A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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December 10, 2010 07:55 AM CST
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The Crash-Free Depression, I
Got a lot of the research done for this weekend's Peoplenomics report - wherein we'll jump into the mechanics of how to have a Crash-free Depression, which in case you haven't noticed, is what's going on around us.
If you still have a home, Thursday's Zillow report that US housing dropped another $1.7 trillion of value this year should be sobering.
Then there's the good news/bad news from this morning's Balance of Trade report from the Commerce Department:
Now comes the hard part, explaining how this is good news - and bad, all at the same time.
First the bad news: We are still digging our own grave with the balance of trade, all today's report means is that we have slowed our previously more frenzied shovel work.
The good news: Makes a 10-minute case that the US is doing better than some countries (Ireland and Greece come to mind) on controlling the balance of trade. BUT...
The further bad news: Sure, the US bond picture is running into the ditch (and where goes bonds, so too may go stocks sooner than later) but fiscal restraint means a slowing need to borrow, which tends to increase the currency values, which in turn - since stocks are priced as an inflation-hedging asset as much as anything - then could put downward pressures on stocks and that in turn...oh, you get the idea.
Gold's getting whacked here at press time, and that sometimes means downward pressure on stocks...dollar is going up and I know of people who are expecting a rally to 0.82 Euro, but they also believe in reindeer on the roof.
Free Lunches Still Popular
Bloomberg has done a new national poll which concludes "Americans in Poll Want Deficit Cut With Entitlements Secured" which sounds OK, until you fire off two neurons in that direction and figure the one sorta precludes t'other.
Politely, Bloomberg did not publish any IQ correlations with their poll, but around here we're doing some back of the envelope scribbling....
A couple of readers have noticed the rather interesting wallpaper/background image on the WikiLeaks.ch site. If you don't have time to look, there's this archive looking room and on various shelves are topics like "Bilderberger Meeting", "Bank claims", Guantanamo manual', a JFK folder, and so forth.
Say, you don't think this is a message to the PTB about what's to come, do you?
Quote Of the Day
Here is an absolute gem: In the Wired coverage of the WikiLeaks case under the headline "DNS Provider Mistakenly Caught in WikiLeaks Saga N ows Supports the Group..."
Do Canadians 'get it', or what? I haven't talked to Mark for a year or so, but this for sure earns him two thumbs up....plus a paw up from Zeus the Cat, too.
So Much for Statesmanship
A long time ago, I stopped capitalizing the word Congress around here. Oh, I'll do it (when I remember) and we're talking the institution but not when talking about its current incarnation. Why? Well, lemme see....when someone says "F*ck the President" I figure it's an indication that either they don't have a very large vocabulary, or they haven't read much on the subject of statesmanship.
If you work in Washington, two items on my reminder list for the day. One is that Washington works for the people and two, we expect people in Washington to know what this word means: Decorum. Goes nicely with - and is sometimes used with - this one: Modicum.
So Much for Statesmanship, II
I didn't read it so much as a 'me-me-me' thing by Fearless Leader, so much as a carefully crafted "don't piss off China" dodge, but then again, I suppose that's why I ain't no Washington newspaper writer...
Burning Down the House
Authorities in the republik of California have burned down a house that they figure was filled with dangerous chemicals and explosives makings. All collected, so goes the story here, by a 54-year old unemployed computer consultant.
But here's there are two troubling aspects to this: First is denying defense counsel an opportunity to look through the house for evidence that could exonerate this client of charges. And then there's the question of whether the homeowner who had rented the place for four years would be entitled to insurance money? Likely not, I'm guessing, since it was not an Act of God, except that here lately government seems to be taking up that mantle, too.
What's a home go for in that area? Hundreds of thousands of dollars and where (if you don't mind me asking) does the Constitution provide for burning of private property?
Let's Tax Rainwater
A tip of the hard hat this morning to the folks at www.fourwindsco.com for the tip about the Obama administrations forthcoming plans to tax (got ViceGrips ready?) rainwater... So how'd we get here, you're wondering? Well...
Oh! You mean like BP pollution in the GOM? And who gets impacted?
Initially, this is targeting larger operators of storm water utilities and such and is about mandatory information gathering. But these things have a way of growing. First you do a study, then you mandate the data you want to base rain taxes (or regulations) on....and then presto - five years down the pike....
Just seems to me spending the $4-million on this one could be better spent on figuring out how all that crap that's bad gets into the water from chemtrails, industrial pollution and such. Solving pollution problems at the source just makes so much more sense...but, of course, its harder to build that empire with all the lobbyists running around for industry...and every one is 'em is special.
We couldn't help but notice the attack on a car containing British royals Prince Charles and Camilla, all over outrageous austerity programs, including little dribs and drabs like doubling college tuition (tripling fees) and such.
Ever helpful, as we try to be around these parts, here's a suggestion: The protesters would have gotten a lot more out of attacking, oh, a beer truck, know what I mean?
Music of GlobalRev
Don't know if you caught the recent UK Telegraph article "Motorhead beat up banks Christmas single..." But there you have it, more linguistic fill on the 'beat the bankers' linguistics from the recent Shape of Things to Come/ predictive linguistics forecast.
Since we tipped into release language, there have been literally dozens of emotionally super-hot stories showing up and should be interesting to see what's going to happen - if anything - around December 25th - which seems to be a hot date in the WikeLeaks documents, or, around January 4-7-ish when there's a day of release language expected....
Everyone Is Royal!
With all the talk about the 'attack on Prince William and his intended, I'm pleased to report that a reader who is 11th cousin (once removed) from PW has generously bestowed on me nothing less than a royal title. Yessir, no limits to arrogance around here:
LOL...but seriously, the world's got enough people claiming title and rights over other folks, not to mention making up 'money on the fly', so I'll just be 'simple George'...
This does remind me, though, that I will have to renew our membership in the world's largest army - no, not Blackwater - the Society for Creative Anachronism. Don't know if you've heard any Leslie Fish music - just the thing for sitting around the fire at night - and increasingly relevant in today's world...
I know, I know...I can hear it now: "George, what does this have to do with economics?"
Go replay the chorus: "The war is coming home..."
(continues below ad)
Coping: Hangar Talk
A reader sent me a link to an AP article about the FAA's aircraft registration system, which by the report, seems to have lost track of 119,000 aircraft registrations.
Now, a 1-minute course in aircraft owning: Anyone who have every looked at owning a plane knows the documentation requirements for an aircraft are summed up as ARROW - meaning Airworthiness Certificate, Registration cert., Radio license, Operating limitations (pilot or owners handbook), and a Weight & balance to remind us in small (four-place type) planes to put the heaviest people closest to the cord line of the wing ./..front seat in most planes...yada, yada, yada...
Maybe you haven't filled out an AFS-750 form and sent it to the FAA's Registration Branch, but seems to me that one-third of aircraft not being 'tracked' may be a bit high. Maybe if you include people who forget to update their email address...maybe.
But I'm just guessing (a wild one for this hour) that most of us who fly know about 14 CFR Part 47, 47.2 where the registration requirements are spelled out. Not saying the story isn't right, but it has the waft of "Oh, oh, here come the fees for a whiz-bang registration system. Can installation of catalytic converters and annual emissions checks be far off?
All of which is not to say that the FAA is perfect, but my personal experience with them is they do a fine job not only of rerouting general aviation users around thunderstorms, but also of keeping on top of maintenance and such.
Still, there's room for improvement, and in the interest of positive change I'd like to throw in my two-cents worth.
One thing most people do not know is that despite us closing in on ten-years-after 9/11, the FAA does not yet have a system in place to put people's photo ID on pilot's licenses.
But this brings up a really good point - and one which the Federal Executive Boards around the 10 federal regions might think about because it makes all kinds of sense to me:
The government should have a single document for all purposes. So, for example, take someone (I'll use the guy in the mirror as the example) who has a collection of various certifications from the government. I'd have to fess us to having two security clearances in my past (when I was younger) working for a defense contractor back when and then having a White House press card for a while. There are two radio licenses - one commercial, one ham radio, and then there's the flying stuff. Might want to toss in some FEMA emergency management certs, too, when I get them done (outgrowth of ham radio emergency training). Had I bothered with my Coast Guard License, that would be yet another cert (six-pack, sail endorsement that's got the time for) to toss on the list.
My point is that each of the federal agencies has grown up with its own set of paperwork agencies. As the one-time owner of a documented boat, for example, the national documentation center was in West Virginia, for example.
But here's the thing now: Everyone in America knows - or should - that Post Offices have been doing Passport processing for a good while. This means they have a) staff, b) the fancy camera, and since there's already a single national passport office, why not have them do the handling of all federal certifications?
It's all moving that direction, anyway. So it doesn't make sense to me that some super-surveillance system (secret....woo-woo stuff) ought to be built up to - in effect -cross check the multiple agencies and see who looks suspicious.
Seems to me (since I have to write a quarterly tax check here shortly) that it would sure be a lot more efficient to integrate all federal agencies into a single integrated system.
I get a lot of flack for being a "doomer", but this is as clear an example as you'll find the makes the point we're not necessary doomed but do we have to keep playing dumb? I realize that there may be some 'privacy concerns' by some, but I figure we've already spent untold billions to build computer systems that will report (in secret) that yes, George has been close to a President, seems trust worthy, can fly a plane, drive a car, and con a ship. It's sure be nice to have one piece of plastic (or a passport page?) that handles all paper instead of paying...oh, let me count the ways...
Hey! What about having the social security number on it, too...since I'd sure like something I can laminate or which doesn't need it! Hello? Anyone there?
Some Kind of Party...
OK, I admit ham radio types are just ever so slightly geeky. I wouldn't admit to it so readily most days, except our local ham radio club had its annual Christmas dinner last night and our guest speaker turned out to be the head of Mass Casualties for the state of Texas.
Who, but ham radio types, emergency medical services, and police agencies, would forgo the caroling and Christmas light tours to go talk about how to deal with displaced hurricane evacuees next time we get a Kat/Rita kind of event? Time well spent...
On the other hand, Santa was great and Elaine won a door prize!
Here's a nice perspective:
Stick around for next week's entry, too...
Madness on Bordering
Crossing a border with our friendly Canadian neighbors? Another reader take on things as they are, not as they are commonly thought to be:
Well, don't blame me. Then there's a different Canadian reader who sent this:
What, you haven't seen them? Why, I was just going through your file...say...says here you listened to Crosby, Stills, and Nash during the Vietnam War...that true? Got any ID on you?....Here, talk to this fellow with da gloves on....
About Sums It Up
Say, here's a nice reader-contributed email that sums this week up nicely, in an email sent by this reader to his friends:
I oughta hire this guy so I can get a day off once in a while. Maybe over Christmas.
No, wait: That's when I have clean the reindeer crap off the roof and repair the place where some fat guy shows up every year smashing in the ceiling every year 'cuz we don't have a chimney. Shhhhh! Mr. Mossberg and I are waiting this year...
Send your comments to email@example.com
Reader Action Department:
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Tromping Around Comparative Values
Have to admit to being a wee bit of a holiday funk here. Ever since writing up for the Saturday (12/4) Peoplenomics report, explaining almost rationally that "investors" have to be classed - like one would do with colors of paint - they aren't all the same color, the grim realization that there's a group of INvestors and there's regular OUTvestors, well that just vexes me greatly. Just like there's black, white, and all shades of gray in between, this distinction between IN(side)vestors and OUT(side)vesters adds a mostly-missed metric to the job of creating a secure lifetime. So now we marry the concepts to build on the UrbanSurvival notes from earlier this week (where we saw how we went from needing 41.42 ounces of gold to 'buy the Dow" in Y2K to just over 8-ounces this week). And we turn it all into a fine bouillabaisse, or market direction outlook...
Places to Go, things to do...
Looking to read some interesting items? Try out the National Dream Center site - which I cooked up to see if there's another way to peek into the future that would reinforce some of the predictive linguistics expectations. Free - here.
Up this week for the first time: JB Slear's site www.mygroponics.com where you can buy his popular ebook on backyard (scrounged together) vertical hydroponics which is way cool - life sustaining pastimes are useful, know what I mean?
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 December 9, 2010
GlobalRev & Cyberwar
Lingo-Lango: First thing to notice today is a note from Clif about how language is filling in all over the place about what we've had in linguistics as 'globalrev' and 'secrets revealed' for quite some time now...
The "Hooray!" reference? Better in our work to get just words rather than glassmaking mushrooms popping off, so this is a good thing....really....
All of which is filling up the language expectation sets as they relate to war, revolution, and so forth. So while governments are trying to figure out out how to deal with Julius Assange, there's a very interesting 'battle line' emergent, which we'll get into in the Coping Section below.
But first, this...because I'm working on how all this fits into the globalrev/ cyberwar going forward... grope me.
Virtualizing Your Money Away
A new report from an outfit you've probably never heard of -- "Federal Reserve Bank Services" --- has some eye-poppers in what's titled "The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study: noncash Payment Trends in the United States: 2006-2009".
Our consulting C-level banking source points out a couple of things from the report. First is that by 2009, the amount of noncash transactions had dropped to only 22% (i.e.. checks):
Source: Federal Reserve Services Report
What grabbed my attention is that check us has apparently dropped by 10 percent in just three years...amazing! And as my C-level source put it:
But what it brings is this huge wryrony to the WikiLeaks discussion: The web may already be moving beyond government control, since in a very real sense, the global economic system could be held hostage...
So when a reader send this:
I send them a note back about "Got a replacement for electronic banking handy?" This is getting just so weird....the PowersThatBe are becoming the PowersThatWere and net control is where freedom will be won, or lost...
Weekly Jobs Number
Bet you've been up all night waiting for this one?
Say, this is some recovery the duopoly has spread out for us, huh?
No, not SMERSH, Double Oh Seven, I'm talking about the huge success the Chinese are having with their five billion yuan bond issuance t'other day while the POMO operations in the US mostly suck.
So much so that the prestigious Financial Times reported "US Treasuries hit by biggest sell-off in two years" and next week if triple witching, so more battling may be expected.
Was there a hidden message from Ian Fleming in those Bond books? I mean about 'money' and 'penny'?
Getting many, many views, BTW, this Jon Stewart video called Big Bank Theory which doesn't hold much new for UrbanSurvival readers, but which explains things nicely to the newly becoming aware and the punchline is pretty good:
Madness On Bordering Dept.
What some have called the 'anchor baby rights bill' - the Dream Act by others - has been helped by some Florida republicorps and is heading for the senate where its fate is uncertain.
Hiding the Sausage
NaturalNews is reporting that as a 'never give up' move, the Food Safety modernization Act is being put inside a Veterans funding bill, HR 3082.
I'm pretty sure they'd been looking for an apple pie and virgins bill, but this was probably the closest thing that could be found...
Entrapment or "Fighting Terrorism"?
We're reading about another story in the NY Times today - this time about a 21-year old man who was purportedly a recent convert to Islam, who was ensnared in an FBI sting operation, and is going down on terrorism related to a car bomb.
As in the Portland, Oregon "tree lighting bomber" case a few weeks back, which according to the Times report, almost upset this latest 'sting', to me it raises troubling questions about whether this (or the previous event) would have ever gotten as far as it did without the government's involvement.
Sure to be a civil liberties case going forward, it's another baby-step toward the Orwellian 'permanent war for permanent peace' (PW4PP) scenario under which government requires an unconquerable enemy to waste a sufficiently large portion of GDP to keep its books straight. Or, haven't you read Report From Iron Mountain yet? It's the defining piece on how gar governments may need to press things to stay in the governing business. Whether Iron Mountain was a satire or factual was once hotly debated, but the nearly permanent war we've become gotten sucked into...well, it's just downright discouraging.
As a reader commented:
I really want you to read the Alex Silverman (KIRO Radio Seattle) story about how a study shows "Most money is contaminated with toxic chemical".
Yessir, pack up all that dangerous money you've got and ship it on down. I'll be sure and wear rubber gloves when spending it...
Coping: Decentralizing the Web?
I like to sit down now and then and try to come up with a kind of Grand Unified Theory of What's Really Going On. Not to borrow too extensively from my friend The Mogambo Guru, I think this would be the GUTOWRGO.
A combination of stories - linked only in a sketchy way - today presents itself almost as a ghostly apparition, but worth noting.
First the data points from what I think is one side of what seems to be the bifurcation (splitting in two) of the internet:
Try to hold those in your might - lightly, kinda like a croissant just out of the oven and then let's do what my dentist might call a 'build up' on the other concept. Think of this as the 'opposing party' in a great battle:
What to do with this second batch of stories? Think of it as a second croissant (this one with cheese, perhaps).
If we hold the two of them up, just so, we can see that there's a meta data level conflict going on between the powers of structure, organization, and thus control on the one hand, versus a data set of dispersion, no 'central authority', and a specific lack of 'control' by "authority".
Now (if you're not driving) close your eyes and let's rename those two croissants. The second croissant we'll call the New World Order wet dream of the PowersThatWere. They had a pretty good run of global(ist) control from the period spanning before the US Civil War until roughly the release of the WikiLeaks documents.
The first croissant we'll imagine to be a new kind of mass consciousness - a kind of global super-consciousness that's trying to take-off from what's a distinctly unfriendly airfield. The emplacements around the field are firing off with lawsuits, hypnotic messages at the grocery store, and seizures of different partisan onramps.
The response of the uncontrolled mass consciousness side is to essentially try and get DNS 'up in the cloud; beyond control and seizure would be fine with most of them. And, as long as we're at it, there's the issue of how long should intellectual property keep paying its creator? And if it's more than a short period, the ugly question oughta be raised "How come we're not paying royalties to the descendants of the Uggg who invented the wheel?"
In all, it looks like a kind of global cyberwar, and the headlines around that little word are all over the place now: Bringing down a Swedish government website, and of course, that virtualizing of money problem for the PTW.
Headlines are starting to appear around the net going to the idea that the "Cyber War is On!" And it's accompanied by videos like this one from YouTube:
So here's the Big Question: Is there really a cyberwar that's gone 'game on' for control of the future of the world?
Not sure....but the language could be lined up that way. Or, at least it could have been. I'm now eating those croissants.
Congressman Ron Paul, from down the road a piece in Southeast, Texas, says the thing people ought to do now is "Focus on the policy, not WikiLeaks..." A quote from the Congressman:
Not often will you find me disagreeing with Congressman Paul. But I find it kinda strange that after himself being a victim of corpmedia and having tasted the sting of the American corporate duopoly reining in real liberty, that he hasn't recognized the WikiLeaks case for what it is: The frontline skirmish over absolutely full disclosure including the freedom to disclose, and the Old World Order, which founds its business models on the axiom that 'scarcity builds demand' and 'scarcity builds price'.
This unrecognized fact is that the birth of networked computing - the same things that flattened the organizational charts of businesses while increasing accountability at the same time, is now coming to call on governments.
The problem will be finding a middle ground so that the fire department will still come to a fire, and police will come when called.
But seriously, do we need a military presence in 140+ countries, 61% of GDP being Debt, and what is it? 60-times global GDP in derivatives to make things work down on Main Street?
Emerging web consciousness is asking tough questions about the whole paradigm...not just singular policies. For the Congressman not to see it, to me anyway, just pushes him back into the "divide and conquer camp'...and it should be apparent where that's gotten us.
Either there's a larger context emerging, or maybe is is only a ghostly apparition after all... they were fine croissants.
Browser Choices, II
While I agree that Microsoft is not perfect, there's a dandy explanation for how I got 'into the fold'. One of the main reasons, and it's admittedly changing now, however slowly, is the matter of drivers. If I was to convert a machine here to Linux, I'd be faced with a daunting task of updating all the drivers, too, if I really wanted to do things 'right' - otherwise, I'd just have built a dual-boot machine, which doesn't seem like it's worth the effort.
It's not so much printers - they seem to be coming along - but little things like wireless cards, and even more arcade: studio gear, joysticks, and some of that ham radio gear which controls radios - and much of it may never be moved over to Linux.
For now, my W7 boxes are all playing happily. Besides, when I want security for banking transactions? I put a check in the mail at the Post Office, or I drive up to the bank. Hard to hack a pickup truck.
If you were thinking about a weekend jaunt to Iceland this weekend, keep the Gulfstream in the hangar...
I can think of a few million Brits who'd appreciate you sending their winter currents back to them...
Wednesday December 8, 2010
Hidden In Plain Sight
Not to sound like the proverbial 'broken record' here, but the biggest economics stories are sometimes the ones hidden in plain sight. This morning's example is the Federal Reserve's G.19 Consumer Credit report, which is really about consumer debt but since this is stated from the banker's perspective, they call it credit - the same way they call 'em 'credit cards' which glosses over the fact that you put on the yoke of debt every time you pull one out and use it...
There are two components to the G.19 report: "Revolving" debt such as credit cards and what-have you and "Nonrevolving" debt which "Includes automobile loans and all other loans not included in revolving credit, such as loans for mobile homes, education, boats, trailers, or vacations. These loans may be secured or unsecured."
Other than house payments (for those still owning them) the Consumer Credit is perhaps the best gauge available to determine whether the economy is expanding or contracting.
Unfortunately, the report is not anywhere near real-time. But it shows that this year's 2,408.8 billion (2.4088-trillion) Q3 number doesn't look at all good when matched up against the Q3 2009 number, which was 2,496.6 (e.g. 2.4966 trillion).
What's revealed is that Consumer Credit has fallen 3.5% compared with Q3 of 2009.
Bummer? It gets even worse, since the number of dollars sloshing about the system is not taken into account. In other words, the G.19 report gives us the nominal (apparent) number of dollars spent, but since they are not adjusted for inflation we need to discount their purchasing power.
We could be here till New Years (and not sure of which year) debating how to figure inflation. One way would be to use the CPI (consumer price index) figures, but since the latest batch of those won't be out till next week, we'll have to use what's already been released, shown here, which gets an approving nod from our consulting economics professors, since it reflect October to October data which makes the academic types happy - something about apples and oranges...
The simple way to read the figures would be to use the unadjusted October 2010 increase compared with the previous year and decrement the purchasing power of the Consumer Credit number by this amount. Just to ball park it that means Consumer spending has dropped 3.5% in the past year and in addition, consumer are getting 1.2% less, call it, for the effects of inflation, so call it an overall deflation rate of 4.7%. See why I don't mind having a few bucks in bonds?
What struck me as interesting, while I was having this morning's attack of calculator crunching was it struck me as sort of odd that here lately the Labor Department has been presenting Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) figures with regard to CPI. "Curious..." Know what I mean?
So I decided to look at the current CPI-W NSA figures for October 2010 and compare them with the CPI-W NSA index for October 2009. This year's number was 215.005 and the 2008 number was 211.842 (click here and scroll down to Table 5.) So urban wage and clerical workers on a seasonally adjusted basis were down about 1.5%, not the headline 1.2%. Figures.
So around here, we will use this latter figure, which when added to the Consumer Debt figure means real consumer goods are likely down - on a unit volume basis - about 5 percent.
MarketWatch had a dandy piece out Monday by Paul Farrell: "10 reasons to shun stocks till banks crash". I like Farrell's work because he's one of the few guys to adopt the word "bankster" - which is encouraging and is a tip that he 'gets it'.
While Farrell's reason # 10 is "Wall Street will lose another 20% of your money by 2020", I like to think he might have listed reason #11 as the falling Consumer Debt. No growth in consumption means no profits, near as I can figure.
So, Where's the Market Going?
All of which would be a really boring paper to write for an Econ class, until we get to thinking about how all this may start to weigh on the stock market.
The obvious inference from the data is that there IS NO GROWTH going on generally in consumer goods. The occasional glimmer of happy-talk results from statistics which use small sample sizes on which to build great pyramids of hope. So whenever you see an uptick in this - or that - in economics you have to ask "How big is N?" N being the number of sample points in the data from which you can calculate the reliability of the data - and you'll discover that many times the reported "increase" or "decrease" in data falls into the 'noise band' of the data.
And it was right about here in last evening's ponderings (while missing the ham radio club meeting) that one of those periodic emails my friend Robin Landry sends out to colleagues in the investment field showed up with the subject line "Wave 5 Failure?"
My first peak at the futures was negative this morning...and while the overnight results in Japan were good (up 9/10th's of one percent) there was a 1.43% overnight decline in the Hang Seng. Trading was mixed early in Europe, but if the poor bid-to-cover in the Treasury auction becomes widely appreciated, then POMO operations have likely run their course, and we could be setting up for some serious downside action.
I keep reminding myself "The global economy has been predicated on a constant-growth model. If we take away the growth, and instead have reductions in economic activity, surely the upside action which accompanied the blow-off top in 2007 will have it's blow-off downside shortly, since markets over estimate extremes of information....as seems the proper role of speculation..."
BTW, chatting with Robin last night, me mentioned that the bond losses yesterday may have cost the Fed up to $20-billion Monday. I don't see a lot of folks commenting on that...yet...given 'em time, I suppose...
Futures have come back to almost flat...higher levels to short from?
A Lone Data Point
Not too much in the way of data this morning, except that the weekly Mortgage Banker's Association weekly report is out and it shows tick down for last week - not unexpected following a holiday...
So is it time to run out and buy a rental or two? That's the topic of Peoplenomics this weekend, as we've been kicking around the idea...
Climate of Wryrony
With the UN Climate Change true believers conference down in Cancun, Mexico, Robert Felix' "Ice Age Now" site reports this lil gem: "Record low temps in Cancun 3 days in a row".
Who says Universe doesn't have a fine sense of humor?
The flip side to 'warming'? Back in the days when the Gulf Stream was healthy, the British used to enjoy mild winters. Good thing the Gulf Stream was running because London is 51.6 degrees North latitude. Which, if you have your GPS mapping ap fired up (I'm a Streets & Trips addict, eh?) you'll see that 51.6 degrees North means London's equivalent would be more than 600-milers north of Detroit or about 400 miles north of Montreal, or 300 miles north of Seattle....just to give you the flavor of things.
Now that La Nina has gone large, and the Gulf Stream has slowed to in effect turn off the heat in Europe this winter, we're seeing the crap really hit the fan. People in Ireland are having their water shut off at night in Dublin and because of all the unusual snow and ice, people in the UK are running out of both food and fuel, according to a TNT Magazine report.
The [ongoing] WikiLeaks War
A news tip from a colleague in India is notable:
Sure enough, a check of Google's search engine shows the WikiLeaks payback program is ongoing...
No Big Bank Runs
Looks like the call for people to take their money out of banks on December 7th didn't exactly topple the world's economic system. Near as I can figure, it will do itself in, but a little more slowly. But what got my attention this morning was the headline in the UK Telegraph that one of the promoters of the bank boycott movement, "Eric Cantona scores on goal as wife appears in bank advert..."
Wonder where the couple will be cashing that check?
It's very popular to bash large national banks, but the reality (pending DoS attacks and whatever) is that millions of people use them and their related ATM networks, without which commerce would grind to a halt. When one region of the country runs into the ditch (Las Vegas and Phoenix come to mind) the big bad national super banks can spread the pain around. It's a good thing, and a bad...
Not that big national banks are perfect, though. Take for example this story: "OCC, Bank of America Enter Agreement Requiring Payment of Profits Plus Interest to Municipalities Harmed by Bid-Rigging on Financial Products " $9.2 million gets refunded.
Chavez - Again
Iran's PressTV reports Hugo Chavez has shut down an opposition TV station. For a guy who seems to want to be a latter-day Simon Bolivar, he's missed a few fine points about liberty, seems to me...
A prison fire in Chile overnight has killed at least 81 according to reports from Reuters and elsewhere...
Investing In The Security State
"Your security state - on the march!" might be a good headline. Already this week we've seen the head of DHS move ahead with a joint promotion with Wal-Mart. Then there's the latest from UPS which is planning to require a photo ID in order to be able to ship a package. FedEx has to love this, but I expect any minute they're be forced to follow suit along with other carriers like DHL....
I should have seen The Security State coming when in 2002 (or was it 2003?) the software company I was with down in Boca put in security access control to the software development area.
The absolutely profound thing I missed (and this is THE single best investment tip I can share with anyone) is that when you see a change in your personal environment, extrapolate and invest!
If I'd done so, there was a small card-reader access company in Florida that could have made me a gazillionaire. Or, I could have invested in an ID Card Laminating business...or... lemme see: video companies, facial recognition software, traffic cameras, body scanners, magnetometers, pee-testers....well, you get the idea.
See something as a state-changer before everyone else 'gets it' - then run out and invest like crazy in it. It's like getting word in advance where a new freeway is going to be put in. All you need to do is figure out where the middle of the northbound lanes is...and eventually something will run over you.
Link a Brinks truck.
Coping: Time to Change Browsers - Again!!!???
An amazing number of people use more than one computer these days - having one or two at home is no big deal - one for the kids, one for the grown ups, since you don't want the kids to wipe out three years of tax records, for example. And then there's the one at work.
Here lately, I've been trying to figure out whether the new browsers coming along are going to be worth changing out our existing fleet of IE8 (MS Internet Explorer V. 8).
Part of me thinks the anti-tracking tool coming in IE9 might be interesting, although I'm sure there's a backdoor for security agencies, and that leads to a question about whether that in turn might make it only be a matter of time until it's exploited by others.
Then there's the whole list of improvements coming with Firefox 4 which is nicely captured for Mac users over at eSecurity Planet where Kenneth van Wyk puts IE9 and Ff 4 through some testing.
My problem is that every machine here at the ranch has a different purpose to it. The main computer in my office is optimized for multiple monitors - four at the moment. Until a new browser shows me its stuff on an extended desktop X4, I'm not going to put it there.
Panama's computer (since he does lots of Spanish language work) does fine with the Spanish versions (goes with his keyboard, eh?) yet that's not often mentioned in new browser reviews.
Elaine's computer is the nearest to a general-purpose platform with just Office & Outlook for 99% of its use.
The TV's computer (media server 2) has to be Starlight compatible for NetFlix and such, and not sure how IE9-Starlight goes...I assume it will be no problems, but these kinds of assumptions have cost me weeks of tweaks with other software, so I'm more than wary - downright gun-shy.
Media serve 1 is where I do audio and the production - 18-track FireWire, Sony video editor/QuickTime and all that kind of stuff. Small - but non-zero risk that a browser change could ripple out there.
Then there's the ham radio computer, which is the lone XP box remaining, and that one has so much I/O stuff on it (USB radio interface, Serial radio control, and so on) that I wonder how much memory will be left for the important stuff with these new browsers...
The checklist for each computer doesn't seem like much, but by the time all the computers are updated - seven of them counting the one in the guest room - there's actually a lot that could go wrong.
At the moment, everything is working - and very smoothly. Tempting though some of the new features are, there's something to the old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it..."
It's one of those tipping points in Life: Young enough to want the latest and greatest feature set. Old enough to know there's nothing free...and computers have their own kind of corollary to the Newtonian "For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction."
Except in computers, it's often: "For every upgrade or install there's an equal and opposite system restore point."
Every so often I get an email which takes the blinders completely off and gets right down to the heart of the matter. Here's the latest entrant:
Now comes the sage investment advice. Have you checked falling real estate prices in some of the less densely populated parts of the country?
Maturity is when you figure out you don't have to be buzzed to live...
Speaking o de ganj...Don't know if you read the article on the Boston Herald website this weekend - "New Research shows marijuana's medical perils, promise". With seemingly contradictory results, we have to wonder about whether some of the 'complexities'; would be more easily defined with lab-grade sources...although I'm sure they take all that into account. Still, not as consistent as say green peas from the store, know what I mean? Er...so I hear anyway...
Tuesday December 7, 2010
Money To Burn
We commence on a positive note: Know what would be cool? To have unlimited money to spend. As a practical matter, I notice that the people who have something near 'unlimited money' tend not to spend it the way you and I might; almost never hear about Bill Gates playing Nintendo (lol) or George Soros hanging out on the beach somewhere waiting for The Big Wave...or, just up the road a short piece, I don't hear about Warren Buffett going to the local ham club meeting (which is tonight here). Nope; the guys with tons of dough don't spend it like you and I might.
The point? Well, the US Treasury has money to burn at the moment - about $100 billion may be destroyed, and maybe right here in Texas. The reason is there are so many security features in the new $100 bill that the buggers are near impossible to print. They've printed a bunch and found they don't pass due to quality control issues. So they'll have to be destroyed.
What's even more important (he said, smoothly transitioning into the bad news of the day) is that the story reveals that the cost of printing up $100 billion was just $120 million. That's right, just over 1/10th of one penny ($0.0012 to be precise) to 'make' a $100 bill - even if badly. But even this is too much, hence the headlong rush into digidollars, which as customers of the National Australia Bank found out recent aren't totally reliable, but harder to burn electrons, we supposed.
A lot more enduring is the price of gold and silver which is heading for new highs and was just under $1,430 an ounce when I looked this morning, but even more interesting is silver being over $30.
What do you think would scare people out of currencies and into gold in such numbers? Ahead! Next story, please...
There are thousands - I mean over 4,000 reports - you can flip through to pick up the details of the arrest of WikiLeaks found Julian Assange who is in custody in London this morning.
Near as I have it figured from reading the multiple reports there may very well be not one WikiLeaks bombshell to come, but two. One is said to involve a large US bank while the other is thought to be even more information of the type released already; arguably stuff of historic scale.
There's been some speculation about the reputed "big US bank" might not be one of the big corporate banks (e.g. something like a BoA, JP, of Citi) but might instead might involve the NY Fed. Say, wouldn't it be interesting to read an inside out list of the goings on there about the NY Fed's cozy relationship with Wall Street's biggest over the past, oh, 30-years or so?
Then there's the matter of that 1.6 BG file which was distributed by WikiLeaks back in mid summer as a kind of ultimate poison pill. All that's needed is for physical hard to come to Assange and out goes the WikiLeaks access code to this extremely tightly encrypted file.
Say, I don't suppose that you noticed that all this WikiLeaks stuff dating back to late spring/early summer with the 'poison pill file' fulfills a largish chunk of the "secrets revealed meme' we've nattered on and on about? And I don't suppose you've kept track of how the release of still more Wiki secret has contributed to the tipping point? Why, of course not. But, check history books, Assange will likely be mentioned prominently for this period before it's all over.
Ever think the health of one fellow in a London jail - for failure to put on a fresh condom - might collapse the global economy?
And you wonder why I keep several pairs of ViceGrips handy with which to pinch myself? I keep swilling coffee by the gallon, too. "I know I'm gonna wake up any second..."
Be sure and drop by tomorrow morning for a little coffee-side chat about the Consumer Debt report due out this afternoo0n from the Federal Reserve. Last month consumer debt was reported up 1.1 percent overall, but that was because things like non-revolving debt was up 7.9 percent (student loans and such) while revolving debt (credit card use etc) was down at an annualized 12.1 percent.
Just tossing a dart, I'd say down a few billion overall and as a result, in coming months, the double-dip of Depression Two should become even more obvious.
Controlling the Internet
A North American reader - dosed up on too much coffee has spied this:
No telling whether that's blocking at the national level in Eire, or keeping North America in the dark, either way, we'll pass on word as the Irish vote on whether to bail out the bankers comes in.
While the UN has a panel debating 'rising sea levels' (when the real issue may be continental-level subsidence, lands rising elsewhere) it's almost comical - but not quite - to read about how people are riding busses around in Europe trying to keep from freezing to death due to the bitterly cold winter.
Some quick! Get Old Man Winter on the line and remind him he's failing to maintain political correctness!
Still, warm enough in Cancun for the climate delegates to debate "What do you call an island nation which vanishes beneath the seas?"
The Blame Game
If you're not doing anything today, a trip to Houston to watch the federal panel looking into who'll get the blame for the Gulf Oil Spill may be decided. Houston Chronicle coverage and backgrounders are worth reading.
Friends down in the Oil Patch tell me the long term damage which people aren't talking about is about all the exploration resource which has moved on to other parts of the world to look for energy reserves. Blame only gets you so many miles per gallon.
Where My Dividend Check?
Take a message to Tim Geithner at Treasury:
Errors and Omissions Dept
An Update on Cholera in Haiti
A note from our consulting microbiologist which dispels a lot of the 'conspiracy theory' on the net about human-human cholera which is floating around the net:
We sit corrected. And yup, just like city-slicker's news operations, out here in the outback we occasionally will get things wrong, too, and when we discover such errors we try to pass them along.
Oops, here's another:
Well, yes, it was. But, an alert reader such as yourself should have 'self-corrected' that one since the word million hasn't been used in Washington or economic stories for 25-years now.
Oddly Timed Quake
The 5.5 quake in the Sandwich Islands area just ain't right I tell you. Happened about 4:30 AM at the epicenter. Hour after an earlier one. Everyone knows the sandwiches are for lunchtime...this is most uncivilized.
Remembering Internment Camps
There's an interesting Associated Press/ Michael Graczyk piece about how the Texas Historical Commission is working on preservation of WW II era internment camps. Grim reminder that both sides in WW II were locking up people in camps.
Curious timing of such a story? No, not when you consider the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941.
Finance and deception play a much larger role than many care to think when it comes to wars; WW II in particular. For example, you can find on some sites, like this one, evidence that the US deliberated goaded Japan into the war.
If that's true (and its still debated) then would a modern analog of sacrificing Americans to promote another war be so unthinkable, if it's already happened once? Tough questions for any patriotic citizen to ponder.
This being December 7th and all, I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you that money is a major component of war. If you haven't read it, the New Hampshire Gazette story by John Buchanan from October 10, 2003 titled "Bush/Nazi Link Confirmed" is a fine piece of historical journalism. There's a second part to the story which may be found here.
What comes to mind on this particular day - one that still rings with infamy - is that not only is history written by the winners. It's also rewritten as well.
All Hail the Mogambo!
Er....not quite, my dear slightly misled Mogambo Junior Ranger (MJR) I think he calls your ilk: What I've been 'splaining is that the Fed knows that incipient deflation is what happens when the world's imploding in a deflationary heap (about now) and that what they are trying to do is step on the gas pedal of money printing in order to keep up the 3-4% annual watering down of the purchasing power of the dollar (which presents as inflation). But not to hard as to push us into hyperinflation.
To reiterate: What they're hoping is that by stepping on the printing presses just right they will be able to maintain the precisely correct mix of money printing (inflation) to balance of the Housing Bubble Collapse, and pay for that Internet Bubble Collapse and offset the end of the Cold War and however far back you wanna go with past economic sins.
ALL of which might have a chance of working if it were just one guy trying to drive the car and make the decisions. But, unfortunately, that's not what's going on....
What we have instead is the analogy of Ben Bernanke trying to drive the US Financial car down a narrow, twisty mountain road. (Think of the 127 curves on the mountain road to Jerome, Arizona if you're having trouble picturing this...) The brake lines were cut (nominally when Nixon slammed the gold & silver convertibility window closed in 1974) so Ben's at the wheel of this wildly careening car with a gearbox and gas pedal and that's it.
Uninterrupted, he'd have a chance of successfully getting down the mountain (of debt, got the picture?) without smashing through a guard rail, and going over the edge, which would be a global economic accident.
For some reason, I picture this "Ben-mobile" as a Nash Metropolitan, like the one pictured at right (from Wikipedia...who deserves a contribution from your wallet for Christmas because it'll do more good than all that junk you buy for the kids, but I digress...)
So picture Ben trying to drive the economy and periodically, depending on which day of the week it is, other people appear in the right seat and try to grab the wheel from him, preferring their path down the mountain to his.
So, today, for example, we've got Irish people grabbing at the wheel. Tomorrow, it may be the Bank of Japan grabbing the wheel, and the day after that, congress will make a grab at it. China will be yelling in driving tips...
Then along comes the federal debt commission and they tell us - in so many words - "Ya'll seem to be stuck in the mountains (or Debt) but we have a plan too, but it'll take a four-wheel drive with brakes..." But, since any damn fool knows, there's no brakes on public spending, there's just Ben and the Fed driving, and next thing you know, the guys at the IMF are grabbing at the wheel, and so it goes.
I am not as medicated as my friend The Mogambo, and I insist that bruises on my forearm are from grabbing myself with ViceGrips. But I think that we're both watching this old Metropolitan of an economy careening down the mountain road and I give it only a 25% chance of making it to the bottom in running condition. Ergo, 75% of my net worth is in non-financial instruments.
We could speculate all day as to what portion of his assets The Mogambo hisself would have in non-paper assets of the glittery type, and perhaps he'll share that knowledge with Mogambo Junior Rangers who know he hangs out at the otherwise respectable The Daily Reckoning site.
I could wax on for hours -- I love this analogy so much. But, as you know, I've always been a rambler.
Coping: Outing My Accounting Dream?
In yesterday's column I mentioned a couple of strange dreams. Several readers suggested the one about 'auditing copiers' was trying to tell me something about the 'hidden costs' associated with just printing up paper to buy our own bonds. Typical reader note along this line:
But another readers thinks something even deeper may be working on our collective mass consciousness:
Yeah...now that you mention it, I wonder how many people in the State Department realize that many copy machines really do have built-in hard drives?
Worse? If I were a foreign country that did a lot of stuffing and soldering of PC boards, I would pop in a small wireless antenna and an build copiers that had built-in wireless devices that would send photocopies real-time to some big computer center for analysis... remember where you read it first. Wanna bet a wireless scan of all copiers in the US gov't wouldn't find at least some wireless spying? Won't emerge for years, but still....where there's a wifi there's a way...
Reader note about TSA:
Shhhh! You'll wake t'other sheep...repeat after me: Deterrence...
Here's and easy one:
Nope. I try never to think before noon on weekdays, and not at all on weekends. I do wonder if the kids working fast food in Florida are talking about WikiLeaks, though...suspect they're aware of it, you know? Wanna bet the key goes out around Jan 7?
Tuesday at the WuJo: Hawaiian Style
Say, here's a science experiment that I would love to see some students taking physics perform since it would be an amazing outcome if true. Read this account of some weird goings-on in Hawaii and see if you can guess the experiment:
You see the phenomena to test, right? It would be to see if local time moves differently in the proximity of a lot of elderly people - as in a nursing home setting. Collect enough old people in one place and they impact the passage of time?
And why would we ask that question? It is possible - and this is pretty wild to think about, but please do - that TIME and AGING are group consciousness events. In other words, since Elaine and I have lived more than many people separate and part from others. Is that why we look (and feel, seemingly) like people who are 10-20 years younger than we are?
In other words....is aging contagious and some misunderstood way The Field operates on a 'like-attracts-like' basis?
Expert on Nostradamus G.A. Stewart sends occasional fascinating notes on what may be ahead...
Stu's website is http://theageofdesolation.com/
How Many Breakfasts?
Not the general, run of the mill, thing to write about, but an interesting came up at breakfast here at the ranch on Monday which emphasizes to me some of the long-term impacts each of us has on the planet - thought you might find it interesting.
So there we were - having a typical cool weather-gonna work outside - breakfast. Eggs, sausage, toast, milk or cocoa, and so on...and Elaine asked her brother (Panama Bates) how he'd like his eggs done. Wouldn't you know it, one thing led to another and pretty quick we got to wondering how many breakfasts Elaine has cooked in her lifetime....and that got us on to the general matter of how many breakfasts does a woman - any woman - cook between birth and a given age - for the sake of discussion of the point, let's use 65...
First we did the simple math: Women don't generally cook breakfast until they are what, 12 to 16? Depending on household and whether there was a grandparent around to coach/supervise/teach such things. We were lucky when I was growing up to have my Danish-born grandmother with us, since all three of us kids had to learn to cook not just passably well but very well...and on top of that, if the kitchen wasn't spotless within 15-minutes of the meal being done, we were 'dogging it'.
My grandmother, who lived with our family up through our teenage year before going on to the big Bingo Hall in the Sky, taught us how to cook and did a lot of the cooking herself. She'd started cooking at about age 12 in Odense, Denmark before coming over on the last westbound trip of the Lusitania...
So I run the math on her: 45-years of cooking (not counting leaps) is about 16,425 breakfast days. Then you have to multiply by the number showing up to eat. That's 98,550 breakfasts. Two eggs per person? 197-thousand eggs. 200-thousand pieces of toast.
Not Mickey D numbers, but no deep fryer and spacious grill, either...
Kinda puts in perspective the size of undertaking making breakfast is. Sure, one by one, it's just a couple of eggs here, toast down over there. But over the course of time it adds up to one hell of a footprint.
For example, Danish people eat a fair bit of bacon, sausage, and of course we can't overlook Danish Ham, right? So just one Dane with a working person's appetite over the course of a 50-year work life might eat a couple of tons of just breakfast meats.
"Aw George, wouldja just get to the point?"
OK, here it is: If you're north of 50, let's assume you have had somewhere close to 60,000 meals in your lifetime. (365 X 55 X 3). Oh, that's 30 tons of food at one pound per meal and remember, milk weighs a lot...
Amazing numbers, huh? But how many of these can you remember and re-enjoy in detail? Humbling to remember this kind of 'living in the moment' stuff....
I'll just be quiet now...I'm trying to figure out how many pounds of coffee I've consumed over 61 years....hoping to live long enough to put down another 15-20 tons of chow, too...which may explain my interest in greenhouses.
May also have something to do with why I have a semi-permanent one or two week supply of food installed conveniently under my belt.
December 6, 2010
Week of Troubled Banks?
We ought to see a lot of fancy footwork today since tomorrow is the day in Europe with the Bank Stop movement is hoping to cause a run on banks there. Not that deliberately bringing down the global financial system is a stated goal, more like trying to bring banks to serve the people....
But nevertheless, we can see in the headlines this morning what might be called 'front-running the problem' as a story crossed earlier this morning about how Ben "Bernanke Says Fed May Take More Action to Cub Joblessness".
I must be a simple-minded old cuss, since I can't for the life of me find how the Fed could think if the US congress can't keep the money turned on for the 27-99 week unemployment benefits, and if they managed to spend all of a Stimulus Bill without putting a major dent in unemployment which popped up to 9.8 percent in last week's report, why we would think the Fed could fix the problem...
The real problem, that comes into focus in his CBS 60-Minutes interview is that POMO is not working and as a result, they are now looking at spending event more than the $600 million of bond purchases already underway.
True, the performance of the stock market was pretty good, but aside from maybe funding some home remodelers on Long Island and in the Hamptons, I still don't see how the homeless in Detroit are going to benefit from POMO.
I must be near-sighted, huh? I thought when the right pocket started borrowing money from the left pocket with IOU's that a country was in trouble. I'm apparently wrong. The answer, if I'm following it, is we just need bigger pockets...
There's an ugly Constitutional question here, if you think about it:
Seems to me they're taxing via inflation and we didn't get to vote on 'em...
The Obama administration may be doing something right here: Making passage of an extension of unemployment benefits a precondition for doing anything on extending tax cuts...
Speaking of Banks
It's long, but tons of information in the documentary "The Secret of Oz". Once you watch it, your understanding of why I use the phrase "papered over" will be greatly enhanced, I'm sure:
The Gulf Still Dying
This is discouraging, so if you're in happy-land, skip this one.
Curiously Times Epidemic
From our 'Inquiring Readers Report" files:
Well, you see, cholera spreading from person-to-person is not nearly so scary to stampede folks into spending some long green on an emergency stock of vaccine. Follow the money!
Our "prince of macros" has updated the long-range earthquake data. The short way to think of this is number of quakes going down (for now) but the number of 7.0's per year seems to be going up: All in Two charts from Jan '73 to present:
By the way, I seem to be noticing (could just be me) a little uptick in the activity north of San Francisco...
If we look at the long-term earthquake data - a decline in small quakes, an increase in the biggies of 7+, and the deepening, it might suggest as scientists have been wondering lately, if all the tectonic plates are getting into lock-up mode. And, if that's the case, we could be building toward some really big events as pressure builds. Bound to be unleashed sooner, or later...a hundred years later would be fine with us....
Police State Blues
Kansas City has long been revered as town where 'the blues' really mean something. Maybe it's the stockyards, or maybe its....ah, here we go: sending in a swat team with a flash-bang to capture a cell phone?
See the story in the UK Mail Online this weekend about the follow-up to the guy who grabbed a couple of "suspicious packages" and proved it was just dirty clothes --- not a 'terrorist device'? (slow loading)
Maybe the public is supposed to myth the point...
Readers out and about:
Stop thinking! We don't want to start any dangerous trends.
Who is Funding Terrorism
Story in the NY Times this weekend under the headliner "Cash Flow to Terrorists Evades U.S. Efforts" is no doubt why the iCasualties site keeps reporting more and more military deaths.
And the country that's funneling the most money to terrorists (of the al Qaeda stripe in particular) is what? See if you can work it out from this hint in a headline from the Australian Broadcasting Company:
Now, I don't claim to be as smart as Hillary Clinton, or those Ivy leaguers in the State Department, but seems to me that we ought to turn off $1-million in oil purchased from the Saudis for every $1 they leak to terrorism.
Of course, that's just too damn simple, and that would whack some serious campaign money on both sides of the US political aisle along the way, too...but tough sh*t - that's the kind of collateral damage we need to afford.
Let me ask you this: How many people have to die because policymakers aren't willing to cut their own purse strings? What's the cost of a G.I. lost in action compared to getting reelected?
Yup.. I must sure be one of them prepper/nutters to even ask... I know the answer, though: It's why I didn't vote for a single incumbent in November and why only a very few people in Washington get their titles capitalized around here. Congressman Ron Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders are the only two that currently deserve the honor of distinguished punctuation...
A reader up in Winnipeg writes:
If you're an IT type and want a summary, try this one. If you're a consumer, more interesting to translate a bunch of Google pages, like this one, to see what's going on...
Coping: News Control
Sounds like a lesson plan for teaching for one of the chapters in Daniel Yergin's book The Commanding Heights : The Battle for the World Economy:
I find it very interesting, indeed...
Several readers have asked me whether I think Assange is 'real' or not and I've been giving it a good deal of thought. I have a hard time believing that one enlisted man in the US Army could really have access to all of the information purported. So that doesn't seem right.
On the other hand, as my consigliore pointed out, "If he did George, then pretty clearly Assange did the USA a favor because any intelligence outfit of any other country out there that's worth its salt would have way deeper intel that this stuff..." A good point.
Moreover is he sincere? I think the answer is absolutely Yes! But does that mean that he and WikiLeaks is above manipulation? No, not necessarily.
That there's likely some interest group feeding Assange/WikiLeaks information took a huge upward spike when they threatened to trash a big bank next: Is trying to bring down corruption by threatening to bring down the whole global financial system, the kind of thing that a man of conscience does?
Maybe - but I think it's at least an equal possibility to be considered that Assange is well-intentioned, but that the interest group that is feeding him information for release, is likely a partisan in a battle whose dimensions are not clearly visible to the public.
However, if you think about a global struggle between financiers on one side and defenders of this political paradigm (or that), then WikiLeaks becomes an important tool for moving the discussion in the general press to this level, or that, which is how asymmetric info-wars are fought.
And then comes the logical question: Can we believe that a single source could have compiled the massive "Insurance file" which WikiLeaks is threatening to pop out if there's any retribution against Assange, et al?
No, common sense argues this is way beyond the resources of a lone operative in the 'Stans working with a guy who has enough time to go out and get laid...at least that's my take on it....look for a state-level player, as I said last week. Not that Assange is complicit...just that he might be being played.
Oh, and whoever that is will, I expect, be found to have made a huge mistake.
Moving To Metals
Say, don't know how many people have asked me about moving their retirements money to precious metals, but if you have, there's a dandy in-depth piece by Catherine Austin Fitts and Carolyn Betts at the Solari.com website on point...
Monday at the WuJo
The Accounting Dreams
A couple of very unusual dreams I've had in the past week that may (or may not) be worth mentioning, but they certain have some interesting messages to them:
The first came about a week ago - and it involved a person who I knew from my news chasing days in the big city up north. He was (and still is, so far as I know) a political strategist.
What makes this dream so interesting - because we had many conversations in the 1970's about how politics really works, was that this fellow shows up in a dream and proceeds to tell me what present day reporters are completely missing:
...then in the dream I see a couple of politicos arguing about how much the 'pay off money' should be sent to former legislators who were promised a long term, (after office pay off) for this piece of legislation, or that...
The political strategist then explained
Like I said, a strange dream - hadn't thought about this political guy for literally years but to have this pop up was kind of interesting, to say the least.
The second dream - and this one was just this morning - and which also had to do with accounting was even stranger. I was somehow involved in doing an audit of a big national company and it was my job to check the reported use of copiers.
Well, in the dream, I noticed that all the copiers which had been leased on a "no more than xxx copies per month basis had many times that amount being run, yet in the accounting system there was no provision for a use overrun in the copiers. Have no idea why - these were big copiers and 100,000 copies per month was the baseline and the machines were being used up in the 150-thosuand copies per month area with no lease reserve.
Strange things to think about, since dreams about accounting are NOT my usual fare... The one about former (I assume) state legislators enjoying 'gifting' once out of office was interesting...but the accounting for copy machines? Holy smokes. Just strange dreams to be having, for sure...
Word From the Oil Patch
Our source down in the oil patch has a pretty realistic view of things environmental and his comments on the Washington Post story "World is running out of places to catch wild fish, study says" are worthy of note:
Just so. We continue accepting entries for our pool "When will the last order of fish & chips be served"?
Linguistics reveals a lot...especially when we turn it on ourselves...as a reader has done with me...
Hmmm... Say, you don't think it's because Panama Bates has been making a lot of root beer with his new Sodastream Fountain Jet Soda Maker Starter Kit do you? Bubbles, carbonation and all that?
Mr. Science has been pondering how I can make quarters of bottled rum and soda with it....
Not really Ham Radio Notez
Meteor Scatter Work
Don't know when I mentioned it, but I think a couple of weeks back I was whining about the pulse noise that seemed to be coming in from over the pole (north) from Europe on HF radio ham bands above 14 MHz. Seemed to be maximum on a beam heading of about 030 (true) from this part of East Texas.
Well, there may be an answer from a most astute reader who hangs out in places like the declassified NSA papers archive and read "Cryptologic Quarterly"...
So it's possible that there is still some work being done on meteor scatter - and that would explain why the noise was where it was - above the Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF). But was it part of meteor burst communications (MBC) program? Not sure. Now, if you start asking why I haven't built up an elliptically polarized re-refingement optimized directional antenna for such work, I'll have to slap you. What do you think I am, a geek? Leave that to the kids...
Like Father, Like Son
As you may have guessed from reading this site, my interests are (in no particular order) electronics, business process modeling, managing profitability, and writing.
My son, on the other hand, has a laser-like focus on emergency medicine. This weekend he managed to ace his written and scored perfect on his practicals for getting his Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) cert. Only other guy in his class throwing aces was a 25-year old paramedic doing a re-cert.
Talking to him about when to push epi (nephrine) is even more geekly than talking the fine points of tube-type radio gear with me...what's the old saying? Nut doesn't fall far from the tree...
Well done, son!
Thought for Monday
From a reader's email tagline - but worth sharing:
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, we're like SO sure... (Shhh...don't tell anyone that major Depressions are two-part coupled affairs like the linkage between 1920-21 and 1929, OK? Damn, dude...don't spoil it for the sheep...)
Oh...don't forget to "Write when you get rich!"
George Ure, The People's Economist
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