Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stocks to watch: Tesla to remain in focus Monday

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Tesla Motors Inc. is likely to remain in focus on Monday after surging 41% this week, its best weekly performance since it went public in 2010.
The electric-car maker reported its first quarterly profit ever on Wednesday, helping the stock soar to record levels.

Week ahead: Retailers in focus

Next week's economic calendar includes retails sales and retailer earnings reports, plus possible Android news from Google. Polya Lesova joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty Images.
Amid all the euphoria over Tesla’s TSLA +10.61%  stellar results, some analysts cautioned that there are still speed bumps ahead.
“To date, Tesla’s strong performance has been a function of its impressive factory ramp and marketing plan, but also two years of pent-up demand and the sale of lucrative ZEV [zero-emission-vehicle] credits,” Ben Schuman, an analyst at Pacific Crest, wrote in a note on Thursday.
“Going forward, the company needs to ramp to 25% gross margins from 5% (excluding ZEV credits) and demonstrate sustainable demand. This can be done, but we do not think the current valuation adequately reflects execution risk.”
Separately, Post Holdings Inc. POST +3.24% , the maker of Honey Bunches of Oats, Pebbles and Grape Nuts, is expected to report on Monday second-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, according to a consensus survey by FactSet. The cereal maker was spun off from Ralcorp Holdings Inc. last year.
On Monday after the market close, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO +2.81%  is likely to post fourth-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share.

Anwar backs Azmin on Khalid’s MB job, says must have consensus

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appeared to have backed his confidant Azmin Ali in calling for a consultation process for the Selangor mentri besar post after the latter claimed Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s candidacy had bypassed the democratic process.
The PKR advisor also appeared to have suggested that the party were considering removing Abdul Khalid when he told Sinar Harian that the consultation should include discussions on other possible candidates for the job.
“I have no problem with Tan Sri Khalid. But the problem is... there is no problem but there should be consultation. Are there other names? New faces? Do we continue?” Sinar Harian quoted him as saying.
Anwar (picture), however, added that they will solve the debacle within these few days.
The tussle over the mentri besar post has pushed PKR into a leadership crisis with its deputy president now openly accusing the party of “nepotism” when he alleged it had bypassed the consultation process in picking Abdul Khalid for the job.
Azmin also appeared to question Abdul Khalid’s leadership at a press conference yesterday, and said he was seeking a meeting with PKR’s national leaders for a consensus decision to be made on who gets to be the new Selangor MB.
The debacle has sparked talk that Azmin, who is also said to be vying for the position, would leave PKR following the party’s supposed endorsement of Abdul Khalid’s governance.
Azmin dismissed the speculation at yesterday’s press conference where he was flanked by some of the party’s Selangor line-up in what appeared to be a sign of protest against Abdul Khalid’s likely reappointment as the state’s chief executive.
Although the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman was evasive when bombarded by questions for his view on the candidacy for the post, the PKR deputy president made several insinuations that leaders from the party’s Selangor chapter were against Abdul Khalid’s reappointment.
However, a majority of Selangor PKR lawmakers and division chiefs want Abdul Khalid to be reappointed as the state’s mentri besar, party sources have said, amid protests by a faction led by Azmin.
The Malaysian Insider understands the endorsement was made at a closed-door “gathering” held at Empire Hotel in Subang Jaya on Monday where most of the 14 state assemblymen, 16 division chiefs and a few federal MPs who attended felt that Abdul Khalid should be allowed to lead the PR Selangor government for a second term.
The two other Pakatan Rakyat component parties, the DAP and PAS, have also backed Abdul Khalid for the job despite winning more seats than PKR in Selangor.
The DAP and PAS each won 15 seats in Selangor at the May 5 general election, with PKR netting 14.

EU referendum: The solution to this EU mess lies in Article 50

Our politicians need to tackle the fundamental problem at the heart of our membership

The solution lies here: Prime Minister Gordon Brown signing the Lisbon Treaty at the Museu dos Coches in 2007  
The solution lies here: Prime Minister Gordon Brown signing the Lisbon Treaty at the Museu dos Coches in 2007

In all the brouhaha over a Euro-referendum unleashed in the wake of that surge in the polls by Ukip, it is hard to know who is talking the emptiest fluff. We really are paying the price for all those years when our politicians and media were so keen to bury our European system of government out of sight that they have little idea of the harsh realities of the situation in which we find ourselves.
We have Tory MPs piling in to demand an in-out referendum before 2015, which they are not going to get. We have former political heavyweights such as Lord Lawson, Denis Healey and Norman Lamont queuing up to say that if there were such a referendum they would vote to leave. We’ve even got Nick Clegg and those poor little BBC presenters locked in a 13-year-old time warp, trying to tell us that, if we did leave, 3.5 million British jobs would vanish because our trade with our European neighbours would somehow dry up overnight.
None of this bears any more relation to where we actually are, as one of the 27 fully signed-up members of the EU, than David Cameron’s threefold dollop of wishful thinking that, if only we re-elect him in 2015, and if only he can somehow persuade his EU colleagues to hand back a few unspecified powers of government –– in breach of the most basic principle on which the EU was founded – he can somehow lead the “Yes” campaign in 2017 to a referendum vote for Britain to stay in.
It is true we may one day by law have to have a referendum, whichever party is in power, because sooner or later the drive to give Brussels even more powers in its efforts to save the doomed euro will require a new treaty. But in the meantime Mr Cameron is terrified that, unless we stay in the EU, we will lose the right to trade freely with its single market. Lord Lawson, in his own muddled way, seems equally to think that, by leaving, we would indeed be excluded from the single market, but that this would be OK because it would somehow bring us “a positive economic advantage”.
The truth is that there is only one way we can get what they, and most people, seem to want, but none of them, except occasionally Nigel Farage, ever mentions it. The only way we can compel our EU partners to negotiate a new relationship which would still give us access to the single market is by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Only thus can we negotiate precisely the kind of relationship already enjoyed, in their different ways, by the two most prosperous countries in Europe, Norway and Switzerland, which trade as freely with the EU as we do, but without the rest of that political baggage that inspires such growing resentment not just in Britain, but in many other EU member states.
This, of course, catches out Mr Cameron, because Article 50 can only be invoked by a country announcing its wish to leave the EU. He flatly refuses to recognise that it is perfectly possible to continue trading freely with the EU without belonging to it.
Lord Lawson falls into the opposite trap by also imagining that leaving the EU means being excluded from the single market, although he seems to think this could be an advantage because we could somehow make up for it by increasing our trade with the rest of the world. But both these men, like countless others, are living in cloud-cuckoo land. They will not bring their thinking back to earth by looking hard-headedly at the rules of the game.
The only way we can now face up to the reality of the plight we are in is by putting Article 50 at the very centre of the national debate. It is the only way we can get the best of both worlds that so many people say they want.
Unless we do so, we are doomed to wander on in a fog of wishful thinking that can only continue to leave us with the worst of all worlds – ruled by a dysfunctional system of government that we increasingly resent, but refuse to understand. In the words of Lady Thatcher I have quoted before, from her book Statecraft, that we should ever have become absorbed into this “European superstate” will one day be seen as “a political error of the first magnitude”.
If we really wish to remedy that error, the only practical way that can be brought about is by invoking Article 50.
Strange weather is normal
When Boris Johnson entertained his readers last week with his account of a bike ride to the Chilterns, he described how he was greeted by the sight of “hawthorn blossom like gun smoke” exploding across the hill-sides. What I suspect he saw was not an early sight of the frozen firework displays of hawthorn blossom, but this year’s late flowering of blackthorn, as I confirmed when travelling through the Chilterns last week, and seeing it still shining white in the hedgerows.
It is true that for some years the hawthorn did flower very much earlier than normal (in 2010 I saw it in Somerset on April 25). This prompted environmental journalists who know little about nature to hail it as one of the proofs, along with primroses in December, that the world was in the grip of runaway warming. But since nature has since returned to its former patterns (last year’s hawthorn didn’t come into flower until May 22), they have gone strangely quiet about such things.
The new party line, as we know, is to promote their cult by going on about anything that can be called an “extreme weather event”, as if such things never happened before, so that any unusual flood, drought or snowfall can be seen as further proof of warming that otherwise remains largely invisible.
I was lately reading the diary entries by Pepys and Evelyn, noting the plethora of “extreme weather events” in the 17th century, when scarcely a year went by when they could not describe some flood, drought, storm or blizzard as being “unknown in the memory of man”. But the 17th century, of course, was the height of the Little Ice Age, when the world was colder than it had been in 13,000 years. Those environmental zealots so eager to blame any aberration in our weather on man-made warming seem to know as little of history as they do of nature.
Arctic heroes honoured at last
The sight of 39 aged veterans lined up on the shores of Loch Ewe, Scotland, to be given Arctic Star medals, and to stand in silent memory of their 3,000 comrades who died on those 78 convoys that battled against all odds to bring military supplies to northern Russia between 1941 and 1945, marked the end of one of the more curious political blunders of our post-war history.
For 68 years successive governments refused to recognise the heroism of those who survived what Churchill called “the worst journey in the world” by giving them medals.
When in 2011 the Russian government struck a medal for the veterans, our Foreign Office forbade them to wear it. Worse still, in Parliament, a junior Tory defence minister, Andrew Robathan, contemptuously refused yet another call for a British campaign medal, saying that Britain does not “throw around medals” like Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. We award them, he said, only for “risk and rigour”.
My family took a personal interest in all this because my uncle, Lieutenant-Commander Neil Boyd, was captain of the corvette HMS Poppy, which escorted several convoys, including PQ 17, the deadliest of all. Of 35 merchant ships that left Iceland, only 10 reached Murmansk.
My uncle twice won the Distinguished Service Cross for his service in the Atlantic and North Africa, but was among the thousands of survivors of the Arctic convoys who died before
the Government finally agreed to honour their heroism in a campaign as cruelly packed with horrors as any in the war.
We should be grateful to all those who fought for so long to redress this wrong, including the Tory MP Catherine Dinenage who, in 2011, told Mr Robathan that the “disgusting” policy he supported had “brought shame on our country”.
For some, the memory of that shame is still not wholly erased.

I am become death, destroyer of worlds

I've been accused by some of irresponsibility for highlighting IMF forecasts which, if right, plainly indicate that Spain is insolvent, and will need a big sovereign/banking debt restructuring at some stage.
This leads to the obvious conclusion, spelt out in the headline to my blog, that you should get your money out while you still can. Not a good idea to be encouraging bank runs, says the irrepressible Danny Blanchflower – with whom it is never possible to have a conversation on Twitter without him having the last word – among others.
This is a nonsense argument, not unlike the sort of tut tutting there was when the BBC's Robert Peston revealed that Northern Rock had requested lender of last resort support from the Bank of England. By revealing this story, he helped spark the retail bank run that led eventually to nationalisation of Northern Rock. So should he just have sat on the story, as part of some kind of greater good, public not to know, exercise? Of course not.
As it happened, Mr Peston bent over backwards in his report to assure depositors that their money was safe, which it plainly wasn't without Government intervention. He tried to be as responsible as he could, but he was rightly not going to be party to some kind of cover up.
In Mr Peston's case, the criticism he received was wholly unjustified, since this was a real story, and in any case, wholesale investors were by then already running for the hills. The die had been cast by the time he published. He was only letting the world at large know what the professionals already suspected.
I wouldn't claim anything like the same level of intelligence for my blog. Mine is not a story as such – it is what used to be called a "scoop of interpretation". I've merely taken some quite alarming IMF forecasts and drawn some obvious conclusions from them. Perhaps I'm wrong – that there is no solvency problem in Spain. If so, my words will carry no weight. That's the thing about bank runs. They tend not to happen unless there is genuine reason for concern. So let's get the information out there and let people make up their own minds.

Obamacare Broke: Sebelius Begs for Donations

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.
But Republicans charged that Sebelius’s outreach was improper because it pressured private companies and other groups to support the Affordable Care Act. The latest controversy has emerged as the law faces a string of challenges from GOP lawmakers in Washington and skepticism from many state officials across the country.
Read more from this story HERE.

CO State Senator wants $1BILLION legislation passed with a COIN TOSS!!
On Wednesday Colorado Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) told Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) that he could “flip a coin” on a major amendment to a $1 billion bill.

Space Age Stealing: We Are Living In An Era Of Undisguised, Real-World Conspiracy, The Prices Of Currencies, Commodities Like Gold And Silver, Even Interest Rates And The Value Of Money Itself Are Set By Companies That Can Profit By Manipulating Them. We’re Fucked!

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix

“A farce,” was one antitrust lawyer’s response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal.
“Incredible,” says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases.
All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.
If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.
That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it. The problem in each of these markets is the same: We all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of things like interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities.
All of these benchmarks based on voluntary reporting are now being looked at by regulators around the world, and God knows what they’ll find. The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. “In general,” it wrote, “those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion.”
Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we’re fucked.
“You name it,” says Frenk. “Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption.”
The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It’s not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever’s in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it’s only just coming into view.

Stunning Gold Shortages As Western Ponzi Scheme Collapsing

Greyerz:  “Eric, all around us the world economy is now declining at an alarming rate.  The situation in southern Europe is disastrous, and that’s spreading to all of Europe as well as the rest of the world.

The world economy is starting to disintegrate.  What we are entering now is the culmination of a Ponzi scheme of printed money and credit that started with the creation of the Fed in 1913…
 “So for 100 years the world has lived in a dream that printed money creates prosperity.
What we are going to see in the next few years is a hyperinflationary depression of unimaginable proportions.  All of us will of course be affected, and many very badly.  Only a privileged few, and these are some of the people who are fortunate enough to follow King World News, will be able to preserve their wealth.

From Bust To Bubble, With No Recovery In Between?

The gaps between markets (credit, equity, and volatility) and economic (macro- and micro-) reality have seldom been larger. What is just as concerning as this yawning chasm is the similarity of a number of activities to the ‘bubble’ in credit in 2007 - from record CLO issuance to covenant-lite loans resurgence. As Citi’s Matt King notes, the past fortnight’s virtual melt-up in all things high yielding has been accompanied by a growing sense that markets are breaking out of the patterns of the past few years. In the near term, there is no reason in principle why the moves cannot go further; but unless more of the central bank stimulus finds its way through to the economy, this opens up the risk of sudden corrections as markets fall back to earth. How long will it take for that to occur, and for markets to become scared once again? It is hard to tell, and yet, as we have noted numerous times, we have been in this situation before. In 2009, the divergences took 6 months before stocks corrected, in 2011 it took 4 months, and in 2012 it took just 1 month. It’s not different this time.

That 2007 Feeling…

Just a shame the real economy isn’t…

and it seems unemployment doesn’t matter anymore…

The War on 3D Printing Begins

May 11, 2013 (LocalOrg) - It was inevitable. A technology like 3D printing that essentially puts cheap labor, manufacturing, and retail all in the same place - upon one's desktop - spells the absolute, utter and permanent end to the monopolies and unwarranted power and influence of the corporate-financier elite who have lorded over humanity since human civilization began - a permanent end the elite will fight against with the total summation of their ill-gotten power and influence.

The pretext being used to begin this war, is a 3D printed gun built and demonstrated by Defense Distributed in Austin, Texas. After designing, printing out, and firing the 3D printed gun, the US State Department demanded that the designs, distributed for free on the Internet, be taken down - claiming tenuously that by posting the designs on the Internet, arms export bans may have been violated - this the same government that is on record, openly shipping arms, cash, and military equipment to its own listed terrorist organizations from the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK or MKO) in Iraq and Iran, to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in Libya, to Al Qaeda's Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra.

In the Independent's article, "US government orders Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed to remove blueprint for 3D-printed handgun from the web," it's reported that: 
The US government has demanded the removal of online files which allow users to 3D-print their own unregistered gun at home.

The blueprint has so far been downloaded more than 100,000 times since Defense Distributed - which spent a year designing the “Liberator” handgun - made it available online.

Last week Defense Distributed built the gun from plastic on an industrial 3D printer bought on eBay for $8,000 (£5,140), and fired it.

The Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance wrote to the company's founder Cody Wilson demanding the designs be "removed from public access" until he could prove he had not broken laws governing shipping weapons overseas.
3D Printing: The Sum of All Corporate-Fascist Fears 

For several years now, buzz has been growing about 3D printing. Small companies have begun opening up around the world, selling 3D printers, or using 3D printers for small run production, filling niches, or shifting markets from large corporations and their globalized supply chains, to local, decentralized business models. While governments like those in China have embraced the technology and wholly encourage a grassroots, bottom-up industrial revolution, others, like the US have only feigned enthusiasm.

US President Barack Obama, in his 2013 State of the Union address, according to CNET's "Here's the 3D-printing institute in Obama's State of the Union," referred specifically to 3D printing, claiming: 
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.

There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns.
Caterpillar, Ford, Intel, and Apple are large globalized monopolies - the personal manufacturing revolution would not see "state-of-the art labs" open up in towns across America to help augment the bottom lines of these Fortune 500 corporations, but would see decentralized alternatives to these corporations cut into and utterly gut their bottom lines - a reality US President Barack Obama and the corporate-financier interests that dictate his agenda must surely be aware of.

Image: Local Motors' Rally Fighter vehicle. The unspoken fear the establishment holds regarding 3D printing and other forms of personal manufacturing is that their central globalized monopolies will be replaced by increasingly smaller, localized companies like Local Motors who already provides a model for "microfactories" and the localization of auto-manufacturing. Job creation, profits, wealth, power, and influence will be redistributed locally, not through government handouts, but by way of technology and local entrepreneurship - ending centuries of disparity between the people and the "elite." 

In the case of Ford and other big-auto giants, who by right should be shuttered and out of business already had it not been for their unwarranted influence and power buying them immense bailouts from America's taxpayers, there are already alternative business models undermining their monopolies. In America itself, there is Local Motors who recently gave a short tour of their manufacturing facility they called a "microfactory." These microfactorires represent the next step in industrialization where small companies will cater to smaller, local markets and niches, entirely replacing the centralized Fortune 500 corporations of Detroit, barely clinging to life and their unsustainable, antiquated business model as it is.

Video: Inside Local Motors' Rally Fighter and open-source collaborative microfactory production.


The only conceivable means by which big-auto monopolies could hope to survive is by having the same bought-and-paid for politicians it used to bail its collapsed business model out with, impose sweeping regulations to make it illegal for "microfactories" to operate. We can already imagine, by extrapolating from the US State Department's move against Defense Distributed, the arguments that will be made. These will be centered around "safety," "taxation," and perhaps even claims as bold as threatening "jobs" of autoworkers at Fortune 500 monopolies.

Similar ploys are currently working their way through a legislative and sociopolitical gauntlet in regards to the organic food movement.

In reality, whatever excuse the US government has made to take down the first fully 3D printed gun's CAD files from the Internet, it is fear of lost hegemony that drives this burgeoning war on personal manufacturing. James Ball of the Guardian, in an article titled, "US government attempts to stifle 3D-printer gun designs will ultimately fail," predicts that: 
This is a ban that's going to be virtually impossible to enforce: as almost any music company will testify, stopping online filesharing by banning particular sites or devices is roughly akin to stopping a tsunami with a bucket.

Another approach might be to attempt to ban or regulate 3D printers themselves. To do so is to stifle a potentially revolutionary technology in order to address a hypothetical risk – and that's even before the practical problems of defining a 3D printer for the legislation. It would have to be defined broadly enough for a law to be effective, but narrowly enough so that enforcing the law doesn't take out half of the equipment used in every day manufacturing. It is likely a futile ambition.
Indeed - as a 3D printer is essentially nothing more than circuit boards, stepper motors, and heating elements to melt and extrude layers of plastic - it would be as impossible as it would be ridiculous to try to stem the tide of 3D printing by regulating printers, as it will be to attempt to regulate and ban any and all "prints" that threaten the current establishment's monopolies and hold on power.

Everyone is eventually going to have access to this technology and by consequence, the ability to print out on their desktop what Fortune 500 corporations have held monopolies over for generations, including arms manufacturing, automobiles, and electronics. The age of empire, corporatism, and elitism is drawing to a close, but apparently not without one last battle.

How to Win the Battle

While some may be paralyzed in fear over the prospect of their neighbor one day having the ability to print out a fully functional weapon, it must be realized that like all other prolific technologies, the fact that it will be in "everyone's" hands means that more good people than bad will have access to it, and it will be in their collective interests to create and maintain stability within any emerging technological paradigm. Just like with information technology, where malicious activity certainly exists, more people are interested in the smooth, stable function of this technology in daily life and have created a paradigm where disruptions happen, but life goes on.

People must embrace, not fear 3D printing. Key to its integration into society is to ensure that as many people as possible understand it and have access to it. This must be done as quickly as possible, to outpace inevitable legislation that seeks to strangle this revolution in its cradle. 

Education: We must learn as much about this technology as possible. 3D printing incorporates skills in electronics, 3D design, and material science. Developing skill-sets in any of these areas would be beneficial. There are endless resources available online for free that offer information and tutorials on how to develop these skills - just an Internet search away.

Alternatively, for people curious about this technology and seeking to get hands-on experience, they could seek out and visit their local hackerspace (an extensive list of spaces can be found here). Hackerspaces are essentially technological fitness clubs, where one pays dues monthly for access to a space and the equipment within it to work on projects either individually or in a collaborative effort.

Image: Cover of "Hackerspaces @ the_beginning," which chronicles the creation, challenges and successes of hackerspaces around the world. The original file can be found here, and an online version can be viewed here, on Scribd.

Hackerspaces generally attract people with the necessary skill-sets to assemble, use, and troubleshoot 3D printers currently on the market today. They also possess the skill-sets needed to build 3D printers and other computer-controlled manufacturing systems from parts that as of yet have not been "regulated." Generally, hackerspaces host monthly workshops that help new people develop basic skills like soldering and programming, or 3D design and even "builds" where purchased 3D printer kits are constructed with the guidance of a resident expert. The proliferation of this knowledge will make the already daunting task of stripping personal manufacturing technology from the people, all but impossible.

Developing Local Institutions: It is essential to both expand existing hackerspaces and their use of personal manufacturing technology, as well as establish and build up new spaces. Ingraining hackerspaces as essential local institutions in our communities is one of the keys to heading off the coming war on personal manufacturing and other disruptive technologies sure to gain the ire of legislators as corporate-financier monopolies begin to suffer.

A place where people can go learn and use this technology, as well as collaborate in its advancement will turn 3D printing and other disruptive technologies from curiosities, into practical tools communities can use to reinvigorate their local economies, solve local problems, and overall improve their lives themselves, independently and self-sufficiently.

A hackerspace can start with something as simple as a single table with several chairs around it and some shared equipment used during weekend get-togethers with friends, and can develop into something as significant as a full-fledged organization with hundreds of members and global reach.

For more information on existing hackerspaces, and inspiration for those seeking to start their own, please see: "Inspiration for Starting a Hackerspace."

Ignoring and Circumventing Illegitimate Governments and Their Declarations: As already cited, the US government is currently funding a myriad of its own listed terrorist organizations to horrific effect from Iraq and Iran, to Libya and Syria. To declare a 3D printed gun "outlawed" and its presence on the Internet a "violation" of arms export laws, is as hypocritical as it is illegitimate.

The government, in a free society, works for the people. The people have not asked the government to ban 3D printed guns, just like they have not asked for the myriad of laws the government is currently citing as justification for its unilateral declaration. The government does not dictate to the people what they can and cannot have or what they can and cannot make. As such, we are not obligated to respect their declarations in regards to 3D printing any more than we have demonstrably respected their declarations regarding so-called "intellectual property."

Just as file sharing continues unabated, while alternative media supplants what is left of the corporate-media's monopolies, a similar paradigm must be developed and encouraged across the tech community in regards to 3D printing, personal manufacturing, and other emerging disruptive technologies such as synthetic biology.


Already, parallels are being drawn between 3D printing and the shifting paradigms of information technology and file sharing. Whether or not the average person joins in against the war on 3D printing and personal manufacturing, the tech community will almost certainly continue on with their success from the realm of shaping and moving information to the world of shaping and moving atoms. However, for the average person clearly aware that "something" is not quite right about where things in general are going and who are seeking solutions, establishing local institutions that leverage unprecedented technology to solve our problems ourselves, without disingenuous politicians and their endless schemes, seems like a sure choice.

There is already a burgeoning community of talented people working on bringing this technology to its maturity and leveraging it for the benefit of communities and individuals. If we are to ensure this technology stays in the people's hands and is used in the best interests of the people, then as many of "the people' as possible must get involved.

Do some additional research into 3D printing, locate your local hackerspace, and/or start a hackerspace of your own. Start looking into buying or building a 3D printer and developing ideas on how to use this technology both for education and for local, tangible development. The future is what we make of it, and if we - with our own two hands - are making nothing, we have no future.

QE Effect: U.S. And Euro Area Savings Rate Drops To Record Low, Incomes Disappoint, Corporate Cash Accumulation Starting To Slow

Euro Area Savings Rate Drops To Record Low, Disposable Income Has Biggest Drop Ever

A month it was the US which saw its savings rate plummet to the lowest since the start of the Second Great Depression…

And now it is the Euro Area’s turn to see its savings crumble to 12.2% in Q4 2012, from 12.8% previously, the lowest in, well, ever, since the adoption of the Euro:

Why? Gross disposable income just imploded, dropping at the lowest “growth” rate ever. Notably, wages were a far bigger detractor to income than taxes.

U.S. Spending On Services Jumps By Most Ever As Incomes Disappoint, Savings Rate Near Five Year Lows

Real disposable income: oops.

Finally, since both spending and income rose at the same pace, the personal savings rate was flat from February, or at 2.7%: just barely higher than the 5 year low of 2.2% posted in January. In other words consumers continue to be tapped out, and it is unclear where the income spurt will come from to drive the much needed spending surge in the coming months. Oh yes, Bernanke’s trickle down magic of course. How could we forget.

U.S. consumer spending slows in March

Smallest gain in three months another sign economy has softened
Consumers were more cautious spenders in March, and income growth also softened, reinforcing a bevy of reports that indicate the U.S. economy slowed as the spring began.
Consumer spending rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% last month, down from 0.7% in February, the Commerce Department said Monday. It was the smallest gain in three months.
The increase in spending, however, was slightly higher than 0.1% forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch, so the report helped pushed stock prices higher in Monday action.
Consumer spending is the main engine of economic growth. When Americans buy more goods and services, businesses generate higher sales and profits and can afford to hire workers. Less spending results in slower economic growth.

Corporate cash accumulation starting to slow, index shows

The History Of The Dollar, Gold, Oil And The Path To WW3

Jim Rogers - 2013 To Be A Bad Year, Who Knows What Will Happen in 2014! | XRepublic

Jim Rogers - 2013 To Be A Bad Year, Who Knows What Will Happen in 2014! | XRepublic

Tee Keat: Sex stigma still haunts Soi Lek and MCA

By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The “stigma” of being linked to a sex scandal years ago still haunts MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and the party he leads, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has said.
Ong was commenting on the reasons for MCA’s dismal performance in Election 2013, where the party had won only seven federal seats and 11 state seats, a far poorer result compared to its 2008 win of 15 federal seats and 32 state seats.
Ong said it was unfair to comment on whether MCA could have had a better performance at the polls without Dr Chua, who yesterday said that he will be accountable for MCA’s results and will quit his post between this June and December.
“I do not think it is fair at this juncture to say the situation would be less disastrous or not without him at the helm, but one thing that I could see clearly - and this is not just my personal observation, but rather a common observation among many party insiders, especially the ones who participated in the electoral canvassing - is that his stigma, so to speak, is still haunting him and the party,” the former MCA president told the New Sunday Times (NST) in an interview published today.
When asked whether he was referring to Dr Chua’s stigma over a “sex DVD”, Ong agreed.
“Yes, I saw with my own eyes how people reacted - not just among urban folk, but also rural (folk).
“People are still talking about it, despite the fact that he thought he had been cleansed by his so-called proactive owning up or confession (that he was the person in the DVD),” the five-term Pandan MP said.
In late 2007, video copies of Dr Chua engaged in sex acts with his mistress were circulated publicly, and led to his resignation as the health minister.
Dr Chua was also not fielded as a candidate in Election 2008, but later made a political comeback in MCA.
Ong was elected to head the party in 2008, but a power struggle within MCA led to a re-election in 2010 where Dr Chua won and took over as MCA president.
Throughout the interview, Ong did not put the entire blame for MCA’s weak results on Dr Chua’s shoulders, but agreed with the interviewer that Dr Chua’s “arrogance and alleged cronynism”  had partly contributed to the lacklustre polls results.
He said the public were concerned with the relevance of the party, hinting that MCA should look beyond the interests of the Chinese community.
“When we talk about the relevance of the party, as a component party of the ruling coalition, people would expect you to be proactive and effective, and not just on issues confronting a particular community,” he said.
Ong agreed that the opposition had attacked MCA by using the party’s sidelining of him as a candidate for the Pandan federal seat.
“Yes. In fact, much to my dismay and certainly, this is beyond my anticipation, the exclusion of my name from the MCA and Barisan Nasional candidates’ list has been exploited to the hilt by the opposition campaigners.
“And it was not just confined to Pandan, but happened nationwide, especially in Chinese-majority areas,” Ong said.
It is understood that Ong and Dr Chua have a less than cordial relationship, with lawyer Gary Lim finally fielded as the MCA candidate for Pandan despite Ong’s personal popularity among his constituents there.
PKR’s Rafizi Ramli won a resounding victory in the Pandan seat last Sunday, defeating Gary Lim with a 26,729 majority after he polled 48,183 votes to Lim’s 21,454. Ong’s former private secretary Allan Tan, who had contested as an independent, lost his depostit.

Prominent Malaysians band together to protest post-GE13 ruckus

A group of prominent Malaysians have banded together to protest the racially-tinged rhetoric that has blanketed the country in the aftermath of the 13th General Elections.

The 67-strong group says there is a need for national reconciliation and is calling on politicians, the media and activists to exercise restraint in words and actions.

They are also calling on them to work for change through peaceful means, saying the country needs, more than ever, to heal its wounds and unite.
The group includes people like lawyer Art Harun, dancer Ramli Ibrahim, academic Farish Noor, actor Hans Isaac, musician Pete Teo, beauty queen Deborah Henry and activist Marina Mahathir.

Below, is their statement, published verbatim:

We the undersigned are concerned Malaysians from various communities that have always respected one another since well before independence. Our Malaysia was founded on this diversity and our hopes for the future, as envisioned in Wawasan 2020, are built on this mosaic of races, cultures and religions, which have enriched one another since the time of our forebears.

In the aftermath of the 13th General Elections, we have been saddened by the racial tone of statements made by some of our political leaders as well as some media and blogs. The election results may not have pleased everyone but precisely for this reason, we need to unite and heal our rifts, rather than create more divisiveness.

For the past few years the citizens of Malaysia have been exhorted to show their support or not for the government in power through the ballot box rather than through other means. This they did on May 5, yet some of them have been called ungrateful for peacefully exercising their democratic right to express their opinion. They all voted for a better Malaysia and should not be blamed if their vision differs from what the government thinks it should be.

For politicians and the media to fault one community for their results goes against the spirit of our founding fathers, our Rukunegara, Wawasan 2020 and 1Malaysia. Pitting one community against other Malaysians because they allegedly rejected the government in power sets up dangerous divisions within our society and markedly raises the threat of violence.

All parties have agreed that change is needed in our beloved country, whether it is called 'transformation' or 'ubah'. Changes in mindsets and attitudes are much needed for us to take our place in the globalised world today. This change must be achieved through peaceful means, including through the ballot box. It is therefore disappointing that the same old fear tactics are being used with the implicit threat of violence.

It is the democratic right of all Malaysians to lodge any objections to the election results due to concerns about fraud or mismanagement. However, this should be done by individuals or civil society groups submitting such objections to the Election Commission or through the court system, rather than by dissemination of unverified and unsubstantiated information through social media.

We agree with the need for national reconciliation and, therefore, call on all politicians, the media and activists to exercise restraint in their words and actions and work for change through peaceful means. After a fractious election campaign, we need more than ever to heal our wounds and unite to make a better Malaysia.

This statement is endorsed by:

1. Alan Bligh, emcee & voice-over talent
2. Alan Yun, actor
3. Aishah Sinclair, Actor & TV host
4. Amir Muhammad, book publisher
5. Art Harun, lawyer
6. Asha Gill, TV & radio host
7. Azah Yasmin Yusof, TV host & counselor
8. Carmen Soo, actor
9. Celina Khor, TV host & entrepreneur
10. Christopher Tock, social entrepreneur
11. Datin Azimah Rahim, education activist
12. Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, writer & activist
13. Datin Sofia Jane, actor
14. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria, PROHAM committee member
15. Datuk Bernard Chandran, couturier
16. Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng, PROHAM treasurer
17. Datuk Khutubul Zaman Bukhari, PROHAM member
18. Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, dancer & choreographer
19. Datuk Yasmin Yusuff, emcee & actor
20. Deborah Henry, Miss Universe Malaysia 2011
21. Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, medical specialist
22. Dr Azmi Sharom, academic
23. Dr Daniel Ho, pastor
24. Dr Farish Noor, academic & writer
25. Dr Hartini Zainuddin, children’s rights activist
26. Dr Ong Puay Liu, academic
27. Dr Zaha Rina Zahari, financial consultant
28. Elaine Daly, TV host (Miss Universe Malaysia 2003)
29. Harith Iskander, actor & comedian
30. Hans Isaac, actor
31. Ida Nerina, actor & director
32. KJ John, OHMSI
33. Jema Khan, businessman
34. Jonson Chong, educator & activist
35. Joyce Wong, blogger
36. Jules Tang, TV & radio personality
37. Kartini Kamalul Ariffin, TV host
38. Khoo Kay Peng, political analyst
39. Kuah Jenhan, actor & comedian
40. Lina Tan, TV executive producer
41. Lina Teoh, documentary filmmaker and former Miss World 2nd runner-up
42. Low Ngai Yuen, TV host & arts entrepreneur
43. Maya Karin, actor
44. Niki Cheong, digital culture commentator
45. Norhayati Kaprawi, women’s rights activist & documentary maker
46. Pete Teo, musician & filmmaker
47. Prof Emeritus Shad Saleem Faruqi, academic
48. Puan Sri Elizabeth Moggie
49. Rafidah Abdullah, TV host & screenwriter
50. Ravindran Navaratnam, TIE Malaysia
51. Sazzy Falak, actor & entrepreneur
52. Serena Choong, radio & TV host
53. Shanthini Venugopal, performing arts practitioner
54. Sharifah Zuriah Aljeffri, artist
55. Sonny San, fashion consultant
56. Sue Quek, development practitioner
57. Tan Sri Dato Dr. Michael Yeoh, ASLI
58. Tan Sri Datuk Yong Poh Kon
59. Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, businessman
60. Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, CPPS
61. Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz, IDEAS
62. Toh Puan Dr. Aishah Ong, welfare activist
63. Vanidah Imran, actor
64. Will Quah, emcee
65. Zainah Anwar, women’s rights activist
66. Zain HD, RandomAlphabets
67. Zhariff Affandi, social entrepreneur

Effective representation more important than Chinese faces in government, says Tee Keat

By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The “effective” representation of the people is more important than having Chinese faces in the government, MCA’s Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat amid reports that the Chinese-based party was declining government posts due to its poorer performance at the polls.
Ong described MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s reiteration of the party presidential council’s decision before Election 2013 as “threats” which the Chinese community had largely ignored.
“I think the outcome of this election has indicated very clearly that the ethnic Chinese have made up their minds, despite the threats issued by Dr Chua in his capacity as party president.
“Let us be pragmatic; what the people want from public office holders, including the portfolio holders from MCA, is none other than your preparedness to serve, your effectiveness in carrying out your duties,” the former MCA president told the New Sunday Times in an interview published today.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition had traditionally formed governments where those from different ethnic-based parties were given posts in the administration, with prominent examples being Umno, MCA and MIC - which draws support mainly from the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities respectively.
Ong said talk about the need for such representation reflected an “old” way of thinking, saying that those wielding powere should effectively serve all Malaysians instead.
“Perhaps, certain party people were still in the same old mode of mindset, as they harped on the so-called ethnic Chinese representation in the government.
“While the people are mindful of the so-called ethnic representation within the government, they are also equally mindful of or perhaps, they are equally eager for, good delivery and effectiveness in discharging duties, irrespective of race and creed.
“What the people want is effective representation. When member(s) of parliament (are) elected, they do not just represent their own race.  So, whether a minister or deputy minister is ethnic Chinese or otherwise, they must (take) all Malaysians (to) heart,” Ong said.
The Malaysian Insider reported today that several Chinese associations said they were not worried about the possible absence of Chinese faces in the new BN cabinet, as all ministers must represent all Malaysians in the country’s new political landscape.
In the NST interview, Ong also dismissed notions that there was a “Chinese tsunami” in the polls, saying that there was instead an “urban tsunami” while pointing out that a substantial number of Malay voters had shifted their support to the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat.
Yesterday, Dr Chua said he would be accountable for MCA’s poorer polls performance, saying that he would only resign between this June and December to settle things within the party.
Several MCA divisions and veteran leaders had openly called for his resignation as president, with the latter urging Dr Chua to do so to make way for new blood to revive the Chinese party, a founding member of BN.
“We’re asking our party president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek to kindly step down at this time to allow new members to come in to revive and resuscitate the party,” former party president Tan Koon Swan said on Friday.
“We have no personal agenda nor are we against Dr Chua personally. For the sake of our party and the community especially, he should take responsibility and step down,” said Tan, who acted as the group’s spokesman.
Tan also said the MCA elders, 10 of whom were present at the press conference, were “saddened by the total embarrassment and humiliation” of the party’s historic defeat in its 64-year history.
MCA only won seven federal seats and 11 state seats in Election 2013, a marked failure to improve on its 2008 win of 15 federal seats and 32 state seats.

DAP’s ‘racism’ cost BN more seats, says Najib

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 – The racist politics played by the DAP had prevented Barisan Nasional (BN) from winning more seats in Election 2013, coalition chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak said tonight, as he defended the ruling bloc’s dismal showing at the May 5 polls.
The prime minister also defended his party Umno from accusations that it is a racist party amid public furor over Utusan Malaysia’s attack on the Chinese community and described the BN lynchpin as “moderate” and “the most successful” following its back-to-back win since Independence.
“Umno was not defeated, in fact it added more seats. If not for some quarters playing race issues, we would have won more seats,” he said in his speech at the party’s 67th anniversary celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
“We are not a racist party, we are a party that is moderate. We have been serving other races for a long time,” he added.
Najib’s statement came at the heels of widespread anger over what appeared to be an attempt by Umno-owned Utusan to shape the elections outcome as a Malay versus Chinese vote when it front-paged an incendiary headline entitled “Apa lagi yang Cina mahu? (What more do the Chinese want?)”.
The prime minister had also attributed BN’s record losses to what he described as a “Chinese tsunami” despite data showing increased support towards the opposition among urban and Malay middle-class while those in the rural areas remained the ruling coalition’s staunch backers.
BN secured a victory with 133 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 89 or seven fewer than what it garnered in Election 2008. Most of the ruling coalition’s seats were won on the back of rural Malay support while its non-Malay component allies were nearly annihilated.
This year’s general polls was marred with allegations of fraud while PR leaders note that the unfair gerrymandering of constituencies “ensured” BN’s win despite the opposition winning the popular vote with a 51 percentage point against the former’s 48 per cent.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the popular votes scored by PR showed the opposition and majority of Malaysians “had been robbed” of its democratic right to elect a government.
Najib has dismissed the fraud claims as an excuse and accused PR of unable to accept defeat.
“What is weird is that they are the one loudly shouting of democracy, that the people should decide everything but after the 13th general election results came out, they would not accept it.
“They gave so many excuses, call it a fraudulent election,” he said.
Najib went on to call the allegations “a big lie” widely publicised in social medias in an attempt to sway voters to against supporting his coalition.
“They say it as if it is the definite truth that even the more educated ones were tricked into believing it. This is the opposition,” he said, seeming to echo the view first voiced by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The country’s longest serving prime minister of 22 years had alleged that educated Malays had been influenced by the DAP’s “propaganda” into believing the “Malay” BN government to be corrupt.
“DAP’s propaganda is this government is corrupt and this is a corrupt Malay government. This propaganda touches the hearts of the educated Malays,” Dr Mahathir had been quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia in a May 8 report.

‘Nearly 40k Homes Seized in Spain in 2012’

Nearly 40,000 homes in Spain have been seized by banks in 2012, due to foreclosures, official data shows.

Spanish Guardia Civil members evict a woman from her home in Chovito on the island of Tenerife (Photo: Press TV)
Spanish Guardia Civil members evict a woman from her home in Chovito on the island of Tenerife (Photo: Press TV)
Press TV
May 11, 2013
The central bank reported on Friday that a total of 39,167 homes were seized last year after homeowners were not able to make payments.
The number of evictions was based on a survey of lenders which approve over 85 percent of mortgages in Spain.
The large majority of evictions, 32,490 were considered primary residences, with the remaining either secondary dwellings used as holiday properties or rentals.
In over 14,000 cases regarding primary residences, lenders had to go to court to gain control of the home.
The massive number of evictions sparked protests, including people blocking entrances to homes in order to prevent police from removing the homeowners by force.
After a series of suicides by people who were in the process of being evicted, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government implemented measures to aid struggling families to avoid eviction.
However, it has refused to change mortgage laws to allow defaulters’ debts to be erased if they voluntarily give up their homes.
Under Spanish law, most homeowners must continue to pay off their mortgage debt even after the banks have seized their property.
Spain is struggling with a double-dip recession caused by the property collapse in 2008, which has caused the unemployment rate to rise to record 27 percent.

Greece's youth unemployment hits 60%

Greek youth unemployment rose above 60 per cent for the first time in February, reflecting the pain caused by the country's crippling recession after years of austerity under its international bailout.
Greece's jobless rate has almost tripled since the country's debt crisis emerged in 2009 and was more than twice the euro zone's average unemployment reading of 12.1 percent in March.
While the overall unemployment rate rose to 27 per cent, according to statistics service data released on Thursday, joblessness among those aged between 15 and 24 jumped to 64.2 percent in February from 59.3 percent in January.

We’ve Reached Population Overshoot Which Has “Morphed” Into Both An Energy & Financial Crisis

Japan’s desperately trying to reach equilibrium. Nature and the laws of physics are clearly at work here much to the panic of the Japanese elite. You can see this with the “economic” related population crash. More people are dying than being born. I note the “experts” are trying to blame everything from popular culture, to the internet, to the feminization of men for the collapse.
The truth is, young males in today’s Japan have zero intentions of getting married, zero intentions of having children due to massive real and worsening economic pressures. The women all brainwashed with consumerism want money spending on them. This is their definition of “fun”. Restaurants, engagement rings, weddings, holidays, cars, clothes, shoes, shopping, children etc The men simply don’t want the horrific consumer responsibilities nor the pressure in a rapidly declining economy.
Do you think women today care about a collapsing economy? They want the princess lifestyle and they’ll stop at nothing to get it no thanks to the constant advertising propaganda blitz. Think about it for a second, if your career was so unstable, your salary declining, the cost of living/taxes rising, the State heavily swayed towards women, would you dare take the chance as a young male today given those odds against you?
It’s interesting because most young men in the Western world are also walking away from the massive pressures of marrying and having children, especially in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, US & UK. How many fathers do you know of right now killing themselves to provide? Worrying day after day about paying the bills, keeping the food on the table. Then for all your efforts, most marriages end in expensive divorces usually at the request of the woman because she’s simply “lost interest” or the “good times” has ended. She “demands” monetary payments thereafter consigning the man to utter poverty. She demands payment and the State is only too happy to oblige, both by going after the ex partner, the father and also the taxpayer.

Now we know why the UK/EU elite are so desperate for unchecked immigration. It’s all about perpetual economic growth, nothing more nothing less. The State must have its male slaves heavily indebted and consuming under massive pressure from the brainwashed woman, so the game can continue and they can keep enriching themselves at your expense. Is it not clear to you all?
So why has Japan lost its economic edge? Because the economy is an energy equation, the same way the West is, was and always will be. When energy costs rise because we’ve picked all the low hanging fruit, it makes those nations far less competitive relative to say China et al, this is why after 2008 we’re facing a crisis.
Now we’ve reached population overshoot which has “morphed” into both an energy & financial crisis, nature is taking over until equilibrium or a steady state is found. Unfortunately for us all, nature doesn’t always work in a kind, loving way. Those in the scientific community know nature can be brutal. Once again science observes this collapse dynamic phenomena: Phase Transitions in Complex Social Systems
My advice to most young males today is this, unless you have money, unless you will continue to have money or at least the earning capacity to do so IN THE LONG RUN, don’t even think about it because you will not survive the pressures brought upon you. If you’re intent on finding your dream girl, do not be pressured into anything until you’ve done a Mossad style clearance check on her and you have rock solid emotions.
Sad but true.


Spain is officially insolvent: get your money out while you still can

I'd not noticed this until someone drew my attention to it, but the latest IMF Fiscal Monitor, published last month, comes about as close to declaring Spain insolvent as you are ever likely to see in official analysis of this sort. Of course, it doesn't actually say this outright. The IMF is far too diplomatic for such language. But that's the plain meaning of its latest forecasts, which at last have an air of realism about them, rather than being the usual dose of wishful thinking.
Let's take the projected budget deficit first. This is expected to decline quite steeply this year to 6.6 per cent of GDP, but that's mainly because the cost of bailing out the banking sector fell substantially on last year's budget. On a like-for-like basis, there has in fact been very little fall in the underlying deficit. And nor on the present policy mix is there ever likely to be, for that's where the deficit is projected to remain until the end of the IMF's forecasting horizon in 2018.
Next year, the deficit is expected to be 6.9 per cent, the year after 6.6 per cent, and so on with very little further progress thereafter. Remember, all these projections are made on the basis of everything we know about policy so far, so they take account of the latest package of austerity measures announced by the Spanish Government.
The situation looks even worse on a cyclically adjusted basis. What is sometimes called the "structural deficit", or the bit of government borrowing that doesn't go away even after the economy returns to growth (if indeed it ever does), actually deteriorates from an expected 4.2 per cent of GDP this year to 5.7 per cent in 2018. By 2018, Spain has far and away the worst structural deficit of any advanced economy, including other such well known fiscal basket cases as the UK and the US.
So what happens when you carry on borrowing at that sort of rate, year in, year out? Your overall indebtedness rockets, of course, and that's what's going to happen to Spain, where general government gross debt is forecast to rise from 84.1 per cent of GDP last year to 110.6 per cent in 2018. No other advanced economy has such a dramatically worsening outlook. And the tragedy of it all is that Spain is actually making relatively good progress in addressing the "primary balance", that's the deficit before debt servicing costs.
What's projected to occur is essentially what happens in all bankruptcies. Eventually you have to borrow more just to pay the interest on your existing debt. The fiscal compact requires eurozone countries to reduce their deficits to 3 per cent by the end of this year, though Spain among others was recently granted an extension. But on these numbers, there is no chance ever of achieving this target without further austerity measures, which even if they were attempted would very likely be self defeating. IN any case, it seems doubtful an economy where unemployment is already above 25 per cent could take any more.
In the past, the IMF has been guilty of being far too optimistic about Spain, both on the outlook for growth and the public finances, so it's possible it is now committing the reverse mistake of undue pessimism. Yet somehow I doubt it. Spain is chasing its tail down into deflationary oblivion.
All this leads to the conclusion that a big Spanish debt restructuring is inevitable. Spanish sovereign bond yields have fallen sharply since announcement of the European Central Bank's "outright monetary transactions" programme. The ECB has promised to print money without limit to counter the speculators. But in the end, no amount of liquidity can cover up for an underlying problem with solvency.
Europe said that Greece was the first and last such restructuring, but then there was Cyprus. Spain is holding off further recapitalisation of its banks in anticipation of the arrival of Europe's banking union, which it hopes will do the job instead. But if the Cypriot precedent is anything to go by, a heavy price will be demanded by way of recompense. Bank creditors will be widely bailed in. Confiscation of deposits looks all too possible.
I don't advise getting your money out lightly. Indeed, such advise is generally thought grossly irresponsible, for it risks inducing a self reinforcing panic. Yet looking at the IMF projections, it's the only rational thing to do.
PS. I don't include creditors of the British arm of Santander in this warning, who are ring fenced from the mothership back bome in Spain, theoretically at least.

Michigan district closes all schools, fires all teachers

The academic school year was cut short for the 435 students in the Buena Vista School District in Saginaw, Michigan. Amid budget shortfalls, the district closed its three schools and laid off its entire teaching staff.

“Our analysis of the District’s cash flow demonstrates to us that, absent an extraordinary situation, we will not be able to make payroll for staff on May 24,” according to a letter on the school district’s official website.

Part of the immediate crisis is that the district wrongfully received $400,000 in state funds for the Wolverine Secure Treatment Center for juvenile offenders, but the facility had cut ties with the district in 2012. The district brought it to the attention of the state, which demanded the return of the funds.

Because the district is running a deficit, the state is withholding aid for April, May and June to recover the losses of the erroneous payment. The district didn't discover this until they didn't receive payment in April.

On Monday, Michigan Education Association members in the district voted to continue teaching students for free so they could finish out the academic year. As of Thursday, school remained closed.

MEA President Steve Cook said the move is “proof that politicians, administrators and other so-called ‘leaders’ consistently put money first and our kids last.”

The MEA contends that students are "innocent victims of gross financial mismanagement by district and state administrators, as well as Governor Rick Snyder’s reckless $1 billion in cuts to school funding." Buena Vista teachers had agreed to freeze their own pay for four years running, and the number of teachers has dropped by more than half since 2009, down to 27.

May 3 was the last paid work day for employees, and the district is considering having an Emergency Manager take over. Local Emergency Managers are appointed by the state and given authority to overrule the decisions of mayors, city councils, school boards and superintendents. UPI


Many cities in the U.S. state of Michigan are facing problems.

Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, has faced the steepest population decline of any American city in recent decades. Once the fifth largest U.S. city that shone as the birthplace of the U.S. automotive industry, it now ranks 18th with about 700,000 people - after suffering a 25 percent decline in population between 2000 and 2010. NBC News

With the exodus of residents and jobs as the auto industry contracted, the city has suffered from declining tax revenue and rising crime while saddled with the infrastructure and labor costs of a bygone era. Reuters

As many as 400 workers at more than 60 fast food restaurants in the Detroit metro area walked off the job on Friday, in what may be the largest fast food strike in American history, NBC News reported.

Detroit was named in February as the most miserable city in the United States, according to

Flint, another city in Michigan, which is being run by an emergency manager appointed by the state governor more than a year ago, faces similar problems and has some of the worst crime rates in the country and a jobless rate of 11.3 percent, according to


Economic Mystery: How Is Krugman So Dumb About a Topic He's Studied for So Long?

Why is Canada making Cyprus-style preparations?

By Jeff Thomas, International Man

An intriguing article titled "Canada Includes Depositor Haircut Bail-In Provision for Systemically Important Banks in 2013 Budget" was recently published in SD Bullion.
The somewhat lengthy title offers all the information necessary, but for those who – quite understandably – may not be able to accept that they have just watched Canada tumble down the Cypriot rabbit hole, here is a bit more detail from the approved budget itself:
"The Government proposes to implement a bail-in regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital."
Customer deposits could certainly fall under the label of "certain bank liabilities," and converting them into "regulatory capital" without permission is just a gentle way of describing confiscation. Though Canadian officials have denied that the term "certain bank liabilities" includes customer deposits, we must note that the government in Cyprus also promised that customer deposits would not be touched, only to renege on that promise at the onset of the crisis. Remember lesson #1 of the Cyprus debacle: "Do Not Trust Politicians."
As the recent events in Cyprus have been unfolding, each iteration has seemed to me to be not only logical, but almost predictable. As Jim Sinclair has recently been stating frequently, the EU has run out of options… The next step is confiscation.
There will, of course, be endless rhetoric and debate, followed by minor adjustments in method and percentage taken, but, ultimately, the powers-that-be have reached the confiscation stage. That is now carved in stone.
But at this point, if we are watching the horizon, we will spend less of our time mourning the fall of Cyprus and more of it anticipating which countries will be next in line.
Here, I confess, I have been surprised. There were quite a few countries that, logically speaking, might have been next. Canada was not even on my personal radar. This is not to say that it would not also be in the queue – only that I would have predicted its position in the queue to be quite a bit further back.
Those observing recent developments may have understandably been saying to themselves, "I realize that we live in difficult times and that, if I am to look after my family's future, I need to face up to the fact that we may be seeing dramatic change. But there are some things I can't accept, and one of those is the possibility that my savings could be confiscated by my bank. My government would never allow it!"
For those who very understandably may find this latest realization to simply be beyond the pale, it would be well to take a moment out to rise above the clouds for a bit of an overview at this juncture.
In most countries of what we grew up calling the "Free World," there has been a steady deterioration, particularly with regard to corporatism (the merger of state and corporate powers). One facet of that deterioration has been increasing legislation that allowed financial institutions to create Ponzi schemes with regard to lending, in which the bank goes broke in the end but the cost for the failure is passed to the taxpayer in the form of a bailout.
Put more simply, this means that after the fox has raided the henhouse, the government advises the public that the only way to save the situation is for the government to confiscate more hens from the farmers and give them to the foxes.
The public, desperate to return to "normal," will accept whatever the government says at this point, in the hope that it will all somehow turn out all right. Only a tiny percentage will be prepared to say, "We've been systematically raped and robbed by both our government and our banks, in full complicity with each other. It's high time I put what I have left in a sack and find a way to protect it on my own."
Those few who do so will turn to safe havens for wealth (however much or little that wealth may be). They may invest in overseas properties that cannot be confiscated by their own governments, buy precious metals and store them privately, and so on.
The objective will be simply to make it as difficult as possible for their governments to confiscate their wealth.
While there may be no guarantee that they will succeed, they would know that at the very least, they will not be the low-hanging fruit when their government enters the orchard to begin the picking.
However, as history shows, the great majority of the people of all countries will fail to act. They will watch in confusion as events unfold, as the banks continue to come up with schemes to further bilk the public of their wealth, while the governments assure the public that, "It's an emergency situation. We have to be willing to sacrifice a bit more to save the system, or we'll really be sorry." In the end, the majority of people will comply.
Cyprus is a bellwether of what is next for the world in general. A term has even already been coined for what is coming – a "bail-in." An event in which the public must accept that, in order to save the banks from collapse (which they have been told since 2008 is the absolute worst possible outcome), they must accept that they must make their "contribution" – confiscation of their deposits by the banks. First, it will be, say, 5%, then it will be announced that 5% didn't solve the problem and another transfusion will be needed. Then another.
Some people will figure out along the way that they are being robbed by both their government and the banks, working in concert, but most will regard that reality as impossible, as it has never happened before and surely can't happen now.
If Cyprus is the bellwether, then Canada is the red flag, showing that Cyprus is not an isolated situation. The damage wreaked by monumental debt is systemic, and it has taken place throughout the First World and beyond.
This latter statement will very likely be the most difficult to accept as reality. If so, here is something to consider: Canada has approved its bail-in on a national level just one week after a final decision was made in Cyprus. As we all know, the wheels of governments worldwide move slowly. The reader might ask himself whether he believes that the Canadian government has, in short order, approved its own bail-in, in reaction to the events in Cyprus. If this possibility is simply too far-fetched, he must accept that the plan for Cyprus has been known to the Canadian government for some time and that a similar bail-in for Canada has been in the works for a while. It was simply agreed that Cyprus would go first – to act as the litmus test.
If the reader finds himself agreeing that it is likely that the Canadian government had foreknowledge of the events in Cyprus, his next logical conclusion would be that other nations had the same foreknowledge and have very likely been getting their own ducks in a row.
Most countries in the First World have gone down the same road of monumental debt and have found that that road has led to a precipice. At this point, they have no other option left in their bag of tricks. They are all in the same boat and will play their last option – confiscation of wealth.
While many First World citizens think that events like those unfolding in Cyprus could never happen in their home country, the truth is precisely the opposite – and actions like the Canadian government's send a strong signal that the time to protect your wealth from governmental grabs is running out.
There are a number of diverse steps you can take to protect yourself and your wealth from being milked by your home government. Whether you're looking to stash some cash or precious metals in another country, interested in setting up an offshore LLC, or wanting to go completely international with your life and your assets, the comprehensive information in Going Global 2013 will provide you with sound strategies and trusted options for securing your financial future. Learn more and get started protecting your wealth today.