been testing engines in the Mojave desert, but the TubeSat launches planned for next year will be the first time the company has flown a bird, even a small one. ®

By Bill Ray

U.S. Incomes Fall 1.3%, Biggest Drop in Four Years (Update3)

Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. personal incomes tumbled 1.3 percent in June, more than forecast and the biggest drop in four years, signaling that consumer spending will take time to recover.

The decline partly reflected the unwinding of one-time transfer payments from the Obama administration’s stimulus plan, which boosted incomes 1.3 percent in May, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Spending rose 0.4 percent in June as prices climbed. Adjusted for inflation, purchases fell 0.1 percent, the report showed.

The worst economic slump in seven decades eased last quarter as government spending programs started to take hold, underscoring forecasts the recession will end by the end of the year. The recovery is likely to be muted as job losses and falling home values cause Americans to boost savings and limit spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“We’ll see a weak economic recovery by past standards,” said James O’Sullivan, a senior economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “For a sustained pickup in consumer spending, we need a clear-cut improvement in the labor market.”

Also today, the National Association of Realtors said the number of contracts to buy previously owned homes in the U.S. rose in June for a fifth straight month and beat economists’ forecasts, as lower prices attracted buyers. The 3.6 percent gain in the index of signed purchase agreements, or pending home resales, followed a 0.8 percent gain the prior month that was larger than previously estimated.

Stocks, Treasuries

Stocks and Treasuries were little changed after the reports. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index dropped 0.2 percent to 1,001.04 at 10:16 a.m. in New York. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes rose to 3.66 percent from 3.64 percent late yesterday.

Economists forecast personal income would fall 1 percent after a previously reported 1.4 percent gain in May, according to the median of 75 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Projections ranged from an increase of 1 percent to a drop of 1.6 percent. June’s decrease was the biggest since January 2005, the month after Microsoft Corp. sent out a special dividend.

Spending was projected to rise 0.3 percent for a second month, according to the Bloomberg survey.

Price Increases

Excluding the effects of the stimulus plan, incomes would have dropped 0.1 percent in June after no change the prior month, according to Commerce. Wages and salaries decreased 0.4 percent in June, the ninth drop in 10 months.

Today’s report showed price increases in June were smaller than in the same period last year. The inflation gauge tied to spending patterns dropped 0.4 percent from June 2008, the biggest decrease since records began in 1960.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of prices, which excludes food and fuel, increased 1.5 percent from a year earlier, the smallest gain since December 2003.

The drop in incomes caused the savings rate to fall to 4.6 percent from a 14-year high of 6.2 percent in May.

Adjusted for inflation, spending dropped 0.1 percent following little change in May.

Inflation-adjusted spending on durable goods, such as autos, furniture, and other long-lasting items, dropped 0.2 percent in June after rising 1.2 percent in the prior month.

Car Sales

Car sales may get a boost this quarter from the government’s “cash-for-clunkers” program, which offers as much as $4,500 for trading in older, less fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford Motor Co.’s sales rose in July for the first month since 2007. Purchases for the industry jumped to an 11.3 million annual pace last month, the highest level since September.

Price-adjusted purchases of non-durable goods decreased 0.4 percent after falling 0.1 percent, today’s report showed.

Spending on services, which account for almost 60 percent of all outlays, was little changed.

Consumer spending fell last quarter at a 1.2 percent pace, and the gain in the first quarter was revised to 0.6 percent, smaller than previously estimated, Commerce figures showed last week. Spending has fallen 2 percent since its peak at the end of 2007, the deepest retrenchment by consumers since 1980.

The job market continues to cloud the outlook for spending. The unemployment rate is projected to surpass 10 percent by early 2010, according to a Bloomberg survey. A report from the Labor Department in three days is forecast to show payrolls fell by 325,000 in July following a drop of 467,000 the prior month.

Consumers are reluctant to spend on much beyond necessities. MGM Mirage, the biggest casino owner on the Las Vegas Strip, reported a second-quarter loss as gambling revenue dropped. Las Vegas-based MGM slashed hotel room rates to attract tourists after companies canceled conferences.

“The operating environment remains challenging,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren said on a conference call yesterday. Even so, “we see extremely positive signs, especially as we go into 2010.”

By Shobhana Chandra

Marines Ban Twitter, MySpace, Facebook

The U.S. Marine Corps has banned Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media sites from its networks, effective immediately.


“These internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries,” reads a Marine Corps order, issued Monday. “The very nature of SNS [social network sites] creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts OPSEC [operational security], COMSEC [communications security], [and] personnel… at an elevated risk of compromise.”

The Marines’ ban will last a year. It was drawn up in response to a late July warning from U.S. Strategic Command, which told the rest of the military it was considering a Defense Department-wide ban on the Web 2.0 sites, due to network security concerns. Scams, worms, and Trojans often spread unchecked throughout social media sites, passed along from one online friend to the next. “The mechanisms for social networking were never designed for security and filtering. They make it way too easy for people with bad intentions to push malicious code to unsuspecting users,” a Stratcom source told Danger Room.

Yet many within the Pentagon’s highest ranks find value in the Web 2.0 tools. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has 4,000 followers on Twitter. The Department of Defense is getting ready to unveil a new home page, packed with social media tools. The Army recently ordered all U.S. bases to provide access to Facebook. Top generals now blog from the battlefield.

“OPSEC is paramount. We will have procedures in place to deal with that,” Price Floyd, the Pentagon’s newly-appointed social media czar, told Danger Room. “What we can’t do is let security concerns trump doing business. We have to do business… We need to be everywhere men and women in uniform are and the public is. If that’s MySpace and YouTube, that’s where we need to be, too.”

The Marines say they will issue waivers to the Web 2.0 blockade, if a “mission critical need” can be proven. And they will continue to allow access to the military’s internal “SNS-like services.” But for most members of the Corps, access to the real, public social networks is now shut off for the next year.

[Photo: USMC; Linker: MY]

By Noah Shachtman

Northern Rock £724m in the red

NORTHERN ROCK has plunged £724million into the red — as thousands of its customers struggle to pay off their mortgages.

The bank — which pocketed £27billion of taxpayers cash — added that it would MISS targets to lend more money to Brits this year.

Chief executive Gary Hoffman insisted the bank was still making progress.

But Lib Dem Treasury spokesman said the Rock was paying the price for reckless lending — and 125 per cent mortgages — in the boom years.

Time bomb

He told The Sun: "I warned it was storing up a time bomb for the future - well that time bomb is now going off."

Bleak figures from the Rock showed that 22,141 mortgage customers are now three months behind on repayments — four per cent of its total loan book.

Four in ten of its borrowers now hold mortgages that are worth more than their homes.

Losses at the group in the half year to June 30 spiralled to £724.2million from £443.3million a year ago.

The Government wants to split the Rock into a good and bad bank — with the existing loans placed in a business that will gradually be closed down.

Abbey-owner SANTANDER has been mentioned as a possible buyer of the good part which would include savers' deposits.

The level of retail deposits across Northern Rocks' branches fell from £19.6billion to £18.4billion between January and June amid fierce competition.

Mr Hoffman said: "The current environment continues to be challenging."

Business Editor