Fears For Terrs

We begin this morning with a note about the bombing (via drones) of militant installations in Yemen.  This marks part of an aggressive US effort to stamp out what is seen as a threat which has resulted in the extended shutdown of 19-embassies in the Middle East as tensions are running high.  Word is that the terrorism escalation was commenced when a leading terrorist leader sent word to the Yemeni factions that it was time to roll with an attack on America.

We hit first and more is likely to follow..  Since the intercepted telephone call from Ayman al-Zawahiri originated in Pakistan, we will likely see additional drone strikes there, as well.

Yemen is a very dangerous place:  It sports, last time I checked, the highest birth rate in the world and a lot of very poor people who are easily converted to militants by marketers of terrorism which are not in short supply there. 

As a result of today’s drone (or bomb) attacks, the US and British have told citizens to leave.

While you undoubtedly have enough common sense not to visit Yemen without coaching, the
State Department this morning issued this travel warning:

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately. 

On August 6, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks.  

U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on July 16, 2013.   

  
The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. In September 2012, a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy compound. Demonstrations continue to take place in various parts of the country and may quickly escalate and turn violent. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. A U.S. citizen was attacked and killed in Taiz on March 18, 2012 and the press reported that AQAP claimed responsibility. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Yemen. In the last year, international and local media have reported several kidnappings of Westerners. Violent crime is also a growing problem; local media reported the murder of two U.S. citizens in Taiz and Aden in 2013. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet. “

The question to be studied is how markets will react:  Oil was up about 50-cents overnight and the Dow futures were down about 30 points earlier, prior to the opening.

Global markets were mixed although China was down 1.34% overnight but Japan was up about 1%.  In the early European trading, it’s about a toss up with France up a tab while Germany and the Brits are down slightly.

 I bet you didn’t know that food prices have gone up 4.4% between the first week of Ramadan and the fourth week in Abu Dhabi, did you?

Nervous About China?

We can’t help by report that the prospect of a failing American dollar may be one of the motivators off in the background as Japan has announced plans to build their largest warship since World War II.

How do you figure?

Well, the sequence would go something like this:  Due to the likelihood of a US currency crisis when interest rates begin to rise, and with it, our cost of balancing the national budget, the only way to make ends meet would be to reduce commitments to countries like Japan which have historically relied on the US for protection as part of the fallout (poor pun, sorry) from WW II.

Of course, even a fool can see that the US should not be spending as much money on defense as we do, so a hint or three to the Japanese that we might have to lay off some of Japan’s military protection onto them would certainly make sense.

The decision, even in tough economic times and in the midst of trying to save a polluted country from financial disaster, hints that the Japanese are taking such prospects seriously.  And so should the serious investor in America.

For this morning, though, the price of gold is being slammed, so it may not be something that will happen in the next few hours.  But, over the long term, the US debt is unsupportable and although sequestration is resulting in some job layoffs, our fiscal problems aren’t going away.

It’s just a damn shame a derelict Congress can’t even manage to produce a required budget.   In a very real sense, failing to make the Executive branch toe the line on War Powers , and here lately taking a harder line on enforcing the 4th Amendment when it comes to unreasonable search, and then let’s toss in the inability to complete a budget and I think you’ll agree there’s emerging a scary outline of a Congress that effectively abdicated.

I look forward to elections so we can get some leadership back there.


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Balance of Trade Figs

Out this morning and they look pretty good – which may be why gold got slammed this morning:

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of
Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce,
announced today that total June exports of $191.2 billion and
imports of $225.4 billion resulted in a goods and services
deficit of $34.2 billion, down from $44.1 billion in May,
revised. June exports were $4.1 billion more than May exports
of $187.1 billion. June imports were $5.8 billion less than May
imports of $231.2 billion.

In June, the goods deficit decreased $9.7 billion from
May to $53.2 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.2
billion from May to $18.9 billion. Exports of goods increased
$4.0 billion to $134.3 billion, and imports of goods decreased
$5.7 billion to $187.4 billion. Exports of services increased
$0.1 billion to $56.9 billion, and imports of services were
virtually unchanged at $38.0 billion.

The goods and services deficit decreased $8.2 billion
from June 2012 to June 2013. Exports were up $6.0 billion, or
3.2 percent, and imports were down $2.3 billion, or 1.0
percent.

image

The next big economic marker to follow will be the Fed’s consumer debt report which will be along tomorrow afternoon.  In the meantime a modest continuance of yesterday’s decline is likely at the open based on futures prices when I looked.

Toss in the odds of something popping in the Middle East and a down 50 to down 100 day seems possible.  The decline in the BoT figures is considered a good thing for the dollar and a bad thing for the globalistas….but momma said there’d be days like this.

Ft. Hood Shooter

About damn time: The trial of Nidal Hasan gets under way today.

There’s an old saying in the legal profession:  “A man who defends himself has a fool for a client.”   Nidal Hasan is defending himself…and the phrase self-evidence comes to mind.

Not AmaPost?

Word that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post and related companies rocked a lot of people when it came out Monday, although it will not be part of Amazon.com. To his credit, Bezos isn’t planning to change the values of the Post…

What’s going on – if you squint your eyes and look at things just so – is that the financial center of America is slowly being wrested from the “old hands” of Long Island/Connecticut set and it’s moving slowly toward the West Coast in general.   All that government work under the Denver Airport must be weighing in there, too, I suppose.

If I were going to live another 100-years (very slim odds, admittedly) I wouldn’t be surprised to see Denver become the next Washington which would make Seattle the new Chicago, maybe.

Sun Worries

Just when you thought it was safe to come out from under the bed and stop sniffing dust-bunnies, along comes a report from NASA which says the Sun looks like it’s about to flip poles.  As a result, we’re seeing an uptick in posts around the usual places arguing that indeed this could be accompanied by a massive Carrington Event and that, in turn, would level electronically-dependent Western societies. 

And, indeed, if it happened, it would admittedly be a bit strange to look at the Amish as an advanced society, but I suppose that’s how the great wheel turns, huh?

What you need to know from NASA is this snip:

“The sun’s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years.  It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself.  The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of ‘Solar Max’ will be behind us, with half yet to come…”

The balance of the story along with some graphics is over here.

Not that a wee bit of dust-sniffing isn’t in order:  As you know, I presume, that the highest-risk area for Earth-directed major solar flares is the ‘back half’ of the solar cycle peak and we just happen to be right there, right now.

Got the Shakes?

One in Guatemala overnight and one in the Loyalty Islands if your home Richter machine didn’t catch them.  You do have some laser pointers, CCD’s, and a processor rolling all the time, right?

Space Notes

We’ll have some tantalizing speculation in the Coping section in a second, but ComputerWorld has a good update on the NASA Curiosity rover on Mars that’s worth a read.  And some thinking time, too:  Did the arrival of Venus in our solar system rip the atmosphere off Mars on the way by as Immanuel Velikovsky hints?

Certainly the rover is picking up bits and pieces that are making his notions look less spaced-out that ever.

Also on your science list today:  When the boss isn’t around TedXCern has some darned interesting and mind-expanding content over here.

Dangerous Camping

Here’s one that sounds like a B movie script, except that it’s tragically real:  Two young boys were killed in Canada as a 100 pound python is suspected of killing them in their sleep.

creepDOL

If you have access to a couple of Raspberry Pi computers, some odds and ends, you can set up a really nifty spy network of your own, reports this useful column in the NY Times Bits column this morning.  Teach you how to build some creepDOLs of your own…(Thanks to reader Michael P for the tip!)  Gotta make me one…oh wait!  I already know what I’m doing some of the time…

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