Snowden: Snooping Every Text / Dishfire

The latest disclosure (nightmare) for the NSA and the Obama damage control teams is the report in the UK Guardian this morning about a program called Dishfire which reads more than 200-million text messages per day.  Probably yours.

Oh,; and the really bad part of this?  (Like that’s not bad enough?)  There was no control over whose texts were involved.  It was uncontrolled and aimed at everyone. Once again, proof, as I see it, that the FISA Court has failed.  Wallpaper at its finest

The next act due (center ring) at the National Security Circus, will be Ringmaster Obama calling later today for an “overhaul” of the NSA phone data collection system.  Yeah, sure, you betcha.   But, like I’ve told you before, they wouldn’t do the reform unless the replacement was in the wings.

And gee, gosh, what’s that building outside Provo for, anyway?

Or, will an already bad idea become an outsourcing project?    As country we can’t walk and chew gum, it seems.

Waiting for California’s Drought Exodus

California Burning

As we discussed in the drought story yesterday, our preliminary pencil-pushing suggests that a modern-day Dust Bowl equivalent in California could displace 4-million people (or more) if rain doesn’t come along soon.

And this morning there’s no sign of it.  Nearly 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the San Gabriel mountains where a fire is up to almost 2,000 acres.  Three campers have been arrested for supposedly starting it.

Further to that discouraging drought map I showed you Thursday, here’s a report in the San Joe Mercury News headline “California Drought:  Three more months of dry weather like, National Weather Service announces.”

And in San Francisco, which should be coming up on 2 1/2-inches of rain for the year, we’re still stuck at one one-hundredth on an inch for the year.  No rain for the next week or two, either.

I’m waiting for the “shower on odd days only if your last name begins A through L” to come along.

Say, you don’t think Warren Buffett bought personal care products stock Henkel do you?  Maybe the sage of Omaha looked at the long range drought forecasts and looked up, as we did, who owns the Right Guard deodorant brand…

More after this…

Housing Starts a Mess

image A picture is worth a thousand words, but being too lazy to gin those up, we’ll simple serve a side order of Press Release stew here…

BUILDING PERMITS
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 986,000. This is 3.0 percent (±1.1%) below the revised November rate of 1,017,000, but is 4.6 percent (±1.1%) above the December 2012 estimate of
943,000.

Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 610,000; this is 4.8 percent (±1.0%) below the revised November figure of
641,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 350,000 in December.

An estimated 974,700 housing units were authorized by building permits in 2013. This is 17.5 percent (±0.8%) above the 2012 figure
of 829,700.

HOUSING STARTS
Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000. This is 9.8 percent (±10.7%)* below
the revised November estimate of 1,107,000, but is 1.6 percent (±11.9%)* above the December 2012 rate of 983,000.

Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 667,000; this is 7.0 percent (±8.9%)* below the revised November figure of
717,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 312,000.

An estimated 923,400 housing units were started in 2013. This is 18.3 percent (±2.9%) above the 2012 figure of 780,600.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS
Privately-owned housing completions in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 744,000. This is 10.8 percent (±9.9%)
below the revised November estimate of 834,000, but is 10.7 percent (±11.7%)* above the December 2012 rate of 672,000.

Dangerous Data: Double-Digit Money Spike

We notice this morning that the Dow last Friday closed very near 14,437 while the S&P last week closed at 1,842,37.  With yesterday’s close, the S&P was up a few points and the Dow was down 20 for the week. The Techs, basis last week, are doing a little better.

As long as the market holds above the 1808 S&P level, odds of a running correction before going higher seem to be in place. 

But for now, the futures point to a Dow which would end the week within a few points of last Friday…which means the whole of the financial industry could have taken the week off and it wouldn’t have mattered…

“Warning Will Rogers”

That’s the foreplay.  Now the news….

Thursday’s M1 reading shot up to a dramatic 11.4% 3-months annualized rate.  And, what’s more, the M1 on a six-months annualized basis is now 10.0%.

M2 was going up at a more measured 6.2%, but with the jack-up of M1 we can’t help but wonder is the Santa Season didn’t get a little goose from the Fed just to make sure the holidays didn’t collapse?

I wish I was selling specialty ink to the money industry.

At 9:15 this morning, the Fed will release the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization reports.  A lot of good news and the markets could move up smartly from here ahead of the month-end Fed meeting.

French-Style Politics

Got to love politics in France.  Pictures over at Breitbart this morning of a load of manure being dumped on the doorstep of government give us all kinds of ideas.

Not of which we can speak, write, or text. but the French peasants are getting it right – again.

So is Japanese anime series where references to the “ruling global plutocracy” have been showing up in [subtitled] series lately.

Losing Control in the Middle East

It’s a lousy thing to look forward to over the weekend, but the constitutional referendum results should come out in Egypt, and if I’ve got this one figured right, we will see the new constitution approved by an 80% or better margin.

Reports from the region are that the Sinai vote is yet to be counted

But with the MuBros (Muslim Brotherhood) boycotting the vote, the real unifying that Egypt needs is likely to be missing.  So, predictably, as soon as the results come out, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the results denounced, and then the violence, particularly bombings, restart anew.

Iran Rules the American Idiocracy

The reports of a secret side deal are troubling.  However, this morning we were pleased to receive an analysis of new material released as summarized by our former government war gamer who we call warhammer

The White House issued a ‘Summary of Technical Understanding Related to the Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program.  The official statement concludes with the following proclamation:

“With respect to the comprehensive solution, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.  We have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed”.

See:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/16/summary-technical-understandings-related-implementation-joint-plan-actio

“ . . . nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to!”  Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the IDF and Mossad must collectively be shaking their noggins and asking each other “what type of [expletive] nuclear deal with Iran is this?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/16/iran-top-nuke-negotiator-deal-reversible-in-one-day.html

Iran is quite literally sitting tall and proud in the diplomacy driver’s seat.  If Persian theocrats feel that sanctions have not been loosened enough, or if they just wake up on the wrong side of their beds on any given day, they can re-start enriching Uranium at will. 

Yet the White House and its cadre of political pen pushers are spinning Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi’s comments in quite the positive light, explaining that when Araghchi said “We can return again to 20 percent enrichment in less than one day and we can convert the [nuclear] material again. Therefore the structure of our nuclear program is preserved,” he was speaking to his own people, not to the P5+1 countries that struck the so-call “deal.”  To make the pact even more questionable, Iran gets to determine how and when the IAEA conducts nuclear inspections.

This agreement can literally unzip at the drop of a hat – any hat, any time.  It goes without saying that this ‘deal’ is precarious.  The prospects for long-term success are dubious at best.  The Saudi’s must be wondering what Obama and the P5+1 were drinking, while Israel watched one more piece of their strategic puzzle click resoundingly into place.

Cheers,

But it’s all OK.  It opens the possibility that a new former State Department game show could be developed reworking an old concept.  Click here for a hint as to what the show could be named..

More to follow, stay tuned….

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