You You Pulling My Lever?

Or, is that a vote in your pocket?

Stock prices were flat to slightly down.  Perhaps on the realization that America doesn’t really do much any more except sit around a whine.

Warning flag about too strong a dollar and massive deflation:  Oil futures were under $78 this morning..a  very bad deflation indicator. The Ure discontinuity area approaches where free money should send stocks to the moon, but deflation sends them to zero at the same time.  That’s when people hold back spending expecting lower prices, not higher.

News-wise there isn’t much economic guidance to be found.  A minor report on International Trade is out, and I suppose we could talk about that…

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of
Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that total September exports of $195.6 billion and imports of $238.6 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $43.0 billion, up from $40.0 billion in August, revised. September exports were $3.0 billion less than August exports of $198.6 billion. September imports were $0.1 billion more than August imports of $238.6 billion.

What doesn’t make sense is how strong the dollar is, but that isn’t really too surprising.  For one, Asia is a nice place to invest, but without the Great Dumping Ground of the American market, have those countries would be out of business.

Europe isn’t much better off.  When the EU started with something like 13 bankrupt countries, it was a good call to expect an eventual implosion.  Today the EU sports 28 1/2 members (the half being Ukraine) but the balance sheet madness hasn’t stopped.  In time, it will turn out to be a form of financial communism.  From each according to their assets, to each according to their socialist over-spending.

So yeah, the risk inherent in investing in the currency of this EU Ponzi scheme pales in comparison to investing in the USA.

Market reaction tomorrow will tell us what the future will hold.  Although my money is still on the R’s winning the majority, that leading to a split government, and that meaning we won’t get anything much done.

The Robots Are Coming, The Robots Are Coming

As is not unexpected, while the right is warming up to crow about today’s election results, not seeing the possibility of multiple court showdowns in the aftermath as described in our “Coping” section to follow, we see further evidence that the political right is still asleep at the switch.  Strategically speaking.

While the spoke-sploiters of the right come out with books like Rush Revere and the American Revolution: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans ($12, Amazon), they are again looking through the telescope backwards, I’m afraid.  Good reading, sure, but looking the wrong way and appealing to yesterday’s demographics.

What they SHOULD be Revere’ing about is the arrival of robots and software platforms that will result in a Depression Era level of 38% unemployment within 10 years.  A look ahead, solving the Whole Economy Blows Up problem when there are no jobs…now that would be more useful, know what I mean?

Need a few headlines to make the case?  Sure – try these on:

John Oliver Warns About the New Lowe’s Robot Sales Assistants

Robot baby penguin infiltrates Antarctic colony

Robot bartenders?  This cruise ship has them

To be sure, there is much to be learned from the Constitution and yes, we used to have exceptional Americans.  But if the story about a certain democratic senator being involved in trying to steer IRS into targeting the right wingers is true, just more one more nail in the coffin of how those days of exceptionalism may be long gone. OK, are not may be long gone.

If you read just those headlines about how the robots are coming, you’ll see jobs of store customer service clerks going, naturalists being replaced by robots and bartenders, too. 

Being generous, I’ll offer Rushbo and other conservatives a bit of unsolicited advice: Instead of focusing so much on the past, a little more focus on future would go a long ways toward reestablishing American Excellence. 

We can’t undo the errors we’ve made as a country since Eisenhower and Kennedy.  But we can get back ownership of cheaper, better, faster, more functionality all around, and get past letting Japan, China, and the rest of Asia lap us with “kaizen.”    Self-sufficiency can be more than a wet dream if we work at it.

Kaizen (???), Japanese for “good change”. It has been applied in healthcare,[1] psychotherapy,[2] life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries. When used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.[3] By improving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers who visited the country. It has since spread throughout the world[4] and is now being implemented in environments outside of business and productivity.

As I see it, the darkest day for America was when William Edward Deming went to Japan because his ideas on excellence fell on deaf ears here in ‘Merica.  His  story, summarized in Wikipedia as follows, chronicles how America (stupidly) has managed to “steal defeat from the jaws of victory” and is vastly more relevant to our future than 99% of political rambling you catch on radio or in print.  This is where the future ownership of the world is happening:

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. Educated initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In his book The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education,[1] Deming championed the work of Dr. Walter Shewhart, including Statistical Process Control, Operational Definitions, and what Deming called The Shewhart Cycle[2] which had by then evolved into “PDSA” (Plan-Do-Study-Act). This was in response to the growing popularity of PDSA, which Deming viewed as tampering with the meaning of Dr. Shewhart’s original work[3] Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry which began in August 1950 at the Hakone Convention Center in Tokyo with a now seminal speech on what he called Statistical Product Quality Administration, which many in Japan credit with being the inspiration for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to 1960, rising from the ashes of war to become the second most powerful economy in the world in less than a decade, founded on the ideas first taught to them by Dr Deming:

  1. That the problems facing manufacturers can be solved through cooperation, despite differences.
  2. Marketing is not “sales,” but the science of knowing what people who buy your product repeatedly think of that product and whether they will buy it again, and why.
  3. That In the initial stages of design, you must conduct market research, applying statistical techniques for experimental and planning and inspection of samples.
  4. And you must perfect the manufacturing process.[4]

He is best known in the United States for his 14 Points (Out of the Crisis, by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Preface) and his system of thought he called the System of Profound Knowledge, consisting of four components, or “lenses” through which to view the world simultaneously:

  1. An appreciation of a system,
  2. understanding of variation,
  3. psychology
  4. and Epistemology, or a theory of knowledge.[5]

Deming made a significant contribution to Japan’s later reputation for innovative, high-quality products, and for its economic power. He is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage. Despite being honored in Japan in 1951 with the establishment of the Deming Prize he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death in 1993.[6] President Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987. The following year, Deming also received the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences

The battlefield is in front of us, not behind us.  Looking at yesterday too much, or revering Ronald Reagan who outspent democrats in amazing ways, isn’t going to buy us the future we want.  I don’t believe in driving forward by looking in the rearview mirror.

To own the future, you need to see it clearly and then you get ahead of it.  Such that when the future arrives, things will go your way.  Not some other country’s.

Show me the political figure who starts with the quality and product equations and has a solid plan and they’ve got my vote.  But long division by the hack parties?  No thank you. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and it says “None of the above.” 

The Internet is letting people grow up and bust out of the old control paradigm.

So here they are:  One word and two books to re-Revolutionize America:

The word?  Process.  Everything we do is a process.  Each day has a beginning and end, each task at work is a process.  If you want to master anything…figure out the underlying processes and own those.  Math is process.  Pioneering space is a process.  Yet process is not the Common Core.  We teach mush and are shocked at our future.  We teach political correctness unable to see it is teaching of long division.  We fail to holistically integrate our thinking because we don’t show the recipes of life…the glue that holds it together.

That word is process.

My book selections, offered as a counterpoint to the political marketing materials that build on yesterday’s past glory instead of preparing us to seize tomorrow’s opportunities?

  and of course: 

Good luck finding candidates that reflect this new world paradigm.  But solving the right problems would be nice, for a change.

Runaway technology and falling demand for what humans do will inevitably blow up the US economy, just as internal combustion and radio job displacement led to the 1930’s.  Of course there was a big drought, then, too.  Don’t bring that up with California residents just now.

If you want to understand why today’s choices are irrelevant even before voting, reader Marsha sent in this note that explains it all:

Have you seen this photo  with all of the old technology (cell phone, pager, video camera camera etc.) consolidated in a smart phone?

When America was founded, people couldn’t vote unless they owned property.  Perhaps, the new qualification for voting ought to be something like this: Do you know what…

c:>  means    or know what     gov@root:$      means on one of my servers, lol

The bad news I’ve saved for last:  Economics is still cyclical.  Just like stupidity and malinvestment.  The conservative swing is starting so hard times must be coming.

Hard times make people hard – it’s the stuff that tempers the players in history.  We have lost our temper, is one way to put it.

Showing Love to Terrorists

A key British intelligence fellow says American networks offer terrorists way too much.

To really fight terrorism, more access to Facebook and Twitter is needed, it is argued.

So does this mean a major terrorism event on the net later this month?  I could argue the point but no one would listen.

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