May 14, 2011 05:08 AM CST
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Triskaideka-Muddle-Through & The CPI
Friday the Broketeenth! Thursday's failure of the markets to deliver a
nice, solid, 2 percent decline, have resulted in my failure to achieve launch
velocity to reach the rarified area called "rich."
Although for a few seconds, the market was down about 132-points, and in spite
of the Yahoo Finance history showing the Thursday low was slightly below the May
5th low, and even though gold and silver are still down a good bit, the early
price of gold was up $5-6, I still hold hope (though it's growing fainter) that
the market can return to something approaching rational.
Not likely today.
First thing out of the box is the Consumer Price Report.
Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent
in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index
increased 3.2 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The energy index posted another increase in
April as the gasoline index continued to rise, the latter accounting for
almost half of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The household
energy index also rose, with all of its major components posting increases.
The food index increased as well in April, though the 0.5 percent rise in
the food at home index was the smallest increase this year. Within the food
at home component, the indexes for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, for dairy
and related products, and for nonalcoholic beverages all posted notable
increases, though the fresh vegetables index did decline following recent
The index for all items less food and energy
rose 0.2 percent in April, the third increase of that size in the last four
months. Indexes making major contributions to that increase included those
for new vehicles, used cars and trucks, medical care, and shelter.
The 12-month increases of major indexes continue
to climb. The all items index rose 3.2 percent for the 12 months ending
April 2011, the highest figure since October 2008. The energy index has now
risen 19.0 percent over the last 12 months, with the gasoline index up 33.1
percent. The food index has risen 3.2 percent while the index for all items
less food and energy has increased 1.3 percent; both figures represent
increases over recent months. "
So, if food was up only 3.2% over the past year, what went down to hold the
average so low when Year on Year energy was up 19%? No idea how they
pulled on this batch of statistical treachery, except that housing was up only 1
percent and a few other things were up lesser amounts.
The government continues to use - as a policy tool - what I call the idiots
index which is all items less food and energy which was up only 1.3 percent
for the year. Like real people can get along without food and energy?
Like food and energy inflation costs don't matter? ViseGrips to the
forearms on my count: 3, 2, ouch!
Recovery or Fascination with JIT?
If you want something to ponder while things are slow at work, or you're
daydreaming away a conference room session, ponder whether the business
the Census Bureau yesterday was due to actual sell-through and a pick up in
the economy, or whether companies are just adjusting their inventory levels down
to free up cash for executive bone-us-us:
All for Paul?
No surprise here:
Ron Paul tossed his
hat in the presidential contest this morning on Good Morning America.
I wonder if Paul's not announcing on Fox has something to do with their
"Ron Paul: I would not have order bin Laden Raid"?
bin Laden's Sights
apparently on president Obama says an ABC piece.
Interesting story about the new building going in for the Army at Ft. Belvoir in
Virginia. Federal News Radio 1500/WTOP reports:
"It will be the
third largest building in the government inventory, and it's the largest
LEED Silver building in the country," said Travis Edwards, another base
spokesman. "It's 2.3 million square feet, and you can fit the Statue of
Liberty in the atrium. It's a huge building, and it uses very little
Still, it's smaller than
complex the US is building out to house the US Embassy in Iraq...or is it?
The American public doesn't get answers to hard questions like this one.
One creative way to solve the construction slow-down, isn't it?
While You Are Dying, Dept.
The Intel Hub is headlining that "Emergency
levels of Japan nuclear radiation found in forecasts censored from the public."
Now, get back to work, wage-serf...and while you're at it, wope that look of
feigned surprise off your mug.
And from a lsailing reader, 26 days at sea:
I docked yesterday morning, 26 days at seas from Hawaii. We did not see any
of the tsumani junk but a ton of plastic and fishing nets. A couple that
caught our rudder and proop. Good thing the water was still warm! And I had
2 20 somethings on board. At 59, I'm too old for that s**t! But if need
As Goes Portugal
Word that the
economy of Portugal is heading into a double-dip recession may be a useful
construct for what's ahead. Wonder
if Pat Matheny
could do a song like "As falls Portugal, so falls Portugal's falls...?"
(more after this...)
Coping: With Corporatized Yellow Journalism
Can't tell you the number of readers who fled UrbanSurvival readership when I
dared question the Koch Brothers-backed Tea Party movement, daring to opine that
it was just a sham. Although I'd offer that most of the Tea Partiers have
started showing their true corporate-sponsored stripes lately.
In Washington, meantime, and emphasis on the word mean, the republicorps
are busily lining up to take entitlements - such as unemployment benefits - and
whack them while handing out the bloodied remains to the corporate vultures who
are always looking for the next Bigger Tax Break.
That governor Sham in Wisconsin hands out corporate tax breaks, which created a
budget crisis, which he then tried to solve on the backs of unionized working
people, was just another example of how the Turncoat Party has forgotten that
there's no mention of supra-human corporations in the Constitution is
Still, that didn't slow the Bushistas from appointing a wildly pro-corporate
High Corp and sure, sure, since when is going hunting with Dick Cheney a crime?
I've never been particularly anti anything, however; including, despite
their miserable selling-out of people's property to corporations
lately, that even holds generally for the GOP.
But that gets us to what's becoming well-trodden ground. How some of the
profiteers are racking up huge fortunes in a latter-day replay of the Hearst &
Yellow Journalism days back in the later years of the 1800's and the early years
of the 1900's.
It's worth it once in a while to revisit the roots of extreme media which
was around long before the internet. Wiki it:
"Yellow journalism or the yellow press is a type of
journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched
news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more
newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events,
sensationalism. By extension "Yellow Journalism" is used today
as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an
unprofessional or unethical fashion.
Campbell (2001) defines Yellow
Press newspapers as having daily multi-column front-page headlines
covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold
layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance
on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion. The term was
extensively used to describe certain major
New York City newspapers about 1900 as they battled for
Frank Luther Mott (1941) defines yellow journalism in terms of
scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudo-science,
and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic
strips (which is now normal in the U.S.)
dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.
A little deeper reading of the subject reveals that much of it arose from the
circulation battles between
Joseph Pulitzer's prized New York World and William Heart's New York
Journal, as described here.
A fine lesson, in passing, about how people with power (or huge egos) exert
power & influence: One way is by insisting that people use a
longish first name, an extraneous initial, or in the case of William
Randolph Heart, an unnecessarily long name.
"Bill Hearst" would have just perfectly adequate, except that the press gets
kowtowed what turns into a journalistic elevation of certain people
(PTB) to a kind of news reporter subliminal hierarchy which is then imprinted
upon the reader.
Just something to be aware of, since while reporters like to hold themselves
out as the all-seeing eyes and ears of the public, they are blind when it comes
to the whole lore of titles and how these frame perceptions of other
"The Honorable," "Her Majesty," "The President," "The Honorable Senator
from..." The list goes on an on. Point is a good reporter should be
able to distinguish between position power and name or branding power
and the simple journalistic task of identifying the subject at hand.
Occasionally, when speaking of the office of the President, I'll
use the capitalized designation. But if it's a passing reference to
someone who is already well-known, such as 'president Obama' (like there's
another Obama out there you might confuse him with?) I'll toss in the extraneous
label since it gives me time while writing to think up something clever for the
next sentence following. Or, I sneak in a short nap while typing the word.
If America is really a Land of Equality, we'd pick up and finish passage
of the Titles of Nobility Amendment to the US Constitution which was proposed in
1810 but which never worked its way around the country's state legislatures,
since it would have thus been incorporated as a black and white codification of
the very American urge to be people instead of positions of
Obviously, this kind of dangerous thinking could not be allowed, since it would
tear down the American aristocracy which was just trying to get legs under it
and which was up and walking by the time president Jackson was having his Bank
of the United States crisis.
Though never ratified, the text which was sent to the states went as follows:
citizen of the
United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain,
title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the
consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension,
office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor,
king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be
a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of
holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either
Thus, we would instantly be freed of having recipients of foreign nobility
retaining their rights to American citizenship, and we might even see government
officials who hold foreign passports have to rethink which country they are
One has to wonder how much foreign dash (pronounced "dausch" in Russian, roughly
meaning 'grease') former public officials accumulated (gifts) once they've
left office. Under this proposed Amendment, it wouldn't matter, they'd
immediately become subjects of the foreign government involved.
Unfortunately, this brings with it a whole set of other problems, not the
least of which is the IRS would lose its 10-year tax liability window which they
insist on after a person renounces or changes citizenship. wouldn't be
able to have it both ways.
I'm afraid I've gotten a bit off track. Surprise. This was just
going to be a pointer to read the story over at Alter-Net under the heading
"America's Largest Newspaper Launches a Nasty Attack on Grandma and Grandpa
The Rupert Murdoch-owned, right-wing Wall Street Journal is lying, plain and
Times have improved since the days of Yellow Journalism. But not by much.
Inquiring Minds Department
Reader brings up an interesting thought:
"On the Simpsons episode "To
Surveil with Love" There was a section I was drawn to and wanted to
really see. It is what the people at the table are doing or look like when
the bomb is planted in the Duff bag. I painstakingly tried to stop on the
exact second but when you slow the video feed down the 9:05 second is blank
between frames understandable but the 9:06 second is deleted no other second
is deleted this way. It has been removed from being able to stop on it and
see that picture frame as a stand still. Yet you can see it during the
watching of the whole thing. I thought it was unusual. ?? May 2011 makes
more sense.. Im sure you noticed that it was a train station. The artists
purposely took strategic effort to back out from the bomb over the train
tracks. These last weeks we all learned that "Osama" was planning on trying
to bomb train stations. Was leaking that info a bit of info a strategic
move? Don't know? and I am pretty sure I don't want to care or email you
about it but I am. Can't even begin to figure why I was drawn to the one
second that cannot be stopped on, but I was.
Casera sera whatever will be will be.
I don't expect to hear from you but I have no
one else to share this with so it may go into your pile of I don't give a
damn but at least its off my chest. I feel compelled to tell someone the
worthless crap the universe keeps dishing, out to me. Sorry this had to be
you this time. Sometimes its you and sometimes its David Nabhan. Still can't
figure out why..... damned collective. I would be sad though I think if they
stopped connecting with me. Even if I am left with the thoughts alone.
People don't want to know and don't care and heaven forbid you say you were
drawn to information by a collective of conscious thought. Damn religious
people they are the most skeptical, they have all become Romans.
I really liked your blog today May 12 you were
able to fit a lot of key words into the first sentence..even if it was a run
on ;) I always think the first sentence to blogs are funny because of search
engines key words. I try to read them in one breath out loud, makes me laugh
every time. Dorky I know but its the small things that keep me sane. Like
learning Finnish for no apparent reason. That is that I know of.
Onnea... Mr. Ure
Assuming you know "onnea" is Finnish for "good luck!" we'll just skip over the
idea that the CIA uses the Simpsons as messages for its field crews and jump
down to the denial that anything I ever write on my site is influenced by
keyword use in the first sentence.
Would be interesting to see the missing frame, though...
Since we're heading East next week (if Tennessee can be considered east
and maybe that is a stretch), Elaine started per trip preps yesterday with a
mandatory shopping trip to pick up 'a few things'.
Since she's one of about 27 women in the world who can still wear the same size
clothes she wore in high school back before the turn of the century, I didn't
see the point, but then I wear jeans with holes in them and dress somewhere
between street-person and car wash attendant.
But she came home famished and declared "I'm hungry..."
Taking the hint - since I was too - I whipped up a quick shrimp curry which was
You start by boiling a couple of cups of water for the rice. When that
comes to a boil, you add a cup of rice, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes, and
while that's going on, get to work on the next part.
2 - 3 tablespoons of butter go into a metal pan
1-1½ tablespoons of flour is gently browned in
Then you pour in half a cup of half & half while
whisking for all you're worth.
Then you put in milk until the whole white sauce is
about the consistency of a medium creamed soup when brought to a slow boil while
continuing to beat it senseless.
Then you shake in enough curry powder till it's all
the color of (pardon this) baby poo...a color real parents never forget.
After this go a few handfuls of raisins, some
shakes of Cayenne pepper, dash of sugar and some more pepper.
By now the rice has overflowed onto the stove and
is starting to burn. This is normal. When the wife mentions the
smoke, you hold up the glass cookstove razor/scraper and confidently announce
"Got it covered..." The look of competence is what you've after
Eventually the curry will have started to burn, too. so you quickly toss
in a cup and a half of rinsed small shrimp. Plate at once and serve with a
good slug of Italian vitamins.
Strategy is important and the key thing here is this: Talk about something
other than food. The idea is to keep the other person talking until
the food sort of naturally comes up in conversation.
"My tongue is starting to burn...how much Cayenne pepper did you add?" is
how our conversation worked out last night. "Oh, just a tiny bit..."
Again, the look is what's key here. Gotta be convincing.
Since I noticed, too, that someone had tipped a bit heavy on the Cayenne, I made
up a few distraction remarks like "Hey! Look at the cat, quick!"
"I don't see the cat, what are you talking about?"
"Thought I saw her out of the corner of my eye getting ready to scratch the
furniture..." But of course while the missus was looking down toward the
far end of the house, I'd been able to wipe the beads of sweat which were
running down my forehead away and she was none the wiser.
I've had various successes and failures with curries. Some caramelized onions
are good as an add-on, as are mushrooms, chicken, white fish, and even some
veggies. Not fond of beef, and don't do lamb although some people claim
lamb curry is excellent. Which it is, if you like eating curry-flavored
One cautionary note: Be prepared for horrible 'morning breath' the next day;
this isn't something to be tried when you're low on Listerine. And don't offer
your spouse/significant one any other meal option.
My soon-to-be patented axiom: "Matching Food = Matching Breath" holds only
partly true for curry. Theory behind it is that since all bodies are
roughly the same (food cookers that extract energy) if you and the SO eat
exactly the same thing, your breath ought to match up over time.
When you're going to be sitting in a car for several days with someone, it's
important to curry
their favor to ensure a pleasant trip. Being a bit dyslexic, I figured
flavoring curry would be close enough.
Send Ure comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Last week's report is
Thursday May 12, 2011
Easy Money, Shooting Fish, Etc...
Professor Ure walks up to the white board at the front of his Econ 605 class
which he snuck into after clubbing the real professor, who was laden down by the
initials he had to drag around after his name, tossed him into a broom closet,
and stole his robe of holy academia with the intent of really educating
young students in the blood sport of money in the practical workings of greed.
"First thing this morning is we're going to review how much of a Euro the US
dollar would buy on May 4th from this chart here," he began earnestly.
"0.6743?" came a jittery replay.
"Exactly. Let's memorize hold that in short term memory [stm] for a while.
Now, has anyone looked at the
Dollars to buy a Euro on this page this morning?"
A small gasp from students as they noted the results: "Oh my God! 0.7070
when class started!" This was getting to be fun.
"Now, we divide the 0.7.70 by the 0.6743 and what to we get?"
A hand went up toward the back: "Bad writing?"
"No, you idiot! We get a 4.85% current move UP by the dollar. And you know
what this does to gold and silver? Trashes them. But we don't care
about that, since the government always prints more money than it needs, so
what's the answer to "Where is the stock market going today?"
By now, most of the class had dozed off. Bad as the real professor was, he
at least tossed in enough differential equations to keep the bright students
awake. However this stand-in was boring as could be.
"We can take the May 4th closing Dow and estimate that the Dollar move
should cause a 4.85 percent decline in the Dow. Since it says here that the
May 4tsh close
was 12,723.58, where would a 4.85% decline place the Dow?"
One of the math jocks woke up from his snooze long to mumble "Dow
12,135, S&P 1285, NASDOG Composted of 2,697. We're NOT idiots Professor
"Ah, there you're wrong," the stand-in said, raising his voice. "You ARE
idiots because you're studying to be ECONOMISTS!"
At that moment, campus police and a battered professor, still weighted down by
the long striking of initials he was dragging around - CPA, CFP, PhD and
some others - stormed into the room accompanied by Campus Police and the
stand-in was promptly handcuffed and led off to a meeting with the Department of
"Real Professor, is he right? Is this what causes minicrashes?"
wondered the cute girl in the fourth row.
"No, of course not! Who in their right mind would look at such foolishness
and expect a 200 point or greater decline in the Dow today?"
Who, in their right mind, indeed.
As Goes World
Still, the headlines are crossing now that "World
share dragged down by Wall Street fall" which around here (after I paid off
the campus police) I penciled out with Robin Landry's help, might mean - if the
12,000 level is tested) a drop to 11,800 - or in there - which, if it happens
would set up a test of 11,000, then 10,000, and if we puncture 9,500 on the Dow
means we're all going back to the economic Stone Age. Which is why Robin's
got his clients out of long positions recently and why I'm still sitting on my (slightly
soiled) shorts...er...so to speak.
Pee Pee Aye
Producer Price Index gobbledygook is hot off the BLS website this morning:
The Producer Price
Index for finished goods rose 0.8 percent in April, seasonally adjusted, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This advance followed
increases of 0.7 percent in March and 1.6 percent in February. At the
earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of
intermediate goods climbed 1.3 percent in April, and the crude goods index
rose 4.0 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods moved up
6.8 percent for the 12 months ended April 2011, the largest year-over-year
gain since an 8.8-percent increase in September 2008.
Shoot, that ain't nothin - why it's only a 10 PERCENT ANNUALIZED INFLATION RATE
IN THE WINGS. Gotta get hold of myself. Besides, energy is only
going up at a 30 PERCENT ANNUAL RATE. Whew, where's my meds?
Weakly job numbers are out, too:
the week ending May 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted
initial claims was 434,000, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week's
revised figure of 478,000. The 4-week moving average was 436,750, an
increase of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average of 432,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured
unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending April 30, unchanged
from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.0 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted
insured unemployment during the week ending April 30 was 3,756,000, an
increase of 5,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,751,000. The
4-week moving average was 3,718,500, an increase of 13,250 from the
preceding week's revised average of 3,705,250. "
As I've said before, these rates would be higher, except the country has run out
of working people to lay off.
Hip Deep & Rising
The plan we have to take a drive up toward Tennessee next week may turn
into a weather-dependent decision:
Waters are still rising in the Mississippi River valley, although the water is
slowly working its way south. We don't have a boat on a trailer to
drag along just in case, but the thought crosses my mind.
Our storms from Texas head east today but not after
some spectacular lightning/transformer explosions were caught on video up in
How to Dig a Hole
When you look at the latest (April) Treasury read of the budget, why the
dollar would be strengthening seems like a pharmaceutical question:
Individual incomes taxes for
the month were around $155.561 billion and corporate income taxes were
$$25 billion plus or minus a cheeseburger. Which just shows to go you
what passing around dough in Washington will buy yah, huh?
Shake & Quake
While it wasn't a particularly big quake, at least by Chilean, Haitian,
or Japanese standards, the quake in Spain yesterday caught a lot of people
off-guard. A reader there sends this:
Dear Mr. Ure Just to report the today's quake
here in Spain in the city of Lorca, Murcia region, in the Mediterranean
Coast. By now, at least 3 people are reported dead. a lot of confusion, (we
are not used at all of this kind of events). Buildings cracked, cars smashed
and bells from churches lying on the the streets. According to Tv news a lot
of confusion and panic. Cell phone system down in he area. Hope my "broken.English",
is enough to get the first picture.
Anyway, my little contribution to your excellent
work. Keep on! I'm following urbansurvival since 1998! Best Regards
[a reader in]
Reader's right about the death toll - which at latest check this morning -
was up to eight. Other reports have it that at least ten were
dead, but whether that means two people have 'gone Lazarus', or the Spanish
aren't too good at counting when debris is still falling on 'em is an open
question due further research.
On t'other hand, there's this late Italian dude,
Raffaele Bendandi whose method/ideas from looking at Earth-Moon-Sun
relationships had caused worries in Rome in recent days. Is this
theory proving out?
Not sure what to make of the small version of the induction magnetometer up at
HAARP this morning. I waited for more than an hour for the full-sized
image to load but their server must be slammed. Still, the picture looked
unusual, which may mean Earth is getting more of that 'energy from space" which
under the expanding Earth core theory may set off more BIG quaking in a day or
Texas Spending, National Politicking
While I await the soon-come regurgitation of the Trans-Texas Corridor, all part
of the corporate urge to displace American trucks with cheaper to operate
Mexican trucks, along with the CANAMEX highway project, we see
geniuses in Austin are planning to spend $2-million to take pictures of school
But, what can I say about a state that considers funding of
a Formula One auto racing scheme to the tune of $250 million over 10 years while
laying off teachers?
Still, my colleague Howard Hill who often calls to have me explain to him "Why
is Texas doing [this or that]?" has found another state which may
give the republicorps here a run for their money:
Check this out.... Bobby Jindal, sitting just a
few hundred miles east of you, has a much better way to raid the taxpayer
Turns out something is being run by government
correctly in Louisiana -- the state health insurance system. It covers
current and former employees, and has over half a billion in cash reserves.
The idea, rather than just taking the $500 million (that wouldn't be very
creative, would it?) is to sell the health insurance to a private company,
and take $150 million for the sale. Then they'll get to keep paying the
private company forever, and get zippo for the existing reserve. Nice.
Of course I only take Howard half-serious on this stuff, instead looking at
these kinds of things are indicators of what's ahead in national politics.
Obviously, Jindal's got plans to move up the food chain (or would that be
down?...hmmm...) and everyone east of the Pecos knows Ric Perry is itching for
something bigger, although I don't think my suggestion of Alaska will be heeded.
Why if there was an EFT on both of these fellers, I figure it'd be on a moonshot
trajectory in here. Unfortunately, not being a corporation, I'll never
hear from either one of 'em...
Speaking of high office, the announcement yesterday that
Newt Gingrich was running for the White House is about as surprising at gravity.
Except, unlike gravity, Newt has to run uphill. Matt Taibbi's take
over at Rolling Stone was "Welcome
to the Freak Show" the republicorps are fielding sounds about right.
If you're a legal-minded sort, I suppose I could ask you this: Since the
Treasury Auctions on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week will take the US over
the Federal Debt Ceiling, is there anyone around who can, oh, you know,
arrest the whole Washington cabal and get us people who have common sense?
The Washington Post notes that the
Obama administration is "urging senate democrats to remain open to debt-ceiling
To the Chief Cynic this looks like Mr. "Change" artist is trying to set up the
same kind of outcome from Washington that we always get: Each side getting
just enough 'skin in the game' so they can blame the other side when things
don't work out right...which they never do.
Defenders of the paradigm call this the 'magic of negotiations' or other
trite phrases like "How democracy works." There's another term
which seems much more descriptive when you look into it:
Evolving corporate feudalism.
Coping: With Noisy Ham Bands
Several people sent in a video which is making its round about the 'net
suggesting that HAARP was going full-tilt and that ham radio operators are
experiencing all kinds of problems with high static levels..."
Well, no, actually. The bands were in fair condition yesterday and
although hams are always griping about static and noise levels, there was one
frequently cited source on the internet which to my ear sounded as though
someone had lost an antenna connection, more than anything.
This was a software-defined radio site where you could 'tune the bands' online
and it seemed like it was confirming the video. But no, on a little
tuning, there wasn't even a signal on the AM broadcast band. So as a
reality check, that is NOT HAARP related.
On the other hand, what is typical is that when we get a bunch of
thunderstorms firing off over the western part of Texas that then roll eastward
(We're done with em and pleased to pass them on) yes, there is often a higher
noise floor due to an increase in lightning.
But was it the 'end of the world" due to HAARP? Not any more than stubbing
my toe is an indication of coming calamity. Sorry.
Still, a look at the HAARP Induction Magnetometer this morning was just wild:
All of which means our usual "this will be a normal day" chits are not being
passed out because of both magnetometer and dollar index charts. If you're
neighborhood experiences either financial or earthquakes today, it
wouldn't be out of the question.
Thursday at the
Say, here's an interesting dream from last night: I had a dream where (for
some reason) people were trying to steal my computer. Which would be an
interesting trick, since my office has four computers and (lemme
count...) seven monitors in it, not counting a laptop, dispersed storage and
But the point of the dream was that all computer theft (99% of it anyway) could
be halted if people just put in really long mixed case, odd ASCII character
No, I have no idea why I would have that kind of a dream, except I put a new
computer in for the ham radio gear Wednesday to work faster in the digital modes
which provide chat and picture sending/receiving without the phone company or
internet being involved.
Say, if you happen to get an email from
email@example.com and it has something to do with a Russia hardcore porn site,
it's not from me. People who are scammers and fraudsters often pick up an
email at random off the net (like mine) and then use it for nefarious purposes.
Curious though, so I thought I'd mention it. Looks like my email server
for that account maybe has been hacked or something...since I can't even change
my password on their system...
Wednesday May 11, 2011
Luci Daze: Quakes, Floods, and the Simpsons
I've had a surprising amount of email suggesting this is a key day for
luciferian types; 5/11/11 supposedly has some magick/numerological significance.
About the only thing I can think of it maybe if the earthquakes in the Loyalty
Islands could be tied in - where they're had one devil of a time with
what are now 16 quakes in the past 24-hours including the largest at 6.8 -
then maybe I'd buy into it.
People up Tennessee way are having a hell of a time with the Mississippi River
which is right up to limits and in some places beyond.
From a linguistics standpoint, today is a bit curious: The
'adjective du jour' is the word bulging which has suddenly become the
word editors and writers are compulsively tacking into their stories on the
river's wanderings. Examples are
Not exactly satanic, just what rivers do when they move slowly downhill toward
the Gulf of Mexico. Which, by the way, we're told by well-informed readers
may cause some problems if the Army Corp of Engineers opens the Morganza
spillway and other's to relieve water pressure. Reason? Some of the
water would head down the almost unspellable (and unpronounceable) waterway (The
Atchafalaya Basin ) where it could damage the oster beds - which survived the
But while some of the shellfish elsewhere in the brackish waters would likely
flee to the higher salinity Gulf, the
residents of New Orleans would likely justy as soon the spillways are opened,
since if they're not, the NOLA residents will undergo another flood.
We incorrectly noted the spillway as not having been opened for 50-years, but a
more detailed records check finds it was opened in the spring of 1974 for high
Still, hardly the mark of luciferians - just what water does in seeking its own
On the other hand, this morning is when we get to 5:11 which some are holding
will be when a domestic terrorism attack happens - since in a Simpsons' episode
done 6-months before 9/11 the date 9/11 figured into the show and in
addition, the town clock
which shows up at the 08: second mark in this YouTube video, clearly shows 5:55
- meaning the hands are on the 5 and the 11...and sure enough that's today.
About the closest thing to a story of luciferian interest might be some
new science emerging about how sulfur dioxide and water mix at high levels of
the atmosphere, but that's far crime from the 'brimstone' kind of reaction
which would be more appealing to the high temperature reptilian types.
Delving deeper into the news search
engines, nothing particularly out of the ordinary for
devil hits this morning; the usual tie-up with religious this-n-that's,
product liability and taxes, which come to think of it are a kind of terrorism
all their own.
So while talk is hyped around the net that today
has some kind ofr 'special' meaning to it, I'm stuck in Cynical George Mode
awaiting a 9.2 (or larger) quake, another round of Mississippi flooding, or a
false flag attack on some of America's key infrastructure.
But if none of these shows up today, I'll have to
conclude that the much-hyped talk about May 11, 2011 being of key importance to
luciferian types is way over-hyped and nonsensical...
Still can't be too careful;. Wonder if holy
water makes good coffee?
How to Take the News
I'm never sure how to take a story about
commodities, since they are mucxh less regulated in what people say, and thus it
takes a higher level of discernment to figure out what the hell is going on.
Take for example this morning there's a CNBC piece
"Jim Rogers Says May Short US
Treasuries." That would imply that Rogers thinks the price of
treasuries will be coming down - and that further means that treasuries would
be hurt by rising interest rates..
But wait! Any damn fool (I play this part)
can see by looking at the long-term decline of the
US Dollar versus the Euro - chart here - that the Dollar actually seems to
have broken about a one-year long down trend.
Lookie here: IF the dollar is reversing
course and is breaking the downtrend, then the dollar will strengthen,
which means it would be gaining value and thus would not need to pay as high an
So what is brother Rogers up to? He said
may but these commodity guys, you gotten keep an eye on. They
sometimes m(not saying it's the case here, just sometimes) they do things
like make pronouncements about the direction of something and do exactly the
So the interesting question to ponder is this:
"Is Rogers really going to short treasuries, OR is he really going
long treasuries and just working the market a bit?"
I outlined an interesting series of calculations on
gold and silver prices in last weekend's Peoplenomics report. And talk
like Rogers' isn't gonna 'hurt the cause' (which is to make money) since selling
treasuries would imply a high inflation expectation and that would be great for
Except of course - if he's saying one thing, but
really may do t'other.
Makes blackjack and roulette look positively
rational in comparison to commodity trading, doesn't it. The one thing to
take with this kind of news story is aspirin; your head's bound to hurt when you
try to out-fox the big guys.
Gold's Glittery Future
Human Events has an interesting interview with
Steve Forbes in which
he's predicting a return to the gold standard within 5-years.
What the article doesn't get into - but which ought
to be a matter of some conjecture, is that if government does that, would they
also confiscate gold and silver like they did in the Great Depression?
It'd make a good follow-up.
Balance of Trade - April
Hot off the .PDF:
Goods and Services
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the
Department of Commerce, announced today that total March exports of $172.7
billion and imports of $220.8 billion resulted in a goods and services
deficit of $48.2 billion, up from $45.4 billion in February, revised. March
exports were $7.7 billion more than February exports of $165.0 billion.
March imports were $10.4 billion more than February imports of $210.4
In March, the goods deficit increased $3.0 billion from February to $62.1
billion, and the services surplus increased $0.3 billion to $13.9 billion.
Exports of goods increased $7.1 billion to $124.9 billion, and imports of
goods increased $10.1 billion to $187.0 billion. Exports of services
increased $0.5 billion to $47.7 billion, and imports of services increased
$0.3 billion to $33.8 billion.
The goods and services deficit increased $8.7 billion from March 2010 to
March 2011. Exports were up $22.4 billion, or 14.9 percent, and imports were
up $31.1 billion, or 16.4 percent.
Goods (Census Basis)
The February to March increase in exports of goods reflected increases in
industrial supplies and materials ($2.5 billion); automotive vehicles,
parts, and engines ($1.6 billion); capital goods ($1.0 billion); other goods
($0.8 billion); consumer goods ($0.7 billion); and foods, feeds, and
beverages ($0.6 billion).
The February to March increase in imports of goods reflected increases in
industrial supplies and materials ($7.7 billion); automotive vehicles,
parts, and engines ($2.1 billion); capital goods ($1.6 billion); and other
goods ($0.6 billion). A decrease occurred in consumer goods ($2.0 billion).
Foods, feeds, and beverages were virtually unchanged.
Say "Cheese!" (here's a picture):
The trade surplus with Japan was up to $6.1 billion and we imported $32.2
billion of high tech/advanced technology goods while exporting only $25.3
billion. Which shows to go you that America isn't what it used to be.
Once upon a time in our Youth we actually were the leader in high tech.
Can't Trust Government Department
Say, remember years back I told you to be very, very wary of government promises
that 401k's and such would not be taxed since government doesn't keep promises
very well - at least over the long term?
Well check out what's going on
in Ireland where the government is looking at ways to raid private pensions
in order to pay for spending.
I'll just step out on a limb and predict it's only a matter of time till that
kind of thinking comes here, too. Pass the Bushmill's, wouldja?
Speaking of government, power, grabs and such:
Here's an article about how an Illinois lawmaker is tossing around the idea that
parents who raise overweight kids should pay higher taxes.
I haven't had a great fondness for Illinois
politicans, especially here recently, so maybe this just continues a trend.
Coping: With M.C. Escher
Not very often we talk about art around here. Perhaps because nature is
its own best critic and when it paints a beautiful sky, it quickly becomes bored
and replaces it with another view. Or, if there's a find stand of trees,
it's only a matter of time until nature touches off a forest fire and
that gets the whole cycle going again.
think if I had to pick a second favorite artist it would be Maurits
Cornelis Escher, who passed away in 1972 after pioneering a style of art
which is pleasingly mind-bending.
The picture he did in 1948 called "Drawing Hands" captures the kind of mental
"It can't be so!" that stills the mind which (at least for me) finds a
fascination with looking into it.
Oh sure, the hidden door in our house, and discretely obscured other attributes
are interesting - fun from a carpentry standpoint - but not truly mind
expanding like the works of M.C. Escher.
If you get a chance, and you happen to be in Ohio for the HUGE ham radio
convention (May 20th) (The Dayton
Hamvention), it's about a 3-hour (197 mile) drive from Dayton to
the Akron Art Museum where the Escher Show will be on until June 5th.
Elaine and I head out on a road trip next week, so my columns will be happening
from 'on the road' - which should be interesting since we'll be going through
some of the recently flooded areas and I expect to be able to show you some of
the damage and recovery efforts first-hand. The business purpose of our
trip is to be in Oak Ridge, TN on Thursday the 19th to have my right eye looked
at by a renown radial keratotomy whiz since while the left eye is 20:15, the
best the right corrects to is 20:60 and I'd like it a little sharper, thanks.
The trip's timing is only coincidentally close to Hamvention time. I can get a
lot of things past Elaine, but sitting in a car for another 5-hours so I can
find more ham gear is close enough to an impossible sale, as to not be
And that means the excursion to
Akron is definitely out, but that's OK because I have a Google images search of
his other works here.
Particularly good is this instructional video on
"How to Draw MC Escher's Impossible Cube." I've been studying this for
a while, since most of my sketches of things around the ranch (like the new
carport/truckport seem to come out looking strangely Escher-esque.
I haven't given up on Dayton yet. I'm just running a little low on how to
convince Elaine that there'd be more to be gained from wandering the swap meet
tables than there would be coming back through Nashville and going to a show
there and maybe in Branson.
If you do go to Dayton and do find a good condition
Hallicrafters HT-33 linear
amplifier to go with my HT-32 transmitter and SX-101 (Mk 3) receiver, let me
Wednesday at the WuJo
Nature's Art Lessons, Redux
Once again this morning I'm blessed with the I-Ching Inbox phenomena.
If you're not familiar with how this works, it goes something like this:
George writes a story about art/MC Escher, like the piece just before this one.
Then, while I'm writing that story, a huge synch-wink from Universe
shows up as something I've been writing resonates with the Great River of Life
which we're all floating down.
It shows up in my inbox today as this:
"Good Morning George,
I wanted to send you this picture to see if you
can assist me in figuring it out. At first it looked like a rainbow, but
when I really starting looking, I ran in the house and grabbed the camera
and camcorder. The camera is a Canon 40D. It was shot on this past Saturday.
Any help would be helpful. Thanks and keep up the good work.
He's also got HD Video of it shot with a Sony XR520. Almost looks like one
of the backgrounds that religious publishers and greeting card outfits cobble
up. I can share the fellow's contact info with you, if you have a serious
way to monetize this ;-) The horizontal version would make a great
screensaver, if I wasn't so attached to plain black - which keeps me focused and
Not sure how long it lasted, but the effect is wonderful. But, like I said
earlier, if you drive to Country Club Hills, IL, I'm sure/certain nature
will have scrubbed it by now and put up something else.
The picture does lead to an interesting bit of speculation: While we lil'
humans think ourselves an advanced species because we can make up
screensavers, is it possible that scenes like this are around
all the time as proof that Universe operates at a larger scale.
I mean what if this is a skysaver?
My friend Howard Hill - who I'm co-authoring a fun economics book with
(if fun and economics can be corralled that close to fun) sent me a note
after reading this Farhad Manjoo piece in Slate about people (like me)
who put two spaces after a period.
Manjoo's rant gets into typesetting minutia as he explains "Why
you should never, ever use two spaces after a period."
Howard's accompanying note sounded as though he wasn't convinced:
"...need you to look something up in the Chicago Manual of Style.
you thought it was forever going to serve as a doorstop. Now's your
Sure enough, my 16th Edition of the CMOS (not to be confused with complimentary
metal-oxide semiconductors) says Manjoo is right, except that whether there's
one space, or two, after a sentence doesn't make a huge difference IMHO.
The way I look at it, the double space after - which has been hard-coded in me
down at the hardware level - gives a persoin a little more time to think about
what I just said. Before slamming them in the eyes with the next thought.
My counter to Manjoo's view is that the very word "style" means a matter of
doing something. My part of my brain/wetware that deals with spaces
after periods was "flashed" in 1962 (or was it 1963?) when I was trained to type
in Seattle Public Schools.
If someone can give me a reason to invest the time & energy in 're-flashing' to
get down to this single space after stuff, and by this I mean an economic
reason, I'm not going to screw with it.
And for the book? I'll just do a search & replace to change every ^s^s to
a ^s and call it good.
But Howard was right about one thing: the CMOS had been doing a fine job of
door-holding. Since he pointed this out, I've decided to go back to
putting it under my pillow at night to see if I can learn anything further about
writing that way.
Since we started off this morning discussing Luci Daze, the reason I'm no
more fearful than any other morning is that I have tentatively concluded Hell is
currently leaderless. The Devil has long ago moved into state
legislatures, congress, law schools, and punctuation rule books.
If you don't mind hot weather, and only a bit more sulfur smell than catalytic
converters put off, there might be a job opening There. Enough Americans
have been out of work long enough to make some consider it, I'm sure.
Tuesday May 10, 2011
Floods and Food
Since I try to be a somewhat well-informed writer, I get all kinds of
interesting reports and among Monday's was the USDA CropProgress update.
In it, we can see the impact of flooding in the nation's breadbasket in spades.
Take cotton: So far this season that's not looking too bad. The
2006-2010 average was 33% planted by this time, and this year it's only 26%.
Not a disaster. But, you can't eat cotton.
Corn's a little different. The national average planted by this time
(2006-2010 in all these, right?) was 59%. Instead, we have only 40% in and
some states, like Michigan are only 8% planted compared with 49% historically.
Iowa is right on track, but Indiana? 4% planted compared with a 49%
Worse, in the survey of 18 corn producing states, only 7% of the crop has
emerged (sprouted, eh?) versus a 21% average.
Soybeans are 7% planted instead of the usual 17%.
Sorghum and peanuts are doing fine, but sugarbeets? Another disaster
lurking: Only 33% planted versus 77% in more normal times.
Spring wheat planting is behind, too: 22% in compared with the five year
average 61% in the ground by now. And of that, only 6% has emerged with a
25% average for five years.
Oats are down some, but more important with beer season fast approaching, barley
is running at half-speed.
I mention this now so you can keep an eye on headlines that related food
to turmoil and inflation. For example, here's a report that
"Egypt's annual inflation rate climbs past 12 percent on surging food prices."
Here's another one: "Tyson
warns on rising food costs."
people in Alabama will start to receive federal food assistance in the wake of
the storms a week, or so, back.
Not too much can be done about
the flood waters in the Mississippi River Valley, which crested at just under
48-feet in Memphis and are now working their way south toward Mississippi
and Louisiana, except watch and see how much impact it has on crops as it works
down to the Gulf.
Floods Push Merging With Canada?
A rather astute reader of ours, up in the Winnipeg area sent along this
interesting take on recent flooding up there:
Dear Mr. Ure,
Flood escalation worries in Manitoba have prompted assistance from the
Force West Group. It is an interesting opportunity to observe the
blending of civilian and military emergency response activities. One could
imagine successful operations contributing towards a favourable reception of
Why, I'm so old, I remember when this kind of thing fell to State National
Guards. But I suppose with almost all available in the sandbox/oilpen,
this all makes sense to someone.
Speaking of the new North American Government (you remember voting for that,
right?): You see where the US is planning to expand the Laredo truck
crossing so as to put
even more Mexican OTR gear on US roads?
And if you thought someone had driven a silver stake through the CANAMEX Highway
scheme, guess again. Offishuldumb was
out selling it last week in the hinterlands of Arizona.
I never cease to be amazed as the limited thought power of "offishuls" when it
comes to least-cost labor promoters who want to bring in more and
more truckloads of foreign goods when domestic unemployment is going back up
Calling Out the Republicorps
We can't help but notice that
Texas is about to hand over more long-term operating leases of public highways
as toll roads for often foreign companies.
So the public pays for something - and then keeps paying for it forever.
That's a pantload of fresh & steamy, if you were to ask me. And, sure as
day follows night, I expect the Trans-Texas Corridor scheme to resurface, too.
Politicians as a class, have none, and are deaf to boot.
Then we see where the
republicorps have pushed through a right-wing plan to make sure the "loser pays"
so that people will be effectively priced out of suing corporations.
Unless you happen to be a multimillionaire.
And, as if that's not enough,
Florida is planning to cut unemployment benefits in order to pay for
additional corporate tax breaks.
The trend which the corpgov/republicorps types seem to have cobbled up (not
without Big Bux help to be sure) is this: End federal contributions to
unemployment and instead move to more of a block grant approach,
which will leave it up to States how to spend the money.
Add some slimy lobbyists to convince enough people in State Legislatures to go
along with the hoodwinking, the corps would get money for pet projects as long
as they can paint it up with the job-creation lipstick heavily enough. The
people who need money to eat? They be get damned, starved, and turned out,
but that's what wage-serfs are for, anyway. Screw 'em.
Magic Words: The rabid right continues to sell mindless
acceptance of the notion that the Obama administration as helplessly
socialist. The rabid's handlers just know that word -
socialist - pulls on a certain mindset. And, in truth, some of them
But what people are blind to is when the rabid right sells out the role
of government as in U.I. money and tries to take projects already paid for
with public money and turn it over to the private sector - that's raw,
You seeing a trend here? Look really hard at both sides -
republicorps and democorps are at the trough and that means there's not room
left for you and me.
There is no right or left. Just thems that have and you and me.
Divine Rights of Capitalists and all that crap.
Somewhere Past Sticks & Stones
The UK Guardian reports a
UK court has given a UK hedge fund operator the green light to seek names of web
posters from Wikipedia and Wordpress. However, whether the US
companies will comply with a foreign court order is another thing.
Should be interesting to watch.
Although the fellow's apparently going down the 'defamation' trail, not sure how
far this would get, since "public figures" generally have a hard time
suing over personal attacks here in the land where we don't have to stand
on a soapbox to speak our minds.
the trade gap with China is almost up to $12-billion a month with $11.43 billion
So let's see, here: Gap is up, that means it should bring the dollar down,
and with the dollar down, er, gold and silver should go up along with the
markets today. Yeah...that oughta do it.
Quakes & Shakes
Well, nothing big going on in the New Madrid or Pacific Northwest on the quake
front, but a tsunami warning was issued - then canceled for what was first
reported as a 7.1 but
downgraded to an 6.8 in the Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific overnight.
Plus, there's been
a good-sized swarm in Puerto Rico, too. Say anything
about that 2.6 in
Western Montana and I'll slap you. No, Yellowstone is not going off,
Microsoft : The Phone Company?
I assume you're tracking the MSFT plan to buy Skype? Here I came up
with a really good name for the resulting company, but turns out it was used:
MicroPhones. Oh well...
There Goes the Homework
Speaking of which: Don't know about you, but Wikipedia was sure slow this
morning - as though they might be having server issues, or some such.
Have to wonder if we've come to an Age where "dog ate my homework"
excuses heard by teachers are being replaced with "Sorry, no homework because
our broadband was down last night and I couldn't get online..."
Still, a good read on how well (or not) Wikipedia does may be found if you have
195-pages worth of free time to absorb
"Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader".
Shorter - but important for marketing geeks like moi, is the Eloqua
Guide to Wikipedia". 10-pagesI can find time for, especially if
it helps clients.
Coping: With an Ecuadorian Escape
I mentioned a few days back our thinking over (again) the idea of moving to a
new part of the world. Part for adventure, part to put the intertropical
convergence zone between us and continuing Japanese radiation, and partly
because we hold that if you're not going, you're dying.
I have not spent much time in Ecuador. A 45-minute stopover on a flight
from Panama to Lima back in the mid 1980's and about 45-more minutes at
Guayaquil out in the Amazon (the jungle, not the book-peddlers) on the return
trip. And the maps of the place looked good. Mountains, ocean,
Amazon, what's not to be loved?
My brother-in-law - Panama Bates, being ex-SF and doing...er....let's not go
there in S.A. for 10-years, or so, advised against it. They don't take
kindly to Americans was the gist of it.
On the other hand, we have a regular reader (& family) who seem to love it - and
maybe we can solicit input from them.
But in the meantime, a reader who's semi-retired back in the States sent us a
sundown of his experiences which I thought you'd find interesting.
Regular reader here with irregular ideas that
put me in the PI [politically incorrect] grouping.
My wife and I lived in Guayaquil, Ecuador 1992
and 1993. Bought a 4 wheel drive Isuzu Trooper and drove it 22,000 miles
throughout the country. We made two trips via road from Guayaquil to Quito
and then east some 150 miles to Agri Lagria. That's out in the area where
the oil fields are that straddle the border with Columbia. We traveled the
country south to very near the Peru border and North up the coast to near
the end of the country. So we saw most of Ecuador from the ground up. Stayed
in local hotels many places. Traveled with no reservations mostly and found
our own places to stay. That's another whole story.
We also took a weeks trip on the Flotilla. A
boat on a major branch of the Amazon that is two decks high and some 125
feet long. Did day trips in small canoes, visited real native tribes in the
forest. And most interesting to me....I swam in a river within a few feet of
where passengers were catching Parhina fish out of the water. They said, the
natives, it is OK the fish will not bother you. When they went in the water
I could not resist doing this also. Swimming in a blackwater creek off of
this major river branch of the Amazon. Wow!
The intermountain areas of Ecuador stay at a
mild temperature range of 60 to 85 degrees year round. At about 6,000 to
8,000 feet there are many nice towns to choose from.
I would agree that moving there would be good.
BUT ONLY during times of political and economic stability. That is not the
case now in Ecuador.
It was stable when we were there and nice. We
traveled to many areas that the locals who had been born there said we never
go to. They said, it is unsafe. We found these areas completely friendly and
safe. This was the FEAR factor in play. Today I would not attempt to
duplicate what we did in 92/93.
Of course I was packing a S&W 38 police special.
But the locals did not know that. It was illegal for me to have the gun. I
bought it on the black-market from another American for $500, gun, holster
and one box of shells. Sold it when we left for 16,000,000 Sucres. About
$600 in conversion.
I was a science teacher at the
[deleted/identifiable] School in Guayaquil. My observation of the geology of
the Andes is this. Most of the lower level mountains from sea level up to
9,000 feet that we could see are unconsolidated material. With much rainfall
the sides of the mountains give way and slide. We saw some recent slides
from past years that had taken out several miles of switch backs on the Pan
American highway. The real road was not replaced with asphalt but only a
gravel road of rough dimensions with no drainage. Leaving pools of water to
negotiate with unknown depths and size of rocks underwater. This is
important because if the means to re-establish destroyed roads is not
present you could get yourself isolated in an intermountain town with no way
Often asphalt roads are cracked and potholed.
Potholes can be 6" to 3 feet across and several feet deep. Driving there is
a free for all. It is not for the faint hearted nor non aggressive types.
In Ecuador the natives have the right under the
law to accuse you of anything. You will be incarcerated and charged and
taken to trial. Payoffs are steep. They often try to take advantage of
foreigners. When they do this it is a quick bailout via your embassy and a
quicker exit via airplane or by vehicle to Peru or Columbia if you are
charged with a really serious crime. You leave everything behind and get out
of dodge with no baggage [B.O.B.]
My recommendation is to not move to one of these
countries under the current conditions. It is just too unstable.
I say: buy some rural property and build
yourself a place to live on. Garden, build a fall out shelter, gather tools,
fuel, food, know your neighbors and own an assortment of mechanical
confrontational appeasement and/or decision making kind of tools along with
the power units to make them project.
CONUS and USofA are still the best places to be.
Yes, we have done all the things above. We are
on our 5 acres of rural land. Read your columns every day. Have of copy of
Clif's work to watch. And listen and read others who have a good track
record about projections for the future.
We are watching and waiting.
In 28 days I will be 70 and plan to be here to
Another reader - one in Ecuador - sent this:
I read with interest your following statement: "Clif & I have a friend in
Ecuador, though, and we're penciling out how
much of a firewall the inter-tropical convergence zone will be...".
Since I have been living in Cotacachi, Ecuador, since October, 2010, and
have no plans to ever move back to the US, I would also appreciate having
this information if you are willing to share it with me. By "firewall", am
I correct in assuming that you are referring to the type of solar flares
that have been predicted to occur around 2012?
FYI, Cotacachi has an elevation of about 7,800 feet in the Andes mountains
of Northern Ecuador. There has recently been a lot of cloud cover in this
part of Ecuador, and I have wondered if these clouds could serve as a
"firewall" against solar flares. On the other hand, some people who have
lived here much longer than I have, tell me that this cloudy/rainy season
may go away during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.
No, my reference was not to effects of the
ITCZ as regards
solar releases; I was thinking more in terms of the north-south air exchange
which might delay the movement or radiation from Japan's meltdowns (and
whatever comes along later) from moving south. I figured that the vertical
mixing, along with the precip to do some washing/scrubbing, might help a
I think what influenced my thinking on this was Nevil Shute's novel "On the
Beach" which - way ahead of its time - suggested that radiation from a
northern hemisphere nuclear war might take upwards of 6-months to reach
Have Demos Signed on To Fascism?
Once again, we see the creep of fascism/totalitarianism into America
unchallenged and now even endorsed by one of the democorps. This came
Sunday as WCBS reported on an interview in NYC with senator Chuck Schumer
- democorp of NY - who according to the station website "Schumer
calls for 'Do Not Ride' list for Amtrak."
This seems to me like another half-thought, half-baked, knee-jerk idea.
First, since subways are much more heavily traveled than Amtrak trains and are
far easier to access. And secondly, because upon inspection, there's may
really another agenda doing on, like perhaps trying to discourage aliens
(already scared by the radiation & touchy-feelies levels in airports) from
taking intercity trains to move around? LOL...
For a party that once positioned itself as the defenders of rights that the
republicorp was smashing, the democorps - via Schumer's "no ride list" are
showing their corporate stripe.
Riding Amtrak is already a bad enough experience - I've been trying to find a
decent train ride vacation for a couple of years and the routes and
availabilities outright suck. No longer a station in Tyler, Texas - a
victim of "getting skinny" . Which means driving miles & miles the
wrong way to take a train somewhere. Do I want to drive 130-miles to
Shreveport to thread the needle to Chicago? Pass the ViseGrips, I need a
But to now come out with the "Do Not Ride" list idea is ludicrous. Amtrak
(along with the rest of the railroad industry) has been working hard on the
"skinny-down" business model. And along comes another free-spender with
this Security State plan. Job creation scheming at its worst.
So rather than asking questions like "Where was that dialysis machine in bin
Laden's quarters?" or "You really think those chain link fences installed
where freeways cross over rail lines are going to prevent wild-eyed extremists?"
we instead have done just what the terrorist mentality was after in the first
place: Stampeding of people in order to seize more civil liberties - which
just causes more of a backlash against what is obviously ever-increasing
governmental intrusion and authoritarianism.
What happened to the politicians where were going to roll-back the Patriot 2 & 3
Would someone please advise Herr Schumer that the terrorists were going to
remove the trains from their tracks in their planning. That was to be
done from OFF the frigging trains, not ON them?
A Dallas DART station was evacuated when a man simply asked fror help carrying
America's got enough problems with terrorism as it is. We need people in
leadership positions who can assess intel a little crisply than this. Next
thing you know, Schumer will be proposing a "No Shopping List" for the local
And heaven help people who walk toward the security checkpoints with video
cameras rolling. You saw where
four people were arrested in Denver last weekend for "suspicious" activity near
Monday May 9, 2011
Savory Numbers Week
Monday dawns here at the ranch with me heading for a stepladder as soon as I
finish this morning's column to finish securing the runners on the new
carport/truckport roof before we put on the roofing. There shouldn't be
too much action in the markets today, since we won't get into economic
dart-throwing in a meaningful way until tomorrow's import & export prices, which
will be followed by the Balance of Trade Wednesday. Thursday sees producer
prices, but the whole point of the week as far as the domestic economy comes
Friday when the investor class will have whipped itself up into a major frenzy
about the Consumer Price Index figures.
Realistically? I expect food and energy will be up, but depending on how
the cost of housing figures are juggled around, the overall increase (which
there undoubtedly will be) is as much the result of inflation as it will
be due to the reallocation of household spending that's underway now.
If you used to spend $2 on housing for each $1 of gasoline and food, the
drift is in the direction of $1 housing and $2 gasoline and food.
People miss the deflationary impacts of the economy because you don't
write a check each month for housing deflation, but it's there if you run a
personal balance sheet instead of doing just cashflow/check registering of your
overall economic condition.
Gold and silver are bouncing following last week's beat-down, and I expect we'll
pop over $50 silver again shortly, notwithstanding the split of the market into
two factions: Paper silver which ETF's seem to find useful and the real
street prices which are considerably higher. Here's an
eBay ad as an example which is offering a lot of 16 Libertads for $60 each.
One ounce bars are going for well over 'spot' - whatever that means.
Many of the online dealers I've looked at are out of stock on one ounce and 100
Then there's the report that
"Goldman see commodity recovery as slump erases $99 billion." What at
means is anyone's guess though. Oftentimes, you'll see a big commodity
player talking down a commodity while buying it (helps press prices down) or
talking it up - while selling. Us little people can't really do much but
watch the eBay real prices and compare them with the out the door prices
for paper abstractions on silver & gold - which seem to be getting further apart
from reality lately.
Main thing I continue to watch is the currency see-saw, though. Saw this
the Euro was up on the far side of the pond and that's driving down European
markets a bit - and as the US dollar gives up a bit of recent strength, the
metals are up - and I expect a decent gain for the US averages today based on
currency, if nothing else.
I did like the Timo Soini bit in the WSJ-Euro editions that "Euro
insolvency must be purged openly and honestly..."
But ain't never gonna happen - no-how. Transparency has - is -
proving itself mostly just another marketing slogan that seems to be working on
the wage-serfs and sheep quite nicely. The latest
Consumer Debt report out last week showed continuer spending was continuing
to increase. As long as people keep whipping out their credit cards, the
Beast is alive and well, thanks.
But Suppose Hyperinflation Really DOES Show UP...
The case for $5,500 silver next year is made as our contributing earthquake whiz
has also reworked his hyperinflation model (Rev 2). Curiously,
as gasoline hits $80,000+
per gallon, even $2.1-million an ounce silver starts to lose it's
bang...whew...mind opening stuff.
A huge amount of press this weekend seemed to focus on
Osama bin Laden's reported videos of himself practicing for his next tele-threat.
Other media coverage paints a pretty ugly picture of the place where Osama was
words like squalor and ramshackle with a side of rubbish doesn't exactly
sound like the kind of conditions that lend themselves to recruiting neatniks
for their cause.
Wonder if that's somehow programmed in at the subconscious level from looking at
Not getting away from the
flooding in the Mississippi River valley as more homes are being abandoned in
the Memphis area.
Remember we were talking a second ago about the shift in household spending -
more for food and gasoline? Well, here's where it comes from. "Arkansas
flooding, rainfall hinders rice production across state..." and other
stories like "Corn,
Soybeans May Rise as Adverse Weather Threatens World Crops."
The flip side of things is
the extreme drought in Texas and parts further west which is pushing winter
wheat production to five-year lows.
Your attention is directed to Chihuahua, Mexico this morning. Not that the
(as of press time)
3.8 quake there is so much of a Big Deal by itself, but there's what
seems like a cluster developing there,
just down the road a short piece from El Paso (map).
Another one to keep an eye on is the continuing activity -
including this 3.9 shaker this morning - up near Hawthorne, Nevada.
Although its a fair distance away, we keep thinking that any kind of earthquake
activity in the region of the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository plans ought to
be carefully considered.
If you haven't ever read it, this note about the EPA 2009 ruling on Yucca
Mountain should give you a glimpse into how government plans to be around
forever. Try this revealing sentence off Wikipedia:
"...For the first 10,000 years, the EPA would retain the 2001 final rule’s
dose limit of 15 millirem per year. This is protection at the level of the
most stringent radiation regulations in the U.S. today. From 10,000 to one
million years, EPA established a dose limit of 100 millirem per year...."
Makes me want to believe in reincarnation so's I can come back and see which
lasts longer: EPA/government or the radiation/crap. My bet's
presently on the nuclear waste...
High Radiation Levels
The Chinese are reporting this morning that
"Japan detects radiation up to 700 millisieverts at Fukushima nuke plant."
Which is what? Well, the Adult
US limit is 5000
millirems per year according to this summary from MIT.
Next, we flip over to www.convertworld.com
and push in 5000 millirems to get a handle on how many millisieverts that is.
Answer? 50 millisieverts.
A quick aikido flip of the calculator says that those reported levels are a
year's worth of radiation in just 1/14 of an hour.
Can't get much past the country that brought us PlayStations, though.
They've already come to the
conclusion that workers will probably need lead shielding to get things
stabilized. Didn't need to unholster the calculator...
Then there's the
Chubu Electric Power Company which idling plants 4&5 at Hamoaka (Shizuoka
prefecture). Putting in additional EQ protection systems.
Not that America's nuclear projects aren't without troubles. I'm still
wondering how that
larger-than-permitted release of radioactive tritium into the Mississippi
River about a week ago happened. Then again, so is the Nuclear
Offishuls (sic) are saying that there's no danger due to dilution by the high
water levels, but still...not what I'd pick to mix up the Kool-Aid with.
Coping: Is the World Really Ending?
I had the opportunity on Sunday to talk with a another web writer/economist type
and exchange views and it struck me - after this fellow said it was his view the
Dollar was really dying and that the whole world financial system would collapse
- at least as far as the US is concerned - in a matter of months - that despite
50-pound sacks of pessimism heaped on around here most mornings, there's still a
chance of an uncomfortable, but nevertheless real muddle-through outcome.
To be sure, the dollar may have a lot more downside to it, but for now,
the trend over the last week, or so, has been for the dollar to hand on to at
least some of its recent gains, which I'm guessing will prevent the
market from screaming ahead to new highs just yet.
In fact, I could make an argument that the major market averages are still
somewhere between ½ to 1 percent higher priced than
they oughta be based on my (peculiar) view that
FOREX may drive market prices as much as current headlines.
Oh sure, the price of gasoline has hit the wallet
pretty good lately, but we also note that stories were about this weekend that
in the short term,
gasoline might drop 50¢ in coming weeks.
Sure, sure, that doesn't mean good times are here -
and that further tick up in the unemployment numbers last week isn't anything to
pop the champagne over. Still, the odds of a muddle-through seem at
least as good as the complete collapse of the US into total - and unrecoverable
People write me on a daily basis suggesting that
things are on the verge of collapse and that will happen as soon as the US
dollar loses half - or more of its value.
But my counter to that is "The dollar has lost
half its value not once but many times in recent economic history
- and it's bound to do so again."
For example, if you had $100 in 1937, it would only
take until 1958 for its purchasing power to be cut roughly in half. That's
Then again, from 1958 until 1976, the US dollar
lost about half its purchasing power - this time in a shade more than 18-years.
Wanna go again? From 1976 to 1987 - a mere
11-years this time - the Dollar lost about half its purchasing power again.
And again? From 1987 to this year the
dollar has lost almost half its purchasing power once again. But you see
what's changed? The length of time it has taken has actually increased
a bit -- to 24 years.
Oh sure, we've got the prepper stuff "in the bag"
and yes, our conduct in world affairs looks suspiciously like a crack addict
breaking into people's countries to steal their natural resources (actual drugs
come to think of it in Afghanistan, oil elsewhere like Iraq and soon-come
But a 'muddle-through' is what we hope for and
while it's tempting to say "The world's really going to end" the rational person
doesn't completely 'flee the system' since it does afford us all a pretty nice
standard of living and at least some opportunity for upward mobility.
Yes, the markets may suffer and metals soar as the
US dollar declines. But go completely away? I doubt that.
While we've contemplated, however briefly, a move
to Ecuador, Chile, and some points further south - like Uruguay, the further
decline of the dollar can be hedged in simpler ways in the relative comfort of
our present digs by buying additional solar panels and so forth.
Near as I can figure it, if the US dollar does
total collapse, being in the USA with the enterprising mindset we've got is
still preferable to being in countries which don't have anywhere near as much of
the one asset that government hasn't figured an easy way to tax yet in this
Monday at the WuJo
Denise has been working on improving her "paranormal" abilities and is convinced
that the US will see a hurricane beyond Category 5 this year in the Gulf of
Interesting that she has it coming across Cancun
and then 'hooking' around to come at NOLA. No idea where this came from;
maybe because she lived in NOLA for a while, or maybe it's been windy in
Still, interesting to note such things, which is
www.nationaldreamcenter.com project is about.
I've told her for focus on lottery numbers or stock
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.