Document Reveals Official NSA Talking Points: Use 9/11 Attacks As A “Sound Bite”

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Al Jazeera America has done some great work in obtaining the official NSA talking points via a Freedom of Information Act request. As might be expected, the agency tells its people to use the attacks on September 11, 2001 to manipulate public opinion into accepting unacceptable levels of surveillance. As I have maintained over and over again for years, our overreaction to 9/11 has done exponentially more damage to the nation than any terrorist attack ever could. I penned my latest thoughts on the attacks last month in my piece: How I Remember September 11, 2001.

One of the highlights, actually lowlights, of the document is what the NSA refers to as a “soundbite that resonates.” Here it is:

I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.

More from Al Jazeera America:

The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.

 

The document, obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request, contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

 

Invoking the events of 9/11 to justify the controversial NSA programs, which have caused major diplomatic fallout around the world, was the top item on the talking points that agency officials were encouraged to use.

 

Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate,” the document suggests the statement “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”

 

The NSA has not yet turned over to Al Jazeera the documents the agency used to prepare the talking points, saying those materials require additional review before they can be released.

I can only imagine what’s in those…

The master talking points list goes on to explain, under a subheading titled “We Needed to Connect the Dots,” that “post-9/11 we made several changes and added a number of capabilities to enable us to connect the dots.”

I suppose there were too many dots to connect in the Boston bombing. Oh let me guess, if you only had more spy powers you could’ve stopped it!

Full article and link to the source documents here.

 

 

nsa-talking-points.pdf


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/serGtpwHHHQ/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Document Reveals Official NSA Talking Points: Use 9/11 Attacks As A "Sound Bite"

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Al Jazeera America has done some great work in obtaining the official NSA talking points via a Freedom of Information Act request. As might be expected, the agency tells its people to use the attacks on September 11, 2001 to manipulate public opinion into accepting unacceptable levels of surveillance. As I have maintained over and over again for years, our overreaction to 9/11 has done exponentially more damage to the nation than any terrorist attack ever could. I penned my latest thoughts on the attacks last month in my piece: How I Remember September 11, 2001.

One of the highlights, actually lowlights, of the document is what the NSA refers to as a “soundbite that resonates.” Here it is:

I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.

More from Al Jazeera America:

The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.

 

The document, obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request, contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

 

Invoking the events of 9/11 to justify the controversial NSA programs, which have caused major diplomatic fallout around the world, was the top item on the talking points that agency officials were encouraged to use.

 

Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate,” the document suggests the statement “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”

 

The NSA has not yet turned over to Al Jazeera the documents the agency used to prepare the talking points, saying those materials require additional review before they can be released.

I can only imagine what’s in those…

The master talking points list goes on to explain, under a subheading titled “We Needed to Connect the Dots,” that “post-9/11 we made several changes and added a number of capabilities to enable us to connect the dots.”

I suppose there were too many dots to connect in the Boston bombing. Oh let me guess, if you only had more spy powers you could’ve stopped it!

Full article and link to the source documents here.

 

 

nsa-talking-points.pdf


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/serGtpwHHHQ/story01.htm Tyler Durden

America’s Genetically Modified Foods – The Infographic

Are genetically modified foods, better known as GMOs, safe to eat? Although there is no definitive answer to this question yet, American consumers eat genetically engineered foods all the time. However, the maze of labeling laws makes choosing whether or not they want to eat them a totally different story.

 

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GMO LAWS [or the lack there of]
by CristinaVanko.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ocxluIy-zmY/story01.htm Tyler Durden

America's Genetically Modified Foods – The Infographic

Are genetically modified foods, better known as GMOs, safe to eat? Although there is no definitive answer to this question yet, American consumers eat genetically engineered foods all the time. However, the maze of labeling laws makes choosing whether or not they want to eat them a totally different story.

 

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GMO LAWS [or the lack there of]
by CristinaVanko.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ocxluIy-zmY/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Guest Post: Don’t Worry – The Government Says That The Inflation You See Is Just Your Imagination

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things.  That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe.  You might have noticed that the government announced on Wednesday that the cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries will only be 1.5 percent next year.  This is one of the smallest cost of living increases that we have ever seen.  The federal government is able to get away with this because the official numbers say that there is hardly any inflation in the U.S. right now. 

Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is.  The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent todayBut if the mainstream news actually reported such a number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control.  Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing.  It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it.

Meanwhile, the prices of the things that most Americans buy on a regular basis just keep going up.  The following are just a few examples of price inflation that we have seen lately…

-McDonald's has killed the dollar menu because it is becoming impossible to "make any money selling burgers for $1".

But don't worry – the government says that the inflation you see is just your imagination.

-Amazon.com has raised the minimum order size required for free shipping from $25 to $35.

But don't worry – you can afford to order more stuff thanks to the great new job that you got during this "economic recovery".

-It is being projected that those using natural gas to heat their homes will see their heating costs rise by 13 percent this winter.

But don't worry – "global warming" should kick in to high gear any day now.

-The price of chocolate has gone up by 45 percent since 2007, and it is being projected that it will now be increasing at an even faster pace.

But don't worry – eating chocolate is bad for you anyway.

-Thanks to Obamacare, the health insurance premiums of many American families are absolutely skyrocketing.  As I wrote about the other day, one family down in Texas just got a letter informing them that their health insurance premiums are going up by 539 percent.

But don't worry – this is just "health care reform" in action.

Meanwhile, things just continue to get tougher for middle class American families.  Household incomes have actually been declining for five years in a row and total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

The quality of our jobs continues to go down and our paychecks are not keeping up with inflation.  In fact, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are now making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.

So what do the "authorities" say that the solution to our problems is?

They want even more inflation of course.  According to CNBC, many Federal Reserve officials (including Janet Yellen) believe that what the U.S. economy really needs is a lot more inflation…

Inflation is widely reviled as a kind of tax on modern life, but as Federal Reserve policy makers prepare to meet this week, there is growing concern inside and outside the Fed that inflation is not rising fast enough.

 

Some economists say more inflation is just what the American economy needs to escape from a half-decade of sluggish growth and high unemployment.

 

The Fed has worked for decades to suppress inflation, but economists, including Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to lead the Fed starting next year, have long argued that a little inflation is particularly valuable when the economy is weak. Rising prices help companies increase profits; rising wages help borrowers repay debts. Inflation also encourages people and businesses to borrow money and spend it more quickly.

The rest of that article goes on and on about how wonderful inflation is for an economy and about how the U.S. economy desperately needs some more of it.

Well, if that was actually true, then the Weimar Republic should have had one of the best economies in the history of mankind.

But this inevitably happens when a nation starts producing fiat currency that is backed by absolutely nothing.  There is always a temptation to just print a little bit more.

In the end, we are going to be destroyed by our own foolishness.  We have the de facto reserve currency of the planet, and the rest of the world has trusted it for decades.  But now we are systematically destroying our currency, and the rest of the globe is looking on in horror.

If you want to see a very good example of the impact that inflation has had on our economy in recent years, just check out this amazing chart which shows what the Federal Reserve's reckless policies have done to the prices of commodities.

Ultimately, the U.S. dollar will be destroyed, and we will have done it to ourselves.

Many people are attempting to protect themselves against this inevitability by putting a lot of their money into hard assets such as gold and silver, but before you do that you might want to make sure that you don't have a vengeful spouse that will toss it all into a dumpster someday.  The following is from a recent New York Post article

A Colorado man was so angry at his ex-wife for divorcing him that he had the couple’s life savings of $500,000 converted to gold — then tossed it in a dumpster so she couldn’t have any of it, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

 

In June, Earl Ray Jones, 52, of Divide, Colorado, was ordered by a judge to pay $3,000 a month to the woman he’d been married to for 25 years, so he pillaged the couple’s retirement account and had it converted into 22 pounds worth of gold and silver bars,  the paper reports.

 

Jones claims he then tossed the modern-day treasure into a dumpster behind a motel, where he had been living temporarily, later telling the judge he had no money to give his ex-wife, according to the paper.

Did that story make you smile?  It sure did the trick for me.

But that story is also a picture of what the Federal Reserve is doing with our dollar.

Our currency has been used for decades by almost everyone else around the planet.  In fact, more U.S. dollars are used outside of our country than inside of it.

But now the Federal Reserve is systematically trashing the dollar and the rest of the globe is starting to lose faith in it.

Instead of realizing their mistakes, Fed officials say that we need to create even more inflation and they just keep on wildly printing more money.

In the end, we will all pay a great price for their foolishness.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/zrhyqX7PX90/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Guest Post: Don't Worry – The Government Says That The Inflation You See Is Just Your Imagination

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things.  That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe.  You might have noticed that the government announced on Wednesday that the cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries will only be 1.5 percent next year.  This is one of the smallest cost of living increases that we have ever seen.  The federal government is able to get away with this because the official numbers say that there is hardly any inflation in the U.S. right now. 

Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is.  The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent todayBut if the mainstream news actually reported such a number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control.  Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing.  It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it.

Meanwhile, the prices of the things that most Americans buy on a regular basis just keep going up.  The following are just a few examples of price inflation that we have seen lately…

-McDonald's has killed the dollar menu because it is becoming impossible to "make any money selling burgers for $1".

But don't worry – the government says that the inflation you see is just your imagination.

-Amazon.com has raised the minimum order size required for free shipping from $25 to $35.

But don't worry – you can afford to order more stuff thanks to the great new job that you got during this "economic recovery".

-It is being projected that those using natural gas to heat their homes will see their heating costs rise by 13 percent this winter.

But don't worry – "global warming" should kick in to high gear any day now.

-The price of chocolate has gone up by 45 percent since 2007, and it is being projected that it will now be increasing at an even faster pace.

But don't worry – eating chocolate is bad for you anyway.

-Thanks to Obamacare, the health insurance premiums of many American families are absolutely skyrocketing.  As I wrote about the other day, one family down in Texas just got a letter informing them that their health insurance premiums are going up by 539 percent.

But don't worry – this is just "health care reform" in action.

Meanwhile, things just continue to get tougher for middle class American families.  Household incomes have actually been declining for five years in a row and total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

The quality of our jobs continues to go down and our paychecks are not keeping up with inflation.  In fact, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are now making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.

So what do the "authorities" say that the solution to our problems is?

They want even more inflation of course.  According to CNBC, many Federal Reserve officials (including Janet Yellen) believe that what the U.S. economy really needs is a lot more inflation…

Inflation is widely reviled as a kind of tax on modern life, but as Federal Reserve policy makers prepare to meet this week, there is growing concern inside and outside the Fed that inflation is not rising fast enough.

 

Some economists say more inflation is just what the American economy needs to escape from a half-decade of sluggish growth and high unemployment.

 

The Fed has worked for decades to suppress inflation, but economists, including Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to lead the Fed starting next year, have long argued that a little inflation is particularly valuable when the economy is weak. Rising prices help companies increase profits; rising wages help borrowers repay debts. Inflation also encourages people and businesses to borrow money and spend it more quickly.

The rest of that article goes on and on about how wonderful inflation is for an economy and about how the U.S. economy desperately needs some more of it.

Well, if that was actually true, then the Weimar Republic should have had one of the best economies in the history of mankind.

But this inevitably happens when a nation starts producing fiat currency that is backed by absolutely nothing.  There is always a temptation to just print a little bit more.

In the end, we are going to be destroyed by our own foolishness.  We have the de facto reserve currency of the planet, and the rest of the world has trusted it for decades.  But now we are systematically destroying our currency, and the rest of the globe is looking on in horror.

If you want to see a very good example of the impact that inflation has had on our economy in recent years, just check out this amazing chart which shows what the Federal Reserve's reckless
policies have done to the prices of commodities.

Ultimately, the U.S. dollar will be destroyed, and we will have done it to ourselves.

Many people are attempting to protect themselves against this inevitability by putting a lot of their money into hard assets such as gold and silver, but before you do that you might want to make sure that you don't have a vengeful spouse that will toss it all into a dumpster someday.  The following is from a recent New York Post article

A Colorado man was so angry at his ex-wife for divorcing him that he had the couple’s life savings of $500,000 converted to gold — then tossed it in a dumpster so she couldn’t have any of it, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

 

In June, Earl Ray Jones, 52, of Divide, Colorado, was ordered by a judge to pay $3,000 a month to the woman he’d been married to for 25 years, so he pillaged the couple’s retirement account and had it converted into 22 pounds worth of gold and silver bars,  the paper reports.

 

Jones claims he then tossed the modern-day treasure into a dumpster behind a motel, where he had been living temporarily, later telling the judge he had no money to give his ex-wife, according to the paper.

Did that story make you smile?  It sure did the trick for me.

But that story is also a picture of what the Federal Reserve is doing with our dollar.

Our currency has been used for decades by almost everyone else around the planet.  In fact, more U.S. dollars are used outside of our country than inside of it.

But now the Federal Reserve is systematically trashing the dollar and the rest of the globe is starting to lose faith in it.

Instead of realizing their mistakes, Fed officials say that we need to create even more inflation and they just keep on wildly printing more money.

In the end, we will all pay a great price for their foolishness.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/zrhyqX7PX90/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Elliott’s Singer On America’s “Insidious And Life-Draining” Dependency Culture

Given our previous discussion of the “born-again” jobs scam, the growing use of robots, and shift in technology, and the increasing disincentivization (via benefits) of the US labor force, Paul Singer’s detailed discussion below of the”serious dysfunction” in the US employment markets is crucial to comprehending why the Fed is just making things worse.

 

Via Elliott Management’s Paul Singer,

The employment situation in America is in a state of serious dysfunction. The problems existed before the 2008 crisis, to be sure, but they are getting worse, and the current Administration’s job-related policies are seriously deficient. Most parts of the developed world are facing similar challenges, but our focus in this section will be on the U.S., where the labor participation rate has reached a 40-year low. This is a nasty statistic, one that reveals the published unemployment figures to be a deception. In reality, five years after the crash, unemployment remains at recession levels. The fall in the labor participation rate reflects the perils of long-term unemployment, which turns millions of workers into unemployables as their skill sets rust with disuse and their attractiveness to employers diminishes.

One element in the long-term jobs picture is the march of technology. The technologies that are chewing up jobs are actually accelerating in their efficiency and their ability to perform tasks previously done by people. The fear that technology will make workers obsolete predates the industrial revolution, but the future will likely prove that this is only partially true. Technological advances may not be the death of employment, but they will require seriously creative policies to counteract their negative effects on jobs without impeding overall growth. We believe that this can and must be achieved.

These advances, of course, include the Internet, robotics, 3D printing, GPS, cheap shipping and nanotechnology, among others. Entire industries are being revolutionized and their profitability models altered or destroyed. There is no “solution” to this problem from the standpoint of workers who are displaced or displaceable. There is only adaption, education, retraining and moving workers in both developed and developing countries to jobs that are created by such technological advances. Where some manufacturing and service jobs are destroyed by technology, others are created. The job of government leaders (which is currently being done incredibly poorly) is to make sure their educational systems are as high-quality as possible, including a good amount of vocational training, and that their employment policies are as flexible as possible in order to avoid employer flight. Sovereigns must become platforms for, and remove impediments to, entrepreneurship, innovation and start-ups. It is not a solution to the employment challenge for policymakers to behave like Luddites or protectionists.

A related problem in America is benefits policies that encourage dependency. This is insidious and life-draining, because a balance must be struck between helping those truly in need and providing harmful incentives for able-bodied people not to work. If the government makes it less economically attractive to work than to receive a check, the predictable result will be an increase in handouts and a drain on the productive sectors of the economy. This is a self-reinforcing trend if it is practiced by politicians buying votes by promising benefits. Benefits can come only from other citizens, and this form of corruption is terrible policy with dreadful results: a cycle of dependency, class warfare, declining productivity, slower growth, fewer opportunities and unmet hopes and dreams.

A third employment-related problem in America and other countries in the developed world is competition from emerging markets, where goods and services are increasingly being produced with comparable or better efficiency, quality, range and sophistication. It is a great and wonderful human development that the opportunity for prosperity is spreading throughout the world. We should all be in favor of policies aimed at helping people and countries all over the world develop tools and methods for educating their people and providing new foundations for entrepreneurship, higher education, creativity, innovation and work at the highest possible level.

The difficulty that developed countries face from this surge in developing-world capability stems from the developed countries’ tendency to coast on past glories and to have uncompetitive wage and cost structures, in addition to an aversion to working harder/smarter/better to stay in the game. The best and only sustainable growth is that which emanates from the human mind – from smarter and more creative efforts and better organizations. “Growth” from policies that depend on beggaring thy neighbor by depreciating one’s currency, erecting trade barriers or cutting wage rates is often chimerical, and such policies are ultimately likely to backfire.

None of the aforementioned headwinds to full employment is disputable. One could assert that the developed countries are doing all they can with the best possible policies, or that nothing can be done about education, labor policy, training, free trade and other important levers for generating good jobs in a tough environment because of internal or external politics. These assertions would be false. While admittedly the cures may be politically difficult, they are there for the taking for leaders and people of courage and vision. Increasing the rigidity of labor policies, combined with protectionism, is not the answer.

In the absence of serious reforms and more effective leadership in the developed countries, their workforces and their economies are probably headed for a spiral of dependency, strife, poverty, inflation and political unrest. Although the long-term budget curves provide some clues about the outer boundaries of timing, the exact moment when we will reach a tipping point is uncertain. However, if that point is reached, which could happen sooner rather than later, it won’t be pretty.

Of course, for any given set of technological changes, policies and conditions related to jobs and the labor force, a stronger rate of economic growth makes things easier and better. Unfortunately, current government policies in the developed countries are no more conducive to providing the conditions for and removing the impediments to stronger economic growth than they are at intelligently helping the work forces in these countries manage the challenges of technological change.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/19KtdqCWzJU/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Elliott's Singer On America's "Insidious And Life-Draining" Dependency Culture

Given our previous discussion of the “born-again” jobs scam, the growing use of robots, and shift in technology, and the increasing disincentivization (via benefits) of the US labor force, Paul Singer’s detailed discussion below of the”serious dysfunction” in the US employment markets is crucial to comprehending why the Fed is just making things worse.

 

Via Elliott Management’s Paul Singer,

The employment situation in America is in a state of serious dysfunction. The problems existed before the 2008 crisis, to be sure, but they are getting worse, and the current Administration’s job-related policies are seriously deficient. Most parts of the developed world are facing similar challenges, but our focus in this section will be on the U.S., where the labor participation rate has reached a 40-year low. This is a nasty statistic, one that reveals the published unemployment figures to be a deception. In reality, five years after the crash, unemployment remains at recession levels. The fall in the labor participation rate reflects the perils of long-term unemployment, which turns millions of workers into unemployables as their skill sets rust with disuse and their attractiveness to employers diminishes.

One element in the long-term jobs picture is the march of technology. The technologies that are chewing up jobs are actually accelerating in their efficiency and their ability to perform tasks previously done by people. The fear that technology will make workers obsolete predates the industrial revolution, but the future will likely prove that this is only partially true. Technological advances may not be the death of employment, but they will require seriously creative policies to counteract their negative effects on jobs without impeding overall growth. We believe that this can and must be achieved.

These advances, of course, include the Internet, robotics, 3D printing, GPS, cheap shipping and nanotechnology, among others. Entire industries are being revolutionized and their profitability models altered or destroyed. There is no “solution” to this problem from the standpoint of workers who are displaced or displaceable. There is only adaption, education, retraining and moving workers in both developed and developing countries to jobs that are created by such technological advances. Where some manufacturing and service jobs are destroyed by technology, others are created. The job of government leaders (which is currently being done incredibly poorly) is to make sure their educational systems are as high-quality as possible, including a good amount of vocational training, and that their employment policies are as flexible as possible in order to avoid employer flight. Sovereigns must become platforms for, and remove impediments to, entrepreneurship, innovation and start-ups. It is not a solution to the employment challenge for policymakers to behave like Luddites or protectionists.

A related problem in America is benefits policies that encourage dependency. This is insidious and life-draining, because a balance must be struck between helping those truly in need and providing harmful incentives for able-bodied people not to work. If the government makes it less economically attractive to work than to receive a check, the predictable result will be an increase in handouts and a drain on the productive sectors of the economy. This is a self-reinforcing trend if it is practiced by politicians buying votes by promising benefits. Benefits can come only from other citizens, and this form of corruption is terrible policy with dreadful results: a cycle of dependency, class warfare, declining productivity, slower growth, fewer opportunities and unmet hopes and dreams.

A third employment-related problem in America and other countries in the developed world is competition from emerging markets, where goods and services are increasingly being produced with comparable or better efficiency, quality, range and sophistication. It is a great and wonderful human development that the opportunity for prosperity is spreading throughout the world. We should all be in favor of policies aimed at helping people and countries all over the world develop tools and methods for educating their people and providing new foundations for entrepreneurship, higher education, creativity, innovation and work at the highest possible level.

The difficulty that developed countries face from this surge in developing-world capability stems from the developed countries’ tendency to coast on past glories and to have uncompetitive wage and cost structures, in addition to an aversion to working harder/smarter/better to stay in the game. The best and only sustainable growth is that which emanates from the human mind – from smarter and more creative efforts and better organizations. “Growth” from policies that depend on beggaring thy neighbor by depreciating one’s currency, erecting trade barriers or cutting wage rates is often chimerical, and such policies are ultimately likely to backfire.

None of the aforementioned headwinds to full employment is disputable. One could assert that the developed countries are doing all they can with the best possible policies, or that nothing can be done about education, labor policy, training, free trade and other important levers for generating good jobs in a tough environment because of internal or external politics. These assertions would be false. While admittedly the cures may be politically difficult, they are there for the taking for leaders and people of courage and vision. Increasing the rigidity of labor policies, combined with protectionism, is not the answer.

In the absence of serious reforms and more effective leadership in the developed countries, their workforces and their economies are probably headed for a spiral of dependency, strife, poverty, inflation and political unrest. Although the long-term budget curves provide some clues about the outer boundaries of timing, the exact moment when we will reach a tipping point is uncertain. However, if that point is reached, which could happen sooner rather than later, it won’t be pretty.

Of course, for any given set of technological changes, policies and conditions related to jobs and the labor force, a stronger rate of economic growth makes things easier and better. Unfortunately, current government policies in the developed countries are no more conducive to providing the conditions for and removing the impediments to stronger economic growth than they are at intelligently helping the work forces in these countries manage the challenges of technological change.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/19KtdqCWzJU/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Gold Rush or Just a Streak?

Click here to follow ZeroHedge in Real-time on FinancialJuice

Gold had a good run for twelve years but has fallen by as much as 20% this year alone. Is that set to continue? It looks as if gold will increase marginally again this week and may even continue reaching a peak next month due to the weak dollar and the fact that the world’s highest consumer of gold (India) will be entering a festive season typically associated with marriages and gold-buying time. But, will investors soon be losing interest in gold? Prices are predicted to increase by at least 3.8% on average (as in previous years) in November. It may even be beyond that percentage increase due to the weakened dollar.

  • 68% of those people polled by CNBC believed that gold would increase again this week after last week topped the highest price in gold for the past four weeks.
  • Now, there is some belief that there will be a high that goes beyond August’s $1, 400.
  • Only 18% of people believe that gold will drop this week while the rest see prices remaining stable.

     Gold Rush or Gold Streak?


    Gold Rush or Gold Streak?

Bullion increased last week by 1.7% and that was mainly due to the lower-than-expected US non-farm-payrolls data that was finally released by the administration for the first time since the government shutdown. The Bureau of Labor Statistics was inevitably one of the non-essential federal government departments that were asked not to come into work. Why on earth do we have non-essential government departments anyhow and why did they come back to work? It was probably only so the administration could inform us that despite the shutdown there was a 0.1% drop in unemployment from 7.3% to 7.2%.

My, the economy is really taking off! You’ll have to hold on to your hat President Obama as the wind that gets whipped up might just knock it off your head as the people stampede to the factories to get to work. Of course, the real unemployment figure is still roughly nearly 15% and that looks like it is set to increase even more as people become more and more discouraged about looking for work. Dropping out of the work market means dropping out of the figures.

But, the current situation means that the Federal Reserve will definitely not be able to withdraw its stimulus plan and Quantitative Easing will end up becoming a lengthy drawn-out process that could be equated with doing nothing more than lining the pockets of the banks so that they can create the next bubble on the stock market. The dollar will be weakened even further by the mere fact that tapering has yet again been postponed. It’s also lower still as a result of the shutdown and worry over the ability to pay back debt for the US.

This week it is expected that the two-day policy meeting for the Federal Reserve will end in an announcement that the easy money will continue well into 2014 and even beyond. Normally it’s loose lips that sink ships. But, this ship will be well and truly sunk by the loose money of Ben Bernanke and President Obama’s monetary policy that is far from conventional.

There are some analysts that believe that the strife for the dollar will bring about a rally in gold that will amount to+$200 in the next few weeks. There are even some that expect gold to go beyond $1, 500 by the end of December 2013. That would mean getting back to levels that have not been seen since April 2013. Gold came down pretty quickly after QE tapering was being bandied about and it could go up just as quickly now that tapering is being postponed. The dire situation of the US will certainly give gold a push and that could be good business to invest in. US debt is not going to go away and the country will end up spending more and more. People will inevitably go back into gold to secure their money. The price of gold can only go up and now is the time to cash in on that.

If the US is going to be in a position to deal with its national debt, paying it down, then it will have to let a little bit of inflation creep in there. That in itself will be more fuel to the fire and will drive up the price of gold again.

So is it a gold rush or a gold streak? Most people will be betting on the fact that this is not just a short burst and that it will last a lot longer than a wet firework that fizzles out.

Originally posted: Gold Rush or Just a Streak?

You might also enjoy:Obama’s Obamacare: Double Jinx | Financial Markets: Negating the Laws of Gravity  |Blatant Housing-Bubble: Stating the Obvious | Let’s Downgrade S&P, Moody’s and Fitch For Once | US Still Living on Borrowed Time | (In)Direct Slavery: We’re All Guilty | The Nobel Prize: Do We Have to Agree? | Revolution Costs < strong>| Petrol Increase because Traders Can’t Read | Darfur: The Land of Gold(s) | Obamacare: I’ve Started So I’ll Finish | USA: Uncle Sam is Dead | Where Washington Should Go for Money: Havens | Sugar Rush is on | Human Capital: Switzerland or Yemen? | Crisis is Literal Kiss of Death | Qatar’s Slave Trade Death Toll | Lew’s Illusions | Wal-Mart: Unpatriotic or Lying Through Their Teeth? Food: Walking the Breadline | Obama NOT Worst President in reply to Obama: Worst President in US History? | Obama’s Corporate Grand Bargain Death of the Dollar | Joseph Stiglitz was Right: Suicide | China Injects Cash in Bid to Improve Liquidity

Technical Analysis: Bear Expanding Triangle | Bull Expanding Triangle | Bull Falling Wedge Bear Rising Wedge High & Tight Flag

 

 


    



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UBS On The Importance Of 3D Printing

Over a year ago we discussed the “next Industrial Revolution” and where it might appear from. 3D printers were envisioned among Goldman’s top disruptive themes earlier this year and as UBS notes, 3D printing – or additive manufacturing – has been catching investors’ imaginations in recent months. Some commentators have suggested the technology has the potential to literally transform the world economy and dismantle global supply chains; while UBS points out that, others have suggested the technology is hyped and has little promise beyond a few niche product areas in manufacturing. The truth, Andrew Cates believes, probably lies somewhere in between but he is nevertheless more sympathetic to those who champion the technology’s disruptive – even revolutionary – qualities.

 

Via UBS’ Andrew Cates,

For those readers who are not yet aficionados on this technology we start with a brief explanation. Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques (a.k.a. 3D printing) create 3D objects directly from a computer model by depositing material where required and by building products up layer by layer using a range of different materials (e.g. polymers, ceramics, glass and even metals).

This stands in contrast to conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques which involve taking blocks of material, cutting them down into the right shape, and assembling them into more complex products. The technology is admittedly still in its infancy and it suffers from a range of limitations at present. However, we think the optimists who argue that this technology will be revolutionary have a strong case. As one author has quipped:

“This is not the third (industrial revolution), nor the second, but rather the first real revolution in how we make things since a pre-historic man picked up two rocks and started banging them against one another, trying to shape them into something useful” (Dr Alexander Elder)

The technology has not yet generated a major impact on the world economy. A recent report from UBS analysts, for example, noted that the AM market (USD 2.2 billion) amounted to just 0.02% of the global manufacturing sector. Still, as the analysts equally noted, the technology is starting to spread more broadly both at a sector-specific and at a country-specific level. A recent report from Wohlers Associates, for example, reveals that AM is now used in a number of different economic sectors with consumer products/electronics the leading industrial area. The motor vehicle and aerospace sectors are also keen users while the medical/dental profession has additionally established itself as a strong sector for AM over the last few years (see chart 1 below).

The technology is – at present – particularly advantageous in low-to-moderate volume markets (e.g. aerospace) that regularly operate without economies of scale.

At a country-specific level the data from that same report from Wohlers reveals that the US is the lead user by a large margin. Japan, Germany and China have the second, third and fourth largest installed bases, respectively, of systems worldwide (see chart 2 below).

There are a number of reasons why the technology has not yet had a bigger impact. Challenges include production speed, materials availability, precision and control. Issues concerning legal responsibility are also problematic. Still, as we explore below, incentives to overcome these challenges clearly exist because of the potential advantages that the technology affords. And matters at present may already be moving more rapidly than many of the pessimists might contend. The use of nanotechnology, for instance, could mean that plastics in 3D printing soon rival the strength of metals in more conventional manufacturing.

Meanwhile the printing of human kidneys, of houses, of hamburgers (and other food products) and even – in the distant future – of an aeroplane are being actively researched and in some of those cases (e.g. houses and hamburgers) even printed.

The reasons why the technology has so much potential are as follows:

It lowers energy intensity by saving energy, by eliminating production steps, by enabling the reuse of by-products by producing lighter products and by cutting the need for transportation. It is in these respects obviously environmentally-friendly as well.

 

AM techniques yield less waste. The US Department of Energy estimates that by building objects layer by layer instead of traditional machining processes that cut away material AM processes could reduce material needs and costs by up to 90%.

 

It heightens incentives to innovate by eliminating traditional design restrictions. It makes it possible, for example, to create items previously considered too intricate and accelerates final product design. The ability to improve performance and functionality – literally customizing products to meet individual customer needs – should open new markets and improve profitability.

 

It yields greater flexibility in the production process by enabling rapid response to markets and new production options outside of the manufacturing factory. Spare parts can be produced on demand, for example, reducing the need for inventory and complex supply chains.

In short the technology enriches the capital base and enhances the scope for an economy to achieve faster capital- and total factor productivity growth. Its disruptive qualities emerge from the ongoing fall in its relative costs and the increasingly broad reach of its potential. Arguably of most significance from the vantage point of potential global economic benefits the technology lowers the barriers to entry in manufacturing and allows almost anyone to become an entrepreneur.

As we have explored in more detailed research in recent weeks there are a large number of technologies that are rising to the surface of the world economy at present which offer a great deal of promise. AM in isolation would arguably not be so potent were it not for these other innovations that are acting alongside it. The marriage of nanotechnology and AM techniques is perhaps the bestillustration of this. But the increasingly connected world economy via the increasing use of mobile and cloud technology and the ease with which digital designs can now be transported around the planet are notably also helping to foster the take-up and deployment of AM techniques.

We have tentatively estimated that the efficient deployment of new technologies in the information and communications sector, in manufacturing (including AM) and in energy could lift the potential growth rate of the world economy by as much as 0.5 percentage points in the coming years. The winners from this potential transformation
, however, are more likely to be those economies, sectors, companies and consumers that are active users of these new technologies and not necessarily its active producers.


    



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