Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Anglo American Corporation Announces A New $400 Million Investment In Zimbabwe

Anglo defends Zim investment
Jun 25 2008 2:37PM
Sherilee Bridge
Johannesburg - Resources giant Anglo American on Wednesday said it was "deeply concerned" about the current political situation in Zimbabwe, and condemned the violence and human rights abuses that are taking place.

This response comes after UK media reports that Anglo planned to make what is believed to be the largest foreign investment in Zimbabwe to date despite the British government's pressure on companies to withdraw from the country.

According to UK daily The Times, Anglo's decision to invest $400m (R3.2bn) in the Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe has outraged certain shareholders and politicians.

"The foreign office was investigating tonight whether the company's investment breached sanctions against Zimbabwe. Anglo insisted that its involvement in the country did not break the law," the newspaper reported.

But Anglo said it was in full compliance with all relevant national and international laws relating to its activities in Zimbabwe.

Anglo American has been an investor in Zimbabwe for 60 years and the Unki platinum project has been in development since 2003.

Regarded as a long-term investment, the mine is yet to start production and is not expected to generate revenues for some years.

"Anglo American is monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe very closely and is reviewing all options surrounding the development of the project," the company said in a statement.

Anglo said it had been made clear that if it ceased to develop this project, the government of Zimbabwe would assume control of the potential mine.

"Anglo American has a clear responsibility to protect the well-being of its more than 650 employees and contractors, as well as their families and all those who depend indirectly on the activity around the project, all of whose livelihoods would be jeopardised should the company withdraw from Zimbabwe," Anglo stressed.

It added that the responsible development of the Unki mine would create a long-term viable business that would be important to the economic future of Zimbabwe for years to come.

The company hopes Unki will be producing platinum by 2010.

Zimbabwe is rich in mineral resources and has the world's second-largest deposits of platinum, but most large miners are avoiding the country or have put their investments on hold.

The Times reported that Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest miner, with a diamond mine in Zimbabwe, said it would put its investment on hold until after president Robert Mugabe steps down.

- I-Net Bridge

Zimbabwe's Congo Mine Raid--An Amazing Story!!

Zimbabwean Raiders Reveal A Huge Profit Opportunity In Congo's Mines
By Manraaj Singh,
First published on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When Robert Mugabe invaded and looted the Congo, he killed Zimbabwe's economy - and accidentally started a chain of events that are set to benefit investors as well as the Congolese people. Let me explain...

Another day and the crisis in Zimbabwe deepens. Yesterday, the United Nations passed a resolution "regretting" the election violence in Zimbabwe, opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has taken sanctuary in the Dutch embassy, and dear Robert Gabriel Mugabe seems determined to steam-roll ahead to "victory". It's a sorry state of affairs in a once-promising country...

Now if you get your news from the mainstream media, you would probably think that the whole political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe started began when Mugabe and his supporters began seizing white-owned farms as part of his land-redistribution "reforms" in 2000.

To understand what's really going on in that blighted country, though, you actually have to go back a little further, to 1996 - the year that Mugabe sent Zimbabwean troops into the Congo. That set-off a chain of events that has plunged this once-prosperous country into chaos, but it also opened-up a massive profit opportunity in the Congo for savvy investors. Let me explain...

In 1996, with a civil war raging in the supposedly Democratic Republic of Congo, Robert Mugabe sent in thousands of Zimbabwean troops to prop-up the tottering regime of the country's erstwhile president, Laurent Kabila. In return, Mugabe and his cronies were given access to the enormously rich mining region of southern Congo.

It was a fabulously profitable adventure for Mugabe and his cronies who made a fortune looting the mines and selling arms to the Congolese government. But the cost of the military operation destabilised the Zimbabwean economy. Inflation skyrocketed; and with casualties mounting and the country's health system collapsing, the majority of Zimbabweans opposed the war. On the streets and in the villages, the one-time independence hero began to be mockingly referred to as "King Robert". So, Mugabe and his cronies hit on a brilliantly simple idea to win back popular support - land reform.

With about 4000 white families controlling the majority of the country's most fertile land, something was bound to happen at some point. But the timing of Mugabe's move and the way in which it was carried out was all about shoring-up support for his increasingly unpopular regime. I'm not going to focus on Mugabe and his land "reforms" though. Instead let's go back to the Congo - because that's where the old tyrant has opened-up a massive profit opportunity for us.

You see, when Mugabe sent his troops into the Congo, among the biggest beneficiaries were two of his white Zimbabwean business cronies: Billy Rautenbach and John Bredenkamp.

 You might actually recognise Bredenkamp's name. Thanks to the wonderful non-dom policy in this country, he used to appear on the Times Rich List. In 2002, he appeared at number 33, with a personal net worth of £720 million. He owned an estate in Berkshire and a townhouse in Chester Square, just a stone's throw away from Margaret Thatcher's house.

Bredenkamp once captained the Rhodesian Rugby team and married a former Miss South Africa. He made his fortune in the tobacco-broking business with his firm Casalee, and gained a reputation for his skill at avoiding the international sanctions on Rhodesian tobacco. He also helped the Rhodesian government break sanction to purchase arms for use against Robert Mugabe's African nationalist movement. But it didn't take long for him to build friendly ties with the Mugabe regime once it came into power. In fact, Bredenkamp gained a bit of a reputation as Mugabe's "white svengali".

Bredenkamp was named by a UN report investigating the exploitation of Congo's mines by Zimbabwean interest and was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office here in the UK during their investigation of arms company BAE (formerly British Aerospace). Bredenkamp was BAE's agent in southern Africa and is said to have received huge kickbacks for his efforts...

The other great crony-in-chief was Zimbabwean businessman, Billy Rautenbach. Rautenbach is a former race-car driver and transport magnate and he's now wanted for fraud in South Africa. But in the late 90's, Mugabe arranged for him to be appointed chairman of the Congo's state-run mining company.

That put him in an excellent position to engage in a bit of asset-stripping with some of the most lucrative mines in the Congo ending-up in his pocket. Crucially, for us, that broke the Congolese government's monopoly on the mining industry - and other firms have since stepped-in.

That's where our next Profit Hunter recommendation comes in. You see, following the end of the Congo's civil war, this company took advantage of the changes in the country's mining regime to secure control of mining assets that could be worth up to £128 billion! Right now, though, this company has only got a market capitalisation of about £1.38 billion - so the profit potential here is huge.

We're now getting ready to release our latest Profit Hunter recommendation. And its going to give you a chance to get your hands on a slice of the Congo's incredible mineral wealth without having to go marching in at the head of an army or running the risk of UN sanctions.



Monday, June 23, 2008

Former Congressman Pete McCloskey

Saturday morning, I had the great pleasure of having breakfast with former Congressman Pete McCloskey. He is an incredible "80 years young." Pete comes from an "old money" California family that built a castle in Pacifica,California after the 2006 earthquake.

Pete went to high school at South Pasadena High School in Pasadena, California. He graduated from college in 1950. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. The Korean War broke out. He found himself on a ship going from San Diego to Japan and finally to Pusan, South Korea. One of his fellow Second Lieutenants was Pat Robertson, who went on to fame as a tele evangelist. Pat was the son of a US Senator. He was taken off the boat in Japan and made a liquor officer.

Pete went on to Korea. He rose to the rank of Captain and became a company commander. In various battles, he had 58 men wounded or killed. One man was captured. Pete earned a Purple Heart for his wounds in battle. As a matter of interest, when Pete "shipped out" for Korea, he left his wife and baby daughter in the care of none other than John Ehrlichman who would go on to be one of Richard Nixon's "right hand men" in the White House.

After his military service finished, Pete enrolled at Stanford Law School. He classmates included William Rehnquist (later Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court), Sandra day O'Connor (Later US Supreme Court Justice) and other luminaries. After graduation from Stanford Law School, Pete became an assistant district attorney in Alameda County, California. He went on to form his own law firm. It is now the largest private law firm in California.

In 1967, the Republican Party approached Pete. They asked him to do what most would consider a suicide mission. They asked him to challenge former child movie star Shirley Temple Black in a district that had been Democratic for decades. Pete accepted the challenge. He organized a grass roots political organization. When the dust had settled and the votes were counted, Pete had won.

He quickly realized that he had to carry out the wishes of his constituents when he went to congress. He established himself as a liberal Republican opposed to the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon. In 1972 Pete even ran for President in opposition to Richard Nixon. He had a distinguished 16 year career in Congress before he went back to private life.

One year ago, he became so disillusioned with the Bush presidency that he abandoned the Republican Party and became a registered Democrat. He is now fighting to unseat Bush supporters from the US Congress. He has been married for many years to a French citizen.

He was an incredible man and a great speaker. I liked him so much. It was an incredible moment in my life. He described Richard Nixon as a man of incredible intelligence that no one could know. He warned that the current President Bush will most likely attack Iran before his term ends.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Israeli Military Exercise A Prelude To Iran Attack?

Israel Military Exercise May Be Warning to Iran, U.S. (Update1)

By Tony Capaccio and Ken Fireman

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- A wide-ranging Israeli military exercise in the eastern Mediterranean was likely aimed at warning both Iran and the U.S. about the possibility of a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, a U.S. analyst said.

``It's very hard to think of any other enemies Israel has that would require such a massive use of forces or an attack waged at such a distance,'' said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign- policy analyst at Washington's Brookings Institution.

The June 2 exercise involved about 100 aircraft and included mid-air refueling missions, according to two U.S. defense officials who are familiar with the broad outlines of the Israeli operation. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

At the United Nations, Russia's envoy cautioned that even the threat of military action might damage a diplomatic effort aimed at persuading Iran to limit its nuclear work.

``If things happen like threats of force and unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the Security Council, it is distracting from the negotiating process,'' Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters. ``A military move would have devastating consequences for the prospect of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, for the region and internationally.''

O'Hanlon said the exercise may have been designed to send two simultaneous messages: one to the Iranians that a strike could be made unless they rein in their nuclear activities, and another to the U.S. about the possibility of an attack.

`Used to It'

``They want to get us used to it, or at least not be totally surprised by it,'' O'Hanlon said. ``They want to be able to say they gave us warning. And they want to dissuade Iran as well. It's also battlefield training. It's all these things simultaneously.''

The New York Times, which first reported on the exercise, said it had a range of 900-miles (1,450-kilometers). The Times quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying the exercise could be a rehearsal for an attack against the Iranian nuclear plant in Natanz as well as Iran's long-range conventional missiles.

The UN Security Council has approved three rounds of sanctions against Iran for its failure to halt uranium enrichment, a process used for making fuel for civilian energy or a bomb. The U.S. and European allies accuse Iran of trying to develop a bomb; Iran insists its activities are peaceful and legal under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Incentives Package

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said yesterday that officials in Tehran are studying an incentives package to stop enrichment. Still, Iran's ambassador to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said the previous day that Iran wouldn't be pushed into suspending enrichment.

Crude oil rose today following the Times report that Israel held a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iranian nuclear targets, and as the weaker dollar enhanced the appeal of commodities as a currency hedge. Oil traded at $134.89 a barrel at 1 p.m. in New York, up $2.96 for the day.

A senior Iranian cleric reacted to reports of the Israeli exercise by saying his country would respond to an Israeli attack on nuclear facilities with a ``heavy blow.''

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, leading Friday prayers in Tehran, said today that Iran favored dialogue and would resist ``mischievous acts,'' the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said. Such an attack would prompt an ``uproar on the part of our nation,'' Khatami said.

`A Heavy Blow'

``If enemies, especially Israelis and their U.S. supporters, wish to speak in the language of force, they should rest assured they will be dealt a heavy blow on the face by the Iranian nation,'' the ayatollah said, according to IRNA.

Iran doesn't recognize Israel, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly predicted the end of the Jewish state.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the international community not to take further measures against Iran without evidence that it's really trying to make a nuclear bomb, Interfax reported.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the ``Israeli Air Force regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel.'' David Segal, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, declined to comment further.

No Comment

``We are not commenting on this one,'' U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Kate Starr said. White House spokesman Tony Fratto also declined to comment.

A task force on Iran policy and U.S.-Israel relations organized by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said June 16 that Israel may be more inclined to attack Iran because a U.S. intelligence assessment last year eroded support for preventing Iran's government from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The report, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate released in December, said Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Reactions to the NIE ``may have heightened the inclination of some Israeli strategists to give further consideration to unilateral military action to forestall Iran's development of a nuclear capability,'' the task force said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at; Ken Fireman in Washington at

Last Updated: June 20, 2008 13:21 EDT

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Zimbabwe Girl Beats Impossible Odds In The USA!!!!

After finishing my gym workout last night, I got a wonderful surprise. I checked my emails on my Burberry. There was an email from Mandy Findlater. She had received notification from the US authorities that her application for a Green Card (permanent residence) had been accepted.

Green Card applications are accepted every day in the USA. What was so different about this one?

In 1999, Mandy sold her unit (condominium) in Harare, Zimbabwe. She got $10,000 US dollars on a quick sale . She got on the plane. She ended up at San Francisco international airport. It was at the height of the technology boom. It was and is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. I can tell you from personal experience that $10,000 does not go far here.

Mandy went to a hotel room. She started to look for a job. She had experience in the freight business. She found a freight company to sponsor her. She got her work permit and went to work.

At this moment, Mandy and I met. I was then working at a telecom company in San Jose, California. Mandy came by on a sales call. She did not make a sale on the call. But we hit it off as friends. After all, we both had been "Out of Africa."

Over the yeas Mandy worked hard. She became a top performer at her freight company. As the years went by the painful wait for the Green Card continued. Conditions deteriorated in her home country of Zimbabwe. She had to start send food packages home to sustain her family. Over the years Mandy also saw several other employees at her company get fired and lose their US work permits.

In March of 2008, a seeming disaster happened. Mandy's employer fired her. This was before her Green Card was issued. It appeared that Mandy would find herself on the plane back to Zimbabwe.

My wife and I own a small company. We were prepared to offer her a very humble job. We were determined to do everything legally possible to stop her deportation.

Mandy refused to let this set back stop her. She got right back up on her feet and went out and found a great job with another freight company.

What a glorious day it was when she got her good news!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

After 30 Years Battle Star Galactica--Earth Found!

We saw the season finale to Battle Star Galactica Friday night. It was a moment fans had been waiting for 30 years. I first saw Battle Star Galactica at the Jacksonville, Florida Airport in September of 1978. I had been pulled out of Brasil for a temporary assignment in Lake City, Florida. I watched the colonist of the twelve planets get ambushed by the evil metallic Cylons. It was the two hour introduction to a series that had a short three-year career on network television.

Like Star Trek, it developed a cult following. The Science Fiction Channel brought it back in 2003 as a mini series. The response was so positive that it became a regular feature. The Boston Globe called Battle Star Galactica II the best science fiction program ever produced. I agree with them completely.

Through the 30 year life of Battle Star Galactica, the last remnants of the human race had been seeking the 13th tribe of humanity and a place called Earth.

Friday night they found Earth. I had tears in my eyes and was over come with joy. Then the anti climax hit. When the humans and the Cylons arrived on Earth, they found a world engulfed in nuclear winter with radioactive ground and desolation.

Come on guys, that would have been a good Twilight Zone ending in 1961 but it is dated in 2008!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

We Failed To Refinance Our House

We fought 4 months to refinance our house. Until the very end, it looked like we would prevail. Then the FHA underwriter killed the whole deal. She demanded the following:

1) A second appraisal on the house. The first appraisal showed a value of $690,000 US. A second appraisal would have shown a value of $650,000 US.

2) She demanded a credit report on me to look at my debts. That is not relevant as I was not the owner of the home.

All people seeking to refinance are caught in a trap. Their houses are dropping and any new loan can only be made on the current value of the property.

In our case, we would have had to put up $100,000 US to get a loan. At the end of the process we would be paying the banks for their irresponsible lending practices.

People getting FHA loans should also consider all the fees involved. Let us look at our case as follows:

FHA insurance premium: $10,700.00

Lender Payment $ 8,000.00

Loan Brokerage: $ 6,000.00

Subtotal: $24,700.00

What lenders do not ell people is that they pay another 3% of the price of the loan to the company that brings in the loan. In this case, it would have cost us an additional $21,000. We are now up to a total of $45,700.00 in fees. The total cost to refinance our house would have been in excess of $145,000 US.

Fortunately our adjustable rate mortgage only adjusted upward $240.00 US per month. If we get big upswings in the future, we can go to Bankruptcy Court to get the terms of the loan changed. It is a lot cheaper than getting a new loan.

Israel Preparing To Attack Iranian Nuclear Facilities

Dear David:

       I am not kidding about the attack. Please go to if you do not get the FT of London. It was in the front section of today's paper.

      I talked to my aerospace specialist after I emailed you. He confirmed that they had been specially modifying C-130 aircraft to carry that very large "bunker buster" conventional bomb weighing between 20,000 and 22,000 lbs. He basically agreed with me that the US would have to be involved for Israel to pull off the attack. Such support would be in the form of satellite reconnaissance and intelligence,electronic jamming of Iran's radar and communications systems, as well as fire suppression against Iran's very formidable Russian-made Tor-8 anti aircraft missile batteries.

     The specialist further said that Bush and his supporters would love for Israel to launch the attack rather than the USA. Such an attack would frighten the people here and drive them to McCain.

     One of the best military websites in the world is www. It can tell you all about Iran, etc. Israel does not have stealth aircraft or large conventional munitions like the US has. If they want to do "bunker busting, in my opinion, they will have to use tactical nuclear weapons.

      The results of such an attack would be devastating. The Iranian Navy would sink ships to block the Straits of Hormuz. This would effectively cut off a large portion of oil deliveries. Oil would easily go to $250 per barrel, in my opinion. The Iranian Navy would also engage US Navy forces in the Persian Gulf. This would draw us into the war.

      Hezbollah and its surrogates would launch terrorist attacks all over the world. Rest assured that the US would be a prime target. Anyone who laughs at Hezbollah should look at what happened two years ago. Israel's military machine could not defeat them. They are nothing to laugh at.

       Of course gold would go up exponentially in price.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Wife Elena's Good News

My wife gave me the good news two hours ago that she had been elected a senior partner at the Kaiser Permanente Group ( Over 100 of her medical colleagues voted unanimously to elect her a senior partner.

This is a proud moment for Elena. It is a honour that few doctors in the medical group receive.

Elena had to overcome some incredible odds to reach this moment. She came to the USA in February, 2001. Despite the fact that she was a doctor of 16 years experience and a board-certified oncologist, she found that her credentials had no value in the USA. She had to literally start over from scratch.

Her first job was as a medical assistant at a clinic in one of the most violent parts of Oakland, California. She had to ride the bus and subway 3 hours per day to get to this clinic that served poor people.  In her next job, Elena worked at the Ravenswood Clinic in East Palo Alto, California. This is another very dangerous area with many shootings,robberies,rapes, and murders. Elena gave medical care to the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.

While working as a medical assistant, she took three rigorous and highly-competitive tests given to all US medical school graduates. Only 20% of the foreign medical graduates score high enough on these tests to qualify for a medical residency. Elena surprised everyone and made scores in the top 5% of all medical school graduates in the USA. These high scores put Elena up with graduates of Harvard Medical School and Stanford Medical School.

After passing all of these tests, Elena had to go through a rigorous selection process for a medical residency program. 998% of US medical school graduates are accepted to such programs. Only 20% of foreign medical school graduates are accepted for such residency programs.

Elena's dream was to do a residency program at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Francico. Much to her surprise, she was accepted.

On 1 July, 2003 at age 42, Elena began a 3-year medical residency program. All of the other people accepted were 15-16 years younger than her. Elena went through a rigorous 3-year program. I describe as hell. The worst was several thrity hour work weeks in the Intensive Care Unit over a two week period.

It was a proud day in June, 2006 when Elena graduated from the program. She was offered a job in the Spanish Module at Kaiser Permanente.

Elena thrived in her new job. She made junior partner. She then was promoted to senior partner yesterday.

She is very modest and says it is no big deal.

Elena is an incredible lady who has been overcoming impossible obstacles all her life.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Executive Sauna And Spa

Ladies I am going to talk about an upscale massage parlour and escort agency that existed 17 years ago in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. This entry is for you and not for the "hot blooded" males out there.

Before I get to the heart of my entry, please allow me to build some foundation here. In the US almost thirty years ago, a lady named Sherry Hite went around to 4,400 women she had never met. She gave them an anonymous questionnaire to fill out. It concerned the most personal details of their sex lives. Each woman was assured that her name and anything identifying her would not be published.

When Sherry got the questionnaires back, she published a book called The Hite Report. It became a best seller. What fascinated me most was the section dealing with women who were unfaithful to their boyfriend or their husband. What did a woman look for in a man to cheat with. Was it a large male organ? No. Was it the ability to last 4 hours in bed? No. Much to my surprise this unhappy unfaithful woman was looking for a man who would hold her, listen to her, and take her seriously as a person.

Before I arrived in South Africa in April, 1990, I had lived in Los Angeles. I was living with a lady who was a genius and "a perfect 10" in looks. Her name was Antonieta, She was magic. She promised me that she would follow me to Africa. She never did.

I found myself in a new country. I was alone and sad. I started visiting the Executive Sauna and Spa. It was an elegant venue complete with a huge swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and an incredible bar. The girls were all stunniung beauties. The owner was the best. I will not describe her to keep her identity safe. I became one of her clients and evolved into a very close friend.

I started to go there every night after work. The ladies who worked there met customers in the establishment. They also went out on escort calls with the richest and most powerful men in South Africa. I got to be friends with all of the girls who worked there. All of them had professional and responsible positions during the day. Some of the best girls earned more than $100,000 US per year (Tax free, I am sure). Much to my disgust, some of the women were married. Their husbands gave them permission to work as a high-priced sex worker.

What sort of talk did one hear every night at that establishment. Were there lurid descriptions of will sexual trysts? No. Were there descriptions of the male organs of the various South African VIPS? No. Were there any "Happy Hookers" who had incredible orgasms with each customer? No.

The women did no say much about their work.  When pressed they all said something amazing. A good number of the men who hired them at very high prices just wanted them to listen while the men talked to them. Another large group asked for oral sex because their wives would not give them oral sex.

Ladies what is the message here for you? Please talk to your husband or boyfriend. Do not talk at him or around him. And please listen to him. When the lights go out in the bedroom, give him oral sex every now and then.

Lt. Colonel Len Pringle USAFR (ret)

Yesterday I got the shocking news that Len had passed away Sunday night. I am still trying to recover. This morning I spent a long time on the phone with his wife of 38 years, Chloe. She had spent 48 years of her life with Len. They had raised two children together.

Len's family came to California from Iowa. He attended high school in Southern California. Like me, he enlisted in the military while he was still a high school student. Like me, he enlisted in the US Air Force to make sure that he was not called the the US Marine Corps.( I enlisted in the US Navy to make sure I did not go to the Marines.) Like me, the military saw Len's potential. He was allowed to get his college degree at California State University in Long Beach. (By the way this is the same college that Steven Spielberg attended).

When Len graduated, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. Len spent his whole career in the Air Force as a communications officer. He had interesting tours including South Korea. He was detached to serve with both the Egyptian Air Force, and the Italian Air Force. Len ended his career as a Lieutenant Colonel. A fluke caused him to miss a promotion to full colonel and an assignment in Hawaii.

Outside of the military Len had a distinguished career in private industry including work with Motorola. I had the pleasure of working with him 5 years at Telewave, Inc. Len was a real professional. He did excellent work. He was always willing to help others. He was a great engineer who could solve complex problems that baffled others.

Above all of this, Len was the older brother that I never had. He was always there to help me and to be my friend. He was my teacher and my counselor.

There are few great people like Len.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Nuke Their Ass..Take Their Gas!"

Elena and I had a delightful dinner Saturday afternoon at TGI Friday's. I hope you have these restaurants in your country. They charge reasonable prices and provide incredible five-star foods. Anyway on the way out of the restaurant, we saw a very old and beaten up pick up truck with those giant tires and oversized springs. There was a bumper sticker on the back with the inscription in the title above. The writer was encouraging the US government to use nuclear weapons against OPEC members. Once the country or countries neutralized, the US could seize the oil and solve their energy problems.

This bumper sticker made us both think a lot. What would civilized Europeans, South Americans, and Arabs think if they saw such a bumper sticler? What would Iranians think if they saw such a bumper sticker? Elena commented that they probably would not be surprised. She commented that cars in Tehran probably have bumper stickers just as nasty about the USA.

Over thirty years ago when the Arabs put an oil boycott on the US over our support of Israel, there was serious talk of invading the Middle East to get the oil. President Bush certainly had his eye on oil when he invaded Iraq. The American people were promised that oil revenues would defray the monetary cost of the war. Oil revenues would pay to rebuild the country. Instead the $70 billion US a year oil revunues are socked into Swiss bank accounts. At the same time the Iraqi government is begging foreign creditors to forgive old debts. The American tax payers has been stuck with a $500 billion dollar bill for Iraq. It could easily exceed $1 trillion US dollars. 46 million+ people in the USA suffer without medical care so we can fight a hopeless war.

In the broader picture, oil is getting more and more expensive. The oil remaining is either in the hands of unfriendly governments, deep under the sea, or in oil sands that are expensive to extract and create a lot of pollution. As countries like India and China need more and more oil, there is a great possbility of a military confrontation over oil.

Please let me give you some fascinating military facts. The US Navy is still the largest Navy in the world. China now has the second biggest navy. India has navy #3 in the world.

Why does China need such a big navy? Perhaps they are planning to invade Taiwan. This is wrong. Relations between Taiwan and China are improving since Taiwan elected a new president. China uses its big navy to protect its access to oil in the Middle East and Africa.

Why does India need a big navy. Are they planning an amphibious assault on Pakistan? I do not think they would risk a nuclear war and 30 million casualties with such a folly. Like China, India uses its large navy to protect the sea lanes from the Middle East and Africa where tankers come with this oil.

Please look at the three candidates running for president in the USA right now. All of them talk in grand and vague terms about American energy sufficiency.

What we need right now is a program equal to the Manhattan Project of World War II (that created the atom bomb) or the Apollo programs that landed men on the moon in 8 years. This new program would address the whole problem of energy. Its goal would be to develop and implement alternate sources of energy that would once and for all end dependence on oil. Such a program should share this knowledge with the entire world so that everyone could benefit.

What we need now is courage and vision like that shown by Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy.

Price Of Solar Power Set To Drop

torm clouds on horizon for solar business

By Fiona Harvey in London and Richard Waters in San Francisco

Published: June 1 2008 18:43 | Last updated: June 1 2008 18:43

The solar power business is bracing itself for a collapse in prices that could lead to a shake-out in one of the most promising areas of the renewable energy sector.

However, a price slump could hasten the take-up of the technology which would help boost the overall volume of future activity, even as margins fall, industry analysts and officials add.

Expectations of falling prices have been partly sparked by a surge in the level of manufacturing capacity for solar panels. This is likely to lead to demand outstripping supply for the first time in years.

Another factor driving prices is uncertainty over the degree of government subsidies in some key markets for the technology.

According to Dean Cooper, analyst at Ambrian, the global capacity for solar module production is set to increase “dramatically”, from 3 gigawatts last year to 15 to 20 gigawatts of production in 2010. Much of the growth is coming from China.

Prices for solar components would drop from about $3.80 per watt to about$1.40 a watt by 2010, he said.

That could prompt consolidation in the sector within the next six months, with smaller players falling prey to longer established companies.

But Mr Cooper argues that lower prices could deliver benefits, since the high cost of making solar components has hitherto been a major impediment to growth in sales. A supply shortage of silicon in recent years has compounded the problem.

Lux Research is forecasting that revenues in the sector will more than triple in the next five years, to $71bn in 2012, while margins will fall.

Jenny Chase, senior associate at analyst group New Energy Finance, says that the subsidised market for solar components in the developed world is not expanding as rapidly as production. “We expect there to be overcapacity from the second half of 2009. This will double the number of modules available. We are not seeing an equivalent doubling in the size of subsidised markets,” she said.

Germany, which is the biggest market for solar, accounting for nearly half of world demand, will cut subsidies by 7 per cent next year.

“There’s a double-whammy coming of subsidy cuts and supply pressures,” said Tim Arcuri, an analyst at Citigroup.

While not undermining solar’s long-term prospects, this “could lead to very high short-term volatility”, added Richard MacKellar, managing director of Chrysalix, a venture capital firm that specialises in alternative energy.

Additional reporting by Hugh Williamson in Berlin