A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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December 17, 2010 07:55 AM CST
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Word of the Week: Riot
Although we got some not wholly unexpected news this week about consumer prices, the notion that there's some deep and fundamental changes in the world of socioeconomics has been a bit slow to dawn on most folks. Part of it may be the overwhelming power of the MainStreamMedia (MSM) to trivialize the important, and sling bling to the top of the charts, but it's more than that.
We're in a period when the concentration of wealth in the 'hands of the few' is going into its final stage globally. As this occurs, the shrinking middle class (more on this in today's Coping section) has to buy more and more solidly into the remnants of the old & outmoded paradigm because how the new paradigm will operate is not yet clear. Any port in a storm, in the face of uncertainty, for the sheeplic.
Nevertheless, evidence mounts that the GlobalPop is getting into a boisterous mode of mass civil disobedience on a number of fronts, and since there may be a tie-in with the "disappearing middle", I thought I'd point out the word to be paying extra-special attention to...once we get past options expiration today, which could well leave the market sagging in the final hours today as smart money pulls out - it riot.
Riots are not the kind of social phenom that you'd expect in winter, since it involves going outside, and doubly so when the temperatures in Moscow at this time of year from from a high under freezing to a low of "freeze your balls off". But, there it in the in the New Yorker Magazine under the heading "Race Riots in Russia".
In Stalinesque fashion, the reaction of Russia's leadership has been predictable: This shows a need for more controls and a government crackdown on dissent prior to elections. Dangerous stuff this 'freedom' stuff once it gets out from under officialdom's thumb; the illusion is one thing, but has to be kept of the streets.
Folks in Greece, where anti-austerity riots have blossomed, are a bit more understandable. It's warmer.
Elsewhere in the EU, in particularly in the German press, people are beginning to pay attention to the Greek strike/riots in part, no doubt, because the thriftier Germans will shortly face a decision on whether to join in a new Northern Euro, and bail out of the ever more debt-saturated one now trading on exchanges near you.
Rome, reports have it, is still on edge from its rioting earlier in the week, which doesn't seem to have changed much. Prime minister Berlusconi has gotten a parliamentary vote of confidence, which while that might sell in official circles, may indicate little more than Italy's parliament - like Berlusconi - is also out of touch with 'the street'.
A friend in France called last night and told me things are feeling 'edgy' there, as well.
Off continent, there's a mess in Cote d' Ivoire where at least 20 people have been killed in rioting turned deadly.
One way to read all this is to speculate about the future of the Euro and what it could mean in the Spring. A logical view might be that if pressure on the Euro continues, that might increase the amount of money coming into US Dollars. Which, since stocks are priced as much like inflation hedges than anything else (like leveraging an apartment house, for example) a major flow into US dollars while the Euro slides due to waning confidence, would paradoxically drop the Dow and other US indices along with gold and other dollar hedges.
So once we get past this option expiration today, the keystone to future markets may well be how the social order of Europe and resource-important countries off Continent work things out on the streets.
In a fine personal example of wryrony: My friend Howard Hill and I are writing a book; at least pushing a couple of chapters back and forth...and one of them deals with the question whether the world is people within an economy, or is it the other way 'round, with an economy populated by people? Depends who's got control of the barricades may be the middle ground evolving.
Oh, and didja see where you might be able to pick up a used Rolls from Prince Charles' stable? He's now using the bomb & bulletproof Bentley, out the NY Post. Remind me to keep an eye on eBay listings.
The Fed: Printing Like Crazy
The trouble in Euro - and the possibility of US having the 'last dollar standing' come late spring to early summer of next year - is a rather fascinating concept, as it could portend a major decline in gold, silver, housing etc. depending if it arrives this way, or that.
Since you don't spend your days chasing after things like the Federal Reserve's latest tweaks to the money supply figure (Report H.6, updated yesterday) let me see if I can put the key part in a really simple graph for you. Ready?
If you were to blurt out something like "Holy crap, George! You mean the annual growth rate of M1 is over 20% annualized for the most recent three months?"
Yeah, sure as hell, it's 20.4 percent, not that you've asked. But wait! I didn't
tell you the one-month rate annualized. You sitting down, Bunkie?
41.564% for the M1 rate. But, thing is the M2 annualized rate based on the most recent one-month change is a wimpy 5.213%. While the M1 number would argue for gold to rise by almost 50 percent within a year, the M2 change suggests a better return could be had buying a few packages of garden seeds...that's where real returns can be found.
All does seem to come back to that ugly little velocity problem we were talking about earlier this week. Money at rest, asleep, or tied up in notional whatevers doesn't make jobs...
Harry Reid apparently has come to his senses - giving up on a chock-full-o-earmarks democorp spending bill. His what did I call them? pardon...
Meantime, the House has cleared an extension of the Bush-era tax cut plan (which is part of the free lunching that got us here) for another year despite sound thinkers like David Stockman who are saying 'bad idea'... I'm all in favor of extending unemployment bennies - which this bill does - but sadly, even though it will cost people like you and me more dough, we have two problems. The Federal Reserve being one (charging us interest on our money which is absurd) and getting rid of past debt being t'other.
North Korea, reports like this one from MSNBC have it, is threatening South Korea that they will strike back if the South Koreans go ahead with a live ammunition drill as planned.
Get'cher Korean-made auto parts while you can...
A reader sends this grim reminder:
Well duh! Which brings us to....
Police State Notes
Sobering report by Courthouse News Service about allegations of prison brutality in a privately run institution. Remember, like I say - everything's a business model.
Meantime, Austin Texas is outlawing selling of pet dogs & cats at retail.
Oh, did I mention the 131 anti-war protesters arrested outside the White House on Thursday?
Look! Up in the Sky!
It's a....it's a......That thingy in the skies near the Israeli Dimona nuke weapons center was likely a balloon, reports indicate.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is in Pakistan....which has me wonder "WTF?"
What really jumped out at me was the Chinese leader brought 200 businessmen with him....so what is it with SuperPower presidents lugging around 200-businessmen around, lately? China and Pakistan announcing a US$7 billion trade deal. Hmmm...
The 'New Electrics'
No, it's not a breakthrough in free energy, but worth noting: Two of the top three cars in the running for North American car of the year are electrics: Nissan's Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt...which some people who worked on that project tell me is really, really cool and worth a test drive.
Says something about a change in direction of society, I think. Some good. For a change.
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Coping: With the Missing Middle Class
Had an interesting conversation with my friend (SurvivorWoman) about an experience she and the Mr. had on their most recent shipboard cruise. Having been on one, and going slightly stir-crazy from being 'on the beach' so long - being on the water and messing about boats is something I miss terribly after living on a sailboat for 10-years - Elaine & I have been thinking about going on another cruise one of these days.
Our first cruise together was out of Florida when we were down in Boca Raton. Fine seven-day affair with a nice cross-section of people and never a dull moment. Elaine's been on something like 12-14 cruises and she said this one wasn't anything particularly special and - if anything - was a little deader than most, but seems staying up all night at a shipboard discothèque isn't done like it once was. Maybe that has something to do with scanning all arriving luggage; just can't say.
SW & her mister have been on 35-cruises, so when she notices a change, I notice her noticing the change, and Elaine notices that I noticed the change and passed it on to her to ponder since I keep getting salt air withdrawal symptoms, which can only be treated with Jimmy Buffett tunes cranked and large portion of rum. A flown in box of halibut to grill and I generally recover in a few days...or at least, have so far.
I won't spoil her discussion of the cruiser-class, which runs from "The Rich Elite" to the middle class "Working Stiffs" to the occasional representative from "the Peasants". You'll have to go read it yourself (here).
Nevertheless, her question "Is cruising an economic barometer of things to come?" is a fine template for the exploration of other not-always-evident kinds of subtle social change.
For example, when I get off the ranch - which is rarely - I may be imagining it, but seems to me that blingmobiles are being replaced by practicalmobiles. People are changing their driving picks, my neighbor's new 2010 Corvette, notwithstanding.
Upper end restaurants seem to be a little easier to get into, not that we go to many of them, but even the lunch trade at the local midscale formula place seemed to be down.
A reader watching all the social change coming down the pike sends this:
Pro Bono Answer
The other day I wondered about the legality of foreign nationals telling US officials about the content of electronic communications which would otherwise (I thought) be off limits to US persons under the third-party communications disclosure rules of the Communications Act of 1934. (Pretty good sentence for one cuppa joe so far, huh?) Well someone who - how shall I say this...hmmm... has expert knowledge (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) sent this short course in how the game is played all nice and legal like:
Moi? Not hardly....just the People's Economist trying to play Follow The Money with a one man, two cat, one wife economic newspaper here in the East Texas Outback.
Although, honestly (or nearly so) I have thought about incorporating some of the 'hot language' that Clif & Igor spy now and then since people seem to flock after it en masse. For example, I figure a book titled "The Anarchists Greenhouse" and a follow-on "The Anarchist's Tractor" would sell thousands of copies...to government agencies and Fusion Centers alone! And then "The Anarchists Recipe Book...." which would describe the proper use of thyme and oregano in beef stew - for real... No limits, to revenue, eh?
Missing Pieces Quest
I've told you several times how www.thechronicleproject.org has been updating the Bible's old testament (and part of the new) using a system called Self-Defining Hebrew (SDH).
To keep this from being a book, the core concept is the Strong's Concordance - often cited by academics as the source for definitions in Hebrew is - by the groups work - cock-full-o-errors - since one word alone in Hebrew has as many as 96 different definitions.
I've mentioned before that SDH reveals a whole different kind of Bible than the KJV. Some of the major findings so far have been little goodies like there are 11 Commandments, not 10, the phrase "Thou shalt not kill" isn't in there, and what used to be Genesis is really two books: One from the perspective of the Supreme Ones (the angelic/off-planet types who terraformed Earth) and the other from the perspective of the humans. Which gets into who the 'fallen ones" were (watchers left behind who interbred with the humans) and on it goes.
So now comes an interesting note that in the story "Egyptian Archeologist Admits That Pyramids contain UFO Technology" there are further hints that we may not have the kind of 'crawl out of the mud' background supposed and that not-from-around-here types may have had a hand to a previously undisclosed degree...
Here lately, the group has been working on getting original Hebrew loaded into software to speed up the translation process with prospects of completing at least a first-draft of both old and new testaments in the not too distant future...a year or three. It's what a programmer would call a 'non-trivial task'.
Ever spend much time working with a language that is all verb/action words?
My support for a return to Fair Doctrine rules by the FCC isn't too popular with readers. So much so, that I'm removing myself from contention to next FCC chairman...
The problem is that content providers always seem to move to where they get the most money which flies in the face of keep access to information at the lowest possible price point to all. But it's OK to agree to disagree. Except, if we do, you're not as likely to hear the other side present their unspun case on right-wing radio. Speaking of which...
I have often touted how great Free-To-Air (FTA) satellite TV is. But sadly, MHz Networks has dropped off Galaxy 19 which is where we'd been picking it up...
There are still lots of interesting channels on Galaxy 19, including al Jazeera and Russia Today news channels, a new entry being a mainly English Chinese channel (China Today) and River Broadcasting with among other things, has classic Western and lots of black & white movies from back when.
I keep being a fan of FTA television, since I am only willing to pay for content just so many times (a familiar rant here): We pay for TV once when we watch the commercials. We paid for satellite TV delivery vehicles through the Space Program. We then pay (if you get roped into it) just to rent the down linking receiver, and then again for premium content - some of which contains...you guessed it: commercials!
So on behalf of all the world's cheapskates, thanks to the English channels on
FTA satellite and to LingSat for tracking all the content.
And a big thanks to HuLu.com for putting recent streaming content up on the few shows I enjoy (Burn Notice, House, Bones). At least these I only pay for once - the commercials- and oh, did I mention that as lambdas come to the desktop the sky-based delivery models will likely be toast as traffic goes the path of least cost?
Around frugal East Texas, we can get five first-run in-theater movies out (for two) for what a satellite system and a couple of premium channels cost, and still have enough left over to get NetFlix HD and a lunch for two.
Ya'll come back Monday - the weekend content is for people who ante up $40 bucks a year for it - which keeps this free site going too. See www.peoplenomics.com for more.
I wonder if it's too early to Skype Santa? Got another couple of hundred additions to my list he needs to get...
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A "Crash-Free" Depression, II
A friend who's mainly a pharmaceutical HR type in Atlanta, between day trades called me up on Thursday to whine: "George, I just can't understand this market. I've been trading for more than 25 years - ever since I was at Kidder-Peabody - and I have never seen anything like this? What the (expletive) is going on?" "Oh, no sweat," I explained. The problem is my friend was thinking that a Depression means a Crash. So I told him: that t'ain't necessarily so... "How do you figure?" "Simple," I explained "Just a few vesica piscis drawings and a couple of historical references and you'll see how the Fed's trying to navigate...." So will you...
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. Version 5 is in the works...it's expected to be the first product on the market to fight 'super-cookies'...
"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 16, 2010
Hindenburgs over GlobalRev
Two emails floated up to the surface right from the get-go this morning. One was from a fellow who is a good broker, and attached was an ominous-looking chart that showed how there had been two Hindenburg Omens in 2007 which preceded the decline which turns into the big dump which resulted in the 2008 into 2009 market decline. The worrisome part of the chart wasn't what happened back in 2007; it's the two Hindenburg Omens which has flashed in the past 6-months of 2010. As his email explained it:
Which would certainly fit with a lot of other things I've been hearing, including a hot rumor that Mr. EW has gone short based on a completed wave count...only a rumor to be confirmed.
Very short-term, the EU is about to kick off an economic summit, but that may be overshadowed by events going on in some of the member countries.
A reader in Greece, for example advised us to check out the following YouTube vid:
His description was of note, also:
While remembering that GlobalRev isn't exactly a 'revolution' per se; more like a rising up of people to even the score with 'the controller class', we have seen a large increase in language around the net feeding into this concept of "rising up" as well as seeking "justice" for economic wrongs which have landed the whole world in a post-globalist catastrophe just waiting to occur.
When I see language like "Another message to the PTB:" (now PTW) over at The White Hat Reports, under "Death threats, Changing Sides, and Providing Evidence" that I have to get out the ViseGrips and pinch myself - so great is the linguistic fill on global release language.
So while evidence of global uprising for past wrongs continues to mount, at the macroeconomic level we know from bitter experience (and some math I've referred to before) that the ultimate length of an economy is only about 83.5 years based on a study of the effects of compound interest that a colleague and I conducted in the 2000-2001 period when we were working on the implications of the DebtBerg rolling over in gigantic iceberg of debt fashion.
Should point out that just like an iceberg is 95 percent invisible, so too the tens of trillions of dollars of derivatives debt is also invisible, yet it hasn't lessened since the 2008 mini-melt, so we're destined to run down at least to those market levels, but also likely Down 3,500-4,000 with a possibility of a Dow below 1,000 before 2016.
"And why 2016?" you're wondering?
When the US congress abdicated its responsibility for direct control of money by setting up the Fed in 1913, that's not when the clock started ticking on this economic cycle. The clock started around 1933...the deflationary depths of the Great Depression. And, since money goes hopelessly nonlinear in value at a maximal 83.5 years, or so, add 'em up and you come to 2016.
That'll be - if my read of things is correct (it's usually not, LOL) we can set another clock of 5-7 years to the outbreak of the Second Depression ending war, which I figure will be North Korea marching South, or some other analog to Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939. Unless, of course, the US is cast in that role by events this time around, in which case, we're already invading, but that's about a sixpack's worth of discussion and it's a little early in the day for that. Or, is it?
While you're welcome to debate whether or not our predicted "tipping point" is here, consider this other view of activities in Greece from Russia Today and watch some of what's going on a second time. Definitely not pretty:
Then, just for fun sport and amusement, flip over to the Museum of New Zealand's page about their "Riots in the Depression". Or the Wikipedia entry about the Depression-era social unrest in places like the Netherlands in the period. Those videos of today are echoes, my friend...
To report this might be misconstrued as agitating for it, but that's not my purpose. Rather, think of it as reminding you that in the past, great economic depressions have been accompanied by amazing social stresses and the tearing and redrafting of the social contract.
What had happened - over the course of the 1880's through the 1920's - was the establishment of "company towns". While some persisted, the exploitation of human capital they represented 'rose up' in similar form to what we're seeing in this tipping point period.
At their core, people know that something is amiss. Namely that the hard-fought 8-hour day and being able to support a family with just one person working; well, those things have been systematically disintegrated over the past 50-years as unions have been viciously attacked by the factory owner class.
To be sure, the packaging has been better - the rabid right mantra of 'free markets & free trade" sounds good. BUT, the economic reality is official unemployment is at 10 percent and unofficially estimates are nearing Depression-era levels now.
And while the remaining workforce is hustling its ass off - harder and harder just to break even - as they keep buying the same dream - its slowly imploding around them.
In their place is this uprising group within GlobalPop which is asking the ugliest questions of all: "If we're working harder and we're getting less, who's getting the missing measure?"
The answer: Those collecting interest which - I'd remind you - is now 61 percent of America's GDP.
What you're seeing in the EU meetings and in the desperation moves in Washington is the political frontmen & frontwomen for those collecting interest who don't want to let on that our 83.5 year maximum useful currency life is quickly approaching. Their tack presently is to paper over the problem and protect those at interest, which of course, will only get worse over time, and its why the whole business of long wave economics and the work of Nikolai Kondratiev is so important as a kind of economic sign system for looking at history before it arrives.
Don't let me spoil Christmas with all this; besides, looks like a warming spell in Rome may stave off the "ski the seven hills or Rome" forecast in predictive linguistics for a while. But, rest assured, the world is in fact tipping and if you squint just so, you can see Hindenburgs over GlobalRev through the smoke of the MainStreamMedia, as they go about trying to preserve a paradigm past its prime and scheme to control its replacement while there's time.
Be interesting....if they had one.....
Latest figures from the Labor Department - served up piping hot...
I must have missed the disclaimer part where they'd explain that one reason why the insured unemployment rate being down was because so many people have burned all their benefits...but I just didn't seem to find that part. Hmmm...
Just a single number - can it influence the market? Naw, it was headed for a lower opening already...and now I suppose you want to know why?
More numbers needed? How about the latest Fed production and industrial capacity numbers over here. That as a cup of soggy tea leaves maybe...wait, are those tea leaves?
POMO Is Not Working
You wonder why the Fed's Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO) is no longer working? It's pretty simple, really: When the Fed starts buying our bonds, foreign holders of US paper are selling us our bonds they were previously holding.
So, instead of the POMO's working, what seems among my sources to be the developing consensus is that POMO has just turned into a gigantic exercise in deck chair rearrangement on the Global Titanic.
All of which comes along at a time, we might mention, of the approaching Demographic Winter & Demographic Bomb, but hey, don't let my constant quest for the ultimate economic reality ruin your Christmas shopping sprees, or anything.
Meantime, Bloomberg (Gloomberg?) reports that there's an avalanche of sellers of municipal bonds, which in turn is pushing up interest rates, which in turn feeds into the POMO not working. So maybe POMO will move into Muni buying next? Oh, you see what fun this is?
Now, if you and I can pencil this out, we can see how its possible that within 40-days or so, market forces ought to slosh enough building fear and schemes not working through the system to lead to a January disaster. I've circled the 7th, plus or minus a week. And no, I haven't sold my triple bear ETF short the financials yet. Why would I? Oh sure, you could scream...
"Foreclosures Are Down!"
Well, just like a company can have a profitable quarter if they fire all their workers and sell off remaining inventory, so too, foreclosures were way down why? Maybe because of all the improperly done paperwork and selling the same mortgage to more than one buyer?
We couldn't help but see how Goldman execs are set to collect $111-million in bonuses for 2007 & 2009 per Bloomberg. I'm drafting up a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner explaining how I just want to borrow $10-billion tax -free for a while to make some bonus money on it and return the balance next year. Don't expect to hear back from him, I know he's busy...
Terror in Emails
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week reported an "Appeals court holds that email private [is] protected by Fourth Amendment".
Say, here's an interesting legal question - if you're a lawyerly type and want to donate a little pro bono thinking to the discussions around here: We know the reason that the US spy agencies have installations in places like New Zealand, Australia, and England is so that "trusted" foreign nationals can snoop on American communications because US nationals are barred under the Communications Act - something about unauthorized disclosure of third-party traffic.
But, here's the interesting legal concept: Are the US nationals who receive third party electronic traffic never intended for them, guilty of violation of law, as well?
Not that this will be an issue for long; the Supreme Court's got no alternative but to make up an exception on the fly since electronic surveillance is so damn easy and can be automated....besides, we've got a paradigm and a whole mess of business models at stake.
Speaking of the Net
FCC is set to approve, it looks like, the 'all packets are created equal' rules which have been wildly mischaracterized by foes who are swallowing the corporate mantra designed to limit free expression on the web, since the corpgov paradigm is already in trouble... the corporate interests want to ban traffic that they don't like...so they whip up the story that this gives government the right to pull the switch...which it already has, yada, yada....
Move Over Motown
Back in my rock & roll news days, this is like 35-years ago, I'd talk to colleagues in Detroit where the standing newsroom knowledge was that no place in America had more murders than the Motor City.
The honor (if you can call it that) has drifted around over the years, but since Cuidad Juarez (really South El Paso, just over some railroad tracks and what's left of the Rio Grand after all the irrigation water's been sucked out of it), you ought to go read CNN's coverage of how CJ has just passed 3,000 homicides for the year.
If investing in tourism in West Texas or southern New Mexico has been on your investment list, you may wish to rethink it. People who occasionally travel out West seem more and more likely to take I-40 instead of the I-10/20 southern route.
Besides with a population of 1.52 million, or so, in 506-years there won't be anyone left there.
New Rasmussen Reports is out says only 23% of Americans think the US is heading in the right direction. Can they pass some of whatever it is they're doing over our way?
Coping: Howard's Seasonal Investment
Want something fun to read? My friend/colleague Howard Hill has a nice write-up on the ultimate seasonal stock play. Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp.
And why are they such an interesting company? Their stock symbol is SNTA which is close enough to Santa for Howard to take a flyer on it...
Being the perpetual bear, I've wasted about half an hour already this morning looking up which stocks my have symbols like DUMP, TRSH, FALL, SHRT, and so forth.
Nothing attractive yet, but it does bring to mind the idea that if throwing a dart at the newspaper list ( A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Completely Revised and Updated) sound familiar?) then might there be some subconscious or preconscious connection between different stock symbols and their investment performance?
All of which drew my attention to Columbia Seligman Global Technology B (Symbol: SHTBX) and Schlott Gruppe AG (Symbol: SHT.F). The Columbia Seligman fund is higher than its 2007 peak, so no correlation, but Schlott Gruppe has dropped from a 2006 price in the low to mid 30's down to under $2.50 recently.
Numerous theories have been advanced on the subtotals appearing at (various places) within a grocery checkout list when self-checking at Wal-Mart and other places. Here's one:
I liked that one...but there are a whole bunch of other theories:
Hmmm...here's another from a doctorly kinda of guy:
And there may be something to this, since another offers this:
And why Sam's and Wal-Mart? "Same company" offers a reader. And this:
Cool how a group of people can get together, pool knowledge and observations and come to conclusions, ain't it?
Who Kilt Climate?
Been pondering this email about the harsh winter in the UK...not sure where to file it:
I'll probably put it in my "Research about Scotland" file, along with notes wondering which of my ancestors got drunk enough to first make and eat haggis.
Wednesday December 15, 2010
CPI: No Hyperinflation
LOL - not hardly! Hyperinflation is just plain old MIA (missing in action) from the latest Consumer Price data just out from the Labor Department:
I don't know how they could write a news release like this and NOT mention right up front that fuel oil was up 11.1 percent year-on-year, but I don't work there and I'm sure there's a reason to bury that one...it's in the tables though. So is used cars being up 6 percent....
Gold dropped under $1,387 on this...gee, wonder why?
The democorps budget bill at $1.1 trillion and 1,900 pages is getting a lot of blowback from the republicorps, who would doubtlessly spend as much, or more, but they'd feather different corporate nests with it....which is really how this works.
A harsh reality check is to look at how republican administrations did on budget growth over the past 20-years compared with democrats. Despite what the rabid right claims reality is a little different...but of course, they won't tell you that. Go look at Bush era increases, LOL. ViceGrips?
Collapsing of Europe
Reader contribution: "Here is a report of the Portuguese finance minister's bond fundraising trips to China and Brazil. How odd that there is no mention of a similar journey to Washington."
You notice that Spain has been put on Moody's watch list?
I trust you're impressed with the predictive linguistics hit on the rioting in Rome (with video below) which I posted on Tuesday afternoon. No, it's not the sacking of the Vatican that's been sloshing around in predictive linguistic modelspace, but consider it's not winter yet and we're getting near the "ski the hills of Rome" prediction, too.
I've got the 'snow in Rome' penciled in for Friday morning of this week. Just a little cooler and.....what's this?
Global Warming Dept.
...but sure as hell not in Canada where hundreds of people had to be rescued in Ontario.
A reader in Saskasomething tells me "...wasn't too pleasant here either. went from -30 c to raining in 12 hours, then into a blizzard which we drove home in. Complete white out on the way home. Nasty 25mph most of the whiteout...."
Well, ya'll do live in Canada, you know....and it is almost winter, eh hoser?
Madness on Bordering
This in from a West Texas source:
So here's my simple question: If we pass the Dream Act, will they park the AK's?
File under "Dream On" huh?
Credit to Wells Fargo which is breaking with the group-think of big banks is is coming out favoring tighter mortgage rules. It's possible they are capable of learning faster than their peers from past mistakes, you think?
If this kind of thinking digs in, it caps the hyperinflation scenario somewhat.
NO credit to a Florida republicorp who says government should be censoring American news outfits that reported the WikiLeaks material.
So outing spying on diplomats and pursuing corporate wars is unAmerican? Why, without outing bad government, we'd still be in Vietnam, wouldn't we?
Oh, but I forgot...this is the new and improved security state. Papers, please?
Speaking of which the Air Force is reportedly now blocking news media over this.
Time Magazine it out with it's Person of the Year. Congrats to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.
Did I mention you can find an UrbanSurvival page there?
Don't know how closely you've been following the zero-point energy crowd (extract energy from curious behaviors of magnets or the Dirac Sea) but the Bendini Ferris Wheel is picking up true believers...
Coping: With Corpgov Smoke & Slander
"Are you crazy? Whatever the hell gave you the idea that a return to the Fairness Doctrine was living proof that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by communists and Marxists?" I was impatiently telling a long-time friend.
"Well, I've heard that - or words to that effect - on TV shows I watch and on talk radio...." my friend was lamely beginning to explain.
Bad move on his part. I knew the right-wing hate mantra had been effective but to get an otherwise (somewhat) rational middle aged guy to calling his government names like Marxists? It was more than I could bear...so much so that I have waited several days before reporting this conversation since I'd have lost my PG-rated content rating for sure, if I'd done it any sooner.
"Oh, sure, they claim that, but let me take you to school for about five minutes on the Fairness Doctrine and tell you what it is, how it works, and why the right-wing bloviants - those corporate sycophants who will use every emotional hot button they can find to pander their lies - are so anxious NOT to have anything like the Fairness Doctrine EVER return to American." I was pissed.
"When I was in broadcasting - and this is over a 20-year period - we all lived under the Fairness Doctrine. The two main impacts of a revised Fairness Doctrine - and the reason the rabid right is so upset with it - is that they have systematically seized power in America through what's essentially a right-wing backed media coup d'état which overthrew concentration of media rules and allowed local stations to do almost as much satellite content as desired.
"Since everything's a business model, let me give you a thumbnail of what happened: In the 1980's, the corpgov people managed to weasel through congress which slowly changed laws that removed cross-ownership and rollups of radio stations, television stations, and newspapers.
The FCC had previously prohibited a radio station & television combo from owning a newspaper in the same market, and so forth. From Wikipedia:
This was dream legislation for concentration of media roll-up artists! Care to guess why there was just one hearing on this in Richmond, VA? This was 'on-rails' in Washington parlance.
So the first thing you need to know is that any return to pre 1996's "fairness" might just result in busting up the MSM chokehold on media.
A return to "fairness" would require television and radio stations to provide - again - for something called Community Ascertainment. Ascertainment is a process whereby broadcasters, in major markets like Seattle where I was involved in the process, get together with all kinds of community leaders and listen to what their problems are.
Then, the television and radio stations have to address - or give some air time - to the issues raise by community leaders. Much of the progress on issues like civil rights, arriving Vietnamese who were adapting to America, and so forth - were first heard by broadcasters who then responded with public affairs programming. Well, till 1996....
The reason the corporate types hated ascertainment and anyone telling them what to do with their air time is that time quite literally is money - and these guys know that for every minute of public affairs, a listener or viewer is potentially lost - and less revenue is bad because (repeat my chorus here) "Everything's a business model".
Including and especially media roll-ups which have not gotten a chokehold on America.
God forbid that Fairness also mandate at least some content be locally originated, too. There was a time when going on a road trip across America was something to be looked forward to: You'd hear a farm report in Ephrata, Washington, then a station in Idaho would have some interesting local bluegrass band on - and so forth - as you drove over I-90 headed east from Washington.
A couple of years ago, I had occasion to drive from East Texas for a meeting in New Orleans and how much variation in local radio programming did I get?
Zip...nada. Reason? The once local radio stations all subscribed to a regional radio network for "local news" and the big satellite downlink brought their programs of right-wing radio's chief bloviant. From a radio perspective, there was almost no local variance and the group-think mindset that characterizes America presently was just getting started. The one third rule? Oh, there were Hispanic stations and religious broadcasters...and that left one third of the dial to carry one talk show in most listening areas I traveled.
A return to some kind of local content, some locally originated programming, well, that'd all be good for broadcast listeners. You could see 10,000 jobs create almost overnight by requiring more local content since there were once about 5,200 AM stations alone.
Getting harder and harder to find, since one guy in a big city can carpet bomb the country with half-baked ideas and people - not having access to clearer thinking alternatives - spoon-fed the same crap - start marching to the corporate tune. Fascism here we is.
All under the guise of "free trade", too, which is true- and isn't. Here's why:
Suppose in a small radio market, there are two (non-Hispanic, none religious) radio stations left. One was making a profit of $10,000 a month and the other was making $5,000 per month.
Along comes the satellite savior content and it hooks up with the $10,000 per month profit station. They cut two employees and now they make a $12,500 per month profit.
Which they then turn around and invest in billboards and local promotion. Oh, and they cut their ad rates, too. A couple of months into the exercise, the $10,000 per month profit station is now making the same profit, but because they have shift local advertising onto their station, the other station is maybe breaking even, but more likely, is starting to bleed red ink all over the studio.
Six months later, what was once a competing station is now toast and carrying paid religious programming. For the one English/entertainment station remaining is ad rates are higher than ever because there's no local competition.
You were wondering where all those Hispanic radio and Religion radio stations came from? Victims of the satellite street fight in some cases.
Local content? Something that's a mix of local news, information, and so on? Nope, not cost-effective.
Ure's solution? Limit local radio stations to not more than 3-hours per day of satellite content between 6AM and 6 PM. and not more than five hours from 6PM to 6AM.
Otherwise, you get local radio that's mostly a satellite downlink and an ad sales office with one production guy to write copy and make commercials for local insert.
Hard view, huh?
We see the rabid right doing the same thing (again, look surprised) with Net Neutrality. Essentially, the FCC is pondering whether big internet providers can charge different rates for the same data. May not sound like a big deal now, especially if wrapped up in God, apple pie, and virgins, language. But at its core, this is another attempt by MSM (MainStreamMedia) to buy another large chunk of America's headspace between people's ears. Oh - in the name of free trade, which is oh, so sick.
The same tricks are used, too: Call Net Neutrality something other than what it is - a revenue enhancement scheme of the corporate MSM who love centralized control (so long as its theirs) which is very, very profitable - and so we see the current spreading of what are outright lies about the FCC being (as my friend asserted) being infiltrated by communists and Marxists. WTF?
Next time someone tells you the Obama administration, or the FCC is a group of commies and Marxists, do yourself a favor: Try listening to something other that right-wing propaganda matrix. I'll give them credit: they've done an outstanding job of limiting choice, burying dissenting ideas, and all of which in turn keeps people from thinking 'outside the box'.
Remember, communists and Marxists and satellite content providers just hate competition. They are in fact all business model buddies bent on carving out a phat limited-access piece of the information highway. Why do you think they promote 'terrorism' so much? Feeds their business model! Get a grip!
Remember our mantra? Go local? Hard to do with media outside Top 100 markets.
Oh, and I don't suppose I need to remind you that the low power radio bill has been blocked by republicorp interests who have to protect what? The rabid-right business model which protects and funds their re-election and curries the favor of the rich & famous lobby groups in general and the death merchants who profit from wars and cooking people on a walk-through basis in airport scanners, yada, yada....
It's a complicated business model at times, grant you that, but FTM rules (follow the money). When people start telling me "George, you're turning pro Obama..." nothing could be further from the truth.
But let's not talk about tea/right/left politics when a simple model in Excel yields more truth and insight than any two days of prime time about the country's socioeconomic madness than the whole of the superficial reporting by the anti-competitive clan that has stolen media diversity under the pretext of free trade - and then has the balls to turn on the Obama administration.
Jobjacking started with the media heist in America. Might want to keep that in mind. So screw politics and keep Excel spreadsheet handy. It'll tell you more than the MSM's one-world with profits for all (of them) idea carpet bombers.
From a reader:
Agree - but only to a point. The Weimar hyperinflation involved velocity going to somewhere near infinity. So if you want, track velocity (GDP/M2 or formerly M3). But as long as velocity is stable, hyperinflation is unlikely. So we watch and wait. Kinda like the metals market is doing...
Beats me...reader ideas?
Small office/home office "gotta get one" item: The new "BendDesk" which makes a computer display out of the whole work surface...
Or, you can just get a couple of dual monitor cards and set up four monitors like I use... turns out 90% of what I do is on two screens anyway...
Tuesday December 14, 2010
Say, not to put too fine a point on our predictive linguistics from www.halfpasthuman.com which defined the huge release period we are in now until Jan 18 when events will fall into building tensions again, but have you noticed how close we're getting to a hit on the prediction of 'rioters in Rome' who would attempt to breach the Vatican?
Not the Vatican per se, admittedly, but look at the architecture in the rioting
there today as reported on Russia Today in the past hour or two...
People are reporting they could hear explosions and such a full 20-miles from the city, so things are 'game on' for what we've called GlobalRev going on presently, except that it's not a revolution exactly - more like people pushing back on authority like Berlusconi - especially interesting in light of what he comes across like in the WikiLeaks files...I mean if we'd read them, yada, yada...
Fed: No Change
Hardly worth waking up from a snooze for this one from the Fed:
All of which is much the same-old kinda thinking. The Fed figures it's dual mandate is to foster maximum employment and further price stability. Which, if I have it figured right really translates into "Enough people will work to pay taxes while we keep subsidizing Wall Street which has us convinced they are too big to fail and we work well together."
Wouldn't such candor be nice? Instead, this is what we have which is why returning to my nap makes so much sense.
Depending on your inclination, today is either Fed FOMC day, the day the PPI comes out, or if you're in retail, it's Retail Sales Day. Or, if you're like me, it's time for another round in the great tug-of-war over which way things will break when the last straw is loaded onto the financial camel's back; and that could be here in the US, where bank derivatives are running as out of control as ever, in Europe where the successor to the Euro is being talked about (next story after PPI and Retail), or it could be in Asia where the Chinese can collapse the global economy when it's convenient for them to do so.
As you know, I've been 'sitting on the fence' as regards the outcome, making a three way split with our vast fortune (both cents of it) between paid-off real estate, which is the baseline subsistence level, the inflation hedge with gold/silver, and the deflation hedge with a couple of savings bonds via TreasuryDirect.
As I see it, and it was just confirmed in those Zillow numbers last week about the US real estate market burning through $1.7 trillion this year, there's still wild deflation afoot. Elaine and I are still thinking about a return to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to our kids up that way, since the recovery doesn't seem to be reaching them in a meaningful way.
But, on the inflationary side, the recent John Williams (ShadowStats) article saying that hyperinflation was just months distant, must also be factored in to one's planning. Williams' site also keeps an alternative set of inflation figures which argue that the CPI under-reports inflation. Something we'll have another chance to see tomorrow morning with the latest CPI figures are released by the Labor Department.
There has been a lot of news lately about how commodities, in particular, may benefit from stoked inflation. And, the latest money supply figures from the Fed seem to suggest that inflation should be around here somewhere, since the year-on-year M1 increase was 6.2 percent and 3.2 percent for the broader M2 figure.
All of which sounds wildly inflationary except that over at Trader Bart's excellent M3 Reconstructed page - useful as hell since the Fed under Alan Greenspan hid that sausage - we sere that just eyeballing the green line (M3/M3b) that it seems the broadest measure of money is still falling, which my friend is deflationary.
While it's true that government is printing money like crazy, what most people don't look at too closely is the speed at which money is sloshing through the system. Most people read a money supply figure - like M1 - and just immediately assume the sky is falling and inflation is about to wipe out everyone who is not solidly in gold and silver.
While that may be true over the longer term, in the short term most of the increased liquidity is NOT making it into the day-to-day economy. It's like if the Fed were to print up a gazillion dollars and then lock it up in a vault. Yes, that would appear to be wildly inflationary, but because it would be locked up in a vault somewhere - and thus would not be able to compete for a loaf of bread (or a six-pack) it would not - in and of itself - be inflationary.
I wrote about this money-in-motion aspect in some depth back in 2001 in the article "Electric Economics: A New Paradigm for Capitalism" but the whole concept boils down to simply this: Just as the amount of work done using electricity is the product of Volts times Amps (current) = work, so too, in economics, it's not just the printed dollars (Mx) that matters, you also have to take into account the velocity of money through the system as well. In the economy, the inflation is a function not only of the amount of money but also its annual turnover rate.
Which politely explains to "Inflation is coming - run from street!" types that yes, inflation may be lurking, but as long as the money is going into dead zones like balance sheets, it's not going to drive inflation through the roof right now.
A single $100 bill could power the whole US economy if it changed owners trillions of times per day. Or, a few trillion dollars that may never turn over won't have any inflationary effect...so long as its not in motion. Economies are about money in motion, not at rest. Whether you want to think of it as electricity, or slow moving water behind a dam is up to you. Whatever is your favorite way to look at motion - fluids, gases,
Don't mean to get off sidetracked on this, but the bogey man of inflation is real...but still in chains as long as deflation of housing continues.
Now, on to this morning's first number...
So, with all this talk about inflation versus deflation, what's in the pipeline at the producer level?
Hmmm....the most significant things, seems to me...is that exzcluding food and energy, there was only a 0.1 percent change in finished goods compared with the previous month, but food was up 1.4 percent just for the frigging month! Oh, and energy was up 1.2% for the month.
So, maybe John Williams and the others warning that 'inflation's coming along soon...' heralds will be right before too much longer.
Next number, please?
Strong Retail Sales
Our next gem to put under the Christmas tree (can I say that?) is from the Census Bureau which does the retail data tracking:
The takeaway is what? Producer prices say inflation's in the wings and retail is going up, although how much is due to goods prices going up and how much is due to the purchasing power of dollars going down could be argued six ways to Sunday.
In fact a Portland reader asked this morning:
The correct answer is a cooked currency will still be used and it can go on forever...or to the several trillion (how many zeros did Zimbabwe get to?). As long as it's accepted, the sky is the limit.
Until it stops, that is....which brings us to what's going on in Europe:
A number of months back I mentioned that I'd heard some buzz about a new European currency - a successor to what has become (pardon this) a bit of a debt-turd. At the time I recall mentioning Sweden and Norway might be (brought to heel) in this and certainly the Swedish 'terrorism event' which I mentioned in Monday's column again seems way to coincidentally timed.
Well, to continue down this merry path, an acquaintance in the Czech Republic says it was his notion that there's be a Northern Euro...and he sent a note about the Czech & German leaders getting together to brain storm on it.
Success (in forecasting) has a million fathers, so no point quibbling about who got what right when. Conversely, failure in forecasting has no parents.... But, in this one, seems we are now getting the odd whiff of a bit of smoke so watch for future fire around this deal point: German and the Nordic countries have managed a workable level of social services while at the same time hanging onto enough real jobs that haven't gone to China that maybe we ought to pay attention and instead of sending 200-corpgov jobjackers to India with Fearless Leader, some time in Munich and the Scandinavian countries would be worth a trip. Better beer over that way, too.
Will the Fed Be Audited?
Worth a read today is Congressman Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk wherein he's talking about Audit the Fed in 2011. Where is he going with this?
The part I'd be most interested in would be an audit of Fort Knox and compression tests on bars to ascertain their purity what with all the tungsten stories about on the net.
Wanna bet it won't happen?
The WTF of Socialism
When I mention the Teutonic countries of Europe, and how they at least seem to an outsider to more or less get things right, we read gathering evidence that social medicine in the US is a cluster-something...(You figure it out)...with reports like this AP piece about how teeth are getting pulled for lack of money for root canals, and how a transplant gets called off...all over US medical decision-making.
It's the kind of thing that could drive a person to put something other than milk on their cereal... Or maybe have a black label break sandwich from Jack-in-the-bag.
Supco on Health Insurance
The decision of a Virginia case that says government can't require the purchase of Obamacare insurance ain't Constitutional sets up a showdown at the Supreme Court, for sure.
Jail As a Retirement Option
While the public watches the lawyers having a field day with the remnants of the Bernie Madoff empire, you see where a 71-year old man who robbed a bank in a wheelchair with a BB gun got 21-years? He reportedly did the crime to avoid living out his terminal illness on the street - which makes sense to me...and doesn't...all at once.
If you have some time for a pretty good backgrounder, Michel Chossudovsky's piece over at Global Research does a fine job of bringing up the role of corpmedia and who's censoring/redacting what in what's being released from the cables so far...
Why is it that when something seems almost 'too good to be true", it usually is?
How do you spell a-g-e-n-d-a?
Curious about NASA coming out with the story Monday about how this past summer a "Global Eruption Rocks the Sun".
Part of me is very pleased that NASA is taking the threat of a massive Carrington Event possibility from the Sun seriously. Then there's the part of me that wonders what would be bigger than a Carrington Event and how much of society would survive it?
The most interesting part would be if huge solar outbursts show up on the backside of Solar Cycle 24 way outside of expected/planned for parameters. What would happen to all those electronic currency schemes and digidollars?
Or, is that how the PowersThatWere crash the system - plausible deniability - "Blame the sun, not us". Sure would make a dandy movie plot...
Richard Holbrook. Diplomat. Final words, reports the Washington Post had to do with stopping the war in Afghanistan.
Coping: Money in Motion
A couple of further notes about 'money-in-motion' which we were chatting about earlier.
The first involves a wonderful story that illustrates how money-in-motion can be a wonderful thing. Happened to Elaine's son's wife up in the Tacoma (Washington) area.
So there she was, at a grocery store on the way home, and she and another woman are in the checkout line. As she's waiting in line, the checker runs her items through, along with the woman behind her and puts them into separate bags.
"Hey, those aren't his, they're mine!" she exclaimed.
The fellow in line looks at both of the women behind and smiles: "Merry Christmas".
Nice...but even nicer is what happens next: She takes the $13 she would have spent on her food, and goes and spends the money on a bag of food for the local homeless.
Not sure how often something like this happens, but it's a wonderful example of 'money in motions' being able to do much goodness.
While she makes a couple of good points -- like when someone gives you money, what it really means is that you have been added to their 'list of bills'.
That may be true, but here at the National Bank of Dad, we've just concluded our nose counting of kids and here's what it the real employment picture is like among our kids:
Counting the part-time employed as ½, that's 3½ unemployed out of seven, or a family unemployment rate of 50 %. I'd be curious what your FUR (family unemployment rate) is....I suspise it'll be higher than the oft-touted 9.8% if your kids are of workforce age.
Sop, unfortunately, as much as I admire my friend/colleague's view about cash, the National Bank of Dad is more or less forced into doing cash again this year.
If you'd like to send me cash, that's fine...I think if I read IRS publication 950 right, you can send up to $13,000 without having to report it, but that was the 2009 limit - no idea what it is this week. Still, if it's a big enough check, I'd be pleased to accept your 1099 as a follow-on New Year's card.
Several readers weighed in on the story out this week about how gun dealers in Texas were supplying a lot of the weapons that end up being used by the drug banditos in Mexico. Several pointed out that most of the story has been debunked in the gun rights forums already. And another sent in this note which makes several pertinent points:
Once again, I seem to be the messenger, confused as the message. As luck would have it, I'm used to it by now.
It's somehow pleasing to read in the Telegraph online today the headlines that the legendary Loch Ness monster has been sighted twice.
Not sure how, but this somehow would seem indicative of the times. With the British public's knickers in a knot over social cuts and tossing things at the royalmobiles here lately, nothing like a Ness story to defuse things.
If Nessie could be a defuser, what then about UFO's? Wouldn't we expect the background level of reports to increase a bit? Right on cue, up pops a story making the rounds that WikiLeaks has a UFO bombshell in the wings.
If this all sounds a little too coincidental, here, have some tinfoil. Ain't no such thing as coincidence in Universe...
Monday December 13, 2010
Just Another Monday Rally
Side bet on a 100 point gain today? This is like a no-brainer: The US dollar is sinking quickly back down toward the 0.75 Euro area and as the dollar loses strength, it takes more of them to purchase an ounce of gold, so we see (Quick! Look surprised!) gold going up this morning.
And, since the theory is that stocks are somehow priced like physical assets in an inflationary period (think about an apartment house, for example), when the purchasing power of the dollars goes down stock prices go up because they are simply reacting to inflation - which is what you call a dollar losing purchasing power. You following this? Dollar-power down, the number of dollars needed to buy an asset goes up. Simple stuff your broker doesn't mention.
So, here's (once again) the ugly, simple, undeniable hard fact that almost no financial site talks about: If you had purchased $100 worth of some hard asset in 1913, it's price today would be $2,219.19 just based on the watering down of the nation's money. Yup.
So, in the very short term, I expect a bid drop in the Dollar over the next couple of weeks, with a resultant rise in the stock market, since it will take more of these soon-to-be-cheaper dollars to buy the underlying (hypothetical) assets. And then, come January when the dollar rallies to 0.82 Euro and the EU gets back to imploding, we should see a nice beat-down of stocks, gold, and other 'hard assets'.
All of this is just too damn simple, so we see headlines about like "World stocks rise as China rate hike fear fizzles."
Or, you might believe that AP analysis piece claiming "Economic stress falls to 18-month low" which could be painted as a reason for optimism.
Oh, sure, the market may bounce around a bit on this kind of news. And
it's sure to bounce around tomorrow when the Producer Prices come in along with
retail sales and then tomorrow afternoon we get another FOMC decision (no move,
way I figure it). Then Wednesday, we will see the consumer price report
and industrial production and capacity utilization from der Fed.
By Thursday, we'll see weekly job numbers and housing starts, and then Friday we suffer through Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) which I've always viewed as a clever anagram.
So pardon my snoozing through most of the week on autopilot.
Still, the mailbox fills up with people noticing the same kind of thing:
Pick up one of those Morgans, for a minute and give it a heft. Weight? 26.73 grams. Which converts to 0.942873 ounces.
BUT, remember the Morgan is only 90% silver, so a Morgan is .8485 ounces of silver. Now we've got to make a judgment call here. The Morgan was $1 dollar of purchasing power when minted, and if it's 31.50, then the dollar only has 3.174 percent of its purchasing power left compared to 1878.
On the other hand, on an underlying melt value of the Morgans as of last Friday according to Coinflation.com was $22.1825587... Which I'm lazy enough to round off to 4.508 percent of its value.
Morgans give us some interesting data, when considered this way, because it matches up almost perfectly with the Fed's long term data which shows from 1913 that inflation would have put that Morgan at $22.1919. Very, very close to the Coinflation.com melt value.
Your use of ViceGrips is admirable, but unnecessary. All you need to do is watch the relationship of the metals to the land. So, if, for example, we were to see "million dollars an ounce gold' would Elaine & I trade it for a bigger place? Why hell yes! I want something with a runway, LOL.
Values are always relative. So do I think gold and silver have a long way up to go? Well.....
One metric is that an ounce of gold should buy 5-acres of land. Around here, that land is running $4,500 per acre, so that would make gold worth what? $22,500 an ounce?
"No so fast, slickery George...what about the saying that one ounce of gold should buy a good man's suit?
Ah...you saw the story in The Hindu that the high end suit-makers of India are coming out with suits that go for RS55 lakh (a lakh I'm just so sure you remember is 100,000 Rupees...) so that pushes out to 5.5 million rupees (INR) which pencils to $122,276.57 US dollars.
Not that I'm saying that good a suit. But $10-grand a suit isn't so crazy anymore, is it? Or, gold of $5-10 large per ounce. Suits us, just fine.
Don't know if you've seen the video "The Day the Dollar Died" on YouTube, but it's worth a look if you haven't...
An Odd Bombing
What's being told as a terrorist suicide bombing in Sweden doesn't quite pass the 'smell test' around here. Not only did a planned car bomb explode without killing anyone, but the bomber 'blew himself up' about 15-minutes later '300 yards away'.
Toss in the supposed email warnings in advance and something just doesn't feel right. Perhaps it's because in densely occupied Sweden, you'd almost have to work at not killing people with a car bomb, or if the alleged bomber was going to target first-responders he was too far away, but obviously if he wasn't going to be nearby, why not further? Something just doesn't feel right.
Speculation runs to Sweden's support of the Afghan conflict and retribution for anti-Muslim 'art'.
The way I have it figured, and this is only hypothecation, mind you, it sure seems coincidentally timed around WikiLeaks and the Julian Assange case (can you spell 'pressure'?) not to mention Sweden's key role (as outlined in the Wall St. Journal story of last week) as "...Europe's Most Willing Lender."
A little too conveniently timed if you follow the money which is what we do around here now and then...
Public Policy Question
Electronic Frontier Foundation has a piece on the reading list: "The FBI Arbitrarily Covers Up Evidence of Misconduct: Is This the Transparency Obama Promised?"
Texas' Male Mice Fathers...
Not sure how they managed this, but the CBC reports "Baby mice produced from 2 males". Right here in Texas, at that.
We won't ask about how the delivery went (if at all) but we're becoming more and more worried about people wandering around this time of year saying in hushed tones "...Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..." Is this why?
Not only is Texas a dangerous place for mice, but did you see the headline at the Houston Press site alleging "Texas is selling your baby's blood without consent, lawsuit says."
Then there's the emerging details up in Lubbock about a cattle brokerage that has gone under and in the process, sticking it to cattlemen for something like $130-million, says a Bloomberg report. Wonder if that will result in higher meat prices a year or so out, if some of the cattle outfits up that way go under and herd sizes come down?
Texas Guns in Mexico Battles
Big story in the Washington Post today about how eight out of the top 12 gun dealers supplying arms to Mexico (drug dealers) are coming from care to guess which state?
See KOMO News' story out of Seattle "Suit: Chase Bank ransacked home of man on his death bed".
Chase is the biggest US bank, followed by BofA, Citibank, Wells, and US Bank.
Coping: Presidents As Entertainment
There was a fine discussion on Peoplenomics this weekend about the 'oddness' of former president Bill Clinton showing up at the White House to co-press conference reporters on the pending tax-break extensions. Before Clinton was done, president Obama exited and headed for a Christmas gig with first lady Michelle.
All of which got me to speculating as to whether the job of 'president' anymore has gotten to be just too much for one guy and I wondered if the president and prime minister model in Russia with Vlad Putin and Dmitry Medvedev might not be in the offing here.
"No George, that's not going to happen here," claimed one reader. "Obama doesn't want to share the limelight and in Russia, its a kind of established fact that Medvedev is doing Putin's bidding."
Maybe...but another way to look at it is perhaps to consider one fellow the 'administrator' and the other fellow the 'public face' of a government. So perhaps, since Clinton was the one left with reporters, he's gonna be the 'front guy' for a while. We'll see.
Meantime, besides doing car races, flying aerobatics, jogging, maintaining his black belt and such, we couldn't help but notice that Vlad Putin was shown on Russia's RTV -- yes, it's on FTA television along with Megahertz Worldview where you can catch the nightly news in English from Tokyo, Israel, China, and such, along with al Jazeera in English, but I digress...Putin was doing Fat's Domino at the piano...
I think it would be fine wryrony to see Bill Clinton and Vlad Putin come out with a CD...Maybe something like "World's Best Peace Songs" while their administrators stay in the back room maintaining the US and Russian roles as "world's top arms exporters".
Perhaps I'm too jaded, or, maybe it's true that "The Movie IS the Message". Saw "Resurrecting the Champ" this week and there was a great line from a female cable exec who put it to the effect that "The public doesn't want news anymore...they just want to be entertained..."
What scares the crap out of me is the infotained sheeplic vote. But since media is a for-profit enterprise, no reason we can't have more entertaining front persons. It'd just be nice if there was a way to cancel bad shows a little quicker. In medialand, for example, I don't think Nancy Pelosi would have rated a second season. But then again, I'm the guy who'd be watching Ike & Kennedy reruns...
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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