Can the World Afford “Peace?”

The Russia stock market is zooming ahead this morning on news that the Russians will be pulling their troops back from the Ukraine border area.

But the US futures were a lot more measured about it, down about 30-points and no sign of rapture in the Church of the Almighty Dollar just yet.

imageGoogle Trends, when you look at the data, shows a long-term decline in the use of the word “war.”

This may not be a good thing.  The reason being that industry is sort of running out of “new things to sell” and short of a batch of 4K TVs and (yet another zero down) new car, what exactly is it people are supposed to be buying?

Food?  Sure, but with the natural food movement, there has been an increase in food at home and processes foods are not the hot ticket they once were.

What’s more, real estate has changed.  The New Minimalists don’t need 500 square feet in their homes for a bookcase:  Everything they need is in software and that ruins the tree-killing and it’s certainly had an impact on the pulp and paper folks.

Used to be when you needed something, you’d print off a copy of the email, or whatever, but now you can just drag it to your phone…

So the coming problem (*other than an iPhone 6) is figuring out what the next Big Thing will be.

It’s more than a rhetorical question:  Robotics and 3D printing are coming to get another 20-million jobs and hot on their heels will be a further 10-million as self-driving cars and trucks come along.

Against this background, other than lots of jobs and PRE (people replacement engineers) what’s left.

If you see a growth industry that’s in the “gotta have” category, please send it along.  We’re always on the lookout for hot new growth prospects, but organic growth and fundamental breakthroughs that become consumer must-haves seem to be in short supply here lately.

Which is why I’m aghast are big business stories like this one:

Let’s Make a Deal

We’ll be doing a quick IQ check of AT&T later today, since plans were announced to acquire DirecTV for almost $50-billion.

If they were a little closer, I’d might consider parading around with a simple placard that might read:

“Fiber?”

As the NY Times Dealbook report points out (after you read who’s got their hand in the deal-cookie jar) this may be more of a “marriage of convenience” than something which makes sense in light of where the future is going.

“Fiber?

Veterans a Potential Terror Threat?

You have got to be kidding me:  Here we have the most loyal group of Americans you’d ever want to see and the gubmint is talking about US military Veterans as a threat.  Who are these policy wonks, anyway?

Contributor warhammer is equally appalled:

George,

First this report the local police are preparing for armed conflict against returning veterans.

I’d place this in the “self fulfilling prophecy” column. As the article notes, our military is trained to recognized a authoritarian banana republic when they see one. The U.S. Government trained them to fight and decapitate such atrocities.

Between the shoddy medical care for returning vets and the decaying principles of democracy they come home to, these heroes know ‘Merica ain’t living up to its historic standards. They are the quite possibly last line of defense for the Constitution as handed down from the Founders if John Q. Public continues to fall into a trance every time the current administration preaches condescendingly from the mountaintop, throws handouts their way and twirls shiny trinkets before their dazzled eyes.

Next, former VP, Darth Vader, er, Dick Cheney stated the obvious when he stated President O has demonstrated a consistent ability to be pushed around on the international stage.

IMO, it all started with inaction in Syria after the ‘red line’ was crossed when chem weapons were undeniably used by the Assad regime. Since then, Putin realized the chicken coop has no guard dog and has moved regionally to annex Crimea and (soon) Eastern Ukraine. He then staged a coup on the ISS, pronouncing his intention to refuse U.S. access to the orbiting facility after 2020. All former USSR satellites should prepare to suffer the same fate.

These two, the terrorization of returning vets and the U.S. Getting bullied on the international stage, appear related. A weak international president desperately seeks to appear strong domestically, but his policies are not achieving their desired effect. As a result, dear leader is systematically creating domestic threats, castrating his opposition, calling fiscal conservatives ‘greedy’ and labeling anti-immigration and anti-ACA minded citizens as inhumane ‘racist.’ He controls the major media (save for Fox and a few fringe outlets like InfoWars, Real Clear and Breitbart) and consistently foments domestic division instead of seeking national unity.

If these returning veterans are a threat to the current administration, they are so simply because they embody what made this country great, proud and independent from the Crown of England. They understand the sacrifices that must occasionally be made to protect our collective freedoms. They recognize the threats, foreign and domestic, that threaten and actively attack our liberties. These vets have and will will put their lives on the line for their fellow citizens, all for the simple joys and unalienable rights of liberty.

Cheers,

Well….let me give this un unqualified maybe.  Not that Vets aren’t stand-up people, they are.

BUT in the headlines this morning, we note the report that Vlad Putin has reportedly given orders for Russian troops massed on the Ukraine border to come home.

Still, been a genius move as far as the Russian stock market is concerned:  New highs today.

Now, do I believe those report?  No, who would?  Yet, Russia has been doing some reasonable things lately, including criminalizing of GMO foods – something our own  FDA(the fooled and drugged administration, riddled with captive regulators) can’t seem to manage.

Russia is able to make the withdrawal – if it happens – because the US has not gone with tanks and NATO horsepower into Ukraine.  Besides, by sending in banksters, the “revolution” in Kiev will soon enough leave another country beggared by the bankster scree.

And similarly, we notice that the Obama administration’s restraint has also kept us from piling more arms into the hands of al Qaeda to be used in Syria, another war we don’t need right now.

Even so, the picture is far from simple.  And what’s worse is we see people like governor Christie selling a Jewish charity group on the idea that America needs to be even more aggressive militarily.  No salesmanship needed there.

But what’s really pathetic about Christie’s pitch is that it used militarism as a cash flow tool to generate political capital.  In other words, war-mongering for money.

A little research into the militarization of US police forces gets us to wondering how much of the “repatriated mil goods” are really coming home in order to keep them out of the hands of overseas crooks and despots?

Like everything else, we try to maintain a balanced view here.  The problem is, there’s enough unbalanced officialdumb at all levels that it sometimes becomes an almost impossible task.

‘Specially on Monday morning.  Especially when I’m thinking “What’s the next growth spurt?”  Looks to me like war is going out of style – and with it, terrorism, too.  Remember we had the Baader Meinhoff gang (1970—1988) and Red Brigades for years (1970-present). 

In other words, we had 30-years of terrorism before it was turned into an industry.

What’s the next one?

Terrorism: The Conflict in Statistics

I hate having this discussion again, but here goes.

Ex-NSA boss Gen. Keith Alexander says in an interview with The New Yorker that a lot more terrorist attempts are coming our way.

The problem is one of odds.  In statistics, every day is pretty much like the previous one, except that in all “runs” in odds, eventually all streaks end.  It’s worth reading the interview with this in mind.

Thought problem: How much intel would you grant casinos in Vegas if they could get access “metadata” that might tip who potential winners might be?  Would it help?

Troubles for Wal-Mart?

Our first gold star of the week goes to reader Walt:

George,

Thought you might find this story of interest.  [Link]

The writer assumes gov’t position of retail growth an compares to WM falling sales. However, as you point out, the gubmint numbs are skewed. Methinks the unwitting point of the story is that WM is the canary in the coal mine.

Love your messages and wit.

Exactamente!  When comes to Practical Econ 101, we like to be first to “give ‘em the bird” even if it’s just a canary with a market cap of $20.4 billion.

Cover-Up?

A critical bit of correspondence between Bush the younger and Tony Blair is missing.  My, just a coincidence, I’m so sure.

Blow-Back on Immigration

Rubber’s meeting the road now.  Fedgov officials are making things up on the fly in order to justify breaking American law and releasing criminal illegals back into the USPop.

(Let me pick who’s on the bench and I will declare anything you want “legal.”)

Meantime, the pressure from Mexico is so bad that officials are setting up emergency shelters in south Texas for the human wave now breaking.

Which is really a wave of democrats given a few years and (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) citizenship.

Autos:  Piling Up

Go check out the Vince Lewis work on where unsold cars are piling up around the world.  Then ask yourself, how many of those reported “car sales’  figures are real, or were they simply fleet buys that then were put in storage for a rainy day, or something?

Happy Hacking

On Van Ness in SF this weekend, a programmable traffic sign was hacked:  Godzilla Attack.  Turn Back.

The film has a “chill” message on global warming…

Speaking of Global Warming

The cold snap this weekend has likely done-in the Ohio peach crop.

Warming, you say?  Huh?

Down here on the ranch in the East Texas Outback I’m saddened to report that the highest temp this year we’ve recorded so far in 88.  I generally don’t work outside if it’s 90, or hotter.  This year, that excuse is MIA.

Usually by now we’ve been into the mid 90’s at least once, but the outlook for the balance of the month (to the 28th, anyway) is we might make it to June without hitting 90 once.

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