(From within the Iowa-Wisconsin-Illinois Triangle) We have arrived for the annual assembly of “good looking Beeches” here west of Chicago with the market looking pretty good (maybe through today and early next week) but going into options expiration, we expect things will hit the crapper.
Maybe it will be more Glencore revelations or some other foundation-shaker, but we still hold to the view that the S&P will drop below the 1,800 level within the next two’ish months. After that, the Rally Before the End ought to be here.
It is likely to be your last chance to prep for Depression II. Like 2009, but worse, by the look of it and we all know how much fund that was.
Other than the employment numbers being a driver, another factor which we have been pounding on is the problem of long wave economic “trough wars.”
You see, in these 40-90-year economic long waves – and there’s more to it than the Kondratieff Wave – wars tend to cluster around the peaks of and valleys of economic activity.
There are only three “powers” in the world who have to be eyed in the same context as the aggressor Germany was in WW II when it comes to kicking off WW III.
One is China – which is building an island in the South China Sea to project a bit of power around itself, but also we notice that Chinese war ships have come into the Syrian theater, as well.
That Russia has been operating out of the naval facilities at Tartus has been an on-going talking point for me, for several years when this matter of “Where does the War come from?” arises.
In a way, the pending Russian and Chinese operation is vastly different from the pre-WW II alliances between Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Unlike the Germans, the Russians are mostly self-sufficient should those choose to be – and the Chinese have been better students of warfare than the Italians, without a doubt. Sun Tzu is only one example. When a nation has 2,500 years of history, the style of thinking becomes a bit different.
Maybe I worry too much (almost certainly true) but I would summarize the thinking processes of these potential antagonists by simply looking at the most popular “board games” of the parties.
Here in the USA, of course, the two most widely played games among the young (*not electronic) would be checkers and Monopoly. Good games and a fair bit of fun.
When comes to articulating mental acuity and learning the arts of advanced thinking, however, seems to me the Russian idolatry of chess speaks volumes.
The Chinese may (or may not) actually play Chinese checkers, but that game is more instructive in many ways than the single-front American board games.
On the other hand, there may be a migration path from Monopoly to the White House, at least if Donald Trump continues his ways.
As often stated, I figure we have on the low side 18-months more before this phase of rally and market recovery will end. Ideally early 2017.
That’s time when America could be regrouping and rethinking how we “wage peace.” But the reality is we don’t do that well. We tend to go waging peace that turns into projectiles and bases…but haven’t I warned you “The Magic of America is that we monetize EVERYTHING”??
How closely the Chinese will interoperate with the Russians is not clear. Reports this week have been fuzzy at best, although this summer of things is pretty good
A note from our oak-leaf cluster source, warhammer points out something else of interest:
Some claim the recently announced Russian draft of 150,000 men is a mere coincidence, happening just as Russia begins prosecuting attacks against Syrian Rebels and/or ISIS.
I don’t believe in coincidence. That’s a word often used when we can’t see who’s pulling the strings from behind the curtain. It’s clear to me that Putin is pushing forward (“forward” was Lenin’s grand communist slogan . . . and ‘coincidentally’ Obama’s campaign slogan in 2012) with plans to reestablish his grand Russian version of the former Soviet empire.
Iran and Syria look to play significant regional roles in Putin’s game plan, maintaining repressive anchor regimes in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. Putin’s choice of allies belie his true nature and intent. Developments in the Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and now Iran and Syria should be sending up warning flares all across the free world and shivers down the spines of peace loving people everywhere.
America stands strangely muted, militarily neutered and giving the diplomatic cold shoulder to long-standing and trusted allies. I fear the words “never again” now largely fall on deaf ears while monuments memorializing past humanitarian atrocities crumble in shame.
America, unfortunately, doesn’t do a very good job of preparing for massive military confrontation, since we seem to have come to rely on overwhelming force only when it can be a business model for a defense contractor.
The rollover of the Civilian Conservation Corp trained unemployed of the 1930’s into an effective war-making machine in the 1940s is not particularly evident right now. Indeed, the opposite is true: We have been programmed to believe in “remote control” and stand-off warfare.
Which is fine, as far as cruise missiles and drone fleets go. But a review of history shows that with the single exception of the atomic bomb, technology isn’t what matters. What wins wars are lots of people, equipped, and highly motivated. Boots on the ground.
The Russian conscription report thus becomes as key research point for the student of Long Wave “trough wars.”
Over the next couple of years, expect to see a huge ramp in the “demonization of Russia.”
Russia’s major crimes since the downfall of communism seems to be doing a better job of capitalism that we’ve been able to pull off.
While I share the concerns about Iran having nuclear capability, Russia has beaten us by monetizing things to their benefit. Likely some back room agreements with Assad’s government Syria, too, about future access to the Med and energy of the northern Leviathan region.
Stand by to be entertained as we demonize people who have adopted capitalism from communism while we keep drifting toward communism from capitalism.
We might as well be fighting with ourselves, which we do.
The Country of Walk-Backs and Do-Overs
The next problem we have, besides having a commander in chief who doesn’t seem interesting in defending our borders and who has massively reduced our military, is that our moral core has been cut out in Washington.
Once upon a time, a person running for office said something – and that was that: It was “on the record.”
We are hopelessly screwed now, though, when one of the leading political sell-outs is already in sight and becoming mealy-mouthed about what he previously said.
Read CNN’s report “McCarthy Clarifies Benghazi Comments” as a fine example of misleading headlines that reveals how the liberal media in the country are selling America down the road.
The reporter in this story did a vastly better of of reporting than the headline writer, reporting that what McCarthy did this way:
“Kevin McCarthy, the leading candidate to succeed John Boehner as House speaker, tried to walk back on Thursday controversial comments he made about a congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terror attack.”
I draw your attention to the phrase “walk back.”
This is not something new in American politics. But it is symptomatic of how the rotten core repugnicans still haven’t understood the message from “the Base.”
The Base would appreciate less emphasis on political hack abilities (mealy and mumble), and more core values and standing by their previous statements. Instead, what “walk back” reveals to the intelligent analyst is that McCarthy is just another statist put-up, who will be controlled by K Street, not Main Street.
It’s disgusting, but here comes another sell-out of the Base.
Like I said, we’re hopelessly screwed and another Boehner or worse policy train wreck is a virtual certainty for two reasons: Media allows “clarification” in the headline to mask “walk back” hiding the putrid politics of selling out from the illeratti.
Secondly, the GOP leadership all need to resign if it’s to be a people’s party instead of just the other corporate front-organization is has become.
Both parties are corporate fronts, which we knew already. But walk backs and do-overs seal our fate.
Another back walker is the last thing needed in Washington.
Staying at a nice hotel is a challenge at 4 AM.
Try waking up with a full bladder in a totally dark and unfamiliar room, on the unaccustomed side of the bed some time, and see if how it goes.
I forgot to take my cell out of my shirt pocket last night, so in the process of trying to get to it in the dark, I pocket-dialed one of the kids.
Then the Keurig machine would not give me coffee until I opened the machine, turned power on first instead of t’other way around.
Don’t shut the water lid first. Why engineers made it this way is beyond me.
It reminds me that the PowersThatBe probably get a huge laugh out of making our lives unnecessarily complicated so we will our minds up with useless information (like how to get coffee) instead of thinking more deeply about how screwed we have allowed ourselves to become.
It is a simple form of mind control. You HAVE TO DO IT THIS WAY or no coffee. Thus, I would never buy a Keurig machine. If it feels like mind control and forced conformism…
An addition to useless complexity is one of the issues that ails us.
As we were leaving on this trip, Elaine announced the “car won’t start.” She had simply let slip that “brake must be on to start car.”
It’s crap like this that ostensibly exists to protect us from ourselves.
Yet I’m confident some day a person in a hurry will stall a car on railroad tracks. With the headlights of an oncoming train growing, do we really need counter-intuitive “safety” measures?
For that matter, why is my Keurig interlocked like it is? It’s a lock-step machine and I hate those.
The old style $10 Wal-Mart coffeemaker with a $25 gold plated permanent filter is so much cheaper and easier to use. I can put the coffee in first, the water in first, and even add water after I take the first cup out.
But is doesn’t train the circus animals…and we, my friend, is them.
Here’s a nice weird one for you:
We didn’t watch any news last night…having gone out dinner around 5 PM and hitting the rack about 7:30. My whole news input consisted of looking at the closing market numbers prior to dinner.
So I have this dream at about 2 AM this morning that I am in a school, some of the doors are locked and there is a small window.
This window has some kind of electric fan in it, and the fan has an electrical issue and it has set off a fire. The fire quickly expands until the whole wall is on fire.
I get on the line to dial the fire department. But there is a problem calling 9-1-1.
Then I wake up and make a mental note to look for a “school fire.”
And there it is: The Umpqua shooting that left 9 dead….so that’s and example of how the subconscious muffs the concepts: My brain was processing “fire” when it should have been processing firing.
What we don’t know (since we were asleep) is whether a room down the hall had a TV news show with the shooting details turned-up loud enough that it could be heard and processed by a brain in the somnambulistic state.
Or, we will get an actual fire now just the firing at a school, shortly in headlines.
Flying Notes: The Hannibal Lecture
We dropped in at Hannibal, Missouri for fuel around 11 AM on Thursday.
Turns out it was one of the more challenging landings in a while. The runway runs not-quite- north (35/17). And the wind was directly across the runway: 17 knots 090 (about 20 miles an hour) with gusts to 23-knots (26.48 MPH).
The landing was fine (I’m still here and writing). But landing in severe cross winds verges on actual work.
Flying sideways at a 30—40 degree angle, crabbing into the wind, every moment of my “visit” to Hannibal was spent lining up on the big “35” on the runway. That and the men’s room at the airport was the extent of our Hannibal tourism.
Two hours up river, the wind shifted to 040 degrees and on runway 36 at our destination, it was a cakewalk landing in comparison.
I’m sure if Mark Twain had been forced to land a small plane at Hannibal (since Columbia with lighter wind and a more favorable runway heading was closed for work), he would never have mentioned Hannibal fondly in his writings.
I keep thinking we should go back, since the wind has come around, and visit the Hannibal Mark Twain Museum. We’ve already been through Mark Twains home in Connecticut, a couple of years back.
Cool weather up in this part of the world – fall is here with 41 for an overnight low and a cold north wind.
Our first project this morning is to decide if we want to land on a grass/turf runway on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River (Abel Island) or simply take the tour bus up there.
Part of me wants to fly it – just to say we did it…the other part, however, says no thanks. The tour bus option would be relaxing and since lunch is pizza, if there is a beer to go with that, taking the airplane would rule out that option.
Stories of the grass strip landing or pizza with the beer. And the airplane stays clean….hmmm…
By God, these decisions in semi-retirement aren’t so bad after all. Life done right should be full of these “heads I win, tails I win” choices.
Write when you break-even