A One Man Financial Newspaper
May 6, 2006
● Econ Discussion Board
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White House Job Changes
OK, here it is Saturday morning, and we all have a busy weekend of chores, so let's run through the highlights of the political power struggles which are going on, because they are likely to bleed over into the market in the weeks ahead.
The headliner is the story that Porter Goss threw in the towel at the CIA. As he left, George Bush was busy heaping praise on him. But wait, was it just a matter of conscience? There has been some speculation - and it's only speculation mind you, that Goss is somehow leaving because of the Cunningham prostitution case. An open question says TPM Muckraker.com. So that's one personnel mess for Bush to deal with.
The next one is what to do about Don Rumsfeld. Rummy, as you may be aware is trying to revise history by claiming he didn't say things he really clearly did say about the Iraq war. Too much aspartame, maybe? Mainstream Washington media, like the venerable Washington Post, have jumped to Rumsfeld's defense on point, but admitting maybe it's time for him to be sidelined and someone else brought onto the field.
Next up, on our whirligig of White House personnel dramas, we have Scooter Libby planning to call Karl Rove to testify in his trial for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury. After five trips to the grand jury room himself, it'd be interesting to hear Rove's explanation of all this, but I doubt that will ever come to light.
Here's my thinking: George Bush didn't come down to his Texas ranch for Easter this year. Now, because of all the balls up in the air, I'd be surprised if he leaves DC to come down for the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, I'd bet Bush won't take nearly as many vacations now, because the pressure of events has really been turned up on his administration and with falling poll numbers, and a lot of conservatives figuring they have been screwed over/used by the Bush gang, he's got to stay inside the Beltway and get a little (!) work done.
Speaking of Polls...
CONgress Ducks Immigration
You'll notice that CONgress with just a week to go in this session has come out with a poor watered down version of immigration reform. This is all part of the usual suspects doing the usual things - namely side stepping true reform ahead of elections. The deal goes something like this: You're supposed to overlook the incredible lack of leadership by those in CONgress and return them to their jobs again for another term. Is that crack-head thinking, or what?
Credit to Congressman James Sensenbrenner who's quoted in the Washington Post as saying his committee looked at other countries and found they are harsher on illegals than the US: ""With all the blustery rhetoric coming from opponents about a 'harsh' and 'draconian' House bill ..., I note that five out of the six countries studied _ including Mexico _ make illegal entry and unlawful presence a criminal offense," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis."
Does the report make Sensenbrenner a good guy? Depends. Calling it the "Abramoff Effect" there are reports that Sensenbrenner passed up the NAB convention in Sin City recently. While it could be argued that Sensenbrenner is really working for ethics reform, it could also be the "election effect." No certain way to measure this stuff. Tough decision for Wisconsin voters, but at least Sensenbrenner appears to be trying. For now, I'll use Congressman, not CONgressman when referring to him. One reader says that's premature because I need to read more about the guy... OK, back to CONgressman, then.
On the other hand, there are folks like CONgressman Patrick Kennedy who checked himself into a drug rehab outfit following a car accident this week (that he doesn't remember). This should be a no-brainer vote for Rhode Island voters. Send someone else.
The stock market bested the 11,500 level yesterday and closed the week on the Dow at 11,577 and change. Not a bad showing. But remember, the market's advance is certainly due in part to the falling US dollar - which is also the underlying reason why gold and silver have been showing so much strength lately.
The real fireworks will come later on this year if the dollar continues to decline. That's because the stock market is presently being priced like a piece of real estate (say a fourplex) would be valued in an inflationary market. As inflation comes along, the market price of the fourplex goes up (and so did the market this week). But at some point, the fourplex stops going up in price because the rents can't be increased enough to make it cashflow out. Well, the same kind of logic applies to this market. I'm not the only one seeing this. A reader writes:
The stock carnies have been bellowing about what a "great investment" stocks have been, yet in order to achieve breakeven with the all-time high of six years ago, inflation adjustments would put the Dow's must-do number somewhere north of 14,000. So while the market may indeed get to a "new high" this year, it seems possible that it will be a phony all-time lie. The market could perhaps go to 12,000 - a "new high" - and yet really just complete an 80% retracement on an inflation adjusted basis. That's when the yucky stuff hits the going around thingy.
You're absolutely right, if you noticed that I didn't do my monthly rant about how unemployment is about double - maybe more - than the "official figures" show. That said, I received a note from a reader who did just a fine job of doing the rant for me:
The writer of this email, C.P. in Baton Rouge, should probably go on staff here...he obviously has the same kind of view we have...although he didn't mention that we have half a million of America's young best nd brightest tied up with the Bush Wars worldwide. Bring them home and the unemployment picture would get worse. Even more frightening, there would be fewer jobs for illegals...
Copper: A Precious Metal Story.
You'll love this email:
I assume this is 12 with ground?. And don't forget to put a cable staple in within 6" of the box and...where's my NEC book? Now we know why new contractors are using as much 14/2 as they can get away with. We use nothing but 12/2 (w/gnd) here, though. Part of being from a
I will probably be ordering antenna wire this coming week for my new 75-meter "dream antenna" - a double-extended Zepp, so I've been watching wire prices too - with drop-jawed amazement.
Elaine's Next Computer?
Desperate Acts & The Real Y2K Problem
From this week's report: While most people concerned with the Y2K Problem believed that it had something to do with computers, it is starting to look more and more like the real Y2K problem was that the stock market reached it's latest all-time-high in January of that year on an inflation-adjusted basis, and that things from here on it are starting to look like an "upside down cake" version of the 1930s. But not everything is upside down, just enough things to really throw the average student of history off the scent of the 1930's being replayed right here in front of your nose. As I'll demonstrate in a moment, the "upside down" items include things like labor, while the "right side up" items include things like intellectual property protections. More for Subscribers. Subscription information - Just $30 /year. This weekend: Fall scenario planning.
Tell Your Friends
With all the site down time this weekend, I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about this site. The outages have had a major impact on readership/traffic. Curious, don't you think? Anyway, click here to pass the word.
Friday, May 5, 2006
Goss Out as Market Nears All-Time Lie
The talking heads are beside themselves with glee at this hour - they are talking UP the fact that the market is only "185 points from its all-time high!" Well, hold on buckaroo. Not, as we'd say here in Texas, "presactly." True the old all-time-high of the market was at 11,723. BUT that was in January 2000. If you use the Fed's inflation calculator (left menu down a ways) you will see that works out to 13,785 without taking into account another 2% for the inflation this year, year-to-date to just equal things. As I explained to subscribers a few weeks back, when you pencil it all in, we'd have to hit Dow 14,000 -something to equal the old high.
Getting while the getting is good? Porter Goss has thrown in the towel at the CIA. No successor yet, but I'd be betting on a corporate figure to bolster corpgov's control of the apparatchik.
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Consumer Confidence Tanks
Tanks as in "gas tanks". The HUGE drop to 67.1% in early May is a huge drop from the 89.4% in April. Politicians should be wary. The sheeple are getting restless.
If you look at the top of our news links page, you'll see that while gold took a short hit from the numbers, the real damage is to the US dollar which fell dramatically against the Euro. The People's Economist thinks precious metals will keep going up as the dollar keeps sinking.
Fight the Bankster's Big Lie: Prices aren't going up: Your money is being watered down.
When in Doubt, Fire Someone
I've seen lots of corporate games in my life (too many, to be honest about it), and one is where a fellow gets in trouble and starts firing the people around him in order to hang on to his (or her) own position. I mentioned this today because it's the context I'm viewing recent turnover not only in the White House, but also across the pond where Tony Blair has just fired Jack Straw as foreign secretary.
What makes this curiouser and curiouser is that sharp-witted readers (hey! wake up, that's you) will recall that it was just a month ago that Jack and Condi Rice were off in Iraq telling the confused mess of conflicting interests who are busy with their civil war, that the Crown and der Decider wanted some say on who runs the place.
Tony, being able to read the polls, is trying to play the blame game. With GWB's numbers continuing their decline, we have to wonder who will be the human sacrifice offered up inside the Beltway. I'd suggest Paul Wolfowitz, but he's already thrown in with the World Bank, so maybe it will be Karl "five times to the Grand Jury" Rove or Don "Aspartame" Rumsfeld.
Speaking of which, a new book is out "The Bush Agenda" and there's a good interview with author Antonia Juhasz by Joshua Holland here. Extract:
Not that you didn't know this already, but there's more. Not the kind of thing to read if you have a closed mind though; symptoms of which include a belief in the "official" story about 9/11, and the infallibility of the White House gang.
Just so you're not confused: I believe in and support the Presidency and the Constitution.
Paul Revere on a Gold Wing?
The headline on this web site is "You're invited to ride 48-states coast to coast this summer." 21st Century Paul Revere Ride 2006. They're looking for a rider. "You will be riding for a great cause to stop illegal and mass immigration into America.: Say, what about one of those high profile guys from Gollywood?
Great Idea from Mexico
No, I am not anti-Mexico or anti-Mexican. Great country, wonderful people. Bright, too. I am only anti-illegal immigration. Legal immigration is fine with me. That said, let me share with you a letter from a colleague in Mexico which reveals a practice that makes a lot of sense there - and elsewhere outside of GAAP-land LA LA land..
See? Hugo Salinas Price "gets it." So why can't US corporations, the SEC, and all the king's men get it? Too many hands in the lobbyist's cookie jar, yah think?
Vancouver (Washington) Congressman Brian Baird has the cajones to call lobbyist reform a "sham." Bet'cha that won't get big play on mainstream media...it's not the Party Line.
Ode to Cash
Our friend, the Wall Street Poet, has been at it again. This time he's penned a bit of verse about one of my favorite thing - CASH:
I think of Mike's poetry site as though it is Robert Service would have written for the had he been around today rather than when the glint of greed in the eye crowd was tearing up the Klondike a hundred years back. Greed don't change. . My favorite Robert Service (ahead of the Cremation of Sam McGee) is "The Quitter." Right up there with George C. Scott's Patton Speech (Text) (.MP3), in my book. Patton, sadly, was wrong about "Americans have never lost and will never lose a war." Wrong one and a half times, so far, as I see it. Or was he? It could be argued that the wars we've lost have been corporate wars, not wars with the full faith and courage of America engaged.
Lammert: Down From Here
Our fractal whiz, Gary Lammert "The Economic Fractalist," thinks it's over - the bull market. Check it out (my translations in blue):
Another Kennedy Car Crash?
Thursday May 5, 2006
BEA Screw Up
Personal Income was up for March, but not by the amount we reported earlier this week. The corrective press release is just out today:
Personal savings of Americans was negative 63.4 Billion for the quarter and negative 0.7% for the quarter, which pencils out to a -2.8% annual savings rate or so...(sucks). Still amazing: Personal taxes still pencils out at an eye popping increase of 9.2% YoY. Tax cuts? What planet? Personal disposable income up 5.1% YoY.
Our inflation number: (PDI increase and negative savings rate) 5.8%
First, a toast this morning to Maricopa County (Arizona, Phoenix area) Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is planning to put 100 volunteers and Sheriff's deputies to work randomly patrolling the desert near his city. Nice to see someone taking positive action to step the flow of illegal entrants to America. He knows what comes with illegals...
Related to "sheriff powers" a number of readers recently sent me a note about a 1990's case in which supposedly a sheriff in Wyoming had stopped the feds in his country by claiming local rights took precedence over federal laws in his county. It sounded too good to be true. And sure enough, it wasn't true.
Nevertheless, I feel a lot better for my two sons-in-law who live in the Phoenix area knowing that one sheriff has figured out that where there's smuggling in humans, there's smuggling in drugs, Middle Easterners, and Lord knows what else going on. Nukes, for all we know.
While newspaper headline writers and editorial boards label folks as "opponents of illegal immigration" we have to note that such Mainstream Media (MSM) labeling is in itself quite revealing of how cowardly most media is. When you think about it, it's like writing about "opponents of illegal murder" or "opponents of illegally driving while drunk." I think the labeling should be more like "supporters of law enforcement" which is what the majority of Americans are at their core. I notice the media doesn't label the other side as "supporters of illegal immigration" yet that's precisely what many are.
And example as such headlines can be found in such prestigious papers as the (San Jose) Mercury-News that headline "Opponents of illegal immigration sound off".or the LA Times which labels law-abiding folks in headlines like "Anti-illegal immigration forces share a wide tent." How about "The law abiding citizens"? Or are we?
Vincente Fox has backed off a decriminalization after the US (and we presume the neoCON's) convinced Fox that it would promote "drug tourism." OK, so we'll head to British Columbia then, eh? Of course, big commercial operations are still discouraged in the province. But, posting a notice saying "we'll be back to inspect within 48-hours" isn't what I'd call real aggressive law enforcement. 7.5% of Canadians smoke pot regularly says a 2004 study. Still, nationally, Canada still puts on the "tough on drugs" stance.
If there's one lesson that has come through in the Washington adventures of late, it's that corpgov lawmakers live on money and promises of favors. So we note in passing that while "traffic injuries" are the number 9 leading cause of death in World Health Organization reporting countries, and you know how many of those deaths involved alcohol, the pot lobby (*1/2 year figures) doesn't pass out money at the same rate as the distillers and their proxies do. Do you suppose that's why one drug is legal and t' other isn't?
Summer Shakes Follow-Up
We duly reported the big earthquake first reported near MacQuarie Island yesterday. Today, the experts are trying to figure out why Tonga didn't get the tsunami alert issued as a result. With the web bots predicting more to come, we expect the Pacific Rim countries will have more chances (maybe two more in fact) to get it right before the Big One.
Lava is flowing at an Indonesian volcano today. Related? Your guess is as good as any, I reckon.
Those 'Jacked' Jobs to India
You know the job jacking that was making headlines a year or so back, as thousands of tech jobs were "off-shored" to India? Now, it seems that India is facing a shortage of techies. I'll be the guy in the rocking chair watching as US wages drop compared to the rest of the world far enough so that India can start outsourcing back to us.
The People's Economist has had too much caffeine this morning because it just occurred to him that the Bush administration doesn't need to modulate a foreign war to pump the economy and keep 400,000 of America's finest young men and women busy in a shooting war. "Why the simple and more peaceful solution would be for the government to work with Microsoft on a new server operating system. Just think of the thousands of jobs installing that and working the bugs out would take!"
Using this approach, when the economy heads for a soft patch (like it is now) instead of trying to whip up another war front (think Iran), all the government would have to do is ordain premature release of buggy Service Pack! Hell yes. Forget about Bolivia nationalizing gas fields. Let's nationalize operating systems.
Dick versus Putin
Dick Cheney today is accusing Russian president Putin of "restricting the rights of it's citizens."
Putin doesn't have to worry, though. In Pravda's series, The Demise of America, Half of young Americans can't find New York on a map.
Keep on Spending
The nation's retailers report that sales in April were robust. Or, were they? With reports of gains in the 6-7% range as some of the big stores (Wal-Mart, Costco) we find ourselves asking if this isn't people going to single-stop superstores to save gas and money, and then how much is a real gain if inflation is running faster than the "official" CPI numbers?
The European Central bank left rates unchanged this morning. As we go to bytes this morning, the price of gold is down a couple of bucks, but the dollar is down a lot too. So I would expect a bounce in gold based on the falling dollar, but this is not trading advise, just an observation.
Postage rates are planned to increase to 42-cents next january from the 39-cents that went into effect this January. That'd be 7.6% inflation. See, the truth about inflation keeps leaking out, doesn't it? Inflation is higher than reported and more's to come.
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
The web bot project of www.halfpasthuman.com was quite clear a while back - saying the "Summer Shakes" would be revisiting us this year. With already a 7.7 up in the Northeast part of Russia (west of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands) we have to wonder if this is another one of the precursors to the BIG One the bots talk about as lying directly ahead this (summer).
To understand why today's earthquake activity is potentially significant, we need to look back at December 23, 2004 when an 8.1 quake hit the MacQuarie Island area (near New Zealand).
OK, hold that thought. Now, the news: We just had an 8.0 / 8.1 in the same area this morning.
US Geological Survey puts the magnitude at 8.0 http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqinthenews/2006/usmgas/
Remember: The reason this is potentially important is what happened 2 1/2 days after the last big Macquarie Island quake: The Sumatra tsunami on December 26, 2004. From Wikipedia:
Got water and food stocks laid in? Especially if you're on the West Coast.
CNN Report: "Tsunami warnings issued for Fiji and New Zealand after earthquake measuring a magnitude of about 8.0 shakes southern Pacific Ocean. "
Grains of Salt
As I was about to dig in to some client work, I noticed three stories that demonstrate why you need to take most of the daily news with a "few grains of salt".
9,300 Mile Miss
A few of my friends have been calling excitedly to tell me "The Sky is falling, the sky is falling...and just eight days from now!". Well, hold on buckaroo, not so fast. While it is true that a piece of the recently falling apart comet called 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-BD will come within 0.0001 astronomical units of our home on the range (1 AU=distance from earth to the sun), that still pencils out like this:
There, don't you feel better already? "No, George you dolt, don't you realize that there could be any number of golf ball to basketball sized objects coming in with this thing that might hit earth a week from Thursday? Why, that could take out a city, or worse, be a Tunguska-sized event! Why are you taking it so blithely??"
I calmly explain that things here at the ranch are as prepared as always for a "whatever happens" event. I then go on to explain that if (and I am not saying there is any danger of an impact), there are only about six possible outcomes that I can come up with - and four of them, no make that all six, involve watching TV...
The capper from my friend: "Any reason you think NASA or TPTB would tell the world in advance if something bad really was going to happen?"
Good point. So, while my friends who are watching things worry themselves into a knot about the incredibly small chance that something could happen (way out on the ragged edge of measurable probability), I did do one thing yesterday because their point about candor in government wasn't lost on me: I filled up the propane tank.
Not that I think the world will end on the 11th, mind you - we are as likely to have a three-way nuke toss with China and Russia over Iran tomorrow. But, I figure the price of propane is worth placing a small bet on. So, I filled up our big tank (500 gal) putting in 240.1 gallons at $2.61 a gallon for somewhere north of $600.
I reckon if the world gets socked with a nuclear winter, we'll be warm until the food runs out. And, if my friend's worst fears don't materialize, my fears run more toward $200/barrel oil and $6 propane by year end, so the propane is effectively buying a 12-month call on $2.61/gallon propane. A reasonable investment, I expect.
Still, if your Army unit gets called up next Tuesday (or starts digging long trenches), or your local billionaire buddy heads to a cave, let me know, would you? Government's been buying up freeze-dried goods like mad...
Gold is off on a tear again this morning, exceeding recent highs and over 25-year ago levels. The conventional wisdom is that gold is reacting the "growing tensions over Iran and high oil prices."
Have you ever heard such clap-trap? Look: Inflation is running at 9% internally, so if you want to forecast the year end price of oil, all you need to do is figure out how much 8-9% inflation will add to prices by the end of the year.
Today is 5/3. So by 1/3/07, at the present (most recent) 8/10th's of one percent per month rate, things will be 6.58% higher than they are now (at the 8% inflation rate) or 7.43% higher at the 9% annual rate.
Personally, I don't see the powder keg (Middle East Messes/Petrostan) remaining anywhere near stable, so you can throw in whatever multiplier you want. When or if that blows up, again, we'll have the first nuclear winter all snuggled and warm. (The second one is bothersome, but let denial rule, will yah?)
Will gold and silver replay copper? My friend the Gold and Silver trader figures that at the beginning of 2003 copper's high was $.7915. Today, copper is $3.3950. Hmmm, a 4.28 times move. Now, if I apply that to $677.3 gold, that'd be $2,898 gold and $62.48 silver. Personally, I expect silver to best $100 shortly thereafter, as that would be the inflation-corrected echo of the $50 all time high in the 1980's...
Seems like every paper/news outlet in the country is warning about what's to come with Iran. The Boston Globe's pages this week trying to draw a (weak) parallel to the policy of appeasement prior to WW II. Missing: Any suggesting that the US might actually be the aggressor and the rest of the world appeasing us. I don't think Iran has its troops on foreign soil, but unlike the US, they do have troops on their own border. (Hint Hint.) As I recall we're in about 140 countries and shooting in something like 60.
I've taken to reading the Chinese media more lately, because they have us by the interest rate goanies. Their take on Iran: UN considers things today.
British Budget Silly-Think
Now think about this: You sneak into England, commit a crime, and then get a trial and x-years of free room and board before being sent back to whatever third world hell hole you crawled out of. I've only got an MBA, but wouldn't it save the Brits a lot of money to just skip the trial, skip the housing/feeding on public funds and just send the nerdowells back to the hellhole as soon as they are discovered as perps. Saves court, saves meals, and sends them to someplace worse than England.
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Fat Lady Backstage
While the CONventional view is that the economy is humming along just fine, helped by construction spending, the dollar had dropped Monday to a one-year low against the Euro. This means, by simple extension, that the price of gold (priced in falling purchasing power dollars) will be going up.
To remind you of the Big Lie about inflation: Prices don't really go up. The purchasing power of your money is being watered down by the government and corporations in a deliberate bankster game. Shhh....don't let on that you know the con...$100 in 1913 when the bankster con really got rolling (Federal Reserve, Income Tax) is the same as $2,045.45 today. That's 20:1 dilution of purchasing power. If the pending dollar decline drops the buck in half, that would push us to a 40:1 decline in purchasing power. Neat, huh? Well, at least if you're a bankster. Speaking of which...
So here's how things play out: With the international currency disaster on the event horizon, Printer Ben Bernanke's comments on interest rates, which we have been telling you are going up more - possibly a lot more because of our 9% inflation rate [the government is watering down your money that fast] - put the kybosh on the market happy talk yesterday. And then there's China's recent rate move, which the IMF is applauding and calling for more of the same. I've been telling you since early December 2005 that we will get to 6.5% inflation (TTM basis) before we collapse... 9% annualized wage inflation and a net negative savings rate is not the stuff of Nirvana (more like Nine Inch Nails...).
Counter Point Tuesday
Sometimes, just reading the headlines, I get a sense of just how seriously out-of-whack the world is by doing an exercise called "Headline Matching".
Let's begin with Darfur, where the US is sending in one of Condi Rice's key players to work on negotiations. There, we have a war over food and oil going - and talks essentially bogged down. But while we have oil and starvation going on in Africa, we read as a counterpoint that meat producer Tyson Foods experienced a financial loss because of the recent protein glut in the US. If you're counting: Tens of thousands dead and 2.5 million displaced by the Darfur crisis, figures Time Magazine.
Oil Go Round
Elsewhere, the oil and energy grab by industrial powers goes on. The Iranians are saying that there's a large possibility of an attack on their country. Obvious enough. And, quite naturally, oil was above $73 yesterday and today it's over $74. As measured by WateredBucks.
The counterpoints to this story are many. First, we see the republicorps latest hold-up of the lobbyists has apparently paid off: as the republicorps have reversed course and are now backing off their photo-op spin that they were going to "by God do something about oil company profits".
My butt. Am I the only one to remember the phrase "Lobbyist reform?" Another CONgressional spin-and-run.
In a great little sidebar about how "little people" are trying to stave off corpgov dominance, we read how Bolivia is nationalizing their natural gas industry. Indigenous people's want a bigger piece of the pie than corps want to share. How dare they! They are, after all, just Bolivians and just residents on the land - their not shareholders, right?
Not that any (peak) oil talk matters to polar bears though, or 16,000 other species about to go extinct from greenhouse gases (think cars and jets). Too late. So sorry. It's OPK,. humans are immune from die-offs, or so you'd better hope.
Just when scientists figure out that biodiversity and evolution happen faster in the tropical rainforests (duh) countries are rushing headlong to cut them all down as fast as possible. And, disappearing trees are a big deal in Africa these days, not that you'd care, but thought I'd mention it.
The Global Press seems to see the "Day Without Immigrants" (Monday, in case your life was normal , as mine was) somewhat as we do - a growing rift between corporate masters and just regular folks. Lou Dobb's coverage was even-handed - enough to make both sides bristle.
In the Dominican Republic, the US National Anthem in Spanish (Our Himno) is rather evenly reviewed - a little different take on Middle America's feedback sites, such as the Wichita Star's site.
Puerto Rico Basically Broke
Or at least close enough for headline writers as the state/island/nation (what is it?) is in the midst of a budget mess. Yeah, I know it's a commonwealth of the US. But that doesn't make us a colonial power - no sir, not the USA. We use that label on evil doers only. Hey you don't think...naw...
Dick in the Bunker
It's all secret - things that used to be publicly accessible - all going secret. Can't trust the plebes with too much information, now, especially in a "democratic republic." The Bush administration is classifying things as fast as they can...or is that a secret now, too?
Workers versus corporations? Rich versus poor? haves/Have-nots? Try to put these messy subjects out of your mind for a moment or two and let's talk tech stuff:
My friends in the entertainment/music business used to take delight in rubbing my nose in all the glitches with Microsoft's operating systems. Now, comes my turn to rub their noses in reports that there's a sharp increase in flaws being reported in Mac OS X. Neener, neener, neener.
Samsung's new "ultra mobile PC" (Origami) is just the thing if you need to walk around with a PC everywhere you go. But, if you're looking at one of these new sparklies, the Hindustan Times reports a new study says too much time on the net can induce self-destructive behavior. Like day trading, or options trading, maybe?
While officially, astronomers are not worried about Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 because it will only come within maybe 12-million kilometers of earth, we're wondering what else is out there aimed at us. Near earth asteroid discoveries have been going up a lot.
So there you go - a nice assortment of things to worry about today that you won't be able to do anything about. Now, stop surfing the web and get back to work on preparing for the future of your family and loved ones for the really ugly stuff coming this fall. And don't forget the food and water for this summer's big quake series. And some ammo for the conflict this fall.
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Monday May 1, 2006
From the Treasury Department site: Yup, i-Bonds aren't gonig to keep up with any inflation we've been seeing lately:
Still skeptical of inflation numbers? OK, try on this email from a reader just in today:
So, do they know something we don't? Like the bubble market's going to burst, or is this just "economics" at play ripping off the small guy [again/still]? You decide... Anyone at Treasury want to explain this one to us? Even off the record/without attribution?
Wow - a blockbuster report this morning on the Personal Consumption and Expenditure rates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Their report puts wage increases at 8-10ths of one percent for the month of March - a whopping 10% annual rate.
While the markets will no doubt call this "good news" on initial spin, the reality shows up on page 4 of the report - people can't save a dime!
Now, carefully think back a couple of weeks ago, when I told you inflation was running at an 8.7% (using the "old weights" system at the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. I told you then, and I will tell you now - with these latest numbers supporting the case - that inflation in America is now running at 10% - and will no doubt go up as gasoline price impacts propagate.
The People's Economist will make it very simple for you, in the event that your coffee hasn't kicked in yet: "When wages going up 10% still results in a negative savings rate, then inflation is going up at something approaching 10%, too!" Damn, that's simple.
Welcome to the Argentina North. Watch metals continue their romp.
With the big May Day demonstrations in support of immigrant "rights" (I'm not sure when ignoring the laws governing entry into these United States became a right...) my biggest concern is that with all the large crowds, some agent provocateur from the Powers That Be will show up and we'll have some kind of "incident." So, watch for that as it would drive markets. The demonstrations would be an ideal place for any "hidden hand" to pop out of the woodwork, do something that will drive future events in the desired direction, and then sit back and watch the people on both sides snowball into large masses. With the www.halfpasthuman.com web bot project hinting that events of May will be a foreshadowing of events turning toward "conflict" August 31/Sept 1, nothing would surprise us less than some kind of confrontation/provocation in today's events. So if it happens, don't be looking at the proximate cause, see if you can spot the "hidden hand's agenda."
As a country we've been down this road before with a "one time only amnesty" for illegals in 1986. (In the back of my mind, I keep thinking "Fool me once, shame on me...") I guess you're not supposed to remember such things, though. PC don'tcha know.
I was talking with Panama Bates last night and he made an interesting observation about the "union of poor people" that is taking hold and reportedly flourishing in Las Vegas. In a sort of echo of the 1930's, immigrants in Vegas are, he reports, Latino immigrants are banding together for job protection. A "union of the poor" is an interesting notion, that is, if you're not one of the "chosen few" into whose hands the concentration of wealth is falling.
One of the most ridiculous ideas floated by the believers in mythical "Aztlan" (has a Kennedy/Camelot kind of ring) is that we should adopt a Spanish language national anthem! What the hell are the socialist/corpgov people thinking (OK, if at all....) Try singing a the Chinese national anthem in English and write us from a prison camp...or for the even more brave, try the Iranian national anthem in Yiddish. I'm sorry, the world must have gone nuts when I wasn't looking. The Salem Oregon Statesman Journal figures this crosses the line, too. Say, you don't suppose there are a few patriots in Oregon, do you?
As Stephen Lendman wrote last week in "The Corporate Control of Society and Human Life" "The lesson is clear. Mass people actions, if large and strong enough, get results. Lots of great thinkers through the years knew this and said it many different ways. I quote some of them often for inspiration, and I'll end by doing it again - 2 jewels from one of my favorites - the Mahatma. Gandhi wisely observed that "even the most powerful cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled." He proved it. He also famously said - "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." He proved that too. "
Still, we reasonably expect that much of what is happening has to do with corporate control of natural resources and the promotion of the vicious lies of 'free trade." The so-called "free trade" agreements have done little for exploited peoples and have enabled corporations to jobjack American jobs overseas, while lowering unit-labor costs - something that has not escaped the notice of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, which are working on revised trade concepts to deal with cannibalistic corporatism.
So watch for the hidden hands, staging photo-ops to move your thinking.
I happened to watch the Bush-on-Bush comedy deal at the Washington Press corps dinner Saturday night. He was pretty good, actually. On the other hand, nothing funny about his challenging hundreds of laws passed by CONgress which has been trying to rein in the Decider.
Another Way of Looking At the Dow
In case you didn't see it, at iTulip.com there's a report that shows about the same thing as my "Inflation Adjusted Dow" shows - namely that the market peaked in 2000 and has been quietly tanking since. Maybe if you read it in several places you'll believe it more than if you just read such things here.
If you have a second cup this morning, you might want to read Michael Ruppert's speech from the "Local Solutions to the Energy Dilemma Conference" in New York. One reader accused me of ghost writing it, but I didn't.
Instead, I was too busy this weekend (when it was too dark to drive the new tractor around) writing an new piece of music - I call it "Mogambo's Theme 2" which, as you can hear, was not too successful. Right click the link and use the "save as" option then play it on your computer with the sound turned up.
Peak Oil Talk
Should be some interesting coverage later on this week about Shell Oil's plans for finding new oil resources. You may remember that Shell has been more candid than most companies in talking about the reserves issue.
There has been some speculation that a spike to $100 oil may be possible. My sister's incredibly happy with her now 2-year old Prius - and getting happier as each oil price report comes in.
Good article out of a recent WSJ detailing how appliances are going "super-sized." Wanna bake two turkeys at the same time?
Due to the server problems, I didn't get the picture of me and my new orange steed up this weekend, but here I am, mounted on the fearsome beast:
OK, maybe not fearsome. How's about useful?
Ham Radio Story
So there I was Sunday morning, driving in to Tractor Supply for some farm things and I turned on the 2-meter ham rig. "AC7X monitoring..." Quickly, a nice female voice responded and we had exchanged pleasantries and the woman signed "/mobile." I finally got around to asking her is she was running a handheld radio as it sounded a little on the tinny side. "Oh, probably just the background noise, I'm going 110," she admitted. "Let me slow down to 90, and see if that helps."
Well, she slowed down, with me wondering what kind of woman drives at 110 and slows to 90 while calmly talking on a handheld? Hmmm.
"What kind of car are you in that's so noisy and where can I drive 90?" My curiosity got the better of me. "Oh who said anything about a car? I'm aeronautical mobile," came the explanation. Turns out she was just out for a drive in her RV-4 and just up for a spin. Such are ham radio folks.
Desperate Acts & The Real Y2K Problem
From this week's report: While most people concerned with the Y2K Problem believed that it had something to do with computers, it is starting to look more and more like the real Y2K problem was that the stock market reached it's latest all-time-high in January of that year on an inflation-adjusted basis, and that things from here on it are starting to look like an "upside down cake" version of the 1930s. But not everything is upside down, just enough things to really throw the average student of history off the scent of the 1930's being replayed right here in front of your nose. As I'll demonstrate in a moment, the "upside down" items include things like labor, while the "right side up" items include things like intellectual property protections. More for Subscribers. Subscription information - Just $30 /year.
Tell Your Friends
With all the site down time this weekend, I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about this site. The outages have had a major impact on readership/traffic. Curious, don't you think? Anyway, click here to pass the word.
As you might be aware, my hosting provider www.hosting.com/ www.halfpricehosting.com has not been able to figure out how to keep my site up. I'm aware of the problem and they are (allegedly) working on it. Thanks
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Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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