Biggs’s Tips for Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

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Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with “seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.”

The “etc.” must mean guns.

“A few rounds over the approaching brigands’ heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,” he writes in his new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom.”

Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn’t lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

“Wealth, War and Wisdom” fills a void. Library shelves are packed with volumes on World War II. The history of stock markets also has been ably recorded, notably in Robert Sobel’s “The Big Board.” Yet how many books track the intersection of the two?

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Going Bankrupt: The US’s Greatest Threat

The military adventurers of the George W. Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room”, the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neo-conservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

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The FBI Deputizes Business

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does-and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

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Hair of the Dog

Are you at all suspicious? Does it sound too good to be true? Here we are, plunging into a recession. The proximate cause is irresponsible mortgage loans made to people who can’t pay the money back. The deeper cause is, at least in part, years of too much borrowing and spending by Americans, both as individuals and collectively through the government. But behold: there is-oh, joy!-bipartisan agreement on a solution. Although quibbling over the details, everyone-Republicans and Democrats, the White House and Congress, all the presidential candidates-agrees that what we need is a “fiscal stimulus.”In other words, the government should go out and borrow even more money and pass it around for us to spend. The experts caution that for maximum stimulus effect, we must be sure to spend it immediately. No squirreling it away for a rainy day. In drinking circles, they call this hair of the dog: to cure a hangover, you have another drink.

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Dobbs: Our leaders have squandered our wealth

NEW YORK (CNN) — President Bush’s assurances that we’ll all be “just fine” if he and Congress can work out an economic stimulus package seem a little hollow this morning.Much like Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s assurances last May that the subprime mortgage meltdown would be contained and not affect the broader economy. And it seems Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has spent most of the past year trying to influence Chinese economic policy rather than setting the direction of U.S. economic policy.

There is no question that Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will quickly come up with an economic stimulus package simply because they can no longer ignore our economic and financial crisis. That economic stimulus plan will amount to about 1 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product, an estimated $150 billion.

But all of us should recognize that the stimulus package will be inadequate to drive sustainable growth in our $13 trillion economy. An emergency Fed rate cut and an economic stimulus plan are short-term responses to our complex economic problems, nothing more than bandages for a hemorrhaging economy.

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Lab Freaks Gone Wild?

Scientists plan to make “cybrids” by putting human DNA into cow eggs.The British government gave the go-ahead this week for two separate groups to experiment with the process. Scientists will “inject human DNA into empty eggs from cows, to create embryos known as cytoplasmic hybrids that are 99.9 per cent human in genetic terms,” according to The Times of London.

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High-pitch alarm quietens youths

A device which emits a high-pitched noise has been installed outside a shop in Oxfordshire to cut the number of anti-social behaviour incidents.A mobile “mosquito” alarm, which can only be heard by younger people, has been placed by the Co-op outside its store in Ladygrove, Didcot.

Parents have been campaigning to get the device fitted, and it is hoped it will stop large groups congregating.

It has been installed at the same time a youth club is due to open nearby.

Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 13:59 GMT

Source: BBC NEWS 

Space War: Satellite ‘Kill’ Would Prove U.S. Capability

080220-tech-spacewar-01.jpgThe looming U.S. Navy attempt to shoot down a dying satellite could demonstrate an anti-satellite capability for its missile defense system.

A successful kill would mark the first time the United States uses a tactical missile to destroy a spacecraft – assuming that the ship-based missile defense system can handle the high closing speed of more than 22,000 mph.

“Everything becomes much more stressful at these large closing speeds,” said Geoffrey Forden, MIT physicist and space expert. “But if they do hit it, that’d be very impressive, and that’d be proof that it has ASAT [anti-satellite] capability.”

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Children could get a criminal record for holding a can of beer

Children across Britain face being given a criminal record if they are caught holding a can of beer, under new plans being considered by the Government.The measure would mean any person under the age of 18 caught just holding an alcoholic beverage may be tarnished with a conviction, which would need to be declared to future employers.

The proposals follow recent warnings from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that the police would be given greater powers to remove alcohol from youngsters.

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Criminal record: Children caught holding a can of beer could face a conviction

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