OK, now China has gone and done it…lowering interest rates this weekend.
That means all the things we have been warning you (about additional deflation) is likely coming along and with it, this morning the major exchanges in Europe have edged back from recent highs.
Does this mean it’s time to slap the 55-day timer, since major collapses (and big corrections) don’t usually get organized until well after a major peak? Put another way, airplanes don’t crash in the sky…the crash hitting the ground. Same thing is true for stock markets. They can’t crash from here, but give them some time to work down to the bottom of trend lines and the 50 and 200 day moving averages…then we’ll have something to talk about.
The week ahead will have some really useful data, if you can stick around till Friday. That’s when the federal unemployment report will be out, along with the Federal Reserve’s misnomered Consumer Credit report (it’s all about debt, credit only if you’re a bankster).
For this morning, we get to watch a bunch of incredibly boring bond and bill settlements and eye (with understandable suspicion) the assertions in the Personal Income and Expense report. Grab your crack pipe and read along…
Personal income increased $50.8 billion, or 0.3 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $52.6 billion, or 0.4 percent, in January, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $18.9 billion, or 0.2 percent. In December, personal income increased $45.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, DPI increased $37.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, and PCE decreased $35.7 billion, or 0.3 percent, based on revised estimates. Real DPI increased 0.9 percent in January, compared with an increase of 0.5 percent in December. Real PCE increased 0.3 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 0.1 percent. The price index for PCE decreased 0.5 percent, compared with a decrease of 0.2 percent.
Even funnier is this part:
Wages and salaries increased $42.4 billion in January, compared with an increase of $8.6 billion in December. Private wages and salaries increased $39.7 billion, compared with an increase of $7.2 billion. Government wages and salaries increased $2.5 billion, compared with an increase of $1.5 billion. Pay raises for federal civilian and military personnel added $2.2 billion to government payrolls in January.
Oh, wait, the amount of money may have gone up due to hours worked…bit let’s not quibble, shall we? Instead, here’s a peach for you: Small businesses are getting screwed:
Proprietors’ income decreased $12.8 billion in January, in contrast to an increase of $13.5 billion in December. Farm proprietors’ income decreased $10.0 billion, in contrast to an increase of $3.8 billion. Nonfarm proprietors’ income decreased $2.8 billion, in contrast to an increase of $9.7 billion.
And here’s the set-up part:
Personal current taxes decreased $1.8 billion in January, in contrast to an increase of $8.0 billion in December. Payments of final settlements and back taxes less refunds in federal nonwithheld income taxes reduced the January change by $5.8 billion, based on projections from the Office of Tax Analysis.
Disposable personal income (DPI) — personal income less personal current taxes — increased $52.6 billion, or 0.4 percent, in January, compared with an increase of $37.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, in December.
And the punch line:
Personal saving — DPI less personal outlays — was $728.5 billion in January, compared with $659.6 billion in December.
So, either every worker in America saved $4,922 in January, OR every man, woman, and babe wrapped in swaddling clothes saved $2,276 – on average.
Or the report is another bunch of….well, we’ll leave that to you to infer.
Seizing Your Thoughts
We need to begin this morning with a bit of news about the Internet that is disturbing as hell. This is something mentioned in Peoplenomics Sunday – but it bears amplification here – because of the massive social impact potential is has.
The idea is that Google researchers will compare website content with a database of 2.8 billion facts, and depending on how a site scores, it will be move up, or down, in Google results.
This poses HUGE problems because, as I see it, it’s all the bad aspects of Group-Think (*and the miserable record of peer review) without any of the benefits.
In other words, Google’s about to set itself up at the arbiter of reality.
Let me back up.
If three people see an accident, each will have a slightly different take on specifics of the accident event.
However, when we get into delicate items (like climate change, next story) I can see a real danger of a large corporate entity becoming a partisan on an issue which is murky – at best.
I know it’s popular to believe in climate change, but the National Review’s “Shameful Climate Witch Hunt” article is a fine example. Key quote from the article: “Dissenters from approved thinking are the subject of menacing inquiries.”
Google, and any other search outfit that begin to place themselves in the position of “arbiters of truth” do so at a very real price to society: Public discussion and resolution of truth.
A sad fact about “facts” is they are often wrong. The world turned out to be round, half a million pounds of 6061 aluminum can fly, and yes, we went to the moon (although there are still questions about this last point that NASA has never answered. And let’s not even go to Cydonia…)
When modeled, the effect of such rankings will be to stifle dissent. How? You won’t be able to find it. Dissenting opinions, alternative views of reality (trust me, I’m big on those) will simply disappear because the open-minded people of “inquiring minds want to know” are being deliberately bred out of net kultur.
There are hard facts (how many inches in a mile, for example)…but which mile was the author talking about? Nautical or statute?
Then there are “soft facts” that aren’t really “facts” yet at all. Climate discussions call into this category, or am I the only one who read most of the Copenhagen disclosures about how scientists were conspiring to lie? Oh, whoops! I mean adjust data to reflect a foregone conclusion?
And then what about denied fact? Just because government has denied UFO’s doesn’t mean that they are not “facts.”
Free-wheeling, free-thinking sites like UrbanSurvival would like face an uncertain future when this new digital thought-control-process is perfected and rolled out without public awareness.
It will only be part of a much larger series of digital crimes, mind you. But when it comes, here’s the term to become intensely aware of:
Definition: (Tentative) Use of search engine results to compress society more and more into a tightly controlled middle of a statistical distribution. Accomplished by deliberately suppressing outlier opinions that don’t conform to a database of company-approved “facts.”
It’s like a No-Fly list for your mind. And we just know, you’re going to love it.
Because you won’t be able to find any opposition to it on the web. For now, searches like this one, are still interesting. But these are the kind of things that could be “searchicided.”
Gotta Love Climate Change
Record snowfall continues to pile up after a weekend that saw many people’s travel plans messed up by global warming’s latest.
The fun part of this week is that we could get snow in all 50-states including our area down here in normally warm east Texas. The National Weather Service advisory for us:
… Winter weather possible across North Texas mid week…
A cold Arctic airmass will spread south across north and central
Texas on Wednesday following the passage of a strong cold front.
With cold air already in place… an upper level disturbance will
generate mostly light precipitation across the region as it
approaches from the southwest. Rain will mix with and then changeover
to sleet across much of the region by the afternoon or evening
hours Wednesday. Some snow may mix with sleet Wednesday night
into Thursday morning… and some freezing rain will be a
possibility over the southeastern-most counties Wednesday night
and Thursday morning. Precipitation should come to an end by
Thursday afternoon as the upper level system moves east of the
* Location… all of North Texas
* timing… Wednesday across mainly the northern half of North
Texas. Wednesday night across all of North Texas. Thursday
morning across mainly the southern half of North Texas.
* Precipitation type… mainly sleet… with some snow and freezing
* Accumulation and impacts… accumulations remain uncertain at
this time… but with temperatures dropping below freezing during
the afternoon it would take little to produce deteriorating Road
conditions and some travel delays by Wednesday evening.
Please monitor future forecasts regarding the potential for
winter weather across North Texas Wednesday through Thursday.
For now, the Texas snow looks like it will be minimal, as warm air will be pushing up from the Caribbean through tomorrow. Wednesday is when the dice roll: If the warm air keeps on coming, the precip Wednesday could be rain. But if the southern flow weakens, then the cold air will move further south and I will be on Climate Denier medication by Thursday.
Yes sir, climate change is real. Just keep saying that. One of these days, it will sink in.
House democrats are planning to skip the speech. I could make a remark about how Democrats have been at the helm most of the time the as the Global Caliphate was coming to life, but since I have taken a “nice pill” this morning, I’ll skip the remarks about “don’t bother Pelosi et al with facts…” I’ve been saying that so long it’s becoming trite.
Pressure Builds on Putin
With the march in support of a murdered opposition leader in Russia, there are more concerns being voiced about what it ahead for opposition parties in country.
The real problem to keep an eye on: If the pressure continues to build with dissidents in Russia, Vlad Putin may become more inclined to stage a big distraction. And that might include marching into former Soviet buffer states.
Cornered animals tend to bite.