This economy is a what?
Updated: Saturday March 1, 2008 7:55 CST
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Thinly Vialed Threat?
A curious story is arising out of Las Vegas where a bit of the deadly poison ricin was found late week, in a room most recently occupied by a 57-year old man. The curious part, however, is that the headlines are now sprouting up about how runs and an anarchist book were among the items found with the ricin.
Those who are familiar with Robert Hitt's theory that "energies have to go somewhere" would perhaps cynically note that it's curious the ricin found in Vegas story would go mainstream the same day the Dow drops almost 316 points.
Coincidence? How many do you need?
Markets: Looking Ahead
I talked to my friend Robin Landry (email@example.com) who runs his own shop up in Shawnee Oklahoma as the market was limping toward the close on Friday to see what he thinks is going on.
"George, I think we're seeing the completion of a fifth wave down, and from there we could get one more blow-off top," observed Landry. "If that's the case, we might go down and test lows on Monday or Tuesday before turning upward..."
No, this is not investment advice, but if I was playing stock options, rather than playing in the more Fed-intervention-resistant commodities market, it might sure be tempting on weakness Monday/Tuesday to load up with short term index options on early week lows and ride a nice pop as the short-sellers cover toward Triple Witching hours March 20/21. Would that be an interesting trade? I mean if you were willing to lose every dime you tried on it, that is. That kind of options play works out once in a while but often enough in my past experience that thoughts like this crop up from time-to-time. THIS IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE - I AM NOT DOING THIS TRADE. IF YOU DO -->YOU'RE NUTS<---.
Could Triple Witch be the slaughter of the bears, though? Maybe... on the other hand, when the Dow's RSI drops down toward 25 Monday or Tuesday, that might be an interesting time to bottom fish - but again, this is not advice.
Mass Layoffs Question
The government's new release about mass layoffs seems reassuring this week:
Let me take a sip of cynic juice. OK, check it out:
What was it Mark Twain said about statisticians? Oh yeah, here it is...
Speaking of Twain
There's a wonderful quote attributed to Twain, but which may have originated elsewhere:
And I mention this why? Well, the bankers are printing themselves up another $60-billion to auction to (who else?) themselves in March.
Of course, I could point out that of $41.132 billion of required reserves, by the nations big banks, $17.259 billion are borrowed. Why, of course they need to print and borrow more!
Quick math note: Remember when the H.3 report says 'non-borrowed' and the number shown is negative, you can just erase the 'non' on one side of the equation and wipe out the minus sign on the other, such that a "non-borrowed" minus (negatively signed) number equals borrowed (positive signed) number.
Such obfuscation is a delight to read, however, because it is so totally in keeping with their propensity to call DEBT something else: CREDIT. So when youi read the next Consumer Credit report (G.19) when it comes out in a week or so, remember it's DEBT to you and your family, remember the bankers, licking their chops at the prospect of the diluting the money you're paid for your hard work, they are your CREDITors.
Ure's Axiom 107: "Debt is the noose that ties you to the treadmill."
Risk of More Debt
No one is going to listen to me here, but I don't think companies losing money should be encouraged to do more lending. Further, as I have often opined before: Where are the arrests of the crooks who saddled families which had not business with 125% LTV loans which should never have existed in the first place?
Judge Gets Sensible
The website www.wikileaks.org is back online thanks to a review of the free ,speech disaster decision that took the whole site off line after a foreign bank objected to what was claimed to be sensitive information stolen by a former employee. Vigilance about our Rights pays off?
Ramping Up War
Deaths are mounting in the Gaza - a story which hasn't been getting much play in US MSM.
Strategic question remains: Will Israel attack the sources of those rockets being launched at it? That would be where? Syria and Iran, maybe?
Meantime, I continue to be aghast at the political decisions that keep our military from doing its job. Here's the headline that set me off: "US: Afghan drug trade funds Taliban" And "Afghan poppy production few to record in '07"
Now, you and I know that someone, somewhere, in the US military would call BS on this: It takes about 2-seconds to figure out that if you want to wipe out the Taliban, you burn the opium crop. No go, and they're no go. SOMEWHERE someone is tying hands, I expect.
But, then again, maybe it's just a scaled up version of how the booze lobbies have scuttled NORML's efforts because it would threaten revenue, huh?
Secrets Revealed: A WH Resignation
A WH official has quit after admitting to plagiarism. Copy this: Secret Revealed rolls on.
Speaking of jobs open in the WH: They're less one hurricane recovery coordinators, too.
First of the Blackouts
The source of the Florida blackout this week is said to be human error, says Florida Power. But, it's not over - more of this power-shortage/disrupts economy is still ahead this year.
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Write something up - get published - send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Just about anything that would help people cope with life a little better - thanks
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Around the Ranch: Busy!!!
What am I doing still writing? Bye until Monday!
This week for Subscribers to Peoplenomics:
13 Acres and Independence Part 3: Multiple Micropreneuring
Among the emails received last week was a critical response to 13 Acres and Independence Part 2. The gist of it was that while it's interesting that I know someone who's a gazillionaire, who was able to buy a large part of a small country a few years back and reap profits now, or know a doctor/friend is trying to develop "exit options", what can a family on the verge foreclosure do? Or, what about the family that has its finances stretched to the breaking point? The answer is PLENTY! But, you're going to have to reform your worldview and learn to think of yourself as operating many businesses, most of which can be turned into money-makers. That in turn is the key to larger plans and even more opportunity. Let's start with a short lesson in (don't gag on this b-schooly sounding stuff) multiple micropreneurship.
Tell Your Friends About This Site!
If you know anyone who is interested in preserving the Constitution, fighting usury from banksters, and shaking off consumer hypnosis, tell them about this site. Click here to send 'em an invite...
No Incumbents Bumper Stickers
To get your "No Incumbents in 2008" click here. They're just $5. And no, that would not keep Ron Paul from running for the White House he is not an incumbent for that office having never held that job before, you see. And the CONgressional folks? Don't even get me started...
There are lots of ways to save money on food, shelter, transportation, and such. It just takes a little reading and one source of good ideas is our handy ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less. Still just $10.
I promised Elaine that I would unload some of my equipment, so if you're looking for ham gear, especially the older tube-type (EMP resistant) type, send me a note and I will send out the list of what I'm selling off when I get it together. Click here to Put Me On Ham Gear List
Friday February 29, 2008
The Personal Income Myth
Maybe the guys at Myth Busters could take on government stats some time: Here's the latest from the government:
All of which sounds rosy until you get into the details:
The real train wreck is in the personal savings rate. This is horrible:
I don't want to remind you of this if you're trying to keep breakfast down after reading this, but in the past year, these are the same guys who revised away the negative personal savings rate by about 1.5% of changes, so the real personal savings rate hole is like more on the order of negative 1.6% for the month. Yuck.
Can they spin this? "Consumer Spending Stalls in January" says one headline. Maybe it's so bad the normal spin won't work. Care to bet on a little arb'ing intervention today to keep the vision alive?
Trading on Autopilot
This is one of those days I can't get too excited about - since it's a day not repeated until four years from now. And, if you are planning your trades well ahead of time, that will be a Wednesday in 2012, and given the predictive linguistics, you'll much more likely be worried about personal survival by then due to natural disasters, the economic meltdown which seems likely occur in the fall of this year (first week of October of so) and last some 18-months from there.
In the aftermath of the much-worse-than-anyone is guessing Second Depression, the Global Coastal event in 2009, and a host of other calamities, which US government leaders are already anticipating as evidenced by the agreement between the US and Canada to use each other's troops to 'maintain civil order' signed last week, and the FDIC adding staff and brining back retirees to prepare for what could be hundreds of bank failures, the most rational personal strategic planning option would seem to be the one Elaine and I penciled out in 2002: Get out of a big city, get huge bandwidth onto the internet so you can 'function' in the corporate world as things digress/devolve, but basically build yourself a lifestyle which will work equally well in the lithium-ion battery powered technological singularity on the one hand, and a back to when the Amish were 'high tech' sort of range on the other. Cover all bets.
This weekend, in the subscriber newsletter (*Peoplenomics, $40/year) I'll be going into details about picking property, after coming the ways even tightly stretched families can afford to 'buy an exit strategy'. The whole series has the title "13 Acres and Independence" - an update on the 1935 classic "5 Acres and Independence" which got thousands of families through the last Depression.
My decision to build a trading system off the output from the predictive linguistics has been paying off handsomely. I won't get into the details of my personal account anymore, but I will draw your attention to Quantum's Jim Rogers, who told a group of global fund managers in Tokyo overnight that America is 'completely out of control' and he sees a 20-year bull market ahead in commodities and that prices will be in turmoil. Of course, that will come as no surprise to readers of this site, but note that the commodities game is only at the very start of the curve, with the possibility that a very large, nonlinear increase in prices is just ahead.
Of course, the upshot of my "trading system" is incredibly simple: I just take the output from the web bot runs, apply a few simple technical signals to time entry and exit points, and sit back and count my dough.
It's not like the idea hasn't worked for others. I got an email this week advising:
Sure enough, last night about 6, the UPS truck pulled up the drive and a box from San Diego was handed over: In it were several good books, a couple of good CD's, some excellent cigars from a San Diego tobacconist, and a bottle of Remy Martin XO in a fancy red carrying case.
I'm honored and a heartfelt thanks for the gift! But again, I don't give trading advice - I just toss around ideas because I'm a self-styled economist, not a commodity advisor or stock broker. I don't want anything to do with your money. I'm having plenty of fun with my own, thanks. My largest problem lately seems to be.....well....deciding when to plant a test patch of sugar beets, and how to associate one of my wireless web cams with one of the access points on the ranch. Hardly biggies, right?
But while the commodity world seems determined to continue its recent move upwards, on the housing front things continue to deteriorate.
So the housing decline is far from over, and Ben Bernanke's comments yesterday about banks going under were less than reassuring. And even more disturbing was George Bush's ignorance of how $4-a gallon gas is now being openly discussed. It goes to show how much of a 'ruling class' there is in America. How detached?
I remember, for example, a number of years back a different president named Bush being surprised by grocery store checkout scanners. He'd never been in a regular-folks grocery store, apparently, went the story on the 'net. But, of course, the report was denied and spun such that the Urban Legends folks call it false.
While the republicorps back then successfully sold the idea that King George I was not that disconnected from everyday life, the surprise of King George II over $4 gas seems to argue that either there's a continuing hole in presidential briefings over the past 20-years, or there's a genetic trait here.
I occasionally get labeled a "survivalist" but I think if you ask any family being foreclosed on "How would you like to have 6-months of food stored that you could eat, so you could push back the wolves at the door for a while?" I expect the answer would be hell yes.
Now, the question to be asking yourself is "Is this 'survivalist'? Is being prepared for anything from a flu pandemic, to bank runs, to market collapses, to terrorism being a 'survivalist' or is it something else?"
How about responsible head of household if you are so programmed that you feel compelled to label things?
Forgive me if I just try to mellow out a bit here: This could be my last February 29th on the internet. I'm planning to be around for the next one, but given the gravity of the world situation, I may be pumping water for the animals at the next one.
Hezbollah is protesting the presence of US ships off Lebanon. Linguistically, what's been going on in Gaza so far isn't big enough. Methinks something larger is in the works. Just a matter of timing. But, watch oil.
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Coping: All It Takes Is Money
If you're thinking about buying some storable foods you may wish to get that order in to the Freeze Dried Guy or www.beprepared.com sooner than later. An Ohio reader's experience is disturbing:
It's been almost 2-years since we started tracking the shortage meme (encounters with scarcity) in Google news search engine hits. Since then (11,000 daily references) to today (32,873 hits) the increase in use of the term has been dramatic. I would not be surprised to see if go extremely nonlinear this year.
Ah, this is interesting:
Yeah, it's socially irresponsible to buy a Porsche. The one I want will get 16 MPG highway. Really socially responsible would be a 50 MPG hybrid like my little sisters Prius. (Wake me up when we get to 70?) Still, what drives people is dreams and we all have them. From JB this morning via YM:
Well, his client is right. How a great Type A guy can drive a restored Karman Ghia convertible and lust after a classic car does make some sense. But, to me a car is about getting safely from here to there. Mine just happens to be a 959 tweaked up by Canepa Design, although the low mileage used 911 is more in the price range.
In what we call our "soc" (*self organizing collective) you can get an insight into the folks involved by their ideas about cars: Cliff is a diesel Range Rover kind of guy, I picture Igor the Toyota Camry kind of family man. JB's tastes run move to the Clive Cussler- cars - old, classic and collectible. Mine? Five or six speeds, good horsepower, 1-G in corners, and even bigger brakes.
Curiously, I'm often used a discussion when interviewing people (prospective employees and even possible dates back in my single days) to get some insight into what the underlying person was. An open-ended question like "So what's your dream car?" usually gets an interesting response.
Anecdotally, at least from my very limited experience, women who drive manual shift cars are less expensive to date/marry than women who prefer luxury cars Employees who like to drive a stick are 'get the situation in hand' kinds of folks, while the automatic drivers are executive/hands off types, or just plain lazy. They look better though. At least they aren't scalding themselves when they miss a shift.
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Around The Ranch: Weekend Ahead
Still no goats. Also, no takers for the three pygmies that we're trying to offload. Can't mix them with the Boers.
This weekend, looks like Saturday will be 'tractor festival' day. Have acres to mow and things are on the verge of popping out here. That means Sunday I will be sore as the Dickens, Getting bounced around on a tractor for 8 hours isn't particularly hard work except it's tough on the back. Couple that with jumping up and down off the tractor a few dozen times to attack the odd fallen tree with the chain saw, and yeah, it verges on work. But not bad work. Just work.
Won't do the ham radio net tomorrow, though. Still modeling the new antenna. The new "monster loop" will likely be a corner-fed triangle, but I'm still tweaking with angles and routing it. Putting up 570-feet of wire actually takes a little planning to deal with things like power lines, trees, the shop, the house, and so forth.
A new present for myself: a pneumatic-powered antenna launcher kit has been ordered to throw halyards over 100-foot high trees. "What? Is George flipping mad?" Nope. Tired of slingshots and fishing weights, I've decided that since I will be putting up a 1,000 foot long wire antenna over tree tops, I might as well get the best tool I can find to launch the antenna: Pneumatic powered launches can hit several hundred feet with fair accuracy and a yellow tennis ball is a hell of a lot easier to find than a 1-ounce fishing sinker...
If you're a ham, check out the propagation for the 30 meter (and other bands) world wide propagation charts at www.propnet.org. Tres cool.
Thursday February 28, 2008
Leaps and Bounds
With my junk mail rapidly filling up with "Leap Day Sales" announcements, the economic gyro in my head spins up this morning on the idea somehow this would be a fine morning to talk about "Leaps" -- as in things going up, things bouncing, and jumps of all sorts on the one hand -- balanced by the bounds, boundaries, limits, extremes, and superset theories on the other.
Creative Labs, has just one of the "Leap Day" sales emails, just to pick one at random out of the pile. Among their offerings is an OLED display packed 1 GB Zen V orange and white .MP3 player that I got two clicks into ordering at the amazing price of $19.99 before asking myself "Why am I doing this?" Normally a $79 dollar high tech portable sound source I tried to analyze just what would I do with such a thing if I had it?
In my SOHO dream office (now mostly back on line) with its three dual-monitor workstations, wireless laser printing, two big pipes onto the net, etc. Getting a portable MP3 player isn't something I would hardly ever use --I've got everything a reasonable person could ever want for audio input on four channel surround with Bose, Kenwood, and Sony drivers pushed by a couple of hundred watts, not to mention the near-field speakers when tweaking things on the 24-track. Inputs ranging everywhere from a few MP3's to tons of CD's and a half terabyte of storage. What do I need a high tech gizmo like this for?
That got me to the broader question of why people buy things that they buy and then don't end upo using. Ace Hardware's Leap Sale makes a little more sense at the ranch - much of what they have on sale through March 3 is stuff we'd buy anyway.
The 'net seems to be alive with "Leap Sales" today. The search "+leap +sale" pulled in 641,000 different ways to separate me from my few $20-bills not allocated to necessities of life: food, gas, seed & feed, and oh yeah, a bottle of Pisano maybe...
The inbox reminded me of Pappy's old saying: "You can only spend it once." So I quickly closed down the browser window and reminded myself that my next Porsche ( ideally a 10-year old 911 with less than 65,000 miles on it for under $22,000 as times get harder) is only 1,099 repetitions of $20 fiscal restraint away. You might think it's silly to do have developed a MacD, RSI, and fast & slow stochastics of used Porsches of eBay, but "We all gots (sic) our quirks." My friend JB figures he'd do something a little different if he was going to spend $22K on a car. Something like this.
Not Leaps and Bounds:
If the market had any hope of rallying, the headline this morning is that the Gross Domestic Product has slowed to a crawl:
Monetary inflation around 4% and GDP up 0.6% annualized? Sounds like a recession to me...
Madness on Bordering
Quick! Look surprised: "US Border 'virtual fence' to be delayed: report." Here's a virtual gesture sent in the expert's direction...
Energy Goes Somewhere
Water Slows Food
Not to mention anything about the linguistics and wheat - which I'm sure you're sick of reading about, but there was a headline in the Financial Times yesterday that you really need to pay attention to, methinks: "Water Fears lead Saudis to end grain output..."
Speaking of water, did you happen to catch that Beijing is planning to open a canal to carry water in for the Olympics? The problem is that the water diversion will threaten the lives of millions and it's turned into quite an internal debate in China.
A CNNMoney headline this morning says "Oil eases from record highs after US stocks data but OPEC supports..."
I expect you're thinking "OK, if oil has eased a bit, that maybe means that oil will stop climbing now and we will see some price declines as the recession takes hold, right?" No so fast, buckaroo.
It's my view that people in the USA don't pay close attention to the comments of US 'leaders' and 'pseudo-leaders' when they talk in different parts of the world - especially when they are talking halfway around the world. A case in point here (and it relates every-so-importantly to the future price of oil) is this note from a sharp-eyed reader in Ethiopia:
Wait a minute, I find myself saying: The report linked here says in part: "Greenspan, the former chairman of the US central bank, or Fed, has said that inflation rates in Gulf states, which are reaching near record levels, would fall "significantly" if oil producers dropped their US dollar pegs."
H's worried about rates of Gulf States inflation???!!! Where's Greenspan's loyalty, here? It seems to me that if we are telling oil producers to, in effect, stop using dollars, that will only accelerate the dollar decline, which broke below previous lows yesterday. That in turn might lower the price of Western goods in Sand Land but at the expensive of those of us who live in the used-to-be Land of the Free. Jack up oil in whatever currency, force the US into a recession and a high rate of US inflation (or stagflation) shows up. Bails out the bankers by artificially stimulating asset valuations and thanks to central bankster generosity, it happens with interest rates low enough so as to verge on 'free money".
I suppose, if I were a banker, the song I'd be playing in the lobby would be "Money for nothing" while glossing over the Dire Straits we're really in. A delightfully subtle memeering to confound consumers with cognitive dissonance: Clouds the judgment and drives the obsessive-compulsive disorder called mindless consumerism.
The Runs: No Bloomberg
Maybe I just haven't been hanging around with enough knights & globalists to have the right perspective on this, or maybe, just maybe, there's another agenda orchestrated by the global government/power elite that operates a level above the governance of regular humans.
Maybe I should give up analyzing all this, beat them at their own game, and climb back on the corpgov treadmill someplace and give up my crusade for sound dollars, rescinding of Executive Orders, full restoration of the Constitution & maintenance of the unabridged version of the Bill of Rights.
As President Eisenhower advised us in his January 1961 departure speech: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. "
If that ship hasn't sailed yet, there are at least hordes of globalists visible at dockside as election time comes up, actively hacking at the mooring lines for personal gain and power. Not surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be anyone at the helm of the great Ship of State now (reflected in recent polls) and each time a new Captain not sympathetic to the mob arises, they're scuttled as quickly as possible.
Instead, the mob picks 'put-ups" from among their own and what we're left with as possible Captains seem more minions of the mob instead of principals with principles. I reckon I will be "wasting" my vote in next week's Texas primary, but it will at least be a deeply considered vote going beyond jingoism, persuasion blocks, and image control.
It's less that the two-party system has failed, so much as the voters have failed to use it and demand quality and integrity from leaders. Elections missed when I was younger are, in retrospect, something to be ashamed of now.
Ultimately life is largely about living by values and principles at a deeply personal level. The closer to the end you get, the more important those values and principles become.
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Coping: Weather Everything
A reader sends in this really fine idea about using something you tax dollars are already paying for...
Damn fine idea.
If you haven't got your garden seeds for this year, get them YESTERDAY says a reader:
Beats Living in A Box
With a little ingenuity, access to some resources to feed the brain (public library computer time, foe example) even the most destitute of folks can come up with ways to get in out of the rains and sun. Here's a particularly interesting email from a reader with ideas backed by actionL
Still looking for ways to preserve eggs? (At this hour eating them is still within reason).
No, I have not tried this, and no, it's not an endorsement - just another idea to kick around...
Send your snip & save contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wednesday February 27, 2008
It's Me, Biff Department: Panic
Remember in the movie Back to the Future the anti-hero Biff had gotten a look at the outcome of future events? Or, in one of the sequels, how he had actually used the information about the future in the sports almanac from the future to pile up a huge empire? Well, today I'm feeling a lot like Biff, thanks to the predictive linguistics over at www.halfpasthuman.com.
It's not just that the commodity account is up 68% since February 21 to a shade under $32,000, but that it seems destined to go much higher if the linguistics work out as presently headed. While the price of gold is up $8 bucks, the dollar seems to be determined to break down to new lows. In fact, my commodity guy JB called last night because I ,asked him to let me know when the dollar takes out the last lows (under 74.68 on the basket) because I reckon that's when we will see everything start heading for the moon.
With any luck, this morning when oil inventories come out, or tomorrow with natural gas comes out, we will hopefully see that there's a good dip in prices, and that's when I'll wade in. But, for now, the picture is not very hopeful: "Oil rises above $102 as weak dollar boosts commodity prices" reads one headline.
I don't know as I've explained how this dollar/oil/commodity relationship works recently, but it was something sketched out for me very early in my reporter life by the late Dr. Paul Erdman, author of such classic financial novels as "The Billion Dollar Sure Thing", "The Silver Bears" and "The Crash of '79".
We were having a two-martini lunch at the old Trader Vic's in the Westin Hotel in Seattle - and it was about 1976, or so. I was running the news department at KMPS at the time Erdman was out on a book tour for "Crash of '79" - I'd interviewed him for a weekend public affairs program put together by the news department called "Introspect". It was a series of 5 to however-many-minutes-long audio vignettes. Almost a precursor to talk radio, which hadn't germinated yet.
Anyway, Erdman's explanation was simple: Pretend you live in a world with just two countries using two currencies (A and B) and they both have the same purchasing power. In this kind of a world, the price of a commodity is the same price everywhere in the world. (A=B). So when people who sell the oil from Country A sell, they don't hav e any preference for whether they are paid with A currency or B.
But now, ask yourself what happens when the purchasing power of one currency (A) is cut in half relative to the other? Here's how it works.
Now, all you need to do is some substituting of terms. Last week, the dollar index was about 75.50 on the index and the outlook was good. Today, the dollar index is around 74.50, so at a minimum we should see a 1.3% move in the US landed price of a foreign commodity like oil, plus throw in something for a deteriorating outlook, and then throw in that we're just days or a few weeks at most from an Israeli 'surprise' outburst which linguistically will be regretted for 9-generations.
Hopefully, we'll see a far stronger-than-expected inventory report and I'll do a little fishing the dips. But, I'm not betting on it.
Back into Biff's Book
Now, I realize that this may all seem like 'tall tales' and such, but it's been crystal clear in modelspace for months. You may remember the brief half-hour interview I did with Ian Punnett on CoasttoCoast AM on January 2nd of this year. Cliff and Igor were kind enough to let me sketch in at least some of the major trends that would be popping out. Click here and go to Page 2 of the summary to see how we're doing. Just ahead: Emergence of a strong female personality not connected with politics as a sort of 'uniter' among peoples, and the death by a thousand cuts which will be the uproar in credit card defaults which will pop into consciousness next month.
Subscribers to the more details reports are sending in congratulations on the massive Southeast Power outage, which we predicted several months back would be caused by a nuclear reactor going offline. A note from Cliff called my attention to it yesterday:
Which means that it also may be the leading edge of the Diaspora meme applied to USA Pop in modelspace, but all that should become evident soon enough.
Then there was a note a bit later in the day from Igor (Cliff's understudy/cohort/F100 caliber CIO type in his own right):
At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, subscriptions for the 1308 series are open - and we're probably within a week of Part Zero being posted. That's where Cliff and Igor do an update on where everything is in modelspace.
This is not a "trading system". It's just a very strange way of looking into the future. It doesn't make recommendations about whether to buy this strike, or that month in anything. That's the responsibility of the individual trader. However, as I explained yesterday, it is a lot easier to make genius-level decisions when you've got a copy of what's almost like Biff's sports almanac in your back pocket.
Maybe I've been lucky making a return of 11.83 times my initial investment since July. With the wheat limit 135 pennies now, and wheat limit down this morning, I wouldn't be surprised to see my gains pared back a bit. Still, I love it - another chance to buy the dips.
[As always, this isn't investment advice and do not try to ghost my trades. Commodity option trading is inherently risky and you can lose your whole investment. Seek professional advice.]
Oh, THAT $163 Billion
While most of the investment community has been astounded that Goldman and Lehman looked for a while like they would avoid the pain of the financial meltdown in subprime and beyond, a top bond trader friend in Chicago sent me an email with the subject line borrowed as the headline above, along with a link to "Goldman, Lehman may not have dodged Credit Crisis."
The new term to a add to your collection of other-names for questionable value is "Variable Interest Entities" or VIE's. SIV's, now VIE's. Notice a lack of SEC's and FBI's?
I look at all the liar's paper sloshing around the world and reluctantly conclude the money center banks are above the law. If they fail, the whole government-for-auction system would fall apart and we'd have people lynching banksters.
Light Poles Next?
Speaking of attacks on bankers and such (due to go mainstream later in the year) an alert reader in the Northwest caught a story about how four banks in the Bremerton (Washington) area were vandalized last week. "Ahead of the meme?" he wonders.
So do we...anger continues to build over foreclosures. Why aren't mortgage swindlers going to jail?
You did note that the FDIC is adding staff to deal with (potential) bank runs?
Inflation That Matters
Oh, sure, you can skip this part if you're a policymaker because food and energy don't count. But, just on the off chance you eat food or drive, you might want to know that $4 gas is back in the cards.
Shake - E
England had a 5.2 quake about 1 AM their time. Damage could run into the millions says the Press Association. And that's in Pounds. Wonder that would be in real money? Come to think of it, what is real money, anymore?
Meantime, our displaced Houston Bureau continues to Rock On in Indonesia where another big temblor has struck. 12th in four days.
Taking a Breather
This email from Vermont isn't exactly a breath of fresh air:
The Runs: Early Election Returns
Not as durable as one might hope by the look of it:
Israel's intel boss figures by 2010 (less than two years) Iran will have nuclear weapons. The clock ticks. Air strike takes out 5 Hamas operatives. It ticks again.
New and Improved Death Machines
"Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert". More dangerous than corpgov TV or taxes? I don't think so...yet...
Around the Ranch: Request for Comments
Every once in a while I like to open a can of worms - and this morning is no exception. Specifically, I'd like to ask about the appearance of this web site. At least for the moment, I'm pleased with it, but that's just me. There's always room for change.
So, here's the question: Does this site have too many links, would you have a preference to having the menus on the right, a higher contrast presentation (e.g. darker border colors and such) or what have you? Is there a different headline color that you'd prefer?
Designing a web site is always a matter of feedback and giving people what they want, st least if you want happy readers/users. So click here to send in your comments, or, if you'r email program doesn't open, send them to email@example.com.
I'm pleased to report that I have successfully swapped ouit keyboards. While that shouldn't be a big thing, I swapped out Elaine's keyboard (Logitech USB) for my last one. Three things drove it: 1) the old keyboard I had not longer had keys that I could read - they were just worn off. I go through a keyboard about every 6-7 months. 2) The Logitech has a really good 'feel' to it. That might mean a lower error rate in the morning reports. Plus, being a white keyboard, it's a much higher contract view in the softly lit office when I don't have the prison-yard-bright lights on because it's just too damn much light in the early hours. Oh yes, the third reason for the change: E was outside feeding the animals and the keyboard guard had the day off.
She'll probably be going into town long before me - and a hundred dollar bill with a note to stop at Office Depot to pick out a new one for herself seems like adequate compensation.
I haven't been able to find a good keyboard since Microsoft discontinued the one keyboard they made which was great: It was an Office keyboard that had cut, paste, insert and delete as a cluster of four buttons on the left side of the keyboard. No screwing around for the most-used operatins for most of us in the super writing mode.
This has all gotten me to wondering about why no one makes a really killer keyboard for people who are in the corpgov rat race where we need to mash things around on screens as fast as humanly possible.
Such a keyboard would have the following attributes:
No, it's not a million-dollar idea, but it seems to me that there would just be a lot of folks who would like to have keyboard layouts that made sense for serious power-users. No, please don't tell me to spend the next six-years programming assignable keys. I want what the military procurement folks call a COTS solution: custom off the shelf. Where is it?
Tuesday February 26, 2008
What Goes Up
After gaining a shade under 190-points on Monday, the Dow (oblivious to the computer problems I'm having here since 4 AM yesterday) put on a rousing rally. It's a rally which seems to be set for a resumption at this morning's open, too.
In case you've been asleep for a couple of decades, the Big Picture view around here continues to be that we're either past, or just approaching a blow-off Kondratiev Longwave Peak. To be sure, we've had a couple of "lost opportunities" to see economic collapse of the Western interest-bearing economic (Ponzi) scheme fall apart before; we've been spared, however, by almost mysterious events.
If you take a squinty-eyed view of the Dow, for example, you'll see that following the blow-off top in the internet stocks circa Spring of 2000, the world was on the verge of financial collapse of never-before-seen size in the fall of 2001. But then, you know what happened, right?
We had the experience of 9/11. And it's this experience which has continued to power the American/Western economic wave we're in right now ever since. No, I won't claim that 9/11 was an 'inside job' - but from a macroeconomic perspective it at a minimum very, very convenient.
When you take the time to read up on what America went through in the 1930's Great Depression, and how policymakers responded at the time, you find that one of the keys to getting through the period was a ton of 'make work' projects. not that the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Works Progress Administration didn't do a lot of good - please don't get me wrong. The key thing they did, however was pump up government spending and provide for investment in a particularly important way.
The 'echo' of the Great Depression, which you can hear if you listen closely enough today, is that the terrorism event of 9/11 gave the government a reason to expand its scope of intrusion into the lives of everyday Americans. Oh, and so there were lots of documents about financial losses and naked shorting lost in the event; to remember these things is to become part of the lunatic fringe of internet conspiracy theorists.
Our colleagues who have invented the new science of predictive linguistics, based on a unique way of processing millions of postings in public discussion groups all over the internet, tell us that we are within days of a 'surprise' war in the Middle East. All of which gets us down to this morning's focus: What goes UP eventually comes DOWN.
In particular today, having run into a fair amount of success in my commodity trading account of late, I'm eyeing the behavior of crude oil which according to headlines "...dips on expected rise in US crude stock, fears rally was overdone..."
With all due respect, my reasoning is that such insightful and penetrating observations might amount to 'over-thinking' things a bit. A much simpler explanation of momentary weakness in oil might well be that we're coming up on the end of the month and it's time for traders in both the stock and commodity markets to close out books for the month.
How better to do that than a) drive down some commodity prices to allow those needing deliveries to pick them up at not-quite-such-high prices? Or, on the stock side of the house, try to run the market up for a monthly gain after the disaster that was January?
A click over to the historical prices of the Dow at Yahoo's excellent finance site reveals what? That the Dow closed January at 12,650.36. In order to keep the monthly cash flows coming in from half-serious "investors" who mindlessly pour money into their 401K accounts with little thought about where the money goes, let me do the math for you.
We take the January close (12,650.36) and subtract the present close Monday (12,570.22) and assume that a minimum of 80 points remains on the upside of the present market rally between now and Miller time on Friday.
Naturally, such predictable behavior in the markets (not to mention the likely outbreak of a "surprise" attack by a small Middle Eastern country over the next week or two, brings to mind fears of a unified response by the oil producing club. But, in the interest of not running afoul regulators, I'm not going to tell you what my personal trading plans are in advance. This site does not give trading advice - it only offers a unique longwave economic perspective on current news events, and occasional glimpses into the future events.
Elaine and I got to talking about the value of the predictive linguistics from HalfPastHuman this week because she's had her nose in commodity books every time I turn around.
"I want to learn all about this, and be able to know the long term historical background, then go through the charts and technical analysis," she confided.
"Too much work!" I told her. "Look, here's the deal: The whole reason that folks like Jim Rogers (a genius-level guy, don't get me wrong) spend so much of their time studying the markets is that the bottom line of all their research is to come up with a well-researched view of the future. But, for me, that's too much work."
"I was looking forward to learning it all," replied Elaine.
"Aw, come on. Step back from the problem a little ways and you'll see it: Why spend months or even years learning the ins and outs of a commodity's past performance, if all you are really interested in is a well-founded expectation of its future price? Seems horribly inefficient to me. Besides, Cliff and Igor in the new linguistics runs are going to include a 'bullet point' section for investors in their data runs. Not that this will turn trading in futures into a no-brainer, but it's an alternative way to get to the same goal - way more efficiently..."
Elaine got a sort of disappointed look. "So that's it? You just take the linguistics runs, infer the future from them, and pick out something that's going to benefit or lose from future events and put on a trade?"
"Not exactly - I still look at some of the Greeks, use charting techniques and such just like the other guys do. But, we don't have time to write my web sites, build out the ranch, and do enough strategic management and turnaround consulting to hit our financial goals. There are lots of ways to set expectations about future prices of a thing. Months of research is just a lot less efficient than using software to get the future leaks that come out in language..."
Elaine went back to her books - she's working on an investment/value history of gold. Me? I just took the latest note from Cliff and Igor about the future and looked at the calendar and wondered about eggs, war and our 1,137% return for not quite 8-months of using the concept.
Secretly, I wondered if at some point down the road radical linguistics would get the same rap as 'card counters' in Las Vegas. But that's a long ways off - besides, HalfPastHuman doesn't have many subscribers. Yet.
With word that Sales of Existing Homes and Prices Both Fall in January, we have to wonder how much beyond Friday the current market rally can last. Linguistically, repudiation of credit card debt comes along in March, which might take down the financial again, despite the recent relief over Ambac ratings and such.
Another reason to be skeptical till the market is north of 12,743 for a few days is that January foreclosures were up 57%. Camping: It's not just for vacations anymore.
The Runs: Who Cared?
Reading that "Clinton Campaign Starts 5-point attack on Obama" doesn't do much except confirm that she's throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the campaign.
I can hardly wait for the next round of campaign finance reports so we can get a current market value on presidential wannabes. The way I see it, whoever "wins" the race this fall will be taking over a failing economy - which would be a fine way for the republicorps to hand the democorps a black-eye for generations.
Oscar ratings fall to an all-time low headlines Variety. And?
With Condi Rice in Beijing winning Chinese help on North Korea nuke talks, we have to note that just up the road a piece in North Korea, the New York Philharmonic was performing. Diplomatic overtures, indeed.
Grand Theft Foiled?
The folks at Take-Two Interactive apparently aren't about to sell their Grand Theft Auto empire to Electronic Arts. (I liked the name "Rock Star Games" which is what's on my well-used copy of GTA-III, but just me, I guess...)
No Coffee Tonight
Starbucks will be doing training from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight nationally is I get the story from the Charlotte Observer right. Load up on lattes early, huh?
Around the Ranch: Computer Coming Back
If you've been waiting for a subscription to Peoplenomics to be processed in the past couple of days it looks like there it hope. My Vista laptop seems to be on the mend (decrementing at the moment).
Sure, not as impressive as the new IBM Mainframes coming out. But, at least responsive to a combination of Acronis TrueImage, SpinRite, and NTFS Pro (not to mention many new and creative string of blasphemies that would curl your toes).
Things (with any luck) ought to be back to their normal chaotic state by this time tomorrow...so please hang in there.
Monday February 25, 2008
Life Gets Interesting: The Lost OS
Not that it isn't always, but this morning, I arrived in my office at 5:30, coffee in hand, ready to kick butt and take names for another week. But wait, what's this "Operating system not found" reported Vista upon reboot!
So, a couple of clicks, and I'm on a backup system this morning, but now comes the mystery, which will no doubt eat up at least part of the day: "Where the hell did Vista go and why?" Of course, there's a fresh back-up on the big removable drive, and elsewhere. But it's a huge time sink and it's going to result in a shorter copy of today's report - which may look a tad different because FP 2003 (this version) doesn't have the 'resample image' feature that FP 2007 does, so that's how my morning has started - hope yours is going better...
Recovery disks and restore points seem to be what Universe has in mind for me to work through today... If you've sent me email in the past 24-hours, it may take a day or two to sort through stuff. If it was a virus attack, could be longer...just depends what I find when the disks start flying. But first things first: Operating on the backup system, and a good breakfast. Not to mention a scan of the headlines. Now, where were we? Oh yes...
Headlining the Obvious
"Top Economists See Signs of Recession" says an AP headline this morning. Hmmm...you think falling stock prices, massive foreclosures, late bank payments, outsourcing to India and wherever might have been a hint?
A report in the Financial Times gives little hope for a happy ending: "Shoppers warned bigger bills on way". That much you might have figured out on your own.
All In the Family
And the Winner Is...
A tsunami warning has now been lifted, but another good-sized quake down Indonesia way overnight. We'll just keep watching the Baja quake swarming, too. That kinda stuck makes me nervous as a...a....Vista user!
A YouTube outage on Sunday is being blamed on Pakistan's efforts to keep blasphemous videos out of their land.
Russia is pledging to support Serbia as Kosovo continues its move towards what's sold in the West as "independence" - which is another way of saying that between the oil/gas pipelines and the natural resources, we're going to impose a little gunpoint democracy, seems likely.
Meet the Highwaymen!
Word that Governors push for road funding has me grumbling a bit: Let me see if I got this right: States get money from the Feds and then build roads - which at least here in Texas, are then turned over to foreign companies for management and the taxpayer ends up having to pay for the privilege of driving on roads which we paid for in the first place. See why I offer "No Incumbents in 2008" sticks for sale?
Breakfast of Champions
Noting that there was a 134 pound hamburger built and sold up in the motor city environs has me wondering is there will be leftovers for breakfast this morning. Can I have fries with that, please?
(We'll forego the snip and save section and "Around the Ranch" as I get back to data recovery operations here...)
An explanation of this chart
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for 'truth' in economics, that the powers That Be, the talking heads on the teeve, and the other information sources that actively engage in the programming of humans not to think, had conveniently swept several trillions of dollars that disappeared in the Internet Bubble's bursting (since spring 2000) under the rug. Surely, it wasn't unnoticed by the thousands of people who called brokers and said "Where is my money?" "Gone, but hang in there as you're a long term investor!" was about all they heard back.
But, the truth of the matter is that this chart shows what your account would look like if you have taken a few thousand dollars and invested equal amounts in the Dow, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ Composite in the waning days of 1999. It's not a very pretty picture, and it sort of gives away the other side of the story. You know, the one that no one has an interest in telling, because it's a truth which shows the amazing coincidence of the timing of 9/11, the disappearance of naked shorting evidence and all, along with the impact of The Wars which have managed to keep the economy out of an earlier depression than the one expected by me by late 2008.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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