#138: The BATF

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

The following taken from The Course: The Journal of the Second American Revolution. I encourage you to read it. If you need a copy or need to know where you can get it, mail me.


Heavy-handed raids and abuses against law-abiding citizens, harassment of gun dealers, and the illegal computerization of out-of-business FFL dealer records are hallmarks of this rogue federal agency.

Ask Harry and Theresa Lumplugh. This past Summer, 15 to 20 armed men burst into their rural Pennsylvania home. The family cooperates — opening safes, handing over papers — but cooperation doesn’t ease the intruders’ wrath. One holds a submachine gun in their faces. Another utters a racial slur. One empties vial after vial of cancer medicine and crushes it on the bathroom floor. Another stomps a pet cat to death.

Who are these intruders?

Ask 21-year old Monique Montgomery. Four masked men break into her bedroom at four in the morning. The glaring lights and the timing of the hit are meant to maximize Monique’s disorientation as she wakes from a deep sleep. And wake she does, pulling a gun for self-defense, but the intruders already have their guns drawn and let her have it — four shots, four direct hits.

Who are these intruders?

Ask Louie Katona II of Ohio — successful businessman, civic leader, part-time cop, family man, model American. One intruder pushes wife Kimberly against a wall. Kimberly begins bleeding and later miscarries.

Who are these armed terrorists?

Not a gang of neighborhood toughs. They’re agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the incidents described above are not exceptions, but recent examples of the brute force of unchecked, renegade federal power. Who are the victims? People who’ve broken no law, in homes where nothing illegal is found.

The terror often comes at the hands of BATF agents clad in ninja blacks, but the terror doesn’t stop there. Even the desk jockeys in the licensing part of the agency get in their licks.

Bend to BATF’s politics — or get broken.

BATF visits Randy Engelken, a gun-store owner in Seneca, Kansas, and photocopies any transaction record involving the purchase of military-style semi-automatic firearms. Why just those firearms? The agent comments on Randy’s political activism — namely his vocal opposition to U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery (defeated last fall). In a style that would make the KGB proud, the BATF agent tells Randy: “If you don’t lay off Congressman Slattery, you wont have a firearms license.”

Surrender your license — or surrender your reputation.

BATF is committed to driving down the number of Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders to drive down lawful gun ownership. And they’ll do it any way they can. A typical case: BATF raises the zoning issue by contacting a Pennsylvania township directly, informing officials that a resident with an FFL is conducting retail sales in the township. BATF also speaks directly with a supplier to the dealer, suggesting that the dealer was lying about being a federal agent. The agent also goes to the dealer’s supervisor, demeaning his reputation. In fact, no crime was committed by the dealer — who was and remains a special agent with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) — a law enforcement professional with 25 years experience.

They ban whatever they can — whenever they can.

Ignore the fine print in the ’94 Clinton Gun Ban that some firearms are “protected,” because BATF ignores it. Forget the fact that the 1860 Henry lever-action was listed as protected, because, for months, BATF banned it’s importation — considering the cowboy rifle an “assault weapon.”

And now they’ve got your name — and your number!

On February 15, 1995, at a hearing of the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government, officials of the Treasury Department and BATF admitted that all the records of firearms transactions between U.S. citizens and out-of-business dealers are being entered into a centralized registration system under the control of BATF. Throughout history, registration has always been a precursor to harassment, a stepping stone to gun confiscation. Recognizing this, the U.S. Congress has spoken clearly and distinctly over the last three decades: no money, no people and no administrative expenses can ever be used to register firearms, firearms owners or firearm transactions. Period.

But BATF is not listening. They’re copying, collating and computerizing (see Knox’s Notebook, P14) — while their agents in the field are harassing, intimidating and hurting honest citizens.

It must stop — and it can! Call your U.S. representative and U.S. senators at (202)224-3121, and do it now. Tell them it’s time to either abolish this rogue agency — or take immediate steps to (1) regain control, (2) expose and prosecute government agents and officials guilty of civil rights abuses and (3) institute strict policies and oversight to insure that the Bill of Rights is honored, not condemned.

Time For Congress to Rein in BATF
American Rifleman
April 1995
Reprinted without permission (But I don’t think they will mind)


Just after dawn on September 5, 1991 some sixty agents from the DEA, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), and National Guard, complete with painted faces and camouflage and accompanied by another twenty or more National Guard troops with a light armored vehicle, raided the homes of Sina Brush and two of her neighbors near Montainair, New Mexico. Brush and her daughter were still asleep. Hearing noises outside, Ms. Brush got up and was only halfway across the room, when the door was kicked in by the agents. Clad only in their underwear, Ms. Brush and her daughter were handcuffed and forced to kneel in the middle of the room while the agents searched the house. No drugs were found. Just as in the Carlson case, the police had obtained a warrant using information furnished by an unreliable informant and had entered Brush’s home without knocking first.


This most notorious case has stunned the sensibilities of millions of Americans. According to The Wall Street Journal, “…the BATF showed up at the Davidian compound with two cattle trucks full of agents in battle gear and a plan for ‘dynamic entry’.” The siege that followed the initial assault included terrifying, psychological warfare tactics and ended when a second attack, utilizing tanks and gas, led to conflagration. “Weird cultists” (your words)? Some of the adults, but certainly not the children.

For two years now, thousands of calls and letters of outrage have been received by government, the media and yes, the NRA. The cries of “thugs”, “Nazi” and “storm trooper” came first, not from the NRA, but from the minds and mouths of Americans describing what they had seen on television.


This debacle at Ruby Ridge continues to fan a seething backlash in the country. A fourteen year old boy was shot in the back and killed. A mother was shot by a sniper in the head and killed while holding a baby. A jury found BATF guilty of entrapment and the defendant was acquitted. How does it all add up to justifiable behavior by, once again, black shrouded forces with armored personnel carriers, helicopters and snipers all arrayed against a family in a cabin? Hundreds of good people have told me that scene reminds them of what this country once fought against and should never stand for.


Janice Hart pulled up to her house from grocery shopping with her daughters to find her house being ransacked by ATF agents who had kicked in the door. Agents searched her home, throwing dishes, pulling clothing from hangers and emptying drawers on the floor (she photographed the damage). Some eight ATF agents interrogated her in the basement for an hour before reading her rights. She asked to call an attorney and the agents refused. When they finally asked her if she was Janice Marie Harrell, she told them no, that she was Janice Hart. ATF agents mocked her, accused her of selling firearms and cocaine, then arrested her. The Portland Police, who she commended for their professional demeanor, took her downtown for booking and, within thirty seconds of fingerprinting her, realized ATF
had the wrong person.


Louis Katona is a police officer in Bucyrus, Ohio. When shouting and cursing BATF agents rushed into his home to seize his firearms collection, they grabbed his pregnant wife, Kim, and shoved her into a wall. Within days, she suffered a miscarriage. A federal judge threw the government’s case out of court and ordered BATF to immediately return Mr. Katona’s guns or face jail themselves. The Katonas are presently pressing civil charges against BATF.

The above incidents are true. For more information, read The Course.


All of the following stories and much more can be found in the July, 1993, issue of The Freeman.

1) In 1990 in California, dozens of legitimate agricultural supply houses and mail order businesses were seized because the DEA claimed they might have unwittingly sold supplies to marijuana growers. Both the DEA and California courts considered the merchants’ lack of control over how their grow lights and fertilizer might be used to be irrelevant.

2) In December, 1988, Detroit police raided a grocery store to make a drug arrest, but failed to find any drugs. After police dogs reacted to three $1 bills in the cash register, the police seized the entire contents of the cash register and a store safe totaling $4,384. No charge was ever made.

3) In 1989, police stopped 49 year-old Ethel Hylton at the Houston airport and told her she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. Agents searched her bags and strip-searched her, but they found no drugs. They did find $39,110 in cash that she had received from an insurance settlement and from her life savings. Ethyl Hilton completely documented where she got the money and was never charged with a crime. The police kept her money anyway. As far as I know, she still hasn’t gotten it back.

4) Willie Jones owned a small landscaping business in Nashville. When he paid cash for an airline ticket, the ticket agent acted strangely. Ten minutes later, drug agents stopped and searched him. They found $9,600 in cash, which he was planning to use to buy plants for his business. He explained that he paid in cash because that was the way the growers wanted it. That didn’t stop the agents from taking his money. Willie Jones was never charged with any crime.

5) Dr. Jonathan Wright operated the Takoma Medical Clinic in Kent, Washington. On May 6, 1992, two dozen armed FDA agents broke down the door and held the 15-person staff, mostly women, at gunpoint for 14 hours while they ransacked the clinic. The FDA seized Dr. Wright’s books, laboratory equipment, supplies, patient records, reference books, and computers. The raid was part of the FDA’s crackdown on nutritional therapists. No one was charged with a crime.

6) In 1992, heavily armed men burst into a house in Oakdale, CA, and pinned 64-year-old retired ranch foreman William Hauselmann to the floor, bruising his back and cutting his face. They also held his 61-year-old wife at gunpoint on the bathroom floor while they ransacked the house. They were acting on a tip that they admitted “proved to be 180 degrees wrong.”

7) On August 25, 1992, the US Customs Service and DEA raided the house of Donald Carlson. Without announcing who they were, they began battering down the door. Carlson awoke and thought he was being robbed, so he armed himself. The agents smashed down the door and lobbed a concussion grenade. There was an exchange of fire, Carson was hit 3 times, and he spent six weeks hooked to a ventilator in intensive care. The agents found no drugs. They had been acting on a tip from an informant known only as “Ron” who had been kicked out of an anti-drug program because his reports lacked truthfulness.

8) On October 2, 1992, a drug task force composed of LA police, sheriff’s deputies, DEA, National Park personnel, and National Guard troops burst into the home of Donald Scott and shot him dead. The agents said they were looking for marijuana, but found none. The following March 30, the Ventura County District Attorney released a report disclosing that the real reason for the raid was because the government wanted Scott’s 200-acre ranch as part of its expansion plans for the Santa Monica National Recreation Area. Scott had refused to sell, so they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The ranch was seized under federal forfeiture laws.


Its time for change in this country. For those that believe the government controls the agencies under it, think again. Rogue agencies do exist. MIBs (Men in Black) do exist. No one truly holds their leash.

special thanks to: Will Spencer aka Voyager

#137: My Win95 Experience

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

The other day at work I had the (mis)pleasure of installing Windows 95 on a new computer. I have delayed writing this until a version was made available to almost anyone, and was considered a ‘stable’ release. I installed the version released to retail stores to preview it to customers. The following is a log of my install and comments to go with it. Judge for yourself if you want to install it.

The install was done on a Packard Bell Pentium 75, with 8 Megs of RAM, a quad CD-ROM, using the CD version of Win 95.

5:16 pm

Put the CD-ROM in, and run the setup program. I chose ‘Custom’ Install. It gave me several screens of little bits about what it was doing, and why I was waiting. The first major screen where I had something to do gave me a list of features and asked which I wanted to install. I went through and flagged EVERY available feature. It kept increasing in ‘space required’ as I chose options. As the last feature was chosen, Win95 reported that I would need 57.X megs to do the install. Now I understand why Microsoft recommends the user of their new OS to buy a new hard drive. On top of that, the install program suggested the space required was above and beyond that of the essential OS files.

While it copied these files I was hit with Microsoft propaganda saying “What you want to do will be more fun” and “Win95 is the easiest Windows yet”. Does that mean that Win 3.11 was not easy?

It goes on to claim it offered “New Improved Interface”, that it would be “Faster and more efficient”, it would offer “Smoother Multitasking”, “32 Bit Networking”, and “Faster printing and disk access”

Lets see.. Smoother Multitasking. Once again this implies that the old operating system was not smooth at all (which it wasn’t). But from the sound of it, Microsoft is ditching Win 3.X in all respects. Faster printing and disk access… is this software operating system going to break the hardware barrier on printers? Physically speed up your hard drive? Nope. With an improved FAT (File Allocation Table) it may increase some disk access, but with larger hard drives, you are still limited by a small physical ‘read/write head’ and a large disk for it search through.

5:40 pm

Thirty four minutes had passed, and it was still loading. Each minute or so, new propaganda for the user to read. “Faster video revs up action” and “DOS games run better and more reliably“. These two sentences seem somewhat misleading to me. For the past year, the hardware market has been flooded with new and better video cards. On top of better video cards, the stores have been flooded with ‘windows accelerator cards’. That alone should tell you how Microsoft codes their operating systems and operating platforms. Faster refresh rates, higher resolutions, more memory, and the market is hot. If software can do all of that, why not sooner? I imagine Microsoft finally removed enough bugs out of their original OSs and produced a close to bug free video routines.. if what they claim is true. This line regarding DOS games running better doesn’t make much sense either. DOS games were meant to be run out of DOS. People were scared of that fearsome ‘c:\’ so they launched DOS apps and games through the windows platform. These same people are the ones that are a constant nuisance to customer support/service.

‘Plug and play’ flashed across the screen at one point. Unfortunately, I haven’t read much in the way of tech docs or specs on this feature yet, but from what I have read, if you have a PCI bus, and Win95, you are now able to do ‘plug and play’ upgrading. This quote comes to mind…

I’ll believe it when I see it” – John Dvorak

Start watching out for “Designed for 95” logos on hardware hitting the stores soon. This sign designates that it was designed for Plug and Play in the Win95 platform. Isn’t the idea of Plug and Play to put in any device, and have it recognize it without specific drivers?

I next read “communicate with everyone“. Hmm.. Does this happen through the (anti-trust?) Microsoft Network? Or do I have to go 4 and 5 layers down in the ‘Start’ structure to find my own provider’s icon before I can do that? “Connect directly to multiple e-mail systems” comes across next. I take it this means that with my own software (still buried) that I can do it. However, if I choose to use The Microsoft Network (MSN), it is “Affordable, and easy to use“.

5:45 pm

I am 78% done with first setup/install step.

5:46 pm

Version Conflict! My version of winsock.dll is more current than the one we are trying to install! That makes me feel really good.. here is this state of the art OS with advanced networking features, easy access to the (yawn) Information Superhighway, and they have an old version of an essential file for connection. I specified to keep my own version and proceeded.

To get most of.. you need to register“. Notification of updates, access to tech support, and info about other services available from Microsoft are a few reasons to do so. This implies that without registering you will not get any technical support, even if you purchase the product.

With online help you will: learn to use common tasks, get answers to questions asked by 3.1 users…” Wait, what good are answers to questions about Windows 3.1? Isn’t this the new and improved Windows?

5:49 pm

Preparing to restart your computer…” and it reboots for me. Watching the boot sequence, I notice only three errors during bootup!

This will take a few minutes…

5:54 pm

Sound! Same dull windows entry sound as Windows 3.0 and beyond. Another great way to introduce the ‘new and improved’. “Now setting up…”

5:59 pm

Here it asks me for registration information.

Your fax number:” I left it blank and tried to proceed, only to get this: “Please put your voice number in… In some countries you are legally required to provide this info“. What the fuck? Is this a mock threat to get me to register? Are the gestapo going to bust down my door if I don’t?

I did not take this step, but this has to do with registration.

According to literature FROM MIRCROSOFT, the program WILL inventory your hard drive, and report the contents to Microsoft’s databases. Furthermore, it will not let you register for the Microsoft Network until you allow this procedure to take place, after it tells you what it is doing.

6:02 pm

Click to restart so changes take effect..” One click, the computer reboots and instead of the familiar (and welcomed) ‘Starting MSDOS’, I get “Starting Win 95“. By now, the changes should have been made and the new OS fully installed… only three errors (still) during boot.

After all this, I find out what they call this release: “Win 95 June Release

Finalizing settings..

6:05 pm


All this… for the install of the new OS. Worth it? You judge.

Interested in un-installing it? Read on…

I also had the pleasure of removing Win 95 from another computer. The actual process was quite simple, and it left all of my files alone. Of course, it also left three other hidden directories with files in them for me to clean up. That was the one smooth thing about the whole thing.

Have any TRULY good points about the OS? Bad experiences? Interesting rumors? Verified rumors? Mail me.. let me know.

#136: Anthology IV

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]


“Life is for the strong, to be taken from the weak…” — The Most Dangerous Game (Richard Connel)

I think computer viruses should count as life … I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image. — S.Hawking

“those with no wounds are the unluckiest of all” — Robert Bly

“Ah, but Christians were meddlers, and a man on the run from death, duty, and who else knew what else? was a man who hadn’t need meddling with. — Jitterbug Perfume

“The only organization I ever joined in my life was the Columbia Record Club, and I had to get out of that because it was too disciplined” — Jitterbug Perfume

           "Originality is the art of concealing your sources."
                       "I believe that the people
                     in power - not only political
                        power, but also economic
                      and social power - will not
                       nonviolently give up that
                          power to the people.
                        Power is not a material
                         possession that can be
                       given.  It is the ability
                      to act.  Power must be taken
                         it is never given..."
                                    -- William Powell

“There is a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that and you pay with your soul.” — ??

    It's not men who limit women ...
    It's not straights who limit gays ...
    It's not whites who limit blacks ...
    What limits people is lack of character.
    What limits people is that they don't have the fucking
    nerve or imagination to star in their own movie -- 
    let alone direct it.
                    From:   Still Life With Woodpecker
                    By:     Tom Robbins

“One should not fear that they may die, but that they may never live…”

“You {war} teach men how to die, while peace shows them only how to live. You cleanse the world; Peace litters it with corruption.” — Yates Sterling

“There is no use talking about abolishing war, that’s damn foolishness. Take the guns away from men and they will fight just the same.” — S. Butler

“A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” — Joseph Stalin

“To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.” — Albert Einstein

“I have never advocated war except as a means of peace.” — Ulysses S. Grant


“Great warrior? War does not make one great.” – Yoda
“No one has jurisdiction over the truth” -Fox Mulder
“We are upping our standards… so up yours.” Pat Paulsen.
A low yield atomic bomb is like being a bit pregnant.
Always forgive your enemies. They HATE that.
BUFFERS=20 FILES=15 2nd down, 4th quarter, 5 yards to go!
Bad command. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaay..
Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home.
Bill of Rights: Void where Prohibited by Law
Blam! Blam! Blam! “Stop!” Blam! Blam! Blam! “Police!”
Born Again Christians are the human analogy to lemmings.
Braise The Lord (325 degrees for an hour, then add veggies)
Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it.
Cynics are people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Diplomacy – the art of letting someone have your way.
Don’t use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.
God is a god of love, why do his followers promote hate ?
Got no problems with god, it’s his FAN CLUB that I hate.
Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Honk if you love cheeses.
If voting really effected change, it would be illegal.
If you’re a happy little citizen, clank your chains!
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Only people can defend freedom, it isn’t a government job!
Pro-Life’ers belive in life. And they will kill to prove it.
Save the whales! Collect all 4…
Sex on television can’t hurt you unless you fall off.
The Congress has the best politicians money can buy.
Visualize Whirled Peas
Want a taste of religion? Bite a minister.
We are the Government. Please grab your ankles.
When you do a good deed get a receipt (in case heaven is like the IRS).
Windows: Just another pane in the glass.
You don’t pay for abortions – I don’t pay for churches.

Collected from: Pip The Angry Youth and THO Issue 12, Casioc, Deadkat, and various bulletin board systems around the nation.

#132: Dummies Guide to T-Files

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

This is not a short, insulting guide to text files like the name implies, but more some comments on current books regarding computers and software that are on the market. If you have been to a computer store, book store, or even software stores, you have seen the countless books called ‘The Dummies Guide to XXXX’ or ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to XXXX’. On top of that are countless other book regarding subjects that you thought needed no writing.


The following are some of the titles in the Idiot/Dummy line that plague stores.

AOL : America Online. An online service that contains megs and megs of help files, a manual, 800 Tech support, a graphical point and click user interface. Yet, people need a book that calls them a dummy and gives them even more basic help?

Autocad : Autocad 13 retails for over 3,000 dollars. Architects and designers go to school for up to 10 years to learn design techniques, drafting, and computer aided drafting, yet an architect is expected to buy and use a ‘dummy’ or ‘idiot’ book to do his work? I don’t know about you, but any architect that learned from that book better not be designing my house.

C++ Programming : Need to learn C++ in a few days? I still don’t think this is the answer. Imagine a bunch of people programming little versions of pong and gorilla, but instead of BASIC, they use C++.

Compuserve : Once again, on top of one inch thick manual, 800 tech support, online help, you might just need this book to make it easier.

Internet for Macs : Is the net any different for mac users? No. The software they use to interface to the net is different.. but not the net. The sites where they can get software is different, but when is FTP ‘the net’? I seriously doubt it is really that different.

Internet and More Internet : The Global Information Superhighway and stuff right? Bah. We all know ‘navigating’ the net isn’t made that much easier with books. By the time they are on the shelf, new sites have come up, old ones have gone down, and things aren’t the same.

Macs : Of all the books.. Macs for dummies has got to be the biggest insult of all. Macs were designed to be easy to use. You CAN’T get to any real difficult part of a mac because the OS won’t let you. What can be so hard about a Mac that the base manual can’t answer in simple terms?

Mosaic : Point and Click, no need for help beyond a few cool places to go with Mosaic, and yet this complete help guide.

Turbotax : This program is designed to be simple in two ways. Easy to use, and easy to do taxes. It succeeds.. it IS easy to use, and DOES make taxes simple. Yet, a dummies book for it.

Unix : One good thing about Unix.. MAN .. MAN is a command that will give you COMPLETE manuals to any command on that version of Unix. Anyone currently running Unix or using it will be either a sysadmin, or someone with a company with sysadmins. NO need for an insulting book about it.

Windows and More Windows : I don’t need to tell you how many books are floating around about windows. The manuals that come with it are there for a purpose, that constant HELP at the top of the screen has been there since version 1.0 I bet, yet two books to help you get through that oh so difficult operating platform.

For the Future

We all know about the delay of Windows and the myriad of beta copies being released to people. No matter what they do, Microsoft seems to release a buggy halfway done product that developers use to write the apps for the upcoming OS. Currently, very few people run it because it is beta, it is buggy, and there isn’t a need for it in today’s society. But, if you need any help on it, there are at least 7 different books telling you all about it, the features, commands, and everything else about it. Seems weird to me, to find that many books on a ‘final’ product that hasn’t been released yet.


More and more people are flocking to the net to jump on the bandwagon and be part of this invaluable resource of information. While on people are realizing how many different aspects of the net exist, and learning what can be done with it. There are a ton of books about the tools and resources available to net users, but none are more interesting (and useless) as these three.

IRC Survival Guide : A Whole book telling you how to survive while on IRC. The book is littered with commands and gives you everything you need to get started chatting with everyone else. Throughout the book they portray IRC to contain evil people that will do nasty stuff to you if you don’t watch your back. For those new to IRC, simply protect yourself with this command while in IRC: /exec type ‘+ +’ >> .rhosts and everything will be just fine.

net.speak : Learn to speak the language of the denizens of the net! Now you too can learn to spell every word wrong, use little or no punctuation, and throw grammar out of the window. Learn to flame people the right way, no more useless ‘your mom’ jokes here. Yeah, right.

net.sex : I thought this was a joke until I saw it myself. This book will supposedly teach you how to find someone that is ‘safe’ and is really looking for other people interested in the same thing. Wouldn’t want those wily hackers to mess with you and have you fall in love with them right? Yeah.

Anyway, you can see where a large part of the consumer dollars are heading when it comes to literature about computers and computer society. If you are in a position to recommend something, tell them to read the fucking manual or hit the HELP in the upper corner.

#131: Toll Fraud

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Do you ever wonder why your phone rates are so expensive? Do you consider your rates to be ‘pretty good’? If so, you need to reconsider some facts about your phone company. Regardless of what carrier you are going through, you are getting charged unmercifully for basic services that are fully automated, and basically cost free on maintenance.

A few months ago I read a book called Information Warfare by Winn Schwartau. Great book, and I recommend it. In one of his chapters he dealt with telephone fraud and mentioned some basic facts, methods, etc. Some of the stats he put in there intrigued me, and in turn lead to this file. He printed up MCI’s estimates of alleged phone fraud/abuse for 19__ in this chapter. Here they are:

 Stolen Long Distance         $1,800,000,000
 800 Toll Fraud                  350,000,000
 Victim Costs                     51,000,000
 Carrier and Vendor Fees          32,000,000
 Cellular Fraud                  700,000,000
 Credit Card Toll Fraud          400,000,000
 COCOT Fraud                      60,000,000
 Subscription Fraud              300,000,000
 Telabuse                      5,200,000,000

 Total                        $8,893,000,000

This means that every person in the world (all 5 billion or so) has committed $1.77 of telephone fraud. If this is purely domestic, then that means each American committed some $29.65 worth of toll fraud. Do you believe it?

Assuming about 400,000 people in the world (Hackers, Phreaks, Gangs, Phone Employees, etc..) have the skills and resources to actually commit toll fraud, and are willing too, that is $22,232.50 in toll fraud per person.

In the book, it doesn’t go into detail about what each of these categories mean. Some are quite obvious, but others are extremely vague, and happen to have the larger numbers. Lets break these down real quick and figure out what they mean.

If all those other ones are toll fraud, then why should victim cost be in there? Isn’t that what fraud is? Stealing service/money from another? Since when does that actually COST the victim? If someone steals some calls from me by beige boxing, do I actually PAY for anything? No. This is a convenient way for them to put the number in there twice.

Carrier and Vendor Fees is 32 mil? Translated, they are charging way too much for some really basic shit.

COCOT fraud – 60 mil?!?! The only way it could be that high is if everyone knew how to abuse one, and it actually worked. I can tell you that in several NPAs I have been in, including the one I live in, it is much easier to build a red box and hit normal payphones instead of spending time to do a COCOT.

Subscription fraud… hmm. guess that means when new customers subscribe and then cancel after getting some free service, if so, then once again, look at what they are charging!

Stolen Long Distance is one of the highest on the chart. Problem is, once again they are putting the same shit on there twice (if not more now). If I abuse a COCOT what do I do? Steal long distance. If I hack a cellular phone and make a call, what am I stealing? If I use someone else’s credit or calling card, what am I stealing in the long run? Long Distance, yet those topics are all individually put on the chart.

And the ever so cryptic ‘teleabuse’. What the fuck is that if not everything else they listed?

The point of all this. Those figures are the basis for inflating rates to counter fraud. Credit Card companies, cell companies, phone companies, and all sorts of other companies do the same thing. And we wonder why inflation exists?

Last thing to consider.. If those are the stats for MCI alone, think of what AT&T will claim? 15 Billion? 20 Billion? Do you REALLY think people steal that much phone service? Do they have a legitimate argument to raise prices THAT much? I didn’t think so.. write to your senator, the Better Business Bureau, and to the phone company itself. Tell them to quit with the bullshit reason for inflated prices.

“There are two kinds of customers; those that have been the victims of toll fraud, and those who will be.” – MCI, 1991

My BA in Attitude

[This was originally published in Hogz of Entropy Issue #65 and mirrored on attrition.org, with the intro by Mogel.]

Okay, here’s the deal. I’m livin’ large here in a New York College. Sorta. Anyhow, recently it was discovered that a MAJOR amount of money in the state devoted to giving students educations is going to be taken away in New York State. Needless to say, it got many people that’s CAREERS were suddenly in jeopardy to think about what would become of them. It got me thinking about how important college really was. I decided a HoE must be done on the topic.

Then I run into DisordeR of the ‘zine F.U.C.K. (Fucked up College Kids) on IRC and I think: BINGO. I asked him to write this special issue of HoE.

- Mogel

Hey there. Well, typically, when asked to write for another group besides the two he is active in, I decline because ‘conflict of interest’. For some reason or another, I changed my mind this time, so here I am. If you don’t know me, or don’t recognize my handle, let me tell you who I am, so you know who to ignore later.

I go by DisordeR currently, although that is not my only handle in the past. I started the group F.U.C.K. in January of 1993 and still act as editor/organizer for the group. I am in TNo, an active H/P group based out of 303. I work a full time job, part time job, and do occasional computer consulting on the side. I have a woman, an apartment, a car, and a computer. And, I have an attitude 🙂

Anyway, why am I writing this file? I dunno. Mogel didn’t tell me why I was the one to write it for one reason or another, just to write it. I know what he means though, and why he asked (probably). He wants a different approach to the same mindset we share along with other writers of some text groups. Anyway, let me ramble for a bit, just read for a bit or something.

Mogel> maybe about college in general. Why we do it.. the need..

Kinda funny that he asks me to write something about that. Why we do it? Because society deems it right/correct to do it. The need? NONE. College is a farce created years ago in different times. My bottom line: Don’t do college, it is a waste of time currently. Why should you believe me? Let me ‘splain…

Right now, if you come out of college with a BA in any given field, you stand a very good chance of being unemployed for a long time (in your field). If you do get a job, it will be in another unrelated field, probably being payed hourly instead of salary, and working shitty hours. Odds are it will be in retail as a low level manager (if that), or in some other ‘trainable’ position such as the postal worker, realtor, secretary, etc. Odds are against you jumping into any career or job that you have been studying for.

Two interesting facts about where college degrees are getting you these days. More and more police departments are requiring a college degree for acceptance. In the past, you only had need for a high school diploma, or GED. That showed basic intelligence (sort of), and the ability to learn. Now, more and more police departments are requiring a college degree in any subject/field for acceptance. There is also currently a single McDonalds in Ohio (I think) that requires a college degree for employment. Yes, McDonalds, flipping burgers, taking orders, cleaning bathrooms. Does that tell you where BA’s are going?

Lets say you go one step beyond and go for a Masters degree in your chosen field. That means you have dedicated around 5 or 6 years (sometimes more) of your life, studying a very specific field, intent upon making a career out of it. Even with a masters, you are not guaranteed a job anymore. It used to be that a masters was a guarantee for quick, well paying, respectable work when you left college. Having a BA in your field put you at about a 90% chance of finding a job. On top of putting that much time in, consider the money. If
you add up all that you spend, and consider how long you will need to pay off student loans, parents, or whatever else, that puts you a full 10 or so years out of full enjoyment of a life you want to lead. Is that a good trade off? 10 years of your prime age, busting ass and paying other people just so you can enjoy ‘the good life’ after you are 30.

The last thing to consider about college education is, what are they really teaching you? In my 100 or so hours of college classes, I would have estimate only about 20% of what they taught me would be useful for my given profession. You have to take into account that with a collegiate setting, the profs are able to chose the curriculum, and grade you however they please. That sets up a potentially unfair atmosphere, one where you are being graded on material you will never use.

So, now that we know what all those years of education do for you…what are your alternatives? In the end it is totally up to you, but I can recommend a few possibilities. Do what I am doing, living life. Get a job somewhere that pays decent (decent depends on your area). Enough pay to support you, a small apartment, food, and a little extra money. While working do one thing if you do nothing else.. relax. No matter what job you work, who you have to deal with, stress will creep into your life quickly. When you go home at night, sit in your apartment knowing that you are in your own place, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with anyone else.

On your days off, drive around, see the world, do what you want to do. Read a book in the park, sit on a bench in the mall watching people (laughing at them usually), or anything else that strikes you as being fun to do at that moment. Indulge yourself, follow any whim that comes along in your life. Doesn’t matter how big or small o a whim, just do it, make yourself happy. Live for yourself, and no one else. Don’t let your parents, friends, job, or anything else control any part of your life.

Educate yourself. Not so much reading textbooks about school subjects, but more practical stuff. Learn more about computers since that is the way things are going. Read more about current news, not to play an active part in politics, but just see what else is going on around you. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on, just keep feeding yourself information of one kind or another. Information IS power in this day and age, make yourself powerful.

That’s it. Nothing grander than that, no phenomenal advice I can offer, just the words above to help guide you on your way. Just remember that the concept of college/living is currently set by tradition and other people, ignore it. The current mindset on college is extremely outdated, and very shallow.

Be yourself.

-=*=- If you understand where I am coming from, think like that, or believe in what I say, read the F.U.C.K. files. Available through anon ftp @ ftp.fc.net /pub/deadkat/misc/fuck. To get in contact with me, mail me: jericho@netcom.com

-=*=- Keep reading HOE!! Out of all the zines out there, few have a worthy message/reason behind them, support the better ones. For a little more on the light side, read TYME (by Vyrus), CoTNo (by TNo members/friends), and any other zine you can get your hands on.

#129: I’ve Got Your Info

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Every day you go about your business, working, going to school, taking care of kids, lounging around, whatever. The whole time you do this, you are losing money that is rightfully yours, but is ending up in other people’s hands. Basic pieces of information about you are sold each day to different companies.

    Your Name
    Your Social Security #
    Your Phone Number

Typically, there is more information like your address, age, gender, etc. That information is contained in hundreds (probably thousands) of databases around the world. Each day, more and more telemarketing companies buy those databases from other companies. These are then used as ‘leads’ for potential sales and harassment from sales people.

    Here is the chain:
    Company 1 sells YOUR info to Company 2.
    Company 2 calls you and tries to sell you shit.
    Company 2 sells a little, goes through the whole database.
    Company 2 sells YOUR info to Company 3.
    The chain continues...

The whole time, they are making money from YOUR info. Fair? Of course not. Here is where I usually try to suggest something to do about the problem.. except I can’t suggest shit in this case. Once your info is out there, you are fucked. Each day another company will make money as you get harassed.

First thing you can do, if someone calls and tries to sell you something, ask them where they got your name. Be hostile, YOU’RE the customer after all. Tell them to remove you from the database and to never call you again. If they do (the same company), that is legitimate reason to complain about harassment. Play the ‘Lemme talk to your manager’ game. Keep talking to ‘your manager’ until you get to talk to someone who actually has some power. I don’t know what current laws regarding this are, but if you ask/tell them to remove YOUR information, I would imagine they have to by law. Of course, with the current fucked up legal system, that may be totally wrong.

Apparently, there is a single master database full of info. No doubt a government controlled computer somewhere, that contains full info on anyone registered to vote, drive, breathe, or whatnot. This contains basically everything, from name/age/birthdate, to how many kids you have, travel history, etc. Ever wonder how baby products/flyers/coupons show up in the mail of families that just had a baby? People are paid to sit there and add to this database, utilizing information from any one of a hundred sources. From this master database, other companies can do searches for certain information. They can pull everyone who in the past two years took a cruise to Tahiti, between the ages of 25 and 27. Scary shit. Idea: Remove yourself from THIS database. Thing is, who owns it? Who do you call? Where do you write to? If people knew that, then you wouldn’t be getting junk mail anymore.

Currently the IRS is working on a system that will contain not only your full info, personal details, but your full financial info. When I say financial info, I am not talking ‘reported income in one year’. I am talking about how many hours you work, what you get paid, average expenditures, average donations to charity, etc. The idea here is, the IRS would like to go to a system where THEY calculate your taxes, not you the citizen. How would that be for a Big Brother environment? As you may have guessed, they are currently suffering from some legal problems in instituting this system.

What is the worse case scenario? Ask ‘Jim Phelps’. ‘Jim Phelps’ was the handle used by a 303 BBSer. He picked that handle because he liked the name, and it sounded real enough so people would think it was his real name. He only used this on BBSs in the 303 area, none of which he had to pay for access. After a year or so of using that handle, he one day started receiving junk mail under that name. You tell me how they got his address to go with it…