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29, 2009 07:30 AM CDT
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Shades of '29
Gov't Plans to Seize
I've been telling you for years that one of the surest
markers the Second Depression (SD/D2) would be the seizure
and/or licensure of the Internet. On Friday the plans
started to come into focus as it's being widely reported that in
congress a "Bill
would give president emergency control of Internet."
Just for the heck of it, I dredged up a column I wrote back in
2006 - to underscore the point that this has been in the works
"Tuesday May 1, 2006
Another Driver Toward Internet Regulation One of
the hallmarks of the Second Depression (slowly materializing
in front of your eyes, e.g. the housing bubble collapse,
etc) is the move to regulate communications. Think back to
the last Depression and you have the Communications Act of
1934, for example. Make radio a "licensed" activity and thus
control access, got it?
So fast forward to present day -
the arrival of citizen reporters (see third story down for a
fine example) and read the report that nationally,
newspaper circulation is down 2.1% and some big papers, like
the Boston Globe have dropped nearly 4%.
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon
to figure out what's ahead: The newspapers - with their
op-ed pages and endorsements pulling the you-know-whats of
elected officialdom will shortly find themselves deeply
conflicted on the power of the Internet. On the one hand the
Constitutionally guarantees of a Free Press mean something.
But on the other, as circ falls, so does ad revenue, and
soon the major media conglomerates will be begging for
With Internet2 making headlines
about bandwidth ("Internet2
Breaks another speed record") the safest bet seems to be
that I2 will be the domain of corporate and institutional
players while the genuinely free-for-all that is internet1
will be relegated to stepchild status.
Heresy Indicator: I expect
newspapers will be all over in support of I2 being
restricted to "commercial ventures" That way, they'll be
able to speak of "supporting free exchange of ideas" and at
the same time, lock up the big pipe for their corporate
profiteering. Oh, and you know who pays for the pipe, right?
It's more of the "Do as we say, not as we do" approach to
controlling society by the uberclassen.
Dynamics of this trend are still in place...Too early to come
right out and say "Told you so!" Still, it's getting
uncomfortably close. All that separates the working man
from a world where the corpgov forces take over the entire
internet is a terrorist attack (real or promoted) which
utilizes the internet in some way to wreak even a small amount
while I sit back and wait for 'surprising weather in the SE USA
over the next couple of weeks (a new data bulge in the
predictive linguistics research from
which may feed into 'diaspora'), I'm reminded that vis-à-vis
newspaper sales revenues have continued to decline and in
mid-80's marketing parlance, there's a virtual strategic
alliance afoot here.
Related: You saw where in the UK
James Murdoch says unchecked BBC expansion is chilling?
want to rain on the parade of these newspapering guys, but do we
really need to cut down forests so they can all report
the same lock-step 'me-too' crap that all papers seem to?
Electrons are recycled an infinite number of times and are
much faster than the traditional 'time delay' press.
World's changed guys - catch up!
The Grim Bankers, III
Banks in California, Minnesota, and Maryland have been the
latest to bite the dust as the nation's banking woes continue
Some statistics to ponder here: First, the month of August
should close out with 15 banks and their 589 bank branches
reorganized away - unless the FDIC has another 'shoe to drop'
still this weekend. This compares with only 34 branches
and three banks a year ago.
On a branch basis, that means 3,628 branches have
been reorganized from last July 11th, when IndyMac started the
ball rolling with the latest round of closures.
Yup - no sign of transparency in this one: A "Judge
puts Fed's bailout revelations on hold."
Why is it when I read stories about the fed-two-step that my
mind replays Jack Nicholson's great line "You can't handle
the truth!" Not that we don't already suspise it...
Countdown To October
reported seizure of North Korean weapons, headed for Iran,
is just more kindling on our expected October 25th Israeli
attack on Iran. Be nice if it doesn't happen, but there
are many things lining up in that period, including a possible
market crash date in the week before that (more on that
for Peoplenomics.com subscribers on Sunday), that it's looking
downright ominous for now. Linguistically (and by the
charts) that should be a helluva week. Might be worth
staying home just to watch the news channels.
Gott5a love learning this:
Charlie Rangel who's head honcho of the tax-overseeing House
Ways and Committee forgot to report up to $1.3-million
in outside income, according to a NY Post colu8mn out this week.
Here in the land of all-folks-is-equal, we have to wonder what
would happen to one of us peons if we forgot that much
dough due Uncle?
All of which goes to my contention that people who go to
Washington - ostensibly to represent We The People - should
return to their districts at the end of their terms with no more
net worth than they started with plus whatever inflation works
out to. Too many of the disclosure statements I've read
show that people go to Washington poor, come home rich, and our
interests as common folks get somehow overlooked.
Something like this real estate of Rangel's. Ooops.
Shake & Quake Dept.
Remember the predictive linguistics a while back explained that
there would be all kinds of E.Q. activity this summer - so
much we weren't even going to try and sort out all the media
coverage? We had a bunch of
quake swarming up in Oklahoma this week, a
good-sized one off the Oregon coast (undersea
mountain-building goes on there, I expect), and a
6.8 in the Banda Sea this week.
the decline in the US dollar this week pushed up the price of
oil. But, what I'm waiting on is the gold & silver
prices to start jumping if this decline continues some ways.
That'll be a nice payday.
Globalist Media Control
Very interesting lawsuit has been lost by the A.P. in the
Seems the A.P. ran some pictures of the Dutch royals which were
taken in Argentina. The Dutchies didn't like
the publicity, so the A.P. got sued - and lost.
I know - you're wondering "How come if the pictures were taken
in Argentina, the A.P. got sued in the Netherlands?"
Court says the pix had no 'news value' and were therefore were
verboten since the royals claim a right to some privacy.
Kiss off another 1,100 jobs going to Mexico.
Good thing I'm not doing Saturday updates. If I were, I'd
be ticked and my blood pressure would go skyward.
Up in Smoke
10,000+ acres in California.
Speaking of smoke -
you see where 14,500 pot plants were seized out of national
forest lands up in Colorado? But wait! Outdone
the 20,000 plant bust in Utah this week - worth $60-million
according to the story.
Hand me the calculator, wouldja? Hmmm... $3,000 per plant?
Is this like giant Sequoia weed? OMG do you have any idea how
rich farmers could be with legalization or even
decriminalization? Who'd buy booze or cancer sticks! The
booze cartel would collapse - can't have that can we?
Of course, we're not supposed to 'get' how the 'war on drugs' is
a government money program. Why, defending us against
dangerous plants certainly deserves our continued and increased
tax dollar support. It's obvious, isn't it, that the
years of human history without drug wars hasn't exactly
worked out, right? This will fix everything...
Hand me that pipe, wouldja? Wait! Belay that - you know
how to start an IV?
Send comments to
The UrbanSurvival Mall:
In Saturday's free report on the UrbanSurvival site,
I made a passing reference to the implications of S-curves in the
study of bank failures in the US. This week, a longer term
look, using the same technique. And once
we've got a grasp of
that, the next issue would be "What to do?" about it. Then,
since we're all about new ways of looking at markets, why not apply
S-curves to the recent Dow, over the past 10-years or so, and see
where that points? Got'cher Cray warmed up? We're
off....er...maybe that's not the right word, since people have been
applying that to me for years, although I insist they are
More For Subscribers
My commodity broker JB Slear and I
have written a simple book to get you started on high density
hydroponics. It's an example of how someone with a little
creativity, access to a few 'dollar stores' and willing to try
out some new farming techniques can grow an amazing amount of
produce sin a very small space - like even an apartment balcony
(if it gets some sunlight). Sound interesting? It's
just $10 bucks here...
No, when you tell your browser to 'empty your cookies' of web
sites you've visited, it probably won't get them all. Why?
Because there is a whole class of 'browser-independent' cookies
that will gobble up space on your hard drive, but more important
is they will sneak out information about you without you
being aware of it. Ever week I get emails like
"Thanks again for the Maxa Tools recommendation, I never
knew how much additional garbage gets attached every time I
Test drive it free by downloading it. To upgrade to full
functionality will be $35 bucks. Is your privacy worth it?
Once you try it out, click the
upgrade button (!) on the upper right hand side for the $35
unlock to get it to remove even those nasty and highly intrusive
'non-browser specific' cookies. Bonus: You computer
may run faster. I've taken
34,759 cookies off my machine now.
It's just amazing.
Attn: Mac Drivers: MCM
does support the Safari Browser, but that does not mean it is
compatible with Mac OS. Maxa-Tools only support the Windows
world....so far. Given Jens and the other engineers
to be a thorn in the side of the Old World Order? Simply
and send a link to this site to everyone on your distro list...Nothing
more dangerous than sharp, clear-thinking upstarts who ask a lot
of questions, eh? Unless you believe WTC-7 fell over on
its own, of course....
"Live on $10,000" Updated
I've told you in the past
to order my ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less..."
with the rationale that "We're all going to live it shortly, anyway."
Don't know as you have looked lately, but the unemployment rate
is up more than 3% since I wrote the first edition of that book
and underpasses have never been more homely. Worth
www.liveontenthousand.com or, click
this little whizzie...
It's an automatic
download. It's written in an information dense style: The whole
thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to
not only live on the cheap, but also how
to migrate up the economic foodchain if you have a little hustle
Click here for the
index and details.
week's report is here. For
back issues of this site, click here. (Goes back to
Friday August 28, 2009
shouldn't begin this morning's report with such an openly
skeptical view of an offishul gov'munt number, but here goes:
income increased $3.8 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, and
disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $4.6 billion, or
less than 0.1 percent, in July, according to the Bureau of
Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures
(PCE) increased $25.0 billion, or 0.2 percent. In June,
personal income decreased $133.4 billion, or 1.1 percent,
DPI decreased $119.9 billion, or 1.1 percent, and PCE
increased $60.9 billion, or 0.6 percent, based on revised
Real disposable income decreased
0.1 percent in July, compared with a decrease of 1.6 percent
in June. Real PCE increased 0.2 percent, compared with an
increase of 0.1 percent."
But the best knee-slapper is this
"Personal saving -- DPI less
personal outlays – was $458.5 billion in July, compared with
$486.8 billion in June. Personal saving as a percentage of
disposable personal income was 4.2 percent in July, compared
with 4.5 percent in June. "
All these numbers make my head spin,
since we know from the Fed guy yesterday at the real
unemployment rate is 16% by the time you count the unemployed,
and the discouraged job seekers who haven't been able to find
work, not to mention people who have run out of benefits and
thus become statistical eraser dust.
What I can't seem to wrap my head
around is that with nearly 20% of the workers in America
unemployed or unable to find work, or out of bennies, how the
savings rate could be claimed as 4.2%?
Let's do some hypothecating here:
I can think of lots of weasel-worded ways to get there.
But out here in George Land, paying down a credit card is not
'savings' although I suppose someone has to have penciled up a
way to take reduced forward debt burden and count it as an
improvement in savings. Better? How about counting a
refi of your house as 'savings' too? Why, reducing that
forward interest debt has to be good for some statistical
benefit doesn't it?
Why, you wouldn't even need to
actually get the refi - just having an imaginary rate
should be all a statistical wonk would need. Besides,
banks aren't doing much refi'ing are they?
Much research to do. If I get
some time, I'll look into it. But after all is said and
done, I doubt that all of America is actually putting 4.2% of
their income into 'savings'. I really, really doubt it.
Not when I see homeless under overpasses and not with Social
Security benefits flat lining. Maybe I oughta put some
party-juice in the coffee.
Bank Failure Roulette,
Gather 'round the water cooler...it's time to start laying down
the bets on how many banks will fail in this week's FDIC report.
Just the mechanics of posting all the changes takes many hours,
but if you click here:
www.fdic.gov tomorrow morning, you should be able to see the
latest from the Grim Bankers.
The headline I'd draw your attention to is the remark by the
president of the a private equity firm that bought UnitedBank of
Florida in May, that
we may see 1,000 banks fail in the next two years. You
may remember that his
BankUnited had 86-branches according to the FDIC in May.
you don't subscribe to Peoplenomics.com - my weekly newsletter
where I get pretty deeply into a topic - here's a chart from
last week's report where I discuss some of the ramifications of
S-curves on the banking outlook.
I ran the S-curves I'd done past
who you could think of as the Godfather of S-curves and be
right, and he cautions that we need several more data points on
a yearly basis before the slope and finish of the current round
of failures will be confirmed. But he was kind enough to
share the 'fit' of the rash of bank failures (2000-2003/4).
Remember, this was only for the
failures by year in the first leg down of Depression II.
The next curve will reflect the second leg down.
The bottom line? My projected
failure rate of branches shown here may be sadly accurate
if this hedge fellow is right in his number:
We wait and watch with a kind of
popcorn at the train wreck view. A couple of WaMu-sized
failures in the next couple of months and I'll immodestly be
reminding you of this. (More on banks and wealth
preservation in today's "Coping" section.
Still not tired of banking news?
Oh goody...let's slog on.
They've Got a Secret
Since UBS is turning over some names of clients to the US (an
act which may have criminal tax consequences for a few
customers) it's interesting to note what other Swiss banks are
Wegelin bank is pulling out of the US. No branches in
the US means no disclosure requirements here...
Let me see if I have this right: "Sarkozy
threat to shun banks on pay draws U.S. alarm." The
reason this is so alarming is that one of the O-Czarists is
trying to come up with reasonable pay limits for banksters., not
that we normally pay any attention to what goes on in France.
I've always considered banking to be something akin to civil
service. It shouldn't be such a rich field that people go
there because it offers a huge return on investment and lifetime
employment (unlike much of anything else here lately). I
always figured that in return for being almost 'fire proof' and
getting into phat pensions that people in government and bankers
ought to work for just a bit less than those of us who are the
real risk-takers in America.
OK, why was it so important that the US government make an
investment in AIG -
a move which a new Treasury draft says was highly speculative?
Best I can figure, AIG and other holders of gobs of steamy,
stinking derivatives are not out of the woods. Like
highwaymen, they'll be back for more a little further along the
journey. Just a matter of time. the derivatives
bubble has only been patched not fixed.
Wait! What's that hissing sound I hear?
Good Memory - Bummer
A reader sent in a link to the story that "Those
who lose homes may face state tax hit" with the simple
subject line "You were saying this last year..." Uh huh.
Shades of '29
Is it poetic justice that "Newspaper
slump deepen as 2Q ad sales fall 29 pct"? Naw - who
could imagine the Universe
bitch-slapping the arrogant publishing aristocrats for
ignoring sound finance and the interest of us plebes since the
early Bushista years?
Say, you don't think the print media would have more ad sales if
they had called bullsh*t on congress for selling out the
public interest on bailouts, do you?
That a tell-it-like-it-is guy like
Glenn Beck has beaten Oh Rudely shouldn't come as a shock.
New paradigm trumps old paradigm right there in the living room.
Familiar Sounding Headline
accused of using Edward Kennedy's death to promote reforms".
Oh I remember where I heard that....here.
I see how
Nancy Pelosi is trying to raise $100-large to fight 'republican
Park the jet, fly commercial, get into Social Security instead
of the phat separate congressional retirement plan, and
get real about healthcare, Your Highness.
Not every critic is a republicorp. Some of us just want
the Fed audited, sound money, and all those offshored jobs back.
As long as I'm laying out the 'wish list', please call those
bankster types and advise them that when it's claimed by the "Banks
say disclosure [on bailout money] could cause loss of confidence",
they're behind the times. Many of us have already lost
confidence in the system since are balance sheet literate.
Do that (and sign on to the Fed audit bill) and I'll gladly send
When You're Hot
Speaking of hell freezing over - no worries about 'chilling out'
in San Antonio. Folks over yonder are whining about
number of 100+ degree days this year.
look at the US
Drought Monitor shows exceptional drought in South Texas -
which I take it will mean higher beef prices down the road.
And then there's that ongoing drought in the fruit & vegetables
--- snip and save section ---
What's Wealth Anymore?
People have asked me, now and then, "George, where should I put
my money so that I can sleep nights know it is in a good bank?"
Damned if I know. Both of my dollars are safely squirreled
away; the other two are in a bank. The problem we all have
as we contemplate the odds of Global Financial Meltdown, Part II
this fall is that we have day-to-day needs to conduct business
(checking accounts linked to credit card accounts being the most
common and easiest to manage) so at least a little money
in a bank for cash management makes sense.
But, which bank?
Something extraordinary happened in our ongoing banking
catastrophe here (don't worry, it's still on the upswing); we
saw a Spanish bank (BBVA) entry into the mix of
bailer-outers. Hmmm...foreign bank buying market share in
the US? Wonder if they are related to that Spanish outfit
that's involved in toll road leasing here in Texas? But, I
Global Finance Magazine has a list of the 50 safest banks
worldwide. Aside of the BBVA bailout deal,
you've got to drop down to #31 - Mellon Bank - before you find a
USA based bank.
That I can only count five out of the top fifty as being in the
US is somewhat disturbing to me.
Perhaps it's my age, though. I'm old enough, you see, to
remember how well US banks were regarded before we got rolled
up, merged, free-marketed, and outsourced to death. Them's
was the good old days.
I'm reminded of
Bucky Fuller's way of measuring wealth as a pretty good one:
It's the number of days of forward survival that you are
assured up. Based on this measure (non-monetary, for sure)
most people don't have much real wealth saved up.
Oh, sure, lots of people have notional values accruing all over
the place, but consider just how notional they are.
any retired California state employee will tell you, just
having a pension fund is not the same thing as having a
pension. Management and policies can derail even the
best of intentions.
Ditto the concept of 'having a good job' as a hedge against
the future. That must have been the case somewhere in
historical times, but as the UAW workers are learning, all
those machines and fancy robotics come at a price.
Farming - once a great way to hedge against an uncertain
future - is in the midst of the
American version of collectivization as practiced
Bolsheviks. Intrusive federalslation such as the
National Animal Identification Act are working hand-in-glove
with more aggressive county zoning which is becoming more
and more revenue-oriented in its determination of
agricultural exemptions for sky high tax rates. Oh,
did I mention the carbon credit schemes, too? Under
these, lawyers and bankers are the new Bolsheviks, but
functionally they might as well all be Stalinists.
Pushing the envelope: corporate patents on plants falls into
this category, too.
my best measures of future wealth is looking at future energy
that you personally own, since energy (whether solar or
diesel-fired) seems likely to be one of those assets that will
appreciate in time, along with well water from your own
property, although even this seems like to be collectivized.
Perhaps the best things to invest in are non-monetary; things
that the non-producing segments of society (lawyers,
accountants, government, and other 'overhead') have little
interest (yet) in acquiring.
email from Chile sounded pretty inviting, on this score.
"You must come visit, George, " it observed. "It's like
California, but without all the people."
which gets me thinking about buying up some land in Chile.
Something of about 200-acres on a river, preferably something
with enough vertical drop to it that I could cobble up a hydro
power system and use upland water for down hill irrigation.
already know that at least
one former presidential family (and I think three, if I've
got it right) has been buying up land in Argentina and Paraguay.
They can have it, me? I've already got a friend with
substantial holding in Chile.
way I've got it figured, if I were to buy land in Chile and then
obtain dual citizenship, that might be a very interesting kind
of hedge against future possible futures in the USA.
Since dual citizenship is already practiced by a large segment
of folks in Washington, no reason I should take my cue from them
and start buying overseas land and go the dual citizenship
A nice piece of resource rich land in South America and a second
passport seems to make sense. Why, throw in a Rosetta
Stone Spanish language series and I might be able to walk there.
Seems that may be as good as 'money in the bank', depending of
course on how addicted to zeros you are. If you really
like them, you might want to consider land in Zimbabwe or
Memes & Themes
An email from a friend in Prague who is recovering from kidney
stones (aided by some super good opiates, I hear) offers this:
"You want memes? OK, the September issue of Sky and
Telescope features a cover of a possible Ice Age impact
striking the receding glacier in northeast North America. It
is an interesting story as to why the Clovis culture and the
huge mammals on the continent disappeared.
American astronomy magazines
have tended to play the doomsday card a lot over the years.
I do not see this played that much in Europe. In Europe, the
emphasis is on how to do the science and understand the
rules of the Universe instead. That is why, for example, the
web-cam methods of astrophotography originated here. This is
why the astronomy I want to do, is better done here, and
also, why my total solar eclipse expedition in China went so
well; I was one of only two Americans on the trip to
Chongqing and as rare as it is to witness totality, it is
just as rare for me to meet up with a Yank with whom I can
Now as far as I am concerned, it
is always possible that rogue real estate from space can hit
our planet. But the probabilities are quite remote. We may
be concerned in 2036.
I have to regard such
presentations as symbolic. Clif High may call them
SpaceGoatFarts, but as far as I am concerned, they are
nothing more than the expression of the general will and
We need to look for the origins
of such behavior on the ground and within ourselves.
The Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association reports today that
154 instrument approaches could be on the chopping block.
Thursday August 27, 2009
Rally food? From the Census folks this morning, against
the report that
new jobless claims dropped a bit we read that:
New Orders New orders for
manufactured durable goods in July increased $7.8 billion or
4.9 percent to $168.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau
announced today. This was the third increase in the last
four months and the largest percent increase since July
2007. This followed a 1.3 percent June decrease. Excluding
transportation, new orders increased 0.8 percent. Excluding
defense, new orders increased 4.3 percent.
Shipments Shipments of
manufactured durable goods in July, up two consecutive
months, increased $3.5 billion or 2.0 percent to $173.1
billion. This followed a 0.7 percent June increase.
Unfilled Orders Unfilled orders
for manufactured durable goods in July, down ten consecutive
months, decreased $0.4 billion or 0.1 percent to $740.2
billion. This was the longest streak of consecutive monthly
decreases since the series was first published on a NAICS
basis in 1992 and followed a 0.8 percent June decrease.
Inventories of manufactured
durable goods in July, down seven consecutive months,
decreased $2.7 billion or 0.8 percent to $314.1 billion.
This followed a 1.5 percent June decrease.
Capital Goods Industries
Nondefense new orders for
capital goods in July increased $4.6 billion or 8.6 percent
to $57.5 billion.
Defense new orders for capital
goods in July increased $1.3 billion or 14.8 percent to $9.8
While this might sound good, there's
a bummer in the latest GDP figures out just in the past
gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services
produced by labor and property located in the United States
-- decreased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the second
quarter of 2009, (that is, from the first quarter to the
second quarter), according to the "second" estimate released
by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter,
real GDP decreased 6.4 percent.
The GDP estimate released today
is based on more complete source data than were available
for the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance
estimate, the decrease in real GDP was also 1.0 percent (see
"Revisions" on page 3).
The decrease in real GDP in the
second quarter primarily reflected negative contributions
from private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed
investment, personal consumption expenditures (PCE),
residential fixed investment, and exports that were partly
offset by positive contributions from federal government
spending and state and local government spending. Imports,
which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP,
The much smaller decrease in
real GDP in the second quarter than in the first primarily
reflected much smaller decreases in nonresidential fixed
investment and in exports, an upturn in federal government
spending, smaller decreases in private inventory investment
and residential fixed investment, and an upturn in state and
local government spending that were partly offset by a much
smaller decrease in imports and a downturn in PCE.
Motor vehicle output added 0.20
percentage point to the second-quarter change in real GDP
after subtracting 1.69 percentage points from the
first-quarter change. Final sales of computers subtracted
0.05 percentage point from the second-quarter change in real
GDP after adding 0.06 percentage point to the first-quarter
Time to Bail?
from my friend Robin Landry to other professions in the
investment industry - not investing advice - is potentially
important if you follow Dow Theory:
short update to warn that the TRAN index may be leading the
DOW. The sharp decline today in the TRAN from the level
where C of 2 = .618 of A, and the Neg Divergence in both the
Slow Stochastic and the MACD on the Daily chart indicate to
me that the rally is running out of steam. (See attached
Chart) While the DOW may yet reach the 9700 area in the next
day or so, the odds of it reaching higher levels have
diminished according to my analysis. In addition, the Weekly
chart of the DOW (not shown) shows a neg divergence in the
Stochastic with a second crossover to the downside. The
recent new high in the Daily Sentiment Index (DSI) along
with the continuing lower volume indicate to me that now is
the time to prepare for the next decline. Once the downturn
is confirmed I will give the target levels as the wave
develops, but a new low is ahead, regardless of whether my
Preferred count (Wave 5 Down) or the Alternate Count (a
larger Wave 3 Down) is in force. The new high in the DSI
favors the larger Wave 3 count. As always questions and
comments are welcome. I will answer as time allows."
Robin's email is
email@example.com. If I were in the market
and the Tuesday 9,620 print on the Dow holds, I'd be edging out.
But I'm already out...
A Fed official says the real unemployment rate is 16%?
Gee, wonder if he's a reader?
Toll Brothers lost almost a half billion in Q3. Happy
talk: It was only -$472 million.
Another Dimension to
the Banking Crisis
Word that the
FDIC may slip into the red by the end of this year is making the
rounds today. I'm expecting the agency will take a
two-pronged approach: Try to raise fees charged to
participating banks and try to get the federal government
to make good on its federal backing. Should be
interesting revelations later on today.
Flavor of The
I've credited my friend Jas Jain on many occasions with pointing
out that the best indicator of where the economy is going may be
simply reading the Fed's G.19 report. The mechanics of
this are simple: This is a debt-based economy.
Either debt grows, or you put your bets on collapse.
Latest confirming indicator: "In
the tank forever": U.S. consumers, retailers in "death Spiral,"
Davidowitz says is a must watch video. Howard Davidowitz
knows retailing in and out.
"As a country, we're out of control..." "This is a 10-year
issue..." Really? We are so surprised...
Global Warming Trial
There's a dandy piece in the
L.A. Times Wednesday about plans of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
to put Global Warming on trial in 'Scopes' - like manner.
I've got an open mind on this one, or more properly I had
an open mind until the plans came along to monetize
warming with carbon credit exchanges and the like. Kind of
like setting up credits for wife-beating, one columnist
The objectivity of those promoting taxing cow farts is certainly
suspect. Aren't these the same folks in Washington who
didn't see the Second Depression coming?
The sun drives all, as anyone who has wandered through Maunder
Rally Round the Dead
If I were writing a macabre movie about the ultimate perversion
of advertising jingoism got berserk, I couldn't have come up
with this one: "'Win
One for Teddy,' Say Dems Pushing for Health Reform"
Yup. they're calling it KennedyCare.
Where did I put my crack pipe?
Think that the right to a free press is firm and
well-defended? Then how would you reconcile that kind of
belief (or hallucination) with the headline that says "Files
prove Pentagon is profiling reporters"?
Then there's the headline in the Times Online today that reads "Four
British soldiers die for sake of 150 votes." Let's
grade that reporter 'positive', shall we?
tied for deadliest month in Afghanistan." Hmmm...grade
this guy neutral.
attack on Afghanistan clinic." What? No byline
to file on?
Pentagon Power Grab
Don't know if you're following this, but the Pentagon (under the
guise of homeland security one supposes) is trying to
appropriate control over local troops. I must be the only
guy ever to read the history of Posse Comitatus.
Well, except maybe for the head of the South Dakota National
Guard who says "Pentagon
control of local troops would create chaos."
This is what, class? Federal/centralists doing a
power-grab from state sovereignty! Unconstitutional, but tisk,
tisk, we live in a 'dangerous world' right? It will be
unopposed by the MSM since the sheep are easily stampeded thanks
to all that zero-think time in front of the foxnotizer.
Gosh, maybe we could make local police federal too.
Why, we'll catch up with Mexico in no time!
Build Your Own 'Master
People universally defile Adolph Hitler, right? I mean all
the talk about pure Aryan genes and whatnot. But look:
Today we read headlines like "Breakthrough:
Gene therapy for the unborn" and "The
monkeys that prove babies can be born to THREE parents... and
may be the key to halting genetic illness."
Still seems to me 'master race' building, regardless. Just
this approach monetizes with less PR blowback. Alien
nation just ahead. Oh, roll your sleeve up, this won't
hurt a bit.
Now we see revelations that 'second-hand
smoke' was used to punish terrorists. Aha! This
explains why we don't see many terrorists at honkytonks here in
Up Against Your Hard
ACLU says border searches of laptops are a no-no and they
want information about what's going on. Likely to lead to
a lawsuit, I figure.
Way I've got it figured is this: The terrorists are just
as smart as we are, so what would they bring in on a laptop that
couldn't be FTP'd from a server in a foreign country via
proxies? I mean this is wildly make-work stuff for the
technologically brain dead. Wanna bet I can mail a
dual layered DVD without it being sniffed or read? Or
FedEx'ed? WTF, over?
Speaking of Proxy
protests not 'foreign backed" or at least 'not proven'
says Iran's supreme leader.
Nope, couldn't find a Twitter account for him or his proxy
servers if'n you follow me..
--- snip and save section ---
Outlandish Plans & Blue
Elaine and I are now holders of Third Class Flight Medicals, as
she continues working toward her pilot's license. We both
passed with no issues on Wednesday.
Then I got to thinking: "You know, I really ought to do
something really adventurous once we both are 'current'
Way back when, the late Seattle radio personality Robert E. Lee
Hardwick, who I worked with when we were both 30-years ahead of
the curve doing digital radio work at Sofcast in 1985/86, had
done some really interesting things: In one of his
adventures, he flew an ultralight from Nome, Alaska to Seattle,
narrowly escaping death when he landed this pontoon-equipped
plane on a lake and it flipped on landing somewhere in the wilds
of northern British Columbia.
In another adventure, he road a jet ski from Seattle to either
Kodiak or Juneau - I forget which.
My point is that I get a kick out of doing all kinds of
different things and the prospect of both Elaine and I
getting our flying credentials has me pondering a really wild
idea: Why don't we get a simple plane, like a Cessna 172 -
and fly it to Europe next year?
I figure if we left in the spring, we could pick our weather
windows and puddle-hop our way North, to Wales, Alaska, before
heading the 54.9 miles over Little and Big Diamede islands
to Naukan, Chukot, Siberia.
From there, we'd be able to pick our way south to Mongolia and
thence to China. From there, I figure we could pick
our way west, over Kazakhstan and on to places which I've only
read about. What better way to 'do Europe' than to go
'back door' in barn-stormer fashion?
Elaine's thinking about it. With only 4.0 hours in the
left seat so far, the flying bug is still incubating, I expect.
And yeah, there would be incredible planning involved in this.
My thinking, however, is that such a task is far from impossible
and I could upgrade to an instrument rating (IFR) easy
enough...just a matter of time, money, and check-ride, right?
Most people don't have a lot of 'notches' on their gun.
Have to tell you, having done all the things I've done in life,
the more 'notches' you make, the more memories you have to take
This one is just audacious enough to be worth thinking about.
Got a big dream?
Cost of "Clunkers"
Here's the real dope on how the Cash for Clunkers program
pencils out on the scrap side from a CEO of a major steel and
recycling operation who reads the site:
"In response to someone's question/comment in today's
George, We operate 27 scrap
yards in the 7 state inter mountain area. As of today we
have purchased about 142 clunkers. We understand that most
are going to salvage yards for parts. Or car dealers are
holding on to them until they get approved or paid. Which
does not appear to be happening.
The average car weighs about
3000#. Of that 3000# about 73% is ferrous metal, 3% is
non-ferrous and 24% is non metallic, tires, glass etc. We
pay about $75 per ton, or roughly $110-$115 per car, we do
not salvage, we run through a shredder. Salvage yards will
pay $175 to $250 per car.
So the math is after shredding,
the value of the material is approximately $312 to the
mills, or about .16 cents per pound.. Of our tonnage, about
50-60% is export depending on domestic price and demand.
Generally, we have to go to the west coast to sell, it is to
expensive to ship into the Midwest or East.
At $4500 per car, the government
is paying $1.50 per pound. Go Figure!"
Gee, I can hardly wait to figure how the refrigerator and
appliance deal is going to work out. Maybe if I put in a
good word for us, the feds can print us up some of those
Around The Ranch:
Maybe it's because of my harebrained idea to 'go flying' around
the world, or perhaps it has to do with learning the Air Defense
Zones over the southern parts of the US as part of getting ready
for my biennial flight review -- things have changed a fair bit
since I last flew in 1976 (or was it '77?). Whatever the
reason, I had one of those incredible Hollywood-would-be-envious
kind of dreams, I have ever so often, last night. Surround
video, great sound, glorious color...
The three major players in this are a father who is involved in
some kind of top secret (way above presidential knowledge)
security operations. The main character is a young man in
his 20's while the third is the mother of the younger man and
wife of the older.
The plot begins with a group of agents going through some kind
of a chase - really more a cat & mouse surveillance operation -
with the young man who is going from office building to office
building followed by a 'going the wrong way' slow speed
car tailing attempt in an underground parking garage or two.
In several scenes, a young boy about aged 8-10 is riding a trike
and we find his presence paradoxical.
In the next scenes (after several really good ones of the escape
& evade variety (with a Hitchcock flavor to them) the young man
finds his way to the parent's apartment or condo which is
located on the top floor of a nice 4-5 story building adjacent
to the commercial district in the main part of the city.
Rather upscale if I got the picture right.
As this sequence of scenes begins, the young man is hearing the
father defend the PowersThatBe which we learn has plans to
install a large security fence along the balance of the Gulf
Coast states. Tensions run high as the father explains how
'the government has no choice because of the hordes from the
Caribbean and South America' who are expected to be coming to
the US from that part of the world. We're left to wonder
whether these hordes will be coming because of famine or
weather, but it seems to matter little. The fence
is in the PTB plan.
While looking at a wall map of the Gulf Coast, the young man
points out "This isn't to keep them out, it's to keep
us in! Can't you see that?"
The father then reveals that he - along with several others in
his cadre of evil - know that what's coming is bad and that in
order to whip up public support, he and several of his ilk have
been tasked with setting off a small nuclear explosive devices -
in multiple cities- as part of a sequence of false flag
operations. The father knows it will be suicide for him
(and his wife & young man) but it's all for the 'greater good'
and that the young man and his wife should be honored to die
serving their country.\ in this way.
What's unique about the explosive is that it turns out, it's
that it has some kind of small battery pack (2 or 3 D cells) and
a couple of external trigger wires (both red).
The arguing continues at a highly emotional level and at one
point in the dialog the young man yells "Dad, we're doing what
Hitler did" and with the mother breaking down into tears
at the immediate prospects, the heads for his apartment one
floor down in this same building. There, he sets about
packing so he can get away from this madness.
Packed light - some money and a few clothes, the young man goes
back to the parental apartment/condo and insists his mother come
with him. She's only given a very short time (like
3-minutes) to pack. She is totally conflicted, pausing to
put on lipstick as the young man insists that's stupid and they
need to get out of there. This all builds in 'Beat the
Clock' fashion until the end of the dream.
As things unravel and the dream builds to its climax, the father
has come down from the top floor apartment to a kind of balcony
overlooking the lobby of the building. We somehow know
that the main explosive is still upstairs in the apartment in
the kitchen sink, covered with coffee grounds (for reasons that
are never made clear, except that there's the impression that
this is somehow crude camouflage.
The father is yelling at the mother and the son that "We have to
do this, don't you understand?" He's holding another
explosive device which is about 18-inchest long, wrapped
in yellow and red electrical tape.
Just as the mother and young man are about to leave, the father
throws the explosive device down toward the lobby
expecting it to go off -- presumably concealing his plans from
more rational authorities).
Just as the explosive is in mid air, along comes that 8-10 year
old boy on a trike we caught a glimpse of in the parking garage
cat and mouse game a couple of times. Unintentionally he
quite accidentally catches the explosive - preventing it from
going off - and everyone is shocked at this turn of events.
Everyone (except the small boy on the trike) suddenly get a
revelation about the larger work of Universe and it goes
something like this:
"We're not all supposed to blow one another up, and although
like looks like coincidences at all levels, it isn't.
No matter how hard forces of evil plot and plan, there's an
organizing principle behind the scenes that is really
calling the shots as evidenced by the arrival of the kid who
accidentally saved the day. This principle permeates
all despite all the drama going on around you."
Roll credits. Screen goes up, my eyes slowly come open.
I hear the coffee maker finishing it's task out in the
kitchen, and I'm left wondering: "Where did that dream
Wednesday August 26, 2009
Here all this time, you thought that depression markers included
sleeping 12-hours a day and compulsive use of self medications.
Nope. There are others, like the report that "Japanese
Exports continue to fall" and "Bernanke
may redefine Fed mission in financial-market stability."
In China, the People's Daily Online edition noted that:
"Home prices in the largest 20 metropolitan areas in the
United States rose 0.7 percent in June on a seasonally
adjusted basis, according to the S&P/Case-Schiller house
price index released by Standard & Poor's. It was the first
month-to-month increase in house prices since May 2006."
I just spend about
10-minutes with the S&P/Case-Schiller spreadsheet and was
able to determine that:
only a few cities, such as San Francisco, Denver,
Washington, DC, Boston & Dallas have we seen anything in the
way of a bounce (>2%) when you compare data with the July
2006 high of the index
What's more, while national aggregate in the 20-markets
tracked was up 1/2 of 1% from May to June, the move from the
peak represents only a 0.32% change.
conclusion? We are still
in the deep kimchi
10 AM today,
be treated to the latest new home sales figures, here.
I'm halfway looking for a good numbers, not that new home sales
will be up too much, but the reporting methodologies on this
stuff can bend things around.
Tomorrow we get a fine tuned Q2 GDP number from
the BEA and on Friday,
Personal Income and Expenditures.
Consequently, with so many economic tidbits pending for the
folks who believe in 'rearview economics' (the dismal science of
predicting tomorrow's weather based on whether it rained last
week, LOL) the
market may not go much of anywhere until the home sales
figures kick it one way, or t'other.
White Lies Department
Stretching things a bit has always been one of America's
favorite pastimes, whether it's the monster bass that got away,
or the million-and-one "I could have been a contender,
this phenomena in finance, too. Why, here's a judge
wondering why Bank of America corp 'misled
shareholders about bonuses paid by Merrill Lynch."
But, I suppose in a land where even presidents use qualifiers
like 'Depends what you mean by sex..." it's trivial in
the real capper in the white lies this morning is the Secretary
of the Treasury saying that an audit of the [not really] Federal
Reserve is a "line
we don't want to cross" in an interview.
guess: People might see through the sham of
fictional-reserve banking (which works like print-on-demand
books, except they do it with paper IOU's). All of which
might cause the sheeple to ask "How come we can't have banks
that run like the
State Bank in Texas which has been open for 100 years." yeah,
no derivatives book, or anything. 'Mazing.
assignment today: Read the article in American Banking
would be involved in an Audit of the Federal Reserve - Part Four"
Thought 'cash for clunkers' was strange? Well,
try on the subsidies for buying for energy efficient appliances,
due at the reefer and washer department of the big box store
down the street soon.
A particularly conspiratorially minded reader asks an
interesting question which I hadn't thought about before:
"Say George, where's all the scrap steel from the clunker
program going? I figure it's enough to build 13-aircraft
Hmmm...if you have nothing to do at work this morning, why not
figure out how many clunkers and then come up with a
cost-per-pound of steel from them?
Send your answers here. Dang. Hadn't thought
about it. Where's my tinfoil hat?
Reefer Madness, 2
Remember last week I was telling you how Mexico's move to
decriminalized possession of small amounts of controlled
substances might spur vacationing south of the border? Now
Time Magazine is headlining that "Mexico's
new drug law may set example."
But it's not stopping there: The supreme court down in
Argentina has also now struck down private use of dah
We also note that the
California Senate (they get capitalized when they do smart
things) has voted to ask the federales here to get real on
marijuana use. Of course, no one in the
MainStreamMedia is going to call the booze lobby out on backdoor
support of drug laws, since that would break up their monopoly
on 'legal' self medication.
As I've said before, what this country needs is a good 5¢
high. Maybe not till we're a little deeper into the Second
Kennedy Death: MSM
Senator Edward Kennedy has passed on (brain cancer) at 77.
Two things to watch: One is the MSM feeding frenzy over
coverage. I can hardly wait for the TV coverage of the
funeral...wonder if it will be broadcast live nationally?
But the real story is who will replace him and what that will do
to the healthcare debate. If anything.
Officials approving a new
Wal-Mart store near a Virginia Civil War Battlefield has
some folks appalled.
A reader sent this from the GATA
website - and I don't think Bill Murphy & crew would mind my
repost of it here:
BY EDWIN VIEIRA JR.: A NEW PRINTING OF 'PIECES OF EIGHT'
Responding to numerous requests, I have tentatively arranged
for a reprinting of my book, "Pieces of Eight: The Monetary
Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution"
(second revised edition, 2002). In light of the accelerating
meltdown of America's monetary and banking systems, this
book is more timely and should prove more useful to public
officials, public-policy analysts, attorneys, economists,
historians, and patriots in general than ever before. This
will be a first-class reprint of the original two-volume,
1,722-page, hardbound, and Smyth-sewn edition, protected
during delivery in shrink-wrap.
will be produced by one of the premier book printers in the
United States. But this reprint of "Pieces of Eight" will be
made available on a subscription-only basis, and only if a
sufficient number of prepaid orders are received before a
deadline. The terms of this special subscription are as
follows: 1. The two-volume set will cost $149.95 plus $6.50
(shipping and handling) for a total of $156.45.
By no later than August 31 each potential subscriber must
send: -- a personal check for $156.45 payable to Edwin
Vieira Jr. with the notation "book subscription" and dated
August 31, and -- a self-addressed, stamped envelope. These
should be mailed to:
Edwin Vieira Jr.
Front Royal, Virginia 22630 USA
These checks will be held but not cashed until August 31. 3.
If subscriptions in a sufficient number are received by
August 31, printing of the book will be authorized. Probably
about eight weeks will be required for printing, with an
additional short time for shipment of the books from the
printer to me. 4. As soon as practicable after I have
received the books, they will be delivered to subscribers by
U.S. Postal Service media mail unless other arrangements, at
an additional charge, are made prior to shipping. 5. If
subscriptions in a sufficient number are not received by
August 31, this offer will terminate as of that date (and,
presumably, for all time thereafter) and each potential
subscriber's check will be returned in the self-addressed,
stamped envelope the potential subscriber has provided. I
should appreciate as wide a circulation of this information
as possible. Edwin Vieira Jr.
My check's in the mail today.
--- snip and save section ---
Won't tell you what state he's in, because of legal dueling
pending, nor will I use any names, but a longish conversation
this week about how some personal injury attorneys work was a
real eye opener. Some of the practices to be on the
look-out for, according to this reader:
one part of this reader's case, the PI attorney showed him a
check for an amount (say $10,000) which had been cut from
the insurance company to the accident victim. After
showing the accident victim the check., and promising that
it would be used to 'pay off the hospital bill" the attorney
in question reportedly send the check back to the
insurance company and had two checks made up: One to
cover a secretly negotiated lower bill from the
hospital and one to the attorney for his work. Still
cost the insurance company $10-large, but this way, the
attorney was able to take a slice.
Similarly, turns out that some of the doctoring bills were
blown up, too. And - this is sweet - the PI attorney
got 'referral fees' back from the participating docs.
All of which wouldn't have been so bad, except that they
were not disclosed to the victim and were only obtains after
a complete copy of the patient ledger was obtained from the
And as if that wasn't enough, the attorney represented that
the case 'shouldn't go to court' because of potentially
damaging testimony from a witness which 'could lower our
chances of winning'. Well, turns out that no, there
was no such testimony (supposedly from a police officer, who
told the victim "I never said anything like that...")
all of this come several 'rules' which I'd sure think about
implementing should I ever get involved in a personal
All financial matters would route through me not a
third party. I expect the lawyer in this case may be
in a little hot water over his 'fiduciary responsibility'
with his state bar association. But me? The only
person I trust with my financial affairs is? No one!
Same thing with the doctors. I'd agree to treatment
only if they promise to disclose all referral fees paid
to any party related to my case. Wonder if a doc
could be found?
Finally, if an attorney made any suggestion that my case
not go to trial, I would want to see the notarized
affidavit of the supposed damaging testimony that's such a
Granted, this may be impossible to get, but we can dream, eh?
But how much lower would the cost of healthcare really be if
hospitals were simply required to only have one fee they
charge for each procedure? The discounting and going
behind patient's backs with lawyers and insurance companies is a
pant load of you-guess-what.
which is designed to do the most serious of all injuries to your
Keeping Up With
Changing Bicycle Trends
Bicycles, one a practical and simple form of human-powered
transportation, continues to evolve in mysterious ways that were
unfathomable when I was young, and yet in today's 'purpose
built' world, seems to make sense. A discussion with my
son Tuesday about his 'next bicycle' laid it all out for me.
"Dad, I've decided to get another road bike," he began.
"Feeling like you need to spend money, eh?"
"I've had this cross-bike for a while now, and it's just not
as good as my road bike. It's just too heavy."
That set-up led to the education of Dad on how road bikes have
changed. Turned out his last road bike was a $3,000 Tour
d' France level carbon bike that even with his Armadillo tire
liners and slightly larger 120 PSI wheels for commuting, the
whole thing weighed in at less than five pounds. A
shocking number. "Even with the air pump and full water
bottles, it's just under 7½
pounds," he reported.
Having grown up and done a fair bit
of 40-mile a day riding (I was young once) on a three-speed
Robin Hood three-speed 'English racer' kind of bike, this was
mind bending. "Oh, you'd be amazed at how much difference that
last couple of pounds makes," continued George II.
"On the other hand, you should
check out the serious downhill bikes. I had a chance
to ride a 50-pounder down a double diamond run at Whistler a
What??? A ski resort is a 'downhill
run for bikes in the summertime? Sure enough, the
Mountain Bike Park is the place to go up in the Pacific
Northwest for serious downhill biking.
As you'd expect, from a couple of
guys who will tell you what time it is - by building a watch for
you - the rest of the conversation degenerated into a discussion
of why bikes using upper-crust disc brakes (Hayes
Hydraulics, for example) use DOT-3 or DOT-4, but
some guys use DOT-5 level brake fluid. Turns out DOT 5.1 is
compatible with DOT 3/4 systems, but DOT 5.0 may not be...
The 930, for comparison uses DOT-4 but has never needed any.
The Daewoo just uses whatever is on hand, usually DOT-3 and a
fair bit of it over time, which is why I keep looking for a
All of which underscored a couple
of things to me: 1) I may be getting older, since a
'mountain bike' off eBay for $200 seems perfectly adequate for
riding around here which won't happen until we get down to highs
in the mid 70's this fall & winter. 2) Young people today
who are riding under-5-pound road bikes may be onto something
but being on the verge of geezerhood, I'm not willing to pony up
$3-large to find out (as in $3,000 and up).
The top road bike
back 'in the
day' was a Nishiki.
"Dad, those old Nishiki's are
like a collectables."
His recommendation: Old guys like me oughta
keep an eye on BikeRadar.com for new bikes using the Panasonic
lithium-ion assisted pedaling technology.
Looking for something to do over Labor Day? Head for the
Seattle area and bring a bike with you. Those tree-huggers
in the old stomping grounds have
one of the nicest trail systems in the country, which used
to ride. Until it became an overwhelming chorus of "On
your Left!" as the Microsoft kids on road bikes went screaming
by. Maybe one too many side trips to the
Ivar's seafood bar in Bothell, just a few blocks off the
Sammamish River Trail, yah think?
Just a bit over a week to make plans for Labor Day on the 7th.
I'll be mowing down goat pasture.
Yes, we do get fan mail:
"George, In your defense and defense of the web bot project,
you said all along that the events on or around Aug 22 would
be subtle, no sudden volcanic eruption, and that only
specialists working in specific areas of the economy would
realize what’s evolving, but that the effects of that
evolution would be felt by all, and felt hard over a period
of time. I think too many people are only focused on the
collapse of buildings kind of event and are oblivious to
more or less hidden shifts of consciousness or behind the
scenes actions that will be explosive if and when they
become public. Anyone who is staying in touch through a
broad spectrum of reliable alternative sources of
information AND who is watching the behavior of the public
around us, can see and feel the drastic changes now
happening and can understand the complete paradigm shift in
which we are now immersed.
Call when you’ve mastered making
fire without matches.
OK! Stand by your phone. Elaine & I each carry
fire-steels. I may be dumb, but I'm no fool. I
figure with two pocket knives (one large, one small) and a fire
steel, we should be fine, thanks.
Read of the Day
Reader/fan suggests this from the Bank for International
Settlements: "financial Crises and Economic Activity". The
This paper studies the length, depth and output costs of a
sample of 40 systemic banking crises in 35 countries since
1980 to assess the likely real impact of the current
crisis. Most, but not all, systemic banking crises in our
sample coincide with a sharp contraction in output from
which it takes several years to recover. The current
financial crisis is unlike any others in terms of initial
conditions, industrial and institutional structures, levels
of development, degrees of openness, policy frameworks and
external conditions. Simply averaging outcomes of past
crises to get a reading on the current one is therefore
likely to be misleading regardless of the sample or
subsample. With this in mind we go on to study the
determinants of the output losses from past crises. Our
findings suggest that the costs are higher when the banking
crisis is accompanied by a currency crisis or when growth is
low immediately before the onset of the crisis. Furthermore,
when it is accompanied by a sovereign debt default, a
systemic banking crisis is less costly. The final part of
the paper takes a longer-term view and study the impact of
crises on potential output several years down the road. We
find that many systemic banking crises have had lasting
negative effects on the level of GDP. And even in those
cases in which trend growth was higher after the crisis than
it had been before, making up for the output loss resulting
from the crisis itself took years."
Agreed, it's an interesting paper. But, what struck me is
that it's a post 1980 sample. Oh, sure, you can make an
estimate of how long the stew we're in will simmer (P.17) but it
doesn't get into the multinational external/exogenous factors
that could 'doom the globe'. Meteor impact, global
war...things like that. But, I suppose that's what makes
for optimism, now, isn't it?
Tuesday August 25, 2009
Mr. Ure's Odd Sense of
OK, finally! Someone got it!
Let the record show that it took from posting time Tuesday
morning (7:55 on Urban) until 10:48 AM CDT for someone to
finally notice that the Durable/Inflatable goods story was and
August 5th press release!
LOL...I can't believe how people take stuff at face value!
Of course, the Fekete piece is regrettably current. You
ever considered something a little stronger than coffee, Bunkie?
OK, so the Yahoo finance
calendar had it wrong and I didn't catch the date...more of
whatever that is you're pouring for me, too.
Durable or Inflatable
We begin this morning's discussion with an eyeful of data from
the Census on durable goods orders:
orders for manufactured goods in June, up four of the last
five months, increased $1.4 billion or 0.4 percent to $349.0
billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This
followed a 1.1 percent May increase. Excluding
transportation, new orders increased 2.3 percent. Shipments,
up following ten consecutive monthly decreases, increased
$4.9 billion or 1.4 percent to $358.3 billion. This followed
a 0.8 percent May decrease. Unfilled orders, down nine
consecutive months, decreased $6.5 billion or 0.9 percent to
$740.2 billion. This was the longest streak of consecutive
monthly decreases since November 2001-July 2002. This
followed a 0.3 percent May decrease. The unfilled
orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.04, down from 6.15 in May.
Inventories, down ten consecutive months, decreased $4.2
billion or 0.8 percent to $508.3 billion. This was the
longest streak of consecutive monthly decreases since March
2003-January 2004 and followed a 0.8 percent May decrease.
The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.42, down from 1.45
New orders for manufactured
durable goods in June, down following two consecutive
monthly increases, decreased $3.6 billion or 2.2 percent to
$159.1 billion, revised from the previously published 2.5
percent decrease. This followed a 1.3 percent May increase.
New orders for manufactured
nondurable goods increased $5.0 billion or 2.7 percent to
Shipments of manufactured
durable goods in June, down eleven consecutive months,
decreased $0.1 billion or 0.1 percent to $168.3 billion,
revised from the previously published 0.2 percent decrease.
This also was the longest streak of consecutive monthly
decreases since the series was first published on a NAICS
basis in 1992 and followed a 2.7 percent May decrease.
Shipments of manufactured
nondurable goods, up two consecutive months, increased $5.0
billion or 2.7 percent to $190.0 billion. This followed a
0.9 percent May increase. This increase was led by petroleum
and coal products, which increased $4.3 billion or 13.2
percent to $37.1 billion. This was the largest increase in
petroleum and coal products since November 2007.
Unfilled orders for manufactured
durable goods in June, down nine consecutive months,
decreased $6.5 billion or 0.9 percent to $740.2 billion,
unchanged from the previously published decrease. This
followed a 0.3 percent May decrease.
Inventories of manufactured
durable goods in June, down six consecutive months,
decreased $3.8 billion or 1.2 percent to $317.8 billion,
revised from the previously published 0.9 percent decrease.
This followed a 1.2 percent May decrease.
Inventories of manufactured
nondurable goods, down ten consecutive months, decreased
$0.4 billion or 0.2 percent to $190.6 billion. This followed
a 0.1 percent May decrease. Chemical products drove the
decrease, down $0.7 billion or 1.2 percent to $63.1 billion.
By stage of fabrication, June
materials and supplies decreased 1.3 percent in durable
goods and increased 0.4 percent in nondurable goods. Work in
process decreased 0.6 percent in durable goods and 0.8
percent in nondurable goods. Finished goods decreased 1.9
percent in durable goods and 0.4 percent in nondurable
While this number seems good on the surface, a good class
project, should you be teaching an econ class, might be to pose
this series of questions as a pop quiz:
Research and explain whether the Census numbers are based on
constant dollars or inflated dollars. Use examples of
unit volume comparisons to explain the differential between
Write a 700-word defense of using data for a period that
ended 56-days ago to set policies for 90-days hence when
some pundits expect the market to be in disaster mode.
Include a discussion of hysterisis as it relates to flash
trading (HF trading) as a result. (Hint: HF/Flash
trading has nothing to do with reality.)
Extra Credit: What did Antal Fekete's piece "Dress
rehearsal for the last contango" mean to you?
Extra, Extra Credit: How much rope will we need?
Should rope be registered?
me the answers for grading.
Consumer confidence is due out a half hour from now. I
expect it to be about flat compared with last month due to the
healthcare and other swirling issues.
Rally at the open today.
Coming to Terms
President O is
planning to nominate Ben Bernanke for another term.
As I've explained many times, the open question is not whether
Ben Bernanke will be able to orchestrate a continuing 'papering
over' of the Second Depression - wherein the PowersThatBe print
enough hyperinflation fanning cash to just offset the incipient
deflation that comes with economic collapse and hope that no one
notices that lifestyles have been flushed down the crapper.
Thanks to 9/11 and a couple of wars (Now playing in a Poppystan
near you) they've been able to pull that off, plus or minus a
The real question is what happens
when 76-million Baby Boomers arise in unison to proclaim "That's
NOT the kind of flush we had in mind after 40-years of hard
Yup - instead of the royally flush, we be getting the straight
Jim Kunstler's report
"Financial Crisis Called Off" is a good read.
I'm thinking about a new bumper sticker: "Save the Rich!
State governments are feeling the pinch all over the place.
Latest revelations are coming from Rhode Island (and in road
hard and put away broke?). There,
government is planning a 12-day shut down.
In case you're having trouble with the macro picture, it goes
Once upon a time, when the whole Constitution was more than
a 'damn piece of paper', states were coequals with the
central government. But, that was not enough for the
The central government bankrupts everyone including states.
Ask Arnold how this works.
government takes over states and then moves on to take over
big cities (think the Baghdad model here).
There: That make it clear enough?
Several readers have followed up to tell me that the
Army is still advertising for internment/resettlement
specialists (MOS: 31-Echo). They have, however,
apparently stopped the Monster ad that
we first reported in our August 1st edition.
I'm not too worried about 31-E's, as long as they are
going to the Sand Box/Poppystan. But, should a large
number start being assigned to
NorthCom then I'd become...of, what's the word for it?
You got nose counts of 31-E's by command for us? Hello?
Anyone there? (Besides the usual carnivores at higher
echelons, I mean...)
The Race Card
Stossel's Take" is worth reading. Way he's got it
figured, no, every critic is not a racist.
Tensions are building over a Swedish paper's claims that Israel
has engaged in organ harvesting from Palestinians.
Web Bot Hits:
Secrets Revealed and
that Missing Yacht
Not only are we due for the Q2 confessional from FDIC later on
today, but we should be seeing some curious obfuscation coming
for the (not really) Federal Reserve since on Monday a judge
decided that the "Fed
must make public reports on Emergency Loans, U.S. judge says".
Those of us who have been involved in the ALTA and "Shape of
Things to Come" series are anxiously awaiting the 'monster
headlines' to come as we are now into a period where events will
be released a lot of "OMG's" and we'll start being just flooded
with 'secrets revealed' material. Like, oh, the headline
that a special "Prosecutor
to prove CIA interrogations."
We're getting somewhere near to completion in the linguistics
for the "disappearing yacht, royalty-famous people' trouble on
the high seas part of the data with the
report out of Europe about a "Luxury yacht in mystery shipwreck
Several readers have picked up on the 'dog poet' reference, but
this one is a prequel - not widely enough noted, IMHO.
Looking for someone
Guthrie-esqe to emerge and give voice musically and/or
poetically to this dog pile of crap that unfolding.
What am I expecting? Maybe someone who does cross-over
mainstream financial rap; you down wid dat dog?
"They took mah 'hoe down
Money printing slowdown
Cause they're killin' Motown
Dat's how dis be goin' down...
They wants my sleeve up
brother's leave's up
Don't you dare sneeze, pup
It's just da greaze up.."
In a pure fantasy realm (er, like this one?), someone would be
writing the definite article on music genealogy tracing the
coincidence between Roger McGuinn & the Byrd's doing
"8-Miles High" in the 1970's and
background in the 2002 film "8-mile". If you didn't
happen to be born back in time to catch the original in '66-67,
YouTube has several videos
including this one. Think you can play guitar, dog?
And then there's the problem of the 'disappearing people meme'
which the ever-alert (when his meds have kicked in) Mogambo Guru
noted in his 8/24 column over at The Daily Reckoning:
skin went clammy and cold when I read that over 140,000
people suddenly disappeared from the “continuing claims”
rolls of those receiving unemployment checks at the same
time as we see rising unemployment. It made me wonder
when I was going to be among them, either as a guy who got
fired and could never again find a job and so he collected
unemployment checks until his benefits ran out, or as the
guy who just literally disappears one day and everyone
thinks that the CIA finally “took him out”, or a mother ship
finally got here from another galaxy to rescue me and take
me back to my home planet where the people are a lot smarter
in that they have a currency made of gold so that the
government cannot increase the money supply, so that there
are no monetary booms and thus no devastating busts, and
everybody is happy and living happily ever after, and the
beer gives you a really nice sustained buzz, but you can
never drink so much that you throw up all over yourself."
Damn, I wish I could write like that. Oh, and speaking of
the disappearing people department...
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With Petty Detractors
Not shortage of detractors who have sent emails in saying that
"Your web bot project is a hoax...there was absolutely nothing
out of the ordinary in the way things worked out. Your
work is a bunch of hooey and you should just admit you swung and
missed." A few were subtly pointed...like this one:
have still not fully recovered from the traumatic events of
8/22, but I just want to thank you for warning us! Without
advance preparation, we would never would have made it. My
God, that was a nightmare, wasn't it?"
On the other hand, there aware some pretty aware people
who see this as a real hit for the project. Sharing their
notes balances up accounts:
Maybe you should give Clif and
yourself more credit: The derivatives trouble rising to
wider awareness the week of 8/16 to 8/22 was actually spot
on, as I see it. Front page of Friday’s Wall Street Journal
(above the fold no less): “Securities Sink Banks in New
Phase of Crisis,” p. A1 and A10. (fair use excerpts)
In it, Robin Sidel reports how
small and medium-sized banks went in big time for
mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as a way to boost yields,
while taking little (perceived) risk…that is, until the
default-risk roof fell in. “There is no question that these
securities will be…for some of these banks, the straw that
breaks the camel’s back…” (p. A10) MBS are clearly
derivatives, but the WSJ of all places, prominently picking
up on it NOW, is very interesting—especially since the
trouble’s been brewing for a while. They seem to think the
next phase of the banking crisis is about to get underway in
part because the banks (and by implication, the Journal) are
finally recognizing that “These [MBS] securities have
declined in value, and it is not clear when they are going
to come back in value, if at all.”
As if that weren’t enough,
further in the article, and more ominously, Sidel points to
additional problems for banks who issued Trust Preferred
Securities (TPS), a hybrid debt-equity security. Though not
technically a derivative in itself, the derivates aspect
emerges after Wall Street sausage makers slice and dice the
TPS into (highly-rated, who’d a thought, right?)
collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). “But as banks
struggle with rising loan losses, some issuers…can no longer
afford their [TPS] obligations.” (p. A10) The author claims
that so far 119 banks have deferred TPS dividend payments,
while 26 others have defaulted outright, out of a universe
of 1,500 banks that issued them. True the affected banks
face potential capital impairment or even failure, but the
investors (i.e., pension funds, hedge funds, other banks…)
in the TPS and the CDOs do too. So there’s a double whammy
w/TPS, and adding on top of that the MBS losses, it’s a
trifecta of failure.
I've been teaching undergraduate
Money and Banking for 12 years, and this unfolding calamity
has daily provided a torrent of teachable moments like I've
never seen, but reading that article on Friday made the
hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I thought the ALTA
call was eerily prescient. Keep up the good work, both of
Department of Economics
*******, VA 22***
Another alert reader sent this:
"Your explanation on the web
didn’t really evoke the OMG I was expecting for the 22nd…
something that sets the stage for the bank holiday. When I
checked on Friday about Guaranty… I didn’t see it listed as
the 3rd largest for this year and 11th biggest bank failure
in US history… I saw it as one of the top 50 banks. But
reading the 5 minute forecast evokes the OMG train coming
with a big flashing light!
Thanks again for all the work
"5 Min. Forecast" listed Guaranty, more bank failures to come,
and the hand-wringing and weeping that's sure to break out today
when the sadly deteriorated position of FDIC's slush fund is
rolled out. Best I can figure, FDIC is already skirting
it's own brush with bankruptcy and being upside down, even the
increase in fees to participating financial institutions will be
only a small part of the solution, especially if Richard Bove's
comments on Monday that another several hundred banks
could fail becomes reality.
What's more, as I outlined in last week's report, a quick study
of S-curves suggests that we are now in the second of two major
rounds of bank failures. The first was approximately
concurrent with the first wave down of the Second Depression,
which I'd place in 2001-2003, and we're in the midst of a second
round of bank failures which should accompany the second big leg
down which is getting organized now that the fourth wave (in
Elliott terms) seems to be complete with yesterday's intraday
did explain to Peoplenomics readers, that in an email, Cesare
Marchetti (who I think of as the godfather of S-curve
studies) says we won't really be sure on this second wave of
failures until we get a total of five data points. If
Bove's comments (along with my quickie 'what if' on S-curves
from last week are anywhere near right, we should have long to
wait since the second round of the crisis may now be in the
nonlinear part of the hockey stick curve.
Note to the White House
A reader of ours received the following on a White House
letterhead email and it really got his Irish up. The email
Anyone that's watched the news
in the past few days knows that health insurance reform is a
hot topic — and that rumors and scare tactics have only
increased as more people engage with the issue. Given a lot
of the outrageous claims floating around, it’s time to make
sure everyone knows the facts about the security and
stability you get with health insurance reform.
That’s why we’ve launched a new
online resource —
WhiteHouse.gov/RealityCheck — to help you separate fact
from fiction and share the truth about health insurance
reform. Here's a few of the reality check videos you can
find on the site:
So mad was our reader that he sent the White House this:
"Please stop sending me this bogus propaganda (I never
subscribed to this) – I have not asked for this crap, nor do
I want more of this crap in the future. You have enough
government problems without creating new ones. How about
lowering the national debt or show me where the money I have
been sending the last 32 years for social security is at.
How about laying off, 10% of all
federal employees (military not included), 15% pay cut for
those left, salary cap government employees in line with
military pay grades, cut the post office work force and
deliver mail Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Quit bailing out
folks who have squandered their money by taking money from
folks that haven’t squandered it. Let me know when you get
that finished because I have some more ideas.
Nothing personal, But I am tired
of the crap – fix the current problems for a real reality
check. You have some nerve sending out an email stating it
is time for a reality check. Print some money and give
everyone free health care, problem solved. By the way, once
this insurance program is rammed down the throats of
Democrats and Republicans alike I suspect as a cost savings
that all federal employees (congress, senate, president,
etc.) - that it will be mandatory that they use this plan?
Where is Andrew Jackson when we
need him . . .
Andrew Jackson: "Gentlemen, I
have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced
that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the
breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the
profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to
the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the
bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand
families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin!
Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand
families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers
We'll have to arrange a group visit for him in the camps, one of
During a conversation Monday about his recently announced
wedding plans, I said to one of Elaine's boys "So, all that
remains is to buy her a piece of South Africa, huh?
He sounded a bit confused by the remark...and then figured it
out. That's where diamonds come from, huh?
Why does no one understand me?
Around the Ranch:
Humor of Hobbies
Elaine is off for another flying lesson this morning, and I
happened to receive a timely email with a collection of 'pilot
humor' jokes. I've printed the off and gave them to Elaine
with instructions to hand them all to her flight instructor, a
nice retired 767 driver who just can't get enough of flying.
Two of my favorites from the list seem worth repeating (although
they've been around forever) since not everyone has heard them,
unless you've flown long enough to have heard a bit of 'hanger
"While taxiing at London's Airport, the crew of a US Air
flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and
came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground
controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air
2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right
onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right
there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference
between C and D, but get it right!" Continuing her rage to
the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically:
"God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever
to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I
tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in
about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I
tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that,
US Air 2771?" "Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.
Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell
terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771.
Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller
in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out
around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an
unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone,
asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?" "
"Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45
TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can
we make up here?
Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when
it hits a 727?"
Seems like almost every hobby or profession develops its
own sense of humor over time. In newsrooms, it's a kind of
'gallows humor'. Something like "Damn is a slow news
day...maybe we could call the guys over at KOMO and we could all
get together and go roll a car over on the freeway or
One of my favorites from my sailing days went like this:
"Three sailors (Bob, Steve, and George actually) were out
sailing on the Chesapeake a couple of years back and we
recounting their many exploits in their single days while
sailing in lazy weather, munching through a bucket of
chicken and drinking many beers. Eventually, the beer
catches up and each has to make it to the stern of the boat
to send a little recycled beer back to Poseidon.
Steve, the first one at the 'recycle station' comes back and
announced "You know Bob, until I stood at the back of the
boat, I didn't realize how little freeboard this boat
Not to be outdone, Bob (the boat's owner) steps aft to do
his own recyling and comes back to announced "Well, Steve,
you were right, not only doesn't this boat have much
freeboard, but the water's kinda cold today."
Not to be outdone, my turn was next. Not to be
outdone, after doing my stand-up recycling off the stern, I
returned midships to announced "Steve, you were right about
the lack of freeboard, and Bob, you were right about the
water's cold, but don't you think its getting a little
shallow in her?" [rimshot, groans from
Somewhere, there's got to be a book of jokes arranged by hobby
and profession, but I haven't found it yet. When I do, the
first places I'll look will be under fire department humor for
entries like "We saved the foundation..." and such.
Yeah, sure, we've got twisted government figures on inflation
and money, and yeah, sure, the politicians in DC aren't doing as
good at representing us as they are at auctioning off their
votes, but as long as we can maintain a sense of humor as the
times foreclose around us, the more fun moral bankruptcy should
be. Which is why I keep getting back in the spiked punch
Monday August 24, 2009
Crimes vs. Policies
No shortage of readers have been asking "So, what happened on
August 22nd?? We go back to the linguistics for a
discussion of reading. First, and perhaps foremost, the
predictive linguistics were not predicting and event -
only that the nature of what will come-a-calling this fall would
become much more visible by August 16 to August 22.
Specifically, what's been in the forecast has been visibility
which in turn leads to the erosion of confidence.
Oh, and about this period we get the leading edge of the 'new
war' which is coming along this fall.
Do the headlines line up? Of course.
federal deficit jumped $2-trillions on Friday, a number that
is incredible - and enough to drive the
nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to suggest that
without the imposition of radical spending cuts (8%, or so) the
stability of government will not be assured.
Naturally, this was
one of the hot topics at the Federal Reserve's retreat up at
Jackson Hole this weekend, too.
All of which leaves America in a very messy financial state.
We know there are ballooning federal spending plans (only
something like 10% of the so-called stimulus has been spent so
far, most of it won't really hit the economy until the 2010-2011
timeframe) and in the usual showing of solidarity and unity, the
republicorps leadership are
saying via John McCain 'Nope, no tax increases'.
coming into focus for millions on Social Security is that there
won't be a cost of living adjustment next year. That's
because the cost of living adjustments (COLA) have been buried
in shady statistical reporting from the government which says on
average, prices haven't budged in the past year.
But wait! My truth detector is screaming "BS!" Know
why? First, since the amount of money being printed up
continues to increase, just holding Social Security payments
steady amounts to a purchasing power reduction.
Secondly, John Wi8lliams' "Shadow government Statistics" site
reports that actual inflation has been running more
than 4% higher than officially reported inflation.
Then we had the latest bank failures report this weekend,
including Guaranty Financial Group's operations in Texas and
California. If you're keeping track, that's a total
of 3,610 branches involved in failure and reorganizations
since the IndyMac crisis last July.
From my view of the bank failure data, I would not be surprised
to see as many as a thousand more bank failures in the
next year or two. However, there are some optimists left
on this front, such as
Richard Bove of Rochdale Securities who sees only 150-200 more
U.S. bank failures. We should be so lucky. Or, I
think the old Yiddish expression goes something like "His lips
to God's ears..." We should be so lucky.
So, what's become visible in the past week or two? Bank
crisis is ugly, Social Security recipients are getting the
Big BOHICA, and government will have to 'go Zimbabwe' at the
Nouriel Roubini writes in the Financial Times this weekend that
risk of a double-dip recession is rising". Quick -
But Wait! There's still more!
Remember that in the linguistics we're supposed to see the next
round of new war breaking out this fall? How does this
sound for going down that road, too?
"U.S. Military says force in Afghanistan isn't big enough."
Hmmm. Let's see here: The Fed will continue buying
Treasuries through at least October, the new war will be costing
lots of dough, as will little goodies like stimuli plans.
A reasonable question for this hour on a Monday is "Will the
public confidence break at some point? " Or, a little more
directly "Isn't the Federal buying Treasury products a lot like
writing yourself a check, cashing it, and then spending the
result before anyone catches up?
Oh sure, it is! Why, ifs you and I were to do that, it
would be called "check kiting" and we'd go to jail. How
does it work?
kiting is the illegal act of taking advantage of the float
to make use of non-existent funds in a checking or other
bank account. It is commonly defined as writing a check
from one bank knowingly with non-sufficient funds, then
writing a check to the other bank, also with non-sufficient
funds, in order to cover the absence. The purpose of
check kiting is to falsely inflate the balance of a checking
account in order to allow checks that have been written that
would otherwise bounce to clear."
Just so we're really clear on this: If you or I
were to go on a check kiting spree, we'd be tossed in the Big
House for 3 to 5. However, when government does it,
it's passed off by the mindless MainStreamMedia [MSM] as
"sound financial policy." Doesn't anyone have to pee in a
cup in Washington?
The only - and I mean the only silver lining to all this
is that it supplies my pastime of documenting how the Second
Depression rolls with an unlimited amount of material to write
Greasers and Greasees
You saw where
the price of oil is up to around $74 on hopes of an economic
recovery? Good news and bad here: First, it's a
sign the happy talk is working (so don't think too long on the
check kiting deal, OK?) but the downside is that the 'get out of
inflation jail' free card now turns and as energy prices
recover, the cost of living will soar, which will screw over
fixed income retired and Social Security recipients just that
much harder. You be the greasee.
All kinds of grim videos come out of
where wildfires are burning out of control.
Still working on your garden? Getting food is about to
become globally challenging - which is why I've been writing
about the need to learn gardening skills. In California, "Water
cops crack down in drought areas" and in
China, 5-million people are critically short of water due
Another sign of Depression 2: America's crazy, no make
purchases of bottled water are slowing and economic reality
drives home that tap water is just as thirst quenching as
Of course, you're not alone in your suffering.
China's premier Wen Jiabao is on major economic stimulus plan of
his own. It's becoming the thing to do if you
run a country and there's a Global Depression emerging.
A little study will suggest that the whole globalist economy was
designed and built on the 'constant expansion model' which
presumes that growth can continue in perpetual motion
machine-like fashion. Well, don't tell anyone this, but at
some point, given constraints and bounds, the only way out is
check kiting. Robert Mugabe just happened to go
hyperinflationary first. He won't be the last.
Let me see: Gordo the Gold-Seller Brown meets with Libya's
Gaddafi, gets oil and gas deals signed (since the North Sea oil
fields are in fast decline now)
and then releases the Lockerbie bomber who gets a hero's welcome
You were wondering why I don't bow to royalty and view Brown
News From the Throne
Reader's Digest is going through a restructuring. Not
sure, but based on an informal survey, I think this may be the
most-read publication in bathrooms across America...Would have
thought they'd have been flush enough to avoid bankruptcy.
You see where a rogue wave from Hurricane Bill
dragged 20-people out to sea off the coast of Maine?
Killed a seven year old girl...
Wanna But A Gun?
Here's a new kind of circular reference:
Police in Colorado Springs have seized enough guns from the bad
guys that the cash strapped city is looking at selling them at
auction. $10-grand a year or more, they're figuring.
Wonder if the city fathers (& mothers) have considered a City
eBay & CraigsList Office? You just know that such
offices would more than pay for themselves in the big towns like
L.A., Chicago and Dallas. Far too simple, I'm sure.
Let's appoint a committee to study this for five years, first.
See? I'm not a gloomster - always ready to lend fresh
thinking and positive courses of action, LOL...
But, seriously, why aren't GSA disposers of stuff putting
it on eBay so the rest of us can get a shot at the goodies
without middlepersons making the phat?
Certainly oughta be looked at in
Philly where a doomsday budget is being eyed.
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Feelings and Memeering
The headline in the NY Times about the "Mining
the Web for feelings, not facts" has gotten me to thinking
about the curious role the web plays in feeding back to us how
Once upon a time, people were very much in direct contact with
how they were doing. Back in cave man (and cave woman)
days, if you were very hungry, you weren't working very hard.
On the other hand, if you were able to work little and eat well,
that was a good thing. Your five senses told you how you
Then came tribal formation, and with it, the first taste of
government. Other members of the tribe began to impose
their assessment of how you were doing; laying it on you.
If you didn't agree, and more particularly if you didn't
conform, the tribe would take action against you.
This tradition continuers today, except the 'tribal'
decision-making is now embodied in government - which
still claims (often) spurious rights to impose its will on how
you should live.
Since in the modern world, we can't just wander off from the
'tribe' (world's too crowded for that) about all individuals can
do is go join groups that will give them the kind of
feedback and mirroring that they're really after. Which
explains FaceBook and other social network successes.
People don't spend much time pondering such things, figuring
they are probably obvious. But next time you click a web
site, ask yourself this: "Is the web site providing me
with useful/actionable information, or am I going there because
I am basically a weak-willed sheep who needs to get
reinforcement from others of a particular stripe in order to
validate my lousy life?"
The crazy part is that living in a world where everything is
being monetized (including as the Fed buying Treasuries proves,
we're even now monetizing the monetizing), even your feelings
are being bundled up and so back to you.
Is this a great country and is technology cool, or what?
Feelings on the Web, 2
OK, so having your feelings and habits tracked on the web is old
news. But what happens when people get angry at one
another and put up web sites calling each other out?
That's what seems to have happened as the so-called "Skank
blogger demands $15 million from Google" as a couple of
models went at it over the net.
And here you thought flame-wars on fora were interesting...
Monday Management Notes: Word Up
Something to keep an eye on next month: The lawsuit over
Microsoft's use of XML is headed for court. This is
a biggie because a judge in East Texas has ordered Microsoft to
stop selling Word in 60-days following the suit by
I mention this because I have been thinking about a new computer
for a while. I replace my computer every two years and
upgrade software at the same time, and at the moment I'm
inclined to install Microsoft Office Standard 2007 FULL VERSION
because I use Outlook to pretty much run my life. At under
$300, it's good software and being a bit of a power user, I
really find many of the functions quite useful.
Still, with the suit pending, I find myself looking at the
feature set in OpenOffice 3.1 (video
of the feature set improvements here).
The idea of going OpenOffice means going Open Source and if I do
that, there are some compelling reasons to consider going to
Linux for an operating system, perhaps
with Ubuntu 9.04.
Top be sure, not all manufacturers of computers are putting
Linux compatible drivers out, and getting things like a wifi
card to work can be a bit mysterious if you're used to the
relatively straightforward wireless networking within XP or
What's really disappointing though, is that I can't seem to find
a really powerful computer with huge storage
capability that comes in the 17" (or larger) laptop format.
One of the reasons for upgrading is that my hard drive demands
are immense. A dozen web sites, years and years of files
and so forth.
But, manufacturers of laptops seem to be unable to comprehend
that the Open Source movement is real...and the average
Linux laptop that comes plug & play wifi ready seems to have a
hard drive of a wimpy 80-GB.
Monday research project: If price were no object, where
would you find it? I put in laptop plus 500 GB on eBay and
I get more than 400 results. Add 'Linux' to that and the
results go to zero.
Would I contemplate Linux is it came with 500 GB, a 17" or
better monitor, and wifi ready with OpenOffice installed?
Sure! But for now, looks like a quad core Vista box with
64-bit may be the answer. But I'm hopeful that the Second
Depression will be good for open source.
Why not install Linux myself and tune it up? Sorry, when I
write a check for a solution, I want to hit the ground running
and not have any screw around time. I buy solutions, not
new kinds of problems.
Wonder if OpenOffice handles the new .docx and .xlsx formatted
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for
'truth' in economics, that the PowersThatBe, 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.
So one of our
charts for Peoplenomics subscribers oughta be widely circulated - it
shows that if you line up the peak of the Dow in January 2000 with
the peak in early September of 1929, we're on a very very close
replay track. Much closer than even the chart shows if you
were to back out inflation, and put in the effects of 1929
deflation, but that'd be real work, and I'm sort of lazy if the
truth be told.