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Here Is The “Growth” – Inventory Hoarding Accounts For Nearly 60% Of GDP Increase In Past Year | Zero Hedge

Here Is The “Growth” – Inventory Hoarding Accounts For Nearly 60% Of GDP Increase In Past Year | Zero Hedge.

As we reported earlier, while on the surface the headline revised Q3 GDP number was a stunner coming at 3.6%, the reality is that more than 100% of the growth from the initial estimate came from a revised estimate of how many private Inventories were stockpiled in the quarter. The reality was that of the $230 billion in total increase in SAAR GDP, $146 billion of this, or over 63%, was due to inventory stockpiling.

So how does inventory hoarding – that most hollow of “growth” components as it relies on future purchases by a consumer who has increasingly less purchasing power – look like historically? The chart below shows the quarterly change in the revised GDP series broken down by Inventory (yellow) and all other non-Inventory components comprising GDP (blue).

But where the scramble to accumulate inventory in hopes that it will be sold, profitably, sooner or later to buyers either domestic or foreign, is seen most vividly, is in the data from the past 4 quarters, or the trailing year starting in Q3 2012 and ending with the just released revised Q3 2013 number. The result is that of the $534 billion rise in nominal GDP in the past year, a whopping 56% of this is due to nothing else but inventory hoarding.

The problem with inventory hoarding, however, is that at some point it will have to be “unhoarded.” Which is why expect many downward revisions to future GDP as this inventory overhang has to be destocked.

 

Social Media Monitoring: Feds To Keep Close Eye On Facebook Posts

Social Media Monitoring: Feds To Keep Close Eye On Facebook Posts.

OTTAWA – Big Brother is watching you — on just about every social-media platform you can imagine.

Tweets, public Facebook posts and YouTube videos could soon be subject to round-the-clock scrutiny by the federal government, a procurement document posted this week by Public Works and Government Services Canada suggests.

Welcome to media monitoring in the 21st century, when simply leafing through a stack of newspapers in the morning is about as antiquated as, well, newspapers.

The federal government is seeking a firm that “continuously monitors social media content on a daily basis in near real time and (can) provide web-based, online media metrics and reporting capabilities.”

That includes combing through “blogs, micro-blogs, social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, forums and message boards, traditional news websites and comment sections, media sharing websites (videos, photos and user-generated content websites including YouTube).”

The contractor is also being asked to keep tabs on English- and French-language Internet news sites and blogs.

The document specifies that the contractor must be able to provide the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Part of the job will be to gauge the sentiment and tone of posts and to determine their reach.

The social-media monitoring service must also come with the ability to filter searches by country, language and key words.

The work, which appears to be on an as-requested basis, runs from next February until January 2019.

Digital public affairs analyst Mark Blevis of FullDuplex.ca said it’s not unusual that a government would want to know what people are saying, although he concedes some might find that thought disconcerting.

“On one level, there is a creepiness factor to this,” Blevis said in an interview.

“But then on another level, it’s open data, it’s open information. If it’s publicly accessible, why should the government have any less privilege accessing it than anyone else in the public eye?

“What they do with it is going to be the big question.”

Social media can act as an “early warning system” to alert authorities to major disasters, Blevis said, just as it can be used to track public opinion.

“It depends on the intent. Is it creepy? Yeah, for the vast majority of the public it will seem creepy because the sense is the government is looking over their shoulder,” he said.

“But another part of me feels that this is a recognition that this where the conversations are happening now, and they’re happening in plain view.”

Public Works said Friday that while previous media monitoring work did involve social media, the technology has evolved to the point where a contractor who specializes in social media is necessary.

Media monitoring is standard procedure for any government that wants to understand how its policies and practices are being received by the public, spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold wrote in an emailed statement.

“The government is continuing to monitor social media as a part of general media monitoring,” Bujold said.

“Previously, supply arrangements for media monitoring included social media. Given it is a unique field that continues to grow, PWGSC issued on Nov. 29 a separate request for supply arrangements so that specialized firms can compete for this work.”

http://www.twitter.com/steve_rennie

 

Gregor Macdonald: What Happened to the Future? | Peak Prosperity

Gregor Macdonald: What Happened to the Future? | Peak Prosperity.

BLOG

peapopp/Shutterstock

What Happened to the Future?

Hopes dim as global net energy per capita declines
by Gregor Macdonald
Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 1:15 PM

Improbably, the global economy has returned to growth over the past four years despite the ravages of a deflationary debt collapse, a punishing oil shock, ongoing constraint from debt and deleveraging, and stagnant global wages.

The proof of this growth comes from the best indicator of all: the growth of global energy consumption. Halted in 2009, as global trade collapsed from the second half of 2008 into the first half of the following year, the global demand for energy inputs quickly returned to its long-term trend in 2010, growing at approximately 2% per year.

Ecological economics holds that human economies are subordinate to the availability of natural capital. Technology therefore does not create natural resources, nor does human innovation. Instead, technology and innovation mediate the utilization of existing natural resources. In other words, an improvement in the techniques of longwall coal mining (late 1700s), deepwater offshore oil drilling (late 1900s), and horizontal natural gas fracking (early 2000s) are all impressive. But these innovations only matter when the prize of dense energy deposits are actually on offer. No dense energy deposits = no value to innovation.

We are therefore obligated to acknowledge that when few natural resources exist or are too expensive to extract, very little economic activity is possible. Conversely, we are equally obligated to admit that when resources are available for consumption, then growth will likely result. And lo and behold, that is precisely the explanation for the world’s return to growth since the collapse of 2008: Despite the punishing repricing of oil from $25 earlier in the decade to $100, there was enough energy from other sources to get the global economy back to some kind of growth.

Of course, this is not the smooth and well-lubricated growth that many in the West had become accustomed to in the post-war era. The nature of today’s growth is highly asymmetric between East and West, and highly imbalanced between rich and poor. Today’s growth is also quite lumpy, or highly clustered, as certain domains and regions are benefiting while other populations are living in very stagnant conditions. We’ll get to these details shortly.

But first, let’s look at the longer-term chart of global energy consumption from all sources  oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, and biomass  denominated in Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent):

This chart is bad news for the many observers on all sides of the macroeconomic equation who are trying to puzzle out the post-crisis era. The fact is, there is enough energy to fund traditional, industrial economic growth in the phase after Peak Oil. Yes, the end of cheap oil did indeed shock the system, and along with the previous credit bubble, it has cast a pall on the potential rate of global growth. But many of the forecasts about the absolute end of growth have yet to come true. This is important because while the global economic system was highly sensitive to an oil shock coming into 2007, it is actually less sensitive now to an oil shock. Those who, ten years ago, correctly predicted the tail risk that oil presented to the system should declare victory. Equally, forecasting a repeat of that experience is probably unwise.

The Oil Crash is Now Behind Us

Why? Simply put, whereas oil used to be the key commodity on which a fast, just-in-time, high-functioning global economy depended all too much, now a combination of coal, natural gas, and other inputs to the power grid have taken nearly all of the market share over the past decade. It is axiomatic, therefore, that if the global supply of oil has only increased from 74 mbpd (million barrels per day) in 2004 to 76 mbpd here at the end of 2013, but total energy consumption globally from all sources has risen over 20% in the same period, then nearly all the growth in the global economy is being funded by other forms of energy.

So you can abandon the idea there will be a future oil crash – because we already had it. The world has been busily starting to wean itself off oil for nearly ten years now. Oil use in Europe and the United States peaked in 2004-2005. The decline of oil consumption only accelerated after 2008, and in the OECD, it’s still declining. Will $125 or $150 oil crash the economies of Japan, the United States, or Europe at this point? Perhaps not. There is hardly any growth to crash in the OECD. It is as if the OECD economies are effectively bunkered, with no growth in wages, jobs, or construction, and nearly all progress is confined to asset prices, mainly the stock market. Perversely, this stagnation is the new strength.

Meanwhile, in the Non-OECD, where growth is actually taking place, the big drive that has taken world energy use higher since 2008 – from 11310 Mtoe in 2009 to this year’s projected 12726 Mtoe – continues to be funded by natural gas, various inputs to the power grid, and the world’s still fastest growing energy source: coal. Yes that’s right, coal, which grew 2.5% last year. Again, ecological economics informs us that there must be energy inputs to fund economic growth. Well, the world has plenty of energy inputs in the form of natural gas and coal. There is no Peak Natural Gas and there is no Peak Coal. No crash is coming in either of these resources in the foreseeable future, either.

To give a better sense of the decline of oil and the rise of other energy inputs, consider that in almost every European country now, bicycle sales now outnumber automobile salesLife After the Oil Crash, indeed! In the United States, oil demand has fallen to levels last seen over thirty years ago. The 5 mbpd of new demand in Asia, built over the past decade, has been supplied more from demand declines in the West than new global production. The real oil crash, now, the oil crash that matters most, is the decline of oil’s share in the total energy mix. A decade ago, oil provided nearly 39% of total global energy supply. Oil’s now down to 33%, and heading to 32% either this year, 2013, or by next year:

We would not say that the global economy is currently at high risk of losing its access to coal. So we should no longer be overly concerned that the global economy is going to lose its access to oil. It has already lost its access to cheap oil. And now coal, not oil, is in position to take the lead as the number one energy source, globally. But there is little room for complacency in this regard. Because there is little good news in this lower tail risk from oil and its lower-level threat to the global economy. Rather, the global economy is growing increasingly imbalanced.

The Grand Asymmetry

We can think of reflationary policy from Europe, the U.S., and especially Japan as an attempt to counter the West’s loss of access to cheap oil. Is that policy working? Not really.

The primary beneficiaries of this policy have largely been corporations, which derive most of their growth from the 5 billion people in the developing world but are located in the OECD. These corporations are sited in London, New York, Tokyo; the cash from worldwide operations rolls in, but they have little need for expensive, high-wage Western workers. Accordingly, stock markets in the West, composed of these corporations, continue to soar, while investment and growth in the OECD stagnates.

It’s bad enough that Western corporations do not hire domestic workers, do not raise wages, and have maintained capex (capital expenditures) at low levels for years. The huge cash piles stored in corporations represents their conversion, in some sense, to global utilities. Energy companies, technology companies, and infrastructure companies now operate at a very high level of efficiency. So high, and with the aid of information technology, that their need to invest in new capital equipment and especially human labor has fallen to very low levels. How low? A Standard-and-Poor’s report on global capex released just this summer showed that investment is, unsurprisingly, far lower in the post-2008 period than before. Recent commentary from the folks at FT Alphaville lays some color on this data point, because at current rates, U.S. capex has only recovered to the previous trough levels of prior recessions. Worse, whatever meager recovery in capex has taken place from the lows of 2009 is now stalling again. From the S&P Global Corporate Capital Expenditure Survey, July 2013:

The global capex cycle appears to be stalling even before it has fully got under way. In real terms, capex growth for our sample of nonfinancial companies slowed in 2012 to 6% from 8% in 2011. Current estimates suggest that capex growth will fall by 2% in 2013. Early indications for 2014 are even more pessimistic, with an expected decline in real terms of 5%…. Worldwide, capex growth has become increasingly reliant on investment in the energy and materials sectors. Together, these sectors account for 62% of capex in the past decade. This reliance creates risks. If the global commodity “super cycle” is fading, global capex will struggle to grow meaningfully in the near term. Sharp cutbacks in the materials sector are a key factor in the projected slowdown in capex for 2013 and 2014.

Notice that the total volume of global capex is increasingly reliant on investment in the very capital-intensiveenergy and materials sector. This is highly revealing. In the aftermath of oil’s repricing and the repricing of many other natural resources, the global natural resources sector now requires significantly more investment to extract the same units of oil, copper, iron ore, coal, natural gas, and potash, and requires more expensive technology and more human labor. This is the sector holding up the average spend of global capex, so we can conclude that beneath that average, the capex in typical post-war industries like media, finance, real estate, and even infrastructure is not only low, but historically low. The very poor level of employment growth confirms exactly this conclusion. Most poignant of all, this is a wildly strong confirmation of ecological economics, showing that a larger and larger proportion of total investment needs to be devoted now to natural resource extraction, leaving less investment to other areas. The net energy available to society is in decline.

But it’s not just the private sector that has stopped investing. Public sector levels of investment have been dropping as well. In fact, according to yet another dump of recent data, U.S. government investment in public infrastructure is at the lowest levels since WWII. The Financial Times covered this on November 3rd and produced a rather stunning chart. The Financial Times writes, “Public investment picked up at the start of Mr. Obama’s term – temporarily rising to its highest level since the early 1990s – because of his fiscal stimulus. But that has been more than reversed by subsequent cuts. The biggest falls are in infrastructure, especially construction of schools and highways by states and municipalities.”

Conclusion (to Part I)

When neither the private nor public sector is willing to invest in the future, it seems appropriate to ask, what happened to the future? Have corporations along with governments figured out that a return to slow growth does not necessary equal a return to normal growth? Why invest in new infrastructure, new workforces, new office space, equipment, highways, or even rail, when the demand necessary to provide a return on this investment may never materialize?

Many sectors in Western economies remain in oversupply or overcapacity. There is a surplus of labor and a surplus of office and industrial real estate, as well as airports, highways, and suburbs that are succumbing to a permanent decrease in throughput and traffic. Perhaps the private sector is not so unwise. Collectively, through its failure to invest, it is making a de facto forecast: No normal recovery is coming.

In Part II: Why Social & Environmental Imbalances Are Becoming the Biggest Risks, we explore how the misguided policies being pursued worldwide to return to the growth we’ve been accustomed to are resulting in a volatile mix of imbalances in both wealth and resource availability.

As we move further into a future defined by less per capita – not more, as we’ve become accustomed to dangerous rifts in our social fabric (both within and among countries) threaten to define the days ahead.

Click here to access Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).

 

Fukushima’s crippled reactors: the risky plan to move fuel rods – World – CBC News

Fukushima’s crippled reactors: the risky plan to move fuel rods – World – CBC News.

TEPCO workers trying to stabilize Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are examined for excessive radiation exposure after their shifts.TEPCO workers trying to stabilize Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are examined for excessive radiation exposure after their shifts. (Tomohiro Ohsumi / Associated Press)

Related stories:

The thousands of people who punch in every day at what is arguably the world’s most dangerous workplace are accustomed to facing risks.

 

But now workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have embarked on their most precarious operation since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns and explosions at the facility.

 

On Monday, select crews from Tokyo Electric Power Company began  removing hundreds of highly radioactive spent fuel rods from a cooling pool inside a rickety reactor building, a job that is unprecedented in scale, and where one wrong move could have disastrous consequences.

Fuel rod quick facts

Workers at Fukushima Daiichi plan to remove more than 3,100 fuel rod assemblies from four reactor buildings.

Tokyo Electric Power Company officials say 80 of those assemblies are cracked — 70 in the reactor one building. They say holes and cracks in the damaged assemblies could cause radioactive particles to leak out.

Six teams of six workers will operate the crane to move the assemblies to the special containers. Each team can only work for two hours a day — they rotate to keep the operation moving, to minimize radiation exposure.

The amount of radioactive cesium-137 in the pool holding the fuel rod assemblies is said to be the equivalent of roughly 14,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs.

 

 

“It’s a totally different operation than removing normal fuel rods from a spent fuel pool,” Shunichi Tanaka, the chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, said recently.

 

“They need to be handled extremely carefully and closely monitored. You should never rush or force them out, or they may break. I’m much more worried about this than I am about contaminated water.”

 

TEPCO’s checkered track record

 

But given that TEPCO has not exactly won over the Japanese public with its handling of the catastrophe, and that the amount of radioactive cesium-137 in the pool is said to be the equivalent of roughly 14,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs, this next step is turning into a crucial test for the beleaguered utility as much as it is an engineering challenge.

 

Few in Japan or abroad seem convinced that TEPCO can pull this off, given the company’s checkered track record.

 

This is the same utility, they point out, that used false inspection reports years ago to cover up faults at Fukushima Daiichi; that dismissed warnings in 2008 that a monster tsunami could engulf the plant; that waited weeks to admit meltdowns even happened in March 2011, and that waited many months to acknowledge radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

India-nuclear-protestAnti-nuclear activists around the world, like those here in Mubai, India, in October, have stepped up their campaigns following the meltdown of the Fukushima reactors two years ago. (Rafiq Maqbool / Associated Press)

 

It has also held back key information and stumbled from problem to problem over the past two-and-a-half years.

 

In fact, TEPCO has performed so poorly that a task force for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is recommending it be split up so that the job of decommissioning the wrecked plant would be separated from the utility’s power-generating role.

 

Managing risks

 

The fuel rods to be removed over the next 12 months or so are mostly in reactor four, which was offline when Fukushima Daiichi was shaken by powerful tremors and swamped by towering waves.

 

In the subsequent hydrogen explosions and fires, debris rained down on the large pool that holds 1,533 fuel rod assemblies —1,331 used and 202 unused. Another roughly 1,500 assemblies in the three other reactors are to be removed as well.

 

Workers spent months shoring up the structure and the pool, fearing another strong quake could trigger a catastrophe.

 

TEPCO spokesperson Tatsuhiro Yamagishi told CBC News that along with cesium-137 and cesium-134, the radioactive isotopes contained in the fuel include strontium-90, radium-226, uranium-235, and plutonium-239, which has a half-life of approximately 24,000 years.

 

Yamagishi admits engineers don’t know exactly how many assemblies have been damaged. The current estimate is that 80 have cracks.

 

“We are managing different types of risks,” he said. “We are evaluating each case right now.”

 

John Froats, an associate professor and nuclear engineer in residence at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, says those risks can probably be dealt with if handled carefully.

hi-fukushima-google-852 

 

“The Fukushima Daiichi plant evolution is no doubt complicated by the plant damage and debris,” he said. “These complications can be managed by careful inspection to understand the state of systems and equipment and the fuel, and then by careful planning of the step-by-step tasks that need to be achieved.”

 

TEPCO workers have already removed a good amount of debris, checked some fuel rod assemblies to make sure they weren’t corroded by the seawater that was used to cool the pool in the early days of the crisis, and stabilized the building.

 

 

They’ve also successfully removed two unused rod assemblies. This week they began using the specially constructed crane to extract the fuel units one-by-one, keeping them underwater as they move them into specially-designed containers and then to another location on site.

 

In a corporate video on the TEPCO website, a deep-voiced narrator cheerfully runs through a simplified version of the process.

 

“Moving the spent fuel out of the damaged reactor building and into safe, permanent storage lays the groundwork for moving forward with cleanup and remediation of the damaged reactor building,” the video says.

 

In the video, TEPCO also calls the removal of the fuel rod assemblies from the reactor four building “a milestone” in the recovery of Fukushima Daiichi.

 

The world is watching

 

Certainly, it’s a key part of the decades-long decommissioning process now underway, and perhaps key to the company’s survival.

 

But while utility managers have no choice but to show they’re up to the task, the reality is they’re tackling a challenge none in their industry has faced before, and they’ll be carrying out the work knowing people around the world will be watching with critical eyes.

Fukushima-craneTEPCO workers gather earlier this month near the giant crane that began on Monday lifting stored fuel rod assemblies from Daiichi reactor four. (Kimimasa Mayama / Associated Press)

 

Among the critics is Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a science journalist and engineer who helped build part of reactor four at Fukushima Daiichi (and who later admitted to helping cover up a manufacturing flaw with the unit).

 

As he sees it, “TEPCO is a selling-electricity company, not an engineering company.

 

“It is quite apparent that TEPCO doesn’t have enough ability to cope with the problems in progress now. That’s why [it] has made a lot of mistakes.”

 

Tanaka, who calls the current state of the nuclear plant “hopeless,” says that while the utility has plenty of experience in normal fuel removal work, this job is different because of the possibility that some of the rod assemblies have been damaged.

 

And although TEPCO spokespersons insist their inspections and those by outside experts confirm the reinforcement of the reactor building has made it seismically sound, Tanaka maintains the structure is still vulnerable.

 

“I think it is very dangerous,” he says. “Furthermore, this very difficult work is going to be done in an earthquake-prone country.”

TEPCO was given permission in late summer to take on the removal of the fuel rods. But just before the operation begain U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the facility to offer American help.

 

“The success of the cleanup also has global significance,” Moniz said. “We all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well, efficiently and safely.”

 

Syrian Army Base Rocked Again By Overnight Explosions, Israel Implicated | Zero Hedge

Syrian Army Base Rocked Again By Overnight Explosions, Israel Implicated | Zero Hedge. (source)

The last time major explosions were reported near Damascus, it was in May when Israel and its air force did everything in their power to provoke the Assad regime to escalate military operations both domestically and abroad. It almost succeeded when three months later Obama nearly led a falseflag-driven “liberation” force facilitating Saudi and Qatari energy interests in the region and their pipeline ambitions below Syria. Since then Israel had been largely dormant, seething in its (and Saudi) disappointment that it was unable to play Obama like a fiddle.

The unstable detente changed again overnight, when as Haaretz reports “a large explosion was heard at a Syrian army missile base in Latakia.  Eye witnesses told the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights that the explosion took place near Snobar Jableh, south of the city. It was not yet clear whether anyone was wounded in the strike.” And not surprisingly, it is once again Israel’ that was implicated in the latest regional provocation because as Haaretz adds, the “strike follows Lebanese media reports that Israeli aircraft circled above southern Lebanon.”

“The official Lebanese news agency reported that Israeli aircrafts were sighted on multiple occasions Wednesday in the south of the country. According to the report, which was based on a press statement by the Lebanese army, the airplanes entered Lebanese airspace at around 1:40 P.M. and circled over various places before leaving over the Mediterranean Sea near Tripoli and Naqoura at 5 P.M.”

From Haaretz:

A Facebook page run by Syrian rebels claimed that the strike occurred at around 7 P.M. According to the page, a missile was fired from the sea and struck the Syrian base but did not result in any casualties. Israeli sources declined to comment on the reports.

Last week, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida reported that Israeli fighter planes had bombed a shipment of missiles in the border area between Lebanon and Syria. The report, which according to the paper was based on sources in Jerusalem, has no confirmation from any other source.

The source told the newspaper that the missiles that were destroyed were of an advanced model and were designated for Hezbollah, as part of the strengthening of the organization’s missile system. It is not clear whether the attack was carried out on Lebanese territory or on Syrian territory.

Israel refused to comment officially on the publication in the Kuwaiti newspaper, whose reliability is questionable.

While hardly surprising if Israel is confirmed as the offending party, a far bigger question is what are next steps: because unlike before, Putin has now very officially made Syria his protectorate, even as the US protective influence over both Syria and the region in general was waned substantially in the past few months. But perhaps more surprising is the desperation with which Israel is once again trying to destabilize the region. One thing that is clear: while such provocative actions may have yielded results as recently as half a year ago, Israel will need to put far more energy into comparable actions in the future, whether they target Syria or Iran, as the public opinion’s threshold for unwarranted Israel offensive action has dropped substantially since the bundled US foreign policy escapade in Syria which was an unmitigated disaster for the US-Saudi-Qatar-Israel axis.

Related articles

 

NSA Website Hacked Ahead Of “Stop Watching Us” Rally | Zero Hedge

NSA Website Hacked Ahead Of “Stop Watching Us” Rally | Zero Hedge. (source)

Update: As of 6:30 pm Eastern, the NSA’s website has been down for 5 hours.

Following our earlier comments on the vulnerabilities of the Obamacare websites, the fact that the United States National Security Agency suddenly went offline Friday is still surprising. As RT reports,NSA.gov has been unavailable globally as of late Friday afternoon, and Twitter accounts belonging to people loosely affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivism movement have suggested they are responsible.

It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that there is a major “Stop Watching Us” rally scheduled for Saturday in Washington, DC.

where the following letter was sent to Congress:

Dear Members of Congress,

We write to express our concern about recent reports published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, and acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which reveal secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States.

The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by an intelligence contractor showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization.

Leaked reports also published by the Guardian and confirmed by the Administration reveal that the NSA is also abusing a controversial section of the PATRIOT Act to collect the call records of millions of Verizon customers. The data collected by the NSA includes every call made, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other “identifying information” for millions of Verizon customers, including entirely domestic calls, regardless of whether those customers have ever been suspected of a crime. The Wall Street Journal has reported that other major carriers, including AT&T and Sprint, are subject to similar secret orders.

This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy.

We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs. We call on Congress to immediately and publicly:

  1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
  2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
  3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Via RT,

Twitter users @AnonymousOwn3r and @TruthIzSexy both were quick to comment on the matter, and implied that a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, may have been waged as an act of protest against the NSA

So If it’s a attack comming from me, or maybe from a country? won’t say! It’s just looks like a start of a cyber war

— Anonymous Own3r (@AnonymousOwn3r) October 25, 2013

‘Sir’ @BarackObama you haz problem? Perhaps you should check your national fucking security cos the NSA wont load? http://t.co/e6P0NHQYcO xD

— S.3xe (@TruthIzSexy) October 25, 2013

Allegations that those users participated in the DDoS — a method of over-loading a website with too much traffic — are currently unverified, and @AnonymousOwn3r has previously taken credit for downing websites in a similar fashion, although those claims have been largest contested.

The question, of course, is whether this is retalization from Europe (or Brazil) for the ‘denied’ allegations over spying?

Creepily Close | KUNSTLER

Creepily Close | KUNSTLER. (FULL ARTICLE)

Things that can’t go on, the prophet Herb Stein once observed, go on until they can’t. Criticality eventually bushwhacks credulity. The aggregation of rackets that American life has become is rolling over like a great groaning wounded leviathan and the rest of the world is starting to freak out at the spectacle. Instead of a revolution, we’re having a suicide party.

But don’t worry, a revolution would not be far behind. My guess is that it would kick off as generational rather than regional or factional, but it would eventually incorporate all three. A generation already swindled by the college loan racket must be chafing at the bureaucratic nightmare that ObamaCare instantly turned into at its roll-out, with a website that wouldn’t let anyone log in. Isn’t technology wonderful? I wonder when the “magic moment” will come when all those unemployed millennials join a Twitter injunction to just stop paying back their loans. If that particular message went out during this month’s government food fight, it would do more than just get the attention of a few politicians. It would crash the banks and snap the links in every chain of obligation holding the fiasco of globalism together….

 

Protesting Veterans Tear Down DC Barricades, Chant “Shut Down The White House” | Zero Hedge

Protesting Veterans Tear Down DC Barricades, Chant “Shut Down The White House” | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

The “Million Vet March” in Washington D.C. appears to be escalating as reports of barricades being torn down, police in riot gear and snipers being deployed, and a growing crowd at The White House chanting for its shut-down suggest the people are growing restless.

 

Via Epoch Times,

Protesters have gathered in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, according to reports.

 

 

Park police in riot gear were deployed in front of the building.

 

“US Park Police have arrived in front of WH. Some in riot gear! Tea party/veteran protesters start booing,” wrote CNN’s Jim Acosta on Twitter….

 

Russian Embassy In Libya Attacked | Zero Hedge

Russian Embassy In Libya Attacked | Zero Hedge.

First it was the Americans. Now it is the Russians’ turn. Al Arabiya reports (and Itar-Tass confirms) that “Gunmen attacked the Russian embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Wednesday, Al Arabiya correspondent reported. The sound of gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades could be heard around the embassy, the correspondent added. No further details were immediately available.” According to unverified reports on Twitter, the embassy had been evacuated before the attack (the Russian NSA appears to be more efficient than its US equivalent).

The Russian embassy in Tripoli:

RT adds:

The Russian embassy in Tripoli, Libya, has come under fire and there were attempts to get into Russia’s diplomatic compound, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement….

 

Banks, Utilities Seen as Targets of Syrian Cyber-Attacks – Bloomberg

Banks, Utilities Seen as Targets of Syrian Cyber-Attacks – Bloomberg.

 

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