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It's ALL About Jobs
If you want a pretty good indicator of a nation's health, you need not look much beyond the current employment and income picture to get a handle on what's out there. As I told you earlier this week, the highly credible ADP Employment report showed that the nation likely lost about 10,000 jobs in the latest month.
So how does that square with the latest from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics?
As usual, our next stop is at the CES Birth/Death Model to see how many jobs were 'created' by being estimated into existence: Only 6,000. However, since January, there's still 307,000 'estimated' jobs created. And what's more worrisome is than manufacturing lost another 12,000 jobs and the outsourcing of America continues.
The Alternative Measures of Labor Under Utilization continues to show 16.7% unemployed on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Now let's think this through for a second: How can this be? Well, for openers, once someone is past the extended, extended, extended unemployment benefits they are stricken from the unemployment nose-count because it's assumed they have found jobs. Have they? Some, maybe, but certainly most haven't. They're in semi-permanent freeloading mode, crashing with friends, looking for gigs, and so on.
The Fed's Consumer Debt report (you go in debt, they insist it's Consumer Credit because the bankers lent you the noose which they insist is extending credit, but it's a noose, trust me...) comes out next Wednesday so Thursday of next week we should see the Debt bubble reflating a bit...which could prolong this week's rally. But don't bet too much on it.
Within a very short time of the report coming out (no improvement in jobs) the price of gold dropped $12 bucks. Markets set to rally through afternoon before reversing.
Manufacturing: Good or Bad?
To be sure, there is some good news in the past day or two. The Census Bureau's report on new manufactured goods and factory orders on Thursday was better than expected:
There's quite a lag time in this data. However, if you dig around in the Census archives, you'll find the preliminary report for July 2008 showed new orders were running at a $465.4 billion rate. So, if Wall Street wants to party based on a short-term view (one year data), don't disturb the old bulls by pointing out that what the Census report really meant was (calculator warmed up?) we're still at a run rate fully 12 percent behind 2008 levels.
They'll just have to party without me.
Along Comes Earl
A press release from the Census Bureau provides some interesting demographic data on Hurricane Earl's potential impacts:
And this morning's tracking map, please?
Earl and Gun Rights
Boy, this is getting gun owners' attention: The governor of North Carolina has declared a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Earl's arrival suspending the right to use or carry firearms off of their own property.
May not be so simple though, since NC has a fairly complicated set of gun laws as was recently noted in a jdnews.com report out of Jacksonville, NC.
Mexico Drug Revolution Increasing
A couple of weeks back, in our Peoplenomics.com reports, we noted that Mexico is now in the midst of what I labeled as the Mexican Drug Revolution - MDR for short.
As if to underscore the expansion of conflict, there's a report that 27 people have been killed in a clash between government troops and drug revolutionaries in the northern state of Nuevo Leon and the toll could go higher. The Associated Press backgrounder by Diego Mendez is definitely worth some time to fix the scale of this clearly.
Bad, ugly, and worse....
In the wake of the reports this week that Israel and Palestinian leaders are planning peace talks we notice that Hamas spokespersons are threatening to ramp up violent attacks against Israel.
Seems that contrary to their claims, the Palestinians are not enjoying anything near total support and Hamas seems to be rotating to the fore. Which means that the Israel peace talks may be with the wrong party...or Hamas should be included?
Another Oil Rig Explodes
Another oil and gas platform off Louisiana exploded and burned on Thursday, although all 13-people on the rig at the time are accounted for.
We've identified three possibilities for this one: The first is that because there is so much oil & gas work in the GOM there's just bound to be some clustering of accidents; that's just how big numbers work.
On the more conspiratorial side, there are those, I'm sure who will see this as being some link to a generalized attack on oil & gas assets of the USA. And there could be something to that.
But the third possibility is that the Earth is going through some dramatic internal changes and that as these changes take place, there's bound to be an increase in the number of shifting land disasters which might include train derailments, minders being stuck deep underground, and a lot of other movement-related stories popping up.
And this gets us to...
Monthly Earthquake Data
Our friend Tony Ring (blog site here) does an interesting monthly report on earthquakes and it gives a very interesting trend since 1973 based on the USGS database since 1973:
While the current average magnitude is running about 4.5 - still below the average of over 4.7 reported in the 1970's, the other interesting thing to watch includes the average depth of quakes...
Bear with me watching this stuff so closely, since if we're really headed for something like planetary earth changes in 2012, we ought to be seeing some nonlinearity developing in this data over the next year, or two. Earthquake kit ready?
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Coping: EBM Versus Process Models
Oh boy...long email to begin our last coffee-side chat of the week - unless you're a Peoplenomics reader, in which case you get the weekend versions, too.
You'll recall that erarlier this week we've talked several times about my contention that everything's a business model - or EBM for short. Even the reader who prior to yesterday questioned the view wrote back with a nice "Oh I get it!" and another who said after 27-years of marriage, he and his wife still had a grand marriage because it's a business model andf they treat it that way.
However, there's one reader who thinks this is little more repackaging of earlier work than newly evolved substance and he sent in a very learned critique to make his case:
A wonderful set of objections, but let me say it again:
The key distinction is that process models (hereinafter PM) are a poor generalization tool for human behavior because they require 1) proper organization, 2) endless lookups of value drivers are required for all agents in the process, and 3) they require energy input analysis - more lookups.
Let's compare state government - a human activity and thus a candidate for EBM analysis with the PM approach. In simplest form, the business model is: Taxes in (revenue), the the costs of streets & roads, state services delievered, etc. (EBM's activity/expense line), and profit (continued existence, expansion, funding of retirement programs, expansion of scope and powers, etc.)
Simple: just three variables. Revenue, Activity/Expense, and a Profit/bottom line.
Where process modelers tend to run off the rails is theyll look at something like state government and go back to a hopeless maze of process-defining basics. A PM'er might begin to define the process of state governance by a series of bounding limits defined by the State's Constitution, but even here, the process analysis immediately begins to run into an orgy of useless details because the State Constitution is related to the US Constitution, the lookup tables of bounds is the body of work called all State Laws, and thus as a starting condition the process modeler builds a knowledgebase of detail as astronomical size. Next, the reins of power (legislative, judicial, and administrative) have to be modeled to understand how State governments operate. More levels of minutia, bigger models, slower execution times (Revolutionary France, excepted).
Pretty quickly, especially true if you're in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) world at all, your knowledgebase is immensely huge and then you discover that the model doesn't work because of some very subtle process that was overlooked or glitched that turns out to be critical to the process analysis getting anywhere near the ballpark.
My admittedly limited experience in working out AI approaches suggests that many process models fail when applied to humans because of the number of process-critical energy inputs and outputs becomes nigh on to unfathomable. All of which to say that process modeling is just fine for a limited application such as chemical engineering, or my own background which includes trying to map software processing for mapping 5through a Federal Application for Student Financial Aid - for this kind of stuff, process analysis is just peachy.
Process modeling is a bad, terrible, ugly, inefficient approach to human knowledge modeling though because the application of motive is handled separately (or not at all) in process modeling. In this sense, EBM is in harmony with Einstein's view that a system should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. EMB strips away a gazillion lines of value-seeking in logic and in its utter simplicity merely gets to the answers quickly.
If you're into robotics and AI, a convenient shorthand is needed and economic values is it!
A process modeler could spend from now till the next coming of Jesus trying to figure out the internal energy flows and tipping points within a State government - and still get it wrong. The EMB shorthand (a kind of meta knowledge set from an AI perspective) allows an extremely simple, highly reliable way of modeling the complex system using a couple of lines of logic and a lookup table of values for each agent in the study. Done.
In this sense, EMB is a much closer approximation of human behavior than PM. The reason is simple: Humans generalize down to only a couple of lines of logic to get to an answer. Obviously, if we did complex analysis (in process modeling fashion) we'd have a much more reasonable world. We don't.
EMB could be labeled a class of PM I suppose, but I'd suggest that it should be the other way around, with process modeling being the stepchild.
Man didn't begin with the long form process model when he was came back from hunting in the rain and was sitting in a cave with some dry sticks while hungry. He has generalized life experience into a couple of incredibly simple lines of code in his head: "Me cold", "Me hungry", "Fire hot!", "Me start fire to get warm and fed!"
The process modeler would start to write a book-length treatment of a caveman coming home in the rain with some freshly killed game:
The EBM logic is a little simpler using a meta-model:
In a sense, both approaches to modeling work at some technical level. However, EBM analysis puts the activity into its proper externally viewed perspective while the process model tends to an internalize view which may not corresponded to the larger shared reality, experienced with others.
All of which gets me to the point that us EBM adherents will always get around to the cavewoman first, since the process guys will be worried about minutia. Knowledge once learned goes into simplified models which are then able to process much faster that full-on process models.
Since you mentioned Cyc, I'll point you to one of the antiquities of computing, the reduced instruction set computing (RISC) model.
Now, mix one part RisC with two parts design pattern and presto! AI gets real easy because meta modeling is incredibly more efficient than bulky/large/unfathomable/irrelevant process models. If the AI doesn't work, the model is too complicated.
EMB, on the other hand, properly captures the energy distribution through the situation...warmth, food, and that cute cavewoman over there...
Oh, one other thing: Did I mention that EMB yields a nice prediction of women's behavior (profit table) while no amount of process modeling I've ever seen does? ;-)
A lot of pictures, so the load time may be long if you're on dialup, but check out the English Russia site's "Inside the Mysterious UVB-76 Station" photos.
Definition of numbers stations is here with some background in case you're a newbie around here...
Too Close for Comfort?
OK, long wave economics, some decent news analysis - at least different and often better than the MSM, but what's this?
Send him a note and tell him he can reach this site via...
Hardly sporting of them, but somehow I'm not surprised.
Oh Sh*t Department
Not to go on and on about the "Strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements and the recent Stanford breakthroughs which figure that activity inside the Sun changes how radioactive elements on Earth decay...but here's a readers observation that connects a couple of dots which I overlooked:
Oh crap! Damn it, I wish you hadn't reminded me of that. No wonder one of the key PTB types in SoCal is so fond of saying to his closest associates "The movie IS the message!" Damn, damn, damn....
And, since the PTB have as one of their tenets that they must telegraph things in advance, you don't suppose this has something to do with why Netflix has the movie 2012 as one of their play now online picks, do you? You know - hide the truth in plain sight kinda thing? Just wondering...
Wait! A reader has a lot simpler explanation, LOL:
If the world doesn't end this weekend, come on back Monday for another round of tromping through the thinkosphere of long wave economics and other very real, but officially denied realities....
Send your comments to email@example.com
Reader Action Department:
Now at Peoplenomics.com
Depression 2.0: Starting Over
I publish a little ebook ("How to Live on $10,000 a year or less...") that helps to offset the cost of site operations for the www.urbansurvival.com site and got an email from a reader this week who asked "What about those of us who have NOTHING - how to we claw our way back?" Well, in past issues of the ebook we've talked a bit about that, but since it's time for the annual update it's probably time to go through the whole bootstrapping process again and update some of the examples from previous years. If you don't have the $40/year for Peoplenomics, I'll get this incorporated into the annual update of the ebook in the next week, or so...
Dream A Little Dream...
If you have an especially vivid dream that seems to have something to do with the future, please write it down so others can look it over for possible future/predictive values. Simple go to http://www.nationaldreamcenter.com/ and click over to the DreamBase - commercial-free and open registration...
The folks at Maxa Research have put together a short video (sound track by guess who?) that shows the Maxa Cookie Manager. You can see it here.
I don't usually get all whipped up about software, but this is one of those dandy tools that just simply works great. First thing I put on my new computer when I got it was Avira Anti-virus and Maxa Cookie Manager (MCM). Either follow the on-screen download instructions of simply click:
Once you try it out, to upgrade to the fully functioning version, just 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.
"Live on $10,000" A Year
Having a hard time making ends meet? (Like who isn't, right?) A good starting point to better match up income with outgo is our $10 e-book "How to Live on #10,000 a Year...or less!"
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 left. A bonus section called "How to Build Anything" should instill confidence if you've never taken on a home improvement/home creation project before, too..... Click here for the index and details.
Pass It On
A different take on things - that's what you'll find here most mornings. If you know of anyone who might also like our content, simply click here and send a link to them. Or, if you hated what you read, send the link to all your 'worst enemies'. Like they say in Burbank, "Ain't no such thing as bad press..."
Thursday September 2, 2010
Thursday's Curious Web Bot Hit
Had a most interesting conversation with Clif about how the attack by a lone gunman at the Discovery Channel in Maryland on Wednesday is an important temporal marker in the developing mass rejection of "The Big Lies" that are propagated by MainStreamMedia (the MSM).
We've been watching this part of the language evolve over the past couple of months because of the 'heads up' contained in the June 20th "Shape of Things To Come" report which outlined how the schism between what people see with their own eyes on topics like the environment and the economy are vastly different from the media portrayals of reality:
Over at the Salon.com website, you can read the Lee demands and when you go through them point-by-point they seem to point at the same kind of 'revolutionary' mindset that is characterized elsewhere in the HPH reports.
While the Lee writings are characterized with the emotionally 'hot' term 'manifesto', some of his larger points about soaring human population may be viewed more as dangerous to the prevailing social paradigm than dangerous (except for the fact he got a gun involved).
His point about the television's glorification or war and related technology somewhat tracks to the linguistic expectations about calling out the PTB Big Lies. And example:
The shooting of Lee is a kind of temporal culmination of what's been developing as an undercurrent in Western culture over many months; people are starting to question and that tends to raise my confidence in some of what the linguistics hold for the fall.
To name a few, based on this event as a key temporal marker, we ought to see a three month decline in the markets getting underway shortly.
Then, the next indicator, at least of critical concern to small investors, savers, and po' folks like us who still dare to dream of retirement -- and this should come along before the big tipping point in the second week of November -- may be the 'laughing man' on national media.
The linguistics have us on the lookout for some character of note on national TV laughing while most of his colleagues are puking and sickened by the declines in the markets going on.
Seems this fellow will be getting a 'last laugh' as people who've been told repeatedly "Warning - here comes trouble in paper markets!" but chose to ignore it, and have stayed in on the long side, will end up where most bulls do: In a financial slaughterhouse.
Related, I posted a pre-open trading note for www.peoplenomics.com subscribers including an alert from Robin Landry which may be accessed (subscribers only) here.
Thar' He Blows Department
Another part of Clif's predictive work has been the expectations building around unusual weather which should be contributing to shortages of basics like food in coming months. Granted, a hurricane is NOT particularly unusual, but the evolving sidebar stories may be.
The arrival of Hurricane Earl is something of a precursor event in the Bigger Picture that emerges from the different data sets, but hardly matters if you happen to be one of the hundreds of thousands who will experience nature's fury firsthand between now and Tuesday of next week. Island evacuations along the east coast are underway now and the forecast update looks like this:
Key thing about the weather - I mean Earl aside - is that it is already having an impact on food prices. Russia's harvest losses, the decline in Canadian wheat expected - all this kind of weather related background is emerging as the highest food prices in two years.
Pass Around a Number!
What's more immediately important is that productivity is falling according to a report just out from the Labor Department this morning:
My pet theory on productivity declining is that management types avoided the layoffs to save their own butts in many companies, but at the numbers hint, they don't know how to get things done as effectively. Just a theory but lots of first-hand observation data over the years to back that up, LOL.
Gee, this is so much fun, let's pass another number around. Lighter, please?
Factory orders will be out in a couple of hours - about the time the buzz from our first couple of (ahem) numbers for the day wear off. We might also get a hit off pending home sales data, too. But the Unemployment report tomorrow should be the biggy for the week.
Credit Union Closure
NCUA out with a press release Wednesday:
No, banks are not alone in their troubles...
D.U. In Hawaii
Good backgrounder in the Hawaii Star-Advertiser about depleted uranium rounds used in the 50th state...
Also in the 'nukes are a marketing problem file' we notice that News 8 in Las Vegas is reporting the new name of nuke test site as a "National Security Site.
A rose by any other name - still clicks.
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Coping: Irwin Allen's Dreams, Aliens on TV
It's been a while since I mentioned our little sidelight/distraction called The National Dream Center, or the focal point of that project, the National DreamBase. In case you're new here, this is a project i started up after having a vivid dream less than 24-hours before the Gulf oOil disaster started to leak (poor pun intended) in the public consciousness back in April.
The idea is that people can register and post dreams without criticism - and as a result we've built up something of a snapshot of how UrbanSurvival, Peoplenomics, and IndependenceJournal readers are spending their nocturnal hours. If you have a vivid dream, or one which seems as though it's trying to communicate something with you about the future, please post it. It's not so much the individual dreams that are of interest to me but rather the aggregation potential of another collection of archetypes.
For example, there was a dream about a "crowded town" which involves a gun and the possibility of violence. As I reviewed that one, I was struck by an underlying and evolving 'fear of being on the street' - which is interesting in that it comes cloose to the archetypes flowing from Clif's work in predictive linguistics which go to the idea of "revolution/rebellion". "violence on the street" would be close or parallel.\
All dreams, BTW. are reviewed by a human before posting so we don't post direct threats against people or institutions - not our idea of a profitable use of time.
Also getting a slowly building number of dreams with odd "UP" aspects which could correspond to his notes about developments coming in the "Space Goat Fart" attribute.
You may recall that we've been on the lookout for an 'alien caught by television crew' - so while the alien video we posted the link to earlier this week may indeed have been fake, it's not the objective 'reality' of that video getting viral traction that's interesting so much as the 'linguistic fill' and important temporal marker clue that's to be had from seeing it.
Remember, neither dreams or web bot predictions need to be presact; even a large number of 'fake alien' videos showing up in the MainStream's consciousness gives us linguistic fill (see this morning's lead item for a further discussion).
My own latest 'vivid dream' which was of the same sort as the 'pre GOM spill' variety in terms of textures, conflicted participants and such went something like this:
Sooo... if in the next few days I happen across an odd article about a businessman in the 'import-export' business being killed, the government going for his computing resource and a worried IT guy off in the background, not sure what it will all mean, if anything at all.
Just shows to go you that when I go to sleep at night, the level of vivid dreams is incredible, right down to the light gray carpet in the corridor and one of the government types was wearing a white /off white soft shirt under his blazer - not exactly a turtleneck, a different collar, but thicker than a tee shirt, not golf shirt though...closed collar type thing.
Thursday at the WuJo
Hearing the Hum
Oh, here's a bit of an odd co-inky-dink: At about 12:52 this morning I heard that mysterious 'hum' for the first time. What made it so interesting was it was almost completely non-directional. Almost like it was at the back (and inside) my head.
Reader reports continue to come in, too, like this one:
Turns out to be a most excellent site and when I clicked on the world map showing distribution globally, what do you know? A dot on our part of Texas. Just freakin' great. Oh, and Elaine & I fit in the top cohort (UK version of the hearing the hum cohort here.
Next time Elaine's hearing it, we'll try the 'pull power' and "kill the water" but the sound is non-local and may not be coming in through 'regular' auditory channels.
About that New Particle
If one were to go way, way, way out on a limb, one might wonder if there's a link to the the recent discovery that the Sun seems to be emitting a heretofore unrecognized kind of energy that influences decay rates of radioactive material here on Earth.
From the Stanford University News of August 23:
This isn't a big earth-shaker in terms of immediacy values in your life, but it's dandy snip and save to see what happens when we get to late October when around October 25-28 we should get another sun-quake.
There's some seriously weird shit going on in physics in here and where it leads we're not clear on yet, but eyes wide open and keen awareness seems to be in order.
Wednesday September 1, 2010
Calibrating the Jobs Picture
Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight as was the case when a news release from the Census Bureau crossed my desk on Tuesday:
Numbers for federal employment won't come out till the end of the year (why it takes a full year to figure out is beyond me). But, in the 2008 report, we learned that there are 2.766 million federal workers - not counting our sons and daughters in the military. The federal average pay: more than $67-thousand per federal employee, btw, and that includes dilution for part-timers. Peach.
Add these two up and you get 19.37 million employed in government. Whip open last month's Employment Situation Report and we find what? There were138,960,000 civilians working at jobs of one sort or another.
So we begin this morning's romp through the data by concluding that for each government worker about seven people hold jobs in the 'real world', although the number would be less because in real life, some of the 'civilians' are making consumables for government; paper, computers, printers, and so on. But, let's say it's about 7.1 workers for each government employee. We will also assume states don't pay as much, maybe 85% of the federal average just to toss a dart.
That means that each 'real' worker has to pay 1/7th of ($67,000 X 0.85), or $8,135 in taxes to support government.
Not saying this is good or bad per se, just that's how the business model works out. And, if we use a federal tax rate of 25%, that means all of the 138.96-million who haven't been fired yet would have to make a taxable income of $32,542 just to pay for government.
Naturally, nothing is simple. Some of the taxes are on property (state) and some is in the form of local sales taxes and such. But the useful data is that there's about one government worker for each 7 people working.
The market, which had been poised to open on the upside, may still based on the global round of nitrous on strength in China and such, but this doesn't leave me with a good feeling about the 'offishul' (sic) numbers to come. I trust ADP's data implicitly. I'd put throw the unemployment dart for the federal report Friday at 9.7%, a tad bearish of consensus.
The day's first takeaway: Government isn't shrinking, but the workforce paying for it continues to shrink. If you look up "unsupportable trend" in the dictionary, you'll see the civilian jobs to government employment picture.
Remember My Rally?
The one where I was going to reenter shorts around Dow 10,245, or so? May head that direction for a while today, but numbers later this morning on construction spending on oil inventories will influence the day. August was the worst month for stocks in 9-years notes the WSJ.
Folks in North Carolina's outer islands are beating feet for higher ground as Earl's spinning up for a weekend at the coast:
Fiona, the follow-on storm, is still predicted to turn north and head out to sea instead of making another swipe at the east coast.
Page Turner? Ha!
I'll try to brush with fluoride-laced toothpaste, because event through president Obama is handing out the message "time to turn the page' on the Iraq war, as long as there is one US solider in country, we're still at it.
Sorry, but as long as people are shooting at our sons and daughters in uniform in Iraq, we are still at war...shooting, to my simple way of thinking defines combat, you see. Being shot at may not be combat for everyone, however. Must be just me.
Meantime, the rah-rah about 'must work on the sickly economy' is the most idiotic statement of the obvious I've heard in a while. Where the hell is the new vision - the articulation of the New American Lifestyle - and the reindustrialization of America to make us more self-sufficient, for crying out loud? Think I sound a little disappointed? No more so than most, I reckon.
Hand me a chill pill, wouldja?
A CNBC report was brought to my attention a Nigerian reader who saw interview with Paul Krugman and passed along a comment...
Wait! Don't leave yet...stick around, we'll get this turned into a third world country too, if you just give us a bit longer...
Technology To Save America!
Oh yeah - this is my kind of story about innovation: A report out of the UK Telegraph reports that Texas-developed "Deep Fried Beer" will be unveiled at the Texas State Fair this month. Hallelujah! This is the kind of FUNdamental change we need to get the country turned around...yee haw!
Thanks for the Outsourcing
We see that thanks to the globalists figuring out how to get Indians to do American work for pennies on the dollar, India's economy is growing at 8.8% per year now.
What part of "No jobs means crappy economy" does the Page Turner-in-Chief not understand? If you allow ...no, hell promote jobs being outsourced, people will not have incomes. Is this shit really that complicated?
Happy Talk -- International Dept.
US special envoy George Mitchell says he expects an Israel-Palestinian peace deal within a year. Is he kidding? This has come around almost every year as a headline ever since Abu Abbas' gang killed a passenger and threw his body off the Achille Lauro, for heavens sake. 25-years and the same "peace deal's almost here" crap....year? In real business if a deal isn't done in 90-days it's toast. Wonder if the wunderkind in Washington would know what "Git her done!" means?
Feeling the earth move? Say, here's an oddity that bears keeping an eye on: A 3.1 quake in Oklahoma...an area that's not particularly seismically active.
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Coping: EBM, II
One problem solved, another arises in our discussion Tuesday of how "Everything's a Business Model" (EBM for short). the fellow who sent in the note calling me a POS (piece of sh*t) sent in a fine follow-up note...
It's OK on the typos - not my strong suit, either, as anyone attempting to read this site oughta know by now.
Yeah - always a hard one when looking at everything as a business model - trying to figure out where to draw the line between the underlying message (Beck's was good in many ways) and the underlying business model. Remember, business models are neither good, nor bad; they just are.
I'd be pleased to bend a beer or three with this fellow any time to discuss the part of America's dilemma that the Beck rally didn't get into: Namely, since we already live in the EBM world, how do we rebuild a world that makes more sense.
Here's the dirty-awful secret: When Industrialism in general, or the Internet Bubble, or the Housing Bubble are in their infancy, there are thousands upon thousands of 'business models' being developed. Each one is capitalized at some level, there's a sense of entrepreneurial urgency, and the country's economy comes up to a rolling boil no matter how poorly the political side of the house is run.
But now we're in the reverse of that: Companies have been imploding, or being consolidated hand-over-fist. When this happens the whole economy does into lock-down mode, or as Clif calls it linguistically 'coagulation'. Now that we're into 'coagulation' mode, no matter what government does, the economy is terrible and Howard Hill's explanation of why major recessions and depressions are correlated across virtually all asset classes becomes the Big Problem.
Here's the thing about Beck's rally: I agree wholeheartedly with some degree of "reclaiming" America, but let's be real: We don't have the manufacturing capability today to feed, clothe, and manufacture our own lifestyle. Globalism has pushed us beyond some undefined boundary. So how to we push that back?
What's needed is some vision of a new America that can be articulated, funded, and implemented. No one's got that one.
If you have any clue what the next Big Thing will be, please send it along. We've got no candidates in sight yet and my fear is that someone in the backrooms of unelected government -- call it the shadow government or the administrative part of government that's not elected by we the boss-people, has figured this out, too.
Some ad hoc group in academia, or government, has noticed that we don't have enough job formation to provide everyone in the world with a workable income and lifestyle, so we will need to suffer planetary war, designer diseases, and all the rest, simply to keep humans under 'management's control'. Sorry to report this, but more wars, terrorism, threat of pandemic disease and natural disaster really is the tie that binds us otherwise, why would we give up 40% (or more) of our income to government? This is the kind of issue we explore over on the Peoplenomics.com side, so I won't take your time up with it here, but go off and ponder that one for a while.
But, before you do that, here's a note from a reader who rejects my Everything's a Business Model thesis...
OMG, of course sex is a business model!. Are you kidding? Oldest business model on the planet!
But to the point: The best marriages are those which are built on a sound business footing and the ones that implode, often as not, according to the statistics, have failings based in financial failure! Go look at the human relations devastation that accompanies recessions in high impact areas like Las Vegas & Phoenix.
Here's a shocker for you: Before Elaine & I got married, we discussed our relationship in detailed business model terms...because we thought to do so wouldn't be honest. Everyone looks at relationships at some level in WIIFM (what's in it for me) terms. We outlined our own business model - which we're both happy with so far, 10-years into it - it's working just fine, thank you.
Works like this: We're co-owners of this business model; we're a team and internally ours is a full-sharing version of the model. Both sides pledge 100% of the assets and liabilities to the other.
My responsibility in our business model is the top line, revenue: I focus on what I do which is hunting to put it in tribal terms. I consult, I write, and bring in enough money to keep a roof over us, and with luck, then some.
Elaine's role is the activity/expense side of the model - so she keeps everything going around home. Since there's profits that we've saved up, Elaine doesn't have to work (outside the home), and her share of the profits is she gets a Lexus, time to work out, a pedicure now and then, etc. I get a a Texas-type pick-up truck, a few ham radios, a great shop - and if I can figure out a strong enough revenue stream to fund it (and sufficient benefits to both of us) then we might buy a plane. Or, we might buy a business....all in the window-shopping and spreadsheet phase now.
We're both crystal clear where our focus is within the marriage; we both work in our respective areas but we share any profit/loss. Sex is not monetized in any way in a 100% sharing relationship, - it would go on the "business supplies" line, in that it supports both the revenue line and the activity/expense line.
Outside of the strong partnerships in the world, of course sex is monetized. Why, we couldn't have government in Washington without it! But, not inside one.
Try to envision our personal business model as George & Elaine, LLC. Works for us, it's our business model against the world and the objective is to keep it profitable, so projects like a home garden, a greenhouse, investing in solar panels, all makes sense in our G&E LLC, because that's part of our savings program. We agree, as partners, that part of our capital expenditures (capex) should be devoted to hedging an uncertain future, so that's how we operate.
Come on, all couples have a vision (stated or otherwise) of how their marriage will work - in the business sense - right? Seems axiomatic that if the business model under a marriage is flawed, or the deal points aren't clear, the marriage would likely fail when the revenue drops or expense gets out of line...
It should go without saying that there's only the two partners in the marital business model, one of the tenets of our kind of LLC. There may be other models with more members, but I haven't seen any work out long-term and I've been watching for more than half a century.
Somewhere along in here, I should reiterate that I didn't say I disagreed with Glenn Beck's intent - honorable. Just we - I think - to be looking ahead morel, not looking back to what used to be. Like golf, we can't play from the 1950 pins, we play from where we are and only in the direction of the greens.
Then there's this:
Back to B-School Basics here: The management adage to remember is this: "What gets measured, gets done!"
We live in a world where - as any fan of Mother Teresa or Gandhi recalls - that doesn't reward ones humanity only the revenue streams and retained profits.
Until we reeducate ourselves from the ground up that principles and humanity trump money, we are destined to live through an international boom and bust, peace and war existence. Millions starve, get killed in wars, but the cycle continues because we haven't got the brains to reward goodness instead of property or power. Oh, and we forgot to tax machines at the same rates of humans when they started to replace us.
Dumb and few signs of hope.
Wednesday at the WuJo
In the process of going global-viral is a video shot in South America earlier this month that appears to have an alien walking through it in the background. Remind me NOT to head for Argentina.
The appearance of this little critter is interesting given that history is full of references to 'the little people' and various 'fairies' and such. Hmmm...just a data point to ponder.
Cheap Coffee Is a What?
Urban Dictionary's word of the day is "cheappuccino". The kind of flavored coffee's that you pick up at convenience store. Highly recommend their free emailed word of the day - they get some good ones...
Tuesday August 31, 2010
Home Price Rise Stall
Latest is out from Case-Shiller/S&P on home prices:
Something to keep in mind here is that as we pointed out earlier today, there's been 4% inflation of the M1 money supply so any increase in home prices would have to exceed that number (or something near it which we could argue about for weeks...) before really coming back on a purchasing power basis - which is what matters, but there you have it.
Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Seattle were the flatlined markets.
Next press release, please?
To the Point Tuesday
You know that Second Depression I've been writing about since 1996? It's here now and playing out on global markets around the world. Take Japan's Nikkei, please. Down 3.6 percent in overnight trading. Early trading in Europe supports the hundred-something points down today and we seem now to have entered a wave 3 down period where things get exciting...
Well, actually, things got exciting here about 11 AM Monday. The Dow, which I had expected to zip up to the 10,250 area as a minimum, turned tail and dropped 140-points. I posted a personal trading note yesterday just after I execute the trade getting back into my short positions, but remember: none of this is trading advice, you pays your money and takes yet chances.
Oh, further downside is likely today and being on the short side again is comforting. A one percent decline would be about a hundred Dow points, but if the market takes out the August 25 low (9,925.34) then the next 'biggie' would be the battle for 9,600 (July 1, 2010: Dow 9,596.04). Then down toward 8,100...
A couple of key numbers are due out in the next hour or two: The Case-Schiller/S&P 20-City Mortgage numbers. Then the Chicago Purchasing and after that Consumer confidence. Any of these could knock the market down through the 9,925 barrier and set up 9,600. I'll post them if I get time, so check back.
$3,401.50! Gold's Flash Spike
A reader asked "How come Yahoo Finance was showing a Day's Range of $1,233.00 - $3,401.50 for gold?" Data glitch or end of month inventory covering? May be linked to the Big China in Little Trouble story over refugee bankster officials, but whatever the reason, I sure liked seeing that gold $3,401.50 number however fleeting it was.
Also worth noting is the Bloomberg "Gold rallying to $1,500 as Soros's Bubble Inflates."
Patience pays better than work sometimes.
The UK's Guardian has pretty good coverage of the mortgage refi lines down in Palm Beach as 20-thosuand odd try to save their homes. The number of homeless in NYC is reported up 50%, so the collapse in slow motion is continuing.
I should set up some snazzy polling software one of these mornings when I get some time so we can do a poll to find out what percentage of people think we're in an economic depression. It'd be an interesting number.
Oh, as long as we're pawing through all the light and cheery stuff, about one American out of six is on welfare of some kind and - this is where we could get into hyperinflation - welfare agencies are working to boost voter rolls, says USA Today.
Also on the Obama agenda - and maybe something in tonight's speech? - Elizabeth Warren seems to be in line to take over top federal consumer protection activities. And that wouldn't set well with the Street. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of retirement thieves...
Pre-War Chess Moves
As the Russians are tailing Western subs updating their acoustical signatures - something that would only pay a return in event of war, president Obama is planning a speech to the nation tonight on how the Iraq War combat mission has (sort of) ended. How long's it been since "flight Suit George" called it mission accomplished? Seven years, isn't it?
You maybe saw the story "Saudis amass US weapons to confront Iran"? Other end of the spectrum: France and Britain are planning to share aircraft carriers. Money saving deal. Wonder if they write each other damage deposits on this ;-)
The Tehran Times hasn't missed the significance, however their focus in this article is on the 'U.S. legacy of waste' in Iraq. Kind of sad when our potential enemies have a clearer understanding of project management than we seem to. True, some of the schools, hospital upgrades and infrastructure is working, but as NPR sizes things up, I wonder did we get out money's worth?
Earl to NC
Latest computer models put Hurricane Earl arriving along the shows of North Carline about 2 AM Friday morning and then it seems probably to whack the east coast pretty good into the weekend before getting up to the Canuck maritimes on Sunday. There goes the weekend, eh?
Coming up next week is tropical storm Fiona and there's a new depression forming on the west coast of Africa that could follow. My neighbor who goes out insurance adjusting oughta be busy as a one-armed paper hanger for a while.
I admit to being a mobile technology Luddite, but AutoCad going to the iPhone? Hand me the ViceGrips - and while you're doing that, let me tweak the girders on the 27th floor...they look a little weak...
Egads! Lend me your phone, I need to design a data center building.
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Coping: EBM - What's News?
About here, you may be scratching your head wondering "What does EBM stand for and why do I care?"
It's the Peoples Economist's shorthand for "Everything is a Business Model". And why that matters will come into focus when I share this dandy little dropping from the bottom of the email inbox:
"Like" the MSM? Get serious, pard...Glenn Beck in an amusing cult of personality distraction but he's ain't news around here. But, then again, neither are the current doings of Lindsay Lohan, either.
Each of these is a business model. Beck's a business model, since he's growing the Beck brand. Fox is a business model since they're after ratings which can be turned into ads which can be turned into money. News Corp is a business model that holds rolled up media companies and you know they're not doing that for grins and giggles. And Murdoch's been a whole series of successful business models rolling up media outlets.
As a matter of policy around here (a right I claim as a real piece of shit, as you so eloquently penned it) we don't spend much time counting the number of people who line up behind one business model, or another. No point to it.
BUT, now that you brought it up, everything is a business model. The job you used to have, the business of being a politician, even churches / religions are business models, something I don't grind your face in because the evidence is that I'm right. Jesus didn't make the big bucks on his own religion, it was the marketers who followed who cashed it. Ditto Buddha and the rest of history's Enlightened: Business models that followed were where the dough was - so you see everything really is a business model.
Not bad just is.
Around here, I'm running a business model, too. I have a free web site which almost breaks even on advertising. The rest comes from subscribers to Peoplenomics.com, a unique group of people seeking clarity of thought on some of the great unspoken truths of the runaway capitalist illusion such as Everything's a Business Model.
Every time the right wing, or the left, or the NRA, or the church, or the local PTA pass around fundraisers, or I pimp my subscriber side, I'm reminded "Everything's a Business Model".
Again for clarity: I didn't say any of this is bad...money makes the world go round.
On the other hand, whenever I see a highly touted named personality I run - not walk, mind you - I run the other way as fast as I can. We live in a society where EBM and the cults of personality are all what? Repeat after me: Business models!
Think it's worth debating how many showed up? I could give a crap. Beck supporters are largely in the 200,000 range, with a few blinded followers claiming 500,000 showed up. CBS News put the figure under 100,000 and they hired an outfit to give them an accurate count. Is that right? I will grant you that CBS is a competing business model to the Fox News Channel.
I'm not the only one calling it what it was; go take a look at "Beck Rally: A Great PR Stunt, but That's All It Was," for example.
Thanks to your email though, you've given me an opportunity to once again explain how EBM.
In a country where jobs have largely been exported about the only growth industry left is the Cult of Personality business model which a lot of people seem to get sucked into.
Oh, and if the democorps thought they were without business model sin in all this, let's not overlook the secretary of education reportedly urging employees to attend the Al Sharpton 'counter' demonstration.
World of business models colliding. Comforting in some ways (analysis of current affairs gets real easy, for example) but bad in other ways: EBM allows us to miss a good portion of the humans sharing concept. In fact, most of it.
Pardon me if I park judgment and just observe the data flow.
Readers Writes, 2
Then there's this one:
Too complex for me, too. So just buy some silver, ammo, and food and let's sit back and watch how it all works out. Anything else is just theory and nothing's more fun than having some skin in the game.
As the current business paradigm (playing field of all business models) sits, there's a titanic tug-of-war over whether deflation or inflation will be the long-term workout. My bet is on runaway inflation, but ain't much to see yet. Last week's Fed report (H.6 money stocks) showed a 4.15 % increase in M1 YoY (see updated dictionary of terms here) and Trader Bart's most excellent M3 reconstructed shows M3 is only declining now at an annual rate of 5% and may have bottomed. I figure the fireworks in metals will start when M3 begins to go positive -3-8 months out. Just a dart.
Subject of this weekend's Peoplenomics report - yes, along with part numbers. Several people have asked.
Monday August 30, 2010
Went back in on the short side this morning when the rally I was banking on failed. Still picked up a spread of .40/share between Thursday's exit and re-entry today so wtf.
Market now has permission to tank, tanks. THIS IS NOT TRADING ADVICE.
Our New Dictionary of Economic Lingo has been updated here.
Beyond the 'Correlation Curse'
Can't tell you how many people have asked me "George, what happens to the price of gold in a real depression?" but the number is substantial. And when I answer, most seem less than pleased that I frown (or whatever passes for a frown in email) and tell them "Everything goes down, just some things go down faster than others..."
If you've been waiting for clearer answer, your patience will be rewarded when you read Howard Hill's brilliant "Correlation Curse" which he posted this weekend and which seems to have caused quite a stir. What my friend -the ex-Deutsche, ex-Mass. Mutual, co-father of CDO's and long-tail bond whiz turned Ford Fuzion hybrid driver and owner of a chicken coup he could press into service - has done is ever-so-neatly explain why bull markets are not particularly correlated, but bear markets are.
But the one thing he didn't explain is that if all asset classes decline in large bear markets (see the Dow later this week if things aren't clear yet) and when forced to raise money, asset managers will sell anything that brings a bid, where's the smart place to deploy money in advance?
Ah, the footnote he could have added would be those assets which have current production value for some necessary goods or services. But, since you may not have oil on your property, or have a spare manufacturing plant sitting idle out back, what does that leave?
The personal means of production that won't be subject to sale. Things like paid-up property which has a garden on it, some long-term stored food, a few chickens, serious garden, a fishing boat (with a sail?) which isn't in a fished-out area...things like that.
Serious bear markets - like the one we're in - demand a high level of mental acuity to perceive the Great Recessions and Great Depressions which, BTW, are functionally interchangeable once you've been canned at work and had your home repo'ed.
People throw rocks at me when I breach the idea of gold dropping to the $800 (or lower) range as things unfold over the next year or three, but since in the same timeframe the Dow could head below 4,000, that's a comparative increase in purchasing power.
Still, Howard's point remains crystal clear: Massive bear markets are highly correlated because money managers will sell any asset there's a market for to raise dough when times get bad. A fine read and it should help clarify much confusion about what's directly ahead.
The good news is the market should rally today and maybe into tomorrow - to one of Robin Landry's targets: The 10,250 range today, or maybe higher. From his weekend note to colleagues in the investment advisory circles:
Ostensibly, part of the reason for the rally today (trust me on this, although NONE OF THIS IS INVESTMENT ADVICE, just showing you why I exited my short positions last Thursday...) is that the Bank of Japan has eased policy a bit and that kicked the Nikkei up 225 up 1.8 percent overnight.
The story out of Europe also verges on mindless euphoria, since the British market is up better than 8/10th's of 1% when I looked. Oh, says a sharp-reader - that was Friday's action. The Brit marts are closed today. Damn it.
Will it last? Not no, but hell no.
I put a chart up every week for Peoplenomics subscribers called the "Aggregate Index. It's what the global markets look like if you have equal-dollar amounts in the Japanese, Oz, Hong Kong, German, French, British, and US markets:
You see those two little circles on the right side? To my odd way of looking at charts, the current decline (right small circle) got far enough below the (left little circle) that it starts looking like "Global decline to continue!"
When the global market gets to the point or recognition that this is the Big Picture, then go back to your bookmark of Howard's "Correlation Curse", or read some of Robin's past remarks about how Elliott Wave functions work. Key concept? The decline of Wave 3 is usually at least equal to the decline of Wave 1. Usually, it's 1.5 times the first move down.
Here's why globalism is toast: You can see on my chart above how Wave 1 began from the global market's giddy heights of 2008, until Wave 2 started from the terrible bottom in March 2009. Now, a large third wave has gotten underway from the apparent Wave 2 peak of 23,204.
Since Wave 1 down (globally) was 17,123 points, one might postulate that Global Wave 3 (which is coming along over the next year or two (if things hold course) should drop to a minimum target of 6,081. At this level, global markets will be left with less than 20% of their 2008 high values.
But the worst case (meaning a 1.5 X decline - or God forbid a 1.618 X decline) in Wave 3 would bankrupt globalism pure and simple.
The neat part of this is that you don't need to go out and join a militia group, or partner-up with anarchists to rage against the machine: If you know where to look, it appears globalism is in the midst of imploding on itself. Couldn't have happened to a nice bunch.
Is the change the direction inevitable and irreversible?
No. In fact there are least three candidates on the horizon that could re-launch globalism's ascent.
Wait - wasn't this when Bush was CiC? Oh, you seem to have missed that the PTB/globalistas run both sides of the political aisle from the top. Wake the hell up! They need a distraction in the next year, or less, and they're going to buy it even if it costs the lives of millions. Which it will, sorry to report.
So, enjoy this today's rally I expect sometime after the open. Just remember, it's the bears like me who will be on the other side of the trade - the more it rallies, I figure to bank.
Oh: If you're concerned about the 'dip at the open' expected this morning? Just guess here that'll be the phat cats driving down prices so they can go long for one more rally...so maybe I'll re-enter the short positions tomorrow. Easy money's contagious. Speaking of which...
If I was conspiratorially bent, I'd say something like "Personal income takes an unexpected move up" would make a fine rally driver. But, I'm not writing government press releases, so instead we get this to deal with...
Is the savings rate fictional? Oh sure, but a good story to promote, as I'm looking to add to short positions. Here's a helpful headline for the bears waiting to reenter: Consumer spending rises 0.4 percent in July. Woo-hoo!
Run 'em up this afternoon!!!
Someone must be: Late car payments dropped in Q2. Woo-hoo!
Looking for a source of what Obamacare really is - I mean besides a right-wing fanned political fundraising talking point? On to the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeon's piece by Dr. Jane Orient - on my reading list for today.
Ring Wing Damage
I assume you saw the report that something like 70 percent of a conservative talk radio audience support forcing Muslims to register on a national database?
Fine, but let's go ahead and also register Chinese, Russians, Jews, Blacks, and Fat Old White Farts like me while we're at it. And how about a modern Kristallnacht equivalent for Hispanics and while we're at it?
No, I'm not serious, except in this regard: When I write that America has gone fascist, I'm not joking.
Got another 'cane out in the Atlantic. Hurricane Earl could bring wind and rain to North Carolina on up through the Northeast later in the week:
Kite weather, for sure.
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Coping: Ham Radio Notes and Beyond
OK, this isn't much of an item to note for most folks - those without ham licenses - but I fixed up a really nifty addition to my tower that the 3½ HF element beam sits atop. I picked up a wireless remote control for an ATV winch for about $70 on eBay.
With about a half-hour of screwing around this weekend I was able to get it working so now when thunderstorms roll through the area, I don't have to stand at the bottom of the tower bushing a big 'down' button to get 65-feet of galvanized steel lightning rod down to where trees would be more likely targets.
instead, I'll be standing up to 50-feet away with my little remote control fob and happily watching from a safe distance.
In the process of testing the tower raising & lowering, however, I managed to break the support for the low frequency 40 & 80 meter CCD antenna.
All of which is fine, since it gives me an excuse to rent a 35-foot scissor lift which will let me update the coax feedline from the HF antennas to new low loss Times LMR-400 and give me a chance to put up the 17-element wide spaced 2-meter beam antenna.
All of which gets me around to the real point of all this ham radio talk - there's been an uptick in the operation of 'number stations' on he shortwave bands.
Panama Bates, my brother-in-law who's studying for his ham ticket, wandered in about a week ago and asked "What's a number station?" Had to plead ignorance (I do a lot of that seems) and he came back with a report that went well beyond the Wikipedia entry on topic:
Doggone it! This was getting interesting. But, does it mean anything when Universe pops something like this before me in a particularly blatant way?
Seems so. You see there's been a reported uptick in number station transmissions in the past week or two and it's starting to sneak in around the edges of awareness at places like the Cryptogon.com site.
Normally, that in itself wouldn't be particularly noticeable except that the UK Telegraph carried a report this weekend about how "Russian subs stalk Trident in echo of Cold War."
The most popular reason for this return to Cold War shadowing, may be that Russia is simply updating it's library of various US capital ships sounds so their sonar men will have good data on who's who.
But wait! Why would they need that data unless there was a perceptible chance that such data would have future value?
Something isn't feeling right here. An uptick in what seem to be spy radio transmissions which could be instructions to field agents. And then updating sonar signatures?
I don't know about you, but something feels a bit amiss here, particularly when you carefully consider the English language summary of more-or-less current Russian military doctrine.
If you talk to knowledgeable people - like Shane Connor over at www.ki4u.com - and ask them about how the US is doing on the civil defense front compared with Russia, or China for that matter, you'll find plenty of concern. This is a long term problem that has its roots in Nixonian detente in the 1970's.
The question you might want to ask yourself is whether America has been deliberately stripped of her survivability potential by a globalist agenda half a century in the making.
I'll leave it to you to guess my feelings on this but something worth a few moments of contemplation. November looms.
Before the chart, a little background:
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.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
"George, that's only a coincidence!" your monkey-mind will protest.
Why sure it is...you bet. A 9½ year long coincidence...yessir....just a coincidence, I'm sure...
Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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